Tag Archives: Easter

Beginning with the End – Understanding a Future of Hope

Surprise Endings

New Beginnings - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book where the beginning started with the end? Or maybe you were told the ending by some well-wisher or received a spoiler alert on how the conflict resolves? Sometimes both of these scenarios ruin the surprise and makes the drama somewhat disappointing to watch unfold. Yet there are many who cherish watching the same movie or reading the same book over and over even when knowing the end at the beginning. Do you find that with the story of Easter?

A Baptist church in Bangladesh was showing a film about the life, death, and the resurrection of Jesus to an audience filled with people who had never heard the gospel before. The children sat in front and in the aisles as the adults stood in the back. As the story of Christ’s crucifixion unfolded and Jesus’ broken body was laid in the tomb, there were tears and audible gasps. But as the emotional audience watched, one young boy suddenly shouted out. “Don’t be upset. He gets up again! I saw it before.” What the audience saw as the end was really the beginning. The overwhelming power of emotion was evident but even more so as the resurrection is witnessed. The surprise reveals that He who was dead is now alive!

A New Beginning

As I write today, history and scriptures tell us that Jesus hung on the cross and before sunset on this day was laid in the tomb. The outlook appears grim through Saturday as the silence continues and despair deepens. But believers know it doesn’t end there.  The surprise is already revealed because as we read the beginning, we know the end. This ending provides an understanding for a future of hope. An ending that I am glad that I know of in the beginning.

The resurrection marks not the end but a new beginning. For when life overcame death, hope overcome grief. The new beginning of the resurrection now requires us to decide which path we will follow for our own new beginning. For we can now be confident that since Christ arose from the dead, He will accomplish all that He promises. The future holds a new beginning because we know the end.

Because of the confirmation of Christ’s bodily resurrection, we see a living Christ. He is the ruler of God’s final Kingdom that will last eternally. But the greatest news is that because of the resurrection of Christ, our own resurrection is certain and secure. For with the end of Christ’s ministry on earth begins the possibility of a new and future life for all who believe. Praise God! He has risen indeed.

– for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.

John 20:9 (NLT)

When the End is Really the Beginning

It is revealing that even those closest to Jesus, His disciples, had initial doubts about His resurrection. But along with their eye-witness accounts, they confirm what they remembered He said giving proof to the resurrection. This resurrection proof is the key to the Christian faith. Understanding the divine power that brought Christ back to life is the very thing that gives us life and a future as well. The new beginning is our foundation to witness to the world. For just as Christ said that He would rise, and did, we know that He will accomplish all that He promises.

Sometimes, stories never get old and knowing the ending is what keeps us going. What looks like the end is only the beginning. The beginning of hope and the promise of a future confirms that we have a purpose and a God that loves us dearly. Christ is the Son of the Almighty and with His resurrection, we can hold tight to the promises of our own resurrection, a bright tomorrow, and a future with Him.

Won’t you challenge yourself to put any doubts you may hold to rest through your own research just like the disciples did? Confirm your faith by listening, seeing, and following the disciples and their life as they move forward certain of the understanding of a life of hope. Root your convictions firmly and find motivation in the knowledge of the “Good News” spreading the Word to others that they, too, can hold a future. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that the promises of a future are yours because Christ arose! Live your life fully because you know the end of the story reveals a victory for all, and this is just the beginning

Happy Easter!

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Seneca

Extra Study

John 2:22

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you fully understand that because of the resurrection of Christ you have a future of hope? Have you seen the beginning with the end? Share your thoughts on the promises of Christ that come with the “Good News” of His resurrection.

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Sacrifice – He’s Back for Good!

God’s Back!

A Pleasing Sacrifice - caring and sharing - A Studio 1-37 Original ImageHave you heard the news? God is back! Easter is past, but He lives on and there is nothing like the humorous interpretation of a child to really set the story straight. Dan, the three-year-old son of Joanne Hinch spent the day before Easter coloring eggs with his mother and sister. While engaged in this activity their mother took the time to teach them about the sacrifice of Christ and the traditional Easter morning greeting and response, ”He has risen”¦He has risen indeed!” The children planned to surprise their Dad, a minister, with that greeting on Easter morning. As soon as Dan heard his father stirring around the next morning he got up quickly and dashed down the hall shouting the good news: ”Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, God’s back!” Continue reading Sacrifice – He’s Back for Good!

Quietly Waiting: Faith in Action During the Storm

Oh, the Noise!

Quietly Reflecting - A Studio 1-37 Original ImageWait quietly, two words that often sound dismal to a child. Of course, that would also include phrases such as sit quietly, work quietly, be quiet, and the famous, ”Let’s play the quiet game.” Children just don’t seem to like the quiet. The more noise the better seems to be their mantra. But studies have shown that noise affects human behavior and not in such a good way. Continue reading Quietly Waiting: Faith in Action During the Storm

Confident Hope Even When All Else Fails

Hope Always Remains

Confident Hope as Spring is to Winter - A Studio 1-37 Original ImageLife is tough and some days tougher than others. How do you make it through the day-to-day grind that often knocks you on your feet? The ancient world knew about confident hope. Just read through the Greek myth of Pandora. Here the mythology tells of a lady filled with all the charms of life. She comes to earth with a little jar she is told not to open and we all know what happened. Her curiosity got the best of her. So, she peeked into her container and what escaped was every conceivable kind of evil. She quickly closed her jar, but it was too late for only one thing remained, hope! This was the way ancient writers explained how important hope is and not just any hope but confident hope.

It is confident hope that kept the Israelites going from generation to generation. This confident hope is what energized the crowd on the day that the word spread that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. It is this day we celebrate on Sunday, known as Palm Sunday. It was on this magnificent day that He was met with an enthusiastic crowd waving palm branches while shouting with hope for a new leader;

Praise God!

Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hail to the King of Israel!

John 12:13

Fading Confidence but Hope Still Remains for the Faithful

Unfortunately, God’s plans weren’t what the people had longed for and as the week passed many turned against Him because Jesus didn’t fit into the mold they created to fill their hopes. They held a weak hope and not the necessary confident hope that God would supply what they needed. And it is this confidence that makes all the difference between life, death, and a wishy-washy grey area. Because it is only with the confident hope of God’s promises that you can hold joy because you are saved through Christ for eternal life with Him.

When you hold confident hope, you know without a doubt that you have eternal life and it is this gift that sustains you through life on earth. With confident hope, you gain the strength and ability to hold patience even during times of trouble or problems. It is through this confidence that you know that God will work all things for the good of those who love him and are called to His purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)

Giving Yourself as a Living Sacrifice

When we give ourselves to Christ as living sacrifices we follow the standards of living through our personal responsibility to God. We can live as redeemed people in this troubled burdened world and we can do so with the confident hope of Christ. It is in this way that we can hold our patience and wait upon God while continuing to pray without ceasing knowing that He will and does answer prayers.

In Charles Schultz’s, Peanuts Comic Strip, we see Snoopy thinking to himself: ”Yesterday I was a dog, Today I am a dog. Tomorrow I will probably still be a dog. Oh”¦there’s so little hope for advancement.” Thankfully it is with the confident hope in the power of Christ that we know our life can change because of His sacrifice for us. Because of Him, we do not have to live in the yesterday and instead can change and live our life for Him today. All of which radically shifts our tomorrows and creates the confident hope of eternal life.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12 (NLT)

Securing the Joy of Confident Hope

Finding joy no matter the circumstances requires you to know with confidence that God is aware of not only you but the life you lead. It is knowing that no matter what earthly problems you may have that a problem-free eternity awaits secured for you through your belief. This is trusting fully in God and not in worldly treasures. It is knowing that your security lies in heaven and not earth. It means that no matter what you may endure on earth that your faith remains confident that God is always with you.

Stepping out in faith to sing with joy though isn’t always easy. But it is through Him that both strength and endurance sustain those who do not give up. It is this trust of confident hope that builds leading to life eternal. But it is with this trust that you must also recognize that there are no guarantees with this life on earth. For even, the most passionate worshiper may experience suffering and even death. No matter what faith level, whether deep or nonexistence; random problems, violence, and disasters can occur.

God doesn’t always answer your prayers in the way you want Him to and this can cause not only confusion but wavering faith. It is during these times that you must acknowledge that He knows more than you. Jim Denison said proficiently that God has a plan for His great glory and your great good. It is through His strategies that He uses you as His partner for His divine purpose.

It is with only confident hope that you can turn to Him with or without pain and ask Him to do what is best. And it is with this confident hope that you can wait in patience for His purpose to be filled.

The Challenges of Hope and Security of Easter

Won’t you take the challenge today to step out in faith. To land in a pile of joy knowing that your future is secure? Let your convictions support you in full confidence to not give up and to continue to wait patiently for His help knowing that He cares about you deeply. Be motivated in knowing that there is a joy to hold in the future of hope. Find comfort in the knowledge that God is always with you no matter what your circumstances may be.

Confident hope is faith in the promise that the miracles of God will prevail when the darkness makes its attempts to win with the cries of anguish. That confident hope is a gift of God. It strengthens us to reach for and live a life that believes the best is yet to come and that tomorrow can be better. This confident hope resurrects life and draws us to the love that Christ gives us. The light of God that walks out of the grave to pave the way for everlasting life for all.

As you ride the wave of the emotions of Holy Week let the confident hope of your faith prevail. Celebrate on Easter Sunday that He is indeed alive and that makes all the difference and provides your confident hope!

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

Desmond Tutu

Extra Study

John 16:33, Romans 8:28, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you have the necessary confident hope in Christ you need to live day-to-day in a troubled world? Has your faith faltered in the face of adversity? Share your thoughts on the need of confident hope to live your faith in the present moment.

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Discover Life’s Happily Ever After

Discover the One that Got Out!

Discover Happily Forever - A Studio 1-37 original imageSometimes it is difficult to discover the happily ever after but even more so when life seems at its lowest point. As I remember and reflect this week on Christ’s last days on earth, I align my feelings to those closest to Him. Watching helplessly with no power to intervene is difficult. Standing by as a tragic and horrendous death takes place in less than 24 hours’ notice of a friend, a loved one, and the person you placed all your hope in is overwhelming.

Tragic loss is, unfortunately, a concept that many people can relate to. Quickly discovering the anguish of seeing hard work, missions, and goals suddenly end is devastating. Things are not however always as they seem when in the midst of despair. There are occasions where loss provides a happily ever after. Sometimes it is necessary to discover that the ways of life are not always clear.  Continue reading Discover Life’s Happily Ever After