Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Blind Love and Blessings: Revisiting the Edge

I went there again last night: That cliff where I hung in despair almost 20 years ago. Oh, I didn't climb down and hang on for dear life as my fingers released one-by-one like I did then, but I revisited the place like the morbid tourist that I am. You know, the one that visited the Inquisition Museum while in Lima, Peru or the person who always goes to cemeteries on vacations as well as historical prisons that attest to the sinfulness of man. (Alcatraz, anyone?) 

But this was personal. I was not looking on in curiosity at someone else's monument. I was viewing myself hanging there clinging to life.

And I didn't like what I saw . . . or felt. The pain of it all still exists.

I once again questioned the Lord about the circumstances behind the despair. Not the "Why me?" or "How could you allow this?" questions, but "Are you really able to use my disability for your honor and your glory?" is what I asked. Frankly, if the answer is "no" I might as well just climb over the edge right now.

I don't have my answer yet. 


Last night our study group was discussing a segment of the Bible study I wrote of I John. It was one of those nights when it was difficult keeping everyone's attention focused upon the path ahead. I really needed a shepherd's hook instead of a Strong's Concordance in my tool box. Sometimes in these circumstances the "somewhat related" topic where we stray is not so far removed as to be ignored and often is serious enough to warrant attention. Such was the case here.

The premise presented by someone in the group was that there are people who
  • A. Either will not accept Christ, or
  • B. Will not serve God
because they are angry over circumstances that God has allowed in their life. The corollary - as I understood it - was that this is somehow justified, or at least understandable when it affects people of certain demographics.

I'll grant the premise. There are people who either will not trust God or will not serve Him because they are angry over something "horrible" that He has allowed in their lives, but I WILL NOT agree that it is ever justifiable for anyone to continually use their circumstances as an excuse to be angry with God!

And that's when I unwittingly found myself standing on the edge of the precipice. I alluded to my own personal affliction (without actually going into detail about what that affliction entails) and emphasized the severity of my battle all those years ago by using the "S" word. (Suicide)

I heard the gasps. I saw the wide eyes of some of the ladies and the lowered heads of others.

I felt my face grow red.

The clarification was made that I had contemplated it in those days I shut myself in my room while suffering deep depression but I had never attempted it then or at any other time. Never. Somehow, it didn't seem to help the situation. At least it didn't help mine.

Comments were made about how hard it is to carry the burdens of a pastor's wife. Perhaps true, but totally irrelevant. Being a pastor's wife is not as hard as carrying a personal burden laid upon me with the permission of God Himself.

Today, the morning after, I am weary and worn. I've revisited a place I never wanted to see again and the trip has left me exhausted.

I may not know yet if God is using my affliction for His honor and glory, although I truly hope He is, but I was reminded once again why I felt the leading of the Lord when writing my study. Chapter one makes it clear that I am to enjoy personal fellowship with others. In fact, God Himself wants to fellowship with me!


If my true appearance were manifested to the world many would consider me a freak. But God does not care about my physical appearance. Jesus was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. (I John 3:5) He became a social outcast and accursed of God for me. He was separated from both men and God so that I could have fellowship with humanity and Deity.

So pray that my eyes will be drawn away from the cliff and its focus on my physical appearance and placed upon that hill called Calvary where my spiritual beauty was assured. And pray that I don't make it a regular habit of using "shock therapy" to prove my point unless it will somehow be used for God's honor and glory.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Bible Study Available: I John

There have not been many new Bible journal posts here in recent months, but I have been very busy studying the Bible in spite of the lack of blogging about it. For instance, I recently completed compiling some of my research into a study on I John called That Ye May Know. This is the first of several studies that I hope to develop and share with the ladies of my church and here On A High Hill.

This study was specifically written for women's Bible study groups but it is "not feminine" (to quote my husband who offered that insight as a compliment) even though it has a few references to females in it. For instance, it contains an assignment where the student is to underline a certain key word in pink because "we are women . . ." but men could certainly choose a different colored pencil like camo green to underline the word in the text if they so desire. They would also need to ignore the reference to women on the cover. In essence though I believe my husband's assessment to be correct.

If you are familiar with Jen Wilkin's book Women of the Word and the formula that she proposes then you will understand how this Bible study is packaged. The complete text of I John is included for the reader to mark.* The question format includes question and answer, fill in the blank, charts, and more complicated issues to ponder, as well as research projects designed to help the reader learn to use a Greek concordance and a lexicon whether online, within Bible software, or in book form. 

This study is available for purchase in pdf format. For the cost of $3.99 the buyer will receive a file via email that may be printed for self and everyone else in the buyer's Bible study group. (Please be honest about this. I will not be watching you, but God always is.) The only other cost your group would incur is that of printing the manuscripts.

Payments should be made through Paypal. If you are interested in purchasing a copy for yourself or your group please contact me at Karabeth6 [at] gmail [dot] com with subject line "I John Bible Study" (quotes not neccesary in email) and we will share all information needed to complete the transaction.

May God bless you as you study His word!

*The included text is KJV. If you prefer another version you can easily find it online, copy and paste it into word processing software, print it and place it in the manuscript in the same location.

Monday, January 11, 2016

To Those Using the 2016 Bible Reading Plan

Update: A link for the newest book(s) encountered on the schedule will also be shown on the left sidebar as the "Featured Post."

There is a tab located at the top entitled "Bible Timelines" which contains links to introductions for each book of the Bible. Most links will lead to articles that highlight more than one book. For instance, here is the link for Genesis, John, and Job because that is what we read first in chronological order in the Old and New Testaments each new year. (Click here)

My apologies for not pointing this out sooner for the benefit of new readers.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Reasons Why I Cherish This Season

I was the typical American child. Treasures found under the tree on Christmas morning were the focal point of my holiday season. I have fond memories of our little family - Dad, Mom, and I - going to purchase a real tree in preparation. Then came the fun of decorating it with our treasured ornaments and tinsel placed one strand at a time. (I hated that part! Why couldn't I just put it on one handful at a time?! Patience was never my virtue.) We also decorated each other and our dog, the black poodle that ran around us like a maniac as she sensed our excitement.

I remember getting up in the early  morning hours and being mesmerized by the gifts under the tree. Being an only child meant that things did not need to be wrapped or labeled. If they were suitable for a child they obviously were for me. There was always the latest baby doll and her accessories there. After a few years I had quite a large family of children in my downstairs playhouse and I dutifully and lovingly cared for each one while playing. (Hmm. Talk about foreshadowing!)

An only child, her treasured spouse, and two generations of doll babies

I knew as a young child about the Christ-child coming as a baby. And I loved Him. I just didn't have a firm grasp of how everything fit together. Still, the scriptural seeds were planted and watered. One Christmas season they bore fruit.

When I was 14 years old my pastor took us to a retreat at Tennessee Temple University. It was there on the night of December 28th I trusted the baby born in Bethlehem as my Savior. (Oh, look! Today is my spiritual birthday!!!!!)

I saw the real treasure of Christmas was the truce offered to me by the Eternal Father! I laid down my arms. The battle was over. That is the image I see whenever I read Luke 2:14.

". . . peace, good will toward men."

The treasure offered is peace. Oh, how I needed it! Spiritual turmoil had been mine for several years. "Good will toward men." Toward me. The God of glory offered me His good will and I took Him at His Word. 

I'm so happy that God came in the flesh! From that night forward I have treasured the gift of the Son that came as a baby, lived a sinless life, died for me, and was resurrected three days later as the payment for my sins so I could experience eternal peace with the Father.

A few years passed. . .

I found myself in another Baptist college, this time as a student. It was there that I met the young man that was to be my husband. We began dating in mid-October and during that Christmas season in 1977 he told me that he loved me and hoped that we could be married sometime in the next year. If you paid any attention at all to the Yule Moon phenomenon last week you know that its last occurrence was in 1977. Now you know why Pastor Dad confessed his love for me when he did: He was moonstruck.  :)

Like all great marriages, ours has had its ups and downs, its joys (example: see picture above) and its heartaches, but since it is built upon a firm foundation of faith it has endured all hardships and celebrated all happy events with eternity in mind. I treasure the gift God gave me when he gave me my husband.

Thank you, God, for making me part of your family that Christmas season when I was 14 years old. Thank you, Pastor Dad, for promising to make me part of your family when I was 18 years old. As much as I loved Christmas when I was a child, these treasured relationships are why I cherish the season even more now.