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Activated March 2016

Hopes and Disappointments / Easter - March 2016

God’s message of hope comes to us in many forms. Easter is the best of all.
 

01-03-2016
A Christian’s Hope
A Christian’s Hope

Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in I hope something will happen. But this is not what the Bible means by hope. In the Bible, hope is used in the sense of “joyful and confident expectation.”1

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01-03-2016
Butterfly Encounters
Butterfly Encounters

As I was researching material for a short story about an antique dealer who collected rare butterflies, I came across a website1 that revealed a rich resource of stories involving those fascinating creatures.

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01-03-2016
Having Faith in Faith
Having Faith in Faith

It’s second nature for some people to have faith and show trust in God. They somehow see the good in difficult people or trying situations. To them, the glass is always half full. You’ll often hear them say things like, “God will supply,” and, “Don’t worry, things will work out.” Upon meeting a person like this for the first time, you’d probably think their life has been pretty peachy—with very few problems and everything going their way.

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01-03-2016
Hope and the Tree of Life
Hope and the Tree of Life

He’s a tall, tanned, lanky fellow in his mid-sixties—older than most of the other vendors at the fruit and vegetable market. He invariably greets his customers with a radiant smile.

One hot July morning when I approached his stall, I was surprised to see that he was wearing a thick brace around his neck. It stretched from the tip of his chin to his shoulders, and although he did not complain, his eyes betrayed his discomfort. He explained that he’d had an automobile accident and was recovering from an operation.

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01-03-2016
Dear Bill
Dear Bill

Bill and I are old friends. When we met up for coffee recently, he told me about his difficulties. His wife has developed a chronic condition which has left her bedridden, and Bill is struggling with her care. Meanwhile, he is overwhelmed by the demands at his workplace and the fear of losing his job. This has led to a crisis of faith. I had found myself battling with similar emotions not long ago. We prayed together, but later I felt I had more to share, and this is the letter I wrote.

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01-03-2016
The World’s Best Picture
The World’s Best Picture

The other night I watched a fascinating documentary about the famous fresco The Resurrection, by Piero della Francesca, painted around 1463 in Tuscany, Italy. Jesus is in the center of the composition, portrayed at the moment of His resurrection. He is seen rising above four soldiers sleeping at His tomb, illustrating the difference between the human and divine spheres. 

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01-03-2016
The Third Day
The Third Day

It was empty, they had said. The doorway was open, and the tomb was empty. There had been more, but that had been enough for the two now rushing through the sleeping town.

Off they went, racing down the long, dark road as fast as their feet could take them. The first rays of the sun were just beginning to light the sky.

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01-03-2016
Easter Wonders
Easter Wonders

At this time of year, we celebrate the very heart of our Christian faith—the resurrection of Jesus. It is the central theme of the gospel, the key component which proves the validity of everything Jesus taught. The resurrection tells us that Jesus is the Son of God; that as believers we have salvation and forgiveness, we are God’s children, and we’ll be with Him for eternity in heaven.

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01-03-2016
The Easter People
The Easter People

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
Pope John Paul II (1920–2005)

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A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)

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01-03-2016
Beyond Wishful Thinking
Beyond Wishful Thinking

I was eight years old when I lost my grandfather at the age of 65. My family is very close knit and this was a big blow to all of us.

I remember kissing Nanu’s cold cheek and bidding him farewell. But something inside told me this was not a permanent goodbye. I always had a fervent hope of reuniting with him one day. 

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01-03-2016
Discovering Faith
Discovering Faith

I grew up in a Christian family, but at 13 I declared that I was an atheist. When I was 18, I left my hometown of Rio de Janeiro with a backpack and set off to see the world. I visited the British Isles, then crossed the Channel and took a bus overland to India, through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I learned that Arabic-speakers use the same expression, As-salamu alaykum—the peace of God be with you—for hello and goodbye. 

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01-03-2016
Being with God
Being with God

If there is anything that Easter reminds us, it is that “salvation”—God’s wonderful gift of peace with Him in this life and in the life to come—is not something we achieve by what we do. It’s something that has already been done for us. Jesus died on the cross for our sins; He rose again on the third day. He did it, not us.

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01-03-2016
The Trying of Hearts
The Trying of Hearts

I understand the trying of men’s hearts, the depths of despair, discouragement, and desperation. I understand forsaking, for I had to forsake My Father to go to earth, and then I had to forsake those that I loved so dearly on earth to return to My Father.

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