Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why Do We Eat The Bitter Herbs At Passover?



The Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt.  It is written:
"So they put slave drivers over them to oppress them with forced labor, but the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.  They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor, the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.  Exodus 1:  11-14



This morning was a busy morning.  While at the grocery store, we decided to pick up some food for our upcoming Passover Seder dinner.  It felt like Groundhog Day when we couldn’t find a fresh horseradish root in the Produce Department.  We face this same dilemma every year!  The grocer told us, “The shipment has not come in.”  So I turned to my hubby and said:  “Just use the stuff in the jar.”  And like so many other years, he stood firm; “I’ll try another store tomorrow.”  He prefers the fresh, potent root because he likes to get us feeling the drama of oppression that the Israelites faced under Egyptian slavery.  Suffer we must!  I dislike that part of the Seder.  I don’t like to suffer and cry; On the other hand, it’s my favorite part.  You see, God brought them through it.  He delivered them.  That part is my favorite part!  Guess you can’t have the deliverance without the suffering.

As we shopped, we bumped into friends we haven’t seen in years and off to the coffee bar we went.  It was good to sit and chat.  They needed to talk.  They were dismayed because of job loss and financial strain.  We listened and offered encouragement.  I shared a similar experience we went through years ago and how God rescued us.  I could tell that they felt validated in familiar suffering.  Tears welled up in their eyes.  Pretty soon we were all choked up.  We prayed with them before leaving and they said they felt much better.

After that, we continued to shop, but my heart changed toward the horseradish.  I was up for the search for that bitter root realizing that it is good to cry and feel the pain!

Jesus, our Yeshua Hamashiach – the Anointed One, Our Messiah, has indeed come to rescue us.  This year I’m seeing the suffering in the Seder a little differently and it is more of a focal point for me.  It’s real life.  We can only be delivered by going through the trial.  By the power of the cross, He has delivered us.  He is, indeed, our Passover Lamb, our powerful sacrifice. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Passover and the Four Blood Moons





 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,
            ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
            AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
            AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
            AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

   EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,
            I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT
            And they shall prophesy.

   ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE
            AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,
            BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

    ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS
            AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,
            BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.
     ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’
  Acts 2:17-21  

This scripture was the basis for a teaching I heard Sunday morning about the four blood moons that will appear in 2014-15.  International speaker and T.V. evangelist, Larry Huch, was the guest speaker at Grace Walk Community Church, a friendly multicultural fellowship in West Phoenix (with powerful praise and worship, I might add.)  I’ve pursued Larry’s Jewish Roots teachings for years.  My favorite is “Seven Places Jesus Shed His Blood” because it refreshes my understanding of my redemptive covenant.  I like to review it just before Passover which our family celebrates every year.   

The four blood moons this year and in 2015, are significant, not because they are blood moons but because all four occur on Jewish feast days.  I tried to capture the illustration in the presentation with my digital, but I’m not good at photos without using flash in a church setting.







Here is the significance of this blurry photo.  Each blood moon on the screen falls on a Jewish feast starting next week with Passover, April 14, 2014, and then Sukkot in the fall.  Blood moons appear on these feasts in 2015 as well.  Larry mentioned a CD package about this teaching that he is going to make available on his website.

Sunday’s presentation included a timeline of historical data.  This was fascinating and very detailed info of God’s intervention in the past.  It was a faith builder!  As the Jewish saying goes, there is no such thing as coincidence.  It is time for a new beginning and the main point that I got is that with the start of this year’s Passover, we are entering into the “Time of Messiah.”  This is going to be a time of the supernatural.

I close with something Larry Huch began with when he spoke.    Blind Bartimaeus was one of many on the road when Jesus passed by.  He called out to Jesus saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”  (Mark 10:46)

  1. He was aware. 
  2. He knew Jesus. 
  3. He responded to a window of opportunity. 

In like fashion, this teaching presents a window of opportunity to me not just to be a follower of Jesus, but  also aware of the coming signs. I’m studying!  I’m eager to learn; I don’t want to be left behind in this challenging age because I know  God’s ways are not the world’s ways.



Monday, March 31, 2014

How Can We Lessen Their Suffering?





One thing that attracted me to my husband when I first met him was his compassion for the downtrodden.  It seemed out of the ordinary that a 20 year old serving in the U.S. Navy would notice poverty’s pain.  I was also attracted to his creative photography.  His slide show presentations would wow me with scenic shots of far-away countries interspersed with family shacks in the slums.  It left me a little heartbroken.   I married him and his burden for the suffering and our newlywed budget included sponsoring a child in a third world country.

When our kids were little, we gave our hearts to Jesus.  I remember asking God how we can live our lives for Him and serve in His kingdom as a family.  I was surprised back then the way that prayer manifested.  It linked to compassion; our family would learn how to be compassionate.  A young, adult woman landed a job in our little town but she was homeless.  We opened up our hearts and home to this gal and many others in the years to follow.  It changed us!

·        We had to share our space
·        Our food had to stretch farther
·        Privacy was rare and valued
·        Problem solving was a constant learning curve

Our experiences gave us eyes to see beyond ourselves.  Selfishness was addressed in us and it felt like it was beaten out of us at times.  Our girls grew to be responsible, caring teenagers.  When life was hard and not so joyful, we got a good taste of God’s grace.  Both of our girls traveled with our church on mission trips and came back with wisdom you just can’t learn in books. 

Who knew that compassion would weave its thread throughout our family over the years?   It's the way God chose to use our family.  I’m relieved that an outstanding resume isn’t required for God’s kingdom work.  Ordinary people with simple lifestyles and even hang ups qualify.  It’s an upside down kingdom built on better principles.  It’s in the giving, not the getting…and yet the getting back seems so much more than the giving.  Does that make sense?  Upside down, I know!





This post links to Hazel’s collection of true short stories at Tell Me a Story.