Thank You God for Resurrection Day!

John 3:16, 17, 18 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. 19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

WOW!!! God must love us beyond anything that we can imagine! Jesus loved us enough to die for us and to give us the Holy Spirit to guide us!

When the Holy Spirit speaks to me I listen…and HE speaks louder and clearer everyday in my walk with Jesus. Every moment I spend with Him in Bible study and prayer makes me want to spend more time with Him…I want to please Him in every aspect of my life. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When you get a message from Him, it’s the same message that He gave Moses when He went up to Mt. Sinai, and it was the same message given when He was leading the Israelites through the desert for 4o years. The same message when He told Joshua in reference to the heathen tribes in the promise land…wipe them from the land. The same message that we received through the prophets. NOTHING has changed, He sure hasn’t! So why would we think that as His followers, we can play games with his rules? Have we forgotten that part of being a follower of Jesus is not only to repent, but to obey? To bring Him GLORY!

What I’m addressing is our worldly human nature that desires for us to involve ourselves in pagan traditions in the name of Jesus, Yeshua, Immanuel, Beloved Son of God, Good Shepherd, Messiah, Lamb of God, Redeemer – so many beautiful names and titles for the one God Loved and gave to us. Why would we entangle Him with myths, pagan rituals and man made customs? Isn’t there enough to celebrate just in the fact that HE loved us enough to suffer and die for us on the cross; to take our filthy sins upon himself?

Okay…Here it comes!

I do my “very best” to stay away from saying Happy Easter (although until I was led by the Spirit, I will admit that I too was guilty)…now just writing it makes me cringe! Do you really know what this pagan ritual that we’ve tied to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus is about?

1. The name Easter (Eostre -the Teutonic goddess of fertility and spring ) Babylonians: the rabbit was a symbol associated with Eostre, representing the beginning of Springtime. Then there’s Ostara and Ishtar… names of other goddesses celebrated in the same fashion as Eostre.

2. The eggs (“The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians (the egg represented the sun) and Persians), the egg represents the hatching of the Venus Ishtar, who fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Likewise, the egg has come to represent Spring, fertility and renewal.

3. The rabbit that lays eggs…that in itself is sickening! In Germanic mythology, it is said that Ostara healed a wounded bird she found in the woods by changing it into a hare. Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts.

We’ve actually taken these pagan rituals and beliefs and incorporated them into the Resurrection of Jesus. Think about it. Can you really justify any of it?

What have these things to do with Christ? What and why have we done this… to turn the most special gift God has given us – eternal life- into a celebration filled with pagan ritual that celebrated a variety of goddesses in different cultures? These cultures were in constant conflict with God all through the Old Testament and were constantly leading His people astray. Are they still leading us astray today? Do you really believe God doesn’t care? God doesn’t change! Deuteronomy 12:2-4 Destroy completely all the places where the nations that you are driving out worship their gods—on the high mountains, on the hills, and under every green tree. Tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, burn up their Asherah poles, cut down the carved images of their gods, and wipe out their names from every place. Don’t worship the Lord your God this way.

It wasn’t until 325 AD nearly 300 years after the crucifixion that Emperor Constantine convened a meeting of Christian leaders to resolve important disputes at the Council of Nicaea. Since the church believed that the resurrection took place on a Sunday, the Council determined that Easter should always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox.

Deuteronomy 12:30 be careful not to be ensnared by their ways after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, asking, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I’ll also do the same.’

Don’t take my word for it…spend a little time and investigate this for yourself and then justify it for yourself. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:12 (KJV) Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Friday – Sunday Adds up to 3 days & 3 nights?

I remember when I was much younger… when I first attempted the math between Good Friday and Sunday morning and tried to make it add up to 3 days and 3 nights and no matter how I counted the minutes and hours it wouldn’t add up. I was discouraged that I couldn’t make the math work.  It wasn’t a faith thing or a matter of Salvation…it was a “math thing” because I knew that God wouldn’t say anything that wasn’t “exactly” true and Scripture says in Matthew 12:40 (HCSB) For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish (whale) three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.  God doesn’t make mistakes, however, you can depend on man to make mistakes. Believe me when I say that I include myself in that statement…but I try extra hard to gather the facts.  At any rate, time passed by and the question drifted to the back of my mind.

Not too long ago, I was reading a verse in the Bible that I’d read many times before and it had never jumped out at me like it did that day – I believe a question that I’d had for many years that the answer was revealed to me!  Now I don’t believe this answer has anything to do with my or anyone else’s Salvation, however, with the incorrect answer, others can decide that the scriptures aren’t truth, therefore saying that they don’t believe that God exists or that He’s a liar…both statements that actually make me physically sick when I hear them spoken.   Once again for me it was another confirmation that if we believe and study hard and long enough the whole while praying for the Holy Spirit to guide us, the answers will come to us when we’re ready. 

1 Corinthians 6:19 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, The Bible tells us that we are the Temple of God and until the spirit fills us, we are an empty vessel and as you learn scripture and spend time with God and drink of the Living Water (Jesus), you become filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 1:17 The prayer of Paul: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”.  There is no way of knowing God and His eternal will except through revelation. We also know that Wisdom is only from God, so when we listen, we are led to truths.  Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

The Scripture that got my attention is John 19:31  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 

I had never given the words in parenthesis the attention that they needed, I’d actually dismissed is as a descriptive thought.  It suddenly registered with me, that this was not the usual 7th day Sabbath that I’d grown up learning about.  This was a high Sabbath (a Sabbath that was above the usual – special).   So I began a study of the Holy Day Feasts and learned that there are 7 High Sabbaths.  One after each Holy Day Feast and since Passover is one of these feasts, it only follows that the day after Passover is followed by the High Sabbath.  Now keep in mind too, that like all the other days and the Sabbaths of Israel, their day starts at Sunset and ends at Sunset. 

If you have never studied the Feasts that God ordained, it’s such an interesting study.  When I realized that Jesus kept all of the Feasts, including Hanukah, it made me want to learn more. Then when I realized the Feasts were a picture of what’s to come, the study became more interesting.

HE’S Alive! HIS Resurrection Celebration is Upon Us!

My personal questions: Isn’t it breathtaking that God rose Jesus from the grave in the springtime in Jerusalem; a time when the earth is also awakening from the dead of winter? Let me also ask you: Do you have the love and joy of Jesus welling up inside you like a spring of living water? Do you feel as if you’re going to burst with joy as you proclaim “Jesus Risen”? Do you wake up every morning saying “Thank YOU GOD for another day to share what Jesus did for me on the cross? Do You tell everyone you meet that Jesus is the ONLY way and that without Him, they’re dead in their sins? John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.

John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” What an awesome promise! JESUS will raise us up! He knows His sheep and we recognize HIS voice! As His followers, we can hear His voice because we have studied the scriptures and we know Him and our Father in Heaven. The Holy Spirit that He sent to us lives within us and speaks to us concerning every tiny detail of our lives…we just need to learn to listen…

In the Gospels, Jesus foretells of His death and resurrection.

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Matthew 17:22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men,

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Each time Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection to His disciples, they didn’t seem to grasp what He was telling them, He even had to rebuke Peter, telling Satan to get behind Him. 2000 years later, we still face the incredulous disbelief of those who don’t understand God’s plan. The plan that was made before our creation – that Jesus would come to earth to die. That for a brief moment Jesus would be so covered by the sins of this world that the Father would leave Him because God can’t stand sin and He had to turn away from His own beloved Son. When we realize that God HATES Sin…how do we persist in it?

Eye Witnesses of Jesus Resurrected

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:5 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas (Aramaic for “Peter”), then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.

Promise of Eternal Life with Him

1 Corinthians 15:20 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.

Ultimately Jesus gave us the “gift of eternal life” when He died on the cross taking our sins upon himself. I have such a difficult time understanding how anyone could turn down such a wonderful gift! Does anyone want to die and stay dead forever? I’ve heard so many say…is this ALL there is? OH MY GOODNESS! My heart breaks for them! Especially because God made it so easy for us…believe, repent obey.

Has anyone else died for YOU? Do YOU know anyone whom you believe would die for YOU? Is there anyone that YOU would lay your life down for?

Jesus’ Apostles and other followers laid down their lives rather than deny Jesus (Yeshua Hamaschiah) the Messiah. Why would they do such a thing? Why would they be willing to die for Him? Why did they keep the faith until death? Because they’d witnessed His miracles, they’d witnessed His Love, They’d witnessed His death and His Resurrection!

They didn’t just believe, they knew that they were going to receive eternal life!

Jesus said in John 10:27My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.

At the Cross – Journey to Heaven or Hell?

When Jesus was crucified on the cross, there were two criminals who were crucified with Him. Jesus (Yeshua Hamashiach) was sinless and both men with him were sinners. The thief on one of the crosses next to Jesus asked for Jesus to remember him. The other thief mocked Him…

Luke 23:39-43 39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

When the thief admonished the other criminal, he did so rightly…he spoke up and showed that he knew who Jesus was! From the words that Jesus said to him in response, I’m certain that this thief journeyed on the road to Heaven and the other thief who mocked journeyed on the road to Hell…

When we come to the cross of Jesus, we are saved, justified by His sacrifice, by nothing that we have done…but here’s a comparison that I want you to consider. When the Children of Israel were rescued from Egypt, they too were saved. However, as time progressed they fell away from God and from believing His promises. They began to live as if they were no longer followers and chose rebellion instead…okay…now it’s time for you say that you haven’t chosen rebellion against God. The Israelite people chose idol worship, sorcery, lust, immorality, drunkenness, piety, hatred, jealousy, they grumbled and moaned against God and Moses…just to name a few. How many of us today are guilty of these same choices?

I’m going to give you a few examples of poor choices that most of don’t even think about twice, but I’m not going to delve deeply into it… so here goes. Many of us enjoy the Hallmark channel and often credit it with wholesome entertainment, but it eludes to magic & sorcery in much of it’s programming. Many of us say that we enjoy a glass of wine or a beer now and then, but how often does that glass of wine make some of us silly and distort our personalities…I’ve heard some say that the wine or beer allows them to relax and be themselves. Then there’s those of us who sit in the church pews on Sunday and somehow believe that our showing up is like a free ticket to Heaven. Who can say that they’ve walked away from immorality? Not too long ago, I heard about people who were disgusted by the 1/2 time show of the 2020 Superbowl. How many of those disgusted people turned of their tv and forfeited watching the rest of the game because they don’t want to perpetuate that sort of indecent behavior? How many have seen their neighbor drive home a new car and wish for the same or feel angry that their neighbor could afford a new car and they can’t? Okay…enough! You get the point! How are we any different today than the Israelite people during the time of Moses?

The Israelites had the promise of a beautiful opulent land and forgiveness of sins and we have Jesus, the fulfillment of that promise. As Christians, we have faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that he’s the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, the Life. The only Way to eternal life and we are 100% correct when we realize this. But once we’ve received faith…what next? Faith becomes the catalyst for change, for us to desire to be obedient to Heavenly Father.

Hebrews 5: 8-10 Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, 10 and He was declared by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

When Jesus went to the cross for us, He fulfilled the plan of the Father since before the beginning. He knew how difficult it was going to be, but He did exactly what the Father asked of Him…obedience unto death. It was the only plan that could save mankind…it was the beginning of separating the sheep from the goats. In His last breath…Jesus said “It is finished”. The plan had been completely fulfilled and although he dreaded it to the point of sweating blood and asking the father to remove this cup from him (meaning the cup of death), He obeyed. In 3 out of 4 of the Gospels, we read the pleas that Jesus prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42

His Resurrection proved to us that He was telling the truth when He said He would rise from the dead.

The Way is the path that He walked and that we must follow to be his servant…Jesus says in John 25:12 that anyone who loves his life will lose it and anyone who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life.

The Truth is every WORD that proceeds from the pages of the Bible. Jesus is the WORD, therefore HE’S the Truth and we need to believe HIM and believe in HIM.

The Life in eternity is what we’ll gain if we have Faith and Obey Him.

The Israelite people should have been the most faithful of all, they saw the awesome miracles that God performed against the Egyptians, they saw the Red Sea part and walked through it on dry ground. They never went hungry as God fed them Manna from Heaven…but they still disobeyed…they gave up the promised land…obviously not choosing the path to Heaven. There are many people today who say that they believe in God, but they still persist in doing things their way instead of God’s way. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In the scriptures of Genesis 6–7 and Heb 11:7 we are told that Noah had such great faith. When God commanded him to build the ark, he built the ark just as God had told him to do. In obedience to God’s command, he kept his faith, and he and his whole family were saved.

John 2o:29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.” Belief and Faith are related; Belief is the agreement that this is the truth, but Faith not only acknowledges the truth, it inspires action, the desire to share the Gospel with others and to bring them into obedience to God’s will. Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. So when you’re at the cross and facing crossroads, when you’ve reached the point in your life when you need to make a decision that will effect your eternity…ponder your choices. Will you choose the journey to Heaven or the journey to Hell?

Resurrection

As we enter the time of the Passover and when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we know that He, a Jewish, sinless man, the Son of God; fully human in every way, feeling pain and sorrow as we do…died on the cross for us.  It’s beyond anything we can imagine…for us to feel the magnitude of His pain and sorrow as it was caused by an entire world of sin then and now. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

When we become believers we have so much to be thankful for…Jesus was put on the cross by His own hand and died, and now intercedes for us with the Father after He bore the wrath that should have been ours and would have been if it hadn’t been for His “LOVE” for us. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

 After 3 days in the grave, Yeshua Hamashiach means “Jesus the Messiah” rose from the dead and gave the whole world his grace and peace.  This is a gift that too many of us take lightly…it’s not only for us who are Christians…it’s for ALL…to be shared generously! 

Believing is the beginning…what happens after that is up to you…believing that on the cross Jesus endured the wrath of God to save us from our sins should be our wake-up call and the beginning of our taking steps towards sharing the gift of our Salvation.  There are many steps, but here are 3 to start your journey:

1.  Truly repent and give your life over to our Redeemer Jesus Christ…then share your belief in Salvation with everyone you meet.  Display your faithfulness in words, actions and deeds.  2. Get to know your Heavenly Father through His “WORD”, spend time with Him every day asking that His will be done in your life so that you can serve Him. Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  3. Be still and listen desiring the Holy Spirit to make changes in your heart so that you can walk nearer to God in every aspect of your life and obey Him. Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD    

Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”   Time is short…we don’t know when Jesus will return, but we do know that He asked us to share the Gospel with everyone we come in contact with as well as reaching out to those we don’t know.  When we choose Jesus as our Savior it’s up to us to intercede on His behalf with those who are “lost” and don’t realize that the wonderful gift of Salvation can be theirs. Matthew 29:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” This message was inspired by studying our Sunday school workbook – Gospel Project