So much of life is waiting. . .

As a Christian, I am waiting for a lot--for God to do His refining work in me, for Jesus to return, for me to GET how much God loves me and for me to see what He is doing . . .

What to do in the meantime? I have learned much about what the Lord is trying to teach me, tell me and show me through the discipline of daily time spent reading the Bible. So often we make this time harder than it has to be.

This blog was born out of wanting to share what God is showing me and wanting to be an example that daily time with God is not a deep or mysterious thing (well, every once in a while it can be), but simply a time to read scripture and note what jumps out at you that day. We don't have to be scholars or super-holy or ministry leaders to do this. Some days I hit the jackpot and others I come up empty--but only by persevering do I give God the space in which to speak and myself the stillness in which to hear and obey.

As of June of 2017, I've now decided to include parts of our adoption journey, which is, so far, yet another chapter of waiting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not Forgotten

Still happily reading in Genesis, in the middle of the account of Joseph. I know the story well, which can be a dangerous viewpoint from which to read Scripture. In chapter forty, we read about how an imprisoned Joseph correctly interprets the dreams of Pharoah's cupbearer and chief baker. Joseph asks the cupbearer to remember him so that he can get out of prison. The cupbearer is restored to his position, but chapter forty closes with this verse:

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
No sugar-coating here, no excuses, and no reasons. The cupbearer forgot Joseph. Joseph may have pinned a great deal of hope onto the thought that the cupbearer would remember, but he didn't.

I have sometimes pinned a great deal of hope onto someone remembering me: Maybe someone will think to invite me to this event. Maybe someone will thank me for this service. Maybe someone will tell me how special I am. In both small and large ways, we all want to be remembered and thought of and made special. However, the reality is that people forget. People like the cupbearer to whom we did a significant service move on without a backward glance. People who promise to be faithful aren't always. People who love us hurt us.

Though this verse is a harsh one, it reminds me that the Lord is the only One Who will always remember me. In fact, during the "Believing God" study (Beth Moore) last summer, there was a lesson about that very thing. God "remembered" such people as Noah, Abraham, and Rachel. God's remembering usually involves action on our behalf. Two years after the cupbearer is freed from prison, Pharoah has a dream and Joseph is finally mentioned. At just the right time, Joseph emerges to help save much of the world from famine.

I wish the Bible had included an account of what Joseph was thinking during his years in prison. He must have had days if not weeks of discouragement and struggle. How do we continue to believe that God is faithful when every human person has forgotten, and when there is no evidence that even God has remembered? What encourages me in my own times when I feel forgotten or can't see God at work is that the dungeon wasn't the end of the story, but the middle. My challenge is to believe that God is remembering even when I feel forgotten:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ask for What You Want

I am continually amazed by how God will take a verse that I have heard or read many, many, times and reveal something new. I was praying about something this morning, feeling anxious about it, and the "go-to" verse about anxiety, Philippians 4:6-7 popped into my head:
. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Like many of you, I have read/heard/memorized this verse over the years. This time I keyed into the word "request". Often when I ask God something, I try to figure out what He would want me to pray for in a given situation, or what I think is His will. My anxiety this morning wasn't really a black or white situation, just something that was bothering me.

During Beth Moore's "Believing God" study, which I did last summer, she talked about how we can ask God for anything. He may say "No", but we, as His children, may always ask. So, instead of qualifying what I wanted with "if it's Your will" or "if this would be best", I just simply, like the verse says, made my request to the Lord. I asked Him for what I wanted. I don't know if it's His will, and I don't know if it's best for me. It's a little scary to just tell God what my heart's desire is. I will be disappointed if He tells me "No." However, I will say, that, just as the verse says (imagine that), since praying, I do feel peaceful. I don't know the answer yet, and may not for a while, but I have made my request and am resting in His peace.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Original "No-Spin Zone"

Happy New Year! I am so happy to be starting over in the Bible with Genesis and Matthew. I know that all Scripture is God-breathed, but I have a hard time with the minor prophets and Revelation, which is where I've been reading for the past few weeks. The first chapter in Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ. Now, sometimes (just SOMEtimes) I skip, or at least skim, the genealogies. In light of it being the first day of 2011, fresh with the possibility of being deliberate and thoughtful and purposeful in my reading (and because I'm on break still), I read it carefully. The second part of verse six is what I noticed:
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah
Really? The first chapter of the first book of the New Testament and we're airing that dirty laundry? Solomon is David's by Bathsheba, who is Uriah's wife? Did we need to tell that? Uriah was already dead by the time Solomon was conceived. Why share that information?

Maybe to show that God's plans will prevail no matter our sin? Maybe to remind us that God's grace is bigger than our mistakes (even BIG mistakes like adultery and murder)? Maybe to spotlight the Lord rather than His fallible leaders? Maybe to illustrate that the truth will set us free (John 8:32)?

I'm not sure why Matthew chose that phrase over something more positive or more neutral or more gracious. Sometimes I am frustrated by the pervasive attitude in many churches that negative or unsavory facts should be couched in a positive, skirting-the-real-issue sort of way. "David is the father of Solomon by his wife, Bathsheba" is what most of our church missives would have read. Yes, we need to be gracious about other people, not gossip, and choose to believe the best about others. But there are times when the truth and the facts need to be baldly stated so that all of us can see the glory of God as it contrasts with our sin and the sovereignty of the Lord as He accomplishes His purpose in spite of us.