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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection Day

It has been nearly two weeks since I last posted an update on our progress with the purchase of our house. Quite frankly, I haven't had the heart to. Anything I would have said would have been rather negative...more so than normal.

While I will briefly update the status of our closing, that isn't really what this post is about. As I write this, it is Saturday night (the 23rd), the night before Resurrection Day, more commonly known as "Easter". Tomorrow is also my 26th birthday.

I've been feeling pretty discouraged lately, mostly due to the never ending headache associated with the attempted purchase of this house and land. The stress has taken a toll on my health; I have been feeling ill for much of the past month. As a result, I've been short-tempered with my family, and that causes additional stress for everyone. This is no way to live; we will all be relieved when all of this is behind us.

On the 13th, we were told that since we are not selling the condo before closing, we need to have a signed lease agreement before closing. That is absurd, as we have no idea when we will close...we can't commit to moving out by a certain date if we don't know when we will be able to move into the new house. Rural Development doesn't seemed concerned with trivial details like that though. The loan officer drew up a lease agreement and told us he knew someone who would be willing to sign it for us; someone who could be flexible about moving. We have misgivings about the whole deal. We don't know the person who signed the lease, and we won't be able to move out by May 1st...the day the lease says the condo will be available. We're trusting that the loan officer's friend won't try to insist that since we have a signed lease agreement, we need to be out in a week. We would have nowhere to go, if that were the case. We had already agreed to rent our condo through a management company, but we can't have them find a renter until after we close. We're stuck between a rock and a hard place at this point. There is no other way around RD's requirements. All we can do is trust that God will work everything out.

RD also needed an updated Well and Septic Inspection report, as the report from the inspection that was performed in October expired in January. We were told that the new inspection would happen on the 22nd (yesterday). Now we need to wait about a week for the new report to be submitted to RD. As far as we know, that is the only remaining hold up. It's possible that we could close as soon as May 5th or 6th if that report is the last thing RD needs in order to sign off on this loan. I'm not optimistic enough to believe that will happen though, so I'm just waiting for Monday to find out the latest news from the loan processor.

With all of this weighing on me lately, it has been difficult to keep my focus on anything positive. The fact that my birthday is tomorrow hasn't really helped. I don't really remember the last time I have looked forward to or enjoyed my birthday. It's possible the last time was 10 years ago, because it meant I could finally get my driver's license. Then again, I don't enjoy driving very much...I just needed a license so I could drive myself to work. Speaking of that, my license will expire tomorrow. I have resisted renewing it up to now, because I wanted to wait until we close on the house so I could put our new address on the license. I'm cheap, and I didn't want to pay the extra $20 to update the address on the license after renewing it. I guess I won't be driving anywhere for a while.

With all of that said, I've been thinking about what tomorrow means, spiritually. I realize I've been wrong to focus so much on the negative. It is my tendency to look for the negative in any situation and dwell there. It isn't a healthy attitude, physically or spiritually, but it's a difficult habit to break...however, I will try to do so with the remainder of this post.

As I said earlier, tomorrow is Resurrection Day. I prefer to call it that instead of Easter, because I believe it puts the emphasis back where it belongs; on Jesus Christ. Easter is a pagan holiday, but many people, many Christians included, don't seem to see any difference between Resurrection Day and Easter. It isn't about bunnies or eggs or chocolate; to focus on those things is to trivialize the most incredible thing that ever happened.

Jesus Christ was and is God, the Son in the Trinity, which is made up of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not only was His birth as a human prophesied in the Old Testament, His crucifixion was as well...more than 700 years before His birth.

Isaiah 53 (NKJV)

"Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked - but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

This chapter sums up the Gospel beautifully. All humans were born sinful, and as a result, we all deserve death and eternal punishment. However God has provided a substitute for us; He took our punishment in order to grant us eternal Life.

Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
"...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."

Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 5:6-11 (NKJV)
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."

The Resurrection of Christ demonstrates that He was and is not just a good teacher, but that He is God. If He had not been raised from the dead, we would have no hope.

1 Corinthians 15:12-23 (NKJV)
"Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (NKJV)
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:

'Death is swallowed up in victory.'
'O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?'

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

There isn't much more that I can add to that. This is what I will try to focus on, when the temporal things of this life begin to overwhelm me. I can't promise to always succeed in this, but I will attempt to focus more on the positives rather than the negatives in the future.

Have a Blessed Resurrection Day!

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