April 4, 2015

Hope: He is risen!

This last week we've been enjoying the weather, friends, and family. I'm excited to embrace love and hope and to celebrate Easter tomorrow. Tonight I took time to go through some old photos and journal entries. Here is what I wrote last year...

In the fall of 2013, I reflected on how we sometimes believe lies in the post titled "Loss and Lies." I wrote: "Lately, I've been thinking that sometimes we don't want to see these things (pain and loss).  We don't want to talk about these things... But, what if we asked the hard questions and wrestled with the truth?"

I distinctly remember the day...
kneeling before a wooden cross,
repenting of sin,
picking up an old nail,
putting it in that wooden cross.
realizing the pain 
of having someone you love suffering,
someone you love dying.
realizing Jesus was separated 
from his father God.
realizing a perfect Jesus felt it all,
all our suffering and sin.
understanding His body was torn,
He was torn from God.
feeling fully the sacrifice and love
for the very first time.

When He wasn't what we expected, we watched and waited.  When He didn't do what we wanted, we turned from laying our robes at His feet to hanging Him out to dry.  We crucified Him with our words.  We crucified Him with nails in His hands.  But, honestly, our sin is what really nailed Jesus to the cross.  And, truly I tell you, Jesus' love is what kept Him there.

Today we celebrate Easter.  Today we celebrate Jesus' resurrection.  Today we celebrate love and true life.

Today I sing "Oh Glorious Day!"
"Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sin far away
Rising, He justified freely for ever
One day He's coming, oh, Glorious Day, oh, Glorious Day"

Today we remember sin:
"One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me"

Today we remember hope:
"One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him,
The grave could not keep Him from rising again."

This morning I read "On Hope and Praise" by Teri Lynne Underwood on Managing Your Blessings.  Teri shares: "Hope in Scripture means “confident expectation.” Hope isn’t wishing something would happen; it’s believing God is faithful to His word. Hope means we stand firm in our faith even when the world seems to be falling apart around us. Our hope is based entirely on God’s character, not our abilities or efforts."  Teri continues: "Maybe the measure of my belief is the depth of my praise. Maybe the answer to my doubt is worship. Maybe the cure for shallow faith is deep praise.  I’m finding when I truly believe, when I have a confident expectation, when I hope continually in the Lord, there is nothing left to do but praise Him. And as I praise Him more, there is more hope, more faith, more belief.  I don’t know what situations you are facing today. I don’t know where you are struggling. I don’t know what fears and doubts are hindering your hope. But I do know this: praise is the answer. When we recall His faithfulness, our faith is grown. When we recount His provision, our fear is lessened. When we remember His presence, our doubt is defeated."

On the cusp of Spring and new growth peeking through the dead, I lean forward offering a sacrifice of praise and wearing the joy habit.  Today we gather our family and embrace hope.  Today we praise Him, we embrace love, we celebrate life!
I distinctly remember that day when I was sweetly broken.  Today I sing: "At the cross you beckon me.  You draw me gently to my knees, and I am lost for words, so lost in love, I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered... You've called me out of death.  You've called me into life.  In awe of the cross I must confess how wondrous Your redeeming love and how great is Your faithfulness."
source: Southern Belle View Daily
Today I remember that Jesus paid it allSo I cherish that old rugged cross. So I sing "I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it one day for a crown."

Today we celebrate Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection.  Today we celebrate His love and our life in Him.  John 14:6 reminds us that:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me.

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