Saturday, April 17, 2010

I just wanted to sign on here and say that my 'little bit of Jesus' has turned in to a lot less than I intended. The posts took longer than I realized they would and I don't want to post just anything so I am hoping to get a day or two in the near future and get some stored up for daily use or at least a few times a week. Sorry gang.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Praying for our children

A friend (thanks Jessica) sent me this link about things to pray for your children and I love the idea. I will probably revise a little but wanted to pass along the idea. It occurred to me lately that while I pray for their health or about difficulties in behavior or at school or a special concern they may have, I don't always remember to pray for these amazing qualities I am tring desperately to cultivate. I'm thinking this will help. I'm just going to print off my revised list and stick it in my bible. I'm thinking it's not to late to pray for some of these things for my own heart as well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter cookies

As you reflect on Jesus this week and what He did for us, here's a little family activity.

You can also make these a bit simpler with grands biscuits and butter and cinnamon and sugar. Flatten out the biscuit, brush with butter, sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on and then put a marshmellow in the center. Seal the dough around the marshmellow and bake as directions on biscuit package states. When they bake, the marshmellow melts and the 'tomb' is now empty.

THE EMPTY TOMB COOKIES—To be made the evening before Easter

1 cup whole pecans ziplock bag
1 teaspoon vinegar wooden spoon
3 egg whites medium sized mixing bowl
pinch salt cookie sheet and wax paper
1 cup sugar tape

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place pecans in ziplock bag and let children beat them with wooden spoons to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.

READ John 19:1-3: So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given vinegar to drink.

READ John 19:28-30: After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life.

READ John 10:10-11: The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers and the bitterness of our own sin.

READ Luke 23:27: And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetness part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him.

READ Psalm 34:8:Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

READ John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Beat mixture with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks are formed
(when you cut through them with a knife, they should remain standing). Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.

READ Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

READ John 3:1-3: There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.

READ Matthew 27:57-60: Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.

READ Matthew 27:65-66: Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.

READ John 16:20, 22: Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.

READ Matthew 24:1-7: Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I don't wanna gain the whole world...

One of our favorite songs as a family is Toby Mac's 'Lose My Soul.' If you don't know it, follow the link.

It is taken from the verse in Matthew 16:26:
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

What do you think Toby Mac means by that? It's kind of a warning not to be fooled by the glitz and glam of this world. There are so many things that people can get wrapped up in and before they know it they are worshipping fame or fortune or popularity or sports or music or their jobs or their children or another person that has become so important to them that they have left out that place reserved for God. Our society is filled with people who have sold their soul to the devil over the slightet gain and indulgences. We can watch the news and see star athletes or actors and musicians that have strayed so far from whom God made them to be through a slow progression of choosing thingsover Christ. The things of this world are temporary. We cannot take them with us. But the one thing that last forever is the love of Jesus and to follow HIM, we may have to deny ourselves many times. It is the example He gave us when He took up that cross. But what a blessing it will be when we are one day in heaven with HIM.

I will borrow some of the lyrics of Toby Mac's song for our prayer.

Lord forgive us when we get consumed by the things of this world,
That fight for our love, and our passion,
As our eyes are open wide and on you.
Grant us the privilege of your world view,
And may your kingdom be, what wakes us up, and lays us down.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tears in a bottle

One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is the following taken from the New Living Translation:

Psalm 56:8

8 You keep track of all my sorrows.[a]
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

How amazing is that? Our God loves us so much that he has collected every one of our tears in a bottle and kept track of every sorrow. When you feel sad because your brother or sister hurt your feelings or you lost your special blankie or you don't feel well, all of those things are important to God. Every. single. tear. When you are older and you get your heart broken or you lose a friendship or don't make the team....he keeps track of all your sorrows. You know what that means? We are never alone in our sadness! He is, not only with us, but he is collecting each tear. What a wonderful image for us to remember.

Gracious and Loving God, we are amazed at your concern for us, that you would count every tear and collect them. Thank you for loving us so big. Thank you for always being with us and comforting us in our times of sadness. We continue to be amazed by you. Help us to love like you. In your name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

He Created What?!?!

Everything. Absolutely everything. This God that wants us to love one another and the God that we cannot physically see, created everything in the entire world. He created the world. Before time began, He was. It's hard to wrap our brains around.

Genesis, is the first book of the Bible and it tells us how this all came to be. Genesis 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God created the day and night and the land and the sea. And then what did He put into the sea? And what kinds of animals did He put on the land? He created the sky and the stars that dance in it. He created the birds and the sun and the moon. Genesis 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
And do you know what He named the first man? Yes, Adam. And God then made Eve out of his rib. God made everything! How cool is that?!

Pastor Tim in his last sermon shared with us these things. Did you know that there are 10 million different kinds of plants and animals in the world? Did you know that a catfish has over 27,000 tastebuds and an octupus has 3 hearts? What about the fact that a starfish doesn't have a brain and a baby whale is as long as a school bus? Who else could do that than God?! How wondeful and amazing is that.
And God created it all by HIS word. Just HIS word.

Thank you God for your magnificent creation, for the animals and the land and the sea. Thank you for how unique you made us all. We are in awe of your work. We want to take care of what you have created. Help open others eyes to your awesome creation. Remind us when we look at the stars and the sun and the sky just who made them to be. You rock, God. You rock. Amen.

Love One Another

God gave us a commandment to love one another. He didn't ask us to try or say it was a really good idea. He commanded us to. Sometimes it is easy. We love our family, our friends, our dog. Other times it's not so easy. God didn't tell us to love the easy ones or the ones that don't bug us or the ones that are pretty or popular. God told us to love everyone as He had loved us. He doesn't ask us to love our friends when everyone else is loving them but to love them always, even when it may not be the popular choice. We are to love even when we feel wronged or tired or someone just rubs us the wrong way.

In Matthew 22:39 after He tells us to love God, Jesus tells us to 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' In 1 John 4:7 He tells us again. And in Galatians 5:13 and in Romans 13:8 and over and over again throughout the Bible. This love thing is important to God. Some would argue it was the most important thing to God.

When I say love what do you think of? What does love look like to you? Those are such great answers. God doesn't want us to love everyone like Prince and Princess fairytales, Shrek and Fiona or husband and wife kind of love. He wants us to be respectful and kind and patient and accepting. He means to include the kid on the playground that no one ever asks to play. He means to take time to read to a younger sibling a book even though there are cooler things to do. He means to help our friends and neighbors. Maybe it looks like raking our neighbors leaves or hugging our friend that is sad. God gave us the most amazing example of what love looks like in His son Jesus. And the more we learn about Him, the more we'll learn how to love one another.

Most Loving God, we thank you for sending your son Jesus that we would have such a perfect example of love. Help us to be loving. Help us to treat others like you would treat them. When we are tired or not feeling well, Lord, we ask that we love them with your strength and not depend on our own. We know that people will notice the way we love others and want to know more about you. We love you so much, God and we thank you for all you do for us. Amen.