UP From The Grave He AROSE

“He will swallow up death forever! The SOVEREIGN LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove FOREVER all insults and mockery against His Land and [His] People. The LORD has spoken!” – Isaiah 25:8 NLT

Robert Lowry (1826-1899) captured the essence of the reason I celebrate Easter in this hymn he wrote. I remember singing it in church while growing up, and I can still see so clearly my Dad standing and singing this with his whole being. Thank you, Dad, for preaching the Gospel, and thank you, Mom, for always having his back and making his ministry possible ❤ .

Low in the grave He lay—
Jesus, my Saviour,
Waiting the coming day—
Jesus, my Lord.
Vainly they watch His bed—
Jesus, my Saviour;
Vainly they seal the dead—
Jesus, my Lord.
Death cannot keep his prey—
Jesus, my Saviour;
He tore the bars away—
Jesus, my Lord.
Up from the grave He Arose
With a Mighty Triumph o’er His foes.
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He Lives for ever with His saints to Reign.
He Arose! He Arose! Hallelujah! Christ Arose!

[And Repeat with gusto!]

The cross is empty, and most importantly, the grave is EMPTY. He Arose, He Arose, HALLELUJAH, CHRIST AROSE! Sin, you have no power over me; Satan, you can just leave! There is NO power that can separate me from my GOD. I believe in what Paul said to the church in Rome:

“And I am convinced that NOTHING can ever separate us from GOD’s Love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from GOD’s Love.” – Romans 8:38 NLT

And all the people said “AMEN!”

Betrayed

We’ve all been there. Friend, family member, spouse…. it’s a devastating thing to feel betrayed. You wonder how you can ever trust anyone, ever again. I have been betrayed many times over my life. My own body has betrayed me through a miscarriage. Consequently, I spent years subconsciously beating myself up mentally and physically. As we grow in our formative years, our bodies can betray us in disabling disease, and physical or mental limitations. We all know how badly betrayal hurts, yet we insist on doing to others – and to ourselves. Jesus tells us about betrayal:

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.” – Matthew 10:21 NLT

Who knows how it feels to be betrayed more than Jesus? Among His 12 best friends, men with whom He has shared everything for over 3 years, one would betray JESUS to die. He knew both when and how He would be betrayed, and who would betray Him, and continued His ministry anyway.

“After they gathered again in Galilee, JESUS told them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies.” ….. Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray JESUS….. Then He [JESUS]came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, My betrayer is here!” And even as JESUS said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people.” – Matthew17:22, 26:14‭-‬16‭, ‬45‭-‬47 NLT

Whatever is our betrayer, we have to acknowledge it as JESUS did, because it is only then that we can forgive…. just as JESUS did, and still does today. You see, it wasn’t just Judas who betrayed our LORD. We betray Him every day in our own lives, and we betray Him when we neglect Him. We betray Him in word and deed, and He forgives us and Loves us in spite of ourselves. Can we do any less – should we do any less for His other children?

What A Beautiful Name

JESUS.

But JESUS called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world Lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the SON OF MAN came not to be served but to serve others and to give His Life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:25‭-‬28 NLT

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I AM the Light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the Light that leads to Life.” – John 8:12 NLT

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My Name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My Salvation.” – Psalms 91:14‭-‬16 NLT

Listen to What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

Fearful? Stressed Out? Traumatized?

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” – Psalms 91:1‭-‬16 NLT

The Essence of Prophecy

‘But wait,’ you say. ‘How do we really know who is a false prophet, and who is True? And what, exactly, do you mean by the essence of prophecy?’

First, we listen to the Word. JESUS warned us: “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” – Matthew 7:15‭-‬16 NLT

Still not clear on what to look for? It’s very simple; that is, it’s simple until the enemy, Satan, the Great Liar, gets involved. He distorts and hides the Truth so that he can take us away from the One Who Loves us, the LORD JESUS. I think you need to look for humilty, and a servant attitude. GOD’s prophets don’t self-aggrandize or boast, unless they are boasting of GOD’S power in their lives. They preach the Gospel; the entire Gospel, no picking and choosing to make the Bible suit their agenda. A True prophet is not after wealth or power or prestige or recognition. A prophet of the One True GOD has only one agenda, and that is to tell the world about JESUS, and how He came to earth to save us for all eternity. See if this passage clears it up.

“Then I [John, the Apostle] fell down at his [the messenger angel] feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of GOD, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in JESUS. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” ” – Revelation 19:10 NLT

Do you still have questions? Pray, use your Bible; go to someone who lives life as a follower of CHRIST. Ask me. I’m not a prophet, and I don’t have all the answers – but I know where to go to get them! Plus, I’ve read the back of the Book, and I promise you that you don’t want to belittle the Creator GOD, YAHWEH, the LIGHT, EL-SHADDAI….. NAME above all names.

Listen to Cornerstone, sung by Hillsong Worship. CHRIST ALONE, Cornerstone!

Set Apart From the World

“You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for Himself. The LORD will answer when I call to Him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD. Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”

Let Your Face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater Joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

In Peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” – Psalms 4:3‭-‬8 NLT

I know, and have known, many angry, bitter people. It controls them, and it eats away at them inside. I know this, because I was one of those people. Being angry and bitter put me on medications to stop my stomach from hurting, and heavy doses of pain killers for my migraines. Who did I hurt with my anger? Me! It kept me from being content, and caused upheaval in relationships and in work environments. I have a friend who is very angry and bitter. Trouble and discontent follow him. He claims to be a Christian, but he has no peace. He is unhappy, and ‘hate’ is one of his most used words. That was me, too, until I finally – FINALLY – figured out how much I was hurting myself, and that JESUS was patiently waiting for me to let Him have all that mess. It’s absolutely amazing how much better I am when I’m not carrying all that junk inside. Do I still get upset? Of course; I’m human, and I am very flawed and broken. I have found that when I let other’s attitudes flow around me i stead of into me, life is so much more pleasant. Your anger and your bitterness may hurt me or disappoint me, but I don’t have to take it on myself and react to it in a negative or hateful way. Sometimes I struggle, but I know that with the help and support of the Holy Spirit, I can move past it. The ‘crazy’ driver who cuts me off, the person who is rude to me, the one who calls me a ‘b**’ or other unflattering names…. It’s their problem, not mine. I can react, or I can take a breath and respond. It’s my choice, and as long as I let the LORD take the issue, it’s an easy choice. No one can make me angry without permission. Satan no longer has that hold over me! I give thanks daily to my Saviour for releasing me from my bondage of hate and bitterness, and all the ugly that goes with it.

As Christians, we are supposed to be set apart from the world. The greed and possession-hungry ‘ME’ attitude, the anger and hatred that seems to permeate the world…. it’s not for us. I admit that I enjoy my home, and having the kinds of food I like to eat; I am happy to have a vehicle that I picked out. I have done with much less, and I could again, although I would like to stay where I am. I acknowledge that I am blessed beyond measure. My prayer is to be thankful for having enough and not to be greedy, and that I not be like a stranger, a foreigner in my LORD’S eyes. I am His child, the daughter of the Most High. Don’t be like the lepers who were healed by JESUS. When He heals us of our brokenness, give Him ALL the GLORY. When I come face-to-face with my LORD, I surely don’t want Him to deny me because I refused to recognise His Power and Mercy in my life.

“Has no one returned to give Glory to GOD except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:18 NLT

Listen to Chris Tomlin sing Amazing Grace. My chains are gone; it’s right where I love to be, in the Amazing Grace of my LORD. I know I am Forever His! AMEN.

We Are Foreigners In This World

In the parable of the prodigal son, the boy ran away from home. He turned his back on his Father, lost his inheritance, and made a royal mess of his life. When he finally admitted his mistakes to himself, he said: “I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you….. ” – Luke 15:18 NLT

The boy had become like a foreigner to his family, living in a pig pen and scrounging for sustenance, but he was welcomed home with open arms in spite of his actions. This parable is such a beautiful way to describe our relationship with our LORD. When GOD created the earth and all that is within it; when He created the Universe, it was set as the stage – and what a Magnificent stage – for mankind to live in and fellowship with Him. We blew it. We think we are as smart and as good as the Creator. Some of us think that we, humankind – are gods! How wrong we can be! Satan introduced sin to Adam and Eve, and got us thrown out of the Garden, the place we belonged. Home. Subsequently, we have become foreigners, strangers in a strange land that provides us with glimpses of original beauty from our home. Someday, this old earth with be re-formed and re-made (which is scary/exciting!) The good news, though, is that no matter how bad we mess up, GOD is waiting for us with open arms, ready to forgive us, if we will just ask Him.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.” – Revelation 21:1 NLT

When JESUS returns, and the earth is transformed, then we no longer be foreigners. We will once again be first-class citizens, dwelling with our LORD, like the first man, Adam. Until that time comes, Christians, followers of the CHRIST, will be foreigners on this earth. In many cases, we are treated as illegal aliens, second class citizens, even criminals. We need to – have to? – rely on our LORD for our strength. Paul says it like this:

“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the LORD. For even CHRIST didn’t live to please Himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult You, O GOD, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us Hope and Encouragement as we wait patiently for GOD’s Promises to be fulfilled. May GOD, who gives this Patience and Encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of CHRIST JESUS. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving Praise and Glory to GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.” – Romans 15:1‭-‬6 NLT AMEN.

Listen to HOME by Chris Tomlin….