He Is With HIM, Part IX

“He is not here, He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6 (NIV)

After a quiet yet distressing Sabbath, Mary and Mary rushed to Jesus’ tomb with heavy hearts.

Their beloved teacher, the One who knew them, the One who loved them, had died.

It was still too much to comprehend.

The day literally began with a bang. On the way to the tomb, there was a violent earthquake. The shaking of the ground could not begin to compare with the quaking of their hearts. How to process the death of their dear Jesus?

At the tomb, what did the ladies find? The expected guard detail was all unconscious and the tomb was not sealed, as it should be. In fact, the stone had been rolled away.

Atop said stone sat yet another surprise: an angel, glowing white.

Heaping shock and surprise on their already fragile minds, Mary and Mary listened to his words, “He is not here, He has risen just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”

Peering into the tomb, it appeared the angel knew something; Jesus was not there!

Too much had happened. It was too hard to know what to think! Shaken and fearful from recent events the ladies hurried to find the disciples.

As their feet fairly flew down the path, an indescribable, unmistakable joy welled up inside each one. What if the angel were right?  Jesus had said He would rise up again. No one gave it much thought, after all it had never happened before.

The tomb was empty.

The tomb was empty.

The angel reported Jesus had risen.  If Jesus walked out of that tomb, that changes everything!

Though it may have taken ages to process they would find the truth.  Jesus really was the Son of God. Why did He die? He chose to follow the Father’s bidding and offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice to obliterate the deadly eternal consequences of sin on humanity. Through His death and resurrection He created a bridge between God and us.

That empty tomb changed how Mary and Mary mourned Jesus’ death.

The empty tomb changed how the disciples counted their time with Jesus.

The empty tomb should change how we do life.

Jesus truly is God’s son. He was perfect, without sin. He willingly obeyed His Father when He was sent to bear the burden of humanity’s (yours and my) sin.

We no longer need to shed innocent blood like a sacrificial lamb, (See Leviticus) to approach God. We only need to believe in Jesus and ask for forgiveness in His name.

Yes, the empty tomb changed everything. It changed everything for those alive 2000 years ago and for every person who lived since.

How has it impacted you?

 

Prayer: Dear Father God, I pray that as I repeatedly hear Your love story of my salvation, I don’t allow familiarity to dull my senses.  Your love is the greatest love the world has ever known.  May I know that love personally and reciprocate it to You. May Your love shine through me and my interactions with others. Amen.

He Is With HIM, Part VI

“But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.” Matthew 27:14 (NIV)

The time had come. Awaiting His sentence, He stood silently before the Governor, Pilate. The memories of betrayal, of the rough guards “guiding” Him through the garden, still fresh in His mind. Jesus had actually been arrested.

Jesus knew He’d done nothing wrong.  He knew He was innocent.  He also knew this was His Father’s plan to reunite humanity to Himself.

Jesus was to be the final sacrifice. Instead of a guilt offering for sin each and every time they disobeyed God, God’s children would have a way directly back to the His forgiveness – just by asking and believing.

But before that could happen, innocent Jesus needed to suffer a criminal’s death.

How did Jesus stand quietly before Pilate and not proclaim His innocence? How did He have the courage, the humility, and the stamina to withstand criminal treatment?

God was with Him.

God was with Him.

He supplied Jesus’ every need: from the courage needed to withstand the accusation and the faith to accept God’s plan over His own will. God gave Him physical and emotional fortitude to face the brutal abuse His haters dished out and the forgiveness necessary to still persevere through the pain to create the path back to God.

Jesus was ready to take a criminal’s death for a crime He didn’t commit because God had also given Him an unfathomable love for humanity and an unwavering commitment to obey the Father.

God supplied exactly what He needed, exactly when He needed it.

Jesus knew who God is and what He could do. Jesus also knew what to ask. And, He accepted the Father’s answer. He trusted in God and His instruction. He knew God would supply and provide.

He trusted God to supply His needs and even in those unimaginable moments, God was there and He met each and every one.

Reflections:

Do I know how to ask God for what I need?

Do I believe He will supply my every need – even if it’s not the solution I requested?

When I feel my faith waver, do I ask, like the boy’s father in Mark 9:24, to supply the faith I need?

Prayer: Dear Father God, Thank You for authoring a way back to You. Thank You for sending Jesus for my guilt, to be my sacrifice.  Thank You for showing over and over again that You are there and will meet my needs. Please, supply the faith I need each day as I draw closer to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Thanks for reading! Please return by Friday, March 25, for the next post.

 

Praising Him

“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.” Psalm 48:1

 

Last weekend, I repeatedly praised God.  Each time my glove-covered hand grasped another weed to shake loose from the soil, I thanked Him. Not that I ever would have imagined such a scenario, but after such a long, cold winter, I ventured out in creation with an almost child-like wonder.

I thanked Him for the warm, sunny day. A day I did not need to bundle up before I went out into it!

I thanked Him for the physical health to be able to garden.

I thanked Him for His beautiful handiwork as my nose captured the sweet scents of the tulips and hyacinths, products of bulbs I had planted last fall in high hopes of spring color!

At one point, I paused in my work, and closing my eyes, drank in the calming calls of the cardinals flying through our backyard to the feeders. I smiled, feeling all was right in my day as I resumed my work, confident that my body would be weary that night.  But oh, was my soul refreshed!

I often praise God for what others see as simple things.  A blessing of being a cancer survivor is that I realize every blessing counts, not just the “big” ones!

But working outside that day, for the first day in several months, my heart could not be contained.

As I poked and prodded and pulled those weeds from my flower beds, my very soul was replenished.  I felt deep in my core a connection I had missed: experiencing God through His beautiful creation.

Only God could create those tiny seeds we faithfully planted a few weeks back to transplant outside next month.

Those tiny seeds which would grow into large plants producing food to nourish our bodies.  Just as His creation was now feeding my soul.  Fueling a faith which began as a tiny seed, but with constant time spent with Him and His word, will grow into a faith with deep roots and a trust the will blossom through any weeds of doubt life plants before me.

How great is the Lord, indeed.

 

Reflections:

Monday: Where do I naturally go to see God, experience Him, and worship Him?

Tuesday: Have I recently allowed myself to push away the distractions the mask God’s wonder?  Have I intentionally searched for Him recently?

Wednesday: Most of us want to be intentional about seeking God, what distracts you from Him?

Thursday: How could you thwart those distractions?

Friday: Prayer: Thank you Lord for constantly calling me back to you. How great You truly are, and how my heart desires to praise You wherever I am.  Your handiwork is evident everywhere, if I stop and look.  Thank you for the constant reminders, Amen.