Three Days Later

three daysThree days can change a lot.

Over 2000 years ago, the day was filled with sorrow, question, and doubt. For others the day was filled with joy and a sense of victory.

For those who loved Him, they did not understand. They wept as they watched Jesus be beaten and crucified. Their hearts were full of sorrow as they heard Him speak, “It is finished.”

For those who hated Him, there was rejoicing as they believed they had won, yet they could not have been farther from the truth.

For a lot can change in three days.

On that day, Jesus suffered and died. He also bore our guilt and our shame. He paid the ransom we could not pay, and He redeemed us. Changing our names from guilty to forgiven.

His death came at a high cost.

And yet, death could not defeat Him, nor could the grave hold Him.

For three days later, not only had He paid the price for our sins, He defeated death once and for all. Making it possible for us to be forgiven, and to have eternal life.

Three days later those in sorrow rejoiced at their risen Savior.

After three days, the darkness broke forth into everlasting light.

What had been watched in heartbroken silence was now redeemed with resounding shouts of joy.

Not the scouring, nor the insults.

Not the cross, nor the nails.

Could defeat the Lord.

This day of sorrow took not the Father by surprise, it was all part of His plan.

For He knew that three days later, the true victory would be beheld.

The victory that each of us in Christ has even now, years later.

Victory over sin, victory over death.

 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:55-57).

A lot can happen in just three days!

 

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Loving God

loving godThe two greatest commandments deal with love.

Love for God, and love for others.

One would think that both should come naturally to the Christian, and yet far too often they do not.

I’m learning that when my “love” for the Lord is not what it should be, it affects the way I treat my husband, my kids, and my neighbors.

I’m also learning that when I do not love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. That I am not faithful to obey His Word, to rest in Him, or to serve Him.

I just finished reading the book of Joshua, and in chapter 22:5 it says, “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

As I read this, I thought this should be our natural response, but it obviously is not or both Moses and Joshua would not have had to remind the Israelites again and again to be careful to love the Lord.

When I thought deeper, I realized that when we fail to love the Lord as He ask us to love Him, we will also fail to walk in obedience to Him, we will to keep His commandments, we will fail to hold fast to Him, and we will fail to serve Him. For all of this stems from our love for Him.

But on the flip side, when we truly love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will walk in obedience, we will keep His commands, we will hold fast to Him, and we will want to serve Him. And naturally, we will love others as we love ourselves.

In Revelation 2, God holds against the church of Ephesus, was that they had left their first love. Oh they were going through the motions, doing what was right, but it was motivated out of duty rather than love for the Lord. He tells them to repent, and to return to their first love.

It seems many Christians fall into one of two camps. They fail to love God with all of their hearts, and do what is right based on duty and obligation like the church of Ephesus, or they simply turn from the Lord and the things of the Lord.

When I think of what Christ has done on my behalf, I am overwhelmed. I stand in awe of Him, and my desire is to love Him, to please Him, and to serve Him. Yet, when I forget or take for granted what He has done, I lose sight, and love other things more than Him.

Over and over we are told to “remember” because we are so forgetful.

The greatest commandments seems so simple, and yet how do we truly love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?

I’m finding for myself it means taking time daily to remember what He has done for me, giving Him thanks for these things, and asking Him to give me a deep, deep love for Him, and all that He loves.

In fact, this is what I am praying for my whole family. That God would give us a great love for Him, a love that will then motivate everything that we do.

Loving God is more than some emotional feeling, which seem to come and go. Loving God as He instructs means remembering what He has done, thinking upon the Scriptures, and choosing His way over our own.

May we truly seek to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27).”