Death is dead!

Death is dead! It might initially seem like a strange statement. But on this Easter Sunday, it’s a very appropriate truth.

Today, more than any other day, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!

‘And then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the King’
(Hillsong-Anastasia)

The stone was rolled away.
The tomb was empty.
The angel gladly proclaimed, “He is not here He has risen!”

‘See What a morning!’ is a powerful song & its words inspired this post. The last verse triumphantly proclaims:

‘Death is dead
Love has won
Christ has conquered’
(Townend & Getty)

When Jesus cried ‘It is finished’ with His final breath, it was a declaration that He had completed His redemptive work.

He came to bring:

•Beauty instead of ashes
•Gladness instead of mourning
•Praise instead of despair
(Isaiah 61)

He arose, ascended & in now lives in resplendent glory in heaven.

‘Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.’ (Hebrews 7:25 NIV)

These are great words to ponder & cherish.

If we ask God for forgiveness, through accepting what Jesus has done, & trusting in Him, He will completely save us (The older versions say ‘save to the uttermost’) And now, Jesus ‘always lives’ to intercede for us. He is our Mediator. He liaises between us & God, acting on our behalf.

Jesus ‘always lives’:

‘Because he lives…
We can face tomorrow
Because He lives…
All fear is gone’
(Bill & Gloria Gaither)

Before He died, Jesus comforted His followers,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

Jesus also promised that He is preparing a place for us:
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”(John 14:1-3 NIV)

I believe He’s still preparing that place in His Father’s House, our Eternal Home even today.

As Keith Green said & sung:
‘ And if this world took six days and that home took two thousand years,
Hey man, this is like living in a garbage can compared to
What’s going up there!’

For,
‘No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’
(1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

Since Jesus conquered death, we can place our hope in God- not merely for this life- but for the next. Our hope transcends time into eternity. Death is not the end- it is but a shadow.

Because of Jesus’ triumph we can have a happy never-ending!

‘Everything sad is going to come untrue’
(Tolkien)

Today let’s worship the Life-Giving, Death-Defeating God who can give us the strength to keep going.Today & forever. Now & always.

Jesus said,”And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20 NIV)

Blessings,

Ruth x

Death is dead!

Death is dead! It might initially seem like a strange statement. But on this Easter Sunday, it’s a very appropriate truth.

Today, more than any other day, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!

‘And then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the King’
(Hillsong-Anastasia)

The stone was rolled away.
The tomb was empty.
The angel gladly proclaimed, “He is not here He has risen!”

‘See What a morning!’ is a powerful song & its words inspired this post. The last verse triumphantly proclaims:

‘Death is dead
Love has won
Christ has conquered’
(Townend & Getty)

When Jesus cried ‘It is finished’ with His final breath, it was a declaration that He had completed His redemptive work.

He came to bring:

•Beauty instead of ashes
•Gladness instead of mourning
•Praise instead of despair
(Isaiah 61)

He arose, ascended & in now lives in resplendent glory in heaven.

‘Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.’ (Hebrews 7:25 NIV)

These are great words to ponder, & cherish.

If we ask God for forgiveness, through accepting what Jesus has done, & trusting in Him, He will completely save us. (the older versions say ‘save to the uttermost). And now, Jesus ‘always lives’ to intercede for us. He is our Mediator. He liaises between us & God, acting on our behalf.

Jesus ‘always lives’:

‘Because he lives…
We can face tomorrow
Because He lives…
All fear is gone’
(Bill & Gloria Gaither)

Before He died, Jesus comforted His followers,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

Jesus also promised that He is preparing a place for us:
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”(John 14:1-3 NIV)

I believe He’s still preparing that place in His Father’s House, our Eternal Home even today.

As Keith Green said & sung:
‘ And if this world took six days and that home took two thousand years,
Hey man, this is like living in a garbage can compared to
What’s going up there!’

For,
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

Since Jesus conquered death, we can place our hope in God- not merely for this life- but for the next. Our hope transcends time into eternity. Death is not the end- it is but a shadow.

Because of Jesus’ triumph we can have a happy never-ending!

‘Everything sad is going to come untrue’
(Tolkien)

Today let’s worship the Life-Giving, Death-Defeating God who can give the strength & ability to stand today & forever. Now & always.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20 NIV)

Blessings,

Ruth x

Held by love

Last Easter we visited Glasgow. We saw the famous painting by Dali in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. It depicts Jesus on the cross, above the earth, in space. A closer look reveals that there are no nails in His hands or feet. No nails-illustrating the fact that it wasn’t the nails that kept Him there on the cross.

He could have summoned a host of angels to take Him away from the suffering but instead He chose to die for you and me – because of His love for us.

In fact it’s the greatest love, for ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13 – NIV)

‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Rom 5:8 – NIV)

I used to have a little bookmark in my Bible that said:
‘I asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?”
“This much” he answered,
and He stretched out His arms and died’

‘This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son’ (John 3:16 – The Message)

The cross is God shouting through history how much He loves us! The cross declares in blood red letters that God is love.

The prophet Isaiah was able to look down through the years and foresee the suffering the Messiah would go through for us: ‘He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (Isa 53:5&6 –NIV)

In love, Jesus left the glory of heaven to walk this earth.

In love, He hung on the cross, taking the punishment for our sin.

In love, He redeemed us, paying for our salvation with His own precious blood.

And the amazing thing is this –‘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?’ (Rom 8:32 –NIV)

Reflect on the words of this old hymn:

When I survey

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my god:
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

(Isaac Watts 1674-1748)

Easter Blessings,


Ruth x

Forever blessed…because of Him

‘What’s so good about Good Friday?’ asked my young son after first reading about the suffering of Jesus for himself.

In most religious imagery Jesus is depicted as blood stained & thorn crowned- suffering & in anguish. We need to look beyond the narrative using the wide angled lens of God’s eternal perspective to see the ultimate good in Good Friday.

On that day eternity’s plan & Satan’s schemes intersected. Heaven & hell collided (not by chance but by Grand Design) On the cross wrath & mercy mingled like Jesus’ sweat & blood. And as love & grace flowed painfully, yet freely, the course of the cosmos shifted for all time & eternity .

On the cross we
‘See God’s salvation plan
Wrought in love
Borne in pain
Paid in sacrifice’
(Keith Getty)

The cross dissects history in two-before & after Christ. At the centre of history stands Jesus on the cross for, ‘in Him all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:16,17)

The cross is the pivotal point of the cosmos- everything in history & eternity revolves round Jesus who was there in the beginning with God & is God (John 1) It hinges on the fact that Jesus, the Lord of the universe & Lord of all was the Messiah-the Chosen One. Jesus was the Lamb of God- born in a manger & slaughtered on the cross.

He died that we might live.
He suffered that we may be healed.
His body was covered in midday darkness – so we could walk in His light.
He was separated from His Father God (Matthew 27:46) so that we don’t have to be.

He took our sin that we would have his righteousness. In this unthinkable exchange ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

‘Jesus was made sin, not a sinner but sin-a sin offering & a sacrifice for sin’ (Matthew Henry)

The wide angled lens of God’s sovriegnty captures all the pathos of the day – the awful, awesome, shocking fact that ‘God Himself gave Himself, to save us from Himself’ (John Stott)

Read that profound truth again:
‘God Himself
gave Himself,
to save us from Himself’

There are no words to follow on from that profound truth.

If we truly grasp the outrageous grace & audacious love of God, we are speechless:

‘Undone by mercy & left speechless
Watching wide eyed at the cost
May I never lose the wonder
The wonder of the cross’
(‘The Wonder of the cross’-Vicky Beecher)

The cross symbolises the immensity of pure grace and the dimensions of God’s amazing love. Its breadth flows from one nail pierced hand to the other. Its height stretches from earth to sky-from hell to heaven.

Yet,
‘We live our lives & never really know
How loved we are, or how far love will go’
(Andrew Peterson)

So,tonight,
‘I pray that you may have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’ (Ephesians 3:17,18)

And that you would respond to the amazing love in faith.

For, we are forever blessed because of Him, because of what He has done.
And that makes today & everyday truly, deeply Good!

Amen!

Blessings,

Ruthx

The colour of Easter

We made an Easter tree & hung pastel coloured eggs on its branches -& Caris added a gingham bird cut from a Cath Kidston template & hand-sewn with love!

Last week, I stopped to look at some Easter cards en route to do some grocery shopping. Fluffy chicks & bunnies, cuddly bears with rabbit ears- on pastel green & pale yellow cards, with warm & cosy sentiments written on them.

I smiled at the cute pictures, then stopped & stepped back to do a quick reality check. These are not the real colours of Easter!

In the Wordless Book that we shared at Whizz Kidz, the colour of Easter is red.

Deep red. Crimson red- the colour of blood.
For, the real Easter is not fluffy & cute.
It’s torture. Brutal. Real.
Nails hammered deep.
Love deeper still,
Keeping Him on the cross.
Creator tortured by His creatures,
That he might bridge the chasm made by sin.
The Light of the World, totally eclipsed by darkness,
as the midday sun fell from its orb.

‘Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered’(Graham Kendrick)

The Good Shepherd became the Lamb:
‘But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all’
(Isaiah 53:5&6-MSG)

On Good Friday, consider the only One good enough to pay the price for our sins.

He was punished that we may go free.
He died that we may truly live.
He took our sin,that we might gain His righteousness.
He took our shame, that we might know the hope of glory.

On this day, remember, because of Jesus, because of the cross:
‘He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west’ (Psalm 103:12-MSG)

And as the Casting Crowns lyrics say:
‘Tell me just how far the East is from the West –
one scarred hand to the other’

Blessings,
Ruth x