Psalm 8

Overview

    A psalm of praise, Psalm 8 is honoring the majesty of God apparent in all the earth. Here is the true use of “out of the mouth of babes”. This psalm is also sharing of the uniqueness of humanity, that we are made higher up within the hierarchy than evolution would place us. We are just under the heavenly beings, but above all the other works of God’s hands.

Characters

Our Lord, all the earth, the heavens, babies and infants, God’s foes, the enemy and the avenger, David the Psalmist, man and the son of man, the heavenly beings.

Key Verse

Verse 4-5 “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Cross References

Hebrews 2:6-9 “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Psalm 144:3 “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?”

Job 7:17-18 “What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment?”

Job 25:6 “how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!”

Genesis 8:1 “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.”

Psalm 80:17 “But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!”

Psalm 65:9 “You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it.”

Genesis 21:1 “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”

Genesis 50:24 “And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Psalm 21:5 “His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.”

Conclusion

    It is important what we do with Scripture. To know that God has placed us almost equal to the angels, and somewhere else it says we will be over them in heaven, can go to our heads and we can build the Tower of Babel. Or we can realize with awe what God has done for us, that we fell so far and hard as to make it impossible for us to pick up the pieces and restore our lives to deserve eternal life in peace with God. Yet, God picked us up, put us back together, and accepts us back into his home with a party. This should humble us and draw us closer to him that he shows such redeeming love.

Louis and I saw the new Noah movie. It did a very good job of showing the sin of man, and that that sin resides in all mankind. It had stunning and horrifying sequences of the death that occurred all around that ark as the rain fell and everyone died. And it shows a Noah that realizes everyone deserves to die. I am sure that not all Christians who see it find it to be a movie worth watching, but to me it was a movie that proved my earlier point. The writer and director of this movie did not have the relationship with God that could move beyond the question, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” and so the movie ends in a quandary, and not in Scriptures truth of the story and what actually happened. Perhaps we think, as many in Scripture say, it would have been better if I was never born. But God put you here, created you, and made so many things in this world just for you, out of love. We live in false humility if realizing our own depravity does not send us running into the arms of Christ.

We are not merely extras in the movie of life for important people, but are the main star of the movie that God is making about and for us. He is an extravagant lover, pursuing us with zeal.

Jesus in the Psalm

    This Psalm follows the Cosmic Drama from creation to the fall to redemption to perfect completion.

Romans 1:18-20 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

The Hebrews passage above in the cross references clearly connects this Psalm directly to Jesus. “The One through whom the world was created (John 1:3; Heb. 1:2) came to restore the image marred at the fall (Col. 1:15). He empowers even the weakest to participate in his redemptive plan (1 Cor. 1:26-31). Verses 1 and 9 of Psalm 8 serve not only as bookends for the psalm; they also anticipate the end of all things, when Christ’s enemies will be made a footstool for his feet, and his name will be majestic through all the earth (Eph. 1:22).”*

John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Hebrews 1:2 “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether or earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.””

Ephesians 1:22 “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,”

I just pray that as you read these passages of Scripture linking to the New Testament that your heart is as lifted as mine. I just want to keep reading and sharing with you because I am bursting with the good news that this all entails. God’s blessings on all of you. I pray that you are growing in Your Lord daily, and that your hunger for Scripture becomes famishing.

Tomorrow: Romans 2

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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Psalm 3

Overview:

When others slander and stir up doubt in your mind, rely on God. He is in charge of salvation. No one else can tell you whether or not you have salvation, but God, He is the only one who can assure you of your salvation. That assurance of salvation is well placed, too, because He is our shield and sustainer. He is the one who can lift us up. And He is a God who answers our cry to Him. We have nothing to fear from people.

So many verses here are applicable to anyone who feels attacked. Even by lies from our own inner voices or perhaps Satan, we can feel attacked. I know that doubt stirs up in my mind often. I had to read this Psalm through 4 times because I kept thinking about how this is right where I am, and then I realized I had stopped thinking about what I was reading, my eyes just continued to move. I have a friend who has shared about her own doubt in her salvation before, and I have my own doubts that make it seem like everything is hopeless. Perhaps you also have an inner voice influenced by the world or the Devil that seems to be trapping you.

But to wake up in the morning shows that the Lord has preserved me, and as I go through the day seeking Him, I will find His approval and plan for the day rather than remaining concerned about others’ plans. Then I realize I have nothing to fear from people, because God is in charge. And salvation, both eternal and from all bondage in this world, comes from God. So I lay even my doubts about little choices in His hand so that I am no longer paralyzed by even my inner voice. You take care of her, God, I only want to hear Your voice.

Characters:

Lord, my foes and enemies, myself, people.

Key Verse:

Verse 8 “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Cross References:

Psalm 37:39 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”

Psalm 62:7 “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

Isaiah 43:11 “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.”

Isaiah 45:21 “Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.”

Jeremiah 3:23 “Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.”

Hosea 13:4 “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”

Jonah 2:9 “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!””

Revelation 7:10 “and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

Revelation 19:1 “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”

Conclusion:

    There are some excellent stories in the verses above. I think you could do a whole study on some of them alone. The fascinating thing about Psalms cross references is the variety of texts to which they send you. I might need to come back through here for more than just my Promise Box.

What is being expressed over and over about the salvation from God, is that He alone can provide it. Whether salvation from the stomach of a huge fish, salvation from a life of slavery or exile, throughout all of time, it is God our Lord alone who can provide salvation. Even from those pleasurable things that we think are awesome and filling that hole in us, but in reality bind us, God is the only salvation from those vices as well. I shared over the first two Psalms that my Christianese was being redefined in the word “Blessing” which was in our Psalm today also! Another word today that is standing out to me is “Salvation”. I tend to think of salvation only in terms of who is “saved” or not, but we have been saved from more than an eternity in hell. I have been “Saved” for many years, but I still need God’s salvation from that inner voice, from addiction and vices, from impatience and anger, and I am sure you can relate.

Jesus in the Psalm:

    Of course, salvation is found in Jesus, so an entire Psalm about salvation lends itself to sharing about Jesus. Jesus is the only way we can be saved for all eternity, and with Him is the only way to be saved from the sins in our life as well.

*The commentary also makes the connection between the “holy hill” in this Psalm and the hill Jesus dies on, both hills being used for sacrifice. But only the sacrifice of Jesus holds the power of salvation for mankind. This prayer/psalm walks through the three steps of saving faith: 1) Acknowledge that salvation can only be found through our Lord (verses 2, 8, and John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the lie. No one comes to the Father except through me.”). 2) Agreement that I need that salvation and shield as seen in verse 3 and Ephesians 6:11-13 in the armor of God. 3) Finally, I must have an authentic commitment, welcoming this salvation from God. 2 Corinthians 4 talks about how the world has blinded the unbelievers to “keep them from seeing the light of the gospel” (verse 4).

Finally, here are two more New Testament verses which relate to this Psalm and our assurance of being on the winning team:

1 Corinthians 15:57-58: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Colossians 2:13-15: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”*

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

Tomorrow: Romans 1

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Psalm 2

Overview:

This Psalm is talking about kings and rulers setting themselves up opposed to God. The Lord laughs at this because He is the King of Kings and has already set His plan in motion. A king, His Son, one who can ask anything of the Lord and He will receive a heritage. This Son is sent to destroy those other rulers. This Psalm serves as a warning to them so that they may turn and take refuge in the Son and be blessed. (In the commentary of Psalm 1 I found that “blessed” is corollary to the “redemptive presence of God.” This is helping me take the Christianese out of “Blessing” and have an application for it. So, those who take refuge in him are blessed means they will be connected to God’s redemptive presence, they could be redeemed. Also, the parts about his wrath and breaking them with iron and dashing them to pieces reminds me of the verse we just read in the lectionary this past week about Jesus not bringing peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Characters:

The nations, the peoples, the kings of the earth, the rulers, the Lord, his Anointed, King on Zion, Son, a potter, and all who take refuge in him.

Key Verse:

    Sometimes it is so hard to pick a verse. Today I am going to be Annie about it and pick two. I think two that are key to the whole Psalm (and the entire Bible). With such an outright prophecy of Christ, I just can’t limit myself to one verse! Verse 6 & 7 together are key to the entire Psalm I think, with Jesus being the King and also Son.

Verse 6 & 7: “”As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.””

Cross References:

Proverbs 8:23 “Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.”

2 Samuel 5:7 “Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.”

Psalm 110:2 “The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Psalm 3:4 “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.”

Psalm 15:1 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”

Psalm 43:3 “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!”

Psalm 99:9 “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!”

Romans 1:4 “and he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”

Acts 13:33 “this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'”

Hebrews 1:5 “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

Hebrews 5:5 “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;

Conclusion:

    What exciting verses! Hebrews and Acts quote this Psalm because it is indeed about Jesus! It is so great that all of Scripture testifies about Him. Jesus, who is God’s Son, was appointed as king and high priest, so no ruler here has any power above that. Jesus will win. And if we choose Jesus, and have a relationship with him, we will be redeemed, saved, and on the victorious team. Also, these verses continue to show that while Jesus is a recapitulation of King David, Kind David could never match up to all the words here. Only Jesus is the perfect King, the wholly righteous, Salvation. No one else is, has been, or will be as holy as Jesus, the rightful heir to the nations.

Jesus in the Psalm:* Here is one that is so obviously about Jesus. In verse 2, the word “Anointed” is Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek. The apostles used this Psalm to preach the gospel, and Hebrews explains that Jesus is the Son from this Psalm. Peter preached about the cross being a display of the rage talked about in this Psalm, and Paul that Christ became King due to his resurrection. Our relationship with Jesus is essential to our salvation. We are blessed in obedience to Him, and are saved through Him. Psalm 2 is fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, so notes on commentary are coming from there.

What are your observations, comments, thoughts?

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Psalm 1

Overview of the chapter: (read it through at least 3 times)

Our righteousness is seen by God. A righteous man does God’s will, and meditates on His law at all times so that he can walk in the right way, and stand before God at the end. The wicked are nothing before a righteous God.

Main Characters:

The man of righteousness as defined in this Psalm, the Lord, trees with fruit and streams, the wicked.

Key Verse: (a verse of scripture that stood out to you)

Verse 6 “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Cross Reference:

Psalm 31:7 “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.”

Psalm 37:18 “The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever.”

Psalm 144:3 “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?”

Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”

2 Timothy 2:19 “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Conclusion:

What encouraging verses! God is not blind to the wicked, but he does turn to those who trust him, he acts in favor of those who know him, and all his actions are those of a good shepherd caring for those sheep who are his own. He does not let them go astray or alone, he knows and hears our cries for him, our pain, and our depths.

Jesus in the Psalms:

Psalm 1 divides humanity into two camps, sinners and righteous. Jesus is at that fork in the road giving us the opportunity to become righteous with Him. The very first word of Psalm 1 brings to mind the redemptive presence of God because that is what “blessing” references in Scripture. Mary was called “blessed” because she was carrying Jesus. This Psalm also talks about delighting and meditating on the law. We now know this law became flesh, the Word of God, and that He himself says these Psalms are about Himself. Another key aspect to this Psalm is that we are not going to be able to just use good works. Here in this Psalm the judgment is talked about and that the Lord knows the way of the righteous. We know we will not be perfect, and before Jesus came and gave us the opportunity, no one could know they were destined for Heaven. They had to have a relationship with the Lord. We have to have a relationship with the Lord through Jesus now. Delighting in the law and meditating on it and submitting to Christ is how we are to live a righteous life.

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Please leave your own thoughts, key verses, and comments.

Quiet Time

What I have heard from people over and over is how hard it is to find time to do Bible Study, Quiet Time, Devotionals, and/or prayer time. Well, I know how that feels. What God has been teaching me over the past few months is to seek His approval in all things. So, as I write about my commitments, know that we are all in a different season of our lives. At one point in my life (college) I was part of a prayer walk group that met 3 times a week from 8pm to midnight. That was an amazing time of maturing in prayer, building fellowship with that group, and was only for a year of my life (in school years). At another point in my life I took the 40 days of Lent to commit to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening for time with God. This was possible because Davy was napping a lot, and nursing, so I would read the Bible while nursing. That was an amazing time of giving everything to God, and each of these seasons has helped me learn about myself and God.

Let me tell you about the season I am in currently. Some of you are reading this to figure out how I will be doing this whole Blog Bible Study thing, and some because you are a part of our prayer team for Lebanon. Either way, I hope this will encourage you and help you connect with me better.

This past week I have recommitted to having quiet time every morning before Davy wakes up. Since making that commitment, I have had no nightmares (for those of you who know me, this is a big deal.) Lebanon functions on a slightly later timeframe than my life back in Arizona, USA. Our wake up time each day is 9:00 AM, so when I made this commitment, it meant that I moved by wakeup time back to 8:00 AM. Then I felt convicted because I want to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up as part of my Potatoes not Prozac plan, so I moved my wake up time to 7:30 so I could eat and still have an hour or so with God all before Davy wakes up. As you can see, for many people this is a doable time, and for others even 7:30 is later than they start their day.

The way I typically do my morning quiet time:

  1. Pray.
    1. Talk to God, thanking him for the day
    2. I write down my high, low, and a God moment for the day before
    3. I write down at least 5 things I am thankful for today and I add to the day before as well
    4. I go through the thoughts buzzing around in my head. I write them down and give them to God.
      1. One note here. I am typing instead of using a journal right now because I didn’t bring any journals so that I could bring all of Davy’s books. When I was writing up my To Do and other buzzing thoughts in my paper journal I found myself not truly giving them to God because I carried that journal with me, and it stopped being a prayer and became another To Do list to carry around. On the computer I file the Morning Prayer separately than my thanks and highs and lows so that it is given to God. Those prayers I go through every now and then to see how God answered them, but not really to burden myself more.
    5. I find that writing out what I plan to do that day or things I am disappointed aren’t happening, helps me process and also give them to God knowing He will plan my day far better than I could.
  2. Open up my Study document. Once again, I just haven’t found a journal for study use yet, but I have documents for each chapter of Romans and Psalms prepared in advance. All you need to make your own notebook page or word document are these headings:
    1. Scripture:
    2. Date:
    3. Overview
    4. Main Characters
    5. Key Verse
    6. Cross References
    7. Conclusion
  3. Read the chapter 3 times.
    1. Yes, read it three times through completely.
    2. My favorite part is seeing verses that I have heard so many times and being able to put them in context of the chapter. Reading the chapter three times helps with this process because the first time through those verses stand out completely. By the third time through I am able to read them easily within the chapter and see how they connect to the chapter and book.
  4. Begin filling out the sheet with an overview of the chapter after you’ve read it 3 times.
  5. List the main characters.
    1. I list ever character which will let me search by words like blind man, unrighteous, etc. later.
  6. Choose one key verse.
    1. This is not a verse that is the most popular. As I said about reading through the text 3 times, verses that have been used over and over around us are not necessarily the verses that capture the chapter best.

One note I want to add is that with the Psalms I will be posting I will be sharing about how Jesus is shown in them also. It has been on my heart for a long time to share with others how Jesus really is in the entire Bible. I even bought a Bible that has commentary specific to that purpose. In my reading Psalms this past week in my ESV Gospel Transformation Bible I was encouraged and inspired by the introduction which shared about reading the Psalms with the words of Jesus in mind. Luke 24:44 says, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” There you have it, in Jesus’ own words the Psalms are about Him! So, I will include a section: “The Gospel in the Psalms” for each day of Psalms Study.

Blog Bible Study

In Tucson, I attended a weekly and monthly Bible Study. I met with two different groups of women each week to share about my highs, lows, God moments, and following God. These accountability and Bible sessions gave me life.

Knowing the life giving power of reading the Bible every day, and knowing I need to do it without my typical accountability, God has inspired me to blog my next Bible Study.

There are so many men and women in my life whose quiet time and prayer lives I look up to. So, as I type over the next few weeks, know that nothing I do is new or unique, but comes from those who came before me, and are still there praying for us and loving us from across the ocean.

I just finished a neat Bible Study reading through 1 Peter a few times. After I finished, I didn’t know what book to read next. So, I prayed, asked Louis, and used the notes from my 1 Peter study to determine what book to read next. We decided Romans would be a good book to do. Psalms was a close second.

Since Romans is not easy reading, I decided to do a blend. I have heard people say to read a Psalm a day, and I have never been interested in it until we did a Psalms Bible Study in Tucson. I loved that Bible Study! So, I am going to be doing a Psalm each day, but once a week a chapter of Romans. This is why I say you can join me every day on this journey or just once a week.

Reading Plan for June 23 – 28

June 23        Psalm 1

June 24        Psalm 2

June 25        Psalm 3

June 26        Romans 1

June 27        Psalm 4

June 28        Psalm 5

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    I have been using Word to type out my study each day. I have not been using a journal because we didn’t pack any and I am picky when it comes to journals, so I have begun by keeping everything on my computer. This makes for light carrying for me since my quiet time location changes sometimes. Feel free to use this or make your own using these headings in your own notebook or journal:

  1. Scripture:
  2. Date:
  3. Overview
  4. Main Characters
  5. Key Verse
  6. Cross References
  7. Conclusion

As I post, please use your own notes to post comments. These comments will be a great encouragement to others. It will be neat to see what others see are key verses in a chapter.

Emotional Preparations

Lately I have been in a new stage of preparing for Lebanon. It isn’t the stage I planned on being in either. Isn’t that always the way? I inform God and those around me of my plans, and then God patiently and gently guides me down the path of His plan. I do not always understand that it is a path, but here I am again on God’s path when I suddenly look up and realize that this is not the place I thought I was headed.

Of late, my plans to physically prepare by downsizing our storage unit, purging our house of unneeded items, donating clothes and such to Savers or Goodwill, and organizing important paperwork, all of those plans have fallen by the wayside. However, as I reflect on the past month not making headway on those goals, I realize that I have been continually prepared by God in my devotional time with Him, in my prayer life, and emotionally as I have taken time to process those people and events that keep me sane and motivated in my life. Driving to accountability and small group times shows me how important those are to me, and I have cried over the probable loss of them and then been hopeful in determining how to continue those relationships and accountability sessions when we leave.

Even taking Davy to the gym to fulfill our New Year’s Resolution of preparing him for daycare when we go to our training at the end of March has had some emotional processing. Davy loves going and playing with the kids after his two month break from going to the gym at all. It was relieving and also a mommy sadness to know that he might adjust well to many of the upcoming changes. Of course, the training is 8 hours a day of daycare and the gym is only one hour every few days as well.

Finally, as I recognize changes in Louis and I that were only hoped for in the past, I am amazed to see how God has been molding us into missionaries throughout our marriage (and, really, the course of our lives). My comfort in attending church, joy in devotional time and Bible Study, prayer with Davy before meals and over those sick and hurting, and peace that stays with me; all of these are a change that has been slow and steady, but are drastic compared to several years ago when we clearly heard God tell us to head toward Lebanon.

I am currently teaching a Bible Study on Sundays at Mt. Zion titled One Story. The purpose is to see how the entire Bible points to Jesus and how the entire Bible is helpful for ourselves so we can share that story with others. I felt convicted to do this class even with my continued discomfort with leading adults because God has been showing me that my reading of His word and my comfort with this idea that even the laws and the genealogies matter to me, Annie, is something others need to hear about. Preparing for this past Sunday, writing down several stories we could discuss I realized that this idea of the Cosmic Drama, the endless cycles of Sin and Redemption, were not merely Horizons International curriculum to me. I own them. I see my story in Scripture, and I want to share it with others. This was a phenomenal discovery, and overtook my feelings of inadequacy to share my own story of being the Mark 5, bleeding woman: The Woman Who Touched Jesus. I have the audacity to reach out and hug Jesus, and call him my lover. And you can, too.

It seems strange to many people to find out about my layers. I have a teacher face (as I call it) which I have cultivated over my three years of leaving terrible morning meetings crying, but having to stand up in front of my students and teach science, math, etc. I had to put on a game face (as Louis calls it). This face keeps doctors from believing that I am sick, and keeps adults from seeing my fear in speaking to groups of them. But as I rely on Jesus more and more to show His power through my weaknesses, I am filled with a peace. The same peace as the woman in Mark 5 who, healed from her shame, throws herself at Jesus’ feet and proclaims her story. I can share my fears because it is truth, and it shows how Jesus can work through me rather than relying on a mask. Others can see it is okay to share their own weaknesses because I share mine. This is something I have known in my head, practiced at times, but now feel I understand and that it will help me immensely in any future undertakings I follow God into.

In reflecting on all of this a verse jumped out at me this week:

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.” Isaiah 50:4a

Obedience

I woke up this morning longing for friends who are all overseas doing mission work. I prayed for them, thanked the Lord for their work, and then cried a bit from missing them. As I began looking at Bible verses about community, I cried again realizing that soon I would be the one closer to those friends, and farther from most of you. What an adventure this crazy life is, always moving when God moves, following His word. It isn’t all roses, but the suffering is small compared to the joyous glory that is to come.

Obedience to God has been the theme of our lives lately. Of course, we always want to have obedience to God, but of late it has been a constant. Serving on this upcoming TIROSH youth retreat (http://www.soazviadecristo.org/) was a large step of obedience for Louis and I and has a large impact on David Ezekiel as well. For myself it is a real struggle to commit to something that will take me away from my baby for even a few short days. For Louis it meant giving up his dream of leaving for Lebanon in February and as he continues to listen to God, the “background work” he was planning on doing for the retreat has become a myriad of talks, leadership tasks, and spiritual directing.

This morning I was sitting with my runny-nosed, coughing, teething boy and watching Veggie Tales. The story of Gideon had a funny line, and as I have struggled for the past fifteen days of this month to put into words the presence of obedience in our lives right now, Larry the Cucumber aka Gideon the Tuba Warrior, said what I have been feeling. He is speaking to the angel who has come to tell him to fight the Midianites and says, “I thought you were coming to give me a pep talk, a little ‘well done, good and faithful servant.” To which the angel responds, “If you want to hear the Lord say, ‘well done,’ then you have to do what he asks.”

The more time I am spending in Scripture and prayer, the easier it is to follow God’s To Do list throughout each day. I can go to sleep knowing that I did what He asked of me, and I am experiencing that peace that flows deep inside of me.

In obedience we are continuing to prepare for Lebanon. As with Gideon, I find myself needing to rely on God to supply. We are still in need of most of our monthly funding, and we are running low on people willing to meet with us and give. We continue to pray for God to place people in our path whom he is calling to share with us in this ministry. We are continuing to call everyone we know to meet and share our mission. In confidence that God will provide, as he did with our startup fund, we have registered for a training in April that will prepare us to go overseas.

Please join with us in prayer: Lord, please clarify Your will each and every day as we prepare to act on Your commands. Fill us with Your love, patience, peace, and joy that we may bring glory to You in all we do, say, and think. Continue to bring the commitment of our partners to supply our monthly amount so that we can fulfill Your plans for us in going to Lebanon.