A Reason for Celebrating

Well it is Easter time again and a time of celebration for many people.  There are religious services that last anywhere from 3 days to 50 depending on your background and denomination, and there are secular celebrations as well.  Easter is known by most people regardless of your faith as the time that Jesus died and was raised again.  But it is also a time where we celebrate the Easter bunny and chocolate egg hunts, and Easter egg painting  just to name the most common.  Depending on your nationality there may be even more types of celebrations.

This is the time where Christians focus on what Jesus did for us.  The fact that He not only came to earth and lived among us, but died in our place and was raised again and is seated in heaven at God’s right hand is foundational to our beliefs.  But just how much impact does this have on our lives?   How much of what we do is simply religious tradition and how much is what we believe and live.

According to statistics the majority of Christians believe the same things as the world does.  And even joins in the celebrations.  Now there is nothing wrong with egg hunts and painting.  I have done both in my life.  The question is do we truly live what we believe?  Easter is a time of profound celebration in my life since I encountered Jesus and His love for me.   And the more I reflect on how great His love is just for me the more I am moved and the more my heart rejoices.  What a joyous celebration, and this is what is supposed to happen for every Christian.  Unfortunately most Christians would tell you that they have no experience of God’s love for them personally.

The love of God is so immense that words cannot express.  And it is available for each one of us.  God loves us each so much that He cannot live without us, so He came and died for us.  What an amazing God.  God knew each one of us before He created the world, and He knew what it would cost Him to be in relationship with us and He still created each one of us.  And His love never changes and never lessens.  It is always set on extravagant.  And He doesn’t love me any more or less than He loves you.

So how do you get to know His love for you?  First you need to have a relationship with Him.  It was for this purpose that you were created.  So, you ask, how do I get a relationship with God?

First you need to recognize who you are.

We all know our need for God on a deep instinctive level.  Whether we recognize it or not it is there.   And we try so many things to fill that need that leave us unsatisfied.  And if we do recognize the need, we try to work our way into God’s approval.  We try to be good people and measure up.  But God’s standard is absolute moral perfection, and we simply cannot measure up to this standard on our own.  In fact this is the reason God gave us the 10 commandments.  So that we could come to understand that we cannot find our way to Him on our own.

Second we need to recognize who God is.

Jesus came to live among us and lived, died and was raised again so that we could have that relationship with Him.  Jesus came and paid our penalty.  You see the penalty for our not measuring up to God’s standard is eternal separation from Him and eternity spent in hell.  But this was not God’s plan.  He never intended hell for us, but there had to be a penalty for the choices that we made.  All of the things that we do that break God’s moral law mean that we deserve a eternity in hell.  But God doesn’t want for us to go there, so Jesus came and paid our penalty.  It would be like you being on trial for murder.  The law demands a penalty for your crimes.  And no amount of pleading or being ‘a good person’ can save us from that penalty.  But someone came into the court room and paid your penalty for you so that you wouldn’t have to.  His name is Jesus.  And He desires to have a relationship with you.  In fact this is what eternal life is defined as in scripture.  Knowing God and Jesus whom He sent personally and intimately.

Third we need to receive the gift God offers.

If someone offers you a gift and you leave it on the table and walk away it does you absolutely no good.  We must pick up and receive the gift offered.  And it is the same with the gift of life Jesus offers each one of us.  We can say that we don’t believe in God and leave the gift on the table.  But this doesn’t change the fact that there is a gift there with our name on it.  And Jesus loves each one of us so much that the gift remains there for us should we decide to return and pick it up.

Lastly we simply need to ask God to show us His love.

Now sometimes there are things in the way of Him showing us.  The main culprits are bitterness and unforgiveness.  If we hold on to them they put up a wall that God cannot get  through.  So we need to respond to His voice and allow Him to bring down the walls in our lives and then get ready for the flood.  When the love God has for you soaks in that is the only words I can give to describe the feeling.  A flash flood of love hits you and wow.  How great and extravagant is the love God has for you and I.   I welcome you to join in the experience.  It will change your life forever.

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