On Good Friday, I gave a friend an overdue call (three months late) about something we had talked about in January. Over the course of our conversation, we realised that we both had Easter afternoon free. I shared with her what I saw in Ann Voskamp’s site on a Christian Passover Meal and she shared with me how she had also hoped to spend Easter meaningfully. So after she got her husband’s blessing, we decided to experience the Christian Passover Meal together. It is a sweet blessing to share kindred spirit with faith family.
The word “Passover” came from Exodus 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to find and cook a lamb shank in twenty four hours so I placed an image of a lamb with the caption “Yeshua (“Jesus” in Hebrew), Passover Lamb” instead. Believers are God’s temple who believe and receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior and He has said He will never leave us nor forsake those who are His so I hoped the picture would do.
1. matzah (or Wholewheat Unleavened Bread) : to remind us that the Israelites did not have time to wait for yeast to rise because they had to be ready to move when God said. For Christians, it is a reminder to live lightly for Jesus will return and in a twinkling of an eye, we will all go home. Yeast leavens or puffs up as pride/sin inflate our hearts. We remember Jesus who was without sin. We break the matzah in half because Jesus was broken for us.
2. juice of the vine (wine, grape juice, non-alcoholic wine) – In the centre of the table is placed a goblet of wine (Elijah’s cup) that is reserved by the Jews for the coming of Elijah who was believed to announce the Messiah’s return. In Matt 11:14, John the Baptist was named as the Elijah who was to come; he announced the arrival of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. For Christians, we do not leave the cup untouched but we drink the wine for The Messiah has come to us.
3. sprigs of lush green parsley – Parsley stays green year-round and represents the continual rebirth of growing things. While green reminds of the growth of new life in spring, it serves to remind us of the new life we have in Jesus.
4. horseradish (bitter herbs) “Maror” – In Ex. 12:8, the children of Israel ate bitter herbs. This reminds us of their cruel slavery to Pharaoh. For Christians, it reminds us of our ugly bondage to sin; it also reminds us of the many who have gone before us who have suffered unto death that we may know the good news of Jesus. Most importantly, we think on the suffering of Christ on the cross for all of us, absorbing all our bitter sins.
5. chopped apples and raisins (haroset) – But now we have hope. Because of the blood shed by Jesus, we wipe away our tears for we have new life in Christ; we have been rebirthed into His hope.
6. heavy shank bone of lamb – The Israelites painted the door lintels with the lamb’s blood, that the plague of death will Pass Over them. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. For us Christians, Jesus was a voluntary sacrificial lamb by whose sacrifice the plague of death passes over us.
7. boiled egg – signifies a celebratory offering for a new start for God’s people. As Christians we celebrate rebirth and life eternal which our Messiah, the Lamb of God, has made possible.
8. small dish of salted water – The Israelites wept salty tears for their life of slavery to Pharaoh. As we dip the parsley into the salt water, we remember the cost of our new and eternal life as Christ drank the bitter vinegar on the cross.
Inadequate representation of the Crown of Thorns (toothpicks inserted by participants while recalling and repenting of sin), Linen to represent what was left in the tomb. (For Jesus was not in the tomb. He was risen!) The nails on this table are a petite version of the actual nails that would have been used in Jesus’s cruel death. The thick fabric represents that curtain of the temple that was torn supernaturally from top to bottom when Jesus died.
Beth Moore mentioned in her talk about the Passover celebrated at The Last Supper that it was the only time that there was a lamb ON the table and AT the table. (Here is a previous post about that).
There are four toasts of the wine/ grape juice which correspond to God’s Four Covenant Promises to His people. Please take note of Promise #3 which is the position of how God redeemed us through the crucifixion of His Son.
Ex 6:6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and (Promise 1:) I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. (Promise 2:) I will free you from being slaves to them, and (Promise 3:) I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 (Promise 4:) I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
This fourfold covenant promise is ours when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. God will bring us out of every yoke/bondage. He will free us from slavery to sin and the enemy. He will redeem us. He will take us as His own people!
In the traditional Passover, the participants would reply “Dayenu!” (Hebrew for “It would have been enough”) to the list of how repeatedly God went an extra mile to show His favour to His people, the Israelites. It would have been enough if He had just done one mighty act but He always did more. (“Had He brought us out of Egypt but not execute judgment on our enemies” “Dayenu!”, “Had He given us their possessions but not divide the sea for us”, “Dayenu!”, etc.) At the Last Supper, at the repeated declaration of “Dayenu!”, Jesus aware of His coming suffering and death, knew that all of God’s past mighty acts to show His favour would NOT have been enough. Jesus needed to suffer and die to pay the penalty of our sins because without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. He would be the once-for-all Lamb of God for the atonement of our sins, for obtaining eternal redemption.
- Hebrews 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
- Hebrews 9:26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
- Hebrews 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
As humans, we could not ever gain righteousness by doing good or obeying the law for if we are guilty of even one (lustful thought, unforgiveness, fibbing), we are guilty of all. We could not achieve a good enough score to earn salvation. God knows we could not save ourselves. That’s why Christ had to die. Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Jesus at that table knew that…it WAS NOT enough. Jesus knew He had to die to complete God’s work. And He did pay it in full. That’s the original meaning of one of His last words, “It is finished” = Tetelastai, an accounting term to mean “Paid In Full.” All the wages of our sin: Paid in Full by His death.
As I ponder the glorious impact of Easter, God’s gracious gift of salvation, I am enthralled by the passion of Jesus, His amazing love for you and me. As a voluntary sacrificial Lamb, He had the power at any point to not push through with His own death.
John 10:17-19 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
But He lay down His own life so that by His death, you and I may have eternal life.
Dear Jesus, You died for us even while we were yet sinners, totally opposed to You. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You for dying on the cross for our sins and giving us eternal life when we believe and receive You. We confess You as our personal Savior and Lord. Please help us to live our lives in a way that honours You!
My friend, Teresa, called me “Easter Girl”. I agree. In my life, Easter is so special. It has nothing to do with me, who I am, or what I have done for apart from God, I can do nothing. It is because of who Jesus is and what He has done. And there is nothing I can do to earn or deserve it. Because He paid my debt, because He lives, because He gives me new life daily, because He makes life out of what is dead, because He has done it all, today I have new life.
Thank You, Lord, for the many times You have saved me from death… from physical, emotional, mental, but most specially spiritual death. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins and Your promise of eternal life with You. Thank You for Your amazing love!
“Is it really worth it serving God?”
GMA 7′s 700 Club did a Part 2 of the Story of Joy Tanchi Mendoza.
Dr. Peter Tanchi is a highly respected Christian leader, teacher, father, and Senior Pastor of Christ’s Commission Fellowship, Manila . He talks of the heartbreaking period of his family’s life when he and his wife, Deonna were out teaching Bible studies and their home got broken into and their daughter, Joy, got raped.
Through God’s Word, His Spirit worked in the devastated, crushed hearts of the Tanchi Family. Keeping their focus on the character of God—-even though the circumstances of the moment (or season) did not make sense— helped them to move forward towards healing and faith. This allowed them to see God work and show Himself faithful.
Was it easy to keep the faith?
Pastor Peter recalls how he took up the matter with God during that time. “I don’t understand. I don’t see any good coming out of this. But I will trust You. I pray You will help me understand…I saw evil that night. I cannot believe how people can go to your house, abuse people, steal things. I felt our rights were so violated. It’s hard to explain it. I think that’s one of the worst tragedies a father can experience. I’ve never cried more in my life. I said ‘Is it really worth it serving Him?’ Who is in charge? Perhaps God is not in charge? Perhaps the truth about the sovereignty of God is not really true…certain things are beyond Him?… And the amazing thing is how God moves in our heart. Where will I turn to? I do not know what good will come out of this… BUT… I claim Your promise… something good will come out and I said, ‘Please, Lord, show me.’ “
His wife Deonna thought, “If I turn away from God, where would I go? He’s my life. He’s my love. He’s my everything. God loves Joy more than I love her. I said, ‘Okay God, I’m gonna trust You. I will hold You to Your promise and I won’t let You go until I see the good that You’re promising me now at this tragedy.”
Joy Tanchi shared, “All of us had to go through healing in my family to really soul-search and ask God, ‘Lord, what is Your reason that You allow this to happen to our family?”
Here is a previous post on Butterflyinthespring’s full-length interview of Deonna Tanchi which answers some of these questions.
It is natural to be discouraged when a trial comes. It is natural to wonder if it’s worth serving God. Even the apostles who walked the earth with Jesus went through it. After following Jesus and believing His teachings about His kingdom, the disciples saw how Jesus— as foretold like a silent lamb before its shearers—was mocked, belittled, tortured, crucified and then died. Was that it? All that following Him for nothing? Was it worth it to follow Him? Between Friday’s death and Sunday’s resurrection, there was a period of mourning, questioning, wondering, a crisis of faith. And then Sunday came. Jesus rose from the dead (1Cor 15:5-8).
If you are in that period between the onset of your trial and seeing God’s faithful hand, may the story of the Tanchis encourage you.
700 Club Joy Tanchi Mendoza Story Part 1
700 Club Joy Tanchi Mendoza Story Part 3
700 Club Joy Tanchi Mendoza Story Part 4
Butterflyinthespring Interview with Deonna Tanchi : Choosing to Trust God During Trial: Deonna Tanchi
WOMEN OF FAITH MINISTRY TEAM:
Liz Curtis Higgs
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If today you are struggling to overcome trouble, temptation, (forgiving a) trespass (by others), or trial, a terminal disease, do you know that Easter gives you a life-changing hope? Beyond precious family time afforded by the holidays, spending time with traditional activities, hunting for beautifully-colored eggs, Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.
In 1Corinthians Chapter 15, Paul reminds us of the gospel on which we have taken our stand (1Cor 15:1), by which we are saved (v2): that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures(v3), that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (v4). CHRIST IS RESURRECTED!
CHRIST IS RESURRECTED! He not only appeared to His followers (1Cor 15:5-6) but He also appeared to His staunchest opponent, Paul (Acts 9:1-5) who would become the staunchest defender of the gospel of Christ. Jesus is alive! He is who He says He is.
So what if Christ is resurrected?
Paul answers this question from 1Corinthians 15:
We have salvation (v2).
Our faith is not useless (v 14).
We are true witnesses about God (v15).
Our faith is not futile, we are no longer lost in our sins (v17).
We will bear the image of the heavenly man (Christ) (v 49b).
Those who have died ahead are not lost, they have the true hope of being resurrected (v18). We have hope in Christ not only for this life (v 19). In Christ, those who belong to Him will be made alive. (v 23). Death is defeated (v26).
1Cor 15:42b The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
1Cor 15:52 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will destroy all (evil) dominion, authority, and power (v. 24). He will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. (v25). God gives us victory through Jesus Christ!
Paul’s conclusion, the bottomline from The Resurrection of Christ:
1Cor 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
That is an encouragement to keep on keeping on in our faith. It is a call for fixing our eyes on Jesus, setting our goal heavenward. If today we may face difficult circumstances, we are commanded to let nothing move us from our faith. We can stand firm. We can remain steadfast and have God’s perfect peace.
Isa 26: 3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Our Hope is alive! What we do now may be boring, corny, look stupid, or not matter to people around us but they matter to the Lord. What we do for Him in this physical life matters for eternity. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain.
What a life-changing Truth we celebrate because CHRIST IS RESURRECTED! A Joyful Easter to you and your family! Jesus is alive!
Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word which reminds us that because You are risen, we can stand firm. We have our hope in You. Thank You for dying on the cross for us. Thank You for the eternal life You give us. Resurrection Day is a wonderful cause to celebrate!
Here is a previous post about Passover
Becca Music’s Jimmy Needham Concert: Guy, Guitar, and Gospel at Christ’s Commission Fellowship last night was gut-challenging, grace-filled, and God-glorifying. The youthful-looking (“I look sixteen”) doting father of two and loyal husband of one unabashedly and unapologetically shares his faith through entertaining self-written music. The lyrics are biblically-based and therefore powerful. His left-handed guitar playing is dynamic, vibrant, and energetic. His singing, according to him, is a few octaves higher than most; it goes in unexpected places between raspy, croony, to awoo-wooey.
He collaborated with a rap artist to make a rap version of the hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, on what seems like a fusion of the Old Testament and the New Testament uniting as worship to Jesus Christ. He mixed traditional with modern (How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You). Some inter-active singing with friendly competition between the men and women in the crowd kept everyone engaged.
“Just because it doesn’t have ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior’ in its lyrics doesn’t mean it’s not Christian. What can be more Christian than rejoicing in the wife of your youth and loving your kids?” He sang the song that won his wife over and the song he wrote for his daughter, Lively.
His humour in between songs was good-natured and refreshing.”It’s a weird name. But I’m an artist. I can do what I want so deal with it,” he jokingly said as he introduced his song, “Daddy’s Little Girl” with a video of precious moments he shared with Lively playing in the background. “Aww” moments galore to satisfy the cuteness craving.
He shared his testimony of moving from sin and thinking that his sin was judicial to getting filled by having a relationship with The Bread of Life, Jesus Christ and realizing that his sin was not being hungry for what God is offering. Jimmy shared that after all the grievously wicked sins of the Israelites in the Old Testament (such as burning their children as sacrifice or having sex with prostitutes in the temples to please idols), God could have said ANything but this is what He chose:
Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jimmy said, we should be hungry for Jesus, The Bread of Life! He gave insights to recognize idolatry. Anything we cannot give up is idolatry. Anything that we can’t stop thinking of is idolatry. Anything that takes a higher priority than God is idolatry. These things that we may run after and expend energy on cannot save, cannot help unlike God Himself who is a spring of living water, the source of life here and for eternity.
What a night of uplifting worship with heart-turning deep messages of faith.
It is a blessing to see in action a man living out his faith by being a good husband, good father, using his talents to worship and give thanks to His Maker and Lord. How does the world churn out men like him? It started when someone “spared” five or ten minutes to share the gospel with him when he was sixteen. That turned him around as the power of Jesus was unleashed in his life.
A sobering question to reflect on is, have I been sharing Jesus with others that they may be filled with the spring of Living Water, that the power of God may be unleashed in their lives? How many people are surrounding us whose lives could be transformed from bondage to freedom. Are we sharing Jesus?
Romans 15: 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
From the preceding chapter, Romans Chapter 14, Paul tells us that we may have faith in the same God as others but differ in what we believe to be acceptable and not acceptable to God, for example to eat only vegetables or not (Rom 14:2), to regard a day more sacred than another (Rom 14:5). These are what Paul teaches:
Rom 14:4a Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall…12…each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister… 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
When we get insulted because of how we differ, Paul continues to teach in Chapter 15 that we seek to have the same attitude for the insulters as Jesus has for us: unconditional love, that we may bear up with their failings (Rom 15:1), please our neighbors for their good to build them up (v2), for Christ did not please Himself but as it is written, “The insults of those who insult us have fallen on Jesus.” (v3), that we may have unity in mind and voice to glorify God (v6), we must accept one another as Christ accepted us in order to bring praise to God (v7).
Paul teaches us how we may become united in Christ, not divided as Satan would like, so that we may have harmony among people who also believe in the same God even in the face of disagreement. We are to remember that only Satan is our enemy. The rest of us are on the same side and we are called to consider that we are appointed to help others to be built up in their faith.
We may expect insults and persecution from those who do not believe in God but expect higher ethics from those who do. When we receive judgment and insults from the latter, making the situation harder to comprehend, Paul tells us ahead of time what to do if such a scenario comes up. He reminds us that it is God Himself who gives endurance and encouragement (Rom 15:5) so we don’t stumble, so we won’t be the cause for others to stumble nor fall away, so we will keep on keeping on, so that we will keep in mind all that we have learned in Scripture, as everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Rom15:4).
God is the one who gives us the attitudes we need to accomplish His will. He is in charge. As He has removed scales from our eyes to see His truth and light and progressively walk in the light even though we ourselves used to walked in darkness, He Himself will remove the scales from others’ eyes. It is His job to transform hearts. As we wait, if we trust and surrender to Him—- loving and praying for our neighbor who may persecute us (Matt 5:43-44)— God can fill us with all joy and peace so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the first regular women’s ministry that I attended, our teacher often exhorted us with the phrase: Bloom Where You Are Planted. What I pick up from this is that you do not always get to choose the circumstances you find yourself in. But wherever the Lord allows you to be, wherever you are, do the best you can with what you have and be a testimony of God’s love, grace, and goodness.
Muddy and acidic waters might be considered hostile conditions but in them, the water lily grows, lives, thrives, and blooms. There may be conditions in your life right now which you do not like. But let’s pray for open eyes and hearts to see our lives from God’s eyes, to see our blessings and gifts that He has already given us that enable us to bloom and grow. When you surrender your life to the Master Gardener (God), He is able to make you grow.
1 Corinthians 3:7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow
May we remember how the Water Lily blooms!
God makes no mistakes. You can’t compare yourself to other people who are surrounded by conditions you prefer. You have a specific design; you were made for His glory right where you are.
Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
Whatever your circumstances look like today, God’s plan and promise for you remains: to prosper you, to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Exodus 1: 9 He said to his people, “Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. 10 Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.” 11 So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor…12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.
Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and bloom where you are!
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.