Greetings and Welcome!

My goal is to share encouragement, grace, and hope from God’s Word, and to brighten your day. Mission trips abroad have enlarged my heart and reminded me once again that regardless of our skin color or location we all need a savior, and His name is Jesus. I pray that my articles will lift your spirits and point you to the One who loves you most.

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May God bless you in your journey of faith.

This Month's Message

By Fran Caffey Sandin

The aroma of freshly cooked bacon, eggs, and homemade biscuits wafted throughout the rustic cabin by the East Texas pond. Night gradually gave way to gold and orange hues streaming across the chilly spring sky. At last the sun split the horizon, focusing a bright beam of light on a large wooden cross Uncle Charlie had erected across the pond. The quiet stillness, broken only by chirping birds, croaking frogs and crickets, welcomed a group of sleepy teenagers from our rural church. We sat on log benches along the grassy bank of the water’s edge and gazed toward the old rugged cross.

Our pastor read the Resurrection Story followed by the group singing “He Lives” and “Christ Arose.” The touching sunrise service made us ponder the price Jesus paid. He gave His life that we might have forgiveness of our sins; and He arose as the promise of eternal life for those who trust Him as Lord and Savior. After a time of prayer and reflection the event ended. We enjoyed breakfast together and then returned to our respective homes to prepare for the morning worship celebration at church.

Anticipation began weeks earlier when we bought fabrics to sew our new dresses and planted seeds that would spring forth with colorful blooms. We would not think of attending Easter Sunday without wearing our best, preferably something new with lots of white to represent the good news that Jesus washed our sins away. For our family and many others, Easter was not primarily about the Easter bunny and baskets, it was the message of celebrating new life through Jesus Christ We dyed and decorated eggs for the children’s Easter Egg hunt, but the true meaning of the special day never faltered.

Years later as a young wife and mother my family attended Easter services out of town with our extended family. Then two months later, our youngest son, Jeffrey, became suddenly ill with bacterial meningitis. Everything medically possible was done for him, but four days later, he moved to Heaven.

I remember how sweet our 17 month-old looked in his little Easter suit and how much joy he brought to our lives. But most of all I visualize Jeffrey sitting in Jesus’ lap and being cuddled in His loving arms. Our son is safe and cared for—we will see him again someday. More recently our young adult son, Steve, succumbed to the complications of cystic fibrosis and kidney failure. He, too, is in Heaven, and I know he is alive there.

Jesus’ resurrection is the hallmark of the Christian life. Without his resurrection, we would have no hope of seeing our loved ones again. Religions have leaders who have died—Muhammed, Buddha, and others---but our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Son of God who was raised from the dead. It is our relationship with Christ that comforts us in our loss of loved ones, provides peace in our hearts, and the assurance of everlasting life. According to author Greg Gilbert, the believers’ rewards include forgiveness of sins, adoption as God’s children, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, fellowship with other believers, and our own resurrection and glorification of bodies. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, the Father, and He gives us an abundant life.

Dear Father, Thank you for the words of Jesus: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die (John 11: 25-26). Jesus, may you find us faithful when You come again. Thank you for your unconditional love and the unimaginable suffering and sacrifice you willingly gave so that we do not have to face God’s ultimate judgement and hell. In Jesus’ name we pray, A-men.