Sunday, April 24, 2011

rise and shine

Today at Easter service, our pastor made mention of a well-known incident between Martin Luther and his wife Katharina. Luther had sunk into a deep and prolonged depression; Katharina, seeing him thus, decided to put on black mourning. Of course, Luther asked her why she was dressed like that, and she answered, “Because God is dead”. Luther rebuked her saying, “How can you say such a thing – God cannot die”. Katharina replied, “Well, the way you’ve been acting, I was sure that He had!”

How often do we act like that – all doom and gloom, wallowing in fear, self-pity and negativity. SHAKE IT OFF! Recall, as David did before he went to kill the Philistine giant Goliath, how faithful God has been to you in the past, and declare with confidence how faithful God will continue to be.

David told King Saul with full assurance, “Your servant killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God!”

This Easter we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with exclamations of “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” So put off your mourning, arise to a new life! Remember Isaiah 60:1 – “ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! SHINE (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” With God’s power working in you and for you, you will conquer all your giants!

Here’s a little article I'd written for our church magazine; it came out just a few days ago. Again, a blessed Easter to you and yours – remember to rise and shine!

As Easter approaches, we find ourselves inundated with chocolate eggs, rabbits, sundry baby animals, and all things spring. They are not what Easter is about of course, but I can understand the use of the imagery, symbolising as they do renewal, purity and hope.

For Easter – the Christian celebration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection – is what puts the “Good” in Good Friday; despite all the pain and suffering Jesus went through, God worked it out for good, giving us our greatest blessing ever – our salvation and everlasting life. What a glorious hope!

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole (Isaiah 53:5).

It is a hope not only for our final outcome, but in our daily lives. For while we may have to go through hard times, we can be confident that our heavenly Father is always with us, that He will see us through, and that He will work it out for our good. Whatever it is you have to face, it will pass, and you will rise again!

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labour] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (Romans 8:28).

May this coming Easter remind you of – and fill you again – with that perfect peace and confidence, and that blessed, glorious hope!

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (John 16:33).

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