The Hope of Spring

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

On the way to our subdivision, trees line the road and, in many places, form an arch over you—lush and green in the summer. But in winter, the dark, bare limbs reach out with eerie arms against cloudy skies. It seems all life is gone out of them.

We bear the cold winds and the dismal colors, believing full well that Spring will come. We’ve seen it over and over every year, so we have confident hope it will come again.

Sure enough, the weather gets warmer, the first daffodils bloom, and we know that Spring is coming. Soon, the forsythia waves its yellow arms at us.

Then, just as the daffodils begin to fade, the dainty weeping cherry bushes sprout their pink blooms. Suddenly pear trees and cherry trees join the pink and white display along with new lime-green  growth on trees and bushes.

Slowly leafy growth moves up the taller trees, then the red bud trees dress in their purplely-pink accents. It is glorious! The hope of life has come. Likewise…

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior! Waiting the coming day, Jesus, my Lord!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus, my Savior! Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus, my Lord!

Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus, my Savior! He tore the bars away, Jesus, my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;

He arose a victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign.

He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

How wonderful that we had a late Easter this year—just in time to put us right in the most beautiful Spring ever.

For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise.

A blessed Easter Resurrection Day to you all.

~ Joyce ~

 

 

Easter – the Agony Begins

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

It is with a heavy heart that I approach these next two blogs, but it is necessary to appreciate the depth of His glorious resurrection. 

Jesus and the eleven leave the upper room, plod down the hill away from the city, across the Kidron Valley and part way up the Mount of Olives to a familiar garden where they often come for prayer. Jesus tells them to, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” (Matt. 26:36) and “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22;39)

Then He takes his inner circle (Peter, James, and John) a little farther into the garden and confesses to them:

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matt. 26:38

Do you hear His agony? He knows what is ahead. He has seen Roman crosses beside the road before as a warning to anyone who dares to defy Rome.  I often wonder, at what time in those years of ministry did he first realize the price He was going to pay. In this garden called Gethsemane (olive press), Jesus’ very soul is being pressed into submission.

We read Jesus’ lengthy 26-verse prayer in John 17. How did John know what Jesus said? Evidently at the beginning of this prayer, John was still awake and able to overhear Jesus in his agony. We hear much repetition in this prayer as may happen in some of our most agonizing prayers when we’re trying to express ourselves as many ways as possible over one particular issue. Perhaps as He speaks, His prayer grows louder.

Jesus longs for his close friends to pray as well, but Mark records that Jesus comes three times to the disciples and finds them sleeping. The first time he speaks directly to Peter.

“Simon, are you asleep? Could you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:37-38

Yes, Peter, the spirit of denial is nipping at your heels.

We know that one of the things Jesus prays is:

“Father , if you are willing take this cup from me [the cup of suffering]: yet not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

Luke tells us that Jesus’ praying becomes so fervent that he begins to sweat.

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:43-44

That, my friends, is more agony than I can imagine.

As you focus on the redemption plan God provided for you through Jesus’ sacrifice, meditate in these next days before Easter on what He endured for you. Move beyond your trite prayers, your pleas for all-things-me and give Him the praise and adoration He so richly deserves.

Sing:

Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

~ Joyce ~