Easter 2021: Reflections On God’s Love

What do you think of when Easter comes around?

The world has ways of celebrating it with Easter bunnies, egg hunts, and chocolate.

And though chocolate is good, that’s not the point of Easter. 

The point of Easter is celebration, thanksgiving, and praise to God for Jesus.

John 3:16, one of my favorite verses and essentially the Gospel in a nutshell, says:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

In this article I’d like to focus on that word ‘loved’ and help remind you of what Easter really means.

God First Loved Us

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10

From the very beginning, we have been choosing other things over God. We have always been this way– thinking we know best and taking matters into our own hands.

And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and the people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 3:19

We chose the darkness. Sometimes, we still choose the darkness.

But God… He first loved us. He first chose us.

God’s Love Was Planned

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth, prophets spoke of Him. They prophesied everything from where He would be born to what He would do. 

God knew we would fail. He knew we wouldn’t ever be able to be enough on our own. He knew we would make mistakes again and again. 

That’s also why He sent the ultimate sacrifice.

God Sent His Son

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.

Romans 5:7-8

We’re a mess.

We choose darkness over light.

We choose sin over righteousness. 

We choose earthly desires over God.

And yet, God loved us so, so much He sent His son to die for us. And though we still make mistakes and still choose those things over God sometimes, He still loves us and the hope we have still stands.

Jesus’s death shouldn’t be taken for granted either, nor should the things he went through before His death.

Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, mocked, beaten, accused of sins He never committed, sentenced to death, had nails driven into His hands and feet, hung on a cross, and died. 

He knew this had to happen, but that didn’t make it any easier. While He was praying before his arrest, Luke says:

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:44

He knew what was coming, and though it would be hard, He said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

He didn’t run or fight back or return to heaven, rather, He knew what God’s will was and went silently to fulfill it.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

God’s Love Will Never Let You Go

Our lives can change in an instant.

Our lives can end in an instant.

But we have an amazing, imperishable, everlasting, great hope.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

That love God showed us when He sent Jesus to die for us will never leave us. Even if we lose everything– God is still there, and He loves you.

This Easter

This Easter, remember how God showed His love for you. Remember what Jesus did. And don’t just dismiss it– pray, praise, and reflect. This holiday and event in history is one of the most important parts of our faith. It’s why we don’t have to worry about being perfect. It’s why we’re okay to stumble. It’s why we have this confidence in life.

Because we know, no matter what, Jesus has saved us. 

Since, therefore, we have 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.

Romans 5:9-11

Let us rejoice this Easter.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this article! I hope it was encouraging or helped you in some way. Let me know if there’s any way I can serve you as we near Easter Sunday; even though we have Jesus as our hope, life can still be hard. If you need a prayer or words of encouragement, don’t hesitate to email me at live2thelord@gmail.com or through the Contact page on this blog.

Have a blessed day and wonderful Easter,

~Caroline

P.S. Here’s A Song

Here’s a song I’ve been listening to recently that especially fits this Easter article:

Thank You Jesus for the Cross – Life Worship

The Resurrection: He Is Risen!

Welcome back, friend! It was Good Friday just a couple of days ago, and you can see my post about it here if you missed it. Now it’s Easter Sunday, which doesn’t  just mean Easter egg hunts and chocolate (though chocolate is good); it means a day of celebration! Let’s talk about it.

Picking Up Where We Left Off

On Friday, I left you with the message of the crucifixion and how Jesus died for you. I tried to explain in a way that would move your heart, and I hope it did, but the story isn’t over yet. 

First off, read John 20:1-29. Then reflect and pray about it for a few minutes. When you’ve done that, come back here.

Jesus Is Risen!

As you hopefully just read, Jesus rose from the grave! He not only saved you by living a sinless life and dying for you; he also didn’t stay dead. He defeated sin and death so that we could be with Him!

Imagine Mary coming to that tomb, crying when she realized Jesus’s body wasn’t there, and then seeing angels.

When the angels inform Mary that Jesus isn’t there, she turns and sees who she supposes is the gardener. But when Jesus says her name, she recognizes Him and runs to Him. 

Do we run to Jesus in tears as Mary did? Do we realize the true meaning of what happened? Jesus, the person everybody thought was dead, the person so many people were devoted to, was alive! And to prove His life, He appeared to His disciples and many other people. We should run to Him in joy and thankfulness, He saved us from eternal separation from God!

Doubting Thomas

When Jesus first appeared to the disciples, Thomas wasn’t present (verse 24). Later, the disciples told him what happened and Thomas didn’t believe them. It was a crazy story– Jesus back from the dead?

When Jesus appears to Thomas later, He shows His scars on His hands and on His side. He lets Thomas touch Him to see that He isn’t a ghost. 

In verse 29, Jesus points out that Thomas believed because he saw that Jesus was alive, and He says:

Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

John 20:29

Seeing And Believing

We can’t see Jesus in the flesh as Thomas did, but we have many eyewitness accounts in the Bible. In the Gospels, we see Jesus’s story, told in different styles and in different ways, but all pointing to Jesus. 

We can trust the whole Bible and what it says, and that’s what makes it so important and precious.

The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses that report supernatural events that happened in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim that their writings are Divine in origin.

Voddie Baucham

Voddie Baucham lays it all out in this video here.

We may not be able to touch and see Jesus as Thomas did, but we have everything we need to believe. 

Praise The Lord

Today marks a very special day, a day of celebration. We should be so happy and grateful that Jesus saved us and that He is alive! I encourage you to spend a few minutes praying and praising God today. 

Here are a few worship songs to sing and reflect on either by yourself or with your family:

Living Hope – Phil Wickham

Day Of Victory – Rend Collective

Because He Lives (Amen) – Matt Maher

O Praise The Name (Anastasis) – Hillsong

In Christ Alone – Passion

What’s Next?

Don’t worry, I may have given you a bonus article today, but I will still be posting this Friday! I mentioned how precious the Bible is in my post today, but you may be wondering how to go about reading it and studying it. On Friday I’ll be posting a special book review on a book that will tell you how to do just that!

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today for this special Easter article, and I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family! If you want prayer or encouragement, don’t hesitate to contact me through the blog. Please also consider signing up for my email list so that you get a monthly update from me and my blog!

Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline

Let’s Talk About The Crucifixion

Hello, friend! It’s Good Friday, just a couple of days before Easter Sunday, and it’s almost time to celebrate the resurrection! But first, we have to talk about what happened before Jesus rose again; what He had to do to save us on Good Friday many years ago. Let’s get into it!

Reading:

Before we talk, I want you to read the story of Jesus’s crucifixion. You can read any of the gospels, but I’ll point you to John 19:16-42.

After you read it, pray that God will reveal the story to you with new eyes.

Gospel Numbness 

It’s easy to feel really numb about this story, especially if you grew up in a Christian family and went to church pretty often. You’ve heard the same lines over and over again (Jesus died for us) and it just starts to get really repetitive and dull.

I want to break this down so that it won’t be numb anymore so that you can see it with new eyes; so that you can realize how amazing this is

1. We Have All Sinned

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

You may think, “Oh I’m not that bad” or “I don’t sin that much.”

Have you ever yelled at a sibling? Talked back to your parents? Had angry thoughts about someone? Talked behind another person’s back? Took something from your friends without asking? 

Think of anything you have ever done, just one little annoying thought or angry glare, and you’ve sinned. Anything that seems small but you know deep down is bad, you’ve sinned. If you doubt me, read a few chapters of Jesus’s teaching in the Gospels or some of Paul’s letters and then reconsider.

And since you’ve sinned, you’re a criminal. You broke God’s rules, so you’re against Him.

You are permanently stained. There’s no way for God to forgive you. You’re basically done.

2. Jesus Steps In

Imagine this scene for a moment: You’re about to die for your crimes, for your sins against God. You are helpless.

And then Jesus walks in and says no.

Jesus walks over to you and says that He will take your place, He will go and die instead so that you can be free of sin. Jesus never sinned in His life, He is perfect, and yet He is willing to die for you, a criminal.

And He does, Jesus suffers and dies on the cross for you. He dies like a criminal, He takes your place. And suddenly you are free, blameless. 

But the story’s not over yet.

Good News Is Still Coming

Jesus won’t be gone forever because of your sins; something even better is coming. And on Sunday we will discuss it in more detail. Until then, pray and reflect on Jesus’s death, and feel free to read the other Gospels to have all four perspectives.

“A little while, and you will see me [Jesus] no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.”

John 16:16

I don’t know what your reaction was to what I said in this article and if it changed anything in you, but I hope and pray it did. I hope desperately that you are no longer numb, or maybe you have seen Jesus for the first time.

I encourage you, if this article did change something in your heart to pray about it. Not sure what to pray? That’s okay, God knows what’s in your heart and what you want to say to Him. 

If you really need someone to talk with, feel free to contact me! You can click here to contact me through the blog, and I will see your message. I’d love to hear from you, and I will willingly pray for you and encourage you in your faith.

What To Do Today

It’s really up to you how you spend today, but I recommend spending some quiet reflection time as well as some family worship. Today marks a very important day, so it’s important we display our appreciation for God. 

I have a few songs for worship that I’ll link here, and of course the Bible passage at the top of this article. I encourage you to consider the lyrics of the song, not just singing without caring what they say. It’s important to know and understand what we’re singing.

Nailed To The Cross – Rend Collective

Death Was Arrested – North Point

Man Of Sorrows – Hillsong

Christ Is Enough – Hillsong

You can really choose any worship song, but these are a few to get you started!

What’s Next

That’s right, you get a bonus article on Sunday! The article will go over the rest of the story and again include a Bible passage and some worship songs, so stay tuned!

Final Thoughts

I hope this article helped portray Jesus’s crucifixion in a new way for you, and remember the contact form is always open for you to ask for prayers, encouragement, or both! Thanks so much for reading, and please consider signing up for my email list so that you receive my monthly newsletter on the first Friday of every month.

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

What We Can Do To Glorify God During These Times

Hi, friend! Welcome! It’s a little over a week before Easter, and for my family and I, it’s going to probably be the first time we can’t go to the Easter Sunday gathering at my church. Why? The coronavirus. 

When I was writing my email newsletter for this month, I realized something. We shouldn’t be focusing on what we can’t do, we should be focusing on what we can. We can’t stop the coronavirus, we can’t force there to be gatherings at church, we can’t make things change. The reality is, we can’t do a lot of things.

But God can.

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. (Psalm 95:3-4)

This doesn’t mean He will, but it does mean that everything is in control and everything is in His hands. That shouldn’t be scary, it should be comforting. God isn’t some King that does whatever He pleases, He is good, and He knows all and has a plan.

So today I’m going to talk about what you can do during Sundays and Easter during these times. The list may be longer than you think!

You Can Still Worship

Recently my family has been looking up lyric videos on Youtube on Sundays and singing songs together. It’s actually really fun. Sure, we’re not all professional singers and don’t sound great all the time, but it’s not about how you sound, it’s about glorifying God.

Personally I feel more comfortable singing in larger groups (like church) because I don’t like to be heard as much and don’t like to stick out. If you’re like me, just remember why you’re doing this. It’s for God. God loved the world so much that He sent His only son to die for us (John 3:16), doesn’t He deserve some praise?

All you have to do is find some of your favorite songs, sit down with your family and sing them together. You may find it to be more fun than you first imagined!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.

Philippians 4:4

You Can Still Pray

You can take prayer in several different directions, and it’s really up to you how you go about it. However, I have a few tips if you’d like ideas or don’t know where to start.

  1. Pray as a family.

This can simply mean one of the members of your family closing or opening in prayer after a worship session, at the beginning or end of the day, or whenever you want!

Another thing you can do as a family before prayer is go around and ask one thing you’re thankful for or one thing good that happened that day and thank God for it. 

It’s important for your family to draw closer during this time because a lot of us don’t have a choice! So if you’re praying and worshiping together, even if it’s not consistent at first, you’re already doing well.

  1. Pray alone.

Sometimes we really just want some personal time with God, and that’s when you can pray alone. Let all your worries and fears be cast on Him, He’s got you. You can pray in the morning, during the day, before you go to bed, or even before you fall asleep in bed! 

I like to listen to Christian music or read the Bible when I pray. The lyrics and the Bible verses help inspire words to come out of my mouth to God, and they keep me focused. I don’t always do that, as sometimes I forget to pray until after I go to bed, but it is definitely helpful.

So when you can or need to, pray silently or privately if you need to. God is by your side. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

You Can Still Read The Bible

That’s right, you can still be reading the Bible! God’s word can be one of the most encouraging things during these times. You may find that you relate better to a specific passage now, you may notice something you didn’t see before, you may find the message you just really needed.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

If you want to know more about why reading the Bible is important, you can check out my article here:

Why Reading The Bible Is Important For Your Faith – Live to the Lord

I also recommend having somebody to discuss the Bible with. It can be a friend, a sibling, a parent, anyone. You can share your thoughts about the passage you read, share why it was encouraging, and have good discussion.

If you aren’t sure about finding someone to read the Bible with, you can sign up for my email list and you’ll receive three articles about finding, asking, and starting discussions with your Bible friend.

You Can Still Celebrate Easter

Easter is coming up in just over a week, and the churches are closed. Guess what? You can still worship, you can still pray, you can still read the Bible. That’s a good amount of church right there, so what’s stopping you?

Next week, on the 10th, I will be publishing an article with lists of songs and Bible passages about the crucifixion, about Jesus’s death and sacrifice for us. You will be able to click and look up all the songs and passages I list. I will also provide some discussions and reflections you can have for that part of the story.

And then on Easter Sunday, the 12th, you will get a bonus article! The article will consist of more passages and songs, but they will say that Jesus has risen. I also highly recommend finding a sermon to watch with your family; tons of churches are probably going to be live streaming or recording sermons!

Final Thoughts

There is so much you can still do for these times, even things that aren’t on this list. If you want to see more posts like this about what you can do, comment down below or contact me. This was a really fun article to write, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

As always, thanks for reading, my friend! If you’d like to hear more from me, sign up for my monthly newsletter. Keep up your faith, God is with you.

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline