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Emmanuel

Originally uploaded by atimetodye

Matthew 1:23- “”Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

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Matthew 14;26-33   “But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”  And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind,  he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

At one point, Peter looked to his Lord and stepped out in faith.  He walked on water!!!

I am at a point in my life where I am being asked to step out into an unknown and almost impossibly seeming journey.  I am being asked to step out in faith, trusting that my Lord will carry me and hold my head above water. The very thought of stepping out of my “boat” seems like I’d just drown.  Yet, I feel as if I am being called to walk down this very uncertain and scary path.

I hope that in some time in the near future, I can update this post and say that I obeyed and that the Lord was faithful and kept me afloat, though it seemed impossible to my doubting soul.

1 Peter 2:11,12- “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Colossians 2:13b-15 -” He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

As Easter approaches, I am have been thinking of my past. Going to church on Sunday, in my new Easter dress was so much fun. But as an adult, the significance of Easter has come to mean so much more. As I’ve blogged about Christ’s Death (“Crushed“), and how his death provided a way for us to freely have access to a Holy God (“Sacred Veil“), now I want to share about his resurrection.

The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each contain an account of Jesus’s resurrection. The account in Matthew 28:1-10 is as follows:

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

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 has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you.”

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them. “Greetings!” he said. And they ran to him, held his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

 

Jesus told his disciples that he would die, but would be risen on the third day. He died on a cross, yet he triumphed over death by rising from the grave. There have been many great teachers and religious leaders in history. All of the died. Yet, only Jesus Christ died and rose again. It is his victory over death, and exceeding triumph that makes him capable of saving humanity.

Many a man has also been astounded by this amazing feat. And on Easter Sunday, in churches near and far, the people sing about it. There is an old hymn written by Charles Wesley, called “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” (click on the link to listen to it.) I’m going to put the words here for you to read. Read them again, and look at how amazing it is that our Lord was able to conquer death.

“Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!”

It is because of Jesus’s resurrection that we can shout Alleluia! He has triumphed once and for all!!

 

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Goodness

Matthew 6:25, 28-34: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?… And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Lilies of the Field

For Easter, I did a collaboration with Tinkle Traps.
Lilies of the Field - Collab with Tinkle Traps

As Easter approaches, I finally got around to dyeing up my “Lilies of the Field”. I wanted something special to signify this wonderful holiday. And also wanted to let you know about the significance of this special flower.

The Horticulture Department at Texas A&M University (my alma mater), had some fascinating information on the Easter Lily.

THE EASTER LILY HOLIDAY TRADITION

Each holiday is marked by cherished traditions that bring joy, comfort, and warmth, and provide continuity from one generation to the next. Easter has its share of traditions: egg decorations and hunts; gift baskets and chocolate bunnies, sunrise church services, parades, and, of course, the Easter Lily. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life – the spiritual essence of Easter.

History, mythology, literature, poetry and the world of art are rife with stories and images that speak of the beauty and majesty of the elegant white flowers. Dating back to Biblical lore, the lily is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. One of the most famous Biblical references is in the Sermon on the Mount, when Christ told his listeners: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet….. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope,” lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. Churches continue this tradition at Easter time by banking their alters and surrounding their crosses with masses of Easter Lilies, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.

Since the beginning of time, lilies have played significant roles in allegorical tales concerning the sacrament of motherhood. Ancient fables tell us the lily sprang from the milk of Hera, the mythological Queen of Heaven.

The pure white lily has long been closely associated with the Virgin Mary. In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured extending to the Virgin Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child. In other paintings, saints are pictured bringing vases full of white lilies to Mary and the infant Jesus. …

It seems the thirteenth-century Barthololmeus Anglicus had this in mind when he wrote: ‘The Lily is an herbe with a white flower; and though the leaves of the floure be white, yet within shineth the likeness of gold.” So goes the saying, ‘To gild a lily is to attempt, foolishly, to improve on perfection.” To many artists and poets it seemed that, if any flower could have one, the lily had a soul.

In yet another expression of womanhood, lilies had a significant presence in the paradise of Adam and Eve. Tradition has it that when Eve left the Garden of Eden she shed real tears of repentance, and from those remorseful tears sprung up lilies. The spiritual principle held here is that true repentance is the beginning of beauty.

A mark of purity and grace throughout the ages, the regal white lily is a fitting symbol of the greater meaning of Easter. Gracing millions of homes and churches, the flowers embody joy, hope and life. Whether given as a gift or enjoyed in your own home, the Easter Lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.

The following poem by Louise Lewin Matthews captures the spiritual essence of the Easter Lily:

Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.
-Louise Lewin Matthews”

Christ mentions these beautiful flowers. They are beautiful and lovely to look at.  And they have come to represent the miracle of his death and resurrection also.  As we can trust and believe that he died and rose from the grave, we also can trust him to meet each and every one of our needs.  The lily reminds us not to worry, but to put our faith in him.