Reflection and Repentance (Bible Week…Day 8)

Turning 30 was hard for me this year.

This was not my plan for my life.

Now before you start lecturing me, I knew six years ago that I wasn’t going to be living my plans for my life.   It was then, in my first apartment after college, that God said I had good dreams, but it was time for me to live His dreams instead of mine.  So I’m good with that.

Sort of.

I expected to be married and have kids by 30.  Call me crazy, it was just a thought I had.  I expected to be walking or even running in whatever career or ministry God had for me…not one year in, still trying to find my balance.  I expected to be using this degree that cost me six years of my life, which I have not seen fully utilized yet.

It hurt.

I hurt.

So having spent this last week witnessing God’s faithfulness and impeccable timing in the Bible, I am trying to let the trust in Him soak into my soul.

His faithfulness stands tall against my litany of mistrust and the tears pour slowly down.

This must be what repentance feels like.

Advertisements

Sabbath (Bible Week…Day 7)

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”

…But you were not willing.

Isaiah 30:15

All through the Old Testament, God talks about keeping the Sabbath.  Before the Israelites go into exile, and especially when they return, He talks about the importance of the Sabbath.  In fact, upon their return it seems almost synonymous in keeping the law in the promises that go with it.

It is not surprising, then that when Jesus arrives, the Jewish people have gone a little…extreme…in keeping the law, especially the Sabbath.  But still they missed the point, and actually crucified Jesus over working on the Sabbath.  Especially in the gospel of John I noticed over and over that Jesus kept healing people on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders got their panties all bunched up every time.

So it seems that understanding Sabbath is crucial to understanding the character and nature of God and His hope for us.

I prayed about this as we listened to the book of Matthew.  I feel like God answered with Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Sabbath is about working with God.

Sabbath is about trust.

Oh the Humanity (Bible Week…Day 5)

Isaiah.  Ezekiel.  Daniel.

Today we read a lot of the prophetic works.

Oh the humanity.

The Bible speaks not only of what will happen, but of what is happening to the Hebrew people at the time the book is written.  And the people who surrounded Israel were e-vil.  Evil.

The Jewish people practically sold themselves to them.  They did the same things they did.  They worshiped their gods.  This is not like going to R rated movies.  This is like…wicked.  Purely wicked things.  Think Nazi.  Think worse.

If you know me at all, you know I know of injustice that would make your blood run cold.  Still, as I’m listening to these things recounted…and as I’m thinking, “This really happened.  It’s not figurative.”…and as I’m realizing how absolutely unjust the injustice was when Isaiah was written…I’m realizing that there really has been change in the world.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:2

Like, I’ve always thought the world was going to hell in a handbasket (literally) but God’s grace through the cross, the blessing for the world that is promised to come through the Jewish people, really did work.  The kingdom of God, here and now, in human hearts throughout history, really has made a difference.

And I started to weep.

In my heart I saw the earth, filled with light and life.  So I drew it.

I finished my drawing somewhere around Habakkuk 2:14…

For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.

For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.

And some more blurry pictures for ya…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(To stop the slideshow and view one picture, hover the mouse over the slideshow.  Three buttons appear.  The middle one, a square, stops the slide show.  Left and right arrows allow you to progress at your own pace.)

Wind and Fire (Bible Week…Day 4)

They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

Jeremiah 8:11

The words caught my ear quickly as they passed.  I have trouble following along in the text, so I had no idea where we actually were in the book.  I only knew that it was Jeremiah.  I scribbled the words in my notebook.  Again at the end, a similar statement caught my ear, and so I scribbled 48:10.

Cursed be the one who does the LORD’S work negligently…

Words like “superficial” and “negligence” carry such a heavy weight as I consider my life’s purpose to come from Isaiah 61: “to heal the brokenhearted.”  Jeremiah’s life exemplifies my desire for this purpose to come from within.  His famous quote…

But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. (20:9)

…contrasts starkly against the religious activity of the day, illustrating his continuous cry that God is more concerned with the heart issues.  As we are fond of saying around here, dealing with the root instead of the fruit.

Colors of the Temple: blue, purple, and scarlet

A bit of context for you: Jeremiah is written well after the “glory days” of the Jewish people, after things have been going very badly for hundreds of years, there is a brief season of restoration followed by devastating moral deterioration which lands the people in exile.  Jeremiah has the joyless task of warning the king and the people that the path they have chosen leads to destruction, begging them to choose God.

As we are listening to the books being read, and most of the other students are following along in their Bibles, I have my art supplies spread out on the floor in front of me.  My doodles began with fire and quickly changed to page after page of windblown trees.  I could almost hear wind rushing past my ears.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Later in the day as we watched the Jeremiah movie, I noticed that they also used images of wind and fire over and over again in the film.  Even as I drew each tree, the lines reflected the story I was hearing.  I started the art to keep my hands busy so I could concentrate, but I the process of creating is helping me to engage the reading on a whole different level.

Reflecting on the experience as a whole, I know it is affecting me on so many different levels.  At one point in the afternoon, I felt this shift in my thinking…nothing specific I could describe…just a growing confidence in God, in His faithfulness and His ways.  It’s been really powerful, and I honestly believe it will change…is changing…my life.

I missed 1 & 2 Chronicles this evening, but hope to rest well and start on Proverbs and Isaiah tomorrow.  Two of my favorites.  I’m excited.

Turn Turn Turn (Bible Week…Day 3)

Go figure.  A week ago I posted about waiting.  And for two days I have heard about people who did…and did not…wait on God.

Israel was impatient for a king, so God concedes and the prophet Samuel anoints Saul as king.  Saul was impatient for battle and went on without God and lost his crown…and his mind.  I think I’m getting the picture.

Then there’s Ecclesiastes and even Song of Solomon. “A wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.”  “I adjure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, do not awaken love until it pleases.”

And the Byrds, “To everything (turn turn turn) there is a season (turn turn turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven…”

Okay, we didn’t listen to the song.  But wouldn’t it be great if we did?

We do watch at least one movie a day.  It adds to the reading.  Today it was the movie David.  I thought you might like to join in the fun.  About 7 minutes in, you can see a depiction of the rather pithy (and rainy) scene I referenced above.

Samuel:  Saul!  What are you doing?

Saul:  I am making a sacrifice…You were not here to speak on my behalf.

Samuel:  You were told to wait.

Saul:  I had to do something.

That’s all you get.  No more spoilers.  I just had to laugh at how obvious it was…God definitely wants me to learn about His timing.

Still the Beginning (Bible Week…Day 2)

I think the biggest revelation from the five books we have covered so far is that we don’t have to be perfect.  Not just we as individuals, but we as a community aren’t always going to get it right.  It’s fun to criticize the Israelites and how whiney they are in the wilderness; it’s pithy to recognize that we aren’t much different from them.  What is beautiful to me is that though an entire generation did not enter the promised land, though the following generation was cursed to wander around with them and bear the burden of their sin, God still brought the Messiah through these people to bless all nations of the earth.

The other thing that stands out so clearly is how many people are affected by one person’s sin.  Abram lies about Sarah and brings disease on Pharoh’s house.  Sarah gets impatient waiting for the son God promised to her and has Abram impregnate her servant Hagar, from whom Ishmael is born.  Ishmael becomes a nation because of God’s love, but Hagar and Ishmael bear the burden of Sarah’s impatience.  The list goes on…and on and on and on…it doesn’t seem fair to me. 

But then Jesus, the sinless God-man, dies on a cross.  He becomes sin for us.  He died for the sins I have committed, and the sins committed against me.  He died so that we could love one another truly.  And somehow His love and His sacrifice works…not only for us to one day enter eternety with Him, but to change how we live today, to release us from this mess we’ve all made from the things we do to one another. 

Tonight the students are reading Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.  I’ve been in and out this weekend due to other commitments and errands, but I’m okay with that.  I have been blessed recently to be able to study the Bible in large chunks like we did this weekend.  I am looking forward to (and a little nervous about) delving in tomorrow for a full day.  So it is still, really, the beginning.

In the Beginning (Bible Week…Day 1)

This week we have a speaker coming to lead our Discipleship Training School through reading the entire Bible in a week, Saturday to Saturday, sun-up to sun-down.

Our staff are so excited that we’re closing down the office and base functions for a week so we can attend with them.

This last week or two on base has been a little crazy.  I feel like God is stirring things up (and allowing things to be stirred) so that a lot of junk is at the surface and He can deal with it as we experience scripture in such an intense way.  I just pray that we are not distracted, but are able to bring these things before the Lord and be open to what He is doing.

I’m going to try and post here as often as possible. I feel like I’m going on a road trip or something.

Today we begin at the beginning…

 

Genesis.