"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

March 27, 2013

Have a blessed Easter!


I read a quote recently that said, "True love of any kind is not a straight path, but a series of hills and a few valleys."

The greatest example that we have of true love is Jesus. The very fact that He would leave His Father in Heaven and come to earth to take on human flesh and live as a man, shows how much He loved us.

Imagine the perfect place that you can think of to live. For me it would be an island where I could see the beach on one side with perfect white sand and the blue-green beautiful clear ocean, and the mountains behind me. A yard with a tropical breeze and a hammock hung between two trees. Gorgeous flowers and landscaping would fill my yard. Jon and I would get to take nature walks on mountain trails and walks along the beach watching sunrises and sunsets. There would be an unseen staff there to cook and clean and do all my shopping for me. Out of sight of our perfect home, which has a wrap around porch and a covered deck off our bedroom on the second story where we could sit and have a view of both the ocean and the mountains. Out of sight of our home, but within walking distance would be my family.

Now imagine that your dad came and told you, "You're going to have to move from this perfect place and go spend the next 33 years of your life living in the inner city of San Francisco surrounded by homosexuals, drug addicts, alcoholics, and the homeless. You won't have a permanent home, which means no place to lay your head. People will lie about you, deny you, try to kill you, and even those who know you best won't honor or respect you. Eventually you will be tortured and murdered, but people will strip you of all your clothes and humiliate you before a large crowd beforehand. But because of you doing this, you will have a huge field of influence and make a difference in the lives of many."

How many of us would willingly pack our bags and go, without argument or complaint? Probably none of us. What we would have to give up would seem greater than what we would accomplish. We would likely try to talk him into finding an alternative solution or do our best to talk him into why you weren't the right one to do this.

Yet what Jesus did for us was so much greater. He left the perfection and beauty of heaven in order to come and live on this imperfect, wicked, sin-filled, evil world. He didn't know beforehand what each day was going to hold in store for Him. Jesus not only left His Father's side, but He became a mere man. He came to earth, not knowing what being human meant.

Hebrews 5:8 says, "Even though Jesus was God's Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered."

Although Jesus was without sin, He had to learn how to be obedient. How did He learn? Through all the things He had to suffer through while on earth. He learned by being rejected by the people in His home town, being denied by one of His disciples, being betrayed by one of His disciples, having the religious people trying to catch Him in a lie and constantly trying to destroy Him, being tortured and judged for things He didn't do, and finally by being crucified on a cross.

Why was Jesus willing to do this? Because He loves us and knew that the one and only way we could ever have forgiveness of our sins was by Him dying in our place. We could never be good enough, do enough good works, or give enough money to earn our way into God's good grace or deserve Heaven. But Jesus came and died so that we didn't have to do any of those things. His journey on earth included a lot of hills and valleys, but He endured them because of the depth of love He had for all mankind.

I read a saying that asked, "How big is Easter? It's pretty much the answer to everything." Easter is so much more than egg hunts, family dinners, attending church dressed in our Sunday best, bunnies, and all the special candy that rolls out every year this season. In fact, all those things have absolutely nothing to do with Easter. Easter is a celebration of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Jesus came, He lived, He died, He arose, He ascended, and He is coming back again.


I can't really understand all the details about the crucifixion. All I really understand is that because of our sin, we deserve to die. But Jesus is free of sin, so didn't deserve to die. When He was killed as a punishment for sin He hadn't committed, He took the punishment for all the rest of us. Now, we don't have to die (not our physical bodies, but our spirits). Okay, I don't really understand all that well, either. But I know it to be true.

Easter Sunday would be a good time to recognize that act of love and sacrifice. The best way to honor His gift would be to accept it.


Apple Salad

1 small pkg. White Chocolate instant pudding

4-5 apples, peeled and diced into chunks

1 large Cool Whip

1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits, with juice

1 banana, sliced

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Nuts (optional)

Add dry pudding and Cool Whip together. Add remaining ingredients and fold together. Refrigerate.


I have not yet tried this, but have seen this posted several times lately by people who have tried it and say that it works great and makes perfect eggs every time:

Easy Hard-Boiled Eggs! Place eggs on their sides (so yolk stays in middle) in a mini muffin pan so they don't roll over. Place in a 325 preheated oven for 25-30 minutes and bake. Remove with chef's tongs and place in an ice bath immediately after taking out of oven. You can do 1 egg or 24 eggs -- time and temp are the same. When you take them out of the ice bath, eggs are easy to peel and the shells don't stick to them.


Life without hope is a life without meaning.


We love you!

Loretta & Jon