Devotional Blog

Psalm 119-21, Shin, (“consume”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-21, Shin, Teeth or Consume, verses 161-168:

God. Abba. Father.

Sometimes it seems like people, even our government, is consuming us without cause. So, we turn to your word, today, for encouragement and stability. Your word is sure and steady. It is our firm foundation. When all the rest of life is like a tree arching over in a fierce thunderstorm, we find treasure, shelter, and joy in your word.

We love your word. Its truthful message confronts the lies that are prevalent just about everywhere we turn. We worship you in the morning, at noon, in the evening. You are to be praised throughout the day.

We find the gift of peace when we meditate on your word. We love the beauty and balance in the seasons of life. We celebrate the new life of joyful flowers of the spring, the warmth of the summer, the harvest of autumn, and the dormancy of winter. We love the way you keep our feet from stumbling when we walk on your pathways.

You are our only hope. We obey and trust your ways. You know our hearts and our deepest thoughts. Give us the courage to follow you where you lead.

Thank you for the grace and peace we find through our Messiah, Jesus.

And it’s his name we pray.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Passover Seder for Believers in Jesus (“Yeshua”)… a Haggadah.

Unleavened bread, or matzah, and four glasses of wine are key symbols used to celebrate Passover.

Passover begins this weekend on the Jewish calendar. Many Christians celebrate the holiday on the Thursday evening between Palm Sunday and Easter. A Passover Seder (pronounced SAY-der) is a meal and celebration that tells the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from the bondage of Egypt and Pharoah. The Bible’s book of Exodus tells this story.

What follows is a Haggadah — or Story– that affirms Jesus as the Passover Lamb. Some may suggest it is misguided for Christ-followers to celebrate a Jewish holiday such as Passover. But I would say, Jesus is our Messiah. He was a Jew. This meal is likely the “Last Supper” He celebrated with the disciples in the Upper Room on the night He was betrayed, on the evening before Good Friday. It is very appropriate for believers in Jesus to celebrate the story of the Exodus, as it represents our own story of being in bondage to sin and death and our journey to freedom and life. In the days of Moses, life was given to people of faith by the blood of the lamb painted over the doorposts of houses. Today, we receive life by way of the blood of Jesus “painted” over the doorposts of our hearts.

This Haggadah was originally written for our family over twenty years ago, with input from various people including family friends who are Jewish. Note, most of the symbolic items have been a part of the Jewish tradition of Passover for centuries. Many were not a part of the tradition at the time of the “Upper Room” Passover. Our family added the red scarf/red ribbon as a way to visualize the doors of our hearts being painted with the blood of Jesus. Portions have been directly excerpted from the booklet “Passover Seder and Menu for an Observance by Christians” by Barbara Balzac Thompson, published by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, © 1984.

Passover lasts for eight nights. Feel free to celebrate a Passover Seder any night, not just the first night. Make it work for your family. This is a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to join you. Because of social distancing, maybe you celebrate via Zoom or Skype.

Before you gather, you’ll need a few key ingredients for your table:

Two candlesticks in candle holders.

Wine or grape juice. You’ll be pouring four glasses for each participant, so be sure to have enough on hand for everyone.

Matzah bread. You’ll need at least three full-sized squares on a separate plate wrapped in a cloth or linen napkin. Plus, you’ll want enough for everyone to enjoy as much as they’d like.

The Seder Plate includes items which we’ll feature throughout the evening, including: a lamb shank (you can get this from the butcher at your local grocery store), a dollop of horseradish, a sprig of parsley, charoset (which is a mixture that includes chopped apples, honey, and cinnamon). You will also need in separate bowls/small plates enough horseradish, parsley, and charoset for everyone to enjoy at least a small taste.

For your table, you’ll need a bowl of fresh water (like a cereal bowl) and a smaller bowl (like a ramekin) of salt water (just enough salt to taste salty, maybe 1/2 teaspoon).

A red ribbon, scarf or piece of yarn, about three-to-four feet in length, for each participant.

You’ll also want to have prepared your main course of the evening meal, and keep it warm in the kitchen. You’ll take the first 30-45 minutes of the evening telling the story.

In most families, the father will read through the narrative. There are times when there is a responsive or group reading as well, so it is helpful for everyone to have their own copy, or a shared copy, of the “script” for the evening. Also, this is a very family-friendly event! Children are encouraged to participate. There is a specific place where they are to ask questions, but if you’d like, feel free to allow them to interrupt with queries and laughter. Our Seder is a time bathed in much grace. Sometimes we recline on the floor (more on that later). One year, we actually roasted a lamb on an open pit in the backyard. We often have coloring pages and snacks available for younger children. Feel free to be creative as you like as you demonstrate your love for God’s plan of redemption in the life of your family.

WELCOME

Welcome in the name of Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah! Tonight we will celebrate Pesach (PAH-sach)… Passover. This is the celebration of the most incredible feast on the Jewish and Christian calendars. It intricately weaves a story of God’s power, faithfulness and love for mankind in both the Old and New Testaments. It was celebrated in the Ancient World, in Jesus’ time, and is still celebrated in traditional Jewish homes today.

The first Passover was not a celebration (see Exodus 12). It was a night of apprehension, fear, and expectation for the beginning of a new journey for the children of Israel. The Bible tells us that the Hebrews were to take the blood of a perfect lamb and paint it on their doorposts. By following this command, the Angel of Death which moved through Egypt that night would “pass over” their homes. But since the Angel of Death did not pass over Pharaoh’s house, and his firstborn son was taken from him, his hardened heart was finally softened and the next morning Pharaoh let the Hebrew slaves go free. This meal that we celebrate tonight, the Seder, is symbolic of the rush to leave Egypt and the bondage it represents.

We also celebrate the significance of Yeshua’s last meal, sometimes called the “Last Supper,” a traditional Passover meal, with His disciples in the Upper Room. There is a lot of symbolism between the Old Covenant meal and the New Covenant meal. We hope you’ll enjoy learning how Yeshua tied the two meals together… and how it is applicable to us all.

Tonight, we tell a story, the Haggadah (hah-gaw-DAH), of how the blood of a lamb saved the people of God in the Ancient times… and still saves today.

John 1:29: The next day, John the Baptizer saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Reading: Luke 22:7-20. (This can be read by one of the children).

Let us celebrate the Passover together!

Continue reading Passover Seder for Believers in Jesus (“Yeshua”)… a Haggadah.

Psalm 119-20, Resh, (“thoughts”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-20, Resh, Head or Thoughts, verses 153-160:

God. Abba. Father.

When we see your grace, we marvel. Your love, your compassion, your mercy is great. Our hearts and our minds remember your ways. Deliver us. Help us. Forgive us. Keep us on your path.

Those who have turned their back on you have no hope. We have hope. We have confidence. We are dependent on your ways which are just and true. We love your word. It is our guide. Your word is truth. Your word is life.

We thank you that your word is eternal. It lasts forever. We can trust your word. Thank you for our salvation.

Through Jesus, who is our life.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-19, Kof, (“follow”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-19, Kof, Follow or Behind, verses 145-152:

God. Abba. Father.

We cry out to you. We desire to follow you as you lead. Give us the courage and strength today to do as you command.

As the sun rises, we proclaim that you are good. We put our hope in you. You are worthy of our praise. We trust you, God. Some nights when we can’t sleep, we remember your promises to us. We thank you for always being with us. We thank you that you have always met our needs, even more than we need. We thank you that you have protected us. We thank you that you have always loved us and freely given us your grace. You are faithful and just and true. We are in awe at your holy ways and that you, the One True God, love us so much.

You are near. Your commands are right and true. Your word is life. The Word is Jesus. The One who was, and is, and is to come again.

We praise you Jesus!

Amen!

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-18, Tzadi, (“desire”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-18, Tzadi, Hook or Desire, verses 137-144:

God. Abba. Father.

We desire nothing but to follow your ways. Your word is truth. We can trust you. Where you lead, we will follow. May this prayer be our true proclamation. May we endeavor each day to live as you have taught us.

We love your promises. You have affirmed that you will never leave us. Nothing will be able to separate us from your love. Whether we have plenty or whether we have great want, we will not forget your word. Your word is life. Your commands are our great delight. We find only joy in following your revelation. You are faithful and certain.

Give us understanding so that we may walk in the fullness of your love and grace.

We thank for the grace we find through Jesus. He is the Word. He is our life!

Amen.  

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-17, Pey, (“voice”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-17, Pey, Mouth or Voice, verses 129-136:

God. Abba. Father.

With our lips we praise your holy name today. Every word that comes from your mouth is a word that gives us life and gives us hope. So, we choose to obey your word today. It is a bright and shining light that illuminates our paths. Your word brings clarity to each step we take, so we may walk with confidence and boldness.

Look on us with favor and grace. Please do not turn your eyes away from us. Keep speaking your truths to our hearts. May you be proud of us as a father is proud of his children. Attend to us like a guide in the woods. May your word mark our path as blazes on trees or signposts along the journey. May we remember your promises and be assured that you are taking great care of us.

Protect us from those who seek to take us down. Teach us. Lead us. We trust you God. Our hearts break for those who turn their backs to you. Use us to reach them. May your Holy Spirit move through the Land. Break chains. Bring healing and comfort. Give sight to those who are blinded by untruths. May your perfect peace rest on us all.

Thank you for the word which brings life. The word is Jesus. His grace is abundant for us all.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-16, Ayin, (“understand”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-16, Ayin, Eye or Understand, verses 121-128:

God. Abba. Father.

Sometimes our eyes are weary. We look for you but do not see you. We seek to understand your ways, but confess we lack understanding. Our prayer today, Lord, we ask you give us your eyes to see the world, to see our situations, to see our friends and even our enemies the way you see them. Give our hearts the eyes to see your hope and your glory. Give us eyes to see you clearly.

We pray for wisdom and understanding today, Lord. May your word teach us your truths. Those who rebel against you discard your truths. They do not respect your revelation, nor your word. Pierce their hearts as you have ours. Show them your mercy, your love, and your grace. Jesus, who is the Word who brings life, came for them like He came for us. Move in all our hearts. Use us to reach those who reject you.

We love you and we love your word. It is more valuable than fat bank accounts or fancy cars or big houses. Teach us to value the time we invest in reading, studying, praying, and talking about you and your truths. Everything you have spoken to us is right and good and just and wise and for our benefit. Keep us on the true path and guide us, for we do not want to go where you have not led.

We thank you for Jesus, our shepherd.

In His name we pray.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-15, Samach, (“support”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-15, Samach, Support or Uphold, verses 113-120

God. Abba. Father.

Thank you for holding us up and supporting us and providing us with everything we need. We love your word and your truths. Forgive us when we get distracted, double-minded, and get lost. You are the place of quiet retreat where we find safety, encouragement, love, wisdom, and grace. We put our hope in you. You fill us up. You lift us up. You hold us up.

Thank you for keeping your promises to us. Your word is truth. Your word is life. We are in awe before you, the One True God. You judge the earth with careful righteousness. We thank you that as we embrace Jesus, our Messiah, you call us “forgiven,” “son,” and “daughter.” That’s when we tremble at your great compassion. That’s when we bow and worship.

We love you and thank you for Jesus.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-14, Nun (“life”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-14, Nun, Fish or Life, verses 105-112

God. Abba. Father.

Thank you for the light of life that guides our path in this dark world. Your word lights the way for us to go. No matter what trouble we may get into, thank you that your light is always brighter than any darkness. Even when everything appears to be falling apart, your word gives us the direction to be put back together by your grace. We are committed to following where you lead, Lord.

We will always praise you. Teach us your holy ways. Those who oppose you, and oppose us, seem to always be on our backs. May your Holy Spirit keep us always on track. Your word gives us life. Your word is our treasure. Your word is our joy!

Every step we take, we will follow. Even if we are afraid. We will trust you. We will trust the light. We will trust your word.

Jesus says he is the light, our light, who shines in the darkness.

We trust you, Jesus.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 119-13, Mem (“water”)

Here is today’s prayer from Psalm 119-13, Mem, Water or People, verses 97-104:

God. Abba. Father.

Day after day we come back to a love for your word, the Bible. There is great depth to your word. Just as we cannot see all the fish and plants that are below the ocean’s surface, there are valuable lessons for life as we dig deep into the word. Give us a hunger for your word. May your teachings always be on our hearts and in our minds. Thank you for teaching us new insights, even through familiar and ancient stories. Your word is fresh and gives us understanding and wisdom for the issues we are wrestling with today.

You are our teacher, Lord. We will not reject your ways, for they lead to life. Yes, the word is sweeter than honey. We love to read, and meditate, and consume your decrees. They are relevant. They hold the keys to unlocking our greatest questions and the daily living out of our lives. Thank you for this great instruction book, your word.

Your word is life. The Word is Jesus.

In His name we pray.

Amen.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

(c) 2021. Rich Ronald.