Easter will be different this year, but it might be one of those holidays that besides the meaning of the holiday that is so important to Christians, might just show us how much we truly do value our relationship with God, our family and friendships. This year, we won’t be going to grandmother’s or Moms for a lunch of ham, potato salad and Easter Bunny Cake that Easter meals are so well known for and that has been a tradition for so many throughout the years.
Last year when we were in Italy and didn’t get to go to church because we couldn’t find a taxi to take us and it was to far to walk, we kept thinking about how this year, it would be so great to be able to be in church celebrating Easter with other believers. But here, once again, for the second year in a row, we are not in a church building, but alone in our home, watching a sermon on-line. So how do we react? Do we allow these difficult circumstances to sadden our hearts and focus on the traditions that we aren’t a part of this year? Or do we truly realize that we are the church, no matter where we are and not matter the circumstance. We are to celebrate the empty tomb that assures us of His great love for us. To worship Him from our homes this year,and truly grasp what the Lord has been trying to get us to realize for over 2000 years! That His love never fails, and that His love truly does endure forever. That He is here with us. That just because we cannot sit in a building and worship together with other believers, we can, we must, show Him the honor due His name. We know as believers, that our bodies are the true church, not the building. As we look forward to Sunday and meditate on the true meaning of Easter, what are we dwelling on? Are we dwelling on the negative reports that we hear each and every day from leading physicians and government officials?
Because of the circumstances that are playing out all around us, what are our concerns? Our health, our families, our jobs? Of course, these are things that are important to us. It is not that we are not to be concerned about these. We are just instructed by God to not let them take priority over our love and worship of Him.
As we gather together with just those who are in our homes this Easter, may our hearts be turned towards Him, who is right here with us. As we sit at the table having whatever we are having, Whether there is one of us, or two or 5, may His Name be glorified in our hearts as we worship the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and be praying that our world will come to the place that hearts and eyes will be open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This morning, instead of waking up to the TV and the latest report on the virus, I instead turned on a a live coffee/chat with Tasha, Women’s Minister of Prestonwood for 30 minutes of Bible study and prayer. How refreshing and what a way to begin the morning. Her words spoke to my heart as I’m sure it did to every women who was listening. Her word to us was from 1 Samuel. Hannah had gone to the temple with her husband to worship and sacrifice to the Lord as was their yearly ritual. Hannah was distraught because the Lord had closed her womb. As she prayed there in the Temple, the priest saw her lips moving, but could hear no words. He thought she was drunk. When he approached her to tell her to quit drinking, she answered him, “oh no Sir, I’m not drunk! But I am very sad and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Please don’t think I am a wicked woman. For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
Eli, the priest said, “cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of Him.”
Then Hannah went away and ate and was no longer sad.
What a lesson for us all. Before the Lord answered Hannahs’ prayer, her heart was changed. What had changed in her life at that point? Nothing, except that her heart had received hope. What are we looking or listening to for our hope? Is it earthly things or heavenly?
As Tasha reminded us this morning, her words rang so true of what I look at and depend on for my hope, my encouragement or answers to problems. Prayer should be our “go to” no matter the occasion, no matter the problem.
Prayer allows us:
Intimacy with our Lord and Savior. We can process our pain in the presence of our God.
We should never “spin” our requests pretending that we are doing things for the Lord, only to be manipulating getting what we are asking for.
We need to let our guard down when talking to the Lord and acknowledge our need of Him and accept the fact that we need to surrender our will to His.
To understand that unanswered prayer, as well as answered prayers have purpose.
Just like Hannah had been praying for a son for years, God’s timing was perfect for Hannah to have a son, Samuel. God had a purpose for Samuel to become a great prophet of Israel. Her “unanswered prayer” was answered at the appointed time.
Hannah’s heart was changed by praying. Her heart was softened so that she became surrendered to allow God to work in her life, according to His will and purpose.
We should never allow earthly substitutions for heavenly petitions. Hannah’s husband always gave her more than he gave to his other wife. He loved Hannah more and thought that his love should be enough that she shouldn’t want or desire children. But God……God had a plan and a purpose, but it had to be in His timing, not Hannah’s.
So as we approach Sunday, the resurrection day of our precious Lord and Savior, may we as God’s temple, celebrate Easter in a way that brings Him the most worship of all…surrendering our hearts and our lives to the One, the only One, worthy of our praise!
TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE AND CONTINUES TO DO!