Monday, December 31, 2012

For Those Who Wish to Read THROUGH the Bible in the Year 2013...

Take Ten
 
DATE OLD TESTAMENT NEW TESTAMENT
1/1/2013 Genesis 1, 2 John 1, 2
1/2/2013 Genesis 3-5 John 3
1/3/2013 Genesis 6,7 John 4, 5
1/4/2013 Genesis 8-11:9 John 6
1/5/2013 Job 1-3 John 7




The link to the information about Genesis, Job, and John is found here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thank You for Reading with Me!

source

Thanks to all of you who have been reading through the Bible with me. Each year we try to add a little something to enhance our understanding of the scripture so that we can . . .
. . . [G]row in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Peter 3:18a 

. . . which is the whole purpose behind reading the Bible in the first place. Thank you for your encouragement, especially this past year when it seemed I struggled to get things posted in a timely manner. Just knowing that there were those who missed it (because you told me so!) kept me going when I faltered.

So guess what? Well, okay, my faithful readers already know because I made the announcement a few weeks ago but I will not be reading through the Bible in the year 2013. (That will be hard for someone - me - who has been doing so since she was a teenager!) 

But you can still read through the Bible in a year if you wish. The updated schedule for 2013 is posted at the tab above. Printed or digital copies are also available upon request. 

Instead of reading through the Bible in 2013, I will be reading shorter daily assignments and keeping notes.

Since I had such difficulties getting the individual book synopses posted regularly I decided not to do that anymore (it would be redundant anyway) and take on another more, um, difficult project.  (No one should ever accuse me of dreaming too small!!! Delusions of grandeur maybe...)

No, since I had so much trouble keeping up with semi-weekly blogging I have decided to do it, uh, DAILY. Some people participate in picture projects 365 (and I enjoy seeing them, by the way) but since I take horrible pictures I have set a goal of posting a Bible Study Journal "almost" 365. (I'll still be taking Sunday off from a prescribed reading schedule, hence the qualifier.)

There will be passage assignments for Monday-Saturday that will appear on the previous weekend. There might be a psalm posted at the blog on Sunday in conjunction with the prior assignment and appropriate devotional material shared intermittently. 

There are 4 things I am seeking in each Bible reading assignment which will appear on my blog journal:
  1. Does God make any promises in this passage? If so, to whom? And do those promises apply to me?
  2. Can reference to Jesus be found within the passage?
  3. Are there any references to future events (In the Millennium [if you are pre-millennial], in Heaven, and/or on the New Earth)
  4. Does God make any commandments in this passage? If so, to whom? And do those commandments apply to me?
This study will begin on January 7, 2013 and run until . . . I've completed reading the Bible! In the meantime there are a few things I wish to blog about in the time intervening (the next segment of Blind Love and Blessings, for instance) and perhaps you can use the days between Dec 31, 2012 and Jan 7, 2013 to finish this past year's reading Schedule. ;)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

End of the Reading Year Timeline: Esther, Malachi, and Nehemiah

Note that this post has been edited in December 2013 to reflect the author's further research. She now believes that Esther was the contemporary of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Malachi, and Zechariah. Edited and added text appears in red below.

Esther

The events of Esther can be inserted into the timeline between Ezra chapters 6 and 7. In our previous timeline we saw that the Persian King Darius Hystaspis (also known by the Ahasuerus), ruled from 521-486 B.C.  In the beginning of the book of Esther we are told that the drunken party that signaled the downfall of Queen Vashti took place in the third year of his reign ( Esther 1:3) placing the time of the search for a new queen around 483 B.C.  Haman's plot did not occur until several years later (see Esther 3:7 which shows that Pur was cast in the twelfth year of the king's reign. Although we often operate under the assumption that the highlights of Esther's life presented in this book happened in rapid-fire succession a careful reading of the dates in 1:3 and 3:7 prove otherwise. Almost 10 years passes in the course of this book.

As an interesting footnote I found this informative article concerning the feast of Purim. Read down far enough to digest the author's argument that Jesus celebrated Purim in AD 28. Since we obviously believe the book of Esther to be part of the scriptural canon it seems reasonable to conclude that He would commemorate this national celebration. On the other hand, it seems to me that the fact that Jesus celebrated this feast, which is not one that God commanded His people to observe, validates the inclusion of Esther into the canon even though some argue otherwise because God is not directly mentioned by name anywhere in the book.

Esther was the cousin of Mordecai. There was a vast age difference between these two people, but this is very possible,as any genealogist knows and which is exhibited in my own family of 30+ first cousins where the youngest are the same age as the children of the oldest. Mordecai could easily have raised his uncle's daughter as his own child.

Mordecai was carried away from Judah as a Babylonian captive. Esther was born in captivity. That Mordecai lived long enough to become an official in the Persian king's court meant that I needed to reexamine my original timeline for this book. By moving Esther back a generation to being the wife of Darius Hystaspis Mordecai's age fits into the realm of being a senior citizen and not that of being a candidate for the Oldest Person Alive for the time with or without the Guinness books! He would probably have been somewhere in his eighties when he was promoted.

Ezra lists the name of Mordecai in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah lists him in Nehemiah 7:7. There is no reason to believe that this is not the same Mordecai that everyone contemporary to that time would know. After all, he was the relative of the queen and was even a high government official in his own right.

As for the queen, Nehemiah mentioned her as being beside the king when he presented his request to the king in Shushan the Palace. Why would he mention that the queen was there unless she was known by the readers? There were probably many people in the room, but this little detail speaks volumes. Esther was there! Not only was she interested in his request but she was Jewish and would be interested in the homeland that she herself had never seen.  And the people receiving Nehemiah's message would be interested that their champion, Queen Esther heard Nehemiah's request! Telling the readers that he was in Shushan was another clue that the queen mentioned was the lovely Jewish girl who became their queen, Esther, formerly known by her name of Hadassah.

(Here is a link to a well-thought out blog that discusses this issue. Feel free to browse through the various posts concerning Esther "The Queen of Persia" as well as Nehemiah and Ezra. Most of the information that I have read agrees with the book by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones that I quote so often on this blog.)


Malachi

The prophet Malachi's message was similar to that of his contemporary, Nehemiah, but directed specifically to the priests. Remember that the Jews had begun the Temple rebuilding under Zerubbabel but had stopped when they had met opposition, then renewed their effort after the prophets Haggai and Zechariah had delivered stern messages from God telling them to get back to work. In Malachi's time the project had not been totally completed but worship services had been going on long enough for the people, and even the priests, to have lost interest in them. The people were not giving offerings and the priests were not fulfilling the duties of their offices. And worse, the priests refused to keep themselves set apart for the ministry!

Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament but I included it in the schedule before Nehemiah as a reminder that it takes place at that same time. There would then be a 400 year silence between these books and the coming of The Prophet in the New Testament. In that interim time between the testaments would fall the Maccabean Period when the miracle of the Temple oil lasting for 8 days led to the celebration of Hanukkah (the above mentioned linked article also states that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah and this article explains the history of this holiday).

Malachi most likely delivered the message that He had received from God in approximately 430 B.C.


Nehemiah

As the cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah, finds himself in a certain place "for such a time as this" just like Queen Esther did a few years earlier. And in reading the first few verses of the book of Nehemiah we find that Nehemiah served in the very same palace, Shushan, as did Esther. The king in Nehemiah's time was Ahasuerus, also known as Darius Hystapsis, the husband of Esther. According to Nehemiah 2:1 it was in Ahasuerus' 20th year of reign that the king questioned Nehemiah concerning his sad face. It was this grieving attitude that immediately moved Nehemiah to a quick prayer before uttering a bold request to be allowed to go to Jerusalem to lead in the rebuilding of the city walls and gates. This places the date of Nehemiah's request at 501 B.C.

The Bible does not specifically say why the king allowed Nehemiah and the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It just says that he did. Perhaps his fondness for Esther prompted him to allow the walls of her peoples' capital city to be rebuilt. Remember that as far as we know Esther had never seen the city of Jerusalem. She was born in captivity but perhaps Mordecai had told her about their home far away.

Nehemiah was the contemporary of Ezra, Esther, and Malachi. The book tells us that Nehemiah spent at least 12 years as the governor in the area as appointed by the king (Nehemiah 13:6). He stood before the king again, 12 years later, asking to return to Jerusalem. When that petition was granted he returned to Jerusalem in an effort to teach the people to build walls of separation around their hearts. His book ends with much the same rebuke and appeal as does the one written by Malachi. Thus was the state of affairs at the end of the Old Testament timeline!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Take Time: Assignment for Week 1 (Example)

(This is an example of how the lessons will appear each week for the TAKE TIME  Bible study. Note that the assigned reading portions are greatly reduced from that of the read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year schedule designated as TAKE TEN in order to facilitate more depth and discussion.)



Introduction:  Everything has a beginning or an origin except God. In the Bible, the beginning book is Genesis. This week we will be reading about the beginning of our universe as created by the eternal God. Notice how in less than one week we go from reading "God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) to "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually and it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." (Genesis 6:5-6)

Reading Assignment:
  • Monday - Genesis 1:1-2:3
  • Tuesday - Genesis 2:4-3:13
  • Wednesday - Genesis 3:14-4:24
  • Thursday - Genesis 4:25-5:32
  • Friday - Genesis 6:1-7:10
  • Saturday - Genesis 7:11-8:19

Memory Verse

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.   Genesis 2:7
 
Prayer Journal (ACTS)

  •  Adoration - Take time to praise God each day for being such an awesome Creator
  • Confession - God already knows about each sin but confess any as they come to your mind and ask Him to help you not sin that way again.
  • Thanksgiving - Thank God for His beautiful world! Thank Him for the things that you particularly enjoy (for instance, I like looking at the stars).
  • Supplication - What are your prayer requests this week? List them for future reference so that you can see how God answers.

Search the Scriptures

Look for references for each of the following:
  • Promises that God made and to whom He made them. Do they apply to you?
  • References that either refer to or infer something about future events.
  • What does this passage teach about Jesus?

Putting the Word into Action

God made man to have dominion over the creation (not worship it). What can you do this week to properly care for your home, the people in it, and any animals you have in order to show proper respect to God and the things He put under your jurisdiction?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Timeline: Ezra, Haggai and Zechariah

Note: This post was edited 12/1/13 to reflect the author's further timeline research. Most of the changes concern Queen Esther, a person that we'll talk about more in the weeks ahead.

The captivity was over and many of the Jews were permitted by King Cyrus of Persia in 538 B.C. to return to their homeland. One of the first things they did was to begin the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Like many people, the workers on this project started off with great enthusiasm that waned over time due to obstacles and discouragement.

Ezra, who wrote the book that bears his name, was the contemporary of Nehemiah. He was of the line of Aaron and his attention to detail prove that he was a scholarly and dedicated priest. His volume is divided into two separate time frames, the first being the historical background given about the return of the first group under Zerubbabel, and the second containing events contemporary to his own time.

As for the timeline, the first 6 chapters describe the conditions from 538 to 516 B.C. The next 4 chapters describe Ezra's own ministry around the time of 458 B.C. I have divided the book further in our reading schedule to show where Queen Esther fit into the timeline as well (more on her book in a couple of weeks).

According to the notes in The New Open Bible Study Edition (KJV) the post-exilic events can be divided in this way:
  • 538-515 B.C. - The first return under Zerubbabel. (As covered by Ezra chapters 1-6)
  • 483-473 - The events of the book of Esther*
  • 457 B.C. - The second return under Ezra. (As covered by Ezra chapters 7-10)
  • 444-425 B.C. - The third return and events found in the book of Nehemiah.
* I have since come to believe that the date stated above is in error! The name "Ahasuerus" is a title, not a name. It is the same as saying, "The Shah of Iran." As such any of the men in the list can be called Ahasuerus. In the case of Esther, by examining evidence, including but not limited to one of my favorite timeline books, The Chronology of the Old Testament, by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones (Master Books) and doing the math and plotting it with known records from world history, I have reached the conclusion that the events found in the book of Esther probably occurred about 518-508 B.C. That would make her husband Darius I Hystapsis, the "Ahasuerus" who ruled over 127 provinces!

Also found in the notes is a helpful list of the kings of Persia:
  • Cyrus (539-530 B.C.) * Note: Date was corrected to denote his 9 year reign, not 29!
  • Cambyses (530-522 B.C.)
  • Smerdis (522 B.C.)
  • Darius I Hystapsis (521-486 B.C.) *The husband of Esther
  • Ahasuerus (486-464 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes I (464-423 B.C.)
  • Darius II (423-404 B.C.)
It is Cyrus that decreed that God put it into his heart to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel, a prince of the kingly line of David, led the effort of the first group to return. (You will find Zerubbabel's name listed in the genealogy in Matthew 1:12-13.) Like anyone doing a work for God, Zerubbabel encountered massive opposition by those who did not want to see it succeed. In fact Ezra 4:4-5 says that the inhabitants of the land, those who had taken possession during the Jewish dispersion, frustrated the Jew's every effort to settle back into their homeland. (Is it me or does this sound very much like current events?) By 534 B.C. the work on the Temple stopped. There was little to show beyond the Temple's foundation.

Fast forward a few years and a few verses past those previously quoted in Ezra 4 to describe the work stoppage to Ezra 5:1 where we will find the names of Haggai and Zechariah, the prophets that God raised up to get things moving again. God is definitely the God of precision! In Haggai 1:1 the exact date is given of the day when Haggai spoke to Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest, telling them to get their crew back on the job. (The notes in my Bible state that the 2nd year,  6th month, and 1st day of that month of the reign of Darius correspond to September 1, 520 B.C. That may or may not be accurate.) I have since come to the conclusion that this is the husband of Esther, the Jewess!

At the same time that Haggai delivered his message, Zechariah, a prophet of the priestly line, delivered his own message from God. Notice that his commenced two months after the start of Haggai's.

The work on the Temple was completed within four years of the return to work of Zerubbabel and Company. Commentaries suggest that Zechariah prophecied many years beyond the Temple rebuilding and that the prophecies given in chapters 9 through 14 concerning the coming Messiah were delivered between 480 and 470 B.C. If that be the case they were preached during the reign of Ahasuerus, the son of Esther's husband.

Just as our year is coming to a close, so is our Bible timeline. We have just three more historical books and one poetical book left to highlight. I trust that seeing how scriptural events "fit" in time have helped you to appreciate more fully our God, the Eternal One that humbled himself and became part of earth's history!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TAKE TEN and TAKE TIME

I posted the TAKE TEN 2013 Bible Reading Schedule on the tab above for those of you that might be interested in reading through the Bible in a semi-chronological, highly contextual format next year. It has again been revised from all of the previous schedules. What can I say? The more that I read and study my Bible the more I change my mind about where things fit!

For instance, if you are following the 2012 Plan you might want to read Ezra chapters 1-4 prior to today's scheduled reading of Haggai which is then to be followed by Zechariah. Just read Ezra 1 and 2 today, then Ezra 3 and 4 tomorrow. Follow this with Haggai on Saturday and Zechariah on the following days. You'll be back on track in about a week.

Anyway. . . I say all this to announce that I will not be reading the Bible through in a year's time with you in 2013 and probably not in 2014 or 2015 either. No, I have not deserted my faith and I am not going to stop reading my Bible each day so take a deep breath or close your mouth! On the contrary, I have decided that I want to TAKE TIME for deeper study and this could take several years. I anticipate three (at least).

This idea has been knocking around in my head since our church's teen summer camp. Some of the young ladies mentioned that they would like to read through the Bible but doing it in a year is too much. It seems the whole "Take Ten" (meaning 10 minutes a day) might be do-able for me, but it takes them (and most adults, too) longer than that to read the assignment. That's okay! The idea is not to discourage people but to get them to read the Bible!!!!!

As a result I came home determined to divide Bible reading into more manageable portions for them. I introduced the Take Ten for Teens version here and some told me they like this idea. For the teens the focus each week was on a memory verse, a prayer primer using the ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) formula because in my humble opinion most young people - and adults, too - spend an inordinate amount of their prayer time - such as it is - on the "S" and very little on the A-C-T parts, and a putting into action element. Some might call this a "social gospel" segment. I, on the other hand, see it as what the KJV calls "charity"in I Corinthians 13 and what James (in any version) calls "faith that works, or putting faith into practice" or what the whole Bible teaches as obedience to God's Word!

I have chosen other nuggets to mine in my own study. Personally, I wish to uncover the promises that God made and to discover to whom they were made. (This desire comes of reading Batterson's book The Circle Maker this past summer. I'm not endorsing the book, but I did develop a determination to find the promises in the Bible that are meant for me!)

I also want to spend time studying the future as revealed in the Bible as deeply as I've studied the past found in it (the whole Timeline theme!) because there is a whole lot more life ahead than that which  as passed as earth's history and I don't care which opinion of the Old Earth/Young Earth debate you hold. Well, I care, but in light of eternity millions of years doesn't seem that long, now does it? (This particular study theme comes from reading Alcorn's book Heaven recently which was refreshing and scriptural because he is not one of those individuals who claims to have been there and back again.)

And last, but far from least, I want to find Jesus in each passage. While walking on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection, He explained to a couple of disciples that the law and the prophets spoke of Him. I want Him to teach me the same thing.

I gave it the name of TAKE TIME so that it would not be confused with the TAKE TEN yearly reading schedule. The shortened reading segments will allow some to take just ten minutes to read their Bible each day without frustration (hopefully!) and more in-depth study for those who desire it.

I hope you will help me with the TAKE TIME discussions even if you do not read along. Perhaps you have mined gems from certain passages that I miss and will share them with me.


Note: The TAKE TIME discussions will begin during the first full week of January (7th- 12th) since the original Teen pages were not dated but designed to be read Monday through Saturday each week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: I & II Chronicles

I could hear the groans when the readers following the Take Ten schedule opened their Bible Friday to I Chronicles only to find that the first several chapters contain lengthy genealogies!
"Must we read genealogies again?"
"And why are we reading about Israel's kingdom years again? Didn't we finish them when we read II Samuel through II Kings?"
Ah! So glad you asked! Here are my answers:

"Yes . . . because they are there. And they are important. I'll explain."
"These books were compiled after the captives were allowed to return to their homeland. Again, I'll explain."
 Let's begin with the genealogies which start at the very beginning (a very good place to start; when you read you begin with ABC, when you study the history of mankind you begin with . . . Adam). With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein.


 Is it not amazing that after so many years had passed since Adam began this family tree, approximately 3,500 altogether by my calculations, the Israelites still had access to their family history? I'm envious!

The reason these records needed to be preserved was two-fold. At least.

First, these books of First and Second Chronicles were not predominantly a political history as were their Samuel and Kings counterparts but were written from the religious viewpoint. Even though most of the lineage contained within the ledger are of the tribe of Judah it was for the sake of documenting the line of the Messiah, a very "religious" thing, to say the least!

Second, as mentioned above these books were written following the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. It is possible that Ezra the priest (we'll be reading the book that bears his name in about a month) was the writer. The information contained in these lists and histories would help the nation resume their ceremonial temple duties.

Remember that most individuals did not have access to the scriptures and this would especially be true during the time of captivity. Daniel and scholars like him would be the exception. We'll discover later when we read the book of Ezra that there were men filling priestly positions that could not prove their lineage back to the tribe of Levi and therefore were removed from office. These genealogies provide the family registry for that important task as well since God had instructed that the family of Levi would be the priestly line. Since there were unqualified individuals during the kingdom years that were filling these offices it is no wonder that there was some confusion when worship was restored many years later!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Guest Blogging Today!

One of my blogging friends, Stephanie of Girl of Grace, recently gave birth to her third child. As a result, she has been taking a break from blogging. She invited several of us to post in her absence. Today I am the featured blogger.

Stop over here to read my post and while you're there, take a look around. Also, be sure to leave a comment congratulating Stephanie on the birth of her youngest child, little Ollie!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Greatly-beloved Daniel

We're now in the book of Daniel and he really is greatly-beloved! (See Daniel 10:11) Not only did the heavenly messenger call him such but Christians everywhere would admit that they also love him. His writings include some of the most debated prophecies among scholars and also some of the most cherished stories first told to the youngest of children! Adults love telling wide-eyed youngsters about Daniel's escape from a den of lions or his friends' escape from Nebuchadnezzar's furnace! And yet, adults cannot fully explain the prophecies of chapters 7-12! Even Daniel himself did not understand all of the visions that he received and requested more information (12:8).

As for the timeline, young Daniel and friends were taken captive from Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar's first campaign. He and his three friends were intelligent men who received three years of education in Babylonian schools. They excelled in their studies and were promoted to positions of power within the government but not solely on the basis of their intelligence.It was through their acts of faith that divine intervention worked on their behalf time and again. Daniel also served under Darius and Cyrus after the Babylonian kingdom was replaced by that of the Medes and Persians.

Daniel had access to Jeremiah's prophecy and knew that God had appointed a 70 year period of captivity. Daniel's life spanned the complete 70 years. It is not known when he died but he was of necessity an elderly man. The events of this book cover the period of 605-536 B.C.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Enigmatic Book of Ezekiel

Maybe it's just me that feels that way. . . .

Anyway, I have spent the last few weeks studying this book because I don't pretend to have a grasp of its imagery. I discovered some fascinating things.

For instance, what about the visions of the 4-sided beings with various faces in chapters 1 and 10?  Chapter 1 describes each as having the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Chapter 10 describes them as having the face of a cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle. Those sound very similar to the way that the 4 gospel writers - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - described Jesus!

  • Matthew presented the Lord as King of the Jews represented by the lion.
  • Mark presented the Lord as a Servant represented by either an ox (a beast of burden) or a cherub (an angelic servant sent from God).
  • Luke presented Jesus as the Son of Man which is obviously represented by the face of a man.
  • John presented Jesus as God represented by the eagle.
The God-man, servant-king was revealed to Ezekiel by the likeness of the living creatures in his vision. Also in chapter 1 Ezekiel had a vision of God speaking from Heaven and of the Man (also Jesus) sitting on the throne. Notice how very like John's vision recorded in the Book of Revelation this section is!

Ezekiel introduces himself immediately in his book as one of the Jewish captives taken to Babylon before the final fall of Jerusalem. He also states that he is one of the priests. His wife dies (chapter 24) and several times he mentions Daniel, the fellow-captive that rose to a position of power in Babylon (see the book of Daniel: it is next on our reading schedule).

A few of the other topics covered in Ezekiel's vision and prophecy include:
  • The departure of the Glory of God from the Temple at Jerusalem (10:1-8). This Glory had been placed upon the Temple during the dedication ceremony of Solomon (I Kings 8:10-11).
  • The judgment against several Gentile nations (chapters 25-32).
  • The restoration of Israel (chapters 33-48). Some of this has been fulfilled and some of it is yet to be accomplished (see the book of Revelation for more information).
Ezekiel's visions begin during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity. (He was also known as Jechoniah, Coniah, or Jechonias. It was through this king's lineage that Joseph, the husband of Mary, descended. See Matthew chapter 1).The timeline for this book covers approximately 592-570 B.C.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Looking Back at the Birthdays

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the birthdays of 2 granddaughters, sisters that share a birthday week. That would be Miss Tigger and Little Lili Ladybug. It really was Lili's birthday that day, her second.

To honor Lili on her special day, her two oldest sisters composed a poem in her honor. I neglected to get a copy of the poem but there was an illustration to accompany it, as you can clearly see below.

Polly and Tigger reciting


Two girls opening gifts can make for a lot of excitement (and gift wrapping paper!).




Sometimes one of the gift-givers suffers from separation anxiety.  :)

Hey, Mom, did you mean to give this away?


The birthday girls blowing out the candles on their respective birthday cakes.



I include this photo for Mem and Pop. This is what we saw when you called.  :)

I hope she didn't get blue icing on the telephone!

Don't you just want to kiss that sweet little face? Well, maybe after it is washed. 



Big sister, Tiggeriffic, enjoying her birthday treats, too. I think Miss Tigger ended up having a"Birthday Week," which is not a bad way for an eight-year-old to celebrate, right?


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Biblical Timeline: Lamentations

God can take great tragedy and use it to ignite great creativity.

I wonder how many works of prose, poetry, photos, paintings, or other passionate endeavors are the result of the author's or artist's anguish and suffering? Perhaps more than we think.

We fear the valleys we encounter along our spiritual journey, but maybe these are the impetus behind masterpieces. Inserted into our reading of the book of Jeremiah is the prophet's other work, the book of Lamentations. Written at a time of great sorrow, the Holy Spirit uses the grief of the "weeping prophet" to artistically compose 5 poems. I suspect this isn't unusual.

The book of Lamentations is not usually recognized by readers as being a collection of acrostic poetry because it does not maintain its alphabetical integrity when translated from Hebrew into other languages. Unlike the segments of Psalm 119 which show each corresponding letter of the Hebrew alphabet (22 of them), Jeremiah's poems do not. Actually, chapter 5 is not an alphabetically ordered acrostic like the other 4 chapters. Also chapter 3 does not end in 22 verses, one verse per letter, but is composed of 66 verses, a trilogy of three verses per letter.

As horrible as the situation was that Jeremiah witnessed, he did not abandon his faith in God. "Great is thy faithfulness" (3:23) is the basis for his own hope and the inspiration for Chisholm's great hymn by the same name.

Also, contrast Jeremiah's reproach in 2:15, "All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?"  with what the psalmist, David, wrote in Psalm 48:

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. . . . Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughter of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments." (verses 1-5, 11)
 
As you read, remind yourself of the devastation that Jeremiah witnessed. This was war in all of its ugliness. He had been warning the kings of Judah for 40 years that it was coming and he had also privately counseled King Zedekiah how to avoid the razing of the city when that king sought word from the Lord but to no avail. After the city fell, the dead lay in the street, the royal family was abused, the city burned. Jerusalem, the city that Jesus would later stand and cry over, was a vivid illustration that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
 
The time of the last campaign and final destruction of the city of Jerusalem by Babylon was in July and August 586 B.C.  These mourning poems would most likely have been completed between that time and a few years later when Jeremiah was forced to accompany other exiles into Egypt.
 
 
Sources: as always, I have used notes from The Open Bible and The MacArthur Study Bible when preparing this synopsis. This time they were useful for understanding the acrostic poem format of the book. The devotional material and scripture comparisons are my own.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Blind Love and Blessings: Excerpts From My Journal

The author's private journal
Victorian Journals
Brownlow Publishing Co., Inc.

Before I blogged, I kept a journal. Like my blogging, my journaling was sporadic because I wrote only when the mood struck, which wasn't on a regular basis.

I am going to share appropriate excerpts from the above journal that detail a personal comparison I made concerning my own situation and that of someone I love. Her name has been changed to Jane (as in "Jane Doe") in order to protect privacy, but her identity will be recognizable to many.

November 15, 1997
. . . After being wigless for 13 months, it has been an adjustment these last 2 days. Actually my hair loss is not as bad this time as it was during my previous episode, but I could tell my wig-free days were numbered. At least I'm getting used to this by degrees.
I'm ashamed of my own vanity when I think about Jane's cancer surgery in 2 days. She has already lost her nose. Now she will lose her left eye, half her palate and teeth. . .
Lord, spare Jane. And thanks for the wig.
 
Fast forward a couple of years:

August 30, 1999
I'm still wearing a wig even though I have run the gamut from losing almost all of my hair to gaining back as much as I had. . . I've learned to compensate for activities I enjoy.
As for Jane, she is still fighting cancer with prayers, radiation, chemotherapy, and a great attitude. . . It has been a hard year for Jane.
 
The next entry that I'll share has this verse inscribed at the top of the page: The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. PSALM 126:3.

Beneath it I wrote the following:

August 18, 2000
It is with tears in my eyes and in my heart that I read the verse above (blog note: I had underlined the word "joy" in the verse at the top of the page). Jane went to be with the Lord last night and I am trying desperately to feel the joy. I know she has joy, and here at the end I've prayed for God to take her quickly so that she wouldn't have to suffer any more.
The entry goes on to say that August had always had it's share of joy but especially it's share of sorrow as my family had buried my maternal grandma, my uncle, and now Jane in various years. Having been just a year older than I, in childhood Jane was my playmate and companion. In adulthood she was my friend and confident. As adults, Jane and I lived many miles apart but we corresponded regularly. We remained close enough friends that in early 1999 Pastor Dad drove The Bear and me the 8 hours that it took to reach her bedside after one of her surgeries. I was concerned about how the preschool-aged Bear would react to her irregular appearance but she was so joyful that he was quickly sitting on her lap!

Here is another part of that same l-o-n-g August 18, 2000 entry, 6 pages actually, where I poured out my heart:

. . . I have several emails from Jane, the last one sent on July 4th wishing us all a great day. I got to see her at Christmas and encourage her. We even sent emails back and forth where I shared my "hair secrets" with her since she was feeling rotten about wearing a wig [after losing] her hair to chemo.
 
Did you catch that? My dear cousin, who had lost an eye, her nose, and part of her palate to cancer had been mortified when her hair fell out! Even more astonishing was that I was able to encourage her! It was then that I began to realize just how devastating hair loss is for all women, even those who have had their appearance altered in other ways or were fighting life-threatening illnesses.

In years to come the Lord would put me in contact with several women suffering hair loss who needed encouragement. All, including Jane, responded with the words, "I had no idea you have this problem, too!" when I empathized with them by sharing details of my own illness, one that paled in comparison to what some of them faced.

It is interesting how the Lord placed these ladies in my path and what He used to get the conversations started. I was never the one to broach the subject but at various times and in odd places (at the craft store, for example) an acquaintance would reveal that she had just left the wig shop, or shopping for a hat, or the beauty salon, and her story would erupt like the sodium bicarbonate - vinegar mixture that explodes out of elementary science experiments. As private as each woman wished to remain, each needed to release the emotion by talking to someone and the Lord somehow arranged a meeting between us.

I will not share their stories, but like Jane, some of them now experience great joy because their journeys have ended. Others are still on their pilgrimage but with the knowledge that they are not alone. Not only does the Lord share their sorrow but I and others like me are blessed to help bear their burdens.

Part of the bearing of each other's burdens has been sharing information and tips. In the future I hope to tell what I do to help compensate each day or in special circumstance as per the above referenced journal entry. For now, I will close with the quote that is at the bottom of that six-page entry, one that complements well the verse that began it.

Be a life long or short, its completeness
depends on what it was lived for.
DAVID STARR JORDAN



Friday, September 14, 2012

Forever Charming: Counting My Blessings Once More!

Last Sunday was Grandparents' Day. In honor of the occasion I went to the jewelry store and purchased the charms for my 2012 grandbabies. My cup (and my grandmother pin) runneth over with love!


The charms resting on the Family Bible where their names are inscribed inside



There's room for Lisa's baby boy to be added and perhaps one or two more charms before I upgrade the brooch to a bigger one. As Grandad says, "Yeehaw!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blind Love and Blessings: Perfect Vision

picture source



When last we met I revealed a few of the problems I have encountered as a pastor's wife suffering from a disfiguring illness. I know that most of my readers are concerned that I exaggerated at best or lied at worst, but fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, I could produce several witnesses since onlookers were necessary for the desired maximum effect. I hope that won't be necessary.

Let me also reassure you about another possible concern. There is no need for any friend or reader to respond like the disciples did at the Last Supper when Jesus revealed that one of them would betray Him. No, you are not one of the offenders. Most likely, you are the exact opposite, one of the people in whom I find great comfort.

For every person whose motive was malicious there were (and still are) many people who bless(ed) me with ointment for my hurting soul: those who held me as I cried, helped me rearrange or artificially replace my hair, empathized with me (there are many besides myself that suffer similar symptoms), and privately counseled me. These include hair dressers, cancer patients, other alopecia sufferers, medical professionals, other pastors' wives, and fellow church members. My support network far outnumbers the bullies.

Why do I share with you my journey? Not out of a sense of bravado! I would not tell any of this unless I was convinced that the Lord wants to use it for His glory and my good because the telling of it is not the catharsis that I might wish it to be. I don't exactly know how the glory and growth will be accomplished, and I may never know until I reach Heaven, but the Bible makes it clear that I do not think like God.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:8-11 (KJV)
It is only because I do believe that God will eventually make all things work together for his glory and my good (Romans 8:28) that I swallow my fear of the ungodly and trust God's perfect love for me.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 (KJV)
I also do not tell this story in order to retaliate, as one might assume, although I do offer it as a warning. Even Paul experienced mistreatment at the hands of church members. In my case, since I obviously am not up to the caliber of the apostle, my story reminds me that I am also a great sinner who has hurt others at times. The conviction of my own wickedness grieves me more than being the recipient of another's wickedness.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Matt 7:3-5 (KJV)
 
It isn't enough that my God, family, and friends have developed blind love for me. I need to develop blind love for others. Everyone has a situation in their life that causes hurt. Often the cause is not immediately evident as we become more sophisticated at hiding behind the facade we present to the world. Sometimes it takes time to peel back the layers but when we are successful we should treat each situation with love.

In the future I hope to share with you some of the ways that God has allowed me to minister to others. I always rejoice when God uses my infirmity to help someone cope with their own situation. It is those circumstances that God uses to develop in me more perfect vision.

The steps are there in scripture! First, remove the obstruction of sin from my own eyes so that I can see more clearly to help someone else and then seek out the hurting and love them blindly through eyes of faith.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Blind Love and Blessings: A Private Problem in a Public Arena

picture source

Pastor Dad and I observed our 34th wedding anniversary this summer. What can I say about having been married to a pastor for that many years? Plenty! But I'll rein myself in and keep most of it to myself except where it deals with the topic. What I will say is that I was very naive about being the wife of a pastor before I actually was one. Very naive.

In my mind the wife of the pastor was just that: a woman married to a pastor. It seems that it goes beyond that. Oh,it goes far, far, far beyond that.

Living in the proverbial fishbowl is uncomfortable. I think this political season clearly illustrates this. It is true that any leader's family reflects on him, but sometimes that sense of "ownership" that a congregation or a nation feels for it's first family crosses over the lines into territory far beyond the bounds of propriety or decency.

You might be surprised - or you might not be - when I tell you that there are people in a church who feel they can make any comment at any time about anything concerning their pastor's wife. If she defends herself in any way she will be the one labeled "unchristian" and her husband will be judged accordingly. That was what I found out soon after returning from our honeymoon and it only got worse after I became afflicted with my autoimmune system disorder. Living in a fishbowl progressed to being viewed under a microscope.

For example:
  • Having someone smugly say in a very LOUD whisper, "I LOVE your new wig. Oh, yes! I know your 'secret!'" And now so do the 50 people near you. And guess what? I guess there is no "secret" anymore so you can't pull that prank again, at least around the same people!
  • Along a related theme, having someone ask, "Is that your real hair today or are you wearing a wig again?" Back in the day when I would go back and forth I often heard this and I always wondered why it mattered. Idle curiosity? Is that a good enough reason to embarrass someone?
  • But the worst was having someone sneak up behind me to yank the wig off my head to prove to her friends that I was wearing one. Praise the Lord I wasn't! At least, not that day. I went home with a small headache and a big heartache but that was the extent of the damage.
I tell you about these completely true and unexaggerated incidents so that you can understand why this already shy gal has had a hard time leaving the safety of her home at times. Yes, even to go to church. (I do go, and faithfully. You should, too.)

When we first began this series I mentioned that this affliction has helped me to understand what real love is. Were the preceding individuals showing me the type of love found in I Corinthians chapter 13?
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; . . . (I Corinthians 13:4-5)
No, I don't think so, but I cannot respond in kind or I will show that I neither love others nor believe in the scriptures.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:27-28)
This is not an easy thing for me to do because - pastor's wife or not - I am a sinner who desires revenge on those who hurt me. But if people will know I am a Christian by my love I cannot be unloving, and therefore unchristian, in return no matter how badly I wish to retaliate.


FINALLY . . .

I have experienced great blessings, too. I have been the recipient of phenomenal love and compassion from caring friends and family members who have encouraged me when I really, truly needed it.

For instance, I've experienced such tenderness from all 4 of my children and have kept many things, including the following incidents, in my heart:
  • Karen, who turned around, pulled my hoodie up, and tied it before I could do it myself as we boarded a roller coaster. I didn't scream on the coaster but I sure did weep!
  • Lisa, yelling when she was a teenager having a bad hair day, "Arggh! I wish I was bald!!!" before catching my eyes in the bathroom mirror and following up her complaint with, "Sorry, mom! I forgot." Ah! The fact that you forgot in my presence is actually a compliment.
  • The Princess's reaction when her exuberant toddler was climbing all over my head and neck while being a little too demonstrative with his love. That look she gave me that said "I'll protect you both from an embarrassing situation" meant volumes. Being able to breathe again was great, too.  :)
  • The Bear who told me recently, "I go years without remembering your problem. To me, you're just my mom." Aw! What a sweet talker you are! Those of you with teen aged sons know how unexpected it is to have them converse with you! To say something nice is an added bonus!

I told a friend of mine that my life as a pastor's wife is no harder for me to live by the grace of God than it is for anyone else to live their own life. I believe that. God brought Pastor Dad into my life and I had a choice as to whether to marry him or not. I made the choice without understanding what would lie ahead and would do so again, but everyone is blind when making major life decisions. Ours is a walk of faith, not sight.

It isn't for us to know what lies ahead but there is Someone who does and we are to keep our eyes on Him as He leads the way. He promises that His love will guide us and that He will be with us through the whole journey.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Old Testament Timeline: Pre-Exilic Books

This week we began reading "The 11th Hour Prophecies" of Zephaniah, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah within the context of the last few chapters of II Kings.

Zephaniah
This prophet is unique in that he traces his lineage back to royalty! He was the great-great grandson of King Hezekiah (called Hizkiah in 1:1 of the KJV) though not from the line of rulers. For those of you who enjoy genealogy (okay, that would be me and probably only me) Zephaniah was the second cousin once removed of King Josiah, the child-king of Judah that followed the wicked reigns of Manasseh and Amon. Zephaniah prophesied in the days of this righteous distant cousin.

King Josiah's reign lasted from 640-609 B.C. Since Josiah implemented serious religious reform in 628 B.C. when he was 20 years old, it could be that Zephaniah's prophecy predates those changes.

The wickedness of Manasseh and Amon were so great that the nation had endured 55 years of idolatry and paganism of large proportion. Even the Godly Josiah could not bring about a spiritual change through the outward physical changes he brought about in national worship.

The book of Zephaniah is known for the phrase "the day of the Lord" and although the Messiah is not specifically mentioned in the book it is only He that can fulfill the promises at the end of Zephaniah's message. Zephaniah ends on a high note about the triumphant reforms of his Distant Cousin, the Messiah, another descendant of the royal line of Judah.



Habakkuk
Not much is known about the person of Habakkuk the prophet but the fact that he ended with a psalm that includes the word Shigionoth, a word similar to the shiggaion of Psalm 7, might mean that Habakkuk was somehow involved in the music ministry of the temple at Jerusalem.

As for the time of writing, Habakkuk does not name the specific king on the throne at the time of his prophecy but indications are that it was during the reign of either Jehoahaz or his brother Eliakim/Jehoiakim, both evil sons of Josiah. This would place the time of writing at about 609 B.C. since the campaign against Jerusalem began within a few years of Josiah's death.



Jeremiah
Jeremiah began his prophetic ministry in the 13th year of the good king, Josiah, and continued until the destruction of Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah. This place the dates between 627-586 B.C. Jeremiah was himself the son of a priest by the name of Hilkiah.

The life of Jeremiah was a hard one! He was branded a traitor to king and country for the judgment that he pronounced. His message later brought hope to at least one captive, Daniel, as he read the prophecy and came to understand that some of the exiles would make their way back to Jerusalem at the end of 70 years captivity.

The book can be divided into three sections, the first occuring while Judah was being threatened by Egypt and Assyria, the second covering the threat by Babylon, and finally after Jerusalem was conquered. The last section was a time of ministry to the occupied inhabitants of Jerusalem and later those who rebelliously made their way to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah to accompany them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: Picking Up Where We Left Off

When last we spoke about the Bible timeline we were reading Isaiah and Revelation.
Just let me interject right here that I love reading Revelation at the same time that I'm reading Isaiah. It ranks right up there with pairing the gospel of John alongside the book of Genesis. Yes, it's that awe-inspiring.
But now we've finished the complete New Testament, which means that Revelation is no longer being read on the same days as Isaiah, and we've also interrupted our reading of Isaiah in order to read a few minor prophets from the same time period, which is really interesting if you've been paying attention because we interrupted our reading of II Kings in order to read portions of Isaiah!

These are all books that have been read in recent weeks. (Sorry about that! Feel free to review.)  :)

Psalms
These ancient songs compiled by at least seven individuals are often used as devotional material today. Most people in the English-speaking world are probably familiar with at least one psalm, perhaps Psalm 23 or Psalm 100, if they know no others.

I like to also use them as prayers. For examples see Psalms 4, 5, 6, and 7.

I find that some psalms fit nicely with Isaiah, too, as many mention the King and allude to future events. Actually, the Psalms will parallel many of the books we've yet to read. That's good to know since the 150 individual portions will take us almost through the end of the year.

The psalms were written from the time of Moses (circa 1400 BC) to post-Exilic time (circa 500 BC).






Our study of the book written by the prophet, Isaiah, is interrupted so that we can read the accounts of three minor prophets: three men sent to three groups of people. All of these men were contemporary to Isaiah.

Amos
It was a time of great prosperity which ushered in a period of moral decline. No, not in America but in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Amos, a herdsman from Tekoa, is sent to deliver a message of warning as well as a promise.


Micah
Like Amos, Micah's hometown of Moresheth was a rural setting where the residents were typically farmers and herdsmen instead of prophets and priests. Yet God sent Micah to Judah to deliver a similar message to the one He sent with Amos to Israel.

At the time of this prophecy Assyria was the world power as their recent conquests had proven. But Micah prophesied that Babylon would conquer Judah.


Nahum
My husband, Pastor Dad, likes to call the three chapters of this small book Jonah chapters 5, 6, and 7 because this is exactly the type of prophecy that the prophet, Jonah, wanted God to pronounce through him just a few generations earlier. It would seem that Assyria repented just long enough to receive the blessings of God that allowed them to conquer the Northern Kingdom of Israel before being conquered themselves by the Babylonians just as Nahum predicted.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More Books For Sale

We're still cleaning out bookshelves and boxes. I've divided these by subject into 4 lots. Prices include postage within the United States and Canada. Feel free to pass the word along to anyone hat might be interested. All books are free of writing or highlighting and come from a smoke-free (but not dog-free) home.

Lot 1: Cherokee Unit Study ($12.50)

This set of 4 books consists of the following:
  • Cherokee Psalms, A Collection of Hymns in the Cherokee Language (all reading levels) - original price $3.00 bought at the Museum of the Cherokee in Cherokee, NC
  • Cherokee Heritage (junior high - adult levels) - original price $5.95 bought at the Museum of the Cherokee in Cherokee, NC
  • American Indians in America, Volume 2: The Late 18th Century to the Present (junior high - adult levels) - original price $5.95, not sure where I bought this
  • The Cherokee (elementary ages) - original price $4.95







Lot 2: Ancient Civilizations Unit Study ($7.50)
There are 2 books in this series and they are both published by Troll Associates
  • Growing Up in Ancient Greece (hardback, top corner dog-chewed personally by Pepper back when The Bear was 12 years old and she was his birthday present but no words or pages severely harmed.
  • Growing Up in Ancient China (paperback, originally priced at $4.95)





Lot 3: Dog Books ($7.50)
These were not used to school our children. I bought them to read myself when we were getting ready to add our first Labrador Retriever to our home in 1993. I guess you could say I was the homeschooled student who needed to know what to expect (she says with eyes rolling heavenward). Suitable for responsible children and adults.






Lot 4: US History potpourri suitable for Unit Study ($25.00)
There are nine titles in this set:
  • Liberty (Scholastic Books paperback) - originally $3.99: a detailed look at our beloved symbolic statue from conception to restoration
  • Abraham Lincoln Fact Book & Teacher's Guide (paperback) - originally bought from the National Park Service for $4.95
  • Civil War Commanders (paperback) - originally bought from the National Park Service for $5.95 - includes brief biographical sketches of commanders from both sides of the conflict
  • A Gallant Christian Soldier: Robert E. Lee,The Sowers Series (hardback) new paperback edition is available at Amazon for $7.99
  • Andrew Jackson's Hermitage (souvenir paperback published by The Ladies Hermitage Association) - color photographs and text detailing the life, times, and home of the 7th President of the United States
  • The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate (paperback) - originally bought from the National Park Service for $6.50 - describes one theory concerning the residents of Roanoke Island that disappeared between 1587-1590.  (This book is suitable for high school - adult readers.) 
  • The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane [A Newbery Honor book] (paperback) - originally $12.95 - contains original photographs taken by Wilbur and Orville Wright
  • George Washington's Rules of Civililty & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation (hardback) - originally bought at Mount Vernon Gift Shop for $9.95
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (SoHo paperback edition edited by Charles W. Eliot, various prices and editions available online)





Feel free to contact me at karabeth6@gmail.com with any questions

Bible Reading Schedule for August 13-19, 2012

I apologize for my lack of participation. When the rash wasn't making me feel bad the heavy meds that were. I trust that I can resume a normal blogging life this week. Thanks for your patience (and your prayers).

Monday, August 13, 2012
Micah 4, 5
Psalms 12, 13

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Micah 6, 7
Psalm 14

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Nahum
Psalm 15

Thursday, August 16, 2012
II Kings 18-20
Psalm 16

Friday, August 17, 2012
Isaiah 36-38
Psalm 17

Saturday, August 18, 2012
Isaiah 39, 40
Psalm 18

Sunday, August 19, 2012
No scheduled readings; if necessary use the day to catch up if you are behind
ATTEND CHURCH!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Very Mini Homeschool Curriculum Sale

I'm getting ready for another - and our last - year of homeschooling. While putting together lesson plans this past week for The Bear's last year I noticed a few things that I no longer need. Some of these things are brand.new. As in UNTOUCHED. I don't know why that is except that I changed my mind somewhere along the way. Anyway, I could store these things until next year in the hopes of participating in a curriculum fair that doesn't conflict with other things on our schedule (as has happened the last, oh, say, 5 years or so) but I think that perhaps someone who doesn't have all their curriculum purchased or likes to plan ahead for future years might buy them now.

FOR SALE

Alpha-Omega LIFEPACs elective: Geography (Jr. High or High School)

These workbooks have no marks and come with the Teacher's Guide/Answer Key.

$15.00 postage paid. Retails for $28.95 and sells at Christianbook.com for $26.06 at their website. Covers are slightly different but it is the same 1997 edition.

I will take a check or money order but would prefer PayPal. Contact me at karabeth6@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing this set.

5 LIFEPACs and Teacher's Guide

Teacher's Guide Table of Contents page

Teacher's Guide

Scope and Sequence toward 1/2 credit of high school Geography

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Now That My Eyes Are Open

I really was doing great, you know? I was rather busy in one form or another in July with church camp for 2 week but I still managed to crank out blog posts for the Bible reading program (some posts previously scheduled) as well as be able to fulfill my babysitting responsibilities and keep up with my church office obligations.

Things were going so well that we even stopped at a local farm and bought 65 ears of corn (5 dozen sold as a baker's dozen of 13 ears) and got them all processed the same day.

There were a couple of things scheduled on the calendar this past weekend: a canoe trip, and an out-of-town preaching appointment for Pastor Dad.

Uh, I didn't make those.

By Saturday morning, the day of the canoe trip, my eyes were swollen. By Sunday morning my whole neck and face were one angry rash and my eyes were swollen shut! A visit to a health clinic was thereby decreed necessary by one Pastor Dad.

It was quite fun answering the nurse practitioner's questions. To what kind of things have I been exposed lately?

"Well, how about Scarlet Fever and Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease?"

While she found those answers intriguing what she meant specifically was what kind of poison plants have I been exposed to recently?

"None of which I am aware." And believe me, when it comes to poison ivy, I am aware. It grows nicely in our flower beds (one of the joys of living near the woods ~ sigh) but I had not seen any the last time I worked in the yard . . . which had been earlier in the week.

And for the last couple of days I hadn't been seeing much of anything, poison ivy or otherwise.

But now that I am being pumped full of Zyrtec and prednisone along with my regular daily regimen of Claritin (which the practitioner said kept my case from being even worse than it was, perish the thought!) the itching is easing and my eyes are open once more.

So in a few days I will have all of the memory verse and summary material from the last week posted for those who are interested.

And if any of you are following the Blind Love and Blessings series the high doses of steroids are doing wonders for my hair but they are causing such eating binges that I really will be glad when the 10 day prescription regimen has passed. I fear it wouldn't matter how full the head of steroid-grown hair might be if it sits atop the Goodyear Blimp!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Timeline: Isaiah

Isaiah is the first of the major prophets that we encounter in our Bible reading schedule. His prophetic book is considered one of the greatest Biblical writings of the 66 books. His writings contain some of the most beautiful language concerning the coming of the Messiah.

Isaiah mentioned in 1:1 that he received his prophecies during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. All told that adds up to about 60 years. Uzziah reigned 52 years but most likely Isaiah did not start prophesying until the end of Uzziah's reign but this can only be assumed from 6:1 where he specifically states that he received certain revelation "In the year that king Uzziah died."

Jotham reigned 16 years;
Ahaz reigned 16 years; and
Hezekiah reigned 29 years (see II Kings chapters 15, 16, and 18).
This would total about 60 years of ministry.

The date of writing is based upon the years that these kings reigned, or approximately 740-680 B.C.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for July 23-29, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012
Isaiah 1, 2
Revelation 5, 6

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Isaiah 3-5
Revelation 7, 8

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Isaiah 6-8
Revelation 9

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Isaiah 9, 10
Revelation 10, 11

Friday, July 27, 2012
Isaiah 11-13
Revelation 12, 13

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Isaiah 14, 15
Revelation 14, 15

Sunday, July 29, 2012
No scheduled readings; if necessary use the day to catch up if you are behind
ATTEND CHURCH!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Final New Testament Timeline

With the scheduling of II John, III John, and Revelation we're nearing the conclusion of the New Testament in our Bible reading schedule! Beginning in early August we'll shift to the poetical books of Psalms and Proverbs and read them until the end of the year. Readers who only have access to a testament placed by groups like The Gideons, International will still have something to read each day since the pocket testaments usually contain Psalms and Proverbs as well as the complete New Testament.

The only Old Testament book introduced this week is Jonah. Is there anyone who doesn't know of the plight of Jonah?

Jonah
Jonah was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel following the time of Elisha. Besides this book of prophecy which is named for him, the only other reference to Jonah the son of Amittai is found in II Kings 14:25.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the Assyrians. The wickedness of this country was already legendary and the prophet made a conscious decision to disobey God. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why did Jonah not want to preach to the Ninevites? As a prophet, perhaps Jonah was already aware that his beloved nation would one day be obliterated by Assyria. Perhaps Jonah did not want them to have the opportunity to repent. This book teaches us much about Jesus' death as the three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish foreshadow it, but the book also teaches us why Jesus had to die as Jonah's apparent lack of love for his enemies illustrates utter depravity as does the nation of Ninevah itself.


II John
We began our study of the New Testament by reading the writings of the Apostle John and that is also how we will end it. John wrote this second epistle either to a private individual (the elect lady) or to a church group (using the term metaphorically). Either way, the letter was intended to encourage and to warn. The encouragement was to walk in love and the warning was to be aware of false teachers trying to deceive believers. This book was written about A.D. 90.

III John
This letter is written to Gaius, a man that John obviously loved and trusted. Verse 4 might mean that he was one of John's converts.

Unlike II John which was written to warn of trouble from without, this epistle was written to warn of trouble within. The name Diotrophes has come to be synonymous with trouble-making church members who boss everyone else around. This letter was probably written at about the same time as II John so the date would be about A.D. 90.

Revelation
I always love reading this book and not just because of how the prophecies affect me. The way that John describes Jesus in his gospel makes it my favorite of the four gospels and the fact that Jesus chose John, the beloved apostle, as the one to reveal His glory and future events just warms my heart! As anybody who reads the Bible knows this book is not easy to understand. But then, really, do we pretend to comprehend completely any of the prophecies in the Bible? Did the prophets themselves understand everything that they were told? I don't think so.

The elderly apostle tells us that he received this revelation while on the isle of Patmos. Bible scholars believe that this was about A.D. 95. All told the New Testament begins with events that happened around 4 B.C. and ends with a revelation on Patmos around A.D. 95 covering 100 years.

Read Revelation with the appreciation that you are reading the end of the tragic story of the long rebellion led by Satan against God. Good news! God wins! Don't you just love happy endings?  :)