Weekly Spiritual Readings

April 18, 2014



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The simplest meaning of Easter is that we are living in a world in which God has the last word.  --Unknown

Jesus Christ is risen to-day, Our triumphant holy day; Who did once upon the cross Suffer to redeem our loss. Hallelujah! Author Unknown

Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless. ~Charles M. Crowe

Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise." ~Phillips Brooks

Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness. ~Floyd W. Tomkins

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time. ~Martin Luther

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices... ~Charles Kingsley

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A father knelt down beside his little boy’s bed. It was time for prayers, hugs and kisses, and tucking in. The little boy began the childhood prayer he had repeated so many times before: Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake Pray the Lord, my soul to take.
This time the words got mixed up. Unwittingly, the child spoke words of the greatest wisdom. He prayed, “If I should wake before I die.” Embarrassed, he stopped. “Oh Daddy, I got all mixed up.” Wisely, his dad responded tenderly, “Not at all, Son, that’s the first time the prayer was properly prayed. My deepest longing for you is that you may wake up before you die.” The child drifted to sleep, but the father turned the prophetic words about in his mind.
“If I should wake before I die. That’s it!” he exclaimed. “That’s the promise and hope of Easter. This is the time to come alive and live forever!
Live for God, on purpose, alive forevermore, because Christ has risen from the dead for me and for you! --Senior Pastor Timothy Satryan

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EASTER MEMORIES
Throughout my life, I have heard many profound interpretations of the Easter story in drama, in song, in written form, and in the words of great speakers.
However, my personal experience was the most profound. It was when God taught me to have patience and to trust Him, with the help of loving people and, of course, His gentle creatures.
I was seven years old and recovering from the chicken pox. My maternal grandfather (mom's dad) was a patient in the cancer ward of Decatur Memorial Hospital. Grandma was dividing her time, helping to care for me and visiting her husband. Mom was working full time, along with helping to care for me and visiting her dad.
That Easter Sunday morning found the three of us -- mom, grandma, and me -- in the car traveling to the hospital. I was very sad, because I was not yet well enough to be allowed to see my grandpa, the hero of my childhood.
For as long as I had known him, he had been severely crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, confined to a chair and at this point, completely bedridden. He was slowly dying from cancer of the esophagus. Grandpa had learned Braille so he could help me learn to read. He taught me the basics of everything from music to life in general, and told me countless stories, reading aloud from titles that ranged from "The Holy Bible" to "The Adventures Of Alice In Wonderland".
I couldn't imagine not being with this special man on Easter Sunday. But, the rules had to be kept and I would have to sit in the downstairs lobby while grandma and mom took turns visiting grandpa and sitting with me.
As the three of us crossed the hospital parking lot, mom and grandma noticed a little wren which had apparently been hit by a car. The bird was still alive, though unconscious. Mom lifted the wren from the ground and handed it to me, instructing me to cradle it in my hands until we could find a paper cup, punch an air hole in the lid, and give the little bird a place to try to revive.
In the lobby waiting room, mom and I sat holding the sleeping bird in its container while grandma visited grandpa. Then, mom took her turn while grandma sat with me.
As grandma and I were sitting there, who should happen through, but the Easter Bunny!
He had been to the children's ward and was accompanied by a very sweet African-American lady who said to my grandmother, "Oh! Let this little girl see the Easter Bunny!"
A very tall, very discerning bunny knelt in front of me as I stood, allowing me to touch his furry ears, nose, and whiskers. When I reached his hand, I found a small sack of candy, which he gave to me. I gave him a hug, and before they left, the lady gave me a dollar and wished me a Happy Easter.
Mom returned shortly thereafter, and we walked outside. The little wren had begun to move around in the paper container, and as we gingerly lifted the lid, the bird flew away with a renewed sense of purpose.
This took place just one month prior to my grandfather's death, and continues to be a treasured memory.
I hold very dear the mother and grandmother who respected life down to the smallest of beings, the grandfather who put aside his own pain and suffering in order to make my life better, and the grownups (Bunny included) who put aside issues of "disability" and "skin color" so that I -- a little girl -- could be reminded that God loved me. -- Laurel Jean

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For Those Tears He Died!
Jason, my 18-year-old son, has the entertaining ability to cry on command and will perform for any audience at any time. "Two-year-old" hilarious bawls and squalls on and off at will! But he's not alone! Walk in the garden--any garden--and if you've got allergies, you can be sure you will cry too--the tears will flow! Not the kind of tears I'm talking about...
You see, Easter morning was here--and almost gone. Mary was in the garden, crying....not to entertain an audience, not because of pollen in the air, but because her precious Lord had been taken away. Where had they laid Him? Real tears flowed freely...and then she heard Someone call her name, "Mary!"
Who could it be? The keeper of the garden? No, it was the keeper of her soul who had come on the scene. It was as if He said, "Mary, I know. I understand. For those tears I died...I am here, your Risen Lord, to wipe them away." The tears stopped, the voice was familiar...she would know it anywhere! "Master!" she called as she knelt at the feet of her risen Lord. Tears of sorrow became tears of joy...for He knew; He understood; He had called her by name--He was alive!
Easter morning is "here and gone" for you too...and perhaps it was not the joyous celebration you had anticipated. Hurts, hassles, happenings inside and outside the family--whatever has caused those tears--is not unknown to Him. He's there today in the garden of your heart--to call your name, to wipe away the tears...and He can do it--for He's not just the gardener; He's your Risen Lord. He knows your name, why the tears are falling, and what you're going through.
Listen--hear Him call YOUR name today....let HIM quiet your heart, mind and soul...it was for YOUR tears and MINE that He died--AND He lives! Now believe it, let Him wipe away those tears, and bring joy to your heart this day--and you will have a wonderful day! --Peggie Bohanon

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Easter Story Cookies --Thomas W Henderson
(To be made the evening before Easter)
You will need the following ingredients:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
A pinch salt
1 cup sugar
A Ziplock baggie
A wooden spoon
Tape
Bible
Your children

Preheat oven to 300 F.
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.
HE HAS RISEN!!!!

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Easter: Is It All About Me? By Diane Markins
As a little girl I loved Easter. What’s not to love? My sister and I always got a new “Easter outfit” which included a frilly dress of our choosing, lacy socks, shiny new patent leather mary janes, a hat and even little white gloves. No, I’m not nearing 80, that’s just the way my mom wanted to do things.
Coloring enough eggs to exhaust a barnyard of chickens, we were artistic geniuses. The night before the big day we’d be filled with butterflies of anticipation for the beautiful, loaded basket that giant rabbit would drop off in exchange for the large carrot left as an offering of gratitude…and yes, we believed!
Up at dawn, we’d marvel at the lovely loot bestowed upon us and eat a few pieces of candy before breakfast. Church was fun because we got to show off our new clothes and find out how much the Big Bunny liked other kids.
Off to Grandma’s house for Easter egg hunts until the last adult finally said no more. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents sat down to a table laden with what we now call comfort food. Throughout the day we were depleting our stash as the marshmallow peeps, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and malted milk eggs were consumed.
Um…and there was something about Jesus. Any of this sounding familiar?
I’m not one to condemn any tradition that results in family togetherness and forming sweet memories, but perhaps there’s a better way. I realize now that the Easter celebration I grew up with was all about me: my appearance, my stash of goodies, my fun day.
Honestly, it’s still all about me…at least that’s what Jesus would say. He lived in our challenging, abusive, hurt-filled world for me. He died a brutal death, at the hands of hateful people for me. He defeated death and lives on, for me. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
For those who love the fun family traditions like I grew up with, maybe there could be two days of Easter celebrations. Perhaps Good Friday or even on Saturday, we could spend a little time remembering our Lord who brought each of us so much more than a wicker basketful of colored sugar. We could deliberately try to relate to Jesus by recalling our own (comparably shallow) experiences of pain and sacrifice for others. We could spend some time being still, soaking in God’s eternal expression of love that encompassed the very first Easter.
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! ...” Psalm 105:1. We could write Him a sincere letter of thanks. We could teach our kids to draw a picture or use other artistic methods to create a gift expressing grateful hearts.
Our wonderful God doesn’t want us to throw away fun times or eliminate lasting traditions or replace them with a stiff, obligatory religious ritual. He loves to see us smile, hug and enjoy treats. But I believe He’d delight even more in the way our spirits would respond to an intentional interlude basking in His presence. Not for His sake because Easter is all about us.

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I AM THE VINE
ABIDE IN ME
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5 NKJV
These final words of Jesus to His beloved apostles are of utmost importance, both to them and to us. He was going away and they would carry on the work of spreading the gospel to the world. They did not yet have the indwelling Holy Spirit – but soon they would.
Jesus said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…" (15:16) How were they going to be able to accomplish this? Jesus said, "…The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine…If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (15:4, 7)
Dear Lord, I know that apart from You we will not see lasting fruit in our lives. I come to You this morning as an act of abiding in You. Speak to me from Your Word and plant Your will deep within my heart. I am asking and You have promised that it shall be done. I claim that promise today.
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11 NKJV Author Unknown

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THE LAST SUPPER
Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." Luke 22:7-8 NKJV
The feast of the Passover celebrated the day when God delivered the Jews from Egypt. The blood of the lamb was placed on the doorposts in the sign of a cross. The wine of the Passover feast represented the blood. On this occasion Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (22:20) Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world and give eternal life to all who believe.
The time had come for Jesus to fulfill the prophesy given at this last supper. Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." (22:15) Jesus knew He would suffer, He knew who would betray Him and He knew who would be with Him in His kingdom.
Lord, thank you for laying down your life so that we could live eternally in Your presence. One day we will see You face to face and bow down in worship and praise for all You have done for us.
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19 NKJV Author Unknown

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JESUS WASHES HIS DISCIPLES FEET
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and--poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet… John 13:3-5 NKJV
Jesus knew exactly who He was, where He had come from, and where He was going. In view of His coming crucifixion, how amazing that He does such a loving, comforting act in washing his disciple's feet. Peter, also knowing who Christ was said, "Lord, are You washing my feet? You shall never wash my feet!" (13:8a) But Jesus told him that if he did not allow his feet to be washed he would have no part with Him.
Peter said, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" (13:9) With a poignant symbolism, Jesus told him he only needed his feet washed, because the rest of him was already clean, forgiven and eternally secure. Only Judas did not qualify as being so cleansed.
Lord, I am so thankful for the daily cleansing You offer as I confess my sins and You are faithful to forgive them. Help me to follow this example of humility toward others, especially my own family.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:14-15 NKJV Author Unknown

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Small Straws In A Soft Wind by Marsha Burns
You are not only about to step into a new day, but a new order as well. Adjustments will have to be made to accommodate your newness of life. You will not be able to hang on to old mindsets and advance at the same time. I will show you the things that must be released before you can be free, says the Lord. Your part is obedience to do what I reveal to you. 1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Watch for opportunities in the course of your mundane and ordinary life to be extraordinary spiritually. The honor you bring to My kingdom will not only be an outward show of your faithfulness, but will definitely be the inward condition of your heart that manifests in every thought, motive, attitude, and action. Make sure that righteousness rules, says the Lord. Romans 1:17 For in it [the Gospel of Christ] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

The preliminary work has been done, and the door is open. All you have to do is take the next step. Do what is directly in front of you to do. This journey will be taken one step at a time, in which you will focus your entire being--spirit, soul, and body--on that which is immediate. I will give you wisdom and direct your steps, says the Lord. Have faith in Me. Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God."

As you continue on your spiritual journey, you must keep in mind that love is the primary thing. Let your love for Me and for one another override every other emotional reaction and mental response to life and circumstances. If you will do this first, obedience in all other areas will follow, says the Lord. 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Now is a time when you can leave spiritual immaturity behind and grow up into the strong, unwavering, mature disciple that you were intended to be. Embrace all that I have prepared for you in My kingdom, since before the foundations of the earth. I have not only prepared the kingdom for you, but I have prepared you for the kingdom. Let maturity take its perfect course, says the Lord. Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

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The Trumpet by Bill Burns
"Set the trumpet to your mouth!" Hosea 8:1
I keep hearing thunder in the heavenlies, and I hear the Lord declaring that victory is yours--by the power of His Spirit, which He is amplifying in this season. You will have the victory if you believe what God is speaking. The power of the most Holy Spirit, will come upon you to cause you to be more than a conqueror in this season. "Only believe, and do that which I have called you to do, and you will be amazed at the outcome", says the Lord.

I hear the Lord laughing, and He’s saying to His people, relax. Enjoy these days. Enjoy Me during these days. Do not allow the atmosphere of the world to weigh you down and create fear. For, I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. You have the right to enjoy the journey. So, throw your burdens and the things that trouble you onto Me, for My burden is light and easy to carry. Trust Me to take care of the issues that you cannot take care of. I am with you and for you. Again, I say, enjoy the journey. Stop taking yourself so seriously, and stop condemning yourself or allowing others to condemn you. Understand that you belong to Me. I know who you are, and I know your heart; I am for you. This is a specific time of new beginnings with Me, says the Lord.

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'Twas the Night Before Easter!
'Twas the night before Easter on Internet Lane;
From New York, to Russia, spring Holidaze reigned!
Computers were linking from Disney to space;
And folks were resolving the Easter Egg case!
The kids were entranced by a techno-theme,
While visions of dinos appeared on the screen!
And Mom dyed the eggs, while I searched the Net,
For flowers to send her--or in trouble I'd get!!
When swiftly, my Mac began such a clatter,
The mouse shrieked in horror, "Netscape!--what's the matter!"
Away to my window, I jumped with great speed;
A break for sore eyes, I surely did need!
I saw flowers of spring beginning to bloom,
I welcomed the view from my computer room!
When what to my wondering eyes, did I see,
But a Stranger stooped low, on bended knee.
With a quick glance I knew 'twas a backflash of time,
I envisioned the form of my Savior Divine.
More rapid than eagles, my memory raced,
To another time and another place.
Where Christ, Lord of all, called each one by name--
"Follow Me," was His Word, and they willingly came.
They watched Him perform deeds of wondrous love;
They knew His power came from God above.
Yet we (you and me, folks!) just led him to die;
In the dark of a tomb our Savior did lie.
But then in another flash of great power,
I saw Him arise--death conquered that hour!
He was robed all in white, with radiant glow;
He stood in great splendor, this Savior I know.
His eyes with loving compassion shown,
I knew in that moment I need ne'er be alone.
His hands were outstretched as this One bid me come;
The work of redemption forever done.
I stood there in silence, in humble awe,
As the Reason of Easter I now clearly saw.
Then quickly as the scenes had appeared,
They faded--I felt not one moment of fear.
I bowed low in worship; earth's sight now so dim;
I had seen Easter's meaning; I had been there with Him.
As I saw Him, with faith's eyes, lifted above,
The night before Easter was filled with pure love.
And I heard him exclaim as He rose out of sight,
"A Blessed Easter to all! I have conquered your night!"
--Peggie C. Bohanon

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"Every Day Is Easter!"
"Easter comes but once a year,"
So many people say,
But, to a person saved from sin,
It's Easter every day!
A man, when saved or "born again"
His life, to Christ, will give,
And, as a new-born babe in Christ,
He's just begun to live.
"I am the resurrection, life,"
The Savior, one day, said;
'And he, believing in my word,
Shall live, though he be dead."
And that well known Apostle,
Paul, in Philippi made plain;
"For me to live is Jesus Christ,
For me to die is gain."
So when the Blood of Christ,
our Lord, Redeems a soul from sin;
Every day is Easter,
For Jesus lives within!
THE GREATEST BLESSINGS AND NEWS THE WORLD EVER RECEIVED CAME FROM A GRAVE YARD NEAR JERUSALEM!
--Author Unknown

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Easter Joy
Jesus came to earth,
To show us how to live,
How to put others first,
How to love and how to give.
Then He set about His work,
That God sent Him to do;
He took our punishment on Himself;
He made us clean and new.
He could have saved Himself,
Calling angels from above,
But He chose to pay our price for sin;
He paid it out of love.
Our Lord died on Good Friday,
But the cross did not destroy
His resurrection on Easter morn
That fills our hearts with joy.
Now we know our earthly death,
Like His, is just a rest.
We'll be forever with Him
In heaven, where life is best.
So we live our lives for Jesus,
Think of Him in all we do.
Thank you Savior; Thank you Lord.
Help us love like you!
By Joanna Fuchs

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Jesus Before Pilate
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of." But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them. "Crucify him!" they shouted. "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
The Crucifixion
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!" In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah." One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
The Burial of Jesus
It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. Mark 15
The Resurrection
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' " Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. ((The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20.)) When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with th eir hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16

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Easter: The story of Edith Burns
DO YOU BELIEVE IN EASTER?
Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns.
One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.
Edith had a habit of introducing herself in this way: "Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.
Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?"
Beverly said, "Why yes I do."
Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?"
Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room.
After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?"
Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long."
Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter Forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!"
Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!" Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter."
Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.
Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut." She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original GI Jane. She had been married three times. She was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.
One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you."
Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me. It won't work. I'm not interested."
Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family."
Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room.
Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you, Phyllis, and I love you, and I'm praying for you."
One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day."
Phyllis said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me."
Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked."
Edith took her Bible and shared with Phyllis the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and He wants to live in your heart?"
Phyllis said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.
Two days later, Phyllis came in and Edith said, "Do you know what day it is?" Phyllis said, "Why Edith, it's Good Friday."
Edith said, "Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter, Phyllis!"
Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter.
When she walked into Edith's room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face. When Phyllis went to pick up Edith's hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Phyllis took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down here cheeks, said, "Happy Easter, Edith - Happy Easter!"
Phyllis left Edith's body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, "My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?" --Thomas W Henderson

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Almighty Lord and Father,
As we remember the greatest lesson of Your forgiveness of our sins, through recalling the last days of Jesus' life on earth, may we also remember your great love for us.
You promise us everlasting life because of the great sacrifice Your Son endured for us. We give You our thanks and our love.
We pray that our thoughts and our deeds, make You proud of us, Your children. Help us to do what You want us to do, and forgive us when we do not hear You speaking to us.
You are our ever-loving Creator. You know what we want and You give us all we need. Thank You for our many blessings.
May this Easter, renew our baptismal promise to You. May Your Holy Spirit be strong in us. Alleluia! --Mrs. Monteith's Prayer


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Read Through The Bible
2 Chronicles 18
Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
1 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. 2 Some years later he went down to see Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” 4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” 5 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.” 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?” 7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” “The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied. 8 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.” 9 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 10 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” 11 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” 12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” 14 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.” 15 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” 17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” 18 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 20 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. 21 “‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 22 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” 23 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked. 24 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.” 25 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, 26 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’” 27 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”
Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead
28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. 30 Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 31 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, 32 for when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they stopped pursuing him. 33 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 34 All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died.

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The Jelly Bean Prayer
Red is for the blood He gave,
Green is for the grass He made,
Yellow is for the sun so bright,
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins that were made
White is for the grace He gave,
Purple is for the hour of sorrow,
Pink is for the new tomorrow.
Give a bag of jelly beans, colorful and sweet,
Tell them it's a Prayer...It's a Promise...It's an Easter Treat !
--Shirley Kozak
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