When Easter is for you, too

This week.

I can’t help but be overcome by what it means. It is a day so immensely special, there are no words which could truly describe the impact of such an event that was catastrophic to all that is broken and fallen; an event that brought about the perfection of freedom. It is where the ashes of our messy lives could hope to find beauty and where all that was lost could now be reclaimed. We are on the cusp of a day where we will sacredly observe an act of obedience that was carried out, so perfect and true; an act which resulted in our penalty being taken on fully and in every aspect – pain, death, and separation. His blood for mine. This week…well, it a celebration of justification.

The other thing? Well, as if all the above was not enough…we also get to celebrate one more thing: Resurrection.

This day we celebrate what death could not hold; we celebrate an empty grave. The humble Christ Jesus, rising victorious as King over all and with the chains of death, broken, in His grasp. A day that holds the promise for newness and holds the promise of freedom.

This day means:

  • Every wayward son and daughter, now has a new hope. Their pasts and their hearts now have a place to shed their brokenness and their rebellion. Because of the cross and because of a risen Lord, they now can stand faultless…they are redeemed, they are new.
  • The hurt and ache of a broken marriage that is held firmly in sin’s grip of death, no longer needs to despair and mourn. The fallenness that wants to destroy and steal away what does not belong to it, has no bearing when given to the One who prevails over the fallen world. In and through Jesus, there is now hope and a future for any and all marriages. Ashes redeemed.
  • The tragedy that struck without permission…stealing and snuffing out all happiness…can be given to the One who can heal hearts and redeem sorrow for true and lasting joy.
  • The heart that is held captive by the yearning to please constantly, there is freedom in Christ. The selfish and vain nature which is found at the root of this bondage, can be given a security and wholeness through the One who is perfection.
  • The heart and body who experienced betrayal and shame from another person, maybe someone who had something stolen they could never get back, no longer has to bear all the pain and “dirtiness” they carry deep in their hearts anymore. Jesus took the full weight of that on the cross and His resurrection destroyed its hold. He can wash and make new. Freedom from another’s sin imposed on you.
  • Hearts that mourn and are broken…there is healing.
  • Frustration and anger, there is a calm reprieve. A place to cast off those feelings which control so uncontrollably. The one who controls the raging waves of the sea, has the power to control and calm the rage inside of you.
  • The one whose body craves the thing that it most wants to be rid of…there is hope. Jesus is stronger than any addiction. When eyes want to bleed over images, when throats want to be quenched by fire, when bodies shake for that next fix, when minds want to wander to those places where no one returns from unscathed…There is freedom found in a Redeemer who has conquered the slave-master of your heart. The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, is your freedom-song.
  • Pride, jealousy, greed…all chains fall at the feet of Jesus.
  • The one who struggles with self-worth, Jesus pours His love into you. You are worthy and loved by the King and He has the power to wash away unworthiness from your heart and mind.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

You are the lost. I am the lost. We are the lost. All was and became lost in that garden long ago. But, what was lost in the garden…was redeemed on the cross and restored because of an empty grave. What was unraveled, is knit together. What was stolen, is redeemed. What was broken and ruined, is restored.

All that He accomplished through death and resurrection is ours…free. GRACE.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

A gift. A gift of rescue, free, through our faith that He can and will save us. His gift, to be free from works…for any other way would lead to further bondage and sins of the heart – so that no one can boast. It is through Christ alone.

I hope that this Easter season, this Holy week, will resonate strongly in your heart. I pray that the impact of what occurred, will flood you. I want you to be overwhelmed by the event that changed the course of this world forever.

“Our savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That’s when death was arrested and my life began”

“Death was Arrested” – North Point InsideOut

Walking the ‘Thy Will’ Way

I walk along the soft leaf laden path. The wonder of autumn has fallen and the ground now bears evidence of its presence. Each step I take, lands on a padded surface. I lose myself in thought.

Thy Will Be Done.

It is familiar. It is desperate. It is soothing. It is unknown. It is, above all else – perfect. I recall when Jesus teaches us how to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”. In the same way Jesus knew this to be the only way to live and breathe, He also knew the weight of its meaning. For a prayer of Thy will, means stepping into a space where self is abandoned…crucified and the will of God is surely being done. Jesus’ heart beat the same as His Father. In the very place where He cried out to Him in a plea of asking His father to have this cup pass from Him, He also was already One with Him in perfect obedience.

 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done”.  (Matthew 26:42)

A prayer of Thy will is not a prayer that is without sacrifice. It is not a prayer that is free from experiencing and walking through broken. A prayer of Thy will, is not a prayer that refuses to die to self and refuses to take up one’s own cross.

A prayer of Thy Will is walking with the One who is worth every sacrifice. It is a prayer that experiences and walks through broken. A prayer of Thy will, must die to self and take up one’s own cross.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

Walking in a Thy will way.

This kind of walk makes me think. As I find my way through the trees, I am reminded. I watch the leaf as it dances through the air. It floats and falls with absolute certainty of its role – dying and letting go. The tree does not hold on. The tree lets go so it can experience the fulfillment of new growth at the right time and the right season.

If we could only see the beauty of releasing our own dead leaves. It is only through our accepting and walking through the Thy will moments that we will experience the forsaking of self; it is also where we will be able to one day experience true living.

To walk in the aching joy of Thy will begins with the heart and the thoughts that are produced from it. It asks for a revelation of any thing harmful, offensive, grievous, dishonest, or wicked way that is within…so that it can be surrendered to the cross. Dying to self…this will allow us to be lead in the everlasting way.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

The wind rushes by and the sun beams down — it refreshes and it rejuvenates.

I don’t have to know or understand every circumstance, but I do need to surrender them all to His will and walk in obedience to where He is calling me in these circumstances. I am reminded that where I am weak, is exactly where He is strong. I don’t have to worry about my perfect obedience, for there is One who has (and only could) obeyed perfectly; I lean into that obedience, His obedience. I invite it to envelop me. I raise my eyes and my hands lift in surrendering praise.

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:2)

I am reminded of His goodness, His faithfulness, His mercy, His grace and His steadfast love that endures forever. I can trust in His perfect ways. I can trust that He is working all things for our good and His glory. I can trust in Him

So I think…

Could we all, the body of Christ, come together and die to the self we so desperately hold on to? Could we all embrace the sacrificial life of Thy Will? Could His beloved come together and walk in His everlasting way…even if it means braving through the messes and brokenness of life? Could we love each other and encourage each other as we walk the hard road of Thy Will together?

By His grace, I think we can.