Don’t Worry…Be Happy!

If you’re fearful today, just believe.

If you’re feeling doubts weighing in like the coming storm, just believe.

If uncertainties cloud your mind and swirl around your life like a tornado, just believe.

He came to give you peace. He came to give you life.

He rose to prove His promise, and He went away to prepare a place for you.

Just Believe.

He rose once. He will come again.

Just Believe!

Good Friday or Bad?

Today, many of us celebrate what we call, Good Friday. The day Christ died on the cross with the promise of rising in three days. The day the earth shook, the sun darkened, the veil was torn, and the believers were scattered with their dreams of majesty shattered. The day the Holy Lamb of God was beaten, bruised, pierced by those who hated Him and forsaken by the very Father God who claimed to love Him.

So, if all this bad happened on this day, how can we call it Good Friday? How can we join together to celebrate such a horrific, gruesome, unimaginable death? How can anything good be taken from such a terrible day that is forever written in the annals of time?

If you don’t know Him, I can understand why you’d wonder. If you’ve never realized His love for you, I can believe your confusion and doubt. If you’ve only heard of Him in storybooks and seen Him portrayed as “just a man” in cults and Hollywood box office hits, I can comprehend your skepticism, ridicule and even rejection.

But for me, I know Him on a personal level…

He was there before I even took a breath. He was there when I was in my mother’s womb, and her guidance counselor tried to convince her to “get rid of the dilemma,” because, after all, she was just 16. He was there when I was born six weeks (8 wks to today’s standards) too early and fought for life for those 10 days in that tiny incubator.

He was there when I was six months old, and my alcoholic parents split up. He was there when my four year old self waited by the door with packed bags for a father who never showed up. He was there when my twelve year old self received a “new daddy” who took us away from a comfortable, small town to a great big city with so many unknowns.

He was there when I met the man of my dreams and said, “I do.” He was there when our first child never grew in the womb, and we buried him under those great big oaks at my childhood home. He was there when our firstborn aspirated meconium, and we were told by a young nurse that it could be fatal. He was there when our second son fell off the changing table onto a tile floor while being babysat. He was there when I lost my precious grandfather to cancer, the man who had protected me, loved me and cherished me, the man who been my “Daddy” for so many years. He was there through all of the grief and sorrow.

The stories could go on and on with so much more detail, but I won’t bore you with my life story. I can just say, with 100% confidence, He was there. In my darkest days and in my happiest hours, in my finest moments and in those times that I wish to never be repeated, He was there.

He has always been there.

So, I call it Good Friday, because I know He was there hanging on the cross pouring out His blood for me for redemption. I call it Good Friday, because I know He rose just a few days later with the promise of victory, and heaven and eternity for my soul if I just believe. I call it Good Friday, because I am a witness to all that has come from His sacrifice, His love and His grace just in my own life.

I call it Good Friday, because often times, out of the bad, the horrific, the most unimaginable things comes such beauty and goodness and promise that you can’t call it anything but GOOD!

Watch and listen…

https://youtu.be/Is6weMrenls

GOOD NEWS!


Today, as Christians, we celebrate Easter, not because “the Easter Bunny came to visit” and not because momma has fixed some “fine meat and potatoes” for after service today. We come together to celebrate, because “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8), and because Paul reassures us in 1 Corinthians 15 that we don’t serve a dead King, but rather, we serve a risen Savior and He is returning one day to take us all home!

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HAPPY EASTER!

Now that is something to shout about!!

Are We Like Him?

As Easter draws near, and we get ready to celebrate with our songs, our meals and our families, I wonder if we remember who Christ truly is. He is Christ the King. He is Life Everlasting. He is Savior, and He is our Risen Lord.

If we who call ourselves Christian are not living as Christ, then our words are not true. He was light to a darkened world. He was love to an angry crowd. He was truth to the hypocrite, the sinner and the lost. He was a healing balm to the broken and the bruised. He gave up His life for those who hated Him the most for just one to see His forgiveness and love while on the cross.

Does the world see Jesus in me and you? The Jesus that they see, does it make them want more or less of Him?

What is Easter to you?

What is Easter to you?

Is it cute little bunnies, an Easter Egg Hunt and all the goodies in the basket that you look forward to? Maybe, it’s the color coordinated outfits and the pretty little family picture for the social media page. Or maybe it’s the Sunday morning attendance at that church where grandma has gone all her life, and after all, since the family’s been begging you forever to go, you might as well make your “once (or twice) a year showing.”

Perhaps, your thoughts of Easter turn toward the sunrise services and Lent in the weeks before. Maybe your musings even turn toward the annual Easter plays, Choir musicals and worship endeavors of local bands and places of fellowship. If you’re in the ministry, it could be the many events of the weekend, the hard work that needs to be accomplished for the ‘big day,’ or possibly even a sermon, devotion or song presentation you’ve been asked to share on this once-a-year event.

For me, Easter is filled with a heaviness of heart, a gratefulness of mind and a true rejoicing of my spirit. This heaviness comes when I think of the cross and the price Jesus paid in my place. The weight of it all comes with the tears I shed thinking of His great sacrifice for my wretched lost ways and sinfulness. It’s not condemnation, mind you, but rather, a great conviction of who He is and who I am not. For Isaiah made it clear for us, “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) You see, the cross, in all its shame and agony, was necessary for the shedding of Christ’s blood for you and for me. It’s not a joyous place, especially by the world’s standards, but oh, “…for the joy set before Him…” that joy was you and me!

The gratefulness of mind begins as I think of the hope I have in Christ and that hope which is for all who believe. I am grateful He died, and I am more grateful that He loved me enough to die in my place. Romans 8:11, says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”  I am, also, so grateful He didn’t stay in that place, that He rose again on that third day! I do not serve a dead King! I serve the King of Kings, the King who has risen and who is coming back again one day soon to take me home!

This is when the rejoicing builds into an overwhelming sense of joy and wonder as I ponder His pure love for me, and that this love is not conditional; it is not weak; it’s not wavering in circumstances and it’s not abundant for some and lacking for others! My spirit is overcome with rejoicing when I think about how GREAT a God He is, and how He has chosen Easter to represent His great love, His great sacrifice and His great resurrection for us! We should rejoice and praise Him not only today, but EVERY day for His love and redemption and His resurrection and soon return!! He is worthy to be praised!

 

The Evidence Is In Your Hands

Our true character comes out in the way we pray.

Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.

We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; The Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

Prayer is simple, prayer is supernatural, and to anyone not related to our Lord Jesus Christ, prayer is apt to look stupid. – Oswald Chambers**

I picked up a new little perennial calendar with prayer quotes from Oswald Chambers, and I find myself challenged in my prayers more often than not. He has such a blunt way of stating things, and his words seem to pierce my heart even on subjects with which I am very familiar.

“Our true character comes out in the way we pray.” This is so very true. I heard a pastor preached this past weekend on this same subject. Pastor Rhonda Holland was speaking at a ladies conference, and she gave the illustration of the women who went to the tomb after Jesus died. She referenced Luke 24:1, when Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb and carried spices to anoint the body of Jesus. She said, “Now, why do you carry spices to a tomb? Jesus had told them He would rise in three days. They had believed in Him when He walked the Earth. They had even followed Him to the cross. Yet, on that third day, the evidence of what they believed was in their hands.” The only reason you bring spices to a tomb is to anoint a dead body! The evidence of what they truly believed they would find in that tomb was carried in their hands!! If they had actually believed Jesus was going to be risen when they got there, they wouldn’t have needed the spices. They would have, instead, carried tambourines for singing and shouting!

Often times, we claim we believe God’s Word to be true. We say we believe Jeremiah 29:11, that promises God has good plans for our life, plans to prosper and not to harm us. We claim to believe Romans 8:28, which tells us He works all things for our good. We even boldly declare the promise found in Romans 8:37 that we are more than conquerors through Christ; yet, the evidence of what we truly believe within the depths of our hearts can be seen and heard in our prayers when the storm really hits too close to home. We cry. We fear. We doubt, and we question Him. We wail and travail, fearing the worst is yet to come!

What if we were to actually believe He was going to do what He said He was going to do? What if we really claimed the promises He gives to us in His Word? What if we actually prayed as if we knew His promises were right and true?

Remember, if those three women had come to the tomb truly believing Christ had risen, they would not have carried those spices for embalming His body. They would have come rejoicing, praising His name, dancing in celebration of what had already come to pass and expecting that stone to be rolled away! 😉

 What is the evidence you hold in your hands?

 

**See more at: http://prayer-coach.com/2011/06/10/prayer-quotes-oswald-chambers/ and http://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/18-powerful-quotes-from-oswald-chambers/

 

 

 

Praises or Curses

“And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:8-11

Can you see Him?
He entered the city riding upon a donkey. The people lined the streets, shouting, “Hallelujah,” praising His Name. They hailed Him as King. 

 

 Can you see them?

One week later, they would curse Him and crucify Him. Hate Him for the very thing for which they praised Him just days before: He proclaimed to be King. 

How often do we do this same thing?

When things are going good, we praise Him, we worship Him, we proclaim His goodness. We smile. We laugh. We rejoice and tell of His great love to those around us. 

Yet, when tragedy strikes, when hard times comes, when things happen that we just can’t understand, we question. We doubt. We grow angry. We even curse Him, at times, believing we should never suffer, because we serve Him. 

Can you see yourself?

Fighting, clawing your way through life. Angry and broken over the things that haven’t gone right. Hurt and confused because of the broken dreams and shattered promises of this world. Lost and alone without Him. 

Now, can you see Him?

He looks upon you with eyes of love and not anger. He comes to you with His arms open wide. He wants to forgive us, and He longs to redeem us. He died for us while we were yet sinners, and He is faithful to us even when we are so less than faithful! He loves us and desires to be with us, and He patiently awaits our surrender. 

This week, as we head toward Easter, let’s stop and really evaluate our responses to Him. Let’s not allow our praises to become curses simply because things don’t turn out as planned. 

Bring your brokenness to Him, and let Him heal your hearts. Let Him soothe those fears and doubts. Let Him comfort you and help you. He loves you, and He has good plans for you. 

Can we praise Him today? 

Praise Him for all He’s done. Praise Him for His love for us and freely receive that love. It’s there just for you, just for me. Let our praises become a ritual and not a one time offering. Let our praises become a lifestyle of love to Him.