Category Archives: Life

Our Passover Lamb

The way God frees the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt involves a lot of puzzling things, especially hardening Pharoah’s heart and the destructive ten plagues, but the rescue also involves a lot of symbolic things.  The Lord claims the nation of Israel as his firstborn son,  and he kills every firstborn in Egypt in the final plague to emphasize this and to finally free his people from their slavery.  He tells Moses and Aaron to tell the people of Israel to kill a lamb, spread its blood on their doorposts, and roast and eat its flesh the night before the Lord is to kill every Egyptian firstborn.  The lamb’s sacrificial blood will cause the Lord to pass over the houses of the Israelites, sparing their firstborns.

This Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 is a foreshadowing of the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ.  The blood of his sacrifice on the cross covers our sins by forgiving them.  Because of his blood, we are spared from the death earned by our sins; we are spared the righteous judgment of God and given life instead.

I had never noticed the bit about eating the Passover Lamb.  This time when I read about the Passover and thought of Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb, I remembered his puzzling words in John 6: 53-55:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. ”

It makes more sense in light of the feast of the Passover.  The people ate the flesh of their sacrificial lamb.  In the same way, we feast on the flesh of our sacrificial lamb.  We let his grace, mercy, and righteousness be the substance that gives us life, strength, and nourishment.

As Jesus celebrated his last Passover feast with his disciples before his crucifixion “he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying ‘This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood'” (Luke 22: 19-20).

Communion is a picture of this feasting on the flesh of our Passover Lamb, who gave his life freely as a sacrifice for us, that we might be forgiven, spared, and rescued from slavery to sin.  Let’s feast daily, every moment, on his incredible grace, love, righteousness, and eternal life given to us in his sacrifice on the cross!  His flesh is true food and his blood is true drink because they save and sustain our souls, which are eternal.

 

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On Feasting

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God!  The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see.”  Psalm 36: 7-9

After Jesus died and then rose from the dead, he told his disciples, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”  (Luke 24:44-46)

I love that all of the Old Testament points to Jesus.  And I saw Jesus so plainly in Psalm 36: 7-9 this morning.  His body is the feast from the abundance of God’s house and his blood is the river of delights.  For in his body and blood are forgiveness and eternal security.  He is the fountain of life, forever gushing and flowing.  He is light.  In him and through him do we see things as they truly are.  In him we see our sin and unrighteousness, grievous offenses before a holy, perfect, and sovereign Creator, God, and King.  In him we also see the extravagant gift of grace and mercy – his substitutionary death that exchanged our deserved death with his deserved life.  He bore God’s wrath so that we might receive righteousness, sonship, and an eternal inheritance.  In Jesus we see suffering anew, knowing that it does not compare to the glory we will experience in heaven in God’s presence.  We see death rightly, as having no power over us and no sting.  Because Christ, who is our life, has conquered the grave!  In him we see the pleasures and riches of this world as they truly are – temporary, fading shadows of the true pleasures and riches to come!

Oh Jesus, thank you.  Thank you for giving your body and blood that we may feast on grace, forgiveness, and truth.  You sustain us more than physical food and drink.  Thank you for eternal, abundant life.  Thank you that you are the light in which we truly see. 

 

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A Humble Thanks

Today as I was praying for a newly married couple we know, I reflected on how great our first 15 months of marriage have been.  And I wondered how many people had prayed for our marriage just like I was praying for our friends’ marriage.  I was humbled to think of how God has honored your prayers.

If you have ever prayed for our marriage, thank you.  We deeply appreciate it.

And please continue!  We are determined to be married our whole lives, and that will take a lot of perseverance, patience, and forgiveness.  None of these are natural for us.  But praise be to God, because he supplies these things through the power of his Holy Spirit!  Please pray that we would continue to depend on him to make our marriage strong and last a lifetime.

Thank you.

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One Year

September 5 was our first Anniversary!  We’ve had an absolute blast and are so thankful to the Lord for blessing us with a great first year of marriage!  It was really fun to pull the top tier of our wedding cake out of the freezer, cut into it, and think through all the places we’ve been and things we’ve done together.  We remembered fondly our honeymoon, road trip to NYC and Boston (thanks Bowyer family and Jill!), month in Big Canoe, GA (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), business trips (Atlanta, McDonough, Roanoke, Chattanooga, Birmingham, Vance, and Norfolk), our first apartment in Macon, all the friends we made there, and our recent move to Birmingham.  The Lord has been so faithful to us, and we are trusting him to provide for us just as faithfully in many more years to come!

 

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Eggplant Lasagna

I was flipping through a co-worker’s home decor/homemaking magazine two weeks ago at work when I came across this recipe for Eggplant Lasagna.  It struck a cord with me and I vowed that no matter how complicated it looked or how hard it would be for me to half the recipe I would make it!  So I got all the ingredients and adapted some things I already had and set to work.  It was so delicious that I’m willing to go through all the trouble to make it again.  It is a little long and involved, but it really is scrumptious and healthy.  The eggplant slices become the noodles (and I guess the meat as well), so it feels a lot healthier.  And, really, it’s not as intimidating as it looks.

Makes 8 servings.  Working time 30 minutes, total time 1 hr. 50 min.

2 large bell peppers (1 green, 1 red.  I just used 1 green when I halved this recipe)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil (I used vegetable oil because we ran out of olive oil!)
3/4 tsp each dried thyme and oregano leaves (I used “Italian Seasoning” which contains thyme and oregano, among “other spices”)
salt and pepper
3 medium eggplants (about 3 lbs), cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices (I found an eggplant that weighed 1.5 lbs at the store)
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups store-bought marinara sauce (about 36 ounces). I used Classico Four Cheese.
16 ounces skim ricotta
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (I used the Kraft parm cheese that comes in that green cylindrical container)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I used dried ones from a spice can)
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded

1. Heat broiler.  Roast peppers on a baking sheet, turning occasionally, until blackened, 10 to 15 minutes (It took my oven a little longer and it was only partially blackened, but it worked just fine).  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes to steam and loosen skin.  Scrape blackened skin from pepper, then seed (the seeds on mine just fell out).  Slice into 2-and-1/4-inch strips and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, reduce oven heat to 350.  In a small bowl, combine 3 tbs olive oil with thyme, oregano, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.  Brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil mixture and place in single layers on 3 baking sheets.  Bake, in batches if necessary, until lightly browned and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes per batch.  I ended up brushing on more of this oil and spice mixture than it called for, I ended up using the whole recipe in this section for half of the eggplant.

3. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook onion and 4 garlic cloves with remaining oil (1 tbs) until golden, about 8 minutes.  Add marinara sauce, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, remaining garlic, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread about 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce in bottom of a 9×13 in baking dish before assembling 3 layers.  For the first layer: Place one-third of eggplant slices over sauce.  Dollop one-third of ricotta mixture over eggplant, then sprinkle on one-third of mozzarella.  Drizzle with 1 1/4 cups sauce and add half the peppers.  Repeat the same process, layering eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, sauce, and peppers.  For third layer: Add remaining eggplant, ricotta, marinara sauce, and mozzarella.  Bake lasagna at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes until sauce is bubbling and mozzarella is melted and beginning to brown.

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Limeade

We got out the bottle of lime juice we’ve been storing in our refrigerator door for months in order to add it to some homemade guacamole when I noticed a recipe on the back of the bottle for limeade.  I’ve never considered myself a lime lover, and I’ve never really had limeade, but I felt especially willing to try it, as I had just succumbed to the temptation of Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips in the grocery store minutes before.  I decided to make it, and boy am I glad I did.

This recipe is insanely easy and is a bit like drinking Key Lime Pie.  And it’s definitely refreshing.

Here’s the recipe for one glass:

3/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons lime juice

2 Tablespoons sugar

 

Combine the ingredients, stir until sugar is dissolved, add ice, and enjoy!

 

 

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Find Your Beach

Have you seen that Corona commercial?  I was reminded of it when my husband and I set up the cheap plastic chairs we  bought at Walmart for our patio today.  We brought out a little end table, broke out the Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade (which neither of us particularly like), and settled in for an afternoon of chillin on our beach.

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