Easter Baskets for Teens

Parenting teens comes with its challenges, doesn’t it? One thing I have enjoyed, as a mom with 2 teens and one 12 year old is continuing traditions in our home even when they may seem to be too old for said tradition. Leaving Valentine cards & candy on the breakfast table in February, filling stockings full of things they love, Easter eggs hunts and Shamrock shakes in March.

One of those traditions is finding special, meaningful and cross-centered items to go in their Easter baskets each year. No, we don’t have to have baskets to celebrate Easter. But, yes, I love making holidays and other days special in our home. So, for me personally, if there is ANY day I’m going to make special, it’s going to be the day my Savior rose from the grave!

Finding Christ-centered Easter items can be a bit of a challenge, though. But, Dayspring has come through for me…big time!!

Look at all of these beautiful ideas for Easter baskets that I found at Dayspring!

Dayspring Coupon Code

Dayspring was gracious enough to offer a coupon code JUST FOR YOU!!

Use the code MERCY15 to save $15 off of a $50 purchase!! Woo-hoo! This code will expire on April 11th. 

In addition to these Christ-centered ideas that will help remind my teens of God’s love for them, here are more ideas that I think teens would love! I have included gift cards in our baskets this year, too. ūüôā

Easter Basket Ideas for Teens

Tell me what items your teens would love to receive in their Easter baskets?

More Christ-Centered Family Easter Ideas

The First Day of Lent 2016

Lent Scriptures

I can’t believe Lent and Easter come so early this yer! I would love for you to join me as we WRITE and PRAY God’s Word through the days leading up to our Lord’s resurrection.

From the book of Matthew I have put together a schedule of verses, with a few grace days added in as well. Traditionally, Lent has been the 40 days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. And Easter comes on March 27th this year!

Lent Scriptures

Join me as we journey through the book of Matthew and the last days of Jesus.

Jesus Write the Word. Pray the Word. PDF

Jesus Write the Word. Pray the Word.

Click here for many more resources on Lent to use with your families and your own devotional time! 

**Join me each morning around 8am on my facebook page as we walk through Wait Only Upon God together! (ebook 1/2 off through 2/11 only 3.99)

Why Write the Word?

I have had the question of WHY we would want to write the Word of God.

Here are my best thoughts on that:

Take a quick moment and think about the things you write down throughout your day. Now, you may be more digital than I am, but I still WRITE in an actual paper planner, I write down my grocery list, notes to my kids, in my prayer journal…you get the idea.

But, why do we write things down? 

We write things down that we want to remember.

Why wouldn’t we want to write down the most important Words there are?

His Word is life to us ‚ÄĒ write it down!

His Word is a treasure ‚ÄĒ treat it as such!

His Word is comfort to us ‚ÄĒ allow Him to comfort you as you write.

His Word is conviction to us through His Holy Spirit ‚ÄĒ soften your heart as you write. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life as you write and pray His Word.

Pictures from Instagram

Please be sure to join me over on Instagram with the hashtags #WriteTheWord and #PrayingTheScriptures so we can encourage one another and pray for one another!

As an example, here is one of my {nearly} daily Write the Word morning tidbits from my time with God:

 

Instagram screenshot 2

The Last Days of Jesus {Lent Scriptures}

Jesus from the Book of Matthew: Write the Word. Pray the Word.

As we head into the Lenten season, let’s focus our hearts on Jesus: The Trial, The Cross, The Resurrection.

Let’s spend 40 days looking at the last days of Jesus by writing the Word and praying the Word.

Observing Lent isn’t exclusive to certain denominations or faiths. I choose to spend the time leading up to Easter by focusing my heart on the cross and resurrection of Christ! Spending more time in prayer and reflection, asking God to search my heart and show me any hidden sins, asking Him to cleanse me. Repentance and grace are the beautiful gifts God gives us during Lent.

Lent Scriptures 1

Journal the Word. Write the Word. Pray the Word.

Each day we will write a small portion of the Matthew passage that tells us of Jesus’ last days. You may choose to journal through these verses in a notebook or in your journaling Bible! Or you can just write them out, praying them as you go!

We will ask God for understanding, for guidance for His Holy Spirit to teach us more of Jesus as we study this passage. Writing the Word and praying the Word help to engrain the very words of God onto our hearts. As we write, we can pray, asking for the eyes of our hearts to be opened to what God would show us about Himself through this Lenten season.

IMG_3728

I hope you’ll join me on Instagram with the hashtags #WriteTheWord and #PrayingTheScriptures through these last few chapters of Matthew.¬†

Jesus Write the Word. Pray the Word. PDF

Jesus Write the Word. Pray the Word.

 

Wait Only Upon God

If you would like a short devotional, a prayer and journaling pages for each of the next 40 days of Lent, I encourage you to look at Wait only Upon God. Learn along with me what it means to wait only on Him, not on our circumstances to change, not on someone else to change, but to wait in HOPE on Christ alone.

This ebook is 7.99, the print copy is on Amazon for 11.99.

wait only upon God SLIDER

More Lenten Resources

I have been collecting ideas I’ve found online for the past several years, books, devotions, ideas for activities and ways to observe Lent…there are some awesome ideas out there! I hope you will take a look at these resources.

Favorite Books for Lent
Links Around the Web

Lent & Easter Pinterest Board

Join me on Pinterest where I pin lots of great Christ-Centered ideas for families to use during the Lenten and Easter season!

Follow His Mercy is New’s board Easter ~ Christ Centered Ideas & Other Easter Fun on Pinterest.

Praying Psalm 51 for Lent {Free Scripture Cards}

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 51

Psalm 51 is the perfect Psalm for Lent. I hope you will join me in Praying the Scriptures through Lent as we focus on passages that teach us to wait on God alone.

So often, in my own life, I have found myself waiting on something to change, someone to change, circumstances to change…yet what I need to be waiting on is the Lord. To wait on Him is to place my complete trust and full hope in Him and Him alone. Not what He may do for me, but Him.

Wait Only Upon God

It is not too late to join us as we spend 40 days waiting on God alone. Find the ebook here and the print version here.

Each day I will be sharing a graphic similar to this on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #prayingthescriptures and we will share Scriptures, prayers and discussions as God leads on how to wait on God. I would love for you all to chime in with what God is teaching you through this season of Lent.

Wait day 1

Mistake Noted in Book

The night before Lent begins I have found an error in the book that I wanted to go ahead and point out! Day 16, the Scripture should be Psalm 130:5-6. I will also be sure to share this online as we are going through the study.

Praying Psalm 51 for Lent

As we begin this season of prayer, fasting, repentance and cleansing, join me in praying Psalm 51 together and asking God to show us the sin in our lives as well as abundant grace to move in the opposite direction.

Dearest Lord Jesus,

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love. According to your great compassion blot out all my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me of my sin, precious Father.

For I know my sin, it is always before me, sometimes I can’t move forward. Against You and You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so you are always right and justified when You judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from conception. Yet you desire faithfulness and you teach me wisdom in the secret place of our intimate relationship!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence, dear Lord, or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach others your ways, so that sinners can turn back from You. Deliver me from the guilt, O God, You are God my Savior, and I will sing of your righteousness! Open my lips, Lord, and I will declare Your praise! You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it, You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, dear Father, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you, oh God, will not despise.  Amen.

from Psalm 51

Free Printable Scripture Cards

Throughout this season, if you’re like me, you will need help keeping your focus. I created 4 Scripture cards for me as much as I did for you. I hope they are a blessing!

If you wish to print on card stock and laminate these will hold up for you a lot better!

Click on the PDF link or the graphic to download your Scripture cards and print!

Lenten Prayer Cards PDF

Praying Psalm 51 and Free Scripture Cards

Subscribe to His Mercy Is New

I would love to fill your inbox with more encouragement for your heart! When you subscribe you get more Scripture freebies, and encouragement straight to your email box!
 new subscribe button

Lent, Rest, and Living {Guest Post}

I’m so honored to have a blogging friend, Jen, from Expanding Wisdom and Extending Grace, here with us today to share about Lent. I know you are going to be blessed by this post. Lent can be a time for people of ALL faiths to focus our hearts on Jesus, the cross, repentance, and prayer. I shared here some of my favorite Lenten resources, devotions and inspiration from around the web.¬†

Lent for People of All Faiths

For a long time, whenever I heard the term Lent, I thought about a bunch of people who gave up eating certain foods for a while as a way to earn their way into God’s favor. I am not entirely sure where that idea came from, nevertheless it was the one I held for some time. In the last year, I have been noticing more and more beauty within the forms passed down through the Church to help the believer enter the Divine rest (Heb. 4). I think everyone can agree that Lent is a tradition that many Christians around the world observe, yet some are not sure whether it is a tradition they should attend to and even more disagree on the purpose, nature and powers of Lent. Personally, I cannot pretend to be an expert on these things, nor do I feel equipped to discuss all that Lent is and ought to be. I can, however, speak as one woman who desperately wants to know and be like her Savior and the role that traditions and the disciplines have played in that pursuit.

I have chosen to celebrate Lent for three main reasons. The spiritual disciplines make room for a holy harvest in the life of the believer, the celebration of Easter invites me to be fully present when the day arrives, and it sets a form before me to imitate every day throughout the year.

I think first I should clarify what I mean by spiritual disciplines and why I am using this term in a discussion about Lent. When I first heard someone refer to the spiritual disciplines my flesh had a bit of a fit. I did not like the sound of the word discipline, nor did I want discipline in my life. Of course, I was viewing this through the lens of having had an abusive father. My view of authority and discipline was seriously skewed because of those memories. It was only on the other side of healing in this area that I began to feel more comfortable with the idea of discipline. Furthermore, when people talk about disciplines, they are referring to certain practices. Some of the common practices are silence, solitude, prayer, fasting, study, and confession. Lent is a time where one hones their focus on these kinds of practices for the purpose of spiritual growth.

The mature Christian knows that spiritual growth only happens through repentance. The thing all these practices have in common is that they lead to repentance. We all live in a reality that is inconsistent with the Divine reality that existed in the garden and exists in Heaven. We have to be cured of the foolish and deceived notions we each carry about people and life, we have to pray ‚ÄúYour kingdom come‚ÄĚ. Repentance is the way in. People who join the military have to go through boot camp to become oriented to the vastly different life they will be living. It is the loud call that says ‚ÄúWake up, things are going to be different and you need to know how to live here.‚ÄĚ Lent and the spiritual disciplines are like that. They are practices that immerse the Christian in the ways of Kingdom of Heaven. In doing so, we can leave that time with a feel for how we ought to live and, prayerfully, a clearer view of who we are and who our God is.

Secondly, the very nature and purpose of Easter invites me to be fully present as the day arrives. For a long time, I have gone to Easter service on Sunday, the kids got an Easter basket, and we went on an Easter egg hunt and that was that. We had celebrated Easter. What!? How could this be enough? Easter is the most important holiday for the Christian and the Church. For Christmas, people start preparing the day after Thanksgiving. Furthermore, it is always my joy to do so. I love it, the celebration, the light, the love, the stories. It is glorious and when Christmas Eve and Day come I am fully immersed in and present for all that those days bring. I do not think it would have been the same if I did nothing to consider Christmas before the day on the calendar arrived. Why in the world would I do anything different for THE most important holiday in my life? Lent is our preparation for entering into that Holy and glorious day, the day our Savior made a way. It is entirely fitting and right that as the days lead up to Easter that my heart grows in expectation and devotion for Christ. After 40 days of prayer, repentance, fasting, and contemplation I will be ready and the day will have its proper place in my heart, mind, and body.

Lastly, it sets a form before me to imitate every day throughout the year. The pattern of recognition of sins, repentance, and restoration is the pattern the Christian should be living every day. It is the only way to enter in and stay in His rest. Hebrews 4 discusses it at length.

“9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The ideas of rest, the Word of God, revealing our sin, and grace are all discussed in this section. They are unapologetically connected. The way to enter His rest is through repentance. The way to repentance is through his Word and in His presence. Those things become much more accessible to us when we encounter them in the forms of the spiritual disciplines and traditions our church has been practicing since Christ ascended. Lent is one of those traditions.

So yes, I am observing Lent this year because I desperately need a holy harvest in my life, I need to be fully present before my Lord, and I need patterns to imitate in my daily walk. Imagine the power of the Church if we all were living like this? I can imagine a people, free from sin, death, anxiety, and depression proclaiming truth where ever they went. To God be the Glory.

40 Day Devotional on Waiting on God

Resources for Lent and the Spiritual Disciplines

Expanding wisdom, extending grace,

Jen

jen

 

Jennifer Dow, wife to Ernie and homeschooling mom to three great children, is passionate about teaching and writing about the things that make us more human and the tensions we experience along the way. Jennifer maintains her blog, ‚ÄėExpanding Wisdom: A Christian Classical Homeschooling Blog‚Äô,¬†teaches writing and literature throughout the homeschool community and online with¬†CiRCE Academy, and serves other homeschool moms at a weekly Bible study group.