Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WWJB {Where would Jesus Be?}

I was recently re-reading the story from Luke chapter 2 when Jesus was a child and he wandered away from his parents. They searched for 3 days and when they finally found him they were so very upset, but his response struck a chord with me this time around.

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49

Mary and Joseph had been searching for Jesus for 3 whole days. As a mother I can imagine she searched everywhere she could think a little 12 year old mind might wander, looking for fun, looking for adventure, or anything that might spark the excitement of a little boy. Oh the trouble a little boy would be expected to get into when left to his own devices. I can imagine that even though she knew she was raising God's son, the temple is the last place she expected to find her little boy in a world full of temptation.

But I can't shake Jesus' response out of my head "Where else would you expect me to be?" He was saying, 'I am after all, THE son of God. Where else would I go but in my Father's house? In my Father's presence? There's no where else I'd rather be!'

That's my new standard. We live in a world full of excuses. It's high on stress and low on expectations, and motherhood is no exception. Society tells us it's okay to snap at our kids, lose our temper or get angry, as long as the good out weighs the bad. It's to be expected, right? After all, there is so much stress on today's mom with busy agenda's and jobs and husbands and sports, it's no wonder we bend until we break. Even though the world knows I am a Christian, I can't always react like a Christian, right? I am only human after all. And that's why Christianity is losing so much of it's power these days, because not only does the world not expect more out of us, but most of the time we don't even expect more out of ourselves. But God doesn't grade my heart on a curve. He doesn't compare me to the world around me, he compares me to God's own heart. For I abide in him, and he in me (John 15:4). Jesus is my standard. When the whold world tells me that not only is it okay, but it's to be expected to react to ________(insert stressful person or sitaution here)__________ in a less than Godly way, I want Jesus to be my standard. I want the world to wonder how I could react out of love in a hateful situation, and I want to be able to say "What else would you expect of me? Where else would you find my heart but in the presence of God? He is living in me and I in Him, I am a Jesus girl afterall".

Help me remember that you have higher standards for me than the rest of the world. When life gets stressful, people get hateful, or times get tough, and my flesh fights to react, help me remember who I am. I am you; that 12 year old little boy that nobody expected to find in the temple. Nobody would have been surprised or stunned had you been off having fun with other boys your age, you were only a child and I'm sure there was temptation all around you, but there you were- in your father's house all along. Give me strength, grace, compassion and love and make the whold world wonder where it came from so I can point to you, and show them a heart thats hidden in her father's presence.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Story Hunt

Something about the Easter Bunny is not sitting well with me this year. As a Christian, Easter is about as good as it gets, it's what it's all about. Victory. It's the promise we have, the hope we have, it's what we live for and what we die for. Victory. They tried to crucify and bury our savior but they could not keep him in the grave. Victory. And somehow, adding a big giant Easter bunny into that precious story just doesn't jive with me, and I don't want Easter to be just another Holiday full of fairy tales and candy and presents and toys. So this year my husband and I have decided that we weren't going to to the 'Easter Bunny basket this year', and since the boys have already had 3 egg hunts we don't' really feel the need to do another Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday afternoon. BUT, I still wanted to find a way to make Easter special & fun all while remembering and teaching them what Easter is about... So I decided to do an Easter story scavenger Hunt! I'm so excited to do this with the boys, and at the end they will get an Easter gift from their Daddy and me to celebrate.

Below you will find the story & clues I came up with in case you choose to use this idea as well. You will probably have to change some of the clues to fit your home & children, but this is a great start. I decided to post this as a blog not to push our convictions and decisions on you, but just as an idea of something you might want to add to the Easter traditions you already do, or in our case replace the old! However you choose to celebrate, I pray that you have a blessed Easter season and remember that there is ALWAYS victory with Jesus!

1.Matthew 26:14-16 The high priest wanted to arrest Jesus, but they didn’t know where to find him. So Judas asked “what will you give me if I tell you where Jesus is? So they counted out 30 silver coins to give him. And from that time on Judas watched for the right time to hand Jesus over to him.”

Your first clue is hiding in the place where you keep your money…

2. Matthew 26: 17-30. Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. During the meal he told his disciples that he was about to be arrested. The disciples were sad but he assured him it was all a part of God’s plan. He took bread and broke it, and gave it to his disciples to eat saying ‘this is my body’ and gave them wine to drink saying ‘this is my blood which I pour out to forgive your sins”

The next clue is hiding at the place where we eat our meals….

3. Matthew 26:31 Roosters are known for crowing every morning to wake people up when the night is over. Jesus tells peter that before the rooster crows in the next morning, Peter will lie about knowing Jesus 3 times. Peter doesn’t believe him but Jesus says “What I am about to tell you is true, it will happen this very night. Before the rooster crows, you will say three times you don’t know me”

What wakes daddy up every morning? Look there and you will find your next clue…

4. Matthew 26:36-46 Jesus knows what is about to happen, so He goes into the garden and asks his disciples to stay awake with him while he prays, but he finds them sleeping instead. He tells them “couldn’t you stay awake for even an hour? Watch and pray. Then you don’t fall into sin when you are tempted. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Again he left them, and again he found them sleeping. And even a third time he left them and came back and found them sleeping! He said “are you STILL sleeping and resting? Look! The hour is near. I am about to be handed over to sinners. Get up! Let us go!”

New babies sleep a lot too… go to where your new baby will sleep and there you will find your next clue...

5. Matthew 26:47 Then Judas arrived with the high priest, and kissed Jesus, which was the sign of who to arrest. Jesus didn’t argue or fight when they arrested him, even though he had done nothing wrong.

Where do you go when you get in trouble? Look there and you will find your next clue…

6. Matthew 26:65 Jesus was taken in front of the high priest, who was in charge. The high priest did not like Jesus, so he tore his clothes.

Where do you put your dirty clothes? Look there and you will find your next clue…

7.Matthew 26:67 Then they spit on Jesus, slapped his face, they beat him and spat on him. They treated Jesus very badly and hurt him very badly.

Where do we keep our band aids and things for our cuts and scrapes? Look there and you will find your next clue…

8. Matthew 27:11-26
Jesus was taken in front of Pilot, who was a ruler at that time. They wanted to crucify Jesus but Pilot knew Jesus had done nothing wrong. Still, the people instisted. Pilot washed his hands with water to signify that he wanted to wash the guilt away from crucifying Jesus, and he gave Jesus over to the soldiers to cruficy.

Your next clue is hiding in the place where you go each night to wash yourselves clean…

9. Matthew 27:33 Before they nailed him to a cross they mixed wine with bitter spices and gave it to Jesus to drink…

Your next clue is hiding in the place where you keep your drinks…

10. Matthew 27:35 Then they nailed him to the cross for all to see.

Your next clue is hiding in the place where Daddy keeps his nails & tools…

11. Matthew 27:35 They divided up Jesus’s clothes by casting lots, sort of like rolling dice, to see who got to keep his clothes. They thought it was a game even though it was very sad.

Your next clue is hiding where we keep our games.

12. Matthew 27: 45-55 For that whole day, until 3:00, the whole land was covered in darkness. At 3:00 Jesus cried out in a loud voice “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani? Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He cried out again, and then he breathed his last breath. At that moment the temple curtain was raised in 2 from top to bottom. Jesus mother and several other women that he followed Jesus were there, watching as Jesus died.

Mommy tries to follow Jesus too, by reading her Bible and spending time in prayer. Where does mommy keep her bible? There you will find your next clue.

13. Matthew 27:57-61 Then they went and buried Jesus’s body in a tomb, and covered the entrance with a big rock, and guards stood watch to make sure nobody would take Jesus’s body.

Your next clue is hiding in the place where you like to dig in the rocks!

14. Mathew 28 On the third day Mary and several others went to the tomb, but they found it empty! Jesus had fulfilled his promise and his body was no longer in the grave… he had risen again, just like he said he would. When you have Jesus in your heart your body may die but your spirit (your heart) never will. When your time here on earth is over you will go up to heaven and live there in that perfect place forever and ever!

You are Jesus boys too, and can get to know Jesus by reading your bible and praying. Now look in the place where you keep YOUR Bibles to find your Easter surprise!