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USA Southern Territorial Weekly Devotional

Growing Deeper Together

March 29, 2023
                                            WHAT IS EASTER?


I Peter 1:13-21
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT (written by Major Rick Raymer)


There were these three guys who claimed to live for Jesus, who just died and are now at the pearly gates of heaven. St. Peter tells them that they can enter the gates if they can answer one simple question.


The first man replies, "Oh, that's easy; it's the holiday in November when everybody gets together, eats turkey, and is thankful..."

"WRONG," replies St. Peter, and proceeds to ask the second man the same question,


The second man replies, “Easter is the holiday in December when we put up a nice tree, exchange presents, and celebrate the birth of Jesus."

St. Peter looks at the second man, shakes his head in disgust, then he looks at the third man and asks,


The third man smiles and looks St. Pete in the eye. "I know what Easter is. Easter is the Christian holiday that coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover. Jesus and his disciples were eating their Passover meal, and He was later deceived and turned over to the Romans by one of his disciples. The Romans took Him to be crucified, and he was stabbed in the side. They made Him wear a crown of thorns, and He was hung on a cross. He was buried in a nearby cave which was sealed off by a large boulder. Every year the boulder is moved aside so that Jesus can come out, and if He sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter."

And they were Christians!


We who profess Christ need to know! What Easter Is? In the New Covenant it says:

Luke 1:68 (NLT) “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people.

Titus 2:14 (NLT) He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT) For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

Romans 3:24 (NLT) Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.


It's the celebration of our Risen Lord and Savior. And we who call upon His name and believe that He did rise from the dead WILL BE SAVED! Hallelujah!!

I received an e-mail from a friend that is so powerful that I must share it with you… It’s entitled
He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end! He is the keeper of creation and the creator of all! He is the architect of the universe and the manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and
He always will be…
Unmoved, unchanged,
Undefeated, and never undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom! He was dead and brought life! He is risen and brings power!
The world can’t understand Him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and
The leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and the people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him,
Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him, and
Oprah can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love , longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, kindness, gentleness, and God. He is Holy, righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right, His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me. He is my Savior, He is my guide, and He is my peace!        
He is my joy, He is my comfort, He is my Lord, and He rules my Life!
I serve Him because His bond is love,
His burden is light, and
His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom Of the wise, the power of the powerful, The ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, The leader of leaders, the overseer of the over comers, and is to come.
His goal is a relationship with me!
He will never leave me, Never forsake me, Never forget me, never overlook me and Never cancel my appointment
In His appointment book!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution,
He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me! When I face loss, He provides for
me! When I face death, He carries me Home! He is everything to everybody everywhere, Every time, and in every way.
He is God, He is faithful.
I am His, and He is mine!
So if you're wondering why I feel the way I do, Understand this…
He said it, and that settles it.
God is in control, I am on His side,
And that means all is well with my soul.
Every day is a blessing for GOD IS!
I want you to know that this same God sent His son to die on the cross.
When you think of the fact that this coming Sunday, over 2000 years ago, everyone was praising him, and five days later, most of the same ones who praised him were mocking him. And most of them were religious!
Because they did not know what Easter was all about.
"Jesus hung on the cross for you and me. His flesh was torn apart by lead-filled whips, His heartbroken by the rejection of His friends and abuse from His enemies, His mind was tortured by anguish, and His spirit shrouded in the darkness of abandonment." (Max Lucado)
That’s how our God chose to reveal to us His divine love; that’s how He chose to bring us back into His embrace of compassion and convince us that anger has been melted away in endless mercy.
But today today I wanted to remind you of what took place in history next week as the greatest event of all time! “What Is Easter”? It is the fact that Jesus conquered death and arose from the grave! To set us free from the bondage of sin.

And friends - may we never forget it!


Our Father, who art in heaven, look at us this day and accept our prayer as you accepted Peter's prayer, and let us not run away from you in the night as Judas did. But rather, help us to run this race you have placed us on with boldness and courage to take our stand in the midst of the evils of our day. May we do what you are blessing and not ask you to bless what we are doing. During this upcoming Holy Week, may You be seen in all our preparations, meditations, and delivery of Your message to all we come in contact with. May we sense Your presence, as You give us more grace as we walk this path You have chosen for us. We ask this in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.


Spend this week fasting and praying for your neighbors and coworkers that God will use you to speak truth into their lives. Pray also that God will give you opportunity after opportunity to witness to your neighbors and coworkers in a way that they see Christ in you and be drawn closer to our risen Lord.

"The message of Easter is that God's new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you're now invited to belong to it."

                                                                          - N. T. Wright.
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Rick Raymer, Major
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory
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