Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
I love Easter! Ever since I became a Christian, it has been one of my favorite holidays. There is something fresh and new this season each year as spring revives the earth. Each year around this time, I am gathering new outfits for each of the children which has now dwindled down to two. New shirts, pants, dresses and shoes all in preparation to celebrate Jesus who is alive and well. The thought has occurred to me recently what if we lived in anticipation of each Sunday as we do Easter Sunday. What if as institutions each church prayed and prepared the same way each week? What if families focused their attention on attendance as they do right before Easter? What if we gathered together with the same expectancy? What if we talked about the Blood of Jesus the same? What if we honored His Sacrifice as we do? Easter is one of the biggest Sundays in the church. Attendance skyrockets that day. Preachers talk candidly about the sacrifice that Jesus made and His Great Success overcoming the grave. But what if we lived like that every single day of the year?
Let all that I am praise the Lord! With my whole heart, I will praise His Holy Name. May I NEVER forget the good things that He does for me. I forget sometimes wrapped up in what I am waiting for – I will forget all that He has done for me already. Easter is all about me. We celebrate Jesus but the Work of the Cross was most definitely all about you and me. Everything Jesus did from birth to death to resurrection and finally ascension was all about us. He did it for us. The Lord lacked nothing. He did not need forgiveness or fulfillment. He wrapped Himself in flesh to deliver the message that we could once again live in right standing with God the Father and have a life filled with overcoming victory and abundant promises. I have that life because Jesus lives. I want to live like it.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT)
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 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.
It was my weakness that Jesus carried to the Cross. It was the weight of my sorrow that kept Him there. It was my rebellion that required repayment. It was my sin that demanded a life. It was my sickness that beat Him. It was disease that tore into His Flesh. It was all about me. As I consider this I am overwhelmed with regret that there are days that in my inability to comprehend such comprehensive love that I take it for granted, but today will not be one of those days. Could it be that we forget the benefits of the Blood because it is an unpleasant sight? Maybe we don’t want to go back to the Cross where we “first saw the Light” because it is a gruesome discovery but that is where the “burdens of my heart rolled away.” Easter forces us back to the Cross and the Blood if only for a day, but what if we learned to live covered by the Blood at the foot of the Cross. What would happen then? Revival would happen. New life restored. Miracles would be common place all because someone ventured there and chose to remain there. I am convinced. So much so that I have purposed in my own heart to live like that!
Exodus 12:21-23 (NLT)
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down.
The very first memory that I have of Sunday school is being taught about Passover which means it was probably around Easter when my family attended. My grandmother would take me to church on the weekends that I spent with her. I can remember vividly being taught about the process despite my young age. Obviously I did not understand the significance of the story but now to read it again makes me think of the Blood with the new knowledge that I have of Jesus Christ. When you read this account, it just sounds really messy and heart wrenching. I cannot imagine walking out in a field and taking a baby lamb from its mama. Much less slaughtering it, draining its blood in a bowl, taking some branches and painting our doorpost in it. Praise the Lord that we do not have to continually sacrifice animals any longer but that the ultimate sacrifice has been made.
It was the blood placed on that doorway that caused the death angel to pass over that home and no one to be struck down. Since we have been saved and covered in the “Blood” of Jesus, we have sent one son to fight for this country and watched another overcome cancer not once but five times. You will never convince me that it wasn’t the Blood of Jesus that covers us that saved us every single time. I cannot even imagine the near misses when the Lord averted the death angel from our family that are not even aware of. The lamb’s blood lost its power and each Passover new blood was required. However, the Blood of Jesus Christ will never lose its power so I must live like it. I must remain covered in the Blood of Jesus and speak it over my life. It is the protective covering that keeps me safe from this life to Eternity physically and spiritually just like Jesus promised.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
When our daughter moved to New Hampshire, she went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew her license with her married name and change residency to her new home. She called me and asked about becoming an organ donor. We chatted for a few minutes and she decided that she would do it. Now as her mother, I do not want to even think about a day when she would make such a gift of sacrifice but am proud that she would. Not too long ago, my son and I had this same discussion as we completed his advance directive just prior to the bone marrow transplant. The thought of the death of my children is just too much to consider even though I have been faced with it. Our oldest son went over his affairs with us just before departing for the Middle East. It is not pleasant to discuss the possibility of life after the death of a loved one. We don’t want to face death. We do not want our family or friends to die. We sympathize with strangers in loss as well. The reality is that everyone will die. We are born dying. It sounds harsh but it is true. What happens after death is what makes the difference between a tragedy or triumph. We decide if it is the end or only the beginning. What if we lived in new life every day?
We can! Just sided to open a new and life-giving way to live in the Presence of God every single day. If only I could become committed enough to do so and remain rooted and grounded in faith and confident hope every single day of this life so that when I step into forever it is not a jump but seamless transition from death to life. We can boldly and confidently live out the Word and Way of God each day including claiming His Promises and living in His Blessing. But to do so we must live in the Blood of Jesus and at the foot of the Cross. “It is there by faith that I receive my sight and now I am happy all the day.” The old church sang about the Blood and Cross but the new, modern day church avoids the subject all together. Lord, I want to live covered in the Blood of Jesus today and every day leading up to Easter and beyond. I want to remain at the foot of the Cross because I need you to survive this life. As we prepare for Easter this year, may it mark a renewed commitment to live in anticipation of the resurrection every single day that we have breath and wakeup to meet the morning sun! Lord, I want to live like that!
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT)
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May He produce in you through the power of Jesus Christ every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.