Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Christ, our Passover....

Growing up, our church always celebrated Passover, complete with yarmulkes and real lamb. The children always went on a search to clear the church of leaven (pieces of bread). Another child was picked was ask the traditional Jewish questions about when the Israelites first came out of Egypt. We ate lamb, matzah (unleavened bread), bitter herbs, charoses (a mixture of apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and I don't know what else), and parsley dipped in salt water (to represent the tears the Israelites shed in slavery). I didn't always understand exactly what was going on, but it always felt like such a holy experience.

I also didn't understand--simply because I was too young--the spiritual significance that Passover has today for followers of Jesus. It is amazing to me how so many things in Old Testament are shadows of what Jesus was to bring later by his death and resurrection. For Passover, originally, it was a celebration of the angel of death passing over God's people because of the blood of the lamb on their door posts. Because of that, they were then able to leave their life of slavery in Egypt.

In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says, "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed (NASB). Traditionally, Jewish people get rid of all the leaven in the house before preparing for Passover and making their unleavened bread. After Jesus' sacrifice, this became a symbol of the way that we, as followers of Jesus, should cleanse our lives of sin and become a new person, free of sin. Because Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for us (once and for all!!!!!), we are now covered by His blood, (just as the Israelites covered their doorposts with the blood of a lamb) so that eternal death passes over us. We can journey out of sin and into the new life and the eternal promise that God has for us.

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." The word fulfill here is "pleroo" (Greek), which means "to fill up". Passover was (and still is) a celebration of the awesome and miraculous thing God did for His people, but now--it's a symbol of the awesome and miraculous thing God did for His people (now made up of Jews AND Gentiles) through the lasting sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus filled up the meaning of Passover--he gave it it's full measure of meaning. He also did that in many other ways obviously; I'm just focusing on Passover today.  In the last several years, I have just realized how everything Jesus did in the New Testament filled up the meaning of everything in the Old Testament. It's just mind blowing to me! And we can celebrate because the things Jesus did have lasting, eternal value to us! He gives us a place to call home for forever, that no one can ever take away.

Happy Passover, y'all! Resurrection day is coming!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Palm Sunday tidbit

This isn't really about Palm Sunday. Or come to think of it, maybe it kind of is.....

I was just doing some dishes, which is when I do some of my best thinking. I was so stinkin' angry about something. The more I thought about it, the more angry I got. Finally, my anger threatened to spill out of my eyes. I walked over to my laptop for a second and the first post I saw on my Facebook news feed was from Casting Crowns. It said, "We love, because He first loved us. John 4:19" And then I did start to cry. We don't love because other people deserve it (they probably don't think I deserve it sometimes, either ;) ). We don't love only our friends or family. We don't love just the people we agree with. We love because God loved us and sent His Son to die for us when we didn't deserve it. Man, talk about a revelation I already knew that God had to remind me of in the moment I needed it.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He knew it was almost the beginning of His earthly suffering. He knew who would betray Him, who would deny Him, and who would cry, "Crucify him!" by the end of the week. Still, He showed love. Still, He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and let Himself be beaten and nailed to the cross. Whew, what a standard to try to live up to!

Jesus knew His future, though. And so can we, if we love and follow in His steps.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Our new journey

        In just a few months, our family will be starting a new journey--homeschooling. It's hard to believe I began this blog almost 5 years ago, when Kade was just a few months old and in August, he'll be starting kindergarten! I considered opening up a new blog just for our homeschool adventures, but I decided that 1) that would be too complicated and 2) I know God will be teaching me plenty through this particular "new thing" and I would love to share it with you.

        So, I'm sure many people (in real life) will be asking, "What made you decide to homeschool?" It was definitely not that I had a bad experience in school. I graduated from 13 years of public school as valedictorian of my senior class and feel like I received a good education. I had fantastic teachers. I was able to resist any negative peer pressure and temptation. I also met my husband when I was in 10th grade, so that was also a major plus. However, school is not the same today as it was 10 years ago and I don't mean morally (though things aren't great in that department, either). I (with Michael's support) have decided that I want to give my children a unique educational experience, one that I can tailor to their individual learning styles and interests. I'm no helicopter parent and I'm not trying to keep my children hidden from the world, but I also plan on taking this time to help them build a strong foundation of faith. I was blessed to have parents who helped me build a strong foundation of faith every moment I wasn't in school. We all live in this world; whether children go to public school or not, they're going to run into situations that test their faith and obedience.

         Anyway, I never dreamed I would homeschool my children, but here I am! Even better, I also never dreamed I would have so many homeschooling friends! When I was pregnant with Kade and starting to regret not being able to stay at home, I became friends with Tracy, who started kindergarten with her oldest daughter this year. We've recently created our own homeschool group, with 6 or 7 other moms. There are around 17 young children between all of us. We've been getting together every Friday morning to play and we have quite a few field trips and other activities planned for the rest of this year.

         The only part of homeschooling that made me nervous was the actual teaching part. I know I'm qualified, but I felt overwhelmed about choosing curriculum and deciding exactly what style of pedagogy I wanted to use. I think I've finally settled on something that feels comfortable to me and that Kade will enjoy. I didn't want to just do regular school at home; I wanted something different. The Charlotte Mason method seems like exactly what I've been looking for. It's not a particular curriculum, it's more of a certain style. To be brief, Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived during the mid-1800's to early 1900's. She believed that all children should have a education with a broad and generous curriculum. She also believed that "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life", meaning that one-third of a child's education is made up of the atmosphere in the home and the parents' beliefs; another third was made up of the cultivating of good habits, especially forming good character; and the "Life" part was made up of her belief that academics should be taught through living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts to memorize. (Taken from Simply Charlotte Mason) It is very cross curricular, which I like and everything is sort of based on literature, which is definitely my forte.

              I'd better save some info for another post (and get to bed, since tomorrow is Sunday), but look out for many more homeschooling posts! And if you don't care about homeschooling, never fear! There'll be plenty of my regular posts as well.