Monday, February 25, 2013


I admit that I'm still struggling to complete my reading of the Bible this year all the way through.  No excuses, just questionable priorities.  However, I am diligent in my two Bible study groups.  In one we're studying James and the other is going through Exodus-Joshua.  In this second one and interesting question was part of our homework this week:

"From the Old or New Testament, give three verses that have meant much to you, and if possible share something with the class as to your reason for choosing the ones you did."

Our class doesn't meet until Wednesday morning so I'm curious as to how the other ladies approached this answer.  In some sense, ALL verses of the Bible hold meaning to us individually at some point, for a variety of reasons -- we're confused by them, we cannot pronounce a name and may even giggle at it, we're amazed by the beauty of the verse, or they may convict us, hitting directly to our heart.  For me, the three I chose are as follows along with my reasons why.

Jeremiah 29:11 -- "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord.  'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

Both my family and I consider me to be quite the planner and someone who doesn't handle changes in plans or spontaneity particularly well.  I am so comforted by routine and knowing what is going to happen "next" that it's somewhat pathological.  This verse comforts me that even when I feel like I'm spinning out of control GOD is driving the car and in the end it's all for good.  It doesn't promise lack of pain or sadness or anything like that and it's certainly unrealistic to expect life to always be a walk down a garden path, but knowing deep in my heart that God is in control and has the plan in his hand is a comfort when I'm flailing about.

Matthew 5:6 -- "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Here's one that convicts me all the time and even speaks to my comment earlier that I'm not prioritizing my yearly Bible read-through very well.  My hunger and thirst, through physical evidence, don't seem to be fully directed toward righteousness.  No wonder I am finding myself dis-satisfied and not really even know what it is I'm not satisfied with.  I'm basically content in my life, pretty joyful, and often happy, but I'm also often weary and short of temper, much more than I'm comfortable admitting to.  I believe I need to re-prioritize what it is I do when I'm experiencing these negative feelings and look toward God for direction.  Satisfaction is not of my own doing, it's his.

Ephesians 4:29 -- "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

This one showed up as the verse of the day on the Bible app on my phone the day I was doing my homework.  Gossip, sharing stories of others (particularly bad ones), and any time we speak negatively about someone isn't right.  I'm not sure where to draw the line on this one -- I find I even do it to myself -- "I'm such a klutz" or "I'm an idiot" -- even though it's said in a humorous tone, don't we often say such things with a bit of malice behind them?  We also tease each other -- again, where do we draw the line and realize that we've gone too far?  How do we know when we've crossed it?  Do we wait for tears?  Anger?  And gossip -- "Did you hear about....".  Edification means "for the purpose of improving a person morally or intellectually", so Paul's not telling us to only say nice things about each other.  But I think he is telling us to talk to people who may need improvement privately and sensitively with a godly spirit and don't ever shame them.  Remember, we are no lessor sinners than anyone else, no?  Struggle through it as I do!

So those were the three that struck me most this week.  Another day I'm sure it'd be another 3 because if nothing else, the Bible LIVES.

Best to you until next time.

Friday, January 18, 2013


How often do we invite others to go to church or "come to Christ" by telling them what they will get out of it?  We are shown by advertising in our world that by listing all the benefits of whatever is being sold we can get people to buy it.  So we often use this same approach with regards to sharing Christ with others -- "come to church with me -- you'll love the singing", "come to our Wednesday service -- you'll hear a really inspirational speaker".  Don't get me wrong, there is certainly nothing bad about this approach and many people are attracted through it.  However, there are people for whom this approach doesn't work and there a short little account of one of these folks in Numbers 10:29-32.

In this passage, Moses first invites Hobab to join the Israelites on their journey from Sinai to the Promised Land --  “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.” (Numbers 10:29).  As do many people Hobab responds that he'll not go, but instead return to his own land (Midian).  Instead of giving up or again telling Hobab about all the great things that lie in wait, Moses instead offers the following --  “Please do not leave, inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes." (Numbers 10:31).  Interesting -- rather than listing benefits for Hobab, Moses asks for his help.  Being familiar with the wilderness in which they find themselves, Moses and the people of Israel would certainly appreciate help, along with all the direction God provided them.  

So perhaps a small lesson for us is that rather than "selling" God to others, perhaps we can involve them by asking for their help -- "can you edit this blog for me", "can you look over this (Bible) verse and help me make sense of it", "can you help babysit some children in our nursery Sunday morning".  By humbling ourselves and admitting we all can use help, we often find others who are more than willing to come along.

It worked for Moses -- perhaps it'll work for you as well.....

Monday, December 31, 2012

No excuses

I'm way behind in this year's reading and I can list reasons for it but there are no excuses -- merely my personal prioritizing has run askew since mid-October!  I've come up with a strategy to get back on track and pray that my intentions will reach fruition.  At church yesterday morning in the weekly bulletin was an item that must have been placed there just for me -- it reads, "As we approach the coming New Year of 2013, perhaps you might consider the option of reading the Bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelation.  It is a challenging, but achievable goal."  God continues to knock on my (hard) head and I'm committed to completion -- I'm in the midst of the various Kings and Chronicles, so I suppose I'm "ahead" of people starting out fresh.  However, my Wednesday Bible Study is currently reading Leviticus and moving onto Numbers, so I hope to include some of those learnings here as well.

In any event, by the end of 2013 I will have completed my 4th (or 5th?) complete reading of the Bible.  That is my commitment and I hope you'll join me!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Accounts of Saul and David

While I'm beyond the historical account of Saul in this year's daily reading, I'm still in the midst of David.  Unfortunately, losing power for a week during Hurricane Isaac this year has had me playing catch-up with a variety of tasks, including this.  It's a brief message, but one I found helpful.  If you've read through or studied Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, you'll note that a lot of the information there contained seems to be in "duplicate" or, perhaps, contrary to one another.  While Chronicles is based on the earlier written Samuel and Kings (and often quotes directly from these), the two accounts (that in Samuel-Kings and that in Chronicles) tells the history from different perspectives.

The perspectives are often described as "prophetic" (Samuel-Kings) and "priestly" (Chronicles).  Samuel and Kings emphasize the prophets and prophecy while Chronicles is more concerned with the temple and its priests.  The scheduled reading of the Bible I followed last year ( had me reading these accounts in parallel.  The schedule used in my "new" Chronological Study Bible NKJV (copyright 2008 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.) instead divides the two accounts so that I've been reading the prophetic account now and will move into the priestly account soon.

Whatever labels you may put on the various books, whatever order you may read the books in matters less that reading for understanding and allowing God to move in your world.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Note on Ruth

My chronological reading for this year has me just starting Samuel.  I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but for June 2012-May 2013 I'm reading through the "Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)" published in 2008 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  It's a different sequence than that I followed last year, but similar.  In any event, I just finished Ruth and wanted to share some notes that I found interesting.

Ruth follows Judges.  Judges presents the histories, most specifically the wars and battles of the people of Israel.  Ruth, on the other hand, presents a different sort of history -- that of the day-to-day life of the people and what their customs were when not engaged in war.  The society during the time of Ruth was stable with wise elders serving to govern the people.  The laws of the covenant were (for the most part, I'm certain -- even then men were tempted to and sinned) respected and kept.  One such law was that from Deut. 25:5-10 whereby a widow with no children shall be married to the nearest male relative and raise up an heir to the man who had died.  Under this law, Ruth is eventually married to Boaz.

Another curiosity of Ruth is that along with the relations between Israel and its neighboring lands fairly peaceful, Naomi moves back and forth between Israel and Moab, and her sons take Moabite wives (Ruth and Orpah).  Intermarriage was not encouraged nor common, but what is ultimately surprising is that Ruth and Boaz's union -- their first son was Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, perhaps the finest king of Israel.

On a personal note, I have to admit to preferring histories such as Ruth (and Esther) in that I don't get engaged reading about how many men fought in this or that battle and what the various roles were.  As I move forward into Samuel I hope to write again soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


The summer most definitely got away with me this year.  While I've managed to keep up to date with my reading (getting ahead some days, falling short others!), I've not been diligent about keeping this blog up to date.  The chronological Bible I'm reading this year has a somewhat different "schedule" than I followed last year.  I haven't looked in depth to see the differences, but assume (hope!) that most chronological readings are fairly similar - obviously Adam and Eve come before Moses comes before the Kings comes before Jesus.  In any event, I have just finished reading the book of Joshua.  Joshua is one of the Biblical characters that even many non-Christians know (ever sing "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"?).  They may not know the details of his marches around Jericho or of the fact that only he and Caleb of his generation were permitted to enter the Promised Land, but there is at least some familiarity.  In any event, here is some information about Joshua that you may or may not recall from any reading or lessons you may have had in the past:

  • After Moses' death, Joshua was named the leader of the Israelites
  • Joshua is the man who allocated the land to the various tribes (see for a past posting about these)
  • The meaning of Joshua is "Yahweh is salvation".  Joshua is translated in Greek as the same name as "Jesus" and is commonly seen as a type of Christ
  • The waters of the Jordan River parted for Joshua during the battle for Canaan - reminding the Israelites of the waters parting in the Red Sea for Moses
  • God's instructions for conquering Jericho were for the army to march around the city for six days.  On the seventh day they marched seven times, shouted, and the walls fell down allowing them to swarm in
  • Key lessons from Joshua's life include the importance of patience, obedience, and dependence on God
  • Joshua was the son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim.  He was born as a slave in Egypt
I'll be moving into Judges and with school starting again, I hope to be more regular in posting.  To finish today's post, why not give a listen to Mahalia Jackson singing "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

here we go again!

So I've started reading through the Bible again in a chronological fashion at the beginning of June.  This particular Bible has a slightly different "schedule" than that our church followed last year, although, as makes sense, Genesis comes first.  As of the 15th of the month, Genesis is completed and we're moving on to Exodus.  The particular Bible I'm using includes information about what else was occurring in the world (based on archeological and other evidence).  I admit that I've never really considered history outside the Bible itself during my readings of it, so this is somewhat interesting.  Our Ladies' Study of Joshua has included some historical information, and I'm thankful for the broadening of my personal thinking.

The book of Genesis contains many of the more widely known history of the Jews.  Even people who never set foot in a church or temple know many of these, although many people do not (unfortunately) consider them to be fact.  Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons are all featured prominently.  And who could forget the creation of the world and all it contains?

As for one of my personal favorite images from Genesis, look to 9:8-17.  Until 2 years ago I had missed the symbolism of the rainbow.  Now every time I see one I am reminded of God's covenant with Noah -- never again will there be world-wide flooding and destruction of the earth.  God is still a judging and righteous God, but we are confident we will never again be subjected to world-wide flooding.

Finally, a mind-picture that stuck with me from our VBS.  The children each took a frowny-faced sticker and mentally assigned one of their own sins onto it (lying to mom, failing to do a chore, speaking meanly to a sister/brother).  They then were instructed to place the sticker onto 2 of the three paper crosses attached to the walls.  The central cross represented that on which Jesus was placed, the other two of the 2 thieves with whom He was crucified.  As we know, Jesus was himself without sin (the frowny-faced free cross).  And during the crucifixion he was mocked not only by the crowds but also by one of the thieves.  The other thief, recognized that while he himself "deserved" his punishment that Jesus did not.  In Luke 23:40-43 we read the following -- "Bu the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, 'Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.' The he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'"  To help the children visualize Jesus taking on the sins of the world, the frowny-faces from one of the thieves' crosses were moved to Jesus' -- just as the repentant thief who recognized Jesus' position, when we recognize Him for who He is, all our sin is forgiven.

Enjoy and continue in your reading.  Every time we delve into God's word we are rewarded.