Our Easter Inside

It was true 2000 years ago and it remains true today: Christ is risen. He was risen when He met Mary at the tomb, risen when He appeared to His disciples, and risen when He walked the road to Emmaus. He was risen yesterday, He is risen today, and He will be risen tomorrow. The sun never sets on Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Still, we set aside Easter each year to remember and celebrate this one most unique day in human history, the day death was defeated and eternal life won for all who will receive it by faith. It is a day with its own imagery— white lilies and empty crosses, brass trumpets and empty tombs, and, somehow, marshmallow peeps and chocolate eggs.

Yet Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are not His only, but ours also. The apostle Paul teaches us, “For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.”1 Did you notice the past tense? It is finished for you and for me: we have been raised already and forever. How can this be, since we still live and breathe on this earth? Again, Paul explains, “In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”2 We are united with Him who will never die. Jesus lives in us through His Spirit; His resurrection glory is our resurrection glory.3

So enjoy the baskets of jelly beans, bunnies, peeps, and eggs; enjoy them in freedom. Far greater still, embrace and celebrate your resurrection unto eternal life, and “since . . .  you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  . . .  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.4 We live in Christ who will never die, and He lives in us forever. This is our Easter inside.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

Father, how powerful You are to conquer death. How wise You are to secure us in Christ. How amazing Your love for us. I entrust my life to Your Son, Jesus Christ, who took my sin upon Himself and in exchange gave me eternal life with Him in You. Thank you for Easter. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Colossians 2:12 NLT
2 Colossians 2:9-10 NLT
3 Colossians 1:27
4 Colossians 3:1-3


Why Wait?

Lying in the hospital bed and not permitted visitors, I had a lot of time to think. My illness was not even remotely life-threatening, but the reality of mortality consumed my thoughts. “I’m a lot closer to my ‘omega’ than my ‘alpha,’” I silently pondered, “Even if I reach my mid-eighties, that’s only 20 years away, and I’ve lived long enough to realize 20 years is short.” To be honest, I was frightened. It is one thing to ponder our demise and the hereafter in a conceptual sense, but like a mountain range, death looms larger as it draws nearer. And in the words of rhythm and blues guitarist and singer Albert King, “Everybody Wants To Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants To Die.”

Except, perhaps, the apostle Paul. Writing to the Philippian church, he poured out his heart to them: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”1 Paul realized that life in Christ has already begun—“to live is Christ,” he said—and to be with Him in heaven is better yet. So how do we hold to the same confidence that eternal life in Christ has already begun in us? “We know it by the Spirit he gave us,”2 wrote John. Christ lives in all who believe, and we gain confidence for the life to come as we experience His presence in the here and now.

My time to go has not yet come, so I’ve been thinking about how to prepare for it in the meantime, that is to say, to experience God today. Here are a few things that have proven to be helpful. Spending time with God in the Psalms is highly relational. Recalling Old Testament prophecies already fulfilled in Christ, such as Isaiah 52: 13 – 53:12, assures us today that God will keep His promises for tomorrow. Open conversation in daily prayer is refreshing and reassuring—relational, like personal psalms pouring out from within. God speaks to the heart of each of us through His Word for all of us, which is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”3 Finally, consider the difference He’s already worked in us and in so many others who walk among us as living testimonies to changes only God can make. In other words, experiencing the presence of God begins now. Why wait?

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.4 Amen.

1 Philippians 1:21-24
2 1 John 3:24
3 Hebrews 4:12 ESV
4 John 6:68



Sports loves to crown its champions. This is why we grind and compete for an entire season: to win and to become the greatest. Baseball pops the cork on its World Series winners, Super Bowl rings adorn the gnarled knuckles of the NFL’s best, and hockey hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup. But NASCAR is different, for it holds its most elite event, the Daytona 500, not at season’s end, but at its beginning. Afterward the matter is settled: regardless of what happens the rest of the year—win or lose—whoever captures the flag at NASCAR’s inaugural event remains its greatest champion. This is likewise true of all who are born of the Spirit of God by faith in the Son of God: though our season on earth here continues, we have already won. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us,”1 proclaimed Paul. It is fait accompli—a done deal, historic fact. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2

Still, the rest of the season awaits its champions: we have miles to go, some of them grueling and some of them not. We will at times face rejection, persecution or dangers for the sake of the Kingdom,3 yet in Christ we are champions, and absolutely nothing will be able “to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”4 Then it is in this confidence—the complete certainty of God’s limitless love for us—that we “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”5 We share the apostle’s assurance: “in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”6 God loves to crown His champions.

Many have gone on before us in seasons of the past, and many will follow in times yet to come. This, though, is our season. This is our time to persevere in Christ as winners in Christ. Our crown awaits. It won’t be long.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2.

Father, You have already made us winners in Christ Jesus. Send us Your Spirit to lead us, that we would live as Your champions. Find us faithful. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 8:37
2 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
3 Romans 8:35
4 Romans 8:39
5 Philippians 3:14 NASB
6 2 Timothy 4:8 NASB