What part of Easter has been written in red on your heart? The week of Easter is a favorite time of year for many people who travel and take time away from demanding schedules. Others find pleasure in staying home to relax, spring clean and make their yards look lovely. Some never miss a day of work, while several spend each day looking for a place to work. It seems we are always looking, searching, and seeking ways to fulfill our needs, wants and desires. Did you spend time celebrating the real reason for the Easter season wherever you went, whatever you did?
We read in 1 John 2:17 what happens when our desire is to trust and obey God. “The world and all its desires will pass away. But the man who obeys God and does what He wants done will live forever.”
Living forever and ever is definitely desirable, but where will eternity be for you, for me? The Bible is the best source to find direction. Jesus is the only way to heaven. John 5:24 says, “For sure, I tell you, anyone who hears My Word and puts his trust in Him Who sent Me has life that lasts forever. He will not be guilty. He has already passed from death into life.”
Words from Matthew 7:21 remind us that the road to heaven will be straight and narrow, not wide and welcoming for those who have not accepted Jesus and put their hearts in His Hands. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will go into the holy nation of heaven. The one who does the things My Father in heaven wants him to do will go to heaven.”
Song lyrics from a tune I sang as a teen teach this lesson of love , ‘… just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying won’t get him into your heart, you gotta’ show him that you care just once more, do the things you used to do, show him and love him and tell him that you do, then he will be yours…’!
Those who desire a personal, precious relationship with loved ones and the Lord must understand and practice what those words teach. The same message is found in Revelation with the churches being instructed to return to their first love, to show Him that they care, to do the things they used to do when they first fell in love with the Lord. Is your love for the Lord and loved ones stale? If you love Him (them), tell Him (them) that you do, and show Him (them) that you care, then your love for Him (them) and His (their) love for you will grow green and great and fresh, like the lawn after being mowed and the fragrance after the rain. Try doing little things you did when you first fell in love and see how stale love becomes sensational. Spending time and showing that you care thrills the Lord and loved ones. The desires of the heart hinge on hopes of loving and being loved. When God is your first love and you stay connected to the Vine, everything else will fall into place according to His will. Loving Him (them) becomes grand with a ticket to heaven in hand.
Easter reminds us of the sacrificial love of our Lord. Let us rise up and recount that love, spend time with Him in prayer, study and seek His Word of truth, restore passion and purpose to life and love. Then, the desires of the heart beating in tune with His will and way will be met by the Master.
Watching The Passion of Christ brought tears to my eyes and helped me to understand the love and sacrifice of the suffering Servant. When the movie ended, I wondered why I even watched it. My heart was broken. After digesting each scene deep in my soul, two of them made an impact that brings meaning to Easter every day of my life.
The garden scene taught me the agony and anguish Jesus suffered as He prayed. His own disciples fell asleep while He communed with His Father, asking if the cup could pass from Him. Jesus needed his loved ones praying with Him. When we remain faithful in prayer for those we love, we are following the principle Jesus taught in the garden. When we feel there is nothing else we can do, we can pray!
The movie depicted Jesus’ plea for His Father’s will to be done while He humbly prayed with His face on the ground. He struggled as the enemy saturated Him with temptation to turn on His Father and torture to take things in His own hands. The devil was portrayed as a devious woman dressed in black with a hood covering his head and deceitful voice piercing the air. The deceiver inched closer and closer to Christ, doing everything in his power to weaken our Savior and stop the plan of salvation from becoming reality. The devil became a serpent and slyly slithered within inches of Jesus’ face. Jesus’ brow was wet with drops of blood as He persevered and prepared Himself to rise up against the devil. My heart soared as Jesus slowly stood to His feet and stomped the head of the enemy. That vivid image is stored in my memory, where it’s replayed over and over in my times of temptation and trials, girding me in faith to stand up and stomp the enemy’s head as Jesus did. Jesus stood strong and won the victory. His willingness to drink the cup enables us to do what God has asked us to do. His sacrifice and grace provide salvation, protection, and blessings as we boldly serve Christ as a child of the King, each being equally valued by God.
The enemy attacks, relentlessly aiming for our Achilles Hill… in your face, saturating with worry, fear, guilt, insecurity, timidity, and hate toward your Lord and loved ones. It is time for all of God’s children to rise up and reach inside for strength that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus. He has already paid the price and defeated the enemy. Satan has no power over those who believe and belong to Jesus, claiming victory in His name.
When a tough day gets me all in a stir and Satan seeks to steal my sunshine, I remember Jesus being face down on the ground with the enemy closing in on Him. Then, I raise my foot and stomp the floor, ground, or whatever is beneath my feet. A power surge flows through my body and a sweet spirit replaces the turmoil and temptation Satan sends. Doing this little act of stomping my feet on the enemy’s head empowers me to rise up when it would be easy to give in and lose my blessing. You have power when you walk with Jesus. He’s got your back when He lives in your heart. Know who you are in Christ. He died for you and me and will never leave or forsake us.
Another movie scene written in red on my heart is when Jesus’ hands were bound, with his body being beaten beyond recognition. The cries of his mother and jeers of the soldiers ring in my ears while I write. The image of Jesus taking every lash of their whips, blood dripping from His face, leather straps tearing away His skin with cuts to the bone, tore my heart to shreds. His humility, love for you and me, and strength from His Father sustained Him through the torture that took Him to the cross. He gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have life through Him. When feeling weak and weary, that life is unfair, tempted and tortured, depressed and disgusted, ready to give in and give up, stop and remember the passion of Christ. He paid the price and won the victory over the enemy. We will face these temptations as valleys keep us pressing toward the mountaintops.
It is how we handle things in this life that determines everlasting life. The enemy will steal, kill, and destroy everything in our lives, even desires to live closely connected to the lord and our loved ones, if give him an open door.
Ending with a word from Romans 8:11, seals this Easter story. “The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. If the same Holy Spirit lives in you, He will give life to your bodies in the same way.”
We must close our hearts to hate and sin, while opening them to love and obedience to God. The time is now to rise up, stomp Satan’s head, claim the victory in Christ, and live forever and ever in heaven when our time here is finished. Let us remember the sacrifice of Jesus and keep the story of Easter written in red on our hearts.