New Life, New Hope, New Joy

I like to begin each of the blogs at Sundays with Cindy with some event that has occurred in my life or the life of one of my loved ones, or sometimes even a matter of national significance that has happened during the week.  Most often it is some little thing, but today I have an announcement of momentous proportions: Bob and I are going to be grandparents for the twelfth time!

We got a phone call on Monday night from our granddaughter Melissa.  “Grandma, would you like to Skype with us?”  Sure!  Who wouldn’t want to see the precious faces and hear the laughter of one’s grandchildren 3500 miles away on another continent?  To my surprise, when the picture came up they were in the living room, rather than gathered around the computer in the office.  Fernando had connected his laptop to the television.

I called Bob up from his office downstairs and we watched with amusement Matthew’s antics in front of the camera.  We chatted with Laurie for a few minutes while Fernando fiddled with the computer and TV and Sara, Gabi and Katie looked on.  Finally I said, “Where are Melissa and Mandy?  I can’t see them.”  Melissa and the baby-just-turned-two came out into the middle of the room and in front of the camera.  Mandy danced around a bit, twirling and jumping as little ones do.  She was saying something about shirt!  Shirt!  Someone asked, “Can you see her shirt?”

Melissa picked up Mandy and brought her up to the webcam.  “I’m the BIG Sister!” I read on her t-shirt.  “BIG sister?  Laurie!!!” My jaw dropped and for a full minute I was actually speechless.  Another baby?  Their seventh, and our twelfth grandchild!  Big surprise!  HUGE surprise!!!  But what a happy surprise! The news had clearly stunned them as much as it had us, but we rejoiced together in this new blessing, this precious new life that is on his or her way into our family.

I could feel it in the air yesterday—spring has finally arrived.  I was out shopping and it seemed that everyone else was also. People were filled with a new vigor, a bounce in their steps and smiles on their faces.  We still have yet to see the trees budding or flowers blooming, but it is gradually warming up and I’m hearing the birds sing.  Why, just the other day I heard a woodpecker a few yards from my door!  Springtime—a season of new life, new hope and new joy!

And today is Resurrection Sunday—the day we celebrate the greatest reason of all for the New Life, New Hope and New Joy that is within us!  Jesus Christ shed His blood and died on the cross for the remission of our sins and then went on to conquer sin and death once and for all by rising alive from the grave!  The work he had begun in Bethlehem in coming to earth and humbling Himself as a man and a servant, obedient unto death on the cross, had reached its glorious conclusion in His resurrection!  Joy to the world—Christ the Lord is risen today!  Alleluia!!!

New Life—When we trust in Christ as our Savior, the Bible tells us that He gives us a new life and we are made new creations in Him.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (II Corinthians 5:17)   His resurrection makes this possible.  Romans 6:4 says, Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  This new life enables us, despite still living in our old carnal bodies, to have victory over sin and live differently.  Romans 6 goes on to say in verses 11-14, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”  C.S. Lewis said, God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.  New creatures with a new life.

New Hope—Our new life here on earth has been changed because of His resurrection.  He has given us a new hope, as well, for all eternity.   I Peter 1:3 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  Because Jesus rose from the dead, we are assured that we, too, when we trust in Him, will be resurrected as well.  He was the “firstfruits,” the first to be resurrected eternally from death.  “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (I Corinthians 15:20)  Jesus, while He walked on earth, raised others from the dead (ie. Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter) but they eventually died again.  Jesus rose, never to die again, and so shall we be resurrected unto everlasting life—our great hope.  “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; “ (Titus 2:13)  And at that glorious appearing—“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:51-57)

New Joy—With this new life and new hope, thanks to His resurrection, we have also a new joy.  I Thessalonians 2:19 says, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”  The women who came to the tomb at dawn to anoint the body of Jesus found that He had been raised from the dead.  They hurried to tell the disciples, who also rushed to the tomb to find that He was indeed gone.  Can you imagine the joy they experienced when at last they saw the risen Christ with their own eyes?  There is great joy in the announcement of a new little life coming into the world.  There is joy when the cold dreariness of winter dies away and the newness of life springs forth all around us.  There is the greatest joy of all when we trust in the shed blood and death, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, and the great hope and joy that awaits us for all eternity!

May Resurrection Sunday bring you joy and hope as you rejoice in new life in Him!

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