Little Reminders

Sometimes I need to be hit over the head with a reminder that the Lord knows what is going on in my life, and that nothing in my life escapes His notice. Or sometimes it’s a little reminder that comes in the form of waking up to my 3 year old standing by my bed, obviously not feeling well, asking to be held.

Such a request from him is out of the ordinary these days so I usually need to evaluate what might be wrong. The past few days have had the obvious signs of a cold. Yet I wonder what else he might be feeling. Does he have a headache? Does his little body ache? Sore throat? At this point I can attempt to ask him, but what it really comes down to is me realizing the Lord knows all those things that concern me about my son being sick.

So Friday morning I’m holding Ahren, wondering my mommy concerns, not feeling well myself, when I start to think about the Lord knowing about it all. He knows exactly what’s wrong with Ahren, with me. Inside and out.

So why fret? Why worry? He knows every little bit of my life. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is outside of his notice. And He wants to know all those aspects of my life. Because He loves me.

Ok, so maybe this little reminder from the Lord might actually be a ‘hit over the head’ reminder. I hope I remember this during my next fret over something session.

Our inner selves wait [earnestly] for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield. For in Him does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in His holy name. Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You. – Psalm 33:20-22 AMP

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Book Review: Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, 3rd Edition

Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, 3rd Edition

Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, 3rd Edition is a welcome enhancement to my personal Bible study. The layout of the text along with the maps and charts keep the information clear and concise. There is a consistency of structure throughout while remaining flexible to include the necessary information of a particular book of the Bible.

For example, the section on Ruth gives the background of the story, discusses the theme of redemption, the role of Ruth as an ancestor of Jesus as well as other details. The charts included in this section help to give an in-depth view of this story, and the detailed map clearly highlights the probable path and distance traveled by Ruth and Naomi. In the section on Acts there are separate maps of the journeys taken by Philip, Peter and Paul, a chart of the sermons written in the book of Acts, and other pertinent information.

Plus, there is the added bonus of downloading for free all the maps and charts included in this book for your own personal study, group study, or presentation. That’s a really nice feature. Overall, I think this book is a good addition for gaining more understanding of the Bible, its people, and biblical times.

Please note that I have received this book for free from the publisher through Booksneeze.com, and the review is my own opinion.  I am making this statement in accordance to FTC guidelines.

Praise and Potatoes?

God, with His great sense of humor, gave me an interesting analogy on a concept of praise that I believe He wants to encourage us to have a deeper understanding in.

A few days ago, as I was peeling potatoes to have with our dinner I began to remember part of a novel I read when I was a teenager, Come Spring, by Ben Ames Williams. Set in Maine during the Revolutionary War, it is based upon a family that settled in the wilderness there.

The part I recalled took place during the winter when food was scarce. One of the characters took potatoes he was saving for planting in the spring, and began to cut them up. He left a portion of the potato for planting, but used the rest for food so they could survive the winter. From what I remember of the story he did not know if what was left of the potato for planting would actually grow the normal crop, but he knew something needed to be done so they could survive right then.

There I am in my kitchen, holding a potato, recalling this story, and I am impressed by the Lord that this is how we need to praise Him.

Picture a spiritual winter season…spring may or may not be around the corner…you are wondering how you are going to survive…you have no idea how you can give any more than you have already given…you are fearful…you can barely breathe…yet…you begin to reach out for hope.

Hope, the size of a tiny mustard seed, in the form of praise for our great God, is all that you have left. You know spring will come. You know you are going to have breakthrough. You know God has the fulfillment of His promise to you. It is just around the corner, but it’s not here yet. You can’t feel it. You can’t taste it. So what do you do then?

You begin to praise Him for what is coming as though it’s already here. Praise is our sustaining resource that we need to utilize now, and not postpone it for when we think it will be easier to praise. The potatoes were their resource to grow a future supply, but were also a needed resource at that moment in time. In hope the settlers did something without knowing what the future crop would yield.

Quite honestly, we don’t know how everything will work together for good. We don’t know when our circumstances will change.  We don’t know what our supply will look like when our spring season comes, but we reach out spiritually to a place of praise that is based upon our hope of what is to come.

In researching the history of potatoes I came across an article that indicated the potato was often the only crop left in a time of war. The potato crop was hidden from the enemy soldiers because it was beneath the ground. This is what sown seeds of our praise are like. No one may see the fruit quite yet, but it’s there and growing, hidden from the enemy, and waiting for the proper time to be harvested.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Romans 4:16-18

Bathsheba

After reading the story of Bathsheba many times over the years I finally decided to ask the Lord, “Why her? Why was it her? Why was she so important? Was she a mistake?”

There are so many opinions on Bathsheba and the role she played in biblical history. We have imposed those opinions to identify her, but how she became David’s wife didn’t make her who she was. The name Bathsheba does not mean woman who slept with King David and committed adultery or David’s naughty wife as one normally thinks of her. I wanted to seek beyond her name and past the surface of her actions.

I began my search in my concordance, and that is where I stayed. Through looking at the meaning of her name, and reading the scriptures I found Bathsheba to be exactly who the Lord created her to be. She was a daughter of an oath used to help build, make, repair and set up the line of David, the line of Jesus. As a part of being that builder she was anointed, appointed, valiant, and worthy. She had to be strong and had to persevere in order to complete the purpose the Lord set before her.

Bathsheba is a great example of how the Lord takes things that should not have been, and uses them for His glory…if we let Him. The scriptures do not say that the rest of her life was lived under the identity of her mistakes. If David could move forward, why couldn’t she? Bathsheba was very instrumental in allowing the Lord to repair something that was broken.

We need to see the things we help build or are a part of call for repairs from time to time. We must look beyond the surface of a breakage, and seek the Lord for His heart in the matter. His wisdom and guidance is necessary as we do our part to bring to completion the purpose He has set before us.

Bathsheba prospered within her boundaries and shows us that boundaries are not equal to limitations. We can look at Solomon to see an example of this. Who was it that influenced him? It wasn’t just David. Bathsheba was a woman of influence in the life of her son, guiding him through the times of turmoil and uncertainty that occurred in David’s later years. Why did Adonijah ask her to speak to Solomon on his behalf concerning Abishag the Shunammite? He knew she had influence and favor with Solomon.

What stands out to me is that Bathsheba knew her place, and did not fight for control to go outside of that. She made mistakes, but she was not alone in making some of them. She also did not let her mistakes become permanent limitations. Let’s look at Bathsheba in a more positive light, and see her as a woman that we can relate to. We have a life of influence to live with mistakes to be overcome.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Philippians 1:6 AMP

June 5th

When Jim and I moved South 5 years ago I  knew the Lord was all over it. What I didn’t expect was how much a simple date would come to mean to me.

On June 5th, 2005, we hugged my parents goodbye as they headed back to NY after helping us move. That was the last day I hugged my dad and received a hug from him on this earth. This same day was the start of meeting and getting to know new and beloved friends.

On June 5th of the following year we said, “Goodbye” when the Lord called one of those beloved friends home to Him.

Then on June 5th, 2007 our son was born. This past weekend we celebrated his 3rd birthday.

June 5th of every year is a time for Jim & I to give thanks to the Lord for all that he has done, for our son, and to remember His faithfulness. I remember my dad, and our last hug.

Today, as I was putting Ahren’s toys away, I noticed the markings on one of his new toy trucks that friends gave him for his birthday. It’s a monster truck with the Ford brand on it, and the phrase, “Built Ford Tough.” Ford was my dad’s preferred brand of truck. For Ahren to receive this for his birthday this year, I know the hand of the Lord was in it as an acknowledgment of the sacrifice we made 5 years ago to move to a place unknown for Him.

While we do not have the full knowledge of the Lord’s purpose for us here, what we do know grows a little deeper every year. This year brought a lot more confirmation.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

Turning Points

One of the things that I really, really love about the Lord are the sudden turning points we encounter in our lives. The unexpected, but much needed bits a change in our lives.

Last night Ahren requested a bath, and was making it clear that his toddler brain was focused on water and toy boats. Being very tired, all evening I was focused on toddler bedtime so when he started talking about bath and boats I had a dilemma – bed or bath then bed? Thankfully, I made the right choice. Ahren had his bath…with no tears, screaming or disputing in anyway the normal bath routine as he had been doing for months.

I cannot say when he started disliking his baths. It was usually equal parts joy playing with his bath toys to loud anger and annoyance with the rest of the bath process. So last night, as my mind is amazed at this turn of events, I watch Ahren courageously suffer having his hair wet, shampooed and rinsed with no complaints. There is only toddler joy of splashing and toys.

All the while my mind is replaying over and over again – Really? A bath? Really? No tears? No screaming? Happiness? Really?

It’s a little thing. I recognize this. The Lord is helping me see a bigger picture though. How many things in my life have I accepted as this is how life is?

Before last night I came to expect Ahren’s reactions at bath time. I accepted it. I prepared myself for it. This was our routine. Nothing we tried to change the bath time experience helped so this is how life went. Then reactions change, and while I am pleased (very pleased) with this change, I still am pondering it.

I wonder if the Lord is helping me see the breakthrough in this small thing for a reason. Do I need to see the correlation here in preparation for the bigger BREAKTHOUGH that is coming? The BREAKTHOUGH that I have been waiting for, praying for, warring for. The BREAKTHOUGH that will come unexpectedly in the midst of my daily life, and mess up my thinking for a bit.

I am sure I will get over it though. 😉

“And then God answered: ‘Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.’ ”
Habakkuk 2:2,3

Courage of Tamar

After a conversation with a friend the story of Tamar went through my mind, and I had to ponder it a bit. I thought I would share those thoughts.

According to Genesis 38, Tamar was married first to Judah’s oldest son Er, who the Lord killed because he was wicked. Then, as tradition in those times, she was married to the younger brother Onan. The Lord was displeased with Onan’s actions because he did not want to take responsibility to provide an heir for his brother Er. Seeing his two oldest sons are dead, Judah shifts the blame to Tamar, and sends her to her father’s house to wait until the youngest brother, Shelah, is grown. Or so he says.

Now we get to the part of the story where we see Tamar understand the situation before her: Shelah is grown, and she is not going to be given to him as his wife. Is it her fault her previous two husbands died? Nope. Does her first husband have an heir? Nope. So what is a girl to do? Take care of the matter, of course.

Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute, sleeps with her father-in-law, and obtains proof that she did. After it’s discovered she is pregnant, her family and Judah think she is quite naughty. Before they can put her to death, she sends Judah her proof that he was naughty too. Judah then declares she is in the right and was more righteous than he as he did not allow her to marry Shelah.

The word righteous in this instance means to make right in a moral or forensic sense. Judah declared she was righteous than he because he did not do what was right and proper. Tamar could have let the matter rest when she found out Shelah was grown, but she didn’t. She could have lived out the rest of her life as a widow in her father’s house, but she didn’t.

Tamar chose to not live under the judgments others had placed upon her. Instead, she mustered the courage to break through them without knowing what the outcome of her actions would be. She knew she had to try. Though her methods may be a bit controversial to us, she instead took a risk for what was right, and received her vindication.

Tamar gave birth to twins whose names were Perez and Zerah. Perez means breakthrough, Zerah means a rising light. What a beautiful gift for the courage she displayed.