Easter 2010 and the Lilac Tree
I wish to say a few words (Scriptures) about Easter. Most of you were in church and heard about the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Every year of my life, since I was saved at 14, tears roll down my cheeks when I hear the message of His sacrifice for me so I can spend eternity with Him. Think, just for a moment: Why did Jesus have to suffer and die on the cross? Some say, "Jesus will give you a purpose for living" or "He is a good (greatest) example to follow" or "to give us joy in a world of misery" or "to give us peace."
If I could have only ONE Book of the whole Bible, I would want the Book of John, followed by I, II, and III John. I think I have read it more than any other. I John 3:5-9 tells WHY Jesus came: To take away our sins. "And ye know that He was manifested (to make clear or evident, to prove or reveal) to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not (does not keep on sinning, deliberately); whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (salvation; he was saved) remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
I Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."
Jesus said: "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die" (John 11:25)
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).
"For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me…And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life…Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:38, 40, 47).
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).
"If ye love Me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
"The Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (v.26)
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them" (John 16:12).
"Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
I Corinthians 1:21-14, "…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign and the Greeks (and Gentiles) seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified unto the Jews, a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks, foolishness; but unto them which are called (saved; have received salvation or been born again), both Jews and Greeks, Christ (is) the power of God and the wisdom of God."
I John 2:1-3, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate (a person who speaks, or writes, in support of something; who pleads another's cause) with the Father, JESUS CHRIST, the righteous; and He is the propitiation
(to cause to become favorably inclined; win or regain the good will of.
By Jesus, God's anger is dealt with and God is made favorable toward us.)
for our sins; and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(Jesus' death would not achieve salvation for us unless God was satisfied with the sacrifice)
And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."
God unfolded a plan that both showed His extreme anger at sin AND His extreme love for us.
I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. Its information is recorded history … indisputable…unquestionable witnesses. I have read hundreds of testimonies of unbelievers who determined to prove Jesus was not the Son of God, only to become believers themselves. Men who question Christian foundations only raise stumbling blocks. The inerrancy of the Bible is evidenced in the fact that it is the most transformative piece of literature that's ever been written. It transforms people's lives in a way that nothing else can come close to. The words of Jesus changes lives. They are the most powerful words, and intensely felt teachings, ever spoken. Although two millennia have passed, His words are still as important and suitable to our lives as they would be if He spoke them today.
The bones of founders of all other religions lie in their graves. Jesus arose! Hallelujah!!
God did not invent church denominations--man did. When we get to Heaven, He will invite us in, but will not ask us for our church or Sunday school credentials. Only ONE question: "What did you do on earth with My Son, Jesus?" No difference whether we are Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Gentile. What matters is whether we believe in Him or reject Him. Attending a particular church does not guarantee anyone admission to Heaven. Corrie Ten Boom used to say, "A mouse in a cookie jar isn't a cookie!"
It's not easy keeping the Ten Commandments. Really, impossible! Being humans born with the sin nature. But we honestly try. We label them "big sins" and "little sins." For example, God says simply, "Thou shalt not kill." Our law on murder is probably written on a stack of pages a foot high: Was it premeditated? An accident? Was the killer insane? In his childhood, did his parents spank him? Was he sober? Had he taken drugs or alcohol? The list goes on.
We break some commandment telling ourselves God wouldn't mind this little act. We are justified; deserving; it's really nothing; no one was hurt--no one else knows! The late preacher/ writer Ron Dunn explains the little sin thusly: Suppose you make a huge bowl of fruit salad. It is a masterpiece with a dozen kinds of fruits all chopped up in it. Then you add just one little bitty spoonful of cat poop. No one will ever know!
Last year I was invited to a college graduation party for the granddaughter of a very special friend. I was surprised to see her priest dressed in his royal robe and dancing with the girl of honor. Then, he walked over to the bar and received an alcoholic drink. My friend explained, "I know you think this unusual; but it is o.k. for us because our religion allows it. It's wrong for you since you are a Baptist." Our actions are not between us and them, but between us and God.
Most of my life, the stores were not open on Sunday. I wish it were still that way, because of people being forced to work instead of attending church. Sunday is not my day for grocery shopping or going to the malls. I have done this; and I'm not condemning anyone who does. Since I retired, I can shop any day. My heart doctor prescribes Ecotrin for me to take every day. I had been out of these pills for four days; just too busy to drive to the drug store. I pass by one on the way home from church. I argued, "Stop in and just buy Ecotrin. No! You never just buy one thing. One more day won't make any difference." I came home. Reading the Sunday paper coupons, there was one, $2.00 off for Ecotrin! Their coupons are rarely given. A bottle of 300 tablets lasts me almost a year. I saved $2.00 by waiting to buy it on Monday.
I have GREAT news: my first great-grandbaby will be a boy! The expected time of arrival is August 7. Two funnies: When you pick up a baby, everybody tells you to watch the head. That isn't the end that needs watching! A man was complaining about the cost of the baby. The nurse said, "Sure, but look how long they last."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET MY "HAPPENINGS" BY E-MAIL? I was hoping I could get out of this world without Internet, E-mail, I-Pod, and all that other electronic stuff I don't know about. When Rachel put my "Happenings" on the internet for Christmas 2008, she also set up an E-Mail for me that comes to her house. I will soon get it installed at my house.
IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE MY "HAPPENINGS" ON YOUR E-MAIL, SEND IT WITH YOUR NAME TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Easter 2010 and the Lilac Tree