Arise My Love

Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday. It is the most important week on the Christian calendar, it is the week that taught me what true love means, what it means to count the costs of being a Christ follower and what a blessing it is to trust in Jesus!

Jesus went into Jerusalem being worshipped by those that would later betray Him! He entered knowing the plan God had for Him would be hard. Although He is the great I AM, it did not make Him any less human! He was not above the pain, the sadness, the rejection, the betrayal. He knew it would be hard but what drove Him on was the purpose and plan His Heavenly Father had for him!

He would have to practice great restraint and trust in His Father. At any time He could prove all His enemies wrong. But He chose to keep His eyes on us! Those of us that have or will put our faith and trust in Him for forgiveness of our sins! His reward was much bigger than fighting His enemies to win the court battle for His life! It was about offering eternal life to all and any that would choose Him, through His death!

It’s so hard for me to understand a love like that! And it was that love that broke me many years ago. I found myself desperate for His love. A love that could bring forgiveness of my sins….a love that would allow me to be born again and start a new life in Him! I wanted to be a part of His amazing love story for us!

God shows us over and over again, day after day how His love works to bring us great blessing. But the part of being in relationship with Jesus that grows us and stretches us is seen most clearly in the Garden of Gethsemane! This is the part of Holy Week that always brings me to my knees and continues to bring me to tears!

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:41-44 NIV

You see being a Jesus follower is not always comfortable. There is a price we pay and even the Bible tells us to count the cost. We all have a God given purpose for our life and Jesus ultimate purpose would be to die on the cross as the sacrificial lamb for all my sins and your sins. So I could receive forgiveness by His blood and through that blood I can enter the holy place and be in relationship with a Holy and perfect God! But that sacrifice by Jesus would bring him to tears and to sweat blood. He asked for another way…he knew the pain He would face and the pain those who love him would face. He knew the sin He would take on would separate Him from God. I can’t even imagine the fear and anxiety He must of felt. But He was strengthened to do what He was purposed to do!

So many of the sins He died for that day were mine. The Jews didn’t kill Him that day, I did, my sin did! Those things I did that were wrong and I knew it but did it anyway brought my Jesus to the cross. He loves us so much I know He didn’t mind. His love is amazing! But if He could do that for me couldn’t I surrender my life to Him. Surrender my sin, my life! Couldn’t I choose to live out His plan and purpose for my life no matter how hard it is! No matter the costs!

I think about the garden of Gethsamane often when I know God is asking me to do something hard. Something scary and something that stretches way beyond my capabilities. But or Heavenly Father strengthened Jesus and now we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit all working together for us…how much more are we strengthened! Jesus fought the fear …Fear is our enemy too and I never want fear to keep me from my purpose!

Even as Good Friday comes and goes, this is not the end. Because Sunday morning comes and the tomb is empty! “Arise my Love” are the words I hear the Heavenly Father singing to His son! His anticipation for the victory over death must have been unimaginable. I can only imagine the worship and praise in heaven!

The plan is complete! There is no death in Jesus! To live is Christ to die is gain just as Paul would later say. Through His victory, we have victory! Through His blood we have life!

You see Holy Week is the opportunity to face your enemies with humility…because vengeance is the Lord’s! It’s your opportunity to nail your sins to the cross on Calvary and have them covered by the blood of Jesus! It is the opportunity for you to die to this life that is lived under the bondage of sin and be raised in victory through a relationship with Jesus! This is the power of Christ in you!

Living for Jesus isn’t easy! If you surrender yourself to His will you will be tempted by the devil, molded like clay by the hands of your creator, and tested beyond your ability but not beyond God’s ability to strengthen you. Put your trust in Him and He will show you as you seek Him!

The blessings of trusting in Jesus is beyond anything I have ever experienced! Getting to know my Savior, His will and his way for me, for us, hasn’t always been easy! But this season always takes me back each year to remember how God has worked in my life. Where He has brought me not only in the last 17 years, but in the last week! His mercies are new every morning and those mornings never end because I will never be perfect on this earth. But I do serve a perfect God, with perfect forgiveness, perfect blessing, a perfect plan who is trustworthy, every day, without fail! I get excited about what He is doing in our lives. My prayer today for you is best written in Ephesians. These are some of my favorite verses:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV

No matter what it looks like right now in our world..Our God is FAITHFUL! And WORTHY of PRAISE! MIGHTY to SAVE!

I pray that each of us will seek to know Him more this week during this time of quarantine. So that our personal relationship with Jesus and our family bond will be strengthened so we will be ready to emerge into the world united, bold, full of love, compassion, and faith!

“and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:23-24 NASB