In the Bible’s Book of Matthew, it is in the 18th chapter that verses 19 and 20 assure us that our Jesus said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
It is that simple. As we face an Easter Sunday unlike any we have ever known, I believe with all my heart this is true. In December I woke up in a hospital room after my leg had to be amputated and before I could bemoan my fate, eight words leapt into my soul: “Be still, and know I am God.” Those words from Psalm 46:10, have carried me for a long way since my life took a dramatic twist.
Today I’d much rather stand from the pew and loudly sing, “Up from the Grave He Arose” but that is not to be.
As I read story after story on the coronavirus and learn more have died from the scourge in America than in any other country (late Saturday afternoon it was 20,254 with 2,006 in the last 24 hours), Easter and its rebirth have never been as important and, to so many of us, held more meaning. As shocking and as horrible as it is when names of my personal friends are added to the body count, I am comforted to know that because of Easter, and its promise of everlasting life, that is all that matters and one day I’ll be with those friends again.
Yet today, with sorrow and fear our closest companions as we venture out for milk and bread, remember “The LORD Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged." And, of course, our favorite from 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; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
In the last few weeks as I have read of frenzied emergency rooms, and of two doctors in Chattanooga who have contracted the virus as they have intubated their neighbors, I constantly read Psalm 91 is our national go-to verse for both believers and non-believers alike:
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PSALM 91, FROM THE KING JAMES VERSION OF THE HOLY BIBLE
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation
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SOME WAYS YOU CAN WORSHIP TODAY
* -- “I WONDER IF YOU KNOW HIM?” Rev. S.M. Lockridge has been one of my favorite pastors for years. During one of his sermons, he described Jesus Christ in what has become a legendary poem-like description. “That’s My King!” is the most delightful 5:05 you’ll spend today. CLICK HERE.
* -- “THE GREATEST SERMON EVER PREACHED” is also by S.M. Lockridge.” This was preached in San Diego on Nov. 21, 1982, and while Dr. Lockridge went to his Heavenly reward on April 4, 2000, at age 87 but this sermon is more popular 20 years later than it was at the time. CLICK HERE.
* -- “THE CLASSIC RESURRECTION SERMON 'The Dawn of a New Day'. Millions have watched this masterpiece by Bishop G.E. Patterson. Time: 8:15 CLICK HERE.
* -- EASTER SUNDAY by Billy Graham. Dr. Graham died in February 2018 after leading an estimated 3.2 million to Christ. This is how he did it. CLICK HERE.
* -- PUT GOD FIRST -- Denzel Washington Motivational and Inspiring Commencement Speech. In a commencement address to Dillard College speech at Dillard University, Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington told the college graduates to put God first in everything they do, adding that everything he has accomplished in this life was due to the grace of God. CLICK HERE.
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Here are some FABULOUS EASTER SUNDAY OPPORTUNITIES:
SPECIAL EASTER PROGRAMMING ON FOX
Easter Sunday services from St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City with Pope Francis will begin at 5 a.m. ET, with continuing coverage on “FOX & Friends Weekend.” Co-hosts Pete Hegseth, Griff Jenkins and Jillian Mele will speak with priests and pastors throughout the morning.
Sandra Smith will take over at 10 a.m. ET, anchoring a two-hour bloc of holiday content that will feature Fox News correspondents, priests, pastors and rabbis on site at both Easter and Passover celebrations.
Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, will deliver a special Easter message from the Samaritan’s Purse emergency field hospital in New York City’s Central Park at 10 a.m. (ET).
Fox is preempting its regular Sunday news shows to air Graham's address and other Easter programming, including coverage from Pope Francis's service in Vatican City. The Sunday programming is titled, "America Together: Keeping the Faith."
The news network will also carry online Easter Mass from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, Washington's National Cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, as well as First Baptist Dallas and Saddleback Church.
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WE CAN PRAY WITH THE WORLD AT 1 O’CLOCK TODAY
I hope and pray everyone in the world will join the great Italian tenor, Andrea Bochelli, today as he will lead us in “hugging this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart.” Today at 1 p.m. (in Chattanooga on YouTube … and absolutely free to every viewer) he will perform a one-man Easter celebration from the beautiful Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy. Because of the coronavirus that thus far has taken more than 19,000 lives of his native countrymen, and added 1,971 more cases just yesterday, Milan is in strict quarantine and the cathedral will be empty except for a skeleton camera crew and the acclaimed organist Emanuele Vianelli on one of the largest pipe organs in the world.
Yet while there will be no public access inside one of the world’s most beautiful of Holy Places, the “Music for Hope” concert will be live steamed all over our now-suffering world. In Australia, Berlin, Russia, Tokyo, and Hawaii, many millions will watch and pray with one another. “On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honored and happy to answer ‘Sì’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan," Bocelli said in a statement proclaiming today’s performance.
“I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now," Bocelli continued. "Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride. The generous, courageous, proactive Milan and the whole of Italy will be again, and very soon, a winning model, engine of a renaissance that we all hope for. It will be a joy to witness it, in the Duomo, during the Easter celebration which evokes the mystery of birth and rebirth.”
The pieces, specially arranged for solo voice and organ for the occasion, will include "Ave Maria" by Bach/Gounod and Mascagni’s "Sancta Maria."
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EASTER ACROSS AMERICA – 7 P.M.
Dozens of church leaders and Christian performers are uniting for a special Easter event on April 12 with the hope of bringing inspiration to everyone during the holiday.
Author and Pastor Nona Jones will host "Easter Across America," a two-hour live video streaming event that is supported by the Christian aid group, World Vision, and Medi-Share.
A large number of Christian pastors and performers such as Andy Stanley, Johnny Hunt, Phil Wickham, Michael W. Smith, Bob Goff, Nick Vujicic, Candace Payne, Central Live, Eugene Cho and many more have joined the event.
"Easter Across America" is available free to watch at www.EasterAcrossAmerica.com and on Facebook on Sunday starting at 7 p.m. EDT, 6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT.
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JOEL OSTEEN FROM HIS LAKEWOOD CHURCH
Lakewood Church, the Houston-based megachurch owned by televangelist Joel Osteen, will stream an Easter service with a star-studded lineup. In addition to messages and music from Osteen and his wife Victoria, the service will feature remote performances by Kanye West (joined by his Sunday Service Choir) and Mariah Carey, who will sing her 1993 classic "Hero." Tyler Perry will also join the broadcast.
Osteen's Easter Sunday services will stream on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. EDT and noon EDT. They will be available to watch live on Lakewoodchurch.com/Easter, as well as on Facebook, YouTube, Roku, Apple TV and SiriusXM Channel 128.
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He is risen. He is risen indeed!