Preparing our hearts...

Hello Harvest Family,

I don’t know about you, but my life is busy. And one of the strange things about being a pastor is that these ‘holiday’ times (Christmas and Easter in particular) are even busier! There are extra sermons and services to prepare as well as family gatherings to plan for. It’s easy for the actual celebration of Easter to get lost in the chaos around it. But Easter, even more than Christmas, is an incredibly significant time in the life of the church, and should be a significant time in the life of our own souls. If we are going to give these special events the time for reflection and rejoicing that we ought to, we need to do battle with the busyness of our lives.

It is with that goal that I have been thinking about how to lead my own heart and my family through this week as we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

Let me give you a couple suggestions you might want to consider. And allow me to suggest that if you don't typically do family devotions or read together with your spouse, this is a great opportunity to give it a try!

Maybe choose one of these options to do with the family, and another to do in your own private time.

1. "Love to the Uttermost" is a great little devotional put together by Desiring God. This is what my family is going through together. It takes less than five minutes to read through and pray together as the kids finish eating. It would be easily printed off, but I just downloaded it to my phone; no scrambling for where I left it, and no room for excuses! You can get it here: www.desiringgod.org/books/love-to- the-uttermost

2. Another option would be to get creative with reading the passion accounts from the different gospels. Choose one and read it over each day this week (You'll be amazed at what you begin to notice on the third, fourth, and fifth day that you simply read past on the first day!)

Try reading a different account each day (It's always interesting to see the differing perspectives between the gospels)

Or choose an account and break it down into sections and read a small portion slowly and thoughtfully each day. The options are endless. Obviously, you could lengthen or shorten any of these, but here are some suggestions:

Matthew 26:47-28:10
Mark 14:43-16:8
Luke 22:47-24:12
John 18:1-20:23

3. A third option would be to follow Jesus' life through each of the four gospels day by day. Below is a breakdown of the scriptures; reference to what Jesus and the disciples did each day of this week so many years ago. You can catch up as we are posting this late. 

Friday/Saturday
John 12:1-11

Sunday
Matthew 21:1-11
Mark 11:1-11
Luke 19:28-44
John 12:12-36

Monday
Matthew 21:18-19, 21:12-13 (Matthew does not record the events in chronological order)
Mark 11:12-19
Luke 19:45-46

Tuesday
Matthew 21:20-25:46
Mark 11:20-13:37
Luke 20:1-21:36

Wednesday
Matthew 26:3-5
Mark 14:1-2
Luke 21:37-22:2

Thursday
Matthew 26:17-46
Mark 14:12-42
Luke 22:7-46
John 13:1-17:26

Friday
Matthew 26:47-27:61
Mark 14:43-15:47
Luke 22:47-23:54
John 18:2-19:42

Saturday
No Scripture mentions Saturday. Meditate on the emptiness and fear the Disciples must have felt with the loss of their Lord. And/or read Sunday’s account so that you are prepared for Sunday morning worship together.

Sunday (Easter)
Matthew 28:1-20
Mark 16:1-20
Luke 24:1-53
John 20:1-21:25

Again, the options are endless. I hope you find some of these thoughts helpful. May the Lord bless you and reveal Himself to you in His Word as you see Him this Easter season.