Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gee, the Year is almost over

I have managed to keep up with my reading.  Yes, there are days I have missed.  The days have added up to weeks here and there, but this year has been my most consistent year yet.  I really wanted to keep track of it all on the blog, but I just could not keep up with writing about it all.

As the year has been winding down, I started to think about what kind of goal I should take on for next year.  I wondered if I should just go ahead and attempt to read through another version of the One Year Bible.  We studied ancient history last year, and are working through the middle ages this year.  I really liked the idea of reading through the Bible chronologically.

So this year I picked up the NIV version of the One Year Chronological Bible.  I am so anxious to start reading through it!  The readings are arranged in the order the events are to have actually happened. 

I am hoping to start keeping track of my reading here.  I am not sure what that will look like yet. I guess we will see once the New Year begins.

I'd love to hear how the year went for you and if you are going to use another reading program in the New Year.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To Endure, or to Dance...

I've kept up with my reading...

but not with my writing.

We are just starting 1 Chronicles. 

But I also read a verse recently from Proverbs:
"The Spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?"
Prov. 18:14

I also came across this verse,

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Rom. 5:3-5

My body is weak.  I am not sure why.  It is harder to push through the pain these days.  I find myself looking more and more to HIM for help.

In the Romans verse, HE asks me to exult in my tribulation.

 I looked up the Merriam-Webster :  from Latin exsultare, literally, to leap up, from
 ex- + saltare.. to leap...: to be extremely joyful : rejoice

Looked up rejoice...and then glory...
a : praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : renown b : worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving <giving glory to God>
I should be thankful for the tribulation.  
It is His way to build within my heart and soul...proven character.
I am having a hard time expressing myself here.
For some reason in my mind it is clearer to me today.  I am not called to endure the suffering, I am called to exalt in the suffering.  To rejoice for it, to praise God in the midst of it, to thank Him for glory in it!
To leap!  To jump dance...
To dance for joy in my tribulations.
I love to dance.
When I dance, my body and soul feel alive.  Energy pulses through every inch of my being....
Didn't I just say I felt...weak?
Too weak to push through the pain?
God is whispering to me. 
 He is telling me to... dance.
To give glory for the weakness and the pain and rejoice in my sufferings for He is at work and is able to do more than I could ever Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. Eph. 3:20.
Why am I so quiet about the suffering?
Let us worshipfully dance through the suffering...
"The Spirit of a man can endure his sickness..."
He may endure.  Or he may leap for joy...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The Israelites are about to cross over into the Promise land. 
And this is what the Lord has to say to them:

"It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul,
 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.
 "He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Then He warns them:
 "Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.
"Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you. Deut. 11:12-17

Not only that, but HE really wants them to pay attention to these words:

"You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
 "You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.  Deut.11: 18-21
Pay attention to those words, and remember them.  And be sure you teach them to your children.  Not just on Sundays, but as you go through your day.
You do not want to ever forget these words.
If you remember these words, and keep His commands, He promises this....

 "For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him,
then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.
"Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea.
"No man will be able to stand before you; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you. Deut.11: 22-25

All of this reminds me of Psalm 23.

We had some news this week that was hard to swallow.

Our life as we know it could possibly be turned upside down.

I do not know what God has planned for our life, for our family, and I could easily loose my mind if I spend too much time thinking about it.  But I think I will throw myself unto the promises here...and trust that the Lord will provide for everything we need, that He will go before us, and protect us from those who may try to tear us apart. 

What have you been learning this week?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Spies!

So we are in Numbers now and there is a lot going on!

The sons of Israel were still grumbling.

Moses would go before the Lord and intercede on their behalf.

The spies went out, came back, and blew it.

The Lord decided they would die in the wilderness:

"Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice,
 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.
 But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it." Numbers 14:22-24

The Lord is not happy.  He decides to punish those who have experience HIS glory and HIS signs, and have not listened.  They will not enter the land.

Caleb, however, had a different spirit, and followed the Lord...FULLY!  The Lord blesses this spirit, and promises Caleb will enter the land!

Oh that the Lord would say that about our family some day.  That we have a different spirit, and follow the Lord fully!

After the Israelites hear this, they take matters into their own hands.

"When Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people mourned greatly.
 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised."
 But Moses said, "Why then are you transgressing the commandment of the LORD, when it will not succeed?
 "Do not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the LORD is not among you.
 "For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following the LORD. And the LORD will not be with you."
 But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses left the camp.
 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah. Numbers 14:39-45

The Israelites reacted to that sobering news, fumbled around and took matters into their own hands.  They didn't get it.  They did not really hear what the Lord had said.  They filtered out what they thought was the good news, and heedlessly took off to claim the promised land.

And were slaughtered.

Ya know, reading through the Old Testament can be very sobering.  God is really into the details, and really expected the Israelites to pay attention to them.  God gave them details, so that HE might dwell among them.  And when the Israelites ignored those details, they felt the consequences.  Going it alone did not work.  They ran off, without the Ark, without Moses, without God's presence, and were pummelled.

Going it alone does not work.  It did not work back then, and it does not work now.  But for some reason we keep trying it.

We need God's presence.  We need His protection.  And we cannot enjoy either if we chose to go it alone.

Check out Proverbs 10:29-30
The Way of the Lord is a stronghold for the upright, but ruin to workers of iniquity.
The righteous will never be shaken, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sabbath Rest and Jubilee

Jeff and I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to use our blessings to bless those in need.  This has been a much discussed topic lately and then we find ourselves in Leviticus and reading about sabbath rest and Jubilee.  These are not just words written for the children of Israel oh so long ago.
They are the living words of God that were written long ago for all those who would read them through the ages. 
They are words that were written for you and me.
I think our culture tends to believe we deserve rest.  We deserve our vacation time, our trips. 
I think we spend enormous amounts of time, money, and energy planning vacations and trips so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. 
Oh, the planning.  The planning is so much fun, isn't it?  You read up on historical hot spots and lovely hotels and map out the best route.  You find local restaurants you "must" check out and attractions your kids just have to see!"
I am not so sure that is what God would really have for us.  I am not so sure that is how we should be spending our time "off."
To be honest, I am a little nervous about even expressing these thoughts.  I do not want to held accountable for them!  We really like to travel.  We love to explore new places and experience new things.  We love to camp and fish and indulge in the great outdoors.
I do not want to give that up.
But we are only given one life.  We are given one life by a God who provides for us just what we need.  And perhaps He is wanting us to help Him provide for those who are in need.  Perhaps we would not see so many "in need" if we let go of all the extras in our life. Can you even imagine?
(I just deleted a rant about all the "stuff" we could give up in order to care for those in need.  You all know that rant.  You've either ranted about it yourself or have listened to someone else rant about need to go there in this post)
We know a family who is spending their vacation time going on a missions trip.  They are taking their children and are going to minister to orphan children and work in a children's camp in the mountains. 
Isn't that just lovely?
Those kids will not get to experience Mickey Mouse this summer.
They will experience something so.much.more.
They will experience God's blessing and provision as God uses them to bless and provide for those kids.
And that is way cooler than riding the Giant Drop at Great America.
I read on in Leviticus and this is what the Lord said:
You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.
 You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD.
 If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out,
 then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
What an amazing passage!
Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
Isn't THAT what Leviticus has been all about?  It has been about God preparing the Israelites for HIS plan to dwell among them.  This is God's deepest desire.  To dwell among HIS people.
Can you even imagine?  The awe and wonder and fear of it all?

Just a note:
I wrote this post last week, and then had to sit on it.  I am still chewing this all over...what Jubilee meant to the people of Israel and how we are to see it and apply it to our life.  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That Which is Unclean

Up until now I have really enjoyed my reading through the Old Testament.  So many details that I have not noticed before have come to life.  It has been a wonderful time.

But I must admit, I am finding Leviticus to be a bit difficult to get through.

The details still surprise me.  But the details are so..detailed! 

Details about sacrifices, sin offerings, peace offerings, burnt offerings. 
I find it overwhelming.

Then I read this:
Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. Lev. 9:22-23

Moses and Aaron did as the Lord had commanded.  They offered the sacrifices, just as they were instructed; to make themselves clean.  Clean so they might enjoy the presence of God.  When they were done, the Lord made himself known. 

The Israelites sure did get it.  They shouted, and fell right on their faces!  When is the last time you were so overcome with the presence of God that you actually fell on your face?

Pretty impressive stuff.

God was basically saying, "Follow my directions, and I will make myself known to you."

Not missing a beat, Aaron's sons decided to join in on the fun.

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying,
         'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
         And before all the people I will be honored.'"
         So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.

Moses said to Aaron, "Why are you so surprised?  This IS what God said!
Gotta love Moses.  For someone who was so timid in the beginning, he knew just what to say, didn't he?
God was letting the Israelites know, as clear as He could be,
If you do not follow instructions, you will not live.

God even instructed Aaron and his family how they were to react to his sons' death...

Moses called also to Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron's uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp." So they came forward and carried them still in their tunics to the outside of the camp, as Moses had said. Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about. You shall not even go out from the doorway of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the LORD'S anointing oil is upon you." So they did according to the word of Moses.
Lev. 10:4-7

God was serious.  He needed Moses and Aaron to demonstrate how serious HE was.  They needed to follow His instructions, completely, in order for the Israelites to understand that they needed to thoroughly follow those instructions, as well.

Details, details details.  Chapter after chapter of...details.

Here is another detail I found to be a bit much:

 Speak to the sons of Israel, saying,  These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat. Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you. Likewise, the shaphan, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
 These you may eat, whatever is in the water: all that have fins and scales, those in the water, in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you, and they shall be abhorrent to you; you may not eat of their flesh, and their carcasses you shall detest. Whatever in the water does not have fins and scales is abhorrent to you.  Lev. 11: 2-13
My eyes started to glaze over after "Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs..."
I cannot help but wonder if the Israelites started daydreaming during this part.  Or maybe, after all that manna, they were a bit put out?   Did they eat camel back then?  I can imagine a rabbit, but a camel?  Was that something they indulged in before, or was it something they would not even DREAM of eating?  Were they rolling their eyes and groaning, like my twelve year old does when she is told no, or did all of this make sense to them? 
Is God concerned today about our eating habits?  If we were to adopt Levitical dietary restrictions today, would our health would dramatically improve?  Is His concern for shaphan (rock badger) well founded?  Will eating them clog up our arteries?
I keep thinking about a phrase I find myself saying to my kids quite a bit,  "We do not make these rules in order to torture you or make your life miserable.  We keep these rules because we love you, and want you to be healthy and safe." 
Is this what God was thinking?  Was He trying to keep his people healthy and safe?
It all seems to revolve around holiness.  He wanted to be sure the Israelites knew what was clean, and unclean.  He insisted on cleanliness, because He wanted to have a relationship with them. 
He wanted to maintain His presence.
And if they ventured into uncleanliness, there were rules about how to deal with it.  
What did Moses say after the death of Aaron's sons?

"It is what the LORD spoke, saying,
         'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
         And before all the people I will be honored.'"

Maybe Leviticus is not so pointless and overwhelming as I thought.

It's all in the details....

We should follow God's instructions. 
We should treat Him as holy. 
We should honor him before all the people. 

And if we do...
We will experience His presence. 

Promises from Psalm 37: 3-6

Trust in the LORD and do good;
 Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

 Delight yourself in the LORD;
 And He will give you the desires of your heart. 
 Commit your way to the LORD,
 Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
 And your judgment as the noonday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He is all about the details...

This week we read all about the Temple.
It's funny, Mackenzie was studying the temple for her Biblical Studies class at the same time.
I love how God does that, don't you?
Teaching you the same stories, the same lessons, in different places of your life,
but all at the same time!

Jeff and the girls built a model of the temple.
It was an extra credit project for Biblical Studies class.
The details involved were overwhelming.
God was very specific in His instructions.
God was very intentional in who he asked to craft all of the different parts of the tabernacle.
He purposefully gifted certain people to carry out these plans.
Moses was very careful when he shared God's plan and made sure each detail was carried out perfectly.

God cares about every detail of our life, doesn't He?

 The eastern gate of the Tabernacle.
The Alter of Burnt Offering stood in the center.
The Stands to prepare the sacrifice were to the right.
The laver (bowl) was used by the Priest to wish his hands and feet.
The interior structure was the Holy place, and the Holy of Holies.

The Holy Place contained the Alter of Incense, which was lit twice a day.
It also contained the Table of Showbread which held the
12 cakes representing the twelve tribes.
The Gold Lampstand with seven bulbs also stood in the Holy Place.
A curtain was drawn between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.
The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant and the Atonement Cover.
Within the Ark was the Gold Jar of Manna, Aaron's staff, and the Testimony Tablets.

There were four layers involved in the roof of the tabernacle.
The first layer was a seraph patterned cloth.
Then a white cloth, a red ram's skin, and the exterior was actually sea cow skin.
The NASB used the word porpoise to describe it.

The Israelites were very involved in the process of gathering materials.
They did so willingly, sacrificially.

and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD. Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.

The Israelites were not guilted into giving their possessions. 
They gave willingly.  Sacrificially.

All of this makes me think about the church today, and how we build and maintain our houses of worship.

Is He involved in the details?
Do we give willingly, sacrificially,


Oh so long ago, God took the time to explain all the details.
Moses took the time to carry them out, and write them down.
The Israelites took the time to listen carefully and provide what was needed.
God is in the details, isn't He?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Mess with Strangers...

So we have read all about what the Hebrews have experienced under the rule of Pharaoh.  And we have journeyed with them, wandered about in the wilderness, and found them in battle with Amalek.  They set down in the shadow of Mt. Sinai, and we learn The Ten Commandments...

Have you spent much time thinking about all the laws that come after the Ten Commandments?

There are laws about slaves, laws about oxen, laws about goring, laws about sorcery.

All kinds of laws.

This is the paragraph that took my breath away.

He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be utterly destroyed.  And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.  If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and my anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
Ex. 22:22-24

Check this comes up again...a few verses later...

And you shall not oppress a stranger, since you yoursleves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Ex. 23:9

Don't mess with strangers, for you were once a stranger.

Todays reading in Matthew:

 But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
 Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
 Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
 The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Matt. 25:31-40.

The rest of that passage goes on to discuss the goats, and those who did not care for the stranger in need.

All through the ages, God tells us to care for the stranger..

"for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

He wanted the Hebrews to remember.  He allowed them to struggle through perhaps so that they would...remember.

Perhaps that is why we struggle through, too.  Perhaps we need the struggle, so we... remember?

Don't mess with strangers.  Love them, care for them the way He has always, always loved you. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Scripture Memory Check In: Colossians 1:2-6

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all Gods people-the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world-just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood Gods grace.  Colossians 1:2-6.

I have to say, memorizing these verses has been so uplifting.  Oh..if only I could be like the Colossians.  They had a grip on the TRUE meaning of the gospel, and they were living it out.
Oh..I want to live it out, too.  Don't you?

What really jumped out at me was the phrase...your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all Gods people- the faith and love that SPRING from the HOPE stored up for you in HEAVEN...

Oh...Oh....I want to have that kind of faith.  Faith that springs from the hope stored up for HEAVEN.

I started thinking about the word spring.  That word is full of life, isn't it?

A spring could be a metal device that stores up energy....or contains energy, or absorbs energy...right?  Like the spring you might put on a tire, or a bicycle seat, to keep it from being too bouncy.  The spring absorbs the energy the tire is experiencing, so you might not experience it, too.  Gee, isn't that just like our hope in heaven?  Our hope in heaven gives us peace, doesn't it?  When we look at our worries in the light of heaven, our worries kind of get put in their place, don't they?  That is what our hope does for us.  It absorbs all that bad energy, the lies and deception that pull us away from Christ, and replaces it with the truth!  Our hope in the gospel smooths out the bumps in the road!

There is another kind of spring.  A spring may feed a body of water.  The source of a lake may come from the depths of the earth.  Spring fed lakes have the cleanest, clearest water, and are filled with life.  Fishermen prefer to do their fishing on spring fed lakes.  Our faith springs from hope.  Our faith gets it energy from the hope of heaven.  The SOURCE of our faith is our hope.  Our faith comes from the depths of our hope.  Our hope FEEDS our faith.  To sustain our faith, we must always go back to the hope of heaven.

And of course, we cannot forget the season of spring, which is by far my favorite season.  Spring is the season of new life.  The air is full of energy, and all around us nature awakes from its winter nap.  It is the season of second chances.  Everything wonderful that ever happened to me, happened in the spring.  I met my faith friends in the spring, and they led me to Christ.  I met my hubby in the spring, and I met every single one of my daughters in the spring. 

Spring is when we celebrate Easter.  We celebrate our new life in Christ.  We celebrate the hope we have in HIM, because HE made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.  He died in order to redeem us from our sins, and rose again three days later in order to give us a new life in HIM.  This, by the way, is the true message of the gospel.  There is no other.  Only through Christ may you experience God's grace.  Only through Christ may you experience the hope of heaven.

Faith, love and hope are all mentioned in the Colossians passage.  The three are intertwined, aren't they?  You cannot have one without the other, can you?  The faith that leads us to believe in the gospel, compels us to love those around us.  Our hope in heaven gives us the patience and ability to continue to love those around us.  There cannot be hope in heaven without faith in the gospel, and there cannot be enduring love without hope in eternity!

It is only the faith and love that spring from the hope in heaven that will give you the ability to bear fruit.  It is impossible to bear fruit any other way.  Only hope in the true message of the gospel will feed you, and feed those around you.  You've got to feed on the right food...the life giving waters of the gospel, or you will not grow.

Our prayer is that we all may....

   ... be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water...
                           which yields its fruit in its season
                                                     and its leaf does not wither... Psalm 1:3

Just a note:  I have linked to John Piper's sermon on Joy Purchased.  If you are interested in hearing more about the gospel, and what Christ has done for you on your behalf, please take a peek.,
Please feel free to e-mail me at

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Oh..what a rich week it has been.  All about Moses and his adventures.  Mac and I have been chatting quite a bit about the events leading up to the Exodus this week.  She was assigned a paper for her Biblical Studies class.  This paper was to compare the adventures of Moses and how he was a picture of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.  I thought it would be fun to have Mac be a guest on our blog!

Moses and Jesus

Moses and Jesus lived in totally different times. Moses lived in Egypt in 1491 B.C. and Jesus lived in Jerusalem in 4 B.C. Two of the ways Moses reflects Jesus is Moses displayed God’s power to show His people that the Lord had sent him and ultimately saved God’s people.

After fleeing to Median, Moses became a shepard. God commanded Moses to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go. God gave Moses three signs: leprosy, the serpent staff, and the Nile River turned to blood. Moses journeyed back to Egypt to carry out God’s commands. When he arrived there and told Pharaoh of God’s commands, Pharaoh hardened his heart and said no. After suffering through the ten plagues, Pharaoh relents and frees God’s people. Moses had carried out God’s plan and delivered His people from slavery. Jesus was sent by God to save us from the slavery of sin. He came to the world and performed miracles to show that His father, the Lord, sent Him. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Me will not perish, but have everlasting life.” He was crucified on the cross for the sins that we have committed. What conquered death and freed us from the slavery of sin was the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Matthew 28:6 says, “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said He would.”

Something new that I have learned is that Moses was a picture of Christ. He performed miracles to prove he was from God, just as Christ did. He led His people out of slavery just as Jesus Christ did for us, and for all of those who believed in Him.

I love it when God lines up events so we are learning the same lesson through different circumstances and means.  Mac was scheduled to be studying Moses at the same time that we were reading through these chapters in Exodus!

I am still taking this all in.  Moses and his struggles point to so many lessons in everyday life.  What have you been learning?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Scripture Typer

Oh, I am so excited about this!  Along with reading the One Year Bible for 2011, I have also embarked on an attempt to memorize the book of Colossians this year.  Well, I have to admit, this has not gone as planned.  It has been a huge struggle for me.  Jeff has even tried to help me with it, but I just cannot retain a thing.  No matter how many times I read through the verses and tried to repeat them, the words would not stick.  I was about to give up.

And then I found Scripture Typer.  If you are wanting to memorize, and tend to learn visually, please go check this thing out!  Instead of reading a verse and trying to repeat it out loud, you type it!  There are several ways to learn the verse.  You may choose to have the whole verse in front of you as you practice.  You may have parts of the verse pictured while you fill in the blanks.  And ultimately, you attempt to type the whole thing from memory.

In one night, I had the first four verses of Colossians down!  It can be done!

You may print out memory cards, too!

I am thinking I might have the kids start using it, too.  They can work on their typing skills while they learn scripture!  This thing keeps track of how fast you type, so you can compete against yourself, or even others, if you'd like!

Go check it out! It is fabulous! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


We have managed to keep up with the reading, but have not been as thorough or as thoughtful as the weeks before.  I have been taking pretty detailed notes on the Old Testament, trying to soak up all the stuff that I can sometimes miss when I am reading through a passage.  But this week Jeff has been reading the passages out loud, and instead of taking notes, I have been chatting with him about it all.

Do you have someone you are reading along with?

This week found us reading all about Joseph, and the struggles he encountered.  How his wretched brothers, out of jealousy, plotted to kill him, and in the end sold him off instead.  How he found his way to Potiphar's home, only to be chased down by the woman of the house, and tossed into prison.  How he was forgotten in prison, and then remembered once more...and finally made his way to second in command to Pharaoh.

Joseph finally became reacquainted with his brothers when they came looking for food during the famine.  His brothers did not recognize him, and Joseph took his time revealing himself.

When Joseph finally told his brothers who he was...this is what he said to them...

"I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me me before you to preserve life...
Now therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God: and he has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt."  Gen. 45: 4b and Gen 45:7

Are you able to look at life this way?  Can you look into the eyes of those who have hurt you and see them this way?  Joseph was completely filtering his circumstances through the eyes of the Lord.  How does he do this?  I know I am not one to forgive or forget easily.  I can hold onto my hurts fiercely.  Can you imagine how that scene might have played out if Joseph had held onto bitterness?  How his whole life could have been so different if he had not walked with the LORD through all the suffering?

All through the story there are references to the Lord being with Joseph.  Here is one..

Gen. 39:2-4
"The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge."

Joseph was a man of integrity.  All who came in contact with him see it.  They saw the LORD in him.They recognized the LORD immediately.  Is this what happens to you?  Do the people around you recognize the LORD in your life?  Are you living in such a way that reflects Him? 

I know this is simple and stuff we have all heard before.  But it is good to remember, especially when we are struggling.  Joseph's life was one struggle after another.  And yet the LORD prevailed through it all.  He never choose to walk away from the LORD when he himself had been forgotten in prison.  He waited on the LORD, and the LORD prevailed.

I have to admit, I am nothing like Joseph.  As soon as things get difficult, I fall right back into sinful patterns.  I do not wait upon the Lord, I get angry and frustrated and want to give up.  I do not want to forgive, or try to see how the LORD may be in a difficult circumstance, working out some greater good that perhaps we cannot quite see.  And what is truly pathetic is that there are so many times the LORD has shown His face upon our life even though we have been impatient and acted out of frustration.  HE is incredibly patient with us!

Oh may I be more  like Joseph in the days to come.

Funny...just looked down at Psalm 16: 1-3
Preserve me O God, for I take refuge in Thee
I said to the Lord,
"Thou art my Lord, I have no good besides Thee,"
As for the saints who are in the earth, (like Joseph?)

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight....

and later...Psalm 16: 5-11
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
        You support my lot.
    The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
         Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
    I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
         Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
    I have set the LORD continually before me;
         Because He is  at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Joseph was not shaken)
    Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
         My flesh also will dwell securely.
    For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
         Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
    You will make known to me the path of life;
         In Your presence is fullness of joy;
         In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Do you suppose Joseph reflected on his heritage?

He remembered who he really was, and trusted that the LORD would remember him, too?

That is faith, isn't it?
Trusting the LORD to remember us?
Reflecting on who we are in HIM?

In HIS presence is fullness of joy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Serious "Stuff and Nonsense"

Know that term?

Stuff and nonsense.  If you love Anne of Green probably remember Marilla using that phrase whenever Anne would get roped into some kind of  trouble.  Her red -haired temperament seemed to constantly get her into a jam.  Anne would come fretting to Marilla about it all, and Marilla would exclaim,
"Stuff and Nonsense!"

This past week of reading was filled with all kinds of stuff and nonsense. Stuff of a much more serious nature.    Isaac lies about his wife's identity.  Rebekah and their son Jacob pull a fast one over on Isaac and steal Esau's birthright.  Jacob runs away.  Laban deceives Jacob...and Jacob ends up married to Leah as well as Rachel..  The competition is on between the two women to see who can give Jacob the most children!

The Old Testament reads like a soap opera!

Jacob decides to reach out to Esau...offering gifts in hopes to gain favor.  Jacob is filled with fear.  Then the famous wrestling match happens and Jacob is told he will be called Israel.  He struggles with the Lord all night...and his meeting with Esau goes well.  They are reconciled.

But the nonsense is far from over.  Jacob's son's, in a rage over the wrong done to sister Dinah, talks Hamor, Schechem and all the men of their city to become "one of them.." They kill them all!  Jacob once again lives in fear, this time because of his sons' recklessness. 

This time God tells Jacob to journey up to Bethel and live there.  God tells him to clean up his act...and make an alter at Bethel. 

Jacob listens to God.  He gathers his family, tells them to get rid of their idols and purify themselves...
"...let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and has been with me wherever I have gone."
Gen. 35:5

God is at it again.  He not only has a chat with Jacob...but gives him a new name.

Jacob, by the way, means heal catcher, leg-puller, or supplanter.

Makes sense, right?  The guy did finagle his brother out of his birthright!

But Jacob changes.  After all the running away, he seems to have developed some muscle.  He has learned to hang in there when things get tough.  He recognizes God and will not let go.  And God blesses him.

God renames him Israel..."One who contends with God."


One Who Perseveres.

One who Perseveres.

Are you one who perseveres?

The girls and I were reading about idolatry.  Now, I tend to think about material "stuff" when the topic of idolatry pops up.   You know..the golden calf....graven images...all the junk that clutters up our life.

But we were reminded that idolatry can be about fear, too.  Your worries can consume you.  They can take the place of God in your heart.  If you are afraid, you are NOT trusting God.  Here is a list of stuff I have been worried about in the last few hours:

Violin lessons.
A science fair exhibit.
Blood work
Home school or kindergarten?
Aging pet.
Another foster child?
Cleaning out the basement.
Cleaning out my desk.
Barking dog.
Birthday gifts.
Web browser?
Does the 19 month old talk enough?
Latin.  Yes, Latin.  You heard me right...Latin.
Do we have enough toilet paper to get through the night?
When will we have time to go get some if we don't!

This is just a little part of it.  And not one whiff of God in that list, is there?

Now Jacob and his relations were fighting over birth rights and babies and bodily harm. They were not worried over science experiments and toilet paper.  But they handled their serious stuff the same way we handle our nonsense.  Trying to work it out ourselves,  instead of pursuing God and trusting Him to work it out for us.

I think the point of all this is summed up very nicely in the the Proverbs for today:

Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so they will be life to your soul, and adornment to your neck.  Then you will walk in your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.  When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.  Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3: 21-26

May your sleep be sweet, dear friends.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Father Abraham

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him..

"I am God Almighty:
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you.
And I will multiply you exceedingly..."

And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him....Gen. 17: 1-3

I just love that last verse.  Abram fell on his face...and God had a talk with him.

Do you know when this particular chat happened? 
Right after Ishmael was born.

You see, Ishmael...
... was the result of deviating from the plan.

Remember the plan? 

Abram and the Lord had a chat before Ishmael was born, remember?
Abram was concerned about who would be his heir, and the Lord promised,
" who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir."

"Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them...
So shall your descendants be."
Then he believed in the Lord, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."  Gen 15: 4-6

Abram believed...

Funny what time, and circumstances, and desires will do.  

Sarai became impatient.  She wasn't all that happy that she had not yet born a son. 
She said to Abram, "Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children..." 
I imagine Abram was feeling the same way, because he "listened to the voice of Sarai."  Gen. 16:2
And Sarai gave her maid to that they could bear a son.

Abram "listened...

 to the voice of Sarah."

Hagar conceived a child...a son for Abram!

Was there rejoicing?  Did Abram laugh?

"When she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight."  Gen 16:4

The household was filled with....


Instead of rejoicing.

Deviating from God's plan does not work.

After Ishmael was born...

The Lord decided Abram needed a more detailed version of His plan.
And so they had a chat.  A chat about his name.  A chat about descendants.  A chat about a covenant.  About circumcision.

"As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you.
And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be called Abram,
But your name shall be Abraham:
For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations." 
Gen. 17:4-5

And a chat about Sarah.

The Lord reassured Abraham that Sarah will give him a son.
"And I will bless her, and indeed, I will give you a son by her.  Then I will bless her, and she shall be the mother of nations..." Gen. 17:16"

And what does Abraham do?  He falls to his knees again...and laughs. 

Joy.  Sheer joy upon hearing the promises of God.  Sheer joy upon hearing...

God's voice.

Take comfort in God's voice.  Rest in His promises.
You may have deviated from the plan, but He is willing to talk with you.

Perfect reminders from today's reading in Proverbs 3.

My son, do not forget my teaching,
         But let your heart keep my commandments;
    For length of days and years of life
         And peace they will add to you.
    Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
         Bind them around your neck,
         Write them on the tablet of your heart.
    So you will find favor and good repute
         In the sight of God and man.
    Trust in the LORD with all your heart
         And do not lean on your own understanding
     In all your ways acknowledge Him,
         And He will make your paths straight.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Colossians in a Year!

Memorization.  When I was in high school, a buddy of mine and I memorized the whole book of Ephesians.  Those verses still come back to me...they pop into my head just when I need them, a gift from the Lord from so long ago...proof that the word is living and breathing and always there and available to us. 
But for some reason, now that I am all grown do not take the time, or truly...the sit down and really do the work.  When I do...the verses seem to just wander away into a fog.  I may remember the idea...but not the actual words.

Then a dear friend said to me, "Memorizing is having it (the Word) in my heart to defeat the devil when my Bible is not open."

And I thought..."Memorizing is a way to KEEP the Bible open IN your HEART!"

That same day, I received my daily
e-mail from Ann Voskamp!  I love her blog, her worshipful, simple way of encouraging us all.  Her post for the day challenged us to develop the habit of memorization.  Two verses a day, for a whole year, and you will have the book of Colossians written in your heart.  Here is was, a gift from the Lord.  A tool for memorizing, that may actually work for silly foggy little ole' me.

As we memorize, we may also learn to pray through verses...have you ever prayed through verses?  Another powerful discipline to develop in your life.  And so as we attempt to read through the Bible in a year...why not memorize the book of Colossians while we are at it!

So here is what we pray for you....

"...that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding...

... so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, please Him in all respects...

...bearing fruit in every good work

....and increasing in the knowledge of God:

...strengthened with all power....according to His glorious might,

...for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience..."

And we...

"joyously give thanks to the Father" for you all..."who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints"

Col. 1:9-12

A promising way to start a new habit, for a new year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Look at this!

A friend of mine told me about this site!

YouVersion is a great resource to use if you are wanting to read through the Bible in one year.  It has over 20 different reading plans including many versions of the One Year Bible.  You may use the audio applications and listen to the passages for the day.  It will keep track of your reading and award badges as you accomplish your goals!  It has a phone app. so you may check in via your mobile!  And it is totally free!  I am planning to use it this year.  Check it out!

A Suitable Helper...

So here we are at January 3rd...and I have been a bit overwhelmed by all the little details in the Old Testament that I tend to overlook.  I have no idea how many times I have read through Genesis...through the creation story and Adam and Eve...but for some reason this time these words jumped off the page, "It is not good for the man to be alone:  I will make him a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18   Actually, what really turned my head...and actually made me laugh out loud was the next sentence...
"And out of the ground the Lord formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky..."
Genesis 2:19

Why did God do THAT?  Why the animals first...instead of the woman?  Isn't that kind of...funny?

Or was Adam a lot like my dear hubby?  He needs to spend a lot of time thinking over things.  He reflects and dwells and prays and just....really takes his time...needing to be....convinced.  I wonder if Adam was the same way?  He needed to take a good look around, check out his options, and really reflect on what would be best.  God gave Adam the time to understand what he really...needed.
"And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam, there was not found a helper suitable for him."  Genesis 2: 20.  So Adam spent all this time naming the animals.  Looked them over, thought about how they were created, and named EVERY single one.

I know I have read all this before.  Just really never took notice of the...sequence of events.

So Adam was not content.  He still was without... a HELPER.  For some reason I seem to automatically pop the word..."partner" there instead. 

It's not quite the same thing, is it?

So God did His thing.  Adam was quite pleased.  So proud of his new helper...
"This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh:
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man." Genesis 2:23

It was really important that she was a part of him..."like" him.  Of the same, shall we say, make and model. 

"For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall become one flesh."  Genesis 2:24

Check this out...  the cleaving is done by the man. 
He cleaves to her. 
He needs her. 
The verse actually says, "they shall become one flesh."  He cannot live without her. 

What a humbling, breathtaking, overwhelming thought.  

Adam was not happy with just hanging with the animals.  He needed someone "like" him.  Someone he was excited about, someone he was proud of!

Someone that was of the same flesh and bone...
Someone who...

"completed" him.