Spring of My Heart

Spring is a time of renewal, new birth and HOPE. During this Lenten season we are often challenged to examine our lives and our hearts.

animal-sheddingWinter is receding, days are longer and buds are forming on the trees and bushes – a sign of beauty and or bounty coming soon.  I look in my garden for signs of growth – the fulfillment of hope when I planted bulbs in the fall.  We (especially in the North of America) long for warmer weather and look forward to shedding layers of clothing. Our furry friends are shedding too!

I’ve begun my “spring cleaning” and maybe you have too. The heaviest of coats and sweaters are cleaned and packed away as well as winter boots.  Soon it will be warm enough to clean up the gardens.

What about some spring cleaning in my heart?  Maybe it’s time to get rid of the old dead cleaning ladyleaves of discontentment or disappointment.  Over in the corner are cobwebs of  unforgiveness that need to go. Maybe underneath the furniture there lurks some bitterness, jealousy or fear.

The word spring, besides being the name of a season, is an action word meaning to leap. You can only spring up or open and you fling things away from you.  The apostle Paul wrote a long practical list, in the book of Colossians , about  negative feelings and actions to get rid of and positive ones to “put on” or into our lives. He used the analogy of taking off clothing like our Winter to Spring/Summer wardrobe.   He uses terms like “put to death” and “get rid of”’. That sounds like serious business to me!

TAKE OFF:    *sexual immorality, impurity, greed, anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, lying and dirty language.

 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.      Col 3:10 (NLT)

PUT ON: *hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, make allowance for other’s faults, add forgiveness and love

Jesus said, 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander .    Matt 15:18-19 (NLT)

After reading verses like these we tend to think, “Oh but not ME– I’m a good person.”  But honestly, we all have evil thoughts, we tell little white lies or share gossip and put others down so easily we don’t even call it what God calls it – sin.  If we could be clean enough on our own then Jesus would not have had to die.

8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.             1 John 1:8-10 (NLT)

manpraying

This is our promise of renewal and cleansing from within! God promises to make us a new creation. I can clean my house and change my wardrobe but I need God to clean my heart! It’s time to do some spring cleaning!!!

    Change my heart, Oh God. Make it ever true,

Change my heart Oh God, make it be like You!

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)

jesustomb

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.