What part of the Easter story is written in red on your heart? This year I opted not to write an Easter story. Reasoning that each of the dedicated Faith and Family writers would write about Easter, I chose to write how the enemy chases us and submitted the two-part story long before the Good Friday deadline. Two weeks before Easter, I woke up at three in the morning with a stirring inside to rise up and write. Tossing, turning, and telling myself the story would wait until morning did not work. Trusting that God would order my steps for the long day ahead of me, I rose up from my cozy bed and headed downstairs to my computer and favorite chair.
When writing or preaching what is divinely downloaded, it takes time to digest and discern, pray and prepare before delivering the story in person or in print. I pray blessings over preachers and teachers of His Word who rise up early and burn midnight oil communing with Christ.
My early morning message became clear as I sat still and knew that God was speaking, ‘write My story of eternal love, forgiveness, and rising up’! My thoughts turned to a 1970s movie, “Love Story,” that I watched tons of times as a teenager and wondered how ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry’. Words from the theme song played over and over in my mind, ‘where do I begin to tell the story of a love that never ends — to tell the story of how great a love can be…’ and I knew just what the Master was ordering so early in the morning. He wanted His love story shared. The never ending love story that tells how Jesus came to die and become the sacrifice, substitute, and all-sufficient atonement for our sins, how accepting His sacrifice will open the door to receiving the fullness of God’s life-giving Spirit, and how the straight and narrow road leads to home in heaven forever and ever.
The stirring of His Spirit stopped, leaving me surrounded with opened Bibles and writer’s block. I turned to the 26th chapter of Matthew and read about the plot to kill Jesus, Passover, the Lord’s Supper, Judas betraying Jesus and hanging himself, Peter’s denial, prayer in the garden, Jesus facing the Sanhedrin and Pilate, soldiers mocking Jesus, Simon carrying His cross, Jesus dying on the cross and being buried in Joseph’s tomb, the chief priest and Pharisees remembering that Jesus said, ‘After three days I will rise’! They asked for the tomb to be guarded; I pondered these things in my heart.
What were those Pharisees thinking? They worked against Jesus while trying to disguise their deceitful actions. God sees the motives of all His children; we hide nothing from our Lord. I thought of another movie, “Happy Feet,” that brought Pharisee-minded penguins to the big screen. Their attitudes and mindsets almost destroyed their penguin population. One little penguin, cast out, misunderstood, and scorned by his own people, brought change and revelation that saved all the penguins. While most of his penguin friends doubted him, they worshipped him by the end of the movie. He remained humble and happy, even throughout the trials and tribulations he faced in the tough times. He kept believing; he never stopped dancing. When the world took notice and the good news spread, his happy feet became music to the ears of millions and survival to his penguin nation. It only took a spark to get a fire going. One person, one penguin, truly can make a difference when passion and purpose burn brightly inside. I can see the faces of those Pharisee penguins when the little happy footed penguin brought help to his homeland and they had to eat crow. They were quick to cast him out for being different, for sharing good news with his happy feet, for standing up to the legalistic system that ruled. Yet, he did not take offense and miss the blessings intended for his life. We must remember our enemies are our footstools and heaping coals on their heads is advised in the Good Book. Getting even and taking revenge are not ways our Lord recognizes as the right thing to do. He is pleased when we forgive and emulate an attitude of love as He did and as the little penguin did. We don’t have to like our enemies or what they do, but praying for them and demonstrating the spirit of Christian love and forgiveness is required by our Father. The blessings are released when we are right with our Lord, loved ones, friends, and enemies.
The guards became like dead men when the angel rolled back the stone showing a risen Christ with countenance like lightening and clothing white as snow. The women, the two Marys, did believe and told the disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead…’! The women worshipped the risen Lord. He said, ‘rejoice, do not be afraid, go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’
Jesus did see the 11 disciples in Galilee at the mountain. They were in awe as they worshipped Him. Some believed but some doubted. It is difficult to imagine anyone not believing when the holes in His hands and feet were visible and His words were powerful.
He spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus’ story is truly a never-ending love story with a happy ending for all who believe in Him as Lord and Savior. Yet, today we witness to those who believe and those who doubt. God has set up this world so that faith is required to connect with Him. Do you trust Him? Trusting Him this morning, when our corner of the world was dark and my eyes were droopy, took faith. One might think it foolish to rise up with joy and write, read His Word, study, commune with Christ. They thought the happy penguin was foolish too. It is never foolish to follow where Jesus leads and do what He directs. God desires for His children to be happy. Being sour and set in legalistic bondage sends sunshine behind the clouds. When we are still and know that He is God, listening and discerning becomes easier as we grow closer to Christ. When God speaks, we are wise to listen.
We can bring the truth of Jesus to the world because we have Jesus’ divine authority to back it up. He prospers His Word; our job is to be His faithful messengers. May you be blessed and brought to the cross this Easter. If you don’t have a personal, precious relationship with Jesus, let go of what distances you from Him, trust and obey, and know without a doubt that your forever and ever will be with Him in heaven. When your heart belongs to Jesus, you will understand the power of saying ‘I’m sorry’ and the joy of ‘happy feet’. You can be a spark that gets a fire going.
Next week, I will share the rest of the love story of Easter that’s written in red on my heart.