Extending my One Word Challenge

Extending my One Word Challenge

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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The One Word Challenge

Have you taken the “One Word Challenge” before?

This is where you select one word to focus on in the new year. You might approach it as a word to study, reflect on, put into action, or all of the above! I’ve been participating in this challenge for several years now, choosing words to help me grow spiritually, and I’ve grown so much each time.

Sinking Deeper into Goodness

As 2018 is nearing it’s end, I’ve been thinking and praying over my word for next year. I find myself in a different posture this time. I’ve been truly inspired by my chosen word, goodness, and I’m not quite ready to move on. I feel as though I’ve only just started to embrace it’s meaning in my life. I have learned to see God’s goodness around me, but I want to let it sink deeper.

I’ve begun to look at the way I spend my time and see what is good- what I need more of and what I need less of- but I want to choose the good more often. Some of the good I’ve chosen in my life is hard- so hard- and I want to let this goodness fill my heart with pure gratitude and gladness. I feel like I have so much more to learn! I want mastery, or I at least want to see the change more in my day to day life.

The nice thing about this challenge is that there really aren’t any rules so I can apply this idea to my life the best I see fit. This year, I see fit to grow with this word a little longer.

So I won’t be choosing a new word for 2019, rather I’ll be extending my challenge another year. I will be embracing the word “goodness” and applying it to my life in new ways.

How about you? Do you choose one word for your year? What word will you be claiming for 2019?

Read my previously written post on the “One Word Challenge” here:

Will You Take the One Word Challenge? 

 

Celebrate a Festival that Jesus Celebrated this Christmas Season!

Celebrate a Festival that Jesus Celebrated this Christmas Season!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Celebrating a Festival Jesus Celebrated this Christmas Season

Never in my wildest dreams did I think our family would celebrate Hanukkah!  Would you?  I grew up enjoying everything Christmas and never gave Hanukkah a second thought.  It was a Jewish holiday and so it didn’t fit, or so I thought!

I’m actually really ashamed to admit that all I ever knew about Hanukkah was that it had to do with lighting candles, a weird top called a dreidel, and it was filled “eight crazy nights” according to Adam Sandler.  Yes, sad that most of my knowledge came from this song!

But what I found is that Hanukkah is really all about celebrating God’s miraculous ways and sharing it with each generation.  

 

Then I learned that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.

It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication.

John 10:22 (New Living Translation)

What!?!  Did you know that?  I swear I’ve read that passage a million times and never realized Jesus was ever involved in Hanukkah, not until I learned another name for it was the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Dedication.  It’s also known as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah, and Chanukiah.  It’s amazing once I started to learn about Jewish history and customs how the New Testament came alive even more, but that’s another post.

Once I learned these facts, my family and I couldn’t wait to celebrate Hanukkah.  We love celebrating our Lord and Savior and couldn’t believe that Jesus celebrated it too!

When we started celebrating Hanukkah, our children were 6, 5, 3, and just over 1.  I did not know what to expect from them but wanted them to be involved so we found a short book called The Story of Hanukkah to read about the history of what led up to the re-dedication of the temple and why it is celebrated.

The Story of Hanukkah

If you don’t have time to get this book, here are some great videos to show that give a good explanation.

A short 2-minute video about Hanukkah for kids.

A more detailed explanation from a Messianic Jewish perspective (Jews who believe Christ is Lord). 

 

History of Hanukkah

In a nutshell, the Israelites were under Greek rule.  Under Antiochus III, they were allowed to worship God as they always had and lived in peace, but once he died and his son Antiochus IV took over, things changed for the worse.  The Israelites were forbidden to worship their God upon penalty of death.  The holy books were destroyed and the Israelites were commanded to worship the Greek gods that had been placed in the confiscated temple!  Can you imagine!?!

An old priest named Mattathias led the people in a revolt, which turned into a war.  Even when he died, his sons–especially one in particular named Judah–carried on the fight for religious freedom and miraculously thwarted the great Greek army.  Judah was nicknamed Maccabee, meaning hammer, and all those who fought with him were referred to as the Maccabees.

But that wasn’t the only miracle.  Once the Israelites won the battle against the Greeks, they returned and started to restore the temple.  They rededicated the temple to God and lit the Menorah. As commanded by Moses, once lit it was never supposed to be allowed to go out.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but it turned out they only had enough olive oil for one night and the process to make more would take at least eight days. Even though they only had enough oil for one night, God kept the Menorah lit those entire eight days and nights!  So every year since then, Jews have celebrated this miracle.

 

The symbolism to Christ in Hanukkah

The Shamash Candle means The Servant Candle.

The Servant Candle is the one that lights all the other candles.  This is the perfect parallel to Christ.  He is the light of the world and calls us to shine his light too!  We get our light from him!

 

When and How We Celebrate Hanukkah!

The Hanukkah celebration starts every year on the 25th of Kislev, which is a different time every year on our calendar.  In 2018, it begins on the evening of December 2nd and will end on the evening of December 10th.  Isn’t that exciting!  We can literally kickoff this Holiday season by celebrating a festival that Jesus, himself, celebrated!  I’m ecstatic!

This is how we added Hanukkah to our Christmas routine very simply. (Hint: It’s not overwhelming but one of the most peaceful things we have every done.)

Our 1st HanukkahCelebrationEvery night around dusk, we would bring the kids into the living room by turning on this hilarious song called Candlelight by The Maccabeats.

After dancing and laughing to this song a few times, we would turn off the lights and light the servant candle.  Then depending on the day we would light the corresponding number of candles, letting the kids take turns lighting the candles.  (The first day, we lit one candle.  The second day, we lit two, and so on.)  As we lit the candles we recited the blessing then talked about how Jesus is the light of the world and we are called to be his lights too.

After lighting the candles, the first couple of nights we read through the book mentioned above, then prayed and sang some songs.

The following nights we asked the kids why we were celebrating Hanukkah and reviewed the story, then we would talk about some of our favorite miracles from the Bible and even the miracles our Lord has done in our own lives.  We usually spent about an hour together focusing this way on God’s goodness, singing, and worshiping together.

It was one of the most peaceful, relaxing, joyful times we have had during the Christmas season! This year, when I pulled out the menorah, our children asked if they could light the candles immediately! I was thrilled!

Over the years we added a few more fun things, but didn’t want to miss the focus.  

(This post contains affiliate links.)

For dinner together, we have tried some of the fried foods, which are the typical celebratory foods.  They eat a lot of foods fried in olive oil to commemorate how long the olive oil lasted.

Spin the Dreidel

Here are a few recipes:

Latkes (fried hash brown pancakes) And just in case you need some inspiration in song form check out this video!

Sufganiyot (small doughnuts)

During our play time, we also play spin the dreidel.

We could add a lot of extras in there.  Pinterest is full of ideas, but truly, I loved how we focused on God’s miraculous ways. We didn’t get overwhelmed by adding one more thing to our already packed schedule.  Like I mentioned before, it was actually the perfect resting time…by celebrating Hanukkah we were resting and basking in God’s goodness.  What could be better than that during a season where we are wanting to focus all our attention on the miracle of Christ?

Have you celebrated Hanukkah?

What are some of your traditions?

May the warmth and glow of each candle remind you that your life and the courage you take in it by trusting our amazing Lord shines brightly to all around it!

Black Friday: Life Changes

Black Friday: Life Changes

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Black Friday: Life Changes

For those that have been following my family’s Black Friday antics, Black Friday 2017 was quite different. 

Thanksgiving Day just felt different.  (Little did we know at that time that our lives would change so much during the next year, but that is for another post.)  The morning started just a little bit off.  It was nothing that we could pinpoint; it just did not seem normal.

We started our trek to my brother-in-law’s, two and a half hours away.  We had to stop a couple of times for very odd reasons.  We had a nice dinner and started making preparations for our night of shopping.  We even made new shirts for this year.  They were blingy and so cute!

Something Different is in the Air

We headed out with our lists to pick up my sister-in-law’s granddaughter who was not feeling well.  It was our regular crew:  sister-in-law, niece and her husband, the aforementioned granddaughter, my son, and me.  Our niece’s husband is in charge of finding our “theme song”.  He had been very busy at work that week and had not had a chance to find us a song.  The song usually sets the tone for the silliness of the night.  This was definitely a missing component of the night.

We did, of course, have our usual silliness of shopping in a sleep deprived state.  I get very silly when I need sleep.  We did repeat old bad jokes and I would just start laughing like a crazy person.  My laughing would cause others in the group to laugh.  Yes, they laugh AT me and NOT WITH me!  I have come to accept this as my lot in life in this family.

Don’t get me wrong, we did have a successful and fun Black Friday, but I think we all knew that it was a sign of the changes that would be coming our way. The mood was different and things just were not the same.  Our family is growing and so there will be changes, but that will be another post.  We will continue our Black Friday tradition for as long as we can.

Read the hilarious antics that have been a part of the past Black Friday Traditions:

Black Friday It's TraditionBlack Friday Making Memories Black Friday Tradition Continues

All I Want for Christmas…A Christmas Wishlist

All I Want for Christmas…A Christmas Wishlist

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Christmas and Thanksgiving mark the beginning of a holiday season supposedly centered on selflessness, contentment, and service.

However, this season often does not “feel” particularly happy or religious. In fact, with Black Friday hordes, Christmas to do lists, and advertisements of perfectly primped and styled families, it all feels very pressured, backwards, and stressful. I know that’s not how I want to feel. Nor is it how I want to act. So this year, as I look forward to holidays, I am making my own wishlist with a personal agenda.

What do I want for Christmas?

Time over Gifts

When I look back over the years, I don’t think, “Wow! What a great Christmas–that was when my grandma got me these shoes that were the very latest fad!” I think back on times when my family spent time with me. Basketball games played with cousins, hymns sung as we all crowded into the living room, sharing and passing and laughing at an overcrowded table.

These are those precious moments, those things that you store up in your heart.

It is a blessing to receive and to give gifts. But one gift doesn’t cost anything and means so much–the gift of your time. This year, I want to give that gift to my family.

Less Activity

Sometimes we get the idea that just because an activity is a “good” activity, we should do it. Well, I am only one person. And I’m pregnant and a mom and a wife…the list goes on. I can only do so much. Doing fewer things and doing them well not only helps me to be less hectic (my family will thank me later for not being so snippy and grumpy!). It also helps me to actually be present and enjoy the activities we choose to do. Less truly is more: more patience, more attention, more grace.

less-truly-is-more-more-patience-more-attention-more-grace

The Strength of Will to Focus on the Godly

There are many wonderful things about Christmas. For instance, there is no other time in the year when even the lost and the worldly are thinking about Jesus! What a great opportunity, not just to share goodwill and gifts, but to share the best gift ever given: the story of the Christ, His cross, and the salvation it brought.

Yet somehow, it is easy to “fudge” our focus. To be distracted by the hubbub, the travel, the rush of the holiday season.

It’s easy to say to myself that I’m still doing good things. That what I am doing still “counts.” Dashing around to six different stores to buy presents, filling gift sacks and stuffing fruit baskets for the elderly, signing and addressing envelopes to loved ones and friends–they can all be good things.

But they may not be the necessary things. In the craziness that is our lives, I think it is especially important that we be a Mary and not a Martha. We need to realize that the “better part” is to pause and take our gaze upward: to sit and listen at the feet of Jesus. It may mean saying “no” to some things or  losing sleep some mornings. It may mean giving up on having the “perfect” house or the “perfect” schedule. But, as we gaze upwards at the cross, at the face of our Father, we will find not only peace for our hearts but wisdom for our actions.

colossians-3-1-3

And we will find that everything is better after looking at Him.

all-i-want-for-christmas-wish-list-pin

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

5 things to do with Kids at Christmas Christmas Grief Christmas is Here Music Christians celebrating Hanukkah

Setting the Stage for Jesus

Setting the Stage for Jesus

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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From before the earth ever existed, God had a plan to redeem the people He knew would sin before He even created them. The idea that he has been setting the stage for Jesus to come hits my heart and reemphasizes how much He truly loves us.

But one thing has always intrigued me, even as a child: Why did God choose the exact moment He did to send Jesus to the cross?

Why didn’t God send Jesus sooner?

Like, immediately after Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden?

If Jesus had just arrived on the scene without any forewarning, would anyone have believed him to be the Son of the living God? Many had a difficult time with that already. But because God set the stage for Jesus’ coming, He could point back and say, “Yes, indeed this is me! I am the Messiah, the One you have been waiting for.  I AM the One the I AM was talking about!”

Why didn’t God wait longer?

Can you imagine if Jesus showed up today? I think we would all be so distracted by celebrity “X” or our phones that we wouldn’t even look up and notice the miracles he performed. Or Jesus would perform a miracle and people would claim it was only special effects or computer-generated.

Obviously, I don’t claim to know the answer to this question. It is one I have on my list to ask God when I get to heaven. But as I’ve studied the Scriptures more, I am constantly in awe of how God’s timing works and I’ve noticed so many wonderful events that set the stage for Jesus’s first coming!

Peter’s and Paul’s Explanations

In 1 Peter 1, the apostle Peter writes:

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

1 Peter 1:20

And in Acts, Luke records Paul’s words:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.

God was setting the stage for your sake!

God planned out everything in this way so that YOU and I would seek him!

For your sake!!

What stuns me is what a methodical planner God is. Seeing how he works through the smallest details just puts me even more in awe of Him. He takes his time, lays out ALL the necessary elements for THE perfect entrance into the world and THE perfect time for Christ’s death and resurrection.

God’s Word shows it all through:

  1. The Prophecies
  2. The Prophets
  3. The Parallels

The Prophecies

Within the Scriptures, there are 400 prophecies about Jesus.  According to this count, 353 of them have been fulfilled by Jesus.

God knew that many would claim to be the Messiah. It seems like He wanted there to be no doubt as to whom the chosen Messiah actually was.  He clearly told John to look for the One who has a dove come down on him:

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

 

John 1:32-34

The Prophets

I’ve read the Old Testament many times, so I have read all the things that the prophets had done. But for the first time ever, I started seeing how God used all the miracles done by previous prophets to prepare people for the Messiah and to cement the fact that Jesus was who he claimed to be. I sat in amazement.

It was almost as if God was slowly over centuries building trust in His people, so that they could look back at the Scriptures and verify God did indeed work in this way. God did use prophets to perform miracles like this in the past and now here is One, the Messiah, who doesn’t perform just a few miracles but is able to do all these things that have been done and so much more!

Here are a few examples:

Like the prophets of the past, Jesus:
  • Turned water, a life source, into something else.
    • Moses turned it to blood and Jesus turned it to wine.
  • Turned a small amount of food into enough.
    • God provided manna and quail when there was nothing else in the desert wilderness.
    • Elijah told the widow at Zarephath to use the oil and flour she had left to make a small cake and she was able to feed her family and Elijah for a long time
    • Elisha took 20 loaves of bread and some heads of new grain and fed 100
    • Jesus on different occasions fed many with a little food.  He took two fish and five loaves and fed 5000 and seven loaves and a few fish to feed 4000.
Greater than Any Prophet

God wanted his people to know that his son was greater than Moses and Elijah, the greatest prophets, and all the other prophets.  He did this by allowing a few of the apostles to see Jesus speaking with Elijah and Moses and then declared Jesus greater than them!

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Matthew 17:5

Yes, indeed Jesus was not the first to heal people or even raise them from the dead, but He was the only one who did ALL of these things and so much more.  Jesus also cast out demons, made the blind see, and ultimately FREED us from the chains of death for all eternity!  He fulfilled prophecies to show himself the One that they’ve been waiting for:

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Matthew 11:4-6

 

The Parallels

There are many beautiful parallels in the Old and New Testaments.  The one that stands out to me the most is the parallel between God sending a rescuer to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt and sending the ultimate rescuer to deliver humanity from the slavery of sin.

When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, they waited for the prophesied rescuer to come. 400 years later, he came in the form of a baby, born in a time when baby boys were being killed. He was hidden away and raised in a way that the people did not expect. When he came in the name of the Lord to lead them, it took miracles and God confirmed that Moses was indeed the chosen leader. Not only did Moses, through the power of God deliver the people from slavery, he:

And finally, God took care of him in death.

Much like someone else the Israelites were waiting for so many years later….

Four hundred years passed between the last Old Testament book and the first New Testament book.  The Israelites were waiting for the Messiah. Their rescuer also came as a baby, whose life soon became endangered because Herod demanded the death of all baby boys under age two. He too was hidden away and raised in a way the people did not expect. When he came, it took miracles and God to confirm that yes, Jesus was the Messiah, the chosen one!

Not only was Jesus baptized even though he was sinless, he fasted for 40 days while God sustained him. He more thoroughly explained God’s teachings to the people. And he rescued and delivered people from the slavery of sin and death with his own blood, the blood of the lamb. Now he is preparing a place for all who believe in Him. And one day he will lead us to the Promised Land!  And finally, in life, death, and in resurrection God took care of him.

The Bible is so full of amazing details that lead back to God’s perfect timing! Delve into the scriptures for yourself. See how God set the stage from the beginning for everything to happen at the right time for your sake! 

 

The Passover Points to Jesus

The Passover Points to Jesus

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Looking forward to Passover each year makes me excited!

Until a handful of years ago, Passover meant nothing to my husband and me. When a friend invited us to a Passover Seder, we were curious and a bit leery but decided to attend.  We wondered, “As Christians should we really be participating in this?”  At first we weren’t sure.

After participating in a Passover Seder, my answer is a wholehearted “Yes!” I wholeheartedly encourage every Christian to participate in this amazing celebration that not only REMEMBERS the Lord’s powerful ways of bringing his people out of Egyptian bondage, but completely points to the Messiah freeing us from our own bondage of sin.

On top of that, I realized Jesus used something his disciples knew well. The exact same words are said at every Passover Seder every year, to teach important lessons like humbling one’s self, being a servant leader, that He is the Passover Lamb and remembering him. It truly is powerful imagery!

Insights into the Passover #1 (1)

 

A New Understanding of Communion

Celebrating the Passover Seder meal helped my husband and I understand communion in a whole new way.  Because it has impacted our lives so greatly, I wanted to share it with you and explain many things I never knew before.  However, there is no way I can explain an entire Passover Seder in one little post.  

Instead, I hope to pique your interest with what stands out to me most, so that you will want to learn more or even participate in a Passover Seder yourself.  (Be sure to check out the resources listed below.)

Insights into the Passover #2

The Passover Seder

The Passover is all about remembering how the Lord delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. But it also points to the Great Rescuer, Christ Jesus, and to his second coming. Taking the bread and the fruit of the vine, which is part of the Passover Seder, Jesus calls us to remember how he has delivered us from bondage too.

So grab your Bibles and let me give a little explanation!

 

Basics of the Passover in Exodus 11-12 and how It Points to Christ

Here is a quick reference to re-familiarize yourself with the specifics of the Passover in Exodus chapters 11 and 12 and how they point to Christ.

Basics of Passover

My Favorite Parts of the Passover Seder

The Four Promises 

Four promises are repeated in the Passover Seder.  These are taken directly from Exodus 6.  I am adding the numbers so you see how they number the promises:

Therefore, say to the Israelites:
1. I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
2. I will free you from being slave to them,
3. and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement.
4. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.
Exodus 6:6-7

Oh, I get chills just reading over these promises!  The Lord did not promise these things only to those He delivered from Israel, because He knew Jesus was coming.  These promises are for us too. As Jesus recited the words of the Passover, he taught us how to remember Him too.

Each of these promises is stated separately throughout the Passover dinner.  Each blessing is associated with a cup from the fruit of the vine. (Hmm…where else have we heard about the fruit of the vine? The Lord’s Supper!)

A New Testament Parallel

This is not in the Passover but every time I recite the above promises I can’t help but think about what the Word says:

1. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:30

2. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:18

3. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

4. “…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21

I hope you have started to see how all of God’s plan fits together so well and that Passover not only pointed to the Messiah but that Jesus incorporated the idea of remembering Him into it as well!

Insights into the Passover #3 (1)

 Recitings

Many of the recitations throughout the Passover Seder have been recited for centuries upon centuries, even back to Jesus’ day and before. It’s neat to think we are reciting the same things Jesus did.

(Due to space, I will not type them all out but will refer you to where you can find them.)

 

A spot reserved for Messiah – The Honored Guest

Jesus participated in the Passover feasts during his lifetime. After his death and resurrection, many believers spent the night before Passover fasting and praying his return.  They would leave a place of honor for Him at the table waiting his arrival.

The wonderful thing is that because he instituted the Lord’s Supper during communion, we are able to dine with Jesus every time we take it and proclaim Him until He comes!

Is Jesus an honored guest at the table of our hearts?

 

The First Cup – The Cup of Sanctification

This cup goes with the promise “I will bring you out.”  The cup is lifted, everyone leans to the left like a freeman (which symbolizes reclining) and then everyone says together:

Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the universe
And the creator of the Fruit of the Vine.

Blessed are you, O LORD Our God, King of the Universe,
Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and brought us to this festive season.

This cup is most likely the cup that Jesus blesses at the beginning:

After taking the cup, [Jesus] gave thanks… ”

Luke 22:17

Insights into the Passover #4
Washing

At this point, the father and mother help everyone wash their hands.  It is at this point in the Seder that Jesus would have washed the disciples’ feet and taught them about being a servant leader.

 

The Bitter Herbs

Bitter herbs like parsley are dipped into salt water and eaten.  This represents the bitterness and tears of bondage while the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt.

This was possibly the point that Jesus dipped his bread in with the one who would betray him.

Later on in the Seder, the parsley is dipped into charoseth, which is a sweet mixture of apples, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon.  This is a reminder that we must take the good things in life along with the bitter things in life.

 

The Four Questions

In Exodus 12:26-27, the Lord gives instructions how to talk to our children about the Passover:

“When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”

There are many things within the Passover that are different from ordinary life, and so the four questions help make clear that we are doing them in order to remember God’s power, grace, and mercy.

Question #1 – On all other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only matzah, which is unleavened bread?

Question #2 – On all other nights we eat vegetables and herbs of all kinds. Why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs?

Question #3 – On all other nights we never think of dipping herbs in water or in anything else. Why on this night do we dip the parsley in salt water and the bitter herbs in charoseth?

Question #4 – On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we all recline?

These questions are not only asked but answered in the resources below.

Unleavened Bread: Bread of Affliction and the Afikomen

Matzah, unleavened bread, is used in the Seder. Three pieces of Matzoh are placed into a cloth pouch, called a Matzah Tosh, which has three pockets–one piece of Matzoh per pocket.  “Each piece is separated from the others by a piece of cloth.  They are a unity, yet in three parts, as we understand the triune nature of GOD to be (3, page 8). “

The bread that is eaten is called the Bread of Affliction. The Matzoh used today are striped and pierced.  It reminds us of Christ’s suffering before and during his crucifixion because his body was striped and pierced.  Even in the bread we see a reference to Christ!

This is so cool:  

The middle piece is taken out and broken in half. The smaller half is eaten with one of the other Matzoh pieces. The larger half is wrapped in a white napkin and hidden.

“The hidden piece of matzah is called the AFIKOMEN. which is a Greek word meaning, “I have come” (Psalm 40:7-8), a yearly reminder that the Messiah, the true Passover Lamb, has already come.  Later it will be “found” and returned to the table, which signifies to believers in Yeshua [Jesus] that He was buried, resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of GOD the Father soon to return.  The Seder is not complete until the afikomen is “redeemed,” for a price, to the child that finds it (3, page 9).”

Isn’t it awesome? This directly reminds us of how Jesus paid the price so we could be redeemed to our Heavenly Father!

Insights into the Passover #5

Passover Lamb

Jesus is the sacrificial lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world .Praise the Lord, he keeps us from ever needing any other sacrifice for our sins! It is by Christ’s blood that we are covered and saved from the destroyer (John 1:29).

(FYI – Since the temple’s destruction in AD 70, most Jews replaced the lamb with a shank bone and the matzah has become the focal point of the meal.)

 

The Second Cup – Praise

This cup goes along with the promise of “I will bring you out.”  It’s a time of praise for freedom. A song called Dayenu meaning “It would have been enough” is typically sung.  A blessing to the LORD is recited with the cup held high, but a drink is not yet taken.

It’s during this time that ten drops are removed from the cup and one at a time are dropped in memory of God saying, “Let my people go” and the plagues when Pharaoh refused.

Again, the second cup is lifted, this blessing is stated and then the fruit of the vine is drunk:

Blessed are You O Lord Our GOD, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine!

According to Ray Vander Laan, it is during the meal and during this section of the second cup, that Jesus “took bread [matzah], gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying:

This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22:19

To put Jesus’ words in the context of the Passover really brings His words to life!

It’s like Jesus is saying,

This, this bread that represents your deliverance from bondage
this bread without yeast,
this sinless bread,
this bread is My body, My sacrifice, My offering.
Eat it. All of you. Remember me!

And every time from then on they had Passover and had that unusual taste of unleavened bread, they remembered.
-Ray Vander Laan (5).

Insights into the Passover #6

 

The Third Cup – Redemption (aka the Blessing or the Eucharistic Cup)

The promise with this cup is “I will REDEEM you with an outstretched arm.”

Oh, how Jesus redeemed us!  He spread out both of his arms on the cross and took all of our sins upon Him!

It is assumed that this third cup, the Redemption cup, is the one Christ used to initiate the Lord’s Supper.

Jesus said,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Luke 22:20

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul says:

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, too bread, and when he had given thanks, he brok it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Insights into the Passover #7

The Fourth Cup – Cup of Acceptance

The promise with this cup is “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.”

This cup calls us to the service of God, to what awaits us–a time to be gathered to the Lord. It’s a cup of protection.  Protection that Jesus refused to take as he was finishing his calling on Earth.

Jesus said,

I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Matthew 26:38

In essence, Christ didn’t drink to God’s protection so He could go to the cross. He rose from the dead and now is preparing a place for us in heaven, and then He will take us all home.

Insights into the Passover #8

Not So Random

You see, Christ didn’t suddenly take some bread and some fruit of the vine at dinner one night and say “Hey, here’s a new thing, whenever you are eating food, let’s do this.”  No!  Instead, Jesus took a festival that God set up as a REMEMBRANCE to continue to use as a REMEMBRANCE for how GOD has delivered us from EVERY kind of bondage, both physical and spiritual! In light of the Passover, we begin to better understand Christ’s words regarding the Lord’s Supper. It makes us giddy with excitement to REMEMBER all He still has in store.  HE IS RISEN and IS COMING BACK!!

Have you ever celebrated Passover?  What stuck out to you most?

Resources

So have I whet your appetite to learn more?  I hope so!  Here are some great resources.

1 – The Bible – Especially Exodus 6, 11, 12; Luke 22; and 1 Corinthians 11

2 – Attend a Passover Seder.  I would highly encourage you to attend a Passover Seder that is hosted in your city.  If there is not a local church that does this, check with the Messianic Jewish congregations. This will help open your eyes and heart to Christ’s words.

3- Behold the LAMB: Passover with Yeshua the Messiah compiled by Leon & Leslie Clymer.  We received this when we attended the Passover Seder with the Rosh Pinah Messianic Jewish congregation in OKC and used this when we celebrated Passover for the first time at home last year.

4 – Celebrating an Authentic Passover Seder: A Haggadah for Home and Church by Joseph M. StallingsThis book will walk you through everything including the history of Passover, an exact script to use during the Passover Seder, recipes for the dinner, and extra explanations!

5 – A DVD by Ray Vander Laan entitled The Path to the Cross: Faith Lessons vol. 11.  All of his Faith Lessons are wonderful because he travels to the places where the stories happened so you experience the story in a visual setting as well.

Over the years, I’ve learned much from all these sources and have compiled some of what I’ve learned in this post.  May you be blessed by it and continue being in awe of the Lord’s amazing ways!

Why not grab some friends and host a Passover Seder at your house next year?

 

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