Today is Sunday, the fourth of April, 2021. The first Sunday in the season of Easter.
Peace be with you!
46 days until our next trip to Glen Rose
Today, commonly known as Easter Sunday, is Resurrection Sunday, for that is what we celebrate on Easter. It’s not really about chocolate bunnies or even Cadbury eggs (which I did not buy yesterday, but I wanted to). It is about life; it is about new beginnings.
And, as a new beginning of sorts, the church that meets at Brandon and Kristin’s house will be meeting in person, with precautions in place, again, beginning today. It will be wonderful to take the Supper together again, which is the part I’m most looking forward to.
Speaking of that, C and I will need to stop by a store on the way in and grab some supplies for the Supper.
Yesterday was a pretty good day. I registered a 2.4 pound loss at the WW Workshop, which surprised the heck out of me! I was not expecting that. I thought I might lose a pound, maybe. So April is off to a good start, as I’m looking at being under 200 (they call it “Onederland”) by the end of this year. I would like to say that I want to be at goal by year’s end, but that is still 61.8 pounds away. I would have to average a loss of 2 pounds a week for the rest of the year to make that. However, I only need to lose 26 pounds to be under 200.
We also got S’s bed put together, yesterday afternoon, which, as promised, required no tools. Well, we did have to use scissors to cut some zip ties, but that was it. All we had to do was unfold the bed frame, insert the screw-on legs, flip the frame over, and plug it in. It’s one of those that raises and lowers, and it even vibrates! C and I may have to get one of those for ourselves! Hahaha!
Today, after our church gathering, we will have our traditional Applebee’s Sunday lunch. We plan to have steaks and corn on the cob (cooked sous vide) for dinner tonight.
The Texas Rangers continue to under-impress, as they lost big to the Royals again, yesterday, 11-4. This is causing some grave concern over pitching, already. The starting pitcher, Kohei Arihara, did not get the loss, as he was ahead when he left the game after five innings. The losing pitcher was Josh Sborz. Winning for KC was former Rangers pitcher Mike Minor. Why did they let him go?
One positive note is that Joey Gallo showed his formidable prowess as he clubbed a 450 ft home run, early in the game, to put the Rangers ahead 2-0.
The two teams will play again to day at 1:10 PM CDT, in KC, with Jordan Lyles taking the mound for Texas.
The Red Sox lost again to the Orioles, so both of my favorite teams are 0-2 on the season.
In the AL, we still have Baltimore, Detroit, KC, and Houston, as undefeated teams. In the NL, Philadelphia and San Diego remain undefeated. Boston, Cleveland, Texas, Oakland, Atlanta, and Arizona have yet to win a game. Washington and NY Mets have not played a game, yet, due to Covid. The entire NL Central division is tied at 1-1.
And that’s it for the norts spews.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
(Matthew 28:5-6 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
- for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
- that today, I will get to celebrate with brothers and sisters, in person
- that this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
- for the admonition to allow You to touch parts of my life that remain in darkness
- for the writings of Marci Alborghetti in Daily Guideposts 2021
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
The Easter season will go for fifty days and culminate in Pentecost Sunday. Throughout this season, we will “let the implications of the resurrection sink in deeper, inviting us to realign our worldview and conform our living to the reality that we have been raised with Christ to new life.”
The Easter season also includes the Ascension, which is called, in the book, the “wallflower Christian holiday.”
EASTER – DAY 1
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
(1 Peter 1:3 NIV)
I pause for a quiet moment to reflect on the new birth in Jesus Christ.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 NIV)
Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
(Psalms 118:15-18 NIV)
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
(Psalms 118:22-24 NIV)
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:1-10 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I enjoy the presence of the Lord, this morning (and I truly am), I take another look at these passages, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me, drawing me in more deeply.
It is definitely inspiring to read Psalm 118 in the context of the resurrection. “The LORD’s right hand has done might things! The LORD”s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” Jesus was, indeed, chastened severely, for the sins of mankind were placed on His shoulders. And while He died, it was only briefly, so it could truly be said that He was not “given over” to death.
Jesus, that stone that the “builders” (Pharisees and religious leaders) rejected, is now the chief cornerstone. “The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” And, as other translations say, “This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (118:24 ESV)
I have a slightly humorous visual of the angel sitting on the stone. Matthew says that the angel came down, “rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Perhaps I have never noticed that little phrase before. I can see the angel, bright as lightning, dressed in white, sitting atop the stone, kicking his feet back and forth, just waiting for Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to arrive. Maybe even a big grin on his face.
And here, I believe, is a very important point. Why did the angel roll back the stone? It was most certainly not to let Jesus out! Jesus was already out! We already know, from passages that we will, no doubt, read in the coming days, that the resurrected Jesus had the ability to appear in the middle of a locked room. Therefore, He did not need the stone to be removed in order to escape the tomb.
The stone was rolled away for the benefit of Mary and Mary, and of Peter and John, who will arrive a little bit later. It was rolled away so that we could see the empty tomb.
“He is not here; he has risen.”
Perhaps the seven most beautiful words ever spoken!
Father, I praise You for this day, which You have made! I will rejoice and be glad in it! Thank You for the cross; thank You for the resurrection! Thank You for those seven words, which changed the world forever. Thank You for washing away, erasing, my sin forever. I confess my inadequacy, my unworthiness, my seeming inability to stop sinning, even in the light of such glorious truth. Strengthen me, Lord, keep reaching me and teaching me and enabling me to live righteously through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let today be another “new beginning” for me.
Risen Jesus, no one saw it coming, but your march out of the tomb has changed everything. This day leaves me breathless in wonder - death is conquered, hope lives, love wins, salvation is here! Give me profound delight as I enjoy your resurrection life and deep devotion as I follow your resurrection way. Christ is risen, hallelujah! Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 45)
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 3:20-21 NIV)
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’”
(Luke 24:45-47 NLT)
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.”
(Luke 1:68-75 NLT)
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
(Luke 2:25-35 NIV)
“Jesus, Lord, live in my always, so that someday I may rise to You.” (Marci Alborghetti, Daily Guideposts 2021)
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
(Hosea 10:12 NIV)
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
(Matthew 13:23 NIV)
My Father, as I celebrate this joyful morning, I also acknowledge that there are parts of my life that, while they may not be “untouched” by You, are most certainly kept behind a curtain, so to speak. I have already asked for today to be a sort of “new beginning,” and I reiterate that, now. Tear open those curtains that “hide” (I am fully aware that I can hide nothing from You) the darker parts of my life. Plow my “unplowed ground,” and sew the seeds of righteousness in it. Let there be a harvest, Father, a “crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” All glory to You, Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit!
Lord, grant us all fellowship with our risen Savior, this morning! May Your presence be felt in every congregation and every household that is celebrating this day! Give us spiritual renewal and refreshment today. May Your Holy Spirit fill us to overflowing!
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.