Our family has always viewed Easter as a joyous occasion. Each year, for as long as I can remember, I would get a brand new dress, shoes and purse. My brother BJ would get a brand new suit, tie and shoes. My mom, who has always been a very classy and well-dressed woman, would get a brand new outfit, as well.

The church I grew up in was Mt. Olive Holy Temple in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of Cincinnati. Most of us members were related to each other. In fact, my great uncle was the pastor, the late Bishop Timothy Smith. We had such a good time praising God in that little church. Every Easter, we would put on a special program. Each child in the Sunshine Band would recite his or her Easter speech and the adult choir would sing and maybe perform a skit. Even my dad, who was not a regular church goer, would write a skit for my brother and me to perform. The BEST part, however, was when each child received an Easter basket. Those are some fond memories I will always cherish.

Although my brother and I enjoyed dressing up and getting our Easter baskets, our mother made sure we knew WHY we were celebrating Easter—–because of JESUS—–our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer.

I Corinthians 15:3-4 say:

“3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”

I get emotional whenever I think about the day I accepted Jesus into my heart. I was young, only in the second grade.

I was going to Landmark Christian School (which is now closed) in Glendale, Ohio. Even though I had been in church from the time I was born and had even been baptized, I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I remember the day I got saved, as if it were yesterday. Some older students from another school came to Landmark to perform a play for us. I don’t know if they were high school or college students. I just knew that they were much older.

The play they presented took place on an airplane. Some of the passengers were Christians and some were not. During the flight, those who were Christians witnessed to those who weren’t. Some believed and received Jesus, while the others rejected Him. I especially remember in the play a little girl and her mother. After they both heard about Jesus, the girl accepted Him into her heart, but the mother refused.

Later in the play, the airplane started having problems. I don’t remember if there were mechanical problems or if there was a storm. I just knew at the time that the situation didn’t look good. Everyone on the plane started panicking, and eventually, the plane crashed, killing everyone. At the end of the play, those same passengers were either sent to Heaven or Hell. The little girl in the play went to Heaven, and her mother went to Hell.

Once the play was over, there was an altar call for any of us who wanted to give our lives to Jesus. Immediately, kids began going up to the altar. Some were even crying. I didn’t move right away, not because I didn’t want to, but because, at that age, I had a tendency to be shy. However, I could feel Jesus pulling on my heart. So, I eventually made my way to the altar, knelt down and just cried. Then my second grade teacher Mrs. Pope knelt down beside me, put her arm around me and prayed with me.

It was such a beautiful moment that I will NEVER forget! I knew then that Mrs. Pope loved me because she was crying right along with me. Like Mrs. Pope, that’s the kind of heart we, as christians, should have. We should want to see everyone saved.

Some who may hear that story may accuse the school of trying to scare us into salvation. However, that wasn’t my experience. I don’t believe they were trying to scare us to death! Rather, they wanted us to understand why we need Jesus.

As James 4:14 tells us, tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Every day, people from all walks of life are dying. Fortunately, we, who know Jesus and are saved, don’t have to fear death. We are promised eternal life.

One of the first verses I learned as a child was John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

When I saw the play, I didn’t just learn that a person will either go to Heaven or Hell when he or she dies, but I learned about the love of Jesus. In fact, it was His love that pulled me to the altar. I felt His love as I knelt down to pray. I felt His love through Mrs. Pope as she prayed with me. I felt His love when I got home that afternoon and told Mom my good news. I have felt His love throughout my life, even during the difficult moments. Moreover, I feel His love now.

I enjoy reading the stories about Jesus in the Bible because of the LOVE He constantly demonstrated—–His love for God the Father and His love for people. When we read about Jesus, we see that everything He did was out of love. It reminds me of the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery in John 8:1-11.

Early one morning Jesus was in the Temple teaching when the scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery.

These religious leaders questioned if Jesus was going to follow the law of Moses by stoning her to death (Leviticus 20:10).
Needless to say, they weren’t concerned about keeping the law of Moses. They were attempting to trick Jesus into saying something they could use against Him.

So, how did Jesus respond? At first, He ignored them. Then He announced that anyone who had not sinned could throw the first stone. Instead of throwing stones, each of those religious leaders left one by one. When Jesus asked the woman if anyone had condemned her, she said no. Jesus then said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

THAT is who Jesus is! He’s LOVE. Yes, the woman had sinned. Nevertheless, Jesus gave her another chance. Jesus gave ME another chance. In fact, He has given me more chances than I can count. And He’s ready to give YOU a chance.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. Romans 10:9 says:

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

All you have to do is pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe that You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so that I could be FREE! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!!!!!

I now welcome you to the family of God!

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Jesus Is Love”)

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