Focus: The season of hope

Romans 15:13 (NKJV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Almost no one could miss that spring is in the air. Pastel colors of pink, lavender, yellow, blue, peach, and green are everywhere. People are planting flowers, the days are getting longer, and the weather is warming up.

Now, you can listen and/or read!

God wants you to observe the season of hope with new eyes this year. --Christina Cook Lee, A Quest For New Strength
Link to New Strength Devotional, Audio Version
God wants you to observe the season of hope with new eyes this year. --Christina Cook Lee, A Quest For New Strength
New Strength Devotional Inspirational Statement of the Day

You can walk into any grocery store and see portions of their real estate dedicated to potted plants. Brightly colored displays of candy, seasonal foods, and accessories abound. At the discount department stores, whole sections are devoted to water toys, above ground swimming pools, outdoor activities, and games. An abundance of Easter candy, baskets, dishes, and party supplies are waiting to jump off the shelves into your shopping cart. Stores specializing in building and gardening supplies have ramped up their inventory of ‘spring ware’, as well.

I know everything I’ve mentioned has to do with marketing, but I have to say I’m inspired by all the hoopla. One of the reasons I’m inspired is because the spring marketing season is different than the others. This is the season that is all about new life and growing.

Some people have a problem with the commercialization of Easter. I don’t. My attitude is that it draws people’s attention to another Christian holiday. It would be nice if more people were actually celebrating Easter for the right reason, but even if they’re not—some kind of impact is being made on the world because of Resurrection Day.

I love the symbol of the egg. Some people don’t understand what eggs have to do with Easter. To me, it’s pretty obvious. The egg represents ‘something coming’. A new life on its way. Traditional Easter egg hunts have a spiritual meaning, too—if you look for it. Jeremiah 29:13 (AKJV) says, “And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.” The mystery of searching for unseen or hidden things is the essence of how a person comes to know Christ.

Easter is celebrated in the spring, when people are planting new plants and seeds–and tending the ones they already have. There’s another spiritual application. When we make the decision to follow Christ—our new life becomes ‘planted’ in the family of God. For those who are already members of the family—spring is a reminder that it’s time to do some spiritual weeding and tidying up for the important day as it approaches. All of these things speak so strongly that this is the time of year when we are highly focused on ‘new life’ and ‘things to come’.

Even Jesus had a hopeful optimism about what He was facing as He anticipated His crucifixion. Hebrews 12:2 says, “…who for the joy set before Him–endured the cross…”. For Him, it was all about love and the hope of having an eternal future with you. He knew there was an almost impossible price attached to purchasing your salvation—but He loved you enough to pay it—and He did it joyfully.

We look at so much of life’s disappointments in terms of the cost and the waste. We often fail to see the benefit of the work being done to strengthen our character. When we go through an extreme trial—we see only the ‘death’—and not the resurrection, or eternal weight of glory that has been accomplished.

You have been through a ‘death’ of sorts. You have had to ‘die’ in many ways as you have struggled with depression. God is bidding you to ‘rise again’. He is calling forth beauty from the ashes. He wants you to observe the season of hope with new eyes this year. He has many things to reveal to you that you couldn’t have seen last year at this time. You are ready for new revelation. You are ready for a ‘new life’. You are ready to find Christ in a deeper, more intimate way than ever before.

Coming out of the grave is a decision that has to be yours. You can wait…but a grave is a dark place. Nothing new happens in a grave. Staying in there is ‘familiar’, but there is so much more for you if you choose to ‘rise’.

Embrace the season, the symbols, and the significance of Christ in His death and resurrection and choose it for yourself, as well. God is waiting to celebrate your resurrection. The angels in heaven rejoice when one who was lost is found. You have been dead long enough. It is time to come forth.

Declaration: I will find new strength by taking in the sights, smells, sounds, feelings, and tastes of this season. I will embrace to the full all that God wants me to learn from it. I choose to put off my grave clothes and come forth into new life.

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For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, browse:http://www.youtube.com/view_all_playlists

All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.


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