What is Easter about?

Easter is about salvation. The Bible teaches that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Remember, usually more unbelievers attend church on Easter Sunday than any other day of the year. This may be the only opportunity to share with them the truth of salvation. Believing people need to hear the gospel as well as unbelieving people. Reminding ourselves of God’s glorious work in forgiving our sin and saving our souls ought to constantly challenge and change us to become more like Jesus.

Yes, there are times when we should understand and accept that the work which Jesus was sent to accomplish was finished on the cross and on the morning that Jesus came out of the tomb! It took both His death on the cross and His resurrection to complete the job that He was tasked with accomplishing and He did!

empty_tomb11How do we honor His Work today? Some churches do have Passion plays and preach on the work that Jesus accomplished. Others have egg hunts and things for the kids and maybe a sermon about His resurrection, then everyone goes home and does the same thing except without the sermon. Why don’t we live our lives as if He was going to show up in a couple of hours?

God’s timing and His blessing for us does come through Jesus our Savior Who took the punishment for us and everything that went along with it, especially the part about God having to turn away from His Son. He had to because Jesus took ALL of the sins of the world on Himself! From the sins in the Garden all the way until the end of everything on Earth, Jesus took all of our sins, yours and mine and every person born until that day when God says, “Enough”.

When will that be? It’s on His time and nobody knows the day or the hour when the time will be up for the whole world. Is it coming? Yes, it is coming, if you don’t believe it or you don’t want to believe it that is fine but…what if the Bible and everything in it is really true! Christians know it to be the Word of God and if God says something or promises something then it will come to pass..in God’s time.

Have you given your heart to Jesus? I mean truly and completely, not just saying words and getting wet in a baptism. What do I mean by completely giving your life to Jesus? For one thing, it is living your daily life with Him by your side because if you have given your heart to Him, then He is there in the Holy Spirit which is in your heart. You can’t run away from Him so you might as well learn to learn from Him every day.

Reading the Word of God on a daily basis. As John wrote that Jesus is the Word of God made in the flesh of man.

We are also told to wash our minds in the River of Life and to eat the Bread of Life, both of which are found in our Bible because they are the Word of God! The only way to grow in your life as a Christian is to consume God’s Word just as we do when we eat our meals. This is the only way to wash away the old sinful person that was present in your body prior to your salvation and replace your old self with the one which, in time, will look more and more like Jesus!

Being part of the church or even a member of the church doesn’t bring salvation. Celebrating the communion and drinking the wine and eating the crackers doesn’t save you. Attending church religiously for fifty or more years and reading your Bible doesn’t save you. Only your belief in Jesus and your faith in Him will save you and once that happens, you will give up your old ways and repent of them. When you read the Word and pray about what you have read so that the Spirit can reveal God’s Wisdom to you, you will become a little more like Jesus every day. But…this is a process! This is not something that you just put on like a coat and walk away with.

As with most anything else, it requires practice and faithful reading of God’s Word with prayer. Believing everything that God says because He inspired the writers to write the words which we have as our Bible. Prayerfully seeking Him in every daily endeavor and trusting that He will be with you in all of it and He will carry you through every trouble and trial that Satan tries to throw at you. Because once you are a child of God and a believer, you have a target on your heart and the devil and his troops will try to trip you up and make things hard so that you give up your path toward Jesus. One step at a time, one verse at a time, one day at a time will lead you to Jesus and to eternity.

Our Risen Savior!!

empty_tomb11Christian holidays are not meant to bring shame to other religions, but to bring hope! This holiday is about our Savior, Who gave His life on a Roman cross so long ago. He gave it in order to be the sacrifice which was able to cover all of humanity’s sins. Not just for those who believe in Him now, but all the way back to Adam and Eve. So that salvation could be offered to those who looked for the Promised Seed of the woman, but who died in faith knowing that He would come one day!

Christmas is the celebration of His birth, even though He was born at least three months before we celebrate it because we don’t know the exact date of His birth. Anyway, He came to Earth in order to bring salvation to all people. The Jewish people were offered this gift first, but their high priests didn’t recognize Him as the Messiah. So, the gift was offered to the gentiles, everyone else in the world, who gladly accepted Him because of His offer of salvation and because none of us can be righteous enough on our own!

When you accept Jesus as your Savior, His righteousness is imputed or given to you at no cost. It is by God’s grace that we have this gift and all that we have to do is believe in Him and in His atonement for us. It is that belief, even without evidence through faith, that we have our salvation!

It is God’s gift to us, which none of us could possibly afford, that we have eternal life through Jesus and His atonement for us by His blood.

There is no other explanation of Easter’s importance other than His resurrection and His appearance to His disciples to prove that what He had told them about had come to pass! He had told them that He would be crucified and die, be buried and then rise to Life on the third day and HE did just that and more!

It is true that there are many disputes about which day He was crucified on or if there was a High Holy Day (another Sabbath) prior to the weekly Sabbath. It could’ve been, in any case, He spent three days and nights in the tomb before being resurrected, period. Jesus didn’t lie or make anything up, much of the squabbling and error has been introduced by human interpretation and superstition.

Most of us can barely keep up with a work schedule or school schedule let alone figure out which day the actual crucifixion took place on! It is Jesus’ resurrection which gives us a hope of eternity and forgiveness, so to me it doesn’t matter what day or how many days it was, just that He came out of that tomb and He is coming back one day!

Easter…did it happen?

empty_tomb11We celebrate Easter by doing some strange things like dying eggs and watching for the Easter bunny, but those things have nothing to do with Christianity. So why are they and this holiday part of our religion? Partly because the early church wanted to bring pagans into the church, so they adopted the spring festival that the pagans used to celebrate the renewal of life in the spring as the holiday to represent the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus’ resurrection did not occur in the way that many people think, at least not according to the Easter celebration. Yes, Jesus was raised to life after three days. Yes, He walked out of the tomb with a new body, but still bearing the scars which He kept because of His sacrifice for us on the cross. Those from the scourging that He bore, were gone. None of the gospel writers tell of any of those scars being seen, which is interesting because the prophecies and some historians of the time said that He was unrecognizable from them.

God can and does heal any disease, even today, and those scars were healed because He bore them for us. God hasn’t stopped healing people and it confounds our doctors today because they can’t understand how someone who was so near death could show no sign of cancer or any other disease, without treatment. The love which God has for us is a type of love which we can’t understand with our mortal, human minds. But…God can work through our prayers and by our faith in Him and His power to work things in such a way that we can’t explain it.

That resurrection morning, when Jesus came out of the tomb, the stone was rolled away by God’s power. It may have been an angel who rolled it away, so that Mary and the disciples could see into the tomb, but it was still the power of God that worked through it all. Your sins and mine were taken away with that resurrection and the work of Jesus Who gave Himself as a Perfect Lamb and sacrifice for all of humanity’s sins. All that we need to do is to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us and when we hear it, we should respond in faith.

When you do that, your heart is changed into a new creation and you are too. You are no longer the same person who came to church or was reading the Bible and felt the touch of God on your life. You did not do anything other than believe in what you heard or read and the Holy Spirit touched your spirit, your heart, and you accepted the greatest Gift that has ever been given to us! Each of us who have accepted that Gift never have to worry about our eternal reward, because it is sealed in the Blood of Jesus!

When you know that you have given your heart to Him, then the only testimony needed is your baptism. It is a symbolic of your death to sin and then rising to walk in the newness of Life with Jesus. Is it necessary for your salvation? No, but it is a testimony to others of what has happened. Then, read God’s Word and pray about what you read so that He can teach you from it and reveal His Truth to you. While you do that, tell others about Him and what He did for you.

Because, God loves you and He did all of this for you and for me and for everyone who has given their lives to Him through faith. Seek Him out in His Word and at a Bible teaching church, learn about your Savior because He already knows you better than you know yourself.

What will you do?

Jesus_Loves_UWhat will you do on the day that Jesus comes back? What about the day that the trumpet sounds and many people in the world vanish? Will you be one of those who vanish or will you be left here wondering what happened?

What will you do? How will you feel about being left behind?

Life on Earth is going to get hard and very dangerous for anyone who decides to become a follower of Jesus. Especially after the “new” messiah shows up.

The time to decide to follow Jesus and ask Him into your life is today! There is more persecution and problems for Christians today than it has ever been, and the time is running out. Now, I don’t know when He will come for the church and I am not going to speculate, but you can see the prophecies coming true today. There are more wars, small though they may be they are still wars and many of them are because of religion and religious reasons.

Although, the wars which we hear about are not because of Christian beliefs. The conflicts which we hear about in the news are from parts of the religious spectrum which are usually against Christians entirely. They are persecuted, killed and some are put into prisons. Some are burned alive, some see their children killed because of their faith, but they don’t give up their faith.

God doesn’t cause these problems in their lives, the world just can’t handle the Truth of His Word and His offer of Grace and mercy. Therefore the world punishes our brothers and sisters all over the world, regardless of the country they live in. We may not hear about their suffering because it isn’t in the Middle East or maybe it isn’t part of someone’s agenda right now, but that doesn’t mean that their suffering is any less. Those Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa are being burned out of their homes and many of them have lost their families because of the hatred that others in their country have for “Jesus followers”.

We don’t hear about it because it isn’t sensational news, it won’t bring in the ratings, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

Is there anything that we can do to help them? We can pray if we can’t do anything else! Pray for God to protect them or to help them to escape their circumstances. If you can give money to a reputable organization which can help, then by all means do so! The things which are happening today are the “beginnings of sorrows“. Jesus said that we should be watching for these signs and be watching for His coming and be ready for it.

When the believers are taken up one day, the world will wonder what happened? They will be searching for answers and of those that are still here, only the ones who have read God’s Word and heard it preached but chose not to believe will be the ones who have the answer. But, most of the world will not listen at that point. Many theories will be put forth on the news for the violence and the disappearances and the many deaths which happen when a pilot or a bus driver vanishes.

This time is coming. Seek Jesus and His Truth in God’s Word! Pray that you are among those who vanish because afterwards the world will blame Christians and God’s Word for all of the hate and the deaths and the broken families who are left. The hatred toward those who believe after this will be very violent. Look into the Bible for your Savior now, because tomorrow or next month or next year may be too late.

Good Friday, what is good about it?

At some point, I am sure that some have asked that very question. What is good about this day? What makes it “Good Friday”? First, it is the belief that Jesus was crucified on this day, although how you fit three days between today and Sunday for His resurrection I am not sure. Why would the crucifixion of our Savior make a day good? Another point to answer that would be that without His crucifixion, there could be no forgiveness of sins extended and offered to the whole world because of His death.

Why was His death necessary? Because He had to be resurrected from death in order to conquer death and the grave. I mean, you can’t come out of a grave unless you have been put into it, right?

All of this came to be, not because of a rebellion that Jesus started, not because He was inciting people to revolt against Roman rule although many wanted Him to do just that, it didn’t even happen because priests were afraid of Him and His power although that did have a part in it. The whole plan had been put into place at the point where Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. When God told them that “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15
Jesus’ life and death was foretold that far back in order to take care of the sin that had come into the world and many other prophecies between that time and Good Friday happened as well. The “woman” in that first prophecy was a symbol of many things. Not only was it a symbol of a mother, but she was a symbol or type of Israel and the Jewish people too. She also symbolized humanity, because God was not speaking of a serpent as a snake, He was speaking to Satan who had inhabited the snake to entice her and tempt her. Satan hates humanity simply because God loves us, that is where the enmity comes from.

Anything which he can do to destroy or hurt us, as humans, he will do. Whether it is by violence, war, diseases, famines, murder or any of a number of ways that he and his cohorts can bring to bear on us in order to hurt that which God loves, he will do it. Especially if he can keep us from accepting Jesus as our Savior, ultimately that is his number one goal!

Christ conquered death, hell and the grave as well as paid the price for all of man’s sins with His death and resurrection. God offers us the grace through Jesus to accept Him as our Savior to become joint heirs with Him in God’s Kingdom. It is a gift offered from God, all we have to do is ask for it and accept it in order to have it! What makes that so difficult? If someone offered to pay off all of your debts and give you ten million dollars also, would you refuse it just because you didn’t have to work for it? Of course not, so why do we refuse to accept the gift of eternal life with Him when we are given the option?

We don’t have to do anything to get it. Though, in return we do work for Him after we truly accept who we are in Christ. Nobody forces you to do anything, but it is not cool if you have accepted Jesus at one point in your life and then turn back to your sinful ways of living. Yes, you can do this but it is wrong. Why? Because you are witnessing to people with your life and telling them that you can get a free ride into Heaven. Just accept Jesus and then go on with your life as if you had not accepted Him. Wrong!!

If your heart is changed by Him, really changed, then you won’t go back to your old way of living as a sinner. you will be grateful for the pardon that you received from God and then tell as many people as you can about Him! Pray about this, read God’s Word and ask Him to show you what to do and then DO IT!!!

Easter, the meaning of it…

Today, we look at all holidays as their commercial impacts the world and the economy. But, what about the spiritual impact that the event itself really should have on people? Does anyone really look at Easter today and think about Jesus going to the cross for us, dying for us and then being raised up on the third day in order to complete His work here?

The holiday that we celebrate has nothing to do with Jesus at all. Bunnies and eggs had no meaning to the world at large in Jesus’ day except to pagans which celebrated the coming of spring and the rebirth of life after winter. That celebration has nothing at all to do with Jesus, with the exception of the rebirth which points to the resurrection. We need to look at our Lord as the Creator of all things and believe in His work of redemption on the cross by the shedding of His blood for our sins.

The reason for Easter being the holiday that it is, is because of a pagan spring equinox celebration and that it coincides with the time for passover in late March or early April. This was the time that Jesus was crucified so on that weekend is when we celebrate His death and resurrection. Since the Jewish tradition is to follow a lunar calendar of thirty-day months, dates are never the same from year to year.

So, what is the meaning of Easter, really? The celebration of Life through Jesus Christ and His atoning death and resurrection! That is the true reason for this holiday. If it had not been for this event, we wouldn’t have the hope of a resurrection to eternal life with Him! Our Savior is alive and He is coming back and if the events happening around our world today are any indication of “birth pains”, then it won’t be much longer until the whole world sees Him and knows that our faith and our Savior is real!