Monthly Archives: March 2007

BRF: Joel

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First things first. The book we’ll read for next book review Friday will be Galatians. It was the very first book ever done in BRF and most of you weren’t along for the ride way back when, so we’ll do it again. :)

I loved Joel. Even though it was a book where most of the words were talking about God’s judgment, I found it a very encouraging book. It has some of the most edifying words I’ve ever read.

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And my people shall never be put to shame." 2:26

I’ve messed up big time in my life. Everyone has a story and I certainly have mine. God has a story for each of us and I am so glad that all the times I have failed him don’t mean that I’m a write-off. As I read about God’s judgments for sin I am always struck with the seriousness they are dealt with. Why can’t I remember how serious it all is to God and what it cost Him. Reading the last few chapters in Mark last week brought the Ray Boltz song to mind. "Keep me near the cross, may I never stray so far that I cannot see what was done for me at the foot of the cross."  His mercy is beyond my comprehension and I want to stay near the cross.

Joel pleads with the people to turn back to the Lord. "With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." But he doesn’t leave it there. It’s too easy to just do those things. We have churches full of people doing this kind of stuff every Sunday morning. Getting ‘in the mood’ to do business with God in a service for an hour and not think twice about it all week long. Joel goes on to say, and this is one of my favorite verses now too, "So rend your heart, and not your garments;". Isn’t that getting to the point!? Don’t just do it as an outward show, get right down inside and rip your heart open before the Lord and ask Him to cleanse it. Let’s get serious about it.

Even then, the Lord’s mercy wasn’t a for sure thing. No one knew for sure if God would turn the tide and forgoe the second half of His judgment on a sinful people if they repented. Joel was telling them that you need to cry out to the Lord simply because it’s the right thing to do. It may not turn out okay for you in the end. You may still have pain and sorrow, but your soul would be right with your Maker. "Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him-"2:14. A statement was made once during a testimony given by a Mr.Sceery in our church and his words have stuck with me ever since. He said, "It’s not about being happy, I was happy without Christ. It’s about being righteous, and I wasn’t." Too true! We can be happy and blinded in our sin and maybe these people in Judah were. Thank the Lord for His word given to man to save us from ourselves!

I loved how the book of Joel started too. The first 3 verses were admonitions to train your children. Teach them to learn from your own mistakes. Teach them what man has done and what the Lord has done and will do. Teach them about your experiences and through them so that they will be more obedient and wiser than the last generation. Teach them all the scripture and give them ample warnings to refrain from disobedience. I just forget this part of training. I am learning and growing in so many areas, but I keep it all up here in my head. I should be taking my children along for the journey and when they come up against the same battles and lessons to learn they will have a head start in the right direction. "Oh yeah, mom and dad had a hard time with this and this is what God wanted them to do…" Wow, how things could be so much different for them, much the same as it was for us girls after watching mom and dad get saved and grow in their walk with the Lord.

I am going to stop rambling now and put Mr. Linky up. I loved Joel and I’m excited about Galatians next week. :)

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It’s review time :)

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First things first, we’re finishing up in Mark this week. Chapters 13-16 will bring it to an end and we’ll move into the Old Testament again. Now here’s my review for Mark 9-12:

The verses that have hit a little closer to home than the rest, and it could be because it is one of the passages that I actually understood in the reading this week, are from 10:17-22. The story about the rich guy who came to Jesus wanting to be assured of his entrance into heaven. He was a really good guy that had kept all the commandments faithfully and he probably figured he’d wow Jesus a bit with his clean record and just be told, ‘hey buddy, you’re in!". But the Lord knew the deeper issue the guy needed to deal with, his materialism. In the reaction Jesus got when He told him to sell all he had and follow him, we all saw where the man’s devotion truly lies. He couldn’t give up all he had for something bigger and better in the next life.

I have a feeling I would have been sorrowful over the prospect of losing all my possessions to do what Christ asked me to do. I can know this simply because I just love ‘stuff’. I love finding deals and storing up treasures. I find it very easy to get caught up in things, things, and more things without realizing along the way that I’m letting them take the place of something far greater to experience. If God was all He is meant to be to me I would find it very easy to say good bye to earthly stores and treasures. I would understand and have experienced such a powerful relationship with Him that all else would pale in comparison. If I was completely filled with the Holy Spirit my desire for earthly pleasures and gain would be non existent. It wouldn’t necessarily be that I would live with nothing, but that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I had to.

This man that ran up to Jesus full of energy and  excitement over the prospects of being patted on the back and welcomed, was greatly disappointed. He was only disappointed because his heart was in the wrong place. If he was sincere he would have welcomed the advice and quickly obeyed to be assured of the very thing he asked of Jesus. I’m not pointing my finger at him, just saying I am way to much like him. Big lesson for me.

It was fitting that this round of BRF should end with the widow who gave away all she had. She had the right priorities. She is now one of my Bible heroes. Seriously, can you think of doing that if it were you. Poor and alone, and giving the rest of your money for the Lord to use however he pleased? Yep, that’s real spiritual heroism if you ask me. "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." (12:43,44)

That’s it folks. Nothing big but kind of big to me. :) I’ll be checking out you’re reviews as they appear here on Mr. Linky. Thanks for coming along on Book Review Friday!

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Book Review Friday: Mark 5-8

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First things first : For next weeks book review we will move on to chapters 9-12. We’re half way through Mark already. :)

I’ve had one of those weeks. I had decided that on Monday I was going to gain control of my life and it’s sad to say that it’s Friday already and it hasn’t happened. That’s what sickness in a house of 6 does. The big bad cold is hitting us only one at a time, each person taking their turn on a different day and I’m thinking Master I is on for tomorrow. All this to say that I haven’t had as much brain power as I would have liked to for this review. There were soooo many questions going through my mind. Lots of confusing passages and always wondering if my heart was hardened and that’s why I couldn’t understand. That was the reason that Jesus gave the disciples when they didn’t get what He was talking about, so naturally I must have those issues too. That whole "I see men as trees, walking." thing is one of the many confusing passages. I won’t give a list of all the things I didn’t get, it would be way too long.

There has been something on my mind this week though and the thought was planted there by an email that Charmin forwarded to me from a guy that Marty and I went to Bible school with. In his update on his ministry and what the Lord is doing in the area where they live he made the statement, "The world is consumed with their own righteousness". That made me stop and think. Of course, in keeping with my personality, I immediately thought of all those people out there who think they are so holy and have arrived spiritually. What a moron! That statement was all about me! Obviously I have a hardened heart if that’s the way I’m thinking. How can the Lord teach someone like that anything!?! How humbling.  Anyway, after realizing this and then reading Mark 7:1-9 for about the 4th time it clicked. Especially verses 6&7, "This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."  So I got my slap in the face and am praying for help in that area. It’s so easy to get off track and not pay attention to what the real point is. The point isn’t structure and rituals and if everyone is living up to par. It’s about what God asks each of us to do at each moment of each day. Don’t get caught up in the rituals, Shannon, get caught up in what God has planned for you this day, this moment.

And another verse that I have a love/hate relationship with is 8:35. "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it." That’s so hard. One of the hardest battles I’m desperately trying to win lately is just getting up 45 minutes earlier. It’s not a sin for me to get up at 7am necessarily, but it’s much better for me to be able to be up and ready for the day and ready to greet my kids with makeup on and a smile instead of looking like I was just hit with a sledgehammer. I should have this verse painted on my bedroom ceiling so I see it each time I reach over to press the snooze button. It may seem like a silly thing to use this verse on but it’s with the silly things like this that the huge battles start to be won. It’s preparation for bigger and better things… and I can’t get out of bed. I’m a grown woman for heaven’s sake! Tomorrow, it’s all over. I’m getting up ON TIME!

Now for your reviews. I’m going to need them big time this week. Hope you understood more than I! :)

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Book Review Friday : Mark 1-4

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First things first :) For next BRF we will be reading Mark 5-8. We’ve broken the book into very bite-sizable pieces and we should know it really well by the time we are done. If you haven’t been a part of BRF but would like to, just jump in where we’re at, we’d love to have you! Now for my review…

Good week reading. :) I kept wondering what happened to all those people Christ came into contact with. He was healing so many people from serious diseases and injury’s and freeing people from demonic activity all over the place. But where did all those people go after? What did they do? Did they go on for the rest of their days singing the praises of the one who helped them where no one else could?  The cynical me says no they didn’t. Most of them probably just went on there way happy that they felt better and could do what they wanted now. I know that’s pretty much how I have lived my life. I’m happy – problem comes up – pray, ask God to help & He does – I go back to being happy and come back to God when the next problem arrives. Sad, very sad. I’d rather be like Peter’s mother-in-law. She was sick and couldn’t get out of bed. Jesus came in and set her right as rain and she got up right away to serve them. Get up with purpose. God heals in order to put us into service for Him. She was given one of the smallest parts of the Bible, but she got her part right.

Another thing. I want to be willing to leave everything I have ever known immediately when Christ asks me to follow. No guarantee’s of what they were walking into for all those men Jesus spoke to as He journeyed, but the Bible says they left their places immediately. No hesitation. That’s big folks.

And another thing always comes to mind when I read about John the Baptist. Seriously folks, God doesn’t need help. He’s awesome, amazing, and powerful all by himself. If he chose to use a guy that lived in the boonies by himself somewhere, wore camel’s hair for clothing, and ate disgusting bugs for his meals and probably hadn’t seen a toothbrush or a bar of soap in a while (sorry, but I always think of that), then why do we think we need to try to make the gospel more attractive???? God’s word is powerful enough to change men’s hearts. We don’t need cool catchy phrases in our messages. We don’t need Saturday night services in cafe style to attract people who wouldn’t otherwise come out to church. We don’t need 40 days of purpose to get people living for the Lord. We don’t need anything but our Bibles and prayer to see God working. He really can make things happen all by Himself. Seriously, we need to remind ourselves of this all the time today with all the views and philosophies attempting to get us sidetracked. All John did was tell them they were sinners and needed to confess their sin and repent. That was it.

As for me personally, I was convicted by the parable of the sower in chapter 4. Too often I am a ‘stony ground Christian’. I really do get excited about, and receive with gladness, the Word of God. I love to learn and have new insights. But my problem is retaining and growth. It just doesn’t seem to stick. I have sprouts each week from reading and listening to messages but not enough roots to keep things growing properly. Though lately,because of the consistency this review forces me to have it really is getting better. There is always hope. :)

Another busy week but I managed to get my review up. Can’t wait to see those names gradually added to Mr. Linky. Remember that Mr. Linky for Dummies is there for help if you need it. :)

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