Rise and Shine!”  I can still hear my Dad’s voice call up the stairs, awakening my two brothers and me from our dreamless night of sleep.  Mother had a more subtle way of waking us up.  She played a rousing march on the piano just under the stairway. How could they be so cheery so early in the morning?  Then later, I remember bounding out of bed in my teens wondering what the day will bring.  The wonder of being alive pulsing through my veins! 
It is when we have hope, that we feel alive. Hope for the future.  Hope for tomorrow.  Hope for life itself.  Hope for the starring role, hope for a promotion, hope to make more money, hope to love and be loved.  Hope always for what is new.  Hope for peace in the world.  Hope!  And we look for hope in the things of the world, when there is a glorious hope in our future beyond our wildest dreams.  The reality of living our days in the true Hope of the World – Jesus – makes us come Alive!!!
When our purpose on earth is clear to us, we become alive with Joy.  Our purpose on earth is to love our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, mind and soul. This Joy doesn’t happen when our main activity on earth is to proclaim judgement on others, criticize and complain.  That crushes the desire to love Jesus and being alive in Him. 
What if we hate the place or situation we are in at the present moment. There is no thanksgiving in our hearts, just a “Why Me, it is not fair?”  Last Lord’s Day our minister gave us this thought…God placed me in this place, in this time, with these people – to do His Work. Jesus is our motive, our rationale to be His Servant.  Listening to these words, I understand the coming Alive – as I ponder the how, where, when and whom I love and serve.  There is purpose in my life.  There is alive-ness in my heart.
There is another ‘coming alive’ that gives us Hope without measure.  It is chronicled in the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Scripture.  Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, He was buried in a tomb and after three days, He was raised from the dead and walked among the apostles and others before He ascended.
 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”  Acts 1:7-11 
Each time I see clouds in the sky promising rain, I wonder….is Jesus returning in the clouds?  Where is Jesus more Alive?  In Heaven seated at the Right Hand of Father God, or here on earth?  Imagine with me a place where there is no evil, or hurting, or tears or dying.  Where is the most alive place to be? With the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the most powerful and alive thing we can hold in our hands?  The Word of God.
For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.  Hebrews 4:12-13
What is Reality?  It is not earthly things, our Reality is Jesus and his death, burial and resurrection.  All we need to do is say YES to the forever reality and choose His Way.  We do not put this Love of Christ in a box, to take out on Sunday morning, it is His Way of Life.  Christ’s love changes the Who I am, for He, and He alone is my identity.
† –  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  I Corinthians 13:7
† – Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
† – Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
† –  For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.  You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.  Colossians 2:12-13
† – For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.  I Thessalonians 5:9-10
I was lost with a broken heartYou picked me up, now I’m set apart
From the ash I am born againForever safe in the Saviour’s hands
You are more than my words could say….I’ll follow you Lord for all my days…I’ll fix my eyes, follow in your ways…. Forever free in your unending grace

‘Cause You are, You are, You are my freedomWe lift you higher, lift you higherYour love, Your love, Your love never ending
You are alive in usNothing can take your placeYou are all we needYour love has set us free!   (Hillsong)

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