Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Days 2 & 3

Genesis 18:14a Is anything too hard for the LORD? Let me just answer this with a resoundingly loud NO!

Genesis 19:16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. I especially noticed the word "lingered" here. We are so inclined to wallow in our depravity, not realizing what God has for us - and yet God is so merciful. He takes us by the hand and leads us, if we'll listen!

Genesis 21:8 So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. Just giggled when I read this and thought that Alif would probably relate to that second part. ;-) Yes, Canaan is still nursing. Yes, he is four. And yes, I'm kidding - Alif doesn't mind a bit that the "baby" still nurses.

Genesis 24:12 Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham."  I love this servant's heart! I want to be the kind of servant who is this faithful to her calling.

Genesis 24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the LORD; we cannot speak to you either bad or good. Heck yeah! Our opinion matters exactly zero. What God wants, however - that's what matters!

Genesis 25:32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” Ok. I put a huge asterisk on my notebook next to this reference, because this whole story jumped out at me. Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup. I trade out great things for lesser ones every day. For example, every time I overeat sweets, I'm trading health and fitness for a temporary pleasure. Not a great trade, but it sure seems so in the moment.

Genesis 26:24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” If I were to name my number one struggle in life, it would be fear. Do not fear, for I am with you. Love.

Genesis 32:12 For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ Jacob is praying to God here, and when I read this I thought right off of our Awana kids and how hard they work to plant God's Word deeply in their hearts. How important it is to know His Word - and not just to know it, but to speak it. Out loud!

Genesis 33:4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. Ohhhh. Jacob was so worried about Esau's retaliation, but here we see a beautiful picture of not only forgiveness but reconciliation. So inspirational!

Tip of the day: Be sure to pray before you read. Some of the things we'll read are awfully confusing! I remember one time I was telling a reading specialist that my oldest son would read and read in his Bible, but didn't seem interested in much else. She said, "Well, that's cheating! The Spirit is helping him." Cute - and true! He wants to speak to you. He wants to meet you where you are. Ask him to open your heart to what He wants to say! And don't stop there - as you're reading and you come across something you don't get, ask Him again.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

april 22, 2011

I really didn't even know what to do with myself when the neurologist told me that my husband's chances were terrible. There were so many thoughts battling in my mind. Faith demands belief, and I couldn't stop believing that God could do anything He wanted to no matter what those scans showed. But oh, those scans were bad.

I really felt like I was living in some sort of alternate reality. I felt absolutely protected by God and even amidst the circumstances I was able to rest in total peace. I didn't want to lose my husband. I definitely did not want my children to grow up without their father. But when you know your husband knows the Lord, there just is honestly something very sweet about thinking he may soon be with his Father.

My thoughts were random, to say the least. A song might play on the radio and I'd think how lovely it would be at Alif's funeral, and I would see a slide show playing in my mind. Alif with a baby in his lap, little toes pointing toward Daddy's bare belly. Alif kneeling next to three-year-old Canaan, proudly adjusting the toddler's stance for the best chance at a great t-ball hit. Alif in his fancy suit promising to love me as long as he would live. The six of us on the front porch, Daddy's face fading from the picture and leaving a widow and four fatherless children.

Tears came often, as they do now just remembering this time and the confusion that permeated every moment. Laughter was welcome, even when it was slightly manic. Friends and family showed the kind of support I could never have expected. God utilized each person's strengths, gifting and personality to bless us beyond measure.

But the reality was that we were facing a repeat brain scan in three days, at which time we would "need to make some decisions." I determined to spend those days loving my husband the best way I could and to not spend them mourning. I prayed over him many, many times a day. I stayed at the hospital, surrounded by loved ones. I went home in the evenings and tried to make life as normal as possible for our children. I set my alarm for two wake-ups each night, so I could call the ICU and get an update on the latest. The ICU nurses were absolutely angelic in giving me as many details as they possibly could.

On April 22, Alif had a few facial and left arm movements. There was some speculation that this could be just a nerve thing. I didn't buy it and soaked up every sign of life. He also had a fever, which was terribly concerning to me as we were now several days in with 5 or 6 tough antibiotics coursing through his system around the clock, and a few days out from a major surgery. I continued to pray for healing over every system in his body, for the nurses to be alert, skilled, caring; for the doctors to have wisdom and precision in their decision-making.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Day 1

I promise I'll continue Alif's story soon! We are home, praise the Lord, and adjusting back to normal life.

It's Bible in 90 Days time again, and this time I'm going to attempt to blog through it. I may not blog every day, but I think it'll be nice to have a record of the things God whispers (or yells!) through this process.

So here are my not-very-organized thoughts on the first day's reading, all in Genesis. Please note that all references are in the New King James Version, as that's the version I've chosen to read this time.

Genesis 3 - no wonder Satan is called the Father of Lies! So weird to be witness to that very first lie. It's so easy for us to scream at Eve and Adam, as if during a horror movie (which I do not watch. ever.), "don't listen! Don't buy it! You're gonna REGRET THIS!" But oh man, I get caught in sin at LEAST as easily, and when I have the benefit of hindsight, I always wish I'd chosen righteousness over temporary gain.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. I do this too - "hide" from God and/or my family and friends when I'm involved in sin, when I'm depressed, when I just flat-out don't want to face reality. But man, seeing so visually here the amazing fellowship we have been afforded with our Lord, it really makes me scratch my head in wonder. Why in the world would I choose ugly over beautiful??

Genesis 3:14-19  So the LORD God said to the serpent:
      “ Because you have done this,
are cursed more than all cattle,
      And more than every beast of the field;
      On your belly you shall go,
      And you shall eat dust
      All the days of your life.

 15 And I will put enmity
      Between you and the woman,
      And between your seed and her Seed;
      He shall bruise your head,
      And you shall bruise His heel.”
To the woman He said:
      “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
      In pain you shall bring forth children;
      Your desire
shall be for your husband,
      And he shall rule over you.”
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
      “ Cursed
is the ground for your sake;
      In toil you shall eat
of it
      All the days of your life.

 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
      And you shall eat the herb of the field.

 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
      Till you return to the ground,
      For out of it you were taken;
      For dust you
      And to dust you shall return.” 

We can make all the excuses we want to, but there's just no escaping the consequences of our sin.

Genesis 4:19 Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah.  Hmm. Just curious - is this the first polygamy? If so, how did God feel about it? I mean, clearly he designed one man and one woman to be married only to each other, and one man taking two or more wives was not in his will for us.

Genesis 4:26 And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD. Just curious again - what does this mean, the second part? Part b? THEN men began to call on the name of the Lord? Hmm. In my notes, I wrote a question mark with a circle around it. BI90 isn't the time to pursue every question, but when it's over I'll want to go back and research.

Genesis 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. Oh, there is just such a blessed peace in those words, "and it came to pass". God's words are ALWAYS true. We can count on Him always. Always.

Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood,
      By man his blood shall be shed;
      For in the image of God
      He made man.

There's a lot of talk in Christian circles about the sanctity of life, but this verse made me think about the less obvious ways we show a lack of respect for life. If I'm made in God's image, then is it right, for example, for me to ignore this earthly body and let it turn half to flab? Is it ok to snicker at someone's huge schnoz on TV? (No, it is not - that is one of my pet peeves, making fun of a person's actual physical makeup! God MADE that thing!) What about even LESS obvious things, like neglecting to hug my child when he stubs his toe? NOT kissing her little nose when she wakes in the morning? If we are made in the image of God, then friends, we are due proper respect and so are those around us.

And here's just a little practical note: for those of you who said things like, "I can't even keep up with reading the Bible in a year, much less in 90 days!" My personal opinion, having waded into - oh, about Leviticus - at LEAST 15 times on one-year plans? Is that it's actually EASIER in 90 days. Yes, it's a bigger time commitment. Yes, there are times you will want to pull your hair out at reading another genealogy or record of war or description of a temple. But guess what? You can do this for 90 days. You really can. It's quick, bam, and you're done. And I PROMISE God will speak to you.