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The first Easter morning

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Imagine the most desperate, dark, painful moment of your life. Imagine the loneliness, pain, anxiety, confusion, frustration, and raw emotion you felt in that moment. Combine all this with the great fear and confusion of having just watched your best friend, your teacher, and the One you had left everything behind to follow, suffer mocking, torture, and crucifixion. As the disciples witnessed Jesus being snatched from their hands, illegally tried and convicted, mocked and tortured, and ultimately forced to carry His own cross to Calvary where He was crucified, one cannot imagine the desperate sorrow in their heart.

 

As Peter, John, and the other true followers of Christ awoke 3 short days later, one can’t begin to imagine how they still mourned for the one they had confessed as Messiah. The memory of His terrible death must have been fresh on their mind as the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and to mourn (Luke 24:1, 2). You can imagine through the tear stained eyes how Mary, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, in exhaustion from mourning, how these women must have been both startled by the moved stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus but numb to the words of the angels who said “why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)

 

Imagine the time in your life where all felt hopeless and lost, when God showed up and ‘rolled the stone away’, how did you feel? Exhilarated? Joyful? Awestruck? Imagine your pounding heartbeat, the butterflies in your stomach, knowing something amazing has and is happening, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Jesus’ closest friends and family must have felt that first Easter morning. As the women ran back to Peter, John, and other disciples, they did what any of us would have done… they ran to see for themselves (Luke 24:12).

 

In the Easter story we see how in just three short days God can take despair and sorrow and turn it in to joy. That first Easter morning as Peter and John found the tomb empty with the grave clothes folded and neatly stacked (John 20:6, 7), God even then was giving us a precious object lesson. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and all that He has said and promised will happen, He alone is able to see through.

 

Today as Christians all around the world celebrate Easter, I pray the joy that filled the hearts of the early church would fill our hearts today. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ we see the pinnacle of God’s plan for salvation and redemption for mankind. Simply put, each one of us are born dead in sin, separated from God. God, not willing that any should perish, sent His only Son Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2). In the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we see the plan of salvation that God has had for mankind since the beginning of time. As you leave today, a few reminders on this Easter Sunday:

 

-God loves you (John 3:16)
-Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)
-No one is righteous or justified before God (Romans 3:10)
-Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord is salvation (Romans 10:9, 10)
-Salvation and eternal life are a free gift from God, bought and paid for by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8)

 

You can be forgiven and free. If you’ve never felt the joy of an Easter morning knowing that Jesus Christ is risen, please visit http://www.myemanuel.com/i-am-ready and learn more about the great love that compelled God to give His only Son to die for us so we could be forgiven and free (John 3:16).

Categories: Sermons & messages

Happy Good Friday!

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Jesus came and died for our sins so we could be forgiven and free. Jesus did not die so bad men could become good but so that dead men could live (C. S. Lewis). Please join us in rejoicing, celebrating, and honoring God and the amazing love and sacrifice He has shown. Please like us on Facebook and #LiveSent as we take the Gospel in to all the world! http://www.facebook.com/livesent

Categories: From My Emanuel

The struggle is real

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The struggle is real

Scripture: Romans 7:24, 25

 

There is a saying that some use to illustrate something comically, ironically or dramatically and can be used to express frustration, amusement, or a host of other emotions: “the struggle is real”. There is a much more desperate struggle that takes place in the heart of every man, woman, and child that is truly the real struggle, one that no life has ever been free from: the struggle between sin and sanctification. Sin, the result of disobedience to God, is a force that has corrupted, destroyed, and eventually killed every person that has ever lived (Romans 6:23). Sanctification, the power of God at work in the heart of any man or woman who surrenders at the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

 

The struggle that we face, even after we’ve come to know Christ as Lord, is our flesh struggling against the desire and will of the Holy Spirit who dwells with-in our hearts. Paul spoke of this struggle this way: For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15 ESV). As a follower of Jesus Christ, as a teacher, preacher, minister, and disciple, I am fully aware of God’s desire and will as revealed in His Holy Scriptures, yet no matter how I struggle, I still fall and fail God daily.

 

The Devil is a liar and the father of them (John 8:44) and he would have you and I believe that if we fail God, surely we cannot be saved, forgiven, or redeemed. How could someone who claims to be a follower of Christ fail Him? How could someone who knows the Word of God fail to keep even the most basic commandments of Christ? How could someone who loves God disappoint Him over and over? Knowing the terrible price Jesus paid on the cross for me and because of me, how could I give in to the temptation and sin that He died to set me free from? Paul reminds us of the truth that we must hold on to: Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:24, 25 ESV).

 

Today maybe you find yourself walking in a painful, dark valley, alone and desperately crying out to God, don’t give up. Though we may fail God, even in a very big, public, terrible way, the grace of Jesus Christ is enough and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:28, 29). Maybe you are angry with God, questioning the pain and suffering in your life, maybe in your heart you are screaming “God, where are you!?” Quietly listen for His reply: “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). You are not alone, Jesus is with you (Matthew 28:20) and trust that He who has started a good work in you will see it through until it is completed (Philippians 1:6).

 

May the words of Jesus pierce the darkness of the night you find yourself in, and may His blessed hope fill your heart with peace, joy, strength, and hope:

 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 ESV)

Categories: Devoted