Miles to go...

I have miles to go... please pray each day for the next leg of my Biblical journey!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 22: 2 Samuel 22 - 1 Kings 7

(Day 23's reading was 2 Sam 12-21... no note for that day.)

S: 2 Samuel 22:2 (King James Version)
2And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

O: God had just delivered David from his enemies, most recently the war with philistia.

A: I love this verse. what a vivid picture it paints! what do you think of when you hear the words rock, fortress, deliverer? i guess i'm just a girl LOL, because i conjur up images of a knight in shining armor coming to save me, carrying me off to some place totally safe where nothing can hurt me, and being totally devoted to meeting my emotional and physical needs. and that is exactly what God is!  He is our rock... our comforter and provider. He is our fortress... our safe haven. and He is our deliverer... our knight in shining armor who comes to save us from the enemy.

P: Wow, God, you're really everything i need! i remember the first time i realized that... it was back in about '96, '97... i'd moved back out to princeton, i was a single mom, and i drew close to you, REALLY close to you, for the first time in years. i became totally content to live my life with you as my constant companion... even as a "husband" to me. i'm glad that you did bring me a human husband, but Father, sometimes i put too much emphasis on him, and expect him to fill the roles of rock, fortress and delieverer. and then i get all frustrated and stuff, because he's only human, Lord, he can't possibly fill your shoes! so my prayer today is this... when i start expecting too much of my husband, remind me to back off of him, and to lay it all back down for you.

Day 22: 1 Samuel 29 - 2 Samuel 11

David and Mephibosheth. c. V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

S: 2 Samuel 9:8 (Contemporary English Version)
Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, "Why should you care about me? I'm worth no more than a dead dog."

O: David was making good on his promise to his late friend, jonathon, to show the kindness of God to his decendants. mephibosheth was the only son left alive... the only grandson of king saul. mephibosheth was a crippled guy though... lame since birth. i guess back then that was pretty much worthless. but david restored for him all that had once belonged to his grandfather, took him into his own palace, and treated him like his own son for the rest of his life.

A: wow. what an illustration of what God has done for us? who am i that God should care about me? i'm weak, i'm fickle, and i'm so unworthy of His grace and affection. and yet He has taken me in and made me His own, and values me like His own Son!

P: God, i never really thought about it like that! i think this is why i'm enjoying reading your word so much... it's like i'm constantly seeing things in a whole new light, and appreciating even more the grace that you extend to me. thanks, God, for giving me a place at your table!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 21: 1 Samuel 16:28

Abigail and David, Copyright:
V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

S: 1 Samuel 25:39 (New King James Version)
39 So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the LORD has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head." And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife.

O: David had gotten pretty ticked off at nabal's insults, and was all ready to get his own revenge when nabal's wife intervened. so he ended up letting nabal live, and within a couple of weeks, God took nabal's life.

A: how many times do i try to take matters into my own hands? this passage illustrates how God will fight our battles for us, if we will just simmer down and let Him, instead of going off half-cocked and doing it ourselves.

P: Thank you, Father, for being so willing to avenge us! so often i want to jump in and get even with people... and when i do, it usually doesn't turn out very well. and when i don't, i usually don't notice when you get even for me. i guess that's by your design... i'd probably get all big-headed about it if i did see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 20: 1 Samuel 3-15

Saul gets rebuked. Providence Lithograph Co.1902{ PD-23}

S: 1 Samuel 15:22-23 (New Living Translation)
22 But Samuel replied, "What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king."

O: I wanted to post this in a different translation than what i have been reading from. i like the way this one is worded more than the other versions. anyway, saul had just fought a battle against the amalekites as God had instructed him, but he only did it half-way. instead of annhilating everything and everyone, he (and his army) spared the king and the best of the spoils of war, insisting that they were for a sacrifice to the Lord. but that is not what God had instructed them to do, and samuel broke the news to saul that he'd been demoted.

A: there is such a lesson to be learned here, and i hope i'll remember it! when God tells us to do something, we'd better not do a half-assed job of it. God isn't going to accept any whiney "but I thought..." type of excuses.  God expects our total obedience, and there are consequences when we decide to hold back just a little for our own reasons.

P: Lord, remind me of this passage when i'm wanting to do things my own way! remind me that you'd rather have my total obedience than for me to do things half way and then try to pass off my disobedience as something that might glorify you... because disobedience NEVER glorifies you. i want to be a woman of integrity before you, God. shape me!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 19: Judges 15 - 1 Samuel 2

Hannah's Prayer: copyright Cook Communications Ministries
1 Samuel 1:11 (New King James Version)
11 Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."

Hannah was childless, and in this passage, promised God that if He would give her a son, she would give him back to God. A part of me was a little amazed by her willingness to do this. i mean, she wanted a child so bad, but was willing to give him up as soon as she was finished nursing him? it showed me that her desire was not a selfish one. surely this could not have been an easy thing to do!

we should all be like hannah... selfless in our requests, and totally willing to give back to God 100%, no matter how difficult it is! and when we make a promise to God, we need to be absolutely sure that we will keep that promise.

Father, i'm humbled every day as i read about the people who would make "deals" with you, and KEEP them! it's kinda ironic in a way, because collectively, they are so very fickle in their relationship with you. but when they make a vow to you, they generally don't change their mind later. Lord, it's interesting how much of myself i see in them! my relationship with you tends to resemble a roller coaster. no, it resembles israel.  but i'm learning to keep the vows that i make to you. thank you for never giving up on me!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 18: Judges 3-1

George Hicks: Lament of Jephithah's Daughter {PD-1923}
Judges 11:34 (New King James Version)

34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.

Jephthah had promised God that in return for delivering ammon into his hands, that whoever first came out of his house to greet him, he'd offer as a burnt sacrifice.

we're back to that same old question again... would i trust God to bring about a more suitable sacrifice? could i go through with taking the life of my own child? God surely knew that Jephthah's only child would be first out those doors, and He could have prevented it and sent the family dog instead, but He didn't. would i have followed through with my promise?

God, sometimes reading your word is really difficult! i'm so grateful that you sent our son so that we wouldn't have to do burnt offerings and sacrifices anymore, but God, if we did, i can honestly say that no, i wouldn't have followed through with my promise! does that make me a bad christian? why didn't you redeem his daughter and send a more suitable sacrifice? why didn't you let jephthah off the hook so he wouldn't have to kill his child? i hate being whiny and obstinate, but God, that just doesn't seem right, and i feel very disturbed by this. help me to understand, God.

UPDATE 2012:
As I continue my studies, and journey through the Bible in 90 days each year, my knowledge and understanding grows and deepens. I now understand that Jepthah didn't actually offer his daughter as a human sacrifice. Burnt offerings to the Lord must be male, and must not be human. Rather, when a person is designated as a sacrifice to the Lord, they must be redeemed in the manner ascribed by Hebrew Law. However, the person who is redeemed must be dedicated to the Lord as a Holy Offering, and must never know any form of work... including the "work" of child-bearing and child-rearing. 

This is why scripture indicates that his daughter asked to be allowed to go spend two months in the wilderness with her companions (i.e. servants). Scripture is so clear that she went to lament her virginity, the fact that she would never have a husband. If her father intended to kill her according to the vow, it would make sense that she would go off to lament her impending death, not the fact that she'd never have a family. In their culture, being unable to have children was a fate worse than death!

Jephthah's despair makes perfect sense in this light. She was his only child. His family line would cease to exist after his death if she couldn't raise a family. For him, also, that was a fate worse than death.

Day 17: Joshua 15 - Judges 3

Photo by Stan Shebs, Creative Commons Share-Alike license
Joshua 22:5 (New King James Version)

5 But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

O: the israelites weren't very good about heeding the commandment or law given to them... what a fickle people!

A: i can't really stand in judgment against them... i'm just as fickle as the israelites were. it's like my faith-walk is more like a roller coaster.

P: God, thank you so much for the grace that i stand in... because i sure as heck don't deserve it. right now, i'm taking care to walk in your ways and hold fast to you... but will i still be tomorrow? next week? next month? what about after this 90 days through the Bible? Father, help me to keep my eyes focused on you, and not go wandering off as i've done so many times!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 16: Joshua 1-14

Rahab hides the spies;  Frederick Richard Pickersgill 1897 
Joshua 1:9 (New King James Version)

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

moses was dead, and God had just commissioned joshua to step up to the plate. it must have been a daunting task to face... trying to fill the shoes that moses had walked in for the last 40 years.

God always goes before us, just as He went before moses, and before joshua. just because we can't see what's around the corner isn't an excuse for us to get worried and anxious about things. God promises us that He is with us, and that we aren't to be afraid.

God, i know that there is more to it than just this one verse. i know that the way to NOT be worried about what lies ahead is to stay grounded in your word. that's why you told joshua that he was to meditate on the book of law day and night. i'm still not quite there yet... the meditating day and night. but i'm being pretty consistent with reading your word every day, usually in the morning, and then do my notes at night, so i'm at least giving thought to you upon waking and before sleeping! and i'm learning through that... i'm becoming less worried about stuff. oh, well maybe that's not entirely true. i was plenty worried until yesterday. but you came thru for me in a really big way... in a way that was unmistakably YOU. and i don't know if you did that because i've been spending time with you, or if you would have done it anyway, but regardless, i feel much better receiving your blessing when i'm giving you my attention. thank you for this opportunity to know you better... and i hope you will continue to reveal yourself to me, because i get the feeling that there's a lot more to know.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 15: Deut 23-34

Billy Frank Alexander Designs, obtained from
Deuteronomy 26:11 (New King James Version)

11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. 

The context is that of giving God the tithe that is due Him, and rejoicing in the good that God provides.

I'm so glad that I've been tithing faithfully for almost a year now. I made a commitment that I would not fail to give the Lord 10% of my income, and since God blessed me with a job, I have kept that commitment. there are times when i get a little stressed, wondering when all those blessings are going to come, but they do, just in the nick of time.

God, i really can't thank you enough! my heart is just overflowing with praise and joy right now... just when it looked like things couldn't be worse, and you heard my prayer! i begged you not to test me any further, because i didn't think i could endure anymore, and within minutes, you granted relief from my concerns, providing exactly what i needed. thank you, sooooo very much! i promise, i will NOT forget what you have done for me today.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 14: Deut 8-22

Image by "Blame The 1st" on
S: Deuteronomy 12:8-9 (New King James Version)

8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— 9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you.

O: It's hard to believe this was written thousands of years ago. it sounds very much like our society today! God was warning the israelites here to set themselves apart from the worldy standards.

A: God still expects us to set ourselves apart from the worldly standards. it's unfortunate that so many believers fall prey to the political correctness of the day, and develop their own modified personal morality, instead of staying faithful to God and HIS morality. but simply put, that ain't good enough, not in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

P: Lord, i don't even like watching the news anymore. i don't like learning what is going on in our schools, in our churches... i just wish i could bury my head and not even know how far we've drifted off track. maybe i'd like to bury my head because it's easier than speaking out against it. ouch. truth hurts a little. anyway, God, do i really need to know what is going on in order to pray for our society to turn back to you? i guess honestly, i don't believe it will turn back to you. ever. i believe this is just leading up to your return, and that being the case, how am i to pray? give me some direction here God, i'm floundering on this one.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 13, Num 32 - Deut 7

Photoshopped image circled the internet via email. artist unknown
Deuteronomy 3:24 (New King James Version)

24 ‘O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?

Moses had already been forbidden from crossing the jordan into the promised land. in his remorse and disappointment, he appealed to God, expressing his wonder at God's greatness, and asking that God reconsider.

God is constantly, daily, revealing Himself to me. to all of us. i see His handiwork every day, and it really is awesome and breathtaking! i could go on about how, like moses, i tend to take it for granted at times, but i'd rather keep the focus just on the beauty of God's greatness.

God, you are so great! from the little daily "helps" that you provide, to the beauty of the evening sun on the mountains, Lord, there is none like you! thank you for allowing me to be a part of your spectacular creation, and a part of your family!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 12: Numbers 21-31

Balak is angry with Balaam. From
Numbers 24:11-13 (New King James Version)

11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor.”
12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak’?

Balak seemed a little dense to me. He couldn't quite grasp that Balaam was going to obey God, and that God was not going to curse the israelites.

it is so common for the world to offer rewards and honors for being disobedient to God's word. it's like bribery. and sometimes it would be so easy to take that path. and in some ways, don't i? little things on a daily basis... even when i'm not actually being disobedient, how many times do i stay silent when someone else is talking inappropriately, or telling offensive jokes... do i laugh, or maybe ignore it, or do i speak up and say "that's offensive"?

P: Father, i try to be a good witness to those around me, and in the big things, i think i do a pretty good job. but in the little things, i often fail... i don't speak up for what is right because i want to fit in... and once in a while, i may even join in... especially when it comes to gossip. i struggle with gossip. why do i do this? the reward of being accepted by my peers? Lord, i need to remember that the only approval i should be seeking is yours. help me to remember that, so that i might honor you instead.