I was privileged to celebrate two Seder (Passover) meals with Jewish friends last weekend. It is a beautiful ceremony that has been observed for thousands of years. The word Seder means order; the same format has been used over and over throughout the generations.

The first evening, Becca prepared the meal in the Ashkenazi (European) tradition and the 2nd evening in the Sephardic (Middle Easter/ Northern African) style. Ben, Becca’s husband led us through the prayers (all in Hebrew) and account of the Exodus (fortunately for me, in English). Our Haggadah (a booklet containing the written order so participants can follow along) explained that on this night we remember being set from slavery and from idolatry. To me this was an interesting phrase because while being set free from slavery is clear cut, being loosed from the power of idolatry seems to be a gradual progression.  

Another thing that lingered my mind was the song “Dayenu.” Miriam, Ben’s mother, has a lovely voice as she sang in Hebrew (far more captivating than the You Tube version ). After each miracle of deliverance is read, we sang a chorus of Dayenu. “It would have been enough….” Had no further signs been given, it would have been sufficient to praise God for what He had already done.

I was thoroughly blessed by sharing this feast with my friends.  I had imagined a solemn occasion, yet our time was light-hearted with lots of joking and some quibbling. We used finger puppets to represent the plagues. Since there were no children, the youngest adult (age 24) who had to find the afikomen (a piece of matzo broken off and hidden to bring out at the end for dessert).  In anticipation of the Messianic Kingdom, the door is opened for Elijah the prophet. We conclude by saying, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

I believe the Passover foreshadows the freedom we can now experience through belief in Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah, the anointed one). If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed. When I am tempted to feel entitled to more or wondering why God did not answer my prayer, I will sing dayenu. It is enough that Jesus humbled himself and became a man, lived a human life in complete obedience to his Father. He willingly offered himself as our perfect sacrificial lamb on the cross. He was placed in a tomb, yet raised to life so we can be set free from slavery to sin and walk in newness of His life (freed from idolatry), and spend eternity with Him. It is enough to praise him for this even if that was the only thing.  He is enough.


mcdonaldsI live in the midst of a family of picky eaters, and I don’t just mean the children. Can you imagine going into McDonalds and ordering a cheeseburger without the burger? For us, it all began after “dining outs” in the military where Mike and I attended a formal function that offered, in his opinion, not enough food or not very appetizing food. We would stop on the way home for him to get full. Once we had children, we sometimes did this but more frequently we “pre-fed” so that if the food was “yucky” they wouldn’t say embarrassing things because they wouldn’t be that hungry. We assured them they would be fed afterward if needed.

Not realizing the world’s definition of the term, “pre-game,” I decided that idea fit what we did to meet the needs of those who didn’t like the main meal. Then I began thinking about church services and how some complain that the music isn’t what they like or the sermon is not challenging or too intellectual etc.…

Like with my family, I think the solution is to pre-game. I am not coming on Sunday morning to be entertained or be fed my only meal of the week. I usually come after digesting several gourmet meals through out the week. If for some reason, I am not challenged or if I feel the topic wasn’t addressed to my satisfaction, I post-game. I go home and spend time in His Word until my soul is satisfied with His goodness and truth.

Unlike a quick stop at McDonalds on the way home, this practice takes some time and effort on my part. I am no longer an infant being spoon-fed or a baby bird receiving pre-chewed food from the mommy bird. Since I am not arriving on empty, I can more easily recognize the needs I see in others. Anything I receive is like whipped-cream on top of my coffee.

There is a special grace being among God’s people in a church body as we glimpse God’s work in the lives of others; however, I think it is what I do in my private moments with the Lord really prepares my heart and allows me to filled.

My Turn!

I have exciting news! I am going to Ethiopia in July. The reason I am so excited is because for over 30 years, I have written in my journals that I want to go to another country to share the love of Jesus. Back in 1988, I didn’t have any idea what that would look like, and until the end of 2018,  the desire for a cross-cultural trip was still an unfulfilled dream, a yearning I thought was from God.

Over the years, we have financially supported and prayed for many who have been called to go. I have prayed that my children would have a heart for missions. Ashleigh has gone to Uganda, NYC, Maui, Ukraine, and China. Katie has served hurting, impoverished children in our own city, Patrick has gone to NYC and Honduras. The Lord has already abundantly answered my requests.

But now, finally, it is my turn to go. Since most of my regular blog readers are my dearest friends and each one of you have played an important role in my life, I want to share my journey with you. In the coming months, I will give you a peek into my thoughts and prayers.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me this desire of my heart. I go knowing you lead me. I open my hands releasing all expectations and embrace all you want to teach me/show me. Please guide me to know exactly what to bring. Fill me with you Spirit so your love, grace and truth will overflow into the lives of those I encounter.

Genuine or Counterfeit?

In your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand there are pleasures evermore. Psalm 16:11

Today I was pondering, “Do I associate pleasure more with this world or God?”

Why am I am tempted to think of pleasure as immoral or detrimental to my spiritual life? Why do I fear any indulgence is questionable? I wonder if is because of the lure of counterfeits. Satan has caused us to question God-given genuine pleasure because we realize he has filled with world with substitutes which appear good yet lead to death.

Yes, pleasure can be a lure which captures and enslaves. But pleasure can also draw us to be captivated by God’s goodness.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Gratitude exclaims… ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.”

(I had to look it up 😊 Coruscation – glitter or sparkle.)

I think he saying that every little delight of our day can be an opportunity to take joy in Jesus. Maybe it depends on who/what we tether ourselves-the world or God? If I am truly seeking for God to be present each moment of my life, earthly delights direct my eyes right back to Him. If my heart is divided, perhaps the pleasures I seek entangle me more with the world.

So how will I know if the pleasure is becoming my “god”?

Am I more focused more on the pleasure than One who provides it?

Is my indulgence at the expense of others?

Is my choice in any way compromising my obedience to God?

Am I sacrificing something that should be the Lord’s – time or money?

Again, this is one of those questions, I am still wrestling through. Although I have not figured it out, I believe the answer to the first question I posed should be that I associate pleasure and joy with God.