Saturday, February 28, 2015

Migraines and Job, book #22


Ok, there were some pretty scary pictures of Job out there, but at least this one makes it not so dreadful!  :)

Job, whew.  What can I say? We've all been there, some more recent than others, and some in varying degrees.  I love that this book is in the Bible, if only to show us that is ok to question God, to be "mad" at God, and to "argue" with God, and that in the end GOD still reigns supreme.  Yes, God did come back and remind Job who was who, but at the end, it was his "friends" who had the potential to recieve the worst punishment and not Job.

The one thing that leaped out at me this time reading through that perhaps has not before is when the sweet little Elihu spoke up.  He was telling Job how God did answer, just in different ways than you might expect.  In chapter 33 he says, 

19 Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain
    with constant distress in their bones,
20 so that their body finds food repulsive
    and their soul loathes the choicest meal.

and it reminded me of the lesson of my migraines.  Ever since I was in 10th grade when I clearly remember my first one, I have suffered off and on with them.  Sometimes they are mild, or dull, and sometimes when they accompany throw up, stomach pains, etc I want to beg like Job for Jesus to return, for my head to be cut off, or for the LORD to just kill me right then.  For many decades I would just cry, beg for relief, and try to sleep and finally them would pass.  But years ago the Lord came to me and deliver[ed me] in [my] suffering; he [spoke] to [me] in [my] affliction. (36:15) I don't actually remember audible words, but I know He said, "I will not heal you from these, but when I afflict you, pray for others."  So since then whenever I am down and out with these and get over my initial "GRRRR"-ing about the situation, I lay back down and start praying about every situation I can think of, whether it be prayers of thanksgiving or prayers for mercy or deliverance or wisdom or comfort, just whatever I can think of.  Is there an immediate healing?  Nope.  Depending on what level of pain it is, I still hurt, but I just do what He tells me to do.  I keep praying.  

As my girls get older and closer to the age that I started with them, my MommaBear heart prays they won't be riddled with these migraines even though they are slightly hereditary.  But then I remind myself, maybe that is how the Lord is going to work through them.  Maybe they need the migraines so they can learn some lessons from Him too.  Ouch.  

Finally, Psalms.  

Keep reading!

O:)
Melissa



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, books #19 - #21

Yes, we are certainly moving right along.  Little books like these make it easy to fly through and feel like you are making real progress.  In fact, if I keep up, by next Friday I'll be half way done!

Ezra
This book sort of gives us an overview of what is going on now and about the rebuilding of the temple.  When preparing for our trip to Thailand, we did an extensive study of Ezra and Nehemiah and it really helped me understand all things that happened.  There was a lot of opposition from the local areas, mainly because they were afraid the Jews would band together again and go to battle against the kings.  But the Lord was good and protected them and gave them favor in the eyes of the oppressors.  





Nehemiah
What is not to love about Nehemiah?  He is sad about the walls being in disarray, and when the king (who he worked for) asked him why he was so sad, he told him he wanted to go back and rebuild the walls.  So .... Nehemiah didn't even have to ask and the king gave him everything he needed to do it! Everyone worked together on the rebuilding, even goldsmiths, perfume makers, merchants, everyone worked on the part by their house.  Naturally there was opposition again, but the LORD proved Himself victorious again.  After it was rebuilt Ezra (from the last book!) reread the Book of the Law for several days and the people realized how sinful they had been.  There was weeping and gnashing of teeth and a huge repentance, then a signed agreement that they would do better.  
  

Esther
And then we come to the lovely Queen Esther.  That story never ceases to amaze me and remind me that with the LORD's help we truly can do anything in HIS will.  It also reminds me that sometimes we are put in situations that might not make sense to us, but we are put there for a reason, "for such a time as this" (4:15)  

Keep reading!

O:)
Melissa 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Butterfly Palace, book #18

Another awesome book.  This is actually the book we are supposed to read for March book club since I skipped the February book.  However, since our book club was cancelled for last week due to Icemageddon and rescheduled for two weeks later, I *might* have time to go back and read it!

Not much time to comment, but let me just say in this one, you never know who is the good guy and who is bad.  Hang on tight!!

Elegance and wealth. Privilege and politics. The extravagance of the Butterfly Palace overwhelmed Lily’s senses and nearly smothered her painful memories. She pushed away her misgivings . . . She was perfectly safe in this huge house.
Austin, Texas—1904: Abandoned by the love of her life and still mourning the loss of her mother, Lily Donaldson has turned her back on the pain and come to Austin for a fresh start, working for the Marshall family as a kitchen maid in their luxurious mansion, the Butterfly Palace. The tasks before her are legion, and her mistress less than pleasant, but at least Lily’s new life will be, if nothing
else, distracting.  But one night, while serving at a dinner party, Lily recognizes the man who abandoned her, Andy, her liaison from the livery stable, the blacksmith’s son . . .  sitting among the distinguished guests. Though he recognizes her, Andy does not acknowledge her aloud, and Lily is left reeling, flabbergasted, and irate. But before she can get an explanation, the path of the Servant Girl Killer swerves very close to the Butterfly Palace, sowing terror among the maids. Having come to Austin to start anew, Lily suddenly feels trapped in a spider web. How can she know who to trust in a house where lies come dressed in fine suits and deceit in silk gowns the colors of butterfly wings?  (picture and description from amazon.)


Happy Reading!

O:)
Melissa

1 and 2 Chronicles, books #16 and #17

And we are marching on.  These books are pretty much a recap of 1 and 2 Kings with some genealogy included in them. 

Takeaways:

In the genealogy part, I always find it interesting when daughters are mentioned.  And I love it when there are little tidbits added, like 1 Chr 4:14, "it was called this because its people were craftsmen" or 1 Chr 7:20-24:

Ephraim

20 The descendants of Ephraim:
Shuthelah, Bered his son,
Tahath his son, Eleadah his son,
Tahath his son, 21 Zabad his son
and Shuthelah his son.
Ezer and Elead were killed by the native-born men of Gath, when they went down to seize their livestock. 22 Their father Ephraim mourned for them many days, and his relatives came to comfort him. 23 Then he made love to his wife again, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. He named him Beriah, because there had been misfortune in his family. 24 His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah.

In 2 Chr the temple is now built and it is time to dedicate it.  Chapter 7:2 says, "The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it." But lucky us, we have that same LORD living in us!  We don't have to wait to be consecrated or step away because of HIS greatness!

In 2 Chr 25 we get to the review of Amaziah king of Judah.  He was pretty good for awhile, but then got prideful.  He fought the Edomites and won, then brought their gods and idols back and began to worship them.  The anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand? While he was still speaking, the king said to him, “Have we appointed you an adviser to the king? Stop! Why be struck down?”  Interesting note about this: Just this morning I had prayed to the LORD to help me see my eating (especially the bad habits part) like it really is.  Then this chapter is the very first one I read.  It was like He was saying to me, "Why do you go to sweets, etc to rescue you from your troubles, when you know it has never saved anyone?" And when someone does confront me about it (specifically my family) I usually get very defensive and respond similar to Amaziah.  Hhm.  What I had been "chewing on" in my subconscious is indeed the truth.  

Next up, Ezra!

Happy Reading!

O:)

Melissa
 


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2 Kings, book #15


So, just finished 2 Kings.  It brings out the student in me, marking in different colored pens the two different nations, taking notes, and literally yesterday I read more than required because it is so fast and easy.  And also because we are "iced in" and there are no time constraints on us!  

The chart above pretty much summarizes what I did in a better scale.  Indeed, all the kings of Israel were bad - bad - bad!!  Judah had a little bit of fighting chance, because some of them truly tried to be good, but those Asherah poles in the high places got them EVERY TIME!!  Hezekiah finally got rid of them, but then Mannasah right behind him built them right back up as fast as he could.  

Takeaways:

1. In 2:8 we find the LORD dividing the waters in half again.  This was the third time so far.  Wonder why Moses gets the main attention for this happening and not Joshua and Elijah?  

2. In 4:38-41, what is up with the Death in the Pot?

3. In 4:42 we find the LORD feeding 100!!  A precursor for the New Testament?

4. In 6:1-7, what is up with the floating axehead?

5. In 12:15 I love how they so completely trusted the people "they gave the money to" and did not require an accounting of how it was used.

6. Then comes chapter 17 that I read today in which the LORD may or may not have been speaking to me.  I might need to think and pray about this some more.  After the Israelites were exiled to Babylon, the Babylonian king had other peoples come to the land the Israelites left.  They did not follow the commands of the LORD and the land was ruined.  So the King sent a priest from Israel back to the land to teach them how to worship the LORD.  


29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places.

That didn't work out so well, but apparenlty they tried.


32 They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

So that got me to thinking, I do worship the LORD, but do I also serve my own gods in accordance to the custom.  Is my obsessive use of my iPhone an idol in accordance to the custom?  Is my desire and constantly giving in to sweets an idol in accordance to the custom?  I don't like those thoughts, but they are certainly ones to pray about.

7. And finally in 23:26 we have the beginning of the end.  Even though Josiah had done all he could to fix what Manasseh and Amon broke

26 Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger.  

That kind of made we wonder ... why even try? Is HIS anger going to burn anyway?

All through this I just kept thinking about America and ISIS and other terrorist groups.  Is this what America has brought on itself?  Is there any hope for us?  

Come, sweet Jesus.

 



Monday, February 16, 2015

1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, books #12-14

Whew!  It's amazing that once there is a story plot the reading picks up so much quicker!   

In 1 Samuel is when David, Jonathan and Saul come into the picture and all that mess.  My main takeaway from 1 Samuel comes in chapter 29.  The Philistines are getting ready to fight the Israelites (surprise, surprise).  Long story short, David wanted to fight in Battle A but the commander wouldn't let him.  David was really bummed, and reminded him how awesome he was at fighting and winning.  But that did not sway the commanders this time.  Heavy hearted, David and his men went back to Ziklag, where they lived.  Well, while David and the others were out getting ready for Battle A, the Amalekites (other bad people who like to fight) had gone to Ziklag and burned it, taking all the women "and all who were in [Ziklag]".  Needless to say, David was not happy about this, so after their little crying fest, they summoned themselves together (with approval from the Lord), went after the Amalekites (Battle B) and got all their goods back.  18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.” (Chapter 30) So even though David wanted to do A, he was obedient and did B which was even better than A would 
have been!

Then comes 2 Samuel, which is still confusing to me why they named it that, since Samuel died in 1 Samuel.  Seems to me they should have either named it 1 Kings (and had 2 Kings and 3 Kings) or David. But whatever, I'll add that to my list of questions for when I get to heaven.

I have always been amazed at David's tenderness toward Absalom, despite how mean he was toward David.  I guess that just shows how tender a love for your child can be, no matter what.  

In 1 Kings we start in on the Northern Kingdom (the "bad" guys) and the Southern Kingdom (the less "bad" guys).  Again, as with life, it always amazes me, yet makes me sad how the LORD can bless and bless and bless and then people are still disobedient and make so much trouble for themselves!!  

Solomon had so much good, and ended up blowing it.  And because he blew it, the LORD divided the kingdom in half, thus starting Israel and Judah.  I have taken to using two different colored pens for each king's name to attempt to keep them straight!  I also have a running list of the kings for each side. It never ceases to amaze me to think all these tribes came from one family of brothers years and years before.  (I mean, not that those brothers were good buddies or anything, but family nonetheless!)  

Chapter 17 includes my favorite story, the widow at Zarephath.  Even though she had NOTHING extra to give, she gave anyway and was blessed for the rest of her days.  (Well, there was that whole dead son thing, but again GOD was good in that!) 

And Elijah, who trusted so much in the LORD, and because of his faithfulness and boldness to share the words from the LORD to the king, had an AMAZING experience at Mt. Carmel where his sacrifice totally beat the attempted sacrifice of Baal.  But right after that, Queen Jezebel got super mad and lit after him.  He immediately went into hiding from her.  And, seeing the big picture, I think, "Really?  The LORD just showed Himself so huge with that whole Mt. Carmel thing and you are scared of her?"  But then I think of how many times that has played over and over and over again in my life.  Why do I get afraid, nervous, scared, about money, about jobs, about my kids, when GOD has been so faithful to ME over and over and over again?

In other book reading news, I gave up on my Book Club book.  It was not drawing me in and I knew I did not need to pressure of finishing a book I wasn't wild about AT THIS TIME.  Let it be noted, I am not a quitter and will read it at some time -- because I can't just NOT finish a book! -- but until I get through my Bible Reading Challenge my time is pretty precious to me.  I actually took the leap and decided to move on to the book we already chose for March, figuring there won't be as much pressure for me with that!!  

Happy Reading!

O:)
Melissa

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Judges and Ruth, books #10 and #11

Just plowing along right here.  

Judges: Again, how it resembles life.  God does amazing supernatural "supercali" stuff, we sing His praises, life goes on, we start not trusting, looking to other "gods" and worshiping other idols.  God gets mad, we realize our errors and beg for repentance, He - for some reason - grants it, we love Him, life goes on ..... I get so tired of this endless merry-go-round and wish we could just stay in love with Him and remember His ways without falling off the boat over and over and over again.  Come, Sweet Jesus!!!

Ruth: just love love love the sweet redemption of this story.  I am sure Ruth was petrified beyond belief to leave all she knew, but loved Naomi so much she stuck with her -- and ends up being in the lineage of Jesus!!  Talk about not knowing how your story is going to end!

In other news, I finally started my book club book yesterday, but I have no idea how I am going to finish it by next Tuesday!!  On average I spend about 45 minutes to an hour reading the daily Bible passage and by the time my head hits the sack I do not have the energy to last more than 5 minutes reading anything else!  

O:)
Melissa