Tag Archives: Easter

Holy Week – Anxiety = Peaceful Week… (With Help from Max Lucado)

Friends! Anyone lugging around worries that are making you anxious?  (I’m just realizing lug is in luggage.) Luggage denotes “inconveniently heavy baggage.”  Well, take heart, I’m bringing you good news to lighten your load and bless us this Holy Week.

Many of you know how often I quote author Max Lucado.   His most recent book, Anxious for Nothing—Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, is a current favorite, its’ many pages already highlighted and dog-eared.

I’ll share a few of many favorite quotes which I pray will ease our anxiety, perhaps even erase it altogether, blessing us with a peaceful Holy Week. In the meantime, you may wish to grab this book as it’s a resource you would return to time and time again.

Max begins with, “Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs…

Anxiety is trepidation.

It’s a suspicion,

An apprehension.

Life in a minor key with major concerns…

You’re part Chicken Little and part Eeyore. The sky is falling and it’s falling disproportionately on you.”  Anyone?!!! Max not only cracks me up, he often perfectly depicts my own moods.

Flip on the news or grab a newspaper and “anxiety disorders” are usually the front runners.  Epidemic proportions.

Max states what we think, yet fear to admit:  “One would think Christians would be exempt from worry. But we are not. We have been taught that the Christian life is a life of peace, and when we don’t have peace, we assume the problem lies within us. Not only do we feel anxious, but we also feel guilty about our anxiety!  The result is a downward spiral of worry, guilt, worry, guilt.”

What’s a person to do?  Thankfully, Max gifts us with the solution straight from Scripture. Philippians 4:4-8 says:

Max shows us that these five verses include, “four admonitions that lead to ONE WONDERFUL PROMISE:  ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.’” (v. 7)

Additionally, this book blesses us throughout by equipping us with a simple acronym, the word “CALM”.  Put this in your anxiety arsenal and you will have a peaceful Holy Week:

 

The concept of “CALM” is introduced in Chapter One,  and expounded on throughout the book.  You’ll never look at it again in the same way! (See page 10 for starters!)

We readers are reminded to consult the Apostle Paul’s words and actions. Max says, “Paul believed in the steady hand of a good God. He was protected by God’s strength, preserved by God’s love. He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings.”

What does that look like for us?  It translates into savoring God’s sovereignty.  Clinging to His sovereignty and reminding ourselves daily that God is still on the throne.  Always occupied.  Always interceding for you and for me…

This Holy Week as we march toward Good Friday and Easter, may we remember the acronym “Calm”, and hear Max’ reminder:  “God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday.”

Max’ book also includes a Study Guide which would be great for anyone, but also super for a Small Group to work thru’.  And, more good news, he’s got another new book coming out this summer, due to be released August 7th, called Unshakable Hope:  Building Our Lives on the Promises of God.  Yet one more sure-to-be great resource!

Have a most blessed Easter.

‘Til next time!

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holidays, Scripture

Cling to the KEY of our Christian Faith this Holy Week…

Friends! It’s almost Easter! Please tell me why there are more chocolate candies everywhere you go, than anything relating to our most wonderful upcoming holiday??? Perhaps my nose for chocolate is the culprit…

Chocolate Easter eggs and rabbit on plate, on color wooden backg

I can’t resist reprising the below post which first came out three years ago. A couple of updates before you dive in: Woody’s now nearly twenty-four, married to LT for nearly two years, and I’m thrilled to report of my five friends who became Grandmothers to five granddaughters, all five of those darling little girls have become big sisters!!! (Two of them are about to have yet another sibling!!!)

As you’ll see in the below post, the Resurrection is the KEY to our Christian faith and you’ll find five reasons why. Note our assurance and the resurrection power which is available to us all. You’ll also find the importance of leaving a legacy of faith to your family. Don’t miss this!

Billy Graham reminds us, “It was the resurrection of Christ that caused the disciples to go out as burning young revolutionaries to change the world of their day. They preached, ‘Christ is alive!’ THIS should be our message, not only at Easter, but every day of the year.”

He is not here, He is risen…. (Matthew 28:6)

Cross Against The Sky

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this little reminder this Holy Week. Blessings to you and your family for a Beautiful Easter…

 

He is NOT here, He is “Rizzzen”…

Don’t tell me children don’t learn a LOT at an early age!  And watch out, THEY are watching YOU!  And horror of all horrors:  THEY will imitate you!!!  Our third-born son, named Woodford, a/k/a Woody, is a blast.

woody

One Easter weekend, when Woody was  two years old, we’d just returned home from church.  Scurrying to get a meal on the table, we asked our oldest son to entertain the younger two boys.  Thankfully this wasn’t the year before, which nearly did me in…

That particular year before, John and I chose to take two cars to church since the Easter Bunny’s arrival was postponed ‘til after church.  (Don’t ask me how we explained that one.)  “The Plan” was that I would hurry home, ahead of John, hide the eggs, and be ready for the boys.

Problem is my husband tends to drive a tad speedier than yours truly, so I was barely ahead of them.  Hurrying in heels isn’t a gift of mine either, so I was literally hurling eggs thru’ the air in the back yard.  To top it off, my heels were sticking in the grass, and well, it’s a good thing none of our neighbors were within earshot.

Darned if John and the boys didn’t arrive while the eggs were flying thru’ the air.  Our  oldest son, John Jr., more astute than anyone needs to be, said, “Look Daddy!  It’s raining Easter eggs!”  Well, let’s just ADD to that big web of lies we’d already woven, throwing in one more far-fetched explanation.

bigstock-Colorful-Easter-eggs-falling-d-16537709

Now while I know there’s not really a “time out chair” in Heaven, I still envision myself spending time there for some of these antics…So sorry, Lord. (Don’t you know He thinks we’re completely crazy sometimes?)

So back to the year Woody was  two:  The boys were playing upstairs and I ran up to get something.  Woody was marching back and forth across the hall, while holding a big plastic telephone, just-a-chatterin’ away.  (I’ve been known to walk thru’ the house while talking on the phone….hmmmm.)

bigstock-Toy-telephone-36009262

Woody was shaking his head, back and forth, emphatically saying, “NO!”… pause, pause….”He is not here!” …LONGER pause….”He is RIZZZEN!”, prolonging the ‘s’ into buzzing ‘z’s!

That spectacular Easter Sunday, the Sunday school teachers were teaching the precious children about Jesus’ resurrection.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said in her blog last week about the resurrection, “This truth changes EVERYTHING!  His heavenly Father ‘has raised him to life’ (CEV). Hallelujah!  God be praised!  He who was dead is now alive forever!”… And even two year olds can begin absorbing this.

To read more from Liz, visit her website: http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com

This Easter week, let’s celebrate TWO important points:

First, and foremost, let’s celebrate that the tomb is EMPTY!  Christ indeed has risen!

 bigstock-Tomb-of-Jesus-37870585

An angel of the Lord announces to Mary Magdelene, Mary the Mother of James, and to Salome in Mark 16:6  “Don’t be alarmed…You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here…” (See also Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6 and John 20:11-18.)

BLOG Three Marys

The Life Application Bible points out the importance of the resurrection by calling it “the KEY to the Christian faith.”  Let’s look at 5 reasons WHY the resurrection is “vitally important.”

 1 – “Jesus kept his promise to rise from the dead, so we can believe he will keep all his other promises.

 2 – The resurrection ensures that the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom will be the living Christ, not just an idea, hope, or dream.

 3 – Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that we also will be resurrected.

 4 – The power of God that brought Christ’s body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so that we can change and grow.

5 – The resurrection provides the substance of the church’s witness to the world.  We do not merely tell lessons from the life of a good teacher,  we proclaim the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

 Don’t miss these truths held within the verbs in each of the above five points:  we CAN BELIEVE…; we are ENSURED ; we are GIVEN THE ASSURANCE ; Resurrection power IS AVAILABLE to us; it PROVIDES THE SUBSTANCE  so that we can PROCLAIM THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION….

Let’s take time this week, with Good Friday approaching and Easter Sunday on the horizon , to be still, to reflect on this resurrection power available to us, and perhaps pray about a friend or neighbor who needs to hear this GOOD NEWS.

 Country Church

Which  brings me to the second point:  Let’s all be ever watchful for ways to teach our children, or our grandchildren, or nieces and nephews, or neighbors, about the Lord and His powerful Word.

Remember, Woody was just two years old at Easter time that year, and he clearly  “caught” the Scripture being taught.  We mustn’t forget what little sponges these children are. 

You won’t believe this, but in the past four months, I have five, yes FIVE, close friends (two of which are my sister-in-laws!) who have just been blessed with granddaughters!  (Think pink! ) These are all strong-in-the-faith Christian women and I can hardly wait to see what these little angels will learn about God from their grandmothers.

Look at their beautiful names and please say a prayer for them and their families:  Caroline, Maria, Lucie, Emmeline and Emerson.  I  suspect you, too, may know of a newborn to pray for!  Pray for them and their parents to raise them up knowing the Lord.

grandmother with baby

One of my many sins over the years in attempting to raise these boys is I tend to compartmentalize my faith.  I need this Scripture forever in the forefront of my mind:  Deuteronomy 11:18-21  says,

 “FIX  these words of mine in your hearts and minds;

  TIE them as symbols on your hands and

 BIND them on your foreheads.

 TEACH them to your children,

 TALKING ABOUT them

 when you SIT AT HOME and

 when you WALK along the road,

 when you LIE DOWN

 … and when you GET UP.  

 WRITE them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (NIV)

 Now you can see what I’m emphasizing above….again the verbs:  fix, tie, bind, teach, talk about when you sit, walk, lie down, get up, and write.  Don’t miss the fact that IF we do these things there’s a promise…”so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land…”

I pray you and your families have a most blessed Easter and Spring (even tho’ it’s snowing as I type). May we all rejoice that “He is not here, He is risen!” 

 ‘Til  next time!

(This post is dedicated to our youngest whipper- snapper-son, Woodford Lee Hoagland.  And for those of you parents out there who have more than one child and fret over treating each child equally, hang in there, I’ll be writing about our other two awesome sons in the future!!!  John and I are also forever grateful to the ministry of Campus Outreach on UK’s campus which discipled Woody  to focus on Christ, rather than chaos which we all know can come with college experiences.  Checkout www.colexington.org for more information.  I love Campus Outreach’s mission statement: “Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World.”  Amen.  Happy Easter everyone!)

Eliz and Woody

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The Power of an Intentional Text….

Belated Easter Greetings! I pray you and your families had a most Blessed Easter.

Our family was beyond tickled to celebrate Easter. We had the awesome privilege of observing the new little cousins (now two years old) run and play together, while their new siblings, only two days apart (Now just three months old), slept or were passed around like a slow-mo football game.

Baby With Bunny

The “E.B.” (Easter Bunny) was good to all as we munched on jelly beans, peeps (!!!), and decadent dark chocolate dove chocolate eggs. Can you say, “Aren’t you forgetting something???”

Case in point: Friday afternoon (Uh, that would be Good Friday), I was scrambling thru’ Kroger’s aisles on the hunt for desserts to take to my brother-in-law’s on Sunday, as well as Easter basket “stuff” for our children. (Yes, our children are grown adults, but the “E.B.” can’t help herself.) Forever the procrastinator, thankfully supplies were still plentiful.

Easter Eggs

All of a sudden two texts beeped on my cell phone. The first of which was yet another storm warning. “Tornado watch and flood warning.” My first reaction was, “Great! My umbrella’s in the car!!!”

The second text stopped me in my tracks. I was so dumbfounded, that when a friend approached me and hugged me, all I could do was show her the text. (She, too, was playing beat-the-clock, buying a darling birthday cake for her daughter complete with peeps on top.) Hmmmm….again, aren’t we forgetting something???

“Oh my, “ she said upon reading the text. “Please forward that to me! I need it!!!”

Here’s the text:

“Hey Girls!

Just a reminder that JESUS died at the 9th hour, which is our 3:00 p.m. (Just thirteen minutes from now!!!) At that moment, the Temple curtain split symbolizing that we have DIRECT ACCESS to God!!!

Oh LORD JESUS we praise you and thank you.

May you ALL have a Blessed Easter.”

Concept conceptual black cross or religion symbol silhouette in

See what I mean? My cart and I came to a screeching halt. It was pitch black outside too, complete with a storm brewing. Coincidence? I think not.

A good reminder? I think so.

Not only did my dear friend, and mentor, and Bible study leader, Jane send this to me, but she sent it to our Wednesday group. She is always intentional with us. That just could be my favorite thing I love about her.

And my friend Teresa, whom I’d just run into, was blessed by her intentionality as well. I forwarded Jane’s text to her and she then shared it with her family. Ripple effects are a win-win!

One more powerful perspective on Easter,

      and the Power of the Resurrection,

           and the freedom that comes from forgiveness

hails from a favorite author of mine, Charles Martin. While it’s a long post, it is more than worth your time to read. Perhaps in snippets if your days are wild. You will be blessed. (It’s the post from 4/5 called What Now?)

www.charlesmartinbooks.com

May we all be more intentional post Easter….

Easter Christian Motive, Resurrection

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Family, Friends, Holidays

Happy Holy Week! “He is not here…He is Rizzzen”

Happy Holy Week, Friends! I pray this finds you in great anticipation of a Blessed Easter.

The below post is a reprise from last Easter. Its’ points are worth repeating. A couple of updates are necessary for you  before you read this:

Our youngest son, Woody, is now almost twenty-two. He’s a senior at The University of Kentucky, will be graduating in May, and is getting married to his high school sweetheart, Lindsey-Taylor Thompson, in June!

Woody and LT

I also talk about my five friends who became grandmothers to granddaughters. These little angels have now had their first birthdays and are even more precious than when I wrote about their births. One of them will become a big sister (!!!) in October!

And let’s not forget my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs, whose blog you’ll see I quoted from last year on the Women of Easter.  This year she’s blogging on many different Proverbs, all of which will bless your socks off.  (www.lizcurtishiggs.com)

I pray you’re able to sip a cup of coffee or tea while you read this and take time to savor our Savior and what He did for each and every one of us…Here we go!

“He is not here…He is Rizzzen…”

Don’t tell me children don’t learn a LOT at an early age! And watch out, THEY are watching YOU! And horror of all horrors: THEY will imitate you!!!

Our third-born son, named Woodford, a/k/a Woody, is a blast. He makes me laugh every time we’re together.

woody

One Easter weekend, when Woody was two years old, we’d just returned home from church. Scurrying to get a meal on the table, we asked our oldest son to entertain the younger two boys. Thankfully this wasn’t the year before, which nearly did us in…

That particular year before, John and I chose to take two cars to church since the Easter Bunny’s arrival was postponed ‘til after church. (Don’t ask me how we explained that one.) “The Plan” was that I would hurry home, ahead of John, hide the eggs, and be ready for the boys.

Problem is, my husband tends to drive a tad speedier than yours truly, so I was barely ahead of them. Hurrying in heels isn’t a gift of mine either, so I was literally hurling eggs thru’ the air in the back yard. To top it off, my heels were sticking in the grass, and well, it’s a good thing none of our neighbors were within earshot.

Darned if John and the boys didn’t arrive while the eggs were flying thru’ the air. Our oldest son, John Jr., more astute than anyone needs to be, said, “Look Daddy! It’s raining Easter eggs!” Well, let’s just ADD to that big web of lies we’d already woven, throwing in one more far-fetched explanation.

bigstock-Colorful-Easter-eggs-falling-d-16537709

Now while I know there’s not really a “time out chair” in Heaven, I still envision myself spending time there for some of these antics…So sorry, Lord. (Don’t you know He thinks we’re completely crazy sometimes?)

So back to the year Woody was two: The boys were playing upstairs and I ran up to get something. Woody was marching back and forth across the hall, while holding a big plastic telephone, just-a-chatterin’ away. (I’ve been known to walk thru’ the house while talking on the phone….hmmmm.)

bigstock-Toy-telephone-36009262

Woody was shaking his head, back and forth, emphatically saying, “NO!”… pause, pause….”He is not here!” …LONGER pause….”He is RIZZZEN!”, prolonging the ‘s’ into buzzing ‘z’s!

That spectacular Easter Sunday, the Sunday school teachers were teaching the precious children about Jesus’ resurrection. As Liz Curtis Higgs said in her blog last week about the resurrection, “This truth changes EVERYTHING! His heavenly Father ‘has raised him to life’ (CEV). Hallelujah! God be praised! He who was dead is now alive forever!”… And even two year olds can begin absorbing this.

450x150 for The Women of Easter

This Easter week, let’s celebrate TWO important points:

First, and foremost, let’s celebrate that the tomb is EMPTY! Christ indeed has risen!

bigstock-Tomb-of-Jesus-37870585

An angel of the Lord announces to Mary Magdelene, Mary the Mother of James, and to Salome in Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed…You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here…” (See also Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6 and John 20:11-18.)

BLOG Three Marys

The Life Application Bible points out the importance of the resurrection by calling it “the KEY to the Christian faith.” Let’s look at 5 reasons WHY the resurrection is “vitally important.”

1 – “Jesus kept his promise to rise from the dead, so we can believe he will keep all his other promises.

2 – The resurrection ensures that the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom will be the living Christ, not just an idea, hope, or dream.

3 – Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that we also will be resurrected.

4 – The power of God that brought Christ’s body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so that we can change and grow.

5 – The resurrection provides the substance of the church’s witness to the world. We do not merely tell lessons from the life of a good teacher, we proclaim the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Don’t miss these truths held within the verbs in each of the above five points: we CAN BELIEVE…; we are ENSURED ; we are GIVEN THE ASSURANCE ; Resurrection power IS AVAILABLE to us; it PROVIDES THE SUBSTANCE so that we can PROCLAIM THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION….

Let’s take time this week, with Good Friday approaching and Easter Sunday on the horizon , to be still, to reflect on this resurrection power available to us, and perhaps pray about a friend or neighbor who needs to hear this GOOD NEWS.

Country Church

Which brings me to the second point: Let’s all be ever watchful for ways to teach our children, or our grandchildren, or nieces and nephews, or neighbors, about the Lord and His powerful Word.

Remember, Woody was just two years old at Easter time that year, and he clearly “caught” the Scripture being taught. We mustn’t forget what little sponges these children are.

You won’t believe this, but in the past four months, I have five, yes FIVE, close friends (two of which are my sister-in-laws!) who have just been blessed with granddaughters! (Think pink! ) These are all strong-in-the-faith Christian women and I can hardly wait to see what these little angels will learn about God from their grandmothers.

Look at their beautiful names and please say a prayer for them and their families: Caroline, Maria, Lucie, Emmeline and Emerson. I suspect you, too, may know of a newborn to pray for! Pray for them and their parents to raise them up knowing the Lord.

grandmother with baby

One of my many sins over the years in attempting to raise these boys is I tend to compartmentalize my faith. I need this Scripture forever in the forefront of my mind: Deuteronomy 11:18-21 says,

“FIX these words of mine in your hearts and minds;

TIE them as symbols on your hands and

BIND them on your foreheads.

TEACH them to your children,

TALKING ABOUT them

when you SIT AT HOME and

when you WALK along the road,

when you LIE DOWN

… and when you GET UP.

WRITE them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (NIV)

Now you can see what I’m emphasizing above….again the verbs: fix, tie, bind, teach, talk about when you sit, walk, lie down, get up, and write. Don’t miss the fact that IF we do these things there’s a promise”so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land…”

I pray you and your families have a most blessed Easter and Spring (even tho’ it’s snowing as I type). May we all rejoice that “He is not here, He is risen!”

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to our youngest whipper- snapper-son, Woodford Lee Hoagland.  John and I are also forever grateful to the ministry of Campus Outreach on UK’s campus which has discipled Woody to focus on Christ, rather than chaos which we all know can come with college experiences. Checkout www.colexington.org for more information. I love Campus Outreach’s mission statement: “Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World.” Amen. Happy Easter everyone!)

Eliz and Woody

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Filed under Family, Friends, Holidays, Life Lessons

He is not here, He is “RIZZZEN”…

Don’t tell me children don’t learn a LOT at an early age!  And watch out, THEY are watching YOU!  And horror of all horrors:  THEY will imitate you!!!

Our third-born son, named Woodford, a/k/a Woody, is a blast.  Now nearly twenty-one years of age, he still makes me laugh every time we’re together.  He’s currently a junior at the University of Kentucky, so we miss him dearly and always look forward to our next visit with him.

woody

One Easter weekend, when Woody was  two years old, we’d just returned home from church.  Scurrying to get a meal on the table, we asked our oldest son to entertain the younger two boys.  Thankfully this wasn’t the year before, which nearly did me in…

That particular year before, John and I chose to take two cars to church since the Easter Bunny’s arrival was postponed ‘til after church.  (Don’t ask me how we explained that one.)  “The Plan” was that I would hurry home, ahead of John, hide the eggs, and be ready for the boys.

Problem is my husband tends to drive a tad speedier than yours truly, so I was barely ahead of them.  Hurrying in heels isn’t a gift of mine either, so I was literally hurling eggs thru’ the air in the back yard.  To top it off, my heels were sticking in the grass, and well, it’s a good thing none of our neighbors were within earshot.

Darned if John and the boys didn’t arrive while the eggs were flying thru’ the air.  Our  oldest son, John Jr., more astute than anyone needs to be, said, “Look Daddy!  It’s raining Easter eggs!”  Well, let’s just ADD to that big web of lies we’d already woven, throwing in one more far-fetched explanation.

bigstock-Colorful-Easter-eggs-falling-d-16537709

Now while I know there’s not really a “time out chair” in Heaven, I still envision myself spending time there for some of these antics…So sorry, Lord. (Don’t you know He thinks we’re completely crazy sometimes?)

So back to the year Woody was  two:  The boys were playing upstairs and I ran up to get something.  Woody was marching back and forth across the hall, while holding a big plastic telephone, just-a-chatterin’ away.  (I’ve been known to walk thru’ the house while talking on the phone….hmmmm.)

bigstock-Toy-telephone-36009262

Woody was shaking his head, back and forth, emphatically saying, “NO!”… pause, pause….”He is not here!” …LONGER pause….”He is RIZZZEN!”, prolonging the ‘s’ into buzzing ‘z’s!

That spectacular Easter Sunday, the Sunday school teachers were teaching the precious children about Jesus’ resurrection.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said in her blog last week about the resurrection, “This truth changes EVERYTHING!  His heavenly Father ‘has raised him to life’ (CEV). Hallelujah!  God be praised!  He who was dead is now alive forever!”… And even two year olds can begin absorbing this.

450x150 for The Women of Easter

To read more of Liz’ excellent, eye-opening teaching on “The Women in Search of Jesus”, here’s the link to get you there: http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/2013/03/the-women-of-easter-in-search-of-jesus/

This Easter week, let’s celebrate TWO important points:

First, and foremost, let’s celebrate that the tomb is EMPTY!  Christ indeed has risen!

 bigstock-Tomb-of-Jesus-37870585

An angel of the Lord announces to Mary Magdelene, Mary the Mother of James, and to Salome in Mark 16:6  “Don’t be alarmed…You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here…” (See also Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6 and John 20:11-18.)

BLOG Three Marys

The Life Application Bible points out the importance of the resurrection by calling it “the KEY to the Christian faith.”  Let’s look at 5 reasons WHY the resurrection is “vitally important.”

 1 – “Jesus kept his promise to rise from the dead, so we can believe he will keep all his other promises.

 2 – The resurrection ensures that the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom will be the living Christ, not just an idea, hope, or dream.

 3 – Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that we also will be resurrected.

 4 – The power of God that brought Christ’s body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so that we can change and grow.

5 – The resurrection provides the substance of the church’s witness to the world.  We do not merely tell lessons from the life of a good teacher,  we proclaim the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

 Don’t miss these truths held within the verbs in each of the above five points:  we CAN BELIEVE…; we are ENSURED ; we are GIVEN THE ASSURANCE ; Resurrection power IS AVAILABLE to us; it PROVIDES THE SUBSTANCE  so that we can PROCLAIM THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION….

Let’s take time this week, with Good Friday approaching and Easter Sunday on the horizon , to be still, to reflect on this resurrection power available to us, and perhaps pray about a friend or neighbor who needs to hear this GOOD NEWS.

 Country Church

Which  brings me to the second point:  Let’s all be ever watchful for ways to teach our children, or our grandchildren, or nieces and nephews, or neighbors, about the Lord and His powerful Word.

Remember, Woody was just two years old at Easter time that year, and he clearly  “caught” the Scripture being taught.  We mustn’t forget what little sponges these children are. 

You won’t believe this, but in the past four months, I have five, yes FIVE, close friends (two of which are my sister-in-laws!) who have just been blessed with granddaughters!  (Think pink! ) These are all strong-in-the-faith Christian women and I can hardly wait to see what these little angels will learn about God from their grandmothers.

Look at their beautiful names and please say a prayer for them and their families:  Caroline, Maria, Lucie, Emmeline and Emerson.  I  suspect you, too, may know of a newborn to pray for!  Pray for them and their parents to raise them up knowing the Lord.

grandmother with baby

One of my many sins over the years in attempting to raise these boys is I tend to compartmentalize my faith.  I need this Scripture forever in the forefront of my mind:  Deuteronomy 11:18-21  says,

 “FIX  these words of mine in your hearts and minds;

  TIE them as symbols on your hands and

 BIND them on your foreheads.

 TEACH them to your children,

 TALKING ABOUT them

 when you SIT AT HOME and

 when you WALK along the road,

 when you LIE DOWN

 … and when you GET UP.  

 WRITE them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (NIV)

 Now you can see what I’m emphasizing above….again the verbs:  fix, tie, bind, teach, talk about when you sit, walk, lie down, get up, and write.  Don’t miss the fact that IF we do these things there’s a promise…”so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land…”

I pray you and your families have a most blessed Easter and Spring (even tho’ it’s snowing as I type). May we all rejoice that “He is not here, He is risen!” 

 ‘Til  next time!

(This post is dedicated to our youngest whipper- snapper-son, Woodford Lee Hoagland.  And for those of you parents out there who have more than one child and fret over treating each child equally, hang in there, I’ll be writing about our other two awesome sons in the future!!!  John and I are also forever grateful to the ministry of Campus Outreach on UK’s campus which has discipled Woody  to focus on Christ, rather than chaos which we all know can come with college experiences.  Checkout www.colexington.org for more information.  I love Campus Outreach’s mission statement: “Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World.”  Amen.  Happy Easter everyone!)

Eliz and Woody

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