Monday, June 6, 2016
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If I wanted a picture that screams "Resurrection!", "Life!", "Easter!" - I'd go to Death Valley. Well, this year at least, because all of a sudden it began to look like "Life Valley."
Because of what they call the "super bloom"! Millions of super-sized, glorious flowers exploded this spring in one of the driest places on earth. It's the lowest point in the U.S. They get an average of two inches of rain a year.
But this year: a sea of purple and pink blossoms. And this blazing yellow of what they call "desert gold."
Thank you, El Niño! Three times the normal rainfall, plus warmth and mild winds. And, as one headline says - "Death Valley is alive."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "An Empty Tomb and a Death Valley Bloom."
Well you could say "Hello, Easter!", because the day the crucified Jesus blasted out of His grave, He left death quivering on the ground. The enemy that had conquered every human who ever lived - Dethroned.
And the long dark valley we call death was suddenly alive.
And a billion funerals have never been the same. Because this death-beating Savior promised, "Because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19). Those who follow the risen Christ follow Him right through "death valley" into the glories of His heaven.
So the super-blooming glory of Death Valley becomes, for me, a picture of the deeply personal meaning of what Jesus did on the cross and on that Easter morning, that resurrection day.
First of all, there is no place so dead that life cannot bloom. A broken family. A broken heart. A "hopeless" situation. When Jesus walked out of His grave, He conquered the greatest "hopeless" of all. So when we invite Jesus into our "valley of death," He brings with Him the power that crushed death. Miracle-working power. The resurrected Christ said, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). Hopeless is not in His vocabulary.
Secondly, a million seeds are waiting to bloom. Seeds deposited in someone's heart when they heard about Jesus. Maybe as a child. From a friend. In church. They've heard the good news that the sins we deserve to pay for were paid for by Jesus when He "carried our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). They've just never made this Savior their personal Savior. But then the storm comes. We see how much we need Him. The storm awakens the slumbering seed. And the Jesus we knew about becomes the Jesus we know!
And thirdly, life will win. One park official said, "Death Valley goes from the valley of death to the valley of life." That's what Easter has done! That's what the resurrection has done! That's my future! And the future of everyone who belongs to Jesus.
Because Jesus said in our word for today from the Word of God, in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies". So, as David said in the 23rd Psalm, "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me" (Psalm 23:4). Because Jesus is alive, my last breath on earth will give way to my first glimpse of heaven.
To paraphrase D.L. Moody, a great preacher of another generation - "When you read some day that I am dead, don't you believe it! Because at that moment, I'll be more alive than I've ever been before!"
I wonder if you have that assurance. That you know for sure you are going to Heaven, because the sin that would keep you from going to God's Heaven has been forgiven because you put your trust in the only One who could forgive it. That would be the One who dies for it, Jesus. And you are believing in eternal life because you believe in the One who's the only One who can give it to you. He's the only One who has it. He walked out of His grave.
If you've never begun your relationship with Him, would you do that today? Let me help you with that. Please, go to our website – ANewStory.com, and let me walk you through how to be sure you belong to Jesus.
Jesus is alive. Death has lost. Life will win.