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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jesus Died and Arose for Us

“He [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

At dawn on the first day of the week, two women named Mary visited Jesus’ tomb. According to Luke 24:2 they were carrying spices. They were expecting to anoint Jesus’ body, but they encountered what they would never have expected. The tomb was empty. Jesus had risen, and an angel was sitting on the stone he had rolled away from the mouth of the tomb!

Those who guarded the tomb were petrified, and the arriving women must have been more than a little afraid too. However, the angel told them not to fear because Jesus had risen, just as He had promised. “Come and see the place where he lay,” the angel instructed (Matthew 28:6).

The empty tomb stands as a testimonial to the deity of Jesus Christ. No mere mortal could rise from the dead. It also serves as evidence that God accepted Jesus’ payment for our sins on the cross. By shedding His blood for us Jesus gained our justification, a right standing in God’s sight. God sees believers as eternally forgiven and righteous in Christ.

No religion can claim a risen founder, but Christianity is different. Christians rest their faith on a Savior who died and rose again.

An empty tomb provides proof that we too shall live. Jesus Himself said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).

Nothing is too hard for our living Lord. After all, He arose from the dead!

By Jim Dyet © 2008. "Jesus Cares" (Anchor, Haven Ministries)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beyond the Sunrise

“Beyond the Sunset” may be the most frequently song played or sung at funerals, although “Amazing Grace” seems to be running a close second. The words of “Beyond the Sunset” are okay, but I think the title should be changed to “Beyond the Sunrise.” After all, what lies beyond a sunset? Night and darkness!

A sunrise, on the other hand, introduces a new day with a fresh slate of opportunities and activities. Light follows a sunrise. So does renewed energy. We feel invigorated in the morning but tired—perhaps exhausted—after sunset.

When a Christian dies, he enters heaven and enjoys eternal life. His energy level there is unprecedented and his joy is unending. Trouble, pain, and sorrow cannot touch him in heaven, where glory and beauty surround him. Nighttime never falls in heaven, because God’s eternal day never ends. Best of all, in heaven the Christian beholds his glorious Savior, a glory that outstrips the glory of the sun.

The apostle John looked back on his relationship with Jesus during Jesus’ earthly ministry and recalled, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Years later, John caught a glimpse of Jesus in the heavenly New Jerusalem and testified the Lamb [Jesus] is its Lamp (Revelation 21:23). Our cities on earth may experience blackouts, but the New Jerusalem draws its light from an unfailing Source. The Lamp will never flicker or fail!

Christianity is not drab, because Jesus is glorious. Because He purchased our redemption and we believed on Him, we will spend eternity in glorious light, not darkness. So shouldn’t we start singing “Beyond the Sunrise”?

© From Moments of Grace by Jim Dyet and Joe Ragont

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Pot and the Kettle

The U.S. Government is getting bigger and more controlling. On the road to socialism, it is telling the private sector how to manage its affairs. It doles out big money to failed businesses but reserves the right to dictate to those businesses. It scolds them for not having a quick recovery plan in place, and it recently demanded that an auto industry CEO resign. It seems to me that, as our government grows, our personal freedom shrinks and our free market system suffers.

I’m sure we want American corporations to enjoy a quick financial recovery and adopt sound financial accountability, but isn’t it ironic that the U.S. Government is telling them to get their finances in shape? Government spending is out of control and our national debt is at an all-time high. The pot is calling the kettle black.

If you and I managed our finances the way our federal government manages its, we would be homeless, carless, and penniless.

Jesus said something about the pot calling the kettle black. Well, He didn’t use that terminology, but He spoke against hypocrisy. He asked, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3–5).

The plank in Big Brother’s eye is growing bigger every day.