God’s Victorious Love – Easter Sunday

Because of Jesus ... I Am Free
Love’s Journey to the Cross – Lent Reflections
Easter Sunday – God’s Victorious Love
1 Corinthians 5; Ephesians 3: Romans 10

Today is the day we celebrate God’s victorious love! We have been counting down the days of Lent towards Easter Sunday. Today, we reflect and celebrate… Jesus is no longer in the grave! …He lives! …Hallelujah!

This Lent and Easter season, we have been focusing on dying to our selfishness and choosing to live free in Christ. …What things have you died to this Lent in order to live free in Christ? Have you traded in your disappointments, your worries, your fears, sorrows, selfishness, hang-ups, unhealthy and unmet expectations, or unhealthy relationships…? Perhaps you have not yet nailed something to the cross in order to live in Christ’s freedom. (Meaning, something you have not yet trusted Jesus with.) …Something you think you can find satisfaction in apart from Jesus, but only leaves you empty.

Today, we celebrate Christ’s victory! It’s His perfect love that satisfies our hearts. Whatever has in the past kept you awake at night, or has weighed heavy, Jesus died to set you free from! And now, Jesus lives! In your heart, may you hold your hands wide open to give Him what it is you have clung to, what you have felt trapped under, and instead receive His victorious love for you that couldn’t stay nailed to the cross. May you pray, “Jesus I give this to you…, I trust you with…, forgive me for… and I receive your forgiveness and your victory!”

Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can say… “Oh death, where is your victory? …Oh death, where is your sting?” Our Good Father gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, we live not for victory, we live from victory.

(Pray…)

Jesus, because of your resurrection, your Good News is victory! Those who have lived for you and have already died on this earth, rejoice! All things broken will be made knew! You reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. You died for our sins, and have been raised for our freedom. If we confess with our mouths that Jesus, you are Lord of every area of our lives, we are saved. May we choose this day, Lord Jesus, to love and live in your victory!

God, give us your inner strength and power through your Holy Spirit. Christ, be alive in us. I pray that your love may be the ground in which we sink our roots deeply and the only thing we build our lives on. I pray we will be in awe at how wide, long, high, and deep your love is… and that we would walk in all the plans you have for us… to show your victorious love to others around us. I pray this in the name of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!

(Written originally for Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016)

Love’s Journey to the Cross: First day in Lent

Jer31.3
Artist: Moriah Misner

Love’s Journey to the Cross – Lent Reflections

Easter is the most important event in our world history, and yet it can sneak up on us. We often spend so much time focusing on Christmas, that we forget Part 2, …the dying to self-part and receiving new life in Christ. Christmas is like receiving God’s gift under the tree and Easter is opening it!

Easter is a season, not just a week or a day, and it all starts on Ash Wednesday. The countdown to Easter Sunday is called “Lent” referring to a lengthening of days as the days get longer with Springtime! Lent is a time that we remember to die to our selfishness, and to live free in Christ.

Isn’t it perfect that the first day in Lent this year is Valentine’s Day, typically the day of love? Because, we countdown to the greatest act of love in history, when God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die (John 3:16) . This season, we focus on God’s love for us, and how He calls us to love…and to live free in Christ!

So, I invite you to quiet your heart and receive this reflection and blessing today…

An Everlasting Love

All our lives others tell us about who we are and how they feel about us and these messages deeply affect us.

But, I invite you to receive the deepest truth about who God knows you to be, about who you truly are… And this truth is rooted in God’s Word, and in His heart towards who you are.

Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

 

What particular word speaks to you today?

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

The Lord is near to you right now, no matter what place of life you are in.

As you enter this season of Lent – reflecting on Love’s journey to the cross, look for ways that God extends His everlasting love and kindness to you… through the Word, through His creation, through a friend or relative… Take note …you must be still and quiet, with eyes on Jesus. Perhaps, reflect at the end of each day, and make a list of moments that you saw God’s love and kindness. May you be surprised by His daily love for you. And May His love transform you and your journey ahead. Because of Love’s journey to the cross, you and I can live in freedom.

Prayer…

Lord, thank you that your love is everlasting.

Thank you for your unfailing kindness, that none of us deserve.

We reflect on the truth that God, you draw us close… so close that you sent your Son to sacrifice His life.

We want to be filled …with a deep sense of your love and kindness.

You call us your ‘beloved’. Teach us how to live in that calling. Amen.


Feb 21 – 16
(Adapted from: Everlasting Love, Abide app, Joanna Quintrell)

 

 

 

Lenten Reading for Palm Sunday, the Sixth Sunday in Lent:

Image source: http://all-creation.franciscan-anglican.com/donkeyjesus.gif

Light two candles.

God made very sure that we could understand who He is, what He is like, and what He wants for and from us. He did this by sending his Son, Jesus. Now we don’t have just the written Word, we have the Living Word—a real person. When people watched Jesus, they were seeing God. When He entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey (a symbol of humility and gentleness), they praised Him…

Mark 11:1-10

BUT even God himself, God in person, was later rejected. That same crowd who praised Him, would later turn on Him. People hated him and rejected his message.

John 3:16; Luke 2:6-7; Isaiah 53:3; Mark 10:32-34

1. Read the passages above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with them quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out the next candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights

Lenten Reading for the Fifth Sunday in Lent:

Image source: http://thisischurch.com/images/adventcandles3.gif

Light three candles.

God wants people to live a full life. And the only way we can is by following his instructions. So he gave us his Word, his written Word, to make very clear to us where our life comes from and how we can keep it.

BUT again and again we think our ideas are better than God’s. And we turn from life to death.

Psalm 19:7-11; Daniel 9:4-11

1. Read the passages above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with them quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out one candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

Hold on, it gets better… His rescue plan would change history forever. He would bring justice for you and me.

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights

Lenten Reading for the Fourth Sunday in Lent:

Image source: http://www.allistoncrc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/worship-hands.jpg

Light four candles before reading.

Even before the world was created, God knew that Jesus would be the Way, the Truth and the Life for all who believed in him. But God didn’t just ignore his people then, waiting until the time came for Jesus. No, he gave them a way to be forgiven. If they offered sacrifices from a heart of worship, they could renew their friendship with God as they proved their reliance on him.

BUT people did not rely on God. Some did not follow his way of sacrifice and worship. And there was an even deeper problem. Many may have followed the outward ritual, but they didn’t trust God in their hearts. They didn’t love him. They didn’t live lives that reflected his glory.

Leviticus 1:1-4; Psalm 51:16-17; Jeremiah 7:21-28

1. Read the passages above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with them quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out one candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

Hold on, it gets better… His rescue plan would change history forever. He would bring justice for you and me. Need a sneak peek?

He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
and rescues me…
You hold me safe…”

(Reflect more on Psalm 18…)

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights