Easter, God's Love, Hope

Easter: What’s the Message of the Cross?

Statue of Jesus hanging on a cross


What message does the cross convey to you?

To me, it’s love. And hope. 

How amazing is it that Jesus—a sinless man—loved humanity enough to endure the torture of beatings and being hung on the cross? And even more, He who had never experienced sin, accepted the burden of our sin because He loved us. 

Most of us know the story of how He was beaten, tortured, and hung on the cross until He died. But has His sacrifice become too cliché in our hearts and minds? 

Continue reading “Easter: What’s the Message of the Cross?”
Easter, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Settle: Settling the Bill

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SETTLE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

I could have gone so many ways with this word! But, here’s my slightly-over-five-minutes offering.


My grandfather was a hard man. He loved his family, but he was strict and tight with his finances when it came to certain aspects of spending money.

Shortly after hubs and I were married, we were stationed in Alabama. We would sometimes go to visit my grandfather and his wife. One Sunday they took us out for a nice brunch. My grandfather insisted on settling the bill.

The thing was, he was not a good tipper. I won’t tell you what he left, but it was insulting.

I’ve worked in the food industry. I know how hard servers work. So, I went in and left a generous tip for our server.

When I came back out, my grandfather asked, “Did you go back in and leave more of a tip?”

I stood straighter. Looked him in the eye, and with only the slightest quiver in my voice, I replied, “Yes, I did. She gave us good service, and she deserved it.” I was nervous about what his response might be, but he turned and headed to the car.

Jesus is so much richer than my grandfather. He’s good, sacrificing, and generous.

There’s no way for us to settle our debt with God. Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

And in the paying of that bill, He’s given us the gift of eternal life with Him. Even if salvation was the “only” benefit to come from believing the gospel, from accepting Jesus as Lord, it would be enough. 

Jesus gives so much more. He’s given us grace to walk through our days.

To make mistakes and to learn.

To grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

Jesus has given us His acceptance and the benefits of being embraced in the family of God.

He’s given us the gift of faith, so we can know Him more.

And, He’s gifted us with His unconditional love. There’s nothing, no-thing, we can do that will make him stop loving us. His benefits are much better than the tips I left for servers over the years. Even the one that went to a certain server in Alabama.

As we enter into this weekend —as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection—may we remember that He has settled our bill. He has left the tip . . .with us. Grace, faith, and love.

What about you? When have you had the chance to be generous in giving to someone else? How have you seen Jesus lavish you with His love?

Click to Tweet: Jesus is the only One who can pay the bill our sin has incurred. 

Come read other great posts on Five Minute Friday—Settle

Easter, God's Love, Hope

Hope: What’s Your Version of Hope?


+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“A violent hope broke through and shook the ground . . .” (from “For the Cross,” by Bethel Music)

We sang a new-to-me song during our church service this past Sunday.

There was this one line that challenged me to re-think my version of hope.

I never thought about hope being violent.

This word has always struck me as a gentle thing, like a quiet rain falling or a pastel sunrise.

Continue reading “Hope: What’s Your Version of Hope?”

Easter, Enough, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Good: What’s Good Enough?

Solitary at sunset

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—GOOD. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


Most of my life, I’ve struggled with not being “good enough.”

Good enough to be on a worship team.

Good enough to be accepted by others.

Good enough to be affirmed for anything about me or something I could do.

Good. Enough.

I still struggle, some days, with the fear that I’m not good enough.

A number of years ago, I poured out my angst-y heart to the Lord about my inadequacies, my desire to be significant to someone—anyone—in my world. I knew I was significant to my eleven-month old boy. To my husband. But to anyone else? My feelings convinced me I didn’t matter.


Then God spoke to me. He told me I was significant to Him.

I justified why this wasn’t enough.

I know. Stupid idea. Arrogance and ignorance wrapped into one thought.

He asked me if He was enough for me. The question stopped me cold. If He allowed all my friendships to die, and all I had left was my relationship with Him, was that enough?

Conviction stabbed at me when my initial answer, honestly? was no.

Since that time, I’ve learned to lean on Jesus. to believe what He says about me. To let being His girl be enough for me. And finding incredible satisfaction and peace in this acceptance.

To know and embrace the truth that He loves me perfectly, passionately completely.

Crown Cross Stone

And as we head into Easter weekend, we remember the amazing Gift of love Jesus gave us as He hung on a bloody cross. As He took our beatings. As He felt the every thorn of the crown press into His scalp. Blood running down his face, His torso, down to His legs and His toes.

Is that enough for me? For us?


So much more than I deserve. He. Loves. Me. He loves each of us.

And that is Good. And it’s way more than Enough.

We can take that truth, weave it into the fabric of who we are. If we let it, this truth can mend wounds in our hearts and make us clearer reflections of Him to the world around us.

What about you? How have you worked through the question of significance? How has the knowledge that God loves you completely changed you? 

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Good.

Crucifixion, Easter: All For Love, God, Love, Passion, Relationship, Resurrection, Uncategorized

Easter: All For Love by Jeanne Takenaka


What is Easter to you?

Do Easter egg hunts, brunch with the family, pretty dresses and Sunday service comprise your day? These are a part of our day as well.

The older I grow, the more I yearn to glimpse beyond the surface of the day, to Jesus. To what He did because He loves me, and all His creation. He purposely endured betrayal by one of His own.

Continue reading “Easter: All For Love by Jeanne Takenaka”

Easter, Hope, Resurrection

The Hopeful Side of Easter

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our two boys love Easter egg hunts. Since the time our oldest turned four, we’ve interspersed Resurrection Eggs* with the treat-filled eggs they search for.  Each boy hopes to find as many eggs as they can. They enjoy the tasty treats inside the regular eggs, but they also enjoy the contents of the Resurrection Eggs*. These special eggs  share the story of Holy Week through symbols that represent aspects of Jesus’ life, crucifixion and resurrection. The final egg is empty.

I love what this represents because it perfectly depicts what we celebrate on Easter morning. The tomb was empty. Because Jesus was made alive after dying. Because he lived a sin-less life, sin couldn’t keep him in a state of death. He was raised from the dead.

Why does this offer hope? For those who share a relationship with Jesus, it offers us the promise that death will not overcome us permanently either. No, dead people will not walk the earth like in the zombie movies that are becoming popular. But we have the hope that one day, our sin will no longer rule over us, and we will be made alive again. We have the privilege of spending our eternity in heaven with Jesus, who loves us. He died for us and was raised from the dead for us. We will walk in joy and love, and have a purpose we can’t fully know while we’re on the earth.

In the here and now, I am thankful for the hope that comes from having a relationship with Jesus. He gives me what I need to make it through the difficult times in this life. And, I have the hope that one day, these struggles will not be mine anymore.

This is why Easter is a hopeful celebration.

Your Turn: If you have children, how do you celebrate Easter with them? What gives you hope?

If you have a few minutes, enjoy this song.

Crucifixion, Easter

The Darker Side of Easter

Image courtesty of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My parents had a way of creating fun traditions for our family. Easter was no exception. My memories of this springtime holiday revolve around being together as a family, and the fun that came from believing in the Easter Bunny and hunting for those colored eggs. This was all good, and I love the memories and impressions from those years.

As I grew older, I learned the deeper aspects of Easter. In the early part of this Holy Week, I’m thinking about the darker side of the celebration. As a girl I remember celebrating the “after” without really thinking about came “before.” Before the resurrection came the crucifixion.

Image courtesy of bela_kiefer at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My best friend, Jesus, hung on the cross in my place. The perfect sacrificed for the imperfect, the unstained for the sinner. Jesus’ love for me kept Him on the cross. He could have come down from it, or not allowed Himself to be nailed to it in the first place–He’s God. He chose to stay so that one day, I would have the chance to learn of Him and His amazing, covering love for me.

Each year, my husband and I watchThe Passion. I always cry when I watch what happened to Jesus, what He endured.

Why? Why would He take on the whippings, thorns pressed into his head, nails pounded through his wrists and feet, the hours of slow asphyxiation?


Why would someone love me that much? I don’t know. What I do know is that God’s love for me, and for every person, is that powerful, that passionate. He desires relationship, and the only way that could happen was for sin to be dealt with once and for all. Jesus’ death paid the price I could never, ever pay. Why?


Thankfully, the story doesn’t end at the cross.

If you have a few moments, listen to the song below and share your thoughts with me.

Thanks for stopping by today!