Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: Abraham's Family Bible

As promised, I am sharing with you an excerpt of The Genesis Timeline that I've made and have encouraged you to make as well. The portion below is taken from the details given in Genesis 11:10 and 25:7 and covers only the genealogy from Shem to Abraham. The numbers in the chart are not dates but are the number of years after the flood (NOT to be confused with the number of years after creation!).

Events in Years Post-Flood
Name Birth Death
Shem pre-flood 502
Arphaxad 2 440
Salah 37 470
Eber 67 531
Peleg 101 340
Reu 131 370
Serug 163 393
Nahor 193 341
Terah 222 427
Abraham 292 467

Do you see anything interesting about the numbers? For one thing, Shem (the son of Noah) outlived Abraham! That means that if he ever received news of his multi-generational grandchildren he could have heard about the births of at least two more generations not on this chart since Isaac and Jacob were both born before he died! (We'll study those dates in future weeks as we get deeper into our study of the Patriarchs.)

Mention is made in Genesis 10:25 that the earth was divided about the time of Peleg's birth so that would place the Tower of Babel around 100 years after the Flood. Prior to that event everyone spoke the same language. It would make sense that Peleg spoke the same language as his father, Eber, since he was an infant at the time of Babel. If Eber were the start of a new language group separate from his progenitors (which isn't necessarily true but certainly is possible) he would still know the names of his immediate forefathers, including Noah, as all of his post-flood male ancestors were still alive at the time of the Babel confusion. Yes, even Noah, whose name is not mentioned in Genesis 10, lived long enough to see his descendants divided at Babel. Perhaps the Genesis 10 men lost the ability to communicate with each other but it doesn't mean they no longer recognized their relationship to each other. (A problem often encountered even today among families that immigrate to distant lands then take their children back to the native homeland to visit aged relatives.)

Given the age that men lived back in those days it can be seen by the timeline how genealogy records could be inherited through the generations. Let's view two examples, one before the flood and one after.

Adam lived to be 930 years old. Using the information found in the earlier chapters of Genesis the timeline shows that Adam lived to see Noah's father, Lamech. (Make your own timeline if you don't believe me. Seriously.)

Since Adam lived until the time of Lamech one can be sure that the genealogy records were passed down - or were commonly known - in Lamech's family. Doing genealogy in those days must have been easy, but think of the number of generational record pages that their Family Bible would require! :)

So Adam lived to the time of Lamech and Lamech was the father of Noah. Given the importance of the genealogy and the fact that Noah's line would be the only surviving descendants of Adam it seems reasonable that Noah would take a copy of the family tree common to all future descendants aboard the ark with him.

Shem is the son of Noah through whom Abraham descended and was still living during Abraham's lifetime. As a matter of fact, Eber was still alive, too. Was this why Abraham was first called "Abram the Hebrew" in Genesis 14:13? Possibly it is from Eber that the Jewish nation received this name.

We're not told that any of Abraham's immediate ancestors lived near one another post-Babel, but written copies were probably kept by each family.
From Abraham the records were preserved through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob's sons. At that point they would easily reach the hands of Moses, the author of Genesis, who JUST HAPPENED (ha! ha!) to be the great-grandson of Jacob! (But I'm getting too far ahead in the timeline.)

Considering that the years of birth and death provided by Moses are so specific for each generation, I think it is reasonable to conclude that the records were passed down from generation to generation and really did make up the "family" Bible later inherited by Moses. Of course I don't think that he inherited some coffee table-book sized Bible like our families possess. In his day the canon was only beginning to be compiled so the genealogy contained in this Family Bible wasn't just a few register pages inserted between the text. His genealogy actually made up the text of any Family Bible!

Was it impossible to accurately pass the family tree down from Adam to Moses in the manner I've described? I don't think so! Almost 1,000 years have passed since the Battle of Hastings and yet we still know the exact date it occurred and the names of many of the principles including William the Conqueror. How do we know so much about it at this late date? Written documentation and artistic depictions such as the Bayeux Tapestry have preserved the history. If lifespans were as long today as they were in the antediluvian period someone would be living now to tell us the story of his family having taken part in that battle. Wouldn't Veteran's Day celebrations be quite impressive with all your ancestors from the Battle of Hastings up to the present era around to celebrate their military feats?!

As a genealogist I would love to be able to quiz my ancestors. As it is, I must analyze the records and relics that they left behind to piece together their stories. And yet, I am able to do just that even without direct contact! For many generations the years of birth and death can almost always be located. If I can document events in my ancestors' lives through human resources I have no problem believing that Moses was able to do the same for his using the human records at his disposal. Besides, he received divine help from his Friend during their long discussions on Mount Sinai!

God never ceases to amaze me! The very complex God makes it all so simple. And very simple people make it all too complicated. Open your eyes, use your brain, and appreciate the things God has revealed in His Word!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Memory Monday: The Still, Small Voice in the Dark

When my grandmother passed away several years ago after having lived the last ten years or so within a fog of dementia I remember saying to one of my cousins, "Grandma knows us again." And we rejoiced in that measure of comfort.

Another comfort was gained from the verses the pastor preached. In my own fog, one of grief, I didn't take notes but I'm pretty sure this is the passage he used:
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:14-18 (KJV)

It brought such peace knowing that during those years that Grandma didn't know us the Holy Spirit knew her and was bearing witness with her spirit as a parent caring for an infant child. No one really knows what goes on within the labyrinth of the mind, but God was with her during those years of suffering after her memory had failed.

I've often wondered how God speaks during times when we are not fully conscious of our surroundings. I don't have all the answers but I think I have one. He uses memorized scriptures, at least until the mind is so far gone that it reverts almost back to infancy. I envision the Holy Spirit using scripture to comfort a senile adult much like a parent uses lullabies to comfort a restless baby.

The living brain never stops thinking, thinking, thinking even when the body is failing or is simply asleep. Many is the time that I've watched a disturbing t.v. show and then experienced a restless night as a result. I try not to watch t.v. in the evening for that very reason.

Other times I've had seemingly unsolvable problems resolved in my mind during the night while I'm sleeping. I must awake fully, get up, and write them down or the solutions will be forgotten by morning.

This month I have been working to memorize John 1:1-14. It has gone fairly well, but verses 8, 9, and 10 have given me some trouble. Once I get those committed to memory I should be able to add the last 4 verses because they are already familiar to me.

The other night I partially awoke unexpectedly 3 or 4 times. The first couple of times I was only semi-conscious and in a dreamlike state but I was aware enough to know that I was quoting John 1:1-8 perfectly. I awoke in the morning saying the verses aloud! As I said later to my Twitter pals I didn't spend the night counting sheep but I subconsciously spent it conversing with the Shepherd! I awoke very well rested, too.

Why not read scripture before retiring and let your brain meditate overnight on God's Word? I'd love to hear how memorizing scripture is affecting you. (And I certainly hope that it is!)

I'm only adding a few new verses this week:
  • Genesis 22:8
  • Genesis 28:20, 21
  • Matthew 16:17, 18
  • Matthew 16: 24-26
  • Matthew 18:3-5

May the word of God dwell in you richly!(Col. 3:16)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule: January 30 - February 5, 2012

January 30 - February 5

Monday, January 30th
  • Genesis 16-18
  • Matthew 12
Tuesday, January 31st
  • Genesis 19, 20
  • Matthew 13
Wednesday, February 1st
  • Genesis 21-23
  • Matthew 14
Thursday, February 2nd
  • Genesis 24, 25
  • Matthew 15, 16
Friday, February 3rd
  • Genesis 26-28
  • Matthew 17
Saturday, February 4th
  • Genesis 29, 30
  • Matthew 18, 19
Sunday, February 5th
  • This day is set aside to read any scheduled scripture portions that have not been completed.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Friday! Time to Wrap up the Vacation

While we were in Nevada we visited Valley of Fire State Park. Lisa blogged about this a few weeks ago and you can see her article here. She posted some of her wonderful pictures, too. Thought I'd share a few of the ones that I took.

This park has some very interesting geographic formations, petrified trees, animal species, Native American hieroglyphs, and history. (Here's the link for more park information and some great professional photographs.)

Dan and Lisa playing at the Beehives.

Whenever I couldn't find The Bear I just kept looking up and his head and body would eventually appear on the rock formations above me. From his vantage points he managed to see more than the rest of us could from below. It was hard to keep him safe on the ground this trip.

I think Nevada has beautiful scenery based upon the various colors that can be found within the rocks. The photos I showed last week of Red Rock Canyon's calico hills were one example of the diversity. This park was just as aesthetically pleasing.

This boy below is, um, "native" to America, but he and his "kind" didn't make these marks on the rocks. The cliffs along this trail were literally covered with ancient symbols.

(What "kind" is that, you ask? I was thinking of destructive teenagers, but then, I couldn't really say with any certainty that ancient Native American teenaged boys didn't leave some graffiti here while their mothers yelled from below, "Get down from there before you kill yourself!" I suspect ancient moms were not so different from modern ones.)

Here's The Bear with just one of the ground squirrels (a.k.a. "chipmunks") that we fed. I'd brought nuts to snack on in the car which we then shared with the little beggers. Word of our generosity spread quickly and before long there was a groundswell of critters heading our way. We soon drove on, leaving the picnickers nearby to deal with any late-comers. :)

Here's a photo of one of the petrified logs in the park. Looks like there was a catastrophic flood there at some time in ancient history! Ya think?

See the guy waving a cap in the picture below? That's Dan. Evidently you can't let your brother-in-law have all the fun trying to break a neck climbing on rocks. :)

And yes, just in case you're wondering, we did actually go into Las Vegas itself. Here's Pastor Dad (and Lisa) waiting patiently for the Bellagio fountains to begin their show.

That's the end of the vacation pictures that I'll be posting although I think I took a couple of hundred of them. I would probably never get tired of looking at them but I suspect that you might. New subject next Friday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Tune-up: Key to Success


When someone is on a diet it is a whole lot easier to read a calorie-counting register than it is to stop eating in order to keep the calorie count below the desired amount.

When someone wants to get into shape it is a whole lot more fun to admire the exercises in the magazine than it is to do sets and repetitions of crunches and presses.

When someone wants to know more about God and His Word it's a whole lot quicker to glance at the reading schedule than it is to read a few chapters of the Bible.

When someone wants to sew a quilt it's a whole lot simpler to admire the illustrated step-by-step instructions than it is cut out the material and sew the blocks together in an orderly fashion.

It's always easier to read about something than it is to actually do it. The key to success in meeting any goal is to put down the manual and manually complete the steps necessary to achieve it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom: Prophecy Fulfilled!

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Matthew 5:17

We haven't read very far into Matthew's gospel yet, but already we've encountered several examples detailing how Old Testament scriptures were fulfilled. The chart below was compiled from my journal notes.

Scripture fulfilled: Old Testament Prophecy
Matthew 1:21-22 Isaiah 7:14
Matthew 2:5-6 Micah 5:2
Matthew 2:15 Hosea 11:1
Matthew 2:17-18 Jeremiah 31:15
Matthew 2:23 Judges 13:5
Matthew 3:1-3 Malachi 4:5, 6
Matthew 3:15 Psalm 119
Matthew 3:16, 17 Isaiah 11:2; 61:1
Matthew 4:13-16 Isaiah 9:1, 2

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: Back to Genesis!

This Friday we will return to the book of Genesis and pick up where we left off before venturing into the book of Job. (Feel free to go back and read here what I had to say about the insertion of Job within the context of Genesis and how he probably was a contemporary of Abraham.)

Which brings us now to reading about Abraham! Feel free to check my addition because I did a rather hurried calculation based upon the math/timeline project I mentioned in that earlier post (same link as above). My figures show that Abraham was born in year 1,949 of the earth's existence*****. Scholars place his birth near 2100 BC which fits with a literal interpretation of the earlier chapters of Genesis and places the year of creation at approximately 4050 BC. Agree or disagree with me concerning the age of the earth if you must. We should at least be able to agree on an approximate time for the life of Abraham.[1]

We will not interrupt our reading of Genesis again, but it will be mid-February before we complete it. The timelines for the next couple of Tuesdays will again be "micro" in nature as we focus on the Patriarchal Period.

[1] Besides several Bible scholars I consulted The Illustrated Atlas of Jewish Civilization: 4000 Years of History by Josephine Bacon, Quantum Books, c. 2007. This is a secular volume dealing with the specific subject of Jewish history and as such it cannot ignore what the Bible has to say about their early history. Although Ms. Bacon does not necessarily believe that an individual named Abraham existed, she states that the events concerning Abraham as described in the Torah would have happened in approximately 2000 BC (or BCE "before common era" as she and other secularists who do not want to use the birth of Christ as the focal point in their dating structure call it. See here for a discussion of the BC/BCE and AD/CE debate. Call it what you will, the life of Christ is still the reference that determines when they change from BCE to CE. They didn't choose some other well-known person and event, like say, the death of Julius Caesar, as the date from which to define all of history as being pre or post that certain year. Just an observation.). I compared this book with Bible commentaries when setting an approximate date for Abraham's life and found it interesting that they agree.

*****My calculations actually came to 1948 but there is no such thing as a Year 0. The first year of time would be Year 1. Therefore I added 1 to get the year of Abraham's birth. It might skew things slightly, but as long as the procedure stays consistent throughout the calculations the addition of a year won't matter. For instance, it will show that Methuselah died the same year that the flood occurred whether one uses 1656 (the calculation) or 1657 (the year). Adam was created on day 6 of the 1st year of creation and lived to be 930 years old. That would mean his lifespan was from years 1-931 and not from 0-930. Correct?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Memory Monday: A Guest Post, Part 2

Joining us again this week is Mike Kelly. Last week he told us why we should memorize scripture and he wrote as though it were a letter from God. Since he used scripture as his basis, it really was a paraphrase of God's own words. (See Part 1 here.)

Today he again assumes that divine role and tells us some pointers on "how" to memorize scripture. Remember, God designed that brain of yours and He expects you to be thinking about good things. (cf. Philippians 4:8-9) Nothing is better to think about than the Bible!

"Dear Christian,

I promised to be back this week. This is the Lord with some practical ‘how to’ tips on memorizing scripture. Last week I challenged you (well, actually I commanded you) to take seriously the Scriptures that make clear the importance of memorization and meditation to spiritual growth.

This week is the nuts and bolts. Some steps to take in order to most successfully hide My Word in your heart.

First, let me say I have always found where there is a big enough ‘why’, people will usually find the how. Or, in common parlance, if you want it bad enough you will do it, regardless of the tools or training available.

So here are some steps and tips:
1. Read through the passage or verse you are going to memorize, including its’ context. Make sure you understand what is being said. A good tip here is to read it in 3 or 4 versions, including a paraphrase like The Message.
2. Rewrite the verse in your own words.
3. Read the verse aloud a number of times. Some of you are auditory learners.
4. Pray through the verse daily as you learn and review. Turn it into a prayer for others, or for your own growth.
5. Repeat the verse ALOUD often when you are driving or alone.
6. Think about how the verse applies to your life.
7. Every opportunity you get repeat it...to your spouse, to your kids, to a friend.
8. Write out a number of copies on 3 x 5 cards and post it on the bathroom mirror, in your car, on the refrigerator, and anywhere else you can think of-- so you see it often.
9. This probably is only for some of you, but sing the verse(s) when you can. Many have found this one of the best ways to remember.
10. With today’s technology, google it and save it on your smart phone. Easy access.
11. And finally, as in real estate the mantra is “location, location, location,” in memorization it is “REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW.” Set up a system to review daily, then weekly and finally once every month until it is truly engraved on your heart.


With All My Love,

The Lord"

Mike Kelly is currently developing a full-time Twitter ministry (#MKBibleChat hashtag for anyone who would like to participate in the regularly scheduled chats) and the Bible Memory Coins system. (For ordering information visit the memory coin home page here.)

Our list is not too short this week but most of them are familiar verses that come from The Sermon on the Mount. Remember that you are not expected to memorize all of them. Just pick one from this list or one of the previous lists (found here and here and here) to work on for the week, a month, or as long as it takes for you to be able to master it.

  • Genesis 12:1-3 (God's call to Abraham)
  • Matthew 5:3-11 (The Beatitudes)
  • Matthew 5:14-16 (You might recognize one of these as my blog verse!)
  • Matthew 6:9-13 (What is named "The Lord's Prayer" but is more appropriately called "The Model Prayer")
  • Matthew 6:19-21
  • Matthew 6:33 (One of my favorite verses!)
  • Matthew 7:7
  • Matthew 7:12
  • Matthew 11:28-30

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule, January 23-29, 2012

January 23-29

Monday, January 23rd
  • Job 34-36
  • Matthew 4
Tuesday, January 24th
  • Job 37, 38
  • Matthew 5
Wednesday, January 25th
  • Job 39, 40
  • Matthew 6
Thursday, January 26th
  • Job 41, 42
  • Matthew 7, 8
Friday, January 27th
  • Genesis 11, 12
  • Matthew 9, 10
Saturday, January 28th
  • Genesis 13-15
  • Matthew 11
Sunday, January 29th
  • This day is set aside to read any scheduled scripture portions that have not been completed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Free Friday: Return to Vacation

Oh, I wish!

It can't be done so I'll just return to the pictures of vacation. If I'm really delusional --er-- blessed I might even start to feel a bit warmer than I do right now just remembering the desert. Well, I can dream, can't I?

This year Lisa and I decided to take the power plant tour since the guys were there to share the experience with us. It was very enjoyable and very educational. (But don't tell The Bear because he just thinks we were on vacation!) These are some of the turbines that provide electricity to most of the southwestern United States.

And not only is the facility functional, but it has its artistic elements too. (There I go again with all that educational talk!)

I shot this picture blind. No, really. I couldn't see a thing with the blazing sun shining directly in my eyes so I closed them. I thought it turned out surprisingly well under the circumstances.

After we finished our tour we walked across the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the same one you saw behind Dan, Lisa, The Bear, and Pastor Dad in the previous picture, and the same one casting a shadow across the face of the Hoover Dam in this picture. (I'm feeling warmer already! How about you?)

The turbines we saw are housed in the building on the bottom left of this photo. And that's Lake Mead in the background.

A few days later we went to Red Rock Canyon to descend and ascend the rocks. What a workout!

Down we go!

And up and over we go! Pastor Dad wanted to know if I was coming. I explained to him that it's very important for the photographer to stop and take pictures and gulp air so I made sure I took lots and lots of pictures. (I won't bore you with all of them.)

Sometimes it is important for the photographer to have a picture taken of herself just to prove that she really was there. Or maybe she just needed to sit for awhile and gulp air.

Some folk didn't seem to require much rest. (And some folk were in danger of breaking his their necks a great deal of the time. Not to mention any names or anything, but even big sister looks like she's delivering a stern lecture.)

The park itself is full of diversity! Not only are the formations different from place to place but even the temperatures differed by several degrees depending on how much sun the locations receive. We saw our first snow of the season near an area overshadowed by some high hills.

Brr! Now I'm cold again! And it's time to wrap up this segment of the travelogue from our December Vegas trip. One more post ought to finish it. That's it until our next Free Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday's Tune-Up: Are You A Dummy?

source: www.Christianphotos.net
It's mid-January and for many of us some of the New Year excitement has started to fade and the determination we had to read God's Word daily, attend church regularly, memorize scripture methodically, and pray fervently in 2012 has faded along with it.

Does that describe you? Could this be your photo above? Let's see if there's any resemblance.
  • Are your eyes glazed over when you read your Bible each day?
  • Do you paint on a phony smile when you "have to" go to church?
  • Is your brain wooden when you try to memorize verses?
  • Do the words coming out of your mouth when you pray sound like a well-rehearsed script?

Mmm-hmm. I thought so. It happens to all of us sometimes.

Unfortunately, it's natural; meaning it's part of our nature. We easily slip back into old familiar habits like puppet skits performed many times.

And that's exactly why we need to keep practicing new routines whether we feel like doing them or not. Reading the Bible, praying, memorizing scripture, and attending church are the means God uses to change the old nature into a new one that resembles His own.

We have a tendency to resist change in spite of all good intentions. (I wonder how crowded the health clubs are these days?) But if you continue your new spiritual exercises one day you'll find that your eyes no longer stare vacantly at the pages of your Bible, your smile is genuine when you meet with other believers, and your brain meditates on those memorized scriptures with the result being honest heartfelt prayers to God.

What a picture that would make!

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Col 3:16-17 (KJV) -- imported from Bible Explorer 4 (emphasis mine)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Taken from Job

Job's friends were miserable comforters.
Thankfully, Job himself was not!
Source:  www.Christianphotos.net
23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Job 19:23-27 (KJV) -- copied from Bible Explorer 4 software

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Timeline Tuesday, Welcome to the Gospel of Matthew

(My grandpa's Family Bible)

Later this week we will conclude our reading of the gospel of John and begin reading the gospel of Matthew. There are a couple of reasons that I chose Matthew as our second gospel to read.

First, I believe it to be the earliest gospel account. This is somewhat in dispute among scholars as many believe that Mark wrote his gospel before the other synoptic gospel writers, Matthew and Luke, wrote theirs.

I don't pretend to be a great theologian but I do enjoy reading the debates of great theologians. I read several but the argument that struck a chord with me was really quite simple. It was made by John MacArthur. I'm paraphrasing it here for the sake of brevity. He said that it makes no sense to believe an eyewitness (Matthew) would copy the work of someone who wasn't (Mark).[1] Good point!

Most scholars agree that this gospel was written about AD 50 and certainly prior to AD 70. This is based upon the use of the words "unto this day" (27:8) and "until this day" (28:15) which seems to indicate that several years had passed since the death and resurrection of Christ. And considering that his Jewish audience would be scattered after the Fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple it would seem likely that he wrote prior to that event. [1,2]

The second reason that I chose this book is because Matthew was a Jewish believer who wrote his account to other Jews to convince them that Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah. I felt that this meets the criteria of "to the Jew first . . ." as mentioned in Romans 1:16. The synoptic gospels of Mark and Luke were meant for Gentile readers and we will read them in the months that follow.

There are many arguments that Matthew uses to present Jesus as the promised Messiah, the King of the Jews.
  • He uses many examples of how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies (watch for the words "that it might be fulfilled" in your reading).
  • He takes Jesus' lineage back only as far as Abraham (the father of the Jewish nation).
  • He talks of the Kingdom (watch for the words "the kingdom of heaven" as you read).
  • And he concludes that Jesus fulfilled the Davidic covenant (watch for the words "son of David." Any reference to King David occurs 9 times in Matthew and only 6 times in the other gospels). [2]

The timeline is the same for all the gospels and covers the life of Christ. We're leaving the one that presented Jesus as God and are transitioning into the account that presents Him as the Messiah. Prepare your heart to worship your King!

Quoted sources:
[1] The MacArthur Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, notes for Matthew and Mark.
[2] The New Open Bible Study Edition, Thomas Nelson Publishers, notes for Matthew and comparison chart entitled "The Four Gospels"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Memory Monday: A Guest Post, Part 1

This Monday and the next we have a guest writer, Mike Kelly, with us. Today he wants to help us understand "why" it is important to be memorizing Bible verses. I hope you'll enjoy today's creative article and come back next Monday to view his ideas for the "how" of Bible memorization.

“Hello. I am God. If you think about it, that means I created you. Not just you but all the electrons, neutrons, cells…and mountains and rivers and planets…point made?

I also know you more intimately than you know yourself. I know what makes you tick… (Psalm 139)

So you might want to listen up. Because I love you I decided to reveal Myself and My will for your life in a Book: My Word--you know it as the Bible.--in it I have provided “ALL THINGS pertaining to life and godliness” (II Peter 1) so that you might have what I had Paul call “life indeed” in I Timothy (Paul was one of my better servants, by the way…you should see the mansion he lives in now…WOW) and what John calls “abundant life.”

But there is a part you must play (you knew there’d be a catch, didn’t you?). You have to actually read My Book…and reflect on it…and, yes, MEMORIZE it. (Colossians 3:16; Joshua 1:8; Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Psalm 1; II Timothy 2:15) Which involves some things I know (remember the part about ‘I created you’) most of you don’t like: WORK and DISCIPLINE. But remember the good news: afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12).

Another important motivational reminder: “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Proverbs 4:18.I should know--I created the Path, too.

Very important point: memorization and meditation on My Word is not optional, not if you want to walk My Path. You DO want to walk MY PATH, don’t you? I’ve heard ultimately it gets a little warm on the other road. (Yes, I have a sense of humor…created it, too. Psalm 2:4) So back to My point: it is a command that you learn My Word—thoroughly. Note I NEVER referred to my greatest commands as “Ten Pretty Good Suggestions."

So how are you doing so far on this assignment, one I first gave you when you became a Christian? Do you know John 3:16 (a gimme) and Galatians 2:20 and Romans 3:23…how about Psalm 119:9-11 or II Corinthians 5:17? How does it look to those not following My Way when you stumble and mumble when trying to tell them about My Word and My Way? Are you flunking this test? Not a test you want to flunk as it tends to have eternal consequences.

In Colossians 3 the first couple verses I command you to “set your mind on things above”. Best way to do this is knowing My Word, verbatim, word perfect so to speak.

Remember, “the mind set on the flesh is DEATH, but the mind set on the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE.” (Romans 8:6) So you choose: death…or life and peace.



P.S. It looks like you have some work to do. I will be sending another message with some tips and ideas on “how to” on the memorizing and meditating thing. Hope you will watch for it…and read it…and GET TO WORK.
Mike Kelly is currently working on developing a full-time Twitter ministry (#MKBibleChat hashtag for anyone who would like to participate in the regularly scheduled chats) and the Bible Memory Coins system. (Link here for the home page.)

Our memory verse list this week is short. And remember that you are not expected to memorize the whole list. Just pick one here or from one of the previous ones (found here and here) and work on it for the week or the whole month.
  • John 18:36
  • John 20:21
  • John 21:24-25
  • Matthew 3:16, 17
  • Job 22:22
  • Job 31:35, 36
And a couple of familiar passages:
  • John 19:17-22 (an abbreviated portion of the crucifixion account)
  • Matthew 1:18-25 (the birth of Jesus, commonly known as one of the Christmas story passages)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for January 16-22, 2012

January 16-22

Monday, January 16th
  • Job 20, 21
  • John 18
Tuesday, January 17th
  • Job 22, 23
  • John 19
Wednesday, January 18th
  • Job 24-26
  • John 20
Thursday, January 19th
  • Job 27-29
  • John 21
Friday, January 20th
  • Job 30, 31
  • Matthew 1
Saturday, January 21st
  • Job 32, 33
  • Matthew 2, 3
Sunday, January 22nd
  • This day is set aside to read any scheduled scripture portions that have not been completed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Free Friday: A Tribute To One of My Heroes

Ballad of the Green Beret
by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore, copyright 1966
Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Trained to live off nature's land
Trained in combat, hand-to-hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage peak from the Green Berets

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request

Put silver wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man they'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret.

I was in the first grade when this song became popular. Our music teacher, Mrs. Schoonover, would take requests while waiting for class to be dismissed and this was the most requested song. I don't think we ever left the music room without singing it at least once! Not only was it patriotic and poignant, but most of us could name at least one person fighting in that far away country with the funny sounding name.

The soldiers we knew were probably not in the Green Beret. As the song says one hundred would test but only three would meet the standard. This didn't matter because the anthem struck a chord in the hearts of those little kids who bellowed it out every time they went to music class.

Eleven years later I would meet one of the 3% immortalized in that song. On Christmas Day 1977 I was invited to meet my future brother-in-law and his wife, Pastor Dad's sister as part of Round 1 of the "Meet the Family" tradition that commonly precedes the marriage ceremony.

I have many memories of him through the intervening 34 years. Some of them are funny, hilarious even, and I can barely type without laughing through my tears. But these are private stories, the kind that might be shared among our cherished group of mourners at his funeral today.

Although I do not feel the liberty to share those here I do want to publicly thank him for his service to our country.
  • Thanks, Bill, for being one of those real life heroes I sang about in elementary school.

And there are other things that come to mind.
  • Thanks to you and your wife for being a great big brother and big sister to Pastor Dad and me.
  • Thanks for all those crazy Monopoly games we played when we were all young enough to stay up late.
  • Thanks for not hiding your sweet tooth. It helped me to not feel so guilty about having a mouth full of 'em myself! I always knew I'd have an ally when the question "Does anyone want dessert?" was asked.
  • Thanks for chatting with me about genealogy. It was fascinating to compare notes on our different German roots.
  • Thanks for telling your children about Jesus without pulling any punches about the life you lived before meeting the Lord. This had to encourage them to skip the rebellious lifestyle and head straight to Godly living.
  • Thanks for visiting us when we lived in Tennessee. It really was a big deal.
  • Thanks for being such a great uncle. Like myself, you have no biological nieces and nephews, but you never seemed to notice that our children were not blood relatives.
  • Thanks for the bear hugs.
  • Thanks for concentrating on how long you were blessed to live and not how young you would be when you died.
  • Thanks for the courage you showed in recent weeks while fighting your final battle. You modeled dying grace in front of us all as a soldier of the Lord. We look forward to seeing you again once our own battles are over!

You truly are one of my heroes and I'll miss you. No family gathering will ever be the same without you; like the traditional tribute to the absent soldier your place at the table will always be empty.

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

2 Tim 2:1-4 (KJV)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Thursday Tune-Up, Week 2

Where do I begin to explain the spiritual, emotional, and physical events of the last week and how they relate to my goals?

Emotional Goals
Since last Thursday our family has been on the mountaintop, down in the valley, back on the mountaintop, back down in the valley, etc., etc., etc. It feels like we're all parts in a set of hand weights. Up! Down! Up! Down!

Last Thursday my brother-in-law awakened and showed real progress in his recovery. This Thursday he is fully alert and recovered but is living in his eternal home.

On the same morning that my brother-in-law died his daughter-in-law gave birth to a healthy baby boy, his seventh grandchild. (Yes, you read that correctly. Stop and re-read it to let it sink in.) So really, the emotional health goals that I shared with you last week were forgotten this week. Some personal ones that are between God and myself, and which I didn't share, were met though, and that's very important.

Physical Goals
The same could be said about my physical goals of bike riding, treadmilling, and weight lifting. None of those mattered this week.

Spiritual Goals
I DID meet my Bible reading and studying goals this week. If anything I hungered more for the Word of God because of the ever-changing scenery around me. The never-changing God was my refuge and strength. What a comfort to know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Prayer was an almost 24 hour vigil this week, too. Yes, I asked God to spare my brother-in-law's life, but I knew that if He did it would be a temporary fix and that eventually - even if many years from now - He would still take him Home. Honestly, most of my prayers this week had to do with comfort and grace for the patient and those who love him, sincerity and peace for each of us as we confront our own mortality, and personal wisdom for myself while conversing with my loved ones (i.e. when to open my mouth and what to say when I do open it).

As I followed my Bible reading schedule I encountered John chapter 11 on the very morning that my brother-in-law died. I found meat to feed my hungry spirit there in that passage that details the death and resurrection of Lazarus. As I read each verse slowly and carefully I was comforted and encouraged. Jesus HAS conquered death! He IS the resurrection and the life! Hallelujah!

That's the brutally honest evaluation of my week. I pray that you've been given grace to face whatever curve balls life threw your way, too.

As we look forward to the weeks ahead I ask that you read over your goals again occasionally and remind yourself of why you chose them in the first place. Weed some impossible ones out and pick realistic ones to take their place. Goal setting should never be something that waits until the next New Year. Goals are things that should be prayerfully adapted as God allows circumstances to rearrange your life and as you allow the Bible to mold you into the image of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

Do you have a notebook or journal handy as you read your Bible? I've found mine to be invaluable for jotting down things that I notice while reading. For instance, the chart below was started 2 years ago during the Take Ten in '10 plan and I've added to it each of the following years.

God is amazing! He always shows me something new! I hope you are mining many nuggets as you read each day.

Comparison between Genesis (chapters 1-10) and John (chapters 1-8)

Genesis (G.)
John (J.)
G. 1:1;  J. 1:1
In the beginning . . .
In the beginning . . .
G. 1:1;  J. 1:1-3
God created the world
God the creator was the Word
G. 1:3;  J. 1:1
God used the spoken word to bring the world into existence
Jesus was the Living Word that brought the world into existence
G. 1:3, 14, 24;  J. 1:4, 5
God provided light and life to His creation
Jesus is Light and Life to His creation
G. 3:1-15;  J. 3:14
Serpent as type of deceiver
Serpent as type of redeemer
G. 4:1;  J. 3:3-8
Physical birth explained
Spiritual birth explained
G. chap 6;  J. 4:34-38, 6:5-35
Food necessary to preserve physical life
Food necessary to preserve spiritual life
G. 6:18; J. 5:24
Believe the covenant and be saved from physical death
Believe the covenant and be saved from spiritual death
G. chap 7;  J. chap 4
Waters of death
Waters of life
G. chaps 7-9;  J. 6:15-21
God put Noah and family in a large boat and met them on the other side of the water
Jesus put the disciples in a small boat and met them on the other side of the water
Book of Genesis,   J. 7:21-24, 8:53-59
Moses wrote this volume which includes the record of Abraham’s life
Jesus told the rulers that they didn’t believe the teachings of either Moses or Abraham

Source: Author of “On A High Hill” http://onahighhill.blogspot.com