Charles Stanley – Why the Resurrection Still Matters

1 Corinthians 15:13-23

What does Christ’s resurrection mean to you? Is it simply an event in the distant past with little relevance for 2016, or does it affect how you think and act each day?
Many people look at Easter as an occasion for purchasing new clothes and going to church. But it’s not just a day to celebrate the empty tomb and then move on as if nothing has changed.

Since we didn’t personally witness the risen Christ after His burial, imagining that first Easter morning is difficult. Not only that, but our traditional celebrations and familiarity with the story make it easy to overlook the stunning magnitude of what transpired. Then we run the risk of taking the resurrection for granted and missing the impact it still has today.

In 1 Corinthians 15:13-17, the apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of the resurrection’s importance by describing what would have happened if Jesus had not been raised. Our Easter celebrations would be a big lie, and our faith would be worthless. Worst of all, we’d still bear the guilt for every sin we’ve ever committed—with no hope of forgiveness, salvation, or eternal life in heaven. If Jesus hadn’t been raised, His death would have accomplished nothing.

That’s why Easter is an awesome reason for celebration. Jesus died in our place to satisfy the requirement for our atonement—a price far too high for us to pay. His resurrection proves that the Father was satisfied with His sacrifice (Rom. 3:25) and counted it sufficient for the forgiveness of all our sins (1 Cor. 15:20-23). And because of Christ’s victory over death, we too will be resurrected and receive an imperishable inheritance reserved for us in heaven. This hope enables us to rejoice every day, even in the midst of trials and suffering (1 Pet. 1:3-9).

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Our Daily Bread — Easter Start

Read: John 20:24-31

Bible in a Year: Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30

Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. —John 20:27

One detail in the Easter story has always intrigued me. Why did Jesus keep the scars from His crucifixion? Presumably He could have had any resurrected body He wanted, and yet He chose one identifiable mainly by scars that could be seen and touched. Why?

I believe the story of Easter would be incomplete without those scars on the hands, the feet, and the side of Jesus (John 20:27). Human beings dream of pearly straight teeth and wrinkle-free skin and ideal body shapes. We dream of an unnatural state: the perfect body. But for Jesus, being confined in a skeleton and human skin was the unnatural state. The scars are a permanent reminder of His days of confinement and suffering on our planet.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Enemies of Humility: Selfish Ambition

“But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able’” (Matthew 20:22).

Selfish ambition in spiritual things shows that we are ignorant of the real path to God’s glory.

Yesterday we saw that James and John, with their mother, posed a bold power-play question to the Lord Jesus. Now, as He answers them, they display another attitude at odds with the humble spirit: selfish ambition.

If the brothers’ power-play request was brazen, it was also very foolish. They did not have a clue about what was involved if Jesus granted their request. “The cup that I am about to drink” was His way of referring to His suffering and death. When He asked James and John if they were prepared to drink that cup, Christ was saying that if you are His disciple, you must be prepared for suffering and hardship.

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Wisdom Hunters – Alive and Well 

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. Mark 16:14

Jesus Christ is alive and well. His earlier followers, taken aback by His death, initially denied His resurrection. They rejected reliable testimonies and refused to receive the truth of Christ rising from the dead. However, when they encountered the risen Lord, He rebuked them and then loved them. Unbelievers can loathe the Lord. Deists can deny Christ’s deity. Agnostics can be apathetic over His resurrection, but He is alive and well.

Contemporary Christ-less cultures could care less about Christ’s resurrection, but it does not lessen His lordship over them. Everyone will one day confront Christ. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10–11). Easter is the grandest stage for Jesus followers to celebrate His resurrection and His relevance.

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Joyce Meyer – The Journey Toward Unselfishness

. . . I die daily [I face death every day and die to self]. —1 Corinthians 15:31

Selfishness is not learned behavior; we are born with it. The Bible refers to it as “sin nature.” Adam and Eve sinned against God by doing what He told them not to do, and the sin principle they established was forever passed to every person who would ever be born. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins, and to deliver us from them. He came to undo what Adam did.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He comes to live in our spirit, and if we allow that renewed part of us to rule our decisions, we can overcome the sin nature in our flesh. It doesn’t go away, but the greater One Who lives in us helps us overcome it daily (see Galatians 5:16). That does not mean that we never sin, but we can improve and make progress throughout our lives.

I certainly cannot say I have overcome selfishness entirely—none of us can on this side of eternity. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do everything we can to grow closer to God and die to our selfishness. We can have hope of improving daily. I am on a journey and, although I may not arrive, I have determined that when Jesus comes to take me home He will find me pressing toward this goal (see Philippians 3:12-13).

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Are Each a Part

“Each of us is a part of the one body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves and some are free. But the Holy Spirit has fitted us all together into one body. We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

I find that most Christians agree that the Holy Spirit baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ, as this verse affirms. But the unity of the body is divided here on earth by many differences of interpretation concerning a “second baptism,” speaking in tongues and “Spirit-filling.”

Most believers agree, however, that we are commanded to live holy lives and the Holy Spirit supernaturally makes this human impossibility a reality. He does this when we totally submit ourselves to His indwelling love and power. Or, to use a metaphor of the apostle Paul, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

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Ray Stedman – The Cure to Worry

Read: Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

There is nothing more prevalent in the age in which we live than the increasing problem of worry. Worry is a powerful force to disintegrate the human personality, leaving us frustrated, puzzled, baffled and bewildered by life. Sometimes you hear the expression: sick with worry, and anyone who has experienced it knows it is no empty expression. You can be literally sick with worry. Paul’s answer to this is a blunt, Do not be anxious about anything. The entire Word of God is a constant exhortation to believers to stop worrying. It is everywhere forbidden to those who believe in Jesus Christ, and I think one of the most serious areas of unbelief is our failure as Christians to face the problem of worry as sin. Because that is what it is. Worry is not just something everyone does and therefore it must be all right. It is definitely labeled a sin in the scriptures, and the exhortation is everywhere: stop it!

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Yours Is the Kingdom, the Power, the Glory

Read: Luke 24:1-9

They were perplexed about this. (v. 4)

I’m not the Easter Grinch but I do, sometimes, grouse about chicks and bunnies and Easter eggs. Pastels and fake grass and a mythical Easter bunny seem out of place alongside the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. But maybe I’m wrong. As New Testament scholar Tom Wright notes about Luke’s account of the first Easter, “The opening mood of Easter morning, then, is one of surprise, astonishment, fear and confusion” (Luke for Everyone, p. 291).

Maybe there is something in the surprising nature of discovering an empty tomb that deserves to be mirrored in the delighted shouts over unexpectedly colored eggs in the grass or chocolates hidden inside them. Maybe there is something in the never-before-seen thing that God has done that deserves to be mirrored in crisp new dresses and hats.

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.R.- Prolific and Plentiful

“Within your lifetime,” noted a Reader’s Digest article a few years back, “American agriculture has advanced more than in all the preceding millenniums of man’s labor on the land.” The proof of this is in these remarkable numbers: an American farmer around the time of the Civil War had the capability of producing enough food and fiber to feed and clothe a total of four people. By the time of World War II, that number had risen to 11. Today, a single farmer provides sustenance for 155 people.

The Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land.

Psalm 41:2

Many of those 155 people do not live here. The United States is far and away the most generous provider of humanitarian aid to other countries. Who is it that “the Lord protects” and “keeps alive?” In the preceding verse, Psalm 41:1, the answer is found: “the one who considers the poor.”

Today, thank God you live in a bountiful land of generous people who have the resources to help others. Then, as you pray for the country and its leaders, ask what you should do, personally and locally, to prolifically and plentifully mirror the generosity of your nation to your neighbors who are in need.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 41:4-13

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Comforts

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Life is full of all sorts of tests. Maybe the word “test” makes you think of that piece of paper your teacher is going to give you sometime this week!

But not all of the tests you take this week are the kind you will be taking in school. Sometimes a test can be simply going through hard times or enduring “tribulation” or “affliction.” Perhaps a best friend moves away and you feel all alone. Or maybe you get really sick. Or maybe other people make fun of you because you are a Christian. Maybe you did not make the sports team you really wanted to be a part of. Maybe your dog ran away from home and you cannot find him anywhere.

Situations like these can make you sad, and you might even wonder why God could let them happen.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Sin and Self-Esteem

Today’s Scripture: 2 Peter 1:5

“Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue.”

We should not seek holiness in order to feel good about ourselves, to blend in with our Christian peer group, or to avoid the sense of shame and guilt that follows the committing of persistent sin. Far too often our concern with sin arises from how it makes us feel. Sinful habits, sometimes called “besetting sins,” cause us to feel defeated, and we don’t like to be defeated in anything, whether it’s a game of Ping-Pong or our struggle with sin.

I once spoke at a retreat on the importance of putting on Christ-like character while at the same time seeking to put off sinful habits. After my message, four or five people came to me asking for personal help in dealing with some particular sin in their lives, but no one came asking for help in putting on any Christ-like virtues. As I pondered the possible reason for this, I realized that sinful habits make us feel guilty and defeated. The absence of Christ-like character usually doesn’t have a similar effect, so there’s less motivation to seek change in our lives.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Lingering Sin

Today’s Scripture: Numbers 31-33

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! – -Hosea 14:1-2

Years ago, I memorized Numbers 33:55 as a warning to my own soul: “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come to pass that those whom ye let remain of them shall be as pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell” (KJV).

I memorized that verse because I was working with a group of guys and was trying to get across to them the importance of confessing sin to God–of keeping short accounts with the Lord and living a clean life before Him.

If you and I harbor sin in our lives, this verse says our vision for the work of God will be clouded, our forward progress will be hindered, and the sin that remains in our lives will be a constant vexation to us, both in our fellowship with God and in our service to Him.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE SON OF MAN

Read Luke 21

Warehouses and restaurants require workers to wear closed-toe shoes. Some human resources policies prohibit coworkers from dating one another. Other businesses restrict employee access to websites like Facebook or Twitter during the work day. Few would argue that dating or open-toe shoes or social media sites are always to be avoided. These rules are intended to guide behavior and promote wellbeing in a specific context for a specific time.

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had issued their own standards for behavior, which were supplemental rules to the Mosaic Law. They wanted to use this strict code of conduct for everyone as the standard of morality that pleased God. As Jesus often pointed out, they did more harm than good. For example, in Matthew 15 Jesus criticized the Pharisees’ teaching about temple offerings. They had persuaded people that money otherwise meant for helping one’s parents could instead be dedicated to God. They enriched the temple coffers but were in flagrant violation of the commandment to honor one’s parents.

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