Saturday, April 30, 2011

Problems Welcome

Welcome, welcome...problems, storms, trials! Welcome! Come right in! I'm crazy right?! No! I've just seen enough of those things to know that they are not always as bad as they appear. The truth is, the Bible tells us we will have we might as well figure out how we're gonna deal! If we choose to, I know we can welcome problems and storms as perspective lifters. We are human, after all, and I know that when we encounter problems with no immediate solution, our response to that situation can take us either up or down. For example, we can lash out at the difficulty, resent it or feel sorry for ourselves. Ever do that? If so you know which direction that brings you...down! Straight down into a pit of self-pity. I've been there before! Don't like it so much!

Alternatively, the problem, storm or trial could be viewed as a ladder...
...enabling us to climb up and see our lives from the Lord's perspective. Viewed from above, the obstacle that frustrated us is only a light and momentary trouble. Once our perspective has been heightened, you can look away from the problem, storm or trial altogether. I choose to turn toward my Father in Heaven, and see the Light of His Presence shining upon us! Which do you choose?

Psalm 89:15 " Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, LORD."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Tomb Is Empty!

We had a wonderful service this morning at Edgewater Alliance Church! Our pastor is a wonderfully passionate man when it comes to the Word of God! He spoke about the importance of understanding Friday (Death) to fully appreciate Sunday (Life). It was awesome! My children, husband, Pop and I worshipped together at the early service today. Our plans were to come home...find our Resurrection Eggs, share a meal and head for the beach. We have yet to get to the beach but that will happen in a few hours!

The Lord really blessed us today. We came home and a woman came by the house and presented us with a beautiful cake. I could sense that she needed prayer today. We reached Heaven on my front lawn and I could tell the Holy Spirit was at work lifting her burdens. Nothing better than to come boldly before a Living God who is faithful to His Word!

So it is tradition for as long as I've had children to use our Resurrection eggs to review the story of Easter. My children all still get excited about the part they play in telling the story. I'm getting really good at making the hiding spots very challenging too!

Here are my precious arrows! Love these boys!

If you have children or grand children..really these are a wonderful way to tell the Easter Story.

After they locate all the eggs (each boy gets 4 eggs), we sit down and open the eggs in order to tell the story.

Shane started by telling about when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, just before His death and resurrection. Kyle's egg had silver coins in it to represent Judas's decision to accept 30 silver coins for betraying Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders. Then there was the passover cup found in another egg. Praying hands in another...reminding us that Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with His disciples.
Brendan found a leather whip in his egg. After Jesus' trial by Pilate, the Roman soldiers used leather ropes with rocks and metal woven in to whip Jesus leaving 39 deep gases in His skin. Kyle had the crown of thorns in his egg.
Brendan shared that the nails in the cross found his in egg represented the 3 large nails that were driven into Jesus's hands and feet to nail Him to the cross. The next egg was the one with dice for gambling in it. The Roman soldiers used dice to gamble for Jesus's robe. The soldier's spear that was used to pierce Jesus' side when He was on the cross. Then Kyle had the one with linen wrapping in it..which he told us was what Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus in after He died on the cross.
The one above is the Stone at the Tomb...the huge stone that had covered the tomb was found rolled away! Words about the stone being miraculously rolled away and about Jesus's resurrection from the dead are the most encouraging and hope-giving words a Christian could ever have!
Finally egg #12 - it was empty - representing of course, the empty tomb, empty because He rose from the dead and is alive! Just like the tomb, our hearts are empty and lifeless without Jesus. But as we repent, believe, and trust in Jesus's death and resurrection, He fills our hearts with life and the Holy Spirit! Amen!!

Now that is a story worth repeating every single April!! Hope your Resurrection Day was Blessed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sacrifice: He Took Our Place

On this night, Good Friday, it is tradition for my family to read the story of when Jesus was crucified. Tonight was no different. We did have a family game night, but then as the boys brushed their teeth and got ready for bed, we all met out in the living room, so Brendan, one of my 9 year olds, could read the portion of scripture for the family. I love how even my youngest is respectful and listens intently. On Sunday morning we will read the rest of the story.

The most humbling part of the night is after we finish reading, we all pray. I had to quickly get to the computer this year to write down the prayers of my boys...just so I would never forget.

Kyle: "Jesus, I love you so much! I don't know what I would do without you! I hated it when they laughed at you and made fun of you, it makes my heart hurt too. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Sometimes I sin and I know it must make you so sad, I'm sorry Jesus, I really love you."

Brendan: "Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. You went ahead and did all of that just so I can go to Heaven. I'm glad I love you Jesus, but when we read what happened to you, it makes me sad. You died for me and sometimes I still sin. I am sorry Jesus, I know you know I love you and I know that even when I sin sometimes, you always forgive me. Help me not to sin, help me to obey my parents, help me to do everything that makes you happy and not sad."

Shane: "I love you Jesus! Thank you God for Jesus dying on the cross for my sin. I don't like to hear all those things in the Bible because it makes me want to cry. You love us so much! Thank you Jesus. I love you too!"

Mike: "Father God, thank you for sending your Son to take our place on the cross and dying for our sin. Because of Jesus, and the blood that he shed on that day so long ago, we can enjoy fellowship with you God...a holy God! Thank you Lord for loving the world that much, to send your one and only Son to give us eternal life! I love you Lord!"

Me: "Heavenly Father, I thank you for the sacrifice you have made to make a way for us! We deserve the cross, you did not, yet you sent Jesus, to take our place and pay the price. Oh Lord, that level of love is almost too magnificent to understand! Praise you Lord! Thank you for loving me that much and your continued love for me as I journey through this fallen world. Help us all, Lord, to be mindful of what is pleasing to you. Help us to do as unto you Lord in everything we do and say, may we be honoring to you! Thank you Lord, I love you so much...and I know I do because you first loved me." --in Jesus Name, Amen!

I did the best I could at remembering them verbatim.

What a beautiful way to end our Good Friday. Ironically enough, one of my boys asks today..why do they call it "Good" Friday? There are many responses we could have given our boy tonight, but the one we gave was right out of what Brendan read. What happened that night, right after Jesus took his last breath? The veil of the temple was torn...ripped from top to bottom! That symbolized the veil between a Holy God and man - the separation and distance due to our sin -- and it was DESTROYED! Destroyed completely and forever...what Satan meant for evil, God intended for GOOD -so perhaps that is one explanation of the reason we call it Good Friday.