What Easter Means to Me

by Carole Brown

I’m sitting at my desk this early morning, typing and occasionally looking out the window. I see the beginnings of spring, with the earlymisty, sunrise morn free flowers, trees pregnant with a promised renewal of life, the sun rays strongly dissipating the heavy mists in the valleys. Reminders that Easter–Resurrection Day–is approaching. And I realize anew what an awesome celebration it truly is. 

  • First and foremost, our God is a true God that loves, faithful to do as He says, just, all knowing, and all powerful. How confident that encourages me to be!

  • Secondly, that such a God cared enough he sent his ONLY beloved son into the world for his creation: mankind. What a sacrifice! What a love! Unlike other so-called gods who demand and never give, our supreme God gave his best and only for us. How humble I feel to know he would, and did, do such a thing!

  • Thirdly, our God’s son is a LIVE Son. He’s not dead. Although, mankind killed him in a horribly, brutal crucifixion, he died to conquer death and the grave, that we might live through Him.  How wonderfully alive I feel because of that life-changing event. Forever more–through this life, even into death, I can have the assurance that I live now, and will live eventually with my God, my Savior and King! 

Thank you, God, for what you did for us, for your love and eternal life you’ve given! 

Happy Easter, my friends!

10 Things that Impact Me about Easter

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There are a lot more than 10 things that impact me about the Easter story, but here are ten of them.

10. I’m amazed at how quickly the people turned against their Messiah. In Luke 19:36-38, they were shouting Hosannas and waving palms. In Luke 23:18-25, they were shouting crucify Him. But it also amazes me how I so quickly turn away at times.

9. I’m amazed that the disciples are arguing about who is the greatest, and the greatest one of all, the Son of God, washes their feet. I’m also amazed at how much I try to promote myself when One greater than me lives inside of me. John 13:1-20

8. I’m amazed that Jesus knew Judas would betray him, yet He still washed his feet and shared a meal with him. Jesus also died on the cross for me knowing how many times I would betray Him. John 21:21-30

7. I’m amazed that Jesus weeps over Jerusalem when He knows they will murder Him and reject Him as their Messiah. How many times do we weep over the lost? Luke 19:41-44

6. I’m amazed at how one moment Peter is willing to die for Jesus, but the next, he’s denying Him. The saddest part of this story is Luke 22: 61 “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Imagine being Peter and knowing the Lord saw you deny Him, that He was standing right there. He sees when we deny Him too. He’s standing right there. Luke 22:54-62

5. I’m amazed that the soldiers could bring themselves to arrest Jesus after He declared Himself I AM, and they fell down under His power. Then after Peter cuts off Malchus’ ear, Jesus heals it. How did they bring themselves to do it? John 18:1-11

4. I’m amazed that Jesus carried His own cross after being beaten to a pulp and that He was willing to do that for me. How can I refuse to carry my cross after knowing that? John 19:1-17

3. I’m amazed by what Jesus suffered to reconcile me to God. John 19:16-24. My only reasonable response to that is to surrender everything to Him. Romans 12: 1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

2. I’m amazed at how gently Jesus dealt with Peter’s denial. First He tell Mary at the tomb to go tell the disciples and Peter He’s alive. I believe He singles Peter out because Peter no longer feels like he’s worthy to be called Jesus’ disciple. Then Jesus cooks fish with Peter, deals with His sin with probing questions, and reinstates him. I’m also amazed at how gently and thoroughly Jesus deals with my sin. Mark 16:7, John 21:15-22

1. I’m amazed at Jesus’ Resurrection power. He took death captive when He rose from the grave and proved He is I AM. Matthew 28

I am amazed by one more thing. I’m amazed at how much He loves me.

Top 10 Movies for Easter

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Sunday is Palm Sunday and starts Holy Week. It’s a good time to pull out your Easter movies.

10. The Robe

1953

Director: Henry Koster

Starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons

This movie takes some liberties with the story, like the Romans crucifying Jesus without the Jews having anything to do with it and the disciples rescuing another Christian and having a good old fashion sword fight. Sometimes the discrepancies are laughable. That being said, it’s a great movie to watch and doesn’t change the essence of the Gospel. It’s also a touching love story. The line I remember most was when Richard Burton with his wide eyes glaring said. “Were you there?” It gave me the creeps.

9. Ben Hur

1959

Director: William Wyler Starring Charlton Heston

Who can forget Charlton Heston in the chariot race?

8. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

2003 Director Phillip Saville

Starring Christopher Plummer and Henry Ian Cusick

It follows the words in the Bible. Good, but not as good as Matthew.

7. The Greatest Story Ever Told

1965

Director: George Stevens Starring Max Von Sydow

Great movie about Christ’s life if you can get past the music every time Jesus appears.

6. Jesus of Nazareth

1977 Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Starring Robert Powell

This miniseries on the life of Jesus impacted me greatly even though Jesus looked a bit too Heavenly and his eyes were the wrong color.

5. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of Matthew

1993

Director: Regardt Von Den Bergh

Starring Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, and Gerrit Schoonhoven

This is my all time favorite portrayal of the person of Jesus.

4. Risen

2016

Director: Kevin Reynolds

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth

This is a unique telling of the story of the resurrection of Christ through the eyes of a Roman soldier who is an unbeliever and sent to find Christ’s body.

3. Son of God

2014 Director: Christopher Spencer

Starring Dioga Morgada, Amber Rose Ravah, Sebastian Knapp

Read my review of this movie at this link.

2. Ben Hur

2016

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro

This is an awesome movie. I was surprised that it was so much better than the original even without Charlton Heston My favorite kind of Easter story is one where Jesus is not the main character, but the main character is forever changed because of His encounter with Jesus. This checks all those boxes.

1. The Passion of the Christ

2004

Director: Mel Gibson

Starring James Caviezel

When I watch this movie, I feel like I’m watching the real event. It chokes me up every time. From the first moment of the film, I felt the anointing.

The Irish Tidbits

by Carole Brownireland-castle-free

I love Ireland. Beautiful country, interesting history, and remarkable people. I thought it would be fun to list a few blessings and thoughts from the Irish. Enjoy!

May the strength of three be in your journey.

ireland-national-park-free

A toast to your coffin. May it be made of a hundred-year-old oak, and may we plant the tree together, tomorrow. 

May the most you wish for be the least you get. 

May you have walls for the wind, and a roof for the rain, and drinks beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, and those you love near you, and all that ireland-sheep-freeyour heart may desire. 

May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

May your hand always be stretched out in friendship and not in want. 

And one more…

For the test of the heart is trouble, and it always comes with years. And the smile that is worth the praises of earth, is the smile that shines through the tears. 

4-leaf-clover-2

The History of Saint Patrick

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is a day everyone loves to celebrate by wearing green and having parades, but most don’t know the spiritual significance of the man named Patrick. It is a story of adventure and mystery.

Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in the year, 387. His parents were Romans living in Britain and named him Maewyn Succat. At the age of fourteen, Patrick was captured by a raiding party and taken to Ireland to herd sheep. Ireland, at that time, was populated by pagans and druids. Patrick, during his captivity, learned the language and culture of Ireland. He also used his captivity to grow closer to God.

Six years later, at the age of twenty, Patrick had a dream from God to leave Ireland. In the dream, he was told to escape to the coast. When he arrived at the coast, a ship from Britain was waiting for him. He returned home to his family.

Later Patrick studied for the priesthood, became a bishop. He had a vision of the people of Ireland begging him to return and tell them about Jesus. Patrick became a missionary to Ireland and preached the Gospel throughout the land. He lived there for the rest of his life, and many were converted. He died on March 17th, 461.

There are many legends surrounding Patrick. Because there are very few snakes in Ireland, one legend says Patrick banished the snakes. This legend has a grain of truth in it if you consider the snakes paganism that plagued Ireland. By the time Patrick died, Ireland was on its way to becoming a Christian nation. Another legend says an Ash tree would grow wherever Patrick poked his stick into the ground.

The reason the shamrock is used to represent St. Patrick is because he used the shamrock to illustrate the trinity. Since the shamrock is green, that color is also used to represent Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.

And One More Post…TenLove Quotes

by Carole Brownheart-balloons-free

Women are meant to be loved, not understood. –Oscar Wilde

Things are beautiful, if you love them enough. –Mademoiselle Colombe

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. –Robert Frost

People are not going to love you unless you love them. –Pat Carroll

Love betters what is best. –William Wordsworth

You know it’s love when all you want is for that person to be happy even if you’re not part of their happiness. –Julie Roberts 

Whelove-valentines-freen love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. –-unknown

The greater love is a mother’s, then co
mes a dog’s, then a sweetheart’s.
–Polish Proverb

A heart in love with beauty never dies. –Turkey Proverb

But the greatest of these is love. –Holy Bible

Tips to Show Your Love

by Carole Brown

february-valentines-free

February 14th is almost here, and, for most of us, the thoughts of candy, cards, flowers and other romantic items–and the ones we love–fill our hearts with warmth. Here are a few thoughts I had on some newer ways to share our love:homeless-free

 

To the Homeless:

  • Drop off a hat, scarf, coat, socks, etc., to a homeless person
  • Drop off a restaurant gift card or a home cooked meal.
  • Take five minutes to talk with one of them.

 

 

To a Child in Your Life:child-blowing-bubbles-free

  • Play with them. Pretend. Enter their imaginary world. 
  • Go on a date lunch with one. Or two. Allow them to pick the eating establishment.
  • Do something really crazy and fun that you’ve never done or it’s been a long, long time. It will be worth it all to see their faces light up!
  • Introduce them (if they don’t already know) to some intellectual amusement/learning. Art shop. Biblical place like Noah’s Ark in Cincinnati, Ohio, A decent dinner/show event, a decent concert, a wildlife hike, some cave exploring, etc. Or simple things like building with blocks, blowing bubbles, splashing through a rain puddle, building snowmen or angels, reading a book, etc. 

 

husband-n-wife2-free

To the Love of Your Life:

  • If you’re a man, prepare a meal with candles, low lights, scents and the music you love in the background. If you can’t cook, hire it done/ask a favor of a good cook. If you prefer, plan the kind of casual dinner event she would prefer. 
  • Go for a short vacation. Choose a cabin, hotel, camper, tent kind of place you both enjoy. Then make it special for your other half. Find a rock that means something special. Order a dessert he/she loves. Sit under the stars wrapped in blankets and study the stars. Talk. Relax. 
  • Give her the treat of a manicure, pedicure, or massage. If that’s out-of-your-budget, then give her/him a massage yourself. Make sure you have special oils to use and light music, low lights (or sunlight) of her/his preference.
  • Buy her a little gifts that she loves: Books, scarves, accessories, hair items, socks (fun and serious), favorite snacks, etc. 

 

To the God of Your Life:praise-n-sing-free

  • Prepare to attend your worship services with nothing in your mind but praising, serving and worshiping your God. How? Don’t plan lengthy activities for Saturday evenings. Get enough sleep the night before. Eat lightly before leaving for church. If there’s time, read a passage of scripture that can put you in the correct mood for church.
  • Give! Financially if you’re able (tithes and gifts are expected, thus saith the Bible). Volunteer for church functions. If you have a musical voice, sing solo or in a choir, or join a band. Share whatever talents you have with your church and church friends. Baking, decorating, calling on phones and in person, all these and more make a difference and take loads off others. 
  • Study the word. Make a sacrifice. Fast. Do something that is hard for you to do. Ask God to search your heart. Lean on him. Draw closer. Pray a little extra. Do a kindness when others are being ugly. Compliment. Smile. Stay true when others are disloyal or acting shamefully. Pray for the sinner, the disobedient, those straying. Do your part by being faithful. 

Love, Love, Love.  

The Bible says in Corinthians, “The greatest of these is charity.” 

 

Have a lovely month!