April 27 – Because He Lives – We Live Too

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

A baby arrived and they called Him Jesus. God called Him God With Us. Immanuel. God revealing Himself and sticking around. God taking the blame for the sin we have lived in, the sin we have served, then conquering death with the blow of His hand.

All of humanity needed a Savior, so He came. The only One fit for the job. And while here, He revealed Himself and showed us all that He is. All that we aren’t. All that we need. God With Us.

He saved us by taking the punishment, by taking our sin.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)

God With Us let Himself become sin so that we could become His righteousness. Immanuel traded places, took our spot, and then quenched the grave’s fury when He rolled away a tombstone and rose victorious. He gave His life to give us life. And God is with us because Immanuel lives.

He came for the joys. Like the birth of a child. God with us.

And for the sorrows. Like the subsequent desperate pleas of this clueless mom who feels so inadequate. God is with us. A car crashes into a family whose lives are instantly and forever changed.  God is with us. Immanuel lives.

Immanuel, God with us, is alive and well.

A marriage falls apart and children are fatherless. Still, God is with us.

Because that’s what He does. Never leaves. Always loves. Always holds. Always lives. Always Immanuel.

God With Us lives and calls us who believe His ambassadors, His righteousness. He uses even us to bring His life to the lifeless. To let them know that He still lives. To tell the news of death’s defeat.

And this news, His life, it changes everything. For, truly, because He lives, we live too.

Bria Wasson

April 26 – Because He Lives – How We Live Because He Lives

Read I Corinthians 15

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (v14)

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (v57)

This place we live is not the end all be all of life itself. What we have and how we live right now, will someday soon pass away. And all we will have is the forever in which God now resides. One day these bodies will give way to their final breaths, we will succumb to death’s reach, and each one of us will find ourselves on the other side of eternity.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (v22)

If we have believed God for His message of salvation, the Word made flesh Who slayed death and sin on our behalf, then we will find ourselves forever in the presence of God himself. Living. The perishable now imperishable. The temporal now eternal.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (v52)

And this changes how we live in the now.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (v58)

Jesus Christ rose victorious from that tomb in the garden, and now He lives. Because He live, we live altogether differently. Now you and I have a purpose that reaches far past next year and through the generations to come. Because He lives, we have a focus that sees beyond the sight of our eyes.

Because Jesus Christ lives, because He conquered death, we are on an altogether different timeline. It’s a timeless timeline. And the only stuff that matters is His stuff. The only work that makes any difference is the work that leads to His Kingdom of forever.

So we die to ourselves and this timeline because He has given us new life in the eternal timeline of God’s Kingdom. And that is what we live for. Fully given to His work. Unafraid of opposition. Undaunted by death. For it can no longer touch us. Because He lives.

Bria Wasson

April 25 – Because He Lives – New Life Because He Lives

Read Romans 6

. . . just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (v4b)

I used to be a slave.  We all did. Unpaid servants to things not holy. Actions and attitudes led me into dark living before spiraling deeper into a kind of living that was never intended.  It was a life that made me feel worse at the end of the day rather than invigorated and rested in my soul.  I didn’t even realize it, but I was sin’s slave.  And this slavery led to dirty cover-ups and heart-crimes that would make anyone sick.

“Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” (v19)

Today’s Scripture plays out like an “Extreme Makeover” episode. “Extreme Makeover: Life Edition.” Because Jesus Christ lives, I am a new person.  And I don’t have to make choices that pull me deeper into that dark and ugly living that pretends to be real life.  I don’t have to live the pretend life.  Instead, I can live, really live, and I can rest in the One Who makes me righteous.  The One in Whose eyes I am holy. Because “(I) have been set free from sin and have become (a slave) to righteousness.”  Period. Same goes for you.

Jesus Christ conquered death so that you and I could be free to live!

I mull it around inside my soul and realize the implications of this overwhelming truth.  Because of what Jesus Christ did for me, I can live a new life.   I have new life in Him.

I can now turn my back on doing what comes naturally.  Like complaining in my heart and harboring bitter attitudes.  Like worrying about how I’m going to get everything done instead of trusting the very Creator of Time to lead me into and through my day.  Like fearing the what-ifs instead of savoring the what-is.

Yes, I turn away from my natural inclinations, the way I’ve always done things, and I turn to God.

I offer Him my mind, my hands, my lips. Use these for your righteousness, Lord, because You live. I offer Him my hands.  To use them as He pleases.  For building up others with the words I write.  For providing a meal or helping a friend. I offer Him my lips.  To speak truth.  Gently but boldly.  To withhold bitter arguing and complaining.

Because He lives, I live anew. And I bask in His life, because He lives.

Bria Wasson

April 24 – Because He Lives – Everything’s Changed

Read Acts 3:1-4:22

It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. (4:10)

The first time we met them, they were Simon brother of Andrew, and John, James’ brother. Ordinary guys who caught fish for a living. No formal training or schooling under their belts. No pedigree or credentials to prove they were worth listening to. But they followed Jesus, and everything changed. Jesus even changed one’s name from Simon the Fisherman to “Peter the Rock.” (Jn. 1:42)

When we catch up with these two men in Acts, we find them changed. Transformed by the life of Jesus Christ. We see evidence of Jesus’ death-conquering life. When we look at Peter now, when we see John, the young man whom Jesus loved so, the somewhat quiet one who loves to fish and hang with the guys, we see two men boldly proclaiming the Risen Son of God. How can we not believe that His life, His Resurrection, has changed everything?

Remember that dreadful night not long before, when Peter followed John who followed Jesus into that courtyard? You know, the night when he saw Jesus on trial and pretended to not know Him? (Jn. 18:12-27) Well, this is that same man. Yep, this is the one who wanted to build a tent for Elijah and Moses and Jesus to hang out together for life. (See Mt. 9:2-29.) The same man we saw holding back the children who wanted to get close to Jesus, thinking he was protecting His Master for the more important tasks. Yet here he is, this man called Peter, right in front of the high priest’s counsel, proclaiming not just the Name, but the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (4:13)

Because He lives, lives have been changed. Not just the man who could now walk after having been crippled from birth, but the unschooled, ordinary men called Peter and John. Not just the people we read about in Scripture, but you and me, too. Captured by the truth and the life of Jesus Christ, Peter and John now preached boldly the new life they had because of Him, because He lives. Wherever they went, lives were changed by the Word of God. Spoken through His followers, lived through them.

And everything is different, because he lives.

Bria Wasson

April 23 – Because He Lives

Read Luke 24

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives. (by Bill and Gloria Gaither)

We used to wake up early on Easter morning for church outside. We called it “Sonrise Service.” I lived in Southern California, so we didn’t have to worry about possibilities of snow. We’d wake up and be at the park by 5:30 am, sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm, hot chocolate for us kids, hot coffee for the parents. We’d arrive at the park in the dark, before dawn. The service would start with worship. Then, as the sun rose, we would hear about the day the Son of God arose. It was my favorite morning of the year. Somehow, the symbolism of the day’s newness and the new life that Jesus Christ’s Resurrection offers was not lost on my nine-year-old mind.

Still, to this day, I find amazement in the newness of spring’s buds and blossoms and baby lambs as they usher in the Easter season and the meaning of Easter — the new life that Jesus Christ offers. Such a perfect time of year He chose to arise from death, to proclaim new life in Him!

Two days He spent in the tomb. Death, it seemed, had taken Him. But now, the very God of Life himself proclaimed death to death and sin and provided a way for real life. Life Himself rose victorious over the death in which mankind had been stuck.

Easter morning changed everything.

Now you and I can know God’s forgiveness. Now we can know God Himself. We can do more than just bide our time here on earth, we can live as if there is something worth living for. Because there is! His Resurrection gives us purpose, hope for eternal life, something to live for.

Because He lives, and we know He does — for He even got hungry and ate fish — we no longer have to worry about our forever. We don’t have to worry about our right now, either.

This week, we will look at why it matters that Jesus Christ lives. We’ll take a brief tour through some of the pieces of everything that’s changed — Because He Lives.

Bria Wasson

April 14: We Live Too

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

A baby arrived and they called Him Jesus. God called Him God With Us. Immanuel. God revealing Himself and sticking around. God taking the blame for the sin we have lived in, the sin we have served, then conquering death with the blow of His hand.

All of humanity needed a Savior, so He came. The only One fit for the job. And while here, He revealed Himself and showed us all that He is. All that we aren’t. All that we need. God With Us.

He saved us by taking the punishment, by taking our sin.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)

God With Us let Himself become sin so that we could become His righteousness. Immanuel traded places, took our spot, and then quenched the grave’s fury when He rolled away a tombstone and rose victorious. He gave His life to give us life. And God is with us because Immanuel lives.

He came for the joys. Like the birth of a child. God with us.

And for the sorrows. Like the subsequent desperate pleas of this clueless mom who feels so inadequate. God is with us. A car crashes into a family whose lives are instantly and forever changed.  God is with us. Immanuel lives.

Immanuel, God with us, is alive and well.

A marriage falls apart and children are fatherless. Still, God is with us.

Because that’s what He does. Never leaves. Always loves. Always holds. Always lives. Always Immanuel.

God With Us lives and calls us who believe His ambassadors, His righteousness. He uses even us to bring His life to the lifeless. To let them know that He still lives. To tell the news of death’s defeat.

And this news, His life, it changes everything. For, truly, because He lives, we live too.

brw

April 13: How We Live Because He Lives

Read I Corinthians 15

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (v14)

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (v57)

This place we live is not the end all be all of life itself. What we have and how we live right now, will someday soon pass away. And all we will have is the forever in which God now resides. One day these bodies will give way to their final breaths, we will succumb to death’s reach, and each one of us will find ourselves on the other side of eternity.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (v22)

If we have believed God for His message of salvation, the Word made flesh Who slayed death and sin on our behalf, then we will find ourselves forever in the presence of God himself. Living. The perishable now imperishable. The temporal now eternal.

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (v52)

And this changes how we live in the now.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (v58)

Jesus Christ rose victorious from that tomb in the garden, and now He lives. Because He live, we live altogether differently. Now you and I have a purpose that reaches far past next year and through the generations to come. Because He lives, we have a focus that sees beyond the sight of our eyes.

Because Jesus Christ lives, because He conquered death, we are on an altogether different timeline. It’s a timeless timeline. And the only stuff that matters is His stuff. The only work that makes any difference is the work that leads to His Kingdom of forever.

So we die to ourselves and this timeline because He has given us new life in the eternal timeline of God’s Kingdom. And that is what we live for. Fully given to His work. Unafraid of opposition. Undaunted by death. For it can no longer touch us. Because He lives.

brw

 

 

April 12: New Life Because He Lives

Read Romans 6

. . . just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (v4b)

I used to be a slave.  We all did. Unpaid servants to things not holy. Actions and attitudes led me into dark living before spiraling deeper into a kind of living that was never intended.  It was a life that made me feel worse at the end of the day rather than invigorated and rested in my soul.  I didn’t even realize it, but I was sin’s slave.  And this slavery led to dirty cover-ups and heart-crimes that would make anyone sick.

“Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” (v19)

Today’s Scripture plays out like an “Extreme Makeover” episode. “Extreme Makeover: Life Edition.” Because Jesus Christ lives, I am a new person.  And I don’t have to make choices that pull me deeper into that dark and ugly living that pretends to be real life.  I don’t have to live the pretend life.  Instead, I can live, really live, and I can rest in the One Who makes me righteous.  The One in Whose eyes I am holy. Because “(I) have been set free from sin and have become (a slave) to righteousness.”  Period. Same goes for you.

Jesus Christ conquered death so that you and I could be free to live!

I mull it around inside my soul and realize the implications of this overwhelming truth.  Because of what Jesus Christ did for me, I can live a new life.   I have new life in Him.

I can now turn my back on doing what comes naturally.  Like complaining in my heart and harboring bitter attitudes.  Like worrying about how I’m going to get everything done instead of trusting the very Creator of Time to lead me into and through my day.  Like fearing the what-ifs instead of savoring the what-is.

Yes, I turn away from my natural inclinations, the way I’ve always done things, and I turn to God.

I offer Him my mind, my hands, my lips. Use these for your righteousness, Lord, because You live. I offer Him my hands.  To use them as He pleases.  For building up others with the words I write.  For providing a meal or helping a friend. I offer Him my lips.  To speak truth.  Gently but boldly.  To withhold bitter arguing and complaining.

Because He lives, I live anew. And I bask in His life, because He lives.

brw

April 11: Everything’s Changed

Read Acts 3:1-4:22

It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. (4:10)

The first time we met them, they were Simon brother of Andrew, and John, James’ brother. Ordinary guys who caught fish for a living. No formal training or schooling under their belts. No pedigree or credentials to prove they were worth listening to. But they followed Jesus, and everything changed. Jesus even changed one’s name from Simon the Fisherman to “Peter the Rock.” (Jn. 1:42)

When we catch up with these two men in Acts, we find them changed. Transformed by the life of Jesus Christ. We see evidence of Jesus’ death-conquering life. When we look at Peter now, when we see John, the young man whom Jesus loved so, the somewhat quiet one who loves to fish and hang with the guys, we see two men boldly proclaiming the Risen Son of God. How can we not believe that His life, His Resurrection, has changed everything?

Remember that dreadful night not long before, when Peter followed John who followed Jesus into that courtyard? You know, the night when he saw Jesus on trial and pretended to not know Him? (Jn. 18:12-27) Well, this is that same man. Yep, this is the one who wanted to build a tent for Elijah and Moses and Jesus to hang out together for life. (See Mt. 9:2-29.) The same man we saw holding back the children who wanted to get close to Jesus, thinking he was protecting His Master for the more important tasks. Yet here he is, this man called Peter, right in front of the high priest’s counsel, proclaiming not just the Name, but the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (4:13)

Because He lives, lives have been changed. Not just the man who could now walk after having been crippled from birth, but the unschooled, ordinary men called Peter and John. Not just the people we read about in Scripture, but you and me, too. Captured by the truth and the life of Jesus Christ, Peter and John now preached boldly the new life they had because of Him, because He lives. Wherever they went, lives were changed by the Word of God. Spoken through His followers, lived through them.

And everything is different, because he lives.

brw

April 10: Because He Lives

Read Luke 24

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives. (by Bill and Gloria Gaither)

We used to wake up early on Easter morning for church outside. We called it “Sonrise Service.” I lived in Southern California, so we didn’t have to worry about possibilities of snow. We’d wake up and be at the park by 5:30 am, sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm, hot chocolate for us kids, hot coffee for the parents. We’d arrive at the park in the dark, before dawn. The service would start with worship. Then, as the sun rose, we would hear about the day the Son of God arose. It was my favorite morning of the year. Somehow, the symbolism of the day’s newness and the new life that Jesus Christ’s Resurrection offers was not lost on my nine-year-old mind.

Still, to this day, I find amazement in the newness of spring’s buds and blossoms and baby lambs as they usher in the Easter season and the meaning of Easter — the new life that Jesus Christ offers. Such a perfect time of year He chose to arise from death, to proclaim new life in Him!

Two days He spent in the tomb. Death, it seemed, had taken Him. But now, the very God of Life himself proclaimed death to death and sin and provided a way for real life. Life Himself rose victorious over the death in which mankind had been stuck.

Easter morning changed everything.

Now you and I can know God’s forgiveness. Now we can know God Himself. We can do more than just bide our time here on earth, we can live as if there is something worth living for. Because there is! His Resurrection gives us purpose, hope for eternal life, something to live for.

Because He lives, and we know He does — for He even got hungry and ate fish — we no longer have to worry about our forever. We don’t have to worry about our right now, either.

This week, we will look at why it matters that Jesus Christ lives. We’ll take a brief tour through some of the pieces of everything that’s changed — Because He Lives.

brw