his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also”
(1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).
Millions and millions of Christians around the
world celebrate Easter every year. But for far too many of us the story
has become boring and rote. We have the basic facts down. Jesus was
arrested. He was crucified. And three days later, God raised him from
Yet we miss something very important. We miss what
turns Easter from a one-dimensional holiday to a multi-dimensional,
life-transforming way of life.
We miss that the story of the Resurrection isn’t
just Jesus’ story — it’s
our story as well.
You see, you are a part of the Resurrection. Jesus’
death and Resurrection didn’t just prove there was life after death.
The Resurrection proves you
can have life after death, that there’s life beyond your grave.
Jesus says, if you trust in him, death becomes a
transition, not an ending point.
One day your heart will stop. That will be the end
of your body. But it will not be the end of you. God made you to last
forever. That’s why you often have a feeling there’s more to life than
this. Jesus made this amazing promise in John 11: 25-26: “I am the resurrection and
the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (NIV).
That’s quite a promise! Jesus proved he could do it
by resurrecting himself. Otherwise, we would have no reason to believe
it. If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross and been resurrected more than
2,000 years ago, you would have zero chance of getting to Heaven — no
hope of the afterlife and no eternal life.
The Bible says, “By
his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also”
(1 Corinthians 6:14).
As Easter comes our way this year, that’s a truth
to hang our lives upon. It’s great news that Jesus rose from the dead.
But what turns that truth from black and white to living color is that
one day — if you trust in him — he will raise you from the grave, too.
The following is a wonderful story that illustrates well the story of the Widow's Mite in the Bible. As Christians, we are supposed to tithe a certain portion of the money we make each month to a worthy charitable organization. However, for the contribution to be effective, it must comes from a person's first fruits. In other words, it must be given before you give out anything--be it for groceries, utilities and other necessities and it should be given out freely.
The Widow's Mite is a pure example of why we need to give. Giving should come from the heart, be given freely and be given to promote God's goodness and greatness. I hope you enjoy the story, for it is beautiful and so true!
For the last 18 years, I have been a public health nurse in my
county. About 17 years ago, I was caring for an elderly poor
At Christmas time, I turned her name into the adopt-a-family
program. She was chosen by a local church.
They delivered clothes, food and personal items. She saved all
of the presents and opened them in my presence on December 24.
This was her Christmas and she was sharing it with me because I
had turned in her name.
She also gave me a card with a brand new $5 bill inside. I knew
she didn’t have this kind of money. She told me that she saved
quarters all year long and walked downtown about two miles one
way to trade them in at the bank for the $5.
She was so pleased she could do this for me.
I knew she would be so offended if I refused. I took the money
and left her home. I drove about four blocks away and pulled
over and cried for the next 15 minutes.
I had taken the widow’s mite.
It was all she had and she gave it to me so willingly.
She’s been deceased for several years now.
I will never forget her.
I still have the card and the $5.00 bill.
I just can’t spend it.
It seems wrong somehow.
Another note. A friend forwarded MountainWings to me about one
year ago. I have enjoyed your e-mails so much. Please use the
enclosed check any way you need. It is not the widow’s mite.
Thanks so much for your wonderful words each day.
Mary Ann Riensche
From The Mountain:
The amount of the enclosed check?
Exactly ten times the widow’s mite.
It's almost Valentine's Day and that means love. Of course, many will think of their sweetheart on Valentine's Day and that is normal and quite lovely. We all love to express love to our spouse, friend, boyfriend and girlfriend. However, there is one who loves without judgment or conditions and that someone is Jesus!
When I feel unloved or unappreciated, which doesn't happen often, I sometimes forget the one person who loves me no matter what I do or don't do. Of course, He doesn't like it when I disobey but even then, he loves me unconditionally. Now, many people love you and me when we give things to them or treat them well but how many "really" love us when times are tough and life is just plain awful?!
Well, isn't it wonderful that Jesus loves us always. In fact, he loved us even before we were born! As we grew in the womb and came out and lived our lives, He was with us when things got rough and when things went right!
In my darkest hours when I lost my mom and dad, when my husband was ill and I wasn't sure he would make it, it was that still small voice, that knowing that He was there and that I was not alone. That, my friend, is true for you, also! You are loved more than you know or ever will know!
So, when you feel down and out and feel that you are alone and no one loves you, think again! You are not alone and you are loved more than you know! Turn to Jesus, ask Him for help and guidance and He will show you the way!
Christianity is changing; however, even though these
words have been written before, they are disturbing. Church attendance has dropped--not just in the
U.S. but also in many countries overseas.However, there is a rise in Christianity in many other parts of
the world. In addition, some are looking at the Bible differently. Some are
questioning the Old Testament and are trying to interpret its meaning by
It is important to note that many teachings of
Christianity that have been solid for centuries are now being questioned such
as the role of women in church, Jesus as the only way to God and changing views
on homosexuality. Most importantly, many are no longer following the normal and
established Christian way of living such as being married before having sex or
teaching their children about God and Jesus and why they are so important in a
Christian’s life. Instead, many are now accepting premarital sex, saying also that sexual
abuse within the church is merely something that “happens now and then” and
being more tolerant of other beliefs; such beliefs are a "slippery slope" and can water down our solid Christian beliefs.
Keep in mind, too, that other types of faith are
being more and more accepted such as alternative worship or an emerging church
type of faith.
So, how are we as Christians react to react when we
see our faith being watered down in our churches, on TV or in the movies? Do we
look the other way and say, “Well, that’s O.K. as long as it doesn’t affect me
or my family.” Or, do we say, “No, I don’t agree with this and I will either go
to another church or continue stay with my church but follow beliefs that are set
The decision, of course, is up to each person. From
reading the Bible and praying, most Christians know and understand the
importance of believing and following God and Jesus. I think, too, when we see
situations where we feel a need to take a stand and can do it without being
harmed, we should. Of course, this is up to the individual and of course, like
Jesus we can certainly show our displeasure with how Christianity is presented
by switching to another TV station, not watching a movie that degrades human
beings and Christianity or staying away from individuals or groups of people
who are leading ungodly lives. Perhaps
these ways are more effective.
Most importantly, as Christian writers we can
proclaim the word of God and give factual information on the goodness of Christ
and the importance of staying close to Him.
Perhaps one very good reason for following Christ
and His Father, God comes from the following statement that was written in
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either
one or the other!
You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you
do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Christian faith and how we proclaim and live it is up to you and me. We can either
set the standard of Christianity or we can follow a path that will lead us into
Much of what follows comes from Prevention magazine but I wanted to share part of what was in Prevention Magazine:
Instead of making big resolutions this year, begin by making small, positive decisions such as not sitting so much at your computer. For instance, instead of working hour after hour at your computer, get up every hour and walk. Walk for at least 10 minutes. When you return to your computer, sit up straight with feet on the floor and begin to work. In addition, add some exercise to your daily life such as walking to your mailbox instead of driving up to it. When out and about, instead of using the elevator, climb the stairs. Doesn't take long and you are taking small steps to better health.
Another small step that will help is to say "so long" to fad diets. Instead of following the latest diet fad, focus more on eating healthy. Stay away from empty calories and focus more on healthy fats and whole foods. Incorporate more salads and cereals into your diet and instead of drinking pop with every meal, drink water or water flavored with a bit of lemon juice. And when preparing food, prepare your own food with fresh ingredients.
With everyone using electronics--TV, cellphones, ipads, ipods and other electronics--we are getting a daily overload of these machines which is increasing our risks for social anxiety, depression, heart disease, cancer and job burnout. There is a solution and that is spend an hour or a full day without these electronic devices. If you continue to do this on a regular basis, you will be less stressed out and you may find that you don't need to be connected to them so often!
Another resolution that is important is to get your financial house in order. Create an emergency fund of at least $3,000 and lessen the amount you put on your credit card for this year. Also, if you aren't doing it already, pay yourself first--and do this every payday. You will be surprised how fast it adds up.
Lastly, contribute to a worthy cause each month. Let your contribution come from the top of what you make each month. When you freely give something of what you make, you will find that what you have left will last a lot longer. So many are in need. However, before contributing, make sure that the organization you contribute to is reputable.
To conclude, start this year with resolutions you can live with! Start small, stay consistent throughout the year and if you mess up now and then, don't sweat it. Just get back on it and keep going! And, reach for the stars! God put them there for everyone to see and enjoy!
Henry and Harriett knew that their
Christmas dinner this year would be like all the others, catered!In fact, neither one of them could recall
their mother, Hazel, ever cooking a real Christmas dinner.For years, all dinners had been brought in
and it looked like once again Christmas dinner would be catered. However, this year Harriett and Henry decided to go on
a “catered food strike.”Yes, rebellion
was in the air!They wanted a real home
cooked meal and that was that!
The children spoke to their father,
Harold, about getting a real home cooked meal for Christmas.Harold shook his head. Hazel hated cooking and made sure everyone
knew it.Harold tried to explain this to
the children but finally advised them to ask their mother.Maybe, just maybe, she would relent, he
Henry and Harriett thought over
their father’s advice.After thinking
the situation through, the children decided that rather than face their
mother’s wrath, they would endure another brought-in meal.
Christmas day arrived.At noon the caterers arrived.Their mother, Hazel, sat at the head of the
dinner table ready to be served while the children and their father sat on either
side of the table, attentive to her needs.The children nibbled some of the food laid out before them.A huge cooked turkey sat in the middle of the
table. It was about20 pounds, the
children guessed.Dressing, cranberries
and desert surrounded the huge turkey.Soon, the children lost all interest in the dinner and left to watch TV.
In the afternoon, Hazel wanted to
go to the Mall to see if any stores might be open so she could exchange some
gifts she received.She often didn’t
like what people got her for Christmas.Harold packed his family into their brand new station wagon and all were
on their way.He used a short cut, going
down some side streets.Henry and
Harriett looked through the car windows and realized their father was driving
through a bad part of town.They became
frightened and nervous.What would
happen to them if the car broke down?
“Hurry up, father!Drive faster!” they both cried.
“What are we doing in this part of
town anyway?”Hazel asked.“You know that this is a dangerous area,
don’t you, Harold?”
“Yes, I do, he answered.‘I wanted all of you to see something before
we go to the Mall.”
Slowly Harold pulled into a gravel
driveway and stopped.In front of them
was an old, one story brick building, all run down.
“I want the children to come with
me,” he said getting out of the car. "Where are we going, father?"Harriett was a bit anxious.This was something the family had never done
“We are going to take the remains
of our Christmas dinner to the people who live in this shelter.Every year your mother orders more than we
can eat and every year I bring what’s left here for these people to enjoy.This year I thought maybe you’d like to help
Hazel sat in the car listening to
her husband with an astonished look on her face. She thought out loud, “So
that’s where the leftovers go!”
“That’s right, Hazel.OK kids, let’s go!”
As the children followed their
father into the shelter, they saw many people waiting for them.Never before had the children seen people who
had so little to eat.The people looked
tired, poor and hungry.All of their
lives Harriett and Henry had everything they wanted.Today their father brought them face to face
with an entirely different world.
the first time in their lives, they learned what Christmas and sharing was all
about.For them, Christmas would never
be the same.They would never forget the
smiles and joy of the people in the shelter.Harriett and Henry finally had a wonderful Christmas and so did the
people of the shelter!
November, then and now,
signals just one thing to me, Thanksgiving at Grandma’s.Thanksgiving at her house was paradise!The atmosphere of food, laughter and love was
wonderful and unforgettable.
Thanksgiving morning at
our house was busy.Mom would prepare a
salad or pie; we kids would dress up in our good clothes and then go outside to
play. We had to be careful not to get dirty.Good clothes in our family didn’t come easy.We weren’t poor but we were very frugal with
money and food.Meanwhile, Dad stayed
busy in the garage checking out the old Chevy.He’d check the oil, water and the battery and then give the tires a
kick, for readiness.
Often, I would go into
the garage from time to time to see how he was doing.Often, he found things for me to do-such as
checking the oil and water and inspecting the car battery to see if was clean
and water filled to the proper level. I always felt important helping Dad,
especially on holidays, when there was much to do.
Later, around 12 we all
piled into the Chevy, eager for Thanksgiving dinner. We would arrive at
Grandma’s, all dressed up, gifts in hand, with offerings of a waldorf salad and
pie. As we walked through her door the aroma of turkey and onions would fill
our senses with the joy of delicious food to come.That first whiff of turkey and steamed
vegetables was delicious!We walked
through the house into her kitchen and put our donations of food and small
gifts, (often a bottle of Rum) onto the kitchen table, kiss Grandma and then go
into the living room where we would sit and talk.Later, Mom and I would return to the kitchen
and help Grandma with the meal.
It was my job to help
Grandma prepare the dressing, with ingredients of butter, celery, bread, milk,
and onion, then help with the progress of the turkey.Mom would put her donations of food into the
already crammed refrigerator and then prepare green beans or another salad for
dinner. Inside the oven the turkey was roasting, and occasionally Grandma would
let me use her large ladling spoon to baste the turkey.Later, Grandma and I would finish preparing
a pie—often apple or cherry.I would
round out the crust while she prepared the filling.After that was done, we’d check on the vegetables
and then I would set the table.
I loved that job
because she had beautiful crystal and China, with delicate pink and blue
patterns on the dishes and matching pink crystal for glasses. She also had
beautiful silverware that was kept in a special drawer in the living room.I would carefully remove the dinnerware from
the old ornate cabinet in the dining room and tenderly place each piece in the
proper setting.I loved how it all
sparkled on the table.
The meal of Turkey,
dressing, mashed potatoes; real green beans, cranberries and pie filled us up
till we could eat no more.We would all
sit at the large table, enjoy her traditional Thanksgiving meal and talk about
the latest “Uncle Millie” or “Jackie Gleason” shows.We all loved those shows and each of us tried
to “out do” each other, with our imitations of “Uncle Miltie” or “Jackie
Gleason.” The adults would later have wine or brandy and we kids would go out
and play in the small backyard.Sometimes I would deliver food Grandma prepared for an old lady across
the street.The old lady lived alone and
was often too ill to prepare food for herself.I loved doing this for Grandma, and the old lady was always happy to receive
it. I took pride running this errand because I helped Grandma prepare much of
Today, I continue
Grandma’s Thanksgiving meal. I have altered some of the foods but I try to prepare most of the foods she prepared; homemade dressing,
and pie.Many in my
family can’t attend because they live too far away.But, those who do enjoy a Thanksgiving meal
of the 50’s.You see, Grandma’s gone,
but her traditions live on in a woman from the 50’s.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a blessed day with family!