Together We Follow (Genesis 15)

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Genesis 15

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”

And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”

So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:

“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates— the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

There’s a lot going on in this chapter of Genesis. The covenant between God and Abram sets a story into motion that is still happening even now, so it’s an important moment in for us to understand. (You can find a reminder of what the word covenant really means when it comes to humanity and God here). We will come back to this chapter again, zooming in on a few details, but for now I want to focus on this: God initiated this relationship. He offered His presence and His promise for the future to Abram – and Abram didn’t have to accomplish some feat of valor to receive God’s blessings. He didn’t have to become worthy in his own goodness or strength.

What did he do?

He believed.

He took God at His word — and this faith of Abram’s was ‘accounted to him for righteousness’. It pleased God that Abram chose to trust Him.

Upon this foundation of faith, God made a covenant with Abram: his descendants would be given land, a home, a place to belong.

In the time of Abram, covenants or agreements were made legally binding in this way: the two involved parties would “slaughter some animals, carve them up, and arrange the pieces in two lines. Then both parties would join hands and solemnly walk together down the middle of the path. By so doing they would pledge in the presence of blood and suffering and death, their intention to keep the terms of the contract.” (Willmington’s Guide to the Bible)

You read today that Abram did, in fact, follow God’s instructions to set up this formation to confirm their covenant. But afterwards, Abram did not walk down the middle of the two lines. Instead, God – His presence represented by fire – passed through alone.

God was both extending the covenant terms AND taking it upon Himself to fulfill it.

The promise of Home for the descendants of Abraham became an unconditional covenant sealed by God Himself.

This stream of grace is the same that flowed from the garden and continues to flow into the salvation we are freely given — the salvation extended by the Father and accomplished by Jesus for us.

And just like Abram, we receive this gift by choosing to believe. Just like Abram, we put our faith in the Father and find ourselves at Home. His grace invites us into His heart, gives us a place to belong.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.-Ephesians 1:7

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.-Ephesians 2:8

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.-Titus 2:11

 

Come and Stand Amazed

“O Lord Jesus, God incarnate,
who assumed this humble form,
counsel me and let my wishes
to Your perfect will conform.
Light of life, dispel my darkness,
let Your frailty strengthen me;
let Your meekness give me boldness,
let Your burden set me free.

O Emmanuel, my Savior,
let Your death be life for me.”

{Medieval Dutch Carol translated by Klaas Hart
Music and Additional Lyrics by Dustin Kensrue}

as we wait for Morning {finding hope in the One who has overcome}

It is a hard season.  It seems like more grief, more struggle comes with each day. It is like the whole world is crying out in pain. While I watch the news and listen to interviews, it is difficult to even take in all of the broken places and broken hearts. It seems like so many things are falling apart, so many people are hurting.  And so we mourn with those who mourn – all the while praying, all the while interceding for those who are suffering…because, even as darkness seems to overtake the world, right in front of our eyes – our prayers are heard by the One who has already overcome that darkness. And, even as this Night – long though it may be – is filled with weeping, He will bring Morning again.

These are the days when we put our trust in His eternal perspective, in His enduring goodness…in the truth of His love, in the working of all things for the good of those who love Him.

These are the days when we stand on His promises given in love, promises of a story that does not end with death and a world that will be restored. These are the days when we put our faith in His Sovereign power, living with hope because He is able to fulfill every word He has spoken, every promise made.  Even while the circumstances of the future are uncertain – a reality made more clear every day – we depend upon the truth that every tomorrow is held in His hands and His power to carry us is certain…for the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus walked on this earth with us, laid down His life because our forever-futures mattered to Him. His resurrection crushed the head of the enemy. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8) And because Jesus is alive, all authority is His – and, one day, the enemy himself will be completely destroyed. Darkness, death, and satan himself will be no more. Every curse of sin will be broken. Every night of mourning shall end.

And although the trouble in this world is almost incomprehensible, it is in His authority we put our trust when everything else falls to pieces and it is His resurrection power that gives us the strength we need as we wait for that Morning to dawn.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. –Eph. 1:18-23

Jesus told the disciples that in this world, they would have trouble – and this is where we are, in the middle of trouble after trouble – but He went on to say ‘Take heart! For I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)

No matter what our right-now-vision may see, His Word declares that the children of God are more than conquerors in ‘trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword’. His Word declares that we have “all-surpassing power” from God…we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:7-8) His Word declares that we will triumph by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 12:11)

The Savior who is our advocate, our reconciliation with the Father, our atoning sacrifice – all authority, all power, all supremacy belongs to Him. And this is the same Jesus who intercedes for His people. He knows every single heart that is overwhelmed with turmoil, every heart that is crumbling, every loss, every tear. He does not leave us – He does not forsake us.

I hope that we can hold onto this with all of our hearts and all of our strength – because, in a time such as this, we need to know Our Savior has already been victorious and – He gives us this reassurance in Rev. 1:17-18:  “I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Knowing this, we will not give into despair but will allow His love and His hope shine ever brighter through us.

“….My Word that goes out from My mouth…will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it…

See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and He rules with a mighty arm. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him. He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart…

“I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler. No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.”  (From the book of Isaiah 40, 55, 60)

Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoots I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of My splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.

I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.”

And as we hold onto our hope in Him, as we wait for Him, may we act. It may feel like a small thing, what we offer, but our God is the God of miracles who takes little and makes it much. He is the God who hears the prayers of righteous men and women and makes those prayers ‘availeth much’. (James 5:16) May we intercede for our brothers and sisters, may we have open hands to help meet their needs. Let us not turn away from the darkness or fear it– because the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.-John 1:5

(resources for reaching out:…to the body of Christ — and to those in Nepal)

Of Strawberries, Swimming Sprints, & Grace

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Blossoms have appeared in the long-neglected flowerpot by my sidewalk.

I did not expect this to happen.

This strawberry plant, purchased with such good intentions a few seasons ago, has been thoroughly un-tended…through scorching-hot Carolina summers and iced-over winters, it has not been given any care. The soil is the same layer of Miracle-grow bought with the plant itself…and so, when I glanced at the pot at all over the past few spring-sweet weeks, I thought for sure that the weeds were thriving but the actual plant was hopeless.

But – undeserved and unexpected – there it is, a simple white flower reaching out for sunshine.

And with some clearing out of the weeds, some water for its roots, some rejuvenation of the soil…we might even see strawberries.

We have been given a second (third? fourth?) chance to bear fruit.

I look at the flower a little longer, thinking about second chances…thinking about grace.

I think about the words given to the women when they went to anoint the body of their Savior and found an empty tomb – “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (Mark 16: 6-7)

Those two little words – ‘and Peter’? To the man who had denied his Lord – those two words meant ‘you are still loved, you are still welcome’…they meant grace.

Peter’s grief over the death of Jesus was compounded by the regret he felt, the shame he carried, the sorrow of that moment when the rooster crowed and his eyes met the eyes of the One he loved…the Lord he had just denied. Luke shows us this moment – no doubt forever burned into Peter’s memory – in his 22nd chapter: The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown Me three times.”

And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:54-62)

Haven’t we all been there? We make our proclamations of faithfulness, we determine to seek and serve our God with all of our hearts…and then – just like Peter did on that night…we fail to follow through on our promises. We make mistakes. We choose sin. We just mess up. And, then, like Peter – we feel heart-broken and undone. Maybe Peter wondered – perhaps, too, we wonder – if there’s hope for us.

Maybe we feel like the damage has been done. Maybe we have wandered away from who God has called us to be for so long that our hearts feel stagnant, overrun with distraction and the debris of our struggles. Maybe we wonder if there’s any life left beneath the surface of it all.  Maybe we look at ourselves and see the grasping weeds of sin and shame where all of our good intentions were once so carefully planted…maybe we find ourselves where Peter was on that day of Resurrection – uncertain of our place in His presence.

If I were Peter, I might have wondered why Jesus would want me anywhere near Him after I was so faithless. Wouldn’t it be better to just go back to my fishing boat? For how could His words to me – you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church – come to pass now, after I had so blatantly betrayed Him not once, not twice – but three times?

But the angels said ‘tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee and there you will see Him…’ –and so the hope of another chance kindled and burned brightly in Peter’s heart…isn’t it only the marvel of mercy that would cause a man –too impatient to wait for the boat to travel even a hundred yards — to jump out of a boat at the sight of Jesus on the shore, swimming with all his might to draw nearer to Him? (John 21)

Jesus looked directly at the sin of all mankind – Peter’s, mine, yours – and He shouldered it Himself, bore it on the cross so that we can find forgiveness. He knows that our good intentions – our best efforts, our strength of will – aren’t going to be enough…they never have been. That’s why He came – because He alone is the perfect sacrifice and His blood alone covers our sins.

Undeserved and unexpected, we are given grace.

After his exuberant dash from the boat to the beach, Peter and Jesus had a conversation…and Jesus questioned him three times – Do you love Me? With each answer, Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His sheep. Peter’s mistakes did not prohibit him from fulfilling the work God had called him to do for the church…with pruning and Spirit-life poured into Peter, he bore much fruit for the glory of God.

If you are in a place of neglected soul and wrong turns – can I just offer you the same hope that was offered to Peter (and to every single one of us?) – you are lovedyou are welcomedyou have a place in Him. His grace is stronger than the sun-scorched season that seems to have dried up our lives, His mercy runs deeper than the roots of any sin, and He calls forth life even when we think all is lost.

With the resurrection of Jesus, we are given this chance of new life — because He overturned sin, death, and condemnation on that day. We have hope of fresh beginnings, our sins forgiven, our hearts tended by the One who knows exactly what needs to be cleared away…and He plants His own Spirit within our hearts. With His love, we find grace…and with His grace, new life comes.

May there be a wildly abundant and beautiful harvest among us.

“When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions.” –Psalm 65:3

“If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing….this is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” –John 15:5 & 8

Song for the Living

There is a Light that outshines the sun. There is a Morning that comes and sends Night rushing back, a shadow – a memory – a dream.

You, you who wait with us across the ages – you, who look up at him on the cross and see more than man wearing a crown of thorns, more than a man with nail-pierced hands – follow us into the beginning of all beginnings, the scales slipping from eyes, the Light coming into darkness and the darkness not overcoming it.

Brothers and sisters, this is our story and it is your story. It is the song of the stars, the testimony of all creation. It is His story and He brings us into the fullness of everything – yes, everything – made beautiful in His time.

See sunrise, this first day of the week – the women, carrying their spices and their grief, unsure of how they will even reach their beloved to properly tend to his body. The stone, blocking the tomb’s entrance, is too heavy for them. They will not be able to roll it away, not on their own.

But the stone has already been moved. The heavy lifting has already been done. But by whose hand?

They rush into the tomb, fearing the worst – those enemies, have they not had enough victory here?

His body should be here – right here – wrapped in linen by the hands of those who loved him.

But he is not here.

Who has taken his body? What do they want to accomplish that has not already been done?

And just as the angel said to Mary those many years before, an angel says to the women who love him now – Do not fear!

They tremble, anyway, because the angels gleam like lightning and their Lord is lost again, anew.

But the angels – are they smiling? – ask the question that puts their feet in motion and sets those tiny flickers of hope into full-blown flames.

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!

Go, tell His disciples, He is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee! There, you will see him!

This, this is Spring bursting forth in one swift moment – they are filled with joy, but still afraid. And the Teacher who always took the time to tell another story, to heal another wounded body, to speak love into another empty heart – He, Himself, calls out to them. He makes Himself known – standing there, those arms open, His pain is no more – and what can stop them now? He is alive! When He says go, they go.

Oh, the pounding on the door and their voices crying out snaps us out of our dread-full stupor – we wonder if death has arrived for us, but they carry a message far from it –

I have seen the Lord! And Mary’s face is beaming with delight, clouded no longer.

Two of us throw off fear, backs aching from its too-long hold, and we run to the tomb – we must see for ourselves – yes, empty but for the grave-clothes. What – what can this mean?

And despite our disbelief, despite our shame, despite our failures – our Lord comes to us, just as He promised. Our Teacher and our Leader – the Son of Man – He comes and we are scared and bewildered and desperate to believe. At the right time, we hear those words again – It is I – and the grief gives way to amazement. He is patient, even as we see the miracle of miracles before our very eyes and somehow doubt still – and stretches out His pierced hands to remove all mystery.

He is no longer captive in the grave. He is no longer lost to us. He is no longer conquered by death –
no, He is here. He is beyond the reach of the priests and the Romans. He is beyond the reach of the Evil One.

Truly – truly – this is the Son of God!

And, even in this, after everything He endured – such kindness! How He opens our minds – it is like hearing for the first time when He speaks the fulfillment of our prophets – we wonder how we could have been so slow to understand, so deaf to His Truth. He breaks bread with us, walks with us, waits on the shore of Galilee and fills our nets with fish. He invites us to breakfast, fish and bread by the fire, and invites us into the new Life He gained for us.

This is where we call out to you again, sister and brother. This is where we raise our voices in a shout of victory that breaks the hold of satan on our souls – because from the first, the Father promised it – satan’s head would be crushed. From the first, the Father established it – a covenant, a people who would dwell with their God. His plans stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations- and our Messiah – Jesus, Emmanuel — was chosen before the creation of the world to take our guilt on His own blameless shoulders.

This same Jesus, whose compassion astounded and whose kingdom we yearned to see – He took up our pain and bore our suffering…He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brings us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

He chose to save us from an eternity of mourning, a forever of fear – even though the price was His own life. Even though we were faithless to Him, He has always – always – always been wholly faithful to us. If He kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with Him there is forgiveness, with Him is full redemption. He Himself has redeemed us!

‘So, what shall we say then? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things!? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life…who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

This is how it feels to be set free from fear. This is how it feels to know that His perfect love casts out darkness and nothing has a hold on us any longer – nothing and no one except for Him.

‘For we are convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ And so we do not lose heart, not this time, when we must say goodbye. We know it is only for a moment. As He returns to the Father, He promises the Holy Spirit- Comforter, Teacher, the Spirit of Truth –  will come in His name – and this time, because He has given us His righteousness, brought us near to God again – the very Spirit of the Living God will dwell within us. Always, He will be with us now –  in all of His power and in all of His authority, we abide.

Yes, He is with us, the fishermen and the doctors, the tax collectors and the carpenters, the tent-makers and the mothers, the teachers and the farmers. With you, the preachers and the managers, the housewives and the lawyers, the secretaries and the mechanics. Rich, poor, Jew, Gentile, man, woman – all of us, all of us, we dwell in Christ Jesus and He dwells in us.

And you, you who are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses – throw off everything, everything, that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles! Run with perseverance, fixing your eyes on Jesus – the pioneer and perfecter of faith!

For just as He went away, He will come one last and forever time, and He will bring His kingdom that will not be shaken. The Redeemer will come to Zion and the earth will tremble, the darkness swallowed up at last and for all time.

He will blaze like fire and the sun will fade away to shadow – and still, His words to His people are this:

Do not be afraid.

I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

What will our song be but one of whole-heart thankfulness and awe? If not for Him, we would still be locked in our rooms of defeat, devastated and broken, chained to our sin and to death.

But He came. He changed our ending. He set us free, He gave us life – life overflowing and eternal. And to the Lamb, to the Savior, to the God who came to rescue us—

Be blessing and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!

Yes, worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come!

He will be our light – night will be no more, our weeping will be no more! – and He will be eternal joy – all will be made new – and, still, He will know us by name. Still, we will be engraved on the palms of His hands.

This is the truth that flows from the beginning and always will be – our God reigns in glory, in majesty, in power, in love that endures forever.

Friend, morning comes.

For our Redeemer lives.

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{This was first posted in the spring of 2014…I hope you continue to join me in the coming weeks as we celebrate the power and faithfulness of our Living Savior, who brought us home to the heart of God!}

 

Because He Is, I Am (Love Leads Us Home {following Christ to Calvary}, Day 30)

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.  “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.

“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

 “Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

-from John 20

 Mary is red-eyed and bone-tired, hopeless in her grief. Because of her sorrow, she doesn’t recognize the One she believes to be lost.

Until He calls her name – and everything changes.

I love this moment – I love the sudden rush of joy she must have felt, the wonder and peace that made a home in her heart…and it is such grace that this feeling, it is ours today.

For isn’t it when we are searching for hope – unsure of what to do, our hearts frantic and troubled – that He calls our names?

Doesn’t everything change?

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Because He is the bread of life, I am satisfied in Him – so I can have contentment no matter how things around me change.

Because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I can depend on Him. I can trust Him.

Because of His compassion, my yoke is easy and my burden light…my tears are seen, my cares are known, the weights on my shoulders lifted and carried by Him.

Because He is the Good Shepherd, I am found…I belong to Him.

 Because He is Truth, I am set free from the lies that satan locked around my heart.

Because He is my mediator, praying for me, I can live in His name – bold and steadfast.

Because He is the Overcomer, I am more than a conqueror.

Because He is Greater than he that is in this world, I am confident of this: nothing formed against me shall prosper, for He works all things together for my good.

Because He is my strength, I can do all things through Him.

 Because He is the peace-speaker, I am able to stand even when the wind blows…even when the earth shakes…even if the mountains shake and crumble into the sea…

 Because He is the Living Water, I have the abundant-and-eternal-resurrection-perishable-wearing-imperishable-glory kind of life!

 Because He is the Lamb who was slain, I can boldly come before the throne of God – reunited and reconciled with Him.

Because He is the pierced and the chastised, I am forgiven of every transgression.

Because He is the broken body, I am whole and healed.

Because He is the ransom, I am the redeemed.

Because He is the victor over death, hell, and the grave, I am fully convinced: nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ.

And because He is perfect love, I live unafraid. Because He is perfect love, I am the beloved.

 Because Jesus is alive, I am an all-things-possible, beauty-from-ashes, chains-broken, reconciled-heart, walking-on-water, nothing-is-too-hard, live-forever-in-His-Light,

at-home-in-His-arms daughter of a Risen King.

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 Worthy is the Lamb who was slain – holy, holy is He.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

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(Phil. 4:11, Phil. 4:13, John 8: 32, Matt. 11:30, Psalm 46, Mark 4, Romans 8, Phil: 12, Hebrews 13:8, John 6:35, John 4, Psalm 68:19, John 10, John 16:33, Isaiah 53, Rev. 4 and 5)

#becausejesusisalive (Love Leads Us Home {following Christ to calvary}, Day 29)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

 He is not here; He has risen! -Luke 24:1-6

 Maybe some might wonder – why does this story of a crucified Galilean matter? Does it make a difference for my life to know that He rose from the dead?

Is He alive today? Does He still move among us? Is His power still real?

Our lives answer this question with a resounding yes.

We know how Jesus’ resurrection changed the lives of men like Peter, John, and Paul…and I think it is time to share our own stories, too.

Yes, He is still transforming. Yes, He is still healing. Yes, He is still setting us free.

If your story hasn’t yet been changed by Jesus, please know that His love for you is never-failing…and He is the way to come home to the heart of God.

So – what is YOUR story? How would you finish this sentence?

Because Jesus is alive…___________________________.

Will you join in today and let us know how the death and resurrection of Jesus has impacted you? Will you share His story by telling us how He makes a difference in your life?

Update your social media status so that others can know the hope you have found in Him – post a video or write a few words…you never know who might be encouraged by YOUR words today!  (Don’t forget to add #becausejesusisalive to your post! And I would LOVE to see what you decide to share – leave a link here in the blog comments or share with us on the So Beloved Facebook page!)

We have the Good (best!) News today – the light has come into the world and the darkness has not (and will not!) overcome it. Jesus is alive…can we rise up and declare His good works among the nations? May we be a generation that will stand up and say – our God is real, He is good, and He is with us.

 We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. –Rev. 12:11

  (A big thank you to everyone who contributed your voice to this video…we represent different churches, different backgrounds, different cities, even different countries…but we know the same Savior, the same Father, the same Spirit. I am grateful to be a part of this family!)