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The Tomb Was Empty - Easter Devotional - April 12

By Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

He is not here; He has risen! (Luke 24:6, NIV).

Friend to Friend

The boys and girls in Mrs. Stephens’ fourth grade Sunday school class entered the room and quickly found their seats. The girls were dressed in frills and lace and chatting excitedly about the candy-filled baskets they had received that morning. The boys pulled at the unfamiliar ties around their necks and quickly discarded the sports coats they had obviously been forced to wear. The room was filled with excitement – for good reason. It was Easter Sunday.

Mrs. Stephens wanted to help her students understand that there is so much more to the Easter holiday than new clothes, chocolate bunnies, and egg hunts. Easter is more than family gatherings and tables filled with luscious food. Easter is about life.

Easter celebrates the certainty of Jesus’ death on the cross, the fact that He was buried, and that He came out of a burial tomb to conquer death so that we can live now and eternally.

Mrs. Stephens came up with a plan. After sharing the Bible story of Jesus’ resurrection, she gave each one of her students an empty plastic egg and said, “We are going to take a walk outside, and I want each one of you to find one sign of life and put it in your plastic egg.”

As the children filed out of the room, Mrs. Stephens noticed Danny, a little boy with Down syndrome who had been coming to her class for some time.

His bright smile and sunny disposition had immediately won her heart. In fact, when it came to Danny, she often thought he had taught her so much more about the unconditional love of God and the joy of simply being a child of God than she could ever teach him.

When she heard the other children make fun of him, it broke her heart. She always corrected the children and tried to help them see just how special Danny was, but Danny seemed oblivious to their hurtful words, and thought of each child as his “buddy.”

The children soon returned from their walk, depositing their eggs on the teacher’s desk as they made their way to their seats. Inside one student's egg was a lady bug. In another was an ant.

Others had collected flowers, twigs, blades of grass and leaves to fill their eggs. But one egg had nothing in it.

Everyone knew whose egg it was. Mrs. Stephens silenced the giggles with a look of warning. When she asked Danny why he had not put anything inside his egg to show signs of life, his face broke into a huge grin as he responded, "Because the tomb was empty."

Danny got it. He truly understood the profound truth of Easter. The empty tomb is the ultimate sign of life and a miracle like none other.

Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. The women knew Jesus was dead. Some of them had seen Him die. And they were sure His body was in the tomb; it had been there since Friday.

But when they went to anoint the body on that Sunday morning, the tomb was empty! The body could not have been stolen. Nobody was playing tricks on them. They were not merely fooling themselves. The miracle was real. They could see the empty tomb with their own eyes. Jesus Christ really had risen from the dead!

I would love to have been there that morning when the women went to the tomb – expecting to deal with death and instead found life, wouldn’t you? You may be dealing with death in your own life – the loss of a loved one – the death of a dream – the pain of a broken body. Just as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He can breathe new life into your heart and mind. Right now, quietly turn to Jesus. He is waiting for you – healing and restoration and new life are in His hands.

Let’s Pray

Father, Thank You for the miracle of life – abundant life here, and eternal life with You in Heaven. Help me celebrate that life every day as I seek You and follow Your plan for my life. Today, I say with the Apostle Paul, “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Consider this truth: Satan has no answer for the empty tomb. What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ really mean to you?

Set aside time today to remember what Christ has done for you through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Read Luke 24 and celebrate the life only He can give.

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The Resurrection - Easter Devotional - April 9

FROM THE FATHER'S HEART

My child, you've walked away from the funerals of your loved ones with fresh memories still clinging to you like grave clothes. Tears have filled your eyes as you've said good-bye to the last dreams of your heart.

Remember, for those who love Me and are My children, death is but a step into eternity with Me. It is never the end but the start of forever - what you were created for! Take heart. I am the resurrection and the life. Where I am, you will be also. Find peace in Me.

A GRATEFUL RESPONSE

Lord, death could not hold You. And because of You, the resurrection, we, too, can live. Thank You that the grave is only a journey into the presence of God. You have removed the sting of death and empowered this thing called life. Now I will live in Your presence forever.

SIMPLE TRUTH

On the other side of death is the real side of life.

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What Easter Is Really About - Easter Devotional - April 7

By Greg Laurie

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 nkjv).

Easter is not about eggs and wearing pastel colors. That’s all fine, but that isn’t what Easter is about. It’s about Jesus wanting a relationship with you.

Jesus was born to die—and to rise again. That was the reason for the Incarnation. On the cross, Jesus faced the judgment of God. He took the wrath of God upon Himself.

It’s why He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

He was bearing all the sin of the world, including your sins and mine, by dying in our place. That is why He came.

Jesus talked about it all the time. He was on a mission to go to the cross of Calvary. His life was not taken from Him; He willingly gave it up for us.

Nails did not hold Jesus to that cross. Love did—love for you and love for me. He died for us.
So how do you come into a relationship with Him?

First, you have to admit that you’re a sinner. Some of us choke on that word, but we have to admit that we’ve broken God’s commandments. If you’ve broken even one commandment, then you have sinned.

We’ve all done that many times over, because the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 nkjv).

You need to realize that Jesus died on the cross for you. And then you need to repent of your sin, which means a change of direction. It means turning away from it. Next, you must receive Christ into your life. You must ask Jesus to be your Savior and your Lord.

No one else can do this for you. This is a decision you make. And eternity hinges on this decision.

Copyright © 2020 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

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Palm Sunday - Easter Devotional - April 5

Luke 19:28-44

Hindsight is always 20/20. Yet while we are in a particular situation, we tend to make things out to be what theyaren’t and infer wrong meanings. We kick ourselves, thinking, If only I had known then what I know now!

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem must have been one of those moments for His disciples. It had appeared to be such a wonderful day for them—and it was, but for different reasons than they realized. They thought the Messiah had come to reestablish Israel’s power in the world. But God had something else in mind.

The disciples weren’t the only ones who had misconceptions about the Messiah. Many Jews of the day expected Him to be an earthly king. When the crowds heard Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they cheered, “Hosanna! ” which means, “Save now!”

They saw Him as their new King, come to bring salvation from political and societal oppression. He raised the dead—no doubt he could also restore the kingdom of David and free them from Roman rule.

Seated upon a donkey, Jesus resembled a ruler returning to his city in peacetime, loyal subjects lining his path with coats and palm fronds. Even the Pharisees were there watching in indignation, saying, “Look, the world has gone after Him” (John 12:19).

This week, think back to those times when circumstances looked one way but turned out to be something else entirely. Remember when you realized God was different than you imagined and saw His will unfold in surprising ways. Look for an opportunity to share your insight with a friend or loved one.

Devotion from Dr. Charles Stanley

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Waiting for Resurrection - Easter Devotional - April 3

And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre (Matthew 27:61).

How strangely stupid is grief. It neither learns nor knows nor wishes to learn or know. When the sorrowing sisters sat over against the door of God's sepulchre, did they see the two thousand years that have passed triumphing away? Did they see any thing but this: "Our Christ is gone!"

Your Christ and my Christ came from their loss; Myriad mourning hearts have had resurrection in the midst of their grief; and yet the sorrowing watchers looked at the seed-form of this result, and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was the very preparation for coronation; for Christ was silent that He might live again in tenfold power.

They saw it not. They mourned, they wept, and went away, and came again, driven by their hearts to the sepulchre. Still it was a sepulchre, unprophetic, voiceless, lusterless.

So with us. Every man sits over against the sepulchre in his garden, in the first instance, and says, "This woe is irremediable. I see no benefit in it. I will take no comfort in it." And yet, right in our deepest and worst mishaps, often, our Christ is lying, waiting for resurrection.

Where our death seems to be, there our Saviour is. Where the end of hope is, there is the brightest beginning of fruition. Where the darkness is thickest, there the bright beaming light that never is set is about to emerge. When the whole experience is consummated, then we find that a garden is not disfigured by a sepulchre. Our joys are made better if there be sorrow in the midst of them.

And our sorrows are made bright by the joys that God has planted around about them. The flowers may not be pleasing to us, they may not be such as we are fond of plucking, but they are heart-flowers, love, hope, faith, joy, peace--these are flowers which are planted around about every grave that is sunk in the Christian heart.

'Twas by a path of sorrows drear
Christ entered into rest;
And shall I look for roses here,
Or think that earth is blessed?
Heaven's whitest lilies blow
From earth's sharp crown of woe.
Who here his cross can meekly bear,
Shall wear the kingly purple there.

Devotion by Streams in the Desert

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Resurrected - Easter Devotional - April 1

by Sarah Phillips

I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalms 118:17-23

Most of you will celebrate the Lord's resurrection this month. For many, it will be a glorious day of rejoicing in the miraculous, a day where you reflect not only on the event 2,000 years ago, but on the resurrections in your own life. The day you accepted Christ. The day a long-awaited prayer was answered. The day sickness was healed or sorrow wiped away.

For others, Easter will only serve as a reminder of your cross. You'll feel like you got left at Good Friday, weeping, while the rest of the world moves on to Easter Sunday. You wish you could celebrate, but you don't know how. You may even apologize to God for your somberness.

You're not alone, I assure you.

In the past few months I've watched several Good Fridays and Easters play out in the lives of those around me. Engagements and babies ushered in cries of rejoicing and praises to God. Yet, cancer, infidelity, and financial hardship occurred uncomfortably close to these joyful events.

Most of life is like this. Happiness, unmixed, is not easy to come by.

So how do we deal with this reality? How do we deal with Good Friday and Easter coexisting?

I think we start with recognizing that the first Easter, the real Easter, was not just one event in time that occurred long ago. Christ's resurrection spanned the ages and has eternal consequences.

It applies to you and me today just as much as it did to Christ's followers on Easter morning. It also applies to the future. Our hope, no matter where we may be today, is in the transforming truth of Easter.

Second, I think we need to remember that true faith in God does not rely on our emotions. If you cry on Easter morning because life has been wearing you down, God still accepts you. In fact, he died and rose for you so that he could more closely walk with you through these hard times. He knows, more than anyone, the heaviness of the cross.

Third, I think we need to remember that as awe-struck as Christ's first followers felt after his resurrection, they still didn't know what it fully meant… for humanity or for their personal lives. While the resurrection brought their beloved Rabbi back to them, he was different now. The resurrection simultaneously healed some wounds while opening a new can of questions, insecurities, fears, and even pain - at least temporarily.

Ultimately, all Good Fridays will lead to joyful Easter mornings if we cling to Christ. Whether you are in a season of hardship, rejoicing, or a mix of both, the key is to keep walking in faith one step at a time. Only the risen Christ can guide us through the foggy path of life. And when our final Easter morning arrives, we'll finally see with clarity that the journey was worth it.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Reflect on the "little resurrections" in your life - the times God answered a prayer in a very tangible way, the blessings in your life, and the miracles you've witnessed. All these serve as reminders of the great work God will continue to do in your life.

Further Reading

Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
Matthew 28:8-15

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The Satisfaction of the Cross - Easter Devotional - March 30

By Rachel Olsen

"When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied."Isaiah 53:11 (NLT)

Devotion:

Approximately 600 years before Jesus was condemned to the cross, the prophet Isaiah foretold of the event. Open up and invite those words to penetrate your soul today:

"See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. Many were amazed when they saw him beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person.

And he will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.

Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord's presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!

All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins that he was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave.

But it was the Lord's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord's plan will prosper in his hands.

When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.

I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners." Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 (NLT)

Approximately 2,000 years after Jesus hung on the cross, the passion of our Christ is still the power of God unto salvation. His suffering accomplished righteousness for us, and through it, both He and we are satisfied.

Dear Lord, may I realize afresh today what Your death and resurrection mean for me. Forgiveness … Freedom … and the ability to walk with You through this fallen world into eternity. May I always find my satisfaction in You and Your willingness to offer Yourself to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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The Ultimate Lifesaver - Easter Devotional - March 29

by Jim Liebelt

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13

An article in Reader’s Digest described the actions of Dave Shoemaker, captain of the 180-foot fishing vessel, “Galaxy,” somewhere off Alaska’s St. Paul Island.

The article read, “When a disastrous engine fire wreaked havoc for the Galaxy and its crew, Captain Shoemaker bravely walked through the smoke and flames with no protection but a bandanna around his mouth to radio for help.

Shoemaker continued to put the lives of his crew first and worked to help them to safety despite incurring three broken ribs, extensive burns to his skin and the increasing chance of going down with the ship.

Like a true captain, he made certain he was the last of the crew to be rescued by the Coast Guard, who arrived thanks to his initial Mayday call.

The Galaxy was completely lost, but thanks in great part to Shoemaker's courage under fire, 21 of the 25 crew members survived.” Captain Shoemaker, a modern day hero, put his own life on the line in order to save the life of his crewmembers.

Let’s reflect on our ultimate lifesaver, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Remember that he willingly suffered, bled and died—taking our own sin and shame on Himself as He hung on a cross— that we might be saved from an eternity of separation from God.

In his resurrection from the grave, Jesus broke the power of sin and death—and guaranteed rescue—to anyone who believes in Him. He is our most shining example of heroism in action.

Yet, the story doesn’t end here. We, in fact, are destined to become part of the story. For Jesus calls all of us who have experienced His rescue to become part of his rescue team—to act heroically, willingly putting our lives on the line—in order to help rescue others.

“Snatch others from the fire and save them,” is how the New Testament book of Jude puts it. It’s a simple act of gratitude for we who have been given a lifeline, to share a lifeline with someone else.

Today, offer a prayer of thanks to Jesus, our ultimate lifesaver and consider someone around you with whom you can share your own Easter story of rescue. You never know. In doing so, you just might “snatch someone from the fire.”

GOING DEEPER:

1. Who had the courage to share the news of Jesus' resurrection with you? Pray and thank God for using this person in your life. If possible, thank them personally for being willing to be used by God in your life.

2. In your circle of relationships, who might benefit from hearing your story of God’s rescue in your life? Will you commit to sharing your story with this person in the coming week?

FURTHER READING:

John 10:11-18; Luke 9:23-26; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Devotional by HomeWord.com.


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Our Ultimate Hooray, Easter Devotions, March 28

by Charles R. Swindoll

Scripture Reading Today: John chapter 11

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave? What is the ultimate hope of the handicapped, the abused, the burn victim? What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives—more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right," and "Thank God, all this will change," and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day" where, as John promised in the Revelation, "He shall wipe away every tear... there shall no longer be any death... any mourning or crying or pain... there shall no longer be any curse... any night... because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever" (21:4; 22:3, 5). Hooray for such wondrous hope!

Just imagine... those who are physically disabled today will one day leap in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the very first face they will see will be the One who gives them sight!

There's nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits of the heavyhearted. But how can we know for sure, some may ask. What gives us such assurance, such unshakable confidence? Those questions have the same answer:the fact of Christ's resurrection.

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise! No wonder we get so excited every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we smile and sing and celebrate His miraculous resurrection from the grave!

Jesus Himself promised: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).

Easter is a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony and our ultimate hooray of ecstasy.

Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll

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New Blood, New Covenant, Easter Devotions, March 27, 2020

By Skip Heitzig

Several years ago, I got a birthday card that had a little speaker attached to it, and when I opened it, it chirped out a song. It was sweet, but I eventually threw it away. Get this, though: when I did that, I threw away more computer power than what existed on earth before the year 1950. Isn't that amazing? Technology is great, but it moves so quickly. You're never quite there.

If you look at the Scriptures of the Old Testament, you have an incomplete system. Yes, God could be accessed through the shedding of blood, but it was never quite enough, because sin was just covered over temporarily. It was like old spiritual technology. In Jeremiah 31, God said,

"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…. I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts" (vv. 31, 33). He anticipated that the old covenant would pass away and something new would come, because it was needed.

With this being the period leading up to Easter, I want to take a look at the days, hours, and moments before the crucifixion of Christ—specifically, the Passover. The Jews already saw this night as a special night, but this time, the lamb that the Old Testament anticipated would be a Lamb that would once for all take away the sins of the world, and that would be Christ.

Jesus and His disciples gathered together for the Passover supper, and Matthew 26 tells us,

"As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body.' Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins'" (vv. 26-28).

In the Passover supper, also known as the seder, there is an order to the service of the meal. It basically revolves around four glasses of wine that are raised for commemoration purposes, all speaking of the Jews' history.

The first is the cup of blessing: the host welcomes his guests and offers the blessing in Hebrew: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who gives us the fruit of the vine." Then the cup is taken among all of them.

Second is the cup of judgment. The host tells the history of the exodus and the judgment of God upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Then the host breaks bread and dips it in bitter herbs, speaking of the bitter bondage of the past, and in a paste that speaks of the mortar made by the slaves. Then the second cup is taken.

After the meal is eaten, the cup of redemption is raised. And it was this third cup that Jesus raised and said, "This is the cup of My blood, a new covenant that I'm making." At the very end of the meal is the fourth cup, the cup of praise, and a hymn is sung (see v. 30). The Jewish people have done this all throughout their history, at every Passover meal around the world, for thousands of years.

But now Jesus Christ was transforming an ancient meal to have a different meaning. No longer did the Passover speak of the temporary, physical bondage of Egypt being broken, but the permanent spiritual deliverance from sin through Jesus Christ's blood and broken body.

This Easter, I want you to remember that you and I were once marked for death. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

But because of the blood of Christ, because of the cross, God has passed over your life, over the execution of judgment, because all that judgment was taken by Jesus Himself. What a marvelous, marvelous truth! Rejoice in that today.

By Connection Communications.

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Oops look above for todays devotion

Edited by: JUDITH316 at: 3/27/2020 (15:57)
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Forgiveness is so powerful. Just as in the lords prayer Forgive us OUR trespasses as we forgive THOSE who trespass against us. I am under spiritual attack daily and continually am reminded love him anyway and accept him where he’s at. Forgive the verbal abuse he is scared, fearful, lonely and forgive .

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Easter Words of Forgiveness - Easter Devotional for March 26

Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." --Luke 23:34

As we all know, words are powerful… especially dying words. And as we near Easter Sunday, it's important that each of us remembers just exactly what Jesus had to say right before His earthly life ended.

One of the last things Jesus said while hanging from the cross were words of forgiveness.

Today I want to ask you, if Christ could pray a prayer of forgiveness for those who were putting Him to death, can you pray a prayer of forgiveness for those in your life who mistreat you?

Despite what you may be going through today, can you look past your own "junk" and extend forgiveness to others?

Jesus' dying words on the cross are a powerful example of how you and I ought to treat those who mistreat us. Are you willing to follow His perfect example in every area of your life today?

Will you extend forgiveness to those who don't deserve it?

I challenge you to pick up your cross today… and live out the life of forgiveness Christ has given you!

CAN YOU FOLLOW CHRIST'S EXAMPLE AND FORGIVE THOSE WHO MISTREAT YOU?

From PowerPoint Ministries and Dr. Jack Graham

Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
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