He is Risen indeed!
Last week, we celebrated Christ’s resurrection with traditional feasts, gatherings and worship. Easter is a time when we are reminded of the abuse, cruelty and pain that Jesus suffered so we may have eternal life. “He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9 NIV)
Our faith not only gives us the reward of eternity with Him, it can give us a richer, fuller life while we live on this earth. Jesus said when He left that another would come so we were not alone. Accepting Jesus into your heart and the Holy Spirit into your life gives you the keys to a peace and joy unknown to this world.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) He didn’t die for you so that you could mope about what you don’t have. Neither did He come for you to bask in luxury and comfort. His gift is life filled to the brim with faith, hope and love. (I Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 NIV) Easter is a time to reflect on what that gift cost. Not only did Jesus arise, He provided you a way to rise above the darkness in this world. Fall at His feet that He may lift you up to an abundant life.
What have you done this Easter and lent season to truly thank God for a gift you didn’t deserve?
This is the season of Lent, a time of preparation leading up to Easter. We know that Easter is a celebration of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He knew He would die and He prepared for it by spending time in prayer with His Father.
How do we prepare for Easter? Traditionally, one would give up something for Lent. I always thought it was like making a New Year’s resolution. No one really did it, or stuck to it. Abstinence for Lent is so much more. The purpose is to replace something in your life with Jesus. This spiritual discipline of giving up something for 40-days will strengthen your relationship with Him.
Think carefully about what is in your life that may have come between you and serving Christ with your whole heart? Gambling? Drinking? Cigarettes? Many things could be on the list. Not all are as obvious. What about gossiping? Lying? Or one of my favorites: negative talk. My problem isn’t so much saying bad things about others as saying them about myself.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) The “others” include the person in the mirror.
In preparing for Easter this year, give up any negative talk and remember Jesus died for you because you are that important to Him.
How will you prepare for Easter? What is holding you back from serving Christ with your whole heart?
When I was a child, Easter was represented by a new outfit, including a fancy dress, shoes and hat. My sisters and I would get dressed up and pose for pictures out in our yard. The sun was usually shinning, though the air still brisk. After the dutiful snapshots, we would run around the yard looking for the colorful eggs we had died the night before.
Today, Easter has a deeper meaning. Instead of sitting in church in pretty new clothes, I see myself kneeling and broken at the foot of the cross. My heart aches to remember the cruelty heaped on Jesus that day. My heart rejoices at the love He displayed. In excruciating pain, He looked at those who mutilated His body and said, “Forgive them.” Imagine, if He could forgive them, He can forgive us.
Easter is about forgiveness, a clean slate and a blessed future. My vision of Easter enhances the traditional image of new birth and hope. Because Jesus died and rose again, we have a fresh start. We can choose to be a forgiven Child of God and leave the lies of the World behind. That’s why I see Easter in bright colors; crisp and fresh with excitement.
I know I am forgiven no matter what I look like but I still like to dress up for Easter services. After all, God gave His best.
What traditions do you value at Easter? Are there any traditions you had as a child that you see differently today?