Fear Has Lost

I was reading through the text of the resurrection as found in Matthew today, when something pop out at me.

By the way, people will sometimes ask me, how do I know when God is speaking to me in scripture? How do I know what God is trying to say? What should I look for? What should I listen for?

One of the things I tell them is this. When you are reading, pay attention to what pops out at you. What word, through, concepts sticks out to you. What grabs your attention.

Focus on that. Focus on that word, phrase or concept. Listen to what God may want to say to you in that. Ponder that word, phrase, or concept. Let it roll around in your mind for a second.

Listen in that.

For me, that’s one of the ways that God speaks to me in scripture.

Today, in reading Matthew 28: 5-10  that happened to me. Listen to what happens here. See if you noticed what I noticed, or see if you notice something different:

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

do-not-be-afraidWhat popped out at me was this. In this passage, a command is given twice. Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not be afraid.

In the light of the resurrection, this is so important for to hear and to know.

We have nothing to fear.

Death – defeated.

Sin – defeated.

The chains of sin – broken.

The power of the devil – defeated.

All that we can fear has been defeated. All that could stop us is done away with. That was the message of the angels. That was the message of Jesus.

And that’s a message for us today. No matter what you are facing today, do not fear. Do not be afraid. Do not given into that fear.

Jesus Christ is alive! Sin, death, and the grave are defeated! Life has won. Faith has won.

Fear has lost.

Today, don’t be a afraid.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Easter 2011 Podcast – An Easter World

The sermon podcast for Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011 is up on Asbury Church’s website. It’s entitled “An Easter World” and the text is John 20: 1-18.  Also, as a special treat, a skit/song performed by Nicolete Hopper and Holly Stoddard is attached at the end of the sermon.  You can listen to it by clicking here, or you can listen to it here on this blog by clicking below. And, as always, you can subscribe to my sermon podcasts through iTunes.

Easter is Over, Right?

Since my granny passed away in 1998, my mama has always been the one that has been the cook for the big family meals. She cooks at Christmas, she cooks at Thanksgiving, she cooks at Easter.

Everyone comes over to her house and eats, talks, and just hangs out.

It’s a great time, and everyone loves it.

But, there’s a part of my mama, a part of anyone that’s ever hosted something big, that just says, man, I’m glad that’s over!  I’m glad the work, the effort was successful, but I’m just glad that’s over!

Yesterday was Easter. It is THE day for Christians. It’s what it is all about it.  It’s why we worship on Sundays instead of Saturdays.  It is the point of our faith for Christians.

But, now it’s over. And we don’t worry about it again for another year, right?  The baskets are hung, the eggs are put up, and now we are done with Easter.

Easter is over, right?

No. It is not. Easter is not a day. Easter is who we are.  As I talked about yesterday in my sermon at Asbury, we are an Easter people.  We are a people of light and of victory and or Resurrection. Easter changed everything. Sin, death, and the grave no longer hold any power over us.  He is risen, and we rise with Him.

And, when we realize that Easter is not just a one day thing, but a way of life, we see Easter everywhere.

Listen to what Jonah said today in Jonah 2:

I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!

That’s Easter!

That’s resurrection! That’s life! God is a God that is always bringing forth life. He brought His Son back to life at Easter. He restored Jonah in the passage.  He is breathing new life into broken souls all over the world today.

Easter is not over.

Easter is a way of life.  We are an Easter people.  We live a new life. We will not be defeated by sin, death, and the grave.  He is victorious. And we are alive.

Yesterday was Easter, yes. But it’s not over.  He is alive.  And so are we.