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.