Spring, a Blogging Break, and Easter Blessings

Spring is finally here! The robins are back! The temperatures are warming up, though there is still snow left to melt.

It’s awesome to see the birds check out nesting spots and to hear their joyous songs again. But joy often coexists with sadness, doesn’t it? Spring is so welcome after a long, dreary winter, but now we’re getting flooding in our midwestern city like we’ve never experienced before. Huge ice chunks had to be taken off of roads after the flooding receded. There are still many in the parks and areas around the river. Some roads and bridges are washed out or crumbled. Homes are damaged. It’s going to take a lot of time, work, and money to recover.

Now with the snow melting quickly north and west of here, people are preparing for even worst flooding this week. Oodles of sandbags have been set up to protect homes and businesses. The Falls and the bike trails have been closed off, and anyone who goes past the barricades will be fined. It’s for our safety, but you wouldn’t believe how many people ignore the warnings.

The Falls are really roaring lately. It has receded some, and we hope it doesn’t get higher than this.

On another note, I’ve decided to take a break from blogging. An overwhelming feeling has been creeping up on me. Last week I needed to just back up and allow myself grace. I felt God whispering to me to rest and not be so hard on myself that each Tuesday I MUST have a blog post ready.

After some prayerful consideration, I feel I need some time to refresh and renew my body, mind, and spirit. I also need to recalibrate where I’m going with this blog. I may only do two Tuesdays a month and I may alter my end-of-the month posts. I’m uncertain yet, but I’m asking God to guide me.

I hope to return on May 7. Meanwhile, I pray you all have a Spirit-filled, Glorious Easter!

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
by Casting Crowns

“Now may God,
the inspiration and fountain of hope,
fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy
and perfect peace as you trust in Him.
And may the power of the Holy Spirit
continually surround your life with His
super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”
Romans 15:13 TPT

Resurrection Hope, Peace, and Joy

“Then, following him, Simon Peter came also.
He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there.
The wrapping that had been on His head
was not lying with the linen cloths
but was folded up in a separate place by itself.”
John 20:6-7

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him.” Peter and John hear the weeping words of Mary Magdalene, and they rush to the tomb. Arriving first, John bends over and peers in. When Peter appears, he immediately enters the tomb, followed by John. Strips of linen, possibly still caked with scabs and spices, lie there. But where is the body of Jesus? And what’s this? The cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head is laid by itself. Not merely tossed aside, but neatly folded up.

John and Peter must have known the custom of some carpenters in first century Palestine. A carpenter carried a sweat cloth to wipe his face as he worked. To show a job was completed, an illiterate carpenter folded up the cloth and left it on or near his work, indicating to the one who hired him, “My work is finished.”

After Jesus said “It is finished” and gave up His spirit, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lovingly took down Jesus’ disfigured body from the cross, a body that was “marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14) They gave Jesus a decent burial, washing his body and wrapping it in strips of linen with 75 pounds of spices, an amount used in royal burials. As was the Jewish custom, they wrapped his face with a cloth and laid Him in a new tomb.

Yet now here is an empty tomb except for grave-clothes and a neatly folded cloth. A robber would never have left order behind. If someone had stolen Jesus’ body, the grave-clothes would most likely be gone with it.

“The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” Why? Commentator Matthew Henry believed Jesus is sending us a message: “No one stole Me away. On the contrary, I rose up alone. I walked out alone. I alone did this, for I alone could do it. I am Almighty God.”

As John and Peter gazed at the folded cloth, did Jesus’ words about the work He must do flood back into their souls? Did they remember how Jesus promised that after three days He would rise again?

According to John 20:19, we know they were afraid. The disciples had locked the doors because of their fear of the Jewish leaders. But then Jesus Himself in the flesh suddenly stood among them and breathed “Peace be with you!” Peace that bursts their hearts with joy!

Jesus has finished what He came to do – to die in our place to redeem us from sin and death, and He has risen again just as He promised. We don’t need to look for him among the dead. He is risen!

Are we still mourning the death of Jesus, or are we opening the eyes of our hearts to what Jesus has finished for us and to the hope and joy of His glorious resurrection?

“My Redeemer Lives”
by Nicole C. Mullen

P.S. This is an edited version of a post from 5 years ago, before many of you were reading this blog. I hope it will strengthen your heart to know our Redeemer lives. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow and whatever troubles come our way!

We are traveling to a family event this week to attend a special ceremony and to celebrate our son’s retirement from the Air Force after 20 years in the military. I hope to post again on April 3. 🙂

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16

The Resurrection Restores Shattered Hopes

 

womenatthetomb
“But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.” Acts 2:24

Their hearts heave with unshed tears and their heads hang with grief, but their feet trudge on with purpose. Their Master is dead. Their hopes and joys are shattered and buried with Him. But they will still remember the love this Man gave to them.

These women of courage head for the tomb. Their spices and their tears will mingle together to anoint the body, to slow down the decay, of their precious Jesus, the one they thought would save them. But now what? A dead one can’t deliver them from their enemies.

“Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” they cry. The stone, like their despair, is far too heavy for these women to move. And besides, how will they ever get past the guards? Impossibilities loom ahead of them, but they can’t stop. The love of Jesus draws them on like bees to honey. Their hearts still cry out to Him in desperation. But He is dead.

“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.” (Mark 16:4)

But when they look up… What?! The stone is already rolled away. And no guards. They enter the tomb and see a young man dressed in a sweeping robe as white as snow. Terror and confusion attack their already troubled hearts as they tremble at the sight of this angel whose appearance is like lightning.

“Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples…” (Matthew 28:5-7)

Their eyes round with wonder, they remember the words Jesus had spoken – that He would be crucified but would rise again the third day. Afraid yet filled with joy, they hurry to tell the disciples the best news anyone could ever tell. Jesus is alive!

Do you ever feel like you’re living as if Jesus were still dead? Like your hopes and joys are still buried in that tomb? Your heart so downcast that you cannot even see the stone is already rolled away?

HE IS RISEN! He was crucified but He is glorified. For you and for me. Our hopes and joys are not in that tomb but alive in Him. He conquered death and hell and left our sins in the tomb. Because He lives, sin’s power is broken. He triumphed over all enemies. Now nothing can take away His love from us.

he is risen

Precious Jesus,
Like these women
Your love draws us.
We cannot live without You.

Sometimes our hearts are so heavy;
We cannot feel You really are alive.
Please shed the blinding gloom from our eyes
That we may truly see
You have already removed the stone
And You truly are alive
Yesterday, today, and forever.

Death could not hold You.
Hell could not keep you.
The sins of this whole world
Could not destroy You.

O please, Lord,
Dispel the darkness in our hearts
With Your everlasting light.
Shatter the despair we are buried in
And fill us with the joy
You gave those women at the tomb.
Joy so full and free
That it spills out to others.

When depression saps the life from us,
Fill us with Your life.
May our hearts leap with joy
Because You are alive
And here with us
Always and forever.
No matter what we go through
You hold our hand
Even when it’s dark
Even when we can’t feel You.
You are alive
Beside us
Within us.

 

jumpwithjoy

A huge Easter flash mob of members from Second Baptist Church in Houston “Danced Their Shoes Off” for Jesus. Each of them left behind a new pair of shoes for those in need. Let’s join them and dance so hard the shackles of despair must break from our hearts. Yes! Jesus IS alive! 

“He’s alive
He’s alive inside us
We will rise up!”

“Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!”

Matt Maher

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Joining Up With


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