BRF– Psalms 8-14

I don’t even want to go back and see when my last BRF was. Too long.

I missed last week, so I just jumped right in for this week. We read Psalms 7-14. If you don’t know what Book Review Friday, go visit Shannon at Watch the Sky.

I’m going to apoligize in advance for how short this is going to be. I may be a teensy wittle bit exhausted from our big Awana finale last night.

I love Psalms 8:3-4 “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

What a reminder of God’s hugeness, and my tinyness.  Humbling. 

Psalm 9:1 “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works.”

Do I really praise God with my whole heart?  With everything in me?  Always?  When things are going well I do.  But what about when everything isn’t going the way I had planned.  When the kids are sick?   When hubby’s work is cut way back?  When my back pain flares up?  When money is tight?  When hubby is considering a carrer change that could have major implications on life as we know it?  When regular little life irritants get in the way? 

Do I always praise God then with my whole heart? 

Nope. 

Do I need to?

Absolutely!

Maybe if I was praising God with my whole heart, even through the difficult times, then maybe the difficult times wouldn’t seem like such difficult times.  (How many times can you type difficult times in one sentence??)

Lots of other things jumped out at me, but that’s all I’ll write about today.

It’s not to late to join in.  Grab your Bible, read in Psalms, and write about what spoke to you.  Then leave a comment over at Shannon’s so everyone else can read your review.

BRF–Mark

So, I thought that this weeks assignment–reading the book of Mark through once during the week–would be no problem.

I was wrong. I got to chapter 9.  But I’m posting anyway, and I’ll finish reading Mark next week.

I was big-time convicted reading this book.

First in 1:18: “and straightway they forsook their nets and followed Him.” Straightway.  Not, let me think about; weigh the pros and cons;  talk to hubby;  consider the bigger picture. None of that, just straightway. Immediately. Yikes. How many times has God nudged me to do something, and I stop and think about it, worry about how it will affect my family and my plans. If God’s telling me to do something, I can know that it’s the right thing to do, the only thing to do. I want to be like Simon and Andrew, who immediately left their nets and followed Him.

It’s easy sometimes to pretend to be following God, to be doing the things that I’m supposed to be doing, but if I’m not doing it in the right spirit, I may as well not bother.

Which explains why this next verse “got” me.
7:6 “….this people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”

Is that me? Honestly, yes, it sometimes is.

My heart’s desire is to be the woman that God wants me to be. Following His will, trusting Him for everything, and striving to be Christ-like. And if I’m not living like that, then everything I do for Christ, doesn’t matter. If it’s not in my heart, then it doesn’t matter if it’s on my lips.  I want my heart to always be near to God.

Be sure to head over to Watch the Sky to read some more reviews. Or read all (or a few chapters) of Mark today, and write your own review.   There’s no way you’ll regret it–you may be convicted, but you’ll also be blessed.

BRF-Matthew 1-4

Well, I’m back.  And not just to the blog, but also to Book Review Friday.   Hi Shannon!  I don’t even want to know when my last BRF post was.  Obviously over  a year ago.  Ladies, I have been reading your reviews faithfully, even though I’m not much a commenter, and have been encouraged and blessed by them. 

When I first started reading Matthew, I so wanted to skip over the genealogy like I usually do.  But I read through it, and what I realized is that God has a perfect plan, for all of us.  Yes, I knew that already, but it really came alive to see how each person in that genealogy was the exact person, in the exact place where God wanted them to be, to bring His plan into being. 

The I started reading the story of Jesus’ birth, and the biggest thing that jumped out at me was Mary’s faithfulness.  I’ve never really sat and pondered Mary’s faithfulness, and her trust in her God before. 

 For Awana last night, we had to come as our Favourite Bible Hero.   I thought of Esther, and Ruth,  whom I love, but I kept coming back to Mary,  Jesus mother.  And reading these chapters this week really cemented it in my mind.  Mary is my hero.  To have faith like Mary!  She was so young, and was chosen by God to mother His Son, to be a mother to God Himself.  It blows my mind!  I can’t even begin to fathom what went through this young girls mind.  Despite the ridicule and the rumours that surely would have followed a young girl being pregnant before she was married, she trusted God.  She allowed God to use her, and she proved herself to be woman of God.  

Am I faithful like Mary?   I’m sometimes afraid to speak up for fear of ridicule.  Do I hide my faith?  Yup, sometimes I do.   Mary carried her faith in belly for all to see,  despite the ridicule it would bring to not only her, but her espoused husband Joseph, and her family.

This is getting rather rambly, but one more thing that I learned from this week’s reading is that because Mary was willing to be used by God, look at the blessings that it brought her.  How many blessings am I missing out on because I’m not completely giving everything over to God? 

Lot’s to think about, from a few chapters, that honestly, when I first saw which ones they were, didn’t think I would get much from.  That’s what I love about God’s Word–it’s always relevant and fresh.  And always, always applies to our lives.  We just need to search it.

Looking forward to seeing what you all learned.

~Kim

BRF–Genesis 1-6

I am so excited to be reading through Genesis this summer!  Sometimes I feel like I just kind of skim over Genesis, because the stories are so familiar, I’ve heard them all many times before.  But this time, I’m trying to read deeper into it, way down into the stories to see what God has there for me.

I love the creation story.  It shows me how powerful God is, and how very much in control He is.  If He could just speak, and all of this world came to be, why should I wonder if He really cares about what is going on in my life, both the little things and the big things, too.  He is so in control–back then, and still today.  And I don’t need to wonder, and worry about what the future may bring.  God created everything in this wonderful world, and He cares for everything here, even me! 

And then the fall of man.  As a kid, I used to wonder how Adam and Eve could do that.  How they could see everything that God had given them and still want more.  As an adult, I understand all too well.  Am I ever really completely satisfied?  Despite all the blessings I have,  isn’t there always something more that I want?   I think of the curses that came because of Adam and Eve’s sin.  And I see that played out in my own life as well.  Not being satisfied with what I have,  leads to being  dis-content.  Which then makes me cranky.  Which then makes me miserable to live with, and makes my family cranky as well.   Sin is never going to make you happy.  It may seem that way at the time–I’m sure that Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruit as they were eating it.  It must have been  yummy, or else it wouldn’t tempting.  But the long-term effects of sin are never pleasent. 

One more verse that really got to me.  The very last verse.  Genesis 6:22– “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

 Could I put my name in the place of Noah’s? Can I say, “Thus did Kim, according to all that God commanded her, so did she.”?  No, I can’t.   But I want to be able to.  I want to be a Noah in a world where sin is regarded as okay, and those who follow God are considered freaks. 

I want to be a Noah.

Thank you Shannon, for your commitment and faithfulness to do this every week, and thank you to the BRF ladies for blessing and challenging me every week with your reviews.

BRF-Joel

Back in the BRF saddle again. It’s been awhile and my Reviews have been sporadic.  I’m back on track this week and am praying that I’ll be able to stay on track.

The first thing that I have to say about Joel, is that I had trouble getting past the first few verses.

(1:2-3)  Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers?  Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.

Tell them.  Tell your children, tell your grandchildren.  So that they can learn from what has happened to you.  Tell them about the hard times so they can learn from what you learned, and know that someone else has gone through it when their own hard times come.  Tell them also about the good times, so they can see how you were blessed.  Lead by example, and tell them.  Let your stories of hard times and blessing, too, be used to teach the generations coming behind you.   Everytime I would read these verses I would stop and think and think and think And sometimes only get this far.  Can I honestly tell my children that when the hard times came, I relyed only my Savior, that I knew that He would get me through?  That even when nothing seemed to be going right, I knew that He was in control?  That when the blessings came and things were going well, that I praised and thanked Him for that?  Can I tell my kids that I depended on my Savior always? 

(2:12) “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Even now–even after the locusts, or the awful things that have happened , return to Me.  I’m still here.  Return–turn back.  Stop going your own way, turn around and come back to Me.  I’m still here.  I’m so thankful for a God who is still there, waiting for me to return when I’ve gone off in my own direction and strayed from His path for me.

I loved Joel.  The song that kept going through my head as I was reading was this one.  “And so what we have learned applies to our lives today, God has alot to say in this book.”  Yup, VeggieTales.   No matter what book Shannon chooses for us to read, there is always something there for us to learn.  Always.  Whenever I first start to read a book in the Old Testament, I find myself wondering what can possibly apply to me, today.  But it’s there, I just need to read it, and read with an open heart.  He’ll show me.  It’s God’s Word, and it’s still alive and still applies today!

BFR-Mark 1-4

Well, I’m going to try again.  I haven’t had much success the past few weeks with writing book reviews.  The words just haven’t been coming and my thoughts have not been clear enough to try to make them make sense. But, I have still been reading and also really enjoying everyone else’s reviews.  Thank you ladies for your encouragement.

One thing that really got me thinking from this portion of scripture is how when Jesus called the disciples, they just left everything and followed Him.  I wonder if that is a literal “left” or a figurative “left”?  Did they actually drop everything at that moment, which is what the wording sounds like, or is it more figurative, that it is the way of life that they left?  I guess it doesn’t matter, because either way, am I really willing to do that?  Am I willing to “drop everything and go where He wants me to go?  I like to think that I’m supposed to be right here, but am I really or is it just convenient to think that right now? And if it means leaving a way of life, do I have things in my life now that I need to leave behind? Of course I do. (And I’m not going to start naming things, just know that I’m trying to work through what I know needs to change.) But am I really willing to completely leave behind everything that I need to, to be a follower of Christ. I want to be. (But am I?) It brings to mind the little song that we sing with the kids at AWANA–“Here Am I Lord, Send Me”. I sing the words, but do I really mean them with my heart?

I also loved whaen Jesus calmed the stormy sea. This is the same Jesus who is able to calm my stormy seas. And I know that. But I think often when things get stormy here in my little world, Jesus would need to say to me, as He did to the disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The biggest thing for me was in 1:35. If Jesus got up early and went off by Himself to pray, then how much more do I need to do that. Definitely something to work on .

Looking forward to continuing on in this Book. And I have to admit that the first few times I read it, I found myself wondering what there was there that I could apply to my own life. It’s definitely there, I just need to be diligent to find it. Happy Friday, everyone!

BRF–2nd Timothy

(A day late…)

Where do I even start? Verses were popping out all over the place at me.  I could probably write for days and not cover everything, so I’ll stick to the main thing that I learned from this book.

1:7  God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.

I’m a shy person. (I know, you’re sitting there with your mouth hanging open right now, saying to yourself “She is?  I never would have known that”!)  I often think, well, I’m shy, that’s how God made me, that’s just who I am.  It’s not!  God has given me a spirit of power, not timidness.  How often have I used shyness as an excuse not to do something, or not to say something to someone when I really know that I should?  Too often.  I’m starting to grow and stretch myself.  At first just being behind the puppet stage was horrifying to me.  That got easier.  Doing the singing at AWANA?  Terrified at first–now, it’s become just a natural part of what I do, and who I am–“the singing lady”.  Last week brought doing the green meadow time for the Sparkies.   Nervous?  Oh yes, but not a “I’m so shy, I can’t possibly do this” kind of nervous, just the same nervousness that anyone would feel.  I’m getting off track, sorry.  The point that I’m trying to make is that by using being shy as an excuse for so many years, I’ve missed out on many opportunities to have God use me, and be blessed myself, by being used.  This same “spirit of timidity” has also made me miss some opportunities in the past to tell others about my God.  How can I not?  Who knows if the opportunity that I miss to talk to them may be the last chance they ever have to hear the gospel?

I actually had an opportunity this week, and I didn’t let being shy (I’m starting to think that being shy is just a state of mind!) stop me. 2nd Timothy was getting to me!! I was talking with someone who told me that he is not interested in religion right now, and that I probably think that he’s a terrible person because he has questions. My lesson the night before with the Sparkies was about (Ironiclly? No way!) how we all have questions (even grown-ups!), and things that we don’t understand. And that’s okay. The key is in knowing where to find the answers and knowing that God cannot lie because He is God, and trusting that when He tells us that something will happen , we know that it will happen. (Off track again!) I invited him and his family out to church, and told him that of course I don’t think he’s a terrible person for having questions. That we all have questions and that I did a lesson with the kids about that just the night before. He ended the conversation by telling that he’s definitely not interested right now, but maybe when his kids are older…. And that’s okay. I don’t have to spend nights lying awake this time, berating myself because I didn’t say anything. I did my part and the seed has been planted. And who knows, maybe 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 years or even 20 years down the road when he starts searching, he’ll remember our conversation. And maybe even where our church is.

“Not a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-discipline.” It’s time for me to move past who I think I am, and allow God to make me who He wants me to be. It’s time to stop making excuses, and let God use me. It’s time!