Luke 24:1-3 (NKJV)
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
I love Easter. I do not love morning. I am a person who chooses to get up early but do not thrive on it. Once I get up, it’s all good but the Good Lord knows that those first few minutes or so I need His Mercy the most because my attitude is not the best. There are those mornings when I have to get up a little earlier or went to bed too late that it seems I wake up earlier than I have to and cannot go back to sleep that really make me mad. Remember as a kid when you would do anything to get out of a nap, but now as an adult I would literally pay you to take one most days. You don’t have to be a morning person to receive the benefits that the Lord hides in each new day – you just have to look for the Light. The significance of morning is the light and opportunities hidden in a brand new day. Yesterday is over and most of us thank God that it is. But when you are waiting for something, anticipating its arrival and hoping it will come, morning leads to disappointment if it does not yield what is expected. Why do I love Easter? The comment seemed random, I am sure. The truth is Easter is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the arrival of a brand new day with new mercy and plenty of grace to take your faith and produce confident hope. But most of the time, we are so wrapped up in the weeping from the night before we miss it. Easter is my favorite holiday. Yes, I like the gift-giving spirit of Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ. But Christ being born was not enough to allow me to enter a right relationship with my Father, God, once more. That baby had to grow up, live a sinless life, be crucified on the Cross (after being unmercifully tortured) and buried in a borrowed tomb to rise on the third day. I read a statement that said, “Good Friday was the worst day of all until Sunday morning”. Are you waiting for morning? Are you like most of us who loath it? Could it be we don’t like morning because we are living in the disappointment of yesterday? Could it be that we do not have enough faith? It is almost Sunday. Time to celebrate our risen Lord. Joy is coming! Are you ready to receive Him?
Luke 24:4-8 (NKJV)
And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” And they remembered His words.
Well that didn’t turn out like we planned! How many times are we disheartened when things don’t go according to our plan? It doesn’t matter that Jesus told them over and over again what was about to happen. His Followers were still blown away by what they had just witnessed. In the natural, it was the grueling death of an innocent man. But it shook their spiritual existence to the core, as they had believed that this was the Messiah and now He was gone. What now? They were “perplexed”. The woman arrived that day to bury their dead dream. They had the burial spices ready to leave Jesus in the tomb. But just because their faith in Him failed, did not mean that His Mission failed as well! What is the condition of your faith today? In January of this year, we met with doctors to proceed with a bone marrow transplant to aggressively attack the cancer that continues to invade his body. The insurance denied the first request. I was shocked. They had never denied a single treatment in his fight against cancer often approving pharmaceuticals and treatments not covered by other companies. So I prayed. I did not pray for God’s Will at the time but approval. We were denied five more times. At a total loss, I sought the Lord for direction. I was broken. I was perplexed. Why this? Why now? Why is it obstacle after obstacle? Meanwhile the messengers of Job kept coming with bad news each day as the enemy waged a full assault against us. Somewhere in there it all came back to the beginning of this journey when I stood in a bathroom on the eleventh floor of the hospital after hearing the devastating news, the Lord asked me one question – “Do you trust me?” After thinking about it wholeheartedly for the first time in a long time, I said, “Yes – of course I do!” His Response, “Your son will live and not die!” Now the Lord did not tell me how this would all work out or when it would all be resolved but I like every other living breathing human being had my own idea. Well, after more than two years and three relapses, I am waiting for morning, too! The morning when resurrection power overcomes this enemy and we can celebrate full remission, renewal, and restoration in his life. Like the women, I am reminded this Easter Eve to “remember His Words!” What did the Lord promise you? Have you stopped believing because the Light has not arrived to chase away the darkness? Have you given up on morning? No don’t do that. Put away doubt, fear and discouragement and allow faith to rise up once again. Dare to hope in this…
Lamentations 3:21-24 (NKJV)
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your Faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
God’s Mercy is new each day because I need it! My hope is a product of faith that is prospering. Like anything else that grows, it needs light. Light not from the sun but from the SON! I dispel the myth that faith is not working because you have not received your promise today. Morning is coming it just may not be tomorrow morning, but if you continue to seek the Lord each morning to take up that mercy and grace He is giving you – it is coming. The Promises of God for our life are not based on our ability to be faithful but strictly on His Faithfulness. You do not have to do anything other than trust the Lord to have them. You must keep trusting Him until He turns every detail into good (Romans 8:28) and He perfects that which concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) The problem is that we abandon our faith before it becomes hope. We decide that we cannot be faithful rather putting all our hope in God’s Faithfulness and waiting until He is finished. We stop looking to live in the Light and accept darkness as our haven. Even believers have dark nights when their faith is gone and hope seems lost, but “His Favor is for life.” It is evidence of His Faithfulness concerning us. “Weeping may last for a night (or two, three or more), but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm30:1-5) When the Light of His Love is complete in your faith, hope and love for Him – you will rejoice in each new day as an opportunity to trust Him more! (Psalm 143:7-8) “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning—Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5-6)
Hosea 6:1-3 (NKJV)
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
I believe repentance is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Word of God. Like grace, it is taken too lightly or too religiously depending on one’s doctrine. I believe that repentance is really quite simple. It is turning back to the Lord. Religion makes us think it is something we do, but it has nothing to do with us other than taking one step closer to the Lord each day. Some days it is two steps forward, others seem like three steps back but if your heart is turned to the Lord and you are intentionally trying to become close to Him – God honors that. He also is fully aware of the effort and importance you put on honoring your promise to love and trust Him more so maybe we should all be a little more honest with ourselves. If you do not invest any time or energy in cultivating faith and producing confident hope, it will be obvious in your walk with the Lord. Darkness cannot hide you. But in the same respect, I think the Lord desires honesty before honor. Why? You cannot truly honor the Lord with your life wholeheartedly until you take inventory of where you left all the pieces and then present them to Him! We give ourselves to so many lesser things that we do not expect the Lord to help us just beat us up like we keep beating on ourselves. The Lord wants to heal your broken heart, fill you with His Spirit, prosper your faith into confident hope so that every dream will come true and promise a reality in your life. You can’t do it. He will. You just have to love and trust Him more. This is a process.
Luke 24:9-12 (NKJV)
Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
Peter was a man of action. He did not sit around wondering but kept forging ahead. Though his actions seem impulsive and even random at times, I like his tenacity. When the women rushed back from the empty tomb to tell the others what they had seen and heard, the apostles thought they were crazy. “Their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb…” What compelled him to go and see? Faith that was growing into confident hope. Peter wanted to believe. He really did. Of all the disciples, he was the one that kept challenging his faith to grow. When Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered the Lord correctly and received His Promise. It was his salvation. It was the moment that the seed of faith was planted in his heart and commissioned to grow. (Matthew 16:15-19) Jesus was walking on the water. Peter wanted to walk on the water, too. He stepped out of the boat and went as far as his tiny faith could take him before unceremoniously sinking in the surf. Jesus caught him and lifted him up. Lesson learned. (Matthew 14:28-30) But then everything began to unravel and fall apart, they arrested Jesus, tortured Him beating the Lord beyond recognition, and then nailed Him to the Cross to die a criminal’s death. The slave girl asked Peter if he knew him, weren’t you one of His Followers. Peter didn’t deny Jesus once that night but three times. But hang on, morning is coming. Joy is coming. Jesus is coming. Peter ran to the tomb. He wanted Jesus to be alive just had trouble after all he had “seen” that it could be true. But hope told him to keep watching and keep waiting so he did. When Peter reached the end of his own faith and hope was waning, he decided to go back to his old life. “Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.” (John 21:3-6) Friend, are you where Peter was today? Are you tired of waiting? Does it seem like morning will never come and chase away the darkness from your life? Is your faith failing? Is your hope waning? “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.” (John 21:7) Peter experienced a total resurrection of faith, hope and love when he realized it was Jesus. He was not dead, but alive just as He had promised. He was not far away but just a short swim on the shore. When he got there, everything was prepared so they could fellowship together. Jesus is not far from you but with you. He is working out the details of His Plan for your fulfillment to perfection. Peter didn’t care about walking on the water anymore – he just had to be with the Lord. He didn’t tell Jesus who others thought he was or even declare who he thought Jesus was. He said, “It is the Lord!” Jesus is alive. This changes everything. It brings every dead to dream to life by faith. Faith becomes hope that gets us through the night until we see the Light!
John 11:24-26 (NKJV)
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
This Easter I intend to fully embrace the Resurrection and Life in a brand new way. I have decided to reevaluate my faith and find ways to trust Him more. Some people have asked me why I do not believe that God has healed my son and forget about additional treatment. Because I know His Voice and I have seen His Light, I am waiting for Him to come and show me the Way. When He does, I will follow. Until then, I wait like the watchman waits for dawn. There have been a lot of tears so I know the joy will be overwhelming. Jesus is the Resurrection and Life. I believe this so I am waiting for morning because hope has convinced me it will come!
John 20:11-16 (NKJV)
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
Or maybe it is your name or my name that He is whispering today! Welcome to the Resurrection and Life!
Revelation 1:17-18 (NKJV)
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.