Saturday, April 19, 2014

Old Testament Tradition

One of our family's Easter traditions began the very first year of our marriage. Every year, if we can afford to, we make what we call “Passover Pizza” and watch The Ten Commandments on Good Friday. It’s a great kick-off to Easter weekend!
I may have also made a special bread for Palm Sunday this year.
I may also be plotting to make this traditional Italian Easter bread for tomorrow.
Our pizza is loosely based on Exodus 12 v. 8:
“And they shall eat the flesh [of the lamb] that night, roast with fire and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
We make dough for the crust that we don’t allow to rise before baking. In the dough, we add some herbs (this year, we used basil and onion). And we top it off with roasted ground lamb (trust me, you want to roast it) and cheese (usually mozzarella and feta).

This may sound like a silly tradition to you, but "Passover Pizza" was born out of our desire to make Easter a bigger celebration than it normally is.

See, Easter is usually just a one-day celebration—at least with the Resurrection festivities. There are plenty of Easter egg hunts, lots of egg dying and candy eating, and an over-abundance of bunny crafts leading up to that Sunday, to be sure. And I’m not anti bunnies or eggs or anything.

But seriously—CHRIST DIED AND ROSE AGAIN FOR US; why are we not more hyped up about this?

Anyway, our family's tradition reminds us about the events that the Jews were celebrating at the time of Christ’s death—events that modern Jews celebrated earlier this week, by the way.

Personally, I am always struck by the fact that Pharaoh, after witnessing all the plagues, including the angel of death that killed all the first-born of Egypt (even killing his own son), never came to repentance.  How sad.

He did admit God is God in the movie, but in real life, as recorded in the Bible, Pharaoh died in the formerly parted sea. How many people are there like that in the world today? They see God do amazing things, but deny, deny, deny.

Then, I think about the Israelites after the exodus and how much modern Christians are like them. The Israelites did not altogether deny the existence of God, of course, but out in the wilderness, they were certainly not faithful to Him.

They had witnessed all kinds of miracles in their deliverance from Egypt, but they still disobeyed and complained (constantly) to God.

How often do we do this in our own lives?

I am on Psalms 78 in my reading through the Psalms, and I thought it was so fitting with this tradition of ours that I had to share it with you today. You can read Psalms 78 here.

I pray you would use this passage to examine your own heart, to see where you are in your walk with God. Are you denying Him altogether or disobeying Him in spite of your “faith”?

Love and blessings,

--Mrs. D.

Mercy Wild

Patiently He waits for us
To choose our own fate,
Calling from an empty tomb:
“Choose unmerited favor--
It’s the only escape from death.”

He reaches out His hands
To hold our own
But we mock the scars we find 
That set Him, rightfully,
Beside the Father’s thrown.

How long will you deny
The perfect man who died
Victory over your soul?
How long will you toil
For the father of lies
And call his orders “divine”?

God in His mighty power
Will not usurp our freedom
To serve whom we please.
Rather, we who deserve damnation,
Are given through Christ
The recourse of redemption,
Adoption, in lieu of demise.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hart & Hind

I spent much of this week's spare time putting up deer meat: hind quarters from one of my parents' neighbors. My dad grilled the meat on Sunday afternoon; that night, he chopped it up before I whirred it up in my parents' magical Ninja. He split the meat 50-50 with me, which was very generous.

With my cooked and minced venison, I have made 8 super-thick burgers, 1 mini meatloaf, and 2 dozen meatballs-- all for the freezer.
The world's most helpful kitchen cat.
I also got all Martha--Martha Washington, not Martha Stewart--and baked a breakfast pudding with some of the meat.
Being up to my elbows in deer meat has reminded me of one Biblical picture of the God-man relationship: Christ as the hart (see Sos 2:9), Christians as the hind (see 2 Sam. 22:33-34).

In case you didn't know, a hart is a male deer and a hind is a female deer. While guys may find this picture a bit odd ("You mean we're girls?"), it is worth pointing out that Christians are collectively considered the Bride of Christ.

One of the things this comparison makes me think about is how the hart fights for his hind. In nature, you typically see several hinds and only one hart. Often, another male deer will come along and try to take one of the hinds, but the hart fights with all of his might, with crashing antlers, charging full steam ahead, to keep his hind for himself.

God is jealous over us like that, too. Satan will come along and try to single us out of the herd, scheming to take us away from the Hart's protection.

But the Hart fights for His Bride, my friend.

In fact, the Hart DIED for all of mankind so we could be a part of His herd; so that we could be His hind, His Bride.

Are you in God's herd? Do you know on a deep, personal level this Sacrificial Love and Jealousy that I'm referencing?

As we celebrate Christ's resurrection this coming Sunday, I pray that you would consider your relationship to the Hart--whether or not you belong to His herd and whether or not you're letting something or someone lure you away from it.

Love ya,
--Mrs. D.

P.S. One classic allegory relating to this that's def. worth reading is Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Burning My Pride

I don't need to sit at the cool kids' table
Or make my own superior sub-group to belong to.
I don't need to make fun of others
Who don't do things the way I'm accustomed
Or don't think the way I think--
Even if they don't know Christ.

It's not my job to change the lost
Or impress them with my talents
Or possessions
Or personality.
I am not the One who requires their faith.
Because they shouldn't put their faith in me--
I am not the One who is holy.

Even my good, best, and brightest attempts
        at righteousness and holiness
Are nothing but moth-eaten, maggot-infested,
        dung-smelling sorry excuses for rags
That not even the poorest person on earth could
        possibly wear them.

Rather, my selfish attempts for the attention
        of the lost
Should be burned away.
Along with any pride I might have in myself
In my abilities
In my achievements
In my appearance.

Because without Jesus, I am wholly nothing.

P.S. Follow-up verses: Is. 64:6, 1 Pet. 1:13-16, Eph. 4:20-32
P.P.S. Follow-up reading: "Are You in the Zone?"