On Fire for All Things Christ

As promised in yesterday’s message, today I am writing with a bit more detail about Passover.

Old Testament Passover

In the 1956 film, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, one of the more memorable scenes is when Moses requests Pharaoh to, “Let my people go!”

God appointed Moses to lead the Israelites (the Hebrews) out of bondage from Egypt. In order to do this, Moses approached Pharaoh (the ruler of Egypt) asking that he let the Hebrews be set free. But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he said no to Moses. Every time Pharaoh said no, a plague was brought upon Egypt. There were ten plagues total. The last of the ten plagues was known as the “death to the first born in all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 11:5)

305569544_640In order to be saved from this coming plague, people had to place the blood of a lamb on the door posts of their homes. If the blood of a lamb was on the door posts, then the death plague would “pass over” that home and not kill the first born child. From the Scriptures, we know that the Hebrew people followed the instructions Moses gave them to put blood of a lamb on the door posts of their homes. But, the Egyptians did not do this and they soon saw the effects of the tenth plague upon their families. When Pharaoh saw his first born son dead because of the plague, he was distraught and he let the Hebrews be set free. To this day, Jewish people still remember the “passover” as the celebration of the deliverance of their ancestors from Egypt.

Read this in Exodus 12

Passover and Jesus

newJewish Passover is commonly celebrated with a meal called a “seder.” Part of the seder meal consists of six items on a plate, and four cups of wine, each taken in a significant order to aid in retelling the Old Testament Passover story.

What does Passover have to do with Jesus? This is an excellent questions with many layers to it. As mentioned in my previous post, Jesus was Jewish and he took part in the customs of Passover (John 13:1). The last Passover meal that Jesus participated in is commonly referred to as “The Last Supper.” If you are familiar with the Christian church, this term may sound familiar.

As Jesus is partaking in this passover meal with his disciples, he tells them many things that they are not understanding. Jesus is making a new covenant (Luke 22). He knows that soon the disciples will understand that He is the Passover Lamb that saves people from death (1 Corinthians 5:7) and that the Passover lamb in the book of Exodus was a foreshadow to what Jesus came to fulfill while on earth. Jesus came to deliver all people, to free us from the bondage of sin.

Jews vs. Christians

jew+to+christianYou may be asking, what is the difference between a Jewish belief system and a Christian? The difference between Jews and Christians is that Christians receive Jesus as the Messiah. Christians receive Jesus as the savior who paid the penalty for our sins. Jews do not believe this. Jewish people believe that Jesus WAS NOT the prophesied Messiah spoken about in the Old Testament. Jewish people reject Jesus and currently still wait for their Messiah.

That’s why Jews still consider the Temple ruins in Jerusalem so valuable. They hope to one day be able to rebuild the temple and again be able to offer sacrifices to God for their sins. But, God does not want that. You see, God wants you to see Jesus was THE PERFECT sacrifice (Hebrews 7:27-28). No more sacrifices for sins need to be made (Hebrews 10). Jesus was the perfect sacrificial lamb that paid for all the sins of the world. All we have to do is RECEIVE THAT GIFT IN FAITH (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:25).

Know that receiving this truth of Jesus Christ will change your life forever (literally) and will be the most important decision that you will ever make. Again, I know today’s message holds a lot of information and probably questions too. Feel free to send me your questions and we will see how we can answer them together.

Lastly, I leave you with this beautiful song by Gateway Worship, “O The Blood” and  these words:

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

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Beloved friends,

In efforts to prepare my heart and mind for the week ahead, I plan on meditating and reading scripture this week that is in reference to Passion Week (aka Holy week). With that, I find it a joy to share some of my insights with you and I hope that God may unveil new things to you.

Background Info Regarding Holy Week

Passion Week or Holy Week is the last week of Jesus’ life before His resurrection (Easter). Passion week and Easter are Christian celebrations that fall in the same time frame with the Jewish celebrations of Passover. Today in Jewish calendars is the 15th day of Nisan, which marks the first day of Passover week that lasts for seven days. Passover is the Jewish celebration in remembrance of when the Israelites were released from bondage in Egypt (book of Exodus). I know this may all sound a bit confusing, but to truly understand the breadth of Holy Week and Easter, one must know a little bit about Passover. It’s a beautiful and powerful story when you get to piece it all together! And after all, Jesus was Jewish and he took part in these Passover celebrations (in more ways than people knew in his time!)

Before I go into more details about Jewish Passover, I want you to think back just a few days prior to what Christians normally refer to as “Palm Sunday.” Do you know why palm Sunday is called palm Sunday? In my own words, to Christians, palm Sunday marks the beginning of the last week of Jesus’ life before His resurrection. Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. At church sometimes on Palm Sunday, we read/remember Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem through the sheep gate and to the temple. That’s when Jesus comes riding in on a donkey. The crowds are cheering for him and waving palm branches. Please read the Palm Sunday/Triumphal Entry scripture references below.

triumphal-entry

The Triumphal Entry

Matthew 21:1-11

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt,the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

John 12:12-16

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

For us that love charts and visuals, attached is a holy-week-timeline from Bible Gateway.

In my next message, I hope to go into a little bit more about Passover. This is so exciting!

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but I wanted to share with you some songs that my heart has been delighting in recently. May you welcome the Lord into your heart with praise for His magnificence. I hope you enjoy!! 🙂

PRAISE REPORT UPDATE: On Thursday 7/26/2012, doctors were scheduled to operate on little Mei-Lin, but they could not find any evidence of the tennis-ball sized cyst that was invading her intestines just a few weeks earlier. On Friday, Mei-Lin was released from the hospital without surgery. Praise be to God, Mei-Lin was healed by the hand of God!!! Thank You Jesus and all the VBS kids for their faith!! Mark 2:5

Afire Within

Today in VBS, we taught the kids about miracles. At the beginning of the lesson, we extensively discussed what a miracle is, how much Jesus went around doing good and healing people, and that all the books in the world cannot contain all the good things Jesus did and continues to do for us.

As an activity after the lesson, I had each student make a get well card for any friend, neighbor or family member that they know is sick and wants to get better. I also asked each student to include one of these three scriptures in their card:

  1. These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. – John 20:31
  2. Jesus went around doing good and healing. – Acts 10:38
  3. For nothing is impossible with God. – Luke 1:37

If the student did not know a friend or family…

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Day four of teaching VBS to our kids was on the topic of salvation. To start the lesson, I had the kids participate in a skit addressing the evidence and testimonies for Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. After that, teaching assistant David led the class with the felt board Gospel presentation that we had been discussing on a daily basis. We had started the lesson time a bit late that day so I kept  watching the time to see if we would have enough time for everything on the agenda. At some point I decided that after David gets finished we would have to cut the Bible highlighting activity and move straight into the salvation colors bracelet. But, one question remained in my mind. Would we have time to let Andre share his illustration before the frenzy of bracelets and beads?

The Moment of Awe – for Everyone!
After David  finished with the felt board, I went for it … I asked teaching assistant Andre to come and share his illustration of the cross with the kids. As Andre made his way up to the white board, the full room of 30 kids fell completely silent. Every eye was on Andre and every ear was hyper attentive to his words. Not a stir or sound came out of the students as Andre drew and explained his illustration. It was a complete God moment – one that He cleared completely for the sharing of this story. I was completely amazed. You see, Andre is very shy and does not talk much, if at all. During our last three evenings of VBS, I don’t think he said more that two words to the kids, but on this last day, God assuredly gave him the platform as he stepped out in faith and shared his illustration of the cross with the kids. (Below is my reiteration of his drawing.)


I give thanks to Jesus for blessing me with this awe-struck moment of watching Andre step out of his comfort zone and share with the kids. I praise God for the sensitivity in the classroom and most of all, I praise God for giving me a heart of patience to let Andre share his words and illustration. May we do all things with grace and patience as His great love abounds.

Exodus 34: 5-6
Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Joy
: the emotion evoked by well-being
: a state of happiness or felicity

Two years ago I was going through a heart break situation. In that, I visited a church in which the pastor spoke joy over me. A year later I visited another church and again the word joy was given to me in prayer. Then again just a few weeks ago, I visited yet another church and there the pastor also prayed for me to receive the joy of the Lord. All different churches, all different people but the same message. I think the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me to receive joy as my healing strength! But how do I do that?

… the JOY of the Lord is my strength. – Nehemiah 8:10. This verse of scripture packs a punch of truth in such a short statement! (Read this awesome commentary) When I earnestly meditate on God and the great and amazing work He does for me and through me, I in turn take on an attitude of praising Him. When my attention is turned outwardly away from my selfish “pitty-party-of-one” attitude and onto Him and serving others, I see joy in Him – in His work on the cross for me. In His little day-to-day acts of love towards me. And in seeing His amazing hand go forth as I serve Him. The enemy wants me to focus on myself, but the Lord wants me to focus on Him. Thank you Jesus that my joy is found in all things You and that you give me strength to refocus my life.

After several weeks of amazing experiences in serving Christ, His people and in hearing and meditating on His amazing transforming power, I think I have a better understanding at what it means to have a glimpse of joy in Christ. I pray and hope that I continue to receive deeper understanding of this joy as I draw closer to Christ, and that I can give you further encouragement as I go along. May joy become our normal beattitude of living!

In Joy!
Edmee

For fun, here are a few new songs to listen to and enjoy!!

Today in VBS, we taught the kids about miracles. At the beginning of the lesson, we extensively discussed what a miracle is, how much Jesus went around doing good and healing people, and that all the books in the world cannot contain all the good things Jesus did and continues to do for us.

As an activity after the lesson, I had each student make a get well card for any friend, neighbor or family member that they know is sick and wants to get better. I also asked each student to include one of these three scriptures in their card:

  1. These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. – John 20:31
  2. Jesus went around doing good and healing. – Acts 10:38
  3. For nothing is impossible with God. – Luke 1:37

If the student did not know a friend or family member that was sick, I asked him to make a card for my friend’s little girl, Mei-Lyn. I told them that Mei-Lyn is one year old and that she is scheduled to have stomach surgery in a few weeks.

At the end of class, I was so touched to get 13 wonderful cards for little Mei-Lyn. Together, we hope and pray that Mei-Lyn gets full healing and restoration in her body and that she may ultimately receive eternal healing through Jesus Christ. I also pray this for her parents, as the mother is currently not a believer. Here’s to faith in reaching out to God for healing, as our lesson from the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment! (Luke 8:40-48). In Jesus’ Name.

 

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