05 April 2015

Jesus is RISEN!

As I sit here at my computer, the newly-birthed glory of this morning streams through my windows washing the blue walls, the unmade bed, and my own still-rumpled self. But I couldn't help but rise before the sun this morning for some reason. There are things on my mind, but they're not what woke me up. I awoke to the phrase "Jesus is Risen!" sounding in my heart, followed by the words of a song I've known since I was a child:
Jesus is risen,
Jesus my friend.
Joy fills my heart,
He lives again!
As I see some of the fallout of yesterday's earnest opposing vote in General Conference, see the fruit of the responses of so many to that cry for help, my heart keeps turning back to Jesus. I pray for the souls of those who are hurting, who are confused, who are looking for answers, and often whose belief in the God of Israel hangs by a thread. I pray for those who are caught in a response that comes, not from the love of Jesus Christ that called all to come unto Him so He could heal them, but in derision, offense, and simple hatred for those whom they would have been happy to call "brother" or "sister" just an hour earlier.
Jesus is risen,
Jesus my friend.
Joy fills my heart,
He lives again!!!
Our Lord is the victorious Son, seated upon His Father's throne. He is the One who heals all hurts, resolves all differences, clears all confusion and fills us with peace . . . but not peace alone: with joy and peace. He is the Lord of the empty tomb, the Lord who triumphed on the cross when He said, "It is finished". He took our shame upon Himself, nailed it to the cross with His body, then carried it to the grave and left it buried there when He arose that first Easter morn, the first morning the birds sang.

Oh those who call yourselves saints, who claim to worship Jesus Christ . . . can we not lay aside offense and see one another for who we each are? Precious, flawed, beautiful, broken, beloved, rescued, saved, redeemed! Our Lord Jesus broke the bands of death! He conquered sin so we wouldn't have to live a perfect life in order to do so, but could rely upon His merits alone. We can work and slave and check off all of the to-do's on our perceived path to salvation, and still be damned to hell if we do not find, and fall totally in love with, Jesus Christ. We have to have a personal revelation from Him . . . not that our leaders are something special, or a certain building is the only place certain work can be done. Jesus Christ must reveal Himself to us--first through His love, then through His spirit, and then in His very person. All other things are meaningless without Him literally changing our hearts, recreating us in His image, and giving us a completely new understanding of everything around us.

Do you yet respond as Enoch did, when he saw the wickedness of the world? And do you rejoice as He did when God showed him the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

If anyone can think of Easter without an insuppressible joy rising in their hearts, if anyone can think of Jesus Christ without feeling like they want to jump out of their seats and cheer louder than BYU fans when they beat Utah State for the Victory Bell, then I'm pleading with you to find some solitude, to still your mind and heart, and ask the Lord to help you understand the magnitude of His sacrifice, the overwhelming reality of His victory, and to fill you with the fruit of His life, death, and resurrection.

Jesus says, "Come unto Me, all ye who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

And He wasn't kidding.

Jesus says, "By this shall men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love, one to another."

He wasn't kidding.

Jesus says, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

He wasn't kidding.

Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

He wasn't kidding.

Jesus says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."

His word is eternal, just as He is. When He speaks, His words are both created, and creative. They cause things to happen, and take on life. They go on existing for all of eternity, co-existent with Him, and remain true forever.



We can KNOW HIM.

That was the whole reason He came. The whole reason He did what He did. The whole reason He descended below all things and then rose above all things.


Lord Jesus, I'm in awe of Your majesty, Your victory, the love and total acceptance You so extravagantly lavish on me every day. You don't applaud my sin, my weakness . . . but You rejoice in them because they draw me to You and show forth Your power in my life. Whenever I venture to draw closer to You, You pour forgiveness out like many waters, and fill me completely. I'm astounded at the way You find every last possible way to tell me You are aware of me, to communicate Your love to me, if I will but make space in my heart and mind to hear You. You are never more than one breath, one ruach, away, and I rejoice . . . no, I REJOICE!!!! in You. My hope is in You, Lord. My joy is in You, and the joy of the Lord is my STRENGTH! Lord, let Your people find You. Let Your love and light be shed abroad. Lead those to You who earnestly seek You, and make a way for those who don't know You at all to stumble upon You despite their best efforts. Lord Jesus, fill the hearts of those who love You with a joy and a rejoicing so powerful they cannot restrain it, cannot contain it. Fill all of Your creation with the reality of Yourself, and with the revelation of Who You Are! And Lord, let Your testimony break forth as the morning among a people who sit in darkness, in Jesus' name, AMEN!!!!!!!