Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts: April 2012 Blog Tour

 A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts: Stories to Celebrate & Wisdom to Bless Moms debuted two weeks ago. This wonderful new gift book from Leafwood Publishers is available for Mother’s Day (and for new or expectant moms or baby shower gifts all year long).

Today, I’ve invited the five coauthors to share their unique story of how they came together to publish this exciting book full of hints, stories, advice, recipes and tips to celebrate all the firsts in motherhood.

First, let me introduce Leslie Wilson, Trish Berg, Terra Hangen, Cathy Messecar and Karen Robbins. Thank you for being here today, ladies.
Thank you for inviting us.

This is your second book in the series. Is that correct?

Yes, we wrote A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts in 2008. This book celebrating mothering milestones seemed like a great follow-up project.

You are from three different areas of the country—Texas, California, and Ohio. How did you all meet?

We met through The Writers View, an online group for professional Christian writers. Several of us have actually met in person—the Texas ladies and the Ohio ladies get to see each other much more often than poor Terra suffering out in California! We like how the network enriches our brainstorming and inspires our writing.

How did you come up with the idea to do a book together?

The Christmas book was Cathy’s brainchild. She mentioned the concept of telling stories of events that happened for the first time at Christmas and sharing holiday historical tidbits. The others offered to submit ideas and tips. That offer morphed into each of us equally contributing and co-authoring A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts. That book sold well, so Leafwood approached us about a second book in the series. We love the concept of celebrating “firsts.” We loved the look and feel of the first book. We loved the idea of getting to work together again. How could we say no?

Tell me a little about A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts.

It looks and feels like a scrapbook. We and the publisher got so much great feedback on the graphics and beauty of the first book. We’re so thankful Leafwood kept that same colorful appearance for round two.

The book contains heartwarming stories about mothering milestones, those things you do—or your child does—for the first time. Events like first bath, first steps, first haircut, first day of school, getting ears pierced, and so on. Each of these takes you back to when you experienced those special moments with your own child.

Also, the hints, tips and mommy helps offer more than 100 years of collective wisdom and inspiration. We like the way the practical helps are interspersed with the heartwarming stories. This mirrors our lives—we don’t experience all our warm fuzzies at one point in the day.

What is your favorite part?

We like the Word Quilters’ Wisdom. These tidbits included advice such as:

• Best Advice from My Mom
• The Bedtime Routine
• Ways to Calm Kids
• Helping out with Chores
• Do as I Say, Not as I Did!

We wish we’d had such sound advice when we were new moms!

I’ve heard that the book is really a nice gift book; can you tell me a little about the format?

Yes, it’s a hardbound book, full color interior. The layout makes it easy to read. It has a definite scrapbooky look on the interior. Different logos identify sections, such as an oilcloth-looking page for “You Might Be a Mommy If” sections. Red and tarnished brown metal brackets identify the “Family Snapshot” stories. In addition, bold flowers and brightly-colored graphics intertwine on each page’s background. It’s a classy gift for any new (or not-so-new) mom.

With five different personalities and areas of ministry, how did you manage to put this all together and still remain friends?

We just did whatever Leslie said.

Hey, that’s not entirely true. Mostly, but not entirely. I (Leslie) do speak to mom audiences more than the other co-authors. So it felt natural for me to take the lead on this project instead of Cathy. Since I’m in close proximity to young moms and understand where they are, I had several specific ideas and sections I wanted to include.

Like what?

Well, one in six or seven couples experiences infertility. I didn’t want to shy away from this aspect of mothering, so I included my own story of needing medical help to conceive.

How was it working with four other women? Did you have any problems or issues?

Not really. We pray a lot for each other and it helps that none of us have an over-inflated ego.

Occasionally, we had differing opinions, but we shared our reasons for wanting something to be a certain way. Majority ruled, which worked well.

Honestly, throughout the process, we were in awe of our gracious co-authors, unselfish women who respect each other. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.We offer support and ideas for our separate writing projects and for personal prayer requests. We love each other so much and champion one another’s writing and speaking endeavors. We each bring special gifts and our own unique personality to the table, and God has blessed us and worked amazing things through our little group.

Where can my readers get a copy of SOMF?

The coauthors all have a supply, plus our publisher ( has plenty of copies and discounts for buying five or more. Or they can be bought at most online stores and also ordered by your local bookstore.

Thanks for having us on your blog today. We’ve enjoyed our time here!

It's been a pleasure having you as guests on Dawn's New Day. Thanks for sharing your publishing story with us.

{Mother's Day only 2 1/2  weeks away, order your copy today!}

P. S. Leslie Wilson is a dear friend, editor and writing mentor.
Please visit her at Thrive It Up! 

Leslie Wilson
Thrive It Up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

He Loved Him

"Jesus looked at him and loved him."
Mark 10:21
I love watching children play, communicate, manipulate their world. Everything is so basic, so simple. Their only concerns are food, warmth, and sleep. But, if you only feed them, keep them warm and dry and simply sit them in a corner they’ll complain. Why? Because they still need affection. Feeling loved is a basic need.

Jesus understood this.

In Mark 10:17-31 a rich young man asks Jesus: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”(v17). Jesus reminds him of the commandments and the young man boasts his adherence to them all. And I love this next part. Before Jesus rebuked his religiosity, his greed, his love for things: “Jesus looked at him AND LOVED HIM" (v 21).

(Join me at {re}fresh and read the rest of the story. Maybe even linger awhile and read the work my fellow contributors? Leave a little encouragement for them as well?)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baggage: Packing for those Just-In-Case Moments

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5: 1

It amazes me how little my husband needs to pack for a trip. Whether it’s a week or just a weekend, he fits everything into a carry-on. I, however, need the largest suitcase, an overnight bag AND a large tote bag!

You see, I pack for the “just in case” moments. Maybe you can relate? I pack that pretty dress “just in case” we visit a fancy restaurant, (which also requires packing an extra pair of shoes, a clutch, matching jewelry and perfume). I pack a long pair of pants for a summer trip down south “just in case” the weather turns cold, (Has it ever known a July day less than 85 degrees?). So, you can imagine how heavy my baggage is on our return trip.

(Pssst...I'm enjoying a cup of coffee with the folks at Encouragement Cafe. Grab a hot cup 'o joe, click on the highlighted link and join us for the rest of the story).

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Sloppy Wet Kiss

"...God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

Like a young girl in love experiencing her first sloppy wet kiss, my heart skipped a beat. I stood there speechless and amazed by the depth of his affection. I wasn't looking for anything--never asked him to prove himself--he just surprised me with a precious gift. Every girl loves a good surprise.

At first I didn't recognize the gift. It wasn't beautifully wrapped or tied up with a curly bow. It wasn't anything I'd asked for, but it was perfect. He presented his gift through an unsuspecting sister-in-faith. Funny thing was she didn't know she was offering his gift to me either. She just needed help--help that I could easily give.

I questioned whether I should accept it--afraid he'd mistaken me for his true love. How could he possibly love me this much? What did I do to deserve such a lavish gift? What did he expect in return?

So, I paused and listened to his heart speak. It told me I didn't do anything to deserve his love or his gift. He simply loves me. That. Is. It. No expectations, no strings attached--just pure, inexplicable, unconditional love.

It took a day to sink in and suddenly it was like "heaven meets earth with a sloppy wet kiss." Overwhelmed by his extravagant love, he wins my heart and I accept his gift and we dance and dance and dance.

The song above, How He Loves by John Mark McMillan, explains my heart today.

I pray God lavish you with his extravagant love, surprise you with his affection and win your heart. If you like, won't you encourage our hearts today and share with us how God shows his love for you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Playing in Dirt

"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Genesis 2:15a

There's something about playing in dirt that settles me almost as much as playing with words. Maybe it's the transfer of oxygen and nutrients from soil through skin or simply the pleasure of watching summer's beauty slowly emerge. I don't know, but it's in my blood.

My grandfather supported his family off this Maine blueberry farm...

...not far from living water...

...and the land bore much fruit...

 My grandmother's passion for blooming gardens thrives
beyond three generations.

But I think my passion for working the land goes back further,
back to the beginning - Paradise - in the Garden
where beauty was born and where our roots began.

"Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food...The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:8, 9, 15).

Saturday we tend our garden, bent and low, in worship of the Creator, caring for his creation. It's hard work. Harder than God ever planned in Paradise for now we work under the curse where weeds grow and death consumes. We pull, dig, trim, and haul. We spread rich, black earth born from death and transplant new life, drenched in living water.  

And now we wait and watch, water and weed while God raises beauty from dirt.

Enjoy your weekend and find some time to do those things that settle your soul, draw you close to God and give you a glimpse of Paradise.

Before you do, won't you share with us what activity settles you, brings you close to Paradise? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blog Hop

Ready to get your hop on? Do a couple of deep knee bends, remember to breathe. Hop on over to the Chrisitan Children's Authors blog with me where I retell the story, "A Jesus Whisper and a Healing." If you've already read this story, hop through other inspiring posts written by talented Christian children's authors.

Ready? Hop! (click on the highlighted word *hop* to link up with the Christian Children's Authors blog).

See you back here tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

House Full of Prayers

Alongside the adventures of Dick and Jane and a dog named Spot, I grew up reading the Christian version, with renamed characters, Tommy and Sally. The publisher added Mommy, Daddy, and Baby but decidedly kept the dog named Spot.

I barely salvaged one book, House Full of Prayers, from my collection and today it sits, guarded in my office. As a child, I cared more about revealing the hidden pictures beneath the paper folds than reading the rhyming prayers.

When I taught my own children (and grandchildren) to pray, I pulled out this old tattered book. With the same enthusiasm, my children loved the peek-a-boo folds, but the prayers were too full of "thees" and "thys" so, I simplified them and came up with these:

Grace at meals:
Thank-you Jesus for this food,
our family and friends.

Thank-you, Jesus for this day.
Thanks for all the games I played.
God bless Mommy and Daddy, Sister and Me.
God bless all those I love.

Of course, as we mature, so do our prayers, but the point is, children learn by example. If we read to our children, surround them with books, they grow up reading and enjoying literature. If we pray with our children, fill our house with prayer (more than dinner and bedtime), they not only learn how to pray, but we cultivate a foundation and hunger for God.

Is your house a house full of prayer? How do you teach your children/grandchildren how to pray?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who's Your Champion?

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together...but let us encourage one another..." Hebrews 10:24,25

There's days I wonder why I write, why I labor over words, choose transparency over privacy or risk rather than safety. And on those teetering days, when I'd rather silence that bless-ed, blinking cursor, a precious friend sneaks a note into my inbox.

She champions my heart; fights and defends God's redemptive work in me and through me. Her notes always encourage, always build up and always spur me on to pursue God more. I keep all her emails in a folder I call, "Words I Need" and revisit them when my heart needs a little boost, or I've lost sight of where God's leading, or simply need a little flesh-and-blood Jesus. 

In the midst of our God-journeys, we all need a champion encourager to spur us on in our faith and ministries. Paul knew that best and wrote:

 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together...but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24, 25

Has God placed a champion encourager in your life? How has that affected your life/ministry? Is there someone whom God wants you to champion, in return? Share your stories with us, won't you?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Writer's Nest

"Beloved, come away..." Song of Solomon 8:14a

In the movie, Something's Gotta Give, Diane Keaton plays a successful play-wright seeking to rouse her muse at her oceanfront home. I laugh when the scene cuts to Keaton sitting behind her sprawling mahogany desk in a whitewashed office touting a private view of a secluded California beach. Who couldn't write with a seacoast muse?

Until my own private seaside oasis reveals itself , I'm ever grateful for this pretty little second floor writer's nest... the place I hear God whisper, "Come away, my beloved..."

My writing day starts in complete silence
sitting in this comfy chair... 

...alone with the Lord, my Bible, journal, a devotional
and a writing book by a successful author.

And when inspiration hits, I crawl behind my humble desk
and write..

 ...and write.

Here's my view when I come up for air.
It's not an ocean view but I can dream, can't I?

Books line the wall opposite my desk.
Never thought I'd convert,
but now I purchase digital copies to save space.
My shelves display beautiful seashells, (gifts from an old friend),
and family photos.

Hanging above the bookcase is my favorite vacation photo
of Eastport, Maine at sunrise - a Christmas gift
from my husband who knows my heart.

He added my favorite quote by Thoreau in the upper left:

"The seashore is a sort of neutral point
a most advantageous ground
of which to contemplate this world."

This writer's nest took all of $50 to remodel. Everything except the rug and bookcases was a hand-me-down. Since the room is only 5' X 10' it didn't take much paint to spruce it up and we found a double roll of linen wallpaper in Lowe's discount pile for $5!

Where do you hear God whisper, "Come away, my beloved?" Is it the same place you write? What setting inspires you, gets your creativity flowing? What's your dream spot?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Jesus Whisper and a Healing

Pops and Dakota

“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike."
Luke 10:21

We spend a lot of time with our four-year-old granddaughter, Dakota and last Thursday she joined us for the Maundy Thursday service at church. (That was our deal...if she wanted to sleep over at Grams' & Pops' house that night, she had to go to church with us).
She agreed, wholeheartedly, but I wondered if she'd really last through the entire service or glean anything from the service between playing with her Littlest Pet Shop toys and the noticeably painful sty on her eyelid. 

The band started playing and she hopped into my arms, ready to worship. Half-way through the first song she points to the inlaid cross above the baptistery and says, "Jesus died on that cross, you know, Grams."

"Yes, he did. That's why we're here tonight--to remember that and to say 'thank-you' to Jesus for dying on that cross."

The next morning the swelling and redness from her sty had dissipated. I mentioned how much better her eye looked and she immediately responded, "Yes, it is better. Last night in church I heard someone whisper, 'Look at your sty. I've made it better.'"

I asked, "Who do you think whispered in your ear?" and as any preschool girl with an overactive imagination may respond, she answered, "I don't know. I think it was Hello Kitty." Hmmm. Now what? Obviously, she wasn't making this up. Her eye was markably better, so I seized this teachable moment and continued the conversation.

"No, Dakota. Hello Kitty isn't real or alive. She's just a cartoon character, but remember you mentioned Jesus died on the cross? Well, he is real and he didn't stay dead. On Easter, God raised him from the dead, made him alive again. He's alive, with God, in heaven and he talks with us, just like he whispered in your ear last night. That voice? That whisper in your ear? That was Jesus. Jesus made your eye better."

Throughout the day, I watched her eye for any reoccurring redness or swelling and periodically asked her if it still hurt but her eye kept improving. When her parents arrived late in the afternoon, the first thing her mother said was, "Wow! Your eye is all better."

She looked up from her artwork and answered, "Yes, Jesus made it better."

Although she didn't recognize Jesus' voice at first, does not negate the fact that she heard him whisper, "I've made it better." Just like us, childlike in our walk with the Lord, we train our ears to hear his voice through simple faith.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Refusing Your Inheritance: Breaking Generational Curses

"The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." Numbers 14:18

We're part of the same family, shared the same parents, grew up in the same house and yet, we're noticeably different. From the color of our hair to the shapes of our noses, apart from our parents, you'd be hard-pressed to identify us as sisters. Our physical features play witness to our ancestors: the red-headed, green-eyed Irish, the olive-skinned, brown-eyed Portuguese, and the fair-skinned British blond.

Beyond our physical traits, God's word says we also inherit the sins and blessings of our family to the third and fourth generation. We welcome blessings; the more the better, right? But what about he curses? We can't ignore our inherited curses or sweep them under the rug because eventually, we'll have to face them. I don't mean we need to wallow in them, stay stuck in generational sin, but we need to face them before they unexpectedly sneak up on us.

This weighed me down when I considered marriage. With at least two generations of infidelity/divorce in my family--a history I couldn't control and certainly not a promising one in the face of planning my own wedding--the statistics were against me. My heart toyed with me making it difficult to trust my then, fiance, no matter how loyal he'd proven himself.

But I knew a faithful God who "is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion."

And this, I learned: Christ's redemptive power in this world, in my own life allowed me to break generational curses. Repeatedly, throughout scripture we see where one generation either inherits God's punishment (curses based on their sin) or they inherit God's blessing (based on repentance and following God's ways). And here's the key: regardless of their inheritance, they could change it for the good if they followed God's ways.

I refused my inheritance and chose to break the generational curse of infidelity and divorce and my fiance had to be in agreement before we married. We couldn't just hope for the best, we couldn't just make a pact--we relinquished control of relationship, our marriage and our future family to God's ways. Simply put, we chose to follow God. That meant our personal relationship with Christ trumped our relationship with each other (that's difficult for newlyweds) and Christ became central in our marriage and family.

Ha, ha...don't laugh at our 1984 styles!
August marks our twenty-eighth anniversary. Can I hear a woot-woot for God's redemptive power? (I smile as I type this as our wedding processional music, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, streams from Pandora Radio).

Breaking generational sin and building an inheritance of blessing for our children, our grandchildren and even our great grandchildren is a conscious choice. It takes choosing God's ways in every family situation, especially the times when we could easily fall into your previous inherited curses.

What will it be for you, today, blessing or curses?

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Sweet Spot Restored

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..."
Joel 2:25

We share an unspoken bond, a connection like no other I've known since I sat in my own mother's lap decades ago. It's almost like our hearts are rhythmically connected. We enjoy one another's silence and participate in encouraging gab fests--either way, these precious moments speak volumes.

When we're together my mind eclipses back to childhood memories of working alongside my own mother. With six and nine years between my older sisters and I, I enjoyed hours of solitary time with Mom while they attended school. Whatever she did, I wanted to do, even the menial tasks like ironing, vacuuming and grocery shopping. It didn't matter what she did, her presence comforted me. But, my sweet spot with Mom was when I curled up on her lap, my ear pressed up against her chest and listened to the rhythm of her heartbeat and the echo of her every breath.

I was nine years old when my parents divorced. When my father walked out one hot day in August, my mother and I switched roles. She needed my support, my strength, my emotional stability and comfort. I haven't felt her comfort since and there are moments I still grieve that loss, wishing I could still curl up on her lap and press my ear against her chest and listen to her rhythmic heartbeat and fall asleep to the echoes of her breath.

Thursday I received a desperate plea from my daughter-in-law to babysit my four-year-old granddaughter overnight who was reversing all the vacation packing. Of course, I was delighted to spend another day with my granddaughter before they flew off across country for a week!

During the Maundy Thursday service my granddaughter curled up on my lap, ear pressed up against my chest and I gently rocked her back and forth in my seat while the piano prelude filled the sanctuary. Then out of nowhere she looked up at me with her big, baby-blues and said, "I love listening to your heart, Grams." Our own little sweet spot!

God reminded me right then of a word a friend received on my behalf earlier this year:

"Dawn, God will restore all the years the locusts have eaten. He will do this through your granddaughter."

And He is! Our heart-bond is no coincidence. Rather, it is a beautiful gift--restorative art, woven together by the hands of our loving God, just for us. Never do I take for granted the moments we share because I know each day is a heart-made gift. 

Is there a place in your heart that needs God's restorative art? Is there someone or someplace God's given you to restore the years the locusts have eaten? Are you that restorative gift God's using in someones life, today?

Father God, no words can properly express my thankfulness for the restorative work of art you are creating by your own hand in my life through this special relationship. But, I am grateful, ever grateful. May you do the same for any reading this today who mourn loss in their lives. Restore them, Father. May they recognize the Giver as well as the gift and give you praise. Amen.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hope Restored: He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

"You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." Mark 18:6

The silence of Saturday is broken at the dawn of a new Sabbath, God's kingdom restored and death overcome by the resurrection of Jesus!

This...this is our hope. He has risen, just like he said. All Scripture fulfilled. All hope restored.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

May you enjoy the celebration of forgiveness and hope through Jesus, today.

Happy Resurrection Day!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Silent Saturday

"So Joseph (of Arimathea) bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb." (Mark 15:46)

The gospels fall silent on Saturday after Jesus' body was buried.

Being the Sabbath, I'm sure Jesus' disciples gathered for the Sabbath meal but also to mourn the loss of their dear friend and teacher.

As they broke bread and drank the cup did Jesus' own word cause them to wondered what they'd missed?

It seems not. For in their mourning their hope seems lost and the realization of God's kingdom come a broken promise.

They had yet to experience the joy and promise of Sunday...Resurrection Day...the fulfillment of hope and God's promise to restore his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Our waiting for Resurrection Sunday is quite opposite of the first disciples because we know that Jesus did not remain dead but rather transformed and resurrected into his new heavenly body which brought us all the reality of forgiveness and the hope eternal life in God's restored kingdom.

Today, may you be filled with joy as you anticipate family and worship gatherings in celebration of God's restorative promise and resurrection hope through Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 6, 2012

It Is Finished

"Jesus said, 'It is finished.'"
John 19:30

"The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, 'Hail, king of the Jews!' Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him." (Mark 15:16-20)

"'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

"But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 'He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.'

"Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.'" (Psalm 22:1-9, 11)

"Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.' When he received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his Spirit." (John 19:28,30)

But we know this is not the end of the story....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Darkest Hours

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever belives in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Today, I'm letting God's Word tell the story of Jesus' darkest hours:

Jesus Announces His Betrayer:
"When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.' They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, 'Surely not I, Lord?' Jesus replied, 'The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.' Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, 'Surely not I, Rabbi?' Jesus answered, 'Yes, it is you.'” (Matthew 26:20-25)

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial:"Then Jesus told them, 'This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." 'But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.' Peter replied, 'Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.' I tell you the truth, Jesus answered, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times. But Peter declared, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And all the other disciples said the same." (Matthew 26:31-35)

Jesus Prays at Gethsemane:
"They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, 'Sit here while I pray.' He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,' he said to them. 'Stay here and keep watch.' Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 'Abba,[a] Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.' Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Simon,' he said to Peter, 'are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.' Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.'" (Mark 14:32-41)

Jesus Arrested:
"While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.' Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed him. Jesus replied, 'Friend, do what you came for.' Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.  With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 'Put your sword back in its place,' Jesus said to him, 'for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.'" (Matthew 26:47-52)

Peter Denies Christ Three Times:"Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, 'This man was with him.' But he denied it. 'Woman, I don’t know him,' he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, 'You also are one of them.' 'Man, I am not!' Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, 'Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.' Peter replied, 'Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!' Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.' And he went outside and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:54-62)

Pilate's Dilema:
"Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, 'Are you the king of the Jews?' 'Is that your own idea,' Jesus asked, 'or did others talk to you about me?' 'Am I a Jew?' Pilate replied. 'It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?'Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.' 'You are a king, then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.' 'What is truth?' Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, 'I find no basis for a charge against him.'' (John 18:33-38)

"'What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?' Pilate asked. They all answered, 'Crucify him!'  'Why? What crime has he committed?' asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, 'Crucify him!'” (Matthew 27:22-23)

Pilate Sentences Jesus:
"(Pilate) had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified." (Matthew 27:26)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hearts Prepared for Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day is fast approaching. While we focus most of our thoughts on Sunday, interspersing activities throughout the weekend will help our families prepare their hearts for Sunday.  

Here are some ideas for you:

Thursday: Attend a Maundy Thursday service in your area or create one at home over a candle lit dinner.

Read Scriptures based upon the days leading up to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion (Matthew 26:20-25: Last Supper. Judas' betrayal, Matthew 26:31-35: Jesus predicts Peter's denial, Mark 14:32-41: Gethsemane. Jesus pleading with his disciples, Matthew 26:47-52: Jesus arrested, Luke 22:54-62: Peter denies Jesus, John 18:33-38a- Jesus before Pilate, Matthew 27:20-26: Pilate pleads w/ the crowd. The crowd cries "Crucify Him", Mark 15: 16-20: Jesus led out to be crucified, Psalm 22:1-11: Jesus last words on the cross).

Blow out the candles at the end of the last scripture and dismiss the family for quiet time for the rest of the evening. For little ones, this may have to be altered but for older elementary or older, the children could be led in a family prayer and then they could retreat to time alone and write their own prayers of thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice.

(To read plans for Friday through Sunday please join me at Christian Children's Authors blog by clicking here).