Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: Looking at Luke!

Today we begin the fourth gospel in our Bible reading schedule. I chose to leave Luke's for the last because his is the first of a two-volume narrative. It seems appropriate to read this life-of-Christ account before we segue into his other book, the Acts of the Apostles. They were both probably written about AD 60.

Luke's gospel is one of my favorite because it includes material not found in the others. His inclusion of Mary's genealogy, which would be the literal descent from David to Jesus, as opposed to the kingly line back to David through Joseph albeit not a biological claim since Joseph was not Jesus' earthly father (He had none), shows the fulfilling of prophecies made hundreds of years before. He tells certain parables not recorded elsewhere. He briefly tells of Jesus' visit to the temple when he was an infant and of his boyhood experience there at the age of twelve.

Luke did not claim to be an eyewitness of the events he recounted but he did claim to have made a thorough investigation of them. Since his gospel goes as far as to tell about the Angel Gabriel's visit to Mary one can assume that he was acquainted with individuals very close to the event, if not the aged Mary herself perhaps her children at least. Two of them, James and Jude, were well-known in early church circles. He seems to have a detailed knowledge of the extended family, which would include the parents of John the Baptist, Zacharias and Elisabeth.

Each gospel writer had an audience in mind and a certain attribute of Christ that they wished to highlight. When we read John we saw that his presentation of Jesus as the Son of God was written to unbelievers. Matthew presented Jesus as the Messiah-King and wrote his gospel as a treatise to Jewish readers. Mark presented Jesus as a servant and wrote his message to Gentiles. Luke presents Jesus as the Son of man, and his intended audience was specifically the named Theophilus, and perhaps a broader Roman audience as well.

Between the four gospels accounts we see that Jesus is fully God but also fully man. We see that He is the King but He is also the servant. There is no contradiction when applied to the Christ.

As was true of the other gospel accounts, the timeline of the events is the life of Jesus. The likely timeframe is 4 BC - AD 29.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Memory Monday: A Few More Verses

Looking over the schedule for this coming week I see a few passages that can be added to the list of verses that we might want to memorize:
  • Luke 1:26-38
  • Luke 2:1-16
  • Luke 5:31, 32

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for February 27 - March 4, 2012

February 27 - March 4, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012
Exodus 26-28
Mark 16

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Exodus 29, 30
Luke 1

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Exodus 31, 32
Luke 2

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Exodus 33, 34
Luke 3

Friday, March 2, 2012
Exodus 35, 36
Luke 4, 5

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Exodus 37, 38
Luke 6, 7

Sunday, March 4, 2012
Attend church!
Catch up any readings that were missed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not The Usual Friday Post

If you haven't heard the news yet, please go here and read my daughter's blog post. I don't have much to add except this poem that I wrote in memory of my little grandson whom I'll meet in Heaven someday.


He’ll Lead Us Through

If you should wake some morning
Wondering what the day may bring,
And in an instant without warning
Your phone begins to ring

Bearing news your soul disturbing
Such as causes you to cry
Great tears there are no curbing
As you ask the question, "Why?"

Just remember you've a Savior
Acquainted with your grief
Whose very own behavior
Can chase away the thief

That robs the joy of living
As you go about your day.
His peace He will be giving
For sweet comfort on your way.

On the journey He will guide you
O'er the pathway strewn with care.
He alone knows the way through.
See this hard road? He's been there!

The grave, it held no power
As He fought the battle. See!
The Victor in that hour
Was the one and only He!

Death's now an opaque curtain
Hiding dear ones from our sight,
But this we know for certain
In Heav'n darkness is made light.

He'll lead through worldly sorrow
Where good-byes cause grief and pain
To that land of bright tomorrow
Where loved ones we'll meet again.

K. Pitman
February 2012
(Dedicated to my family as we mourn our loved ones who have recently gone Home.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Tune-up: Excuses

Setting goals, and then following through with them, is never easy. There are a million reasons excuses why our goals can't be met. I'll just name a few for starters.
  • Too busy? Yes!
  • Not enough money? Absolutely!
  • Too tired? No doubt!
All true, but all merely excuses. We work hard to come up with a list that validates our resistance to change. Too bad we don't work that hard to actually change!

Before this year began I prayerfully set a few goals that I knew God wanted me to fulfill. And I'm doing pretty well with most of them. But there's one goal that isn't so easy. That's the one about singing more in church. I've been so reluctant to add my name to the sign-up sheet that Pastor Dad took the initiative and signed me up to sing on Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago. Yikes! Sunday morning prime time!

Yes, we're still married.   :)

It isn't that I mind singing. I love being part of the choir. It's that whole "solo" thing that scares me. As a matter of fact, that day I confessed to a friend in the choir that I was very nervous. As my time to sing grew closer the butterflies in my stomach began reaching into my chest and snatching my breath away. I felt like I was alternating between swallowing and gulping. Desperately, I prayed for the Lord to help me get through my song without making a fool of myself. And that's when I felt like the Lord replied, "Oh, I see! So it's all about you! You're more concerned about what everyone will think of you than what they will think of me." I was both shocked and reproved. I had been totally focused on myself and not on the Savior I wanted to glorify. I'd like to say that I wasn't nervous after that little spiritual peptalk but I'd prefer not to add lying to my list of trangressions. However, I did make it through the song without a meltdown or chirping like a hiccuping Minnie Mouse.

What about you? Are you doing the things God is telling you to do? If not, why not? If you don't think you have the time perhaps you need to be realistic about your time management. How much time do you spend watching television on any given day, or reading books, or listening to the radio, or reading blogs? (Ouch!)

Do you need more convincing? Perhaps you need to read those verses in Exodus chapters 3 and 4 where Moses argued with God over his ability to do the job that God was calling him to do. God didn't buy that whole self-deprecating "Who am I?"speech! And when Moses made the claim that he wasn't an eloquent speaker God got angry. If even Moses couldn't compose a list of reasons to convince God to let him off the hook I'm reasonably sure that God isn't impressed by our petty list of excuses either!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom: Who's the Villain?

A good story needs a good villain. Or should that be a bad villain? Whatever you want to call the antagonist, a story needs one.

Reading the account of Exodus always interests me because it has great plot twists (especially the plagues) and a notorious villain (that would be Pharoah). Add Moses playing the sidekick to the Superhero (that would be God, and I mean no irreverence or disrespect) and you have an action-packed saga far more exciting than anything mere mortals would write.

Somewhere around the time of the third or fourth plague I begin to wonder about Pharoah. Why did this man keep fighting when it is obvious that he and his army were severely outnumbered? And I don't mean by the Children of Israel. The Egyptians were outnumbered by One. The One!

The reason Pharoah kept up his rebellion is because he hardened his heart. He refused to look at the evidence and accept it for what it was! He was stubborn.

After reading my assigned passage in Exodus I turned over to the assignment in Mark to read the parallel passage that I highlighted from Matthew a couple of weeks ago. (Read that here.) Mark's account does more than make the disciples appear to be forgetful individuals. It says that their heart was hardened (Mark 6:52).

Wait a minute! Isn't that the same phrase the Bible uses to describe Pharoah? That would make the disciples villains in the New Testament story. And that would mean that I am also a villain since I often fail to remember all of the wonderful works of Almighty God in my life, too. It's a humbling thought.

Thankfully, another thing that all good stories have is a protagonist. A hero! As the story unfolds in Exodus we read of the death of the firstborn and the required blood sacrifice. Keep reading in Mark and you'll find that an unblemished Lamb, the only begotten Son will be offered as a sacrifice there, too. This would be the Lamb of God! He worked mighty miracles to prove His power over everything; He gave Himself as a ransom for many; He makes it so that we need no longer be at emnity with God.

Another thing I notice from the Exodus and Mark accounts is  that He allowed Pharoah to witness 10 displays of His power. He allowed the disciples to witness many miracles of feeding and healing people. And He allows me to witness many answered prayers that confirm His care for me. How patient and longsuffering He is!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: The Gospel of Mark

The reason there are four gospels is not because there are four different incidents to relate but because there is one incident (the life of Jesus Christ) to detail from the perspective of four individuals. These are the accounts of eyewitnesses. The Gospel of Mark is the third gospel that we've read in our New Testament timeline.

Each gospel is unique in two regards. Each had a target audience and a certain attribute of Christ that it presented. John wrote an evangelistic appeal to unbelievers and presented Jesus as God. Matthew wrote to the Jews and presented evidence of Jesus as their King, or Messiah. Mark wrote to Gentiles, probably Roman believers, and presented Jesus as the servant of man. We'll begin Luke's gospel next week and discuss his work then.

Focusing upon Jesus as servant meant that Mark detailed service more than sermons. Many of Jesus' humanitarian efforts (miracles) are recorded. When compared with the other gospels Mark's shows that these miracles were authentication of Jesus' deity and Kingship. The theme verse of this book is Mark 10:45, For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

It is possible that this was the first gospel account written. As I stated in my introduction to Matthew I chose to read that gospel before this one without too much concern for chronology because each details the same timeline. Matthew's gospel was written to Jews and this one was written to Gentiles. I chose to follow the pattern of "to the Jew first."

Matthew was not present for every event related in his book but it is certain that some events, like the Mount of Transfiguration glorification, would be popular topics of discussion among all of the disciples. On the other hand, since Mark was not one of the chosen 12 he was probably not an eyewitness to every work of Jesus either but took copious notes of the testimony of at least one of them in order to write his account. Indeed, for a time all of the remaining disciples and the early believers were together at Jerusalem (see the book of Acts) and could discuss the things they had witnessed. They also preached many sermons about the things they had witnessed (also in the book of Acts). Since there were many believers and many witnesses, this does not dilute the reliability of the gospel accounts. On the contrary, it gives credence to them since there were many people who could refute erroneous testimony.

Early secular historians and church historians attributed Mark's source for his gospel to be Peter. Mark was known to be a close associate of his so this would be likely. The rapid-fire pace of the events are reminiscent of Peter's style also, the man who often acted quickly! Many times it was Peter's tongue that was hurriedly employed, and he was usually not hesitant to voice his desires to get things done. The same Mount of Transfiguration event is a good example of this. Mark's gospel follows a quick pace as a result. Look for the words "immediately" and "straightway" as you read.

We are most familiar with Mark by his full name of John Mark, the relative of Barnabas and as the young man who deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. When Barnabas later wished to take Mark on another mission assignment Paul refused and the pair separated. We are most familiar with the subsequent missionary efforts of Paul, but evidently Barnabas and John Mark enjoyed Godly success in their endeavors as well since Paul later instructed believers in Colosse to welcome him (Col. 4:10) and asked Timothy to bring John Mark when he came (II Timothy 4:11).

Mark's gospel covers the life of Jesus Christ beginning with the ministry years. This would mean that the book covers approximately the last three and a half years of His life. The book was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, which would place the time of writing before AD 70.

I consulted the study notes contained within The MacArthur Study Bible and The Open Bible for this article. The opinion about Peter's impetuosity is my own, though probably held by many.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Memory Monday: This Says It Better Than I Ever Could!

One of my Twitter buddies recently posted a link to an excellent article about the lost art of memorizing scripture (see article here at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website). I am directing your attention to it hoping that Rob Morgan's eloquence will convince you of the importance of memorizing scripture if my own feeble attempts have not already done so. He reinforces my belief that it doesn't matter how old you are. You should be memorizing scripture! Please take the time to read it.

Then after reading the article begin a list of verses that you want to memorize. I provide one here each Monday from the Bible schedule to get you started but it is not meant to be exhaustive (meaning "complete," not "exhausting.") These are just my suggestions. Pick one from my list or from your own and start memorizing!

Here's my list this week:

  • Exodus 12:13 ("When I see the blood I will pass over you." Remember that old hymn?)
  • Exodus 14:13, 14
  • Exodus 15:26
  • Exodus 20:1-17 (The Ten Commandments)
  • Mark 8:34-38
  • Mark 9:37
  • Mark 10:14, 15
  • Mark 10:45 (The key verse of the Gospel of Mark)
  • Mark 11:22-26
  • Mark 12:26, 27
  • Mark 12:29-31
  • Mark 13:31-33
  • Mark 14:38

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for February 20-26, 2012

February 20-26, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012
Exodus 11, 12
Mark 8, 9

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Exodus 13-15
Mark 10

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Exodus 16-18
Mark 11

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Exodus 19, 20
Mark 12, 13

Friday, February 24, 2012
Exodus 21-23
Mark 14

Saturday, February 25, 2012
Exodus 24, 25
Mark 15

Sunday, February 26, 2012
Attend church!
Catch up any readings that were missed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free For All Friday: Rose Woes

For those of you who might be here on my hill for the first time, let me first say, "Welcome!" and second say, "Fridays are sort of a potpourri of  just about anything." I consider it my blogging day of randomness because after a busy week by Friday my brain has turned to mush.

Mush would be a good way to describe what is to follow.

Add roses to Valentine's Day and things get a little mushy.  :)

Pastor Dad gave me a dozen red roses this week.  I'm not sure why he does this.  I think he's keeping a chart somewhere that tracks how long it takes me to kill them.  Let's just say that when roses find out they're coming to me as a gift they try to find ways to escape their fate, ala "Finding Nemo."

Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but almost. 

So far only 1 rose has showed definite signs of distress.  It looked as though someone had almost snapped it in half!  I'd blame Pepper (that's our hyperactive chocolate lab) but these roses were on the dining room table and if Pepper had been on top of the table there would be more destruction than 1 little rose!

Since the rose was otherwise healthy I decided to give it a home of it's own.  This would require a proper bud vase.  Um, I have none.  All that decluttering I did last fall rid me of anything suitable. 

Okay, plan B.  We have several of these little medicine tubes for dispensing liquids to little ones.  I was aware that I still had these - even though my youngest child is now 16 years old and stopped requiring them last year (I'm kidding!) - because my 2-year-old grandson, Fen, arrived at the house earlier this week equipped with liquid cold medicine.

If you're a homeschooler you might have a few test tubes lying around.  Those work just as well.  We have a few that we use regularly but I opted for the medicine tube.

Or if you're a florist or a hoarder you might actually have a floral tube hanging around somewhere.  And might I say, I would understand your interest in this post if you're a hoarder, but a florist?! Why would you be reading this unless it's to laugh at me or to grieve over the roses you sold to my husband to place into my brutal care?

Anyway, the results are below.  We have a glass from a previous Valentine event with the word "Love" painted all over it.  We have red glass marbles from a previous desk-sized fish vase (again, shades of Nemo), and Pepper received Valentine treats from the pet store when we bought her food this week which are the heart-shaped accoutrements nearby.  (Even our dog gets Valentines!)

I nestled the plastic tube in the marbles, filled the whole shebang with water, and added a bit of spanish moss to cover the plastic tube.  (I also put the doggy treats away pronto! because Pepper really was threatening to get on the table at this point!)

I then set it in the window for one last picture before moving it to a shaded location on my desk where I can enjoy it while I type.    :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Tune-up: Fool's February

When we lived in Tennessee there would come a weekend each February when the cold weather would give way to such gorgeous warmth that some believed it to be spring. It was so convincing that many who were tired of being housebound all winter would get out the rototillers, spades, and seeds for a bit of glorious gardening. I was one of those folks the first year we lived there. Being a girl from northern climes I didn't know any better. Then one of the men in our church told me that I had just succumbed to "Fool's February" and would pay for my error shortly. He was right.

It didn't help anything that the garden stores and co-operatives put all their luscious tender veggies and flowers out at such an early date.   I might be a fool but the retailers were not! They knew that anyone who bought those plants would be back again a few months later once the frosts of Moaning March killed the tender plants. The gardeners would be back in At it Again April when the real planting could be done.

It has been many years since I thought of Fool's February. It came to mind again the other day when I thought about some of the things I wish to see growing in my life in 2012. Instead of being a February Fool I am guilty of being a New Year's Nut. I planted the seeds of a few spiritual, physical, and emotional goals and though they are not dead some of them are looking a bit sickly.

Do you remember the seeds of change you planted in your life fewer than 7 weeks ago? Have you nurtured and protected them through the daily storms or have you allowed your goals to die?

You can begin again. I can begin again.

Remind yourself of the goals you want to see bearing fruit in your life. Plant those good seeds again, nurture them tenderly, and harvest an abundant crop! No need to wait until At it Again April to replant. Let's make this a Fabulous February! Here are a few scriptures to encourage you toward the harvest of a bumper crop:

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Gal 6:7-9 (KJV)

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness)
2 Cor 9:6-10 (KJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:22-23 (KJV)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom: Leah and a Troubled Marriage

It's the day after Valentine's Day, a day we honor a man martyred for marital love by the giving and receiving of tokens of affection. Today we will discuss another martyr to marital love, Leah, the wife of Jacob.

When God created the world and set the first inhabitants in it He planned that marriage would be between one man and one woman. From this union children would be added to the family.

It was not long before this plan was distorted by sinful men who introduced polygamy. In the family line of Seth we find that the 7th generation of Adam's family was the Godly Enoch. In the family line of Cain we find that the 7th generation of Adam's family is Lamech, the first person recorded to have taken multiple wives. His marital situation was just one thing recorded in Genesis 4:19-24 that would suggest he delighted in doing things contrary to God's design.

Although this practice was not God's perfect plan for the family He allowed it. The Old Testament contains stories of several men who had multiple wives but it doesn't attempt to hide the problems that resulted.

Leah, a woman caught in such a relationship, was Jacob's first wife but not his first choice. Not only did she share her husband with her own sister but she also shared him with two servant girls. The situation might have been common in her culture but it is evident that the lack of love in her marriage caused her heartbreak as can be seen in her own comments.

Leah was also the first wife to bear Jacob a child. She named him Reuben and said, "Now my husband will love me."

When she bore him the second son she said, "Because the LORD hath heard that I am hated, he hath given me this son also."

She said, "Now will my husband be joined unto me," when she bore the third son. How sad! This woman thought that conceiving children would make the man she loved love her in return.

Marriage was designed to be a relationship reserved between a man and a wife. In its perfect form it emulates the relationship between Christ and His church. It is to be a love relationship where children are embellishments and not glue to hold it together. It is to be intimate and exclusive in every sense.

Individuals still distort the marriage relationship to the point that it is almost unrecognizable from what it was when God first ordained it. Infidelity, fornication, and divorce are a few of the most notorious circumstances. It isn't unusual in modern culture for men to have multiple relationships without benefit of marriage. They aren't polygamists but something much worse.

There are some subtle and private ways that true marriages can be troubled as well. This is the case in marriages where someone else holds equality with either of the two marriage partners. No one - not parents or children or friends - should be equal to one's spouse.

Love is something each individual requires to lead a normal physical, spiritual, and emotional life. Our homes, churches, and nations would benefit from a quick infusion of proper marital love!

Disclaimer and clarification: The article above is part of a series about depression taken from the lives of individuals found in the book of Genesis. In no way is this meant to suggest that these persons were suffering from depression but that their experiences and the events were similar to situations that cause depression today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Timeline Tuesday: Ready for Exodus!

Since I have been encouraging everyone to make a timeline as a visual and mathematical aid for understanding world history as detailed in the Bible I decided to take the task upon myself to reproduce the one my girls and I made in the early years of our homeschool. I wanted to show you just how long the lifespans were when the earth was young. I used the scale of 1 inch = 25 years just to make things easier when plotting the graphs on half-sheets of poster board. I did the math as far as I could based upon the information provided in Genesis before comparing my results with some of the better known works like Ussher's Annals of the World.*

One of my calculations was not coming out correctly and I could not figure where the problem was. Upon consulting a relatively new work (especially in comparison to Ussher who lived from 1581-1656) I found my error. Dr. Floyd N. Jones points out in his work, The Chronology of the Old Testament that Abraham was born 2008 year AM (anno mundi), or what I have been simply calling "years past creation" in my explanations and not in 1948 as I had calculated. This is because I had taken my information from Genesis 11:32 and had not compared it to Genesis 12:4, a difference of 60 years.

There are other places in scripture where this same type of miscalculation can occur but I had successfully found those. It was only this one that had eluded me. Abraham's father, Terah, was not 70 years old when Abraham was born but was 130. Terah was 70 years old when he became a father, but that would have been to one of Abraham's older brothers. Abraham was 75 years old when his father died at the age of 205.

One encounters the same thing when calculating Noah's sons. Genesis 5:32 makes it appear as though Shem, Ham, and Japheth were triplets when actually Shem was 2 years younger than his eldest brother.

Another interesting calculation is when one plots the events of Jacob's life. Did you realize that this mamma's boy probably didn't leave home until he was at least 70 years of age? Leah and Rachel were obviously young women, but their groom was no young man! Use the numbers given for Joseph in Egypt to help with the calculations. You'll find that Jacob was about 90 years old when Joseph was born. Scriptures tell us earlier that Jacob had served Laban 20 years before stealing away secretly with his wives, concubines, and children.

This brings us to Exodus. There are two theories concerning the time of the actually Exodus. Those who believe in a late Exodus believe it took place in the 17th century BC and do so in order to get a full 400 years sojourn in Egypt into their timeline. Those who hold to an earlier Exodus believe it happened in the 15th century BC. I subscribe to the early Exodus theory for one important reason. Moses tells us that his mother, Jochebed, was the daughter of Levi. He also tells us how old his grandpa Levi was when he died and that Levi was several years older than Joseph. If we can calculate Joseph's date of death we certainly can extrapolate a bit to approximate dates of birth and death for Levi (who died when he was 137 years old). Then even if we assume that Jochebed was born the year her daddy died we could only reasonably assume that she was probably no more than 50 years old when her last child, Moses, was born. Then add 120 years for Moses' life and one can see that we're well below the required 400 years. However, if one goes back 400 years on the timeline from Moses' death (which would be the same year the Children of Israel went into the Promised Land) one finds herself at the point in time where God established His covenant with Abraham and told him that the 4th generation would leave Egypt. Let's count the generations in Egypt. 1. Jacob; 2. Levi; 3. Jochebed; 4. Moses. Or if you prefer you can count them as 1. Levi; 2. Kohath; 3. Amram; 4. Moses. Either way works.

I consulted two books for an approximate time of the Exodus. One was Dr. Jones' book (mentioned above) and the other was Unwrapping the Pharoahs by John Ashton and David Down. Both works adhere to an early Exodus and have independently come to the conclusion that the Children of Israel left Egypt for the Promised Land in the 15th century BC. This is also necessary to make the math work in I Kings 6:1 when it speaks of the building of Solomon's Temple.

Since this has turned into a lengthy discourse we'll save the introduction to the Gospel of Mark for next week.  In the meantime, stay current with your reading!

*I receive compensation from the sale of these books when they are bought through the affiliate links on the sidebar.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Memory Monday: A Few New Verses

We will add just a couple of new verses to memorize from the reading schedule this week:
  • Matthew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission)
  • Mark 2:17
Have a great week in the Word!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for February 13-19, 2012

February 13-19, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012
Genesis 46, 47
Matthew 28

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Genesis 48-50
Mark 1

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Exodus 1-3
Mark 2

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Exodus 4, 5
Mark 3, 4

Friday, February 17, 2012
Exodus 6-8
Mark 5

Saturday, February 18, 2012
Exodus 9, 10
Mark 6, 7

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Attend church!
Catch up any readings that were missed.

Friday, February 10, 2012

TGIF! Pastor Dad Comes Home Today!

Pastor Dad returns home this evening.  Pray the predicted snow doesn't make it impossible for him to do so because I'm ready to pass the baton of Head of the Household back to him again.  Thankfully, no one tried to wrestle it from me while he's been gone.  I'll let you guess whether I mean The Bear or Pepper.  :)

Actually, I'm very thankful to have The Bear here.  He's good company and he knows how to make Pepper behave: something I've never mastered.  (I know, the key word is "mastered." Hasn't happened. Probably never will.)

Someone asked me if I'm frightened when Pastor Dad is gone. Besides of Pepper, you mean? Well, let's just say anyone would be insane to break in here.  I've got a son with a black belt and a big dog with a crazed look on her face besides the traditional means of keeping out intruders so I think that would be a "no." But I miss him and that's worse than fright. 

Thankfully almost everything has gone off without a hitch this week with the exception of yesterday afternoon. After a nice visit with my sister-in-law where we alternated between laughing and crying while eating lunch and visiting her husband's grave, I began the 45 minute drive home.  I got, oh, about 10 minutes down the road when my car broke down.  For those of you who are familiar with the route options between Point A and Point B I took the road less taken except by semis hauling gravel. (Yes, stress has made me mix my mathematical and literary metaphors.  So who cares? In comparison it seems trivial.)

Anyway, there I was motoring down the road with a big gravel-hauling semi behind me when the car just. stopped. running. like. that. I realized the semi would never be able to brake in time and would be unable to swerve around me on the narrow curvy road so I turned the car quickly toward the side and coasted safely onto the unpaved berm. Then I quickly breathed a prayer of thanks.

I called my father-in-law for rescue first then called The Bear to come get me at my in-laws' house.  We called a wrecker service that quoted a price higher than the value of the car so I considered kicking it over the hill upon which it was sitting and never looking back but I was afraid the people who lived in the house below might not appreciate this. The towing price turned out not to be as high as they quoted but I still think it should've included limo service for me.  On the other hand, I suspect from now on we might remember to renew our auto club membership before it expires in January. 

Through it all I kept thinking about yesterday's blog post. "Is this a test?" I asked myself.  And I realized it doesn't really matter if it is or not. God was caring for me and I did not need to fear. As inconvenient as it was for everyone concerned I was never far from relatives and I think my son felt very chivalrous for having come to his mother's rescue.  He even took the trash out when we got home without being asked.  (If you don't think that's a big deal then you don't know The Bear! But, no, that wasn't worth the price of the tow either so don't even suggest it.)

I don't want to leave here without a bit of flowery praise. Literally. These are some forced bulbs that my dear friend, Sheryl, sent me last month. (She's also Karen's mother-in-law.)  They were such a lovely token of friendship, love, and God's promise of eternal life that I just had to take a picture of them so that I can be reminded often just how blessed I truly am!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday's Tune-Up: How Many Times Must I Teach You This?

There are some things that strike fear into our hearts: the lack of money, groceries, or health, and concern over the future, aging, or death. All of these things can cause us to wonder if what we're doing to prepare is going to be enough. Would it help you to know that the people who ministered alongside Jesus experienced these same fears?

For example scan the following verses in Matthew to read about their grocery concerns.
  • Matthew 6:31-34 "Therefore take no thought . . . What shall we eat? . . ."
  • Matthew 14:13-21 The feeding of the 5,000
  • Matthew 15:32-39 The feeding of the 4,000
  • Matthew 16:5-12 Jesus warns His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees but they think He is talking about literal bread
Jesus taught His followers that if they would make working to advance the Kingdom of God their top priority they wouldn't need to worry about essentials like food or clothing. It wasn't long before He tested them to see if they were listening. They failed.

I don't know what kind of natural laws Jesus had to bend or rescind to turn a few small loaves and fish into meals to feed multitudes but because He is God He can do it and proved His ability on two separate occasions. Incredibly He had to rebuke his disciples a few days after the second miraculous dinner because they were worried about leaving home without their lunch box.

As I thought back over my years as a follower of Christ I realized that some petitions have appeared and disappeared on my personal prayer list several times. They joyfully disappeared when God answered specifically and completely according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) but fearfully reappeared the next time the same situation occurred. I was reminded of this when I read, "O ye of little faith, why reason ye . . .?" Obviously, there is something wrong with my reasoning abilities and faith.  I failed, too!

Is it wrong to add repeat requests to a prayer list? No, it is not. Jesus taught these same disciples in the Model Prayer to request their daily bread from their Father. But it is wrong to worry about things He already promised to give. That shows a lack of thankfulness for prior answers received and lack of worship for the Provider.

Will God supply all my need? Absolutely! Just like He made sure those forgetful disciples would receive their daily bread He'll make sure this disciple is not lacking the essentials either.

I trust you are also faithfully reading your Bible so that God may reprove, correct, and instruct while teaching you just like He did for me this week. (II Timothy 3:16). That's the best kind of tune-up there is!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom: Regret

Three years ago I began a study of depression taken from circumstances of individuals in the book of Genesis.  While reading recently I discovered two that I had overlooked.  Today's lesson is taken from the life of Esau.  The original seven lessons are linked below.

The first lesson: (Eve) Perfectionism.
The second lesson: (Noah)
The third lesson: (Abraham)
The fourth lesson: (Lot)
The fifth lesson:  (Jacob)
The sixth lesson: (Rachel) Longing
The seventh lesson: (Joseph) Victimization.

*Note: The order of the 6th and 7th lessons were switched from their order of blog publication

Did you ever possess something that you didn't know was valuable until after you had gotten rid of it?  I remember in the Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant movie Charade there was a postage stamp that no one knew was rare until a small child traded it to a collector. 

Sad as a situation like this might be, it is not the kind of regret that I mean. That type of regret is caused by accident.  Today's study is about the kind of regret that comes from making a willful choice.

Esau was one of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. As firstborn he legally inherited double blessings and other perks of a birthright.  Unfortunately, Esau wasn't very impressed by this because in a moment of hunger he traded his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup.  His comments prove that he had little regard for his honored position.

He later changed his mind, but no matter how sorry he was there was no way to return the situation to its prior settings.  The damage was done. Hebrews 12:17 tells us that he repented and cried bitterly about his decision but that his birthright wasn't restored to him even though he grieved over it.

There are just some situations that saying "I'm sorry!" won't fix.  For example, some broken homes can never be mended.  Aborted babies can not be returned to their mother's wombs. Murder victims do not miraculously return to their families.

Let me quickly point out that repentance and any possible restitution should be made.  A spouse that breaks up the home but cannot return to it because someone has established a new life still needs to seek the forgiveness of the innocent party (or parties if there are children or other individuals involved) and support any offspring that resulted from the union.  A woman who grieves over the decision to end her pregnancy can find forgiveness from the Creator of life.  The murderer who is truly remorseful should confess the same to the victim's family.

No, Esau was not able to turn back time or to make everything right again with his tears, but what he did do was to live with the consequences of his actions.  After twenty years of separation following an angry parting he and Jacob met again.  His brother sent many presents ahead by his servants before encountering Esau face-to-face.  Jacob, the man who had taken Esau's blessing away with a bowl of soup, said "Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it." (Genesis 33:11, emphasis mine.)

By refusing to live with regret for all those years Esau did not miss the opportunity of reestablishing a relationship with his brother.  After all, giving up the birthright was Esau's own decision. Jacob would not have been able to take it if Esau had placed the proper value on it in the first place.

In closing, remember that before the Apostle Paul became an apostle he was nothing less than Saul the Murderer of Christians.  If ever there was a man who should have regrets it was he!  This "chiefest of sinners" understood all too well what a "wretched man" he was and yet despite the regrets - or perhaps because of them - he was able to be mightily used of God.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday's Timeline: Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob's sons

This past week we finished reading about the life of Abraham. The narrative of his life was quite  dramatic and the drama continued with his son, Isaac, and Isaac's sons. When we finished chapter 30 last week we were reading the portion of Genesis where Jacob and his wives and concubines were birthing sons that would constitute the heads of the 12 tribes of the Children of Israel. We read many instances of Godly individuals who felt that for some reason God needed their help to bring about His desires.  There's even a bit of open defiance when Isaac determined to make Esau the chosen son in the place of God's choice, Jacob.  Can you imagine the bitter tone of Isaac's voice when he told Esau after being tricked into blessing Jacob, "yea, and he shall be blessed,"?[1] Jacob was wrong to trick his father but his father was wrong to think that he could trick God.  There are still people who think they can thwart God's plans.  (Good luck with that.)

In review, the timeline last week stopped at Abraham.  He was born about the year 1949 post-creation, which even secular authors postulate to have been about 2100 BC. 

Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born [2] so we can say that Isaac was born in year 2049 post-creation, 393 years post-flood, or approximately 2000 BC.

Isaac was 60 years old when his sons were born [3] which means that Jacob and Esau were born in year 2109 post-creation, 453 years post-flood (remember from last week that Shem, the son of Noah was still alive), which would be approximately 1940 BC.

We know that Jacob was more than 40 years old when he went to Haran to take a wife from the descendants of Bethuel, Rebekah's brother.[4]  This would bring us to about 1900 BC. It would be at about this same time that Shem, the son of Noah, died.

We're even told about news reaching Abraham and Sarah concerning family members back in Haran.[4]  If nothing else this proves that the family found some way of keeping track of each other while living far apart.

Moses was a very careful record keeper, giving us the account of nations for many of the descendants of Noah.  He listed them even though they weren't of his own direct line.  He listed the children of Shem, Ham, and Japheth as well as several of the lesser-known lines through their lines as well some of the more well-known descendants that would later become adversaries of the Children of Israel.  These include the descendants of Lot, and the other sons of Abraham, and even Esau.  Moses filled out all the family sheets.  He was a genealogist after my own heart!

[1] Genesis 27:33
[2] Genesis 21:5
[3] Genesis 25:26
[4] Genesis 26:34; 27:46; 28:1-7
[5] Genesis 22:20

Note:  All calculations for dates post-creation or post-flood and any resulting mathematical errors are purely my own.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Memory Monday: A New Month to Memorize Scripture


See this gold star?  It was awarded to me for memorizing John 1:1-14 in January! Okay, I virtually gave it to myself, but I did say the passage in its entirety to Pastor Dad as proof that I could do it. I am virtually giving you one, too, if you are currently memorizing scripture.  I'm positive that the Lord has better rewards than gold stars in store for those who hide His word in their heart.

Now I am looking for a scripture passage to memorize in the month of February.  Any suggestions?  Are there some that you've noticed from our readings that I've neglected to mention? You might find other verses within these chapters that you would like to memorize instead of the ones I list.  The ones I mention are only suggestions.

There are some familiar scriptures scattered among the chapters we'll be reading this week.  These aren't exactly memory verses as much as phrases that almost everyone knows because they have become part of popular culture.  It's sad to think that in years gone by most people were Biblically literate but now the only parts most people know of the Bible are bits that they think of as cliche.
  • Matthew 22:14
  • Matthew 22:21
  • Matthew 23:37
  • Matthew 24:35
  • Matthew 24:42
Then there are some great verses here that are not as widely quoted but should be memorized:
  • Matthew 22:36-40
  • Matthew 25:35-40

If you already know these verses or would prefer to memorize verses or a passage from a previous list I'll post the links below so that you (or maybe that should be "I") may find them easily.
Have a very blessed week in the Word!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for February 6-12, 2012

February 6-12, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012
Genesis 31, 32
Matthew 20, 21

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Genesis 33-35
Matthew 22

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Genesis 36-38
Matthew 23

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Genesis 39, 40
Matthew 24, 25

Friday, February 10, 2012
Genesis 41-43
Matthew 26

Saturday, February 11, 2012
Genesis 44, 45
Matthew 27

Sunday, February 12, 2012
Attend church!
Use the afternoon to catch up any readings that were missed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Friday! Making Things for the Grandchildren

Okay, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Not that I'd really do that, you know. I actually love cats. Alive cats.

I just needed to keep trying because I felt so bad for wasting Liz's minute. Never mind the hours I've spent trying to get these silly pictures to upload. :)

Here's the complete set of items I've been making for my grandchildren.  We're expecting the 6th one in April so hers is the onesie that says "little sister."  Those are also her unfinished booties shown.

Her "Big brother" is Fen.  As you can see, his iron-on has not been transferred to a t-shirt yet.  That's because I'm having difficulty finding a colored plain t-shirt to fit the little stinker.  I bought the blue one yesterday because it is an XS, but their idea of XS and my idea are not the same thing.  I'll keep looking.

These are the transfers that I found for three of Karen's girls.  They are the oldest three of our grandchildren.  I think I mentioned once that Pastor Dad and The Bear quizzed me which transfer was for which girl and I told them, "Take a guess."  Both scored 100%, as I'm sure you would, too, if you know them or read Karen's blog.  (And that's all I'm going to say about that.  :)

These are the shirts for the younger set of three.  Little Lili-lady bug was obviously the "Huggable" of the transfers as Pastor Dad and The Bear also guessed.  Bonus points!

I'll be working on these booties for awhile.  I've almost completed the one on the left.  I just need to crochet the laces.  The one on the right has had very little done to it except the addition of lazy daisy stitches and french knots.  I've also cut the holes for the laces.  It still needs blanket stitching around the edges, the sole machine-sewn to the upper, and crocheted laces added.

I haven't been quite the frugal gal in recent weeks, but I've purchased everything on sale since Christmas.  The bootie pattern and felt were on sale at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago as were all the iron-on transfers.  I bought the onesie and purple shirt on sale at Walmart about a month ago.  And I bought the four t-shirts on sale yesterday at Target.  Granted, Fen won't be using this particular t-shirt this year but I expect he'll be in it before we know it so it isn't worth the bother of returning it. 

This is part of my "I want to be more creative" goal.  I'm obviously not doing everything from scratch but I don't think the kids or their mothers will mind the shortcuts taken.  Even the Diva will just be happy to have new clothes!

Really Free This Friday

For some odd reason my computer and Google are not seeing eye-to-eye today.  I started a draft that included pictures to show some of the things I've been working on for the grandchildren, but it won't allow me to upload them.  As a matter of fact, I'm surprised I've been able to type.  This is the furthest I've gotten so far without being automatically closed. 

It isn't the browser.  I've tried a few of them

It's possibly some security settings fighting each other.  That happens once in awhile whenever there have been any software upgrades and there have been a few recently.

So no post today worth reading.  :)

And certainly no pictures to show.

Nothing to see here citizens!  Go back to your lives.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday's Tune-Up:Seeing Shadows

It's Groundhog's Day. I'm drinking my coffee from a Groundhog Town U.S.A., Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania mug and mentally thanking an old friend for the souvenir and God for the fact that I don't live there and need to know how to spell Punxsutawney.

It's a day for predictions and looking forward to change. It could even be a day for seeing shadows.

Have you ever experienced a shadow of doubt? They make you understand why a groundhog might want to run and hide.

I've got to admit that I've had some problems incorporating Bible memory into my routine but I've almost got John 1:1-14 memorized. I doubted that I could do it but now I'm looking forward to choosing a passage for this month!

I didn't exercise on the treadmill or weight bench in January as much as I planned. I doubted that I could lose the inches apart from doing these things but I've managed to drop a few.

Obviously, my doubts were baseless.

A month of 2012 has already passed. Like shadows the days quickly fade. Banish any doubts that linger about your ability to do things that God requires you to do. He never changes but He expects you to do so constantly as you grow and mature in your faith.  The light of God's Word results in gifts in the heart much like the longer daylight in the Spring results in nourishment for awakening plants.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 (KJV)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday's Wisdom: Reminder in Red

Every life has its share of drudgery. Little worries can dampen the emotions.

One dreary day last week I looked out the window and had my attention captured by this gorgeous spot of color among the cold trees. He sat there for almost an hour as though he needed to prolong his assignment to remind me of verses recently read.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matt 6:25-26 (KJV)

Conviction from a bird and The Word colored red!