UPDATE: I just left a COMMENT here to each of you who have commented on this post as of this morning. Your comments were just simply AWESOME on our reading of the Word of God this week. OH MY GOODNESS! Today is Day 4 for missing humanitarian aid worker Cyd Mizell, our good friend. Hoping for a safe return.
Twenty three men and women are reading the Bible chronologically together, taking the truths of Scripture and praying for our God to sink the truth deep into our hearts (Psalm 51:6). You are invited to join us at any time. The reading plan is listed in my left sidebar. This week, you read about Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, Rachel, Joseph and his brothers….what lingers in your heart this morning? How did God stir your heart this week? Leave a comment here, a sentence or as long as you like. Then, link us up to your blog where you are invited to comment on the Scripture readings for the week. Here are a dozen truths that so stirred my heart...
SEARCHING FOR MY GOD…Story of Abraham and Isaac is one of God speaking to Abraham. Signposts provide the ways we can honor our God in our actions along the way. In 22:11, “Here I am” with wood and fire and a knife says Abraham…and on the mountain of God, Abraham called the place ‘The Lord Will Provide’ – what place do you need today for your Lord to provide. The signpost says ASK, SEEK, KNOCK...everyone who asks receives/ who seeks finds/ and to you who knock, the door will be opened.
GOD GIVES WATER IN MY DESERT…Humble Hagar sobbing for her boy in a parched desert land. Beautiful God opening the eyes of her heart to see water and your eyes too. Eph 1:18 that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened that we may know hope. Isaiah 43:20 I provide water in the desert, that you may proclaim my praise. These tender words are not just text but about a Person, the Living Word, the Living Water.
ABRAHAM DIED FULL OF YEARS….25:8 may it be said of us that our years were full of faith and obedience.
TRADED THE TEMPORARY FOR THE ETERNAL…. QUICK! In 25:30-34, Esau trades a bowl of soup, quickly, trades temporary for the line of David/ lineage. What do we temporarily trade so quickly?
SOLD BIRTHRIGHT AND STOLE BLESSING….They kept doing the same disobedient things over and over and over and expected different results. Doesn’t work that way.
CURVED IN ON THEMSELVES….. There has to be repentance—turning away from those sins of jealousy, greed, self-ambition. 27:5 Rebekah was listening with a jealous ear as Isaac spoke to Esau. How sad that it’s the end days of their marriage and they are so missing each other living for themselves, their world. And blaming it on God. 27:8 “Listen carefully Jacob and do what I tell you.” Whoa! Even children need to weigh the words of well-intentioned self-serving mothers and stand in their way.
“ONE WHO SUPPLANTS” REAPS A HARVEST OF SIN…..God did not approve of Jacob’s conduct. Jacob’s scheming brought consequences: 1. Jacob fled from his home 27:42 and never saw his mother again. 2. Jacob was tricked by his Uncle Laban 29:14-30 3. Jacob lived in fear of Esau 27:41 4. Jacob’s dishonesty affected his children who dealt treacherously with the Shechemites (chapter 34) 5. Jacob’s own children deceived their dad about the alleged death of his beloved favorite son, Joseph. Signposts show the harvest of sin that came into Jacob’s life. 6. Jacob repented in 32:9-12 and finished his life as a changed man in spite of he weaknesses. And the best is #7. God chose to confirm the blessing of Abraham to Jacob 28:10-15.
HAVE MERCY ON US O GOD! …..32:10 I am unworthy of your Kindness and Faithfulness. This signpost proved that Jacob could persevere and overcome without cheating. Jacob saw that his own strength was futile and he humbly sought help from his beautiful sovereign God. .32:26 “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
GOD IS GIVING YOU A NEW NAME…God gave him the new name of Israel, which means “he struggles with God.” 32:28 – A new name “because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” God painted a vision for a man who had been messing up royally. What is the new name that your God is giving to you as you wrestle with Him and with man?
NO “BIG PEOPLE” and NO “LITTLE PEOPLE” …..Can’t imagine the fear that captured Jacob’s heart as he witnessed in 33:1 “there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men.” The brother who wanted to kill him. Seemed like Jacob had a vertical hierarchy of who was important in his life. Signpost says: Live horizontal in all your relationships..
LONGING FOR RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS….My childhood was filled with people who were enemies and never talked to each other again and went to their graves that way. Don’t want to spend any of my adulthood in bitterness. I long for the embrace. Don’t demand it for my happiness but long for my Lord to show up and allow all to embrace. Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him. Verse 10: If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift. For to see your face, Esau, is like seeing the face of God.
GOD KEEPS SHOWING UP so CEASE STRIVING…So stirred how God keeps showing up in these chapters not dependent on how hard man is trying to find Him or even doing the right things. Cease striving, Psalm 46:10 and be still and know that I Am God! Here are some of the ways God showed up that jumped off the pages into my heart:
21:17 – God showed up in the desert and heard the boy crying and came to open the eyes of Hagar to give the boy water
24:40 – God showed up by sending an angel to make their journey successful
31:42 – God showed up, saw my hardship and the toil of my hands and my God showed up to rebuke Laban for what he did.
35:6 - God showed up and revealed Himself to Jacob when he was fleeing from Esau. Gives me hope in my major and minor troubles that God is the one who shows up not dependent on how hard I work.
37:7 God showed up in verse 7 and painted a vision for Joseph even in his sleep—”your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
37:21 God showed up as the brothers plotted to kill Joseph, but someone stopped them.
37:36 Then God showed up and led Potiphar to buy Joseph.
38: 7, 10 - God showed up and did not relent. God put Er and Onan to death for their wickedness.
39:21 – God showed up in Joseph’s prison and gave him Kindness and Favor. Unjustly thrown into prison and the God who showed up at Joseph’s Egyptian house, just showed up in the prison dungeon.
What would it take for Rebekah or Jacob to stop doing the same things over and over? What will it take for me in my life as I deal with whatever addictions I face---addictions like my inexhaustible need for love and recognition which cannot and must not rule my life. Be quiet, O my soul, acknowledge my powerlessness to change and fight my temptations. I cannot cure myself. Praise God Someone has! And give me faith, o my beautiful God, this day and one day to know how much I have received, and how deeply I am loved as your daughter. I read the Scriptures but the Scriptures read me. And, like you, I so want a better ending, like John 8:32---"You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free" and you will be free indeed. Loved, loved, loved how our beautiful God so showed up in these chapters even when they were wicked and then when they were obedient, like Jacob after 32:9 and Joseph. Ask. Seek. Knock. Cease striving. Stop being a human doer. Be still.
Our dear friend, Cyd Mizell, has been kidnapped by gunmen in Afghanistan. Hoping for her safe return. See the story on the post below.
Monday, January 28, 2008
UPDATE: I just left a COMMENT here to each of you who have commented on this post as of this morning. Your comments were just simply AWESOME on our reading of the Word of God this week. OH MY GOODNESS! Today is Day 4 for missing humanitarian aid worker Cyd Mizell, our good friend. Hoping for a safe return.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
UPDATE ON Cyd: You can go to the website of the foundation that Cyd works for by clicking here for ARLDF website! They are keeping up-to-date info posted on their website. Still no news of Cyd's wherabouts.
My lifelong friend, Cyd Mizell, is a humanitarian aid worker in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She teaches English at Kandahar University and works for ARLDF. She and her driver were both abducted as she was on her way to work this morning driving through a residential area in Kandahar. Hoping for a safe return!
The Mizell family posted a message on ARLDF.net in hopes of hearing from Cyd and Hadi or from those who took them. You can read the text of her dad, George Mizell’s message at http://www.arldf.net/ or watch the videotaped message at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1ifc0AtNzg.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:19 PM
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 10:57 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Couldn't drive to Houston today for our mini-retreat---postponed it for one more day in bed as I am still not well. Tried to get up yesterday and lead our Stepping Up bible study but my body said it was "too much." Some precious young women are there waiting for me, so please pray that I can drive down Friday morning. Thanks again to all of you for your very kind comments and prayers. Our internet has been down most of the morning so I'm only able to check in and out intermittently. Will try to post later today.
I called my good friend on the way to the doctor yesterday and she told me to make sure to ask for a steroid shot. Do they give those these days?? I haven't been sick in ages. But I knew something was way wrong in my chest. Sure enough. Croup. Bronchitis. Ear infection. Walking Pneumonia. I didn't remember to ask for a steroid shot as I was struggling just to breathe. They put me on a breathing treatment of steroids and albuterol which got my blood pressure up to a place where it was okay. My bp was so low and the amount of oxygen I was getting in my lungs was limited---so that's why I felt like I was gasping for air throughout the whole weekend. They put me on 3 meds: Levaquin, an inhaled steroid/albuterol, and a cough med w/steroids and codeine to knock me out.
10pm - COUGH. GAG. AGH. YUK. GAG. COUGH. COUGH. GAGGGGGINNNGG.
That's me at the kitchen sink trying to get the cough med down. My husband is asleep on the couch a few feet away. So, I woke him up to tell him that I just could have died taking that stuff and he slept through it. Okay, so I'm being dramatic! I got it down!
11pm - Wonder why the codeine isn't making me drowsy? I'll blog some. So I leave some comments PROMISING I will not leave LONG COMMENTS AGAIN. I am feeling the effects of the meds.
12pm - I wake my husband up again to sing to him Johnny Rivers song "I've Got the Walking Pneumonia & the Boogey Woogey Blues," but he's never heard of it. Still WIDE AWAKE so we went to bed.
1am - I am praying around the world right now
2am - Still up trying to whisper to Bob who is sleeping
3am - Still up --- "Hey, Bob" I just remembered 'it's Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogey Woogey Blues...THAT'S A MONDEGREEN, misheard lyric you know, he thanked me and went back to sleep. I did try to ask him about the topic of the fight we had Sunday night but we couldn't remember...that's important in my stream of consciousness---I remembered around 3:45am...it was about forgetting to buy me orange juice and that's what he went to the store to get for me...how silly of me to throw a pneumonia tantrum
4am - Still up and the "outside" dog has made her way into the room---hope it's the dog in the dark
5am - Psssst. Bob, your alarm just went off. And these are the words that came out of my mouth at 5am---"I want to paint a vision for your day today, Bob. May you go from humbly horizontal to victoriously vertical. " Where did that come from?? Unusual words. You see, I kept him up SO MUCH last night between coughing and pssssst's and he was so humble about it.
So, I drive my little one to school. There's a bridge we cross every day over Lake Worth. I always pray silently or out loud when I hit the bridge--it's a signpost for me. This morning, I prayed out loud for Britt's varsity basketball game tonight that they win and make it to the playoffs, prayed for his coach & wife, prayed for the little fella (he's 6'4"). I told my good God that my days are numbered with this 16-year-old sitting by my side. He'll soon be driving himself. How I will miss the prayers we have shared together over this bridge every day this school year. I told my God how I was so proud of the young man Britt was becoming and asked our God if He would continue to grow Britt into a man after His Heart. And I prayed for him the words of Paul in II Thes 1: 11,12 - may God fulfill every desire that Britt has for righteousness, every good purpose of Britt's, every act prompted by Britt's faith, and work a work of faith with power that the name of our Lord Jesus be glorified in Britt and that he be glorified in HIM. You see, it's been a year of testing for Britt and what he will do with peer pressure. He wants to follow his Christ. With tears streaming down my face, I looked over at him. Our eyes met. No words. I invited him to pray and he did that he wouldn't mess up at school today. I just hope he finds God if he does. I don't want him to live just a moral principled life---I want him to find his God!
I did pray for you last night in my multitude of waking moments that God would give you water in your desert. Isaiah 41:17,18. And this a.m. my thoughts go to that verse that I prayed for Britt. May our glorious God by His power fulfill every good purpose of yours today and every act prompted by your faith this day. Remember this steroid laden mom in your prayers today, "I've got the Walkin' Pneumonia and the Boogey Woogey Blues."
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 10:05 AM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
UPDATE: I have posted new comments from me to each of you on the Comment Form.
Thanks so much for praying for me! I do have a pretty severe case of bronchitis and pneumonia. Please pray that I recover quickly. I have a "renunion" planned for this weekend in Houston and so hope that I get to see the young women flying in to be with us. Appreciate so much your prayers---I feel so under attack of the enemy, right now.
Job 32 - 42 and
Genesis 11 - 21
The Book of Job stirs and shakes and stammers my tongue and heart. Our glorious God invites Job to ponder seventy or so questions:
Who shuts up the sea behind doors?
Who gives orders to the morning?
Who enters the storehouses of the snow?
Who sends the lightning bolts?
Who counts the clouds?
Who tips over the water jars of heaven?
Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? 42:5
Job's response: I am unworthy. I put my hand over my mouth. 40:4
I spoke of things I did not understand. Too wonderful for me. 42:3.
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 42:5
I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. 42:6
I would love for you to comment what God stirred in your heart as you read through this book of suffering. Would you be willing to post it on your blog and invite us to read more about what God spoke to you, especially the 22 of you who are part of reading this together. I have prayed for you these truths this week and may God open our eyes as He did for Hagar in Gen. 21:19.
In my mind, I thought God would offer Job His wisdom on processing the suffering Job faced. I also thought God would have to address Job’s demanding spirit. Remember Job 23:3-5—if only I knew where to find God, said Job, then I would state my case before Him and I would find what He would answer me. God was not interested in arguing the case with Job. Case closed. God wanted to reveal His character to Job. The incommunicable attributes of a Beautiful God appearing in a whirlwind whose definition is Psalm 50:3, a place where God came for judgment—that’s the storm.
A couple of years ago, we went through a HUGE family crisis and I hit a depression so severe that I never knew even existed. I deteriorated to dysfunction over 3 months. Literally. Couldn’t stop it. Every day I cried out on the inside for my God, but He was silent, way so silent. Nowhere to be found. But at the end of 3 months, one morning He spoke to my heart and asked me one question—Exo. 4:11. My beautiful God so showed up in my life and intervened from that day forward and I’ve never been the same and am alive in ways I’ve never been.
So, when God showed up with seventy questions for Job, I wonder how Job felt? How devastating that we are so curved in on ourselves and what we think, what we want. God asks multiple questions so that Job can come to his own conclusions about God’s character. God could have told Job---but NO----38:4 “where were you Job?” We’ve heard the question before. Where were you? Wonder where we are this moment? What playful passionate royal rhetoric. Transcendent. Unchangeable. Independent. Omnipresent. Eternal. That’s how God answered Job—incommunicable attributes. He’s not like man. We could never do any of that stuff. His ways are much higher than our ways. He is worthy of our complete trust no matter what He asks Satan to consider for each of us, because of Who He is.
God doesn’t need man but He wants us to glorify HIM. So, I need to settle my faith tonight on God’s character and not park my faith on the pavement of getting the answers I think I need and want which is what He can “do” for me or how He can help me process this thing called life and make my life work while we’re at it. I need to repent just like Job! I am created for HIM not for the best life I can find and make happen. Here are seven thoughts I experienced in reading the Book of Job:
1. REND YOUR HEART. In Job’s unbelievable crises, he tore his robes in Job 1:20 and in those days it meant he left his heart unprotected, unguarded. How I do the same. I’ve thought about Joel 2:13 as we read Job—”rend your heart not your garments.” This a.m. I looked up Joel 2:13, the cross ref was Job 1:20. Wonder what it means to rend my heart tonight right in the middle of whatever I am dealing with.
2. NO PLAN THWARTED! Job 42:2 “I know you can do all things. No plan of yours is thwarted.” There’s a larger story going on than just my life and I want to let God lift my story into His story, His purposes, His plans—no plan thwarted 42:2 even though bad things happen to us at the hands of ungodly people.
3. STAY OUT OF THE COURTROOM. Job 41:11 “Who has a claim against me that I must pay?” Out of my mouth, speaks my heart. My actions reveal what I really believe. How I make people in my life pay for the little things they’ve done to me. Job 41:11 says I try to make God pay when I have a claim against Him.
4. MY EYES SEE YOU. Job 42: 5,6 – “ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job was a really great guy to hold fast to God under circumstances that would have fatally flattened most people. In 42:5 Job said “my ears had heard of you” and the Hebrew word for “heard” means listening to reports and rumors like the 3 friends were dishing out. Job borrowed what others said about his God 42:5, just like we do. It so stirs my heart that Job listened to his sovereign God and said: “Now my eyes have seen you, God.” 42:5
5. REPENT. For it’s the kindness of my God leading me to repent Rom 2:4. Therefore I despise myself and repent!” Have mercy on us all, God that we may repent of what we are doing in your Face laying our cause before you. When was the last time I repented?
6. ENTER MY SUFFERING. People position themselves to prevent, circumvent, eliminate, alleviate suffering which happens to us all. Enter the suffering and look for your Love’s Voice, wait for your omniscient compassionate God to show up, maybe in the majesty of a whirlwind. Isaiah 64:4 "God acts in behalf of those who wait for Him." We are waiting on God in suffering, not man. “Do you have an arm like God’s?” Job 40:9. Reminds me of Isaiah 50:2 God’s Arm is not too short to ransom us.
7. MY REDEEMER LIVES TODAY. Job 19:25 “I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end He will stand.” Hey, we don’t have to wait til the end, for He rises today in me and you. My Redeemer lives TODAY. Job 41:10 says that no one rouses God by the way we live but Zech 2:13 He lives among us. Be still all humankind for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling for you! “Don’t destroy man’s hope Job 14:19 but Job 13:15 - “though He slay me, yet will I hope in HIM.”I cannot wait to get to heaven and meet Job and express to him my gratitude for his courage to keep on going in unfathomable loss and for his surrender when his God showed up. Job’s life so makes me want to see God with my own eyes.
The rest of the chronological reading for this week was in Gen. 11 - 22. One set of verses jumped out at me. I was so touched by verses 21:17-19 where Hagar began to sob for her boy. Somewhere in my mindset, I think that I have to find God and figure out my life and see what I can do to please Him and madly search for Him. Whew! All the while, “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” This speaks peace to my soul. A normal day. A common day. But a great God SHOWING UP looking down on a little boy who has no water. God makes a huge proclamation. And in verse 19, God opens the eyes of Hagar so she could see what she needed.
May God open all of our eyes that we may see what we really need—what we are crying out for to our good God this blistery afternoon. Reminded me of 16:13 - “I have now seen the One who sees me.” He is looking down on you this moment and what will we do with that?
Anyone is invited to leave a comment about Job or anything goes. But, I am specifically talking to :
Annette, Helen, Jen, JennyHope, Holly, Fran, 'Nise, Patty, Deborah, Jean, Alana, Mary Lou, Linds, Denise, Angie, Sharon, Kim, Shonda, HollyMark, Bob and Chuck...if you had things come up this week to deter you from all the reading, just jump right back in. No confessions needed. (I keep getting e-mail's saying...I missed this reading, missed this one---it's completely okay cause we are all about coming back to the Word every day to see what He is going to say today. You are so sweet about being so serious about it. No boxes to check off in this reading program! Just a beautiful God waiting on you, waiting to speak to you!!!) What I am saying to you all is that I have prayed these truths of the book of Job for you this week.
May we no longer present our case before God but see Him with our eyes right in the middle of our circumstances. Later, this week, I'll write a prayer from the summary verses of this book (at least I think I will). So, summarize your thoughts on the Book of Job and write a post if you will, and invite us to your blog, and do leave a comment or two or a book chapter right here! However, your silence is always welcomed. Your comments for the past two weeks have been so meaningful, weighty, insightful, sustaining. Thank you for being a part of this reading plan and prayer through the Bible.
Friday, January 18, 2008
WE WON!!! Last night's district basketball game.
WE LOST!!! Today's district basketball game.
WE WON!!! Britt qualified for TAPPS--Texas State Swimming Championships
WE LOST!!! Mom lost the battle with the flu---I am SO SICK with bronchitis!!!
SO I LEFT COMMENTS FOR YOU ALL IN MY COMMENT SECTION...can't get to your blogs tonight but I will SOON...missing you!
It's about 8am and we have another district varsity basketball game tonight. It's a big one that we need to win to get into the playoffs. Pray for Britt---he has been leading his "cinderella team" really well. It is so much fun to go to games like this where the high school shows up with lots of energy, where parents cheer for your kid and make you think he's the best player ever. It's Friday night basketball in Texas and if you love basketball, it is such a blast!!
Something really neat is going to happen for my boy today or Monday---after driving with the parentals for one year, this 16-year-old gets his very own driver's license today. I looked at him yesterday and thought---I remember carrying you to the car in footed pajamas. I remember Britt carrying my groceries out of the car with his little red wagon. My mind was flooded with memories of sitting next to this precious boy for the past16 years. Those days sitting next to me will soon be over...Britt will be seated in my place now. The driver's seat. I'll just have to post when he gets that piece of paper!
But what's on my mind as I leave home this a.m. is that I am loved, so loved by my God. My identity was wrapped up in strong men way too tightly, way too long over many years. My identity was wrapped up in a ministry. And I had no idea how much so until it was taken away. And God never intended for my identity to be wrapped up in anyone or anything but His Love. And, my heart really yearns this year to know in deep places in my soul what it means to be His beloved daughter and find rest.
I am reading Henri Nouwen right now. Three different works of his: "Here and Now." "The Inner Voice of Love." And, "Journey of the Heart."
There's one phrase in Here and Now that just jumped out at me. Jesus knew his core identity was "beloved" and it is transferable to me. "Like a certificate or diploma, belovedness is conferred upon followers of Jesus without formal education, achievement, or evidence or merit. No grades required. No birthright or citizenship papers. No possessions, status, or evidence of potential. No references. As for the Christ I serve, my identity is 'beloved of God.' "
In one of his works called "Being the Beloved," Nouwen outlined three deceptions which are OBSTACLES to the realization of our identity as the beloved:
"WE ARE WHAT WE DO...Achievement at all costs. An existence imbued with a haunting sense of partial completion, as if the world were perpetually waiting for me to make good on some undefined and unfulfilled promise."
"WE ARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY ABOUT US...The pull of external approval mixed with unrealistic personal standards create toxic waste."
"WE ARE WHAT WE HAVE...Although I tried to live a simple life, I wanted badly to be financially stable with rock-solid job prospects. Material objects are not the only objects of covetousness."
Nouwen writes: "Until I embrace my own brokenness, I am unable to perceive the extent of my belovedness. Befriending brokenness is a necessary step toward belovedness."
I am so gripped by this thought of finding from my beautiful LORD how loved I really am. i keep asking Him. I have felt "worthless" way too many years of my life. No more. In some ways, I have believed what my world was saying to me that I didn't have much to offer, so I attached to strong men---a strong pastor, a strong husband. But in the past couple of years, my beautiful God has knocked on the door of my heart and I have opened up that door. Or should I say, my beautiful God has opened a door for me that no man can shut. Rev. 3:7.
My precious friend Fran was praying for me the other day and opened her Bible to find a Scripture for me. She opened right to Deut. 33:12. Laying on her lap were these words:
"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in HIM, for HE shields him all day long, and, the one the LORD loves, rests."
I am practicing living over here as a beloved daughter. And I hear Him whispering back to me, "Yes, you are! You are Mine." And so are you! May we all find rest today in those places in our soul that are not at rest as we speak to our husband and children and friends eye-to-eye, as we walk into the unknown or too familiar places, as we live this moment "all in" and deal with the fray of our hearts and follow HIM and honor HIM.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 1:00 AM
Monday, January 14, 2008
The chronological reading for the second week is JOB Chapters 8 through 31…As you read through those verses that literally jump off the pages, pray those truths back to our Good God who is present in all of our suffering. Job suffered in the same ways that we all suffer today: loss of family, loss of finances, loss of health
“Suffering calls our lives into question, not God’s. The tables are turned: God-Alive is present to us. God is speaking to us.” Eugene Peterson
Are we listening? “If it is true that God is speaking, than nothing matters more than listening.” Brennan Manning.
And praying what is true right back to HIM for WHOM we live and breathe and move. Acts 17:28
Return to your God. Wait for Him continually. Expect Him to do much. Hosea 12:6
That’s what twenty of us have been doing this week. Expecting their good God TO DO MUCH as they meet Him in the Book of Job and pray through the Bible.
The twenty are: Annette, Helen, Jen, Jenny Hope, Holly, Fran, ‘Nise, Patty, Deborah, Jean, Alana, Mary Lou, Lindsee, Denise, Angie, Sharon, Kim, Shonda, Bob & Bev (anyone can still join us, just e-mail me)
“Sufferers attract fixers the way roadkill attracts vultures.” wrote Eugene Peterson. People are lightning speed quick to jump in and tell us what we need to do to “fix” our lives…exactly what went wrong, and how to make life better. Sometimes they are way too quick to apply the bandaid of the Word of God to our wounds. Like Job’s friends, our friends sometimes give answers that hold truth but are void of a personal relationship with their good God. Or, sometimes, our friends give answers that reduce Mystery to explanation. “Intellect without Intimacy.”
Those of you who are in this chronological study, scroll down NOW to the COMMENTS section and share with all of us….
What lingers with you from Job 8-31?
What stirred in your heart as you read these passages?
Let’s take a look at Job 8 through 31 to hear Job’s well-intentioned friends meaningless talk…and to hear what Love’s Silent Voice is saying in the midst of suffering…
You may want to print the theme verses from each of the chapters we read. Let the Truth sink deep into our hearts by getting out of the way of controlling and directing our lives. Let the Author do that today.
Job 8:4 – “When your children sinned against Him, He gave them over to the penalty of their sin.” Bildad’s conviction is not true that Job’s children perished because of their sin
Job 8: 5,6 – “If you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now He will rouse Himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.” Bildad’s belief that God brings blessings to the righteous and punishment to the wicked, this is simply not true.
Job 9: 2 “How can a mortal be righteous before God though one wishes to dispute with Him.” Man is not righteous by what he does. What is true is for Job and all of us is that God is the One Who makes us righteous.
Job 9:4 “His wisdom is profound, His power is vast, Who has resisted Him and come out unscathed?....He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Even in midst of loathing his life, Job concludes the truth that God’s wisdom is profound.
Job 9:15 - :”I can only plead with my Judge for mercy.” What is true is that Job recognizes his need for God’s mercy
Job 10:1 “I loathe my very life; therefore, I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” What is true is that Job had done nothing to warrant the affliction he was receiving.
Job 10:4 “Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? Are your days like those of a mortal or are your years like those of a man” What is true is that Job insists he had nothing to do with bringing on the afflictions.
Job 10:12 “You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. It is true that God is always present.
Job 10:14 –“If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished.” What is true is that Job didn’t do anything worthy of affliction he was going through.
Job 11:13 – “If you devote your heart to Him and stretch out your hands to Him, you will lift up your face without shame and you will stand firm and without fear, and you will surely forget your trouble, and life will be brighter.” What is true is Zophar’s statement that the only hope for Job is repentance and life may not get brighter.
Job 11:20 “Escape eludes the eyes of the wicked.” What is true is that the wicked cannot escape. They may escape from the consequences of sin but not sin itself.
Job 11:14-20 – “If you do these things, you will stand firm without fear…life will be brighter….you will be secure in hop and rest in safety. What is true is that Job’s friends think Job needs a change in heart.
Job 12:11 – “Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food.” What is true is happening in the fray of our heart. What stirs inside of me as I hear these words?
Job 12:4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends though I called upon God and he answered.”
Job 13:1 “My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. What you know, I also know. I am not inferior to you. But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” Would it be true to present your case before God? When asked about his cancer, Francis Schaeffer said that it was entirely unbecoming to demand anything in the face of Almighty God.
Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him.” Despite the fact that Job’s affliction is unexplainable, Job states that he will trust in God and that is always the truth no matter what the hand of the Almighty allows.
Job 14:19 “As water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy man’s hope.” What is true is that Job’s accusers destroy his hope rather than offer hope.
Job 15:5 – “Your sin, Job, prompts your mouth. Your own mouth condemns you, not mine.” What is true is that there is no vindication by God from accusations of Job’s friends.
Job 15:11,12 – “Are God’s consolations not enough for you…why has your heart carried you away so that you vent your rage against God?” What is true is that there is no correlation between amount of wrong we commit and amount of pain we experience
Job 15:25 “Because you shake your fist at God and vaunt yourself against the Almighty
Job 16:5 – “If you were in my place, my mouth would encourage you.” What is true is that Job believed he would not treat his friends like Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar did. Out of the abundance of the heart, our mouths speak. You cannot offer what you don’t have.
Job 16:16,17 – “My face is red with weeping, deep shadows ring my eyes, yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure.” The truth is that Job did not follow his wife’s advice to curse God.
Job 17:4 – “God has closed their minds to understanding.” It is true that God is the One who opens our minds. Pray to Him today that your mind be opened.
Job 18:3 – “Why are we considered stupid in your sight?”
Job 18:21 – “This is the place of one who knows not God.” It is true that Job’s internal conflict crescendos to its height in this chapter over the conclusion that Job’s sin has made him worthy of these afflictions.
Job 19:2 – “How long will you crush me with words?...God has wronged me…there is no justice…all acquaintances are estranged….my breath is offensive to my wife…have pity on me for the Hand of God has struck me.” What is true is that Job believes God has turned against him without cause.
Job 19:15 – “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. After my skin has been destroyed, I will see God.” What is true is that Job’s Redeemer lives today for Job not for the day when he dies. What is true for Job is that God alone is his Redeemer who will defend him from the false accusations. Job still does not recognize that suffering in Christ followers comes from the hands of a loving God.
Job 20:2 – “My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer. I hear a rebuke that dishonors me.” What is true is that Job’s friends do not have intimacy with their God like Job does. They are arrogant and haughty.
Job 21:9 – “The home of the wicked is safe and free from fear and they go to the grave in peace saying to God ‘Leave us alone.’ “ The truth is what the wicked believe is false.
Job 22:2 – “Can a man be of pleasure to God? What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?” What is true is that this friend believes all who suffer do so according to the measure of their sins.
Job 23:3,4 – “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling. I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments.” It is true that Job demands an audience with the Almighty.
Job 23:10-12 – “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps. I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips. I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” It is the truth that even in Job’s immense doubt of God’s presence, Job confidently states that God is working in his life.
Job 24:23 – “God may let you rest in a feeling of security, but His eyes are on your ways.” The truth is there is no rest in places in our heart if our ways are not God’s ways.
Job 26:14 – “Who can understand the thunder of His power?”
Job 27:2 – “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty who has made me taste bitterness of soul…I will not speak wickedness.” What is true is that Job chooses to walk uprightly in character.
Job 28:20, 23, 28 – “Where does wisdom come from? God understands the way to it and He alone. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.” The truth is wisdom comes only from God not from right living.
Job 29:2-4 – “How I long for the months gone by , for the days when God watched over me when by His light I walked through darkness, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me.” The truth is that God is with you Job now. Will Job accept prosperity and not affliction from the same hand of a loving God?
Job 30:15 – “My life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me.” What is true is that your momentary light affliction is working a far greater weight of glory.
Job 31:4 – “Does God not see my ways and count my every step?” The truth is that the eyes of the Lord run back and forth throughout the earth this moment to show Himself strong to you. II Chron 16:9
Job 31:35 – “I sign my defense. Let the Almighty answer me.”
When we completely finish the reading of a book, then I will post a prayer to God of truths from that book. His word hammers and heals. May His Word burn in your hearts this week and soften the beliefs you hold too dear that need to change. Thank you so much for being a part of this in whatever way you can each week.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Brookie made it back to her home in Thailand, safe, with 183 pounds of stuff still in her four suitcases overflowing for the orphans. Stay tuned for her date with the orphanage where she will bring to them the gifts from YOU. All of you who "sponsored" the 123 orphans, you all came through the LPM blog with the exception of a small handful of other bloggers. Not surprising! Simply amazing!
I am in a new chapter in my life. And, for my good God to open up friendships for me through blogging blows me away. It happened when I wasn't looking or pursuing or maneuvering my way.
Three friends, at the same time, sent greetings of "The Daily Does" my way....every time I type the word "dose," it comes out does not dose! I transpose things all the time in real life and in real blogging. My three friends who sent encouragement were Sharon, Kim A. and Jenny Hope. And, Alana also, sent me such encouraging words on her blog that touched me deeply yesterday.
Sharon is a wordsmith who has a way with words and loves to dig deep.
Kim A. is so genuine, so grace-filled, so glorious to her good God and to all of us.
Jenny Hope's tongue is the pen of a passionate writer. The beautiful God in Jen gives us hope! I know Jen loves me.
Actually four...Susan is so real to me and I've never ever met her. She has invaded my mind, my heart with desire to live by new nature, not the old.
Alana, the King is enthralled with your beauty. You give us laughter & love.
Thank you Sharon, Kim, Jen, and Alana for passing on to me an encouraging word about my blog. Xandra created The Daily Dose and this is what Xandra says about it.
"Here's to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog."
The blogs that make me laugh and cry and think and feel are the ones I leave a comment on...so I pass a word of encouragement on to every blogger whose blog I visit and leave comments. This has been such a safe harbor for me---oh, the irony of the Internet being "safe." You all have offered me soul blogging hospitality that "Daily Does" two things: Healing and Hemming! God is healing me through your friendships. God is hemming me in, before and behind. Words could never express my gratitude to my good God and to each of you for bringing God to me!
I know I was supposed to honor only five but...now you can pass on the encouragement to your blogging friends. Just copy the Daily Dose logo and pass it on.
And come back on Monday Morning for our Cover to Cover study.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 2:12 PM
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
She's crossing the Pacific right now. We put her on the plane last night. I'm already having trouble this morning remembering what her face looks like. I didn't want that to happen. I cried uncontrollably as I left her presence. She is such a safe harbor to me. Such a great daughter. Such a faithful friend. Such a huge heart for her God that she has found! And, she's gone to do the will of Him who has called her half way around the world. So I unclench my fist and let her go. So, I applied to work at an airline last night to get benefits. LOL. I really did. She will be gone for another couple of years. I won't see her face. I won't be in her presence. Maybe I'll get the job. Maybe not. What does my God want?
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 11:17 AM
Monday, January 7, 2008
UPDATED: Several comments have been added below.
This is my 100th post.
Couldn't be any more excited to do a post on our journey through the Bible cover to cover praying
Psalm 51:6"Surely you desire Truth in your innermost parts."
Annette, Helen, Jen, Jenny Hope, Holly, Fran, Denise, Patty, Deborah, Jean, Alana, Mary Lou, and Bob & Bev have purposed in their hearts to journey together to daily read the Chronological One Year Bible and listen to hear the Voice of the Beautiful God we all so love.
"You were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth. And we keep asking our Glorious Father to give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better. We pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened to have hope and to have His incomparable present power for you." Eph. 1: 13, 18
Every Monday morning, I will post verses from our chronological reading, truth we can talk to our God about establishing in our lives. We have heard Him speak to us during the week's readings. Feel free to comment in silence, a sentence, a stanza. No comment is too short, too long.
GET READY TO JUMP DOWN TO THE COMMENT FORM AFTER YOU READ THE FOLLOWING 3 QUESTIONS. (I had difficulty posting this with the html code for some reason which prevented me from using different fonts,sizes etc. This post did not just hop on to the blog like they usually do!!! I apologize for the format.)
What did your God stir in your soul as you read His Word this week?
What lingers from the Voice of God?
What is the prayer of your heart?
George MacDonald wrote: "To hold to a doctrine or an opinion with the intellect alone is not to believe it. A man's real belief is that which he lives by."
What truths do we hold so deep in our hearts that need to soften, melt, transform to the truths of the Word of God. The truth sets us free. John 8:32.
I have prayed for each of you every day this week who are on this awesome journey that your eyes may be wide open. If you'd like to join the journey with us praying through the Bible, just e-mail me. Also, there is a link on the sidebar to Engage The Journey, hosted by Kate McDonald for online chronological reading and daily comments.
Now, jump down to the COMMENT FORM.
We would love for you to share what lingers with you as you have read and prayed the Word of God this week.
LEAVE A COMMENT now by scrolling down...we would love to hear from you especially this Monday Morning on the 7th day of the month.
THIRTY TRUTHS to PRAY FROM GENESIS 1 - 11 and JOB 1-7.
Print out this page.
Talk with your God as you read each truth and ask Him to establish the truth in your heart. II Peter 1:12
Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." The truth is that you were in His mind in this verse. "For He chose you, in Him, before the Creation of the world." Eph. 1:14
Genesis 1:26 - "Let US make man in our image, in our likeness. The truth is there was more than One Person. The truth is you were made in the image of God.
Genesis 2:3 - "God RESTED from all the work of creating. The truth is that we must repent of trying too hard and rest from our striving.
Genesis 2:18 - "It's not good to be ALONE." The truth is that man man felt aloneness before sin entered the world. The work of naming animals still found man “alone.”
Genesis 3:5 - Verse 3:5 When you eat from this tree, your eyes will be opened and you will be LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil. The truth is that I want to control my world and be better than others, be like God.
Genesis 3:7 - "The eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked. The truth is sin opens our eyes to feel shame.
Genesis 3:8 - "They hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden." The truth is we do not hide from the Lord God as soon as we hear His footsteps unless we are guilty.
Genesis 3:15 - "I will put enmity between you and the woman." The truth is we have entered a battle with enmity that has already been won.
Genesis 4:5, 6, 10 - "God did not look with favor on Cain and his offering." The truth is God is looking into my heart. Man looks on the outward appearance. God looks into the heart. I Sam 16:7. Ask yourself, "Why are you angry?" "Why is your face downcast?" "What have you done?"
Genesis 5:29 - Noah gave them rest from the painful labor of their hands. The truth is our life is created to find rest only in God and offer that rest to others.
Genesis 6:8 - "Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Noah walked with God." The truth is that if we walk with God, we will find favor in His eyes.
Genesis 8:21 - "The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma from Noah's sacrifice." The truth is we are the fragrant aroma of Jesus Christ, II Cor. 2:14, when we honor God, not building our own kingdoms.
Genesis 9:23 - "Shem and Japheth walked in backwards and covered their father's nakedness." The truth is we can live to cover the shame of others, not expose them.
Genesis 11:4 - "Let us make a name for ourselves.” The people of Babel inscribed their names on each brick…a mere mortal brick buried in the rubble of the tower. What is true is that promotion only comes from the LORD and what He does with our name—may I not demand greatness. Psalm 75:6,7
Job 1:1 - "One to whom great enmity was shown" (definition of Job in Hebrew). The truth is God put enmity between us even if we are blameless, upright, and shunning evil. Job's name coming from Arab means "to return to God, to repent."
Job 1:5 - "Early every morning, Job would sacrifice an offering for each of his ten children, thinking, 'perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.' What is true is that Job continually prayed and offered sacrifices in the event that one of his children dismissed or missed in their heart the God they knew.
Job 1:6, 7 - Satan came. Definition of Satan in Hebrew – “one who lies in wait” “an adversary in the court of justice.” The truth is Satan tempts me to keep my family and friends in the courtroom, questioning their love for me, care for me. There’s not a Christian on earth who escapes from the eyes of our adversary in court who is saying: Does God really care? Where is your God now? If God is good, "WHY this?"
Job 1: 10, 11 - God placed a "hedge" around Job and his household What is true is that there is a hedge of protection around every follower of Christ. Pray that we not demand hedges, demand blessings. Satan’s tactics: overwhelm us—no time to catch our breath, multiple misfortunes will sink Job.
Job 1:19 "There was no movement from Job in his losses until he heard this. The house collapsed on your children and all ten are dead. He “AROSE” tore his garments, shaved head, total grief, and WORSHIPPED, and didn’t sin." The truth is that I must pay attention to what happens in my own heart.
Job 1:21 - “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” What is true is that Satan can take away our prosperity but we can still praise Him for Satan cannot take our salvation from us.
Job 2:10 – “Shall we accept good from God and not adversity?” What is true about how we live disappointed in what God has provided or not provided in our prayers? Am I angry in my heart? Job didn’t sin with his lips.
Job 3:17 - "Like an infant not born, there the weary are at rest." The truth is that absence of troubles is not what brings rest to my weary soul.
Job 3:20 - "Light is given to him who suffers." The truth is "if you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how will you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets?" Jer. 12:5
Job 3:25 – "What I fear has come upon me. What I dreaded has happened." The truth is that what we grip tightly in our hands will be pried out. Jim Elliot wrote: 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.'
Job 3:26 - "I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest, only turmoil." What is true is that our beautiful God is leading us to find a deeper rest in those places in our soul where there is no rest.
Job 4:5 - "You supported the stumbling but when your trouble comes, you’re discouraged, Job!” The truth is our afflictions are not proof that we are guilty. Enter the suffering of your friend not trying to "fix" their theology.
Job 4:19 "Don't trust in your house of clay." What is true is II Cor. 4:7 that "we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
Job 5:8 - “If it were I, I would appeal to God. I would lay my cause before Him.” The truth is Psalm 50:15 'Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor Me.' What is true is that He is our Maker, our Author." Psalm 139: 4,5 Before there is a word on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in---behind and before."
Job 5:19-26 - "Don’t despise the discipline of the Almighty." Look at the verbs: He binds up, He heals, He rescues, He ransoms you and me. What is true is that one day we will all know that “our tent is secure.” Rest in the assurance of the One who works so powerfully in us. One day we’ll find that “nothing is missing” and we have found peace in the midst of our afflictions and rest in our souls even if God seems silent.
Job 7:16 “Let me alone.” The truth is our pain is too great and we want relief, not repentance. The truth is God will have mercy on us.
Friday, January 4, 2008
A tear or ten or thirty ran down my face as I sat at Carla's funeral. An unexpected rare disease ravaged her body. Christmas never came this year for Carla, but every day is Christmas for she communes with the Baby in the manger, her LORD, her Savior face-to-face every day for eternity. Brave Bob, her faithful husband, stood to speak tender words about his beloved wife. He humbly encouraged us all not to plan for retirement but to plan for the eternal. Carla never made it to retirement. He ended his little speech speaking tears and truth: "Give thanks in all things for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." I Thes. 5:18 . How did he find such strength to get up on that church altar and say that. He spoke with such childlike trust. The love of their life is gone.
Carla lived well. This was the day she lived her whole life for. It just came quicker than we all thought it would. She is home. I've been thinking about the phrase for a few weeks now that He is our home. I can only find rest in my world in HIM. Our home is in heaven.
Carla asked her friend to read the poem, "If Tomorrow Starts Without Me." You can google the title and read the poem. Carla's "place" was ready. She got the call. It really is the best Christmas ever for Carla.
Psalm 90 says you are our dwelling place, oh God. You turn us back to dust...if only we knew the power of your anger. Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in this morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us. And Father, may your favor rest on us this moment, this year.
I've been thinking a lot lately that all I have is this present moment. This heartbeat. What is going on in the fray of this heartbeat? Am I really living in the present? Dealing with the frightful fray of my heart? Or do I today ignore my jealous eye, my demanding hand, my arrogant tongue. Have mercy on me, oh my good God, have mercy on me this freezing Texas morning! Soren Kierkegaard penned my thoughts this day, "And now, with God's help, I shall become myself."
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 2:27 AM
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
DO NOT DWELL ON THE PAST...
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 10:18 PM
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 11:02 PM