Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lessons in Flashlights and Other Good Friday Discoveries

Last night we had a wonderful time with some dear friends of ours.  There were about 30 of us who gathered together to pray, share a meal and play games.  And, yes, we had an egg hunt.  Gasp!  Oh, the controversial egg hunt! Nothing is better than gathering with friends who love one another unconditionally.  Our group was an eclectic blend of all ages and all backgrounds, but one common bond - our love for Jesus Christ.  You know, there are lessons to be learned in all things.  Come along with me as I share some of the lessons from last night and some of the lessons I tucked in my heart just for the Lord and I to share. Well, until now.  

Buckle up.  This will be a long post, but hopefully you'll be blessed by it.

After everyone arrived we spent time catching up, laughing, and getting to know some of the "new comers".  There were moments here and there were I caught the snippets of prayers and praises where two or more were gathered.  I was blessed to pray for the needs of a young woman and her child along with two other women as we stopped in the midst of the evening's preparations to pray.  There is no better time to pray than the present as the need presents itself.

"For where two or three are gathered, there am I with them"      Matthew 18:20 
Lord, help me to be bold and seize the moment to lift another up in prayer, no matter who I think is looking.

Soon, the aroma of the burgers on the grill and the tator tots in the fryer started to make everyone's stomach grumble.  We gathered together in a large circle, holding hands and bowing our heads in silence as we remembered the meaning of this day, Good Friday.  We gave thanks for our Lord's sacrifice and for the food He had provided for us.  It was a blessing to pray together with both young and old(er).

Now, it was time for the egg hunt.  Not any normal egg hunt though.  It was pitch black outside and the children were only armed with a flashlight and a bag to gather their findings.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."      Matthew 5:16 
Lord, help me to be a light for others to follow in all that I do, say, and think so that the lost will know where to find You.

God calls us to be a light in the darkness.  When we choose to follow Him, He lives in our hearts.  His light pierces through the darkness similar to the way the flashlight shone the light to find what was hidden from the children.  It is only through Jesus that we can know Truth and see the path we need to follow.  Without Him, we only stumble through life trying to find our way in the darkness. 

There were about 500 eggs hidden.  They were up in the trees, under fallen branches, hanging in the moss, and tucked into crevices.  Most were hidden so well, they could only be seen after being uncovered and exposed by the piercing light of the flashlight.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:7-13, NIV).
Lord, help me to be transparent so that only You can live in the secret place of my heart.

How wonderful that God is omnipresent.  His Spirit never leaves us.  He has always been with us, even when we didn't or don't want Him there.  His light shines in the darkest places.  He knows our deepest thoughts, dreams, and fears.  How precious to have a God who is so intimately woven into our hearts.

Here are all the kids (and our biggest kid, Mr. Rob) gathered together after the egg hunt.  Sitting on the floor (L to R) are Magnolia, Matthew and Jesse.  Sitting on the couch (L to R) are Diana, Logan, Mr. Rob, Caden, Hannah, Lily, and Brit.  On the big chair to the Right are Kala and Andie.  Behind the couch is James.

Once the children had finished counting their eggs and reporting their numbers, Rob began talking about what this all meant.  There wasn't any candy in the eggs.  There was no money.  The eggs were empty.  He asked, "Why?"  Hands shot up into the air as the children proudly gave their answers....

Jesus is Risen
The Grave is Empty
Jesus Defeated Death

I looked around the room as parents grinned (partly from joy in hearing the children talk about Jesus and partly by relief in thinking - oh, good, he/she answered correctly LOL)Questions continued about our Risen Christ and the children answered excitedly.  Then, Rob gave a challenge to each child.  Go out and share the gospel with as many as the number of empty eggs you have.  Fill those eggs with the souls of the lost who are now found. 

"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation"         Mark 16:15  
Lord, help me to see the opportunities you provide for me to share the Good News and not be afraid to do it.

The rest of the evening was filled with the children discovering the goodies in their gift bags...

eating Debbie and Rob's famous Dirt and Worms Dessert....

and playing games....
It was a wonderful night and a wonderful way to celebrate the sacrifice of our Savior.  I'm certain He was pleased to see His children praying together, sharing laughter, sharing good food, and remembering Him.  There is no greater love than that of our God.

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