Saturday, February 27, 2010

Streets of Gold vs. Here and Now

This year, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, we need to live with an eternal perspective. I believe it. I believe it is biblical. I believe it pleases the Lord and I believe it can change our lives if we commit to really living that way.

But I am wondering something. So often when we encourage each other to have that heavenly perspective, we picture...well...heaven, as best we can, in our minds. We think about no more tears, no more sin, streets of gold, and seeing Jesus. Here's my question: If heaven was never promised, would you still think it is worth having Jesus in your life?

Okay, I confess. It's not an original thought. It's an old Andre Crouch song. But the chorus is thought provoking and for some reason I woke up the other morning humming it:

But if heaven never was promised to me
Neither God's promise to live eternally
It's been worth just having the Lord in my life
Living in a world of darkness, He brought me the light

It's a pretty simple song, even a bit hokey. I can remember my parents sang it as a duet in church - Mom sang like a bird and Dad never wanted to sing special music. But for some reason Dad liked this song. Perhaps it was because I was young and hadn't lived long enough to assess life, so I didn't quite get it. But now that I'm getting up there in years...whatever...I think I've lived long enough to assess whether or not having the Lord in my life has been worth it.

So, you gals know my answer, but I want you to answer the question. Without the promise of streets of gold, can you honestly say that having the Lord in your life has enriched your time on earth?

Come on now, don't be shy...

Friday, February 26, 2010


American author Thomas Wolfe once said, “Loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.”

When we closed our Bibles on Tuesday, Joseph was in shackles, being led away by a group of Midianites to be sold in Egypt. Imagine this scene: Joseph, apparently relatively naive to his brothers' animosity, arrives to find them plotting against him. A struggle ensues, but 10 to 1 are not good odds for Joseph (I am assuming that little Benjamin was not a part of this) and before he even knows what hit him, he finds himself in the bottom of a dry well, bloody and bruised, half-naked. The sound of his brothers' voices from above blur with his desire to sleep. He battles to stay conscious, still dazed and confused by the ambush. Hours pass, he struggles to stand so that maybe he could hear the low tones of discussion above, when a sudden celebration breaks out. A rope is dropped into the well and for the first time, Joseph breathes a sigh of relief. The prank was over.

Emerging from the darkness, he finds himself in the midst of strangers who holler commands at him in a foreign language. They bind his hands to a rope which is then attached to the saddle resting on the back of a camel. Joseph tries to call to his brothers, who not only refuse to make eye contact with him, but have turned their backs and are walking away, arm in arm, heads cocked in laughter. Tears fill Joseph's eyes as he realizes he is being abandoned. One of his older brothers pauses and turns. Joseph looks at his face for a sign of compassion but all he gets are eyes filled with satisfaction.

The rope yanks at his arms and he is thrust forward to follow the caravan. As he tries to get his bearings, he sees others walking, heads low, bound by the same future as himself. His ribs ache from the beating but the captivity does not graciously allow him to care for his wounds. He has no choice. In one fell swoop, he went from master to slave. Unable to defend himself, unable to communicate or heal, he begins his journey to Egypt.

Heartbreaking, don't you think? Completely abandoned, Joseph had every reason to feel lonely.

This morning my mind was drawn to my savior, Jesus Christ. People have often said that Joseph was a type of Christ and that many of his experiences were Christ-like. This story is definitely a parallel, as Christ was abandoned by his disciples and led away to be beaten and broken before His crucifixion. But there is one huge difference. Joseph was never alone. God was always with him. As we are going to study over the next few weeks, Joseph walked by faith and was blessed by God beyond comprehension. He set his mind on the things above, and God made His presence in Joseph's life perfectly clear.

Jesus, on the other hand, truly experienced loneliness in a way that Joseph never did. He was completely and totally separated from the Father. And the amazing thing is - He knew what He was in for when He agreed to become sin for His children. He knew this meant complete separation from God. True, utter loneliness is separation from God, and Jesus willingly endured it so that we would never have to experience true, utter loneliness.

Unfortunately, there are many who will experience this. In hell. For eternity. Heartbreaking, don't you think?

As I reread this post, I feel I need to apologize that it was a bit of a downer. We are leaving Joseph in a very difficult place...all alone. We are seeing Christ on the cross, bearing our guilt and shame, separated from His Father...all alone. And we see so many in this world, lost in their sin, choosing to rebel against God and heading to a destiny of true, utter loneliness..all alone.

But don't miss the outcome of these stories. Joseph may have been in the eye of a very long storm, but he was not alone. God's continued presence turns this master/slave into the second in command of Egypt. And we can rejoice in the cross because Jesus is not in hell today, bearing our sin, but He has OVERCOME and sits at the right hand of His Father, interceding on our behalf, fully glorified, fully alive and fully victorious!

As for those who are running full speed toward hell, let these images burn in our hearts a desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone we meet, because contrary to what Thomas Wolfe thinks, loneliness does not have to be the central and inevitable experience of all men.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Holy and Beloved

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

In our memory work, we are skipping from verse 4 down to 12-14. Verse 12 is rich with theology. We see the sovereignty of God, which I could easily write about in a decades worth of posts. We see the place where God focuses His attention - on the heart. We also see five character qualities which Christ exemplified for us while here on earth - each one could be a study in itself. But these several treasures are not the focus of this post. I want to look at the two titles that God gives us in this verse: holy and beloved.

Let me start by asking you a question. Are you holy? Now, I know you ladies and there's not a single one of you that would step forward and say, "Yes, I am holy," because in saying so, there's almost a sense of arrogance. None of you would hold yourself up that high. But truth be known, God doesn't call His children "holy" because He hopes they'll get their act together and stop sinning. It's not a wishful title.

It's actually a fact.

Yes. You are holy.

Now, I understand about sanctification and the process of becoming holy. In Leviticus 11, God says, "Be holy, for I am holy." Obviously if we were holy, He wouldn't have to command us to be holy, so what do you mean, Kristen, when you say that we are holy?

Holy means in its simplest form, to be set apart. To be separated. God's choosing of you, His sacrifice for you and His work in your life, sets you apart. You are not of this world, but you are a child of God. Jesus took your place and you assumed His righteousness. He is holy, therefore you are holy.

So when God calls you holy, it is kind of a pet name. Chosen, set part, paid for, pure, perfect and righteous. Holy. That's how He sees you, so that's what He calls you. When He instructs you to be holy, He is reminding you that since you are set apart, you should act like it. Remember, we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. He is holy, therefore we are holy.

The second name is beloved. Are you truly the beloved of God? When God calls His children beloved, it is a reminder of His great love for them.

No one has done for you what God has done.

No one.

Need I list out what He has done? How about these, for a start: He made you. He gave His Son for you. He gave you His Spirit so that you would not have to go through life alone. He has prepared an eternal home for you. He has given you every good thing pertaining to life and godliness. He has provided an enormous handbook to make life easier. He has given you the body of Christ to come alongside you and walk through life with you. He has justified, sanctified, glorified, redeemed, sustained, called and yes, even predestined you to be His child. Need I go on?

You are beloved of God. He loves you. He has put your needs before His own. And so when He calls to you, He uses a name that endorses His actions - beloved.

So, holy and beloved, you need to spend sometime embracing your names as you memorize this verse. Name them and claim them, because these are two names that have the facts to back them up.

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

True Celebrity

Years ago, Dave and I were on a plane and discovered that Cher was up in the first class section. We couldn't see her from where we were sitting, though we tried, but when we got off, we got a good look at her. Why is it that celebrities, even ones that you don't like, have that kind of effect on you? There we were, leaning in the aisle, standing in our seats, trying to get a look...then stalking her at the baggage area...ridiculous, really. There was just something exciting about seeing her...well, maybe not exciting, but it was interesting.

Likewise, my niece, Lindsey, saw Hulk Hogan on a plane and "accidentally" bumped into him as they were getting off the plane, grabbing his arm, because she wanted to be able to say she touched him! Several people also told me they saw Ed Harris in Grand Haven and Holland this fall, as he was shooting a movie in the area, and shared their stories with a sparkle of excitement in their eyes. And there was another time, when my son Calvin was still in a stroller, that Dave and I were at a driving range and saw Walter Payton. He was larger than life. It was quite a thrill...

In truth, celebrities are not necessarily heroes, though we tend to put them up on a pedestal. Now, I want you to fast forward into eternity. Say you're sitting in an airport, and Moses walks by with his entourage, including Paul and Peter on either side of him. They're in a deep discussion and they just happen to sit in the boarding area across from you. You realize that they are going to be on the same plane. Your heart starts to race. You wonder if you should jump up and offer them the three candy bars you just bought (it's okay, there are no calories in heaven). You start to sweat as Moses turns his head and looks at you. Now there's something to get excited about!

Well, ladies, we are going to start a study on Tuesday about another hero of the Bible - Joseph. And let me tell you, gals, he's one that you are definitely going to put on your "I-want-to-meet-him-in-heaven" list! Unlike the stories that went before him, we don't have to scratch our heads and wonder about this one...he's the real deal! He was responsible, honorable, hard-working, handsome (yes, it tells us that), bright, feared the Lord, lived with an eternal perspective and was immensely blessed by God. He's the poster child for the prosperity gospel, except for the beating, the slavery, the false accusations, the forgotten loneliness and the sibling rivalry. Okay, so maybe God doesn't promise a bed of roses for life here on earth...wait...He actually promises persecution...but God does promise blessing which comes in many forms. Joseph is a great example of perseverance through adversity and the peace that God provides when you are in the middle of His will yet still in a storm.

You won't want to miss this great study! Not only will you grow in your admiration for this godly, role model, but you will also see God's plan continue to unfold, as He reveals to us the incredible details of this young man's life. I've got to tell you, this story is better than any fiction novel out there. It's got twists and turns, and a spectacular conclusion that will resonate in your head during life's most difficult times. We have 5 weeks to go...plan on attending and bring a friend!

One last thought - I've got other stories about Cliff Robertson, Loren Green, Steven Curtis Chapman and a dream about George Bush, but these definitely pale in comparison to my anticipation of seeing Jesus Christ face to face, and meeting the wonderful men and women of the Word who have impacted my life in such a deep way. Just another aspect of setting our minds on the things above...

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Heart of Gratitude

How hard is it for you to say thank you? Are you a grateful person? I personally believe that most of the women I know are grateful, thankful women. I am continually inundated with thank you cards and emails of encouragement on a regular basis. So know that from the get go, this is not a post because I think any of you have a problem with thankfulness.

But in light of all the love and romance of last weekend, I feel that it is appropriate for us to evaluate the source of everything good and ask ourselves if we are thankful children. I think the American culture has produced a lot of great things in the world, but it also has cultivated an independent, I-deserve-whatever-I-can-achieve attitude. Freedom does that. Freedom is all about putting rights into the hands of the individual and letting him shape his own destiny.

Economically speaking, this is a good thing. I'm all for free enterprise. But the down side is that because freedom places any progress or upward movement in the hands of the individual, the only person to thank for anything good that comes their way is the individual themselves. Am I making sense? When my destiny is in my hands, I only have myself to thank.

I've been reading a book by Michael Card, titled "A Better Freedom - Finding Life as Slaves of Christ," and in it he compares the Christian life with the mindset of Old Testament, New Testament and American slaves. It's something that is hard for us to grasp because we are free. Still, the scripture is full of slave imagery. Paul's letters had instructions to slaves and Jesus Himself used the slave/master illustration in His teaching: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:13

If the master was good to his slave, the slave was completely aware. His living conditions, clothing, food, sleep - everything in his life was dependent on the will of his master. If the master was harsh and evil, that was also just a fact of life - the slave knew nothing but what the master provided, whether good or evil. He understood that his life was in the master's hands.

Because we are self-sufficient here in America, we believe that our destiny and our well-being lies in our own hands. If we need more money, we work harder. If we are sick, we choose if and when we'll see a doctor. If someone offends us, we have the right to get even, or at least feel hurt and seek sympathy. It's our choice because it's our life.

Okay, Kristen...get to the point.

Though I think we are thankful when people are kind to us, I believe there is a greater level of thankfulness that as believers we are called to offer. We have taken for granted that every breath is a gift from God. We forget that our food, our clothes, our shelter, and our health are all gifts from the Creator. If you don't believe me, spend some time looking at the Haiti pictures and then compare them with your surroundings. We overlook the fact that we understand the gospel and can read the Word with clarity because of God's gift of faith and grace. Most of us are thankful for the cross, but are we thankful everyday? Does the cross even enter our minds while we shop for groceries, fold the last load of laundry or kiss our children good night?

We need to be thankful people. Not just when someone is kind to us, but to God. We need to remember that our very well-being is in the hands of our Master. This heart of gratitude that I am trying to describe is one that takes work, especially if you are an American. You have to reprogram your mind from relying on yourself to improve your life, to recognizing that every good thing comes from above, that God's grace alone made the sun to rise this morning and God loves you so much that He paid much too high a price to purchase you.

Once you cultivate a heart of gratitude to the Lord, it will naturally overflow into your other relationships. You will become a blessing to those around you because you recognize the great kindness of your Master, and you realize that life is not all about you - it's for Him and His glory.

So this weekend, for just two days, roll up your sleeves and start observing your Master. Is He cruel or is He loving? If He's loving, thank Him for that. Is He impatient and angry or is He gentle and long suffering? Thank Him for that. Is He a minimalist or generous with His provision for you? (Just open your fridge to answer that one.) Thank Him for that.

I think you get the picture...

Work on your heart of gratitude.

Just two days.

See how it goes...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When Christ is Revealed

Someone recently asked me why so many differing views on the timing of Christ's return exist. Great question. It brings to mind a few other easy ones: Why are there so many denominations in the church? Why do some sprinkle and some immerse? Does it really matter how old the earth is? What's the problem with women pastors? Is Sunday the right day to gather as a church? Are jeans really allowed on stage? Doesn't the Bible say we should be singing hymns? Can't we all just love each other and get along?!?!

Sorry, I got a little off track...the reason for their original question is that when you read the scriptures concerning Christ's return it is fairly obvious about what that event looks like and when it happens. Now, I am not going to draw a timeline and start walking you through all of this...again...though you know this is my hot spot...but the reason I am going here today is because of our memory verse for this week.

"When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:4

The revelation of Christ is the great hope of the church (Titus 2:11-14 - we are to live soberly and righteously in this present world, looking for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of Christ). It is what believers are called to:

*long for - I Thess. 5:4-6 - Christ will return like a thief in the night, but as children of God we are not in darkness - we are called to be sober and alert

*prepare for - Matthew 25:1-13 - 10 virgins, 5 kept oil in their lamps, 5 were unprepared and missed the coming of the bridegroom

*look for - Matthew 24:32,33 - parable of the fig tree - we are to watch the signs Christ gave to know when the time is near

*live for - II Peter 3:10-15 - Peter asks what kind of people ought we to be in light of the coming wrath of God, then answers his own question

But for some reason the majority of the church believes His return will be a secret slipping in and taking away of believers. It may cause some confusion initially for the world, but then things will go on as always as the final years of history unfold. I just read the other day that when Jesus returns, there could be one of those EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) that knock out communications and most people wouldn't even notice when Christians disappear because they are dealing with their own problems.

I really want to put an end to this theory. First, Jesus told us (Matthew 24:27-31) that when He returns, the natural lights in the sky would go out and He would return like lightning that flashes across the sky. Now we know it's not lightning, but Jesus in His glory - a blinding light that the whole world will see. Can you even imagine what that will look like? The WHOLE WORLD sees it!

Luke 21:25-28 describes this event and tells believers to raise their heads and look to the sky when the lights go out, because their redemption is on the way! Revelation 6:12-17 describes the actual moment of the lights going out and says that the world, however, responds in fear and cowers as they wait for God's wrath to fall.

And then the kicker is when Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians that when Christ is revealed, that we also shall be revealed with Him in glory. What in the world does that look like? Think about it - Christ is returning, shining brighter than the sun, the world is shaking in their boots and suddenly we are gathered to Him, revealed in a glorified state as well.

When Christ is revealed - revealed to whom? To the world. We shall be revealed with Him - revealed to whom? The world. This is not a quiet, secret event, shrouded by an electromagnetic pulse that confuses for a time but then life goes on as usual. This is not a middle of the day, disappearing from my car while driving so that the police scratch their heads and wonder where I went. This is a supernatural display of glory and identification. Christ is coming to gather HIS CHILDREN and deal with the wickedness of rebellious, sinful man. And the whole world sees it and responds with fear - note that they don't respond with repentance, but fear. And believers respond with outstretched arms and great joy. It is our great hope - the return of our Savior to take us home.

Keep working on your memory verses, gals - there are great promises and instructions in these few verses that can be a wonderful source of comfort and hope in the coming days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wrestling with the Lord

As most of you know, I have six children and I understand what goes into managing a large household. But I can't even imagine twelve sons, four wives, additional daughters, servants, livestock and the burden of support and leadership that was on Jacob's shoulders. When I think about it, I understand why he needed time alone. I have seen this in my own husband - sometimes when the burdens of life are weighing greatly on his shoulders, he needs some space to clear his head and regain his footing. I think the last thing that Jacob wanted to do was lose his night to wrestling with a stranger.

But God had other plans.

The story we discussed today fills our heads with questions and images:

At what point did Jacob realize this was Jesus?
Were words exchanged before sunrise?
Did Jacob initially think it was Esau?
Why did Jesus want to wrestle? Why didn't He just sit and talk?
Why dislocate Jacob's hip?
Did any of the entourage on the other side of the river see what was going on?
How could Jacob wrestle all night at his age?
What did Jesus say when He blessed Jacob?

All these questions and more will just have to go on that list that we'll pursue answers for in heaven. But there is great value, ladies, to spending time envisioning the stories of the Bible. Too often we rely on the flannel graph memories of Sunday School and don't allow our mind to paint the picture itself.

So let me encourage you today to go back and read the story (Genesis 32:22-32) and spend some time stepping in the sandals of Jacob, or sit with the women and children on the other side of the river and watch the struggle. Then let your mind drift towards heaven and think about what this story reveals about our Savior. We discussed a few things, but there is so much more to ponder. I think this story is much more about Him than it is about Jacob. And finally determine to hang on to the Lord during your times of struggle and trials - just like Jacob, don't let go of Him. Just hang on for dear life. The wrestling is good because it is the conforming work of the Father who promises not to give us more than we can handle.

Remember, Jacob was at the end of his rope and yet he was still able to wrestle at 95 all night with God.

By the way, the picture above was one of two that I found that didn't have Jacob wrestling with a person in white, with angel wings and long, flowing blond hair, so I think this is the actual shot of the conflict. ; )

Monday, February 15, 2010

Share the Love

Happy Valentine's Day ladies. I hope your day yesterday was full to the brim with LOVE....both given and received.

We love because He first loved us.

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

Love is you before me.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

How does God love us??? Let us count the ways.....

I'll start!

Col 1:13 He loves me so much He has rescued me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to the kingdom of His beloved son.

Col 1:22 He has reconciled me in His fleshly body through death, in order to present me before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.

Jump in here, take a moment to post and share the love!

P.S. Has anyone added to their gratitude lists this week or stopped to pray 3x a day like Daniel?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Your Story or His?

I love the stories of the book of Genesis. The characters are not larger than life - their struggle to walk by faith, their fears that control their actions, their loves and losses - all this is tangible to us today. The only "character" that is larger than life is God, and that is still the case today, as well. The reader could easily ask, "Why did God put up with Rachel's idolatry?" and in the same vein ask, "Why does the Mormon church exist?" Sometimes we are given the thoughts of God (Should I tell Abraham of my plans?), other times we only see His action (Abraham leaving Egypt a wealthy man) or His silence (Isaac sending Esau to make preparations for the blessing).

Again, I think these three aspects of God's interaction are visible still today. The Complete Revelation of God that sits on our coffee tables gives us enough of His mind that we never have the excuse that we don't know what God wants for us. Other times we clearly see Him "opening doors" and "showing His hand in a mighty way," which is always consistent with the counsel of His Word, and probably has more to do with the power of our daily walk with Him and our ability to tune into His will, than it does with Him actually moving (I think He shows up a lot more than we give Him credit for - we just don't notice). And finally, His silence can be deafening, as we wrap ourselves in the day-to-day living and forget that we aren't the center of the universe.

It's His story.

If I've learned anything from studying and teaching Genesis several times it's simply that it's His story. It's not that we are pawns or robots, but God knows the plot and He's already written the ending. His story is going to end the way He wants it to end, and all the pages in between are simply getting us to the climax of the ending.

It's so hard to try to fit God into a human example, because if I call Him "the author," then we will naturally assume that He's manipulating the characters to accomplish His storyline. But God is so NOT like anything we can experience or even know, that somehow, as an author, He allows the characters to make choices but ultimately will bring the storyline to it's magnificent conclusion despite the lives and choices of the characters, all the while making it perfectly harmonize with His plot line and ending. Confusing? Well...He is God and we are not.

But it is His story. Our creation, our salvation, our redemption, and our future glory with Him is not about us, but about HIM. It's about His character and His glory. It's about His delight and His desire. After looking at Rachel and Leah yesterday, I was reminded how quickly life becomes about us and our happiness. And yet, with all their bartering and bickering, were either of them ever happy? Where does happiness come from? I want true joy, but my desires are so limited and empty without Christ. I have found that when I set my mind on the things below, not on the things of heaven, when I stop seeking the things above, then joy is not attainable - only frustration, conflict, sorrow and grief abound. But when I shift my perspective to the heavens, when I set my mind on Him, on His purposes, seeking His story and His conclusion and His ending, then joy springs forth, because being a part of His Story has eternal value.

So my encouragement for you today is to seek God's face in His Word, open your eyes to the work of His hands in your life and patiently trust in Him during the silent times, knowing that He is in control and you are a part of His story. Let me say this again: You are a part of His story. As much as Rachel or Leah, Abraham or Lot, Isaac or Ishmael, you are a part of His story - He has a plan that He will accomplish in your life that is part of a much bigger picture. Trust Him and place Him on the throne of your life.

Doesn't it kind of make you wonder where we are in the book? Are we in the final pages, or are there a few chapters to go? Oh, dear...that should be the topic of another blog entry...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Simple Bible Math Lesson

(Note - for you who were not in class this Tuesday, this post is going to be totally meaningless and completely empty of spiritual application. Sorry about that. I have to address a simple math issue that we, Lori, don't judge the blog by this entry!!! Come back later...)

Okay, gals - I had to leave town unexpectedly on Tuesday, but I'm back and I've got the math for Jacob's age when he left home for you. So grab your Bible and follow carefully.

To figure this out, we have to fast forward to the story of Joseph and then work backwards.

Jacob was 130 when he was introduced to Pharaoh as Joseph's father - Genesis 47:9

Joseph was 30 when he interpreted Pharaoh's dream - Genesis 41:46

Then there were 7 years of feast - Genesis 41:47

And then two years of famine before the brothers showed up for food - Genesis 45:11

So, when the brothers came for food Joseph was 30+7+2= 39 years old.

If Jacob was 130 when Joseph was reunited with him, subtract 39 from 130 and you get 91. (130-39=91)

So Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born - still hanging in there??

Now, when Jacob went away from his family, he worked for 20 years before he returned back to the promised land - Genesis 31:38

Just before he finally got the green light to return back to the promised land, Joseph was born - Genesis 30:25

I am not sure how much before this time but it is possibly up to two years before the return - two years or less, most likely. This is the only amount that we have to guess on.

So take the 20 years and subtract 2 and you get 18 years (20-2=18)

Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born - subtract the 18 years of service to Laban and we get the age that Jacob was when he left his father's home - 91-18= 73

Therefore, give or take a year, Jacob was 73 when he deceived his father, dressed in his brother's clothes, stole the blessing and ran to his mother's family in Paddam-aram.

Wasn't that easy??? You gals continue to keep me on my toes...

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jesus...Part 1

I want Him. I want to ever be aware of His presence in my life....even that statement rings sour as I type if it is MY life and I am letting Him in. My life is only mine because He has given it to me....
my personality,
my likes,
my belief in Him,
my circumstances, my days, my very breath.....
all formed by and sifted through His hands each moment He has me here.
I want to know He is my life and I am His.

Our scripture memory verses have been rolling around in my head this past week.
My life is hidden in Christ with God. When Christ, who is your life.....I have been thinking on that statement for many days now.

And I am beginning to see Him, and who I am in Him, in new ways. I am working at seeking the things setting my mind on the things above, so that what He is revealing will not simply pass through my mind to settle somewhere among the dusty files of knowledge and belief in my life, but will become my life...the part I live.

Have you had moments in your life where you feel the Spirit growing you? Gently stretching the limits of your brain with new understanding. I start to see the same themes in what I'm reading in scripture, hearing in Bible study, having in conversation, reading in others' writings....and I know He is asking me to think on these things. It's like He's laid out the framework, the outside edge of a puzzle before me; not a big one, but a small one, like my six year old works on. And He's given me an inside piece or two...and as I try to fit them together, He drops me a new piece....through His word, or a conversation with a wise friend, and it fits! And I become so aware of my senses are heightened and I begin to search for more pieces as I long to see the whole picture in front of me. And as I examine each piece, checking with Him to make sure it belongs to the puzzle, I know He is patiently waiting for me to turn it just the right way so I can see how it completes what He wants me to see. And I know, too, that this small puzzle is only part of a much bigger and even more wonderful puzzle of Him and me.

And I know...that when I find the last piece of this small puzzle and turn it just so...and it fits true...and I look up at Him with a smile of triumph and wonder...that He will smile back at me and nod His approval just as I do with Mia, because I am His precious child.