Saturday, October 30, 2010
i want to share with you links to some blog posts i have read lately that i have really enjoyed so you can take a look and enjoy them as well. here is a sneak peak of the kind of stuff i read throughout my week. enjoy! be welcome to share a link to a post you have read this week that you like as well in the comment section and i will check it out!
the love with which we perform - (in)courage
seasons in parenting: the newborn baby months - simple mom
big girl shoes - jones design company
chicken cacciatore - the pioneer woman
Friday, October 29, 2010
"God is not a man, that He should lie,
nor a son of man, that He should repent;
has He said, and will He not do it?
or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
for a while it has been on my heart to blog on this verse. i may struggle to adequately put into words what is swirling around inside, so i welcome your feedback, thoughts and questions in the comment section below.
the back story
balak, the king of moab, hired balaam the diviner to curse the hebrews. when balaam went to curse them, he could not. all he could do was speak blessings over them because the Lord had spoken to him and commanded him to bless His people. so, in context, this verse is actually about God's faithfulness to His chosen people israel. this faithfulness to a people who have repeatedly been unfaithful to Him and eventually rejected God when He came in the frame of a man in the person of Jesus is a remarkable story. the sheer fact that we as gentile (just meaning non-jewish decent) believers get to be a part of the whole story of redemption of mankind is amazing, and yet does not change God's plan for israel. we as the church by no means replace them in the promises laid out for them in the Bible. God will do all He has promised to do and they will love Him and choose Him and accept His Son before all is said and done.
what does this have to do with me?
though the verse is directly talking about God's faithfulness to israel, this is not exactly what i want to focus on at the moment. i did need to put this verse in proper context lest we misunderstand why balaam said this amazing statement about God. if we lose sight of His faithfulness towards israel, even through their great unfaithfulness to Him, we cannot stand confident in His faithfulness towards us. if He cannot bring about His purposes and promises towards them, then how can we be confident that He will do the same in our lives?
if in any way God had to replace israel with the church, then we don't serve a God able to complete the good work that He has started in any of us.
all of that being said, i have been meditating on the implications of this verse and the great faithfulness of God.
a case of flakiness or lies?
we all have people in our lives that have backed out of their commitments to us, have forgotten and no-showed, or promise the moon and never deliver, that we don't really value their commitments very much at all. i am also sure we have all been that person in someone else's life. it is so common to our human condition to not follow through with our word that Jesus addressed it in the sermon on the mount to His disciples saying that they shouldn't swear by important things that they were going to follow through on something, but
simply let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no,' 'no'failing to follow through on our commitments is not the exception but rather the norm.
it only takes one or two times of being disappointed to start protecting our hearts by devaluing what is promised to us. in my own life i see it affect my kids the most. i have stopped telling my kids about something exciting that is going to happen until sometimes just moments before it is actually happening because i have tired of seeing their little hearts crushed when their expectation isn't fulfilled. since they haven't yet become cynical of people, i have tried to put a protection around them to keep their hearts innocent as long as possible. for me, i know there are certain people that i highly doubt the things they promise to do because of their track records. it could even be the repeated pattern of not showing up to an appointment on time (which i have been terribly guilty of myself since having kids - still not really a valid excuse). i begin to arrange my schedule according to when they will probably actually show up, so i am not sitting waiting for someone who is always late.
it isn't always a matter of the failure to follow through being a straight up lie about what we desire to do because i think most of us really want to follow through with our great ideas for life and what we tell others we will do for them. more often i think we are simply weak people, unable to do the grandiose things we would like to be able to do. for me, a grandiose plan may be showing up everywhere on time when i pack my schedule too full and fail to accommodate my children. it doesn't mean it is impossible for me to get somewhere on time, it just means if i am really going to do it i need to make provision for my weakness and not over-commit.
the result: a cold hard heart
the disappointment and gradual hardening of our hearts to cope with failed commitments affect our relationship with the only One who is completely faithful to everything He promises.
i have found myself wondering if He is even able to do the things He has promised. then other times, when my soul is doing better, i totally believe He is able, but struggle with the doubts of if He is willing to follow through. then at the end of the day, even if i believe He is both willing and able to do everything He has promised, i will lie in bed and the thought will come, but is He willing to do it for me?
so when i read this passage of God using balaam, a wicked man who was willing to pronounce curses on nations for the right price, to boast of His own faithfulness to His people i couldn't stop thinking about it.
who is He?
God is not a man. yes, Jesus cloaked Himself with humanity, but He was the same substance as the Father... our human frame being merely a shell that held the fullness of God.
God does not lie. He does not tell half truths. He doesn't just follow through when it is convenient or when the circumstances line up just so. He doesn't over-commit because He has no weakness He must account for.
if He says it, He will do it. His faithfulness to me is not anchored in whether i deserve it or not because i do not deserve anything. His faithfulness is anchored in who He is.
He is the faithful God. His unspeakable name, sometimes translated as Yahweh or Jehovah, i have heard could be rightly translated as ALWAYS. He is ALWAYS who He says He will be. He is ALWAYS faithful. He is ALWAYS good. He is ALWAYS our provider. He is ALWAYS our helper. He is ALWAYS our healer. and the list goes on and on and on.
and when i sit and ponder this unfathomable God whose name is ALWAYS, i struggle to reconcile His faithfulness with the unfaithfulness of everyone else, including myself. i have to come to the conclusion again and again that He is nothing like us.
He is nothing like me.
and this is why i can put my trust in Him and not be afraid of disappointment.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
|used with permission by www.sxc.hu|
well, as i am finishing up the book of numbers and just about to dive into the book of deuteronomy, i decided it would be a great idea to do an overview/reflection of each book of the Bible as i go through all 66 books on my cover to cover Bible reading challenge. you like it? just as i told you all the top 4 things about the book of leviticus, i will give you my general take on the book of numbers.
5 keys to understanding the book of numbers
1. a sad book - as david pawson writes in his book, unlocking the Bible, numbers is a very sad book because most of it never should have been written. a journey that could have taken only 11 days on foot ended up taking 40 years because the people listened to fear rather than believed God to be faithful to His promise.
2. it is all about the numbers - the book of numbers starts with a census of the people who left egypt and ends with a census of the people who enter into the promised land - hence the name of the book being numbers. God waited til the entire generation that He delivered from egypt died off before He took their children into the promised land except for two men, joshua and caleb, who chose to believe God would be faithful to deliver the land into their hands as He had said He would.
3. God's faithfulness displayed - the faithfulness of God is wonderfully displayed in this often ignored book. even though He vowed that He would wait until all but two men in a generation died in the wilderness, He still cared for them every day by supplying all their needs. they always had enough food and water for each day and their clothes did not wear out. He was faithful to them, though they were unfaithful to Him. His lovingkindness did not fail them. they missed out on the greatness of His promise for them because they refused to enter into it, but they did not miss out on His great faithfulness. i think this quote from numbers 23:19 says it best,
God is not a man, that He should lie,His faithfulness has nothing to do with us, but entirely to do with Him.
nor a son of man, that He should repent;
has He said, and will He not do it?
or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
4. a prophesy of the One to come - there is a beautiful messianic prophesy (which just is a fancy way of saying a prophesy of Jesus) hidden in the book of numbers. a diviner named balaam was hired to curse israel by balaak the king of moab, and every time he attempted to curse them all he could possibly do was bless them. the climax of his blessings upon them was this:
i see Him, but not now; i behold Him, but not near;
a star shall come forth from jacob,
a scepter shall rise from israel,
5. the priestly blessing - the most well known passage from the book of numbers is the priestly blessing that aaron and his sons were to bless the people with (numbers 6:24-26). this blessing is the same prayer my husband and i pray over our 4 sons every night.
the Lord bless you,sound at all like a misty edwards song you may have heard her, or maybe even kim walker of Jesus culture, sing?
and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine on you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance on you,
and give you peace.
all in all numbers is a very good book. there was a lot more narrative to keep my attention, and just the fact that God had to wait for the next generation to inherit His promises both fascinates and warns me. i want all He has for me and the apostle paul said that the book of numbers was written as a warning to us of how not to live. it is a book we are to read with a sober heart.
are you inspired to dive on in? what have you taken from numbers in your reading of it? have you had promises in your life where the opposing "giants" simply seem daunting and you are tempted, like me, to doubt the faithfulness of God?
as always, your comments, questions, and thoughts are welcome below. this challenge has been so good for me and i am so thankful so many of you have joined me in it! thank you so much for your accountability and encouragement!
Friday, October 22, 2010
outside my window... it is gray, crisp, and rainy! can anyone say fall?! with the indian summer we have had around here (we are not known around these parts for having a real "fall"), this weather is a welcome change.
i am thinking...about how great it is to be a stay at home mom and get the opportunity to be involved in my kids' classes at school. i chaperoned a field trip yesterday to the pumpkin patch with my youngest strapped to me in a sleepy wrap. i love being fully involved in my kids' lives in ways it would be difficult to do if i was back at work.
i am thankful for... winning the pays555 drawing yesterday! i won two checks to local businesses for $55.50 each! one was to a local restaurant and the other was to a local grocers. you better believe i already spent the one for food! i came home yesterday with 6 grocery bags full of free food. thank you Jesus!
remembering... to thank the Lord for all He does for me every day. i want to remember what He has done to build expectation for all He will continue to do.
from the learning rooms...i love that we never stop learning in life. as i have been lately very into knitting and crocheting, i was naturally excited that my talented sister-in-law started a blog about all things creative. today i learned how to upcycle a thrift store sweater into big balls of yarn i can use for any project i can dream up.
from the kitchen... in honor of my shopping spree at the local grocer's and the cool crisp weather, i am making beef stew. can you just imagine the rich smells floating around my house?
i am wearing... my favorite jcrew faded blue hoodie and jeans. it is so officially fall.
i am creating...hats, hats, and more hats!
i am going... to have to structure my time better to blog more. there is so much on my heart to write about and so little time. i must make a way to make it happen.
i am reading... the book of deutronomy in my Bible reading challenge. shortly i will be posting about what i took from my reading of the book of numbers. fascinating really.
i am hoping...to find creative ways to do christmas gifts this year. we don't have much money, but that doesn't mean we can't be generous and give. so... i am exploring both ways to earn a little extra to spend for this time of year and searching for good ideas of what to give (or make) on a budget.
i am hearing... the kansas city ihop prayer room free streaming in the background. i love to have it on when around the house and did i mention it is free? check it out if you haven't already! they have worship and prayer around the clock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
around the house... i finally tackled the dreaded craft shelves in the kitchen. i keep the craft/art supplies up high, which requires the kids to ask first but also keeps the mess it can become out of sight and out of mind. it was a 2 day task with a newborn, but so worth it. i think seeing me tackle the challenge won a deeper affection from my husband (who loves an organizing challenge) as well.
one of my favorite things... is baking with home roasted pumpkin. since my #2 son had a field trip to the pumpkin patch, and we do not celebrate halloween, that means lots of yummy baking to fill my heart with gladness.
pondering... the great importance of israel in the eyes of the Lord. these thoughts may inspire a series of posts at a later time when i can go deeper into them. blessed is everyone who blesses you [israel], and cursed is everyone who curses you. numbers 24:9b
a few plans for the rest of the week: since it is the weekend, i am relishing the time i have with the family. whatever we do, we are planning on doing it all together. there is nothing better.
picture for the day:this is from my time at the pumpkin patch with my son's pre-kindergarten class. it just says fall! don't you love the big pumpkin?
|taken by me - please ask permission to use|
please feel free to add a link in the comments below to your own simple woman's (or man's) daybook. i would love to read yours as well. have a great weekend!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
why this picture? i took it and it just inspires me.
Bible reading update for you all (because i know you are sitting on the edge of your seat dying to know how i am doing!):
i am still a bit behind my 3 chapters a day reading goal to make it through the Bible cover to cover in a year. i did make some catch up progress in reading when a couple days i had the time to get through more than my 3 chapters. unfortunately, the last few days i have once again been reading less than 3 chapters. but i keep on going. can't give up or i will never finish. (deep thought, i know.)
i went to youversion.com and set up a reading plan that started back on my first day of starting this challenge. i am quite encouraged when i see the progress i have made, even though i am behind. i have read 10.7 percent of the Bible so far! now when i am only in the last chapters of leviticus, that is pretty encouraging. i would highly recommend starting up a reading plan on the youversion site, as you can make any custom reading plan. you can even do your reading online or on your phone and check off the chapter when you are finished to keep track of where you are in your plan. something is so rewarding about marking the little box with a check.
so, i didn't have very high hopes for getting much out of the book of leviticus, but i have been pleasantly surprised at how much i have taken from it so far! it really helps that i have been reading david pawson's book, unlocking the Bible, as a companion to my cover to cover reading challenge.
here are 4 cool facts and reasons to read leviticus to help inspire you if you are daunted by the third book of the Bible as i have been in the past:
4 things to take from reading leviticus
1. be holy as I AM holy - this is the key text to the book of leviticus and is frequently quoted and alluded to in the new testament writings.
2. the call to be holy versus just being "good" - in our culture and mindset we separate all life into either good or bad. leviticus shows us that God doesn't separate life the way we do. He separates life into three categories: unclean (sinful or bad), clean and common (secular or good), and holy (sacred and godly). what i take from this is just being good isn't what gets me to God. He is looking for a people who will be set apart unto Him alone, even separated from that which is permissible and not considered sin.
3. the laws for God's government - there is talk in many circles about what God's government would look like. well, we know exactly what God's government would look like if we take a look at leviticus. He took israel to be a people for Himself and set Himself as king over them in a theocracy and these were His laws for His nation. no, we are not held under the law now that we are saved and being sanctified by the blood of Christ, but this is how God governed when He was the only governor of His people. my husband compares reading through leviticus to reading through our country's constitution. it was the "constitution" of israel.
4. imagery of Jesus - if one is not familiar with the book of leviticus, it is difficult to fully grasp the imagery that is used in the new testament of Jesus being the sacrificial lamb for our sins. also, there are many many places in both the gospels and in paul's letters that something is referenced from leviticus and the audience they were talking to were very familiar with it; we are not. reading through this book makes so much more of the new testament make sense in context.
just try it for yourself
there is much much more you can get from reading leviticus, but i just wanted to help with a couple reasons to not be afraid of it any more! and if you are reading it, i do recommend going through it at a quicker pace rather than getting stuck in it for a month.
thanks for accountability here on my bible reading challenge. sometimes what keeps me from quitting when life gets busy and it feels daunting to keep on going is simply knowing that you all know i committed to do it. accountability can be a powerful thing!
what is something you have taken from a time you have read leviticus? if you have never read it before, would you give it a try just to say you did? what other book of the Bible have you read that you were pleasantly surprised by what you got out of it because of not having high hopes for it?
Friday, October 1, 2010
|used with permisson by myriah grubbs photography|
|used with permission by myriah grubbs photography|
for your weekend enjoyment - take a look at my amazing family/maternity pictures and my sweet simeon's newborn pictures, both by my talented sister (in law) myriah. (did i ever mention that my sister and i schemed and picked her out for my brother to marry without him knowing? yes, we take full credit for her entry into our family.)
what better gift than to have these memories to keep forever and in such an artistic way. i am so in love with the piano shot, i don't know what to do with myself. as i look at simeon's huge chubby 2 month self, it is hard to believe he was really that small once or that he ever fit into my belly! thank you myriah! i cannot begin to express how priceless these are and how much they capture my life and love and boys.
enjoy friends and leave comments. you know i love to hear from you.
have a great weekend! happy october!
|used with permission by garrison photo on stock.xchng|
God would not give the darknesscharis
if He thought we could handle the light
but we would not cling to His guiding hand
if the way were always bright
and we would not choose to walk by faith
could we always walk by sight.