Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing Our Hearts

This week marks the time we remember Christ's suffering and death on the cross and His glorious resurrection. In our home, we have not only been praying for the lost, but also for the believers all over the world that each person would be reminded just how much Jesus did for us and also to be encouraged, knowing that we serve a risen Savior.

We've been singing many hymns about the cross and about Jesus' resurrection. We've listened to St.Matthew's Passion by J.S.Bach.

Today, we made "Resurrection Rolls" using crescent rolls and marshmallows to signify Jesus' burial and resurrection,(in the oven, the marshmallow disappears!). We also opened our Resurrection Eggs, one by one and read from the Scriptures about the happenings of this important week so long ago.

We do include fun like decorating eggs and having an egg hunt on the property. We understand that there are some Christians that shun these things because of the pagan origins of Easter. We understand their views, but for our family, we simply have fun, knowing full well why we celebrate this exciting time.

We lay out nice clothes for church and make sure everyone is clean! The boys are getting haircuts this weekend,(they are getting a bit shaggy). We even look forward to after church where we come home and prepare a yummy brunch. A few years ago, our tradition was to take the family out for brunch, but that's getting a little pricey and tiring.

Most of all, we anticipate the morning at church with our dear church family. What a wonderful thing it is to celebrate our risen Lord together!

He is our Redeemer, our Hope, our very Life! As we prepare our hearts for this week, may we be quiet before Him, sincerely reflecting on His infinite love and then, rejoicing that He has conquered sin and death. He is alive! Alleluia!

"Up from the grave He arose;
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes;
He arose a victor of the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints remain.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waking Before the Sunrise


For a little over a week now, my two year old Nathan has been waking up very early. At first, I thought his schedule was off because of the sickness in our family, but he has consistently been getting up very early. I find myself dragging more than usual during the day because of the early morning awakenings, but I think I'm getting used to this change.

I do love mornings. When I was a kid, I enjoyed getting up very early when everything was quiet in the house. I loved hearing the birds greeting the day. In the summers, I would plan little adventures like riding my bike down the street to a little creek where I would bring a lunch box with cereal, a bowl, spoon and a thermos of milk. Or, I'd just stay in my backyard and swing on my swing set singing favorite songs by 2nd Chapter of Acts.

I still love mornings, but I usually appreciate them more when I'm the only person awake. The sunrises over our pasture are breath-taking. I savor the stillness that surrounds me in those early hours. It's a wonderful time to talk to my Savior, to read His Word, to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for and to rest. But, sometimes when I have to share that precious time with a little person, it doesn't have the same appeal to me. Instead of using that time to enjoy my child, I find that I complain that I'm not alone. I probably don't have the luxury to really study God's Word or to ponder the things in my heart because my attention is now on that little person, but maybe I should "wake up!" Those times with a child are sacred. That child is a blessing from the Lord, no matter how cranky he may be, no matter how tired I am and no matter how much I want time all to myself. It's a wonderful opportunity to practice service, unconditional love and a bit of creativity on my part.

Yesterday, Nathan was not only up before the sun rose, but he was up before the garbage truck arrived. That is early for me! So, when the truck did arrive, I made a big deal out of it. The loud sound of the truck and the flashing lights were exciting to my little guy. I opened our front curtains and together on the couch, Nathan and I watched the truck slowly approach. Nathan babbled enthusiastically, waving to the garbage man until he was out of sight and I relished the cuddling time.

So, I have a choice to make. I can complain about losing out on some extra sleep, or maybe some extra alone time, or I can thank the Lord for the little person who is sharing those early mornings with me. God will give me the rest I need, the encouragement from the Word that I crave, but I won't get those times back with my son. These days are short. I want to remember every waking moment I have with my children.

A very long time ago, there were some ladies that woke very early one morning. They were filled with grief, despair and confusion, but what they discovered that morning would change their lives and so many lives after them.

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.'" Matthew 28:1-7

From now on, when I wake up early, whether I'm alone or not, I'm going to remember that one glorious morning so long ago. My Savior, the One who took my place on that cross, rose again. He lives. Praise the Lord, He lives.

"Hear the bells ringing, they're singing, that you can be born again.
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing, Christ is risen from the dead.
The angel up on the tombstone said He is risen just as He said.
Quickly now, go tell His disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead.
Joy to the world, He is risen, Alleluia. He's risen, Alleluia. He's risen, Alleluia.
Alleluia."
Annie Herring, 2nd Chapter of Acts