1/31/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 12:14—13:16

The Passover/Festival of unleavened bread is going to be a major theme in the OT. We know this because God spends so much time meticulously instructing them on how to celebrate it. I can remember reading this for the first time and wondering why God hates yeast so much? As a new Christian I was wondering if I should forgo those amazing yeast rolls at Texas Roadhouse. (Let’s not get crazy, those things are manna from heaven) Here is what I love about the bible. God is going to answer all these questions, in His own good time. At the end of this chapter he gives us the first reason for this festival. He says it will be a visible sign to remind them that God saved them from Egypt. As we move through the story keep your eyes open for mentions of the Passover Festival. Let’s let God teach us why it is so important. (hint: Jesus)

God has finally gotten through to Pharaoh. He calls Moses in the middle of the night and says get out! Remember the first born in Egypt’s worldview as very important. Pharaoh’s first-born son was supposedly a god. The fact that God took the life of the first born would have proved their thinking wrong. Again, I want to reiterate that I believe this was an act of mercy on God’s part. Anything that breaks down our wrong thinking to show us who God really is, is merciful. Salvation belongs to God, you don’t get to eternal life with God without believing in Him.

Matthew 20:29—21:22

Gosh, you can feel the tension building in this story. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of entering Jerusalem as King on a donkey. The people fully get behind this. You can see they expect Him to take over a run the Romans out! They call him Son of David, they are full expecting him to be a king like David. They probably got even more excited when he went in and started turning tables over. The crowd was like, “Oh heck yeah, we are about to watch him overthrow our oppressors!”

But if you actually watch what Jesus is doing he is fulfilling the part of the prophecy the people glazed over….He is humble. Jesus IS THE KING! He had every right to stomp into Jerusalem and kill everyone and take over as ruler. That would have been out of step with what God the Father asked Him to do. So He humbly chooses to be obedient. He gets right to teaching people, and healing. He turns over the tables to show them they are not honoring God they are serving themselves. They are putting on a show of worship, but there hearts are not really into God.

He shows us how damaging a show of worship without actually faith is in the fig tree. There it is full of leaves, looking like a perfect tree, but lacking the one thing it is supposed produce….fruit. The tree in all its leafy splendor dies because of its lack of fruit. The nation of Israel were busy with the worship of God. They made money off of selling animals to people who needed a sacrifice, they were busy making a show of their worship of God, but they did not have faith in the actual God incarnate standing before them! Fruit is a big theme in the NT. Watch for Jesus teaching us about fruit.

Psalm 25: 16—22

This psalm shows us that prayer for guidance (the first part of this Psalm) has to be accompanied by confession of sin (the last part of this Psalm). Yesterday David asks for God to “show him the right path” and today he says “forgive all my sins!” Repentance is such a gift. As christians our relationship with Jesus should have a healthy dose of repentance. Sometimes I will sit down to pray and get to the part where I repent and say to myself, “Gosh, Jesus, I’m doing pretty good I don’t think I have anything to repent for?” Only to have Him mercifully bring to my mind so. many. sins. from that day. Thank you for repentance Jesus!

Proverbs 6: 12—15

I confess that I used to be a pot stirrer. A juicy piece of gossip could keep me going for days. I was always stirring up trouble. It was so much drama and I thought I thrived in it. Really drama just keeps us from looking at the one thing we really need to look at, Jesus. The more I walk with Him the more I have learned that as followers of Him we are the ones that should bring peace to a situation, not drama.

Have a great day!

1/30/19 One Year Bible Recap

Exodus 10:1—12:13

God is his mercy gives us the reason why he is hardening Pharaoh’s heart. He says it is so He can show Pharaoh and his officials his miraculous signs. I don’t know about you but I am so thankful for a God who will go to those lengths to show us who He is. You see, salvation is with the Lord. We have to remember that this whole book is God’s story of redemption. He has to show us who He is so that we know He has the power to save us. Also please note that this “hardening of Pharaoh and his official’s heart” did not stop them from repenting knowing they were sinning. Pharaoh’s officials are begging him to let the slaves go!

So with his hardened heart in place, Pharaoh still tries to compromise and get around actually letting them go. As a result the locust come. Last fall in Rockwall we had a cricket bloom. This means that the crickets swarmed to not normal numbers. It was the worst thing in the world. Trying to sit at football games was gross, walking and trying not to step on any became a joke, and then one lone one would get inside and make his presence know at 3 am. (chirp, chirp) The only animals around here that were happy were the chickens. They were living their best lives because it was like the Golden Corral All You Can Eat Buffet 24/7. This is just a small taste of what the locust in Egypt would have been like. The locust prove that Nut, the goddess of the sky and Osiris, god of crops and fertility are not real. (I may have called Osiris a goddess yesterday, my apologies to the fake god)

The darkness comes after another cycle of Pharaoh saying they can go and then God hardening his heart so he changes his mind. Also at some point with the hardening of the heart business we have to admit that Pharaoh is just reaping what he has sowed in the previous plague cycles. At some point when you deny God enough you will in fact be hard hearted. The darkness plague goes after the Re, Horus, Nut and Hathor. Re was their ultimate Sun God, it was who Pharaoh supposedly represented on earth. How wrong they were.

Pharaoh refuses to let them go again, and now we have the death of the first born. The first born in Egypt was a really big deal. It attacks several gods. Heqet, Isis, and Min, all gods of some form of reproduction. But the biggest blow to the Egyptian worldview is that Pharaoh’s first born son was considered a god. So the fact that God is able to take his life proves that He is the One and Only God of the earth.

Before we see this plague happen, God institutes Passover. This is what I geek out about. All the way back here in history God is teaching them about who Jesus is and what He will do for them. So many symbolic things go into this passover feast. The death of a spotless lamb, the bitter greens to mark sorrow, and bread without leaven or yeast (Paul tells us leaven was a symbol of sin, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump”). Most notably the blood required to mark them as Gods people. Even the way God told them to smear it on the door was a symbol of Jesus because it looked like a cross. How can you not love this God! Already teaching His people how He is going to save them eternally, in the midst of saving them temporally. Oh what a savior!

Matthew 20: 1-28

Man oh man, Jesus has my number. Thank God that He tells stories to show us our sinfulness. I am the worker hired in the morning who labors all day and is watching out of the corner of my eye as these other bums, who probably slept in, get hired on. As I am working I think to myself, I am so much better then them, I am such a Proverbs 6:6 worker. I know the landowner is going to be so much more pleased with me that he will pay me more than these other losers. Guys, that thinking does not hold water in God’s economy. You will be left empty handed if you think you are the be all and end all. Last will be first and first will be last. Don’t be mad when God is kind to others. God has enough kindness to go around. You don’t have to prove you are better than everyone else to secure his kindness. In fact if you go around like James and John and get your mommy to ask if you can have the seat of power, God will most likely humble you. Pursing the seat of power is what the World does, He wants us to be different. He actually does deserve the seat of power and He chose to die like a criminal at the hands of the Romans.

Psalms 25: 1-15

This is a Psalm that celebrates the many attributes of God and our devotion to him. Here is what is cool. Bible Knowledge Commentary says this is an Acrostic Psalm, meaning that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. David wrote this so it was easy to memorize. They could recite it when they needed to be reminded of His character, they could just go through their alphabet!

Proverbs 6: 6-11

As much as I would like to use this Proverb to justify my self-righteous over achiever-ness (See above), it is actually talking about being like an ant in the way that they don’t wait for someone to tell them what to do, they just get ‘er done no matter what. Being proactive and prepared is what keeps you from poverty. Being lazy and not anticipating needs of your life will result in poverty.

Have a great day!

1/29/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 8:1—9:35

The frogs go right after the Egyptian god Heqet. She had a frog head and was supposedly the goddess of birth. As soon as Pharaoh gets some relief, he goes back to his stubborn position. Last Sunday at church Doug talked about indifference and how it goes against what God calls us to do. This popped into my head when I thought about Pharaoh and his hard heart. He was totally indifferent to God. He was uncaring and aloof.

The gnats or mosquitos where an attack on Set, the god of the dessert and against the Priesthood of Egypt. The priests prided themselves on being ceremonially clean, but with a bunch of bugs flying around that would have made them unclean. With this one even Pharaoh’s magicians know that God is at work. Pharaoh remains stubborn and indifferent.

The plague of flies goes after Re, a sun God, and Uatchit who was represented by a fly. God shows mercy to His chosen people. This plague is bothersome enough that it causes Pharaoh to offer a compromise. But you don’t get to compromise with God…ask me how I know. And again, even though Moses warned him, Pharaoh changed his mind and went back on his word.

The livestock plague goes after Hathor, goddess with a cow head and Apis the bull god of fertility. He again shows mercy to Israel and spares their animals. And Pharaoh, even though he saw it with his own eyes, remained stubborn.

The boils plague goes after Sekhmet, goddess with power over disease, Sunu, the pestilence god and Isis, goddess of healing. Everyone had boils. Some people get concerned because they say, “Wait all the animals just died, how are there animals left.” Well, these plagues were not all in one week. Months go on in between them so purchasing of more animals and breeding probably went on. After this plague we see the God does in fact harden Pharaoh’s heart.

The Hail plague goes after Nut, the sky goddess, Osiris goddess of crops and fertility and Set, the god of storms. In the warning about this plague God is clear with Pharaoh. He says that all of this is happening so that the Earth will know God’s power and fame. Even Pharaoh’s officials could not remain indifferent anymore. The hail was a devastation everywhere except Goshen. And then look what happens! A confession of sin from Pharaoh! People get so worried about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart but look what that hardening produced! Pharaoh says, “I have sinned this time, the Lord is the Righteous one, and my people and I are wrong!” God accomplished exactly what he wanted to, they knew He was LORD. If it takes a hardening of the heart to produce that, then hardening a heart is an act of mercy from where I sit. It made Pharaoh realize his error in thinking.

The bad news is, Pharaoh had an opportunity to deny himself and follow the LORD, but as soon as the emergency had ended he went right back to serving himself. They sinned again and became stubborn. Pharaoh preferred to be indifferent to God. God lovingly brought him to confession, and he turned the other way, just like God said he would.

Matthew 19: 13-30

Jesus reminds us again to be like the little children. That is too simple for everyone so someone says, “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Isn’t that the question we all ask ourselves? What do I have to to do to get in? We then get to see Jesus systematically dismantle that worldview, just like the plagues with the Egyptian worldview.

Jesus says follow the commandments, Jesus knows we can’t.

The guy says “which ones,” because he knows he can’t follow the commandments.

Jesus lists a few commandments knowing this guys heart and knowing he has not followed them.

The guys says, “oh, yeah, I have done that!” I am perfect! But he knows something is still missing.

Jesus goes to the heart of this guys worldview—his money and his stuff. He says, give all that up and follow me!

This guy would have done every good deed Jesus asked him to do, but the one thing he had to do to get the eternal life he wanted was not what he wanted to give. He worshipped his stuff.

And Jesus proves to us that just because you are affluent and have money does not mean you are right with God. In fact your affluence can keep you from knowing your need for Jesus. And Peter, bless him, knows they have given up much and wants to know what his return on investment will be. Jesus promises us, that whatever we do without and give up here on earth will be returned 100X in the eternal kingdom. This flies in the face of our culture that says affluence is the sign of God’s blessing. Don’t fall for the stuff and money, fall for Jesus instead. He is telling us that being like little children is what He is asking of us.

Psalm 24

Gosh, I could not make this up! Look at how this Psalm proves Jesus’ point in the section above! “The Earth is the Lords and everything in it!” We get sucked into “that is MINE.” God says, NO! It’s MINE, I made it all. And to add to Jesus’ point David reminds us that the only ones who are right with God are the ones that have pure hands and pure hearts. If you are worshiping the idol of “good deeds,” you are missing the mark.

Proverbs 6: 1-5

My enjoyment of this next section of proverbs will be obvious. Jesse and I teach Dave Ramsey’s FPU and Proverb 6 is our battle cry. This proverb teaches that debt, even to help a friend, is BAD.

1/28/19 One Year Bible Recap

Exodus 5: 22—7:25

“I will” and “I am the Lord” are key verses in this section. The Lord tells Moses that He revealed Himself to Patriarchs as “God Almighty” but He was about to reveal to the World that He is Yahweh—The LORD. Now this is the coolest because God is about to systematically go after the entire pantheon of Gods that Egypt has set up. Basically what we are about to see is I will do this because I am the LORD. There is also an interjection of a genealogy so that there is perfect clarity on who Moses and Aaron are. The Lord and Pharaoh are still in the stand off over Pharaoh’s hard heart. Pharaoh is hardening his heart and God is using Pharaohs stubborn heart to show the World He is the LORD.

The first plague goes right after the heart of the Egyptian world view. They believed that life came from the Nile gods. This plague attacks Hapi (god of the Nile), Isis (goddess of the Nile) and Khnum (guardian of the Nile). It is important to know that these “magicians” that can imitate the signs and wonders that Moses and Aaron perform are most likely under the power of Satan. Ultimately they cannot reverse what God did to the Nile. As the plagues continue we see these “magicians” exposed for the frauds they really are.

Matthew 18:21—19:12

Peter, my favorite disciple, falls into a trap because he is trying to show Jesus how forgiving he is. Rabbinic teaching told the jews to forgive 3 times. Peter wants Jesus to know how mature he is by saying “Should we forgive 7 times, cuz that is way more than 3!” I have fallen in this hole before. My pride says, “show this person how super spiritually mature you are!” Only to be humbled by their response. Ouch.

The parable that follows teaches us of the heart position believers in Jesus should have. We have been forgiven of much. Jesus takes it onto his shoulders and cancels our debt before the Father. We can do the same in our hearts once we really understand the debt we owed.

Then we jump into divorce and eunuchs. Here is where I am landing with it: God intended us to get married and stay married. However He knows are hearts are hard and that some people will need a provision for divorce. He also knows that habitual infidelity nulls the marriage contract. There are some people who need to be married because that is how they were made and some people don’t need to be married because they don’t have those particular desires. I was struck by the phrase “hard hearts” because that is the same phrasing we are studying in the OT with Pharaoh.

Psalm 23

This is my friend Frani’s favorite Psalm. Every time I read it I think of all the ways she has told me she loves it. Like how it says, “I have all that I need” NOT “I have all that I want!” Like it says, He (the Lord) leads me to rest. He renews my strength. I don’t have to be afraid because He is close beside me. And this people is why Christians need other Christians, so that we can point out the goodness of God to each other. Talk about the scriptures with other believers because something might jump off the page at them that you never saw. This is how we get a deeper understanding of how Good God is!

Proverbs 5: 22-23

Don’t for one second think that life with God is some form of bondage and rule following that leads to no fun. Sin is the slave driver. Lack of discipline is the way to death. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.

1/27/19 One Year Bible Recap

Well, tuck in because in our passage today we read about foreskins, God being angry, God hardening Pharaoh’s heart, who is the first in the Kingdom of heaven and fondling breasts. Here we go!

Exodus 4:1—5:21

God gets angry with Moses because of disobedience. I looked up that word that God uses here and every other time it is used in Exodus it is because God is dealing with disobedience. God is going to use us even though we are disobedient. What I think is really interesting is that He gives Moses Aaron to be his mouth piece and we will see as we go on through the story Aaron causes Moses a lot of grief. It just makes me think that maybe Moses would have had less strife if he just would have trusted that the signs that God had given him would work and that God being with him was enough.

Oh man this next part people get really torqued out about. God says He will harden Pharaoh’s heart. I think this makes people nervous because God says we have free will but then we see him intervene here in Pharaoh’s heart to keep him from letting the Israelites go. I am going to solve this mystery for us right now!!!! God knows how He can harden someones heart and leave free will intact!!! As we go through the story lets watch for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart and then when we finish the story we can see where we land.

Ok so they are journeying to Egypt and we have this record of something really weird happening. Lets remember what we know so far. God uses journey’s (Abraham, Jacob, Isaac) to test faith. Not trying to read anything into this next passage (4:24-26) but it seems something has happened to Moses and Zipporah has to intervene so he won’t die. I would put this in the category of Moses and God had a “come to Jesus” meeting. The act that Zipporah does, the, ah…. er…. surgery, is always synonymous with declaration of faith in the bible. We can trust that God was testing someones faith here on this journey.

The meeting with Pharaoh sets the stage for my most favorite OT story, the plagues! As we study Pharaoh, (looking to see where God will harden his heart) we see the state of his heart is already pretty bad. He is cruel and unfair. He is making life really bad for the Israelites. So bad in fact they curse Moses, their deliverer.

Matthew 18: 1-20

Can I be real a second?* Asking God, “who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” has gotten me into more trouble than I wish to recount. To be first, best and greatest. But guess what God taught me? Being first, best and greatest is a slave driver even more cruel than Pharaoh. Thank God Jesus starts to tell us how to break free of it. Be like children. Help the forgotten who can’t help themselves. invite them in and love them as if they are Jesus. Go after the lost one and don’t stop until you find it. And when someone gets lost in sin get closer to them not farther away. Go to them, convince them, bring friends don’t leave them alone until they declare they are not ever going to listen. He is here with us, always.

Psalm 22: 19-31

The Psalm yesterday was a song about Jesus, the righteous, being killed by wicked. Today we have the rest of the Psalm. It calls the Israel to honor him, He is the one they have been waiting for. He is the one who saved them. It also predicts the future generations that will worship Him.

Proverbs 5: 15-21

Did anyone else know that the phrase “fondle the breasts” is in the bible? Well there it is. If this proverb has to tell us not to have casual sex its because our natural bent will be to have casual sex. If it has to tell guys to stick with their wives it means their natural bent will be to leave as their wife ages. The warning is there is always an immoral woman waiting trip you up. Don’t fall for it! And ladies, don’t be the immoral woman. Your body is meant to be a blessing for one man.

Have a great day!

*Hamilton Reference

1/26/19 One Year Bible Recap

Exodus 2:11—3:22

I love how we are getting to know Moses. God created Moses to be a deliverer. So here Moses goes running around delivering people who did not asked to be delivered. One his journey to become the deliverer of Israel God has been preparing him for the job(education by the Egyptians at the time would be the same as someone in the US going to Harvard), but God also made him with a bent toward rescuing. God just had to teach Moses how to rescue when God said to rescue, not when Moses felt like it in his own strength. This is the true form of meekness the bible talks about. You take all the talent, gifts, coolness, bad assness and you learn how to bend it to God’s desires. Usually in the bible this is developed on a journey through a desert.

Matthew 17: 10-27

Faithlessness causes us to miss the people God sends to teach us and prevents us from being free of slave drivers.

This fish thing is kind of weird so I consulted my Bible Knowledge Commentary to be sure I was not missing something. As it turns out I was. Jesus is starting to teach them the He will be King when He returns. He is letting them know that as His disciples they will have a special place with Him in that Kingdom. He also teaches us to submit to government. And then he send Peter to do something He loves, fishing! There he finds the money to pay the taxes.

 Barbieri, Louis A., Jr. “Matthew.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 61. Print.

Psalm 22: 1-18

I’m reading this waiting for David to confess the sin he is being punished for and then I don’t see it, then out of no where I see the story of when Jesus was hanging on the cross and they threw dice for his clothes! I went back to the Bible Knowledge Commentary because you never want to make the bible say something it is not really saying. You have to go to people who are smarter than you, and if you come up with something that no other trusted scholars have said, you are wrong—just an FYI. Well, as it turns out, scholars do think David is writing a psalm about a righteous man getting killed by wicked people!

 Ross, Allen P. “Psalms.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 809. Print.

Proverbs 5: 7-14

Gosh, get comfortable with discipline because it keeps you from public disgrace.

1/25/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 50:1—EXODUS 2:10

We finish up Genesis with a beautiful moment of reconciliation with the brothers. Joseph’s brothers finally confess their sin and Joseph accepts their apology and points them to the fact that this was all part of Gods plan. I pray I can be that forthcoming with forgiveness because of my trust in God’s sovereignty.

Exodus was written by Moses. Jesus refers to his authorship in the NT. I’m positive we can trust Jesus. Again it was written for the purpose of instructing the Israelites. We have to remember these things as we move forward or we will take things out of context. Now, their are principles here that directly apply to us, the Church, for sure. As believers we get to behold the book of Exodus and see God display His Mighty power to his people. In so doing He also teaches the world who HE IS!!

The Egyptians that morned the loss of Joseph have now forgotten him and see only a very strong nation growing within its borders. They get nervous that this people will turn on them so Pharaoh tries to stamp them out. Funny thing about the Israelites, the more you try to stamp them out the more fruitful they become. Pharaoh turns to infanticide to try to drown them out.

But God is moving His story along and we get to learn how Moses came to be educated by the Egyptian. God is preparing Moses for the mighty work he has planned for him. Our story is just getting started! I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Matthew 16:13—17:9

People say to me all the time, “Sarah you are just like Peter, you are so ready fire aim. You just jump off and do stuff without thinking about it.” Well, never one to take criticisms well I jumped back at that and got a sour taste in my mouth where Peter is concerned. “I don’t want to be like Peter, I want to be wise and discerning.” But look here at the reading for today. Guess who the first disciple is to call Jesus, “the Messiah.” You guessed it, Peter. I love this because it shows me one more time that Jesus uses us because of our weakness not in-spite of it. Because our friend Peter takes Jesus aside to rebuke him, only gives Jesus another chance to teach Peter to harness his strength and follow Jesus instead of try to control the situation. Jesus says, “Peter you have to follow me or you are acting like Satan, you have to learn how to do this.” And Jesus teaches him this. I pray I can be teachable too.

Psalm 21: 1-13

A celebration song after a victory. Not about how great the king and his army is but how great God is.

Proverb 5: 1-6

So if a woman who is the perfect helpmate for her husband can build him up, help him, make him better, and help him prosper; it stands to reason that a woman not following God could tear him down, destroy him, make him worse, and ultimately bankrupt him. This reminds me, as a woman, to use my power wisely.

Have a great day!

1/24/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 48:1— 49:33

Jacob’s life time of walking with the Lord has come full circle. I was so moved this morning when I read “I know, my son; I know. His reply to Joseph’s correction is so poignant. As if to say, “Yes this is totally counter cultural but this is how God’s economy works—Ask me how I know!!” This man who was once characterized by deception now at the end of his life leads his son into better understanding and obedience to the Lord.

Jacob’s blessings for his sons will be interesting to look back on. And by interesting I mean amazing and awe inspiring because all of these characteristic of these tribes comes true. We also have the reminder that the Messiah (The scepter, rulers staff) will come from Judah’s line. These are all gifts God is giving us so that we know every word of the scripture is true.

Matthew 15: 29—16:12

The Pharisees and Sadducees are building a case against Jesus. He has just preformed another miracle by feeding the 4000 men in the crowd and yet these religious leaders want a more profound miracle. Jesus tells them they will get it in the form of the sign of Jonah. (Jonah got eaten by a fish and was entombed in his belly for 3 days) No body gets this so he starts to teach them.

Bless the disciples. Jesus makes a statement about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees poisoning all of Israel and they immediately think He is mad at them for not bringing food. Raise your hand if you have been in the position where someone said something about something totally unrelated to you but you took it personally. Wars have been started over things like this. For me personally I will confess that I am so self centered that I usually assume anything someone says is about me, to me or because of something I did. Jesus is freeing me of this, thank God, by assuring me that I am not that big of deal.

The real issue is Jesus’ warning about the bad teaching of the religious leaders. He is saying that one small untruth will infect the whole community. This is still true today and we have to be so very careful of what we say, preach and teach. The only way to know if you are hearing bad teaching is to know the Word of God for yourself, have a personal relationship with Jesus, and surround yourself with believers who will challenge you when you say something that is off.

Psalm 20: 1-9

I read in the commentary that this is a Psalm David wrote for his subjects to sing in prayer for him as he was on his way to battle. There is something so revealing in that. It shows me that David really understood his dependence on the Lord and was humble enough to ask his subjects to pray for him. What a beautiful thing.

Proverbs 4: 20—27

Remember yesterday when Jesus told us that the words we speak come from the heart and that is what defiles us? Well check out this Proverb that tells us to guard our heart above all else. What you allow into your heart is what determines the course of your life. This is no joke. People will know what is in your heart by what comes out of your mouth. Guarding here refers to sticking to the wise path, wise things and wise pursuits. It all means to guard against evil.

Have a great day!

1/23/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 46:1—47:31

It is important for us (and the Israelites Moses is writing this for) to know that God approved of this journey to Egypt. As we move through the story we are going to see the Israelites disobey God by leaving the promised land. This is not the case here. God was moving them to Egypt to grow his tiny chosen nation.

Remember when we come across genealogies and death they signify a transition. We are moving into the “Israel, a chosen nation of God living in Egypt” chapter of this over arching story. (That chapter title is my creation and not ordained by God. I do what I want.)

As I read through the part today of Joseph providing food for the people of the world I found myself going, “Oh come on man, just give them the food.” But it doesn’t work that way. He requires payment, then animals, then land, then he taxes them. Joseph was the wise one who took heed of Gods’ dream that warned them of famine and stored up food so therefore he could provide food for them from the storehouse. At the end of the famine the people say, “You have saved our lives!” It has just hit me that sometimes God asks us to be wise and store up food in preparation for a famine. And sometimes He asks us to humble ourselves and ask for help from people who have been more wise than we have been. In each way we learn to deny ourselves and rely on the Lord. But he never rewards us by just giving us hand outs when we have ignored His warnings.

Matthew 15: 1-28

I just love Jesus. The pharisee’s ask, “Why don’t you follow the traditions?” Jesus answers back, “Because your traditions contradict the Word of God.” This must have been an intense scene because look how the disciples react. They say to Jesus, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Do you remember those moments in High School when your friend who was the mouth shot off something that you knew was going to make the other clique mad and you found yourself trying to back away and retreat because you knew you would have to get involved because you were her friend and part of the group? That is how I picture this. Like, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, Peter hears it and looks at John nervously. His eyes say, “You realize because we have thrown our lot in with Jesus we are about to get our butts kicked?” The disciples are thinking do we run? Do we hid? But Jesus gets to the heart of the issue. (Pun intended) He tells them to ignore the Pharisee’s. He says the that the traditions don’t matter, the heart matters and that is what He is going after in them.

This next part can be a little confusing if we forget the over arching story. Remember the Messiah was promised to the nation of Israel. In our OT reading we are learning about this promised Messiah through promises God makes to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. At this point in the story Jesus is still offering the Promised Kingdom to Israel. So here where the Gentile woman is asking for Him to heal her daughter, He is making it clear that He is offering the Kingdom to Israel. The foreshadowing is that eventually He will move on to offer it to the Gentiles (us non-jews) in a new way. Essentially He is teaching us that the blessing will come through Israel, but will spill over on to everyone.

Psalm 19: 1-14

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies proclaim His craftsmanship. I love this declaration. The Psalm goes on to encourage us that everything God creates is good. I also love the fact that the last lines are, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,” since Jesus just told us in the NT reading that those things are what defile us. May my words and thoughts be pleasing to You, my rock and my redeemer!!

Proverbs 4: 14-19

Man living out the wisdom in this Proverb is the hardest part of life on earth. You cannot live halfway doing evil and halfway doing things God’s way. You are either in darkness or light. We have this tendency to think we can “manage” the evil parts of our lives. This Proverb says you can’t, it says you have to turn from evil and run! Evil wants you to stumble and stay in the dark.

1/22/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 44:1—45:28

I am just so overwhelmed by how good God is. That in this family who were once characterized by their deception He still protects, promotes and uses them to move His story along. He really loves us just exactly where we are. The obvious care of their needs is written all over the page. But the smaller less obvious things that He did for them overwhelms me. He changed the brothers’ hearts so they were over joyed that Jospeh was alive. He brought Joseph back from the dead, so to speak, for Jacob. He prepared a way for the family to not just survive the famine but to thrive in it. And He cultivated a relationship with Joseph so that when he came face to face with his brothers he did not have them beheaded, he blessed them and pointed them to the Goodness of God. Only God can work out family drama like that.

Matthew 14: 13—36

Oh what a Savior, isn’t He wonderful, sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen! I can’t get that lyric out of my head from O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship. It is all I can sing after reading today’s passage. We see His beautiful humanity in this passage where He just wants to be alone so He can commune with God, but the needy crowd follows Him. He provides for them and in so doing teaches the disciples that He is powerful enough to meet the needs of the people without them figuring out how to buy food for 5000.

In what had to be the most glorious seen He meets the disciples in their fear in the midst of the waves. He tells them “Don’t be afraid, take courage. I am here!” Peter tests Jesus and then gets tested. But Jesus did not let him sink, He IMMEDIATELY reached out His had when Peter yells, “Save me!” This image of Jesus reaching out His hand to me has brought me such comfort today. I am facing a task that I do not feel up to today and Jesus is reaching out his hand saying, “Why do you doubt me?” Oh what a Savior!

Psalms 18: 37—50

We have followed David’s thoughts and declarations through this Psalm for a few days now. Today David gets the victory he has been asking God for. I do think it is important to know that God will ultimately give the godly victory over their enemies. But here is the thing. God does it. Victory belongs to Him. In the last few verses David reminds us of this. God of my salvation! God who pays back those who harm me! This helps me stop fighting with people and start praying to God to help me. It’s the difference between “Hold my weave!” and “This sucks but I am going to trust God.” Guess which one I lean into? And I don’t even have a weave!

Proverbs 4: 11—13

My friend Shelia and I were talking last night about the fact that we were both like, “Gosh, ok God we get it with the wisdom stuff!” And here we go again with it today! It is so important! Here is where I landed with it today. If wisdom keeps us from stumbling, then we will stumble when we are foolish. What I love about God is He will use the stumble to get us back on track, maybe even turn us completely around so we have the opportunity to be wise.

Have a great day! Take Jesus’ hand!

1/21/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 42: 18—43: 34

“Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.” Yes brothers, yes you are. I love this because as we follow the story for the first time we have some self reflection. These brothers are growing. God is preparing them because he is about to move this family to Egypt and He needs to prepare their faith for a sojourn in the foreign land. Reaping and sowing is a theme that God will develop in this bigger story. It is how we grow and learn. Praise God.

Also, Joseph’s response when he sees his younger brother is so heart warming. It proves to us that in the midst of everything that could cause us to be hard hearted, people who are close to the Lord will remain soft hearted. I just love it.

Matthew 13: 47—14: 12

The end of the world. It is coming and Jesus teaches us what it will be like. Our Pastor Doug always says that prepared people are not scared people. If I fear the end of the world it is only because I don’t know the over arching story here. Jesus is teaching his disciples what it will be like.

I am trying to read the story as if I have never read it before. But the part where He asks them, “Do you understand all these things? “ and they say, “Yes!” I want to yell, NO!! No, you don’t! They don’t understand that Jesus is about to get rejected by Israel and that He will institute a new program called the Church age. They don’t know that He will die and come back. They don’t understand any of this but it is all part of the process. It is how He works with us. He works in the parameters in which we understand and then pushes us to greater understanding the more we walk with Him. You don’t have to know it all right now. He is such a kind Savior.

When Jesus goes back to his hometown we start to see this very rejection taking place. We should start watching for this now as we move through the story. And a word on Herod—eww. Dirty old man watching this young girl dance. I love that John’s friends came and honored John with a proper burial.

Psalm 18: 16—36

Gah! I couldn’t get over the first line in the Psalm today. “He reached down from heaven and rescued me.” He did this for us. We could not save ourselves and He reached down to do it. Praise God!

Proverbs 4: 7

I was reminded this morning that Solomon wrote these proverbs that we are going through. He has done life both ways, wisely and foolishly, as we will read in Ecclesiastes. So if he has done both and is encouraging us to choose wisdom we can trust that wisdom really is the best choice. It also just so happens that I find myself tempted to act foolishly right now, and am encouraged to choose wisdom. So, yes, we do need to go over wisdom again and again because our flesh will want to choose folly!

Have a great day!

1/20/19 One Year Bible Recap

EEEKKKK! I did not leave myself enough time to do everything I am supposed to do to get ready for church and write this. The wheels are coming off my wagon!! This really is going to be short and sweet!

Genesis 41: 17—42: 17

Remember yesterday when we saw that God would give a long term prophecy and a short term prophecy to legitimize His message? Well we get all sorts of fulfillment today. We read that Pharaoh’s dream of the 7 years of abundance comes true. And just like in his dream it is followed but such a sever famine that people from all over the world are coming to Jacob. Including his big brothers. I am tickled that he jacked with them a bit. I mean I know vengeance belongs to the Lord but I love that he had the chance to make them sweat a bit. And in this Jacob remembers his dream of the 11 stars bowing down, another fulfillment. God is proving His faithfulness.

Also about Jacob’s character. This exile in Egypt is God ordained. God put him there and prospered him. However Jacob did not forget who God was. When his children were born he gave them Hebrew names. He always gave God the credit for his success. This is important because we are going to see a theme develop later in the OT of people leaving the Promised Land and it disregarding God when they do. Jacob did not do that when God placed him in Egypt.

Matthew 13: 24-46

I love parables. Did I mention that yesterday. I mean you read these in the morning and they just sit in your brain all day. I see them play out in the world around me. They do what they are supposed to do, teach me the Truth about God. There is so much truth in the reading today. I am going to let it marinade in my brain and let God do what He does, teach me.

Psalm 18: 1-15

I love that David wrote this after being at war with Saul. This should be our response when God saves us from our enemies. It is full of truth about God’s character and David’s dependence on Him. I think when we overcome something it is possible that we start to think highly of our own strength and this is a great reminder that it is not our strength but His.

Proverbs 4: 1-6

Gosh I went right to teenage eye roll mode when I read this today. “Like, I know God, do you ever talk about anything but wisdom?” I am sorry Lord, develop in me good judgement so am not a bratty teenager in my mind when you say, “don’t turn away from my instructions.” I love you Lord.

Have a good day!

1/19/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 39:1—41:16

What a refreshing change! Joseph is presented with an opportunity to sin and he says, NO! It is hard to follow him through these next steps of the story because it is so engrained in us that when we do good things good things happen to us. It’s just not true, and not how God works. Sometime imprisonment is necessary to grow our faith. God was going to use him for big things so he had to make sure his faith was mature.

God used dreams in the OT to communicate with His people. God also provided the interpretation of the dreams. God will always authenticate His prophecy by giving a long term prophecy and a short term prophecy. The short term one has to come true before for the long term one can be trusted. I love how Joseph says that interpreting dreams is God’s business. We can always trust God to authenticate a message. He does not ask us to search around unsure, and in the dark. His message to us will always be clear and authenticated. So beware, friends, of false prophecy.

Matthew 12:46—13:23

Jesus did not hate his mother or brothers. He is just saying that family ties don’t trump our devotion to God.

Parables. My favorite part of the Gospels. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says: “A parable, like an illustration, makes a comparison between a known truth and an unknown truth; it throws them alongside each other.”* Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? Jesus takes truth we already understand and uses it to teach us about A TRUTH ABOUT HIM WE DON’T KNOW!!! What in the literal world ya’ll???? Come on!!! That is the most brilliant thing I have ever heard! Jesus is the bomb! As if that is not enough, He tells us that as we listen and seek to understand an abundance of knowledge is given! It is exactly what we have been reading in Proverbs about wisdom. Too cool!

In this parable we learn that to thrive we have to have deep roots, in good soil. He goes on to flesh this out more by saying, understanding God’s word is what makes the seed thrive. Guys! That is what we are doing by being in His Word everyday!

Psalm 17: 1-15

A beautiful prayer from David. The part that says “guard me as you would guard your own eyes,” literally has the connotation of “guard me as the apple of your eye.” That is how confident David is with God’s love.

Proverb 3:33-35

You mock God and he will mock you. That is a scary thought.

Have a great day! 😘

 *Barbieri, Louis A., Jr. “Matthew.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 48–49. Print.

1/18/19 One Year Bible Recap

Well, my friends Cheryl and Lauren will be happy to know that last night I turned off my 5 am alarm and slept in until 6 am today. The extra rest will be helpful because our reading today is chockfull of truth. This will not be short so as Lauren says, “Buckle up butter cup!” We are going to tackle this one section at a time.

Genesis 37: 1—38: 30

All I can say is thank God that He blesses this family because the only thing they are faithful in is deception. As an over achieving perfectionist stories like this give me heart palpitations. I start thinking, “Why is this in here? Where are the people who do what God says all the time?” And yet, despite their behavior, God does in fact bless the. What is up with that?

The conflict here is all mixed up in pride, self promotion, sibling rivalry and greed. God is on the move. He is showing them, through these dreams that He is picking Joseph to be the chosen one. The brothers will not submit to this so they start plotting. I see this jumping off the page….They don’t want to submit to what God is doing so they start plotting to make dreams come true. It just doesn’t work that way with God. We see Ruben try to do the right thing. In the story before he tried to claim his fathers concubine. In context this was his attempt to exercise his right as first born. Maybe he learned his lesson and is trying to not be a jerk now? But in the end the brothers all go back and deceive Jacob, again.

Remember that Moses is writing this story to instruct the Israelites. In this next story we read about what life is like if you go against what God says and assimilate with the Canaanites. The whole, “your brother died so marry his wife so you can carry on his name thing” will actually be a recorded custom for the Israelites later in Pentateuch. Tamar is after security and protection. Remember the Canaanites don’t believe in God. Judah, having assimilated into their culture acts like he doesn’t know God either. Tamar has to trick Judah into acting the right way. God tells them not to marry the Canaanites but once they do, He expects them to act godly to them. Judah engages in prostitution, (uggh! come on man!) and takes the bait Tamar has set. His hypocritical character is exposed when he finds out she is pregnant. She has the proof so he is forced to do the right thing.

So does God sweep a story like this under the rug? What am I supposed to take away from this? I mean do the right thing seems an obvious application. Don’t engage in prostitution, don’t deceive people and don’t sell your brother are also good applications. But here is something more…….Tamar and Judah are listed in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1:4). This story if full of sin and debauchery and yet out of it comes a plot point in the line of our SAVIOR!! As I sit with this truth I see that God is not shocked by sin. He uses it all. To teach, to move the story along, to bring the Savior and to ultimately bring us back to perfection. It all hinges on Him. Thank God, because if it was based on us, we would still be lost. What He is doing in this story is teaching us that it is not about us and our behavior, it is about Him and His Character!!!!

Matthew 12: 22-45

The crowd following Jesus is finally starting to get it! This is the Messiah! Unfortunately this makes the Pharisee’s “Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.” This means that Jesus is standing right in front of them performing miracles with the power of the Holy Spirit and they are saying He is actually working for the devil. This is a grievous mistake for them. Just like the brothers did not like God picking Joseph as the chosen one so they started plotting to kill him, the Pharisee’s did not like God picking Jesus and they start plotting to kill him.

They go to Him and say, “Ok give us one more really good sign so we know you are the real God.” He calls them an evil and adulterous generation! He has been performing miracles during Him ministry and they will not get another one until He give them the sign of Jonah. He is talking about His death. He then warns us, that if we see the miracles and do not step into the faith we will be worse off than before! The faith has to fill up our empty hearts. Don’t beg for signs and wonders when He has already given us the ultimate sign, His death and resurrection. Put your faith in that, not the miracles.

Psalm 16: 1-11

I am terrible at scripture memorization, but this feels like a Psalm I should have memorized. So many of God’s characteristics are covered and they are the ones we need when we are in trouble. Also, I am so thankful for my godly friends. They make life possible.

Proverbs 3: 27-32

This proverb could be titled what “Solomon would have said to Jacob’s boys.”

Do not withhold good.

Do not plot harm.

Do not pick a fight.

Do not envy violent people or copy their ways.

This could also be titled, “How to stay out of jail.”

Let’s all stay out of jail today, have a good one!😘

1/17/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 35:1—36:43

I see a theme developing here. Jacob is coming to the end of the journey that God has him on. It started with him running from Esau and now it will be concluded in this last portion of the journey to Bethel. When the OT starts talking about death, and giving us genealogies it is because one part of the bigger storying is ending and another one is beginning. This is important because we know when we see one of these transitions we will start looking for how God is moving the story along and what the promises of the time period are. God reiterates His promises to Jacob, and Jacob sets up an altar.

One thought I can’t get out of my head is the section where he tells his clan to get rid of all their idols. Idols in the OT represent anything that they thought would bring luck or good fortune, paid homage to one of the pagan gods or was used for protection. God is the One and Only. He told them to put their faith in HIM alone. So believing in idols was a sin (action of unrighteousness). In this story we see that on this journey Jacobs clan has collected idols along the way. These were from all the people that were in the Land. These “pagan” people did not believe or put their faith in God.

What stuck me was that Jacobs clan was on a journey set out by God. They knew Jacob wrestled God, God protected them and that God was ultimately going to bless them. And yet, they collected idols on there journey. It was a gut check for me. I think we can apply this same consideration and consecration in our lives. I think checking in with God and saying, ‘“Lord, what idols have I picked up to cope with daily life?” Our church is going through a series called “Travel Light.” We are talking about not getting stuck in our faith journey. Well, harboring an idol is a surefire way to get stuck. I will go ahead and be the first one to confess an idol I have picked up—FOOD! To comfort myself I eat, instead of going to God. I seek my idol to give me comfort instead of allowing God the Father to be my comfort. Lord, I lay that idol down at your feet. If you feel embolden leave your confession of an idol you are carrying in the comments. We can all lay one down today, pray for each other and consecrate ourselves!

Matthew 12: 1-21

To carry on our idol theme we see the Pharisee’s making the rules of God and idol. They are placing their rules above the ACTUAL LORD AND SAVIOR! Jump back! Check your heart! Raise your hand if you are guilty of this too! 🙋🏼‍♀️

Psalm 15: 1-5

Psalms like this make me so thankful for Jesus. I use to read something like this, a list of “correct behavior” and say to myself, “Oh yeah, I got this! I can do all that!” That is so prideful. Now I know I should read a list like this and go, “Jesus please save me! I can’t be righteous without you!”

Proverbs 3: 21-26

There is so much I could write about this proverb! I will sum it up like this:

Using common sense and discernment = sound sleep!

Have a great day!

1/16/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 32:13—34:31

I feel like God sent these guys out into the world and said, “Make good choices!” Their response was, “Challenge accepted,” but not in a good way. We have to remember that Moses is writing this to instruct the nation of Israel. This story is a carefully cultivated story by the Lord to teach them who He is. It is fun to look through the story and consider what God is teaching them.

Jacob wrestling God teaches them that there is no point to wrestling with God, He will win. Our pride will tell us, “Yeah, I can take him!” Also the fact that Jacob clung to God until he received His blessing is really beautiful. Jacob also gets a new name after he wrestles God. This brings tears to my eyes because I feel this in my bones. After I “wrestled” with God (years resisting admitting He is real) I know He has made me new (Sarah 2.0 maybe?)

The debacle at Shechem teaches them that they better deal with the people living in the Promised Land exactly the way God says to. Any contact with them would cause the Israelites to sin. Dinah goes to hang out with the woman of Shechem and gets raped by their kings son! What a godless group of people. And if that is not bad enough Jacobs sons jump in to avenge her and it goes from bad to really bad to everybody is dead. The message is “I am God, I know what I am doing, please do what I tell you to do because I created you and I love you and I know what is best.”

Matthew 11: 7-30

My nerdiness is totally going to spill out all over the place today. Right here in these verses Jesus makes the OT come alive for us Christians!!!!!!! Johns ministry (remember out in the woods, honey and locust, “Kingdom is coming!!) kickstarted what the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to!!! If you don’t like reading the OT or don’t get it, that’s because you have only understood the end of the story!! At the beginning you learn why we need Jesus, who Jesus will be, why Israel has so much to do with it, and the beautiful anticipation of waiting for Jesus to come. It jumps off the page! AAGGG!!!

These people in these towns that John and Jesus have preached in are missing what is right in front of their face because they are getting hung up in the presentation. And here is where Jesus lowers the boom. He says “Ya’ll have seen me do these miracles, and you should know that this is what you have been waiting for, but you are so hung up on your expectations of what a savior should do, you don’t believe me because I offended you because I ate with ‘sinners’. You will not be able to stand before God and say “you didn’t give us a sign,” because you saw these signs with your own eyes, and you will be held accountable in a way Sodom is not.” And this is the whole point isn’t it? We miss God because we are hung up on the way something should be done, or whatever.

But Jesus’ burden is light. You don’t have to be like the Pharisee’s and make yourself look right before you fall into His arms. He does not put expectations and traditions on us. It is simple and pure. In these verses He is telling them God told you I was going to come and here I am. Come to Me those who are weary, and I will give you rest. This was the verse Doug was teaching on the day I got saved so I guess we will call it my salvation verse. I was weary from wrestling God, I set my burden in His hand and He gave me rest.

Psalm 14: 1-7

This one stings a little. I can remember how smart I thought I was when I decided there was no God. I was learned and wise and I knew everything about everything. I was also in my 20’s. Gosh I wish I was actually as smart as I thought I was in my 20’s. Fools say there is no God.

Look how cool this last verse is because it ties our whole reading for the day together!! Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? JESUS!!! In our NT reading today Jesus says, “I’m the One you have been looking forward too!!! When the Lord restores His people Jacob will shout with joy and Israel will rejoice! We read about Jacob and the name change to Israel that starts a new nation chosen by God in the OT reading!! How cool is that!!!

Proverbs 3: 19-20

Remember from the Psalm, “Only fools say in their hearts, “there is no God.”” This is foolish because God founded the earth, created the heavens and by his knowledge the deep fountains burst forth. Challenging that is like Jacob looking at God and saying, “Yeah, I can take Him.” Low view of God=you lose. High view of God=you win.

1/15/19 One Year Bible Recap

I’m tired enough that I feel like it should be Friday, and it is only Tuesday. How is that for a beginning? We better jump into the Word because I am dangerously close to titling this “I should do the bible recap but I went back to bed and watched Netflix.”

Genesis 31:17—32:12

Deception is a repeated theme in our story today. Jacob steals away in the night (not really at night, I added that for effect), Rachel stole her fathers idols, Laban pretends he chased them down because he is a loving father and grandfather, and Rachel hides the idols and says she is on her period so her father won’t find them. Amongst, the deception we see God working out His promise to protect Jacob. Look at the chaos that is created by deception. Our need to hid what we are doing to get our way will result in chaos every time. You may not have a crazy uncle chasing you down in the desert but you will have drama. God is the God of order, when we use the tools He gives us freely, like wisdom, peace and order will be the result.

Rachel taking the idol strikes me as the same kind of “holding on to the past” move as Lot’s wife looking back at Sodom. I mean I don’t know why she took it really. It could be just to make her relatives mad. It could be because it really completed her middle eastern rustic tent-house vibe she was going for. But I can’t help but think she was like, “I’m just going to cover all the bases and make sure we appease all the gods.” We have to remember what God has already taught us, “In the beginning God created…” There are no other god’s, just the One God. He has taught us already through Cain and Able, Noah and Sarah and Abraham that you have the freedom to do things your way, but the only way to be Right with God is to do things His way. Remember, Moses is writing this to instruct the nation of Israel. Guess what Israel is really going to have a problem with?

Matthew 10:24—11:6

I don’t know about you but fear of rejection, pain, and death are the prime reasons I do not “shout from the housetops” about Jesus. I just love how he says, “Look they are going to do all these things to me and I am the boss, get ready for the same treatment.” I won’t say too much, but a certain dude that I am married to was shocked when he found out for the first time that suffering is included, can be counted on and should be expected in the Christian life. I too was shocked when I got saved and was then suddenly rejected by my friends. (To be fair I was a F. R. E. A. K. when I first got saved) I love the reminder that we are so valuable to God we don’t need to be afraid, no one can touch our soul but God.

And here we go, Jesus is going to start teaching us that His ways are different from our ways. My whole life I have just wanted peace. I wanted things to be sure, unchanging and normal. If I can testify to anything it will be that life with Jesus will NOT BE NORMAL. He tells us right here that He came on purpose to upset the apple cart so to speak. He says if you cling to your life (what you want, what you expected, what you ask for) you will lose it. BUT IF YOU GIVE IT UP YOU WILL GAIN LIFE (real life, eternal, abundant, thriving).

Psalm 13: 1-6

True story: When I journaled this morning I tried to write out my feelings as boldly as David does in the Psalms. I said, “How long will I be tired like this Lord, How long will you look the other way.” I was over come with laughter because I immediately thought of Jesus up in heaven, ya know, holding the world together, working out the plan to restore perfection and being the savior of everyone. I pictured me saying all this to Him and Him looking at me with a face like, “are you for real right now?” I am sorry for being a cry baby Lord. (PS. David was being pursed by actual real armies. He gets to cry out like that, and I will too if I am being chased by an army.)

Proverbs 3: 16-18

I don’t really know what else to say about wisdom except that it is in here so much and is being so thoroughly covered that we should bet on the fact that acting wisely is not our natural state of being. Lots of teaching on a topic is a sign that we need lots of instruction on it.

Have a great day.

1/14/19 One Year Bible Recap

The tiny dictator that lives here decided his mother did not need any sleep last night, and that Auntie Crazy needed to get up 4:30 (this was when the screaming was loud enough that I figured I better go see what was up). My only encouragement for Laycie as she headed out the door for work at 6:30 was, “You will be amazed at what you can do with no sleep!” Patient 0 is all better and lamenting the fact that she is 48 hours past her last episode in time to miss NO school.

Also, how come no one told me I started dating this thing 9/__/19? I went back and fixed that because it is not September it is January. I guess early in the morning I don’t really pay attention to dates?

Genesis 30: 1—31: 16

Anybody else encouraged by the characters in this story and there lack of, shall we say, desire to live in a godly way? I think people get so afraid to read the bible because they think they are going to be met with character after character who is perfect and does everything perfectly—that is not the case. Our Pastor always tells us when you are reading the OT you have to look for God and don’t focus on the sinful characters. The OT is there to teach us about who God is and what He is doing. In this story we encounter the same sinful “circumstance fixing” thinking. Rachel is fit to be tied that Leah is having babies. Leah just wants Jacob to respect the fact that she has giving him all these sons. Each woman throws her maid into the mess too! God is still working out His plan to make Jacob the father of His chosen nation (Israel) despite the women’s scheming sinful plans. This is a good reminder to me that God will work His plan no matter if I fall into sin or not. It does not trip Him up.

We see God make Jacob prosperous. And we see that He was faithful. He told Jacob in Bethel that He would be with him until He gave him everything He promised to give him. Well there God was, working to prosper Jacob. And now, since He has proven Himself faithful, and Jacob has put his faith in God, He says it’s time for Jacob to go home.

Matthew 10: 1-23

Jesus gives His apostles the authority to cast out demons and heal people. This was to authenticate their message as they traveled around. It was Jesus’ sign to people that these men were not false teachers but were His real deal apostles. Ok, I am sorry but I am going totally nerd out here for a second. He tells them not to go to the Gentile or the Samaritans (half Jews). Why? Well remember how in the OT we are following along with God’s promise that He is going to fix what got broken in the garden? As we continue to follow the promises we will find out that God is going to offer this Kingdom complete with The Savior to Israel, all they had to do was wait and watch for Him. All through the OT God is teaching Israel who this Savior is, how He will come, when He will come and what signs will authenticate Him. This explains why Jesus says don’t go to the Gentiles or Samaritans yet. God in His goodness is showing how faithful He is and we will watch Him offer the Kingdom complete with Savior to the nation of Israel, just like He promised He would do in the pages of the OT. GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!!!

Psalm 12: 1-8

I was impressed with the fact that this Psalm could totally have been written today?

Proverb 3: 13-15

I feel like God is really trying to get our attention and prove to us that wisdom is really what we should desire. This must be because He knows that we will be so tempted to be unwise, self serving, selfish and dumb.

Have a great day!

1/13/19 One Year Bible Recap

My mind is blown by the reading today! I know I say that every time, but it really is! God is so good and is always teaching us who He is, and how much He loves us. Lets jump in!

Genesis 28:1—29:35

Our key players in the story seem to be remembering what God has already told them in our little situation here with Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau. Isaac gives Jacob the right blessing and tells him to take off! God teaches Jacob on his journey about who He is and what He is going to do through Jacob. He shows him the stairway to heaven to cause him to be in awe, reaffirms the Abrahamic Covenant, and then also promises to be with him wherever he goes, and that He won’t leave until He gives him everything He promised to give. It is so great that He teaches him this because Jacob is about to reap what he sowed.

Did you ever know you were not supposed to do something like say….deceive people, but that lesson did not really sink in until you were deceived. I think that God had to tell Jacob He was always going to be with him because God was about to discipline some of this deceptiveness out of Jacob. I was really blown away when I read the Proverb for today! Coincidence? I don’t think so!

And then in God’s kindness, because Leah was part of Jacobs school of hard knocks, he blesses her with sons. I just love how He is always showing His character.

Matthew 9: 18-38

Jesus is continuing to show us who He really is. Today He shows us that He has the power over death (leaders daughter), sickness (bleeding woman), darkness (blind men), and demons (again). One of my favorite stories in the whole bible is that this woman who has been bleeding for twelve years reaches out in faith and Jesus heals her. Also she was ceremonial unclean so she could not go to the temple or participate in any jewish activities. Her uncleanness must have made her lonely, but when Jesus turns to see her He calls her daughter—instantly calling her clean and making her part of the family.

Psalm 11: 1-7

I don’t know about you but sometimes when I watch the news I feel like we are headed for another civil war. When I read this Psalm this morning it brought me so much peace. I am reminded that the US government is not God. The Lord is my protection. He is ruling from his temple in heaven and is watching everyone. The foundations of law and order have collapsed, but God cannot be shaken.

Proverbs 3: 11-12

My nemesis—discipline. Somewhere along the way discipline turned into rejection in my head. But here we are confronted with the fact that discipline is a good thing. We are being corrected because God loves us. The story of Jacob so perfectly displays that! He loves Jacob, tells him He will be with him always, but disciplines him to get him to grown into a mature man of God. The discipline is the same for us. My prayer is that when I am corrected I stop turning it into rejection. I told you before that my friend Laura always says that, “correction is not rejection!” This verse proves that!!

1/12/19 One Year Bible Recap

We are not doing great around here today. The most vicious stomach bug I have seen in awhile has entered our house. Patient 0 is Sydney. Bless her heart. She is so sick. I was supposed to go to a Dave Ramsey Conference today but as we all know with the stomach bug, I am in the grey area of time where I am waiting to see what the breadth and width of this thing is going to be and who is going down next…… Alas Dave, we are two ships crossing in the night.

Genesis 26: 17—27: 46

As I read this story today I am just so overwhelmed by this theme of God promising to give us something and instead of waiting for it to be placed in our hands, we reach up and grab it. This very American idea of “Just do it!” started all the way back in the OT. This is not a new concept for me either. Reaching for things that are not mine to have is an over arching theme in my life. Over stepping bounds is another favorite of mine. Let’s remember that God has already told Rebekah and Isaac that Jacob would be the one he carries out His promise to Abraham through. And then we see Abraham and Sarah’s mindset of “lets help God along with these promises,” repeated. Isaac is guilty of trying to bless Esau to get a good meal out of it. Rebekah employ’s deception to secure the blessing for Jacob. Jacob deceives his father several times. Esau begs his father for a second blessing. It is an example of what lack of faith looks like.

Matthew 9:1-17

I just love Jesus. The pharisee’s are shocked that He thinks He has the right to forgive sin because only God can forgive sin. He just so calmly says, “You don’t like that? Watch this! Get up and walk!” He is continuing to reveal his true identity to the people. He has now proven that He can forgive sin, another thing only God can do.

Jesus shocks the Pharisee’s even more when he calls a tax collector to be a disciple and eats with him. These are blatant actions by Jesus to go up against the teaching of the day. Desperate to get control the Pharisees say, “Why don’t you fast?” Jesus really socks it to them now by teaching them that the New has come and the old is out. You cannot mix old and new, that would be silly. You have to go with the New. Fasting is the old way of the Pharisee’s to prove their holiness, feasting with Jesus is the way to New life.

Psalm 10: 16-18

David ends the Psalm we started to read yesterday with reminder of God’s character.

Proverbs 3: 9-10

One of the many Proverbs about money. God knew money would make us nuts, so he tells us how to handle it. First He tells us here that you have to honor the Lord with your wealth. That means if you look at my budget you would see that I believe in the Lord. Second, the best part of everything goes to Him. Don’t miss that! Our sinfulness says, “After I pay all my bills, I will give to the Lord.” That does not fly with Him. Turn your budget upside down, as my good friend Dave Ramsey says. If you are in a position where you can’t give because your bills are more than you income—you are living beyond your means. Sorry, that was direct, but I have been there, it is no way to live. When you interact with money the way He says to you never feel like you need more.

1/11/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 24:52—26:16

The coolest thing about the OT is all the promises God makes can traced through the pages and stories. We see the fulfillment of specific things God says and this causes us to be in awe and TRUST him because He does what He does what He says He is going to do. He says that His promises to Abraham will be continued through Isaac, and we see that confirmed in this section. He says that Ismael is going to be a wild donkey man and that he will fight with all his relatives, and that is confirmed in this section. He says that Jacob will actually be recognized as first born and that is confirmed in this section. He is so faithful!

Jacob’s character is revealed to us in that he seems to have a flare for deception. He tricks his brother into giving him his birthright. (Something that God promised, but Jacob wanted to secure for himself without waiting on God) And then we have deja vu because here we go again with “She is my sister.” We are going on a journey with Jacob. God is going to prove to Jacob who He is, and Jacob is going to learn about what faith looks like.

Matthew 8: 18-34

Just like God is going to have to show Jacob who He really is, Jesus has to show the people who are following Him who He really is. I loved this section because He is methodically checking off all the attributes of God.

*Jesus tells us He is not of “this world.” His home is in heaven. (God is the creator of Earth)

*Jesus says that following Him into eternal life is more important than family obligations. (God is eternal)

*Jesus has the power to calm the wind and waves. (God is sovereign)

*Jesus has power of over demons and even the demons know He is the son of God. (God is more powerful than Satan)

His power scares the town and they ask Him to go away. This left me so sad this morning! I’m like “He just cast out demons for ya’ll, why are you sending Him away?” But I was reminded, how many times do I choose the ordinary because the extraordinary is scary? (A lot)

Psalm 10: 1-15

Did anyone else know we could pray for vengeance on our enemies? I’m thinking this is not what Jesus meant when He says, “Pray for your enemies!” But I could be wrong. I think the point is that David knows the Lord has to intervene to deal with these enemies he is trying to fight.

Proverbs 3: 7-8

There is no more life sucking force than pride (being impressed with yourself). Ask me how I know!!

Have a great day!

1/10/19 One year Bible Recap

Good morning! Let’s get straight to it!

Genesis 23:1—24:51

Death is a major theme in the book of Genesis. We not only see how people morn for Sarah, but we also see Abraham’s acknowledgement that the land of Canaan is now his homeland. The purchase of the cave is important because people only buried their relatives in their homeland. Abraham is cool burying Sarah among the Hitties but is totally not cool with Isaac marrying one. Why is that?

Well I think this is the start of Lord teaching the Israelites (remember that is who Moses is writing this to) that you are who you marry, and not in a good way. The hope that so many people have of “If we get married he will become a better person,” is a lie. You will always get pulled down by someone who does not have the same values as you have. You have to both believe in God, and both be reaching up to Him to grow in your knowledge of Him and become wise. Abraham knows that if Isaac marries a Hittite who does not believe in God, the likelihood of Isaac turning from the Lord is high. (Laycie, Sydney, Brock—I’m looking at you!!! Make good choices!!)

God then shows us what it looks like when he “goes before us.” I hope you have had that experience where things work out in way that leaves you say, “God was here first.”

Matthew 8: 1-17

Leprosy had only been healed one other time in the bible. That was in the OT with Miriam. (She was punished with it, and God healed her when her punishment was over.) Jesus is about to start teaching us who he really is. Healing leprosy is a hallmark of God. (Spoiler alert: Jesus is God!)

The Roman officer clearly sees that Jesus has some sort of authority. I’m not really even sure he understood who Jesus was or what He was doing, but he knew that this Man had the authority to heal people. It is a beautiful example of faith. And Jesus sticks it to Pharisees one more time by saying that the very people he came to present the Kingdom of God to, don’t have faith like this Roman officer.

The first time I read this next section I was like, “Oh Jesus was hungry and needed a women to make him food. So he heals this poor lady and makes here get up and make dinner.” Thank you Lord that you forgive my awful thoughts about you because that thinking does not line up with Jesus’ character. Believe it or not God is NOT misogynistic or chauvinistic. What He is doing here is showing His power to heal. This woman has a fever and He simply touches her had and heals her. But instead of leaving her there to recover and rebuild her strength on her own after her illness He restores her strength to the point that she can get up and make food. That is power to heal!!!

Next He shows that he has the power to cast out demon and evil spirts. These are all signs for the Pharisee’s that something new is going on here. He is making it really clear that He has the power to cleanse, heal, and restore. (All the praise hands)

Psalm 9: 13-20

Reading the Psalms is like learning the language of how to talk about and to God. I love to see how David reminds himself of who God is and what He has done for David.

Proverbs 3: 1-6

What a contrast this Proverb is to what is going on on Social Media now days. Kindness and loyalty are what believers in God are called to. Does your social media reflect kindness and loyalty? Also do not depend on your own understanding, trust the Lord instead! This reminds me to stop trying to fix things, change things and solve things with my own understanding. He gives us these principles to put in place so that we can take the right path.

1/9/19 One Year Bible Recap

Man, it was hard to get this out today. It is stating to cost me something to keep this up. But you know what? It is so worth it because putting the time in the word has made my relationship with God become fresh and exciting again. I am thinking, talking and enjoying time with Him and it fills me up.

Genesis 20:1—22:24

“She is my sister…” This is how Abraham copes with stressful situations—He tells people his wife is sister. Then he gets called out on it and minimizes the lie by saying, “Well we do have the same dad, so technically it was not a lie……” But we know God was not ok with this because people had to be healed, retribution had to be made and in the end Abraham’s character is sullied. Later in the text Abimelech makes Abraham promise to not be deceptive. This is not a quality the should characterize people of God.

Wild donkey man Ishmael has come into his own. God knows its time to turn this wild donkey loose to fulfil the life God told Hagar he was going to have. The scene in Chapter 16 is repeated but with a few important differences. When Sarah tells Abraham, “I won’t have it!” Abraham consults God instead of just listening to her. Hagar is sent away with food and water instead of acting on her emotion and running away. We see God in his kindness is protecting Isaac, and caring for Ishmael in the desert! (this summation brought to you by my friend Ashley who texted me this morning to say “Is anyone else seeing in Genesis all the ways that God is kind and gentle?” Which helped me see the point to this passage and not get lost in the details.)

God, who is always teaching us, starts to instruct us on faith in Him, obedience and that He will provide the Lamb (spoiler alert! It’s Jesus!). Remember too that Moses is writing this to the Israelites who were surrounded by cultures that thought that you to appease the God’s you had to sacrifice your kids. He is showing them that, yes blood is required but it has to be the way God teaches us. Atonement can only be made God’s way.

Matthew 7:15—29

If someone writes a blog about God and tells you all the things He is teaching her and doing in her life, but you meet that person in real life and see that her life does not line up with the word of God(she finds joy in immorality, greed, deception, lies, and general debauchery), she would be a false teacher. Nothing strikes more fear in my heart or a greater desire to grow in the Lord so that my life reflects my relationship with Him. He warns us that many will say they knew him but He will know the people who actually listen to His teaching. We are looking for good trees that produce good fruit.

Psalm 9:1-12

When I go through affliction I pray my response is like the Psalmist’s. He will tell everyone what God did. In a way this encourages me to keep writing because I feel like that is exactly what I am writing about, the things that God has done. Maybe this Psalm should be the mission statement of the blog???

Proverbs 2: 16-22

As women, we have to square with the fact that our promiscuity can take men down. A relationship started in seduction leads to the grave(death). We have to stop objectifying ourselves, and give men more credit than being flesh craving neanderthals. Guys that you lure in with your physicality are low lying fruit. You want to reach higher for a guy who is pursing your heart and mind not your ____. (I physically could not finish that sentence but you know what I mean)

Have a great day!

1/8/19 One Year Bible Recap

First day back to school. Good and bad. Glad the mess makers are not going to be here all day making messes, sad because I miss those jokers when they are not here. Did not have time to linger in His word like I have been for the last week of break, but here we go anyway.

GENESIS 18:16—19:38

In the story of Abraham pleading with God for the righteous of Sodom I am left with the idea that God is merciful and loving, but God is not going to put up with sin. It’s not something He sweeps under the rug. It must be dealt with. He says he will save there city if there are any righteous. He goes in and drags Lot and his family out! He wiped out Sodom to prevent the spread of their sinful lifestyle. Another mercy, to the people who were trying to live uprightly. You can totally tell that Lot and his family are believers in the Lord (because Lot recognizes the angels and cares for them) but have also been tainted by the lifestyle in Sodom(tries to give the Sodomites his virgin daughters). It makes me think of what we read in Matthew yesterday, that you cannot serve two masters. It is either God or the world, you cannot have both.

You can take the daughters out of Sodom but you can’t take the Sodom out of the girls. They act in a way that shows us how far from God they are. The product of their actions results in the birth of the two nations that will cause Israel the most trouble. Don’t forget, Moses is writing this to teach the Israelites about God. So exposing how these nations came into existence would solidify in the Israelites mind how ungodly they are. Hopefully serving as a warning to stay away from them.

MATTHEW 6:25—7:14

Worry—the life sucker. And no it cannot add a single moment to my life. Worry is my signal that I am NOT believing that God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown in to the fires tomorrow, he will certainly care fo you. Once again Jesus is correcting the teaching of the Pharisee’s here. They would require people to plead cases before them and they would judge their “holiness.” Jesus is saying worry about your own holiness, before you worry about someone else’s holiness. I love how this is telling us to ask God for what we need and he delights, as a father would, in giving it to us.

And hey there, look! The Golden rule is in the bible!! I knew it was in there somewhere.

That last verse is a warning that the way to heaven is the road less traveled, so to speak. You can’t serve two masters keeps coming into my head. God is telling us that to get to Him we will not be on the wide road everyone else is on.

PSALM 8: 1-9

I love these Psalms that reminds us of God’s majesty, strength, wisdom, and glory. I have to remember this about Him for the world to make sense.

PROVERBS 2: 6-15

Need to know what is right, just and fair? Need to know the way to go? It all comes for wisdom given to us by the Lord. It is our protection and joy!

1/7/19 One Year Bible Recap

Well party people, we have made it a week! Keep going!! If you are behind, don’t sweat it! Just catch up, skip ahead, or plow through your bible. Do what ever it takes to stay in God’s word. Don’t give up! You can do this and the time you put in will ALWAYS BE FOR YOUR GOOD!

GENESIS 16:1—18:15

Ishmael, the wild donkey man product of Sarai and Abram’s wavering trust in God. A good reminder to us that if we think God has forgotten us or is waiting for us to come up with a solution, HE IS NOT!!!! In an olympic level blame game Sarai comes up with this plan and then when it goes bad because Hagar gets chippy, she blames Abram. Abram is just trying to keep the peace so he goes along with it and tells her to do what she wants. Now, for sure, I am not going to tell Abram how to be a husband, but Adam stood by and let Eve do what she wanted and that ended in the fall of all mankind. Also, sisters, if our plan goes wrong, we can’t blame shift. Own it. It is the most bitter pill I ever have to swallow but it makes me learn to listen more instead of plan. Later in the passage Sarai (now Sarah) laughs at God’s plan. He calls her out and she deny’s laughing. Isn’t it crazy that her plan goes wrong and yet she can laugh at God’s plan? I am so glad I am never that self-deceived. (Except that I totally am!)

Now we are getting some guide lines surrounding this Covenant between God and Abram. These are important because knowing what the rules are for the time period helps us interpret the bible correctly. You are watching for a promise from God, responsibilities for man, and a sign to mark that a covenant was made. Here God says He is going to make Abram the father of a multitude of nations, and giving Abram’s descendants’ the land of Canaan (The Promised Land). This is such a big deal that God changes Abrams name to really show people that something different is going on here. The sign for this covenant is circumcision. This sign is so full of purpose and imagery. I am not up to laying it all out for you. Google it. WAIT, DON’T GOOGLE IT. Look it up in a bible commentary book.

MATTHEW 6:1-24

I’m going to go more personal with this section. I have to confess that I am like these Pharisees (hypocrites) that Jesus is talking about. I like to have people see me doing charitable things. I like to look super spiritual. I like to be known as a super Christian. But God, in his kindness to me, rescued me from this puffed up thinking. Doing things for the approval of man leads to having that eye that fills the whole body with darkness. God is teaching me what I like to call, Middlemarch. It is doing things with no hope of anyone but me and God knowing. Whats more, it’s believing God’s approval is worth more than any person’s approval. God is right, you cannot serve two masters.

PSALM 7: 1-17

These Psalms help me get out of my head knowledge and get in touch with my heart level desires. I love how David reminds us that God is our shield and an honest judge.

PROVERBS 2:15

Wisdom will not fall into your lap. You know what falls into your lap? Complacency. There are verbs in this proverb. Do-ers of the world unite! Tune, concentrate, cry, ask, search, and seek WISDOM! You will find her, don’t forget she is out in the open to find.

1/6/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 13:5—15:21

We start with a sneak peak into Abram’s character and Lot’s character. Abram is giving, and Lot is a taker. Abram is inclined to let Lot take the better land. War breaks out and Lot is taken. So Abram goes after him, and rescues him. On his way home he meets Melchizedek. Now this, (guy, king, theophany) whatever he really is, instantly has Abram’s respect. Abram accepts food and blessings from him. Abram discerns that this guy is good and is someone he wants to take stuff from. He also is compelled to give Melchizedek one tenth of his loot. However mister king sodom shows up and Abram discerns that he wants absolutely nothing to do with him.

The next part might be my favorite of the OT. “Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.’” And all the people who believe that you have to earn your way into a relationship with God, TOOK A COLLECTIVE SIGH OF RELIEF!!! Abram believed God’s words and God gave him His righteousness. You can’t earn it, you just have to believe HIM.

The next section reveals the ratification of the Abrahamic Covenant. We see the God is promising to give Abram’s descendants the promised land, by way of bondage in Egypt. And then the Lord walks through the split carcasses signifying that this promise made by Him is based on his character and therefore will happen.

Matthew 5:27-48

Ready for self mutilation? Just kidding, that is not what this passage is prescribing. Jesus is again going up against the teaching of the day. The Pharisee’s insisted that the outward had to look right, and the inside did not matter. Jesus is teaching us that if your heart/mind is lusting then you have already lost the battle. I can say amen to this 100 times over. If an idea or feeling is born in my mind or heart, say for example some disrespectful thought about Jesse, if I allow it to go on and on in my heart, then boom! it will eventually come out of my mouth or in my actions. Jesus is challenging us here to be sure our thought life matches what we are doing on the outside.

He is also challenging the Pharisee’s inclination to make vow’s to put power behind their words. They had to do this, I think, because no one believed anything they said. They told you to act one way but they themselves did not adhere. So to make sure people knew they were serious they would make these vows. I find I do this too. If I think someone is not taking me seriously or I am not getting my point across I will say “by Jerusalem!” Just kidding, I don’t say that. But I do, shall we say, “over dramatize?” Jesus is just saying, let your yes, be a yes and no, be a no and just do what you say you are going to do.

Finally he is asking us to turn away from our affinity for “Imma get mine,” “Imma get you back for that,” and “I love my tribe and hate my enemies.” This is a big ask because he is saying instead of just doing the right thing, go above and beyond. I think about what we just read with Abram and Lot. The land was Abram’s, God gave it to him. Abram was mature enough and secure enough to give Lot the better land. And I think that is the point. As we get to know Jesus, we can be secure in His promises. We don’t have to grab for stuff because we don’t have to worry about being let down. Also, for anyone else who panics when they see Jesus ask us to be “perfect,” that word in the original language is more like mature. Whew!

Psalm 6:1-10

A penitential psalm. Another word that makes you sound real smart unless you say it wrong. King David pours his heart out to the Lord. He asks for God’s mercy and help. He knows God’s character and asks Him to act based on that character. He tells him how he feels. He ends with reminding himself of the assurances of God. I think this is a huge reason to study God’s word. So when you feel like David you can remind yourself who God really is.

Proverbs 1:29-33

Jeez! We are hitting this correction thing hard. Every time I read it I have to remind myself that correction is for my own good. Correction is not failure, its redirection. God says here that simpletons turn away from Wisdom and turn to death. Fools are destroyed by there own complacency. Complacency is something I really can’t stand. Pretending things are fine when you are headed toward death. Maybe this gets me so riled up because I lived it for some many years. Just acting like everything was fine when I was dead on the inside. God had to come in and shake me up! Complacency is the one thing that gets me turning tables over. God has promised you a life that is beyond anything you can imagine. Don’t sit complacent!!! Want more for yourself than death!! Believe God and the let Him do what only He can do!!! That is a lot of exclamation marks for Sunday morning.

I gotta get to church, have great day!😘

1/5/19 One Year Bible Recap

Genesis 11:1—13:4

The tower of Babel is responsible for me having to take 4 foreign languages in school. So thanks for the “Alouette” french song that still gets stuck in my head. Also, where was my counselor that should have said, “Hey you live in Texas, Spanish might be a better option then french?” Anyway my take away from the Tower of Babel story is that God shows us mercy when He tells us to do something and we run 100 mph in the wrong direction. If He did not intervene these people would have had a really tall tower, but no relationship with God. He steps in to shake things up (see what I did there) and causes people to rely on Him.

We are introduced to Abram in the next story. This story will leave us feeling like we are having deja vu when we get to Moses and the plagues, but also I see a relationship developing here. God tells Abram to leave his country, and also tells him who He is and what He is going to do for Abram. Abram does what God says based on His promises….BOOM! Here is an example of faith. Abram is obedient to God, the obedience leads to God proving Himself trustworthy to Abram, which causes Abram to worship. However, their comes a point where Abram’s trust waivers, and he does not put his faith in God, he relies on his own plan. God, just like He did at Babel, shakes things up to get Abram to trust Him again. All of that causes Abram to worship again! This faith test in this story feels like it is repeated a million times in my life. (I mean not the specific details because I don’t interact with Pharaoh on a daily basis and I’m not trying to pawn Jesse off as my brother.)

Matthew 5: 1-26

The beatitudes. Super hard to say, but makes you sound super smart, unless you say it wrong then you look dumb. Jesus is starting to teach us what your life looks like when you have a right relationship with God. Jesus is teaching this amidst a culture of Pharisaical thinking. The Pharisees thought that as long as they did all The Law on the outside, they were right with God and superior to everyone else. He affirms that He is not something different from The Law of the OT, but He is in fact what The Law and the prophets have all been pointing to. Then He hits the Pharisees hard and tells them that relationships are more important than any religious act. This informs me that if I am sitting here writing this blog post about God, but I am a total “B” to Jesse, I better close the laptop and go make things right with him. That is more important to God than any “offering.”

Psalm 5: 1-12

I get hung up sometimes on thinking life with God is like a yellow brick road. If I step off the road I am lost and outside of His plan for me. Today I read “Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow,” and the first thing that pops in my head is that yellow brick road. But then I remember reading about Abram entering into a relationship with God and Jesus teaching the people how to live in a right relationship with God and it hits me—He IS leading me to the right path and making it plain for me to follow. The right path is being obedient to him and making it plain is His word. AARRRGGGG! Its all right there! It is not some yellow brick road I have to divine how to follow. He spells it out for me plain as day! I just have to be obedient to Him and read His word. PTL!!! ALL THE PRAISE HANDS!!!!

Proverbs 1: 24-28

That word “correction” makes me cringe. I hate correction. My friend Laura always tells me that ”correction is not rejection.” But man does it feel that way in the moment. Probably because I run so hard to avoid correction that it bursts my ego when someone says I did something wrong. People can say 100 nice things to me and one person will say something corrective and I am a puddle on the floor. (Enneagram 3, for those of you wondering) But in here Wisdom reminds us that correction is necessary to become wise. So it is worth trying to be ok with correction.

Have a great day. 😘

1/4/19 One Year Bible Recap

GENESIS 8:1—10:32

As they disembark for the ark Noah’s first response is to build and alter and offer a sacrifice. I’m hoping for Noah’s sake that there was some sort of supernatural cleaning and behavior modification that went on with all those animals on that boat. I really can’t imaging the stink and mess that was possible. If there was not some supernatural intervention here I can totally see how thankful I would be to get off and yes, the first thing I would do would be to kill one of those animals. I mean I almost had an animal sacrifice here at the house yesterday and that was just over Chip Gaines, the Corgi, chewing up my house shoe! I think the biblical point here is that Noah’s response to what God had done for them was to worship. Noah was moved to praise the Lord, and that is really beautiful.

God then makes a covenant with Noah. We have to start watching for covenants as we read on because these are the set of rules for the time period we are reading about. If we don’t know our mode of operandi for the time period we can misinterpret what God is telling us. God asks Noah to live by:

1. Be fruitful and multiply, and be in charge of all the animals.

2. Set up human government.

Human government is important because its job is to keep wickedness in check. God is the God of order. He does not want it to be like “The Purge” up in here.

And now an awkward moment because of alcohol. (Man that could be the title of a memoir about someones college years, not mine of course because I sat around reading my bible in college) In the culture of the time people were really sensitive about their nakedness. Ham seeing his father naked and then talking about it was almost like he was trying to usurp his fathers authority over them. In the context of their culture we see why it is such a big deal. But also, our antagonist for most of the OT is born…Canaan.

MATTHEW 4:12-25

After John’s arrest, Jesus starts His ministry. He has to leave the area because of persecution ( I know that because the same story in Luke tells us so), and Him leaving the area fulfills another prophecy from the OT. Peter, Andrew, James and John are all called by Jesus to become fishers of men. It tells us that they just immediately followed. Oh man, how I pray for that boldness for myself. To just follow Him no matter what, no matter where he goes. What was it like to not get hung up in the details of business, livelihood, father and possessions and just purely follow Him because your heart knows He is the One. Then you get to travel with Him and witness the fact that He “healed them all.” Amazing!

PSALM 4:1-8

Yikes, this Psalm makes me a little nervous. Can you say to God, “Answer me when I call you!” You can hear the desperation in the Psalmist’s voice. (That’s right I just typed out Psalmist like I’m a bible scholar or something! I’m cracking up!) And maybe that is the point. These Psalms teach us to pour our most desperate desires out to the Lord. After all, He is the only one who can do anything about it.

PROVERBS 1:20-23

I love how wisdom is in a public place, out in the open for everyone to see. The proverb before this one is all happening in secret. I feel this so often in my life. If I am doing something I feel like I have to hide from people it is probably not wise, it might even be evil.

Have a great day! 😘

PS: I’m getting really close to making this a blurb and not an essay. I get nervous though that as I try to be concise I may not be clear. If you have any questions or want to “at me” about something please email me at Sarah@thesarahgriffithblog.com

1/3/19 One Year Bible Recap

GENESIS 5:1—7:24

The passage today starts out with the genealogy of Seth to Noah. This is important because God is starting to teach us about the whole sin=death thing. I can’t take credit for noticing this. I picked up my Bible Knowledge Commentary to consult it about the upcoming passage about giants and saw this. I am blow away. God teaches us that no matter what these people in the genealogy did during their life, in the end they died. “He died” is repeated 8 times in this chapter. Everyone dies., except for Enoch. He had a close fellowship with the Lord so the Lord spared him from death and just took him. In Chapter 5 of the bible God is already teaching us how to get life. I am amazed.

Next we see that the human race has become corrupt. The BKC says that “sons of God” refers to lusty men who wanted sex and power. Sons of God, took as many women as they wanted. The result of these unions where giants, heroes and warriors of the time. They were probably under the control of Satan. In any case, the Lord says, “My Spirit will not put up with them for such a long time, they are only mortal flesh.” This is to clear up any confusion about if these ancients were divine or gods themselves. Humans would make the mistake of assuming anyone with giant qualities, power or a long life span was divine. He is making it clear that these humans are just that, human. Other than their ability to sin, there is not much special about them right now. We have also discovered the quote of the day: “My Spirit will not put with you,” will be used around this house today for sure when I get tired of hearing the one sided Fortnite conversations/yelling.

Then the story of Noah and the flood. Because I really am trying to keep this short I just want to say that I am blown away again because just like with Enoch God is teaching us about how to receive life. He is differentiating between “right with God” and “not right with God.” Noah walked in close fellowship with God, he was spared from the flood. The people of earth were characterized by wickedness and violence and they were not spared.

MATTHEW 3:7—4:11

Our introduction to the Pharisee’s and Sadducees. These were religious groups that put faith in their ability to be righteous from following the rules or because of their lineage. They will make appearances all through the gospels. John declares that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and then The King shows up to get baptized. He did not request baptism because he had any sin to repent for, He did it to teach us who He is. When He comes up out of the water He gets an amazing display of approval from Heaven. How amazing that must have been. Then we move on to the time Jesus spent in the desert. Satan tempts Jesus to prove who He really is. He say’s “You are so hungry! IF you are the son of God, make food for yourself!” He say’s “IF you are the son of God, jump off this temple and really make these people ooo and ahh over the fact that angles will catch you.” He say’s “You are the Son of God right? So don’t you want all the world to be yours? I will give it all to you right now, you can skip the crucifixion, if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus says no to each temptation by quoting scripture back at Satan. (A good reason to know the Word of God, he is teaching us that combating Satan requires knowing the word of God.) He does not grab for power, He remains obedient to God. And another thing, Satan will ALWAYS ask you to prove yourself, Jesus ALWAYS says you are already approved.

PSALM 3: 1-8

My take away from this Psalm is the focus on God’s character. You are a shield, You are my glory, You answer my prayers, You are watching over me, You are my rescue, and You are my victory. I love you Lord, thank you for being all those things for me.

PROVERBS 1: 10-19

What a great picture of “you are who you hang out with.” This should be stenciled on every high schoolers mirror. Gosh, it is so fun to run with the wrong crowd until you find out you are trapped. Can I get an amen? Also, I have been the person greedy for money. I never had enough and everything I did was about getting more. It took God taking away all of our money to teach me to be thankful for what is in my bank account and to not want more. When life becomes about making more money, you end up having no life.

Have a great day! 😘

PS: Some of you may be like me and not understand where Satan came from. Up to this point in the OT we only know that God had created him. Satan was the most beautiful and brilliant of all the angels. He got puffed up and decided that he wanted to be God. His punishment for his pride was that he was cast down to earth with about 1/3 of the angels who followed him. He was given power over the earth, so that is why we see people in the OT and NT being under his, or his demons control. God will teach us all of that as we go on, but if you were wondering, there you go.

1/2/19 One Year Bible Recap

Good Morning! After re-reading what I wrote yesterday I see that my problem is going to be making this blurb not an essay. So to get right to it…

Genesis 3: 1—4:26

Every good story has to have an antagonist. We are being introduced to ours here, meet Satan. We are about to have our major conflict for the story. (FYI: The bible is one large story called a meta-narrative, I did not know that until a few years ago.) (In the one year bible we are reading the beginning, the middle and the end all at the same time, I’ll do my best to clarify as we go) Satan comes in and causes Eve to question God’s word, he casts doubt on Gods word, and then he substitutes his truth for Gods. Guess what? He does that very same thing to us today. Because she believed Satan, Eve takes the fruit, eats it, gives it to Adam, he eats it and suddenly they know they are naked and they feel ashamed of themselves, something they had never felt before. Then the most epic blame game of all time is played, and in the end we all lose because what we are left with, no matter who wins the blame game is sin that causes death. (Separation from God) In the next verses we have the major theme developed for the rest of the story: Man has incurred sin debt, God will fix it. His first promise to fix this problem we have is in 3:15—He will strike your head and you will strike His heel. He is referring to what Jesus will eventually do to Satan. Spoiler alert—Jesus wins. The next verses show us that another theme is developing, humans coming to God they way they want to. (religion) Adam and Eve fix themselves by covering themselves with fig leaves. That is not the right covering so God kills an animal (Sin=Death) and makes them clothes. Cain brings God what he thinks is a good offering, God deny’s him and accepts Able’s because he brought a death sacrifice. (Sin=Death) God taught them that sin atonement requires something to die. You can only be right with God, God’s way, you don’t get to make up your own way. Don’t like that? Take it up with God, He’ll convince you He is God and knows what He is doing. Moving on, although you could write thousands of books about the passages we just read.

Matthew 2:13—3:6

Matthew is writing this gospel to the Jews of the time. He is trying to encourage them (because they just crucified the Messiah) and prove to them that Jesus is the Messiah that was promised all those years ago, all the way back to Genesis 3:15, as it were. He is relating the historical events and pointing the Jews back to what had been prophesied. This is why it is so important to look at the Old and New Testament as one congruent story! So in the passages for today he shows three prophecies have come true. The killing of the children, the fact that Jesus was a Nazarene, and John the baptist. PS: John the baptist might be my favorite bible character. Locust, Honey, burlap, and yelling in the wilderness? Yaaassss, Queen.

Psalm 2: 1-12

Reading the first line really made me think. Why ARE the nations so angry? Oh yeah, right because everyone is trying to get out of the “slavery” that God puts on us. Except that is another lie by Satan because God is not slavery, God is freedom. Satan is the slave driver. That’s right Satan, you can “at me all day” (as the young people say) YOU ARE A SLAVE DRIVER!!!! I love here how it tells us that God is in heaven scoffing at the silliness going on all around us. People saying there is no God, that we believers are all just a bunch of jokes. He is cool and collected just working His plan. He warns us though…..Now then you kings, act wisely! He warns us to submit to Him or we will suffer his wrath. But look at this cool thing! See how it says “act wisely? Well keep reading….

Proverbs 1: 7-9

In the Psalm just before this I read “act wisely!” Well what does wise mean? How do I know if I am being wise? Check out the first line of this Proverb! “Fear (being reverent and worshipful) of the Lord is the foundation (beginning, principle and choice part) of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. I think we can all agree that the precursor to wisdom is knowledge. But hold on!! (nerd alert!) This same phrase is repeated in Psalm 111:10, except knowledge is replaced with Wisdom (capital W refers to wisdom that comes to us from the Lord!!!!) So worshiping God reverently is the beginning of wisdom. You cannot have Wisdom without acknowledging that God is God. So to act wisely, as the Psalm from the reading today asks us to do, we have to acknowledge God is God! The warning for me is that if I am listening to or doing things like someone who does not acknowledge God as God, I’m acting like a fool who despises wisdom and discipline.

Go be wise today!

😘

1/1/19 One Year Bible Recap

Happy New Year! Brock actually wanted to stay up to see the ball drop last night. I have never been so excited that New York was an hour ahead of us. I hope your New Year is filled with things that cause you to get to know the Lord more. I know that is not the traditional well wishes, but it is what I want for us all. So here we go into the word of God. Nothing causes life change more than this book.

I am reading the One Year Bible NLT. Published by Tyndale. It looks like this:

I have been debating for the last hour if I should include the scripture in this post. I have decided not to because I am really hoping you will go get your own bible, and I don’t want Tyndale to throw me in Copyright prison. So I am just going to give you the verse reference and we will go from there. You can google it if you don’t have a bible.

GENESIS 1:1—2:25

The book of Genesis, the beginning. Moses recorded the account of the creation of the world as relayed to him by God. God let us in on the secret because he has mercy and wanted us to know that He made it all. The account of the 6 days strikes me because I see God created it all with order and wisdom. It was not a chaotic scene, it was planned with precision. I remember reading this for the first time and wondering why He left out evolution. In the first pages of the bible God is already starting to challenge my thinking. Being raised in the secular school system I was taught that evolution was fact and not a theory. It was thought up by people who wanted to account for the creation of the world but keep God out of it. It was not until my first semester of bible school (sitting in Biblical Foundations) that my professor challenged my thinking. I believed God’s account and I believed in evolution. I figured there was some way they all lined up together. Our professor said, “This is how God said the world was created, you can believe Him or you can not believe Him.” My choice was to believe Him, because He is God.

Right after His account of creation we start to learn about who this God is that created everything. We see that he created man AND made a place for him to live. A place that was beautiful and abundant and lovely, and most importantly perfect. Up to this point everything God created was perfect. What I love about all this is God created man and did not drop him into a version of some horrible fend for yourself kind of world. He made a place, He was concerned for Adam and his wellbeing. This is a God who wants to know us.

And my last comment about this section, because I am trying to keep this short, is the word helper. Do any other ladies read that in this section and feel a prickling of their hackles? Adam needed a helper that was “just right for him?” I think being raised in the “I am woman hear me roar 1990’s” may have left a mark on me. God had to do a lot of convincing in my mind for me to be able to swallow “helper.” Here is where it started. I read this book called “By This Name” by John Cross. He pointed out that God took a rib from Adam’s side, not a bone out of his foot. This should signify that we stand side by side, not that we are helpers that are under Adam’s heal. Also, it says that they were naked and they felt no shame. What must that feel like? To stand in front of a mirror and not see fault and feel guilt and shame? It must be glorious, and the fact that I don’t feel that proves to me that something has gone wrong since Adam and Eve were in the garden.

MATTHEW 1:1—2:12

The “begats.” I’m going to be honest, I don’t really spend a lot of time worrying about who begat who. I know its important because God put it in the bible but I don’t feel the need to prove all the generations. If you do, bless you and use the begats in good health. I love how the timing of this works out. We just got through Christmas and here we are again reading through the story. We are learning of this Messiah who is being born and that it is big deal. This weekend at Church Issac Fox taught something so cool that I am still ruminating on it. He taught that everyone always focuses on Mary, the wise men and of course baby Jesus, but what about Joseph. The fact that he was obedient, did not cop out when the going got tough, and raised a baby that was not his is an example of simple obedience to what God asks us to do is really the most important things in our life.

PSALM 1:1-6

People who meditate on the Lord’s word day and night are like trees planted along a river bank. Well, that is the best encouragement for me to stay in God’s word.

PROVERBS 1: 1-6

The Proverbs were written to teach us about wisdom and discipline. They were also written to teach how to live disciplined, successful lives. Think of them as the play book for living on this earth.

Have a great day!

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