Easter Redeemed.

Well, Easter is easy to redeem because that has already been done for us. The annual celebration of new life has been linked to Jesus’ true offer of real life for all who will accept him. So now we get a great celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection and chocolate too 🙂

But here is where it can get a bit tricky. Because chocolate is so delicious and immediate it can often takeover our easter festivities. This year we hid chocolate in eggs for the boys to find each day, and in one egg was a part of our memory verse. We learnt Romans 6 v 9 and 10 this year;

“We know that Christ was raised from the dead. He will never die again. Death has no more power over Him. He died once but now lives. He died to break the power of sin, and the life He now lives is for God.”

But today, on Easter Sunday the eggs were empty. We explained how we celebrate the empty tomb today, and how, if Jesus was still dead, then following him would be a waste of our time. Then we sent them to their room where they found real Easter Eggs and a note “Jesus is better than chocolate”.

ImageBecause we want them to know that, yes, chocolate is lovely, but it is a bonus extra at easter time, not the main point!

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

The joy of Chocolate and Celebrating New Life.

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Conversations about Spring.

Most years I want to plant things in the garden. Things to eat mainly. Some years I have managed this, others I haven’t. I have two strong factors against me ever doing gardening 1) I am not very organised and 2) I don’t like to spend money. This year is a bit different. The boys are old enough to be interested and want to join in with jobs in the garden and (most importantly) Jon has got involved. I always do things better when the whole family is working to together 🙂

So I have planted seeds with the boys and Jon has built us a raised bed and we are buying a compost bin and a water butt and have a mini uPVC greenhouse!

Image

But the best part of growing things in the garden are the conversations:

“Who planted the seeds boys?”

“We did”

“Who has been watering them?”

“We have”

“Who has made them grow?”

“…?Daddy God?”

Yeay!

But also, once there is food to pick we get to talk about how God gives us all things in their season, and just what we need when we need it. We get to talk about Gods generosity and the order that His creation shows, how Pea plants don’t grow apples and how all plants have similarities because they are made by the same creator but also differences. How He made lettuce to be lettuce like He made us to be Human, different roles and different purposes. Spring is so rich and full of God and His many good gifts, we will be talking about these things, and many more, all the way to Summer. 

Social Chameleon.

I have used this phrase about myself for years without realising that it was a bad thing. Recently though I have realised that I agree to different things depending on who I am with and I change my understanding of right and wrong based on the opinions of the people I am listening too. So why is this a problem?

Well, God is constant, He doesn’t change or adjust as our society changes. His standard is constant too. Throughout history people have understood different things about the world we live in and the God who made all of this, but God still hasn’t changed. If I, however, think one thing one minute and another the next I am being much more like the people around me than the God who made me. Now that is understandable, because I am like the humans around me. But being human is one of the ways that I am in need of Gods rescue and help to live this life to it’s full (John 10v10).

So, my resolution is to remember Gods words when I am in conversation, because they are constant I can’t go too wrong. And if I rely on His words and not my own I will work harder to learn and remember them 🙂

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How am I doing on ‘forgiveness’?

The Rizers have a great song of 2 Peter 3 v 18, the passage says to ‘grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ’. So with this kids song in my head I’v been pondering on this. Mostly the growing in Grace part. The Church we go to is big on growing in knowledge, most evangelical Churches here in the U.K are, but growing in grace…well I have realised we’re not so good at that. 

Take the prayer Jesus taught, in it we say ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’. That is quite a big thing to say. I am not often sinned against, but I find it really hard to forgive when I am. Especially when there is no reconciliation, if the person who has sinned will not repent. But on thinking about grace I realised that even before forgiving sins against me I had a challenge, to forgive where the person has not sinned. 

Many of my interactions with other people have some form of miscommunication or misunderstanding in them. In listening to other people talk about people I am not the only one. I often hear conversations that talk about someone who has done something ‘wrong’ but the fault seems to lie with the persons interpretation of the other persons action, not the action itself. For me, my biggest grudge is held against women who parent differently to me. I take offense when women work long hours with small children or discipline the annoying things their children do not their child’s attitude in behaviour. Ouch, it hurts to admit these things, because they are so lacking in grace 😦 

So, this is my wake up call. If I am to act like Jesus (well a bit more like him!) I need to forgive, not only those who really wrong me, but also those who inconvenience, offend or annoy me too. It is a good job Jesus’ forgiveness is big enough to cover even my unforgiving heart, and with His strength I can ‘grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and saviour’ too. 

Parenting.

Before I had kids I was sure I had a good idea about parenting. Now, as I type, my two boys are asleep in bed, my daughter is bouncing on my knee unsettled and tired and I am sure I don’t know enough about parenting.

Recently my Jon and I took some time out of looking after the kids in order to remember how we were to look after them. Eliza slept through our lunch date and the boys played with their Gran, as happy as can be. We talked about the paerents we had intended to be, the parents we were turning out to be, the parents we didn’t want to become and the parents we should be.

We have just had this excellent sermon series at Church, http://www.christchurchcentralsheffield.co.uk/bibletalks?series=77, on parenting, so we had somewhere to start. This was our summary.

We need to parent like God parents. 

That is really hard for us humans because we are not Him. Where God is slow to anger, I am quick. Where God forgives, I hold a grudge. Where God is patient, I am impatient. Where God loves unconditionally, I want someone to deserve or earn my affection.

So it has been a week since we retuned our thinking to our good God and we have not had any ‘success’ in parenting this week to make it all feel worth it. Our children are still sinful and troublesome as well as delightful and engaging, clever and fun. Its been good to be reminded that we don’t try to do the right thing for an easy life but out of trust in God that this really is the best way to live.

 

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Forgiving the mishaps.

How do you react when you are wronged? There are many circumstances every day for all of us where we suffer hardship (even in a small way) through no fault of our own. It could be a car accident, the door slamming closed in the wind with your keys inside, someone else’s mistake causing you to lose time or money sorting out a problem at work or with a purchase, someone’s cruel words making you a victim or hurting you, someone’s neglect of our feelings…the list is endless!

I have been challenged recently in how I respond to these frequent occurrences. I realised recently that if I am negatively affected by someone or something else I feel justified in disliking that thing or person, even hating them. I realised that I pay back wrong for wrong. I demand of others a higher standard of goodness than I can live up to.

Instead the way of life a Christian is called too is patient endurance of wrong done to us that was not ‘our fault’ (1 Peter 2:19-20 and Matthew 5:39). We are called to love, and love costs. It doesn’t cost if you only love those who are good to you and love you back, the cost comes in loving those who do bad to you or aren’t interested in your wellbeing.

I am rubbish at this. My over inflated sense of self stops me from being truly sorry when I do wrong and causes me to feel that I am owed something by other people. But Jesus hasn’t given me that example to follow, nor has He given me that choice for life. I need to learn from Him how to endure, and how to love. While I was His enemy Jesus suffered and died to free me from my own sin, if I cannot forgive other people their mistakes and folly then I don’t think I can really know how much I have been forgiven. If I remember how dependent on Jesus I am I will have much more patience for the people around me who are just like me!