Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Top Ten Favorite Maternity Pictures

My sister Mel did an amazing job with our maternity pictures! I had nearly 300 to choose from and the process of picking my top ten was not only very time consuming, but aslo extremely difficult. She is very talented. Her love for capturing "moments" on camera was obvious as I reflect back on this picture taking experience. I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for a photographer who is detail oriented, enthusiastic, and is just naturally talented.










Thursday, July 26, 2012

What is the kookiest item you have in your purse?! 'Cause I don't know if you can beat me....

My purse was becoming unusually heavy. I decided it was high time I spent time going through the items and deciding what I truly needed. What I found was rather... interesting. I really didn't know I had so many kooky, bizzarre, most unusual, eccentric and peculiar items stored away in a little bag. No wonder it was a pain to carry around!

When I dumped the items on the table I really did laugh out loud and knew this was something I had to blog about. I want to see who has the kookiest, most bizarre, unusual, eccentric, and peculiar items stashed away because I have one question: are they as weird as mine?


My kooky, bizarre, unusual, eccentric and peculiar purse items are...
(I've listed them from most bizarre to least bizarre - sorta)
  • Clarinet Reeds
  • Kids scissors
  • Screws
  • Umbrella Stroller Warning Paperwork
  • Thank You Card given to me
  • Plastic Spoon
  • NapkinS
  • Bag of "necessities": chapstick, travel sunscreen, tide-to-go, travel perfume, bandaids, aloe vera(?), eye drops, tums, hand sanitizer, make up coverup stick, & hotel lotion
  • 3 types of gum
  • Disgusting Used Kleenex
  • Paint Samples
  • Coleman's Portable Fan
  • Adhesive Page Markers
  • 3 Highlighters
  • 2 Pencils
  • 1 Pen
  • Head phones
  • Phone charger
  • Teacher Photo ID
  • Hair Comb
  • Country Chick Lotion from Bath & Body Works
  • Check Book
  • Wallet
  • Bible
Some of these items I still do not understand why they're there, some I remember putting there but have never taken out (thank you card, clarinet reeds), and I most definitely question the duplicates: pencils, highlighters (different colors maybe?), gum, lotion?

It was obviously past time to organize!

Now it's your turn... what is the kookiest item you have in your purse? Come on - make me LOL!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Stupid Excuses

I had an "ah-ha!" moment while reading 1 Chronicles with my husband the other day. The story of Uzzah and the Ark in chapter 13, verses 5-14, made me mad when I read it! It's the story of David bringing the Ark from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem and Uzzah reached out to keep the Ark from falling when an ox stumbled. God struck him dead!

I asked Kyle, "What?! Why?"
Kyle, "Well, Becky, God said, 'Do NOT touch the ark!'"
"But, Uzzah was just trying to keep it from falling-!"

Then I had my "ah-ha!" moment. God's word does not change. He says it and He means it. So I began thinking of all the things in my own life where I try to make excuses...

"But God, she talked about me behind my back...!" But I told you to love your enemies as yourself.
"But God, Dad wouldn't listen..." But I told you to Honor Your Father and Mother.
"But God, she started it..." But I told you to live in harmony with one another.
"But God, he deserved..." But I told you vegence is mine.

I would've done the exact same thing as Uzzah and I do feel bad for him! But God said, Do not touch the Ark. And if you read on in 15:15, "And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord." So not only were they going against God's word by having ox carry the ark, but Uzzah touched it. So if God's word stands true here, I really don't think God cares about my stupid excuses either. If he says it, I'd better do my best to do it! Boy do I ever owe my poor dad an apology for my stupid, irrational, selfish behavior. And I really need to apologize to some people for the way I treated them!

Will I continue to screw up? Um, yes. I'm human. Thankfully, I live in the day and age where I am not bound by the law. The law died with Christ on the cross! Should I continue to live by righteousness? YES! Am I doomed to die, like Uzzah, because I screw up? NO!

"God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) So even when God knew I was a sinner, and would continue to sin, He died once and for all for my sins! "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) Hallelujah! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Anniversary Kyle!



Three years ago today I made a vow to Kyle to love and cherish him all the days of my life in front of my family, friends, and most importantly God. Three years ago I thought I loved the man standing there repeating the same vow to me, but OH MY do I ever love him now. So I can't imagine how much my love for him will grow 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 50 years from now...!

It's also hard to believe that Kyle has put up with me for longer than that. We've been together a total of six years. Dang. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, I guess time really does fly when you're having fun. Well, let's be honest, not every moment with Kyle has been fun. We've had our fair share of fights. We laughed the other day when we talked about how much we loved each other, but when it came down to it, I can dislike Kyle more than I dislike anyone! According to Kyle, I can make him madder and more frustrated than anyone else in his life. I don't think I'm that bad. ;)

Despite our moments of disagreement in the past, present, and years to come, we made a choice to love one another even when we don't "feel like it." Both of us believe that God put us together and if we keep God at the center of our lives and number one in our heart, nothing will fail, not even our marriage. It doesn't mean that we won't be put through the fire, or there won't be moments where I literally can't stand him anymore, but I intend to keep the vow I made July 24, 2009 to my wonderful husband. A wonderful and faithful leader, father, and friend. Thank you God for putting this man in my life! You have blessed me with an amazing God-fearing man who puts you first. I joyfully praise you for this amazing blessing.

Happy Anniversary Kyle! I love you!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My God Wink

I found this book at Dollar General, of all places, called "God Winks" by SQuire Rushnell and I was impressed with the stories of God's sovereignty. A "God Wink" is those little things that happen in our life that we consider coincidences, but are actually signs of God working in our life. I love how Rushnell described why God Winks help us,
"In times of UNCERTAINTY what we desire more than anything else is CERTAINTY. Certainty that our families are safe. Certainty that we won't get downsized or that we'll have enough in the checkbook to make it through the month. We crave certainty when we get a scary medical report. And we long for certainty in our relationships.
It's during times of uncertainty that we especially need to get connected to our faith. We need to believe that our lives are not random like twigs floating on a stream to destinations unknown. Instead, we need to know that we all have a greater purpose; that someone really is up there watching over us and we're always on an incredible GPS...what I call God's Positioning System™...never alone. To me, the best thing about godwinks is that they are TANGIBLE SIGNPOSTS along our way, giving us hope, replacing uncertainty with a genuine feeling of CERTAINTY that everything is going to be okay!"
That's so true! You can submit your own God Winks to SQuire Rushnell through his website: http://www.whengodwinks.com/ but I thought I'd share one of our "God Winks" through our blog. I truly believe that God is in control and I have faith that God is working in Kyle and I's life in miraculous ways. I'm about to tell you a God Wink story from our lives, but before I do, this book in and of itself is a God Wink, because a few Christmas' ago one of Kyle's stocking gifts was this book. He laughed as he rummaged through his gifts, because he had given me the exact book! (We took it as a sign we were meant to read it!)

My God Wink story may not seem miraculous to you, but to me it was the CERTAINTY I needed that there really is someone up there who knows best, giving me hope in things to come - especially those little "God Winks" that I know will continue to pop up in my life - forcing me to believe that there's no such thing in coincidences.

---------------------------------------------------------------

During our marriage counseling sessions with our pastor Doug, one of the first pieces of advice he gave us was to find a Bible teaching church, where we would grow in our relationship with Christ. We are not to become stagnant Christians! God calls us to grow in Him through His word. Kyle took this seriously, I however, was struggling with the idea of going back to church.

Growing up, I had associated church with drama, unfaithful Christians, backstabbers, and hypocrisy. My family had many bad experiences at church and as a pastor's daughter, I watched my dad endure these times with his head down on the couch, on his knees, in deep prayer. It ate him alive. Every single time my dad stood up for what I had grown up knowing was godly and good, it made people mad! So there would be an instant uproar, people would leave, drama would incur, people we had thought were friends would suddenly disappear from our lives, and we would move. I hated moving, because that meant leaving my friends, starting over in a new school, and making new friends. That was pretty scary to me. I've lived in five different states and the reason we moved from three of them was because we experienced some sort of drama within the church my dad pastored.

I remember one particular incident where a married woman of our church was in an adulterous relationship. The elders and my father made a decision that she would no longer lead the church in worship until this situation was resolved. That was the information given to me as a child. One morning, she had the audacity to try and play the piano during a special and my father took the tough position and quietly asked her to step down. Half the church got up and left with her! As a ten year old, that particular incident was etched in my brain and I had associated church with these kind of people. As time went on the mother of this woman, who lived across the street, would spy on us through her window throughout her day. I remember my sister and I making a rather large production one time on our driveway, playing loud music, yelling along, and dancing crazily on our roller blades, just to give her something to watch and probably talk about. "Those crazy pastor's kids!" The sad thing is, I have story after story about "Christians" in church and I had zero desire to attend another one.

So when Kyle said, "Becky, let's try to find a church to attend." My guard was immediately up. I didn't want to try, "I know what goes on behind the scenes in those places." Kyle is ever the patient type, "I really feel this is something we need to do, will you at least pray about it?" I had at least agreed do that. At first, I was angered with Kyle. He knew my stories of "church" and how it destroyed my family! How could he ask me to do this?!

Well... God works in miraculous ways. Kyle and I had bought his and her's devotion sets and decided to read them daily. It was a great start to the day. That very morning, after Kyle had asked me to pray about attending church, the topic on my devotional was titled, "CHURCH". The date was September 2 and the subtitle was Do I really need to go to church? Wow, that was the exact question I had rolling around in my tiny brain! Here's what my devotional said,
God's Response: "Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other." (Hebrews 10:25)
Just after reading that verse, I felt myself shrink a little, but after I read what the author had to say, I knew this was a sign that I needed to to listen to my husband!
All believers together form God's family, and only by meeting together can we bond. The church exists in part to equip God's people to do God's work by encouraging them in their faith. At church, Christians learn to work together in unity and to practice reconciliation between different people in a way that is only possible by Christ's spirit. When we meet together, we can build each other up and help each other.
I conceded, "OK, God! I'll go!" (I think I actually said it out loud!) and I felt like a weight had been lifted from my heart. When we finally found a church that taught directly from God's word, I began changing in ways that are truly miraculous and would not have been possible had I not had this God Wink moment in my life. God's sovereignty continues to amaze me. If I look around I can see His hand at work in all aspects of our lives! I want to glorify God for this moment because I'm not Who I Once Was, thanks to Him and the powerful way He has worked in my life and in my marriage.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monday is Malachi Day! =)

Today's schedule isn't as busy as I originally thought it'd be, so instead of reading and commenting on Malachi Monday, I decided to do it now. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, which means that I'm done with my Old Testament daily readings that I had scheduled for the last two weeks.

This is now the length of my "checked off" list because I decided to read a book a day:
I'm amazed as I look at this list how much I learned by reading each book. I still have a ways to go, but I'm seeing the progress towards completing my New Years resolution of reading the Bible through this year. Thank you for doing it with me!

Join me as I read Malachi, but don't forget that what I write here are my initial observations. This is not a thorough study of Malachi, but rather a read through where I jot down a few notes and observations as I read. Therefore, do not take what I say here as fact.

1:1 By now we should figure out that we need to know the author, audience and purpose. Every single word, phrase, and paragraph is important. We should know what an oracle is after doing our read throughs of Old Testament books, but just in case you're just now joining us, an oracle is a revelation, prophesy, or a vision. God gave this vision to Malachi, whom I'm assuming is a prophet, and the message is for Israel - God's chosen people whom He loves.

1:2-5 Reminds me of a parent, telling a child before disciplining how much he/she is loved, but... what you did was wrong and there will be consequences.

1:6-14 Tells how the priests are offering imperfect sacrifices. A perfect sacrifice is a symbol of Christ who was the PERFECT SACRIFICE once and for all for our sins, and by offering the sacrifice of a blind, lame, or sick animal does not symbolize Christ - who was without sin (or without blemish). "Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations." (1:14)

2:1-9 God has a lot to say to the Priests and it's not pleasantries. "If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings." God goes on to say what is expected of a priest, and they have failed to do this: "For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." (2:7)

Marriage is also highly symbolic of our relationship with Christ, for those who believe in Him as God are His bride. That intimate relationship between a husband and a wife symbolizes the bride/groom relationship with Christ. In 2:13-16 marriage has also been neglected. "Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless."

Okay, I'm going out on a limb here, but John the Baptist was a messenger on behalf of Christ, he came to "make straight the way of the Lord." (Isaiah 40:3) and the next verse "And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts." (3:1) The Lord = Jesus Christ. Is this prophesying the coming of Jesus Christ? It goes back to the symbolism of the perfect sacrifice.... hmmmm.... I'm thinking out loud here... in verse 3:5 God says he will send the prophet Elijah before the day of the Lord, and when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John the Baptist who he was, they were confused. They thought he was this prophet or Elijah whom this book makes reference. (Read John 1:19-28) This is most definitely something I want to dive further into, perhaps it will be a topic for a future blog... =)

I love 3:6, "For I the Lord do not change..." That is so reassuring to me.

4:10 "For behold the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root or branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts." The coming of Christ is going to be a magnificent day for those who fear Him and put their trust in an unchanging, magnificent God!

Thank you so much for joining me on this incredible journey! I still have a ways to go and my list still seems daunting:
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Nehemiah
  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Isiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Amos
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Hebrews
  • Revelation
I have no doubt you'll be hearing from me again in the near future. I'm sure I'll be setting up a schedule to continue down that road of accountability, however, I don't think it would be wise to try and read and write on these books in one day! Until then....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Today is Haggai Day!



I have never accomplished a New Years Resolution before and I am bound and determined to reach this one: to read the Bible through in a year. I'm well on my way to doing that, and I have a lot more work to do, but I figured that I'd use the down time I have waiting for my little girl to get here to read and share my notes and observations with you! If you're interested in joining me, check out what I've done so far...

Read the Bible in a Year Plan
Old Testament Daily Readings
PLEASE, remember that I am reading each of these books in one day. What I write here are my initial observations. They are not an "experts" opinion, or a historians study, I am simply reading the Bible to gain insight about our amazing, unchanging, faithful, sovereign God and grow in my relationship with Him. I take Paul's charge in 2 Timothy 2:15 very seriously, wanting to handle God's word correctly, and I do not want you to use what I say as absolute truth. I AM HUMAN and humans make mistakes.

My notes and observations on Haggai:

1:1 "... the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest..." Haggai heard the word of the Lord gave it to Zerubbabel the governor and Jehozadak, the high priest.

If you read the Old Testament you will find that it is very good about repeating stories. I wanted to know more about this time period (because I noticed that Haggai is very specific with times...) and I wanted to know more about King Darius, Haggai, Zerubbabel and Joshua. I found this story in Ezra 1-6:1-18! So, of course, I read it. Darius follows King Cyrus on the throne of Persia. God stirred King Cyrus to build the temple in Jerusalem, so he wrote a proclamation proclaiming this. The people who were in exile in Babylon (because of King Nebuchadnezzar) returned to Jerusalem upon hearing this proclamation. Jeshua and Zerubbabel built an altar to God and offered burnt offerings, and kept the Feast of Booths. They then built the foundation and had a great celebration. However, adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the temple was being rebuilt and caused problems, thus delaying the rebuilding until King Darius took the throne. Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews and the building began again, once the rebuilding began, an investigation also began. They found a document showing King Cyrus' decree to rebuild the temple, so Darius too, made a decree to let them build it, that the costs would be paid to them in full, and whatever they needed would be given to them. I like how King Darius ended his decree: (Ezra 6:11-12) "Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and shall be made a dunghill. May the God who caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence." (Dunghill. It made me giggle.) The temple was finished and they celebrated!

That's a summary of Ezra 1-6, telling the story of rebuilding the temple in the time of King Darius. Ezra was also specific with the timing of the rebuilding: "... and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king." (Ezra 6:15)

Back to Haggai:

1:5 "Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes." Hm, why are they not prosperous? Read 1:9 "You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away." Want to know why? Keep reading... "Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house." and if you go back to verse 8, "... that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified..." (It isn't about us and our glory!) So what did God do about it? Keep reading... "Therefore the heavens above you have witheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce." God calls for a drought so that nothing produces. Who's in control? =)

1:12 The people obeyed the word of the Lord and feared Him (which is the beginning of all knowledge!)

1:13 "Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord's message, 'I am with you, declares the Lord.'" If you read how the story plays out in Ezra, that is pretty obvious.

1:14 Throughout Haggai and even Ezra (God stirred King Cyrus!), I noticed a common phrase: "And the Lord stirred up the spirit..." (God is in control!)

1:15 More specifics on time, when they began again the work on the temple, "... on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth onth in the second year of Darius the King."

The beginning of chapter 2 has more time specifics when the word of the Lord came to Haggai once again suggesting that there are those left in Jerusalem who saw the former glory of the temple, perhaps in the days of King Solomon? "In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month..." Haggai was told to ask, "Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? is it not as nothing in your eyes?" So it obviously wasn't as magnificent? But He continues to say, "Yet now be strong, O Zerubbael, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts; yet once more, in a a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts." (2:4-9)

2:10 More time specifics, "On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in teh second year of Darius..." God blesses these people even though they are unclean. I love verse 2:17 that shows just how much control God really has: "I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord. Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider: Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you." I highlighted I will to emphasize God's sovereignty. He is in control!

More time specifics in 2:20, when the word of the Lord came to Haggai "... on the twenty-fourth day of the month..." promising that on the day He restores Jerusalum, He will make Zerubbabel like a signet ring, "... for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts." (2:23) I had to ask, what is the meaning behind the signet ring? What I know about them is that Kings had them with their specific "markings" to sign a decree or document, showing its validity. Sealing the deal, so to speak. Right? So obviously, God is making Zerubbabel a very important man, aka a king? If this is so, then I went back to 1 Chronicles to check out the genealogy of David's line and guess what I found? Zerubbabel is in the royal line of kingship (1 Chronicles 3:19), so God promises to restore to Jerusalem a king! Cool.

Now I go back to another nagging question: Why so time specific? One of the commentaries I read on e-Sword caught my eye (because it made the most sense) that they were without a king at this time (Darius is the king of Persia) so they kept time "by those of the empire to which they were subject."

My application - How many times do we wonder why we work and work yet see little results? I have to ask myself why they worked for a harvest and yielded little, or tried to earn wages, and yet it disappeared? Who were they working for? God said in verse 1:8 that He wants to be glorified! So ask yourself: Do I glorify God in my work? With my finances? If not, is that why I'm not seeing growth? Heck yes, read 2:8 "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of Hosts." If you truly believe in God's sovereignty (How can you not after reading through these books with me?) you must believe that He is in control of what we earn and yield, the blessings bestowed upon our lives are FROM HIM because everything is HIS anyway. If you still don't believe me, reread 2:17, "I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord." The Bible was given to us for a reason, TO LEARN FROM IT. So take this lesson from the book of Haggai: He gives and He takes away, BECAUSE IT'S ALL HIS... SO GIVE HIM THE GLORY HE DESERVES!

12 Ways I Plan to Be a Frugal Mommy

We are down to one paycheck soon, so we know we need to start pinching pennies. Since my job is now being a stay-at-home mom, frugality is now at the top of my "to do" list. Here's a few of the ways I'm going to be a frugal Mommy starting... NOW:
  1. Buy paper towels or disinfectant wipes, not both. I saw this great idea on how to make your own wipes for every area of your house, if I find that wipes are necessary, I'll make them myself: DIY Wipes. Until then, I'll use bleach water and paper towels or rags to clean the surfaces of my home.
  2. Make my own bread. I was given a bread machine, I have at least 5 loaf pans, and I have a friend who does this weekly and has saved what she has called "gobs of money" each month. She's going to teach me.
  3. Ride my bike or walk. It's a small town and I have a basket on the front end of my bike in case I need to run to the store for something (this also forces me to not walk away with bags of items I don't necessarily need and don't want to carry all the way home). The exercise will be an added bonus.
  4. Buy in bulk. The grocery store in town is expensive so Kyle and I drive 45 minutes to the nearest "city" to buy our groceries at a King Soopers. I plan dinner meals 2-3 weeks in advance so that trip isn't one we have to make very often, and I don't have to run to the local store to get what we need very often either.
  5. Freeze our milk. Milk in town is expensive and we go through it like crazy, so I can't imagine adding kids to the mix. Instead of buying one gallon at the store, we buy 3-4 and freeze it.
  6. Plan breakfast meals instead of buying boxed cereal. (This also means getting my butt out of bed in the morning.) It's so much better for you and it's so much cheaper. I can make homemade granola if I need a sweet cereal kick, add a little bit of honey... yum.
  7. Make my own snacks. We eat a lot of fruit (which isn't something we are going to cut back on, just buy what's in season...) but the other items I enjoy snacking on are granola bars, fruit snacks, popcorn, etc. I've pinned so many recipe ideas on Pinterest for all of the above! What isn't better homemade anyway?
  8. Make my own baby food (when the time comes). My sister has done this with both of her boys and she swears by it. Not only did it save her money but she knew exactly what her kids were eating. I plan to steal her ideas.
  9. Around the house use cloth diapers and rubber pants. My mom did it, my aunt did it, and they both swear by it. Their advice: when you travel use the disposable diapers, but at home, do the laundry, it's worth the money you save. My mother also told me to "invest in a clothes line." Mothers tend to know best and I'm not afraid of some hard work, so I'm more than willing to try and my mom says she'll teach me.
  10. Grow a garden. We spend so much money each month on fruits and vegetables! This is one area I know will help immensely. But I have never grown a garden before. I've helped my mom, but never paid that much attention to how to plant, when to plant, preparing the soil, etc. I know I need to plan and prepare ahead of time and I also know that, again, I'll need someone to teach me. I think of myself as having a black thumb instead of a green one. So far I have managed to keep the lone tomato plant we bought this year alive, maybe I can do this? Still, I'm glad I have a poor teacher/friend lined up. This sight helped me as well, it provides a chart detailing what vegetables and fruits are successful in your area, when to plant them, care for them, and when to harvest them: The Vegetable Garden
  11. Be a Coupon-er! I walk right by the little stand that offers the deals of the week or month every time we go to the grocery store. Well, not anymore! Plus there's a ton of sights out there to help out in this arena:
  12. No more ziplock bags! Use our plethora of storage containers, bag clips, and the plastic "wraps" pictured below (that I can't think of what they're called, but you find packs of them at Dollar General for $1). They look like shower caps and they work so much better than saran wrap that fails to stick to anything but itself. Plus these are easy to use and reuse, because they are so easy to clean, and they're so cheap to replace. This is also an environmentally friendly way to reduce plastic usage.
    There's different sizes, but the largest one fits nicely over a watermelon cut in half.
    

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Today is Zephaniah Day!

My New Years Resolution was to read the Bible through in a year. I realized, mid-year, that in order to accomplish this, I was going to have to get busy. Sometimes I need a little accountability and that's why I'm writing on this blog about what I read. If you want to keep up with what I'm doing feel free to join me, here are previous blog entries:

Read the Bible in a Year Plan
 
Old Testament Daily Readings
 
Before reading my notes on Zephaniah, please remember that I am HUMAN and that humans make mistakes. I am reading this book for the first time and these notes are my initial observations only. Do not take what I say as absolute truth (that's what the Bible is for!). Reading one book a day does not allow that kind of study. I read. I make observations. I share them with you. Through this process, I am growing in my relationship with God by learning about him through His word, while trying to accomplish a very important goal. Join me!

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Today is Zephaniah Day!

I got as far as 1:1 and knew I had to reread the story of Josiah, king of Judah, in 2 Kings before reading Zephaniah. I highly recommend you do the same. In 2 Kings 22 & 23, the story of Josiah reigning as king is told. He was one of the rare kings that walked in the way of the Lord, repaired the temple, finds, reads and makes a covenant with God from the Book of the Law, restores the Passover, and then is killed in battle so that what the Lord promised him was fulfilled: "... because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place." 2 Kings 22:19-20

Josiah, after reading the Book of the Law, knew that disaster was coming their way because they had not chosen to follow God. Zephaniah, who was a prophet, confirmed Josiah's fears by the word of the Lord. God used Zephaniah to unload his plan of destruction.

1:2 "I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord." I truly believe (based on verses you'll see later on) that this isn't only prophesying the destruction of the chosen city, but also of the 2nd coming of Christ - the ultimate judgement day.

It's pretty obvious why God is destroying everything from the face of the earth in 1:2-6, nations across the world are guilty of idolatry...
  • 1:4 "... I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal..." the idol of the Babylonians known as the chief male diety
  • 1:5 "... those who bow down to the roofs to the host of the heavens..." refers to the celestial gods (sun, moon, venus, etc.)
  • 1:5 the mention of Milcom, also known as Molech, the fire-god. The Canaanites, Ammonites, Syrians, and Arabs were known for worshiping this idol and sacrificing children to it!
1:7 "Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests." This verse is one of the reasons why I believe this isn't only prophesying the destruction of Judah. "... the Lord has prepared a sacrifice..." Who is the ultimate sacrifice? Jesus Christ!

1:14 is also another verse making me believe that Zephaniah was also prophesying the coming of Christ, "The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements." The great day? The return of Jesus Christ!

2:3 "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord." God even tells them to "gather together" and seek him "before the decree takes effect" so that they may be saved from His wrath!

In chapter 2:4-9 many nations are listed that will experience the wrath of God: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod's people, Ekron, inhabitants of the seacoast, Cherethites, Canaan, Philistines, Moab, Ammonites. "Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt its, and a wast forever." (2:9)

I love verse 2:11 "The Lord will be awesome against them; for he will famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations." There is only ONE God, and He is awesome. Every. Single. Knee. Will. Bow. to Him and Him ALONE.

2:13 "And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry wast like the desert." Hm... remember this? From Nahum? Where the prophet Nahum had a vision of the destruction of Nineveh? If not read my notes on Nahum Day! This isn't the only city, or nation, listed in this prophesy. My e-sword notes suggested that 1:10 "... a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate..." for example, represents Nebuchadnezzer and his soldiers entering the city to destroy it.

3:2 "She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God." Her/She refers to "the city" of Jerusalem and also refers to the nations. Is there a nation on earth that accepts correction, that trusts in the Lord? I honestly can't think of one, therefore, the world is doomed.

3:5 "The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail; but the unjust knows no shame." For me, this just reinforces that concept that I can fully put my trust in God. He is unchanging, He is perfect, every, single, day!

3:8 "Therefore wait for me, declares the Lord, for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed." Each nation will be judged. God is a jealous God. The first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image of any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God..." Exodus 20:3-4. We have failed God in this first commandment over and over again. How many times in my own life did the things of this earth come before Him? Even my family or my husband... I may not have bowed down to worship those things, but they came first in my heart more times than I can count. Therefore, I am guilty of idolatry. It doesn't say here that individuals will be judged according to this, but nations! The United States was originally set up as a nation that trusted in God, and that is becoming no more. We are doing everything we possibly can to wipe Him out of school, the constitution, the work place, every where, and we will be judged as a nation for these actions! We will be a nation that God will "... pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed." The United States is not such a "mighty nation" to survive God and His wrath.

Thankfully there's a reason to rejoice. In chapter 3, verses 14-20 the nation of Israel will "never again fear evil." (3:15) because "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." I don't think that Zephaniah is referring to "the nation of Israel" alone. Jesus (the mighty one) came to this earth to die for the sins of the world, Israel was the chosen people, Abraham's offspring. When Jesus died, he showed no partiality, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:28) Those who believe in Christ and confess with their mouth that He is God, will be saved (Romans 10:9). Those who accept Christ as their savior are "adopted" into the kingdom, we are "heirs according to the promise," just as it says in Galatians. Hallelujah, we have a reason to rejoice!

Join me tomorrow as I read Haggai.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Today is Habakkuk Day!

This week I have scheduled Habbakkuk, Zephaniah, and Haggai to read. We'll pick it up on Monday, the 23rd with Malachi and then we'll be done with the short Old Testament books! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out my other blogs that show progress on my New Years Resolution of reading the Bible through in a year and join me as I learn what God's word has to say....

Read the Bible in a Year Plan
Old Testament Daily Readings
I've really enjoyed this undertaking for many reasons. I've been able to grow in my relationship with Christ by learning about Him - go figure - He's every where! For once in my life I'm on the verge of actually completing a New Years Resolution! Haha. And I've found that spending time in God's word is a great way of overcoming boredom as I wait for our little girl to arrive in September, because God's word is anything but boring, I'm finding that I love it!

Before you read my notes on Habakkuk remember that they are just that: NOTES. These are my initial observations of the book, it is not a thorough, in depth study, so please take what I say with that little piece of knowledge in the back of your mind.

My Notes on Habakkuk:

1:1 "The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw." We can learn a lot about Habakkuk just from the first line: 1. Habakkuk is an oracle, a revelation, prophecy, vision; and 2. Habakkuk is a prophet of God.

Habakkuk is arranged by Habakkuk complaining, then God answering:
  • Complaint: Habakkuk has a complaint in 1:2-4 that sounds similar to a lot of ours, How long shall I cry for help? Are you listening to me God? Why are you ignoring all the bad stuff in the world? Why do the wicked prosper?
  • Answer: I like God's answer in verse 5, "... I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Basically we need to trust and understand that God is in control and He knows exactly what He's doing and why. God tells Habakkuk that He is raising up the Chaldeans (which he calls a bitter and hasty nation) to seize everything around them. (1:5-11)
    • History Lesson: the Chaldeans were Babylonians (remember the locusts from Joel? enemies of Israel?), from what I understand they were known for worshiping the moon-god.
  • Complaint: Then Habakkuk complains again in verses 12-17, from what I gather Habakkuk wonders how long the Chaldeans will be allowed to "mercilessly kill nations". We are no different than Habakkuk because he asks if they will be allowed to do this forever? (Which is what it seems like to us...)
  • Answer: In verse 3 it is a reminder that everything happens in GOD'S TIMING, not our own, because God answer's, "For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay."
    • Verse 14 explains why God is doing what He's doing and when He's doing it, remember everything is for HIS glory! "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
    • 2:18-20 kinda make me giggle in terms of people actually praying and worshiping a thing made by MAN, it's so true: "What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him."
    • In verses 6-20 God describes what the Chaldeans will have to endure for their sin, here's some of my favorites:
      • (2:8) "Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you..."
      • (2:16) "The cup in the Lord's right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory!"
Chapter 3 ends with Habbakuk's revelation and prayer of praise!
  • Verses 2-16 show God's power, here's some of my favorites:
    • "... the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways." (3:6)
    • "... the mountains saw you and writhed..." (3:10)
    • "The sun and moon stood still in their place..." (3:11)
    • "You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters." (3:15)
  • Habakkuk fears the Lord and waits for his promise! "I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us." (3:16)
  • I love Habakkuk's prayer of praise in verses 17-19, for although all these bad things were happening right at that moment in his life, "... I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places." That needs to be our prayer in times of trouble as well. Habakkuk and his people were being invaded by the Chaldeans, from verse 17 it sounds like the fields were not producing, and there was no flock in the fields, yet he praised God for his faithfulness, for HIS timing and Habakkuk was willing to be patient and wait on the Lord and the day of His deliverance.
Join me tomorrow as I read Zephaniah!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Today is Nahum Day!

Yesterday I read the story of Jonah, where Jonah was charged by God to go to Nineveh and tell them that unless they repent they would be destroyed in 40 days. I've never read Nahum before and in the first sentence it says it's an oracle concerning Nineveh. I was immediately interested in Nineveh so decided to do a little research and this is what I found (according to eSword, Magdalena Rebel on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, http://www.christiananswers.net/, and at christiansofiraq.com/cityofnineveh.htm):

After reading Nahum it was pretty obvious that it's an enemy of Israel and there were 4 that I specifically remember from reading Joel: Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome (remember the locusts?). Nineveh was a large city in the country of Assyria, located on the Tigris River, now known as Iraq. It had 15 gates (each dedicated to a different god they served) to its heavily walled city and had the largest castle for it's time - complete with a library! From what I gather it was around the 600's BC that they were destroyed and left in ruins by the Medes and Babylonians, thus destroying the Assyrian empire. This apparently was rather shocking because they were mighty... hm, wonder who's in control?
Picture taken from http://voices.yahoo.com/image/169519/index.html?cat=37 showing what remains of one of the gates of Nineveh.
I love history, so I found this little "study" interesting. The British Museum and a Museum in Baghdad both hold ancient Assyrian ruins discovered in this buried city. I would LOVE to check those out. Now that I have a little bit of background knowledge concering Nineveh this text is much easier to understand.

Join me in reading Nahum!

Nahum had a vision concerning the great city of Nineveh and it's destruction. I'm assuming Nahum is a prophet.

I highlighted 1:2-10 because it shows God's sovereignty and power. The Assyrians were a great and mighty nation, but "Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger?" (1:6) and "What do you plot against the Lord? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time." (1:9) Those verses amaze me because they didn't start excavating the ruins until the late 1800's (I believe...) and the city had completely disappeared!

Some verses that show his power:
  • "His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it." (1:3-4)
  • "His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him." (1:6)
In 1:2 the Lord is taking revenge on Assyria for the trouble it's given Israel, God's chosen people. God does not forget, "The Lord is a jealous and avenging God, the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies."

Verse 3 shows God's patience, "... slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty."

Everything described in Nahum, obviously happened to the city of Nineveh, to the Assyrian empire. What God says, will be. He is a God to fear, but He is also a God to trust because He does not change.
  • 1:12 "Though they are at full strength and many, they wiil be cut down and pass away."
  • 1:14 "No more shall your name be perpetuated; from the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the metal image. I will make your grave, for you are vile."
  • 1:15 "Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off."
Chapter 2 and 3 describes the utter destruction of the city. Right down to the babies! "... her infants were dashed into pieces at the head of every street..." (2:10) They were utterly destroyed! Again, God's word stands true.

It sounds like the nations around Assyria praised the end because in 3:19 it says, "All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil?"

God is in control. His sovereignty is obvious in every single book I've read so far. Nahum was an excellent reminder of His power, sovereignty, and trustworthiness - He is a God of His word!

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As I read through the Bible I'm amazed at what I've learned not only about history, but about my God and His unchanging attributes. Join me as I pick up my reading on Monday with the book of Habakkuk. If you just jumped on the bandwagon and have no idea what I'm talking about, check out my other entries and join me as I try to read the Bible through this year:

Read the Bible in a Year Plan
Old Testament Daily Readings
* If you decide to join me, please remember that what I write here are my initial observations. I am by no means a historian or Bible expert. I am simply spending one day each day reading and observing what God has to say, therefore, do not take what I say as absolute truth! I am human!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

30 Weeks Down, 10 Weeks To Go!

My little girl is 30 weeks old today!
My big belly has been on display,
But now she's starting to show off in a whole new way.
She used to be camera shy.
When I'd point out her movements, she'd quickly say good-bye.
Nowadays, she's moving more than before.
Her movements are nothing to ignore.
I feel like I eat more than ever.
Have I ever missed a meal? Um, no, never!
I eat when I wake up, around 10, then again at noon, 3, 5 and then supper time.
You'd think I'd be at my weight prime.
I've only gained about 14 pounds.
That's mostly baby, it sounds.
I can't see my feet.
The popping out of my bellybutton is now complete.
I still love pickles.
And we're trying to save our dimes and nickles.
The taste of coffee is starting to make a comeback.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches have always been a staple snack.
I'm starting a countdown so here we go...
64 days until September 14, which is a lot of days to grow.
Daddy continues to talk to her every day.
So I have no doubt that she'll be a Daddy's Girl in every way.
When we went to the doctor it was obvious she IS a girl.
In fact the doctor said, "I'm 99% sure you don't have a little Earl."
We can't wait to meet her and finally announce her beautiful name.
From this point on, it's now a waiting game.
How big will I get?
Let's see if I ever really, truly admit...
64 days until my due date.
Let's see if she's early, on time, or a little late.
I'm sure you'll see me again in the next few weeks.
And you'll notice an ever bigger change in my physique!

Poor Marley Tried to Bite a Fan...

... and it didn't turn out so well.

The video is obviously dark because we're getting ready to go to bed, sorry about the quality, but hopefully you catch enough of it to know what happens and why I'm still giggling hysterically. I was turning this little Coleman's fan off and on because Marley was obsessed with checking it out. At first he hated it because if you read my original blog about him: My Little Marley Man, you'd know that he HATES wind. So he began barking at it every time I turned it on. This was funny, so I decided to try and record it. Well... I turned my camera on in the nick of time, because this time, he decided to go on the attack.


If you read my blog about My Little Marley Man you'll also know that he is a momma's boy who insists on being comforted by mommy when something bad happens to him. Well... not this time. He only wanted DADDY! LOL. I'm sorry! I'M NOT THE ONE WHO TRIED TO BITE A FAN.

Ok, those responsible readers out there, "Well you shouldn't have been teasing him with the fan!" (Ahem, my husband Kyle.) YOU'RE RIGHT! Okay! I admit it, you're right. I'm glad the fan is a AA powered wimp and it didn't hurt him beyond his pride and a little sting, otherwise I'd have felt really, really bad. But you have to admit, it's pretty darn funny.

Today is Jonah Day!

As you all should know by now I made a New Years Resolution to read the Bible through in a year. WelP, that was not going to happen unless I put my foot down and got to work. That's where you come in! I knew that if I told you my plan, knowing you knew I'd be blogging about my plan, then I'd be motivated to complete this plan. I love the accountability this blog gives me! Yesterday I was able to cross off Obadiah and today is Jonah. I still have a ways to go, but I am making progress.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not just reading these books to "cross them off my list", I'm reading them because I'm learning so much about our wonderful Creator and growing in my relationship with Him. It's been an amazing experience and I hope that you're joining me in it! If you just decided to join me, that's great! Here are my previous blogs that show you what I decided to do and how I decided to do it:

Read the Bible in a Year Plan
Old Testament Daily Readings
* PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE remember that what I post are my initial observations. I am not studying the Bible thoroughly simply because if I want to get through it this year I do not have time to do that. I am reading each of these books through 3 or 4 times and recording my observations for you to read as I go. That does not mean you need to take what I say as truth. I take what 2 Timothy 2:15 says very seriously. I do not want to handle God's word incorrectly and that is obviously not my goal, but I do not want you to use what I write as initial observations as absolute truth - cause I am HUMAN. :)

If you click on Ruth Day! you will find this chart:
I used this chart for 5 years in my classroom which is a basic outline of a story. This 'Elements of Plot' graphic organizer is very helpful when trying to pick out the important pieces of a story, even in the Bible! The chart reads from the bottom left hand corner with the exposition, travels up the mountain (or witches hat as some call it) to the little arrow called the opening scene, after being introduced to the characters, setting, and point of view (exposition) this is where the action starts! Once the action starts the story is underway giving you plenty of conflict (the kaBOOM in the middle) and important events (the arrow going up to the star, aka the rising action.) You will eventually hit a climax (the star) where the character (or protagonist) has an epiphany, or a realization. From this point on things will never be the same! The arrow going away from the star is the falling action, where all the important events are leading to the resolution, which is the box in the far right hand corner. I love the word resolution because when you break it down it's so easy to understand why it's THE END. The problems are RESOLved or the protagonist usually finds a reSOLUTION to his/her problems. See what I mean? Once I point that out, I usually see lightbulbs start to flicker and that's my favorite part of being a teacher. :)

The story of Jonah!

Exposition:
  • Protagonist: Jonah, God
  • Antagonist: God is Jonah's Antagonist and Jonah is the Lord's Antagonist (definitely a character vs character conflict here... hm... wonder who will win? :)
  • Setting: Nineveh (where he is supposed to go) & Tarshish (where he decided to flee, which kinda cracks me up, God is EVERYWHERE! What makes you think you can escape him?! Haha.)
  • Point of View: 3rd person Omniscient (all knowing)
Opening Scene: Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish and boarded a boat to get there.

Conflicts:
  • Character vs. Nature:
    • God caused the tempest, but there was still a tempest. :)
    • Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
  • Character vs. Self:
    • Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh!
    • Jonah would rather die than live (4:3). (To be honest, I still don't really understand why he's mad exactly. That he had to leave his country to go to a country God was going to save from the beginning and Jonah knew it?)
    • In 4:8 Jonah is still asking God to take his life.
  • Character vs. Character:
    • (1:4) "the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up."
    • God made a whale swallow Jonah for three days and three nights! (1:17)
    • Jonah was angry with God for making him come to Nineveh (4:1-3)
    • There's a little argument in 4:9-10
      • God: Do you do well to be angry for the plant?
      • Jonah: Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.
      • God's response is the climax & resolution. :)
Rising Action:
  1. They mariners were afraid and began calling out to their Gods. Jonah, who was asleep deep within the ship, was called out to do the same.
  2. They drew lots to see "... whose account this evil has come upon us." (1:7) and the lot fell on Jonah (hm... wonder who's in control here?).
  3. So Jonah told them what was going on and they asked him what they should do. He told them to throw him overboard. (1:12)
  4. At first they wouldn't do this and tried rowing towards land, but obviously that didn't work. So they cried out to God  in verse 14, "O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you."
  5. So they threw him overboard and the weather immediately ceased, so the men feared God and worshiped Him. (1:15-16)
  6. I love God's sovereignty throughout this book already! "THE LORD APPOINTED a great fish to swallow up Jonah." (1:17)
  7. Jonah's prayer in Chapter 2 is a prayer of repentance and acceptance of what God is calling him to do.
  8. "The Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land." (2:10) I'm sure that was a lovely sight.
  9. Again, God asks him to go to Nineveh and this time he goes. (3:1-3)
  10. After Jonah visited Nineveh the people believed in God, and began a fast, so they would not be overthrown. (3:5)
  11. Even the king of Nineveh has repented before God. (3:6-9)
  12. When God saw that the city of Nineveh repented, he "relented of the disaster he said he would do to them" and so Nineveh was saved. (3:10)
  13. But Jonah was angry and went outside the city to pout and see what would happen to it. (4:5)
  14. Another obvious distinction of God's sovereignty: "... the Lord God apointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, taht it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort." Which Jonah liked. (4:6)
  15. But GOD APPOINTED a worm that attacked the plant the next day. (4:7)
  16. GOD APPOINTED a hot scorching wind and the sun beat down on Jonah. (4:8)
Climax/Falling Action/Resolution:  When God points out the plant and the city of Nineveh connection in 4:10-11 "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?" Bam. Point proven Jonah.

We don't hear Jonah's response, and I really wish that was included, but this is definitely a cliff hanger ending. Jonah is a fighter! How many people do we know that battle God on a daily basis, trying to do anything but what God has called them to do, and yet they can't figure out why they keep failing at life? :) You might as well give it up and admit that God is in control and He will win! Life is so much easier and less complicated once you do that! Just look at Jonah....

Join me tomorrow as I read Nahum!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11 is Obadiah Day!

My New Years Resolution is to read the Bible through this year. I'm well on my way to doing that thanks to you! I've been using my down time (since deciding to be a stay at home mom) to catch up on some reading since I know that reading daily will become difficult once my little girl arrives come September. If you are interested in joining me, be my guest!

Read the Bible in a Year Plan
Old Testament Daily Readings
*Please, do not forget that these are my initial observations. DO NOT take what I write for absolute truth. I am human! My goal is to read the Bible through in a year and reading a book a day does not allow for thorough study. These are my OBSERVATIONS.

My Notes on Obadiah:

First of all, you cannot completely understand this book without first reading the story of Esau and Jacob, Isaac and Rebekah's twin sons in Genesis 25 starting in verse 19 to chapter 36. There's A LOT of history there that won't make sense in Obadiah without first understanding their story. So I'll briefly explain their story before going over Obadiah: Esau was the oldest of the twin brothers, but when they were born Jacob came out of the womb grasping Esau's heel. As they grew up Esau was Isaac's favorite and Jacob Rebekah's favorite. Esau sold the birthright to his brother Jacob for a cup of red stew (Genesis 25:29-30), so his name was changed to Edom meaning red. Jacob also stole the oldest son's blessing from Esau, and had to run because Esau was threatening to kill him.... it's a great story. Read it! :)

Obadiah means "servant of the Lord" and I'm assuming that he is a prophet, who is sharing the word of the Lord through a vision, about Edom (Esau's country). (Read the bolded statement from above.)

I summed up the sections like this...

Verses 2-9: Pride = Fall
  • The country of Edom is pretty much doomed. This is what God says concerning Edom...
    • verse 2 "...I will make you small among nations..." "... you shall be utterly despiesd..."
    • verse 4 "though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord."
    • verse 7 "All your allies have driven you to your border; those at peace with you have deceived you; they have prevailed against you; those who eat your bread have set a trap benath you..."
    • verse 8 "Will I not on that day, declares the Lord, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understand out of Mount Esau?"
    • verse 9 "And your might men shall be dismayed..." "... every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter."
Verses 10-11: The Why
  • verse 10 starts off with 'because,' where God is telling them why they are doomed, "Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob..."
Verses 12-14: Do Not!
  • These people sound prideful! Which is why I summed up verses 2-9 with Pride = Fall, listen to what God tells them not to do, which I'm assuming is what they are known to do (if that makes sense).
    • Do not gloat...
    • Do not rejoice...
    • Do not boast...
Verses 15-18: (In my Bible it's labeled, "The Day of the Lord is Near" which pretty much sums it up.) I also thought of labeling it, "God is in charge of your Karma!"
  • I truly believe in God's sovereignty, simply because of what the Bible says. I'm amazed at how many times I read it over and over again! In this section God tells Edom what will be returned to him because of what he has done - Karma! :) But who is in charge of that? Well, God is.
  • verse 15 "As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head."
  • verse 18 "... there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken"
Verses 19-21: (In my Bible it's labeled, "The Kingdom of the Lord" which also pretty much sums it up.)
  • It's pretty obvious that the country of Edom was not following the Lord. The very last verse (verse 21) is where God is reclaiming it as his own, "Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lords."
Join me tomorrow as I read the story of Jonah! :)