Easter · Eternity · salvation

Why Easter?!

It’s almost here – Easter, my favorite holiday! Without Easter there is no reason to get out of bed. No reason to celebrate a birthday. No reason to hope for anything good to come to this difficult life. No hope for eternal life with God.

The result will be something delicious and beautiful, and you won’t be exhausted!

But there IS Easter! Why? Jesus arose from the dead! He is alive! He conquered death and hell. That means my I can live, truly live in this life, and live eternally. I have trusted in Christ – that His death on the cross was the penalty for my sin. He has rescued me! Oh, what reason to celebrate not just this Sunday, but every day!!

Today on Good Friday, we remember that Jesus died on the cross. We remember His pain and suffering as He hung between the thieves, though He had never sinned. We hear Him cry out in the darkness, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and we know that the word, “them” includes you and me. We crucified Him. We were guilty. We remember that He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and three days later, He arose!

My heart is so thankful that He lives and He gives me purpose for every day! If you don’t have an assurance of eternal life, He loves you, and if you had been the only one born, He would have died just for you. Acknowledge that you are a sinner and put your faith in Him alone. He can rescue you from sin and eternal separation from Him in hell and fill your life with the joy of knowing Him now.

My church, Boones Creek Bible Church is having a Good Friday service today, April 15 at 4:00 in the afternoon. We would love to have you join us. It’s going to be a precious time of remembering His sacrifice on the cross.

Also, if you don’t have a church home, we’d love for you to come to our Easter service at 10:30 Sunday morning.

If you need a great object lesson to share with children about what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished, you can watch this demonstration I did here on You Tube.

Happy Easter, friends! He lives!

Easter · Women's roles

The Women That Followed

There is no day so solemn as Good Friday. No day with such mixed emotions of sorrow and gladness as this day. I love to read in Luke 23 and 24 of the crucifixion and think about the details of that day. There is one particular detail that grabs my attention. In verse 27 it says,

“And there followed him a great company of people, and of women which also bewailed and lamented him.”

Who were these women and why did they take the risk of following Jesus right to the cross where He was nailed to die for their sins and mine? They were of the few that lingered still near the Savior. They followed, though there was great risk.

In verse 49 we read,

“And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.”

The crowd has thinned even more as Jesus’ acquaintance and these women stand from a distance and watch Him suffer, ask His Father to forgive those that crucified Him, speak with the thief who believed, and then bow His head and die. They followed, though on their part there was great remonstration. I’m sure at this point they still couldn’t understand the whys to His death; yet they followed.

The next time we read about these women it is in verse 55,

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.”

They followed Joseph of Arimatheaea to the place where he laid Jesus’ body. These women continue to follow, though there was great remorse. I can’t imagine them just watching without weeping and mourning His death. How they missed Him already, but they’ve come through their tears to see where He was buried so they could come back and anoint His body with spices.

Lastly, we see in chapter 10 verse 24 a group of women at the tomb.

“It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”

The things they told the disciples were the words, “He is risen!” They followed the Lord to the tomb, and now there is great rejoicing!

May you and I as women be willing to follow the Lord though
there is risk (what will people think?),
remonstration (why is this happening, Lord?)
and remorse (we aren’t promised a life with no suffering),
because at the day when we see Him face to face there will be great rejoicing!

When I traveled to Israel some years ago, I will never forget visiting the empty tomb. As I stood there in the garden area, I thought of that group of women that came to anoint Jesus’ body with spices early Sunday morning. I could picture myself with them there. Can you see yourself gathered and huddled with sorrow, then being overcome with such joy? Let’s be counted with that group of women that clung together. They had tremendous love for their Savior that kept them close. Look into His lovely face this week as you consider Easter, and refresh your love for such a Redeemer Who would die in your place.

If you need some ideas for celebrating Easter, you’ll find suggestions here.

Celebrations · Easter · Jesus Changed My Life

We’re Celebrating Easter!

Easter weekend is my FAVORITE weekend in the whole year! It encapsulates the reason I can face tomorrow – Jesus is alive! No matter what we’re facing today – even with all the craziness, confusion, unrest, hatred and division, the truth that Christ arose from the tomb promises us all victory over sin, death and hell!

Because of that, I believe we should celebrate to the hilt!

Let’s magnify Christ!

Let’s share the Good News of eternal life that comes by placing our trust in Jesus alone for salvation!

Here are a few ways I’m celebrating Easter this weekend:

Reading the chapters in John about Jesus’ death and resurrection. I love to read the Scriptures early in the morning and think about the women at the tomb and the joy that filled their hearts to learn that their Savior was alive! Their joy is MY joy!

Resurrection Rolls – This treat is such a fun and delicious way to remind children of the elementary facts of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb. Here’s the idea –
A simple marshmallow is rolled in melted butter, then tossed in cinnamon and sugar, reminiscent of Jesus’ body being covered by spices before He was buried. The crescent roll is wrapped around the marshmallow, reminding us that Jesus body was wrapped in linen cloth. The roll is then placed in a muffin tin, reminding us of the tomb where Jesus was laid.
The pan is then put into the oven to bake, and in about 12 -14 minutes, the baked rolls can be eaten.

When you open the rolls up you find the inside (the tomb) is EMPTY! My grandsons loved this activity!

Resurrection Rolls

Ingredients

  • 8-ounce package refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 8 regular-sized marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8 wells in a muffin tin with baking cups (for easier clean up) or spray the wells with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Unroll crescent dough and divide into 8 triangles at the perforations

3. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in shallow bowl.

4. Dip marshmallow in melted butter, then in cinnamon and sugar.

5. Place marshmallow in the middle of a crescent roll. Wrap dough tightly around the marshmallow, making sure there are no openings.

6. Place roll in muffin tin. Repeat with the rest of the rolls. Brush rolls with remaining butter and sugar.

7. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Cool sightly before serving.

Good Friday Service – Today is Good Friday and my church is having a Good Friday service at 3:00 in the afternoon. I always LOVE these afternoon services! We will be observing the Lord’s Supper, singing, reading Scripture, and being reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus’ death. If you’re in the area, we would love for you to join us. Here is the link to our website where you can find the address at the bottom of the Home Page.

Sunday service – Of course I’ll also be attending Easter service at church on Suinday. Remembering back to last year when we were unable to get together makes me doubly thankful to be able to meet together to worship and praise the Lord with other believers! Again, if you don’t have a church home, we welcome you to attend! Go here to learn the times of the services.

Cake – My family will also get together to enjoy an Easter dinner after church. It will include this traditional Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling! We’re all a little very excited about that!

T

If you need something a whole lot simpler for your Easter dessert, here’s a cute little bunny sundae my dad always made for our family every year. Everyone could make their own and add what they like. You could even have a contest to see whose bunny is the “Best dressed!”

All this takes is a scoop of ice cream, some whipped topping, coconut, for whiskers Jelly beans, M&M’s or chocolate chips for his face, and some banana slices for ears.

I pray that your Easter weekend is filled with the joy of the risen Savior! He loves you and died in your place so you could have eternal life in Him. That’s the only thing that will truly refresh you for now and all eternity!

Happy Easter!

Easter · Eternity

Jesus’ Final Words To You

This week my husband pulled out a journal that he wrote in when his father was dying of cancer. On his death bed, my father-in-law spoke to each of us. With ears leaned down, straining and attentive, we wanted to hear every word he said to his family before he died. His words were precious. They were written down so we would not forget.

In John 17, we have Jesus’ final words to His disciples. This was His prayer for them as He was now facing the cross. But He didn’t just pray for those that followed Him during His time on earth, He also mentioned me and every other person who would trust Him and follow Him as their Savior! How amazing is that?!

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Could we miss hearing His precious words? Would we turn away and not lean in to hear what He wanted to tell us before He died? Here’s what He prayed for us in His final hour:

  1. He wanted us to have unity as modeled by the Godhead. The Father and the Son were one. Unity among the Body of Christ is so important. Has the cross helped me to love others, or am I divisive in my spirit? Our love for others proves our love for God.
  2. He wanted us to be one in Christ. This is our position once we are saved – in Christ. We’re not one through church membership, good deeds, or our pastor, but in Christ. Is the cross work of Christ and my identification in Him my only hope of salvation? Nothing else will save me.
  3. He wanted us to be marked by glory. Jesus gave His glory to us through His presence, His Word, and His Spirit. It’s the manifestation of His presence. Can the world tell that I’ve been with the resurrected Christ?
  4. He is anxious to be with us! Jesus greatly desired for His people to be gathered to Him in heaven and to see His glory. Jesus longed for heaven’s completion of all things. Am I longing for heaven where I will be with my resurrected Savior and view His glory face-to-face?
  5. He wanted us to know the indwelling presence of Himself.I in them.” Am I abiding in Christ today?

One of the things my father-in-law said on his deathbed was, “I’m going to miss my family, but I get to see the Man I’ve been preaching about all my life!” It’s normal for us to think about our family members longing to see us, but to think that the Lord Jesus is anxious to see us in heaven is amazing, isn’t it?

Because of Easter, the celebration of our resurrected Savior – we can have the assurance that we can have Christ living in us now simply by putting our trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Then, we have the solid assurance that we will see Him in all His glory one day when He brings us home, and we can see His glory by abiding in Him now.

If you’ve never read Jesus’ last words to His followers, or if it’s been a while, you can find them right here. Open your “journal” and be overwhelmed by what He wanted you to know before He died in your place!

Rejoice in His love letter to you,

dessert · Easter · Gluten-Free · Weight watchers

Crustless Mini Cheesecakes

I grew up in a home where most evenings we had dessert at the end of the meal. It wasn’t something huge like a triple-layered cake, but just a little something sweet. I still enjoy ending the meal with a taste of something sweet.

Small, individual desserts are perfect for a “just enough” serving size! Weight Watchers has a cheesecake recipe that I’ve tweaked a little to come up with a dessert we love!

I bake these individual cheesecakes in small tins I purchased on Amazon. They look like these…

They’re truly the perfect size if you’re wanting to watch your calories, but still enjoy something sweet. I bake them without any crust, then give my guests the option of sprinkling chocolate covered graham crackers on the top. It serves as an inverted crust! Then I top them with fruit, light Cool Whip and chocolate shavings. Wow. They are so good! Here’s the recipe:

Crustless Cheesecakes
3/4 Cup Plain low-fat yogurt
8 oz. Low-fat Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
Light Cool Whip
Fresh berries
Chocolate shavings
Chocolate Graham Crackers, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place small baking tins on a baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray. You could also use a cupcake tin if you don’t have the tins. If you use the tin, line them with cupcake liners.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat together yogurt, cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Spoon evenly into baking tins. Bake until top is set, 15-20 minutes; let cool and then chill in refrigerator 2 hours (can make up to 2 days ahead).

3. To serve, slide a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and invert onto a serving plate. Serve with fresh berries, Cool whip and chocolate shavings on top. You can also add the chocolate covered graham crackers on top, if desired.

You could also serve these in their little tins for an easy “pick up and go” dessert. Here’s one just with Cool Whip and chocolate. Not a bad combo!

I’m not sure about the WW points on these, but the version with a crust are 7 points, so if you don’t add the crackers, I’d think it would be one or two points lower! I’ve eaten these in moderation with good success (no weight gain).

These make a great dessert for guests. They aren’t strange in any way with artificial sweeteners – they’re just lighter due to no crust and lightened cream cheese. These would be perfect for Easter, perhaps serving them with fresh blueberries and a little lemon zest on top! Give them a try and tell me if you loved them as much as we did!

Anyone else enjoy having dessert after dinner?