Happy New Year! Thought it would be a good idea to get 2016 off and running finally with my first blog of the year. How is this year going to be different from the last one? It seems like every January, we all set the same goals, most of them unrealistic, and by February we are feeling bad while tucking in to a pie or bar of chocolate that we had vowed to give up at least until Easter. Last year, we got one day into our fast when our year got lives got flipped on its head with Emma having her first of two back surgeries a year ago yesterday. A lot can happen in a year.
So far, this year is different in that we have had to make zero hospital visits, and long may that continue. For me, I have begun this year with one simple goal: To give God my best. I don’t want to be giving Him my second thoughts, or rushing to read a verse before going to bed at night, but I choose this year to give God my best. I felt like God was challenging me on this about a month ago, and so this is my response to that challenge: to begin each day with devoted time to Him, on my own but also with Emma. I am choosing this year to, if need be, get up earlier just so I can have time with God. Sounds simple, but life can get crazy busy some times, and if we don’t set standards within our lives from the outset, then we will simply meander through life without much direction and without much connection with God.
So, may 2016 be the year for you, the year where long awaited hopes and dreams become fulfilled, where relationships are renewed and where you enter into a more full and real relationship with God. When we put down our busyness and make time to give God our best, everything else will come into alignment. God is speaking to us, always, but it’s up to us to make the time to listen out for His voice.
I love Easter time, not only is it encouraged that we eat chocolate but we get to remember and celebrate all that Jesus accomplished on the cross. The enemy has been defeated, death couldn’t hold us down, we have been given the free gift of life.
What is amazing about this time of year and what Jesus did, is that He did this for us while we were still sinners, while we were still separated from God. It’s amazing because it means that we can come to Him, just as we are, without having to try and clean ourselves up beforehand. It’s such a shame when we hear of stories where people feel they cannot come into church until they have sorted themselves out, that was never meant to be the case. Come, just as you are. When we think we need to do it by ourselves, we are denying what Jesus did on the cross, we are rejecting what He has already done for us.
It was more painful for God to have us separated from Him than it was for Him to watch Jesus die on the cross, such is His love for us.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing, not even death. I was thinking last night about how sad it is when we lose loved ones, and how painful a time that can be. As I was thinking this, I felt God say to me “We defeated death, remember? The pain and sadness you feel when you lose a loved one today is only temporary, what Jesus accomplished is for eternity.”
It’s always at this time of year when I realize just how much God really loves us, no matter how much time I spend thinking about this, I still cannot quite grasp this. The pain and anguish heaven must have gone through as Jesus died slowly on the cross must have been awful, and yet that wasn’t as painful for God as is was to watch us living apart from Him.
We get to live our lives from His love, not for it. We cannot earn it, we cannot buy it, we get to just accept it, embrace it, live from it.
This Easter, let us remind ourselves of all that Jesus accomplished on the cross, this is the main event, this is true love, this is the gospel. We have been given a free gift, what will we do with it? Will we keep it hidden, even deny it, or will we pass it on to those around us who are yet to realize this in their own lives? Let’s help Jesus get His full reward, let’s expand the Kingdom this week by letting others know the true meaning to Easter, let’s live out our lives free from bondage, free from anxiety, because if Jesus really did all that the Bible says He did, then what have we got to fear?