"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." (Albert Einstein)

Friday, April 21, 2006

why do we greet each other "Happy Easter"...

At 9pm onwards last Friday (Good Friday), I watched on cable TV the movie "The Passion of the CHRIST" for the first time. Heart-rending...I really cried buckets! Up until now, scenes still flash inside my head sometimes, which explains this entry. I heard before that a man actually surrendered to the police for his crime after he saw this movie, now I understand why... Seeing this movie so deeply reminded me how much Jesus loves us! "Being God Himself" (John 1:1-5, 10-14, 17) and "sinless" (Hebrews 4:14-16), Jesus is the only one who can, and did, sacrifice Himself on the cross to offer each of us salvation (Philippians 2:5-11). If we (who are not sinless) can pay for our sins by good works or sacrifice, then why did Jesus (the holy Son of God) have to die for us on the cross? Good works cannot buy us Heaven, but being a citizen of Heaven (by faith in Jesus) results to our good works out of love for Jesus! As Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly says: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

I thank Jesus so much that He has given me eternal life in Heaven--since I committed my life to Him and invited Him by faith to be my own personal Savior & Lord on that day some years ago! And by the end of the movie, when I saw Jesus' resurrection, the empty tomb, and His nail-scarred hands, my tears were replaced by reverential awe, overflowing peace, comforting love, unspeakable joy, and infinite hope... What a reminder that more than 2000 years ago, Jesus won the battle over sin, death, hell and the enemy! And if we are in Christ, we already have the victory! May God bless every person who reads this, so that he (she) too will commit his (her) life to Jesus by faith--which is the only way he (she) will be 100% sure of eternal life in Heaven and a victorious life on earth! Jesus' resurrection is why we greet each other Happy Easter! :)

Below are two very enlightening articles based on God's Word, the Bible: the first one is on the crucifixion (Lenten Season); and the second one is on the resurrection (Easter). These articles are actually two tracts quoted from http://www.gnpcb.org

The Cross
by: Lindsay Terry

picture of the crucifixion from http://www.thepassionofthechrist.com

There have been few methods of execution more torturous or more excruciatingly painful than crucifixion--and the Romans mastered it.

By design, death on a cross was not quick. No vital organs were damaged, so it was a slow, agonizing demise. Soldiers would first whip the victim with a scourge and then force him to carry his own crossbeam to the execution site. Once suspended on a cross, the hours in a strained position took its toll on the individual's body, causing difficulty in breathing--and often suffocation. Some victims died of heart failure. And sometimes a person would hang alive for days, finally succumbing to death as a welcomed relief.

It wasn't until A.D. 337 that crucifixion was banned in Rome by the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great. But by then thousands had been tortured on a cross--including one named Jesus Christ. Interestingly enough, it was out of reverence for this very Jesus that Constantine outlawed this method of execution three centuries later.

When Jesus was crucified He voluntarily took the guilt of your sins and mine to the cross with Him. As death drew near, the Son of God summoned all of His human strength and said, "It is finished!"

What did that mean?--"It is finished!" It meant that there was no more need for bloodshed. Never again would innocent lambs have to be sacrificed to atone for man's sins as had been done in Old Testament times. The blood flow was finished. Our salvation had been paid for in full!

A famous preacher of yesteryear explained it in this fashion: As Jesus' blood--the blood of God--coursed down the crude Roman cross and into the sand, it was as if the sand whispered to a blade of grass, "It is finished." The blade of grass leaned toward a tree and said, "It is finished!" The tree lifted its leafy limbs heavenward and shouted to an eagle, "It is finished!" The soaring eagle rose higher and higher and screamed to the whole earth, "IT IS FINISHED!"

And so it was--finished! My sin and yours were paid for with the precious blood of Christ.

Though there were thousands of men who were crucified, only the crucifixion of the sinless Son of God was worthy to be part of God's eternal plan for man's salvation. The cross should be a constant reminder to each of us of the goodness of God in allowing His only Son to die in that manner and, especially, to die in our place. There is only one reason . . .YOU! He gave His life for YOU--and for me. So each of us is personally responsible for receiving or rejecting God's offer of cleansing from our sins.

The thing that makes Jesus' experience with crucifixion so unique and supreme is that He was taken from the cross, placed in a sealed tomb, and after three days ROSE FROM THE DEAD! He ever lives to be our Savior and Lord. Thus, God's plan for our salvation was made complete.

Although it cost Jesus everything to pay for your sins and mine, He makes it very easy for us to know Him personally and to be saved. We are the sinners; He is the sacrifice. We have the problem; He is the provider. Here is God's plan of salvation for you and me, according to the Bible.

First, admit that you are lost and need a Savior.
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
"All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

Second, realize that a heavy penalty is on your sin.
"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3)
"Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12)

Third, acknowledge that God made a way for you to be saved.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8)

Fourth, accept God's plan for your salvation . . .today!
"He [Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
"But as many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1:12)

Read the following prayer several times and then earnestly pray that prayer, accepting Christ personally, and God will forgive your sins and make you one of His own:
"Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a guilty sinner and that I need to be saved. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay my sin debt. Please forgive my sins, come into my heart, and save my soul. I turn my life over to You. Help me to live for You from now on. Amen."

If you have received Christ as your personal Savior, welcome to the family of God! Please send your name and address to the address below, and additional literature will be sent to you to help you in your new life with Christ.

Good News / Crossway
1300 Crescent Street
Wheaton, IL 60187
or email: info@gnpcb.org

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jesus Is Alive!
Easter--Breaking Through the Barrier

picture of the resurrection from http://www.calderdale-online.org/cards/create.php?f=christian_celebrations/easter_resurrection.jpg&template=

The good news of Easter is that Jesus Christ is alive! His empty tomb, the newfound confidence of His disciples after His resurrection, and His presence in the lives of believers today all testify to the fact that the Savior of mankind has literally risen from the dead and is alive!

But the fact of the resurrection alone--amazing as it is--doesn’t tell the whole story. The significance of the resurrection is that Jesus Christ has broken through the death-barrier for you and me. The most solemn fact of all human consciousness is the certainty of death. And it’s God’s book, the Bible, that tells us that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Such death not only means the end of physical life, but the separation of the soul from God--a barrier between us and God: "Your iniquities [sins] have made a separation between you and your God" (Isaiah 59:2).

The death of Jesus was a very public event, yet it was in no way the result of any sin of His own, for He had no sin. But in a mysterious and wonderful way that only God could arrange, Jesus was dying for you and me. By taking the punishment for all our sins, Jesus "suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). The Lord "laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). By being our substitute, Jesus can thereby save us from the consequences of our sins.

Therefore, when Jesus was raised from the dead, it meant more than restoration of physical life. It meant that He had paid our full punishment, and He had broken through the spiritual death-barrier for sinful people. The payment for our sins had been paid to God, and the resurrection proved that God had accepted the payment. The fact that Jesus is alive today assures an eternal destiny in heaven to those who believe that what Jesus did was done on their behalf.

When you put your faith in the risen Jesus Christ, God will first save you from spiritual death. Though we are all spiritually "dead in trespasses," the Bible says that God will make us "alive together with Christ," (Ephesians 2:5) when we trust in Him for salvation from sin. Those who trust in Jesus Christ are forgiven, accepted by God, and made spiritually alive by Him.

The time is coming when the physical death-barrier will be smashed for those who have died trusting in Jesus Christ. At a future time that only God knows, He will transform the perishable bodies of believers who have died into imperishable bodies like Christ’s resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:35-57). They will then be truly ready to enjoy living in God’s heaven!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ can mean spiritual life to you now and life in heaven with God after life on earth. Eternal life can be yours if you believe that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died for your sins, and that God raised Him from the dead. You have Jesus’ word on it from the Bible: "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40).

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why Worry?

Holy Week (Lenten Season and Easter) is approaching. What are your plans for next week? By the way, what is the significance of this season to you? In the meantime, I want to share this (an email I got some time ago) with you, friends...
There are only two things in life to worry about:

Whether you are well
or whether you are sick.

If you are well,

then there is nothing to worry about.

But if you are sick,

there are only two things to worry about:

Whether you are going to get well

or whether you are going to die.

If you get well,

then there is nothing to worry about.

But if you die,

there are only two things to worry about:

Whether you are going to go to heaven
or whether you are going to go to hell.

If you'll go to heaven,

then you have nothing to worry about.

But if you'll go to hell,

then you should be worried!

But instead of worrying,
go to the Bible so you'll know
how you can be sure of Heaven!

*Do not cry if the Sun sets at the end of the day,
because the tears will not let you enjoy the beauty of the Stars.