The New Heaven and the New Earth:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be His people, and God Himself will always be with them, as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’
The One who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Then He said, ‘Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me, ‘They are accomplished. I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be His God, and He will be My Son’” (Rev 21:1-7).
New Life awaits us, now. Even in this very moment, we can turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, The Son of God, and receive the graces He won for us on The Cross. We can renew and restore our relationship with Him, by allowing His Spirit to breathe new life into us. Let’s open our hearts today to The One who loves us, to The One who heals us, to The One who forgives us and makes all things new!
God is with His people. He has never abandoned us, and He never will! Happy Easter!
"But God proves His Love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).
Here's a prayer we can say to open our hearts to God's unconditional Love ...
"Dear Lord, the world tells us we must deserve love. It paints a picture of a love that needs to be earned, that we need to do something, as if our own efforts will achieve it. Please help me to rid my life of this lie and accept that your love is a free gift. It’s who you are. It’s your nature to love. Grant me a new understanding of what love means.
Please help me to embrace the unconditional love you offer me. I thank you for loving me now, no more or no less than you ever will. Nothing is ever lacking from your Love. It's total and complete, and there is nothing I can do to earn it. Even now as I am learning to grow you are loving me completely. Help me to accept your love and the salvation you won for me. Help me to become a person of love, who brings your love to others, and grant that I may live in your love forever. In Jesus' name. Amen."
This prayer is from our book, "Prayers For A New Way. A Prayer Book For The Heart." I pray that it will touch your heart, and make your life new in Christ.
Our Lord’s passion and death was prophesied in Isaiah 53, "God’s Suffering Servant." Today, on Good Friday, our Lord walks this walk. Let’s walk it with Him, as we read the scripture passage in its entirety ...
“Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.
Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation protested?
For He was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people He was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was The Lord’s Will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though The Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see his offspring and prolong his days, and The Will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied.
By His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53).
This Scripture predicts the manner by which we shall all be saved, through the suffering of The Son of God. This is not the way we would expect God to come to us, as one of us, born into this world, taking His Divine nature and uniting it fully to our human nature, and dying on a Cross. But He did.
God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the sins of the world. Because of the actions of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God's command, sin and death entered the world. Mankind rejected the paradise God created for us, and now lives in a sinful nature, in a sinful world. With sin comes suffering. We were unable to right this wrong. So God sent His Son to make up for our sinfulness. Jesus came to conquer sin and death by taking our sins upon Himself. He bore the punishment that really belongs to each one of us. He made up for what humanity lacked, and through Christ, all who believe in Him can receive the grace He won for us on The Cross, the gift of eternal life. Why did He do this? Because He Loves us. God is Love, and God Loves what He has created. He loves each one of us - to death. And if you were the only person on earth, He would have done it all the same .. just for you.
Jesus died so that we may live, forever in Heaven. We need a Savior. We needed a Savior then, and we need a Savior now. Sin is still a choice to us, in fact it's everywhere, but through Christ we can reject that choice, reject sin and choose Heaven through the Cross of Christ, by receiving Jesus into our lives.
Today our personal relationship with God can grow significantly if we open our hearts and reflect on what He did for each of us. Let's pray and ask God for the grace to understand this better, and to become more loving, even in our own sufferings.
With gratitude for the life of Christ, as we meditate on His suffering and death, lets remind ourselves that He did it "for me." He didn't just do this for someone else. He did it for you. We can truthfully say "He bore my sins, my weaknesses, my guilt, my punishment .. so that I don't have too." We receive the benefit of His death when we accept Him as the center of our life. Let's finally let go of our old way of living, and start living for Christ, in a New Way, Today.
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
There is a great spiritual benefit to us when we reflect on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. "The Stations of the Cross" or "The Way of the Cross" is a scriptural, meditative prayer in which we call to mind certain moments of suffering that Jesus endured. We consider each station, perhaps reflect on a scripture passage, pray, and think about what Jesus went through for us. Then we move on to the next station and do the same. We open our hearts to God, and allow His grace to enter as we pray. It's a powerful prayer approach and a very peaceful experience, as we contemplate God's tremendous Love for us.
During Lent it is especially appropriate to pray this way and reflect on the Cross Jesus carried for us. If you're not familiar with the Stations of the Cross, I have listed each one below with a particular scripture that we can reflect on. These are only my suggested scriptures. Simply pray in your own way. What's more important is that we open our hearts and spend this time with Jesus, reflecting on the path He walked for our salvation.
We begin each station by saying, "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world." Let's ask God The Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and fill our hearts as we think about each one.
The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death (Mark 14:61-64).
Second Station: Jesus carries His Cross (John 19:14-16).
Third Station: Jesus falls the first time (Psalm 140:5-6).
Fourth Station: Jesus meets His mother (John 19:25-27).
Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross (Mk 15:21).
Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (Sirach 6:14).
Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time (Isaiah 53:4-7).
Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-28) and (Lam 1:12).
Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time (Isaiah 53:12).
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His clothes (Psalm 22:8).
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross (Luke 23:33-43 and Psalm 22:16-19).
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross (Lk 23:44-46) (John 19:28-30) (Romans 5:19).
The Thirteenth Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross (John 19:31-34).
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb (Matt 27:59-60).
Widely accepted as The Fifteenth Station is of course The RESURRECTION, where we celebrate Christ's victory over sin and death when Jesus rises from the grave on Easter.
Praying in a reflective way using scripture draws us closer to Christ and opens our hearts to be changed. Through this prayer, we can grow in our relationship with Jesus who loves us - to death.
God truly does Love us, and He has already proven it. He owes us nothing. He doesn't need to pay us back anything. We are the ones who owe Him everything. He poured out His Love and His Blood for us. Let's accept His Great Mercy. Let's not reject the fullness of The Cross any longer. Let's be grateful to Jesus for His Sacrifice and be open to His redemptive Love, in a New Way, Today.
New Way Today
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