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Good News of Great Joy

It’s finally here! No more waiting! Resurrection Day has arrived in all its joy and wonder.

There are so many things that stand out to me about the accounts of the resurrection. I love how Mary is kept from recognizing Jesus when asking about his body. I love how it’s not until he speaks her name that she suddenly knows who is before her. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.

I love how Jesus walks with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. How he patiently goes through Scripture and explains it to them. I wish I could have been there for that! What a conversation that must have been! It reminds me that all of Scripture points to Christ.

I love how Jesus starts referring to the disciples as his brothers after he rises. He has broken the power of sin. He has conquered death and the curtain is torn. Welcome, brothers.

There are two words that seem to describe every person’s reaction to the resurrection in Scripture. The first is fear. Anyone who saw the angels was afraid. Sometimes it’s almost a stubborn fear and disbelief: THERE’S NO WAY. Testimony of seeing the risen Savior was rarely believed until it was confirmed.

But the other phrase that comes up in the Bible a lot is GREAT JOY. In Matthew, the women who came to the tomb, didn’t see Jesus, but departed with fear and great joy! They believed! Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Because friends, if we stayed in that darkness of Tenebrae, what joy do we have? If our Savior never rose, what hope is there for us? That’s not good news at all.

But he did. What wild, unimaginable joy and hope is ours! Celebrate today and every day because we serve a risen Savior.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2020 in holiday

 

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Tenebrae: literally; Darkness

Holy Week has arrived. Truly my heart’s desire was to be able to gather with my church family this week but that was not the Lord’s will.

I have spent this week in contemplation of the cross. I think as believers we don’t like to linger there. We love to run on to the joyful celebration (rightly so) of the resurrection but we don’t like to sit and gaze at the destruction of the cross. We may pause for a moment but even then, Easter is in the back of our minds. We have that luxury because we know the whole story.

So this week, I have put myself in other peoples’ places. I have read through each Gospel account of the betrayal and death of Jesus but stopped reading at the burial. I have walked in the garden with Jesus and felt his loneliness and desperation, as he knows all that is about to come upon him. As he cries out to the Father for another way but fully submits himself to the pain of betrayal, of desertion, and of physical suffering beyond belief.

I have sat with the disciples as they casually fall asleep when they should have been praying. I hear Jesus’ gentle rebuke and plea and his understanding as he knows how weak we are. I have felt the disciples’ utter confusion and hopelessness as they see their leader torn away and crucified before them. What is going on??

I have wept at the tenderness of Christ on the cross. Experiencing the worst pain I can think of, yet still caring for others. He sees his mother and thinks of her welfare by placing her in the care of his beloved friend. He asks forgiveness of those who are killing him. He ministers to the thief hanging to die beside him and gives him hope.

As he hangs there, the earth is filled with darkness. The Father turns his face away from the sin that he can’t behold and Jesus is left all alone. He cries out in despair and the curtain that separates man from God is torn in two. Scripture has been totally fulfilled in every way.

The Son of God gives up his spirit.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2020 in salvation

 

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It’s Lent for Me

Two nights ago I was laying in bed exhausted. But I was thinking and one thought just kept coming to my mind. “Lord, I wish it was Lent.”

Which is a totally weird thought for me. Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Lent at all. In fact, I secretly thought that the only people that did anything with Lent were Catholics or super legalistic people. I didn’t even really know what it was to be honest.

So you can imagine my surprise when I became an adult and found out that quite a few of my friends give up things for Lent. Still didn’t really understand it….but I came to the simple conclusion that it must not be a Catholic thing after all. It was a mystery to me honestly.

Last year I decided to do some research to figure out this whole LENT thing. I found out that it was the time period between Ash Wednesday (hmmm…wonder when that is…) and the Saturday before Easter- 40 Days. Which represent the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. And that a lot of believers use that time to give up something from their life and focus on Christ instead. Of course it can be something legalistic (like most things) but it doesn’t have to be.

So I decided to give it a try. I thought of something I wouldn’t want to give up but would probably give me more time to spend with the Lord. *Netflix* Annnnddd…I hated it. Truly. It’s not like I watch a ton of Netflix but I didn’t realize at the time how much my brain used a stupid baking show or Andy Griffith to wind down before bed. And at the time I couldn’t do much reading so I felt trapped and stuck. But I did it for the 40 days and decided I didn’t want to do Lent again. Great attitude, right?

You may be wondering then, why I was wishing it was Lent the other night? Because deep down, I wanted to be done with social media for a while. It was just one more thing for me to keep up with and it was wearing me out. And I know that isn’t the purpose of Lent, to give up something because you are done with it. But inside I was thinking that people would understand more during Lent. They wouldn’t think I was weird or crazy. I KNOW it’s pride, people!

And even as I thought that to myself, my…small…inner rebel spoke up and asked, “Since when did you start caring so much about what people think?” HA!

Inner rebel for the win, I’m off social media. And it’s such a relief. I expect I will miss things and my blog stats will plummet and I. Don’t. Care. When something isn’t drawing me closer to Christ, out it goes. Christ stays, but the world doesn’t.

So right now I’m just sitting here enjoying my early Lent. How about you?

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2019 in encouragment

 

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