The Hope of Easter

The Hope of Easter

Spring brings the promise of renewal and new life. Even here in New England while we 1stcrocusare enduring our 4th Nor’easter, we know Spring will come. We long for warmer weather and outdoor activities. We look for the buds on the trees and bulbs poking through the ground. The birds have returned from their southern migration and daylight is lasting longer. Despite how things look right now, we have hope.

egg-innestNature burst forth in expectancy and hope. We plant seeds and wait for their growth with a promise of flowers or food. We watch the birds as they lay their eggs in expectant hope of new life. Easter is celebration of remembrance and thanksgiving because God is all powerful and keeps His promises. Easter is about hope. It does not matter who you are, where you have been. Because of God’s great love He offers a new life through faith in His Son.

 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (NLT)

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”   Luke 23:39-43 (ESV)jesus3crosses

Jesus forgave that repentant thief and promised him peace and a place in heaven.  He also had told His disciples that He would be leaving but come back for them.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” … 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.    John 14:1-6 (ESV)

But on that day – we call it black Friday – The disciples were horrified and devastated as they watched Jesus die. All their hopes and dreams seemed gone. Many ran and hid in fear. He had taught them so many things but they just didn’t understand what went “wrong”. A few friends hung around to do the only thing they could…give Him a proper burial. When the women arrived at the tomb, the stone was rolled away and an angel greeted them;

 “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead,      Matt 28:5-7 (ESV)


Surprise, joy, wonder, awe, hope… ran through their hearts and minds!

Later the apostle John wrote,   …but these (scriptures) are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  John 20:31 (ESV)

We believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, died for our sin on the cross, was buried, rose from the grave on the third day and is alive and coming again. This is our promise. This is the hope of Easter.

“Pardon for sin, peace that endures, His presence with us to comfort and guide, Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”   (from the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness)

Because He Lives by Gloria Gaither

Because He Lives

Because He lives I can face tomorrow:

Because He lives all fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living just because He lives.


Hope in the Storm

Hope in the Storm

My family and I have been glued to the television and our smart phones watching as hurricane Harvey bore down on Houston and the surrounding area.  Historic amounts of rain came pouring down; howling winds ripped roofs off of houses, while hundreds of people and animals were displaced as the flood waters rose.  Then in the aftermath comes the survey, inspection and calculation of collateral damage.  It is heartbreaking to see all the destruction and loss. I cannot wrap my mind around the enormity of it all.

floodedcarsOne woman among the thousands tearfully said, “I’m grateful my whole family is alive and safe. But we’ve lost our home, we have nowhere to go.”

Often the trials and troubles that come our way are compared to a storm. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a “storm” of life?   Sometimes you can hear or see warnings that trouble is near and take some precautions.  Other times, a storm hits you  without any real warning and you find yourself unprepared and trying to keep your head afloat. When that happens, where do you go? What do you hold on to?

People sometimes question God’s goodness when tragedy strikes. The Bible never said that life would be easy and carefree. The fact is we live in a broken world and He does allow bad circumstances to happen. But God’s word tells us that He is always good and will never leave us alone in our storms. He also promises that they can be used for good.

I have learned through the various “storms” of my life that God is in control.  Having HOPE, means all is not lost….life will go on and it will be okay – maybe different and not heb619necessarily easy but Okay.  When an anchor is working it cannot be seen. God is always at work and my trust in Him keeps me from crashing or drifting away. Christ goes before the Father on my behalf,  and gives me peace, strength and direction to deal with whatever lies before me.

After all of Jobs’ suffering and loss plus the accusations from his friends, God finally answers. Job says that he has heard and seen God.  Dr Charles Ryrie states, “God reveals Himself in those storms. Unmerited tragedy helps us see God, which is unmerited grace.” Being able to evaluate things through the eyes of faith to see what is truly important builds character.

Have you recently been through some rough seas? Take a look back and ask yourself these questions. 1) Where did I see God’s hand at work?  2) How and what did God provide through this circumstance?  3) What have I learned about God or myself ?          4) What can I change or do better?

If you are going through some difficult circumstances right now, reach out and hold tight in faith to the One Who will never let go. There are so many wonderful songs about God’s love and faithfulness. To encourage you,I want to share the words from the last verse and chorus of:

 “Sometimes He Calms the Storm” by the Ball Brothers

                                    He has a reason for each trial                                      

That we pass through in life

And though we’re shaken

We cannot be pulled apart from Christ

No matter how the driving rain beats down

On those who hold to faith

A heart of trust will always

Be a quiet peaceful place.


Sometimes He calms the storm

With a whispered peace be still

He can settle any sea

But it doesn’t mean He will

Sometimes He holds us close

And lets the wind and waves go wild

Sometimes He calms the storm

And other times He calms His child.