“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (ESV)
Ever think your mistakes are too bad to be forgiven? Maybe you think there are areas in your life that are better left hidden or covered up, and you are just trying to handle the guilt on your own. Jesus paid the price for those sins, too. End of story. Done deal.
Why is that so hard for us to accept? Maybe it’s because we see our sin and shame through our own eyes, not God’s. Maybe we somehow think those great life-change stories of freedom and grace are for everybody else, and not for us. That’s a lonely place to be and couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Let this be the Easter you accept the Truth. You were worth it to Jesus, long before you were even born. For a time, you may have to remind yourself each morning that you are forgiven, and that God has a unique plan for your pain and life. That’s Truth. Say it out loud each morning: “Because of Easter, I have been rescued. I have repented. I am forgiven. I am free from the guilt and shame. I have a new hope, a new freedom and a new purpose.” (Repeat this as often as you need to.) Claim “Easter” every time you are afraid or doubt His love and acceptance! –Vanessa Kenney
When we truly grasp how much God loves us, our only choice is to extend that same love and forgiveness to those around us. That’s so hard. We tend to rationalize our own past while judging others, without even consciously realizing that’s what we’re doing.
That’s not what God does. Jesus went to the cross for ALL of us. No exceptions. It’s hard to even fathom that truth. Yes, He went to the cross for your ex-spouse, your abuser, your rebellious child, your deceitful business partner, your hurtful friend or neighbor, and even the family member who has caused so much family pain. He loves you, and He loves that person.
Is there a name or face coming to mind? Someone you need to extend unconditional love and grace to as God’s love and forgiveness has been given to you? Maybe the hurt and anger are just too raw—too big. Maybe you are harboring thoughts of revenge or judgment you just can’t shake. Those feelings are real! But, they are NOT the way God sees your mistakes and sins, or theirs.
As you claim “Easter” for yourself this year, how can you also extend “Easter” to those around you? Maybe it will have to be straight-up obedience for a while—and your heart is not yet there. Just obey. Allow God to soften your heart over time. He can. Eventually, heart-change will set you free from the bitterness and anger, which if left unchecked, will only serve to keep you stuck. It’s probably going to be a step-by-step thing—moment-by-moment.
Because of Easter, today is a good day to begin the process. –Vanessa Kenney
Because God loves us, and because of Easter, we can live without fear of the future! That sounds almost trite while we are going through the unthinkable life circumstances that are thrown our way. Or it may be hard to comprehend as we suffer the consequences of our own bad decisions. It’s so hard to feel God’s love in the middle of a storm. But we have a choice: we can choose to stay in our pain, or move through it and begin to uncover how God can (and will) use it for His good.
Satan wants you to feel isolated, afraid and alone. God wants you to live a life of courage, light, and in community with others. Satan wants you to feel guilty. God wants you to feel forgiven…because you are! Satan wants you to be paralyzed, afraid to move forward. God wants you to feel peace and to persevere. Satan wants you to feel discouraged. God wants you to be encouraged!
Because of Easter, we can trust God, and live in the promises He has for us! Choose to listen to the voice of Truth! Surround yourself with others who will affirm you, as you choose to trust God’s voice in your life. –Vanessa Kenney
Because Jesus died and rose again, there is no longer fear of death. That battle is won. The ultimate life struggle will have a glorious ending. There may be suffering and there may be pain. There will definitely be grief and loss. But God’s Word tells us that because of the Resurrection, believers do not “grieve as others do who have no hope” 1 Thessalonians 4:13b (ESV).
If you have not lost a dear friend or family member, you will. If you don’t know someone struggling with a debilitating and possibly fatal illness, be thankful. But if Jesus doesn’t return very soon, you will experience the helplessness and grief of death. Praise God that this life is not the end! Thank God that there is total healing, restoration and peace in His Presence forever.
On the day you experience the devastation of death and loss, you will not feel joy. But you can know joy and peace. You can remember and hold on to the promises: Jesus has conquered not only sin, but has vanquished death. Paul says the grave no longer has the sting or the victory…Jesus has won. On that day, draw close and remind yourself of the Eternal King Who won our victory over the grave. –Carey Madding
Because Jesus chose to die—and I like to add “for me”—we should have an incredible sense of His love. Because of His love and sacrifice, you should know you are valued, worthy, a masterpiece. You might think this would lead to pride, but the Bible is clear that all we are, have and do are from and through Him. In our weakness, He makes us strong. When we are successful, the Lord has given us favor and blessing.
Consider your relationships. When you are truly loved, and not always wondering and trying to earn that love, you have a confidence that is undeniable. You are not clingy or jealous; you are not nervous and timid. You are able to love without fear; you are able to be completely real and vulnerable. Your relationship with God should be even more secure and firm. There is no need for you to cower and cringe. You may go boldly into the throne of God, even when you mess up. He loves you. He wants you. He is calling you home.
May you know the incredible love that God the Father has for you. May the gift of salvation and redemption which Jesus Christ purchased for you reveal His passion for you. May the Holy Spirit woo you and speak to you today, reminding you of the call God has on your life, drawing you to spend time with Him. –Carey Madding