Easter · eternal · salvation

Our Best Efforts

Yesterday was a challenging day in my 4’9″ world!  When I ran into the grocery to buy a container of sour cream, it was inside a cooler refrigerator on the TOP shelf…and the front of the box was empty!  That meant I had to R-E-A-C-H on my tip toes, pull the box forward and hope that a sour cream container in the back would slide into my hand.

It worked!

Then on to look at some fresh flowers.  On the TOP shelf was a pot of greenery I was interested in.  Using my resourceful short-person-skills, I got as tall as I could, pulled the green stem towards me and then the rest of the pot followed behind.  Mission accomplished.

I left the store and moved on to do some decorating at church.  When I got up to the storage place where our spring wreaths were hung, they were hanging as high as they could be, dangling from nails like a loose  tooth in a kindergartner’s mouth. No amount of stretching was going to get those wreaths down!  I looked around me for something long, and found a piece of metal  that I knew would do the trick.  I slid the metal under the top part of the wreath, lifted it and then lowered it into my waiting hands.

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As I thought back to each of those scenarios, I remembered that I had been offered help in each of those situations, but it came at the wrong time.  This short lady had already made her move and gotten the job taken care of!

All these efforts reminded me of a truth connected to Good Friday.  This is a day that reminds us of the death of Christ on the cross.  He died to take our place, paying in full the payment due our sins.  Before He died he uttered,

It is finished.

You see, He did everything necessary for us to be forgiven and to give to us eternal life.  Nothing is left for us to complete in order to gain salvation.  It was all done on the cross by the Lord Jesus.

Just as I refused the help from those who offered to assist me, people often ignore Christ’s perfect solution to their sin problem.  Many ignore His plea to take care of their sin debt, and reach up on tip toes for their best efforts – good works, humanitarian deeds or kind acts, thinking that will allow them to reach up to God’s high standard.  But their efforts are far less fruitful than a short person’s attempts to grasp out-of-reach items.  They will never attain God’s standard because it is holiness.  Only Christ was without sin.  He alone could reach what is necessary for us to be forgiven.  And when He steps in, He is always on time.

If you’ve never accepted His sacrifice for your sin, stop trying to step in with your best efforts, and realize that He’s done it all.  Your salvation is complete.  All you have to do is receive what has been accomplished on your behalf by acknowledging your sinfulness, and your need for Christ. Then turn your back on your sin and receive Him. 

Because of Him salvation is at hand!

Rejoicing in Good Friday and Easter morning,

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children · Easter · salvation · Uncategorized

Helping Children Understand Easter

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When I was eight years-old I made the most important decision of my life.  I received Christ as my personal Savior.  Ever since that day I have had the confidence that Christ paid the penalty of my sins and I am His!  I know I’ll spend eternity with Him – not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what Christ did for me.

That decision did more than give me a happy ending to my story!  It also gave me a Continue reading “Helping Children Understand Easter”

baking · Easter · Entertainment · Make-Ahead · Time management · Uncategorized

Organizing Plans for a Special Dinner- Like Easter!

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This Sunday is Easter – my favorite holiday!   I’m excited about attending our church services, worshiping the Lord with a thankful heart, hearing God’s Word preached, and then having guests in our home for a special Easter dinner.  What a great day to look forward to!

Because the meal is quite involved, I knew I needed to really get my plans organized.  I even started my preparations last weekend.  I thought I’d share my plans with you about how I am working to get everything ready as much ahead of time so I won’t be  Continue reading “Organizing Plans for a Special Dinner- Like Easter!”

Easter · Home decor · spring · Tablescapes

Five Spring Tablescapes

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Spring!  I believe it is my favorite season.  Its newness reminds me of Easter and the hope Christ’s resurrection gives to dead things – like my sinful life!  How thankful I am for life in Christ!

Then spring also makes creation come alive! We can see the beautiful life as described in this passage ~

Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteouness, and the people with his truth. Psalm 96:12, 13

Spring is also a great time to bring life inside our homes!  It can start at the kitchen or dining room table. I love making pretty tablescapes, but I love it even more when I gather all the needed items from my house and don’t have to purchase one thing!!

I gave myself a challenge to create as many centerpieces for a spring tablescape using the colors green, blue and yellow with just things I had on hand.  I set simple dinnerware on the table to give the idea of what the table setting might look like, but I focused on creating different springtime centerpieces.  Here are the results ~

#1 – I have had this silk tulip arrangement for quite a few years.  It looks so real that most people think I had a delivery from the florist!  This dressier centerpiece is high enough that it doesn’t obstruct the view at the table.  In other words, you don’t have to pick it up to have a conversation with the person sitting across from you!!

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#2 – This is the live plant from my laundry room!  I popped it into a yellow pot and that was it!  A burlap bow or ribbon would be pretty tied around the pot. This makes a good every day kind of table.

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#3 – My sister brought me this cute little felt basket when she visited recently.  It’s filled with Easter grass, treats and some plastic eggs.  The turquoise cake stand adds a little height and makes it a little more grand than if it was sitting right on the table. This would be a nice centerpiece for Easter breakfast with the family.spring 9

 

#4 – This is a live Asparagus Fern that I keep in my kitchen.  Fresh greenery is always a plus to have on hand and put to use in centerpieces!  I like it LOTS better than the silk variety! This fern and basket give a more casual look to the table.

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#5 –  Using an odd number is always wise when you’re adding decor to your home.  Here are three blue Mason jars lined in the center of the table with silk yellow flowers  spilling over to the other jars.

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Well, that was fun!  Do you have a favorite?  Which do you vote for?

I hope this inspires you to make your kitchen table pretty for spring!

Happy Spring!

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Bread · breakfast · cakes · Cooking · dessert · Dinner · Easter · entertaining · main dish · memories · Side dish · Sunday Dinner

(L)Oven Monday – Easter Dinner 2017 Recap

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If you’ve been reading my blog more than a week, you know how I treasure Sunday dinner.  It makes my heart sooo happy! But how does Sunday dinner get even better?  It’s when Sunday dinner is Easter Sunday dinner.  On top of good food, there’s the blessing of remembering Christ’s resurrection from the dead and celebrating that truth that He lives!

So, yesterday, we did indeed have a big Sunday meal, but we started with a wonderful church service where Christ was exalted! We sang of His resurrection and heard God’s truth about how to be sure you can have eternal life!  Then we came home for dinner and included our daughter and son-in-law and a couple of other special people.  We also incorporated a few family traditions, which brings memories and makes memories.  It was a great day!

Here’s the menu:

 Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole
Tarragon Asparagus – New recipe
Deviled Eggs
Caesar Salad in Parmesan Bowls
Bunny-Shaped Breadsticks – New recipe
Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling

Let me roll the pictures so you can have a peek into our day and see that I also incorporated all the principles I’ve recently shared about Sunday dinner!

I worked early in the week and got the Coconut Cake baked and layers put in the freezer.  Then at the end of the week, I made the lemon curd and the icing.  It simplifies the process so much!  By Saturday night here’s what was already prepped:

The cake, the rolls, the Sweet potato Casserole, Deviled eggs, and the salad ingredients were totally ready. The table was all set, too.  I also had the roasting pan for the ham set out and ready to bake the main entree.

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When I got home from church it only required to put the finishing touches on everything and bake the casserole.

Here’s how things turned out on Sunday~

Caesar Salad in Parmesan Cups –

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Sweet Potato Casserole – The best in my book!

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Terragon Asparagus – This was new, and it was pretty good.  My asparagus wasn’t as fresh as I’ve ever gotten, so I’m going to try this again before giving it a final verdict!

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Bunny Breadsticks – Another new recipe.  These were fantastic on Saturday when I made them, but they don’t really do well the next day.  Sooo, I won’t make these for Sunday any more, but I sure will use this recipe for other days when I have time to make them for that day.  They were delicious right out of the oven!!  And how cute are they???? They can be baked into regular bread sticks if you want to make them other times of the year!

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Coconut Cake

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One tradition that we’ve had for years is Easter sunrise service outside at home.  That was a challenge (and very cold) when we lived in Indiana, but we would don our coats and head to the tree house where we would have our own Sunrise service!  Then we would come inside and have Cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs.  Now that it’s just my husband and me, we simply eat breakfast on the patio and read Scripture together.  It’s usually warm enough that we don’t shiver, thank the Lord!  Here’s what we had yesterday:

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We had Fresh farm eggs, Prosciutto, Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, Fresh fruit and Coffee.
It was a great way to start Easter Sunday!  This is a reminder that traditions aren’t just for when your kids are at home.  Keep those traditions going even when they’re gone.  It will continue to build strong home ties, and will also give your grown kids the security of knowing that you’re still making the most of your marriage!

So, another Easter dinner is in the (memory) books, and I’ll have to say, it’s a memorable chapter!  I thank the Lord for the blessing of celebrating our Savior’s life and getting to do it at church AND at home around the Sunday dinner table.

Did you have Easter dinner?  Did you cook?  What made it special for your family?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian growth · Easter · Encouragement · trials

Behind the Clouds

I first posted this a couple years ago, but I feel the need to share it again.  I have many friends and loved ones going through hard things right now, and in the light of Easter coming this weekend, I pray this post will be an encouragement!

This past Saturday morning I headed out early to purchase the last items I needed for my Easter dinner.  I was filled with excitement as I anticipated Easter Sunday and the joy of worshiping and remembering the empty tomb! The sky was kind of gray and cloudy as I headed out, but I needed to get this done.

As I drove into town, my mind went to the first Easter Saturday – that very day after Christ had been crucified.  I thought about the disciples, the many other people who had heard Jesus and believed He was Who He said He was, and of those that had seen His miracles and had turned in faith to Him as their Savior.  How must they have felt on that day after?  I’m sure many were filled with mixed emotions.  They had seen Him suffer, some had buried Him.  He was dead. Many must have felt hopeless, gloomy and discouraged.

“Oh!” I thought, “if only they could know what we know now they would never have doubted!  They would be as excited as I am as I anticipate Easter’s arrival tomorrow!”    They wouldn’t have been filled with sadness, gloom or despair if they could know what we know!

It was then that the Lord whispered in my heart,

“If you could know what I’m at work doing right now in your life, you wouldn’t be filled with despair in your trials either.”

How right He is!  Why do I doubt Him?  Why am I filled with sorrow in difficult days?  It’s because I believe the enemy’s lies when he says – “Nothing good could come from THIS!”  “Your life should be happier!”  “This is never going to get better – give it up!”

No!  My God is at work fulfilling His great plan for my life – to make me into the image of His Son.  It may take cloudy days, days of pain or suffering, but He’s got a reason, and I must trust Him!

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Still in my car and carrying on this dialogue with the Lord, I looked up to see that the sun had burst through the clouds in splendor and beauty.  It was a visual of the lesson He had just spoken to my heart.  Something lovely is behind the dark clouds; wait and watch!

What dark cloud of difficulty are you staring at today?  Keep your eyes on Christ! He is at work on a plan that will leave you speechless!

With love,

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