Easter

12 Gifts You Have Because Jesus Died and Rose for You!

I remember as a young girl looking so forward to Easter and all it entailed—dipping hard-boiled eggs into cups filled with various pastel dyes; unwrapping and eating way too many foiled chocolate eggs; buying a new dress, hat, shoes and even white gloves to wear to church on Easter morning before heading over to my grandparent’s house for an outdoor Easter egg hunt with our cousins and a delicious dinner. I was blessed to know our celebration had to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Raised as a Lutheran, our family went to church every Wednesday during Lent, attended Maundy evening services where we celebrated the ‘Last Supper’, and spent most of Good Friday afternoon in church hearing the seven ‘words’ Jesus spoke from the Cross. I recall thinking it very strange that the day on which Jesus died was named ‘Good Friday’—what could be ‘good’ about His death?--and thought it should’ve been called ‘Bad Friday’ instead. I also confess that at the time it didn’t seem like such a big deal that one person would die so that the rest of the world could live. 

 That was until I became an adult and knew without a doubt that I had sinned against God in thought, word, and deed. God graciously revealed to me that Jesus went to the cross for my sin. He didn’t just die the death that others deserved; he died the death that I deserved to die for my rebellion against Him, a holy God. As I studied His Word for myself, I realized more and more why ‘Good Friday’ is truly GOOD!!! 

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 On my own, there was no way for me to ever be set free of my sin, my guilt and shame…but there was and is a Way, but only ONE Way! Only Jesus, the ‘unblemished Lamb’, the sinless ‘Son of God’ who chose to become the ‘Son of Man’ could atone for my sin. No one else could pay the debt I owed to God for my sin of rebellion against Him. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Confucius, nor any other person who has ever lived, because everyone besides Jesus has sinned against God, and everyone else has or will die. ONLY Jesus came from the Father, is ‘one with God the Father’, rose from the grave-- and by doing so overcame death-- then ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of His Father, living to intercede for those who put their trust in Him. (John 6:38; 10:30; 16:28; Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:19; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 7:23; 12:2-3) 

 Jesus alone could do what you and I and no one else could ever do; pay the debt that we owed because of our sin against God. And there was only one price that could be paid in order to pay our debt, and Jesus was willing to pay it. The cost was His very own blood. And, by paying that debt, Jesus freed us from the death penalty that we deserved, which included hell and damnation. Only Jesus’ blood could deliver us from death and hell and restore us to a right relationship with God the Father. (Romans 6:23; John 1:12; John 3:16) His death and resurrection made it possible for you and I to receive total and complete forgiveness for our sin—to have the debt we owed due to our rebellion against God cancelled once and for all time. His death alone could bring reconciliation between you and me—sinners— and a holy God who hates and will judge sin. What a life-changing passage is found below in Romans 5:6-11 (verse 8 is bolded): 

 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ESV

 Jesus didn’t wait for us to get cleaned up before dying for us; He dies for us ‘while we were yet sinners’! Don’t listen to Satan’s lies when He tells you that Jesus couldn’t love you because your particular sin is too big. Jesus knew every sin you would ever commit when He went to the cross on your behalf, and He died and paid the debt for every one of them! Your sin is not greater than the power of Jesus’ blood that was shed to wash away your sin! God’s love for you is so much bigger than your sin! How great is His love for you? Consider His outstretched arms on the cross as He hung there dying for you. His love led Him to take your place on the cross and to make it possible for you to spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven.

 Not only did Jesus’ death pay our debt and thereby set us free from the penalty of sin, which is death, but His triumphant resurrection from the grave made it possible for you and me to be set free from the power of sin in our lives as well! We now have the power to resist our own self-will and the lies of the enemy and we can choose not to sin! By the work of the Holy Spirit-- Who is alive in all who put their faith in Jesus’ atoning death-- we have the power to choose not to sin. Did you realize that? Do you truly understand the power that is available to you if you have received the gift of salvation that Jesus purchased for you on the cross? You don’t have to sin anymore! At the cross we not only leave behind our sin—our dirty rags-- we are also able to exchange our filthy rags for Jesus’ garment of righteousness! (Isaiah 64:6; Philippians 3:9) We go from being powerless against sin, to being able to live righteously and victoriously through the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in all who put their trust in Jesus! (Galatians 5:16) It took a long time for me to grasp all that Jesus’ death and resurrection purchased for me—and I’m sure I won’t have full understanding until I am joined with Him in Heaven. Below are some of the incredibly wonderful gifts I have because Jesus chose to die in my place, overcame death and the grave, and ascended into Heaven. All of them are also available to you if you are already a follower of Jesus, or, they can be if you choose to humble yourself, ask Him to forgive you of your sin, and choose to give Him your life and follow Him.

·    I am forgiven and set free from the guilt and shame of my sin! (Psalm 32:5; Acts 10:43-44; 1st John 1:9)

·    I have salvation in Christ! (Romans 10:10)

·    I have a new life! I am truly a ‘new creation’ because I have been ‘born again’ and Christ now lives in me! (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:19-20)

·    I am able to obey God, bear fruit that lasts, and live a life that is pleasing to Him! (John 15:1-17; Colossians 1:9-14; Galatians 5:16)

 ·    I have an advocate with the Father who lives to intercede for me, whose Name is Jesus! (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1)

·    I have the Holy Spirit who dwells within me and leads me into all truth, teaches me, helps and comforts me! (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16: 7,8,13; 1 Corinthians 2:10)

·    I am set free from worry, anxiety, and fear and able to experience the peace that surpasses all human understanding! (Isaiah 26:3; John 8:36; Philippians 4:6-8; 1 John 4:8)

·    I have power and strength and can do all things through Him! (Philippians 4:13)

·    I am able to abide in Christ, obey His Word, and thereby bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (John 15:4-10; Galatians 5:16; 22) 

·    I am no longer a slave to sin, but I am now set free to be a slave to righteousness. I know the Truth that sets me free from the lies of Satan; I am no longer ignorant of his schemes and deceitful ways and I can resist him and not succumb to his lies! (John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Romans 6:18; James 4:7)

·    I have a new family that is comprised of other believers from throughout history, and from throughout the world, from every tongue and tribe and nation! (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Revelation 5:9; 7:9)

·    I am a child of God, and as a child, an heir, and my inheritance is abundant life on earth and spending eternity with God, and with others who put their trust in His atoning work on their behalf, in Heaven! (John 3:16; 10:10; 28-29; 1 Peter 1:4

What about you? Do you realize all that is available to you because Jesus loved you so much that He died, rose from the dead, and now lives in you and intercedes for you? If you know you have been set free, are you walking in the freedom that Jesus purchased for you…that He gave His very life for you to have? Are you faithfully ‘going and telling’ others that they too can be set free from the shame and guilt of their sin? That they can have the power to live righteously before God because of the power of the Holy Spirit Who will reside in them if they choose to put their trust in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross on their behalf? Have you thanked Jesus today for choosing to go to the cross for you? And have you thanked the Father for His amazing love and His willingness to sacrifice His Beloved Son on your behalf?

*If you have not already committed your life to Christ, you can. He is longing to be in fellowship with you and for you to receive the love He has always had for you. He just asks you to ‘come to Him’. Simply humble yourself and tell Him that you are a sinner who needs a Savior. Acknowledge that He died the death you deserved to die when He took your place on the cross. Ask Him to come into your life and to live in you so that you can live a life that is pleasing to your Heavenly Father.  Please feel free to reach out and contact us at the link below if you would like some more information on how you can grow in your relationship as a follower of Jesus. https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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What Does Easter Mean to You?

Christmas and Easter mornings were the highlights of every year of my childhood. From December 26th on, I anticipated celebrating Easter and all that went along with the holiday: going shopping with my Mom and sister to buy a new and frilly dress to wear to church; coloring eggs that mysteriously appeared outside our house for my siblings and I to hunt on Easter morning; singing favorite hymns like “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”; sharing a special meal with all my in-town relatives following church; and capping off the day with a huge Easter egg hunt at my Grandparents’ house, which resulted in an Easter basket filled with a bounty of egg shaped candy that I feasted on for days. I knew that Easter was a celebration of Jesus being raised from the dead, but like most children— and I venture to say even many adults— my focus was more on the accoutrements of the holiday rather than on the true significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. My family and I always attended Good Friday services, where I faithfully remained somber during the sermonettes on Jesus’ last words from the cross. I remember thinking it peculiar that the day that Jesus died and suffered so much pain was labeled as ‘good.’ Now, with a much greater understanding of all that His death and resurrection accomplished, I consider it not just ‘good’ Friday, but GREAT Friday! Life giving, death-defying Friday!

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Jesus-Is-Risen

I realize that Jesus Christ came to earth for the express purpose of delivering me from the pain, suffering and eternal death that I deserve for my sin of rebellion against a Holy God. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and awe that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, chose to take on human flesh and died in my place on the cross! Yes, Christmas Day when we celebrate Christ’s birth is noteworthy, but Easter—or as I prefer ‘Resurrection Day’—is now ‘hands down’ my favorite holiday. It commemorates the day that Satan and death were defeated! It is the day that reminds me that ‘because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow’, and every tomorrow after that, no matter what! Death has lost its sting! It has been ‘swallowed up in victory’! (1st Corinthians 15:54-55) I no longer have to fear the death of my body and eternal damnation; I can embrace death when it comes as the doorway to seeing Jesus ‘face-to-face’ and spending eternity in His glorious Presence!

The ultimate significance of Easter is that what we believe about what happened on that day divides the world in two: those who believe that Jesus atoned for their sin on the cross and receive Him as their personal Savior and ‘Lord of their life’ and therefore will be resurrected to eternal life with Him, and those who reject Him as their personal Savior and Lord and therefore condemn themselves to being resurrected to eternal damnation.

What separates Jesus from every other so called god in the world is that He alone claimed to be God, and proved His claim by His perfectly obedient life…. and by His power to overcome death as evidenced by His resurrection from the dead! His tomb is empty! Jesus, ‘the Word Who became flesh’, is alive! (John1:14) His Words are just as alive today as when He walked on earth in the flesh, and they produce life in all who believe them. Jesus is alive; He is at the right hand of the Father; and He is praying for those who draw near to Him! (Acts 2:33; Hebrews 7:25)

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. “ John 11: 25

After making that claim, Jesus asked Martha, Lazarus’ sister, ‘Do you believe this?”

Imagine Him asking you that question right now. What would your response be to the One Who knows you best? Do you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God Who laid down His life as the perfect sacrifice, and thereby paid the penalty that your sin deserves? (Romans 6:23)

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, and His words and His life reflected and proved His claim to be true. If you claim to follow Jesus, do your words and actions support that claim? Would your family and friends say, “Wow! She’s a Christian!” or “Wow, she’s a Christian?!”Are you clinging to His words and closely following in the path that He has laid out before you and called you to walk in? Are you daily ‘denying yourself and picking up your cross’—in other words, putting aside your own selfish will and desires and living for the desires and will of God? (Luke 9:23)

Or, are you following Jesus from a distance…like Peter did when the authorities arrested Jesus? From a distance, it was easy for Peter to deny Jesus. Do not be deceived: from a distance, it will be easy for you to deny Jesus too. While they were in Jesus’ Presence and before the reality of the cross, all of the disciples had claimed that they would follow Him, even if it meant their death. (Matthew 26:35) However, their claim was proven to be false because their faith was proven to be weak. They all abandoned Him rather than follow Him to the cross. Why? Because their fear of man was greater than their belief in Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man. Because they saw Jesus as their friend—even the Messiah— who was supposed to conquer and rule the world, but they had not yet seen Him as their personal Savior Who had died in their place, conquered death, and Who longed to reign in their hearts.

However, following his death and resurrection they saw and knew Him as the ‘Risen Savior’, which solidified their faith in Him and simultaneously diminished their fear of man. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the Son of God and the fulfillment of God the Father’s promise to send a Messiah to His people. The same men who had feared man and death prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, would post-resurrection willingly lay down their lives for what they knew to be true and could not deny: the reality that Jesus is God, and the Way, the Truth and the Life! (John 14:6)

Do you know Jesus personally and experientially so that there is no doubt in your heart and mind that He is indeed God? Have you received the free gift of salvation and eternal life that He offers to all that humble themselves and believe that He paid the price for their sin and took on the death they deserve?

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3

If you do not know Him, you can! Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and to give you a heart that seeks after Him. If you ask, He will answer! (Matthew 7:7)

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8 “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29 "Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6

May God grant us all hearts that seek after Him, believe in Him, receive His love, follow Him, and obey His word, proving ourselves to be His disciples!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Tell the Truth: Do You Really Know Jesus?

There was a popular game show “To Tell the Truth” that aired from 1956-1968 in which three people stood before a celebrity panel and all claimed to be the same person who had accomplished something significant. The show began with a reading of the famous person’s credentials, after which each of the three people would claim they were that person by starting their statement with “I am…” and ending their statement with the name of the accomplished person. However, only one was telling the truth and the other two were imposters. The goal of the celebrity panel was to try to determine who was the truth teller and who were the imposters. Imposters throughout the ages have claimed to be the promised Messiah, and there will be others in the future who will also make that false claim. However, there is only one who claimed to be the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection proved He indeed was telling the truth. His name is Jesus. He alone fulfilled over 350 Old Testament prophesies.

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The following are reasons why Jesus came to earth, and He accomplished everything He was sent to do:

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1st John 3:8 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. “ John 3:17 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” 1st Timothy 1:15 “…so that by his death He (Jesus) might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—”Hebrews 2:14 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. “John 10: 17-18 "…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 “…that He (Jesus) might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18 Jesus, Who is Truth, made the following “I am” statements about Himself, and past and current disciples attest that they are indeed true of Him:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I encourage you to take the time to read the gospel of John, which is all about the person of Jesus. Knowing Him will change your life! (Philippians 3: 7-14) It is my hope that as you celebrate Easter this year that you will reflect upon all that Jesus accomplished; consider Who He is and all that you have because of Him; and realize that He is the only Way to experience abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?