Apr 21

Celebrating Easter with Kids

2011 at 4:33 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Resurrection Sunday is another great opportunity to impress the truth of the gospel on our children. Here’s a few ideas (some old, some new) for helping children enter into the joy of this special day:

~Read Scripture and good books to cultivate personal joy in the resurrection and that will overflow to your children. Nancy Guthrie’s Keep Me Near the Cross is one I try to pick up every year. For kids, Paul Maier’s The Very First Easter is a great resource.

~For the past few weeks my husband Steve has been taking our son Jack through a little booklet called Easter Unscrambled: A 3-week adventure to discover the real meaning of Easter. It has puzzles, secret codes, and best of all, a wonderfully clear gospel presentation. I know it’s a little late for this Easter, but I highly recommend you check it out next year.

~The folks from St. Helens Bishopsgate in the UK who brought us “That’s Christmas” have two new videos “That’s Easter: Death to Life” and “That’s Easter: Life to Death.” Great for watching and talking about with older kids.

~We like using the Resurrection Eggs from Family Life Ministries, or you could make your own. Each of the twelve plastic eggs contains an object (you could use Scripture references instead), and together they tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Of course the kids love the jelly beans we add as well!

~A few years ago, our friend Rebecca Wilson shared with us one of her Easter traditions with her daughters—Resurrection Cookies. “Not only do they help us remember what we are celebrating,” she writes, “but we find them yummy and pretty heart healthy too.” We’ve included the recipe below.

May your family Easter celebration be full of joy!

Resurrection Cookies

1 cup pecans (halves or whole)
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vinegar
pinch of salt
wooden spoon
Ziploc bag
Bible
Tape (Packing tape works best)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pecans in Ziploc bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon until broken into small pieces. Read John 19:1-3 and remind them that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.

2. Let each child smell (or taste) the vinegar. Pour 1 tsp into the mixing bowl. Read John 19:28-30 and explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.

3. Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Read John 10:10-11 Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.

4. Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it, then brush it into the bowl. Read Luke 23:27. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed Jesus’ followers as well as the bitterness of our own sin.

5. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because of His great love for us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

6. Beat with mixer on high for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3. Explain that the color white represents the purity of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.

7. Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper (or parchment). Read Matt. 27:57-60. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.

8. Place the cookie sheet into the preheated oven. Close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door. Read Matt 27:65-66. Explained that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.

9. Go to bed. Read John 16:20 and 22. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were very sad when the tomb was sealed.

10. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are empty!! On the first Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt 28:1-9. HE HAS RISEN!!!

Apr 20

Heirs of Grace

2011 at 5:32 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Marriage

One way we can misapply submission is by waiting on our husband to lead before pursuing spiritual growth.

Hopefully our husband does encourage us to pursue a deeper knowledge of God, but we are not dependent on our husband to grow spiritually. We are accountable before God to seek His face and obey His Word. Remember, when it comes to the grace of life, we are heirs with—and not under—our husband (1 Pet. 3:7).

In order to be a gospel wife, we must be rooted in God’s Word.

This means we must be avid students of Scripture, regardless of our husband’s spiritual pursuit. We should daily dig into the Bible, regularly read good books, and eagerly absorb and apply our pastor’s teaching. We shouldn’t assume that deep theological study is only for the men. Neither should we try to hide our own lack of spiritual growth behind our husband’s lack of leadership.

And here’s a self check: If we are truly growing spiritually, our lives will be characterized by humility toward our husband—not self-righteousness or superiority. True knowledge leads to love, not bitterness over our husband’s lack of growth or impatience with his slow growth. Proud “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1).

Consider how you can encourage your husband to grow in his knowledge of the Word—whether he is lagging behind or way out in front. Inspire him by your example, graciously sharpen him with your questions, and above all, encourage Him for the many evidences of God’s grace you see in his life.

Apr 19

Being a Gospel Wife: I am his equal…

2011 at 4:15 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Marriage

If we want to have an ideal marriage by God’s standard, then we will strive in God’s strength to be a gospel wife. As our husband’s bride we will be submissive; but no less important, we must also remember that we are our husband’s equal. We must not allow godly submission to slide into subservience.

Let’s look at Genesis 1:27, reading it carefully: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

What do we learn from this verse? Here we find that both male and female are created in the image of God. In this first chapter of the first book of the Bible, God establishes that man and woman are equal in value and dignity in His sight. A conviction of our equal worth is essential to understanding submission in the context of the marriage relationship.

Scripture makes no allowance for male dominance or male superiority. For this reason, theologian Wayne Grudem appeals, ‘To all societies and cultures where these abuses occur, we must proclaim that the very first page of God’s Word bears a fundamental and irrefutable witness against the evil of thinking of men as better than women.”

Neither is submission a position of inferiority or demeaning in its application. For although God has designed men and women to fulfill differing roles, He unequivocally affirms they are equal in worth and importance. As it says in 1 Peter 3:7, husbands and wives are heirs together in the grace of life.

Our equality before God should underpin our thoughts and actions as a gospel wife. If we don’t start here, we’ll quickly get off course. What problems can this cause exactly? More on that question when our series continues.

—adapted from Feminine Appeal

Apr 18

He Will Not Fail You

2011 at 2:59 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood

“My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring—that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is pleased to keep them in it….He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.” Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, March 4, morning.