Saturday, April 30, 2011

The End of Luke

Today I finished the third of the Gospels.  In all honesty, I am not really excited about reading John.  I know that I am getting ready to read another version of the same stories again.  I have to keep reminding myself why I am doing this in the first place.  I want to read the ENTIRE Bible again.  I also have enjoyed going back to my previous posts to see what I thought of certain chapters.  I may even try to take some of these ramblings and make sense out of them.  Who knows!! 

As for Exodus, today was weird!  Exodus chapter 21 moves past the ten commandments and begins outlining the laws Moses and God set forth for all people.  I am fascinated with the culture of the day.  These laws allowed for life to carry on in this society of nomads.  The class structure is far different from ours today.  Because of this, the laws allow for slavery and bartering with women as currency.  As I've said before, I am glad to be living in 2011!

Friday, April 29, 2011


I have been very focused lately on my readings from the New Testament.  Today I read the story of the crucifixion of Christ in Luke, but since we just celebrated Easter, I will not dwell on the sadness of that day.  Instead I will focus on the Old Testament today.

Exodus is interesting.  This is probably the book in the Bible that I remember talking about the most as a kid.  By age 7, I could tell you the plagues God sent to Pharoah, the story of the parting of the Red Sea, and all ten commandments Moses brought down from the mountain.  I knew God could appear in a burning bush, and I knew that worshipping gold or silver idols could make God mad enough to make you wander in a desert for forty years. 

This realization made me consider a few things.  First of all, when I read Exodus, I feel like I am reading a children's book.  It doesn't seem like a difficult section of the Bible.  It is no easier, but it is so familiar that I don't need to work at understanding the passages.  When I began this quest to read through the entire Bible again, I was overwhelmed at the idea of trying to understand the words I read.  I feel like I'm breezing through when I read Exodus.

I also wonder why my childhood focus seemed to be more Old Testament stories than New Testament.  I know far more about the battle of Jericho, Jonah and the big fish, Noah's ark, and Moses's journey than I know about the miracles of Jesus and the writings of Paul.  I guess because the Old Testament is full of colorful stories that turn into great pictures for kids, we focus on these great, powerful acts of God to teach our children. 

Just something to think about!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Choices in our Lives

Throughout the day at school, I hear myself telling students they are making poor choices.  When we have free time, I tell them to choose wisely what they get out to do.  To better prepare them for middle school, I do not always choose for them.  They decide if they need to dedicate the next twenty minutes to studying or that looming project that is due soon.  Some continue to choose drawing or staring at ceiling tiles.  Many learn to make good choices.

God allows us to make our own choices.  Jesus didn't come to earth to bring peace, except in the hearts of his followers.  Bad things happen all around us. Life is hard, but we have the choice of our response to it.  Will we choose to be cheerful regardless of how messy our house is or how much sleep we got the night before? 

Even Judas had a choice when he betrayed Jesus!  What will our choices be today?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Having What It Takes...

I was sitting on my front porch last night, after a rain cooled us down, thinking about how much I love this place where I live.  My son played in the rocks and mud while I sat back and enjoyed a cool breeze.  Everything around me was green and full of life.  Moments like that make me think that I have it all together.  I have everything I need to get by. 

Then doubt sneaks into my thoughts when I read something like Luke 21.  Most of the time reading the Bible is comforting, but not today.  This passage told of signs that we could watch for to indicate the ending times.  Jesus was very clear, though, when he said that many would be put to death in his name.  Many of us will be persecuted for our belief in him.  We will have to stand firm and not fear death, because fighting for our belief will be rewarded with life in heaven.

Last week our weekly Bible Study in our home focused on Phillipians chapter 1.  One of the questions from the study asked how we would feel if someone arrested us for our belief in Christ.  The point one to show that Paul was joyful about it.  I think I would be terrified!  I would worry about my family.  I would fear for my life.  I am not sure I have what it takes if times become that rough for me. 

My lesson today??  I will remain thankful for the good times, but pray for strength for the rough patches!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Putting God to the Test

Do you ever feel like everything is testing your patience?  Perhaps you also have had those days when everything seemed to be wrong.  Everyone is in a bad mood.  You just feel like maybe God is testing our patience.  Maybe he is!  The Bible tells us that these trials are meant to build our character.

But what about when we test God?  Jesus tells us that God is not to be tested, but don't we do it all the time?  We beg for things that God isn't willing to give to us, we rationalize our actions, and we ask God to constantly give more to us than we give to him.   Luke 20 shows the teachers of the law testing Jesus.  They were trying to get him to mess up enough for them to arrest him.  It seems like they simply were trying to gain power over Jesus.  If Jesus would just go away, they would be in control again.

In Exodus, the Israelites constantly test God.  They just don't have the faith needed to carry them through forty years of trials in the desert.  God shows them compassion over and over again, but he doesn't give them an easy road to follow.

Our lives are much the same. It isn't an easy road, but God provides all we need to get through.  There is a song out right now called, Blessings by Laura Story.  The lyrics are as follows:

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
Its not our home
Through the most difficult moments in our day, we must realize that this is not our home.  There will come a day when we have no trials.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Knowing Christ

Easter is over, but I still have one more day off from work.  Today is Monday, so it is almost 8:00 and we are still at home.  Usually we leave at 7:00 every morning.  It seems odd to sit here on a Monday.  I actually have time to think this morning!

Today I read Luke 19 and Exodus 16.  I am amazed at how many people who met Jesus did not believe his teachings.  They witnessed the miracles, but didn't believe that he was the Son of God.  Then in Exodus, the Israelites refuse to obey the commands of God.  After all the great acts of God they have witnessed, the exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and the guides they are following, they still don't follow simple rules, like how much manna to gather. 

All of this got me thinking about my own life.  How many miracles have I witnesses?  How many times has God led me down the right path and provided everything I need?  Why do I still not fully trust him to guide me through the next obstacle?  Why do I still not put all of my faith into his ability to make sure we will have enough money for our needs?  I worry endlessly about money, and work, and my family, and everything else a mother and wife worries about.  It is time I wake up and pay attention to the signs around me, too.  It is time to sit back and trust that everything is taken care of!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18 of a persistent widow who begs a judge for justice.  Jesus continues by saying that God will also hear the persistent prayers of his people, but will be looking for faith.  As I read the rest of chapter 18, I noticed persistence in other ways.  Jesus continues his healing of those who have faith.  He also continues teaching others to humble themselves before God and man. 

When I flipped over to Exodus 15 today to read the songs of Moses and Miriam, I also saw persistence in their thanks and praise for God, even when times were tough.  The Israelites prayed persistently to leave slavery and Egypt.  When God answered their prayers, they weren't too happy with the outcome.  He led them out of Egypt and into the desert to wander.  Moses and Miriam continue to praise God through music anyway. 

Today is Easter Sunday!  That means craziness in my home.  I was up late last night roasting the ham, making the deviled eggs, and cleaning.  I was up before the sun to bake the carrot cake and mop the floors this morning.  I am still hoping to get the Easter baskets in order before my son gets up!  Amid the hurried morning before church and through the dinner with the in-laws, I hope to remember that today is a gift.  Each prayer answered is a gift, whether it is the answer we wanted or not.  Persistence in prayer is rewarded, but faith carries us through!

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Causes of Sin

Luke 17:1 Jesus said the the disciples, "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come."

God expects us to make mistakes.  We are all sinners who fall short of the Glory of God.  However, we are saved from our sins.  Jesus ensured that!  But what about causing others to sin?  Did Jesus's sacrifice clear us of the sins of others when we are at fault?  I try to raise my son to be a good Christian, but if he sins because of me, who is to blame?  Me!!!  That makes me think twice about my actions! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Money, Money, Money

I said the other day that I believe God is against the love of money, not money itself.  I read a few days ago that Jesus approved of workers getting wages that were fair.  Today I read about money again.  Luke 16:10 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with mucy, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 

Basically, our money issues here on earth are to prepare us for treasure in heaven.  How we budget and spend will determine what responsibilities and rewards we receive later.  Shouldn't we all take a look at our budgets then and see if they align with God's directions for our lives?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rules for our Lives

How many of us plan our days the night before?  I am willing to bet that at least 80-90% of women, especially mothers, have a planner of some sort where they write down doctor's appointments, menus, activities for the kids, and family vacations.  I also bet many of us map out what will be cleaned when and what our days will look like.  As a teacher, I plan every five minutes of my day. 

Yesterday, things didn't go as planned.  I lost my internet yesterday morning.  All day I tried to sneak in five more minutes to do the blog, and it just didn't happen.  The funny thing is the readings in the Old and New Testament revolved around rules for our lives. 

I like structure.  I like having a plan.  I get upset when someone else messes up my plan.  I guess that's why I find comfort in Jesus's teachings that lay out exactly how we should live our lives.  Moses also gave rules for his people in Exodus.  It is fascinating to see just how detailed they were concerning Passover. 

Tomorrow I will continue with Luke chapter 16 and Exodus chapter 13.  As a side note, my son is deeply interested in his own reading this morning.  It is called Here Comes Easter! by Caroline Jayne Church.  The reader has to search for Easter Eggs on the pages.  He also is loving Jan Brett right now.  He loves her pictures. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Repentance, deep sorrow or regret, is a powerful force in our lives.  My students show regret and sorrow often, but more often their sorrow is for getting caught than for their actions.  In Luke 13, Jesus tells those in the synagogue that they need to repent in order to get into heaven.  He tells the story of a fig tree that won't bear fruit.  The owner tells the servant to cut it down, but the servant begs for one more year.  He will fertilize it and work with the soil around it.  If it still doesn't bear fruit, he will cut it down.

We are given chance after chance to sincerely repent, not just for the actions seen by others, but everything in our hearts.  In Exodus, I am still reading the plagues of Egypt. Pharoah is given numerous opportunities to release the Israelites.  He repents.  He prays for forgiveness and asks Moses to pray for him.  If God will grant forgiveness over and over for Pharoah, how much more will he do for us?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hope and Comfort?

It isn't always easy to witness to someone.  I find it much easier to share my faith with those who already believe.  I always feel inadequate when I approach someone who doesn't believe in Christ.  Perhaps it is because most people who live here have heard of Jesus, but have decided to not believe.  Regardless, I struggle to know what to say.  As I read Luke 12 this morning, I decided that this could be my new go-to passage for sharing the story of Jesus.  This chapter shows our job as Christians and how to find peace in God, but it doesn't sugar coat the difficulties that we will encounter as Christians. 

I also read Exodus chapter 9 this morning.  This continues the plagues in Egypt.  Last night I was reading some of the blogs I follow and found a link to an Action Bible.  A friend of mine mentioned a while back that her son had one and loved it.  I encourage you to check out The Action Bible.  You can look at a sample that happens to be the story of the plagues in Egypt. 

Happy reading!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Asking for Help

Luke 11 tells us, again, that all we need to do is ask for help.  "Ask and you shall receive."  In Exodus 8, Pharoah asks Moses to pray for him each time he wants a plague to be lifted.  If God has the power to bring and remove the plagues, if God has the power to send his son down to earth, if God has the power to raise his son from the dead, he has the power to answer my prayers. 

I have mentioned before that while I read my Bible everyday and write this blog, I do not keep a consistent prayer journal or keep track of prayer requests in anyway.  My prayers are quick and probably not as meaningful to God as they should be.  This is an area in which I am greatly lacking. 

I hope this week to ask for God's help.  I have these lofty goals for myself, my career, and my family.  I know they won't be fulfilled without God's help.  This week I am going to try keeping better track of my prayers.  Who knows!  Perhaps the Voice of God will make itself known and guide me along my way!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Paid What We're Worth

I have the honor of being awarded Teacher of the Year at my school this year.  The winner is chosen by a vote of the faculty and staff.  I was joking with a friend the other day that our award should be a bonus.  After I said it, I felt a little bad and thought I should just be thankful for what I earn each month instead of complaining about it.  However, tonight I read in Luke that Jesus told the 72 he commisioned to eat and drink what is offered because a worker deserves his wages. 

I like that Jesus made it clear that when we work, we deserve fair and honest pay.  We are worth the work we put in.  As long as our job doesn't go against what he asks of us, we should try to get money for our work. 

I thought about that when I was reading how Moses and Aaron did their jobs in Egypt.  God may not have provided a pay check for those men, but I'm sure the Israelites have supported them along the way.

The next time you feel guilty about asking for more money or not feeling content with your pay, remember that God thinks fair and honest pay for hard work is okay with him!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Speaking with Authority

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day.  My son wanted to play outside after supper.  He got new toys for his birthday and was itching to play with them.  I needed to work on my flower beds, so we went out.  Devon wasn't walking well enough last summer to roam far away from me.  This year, he goes wherever, whenever.  I was yelling at him to stop before he went into the road.  I tried telling him in a nice tone of voice, but he ran right into the road!  I began to yell. He cried.

When I really fuss at Devon, he cries like you have broken his heart.  It doesn't happen often, but I wasn't get my point across to him.  Later in the evening, he told me he could play in the grass, but not the road.  As bad as I felt about yelling at him, I knew that by speaking with more authority, he understood I was serious.

In Luke 9, Jesus has to drive demons out of a boy after the disciples failed.  They were commissioned to go work miracles in Jesus's name, but they couldn't solve the problem of this boy.  Jesus makes it clear that they have to have full faith in God and speak with the authority of Christ's name in order to work miracles. 

Moses, in Exodus, struggles to get Pharoah to listen to him.  He keeps telling God that his tongue falters.  God understands that Moses needs help in speaking with authority.  Aaron will step up to help.  However, how many of us have sung the song as kids that says, "Pharoah, Pharoah, let my people go!"  We all learned that Moses spoke those words with authority! 

I hope that as we go through the day today, we remember that speaking with authority may hurt the feelings of some, but it also can help us work the will of God.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fear of God

I read a book written by Nikki Giovanni to my students.  The book was about abolitionists leading to and during the Civil War.  In her forward, she says that many feel people behave a certain way out of fear.  We do what is right because we are afraid of punishment.  She, however, believes that people do what is right and make decisions out of respect. 

I have a student this year who fits into her category.  He doesn't care if he gets into trouble.  You can take away his recess or put him in silent lunch.  He doesn't care as long as he thinks you are fair.  He won't behave based on threats of punishment.  He only behaves for you if he respects you.  He is never a problem for me.  He knows I care about his grades and his well being.  For other teachers, though, he is a challenge.  He is rude, defiant, disruptive, you name it, he can be THAT kid!

In Luke 8, people ask Jesus to leave their town because they are afraid of him.  This shows they don't believe he is the Son of God.  There are places in the Bible that mention a fear of God, but these people have no respect for God.  They have plenty of fear.

In Exodus, I read today about the Egyptians increasing the work of the Israelites after Moses requests their freedom.  This, again, is an act of fear.  Respect of God would cause them to do the right thing. 

I agree with Nikki Giovanni.  If we respect God, we will obey him.  Fear could turn us in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


As a teacher, one of my biggest struggles is to motivate kids to care about the quality of their work or pay enough attention to learn what I am teaching.  I have a had time getting them to listen to what I say.  It is so frustrating to stand up and say something over and over and still feel like I am not being heard.  I imagine that is how Jesus is feeling in Luke 7.  He seems to say the same things over and over, but still needs to explain further because people just aren't getting it. 

The good news is that Jesus is willing to be so patient with us.  He rarely shows any anger.  He simply listens and tries again.  He didn't spend much time teaching before his death, but the time he spent was rigorous.  I put a lot of myself into my career, but he devoted his life to it.  I hope that I can have the same patience and concern for my kids.

Moving on to Exodus, boy did I learn something today.  There is a passage, Exodus 4:24-26 that I have never paid attention to before.  Moses has been chosen to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  He and his family have returned to Egypt.  On the way, God just about kills Moses for not totally obeying the laws.  One of Moses's sons was not circumsized.  His wife steps in and does it for him. 

I am glad that God holds his leaders to strict standards.  I find comfort in the fact that in order to be held in high regard with God, you must follow the rules.  That shows the character of those chosen.  However, it concerns me about how well I obey God.  I have to stop and think whether I FULLY obey his commands or if I do just enough to get by like my students often do. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Comfort Now or Later???

I am reading a book by Angela Thomas, Do You Think I'm Beautiful?  I read yesterday that she is certain the reason no man, father, friend, or amount of stuff can fill all voids in our soul is because that emptiness can only be filled by God.  Futhermore, these empty places won't be filled until we reach Heaven!  We can spend our entire lives looking for what satisfies our souls and never find it here on Earth.  So why look?  Because God allows us "appetizers" of Heaven.  We get to taste what Heaven will be like through the gifts God sends our way while on Earth. 

This morning I read Luke chapter 6.  Jesus teaches the people that those who are not blessed on Earth will be blessed in Heaven.  He says that those who have riches now will not receive them later.  Those who are strong now, will not get strength in Heaven. 

I dream of winning the lottery, as many do.  I dream of not having to worry about my finances or my health or health of my son or husband.  However, we are told very clearly that those who do not have perfect lives now will have perfect lives in Heaven.  Our empty places will be filled.  After reading this, I will try to not worry so much about the check I have to mail to the IRS today or what birthday present to buy our two year old this week.  These daily issues will all disappear soon enough. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Leaving Everything Behind

Many of the stories in the Bible show people fleeing and leaving all of their family and possessions behind.  It was easier then to disappear than it is today.  We track people and can contact others a half of a world away.  They simply left in the dark of night to never return. 

In Luke, Jesus calls disciples to leave thier lives and follow him.  Levi, the tax collector, left his things sitting under a tree and took off.  This got me thinking about my life.  Does Jesus call us to leave our lives behind?  I think it depends on your life.  I think if he took inventory of my life, most things would please him.  My husband is a good man, my job is teaching chidren, we raise our son in church, we try to stay involved in church matters.  I spend time every day reading the Bible and writing this blog.  There are certainly things that God would choose for me to drop, but I don't think he wants me to leave in the dark of night to never return to my family.  Instead, I think he placed me here.

Moses is another whose life is filled with fleeing.  He is hidden as a baby, then found by Pharoah's daughter.  He kills an Egyptian and flees.  What does he find?  A wife!  But we all know that God is going to call him to leave his new life behind and return to Egypt. 

I guess what this all boils down to is that God could call us up to leave our current situation anytime he wants.  We better be prepared to follow where ever he tells us to go.  Until that day comes, we should be satisfied with the position we are in and live according his rules for our lives.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In Your Own Home

I know a woman who recently found a lewd picture on her daughter's phone.  She assumed the picture had been taken at someone else's house.  Her daughter admitted who took it.  The young man was very quick to say that the girl asked him to take the picture on her phone while visiting her house.  The mother just couldn't believe it took place in her own home.

What happens in our homes?  Are they places where we glorify God, or do we only do that in His house?  Jesus tells the people of Narareth that he won't be successful there because it is his home.  They drive him from the town, with the intention of throwing him over a cliff, according to Luke 4.  I will take some time to think about what happens in my home.  Do we focus on God or do we focus on the busyness of our lives??!

I also began reading Exodus today.  The first chapter tells of the beginning of the slavery of the Israelites in Egypt.  I love that the midwives, who are ordered to kill the baby boys, lie and say that they do not arrive early enough to kill the babies.  They fear God more than the Pharoah.  I hope that I can do the right thing always by God, and not by others.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Luke chapter 3 tells more specifics about what John the Baptist preached.  It seems that he was one of the first in a while to teach that each person should try to be content with what was given to them instead of fighting and cheating others out of their things.  He was doing great until he spoke against Herod.  Then John was thrown in jail. 

Before that happened though, Jesus was baptized.  I'm sure it wasn't to forgive his sins, because he had none to forgive.  I think it sybolized giving up the 30 years of normal life.  I am 29.  I imagine his life up to this point has been very much like others in his age group.  Now he is putting his life aside and devoting the rest of his time to God's plan. 

I also finished the book of Genesis today.  I enjoyed this book more this time around than in the past.  I think I actually understand some of the background for this group of people.  It ends with Joseph's death at the age of 110.  He was able to live long enough to see great, great grandchildren. 

I hope everyone enjoys a spring day!  We will spend ours inside.  Another cold rainy April day here, but tomorrow should be about 30 degrees warmer!

Friday, April 8, 2011

More On Parenting

I am not an expert on parenting.  I seek advice everyday on how to best raise my son.  I have learned that we all do the best we can from day to day. 
Yesterday I wrote about the dreams we all have for our  children.  As I read Luke 2 I started thinking about what it would be like to try to raise Jesus.  This chapter holds the story of his birth and his childhood.  I read about Jesus staying behind at the temple for several days when his parents were looking for him.  I knew the story, but his response to their question of, "Where have you been?" struck me today.  He replied that they shouldn't have been searching, he was simply in his father's house.  I  would have been just as confused if my 12 year old son said that to me. 

I imagine that Mary was worried for the safety of her son, but also concerned about her parenting for a greater reason.  She knows she is raising a child who will do something great.  There must be a lot of pressure on her to get it right, because God is counting on her. 

When I switched over to Genesis 49, I saw the blessings of the 12 sons of Jacob.  He tells each son what their future will be like.   I wondered if, like Mary, he was telling what he wished for them, or what was ordained by God.  Jacob also knew that Joseph would be the one who would carry on Abraham's blood line.  Mary knew her son would make history.  I can't imagine the feeling that the whole world will hear about how I raise my child and would judge me, but that is the position of both Mary and Jacob.

That doesn't sound like peaceful child rearing to me!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dreams of Parents

All of you parents know there was a moment the day your child was born that you probably looked at them and thought something similar to, "Who are you?  And who will you become?"  We spend hours dreaming of what our children will grow up to be and what their personality will be like.  I remember wondering what my son's voice would sound like.  When he began cooing, I became so excited about the day he would be able to talk to me. 

Elizabeth and Zechariah have dreams for their son, John.  They know he is sent from God and has a journey for God ahead of him.  However, they probably think he will have riches and power in the government.  They may think he will have great honor and praise.  Instead, we learn from Luke 1 that John the Baptist will spend years, about 30, wandering the desert.  We know from the other gospels that he will die like a criminal and be beheaded while in prison.  Yes, he grew up to be a great man who did what God asked of him, but he didn't follow the dreams of his parents. 

Joseph takes his two sons to Jacob when he hears that Jacob is sick.  Jacob calls his grandsons to him in Genesis 48.  He blesses them,  but puts the second son first.  Joseph tries to correct him, but Jacob knows that the second born will have more power than the first born.  Four generations in a row have allowed for the blessings to go out of order.

We can have all the dreams in the world for our children and wish them the best of lives. But what they really need from us to raise them to follow God and follow their own hearts.  We can't dictate the lives of our kids.  We can't even control what all goes on in our own lives.  This is a scary thought for some parents.  I hope that I am able to teach my son to find comfort in God's control over his life, not fear.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Beginnings

Today we begin Luke.  My Bible says that Luke was written sort of as a letter to a new convert.  That may be why I like it so much.  It was written to teach someone new to the faith, so it is easier to read.   Luke was a doctor, so he describes his observations carefully and from a caring point of view.  It seems that there is a lot of disagreement over when this book was written.  My Bible says anywhere from AD 50 to AD 80.

Luke begins with Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist.  He explains the appearance of Gabriel and the miracle birth.  Then he turns to Mary and her own miracle conception.  My bible mentions in a sidebar that we can guess Luke could not explain the conception of Jesus  in medical terms because he is vague.  He kind of says the Holy Spirit over shadowed Mary, causing her to be pregnant.  Basically, I guess, the Holy Spirit consumed her body and left behind the human form of God.

When I moved to the Old Testament, I read of the Israelites settling in Egypt.  Genesis 47 shows Joseph gathering great wealth for Pharoah during the famine to save the lives of the Egyptians.  This allows Joseph's family to settle and prosper, thus extending the lineage of Abraham.

I hope everyone is able to feel new beginnings somewhere in your lives today!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Missing verses???

So I have a looming question as we read the last chapter in Mark!  My Bible says that only the first 8 verses of chapter 16 were in the original book of Mark.  Where did the rest come from?  Did Mark really write them??  It is hard to tell what pieces of writing are valid if there is discrepancy between scholars.  As a reader or the Bible, and not a scholar, I am confused.

As for Genesis, basically all chapter 46 says is that Jacob arrived in Egypt, and it recaps his children. 

I realize this is a terribly short blog, but I wasn't too excited about the chapters today.  That is a mixture of being tired and being in a bad mood from a very long day at work!  Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What God Intends for Good

     You know those nights when everything seems to be falling apart?  Each plan we have fails and we feellost and betrayed by those we love?  My husband and I had a fight last night.  It basically boils down to the fact that I like to be in control, and he likes to do things behind my back so I can't grasp control of them.  I've made this sound like he did something horrible.  Really he just got a new dog without telling me.  I saw the whole thing as disrespectful and mean to me.  He saw it as just getting a new dog.  My point is that a huge argument ensued.  When I went to bed feeling sad and rejected by my husband who lied to me, I tried to see what good would come of this.  I tried to see if God intended this for good.
     I read Mark 15 this morning, the crucifixion of Jesus.  I bet the people who believed in him were just devastated.  They probably wondered what God would do with this that would be good.  The situation seemed so terrible that surely nothing good could come of it.  Instead, the greatest gift of all was given to every believer. 
     In Genesis 45, Joseph tells his brothers that what they intended for evil was actually God's plan for good to come to their family.  Because they were cruel enough to sell him into slavery, he now rules Egypt.  Joseph probably wasn't that happy about it when he was in jail, but now he knows what God's plan really was. 
     It is so hard in the middle of the darkness to feel the hope we need.  Even when something so small as an arugment with your husband spirals your mood into a cloud of sadness and anger, God is there.  The Bible tells us that the dark of night may be difficult, but joy will come in the morning.  I hope you all feel God's presence when you walk through the dark moments today.  I hope you see the joy that will come in the morning.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Denying God

Mark chapter 4 tells of Peter denying Jesus during his trial.  This chapter is full.  It also recaps the Last Supper, prayer in the Garden, and Jesus's condemnation by the Sanhedrin.  It was the denial of Christ by Peter that struck me the most today. 

Yesterday I wrote about being prepared for the return of Christ.  I read that it would become increasingly difficult to follow God and stay faithful to our beliefs as Christians.  If Peter struggled, how much harder will it be for us?  Peter watched the miracles, he saw Moses and Elijah, he truly believes all the Jesus stands for and has done.  Yet, he denied ever knowing him.  Will we have the strength to remain steadfast?

Just a recap for Genesis 44...
In this chapter, Joseph plots to catch Benjamin stealing from him to keep Benjamin in Egypt.  Judah finally sets aside sibling rivalry and argues to set Benjamin free.  Joseph caves!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Well Prepared

Mark 13 is Jesus's list of signs for us to watch for that will indicate an end to this world.  He tells his disciples that it will be increasingly difficult to follow God.  We will be punished and persecuted for our beliefs.  Only those who stand firm will be chosen to go with the angels.  I hope I am strong enough and firm enough to not be shaken!  It is a scary thought.  We are warned to be prepared for the return of Christ.  I hope I am.  I know I am not perfect, and I know there are a few things that need serious work.  I could list them, but it would be lengthy.  All I can say is Prasie God for his Grace and Mercy!

Question of the day:  Jesus tells the disciples that their generation would not end before the end of times.  What changed?  or am I misinterpreting that passage?

In Genesis 43, Joseph's brothers were not prepared for their second arrival in Egypt.  They are expecting terrible consequences, not the banquet they were welcomed with.  My favorite part is Benjamin's dinner.  I love that Benjamin received five times larger portions than the others!

Have a great day, and think about what you need to prepare in your heart!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Following Commandments

It is difficult to follow orders sometimes.  Ask anyone currently enlisted in the military or anyone who served in a war zone.  We don't always agree with our orders.  Remember as a kid when your parents told you to do something and you didn't want to?  Sometimes we feel that way with God.

God tells us that we shouldn't do things or avoid them based on feeling.  We serve God based on duty and glorifying him, not how we feel at the moment.  In Mark 12 a man says, "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.  To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Joseph's brothers, in Genesis 42, have to follow Joseph's orders to return to their father and bring back Benjamin. They don't want to do what is asked of them, even though it is in God's name. 

I pray that you are able to work through the difficult orders and follow your duty to God.