“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:6
Easter is a holiday that is celebrated around the world. Children all over the world are often looking forward to candy and the Easter bunny. The majority of the focus is on the candy and having a fun time.
While searching for eggs and candy is going on, there are also many people talking about Jesus. The same questions arise every year around the world: Who was Jesus? Was Jesus real? What did Jesus teach? Did Jesus rise from the dead?
From the world’s point of view, it does not make sense that Jesus rose from the dead. No one rises from the dead, or he was not really dead.
Many people had been standing there watching as Jesus was crucified on the cross. They saw Him physically die and get buried in a tomb. As this occurred they had forgotten what Jesus had said would happen.
Three days later as some women went to the tomb, they got there and found out that His body was no longer there. They were afraid. Yet, an angel was there who told them not to be afraid, because Jesus had risen just as He said He would.
The world tries to deny that Jesus did actually rise from the dead. If He did rise from the dead, then it means He was right. If He was right, that also means that people are dead in sins, unless they turn to Him. The world does not want to be wrong, so they continue to deny the truth. They do not want to change their ways to follow God.
As a believer, you can be confident that Jesus did rise from the dead. And if He rose from the dead, He will forgive you and save you for all eternity.
Give your life to God and follow Jesus. He is the conqueror of life and death, nothing can destroy Him.
Today celebrate what Jesus did for you by dying upon the cross so that you may live for all eternity. Do not be like the world and question whether Jesus is alive.
He is alive!
Know this and believe it!
Let the world know that Jesus is alive today and the tomb is empty.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know that Jesus is alive; that you will tell others that Jesus is alive; and that you will serve God with all of your life.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. Ephesians 2:1-2
When a person is born, he is seen to be alive, however, when he begins to sin, he is no longer alive, but dead, even though he is alive physically. Sin causes a person to die. They die spiritually, because they no longer have the life of God in their lives.
The people of this world are living for themselves and temporary pleasures. People sin and accept and promote sin in others. It is a life that is against God.
Without God in the picture a person cannot see or know that in reality he is dead. Paul says he is dead in sins and transgressions.
Every person that has been born, has also sinned. This means that every person who has been born is also dead, even while they walk this earth. They are living in sin and in bondage to sin. True life can only be found in Jesus.
Once a person believes in Jesus and accepts what He has done for him, he is no longer dead. He is now alive in Christ Jesus with an eternal life.
Paul points out that as a believer one was once dead in sins, but is no longer dead in those sins. This is showing that there is a change in life. The believer should no longer be chasing after those sins or living a sinful lifestyle. He should no longer be living like this world.
The believer is now a new creation in Jesus. He is now following God, rather than this world and Satan.
As you look at your life, who are you following? If you are following Jesus, you should be dead to sins and transgressions. Do not seek to find ways to sin or promote sin, flee from all sin. Do not allow yourself to follow the ways of this world and cause yourself to die again.
Live for God, not self or this world. You turned away from this world, now stay away from it. Live the full life that God is giving you. The ways of this world only bring about death.
I pray today that you will know the life Jesus offers you; that God will show you the way of true life; that God will strengthen you to turn from all sin; and that you will be alive in Christ Jesus for all the world to see.
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:9
Goal setting is something that every successful person states is a requirement to do in order to accomplish anything. Setting a goal gives a person something to aim for. Without any goals set, a person will just aim at nothing and will just wander around never really getting anywhere.
One of the most common goals that people are told to make is in investing for a future retirement, setting money aside. Often people who have this goal will begin by setting aside some money on a regular basis. A little here, a little there and it begins to add up. Without a goal, people will spend every penny they have and leave nothing for retirement.
There are an infinite number of goals that a person can make. Some are houses, things, positions, marriage, education, titles, travels, and the list goes on. Those who set and focus on their goals, can usually obtain them, if they put the needed work into it.
While there is nothing necessarily wrong with these goals, the believer should have a different, higher set of goals. Goals to reach the lost, to be more like Jesus, to know God’s word more, to pray more, to minister more, and the list goes on. However, there is one goal that Paul recognized and aimed for that will include all other goals. That goal is to please God.
As a believer sets the goal to please God many things will happen. He will turn away from sin, pray more, be more of a witness, disciple more, encourage more, serve more, worship more and again, the list goes on.
The benefit of pleasing God is that it is an eternal goal with eternal benefits. This goal is with the believer in life and in death. The rest of the goals that this world likes to set are just temporary and will not last forever. Once a person dies, it is over.
Take a look at your own life. What goals are you setting?
There is nothing wrong with setting the temporary goals, but the goal of pleasing God should be number one in your life.
How are you doing at working at pleasing God with your whole life? Are you pleasing Him just on Sunday, or everyday of the week?
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that your goal will be to please God; that God will give you an eternal perspective on life; and that your life will be one that God will be pleased with.
Reading the bible is something all believers know they should do and all new believers are told to do. When it comes to reading the bible, very few people actually do read it. When they pick it up and begin to look at it to read it, many thoughts start to enter their mind as to how to read it.
The most common way to read the bible is to think of it like any other book. How does one read a book? He starts at the beginning and reads through until he gets to the end.
One of the great benefits of reading the bible this way is that you can see how God’s plan for mankind unfolds, little by little. It starts with the creation of the world, and ends with the destruction of the world and the creation of a new heaven and earth.
The hardest part in reading the bible this way is when a person gets past Genesis and Exodus. The next two books, Leviticus and Numbers, come up presenting a great challenge for a new believer or one beginning to really read the bible. These books are very long on lists. One lists the genealogy of all the people, while the other lists all of the sacrifices required.
For most people these kinds of lists are very boring and many wonder why God put them in there. Many people stop reading the bible once they get to that point out of boredom. Only once a person has been a believer for a while, does he begin to understand the value in those lists and reasons why God may have put them in His word.
Other people begin reading the bible by reading the New Testament. It is common to hear of a person who has read the New Testament several times, but has never read the Old Testament.
The New Testament is where God’s love, grace and mercy is really shown for what they fully are. Life is offered in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Open talk about heaven and the future is presented. Practical ways on how to live for God is shown in the letters of Paul to the various churches.
While reading the New Testament is great, one must not forget to read or ignore the Old Testament. The Old Testament gives the background as to why Jesus had to come and die on the cross. It shows what His death on the cross means and why it was so important.
Another benefit of reading the Old Testament, is that it shows many people who followed God, but also made mistakes in their lives and, yet, God used them in mighty ways. It shows how many times Israel walked away from God, but as soon as they turned to God, God took them back. One can see the love, mercy and grace of God through many different stories.
You can also see how God had a plan to bring about salvation to all people from the beginning. One can watch as God unfolds His plan of salvation, as the entire Bible is read.
The first important thing about reading the Bible is to actually read it. Get into in and read it and see what God has to say.
As you begin reading the Bible, do not read it just as another novel, full of good stories. Each chapter you read, think about what it is saying and what it can say to you today. What message does God have for you in the passage being read?
The Bible is written in simple, plain everyday language that anyone can understand, if they want to. Some may try to say that you need to be able to study it in the original Greek or Hebrew, but that is not true. When Jesus walked on the earth, He spoke in the language of the people He was with, not some strange foreign language. In the same way, God speaks to you through His word, the Bible, in a language you can understand.
There will be passages that may not always make sense right away. Do not let that stop you from reading. Pray and ask God for wisdom each time you read His word. Trust that He will open your eyes to what He is saying in His word.
As you apply these few principles that I have given here, God’s word will come alive to you. The Bible is alive and active today. No matter how many times you read it, there will be more to learn.
Each time you read a certain passage, God may show you something different in it. You will begin to see new things about God and how He works as you dive into His word.
The best way to read the Bible is to actually get into it and read it. Do not keep putting off reading it. If all you do is read a few verses each day, that is more than nothing and God can do something with it.
Take time each day to read the Bible and learn from it.