The Tomb Is Empty!

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Our lives can feel so empty when loved ones leave us, whether through death, family or friends leaving home or moving, or troubles that take their minds or hearts away from us. Empty chairs. Empty places. Empty hearts.

But not every empty is sad.

I remember a story of a 9-year-old boy with Down’s Syndrome whose Sunday school teacher made certain Philip was treated like everyone else. But some children left him out, because he was different.

A week before Easter, the teacher said, “I have a plastic egg for each of you. Find something that reminds you of life. Put it inside your egg, and bring it back next week.”

The next week the teacher gathered together all the eggs. One by one, he opened the eggs and found a flower, a blade of grass, a butterfly, and even a stone. Then he opened one that was empty.

“Someone did it wrong,” said some children.

As the teacher stared at the empty egg, a hand tugged his shirt.

“I didn’t do it wrong,” said Philip. “The tomb is empty!”

The teacher used this empty egg as an illustration of the glorious Easter message.

With mourning hearts, some women visited Jesus’ grave. Their hearts felt so empty of Jesus. When they arrived, they saw the stone that closed off the grave was rolled away. An angel sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.

Shaking with fear, probably with rounded eyes and gaping mouths, they were speechless.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen.
Come, see where His body was lying.”
Matthew 28:5-6 NLT

Looking in the grave, they found it empty of Jesus. He is not here! He is risen!

Though still frightened, their empty hearts filled with new life and joy as they ran to tell the disciples as the angel had instructed them.

On the way, Jesus met them. They ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. And Jesus again told them, “Don’t be afraid. Go tell My brothers. They will soon see Me.”

Jesus is alive! Because the tomb is empty, our hearts may be filled with life everlasting! Our hearts no longer have to feel so empty. There is hope. Death has been conquered and defeated. Abundant life is possible and freely given.

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“Dance Your Shoes Off” or “Rise Up”
by Second Baptist Church in Houston

I know I shared this before, but I’d like to share it with you again. It still gives me goosebumps and lifts my spirit to rise up in praise along with them. I hope it will fill your empty hearts with hope and joy. More than 2,000 people gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of “Dance Your Shoes Off” was to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a powerful and celebratory way. Each participant left a new pair of shoes on the field for those in need.

“We claim the victory
He won on Calvary
Celebrate the King of Glory
So rise up
People of the Lord, rise up.”

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

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The Resurrection Restores Shattered Hopes

 

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“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.

 

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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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A Soft Gentle Voice
Faith Barista’s Writing Prompt:
Easter

 

God Can Breathe Life Into Your Voice

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A Child's Trust
Joining Faith Barista’s writing prompt:
Finding Your Voice

I’ve been struggling with this writing prompt. How can I write about finding my voice when it sometimes feels like it’s still trapped inside of me?  I really don’t know how to describe it, but sometimes it feels like there is this pressure deep in my soul crying to get out, to be the real me. But when my voice starts peeking out, that’s when the lies hammer me even more persistently. And I want to shut down again. 

I was about to give up writing this post until I read Bonnie Gray’s post: The Top 5 Lies of Perfectionism, and she encouraged us to take the Love Dare Challenge. To just take the next step that reflects only on the unconditional love of God for us. To let ourselves be loved.

So even if this post sounds as mixed up as my “real” voice does sometimes, I’m going to take the Love Dare Challenge and write anyway. I’m trying hard to JUST BE ME and not feel guilty about it. To not feel selfish if I nurture the true voice of my soul. To not feel I don’t deserve to be healed.

Deep down in my soul there are seeds.

Unique seeds God planted that make me different.

Seeds that have a special purpose in His plan.

Seeds that are meant to grow and bloom.

Seeds that have been smothered with negative words and actions.

Seeds that I’m trying to allow God to breathe life into again.

There is hope in the story of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. The Spirit of the Lord brought Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. A jumbled up mess of dead, dried up bones with not a speck of life in them. But what happened?

Feel the shaking of the ground. Hear the thundering and rattling as thousands of bones connected to each other. Then muscles and tendons, flesh, and skin covered those dry bones. But they still needed God’s breath to come alive.

“Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath and spirit to enter you, and you shall live.” (Ezekiel 37:5)

God breathed a spirit of life into dead, dried up bones.

So I tell your heart and mine…

You sometimes feel your voice is so buried,

That it will never come to fullness of life.

Take courage in this story.

God can bring dry bones to life,

And He can resurrect your true voice

To fully live and love as He created you.

Truths About Legalistic Christianity

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs

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