He is alive! Forever!

“Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. (Mark 16:6 HCSB)

Watch this video of Kari Jobe as she sings her song “Forever.” Listen to the words and picture in your mind what they depict.

Hallelujah! The Lamb has overcome. There is nothing more I can say. I am too overcome by emotions. Praise Him forever!

Devotional: Road to the Cross-Part Six

For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. (Romans 5:6-7 HCSB)

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FreeImages.com/Slavomir Ulicny

Becoming a mother means sacrificing a lot. It means giving up that youthful figure to stretch marks. It means not getting eight hours of uninterrupted sleep because your child is sick in the middle of the night. And, it means hours driving to and from the practices, games, band practices and band concerts. You give up the last bottle of water because your child just finished playing their second game in the tournament.

Sacrifice is a term that’s easy for us to understand. It means being willing to give up something to someone or something else. Usually, we make sacrifices because we care or because something is important to us.

Jesus understood sacrifice probably more than anyone. Before He was arrested, before Peter denied knowing Him three times, and before Pilate interrogated him, He prayed that God would not make Him experience His Father’s judgment. You see, Jesus knew that he would suffer. He knew He would be flogged with a whip. He knew He would be mocked and ridiculed. He knew His clothes would be divided up among the soldiers.

He knew that the sins (every wrong act) of every person ever born and of every person yet to be born would be placed on him. He understood that that alone would build a wall between Him and God. He had never experienced a separation like that because he had never done anything wrong. He was completely and totally perfect. Yet, even knowing all the suffering He knew He was going to go through He was still willing to do God’s will.

And, He was the perfect sacrifice. He didn’t have to die twice. He didn’t have to die for His own wrong doings and then die for our wrong doings. Going through that experience was bad enough the first time. No one would want to do it a second time.

So why even go through with it? Because He not only cares for us, He loves us. Just like we love our children because they are ours and because they have our DNA. God loves us because He created us.

Here is something else He knew and understood, He wasn’t going to stay dead. Maybe that alone was enough to give him the strength to withstand all the punishment he endured. Maybe each slap across the face, every painful slash across his back with a whip, every slow step He took while carrying a heavy wooden cross reminded himself that his sacrifice was not in vain, that God would bring him back like Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.

Lord, I’m sorry that Jesus suffered and died for my wrong doings. I praise you because it wasn’t in vain. I belong to you. I am your child. Thank you.

Devotional: Road to the Cross-Part Five

But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered. So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified. (John 19:15-16 HCSB)

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FreeImages.com/antonio ferreira

When my kids want something, they always come to me before they go to their dad. If I say no, they often keep asking. Actually, they always keep asking. They can’t seem to take no for an answer. I often give in, but sometimes I get tired of it and tell them to ask their dad. Our conversation usually goes something like this:

Son: “Can I go to So-and-so’s house?”
Mom: “No.”
Son: “Why not?”
Mom: “Your uncle’s in town.”
Son: “But I saw them last night. Why can’t I go to So-and-so’s house?”
Mom: “Your uncle will only be here for a few more days and then we don’t know when we will get to see him again.”
Son: “But I want to meet So-and-so’s dad. So, can I?”
Mom: “No.”
Son: “Why not?”
Mom: “Because your uncle is here.”
Son: “But I’ve already seen him. I want to meet So-and-so’s dad.”
(At this point, I think about ignoring my son.)
Son: “So, can I?”
Mom: “No.”
Son: “Why not?”
Mom: “Because I said no.”
Son: “But why not?”
(I ignore my son.)
Son: “Mom. Can I go?”
Mom: “Go ask your dad.”

Why did I pass the situation to my husband? Because I was tired of being the one responsible for letting him do or not do something. I know I would have given into the pressure.

When Jesus was handed over to Pilate, the religious leaders were trying to get out of taking responsibility for putting Jesus to death. They claimed it was unlawful for them to put anyone to death. So they fostered the responsibility on Pilate.

Pilate talked to Jesus and asked him questions. Jesus talked about being the King of a “Kingdom that does not have its origin here.” Nothing in Jesus’ answers led Pilate to believe he had done anything wrong. Pilate could see that the Jewish leaders were jealous.

Pilate tried to pass the responsibility back to the Jews. He told them he didn’t see where Jesus had committed any crime, but the Jews argued back that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. The Jewish leaders told Pilate that it was against their law to make yourself the Son of God.

Again Pilate talked to Jesus. This time, because he was afraid. He wanted to know where Jesus was from, but Jesus wouldn’t talk this time. Pilate tried to pull rank on Jesus, but it didn’t work. Jesus told him he wouldn’t have his rank if God didn’t want him there.

John 19:12 says: From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him.

But eventually, Pilate gave into the pressure.

So, the truth is, I’m just as responsible for the decision as my husband, even though I sent our son to him.

I tell myself that I would stand my ground on things that are really important, but given my track record, I’m going to really have to pray for strength when those times come. Our son, won’t give up easily.

Lord, help me to see the times when it’s real important for me to stand my ground. Thank you for the strength you provide. Help me to lean on you.