What Religion Did to Jesus & Whimsical Wednesday

religion jesus
I’ve been reading the Gospel accounts of the Easter story. I find it so interesting to think of each author’s writing slant as the Holy Spirit whispered words to their hearts to be scribbled down. Matthew, the tax collector, certainly provided details. Mark was a little more of a straight-forward kind of guy. With Luke’s medical background, his perspective is unique from the other three. And John gives an eyewitness account of the love of Christ in action.

But this season as I’ve been reading, while I’ve always read the terms “scribes and Pharisees” and “religious leaders of the day” associated with the crucifixion, one reflective line of thinking has seemed to permeate my mind.

There is no doubt sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8

Yes, God sent his son to this world to pay the price for our sin. John 3:16

But the thought that continues to twist and turn about in my mind is this:

Those who carried out the act of killing Jesus weren’t the typical murderers of the day.

Those who boldly insisted, indeed, paid for Jesus to be crucified- they were not thieves who pretended to be homeless. They didn’t come from the lower levels of economic society nor were they uneducated or unemployed. Any labels of a negative sort would have long been stripped from their shoulders as they proudly walked the streets.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:5

The crucifixion of Jesus, King of the Jews, resulted from the position of those in charge of religious affairs. The very people who should have known that Jesus was indeed the Son of God- those who worshiped in the temple and had a very religious family upbringing. The scholars and temple big wigs and the ones who had every law memorized- they were the ones who brought Jesus to the attention of Roman officials via their confidante, Judas. They were the ones who would not stop shouting to Pilate, “Crucify him!”

And all the while they felt they were doing the right thing. They strongly believed in their pious and pompous acts of upholding the law. They were so focused on shooting their religious arrows that they completely missed the target- the coming of the Messiah. He stood in their presence and they hated him to the point of pushing for his death.

Pride can hide behind many masks; the one that frightens me the most is religion.

If it were so easy for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day to prefer their lawful duties over the love of God, how can I possibly think that I’m exempt from the same trap?

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 17:17

For more food for thought, read the Easter account in each of the Gospels:

Matt. 28:1-20

Mark 16:1-20

Luke 24:1-29

John 20:1-21:25

Which mask of pride is prominent to you? I’d love to read your comments today!

new whimsical wed

Bloggers, Whimsical Wednesday is here and it’s time for our weekly link-up party of 100% Christian encouragement!! Thanks for linking up each week and I look forward to checking out your posts!

Rachel



6 Resurrection Celebration Ideas and Fun Easter Games

fun easter game ideas

I’m so excited that the time is nearing to celebrate Easter! Celebrating the birth of Christ is important, but celebrating the resurrection of Christ is gloriously pivotal when you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior. I’ve been collecting a few ideas over the last couple weeks and thought you’d enjoy seeing them all in one place. So here is my list of resurrection celebration ideas and fun Easter games.

1. Easter Bingo:

Easter Bingo is a great activity for children. You can use jelly beans as placeholders and have a jelly bean feast at the end of the storytelling when the empty tomb is revealed. Check out the full post here, includes a free Easter Bingo download sheet.

easter bingo teaching tool

 

2. Resurrection Rolls

Women Living Well offers a post with one of my favorite activities for kids-Resurrection Rolls recipe. My family truly enjoys making the rolls together and revealing the “empty tomb.” Check out the recipe here!

3. Resurrection Eggs

Last year was the first year I had ever heard of Resurrection Eggs.  You can find the sets of eggs in Christian bookstores and even local retail stores; the kit contains a story booklet that unfolds the Easter story as you open each egg. You can order the Resurrection Eggs HERE.

And there is this one from Family Life:

You can click on the images above to order either kit.

Also Women Living Well offers instructions to make your own kit - fabulous!

4. Easter Puzzle

In Easter baskets, I love to include items to promote creative thinking and this puzzle is one of my favorites that I’ve been able to find:


Really Woolly – John 3:16 – Easter Puzzle

5. Jesus is Risen! Celebration Set

Super cute way to keep the emphasis on the reason for the celebration- Jesus is Risen!


Really Woolly Kids – Jesus is Risen! Celebration Set – $2.99

from: DaySpring Cards Inc

6. Easter Poem

This simple Easter poem has been around for years and years. Finding the true author of the poem is difficult at best, so I’ve shared the poem as I found it years ago in a Sunday School paper. You can find the .PDF printable in this post.

jelly bean poem

I was having so much fun with this post that I thought about having a linkup, but since I already host a weekly linkup, today I thought I would offer the opportunity to post your Easter celebration ideas for adults or children as links in the comments. So be sure to share what you’re doing to celebrate the resurrection of Christ!

Which of these is your favorite?

Rachel

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

11 Ways to Encourage Yourself

ways to encourage yourself

Having friends who send a note of encouragement or text or call to let you know they are thinking of  you is wonderful. I strongly believe in the power of Christian friendship. But I often receive emails, messages, or comments from Christians who are lonely and really have no friends.   Or at least no close friends.

Sometimes a person has to be the one to dig deep and find their own encouragement. It’s not easy but personally, I’ve found myself there at times over the years. Today I thought I would share ways to encourage yourself as a Christian. Some of the recommendations are straightforward and common, while others are a little more creative. Regardless, my hope is that you will get an idea or two on how you can encourage yourself as a Christian when you feel discouragement kicking in.

1. Read the Bible.

There is nothing like reading God’s Word to lift your spirits. If you are looking for a daily Bible reading plan, you can find suggestions here. If you need assistance for topical lists of verses, check out the List of Bible Verses by Topic .

2. Pray.

I know, it seems straightforward, doesn’t it? But admitting to God your struggle and asking Him to lift your spirit will yield incredible results. You never know how He will answer! I love God-surprises.

3. Attend church.

Sunday after my run, I tweeted:

4. Join a Bible study.

Find a local church Bible study or a community Bible study or an online Bible study. The method doesn’t matter; the Word and finding fellowship with others will encourage your heart.

5. Make a list of blessings for which you are thankful.

If you’ve never done this, perhaps the JOY Journal method can assist you.

6. Surround yourself with Scripture.

Post-it notes are great! Click here to find a fabulous list of 7 Creative Ways to Saturate Your Life with Scripture for a few more ideas.

7. Play praise music.

There is nothing that will lift your spirit like praise music! This list of praise songs is one I love to use to begin the day.

8. Exercise.

I first began running races because I was inspired by my husband. He was reaping so many rewards from the sport that I didn’t want to sit by on the sidelines- I wanted to be a part. Maybe running is not your thing. Take a brisk walk, shoot some hoops, or join a gym.

9. Read notes of encouragement from the past.

My mom is in Heaven, but I often go back and read the letters she sent to me while I was in college. My heart is always encouraged when I do.

10. Do something to encourage someone else.

Every time I’ve reached out with extra effort to encourage someone else then I’ve been the one who has reaped encouragement.

11. Have a great sense of humor; find something to laugh about.

I’m guessing you may have a little routine you travel when you find yourself slipping into discouragement.  If it’s a tub of ice cream and chocolate stash, then that one- we’ve all been through. ;) But would you share it with us in the comments?

new whimsical wed
Bloggers, I’m thrilled you are joining our weekly Whimsical Wednesday link-up party! I can’t wait to check out your posts; thank you for sharing 100% Christian encouragement with our community each week.

Have a great day!

Rachel