Sunday, April 13, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover

This past week of reading the Bible has been rich, rewarding, riveting and revealing. Join us. Post a comment here about what you read. What lingers? The reading plan is listed on the sidebar. It started with an unnamed wife being layed on the threshold of her front door, left for dead. I posted last Tuesday about a sort of similar incident in my own life. God so showed up for me! We met Naomi, humble and honest, who thought God's Hand was against her but she held fast to HIM. Again, God so showed up for me in her story of dealing with her bitterness of not getting what she wanted. We met Hannah, authentic and adoring, who found peace in the midst of complaining about her unchanging circumstances. Still childless, she found her beautiful God and He was enough. God so showed up for me in this story. We read the Bible to meet our God not to use HIM to get what we want, but to find God Himself. God showed up this week as I read my Bible and it read me. Here's a thought in all CAPS and a question from the things that so spoke to me this week. Choose one of the many captions and go read those verses. I prayed for each of you who reads this post I Samuel 3:9..would you please speak to them God, for they are listening.

CONCUBINE BUTCHERED in 12 PIECES - Judges 19
Do I pretend all is well?
"Never seen such a thing in Israel” — it took a shocking revelation of a concubine being butchered up & sent to the 12 tribes to show them that they had refused to deal with the evil growing in the children of Israel.

EVERYONE DID AS HE SAW FIT - Judges 21:25
Do I go to my friends or go to my Christ?
No king to follow, so they did what they thought was right. I followed strong safe men, wise pastors for way too long in my life---no more.

RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE GOD IS - Ruth 1:7
What do I do with my bitterness?
Naomi returned to the place of provision from her God in her grief and bitterness. Ruth left her Moabite gods for Naomi's true God. Where do I turn for help--a phone call or a prayer.

GOD’S HAND IS AGAINST ME - Ruth 1:20
Who gets my anger?
Naomi was authentic. Call me “Bitter” for my God’s Hand is against me...and she entered her sorrow and called it what it was, bitterness, & dealt with God.

GOD SHOWED UP. MAY HE REPAY YOU - Judges 2:12
What step of surrender puts me under His Refuge?
Ruth went out to the right field (2:2) and this story makes me want to trust God for my next step. 2:12 God rewarded them by putting them under the refuge of His Wings.

NAOMI RENAMED HERSELF - Ruth 1:20
What would you rename yourself where you are today?
I've called myself “Worthless," but as I follow my Christ, my Counselor, my Creator, I call myself "Beloved" with tears running down my cheeks.

NOT BY STRENGTH OR POWER - I Samuel 2:9
Is my struggle about how strong I am?
God keeps the feet of His saints: "it's not by strength that one prevails."

GOD STOOPS DOWN FOR ME - Psalm 113:6
How is your beautiful God stooping down to you?
The One enthroned stoops down to you and me. That’s such a tender, humble thought.

LOOK BENEATH BEHAVIOR, REPENT - Judges 16:16
What is beneath that behavior and why I do what I do? What do I want more than the love of my Christ?
Delilah nagged Samson until he was tired to death (16:16). Samson’s first wife cried & pressed for 7 days (Judges 14:17). May I hear my words of manipulation to family and friends...and repent and change my direction.

SORROW-FILLED TEARS - I Samuel 1:15
Am I entering my story where I am filled with sorrow? Not despairing tears but sorrow-filled. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Hannah's sorrowful spirit poured from her broken heart to her God. She spoke out of the abundance of her childless complaint, but she walked away in peace; she was sad "no more."

HERE I AM.... I Samuel 2:3
Where am I? Where is my God?
I AM so moved by Samuel’s response as a youth to his God. “Here I am…” That phrase has meant a great deal to me this past year as I say it to my LORD a lot. God, keep arrogance out of my mouth. I Sam 2:3. Here I am because You are!

SPEAK GOD, WE'RE LISTENING - I Samuel 3:9
What is my Lord saying to me this very day?
Eli said if God calls you Samuel, then say: ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ In 3:19 Samuel never let his words fall to the ground for the want of hands to bring God to others.

NO HIDING IN HIS HEART - I Samuel 3:18
Am I skirting issues, hiding to avoid hurting others?
Samuel faced the fear and embraced it. No hiding in his heart for he spilled out the vision - 3:18. Samuel knew his words would devastate and decimate Eli.

A TRUE REPENTANT HEART - I Samuel 3:19
Am I more concerned about my love of God OR my love of family and friends?
Eli’s humble honest response: “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in His eyes.” Eli showed a repentant heart!

THUS FAR GOD HAS HELPED ME - I Samuel 7:12
Are you looking for man's help or God's help?
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us. God silenced Samuel’s enemies. I never dreamed I could be as free as I am today. Yet, there’s so much more.

W A L K BY SIGHT NOT FAITH - I Samueal 8:6
Do I want a person in the flesh to help me and come through for me?
They thought their failure was the system not their sin. They rejected God because they wanted to be like the other people. I Sam 8:6 Give us a King. They wanted a visible deliverer 8:22 in whom they could place their trust.

THE SPIRIT COMES IN POWER - I Samuel 10:9
What will I do with the success my God gives me?
You will be changed into a different person Saul. 10:9 God changed his heart. From a human perspective, Saul fully satisfied the desires of the people.

LET YOUR SIN SURPRISE YOU - I Samuel 12:23
Will YOU show us the sinful ways we are making our lives work?
"Stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! You will see your sin. It was Samuel's last words: "far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you."

QUAKING WITH FEAR, SAUL TAKES MATTERS IN HIS OWN HANDS - I Samuel 13:7
Am I looking to protect myself, my family...or am I looking to my God, inquiring of HIM?
His people quaked with fear so Saul didn't inquire of God what to do. So, God seeks a man after God's heart.

PERHAPS GOD WILL ACT - I Samuel 14:6,7
Am I moving in love, believing God will act in my behalf?
Let's go...perhaps God will act in our behalf. And the armor-bearer says: "Go ahead. I am with you heart and soul." And God struck the opposing army with a panic.

STOP! SMALL IN MY EYES OR BIG - I Samuel 15:13
What is this bleating of sheep in my ears?
Samuel went to meet Saul who greeted him by saying: "I have carried out the Lord's instructions." Stop Saul! Once you were small in your own eyes but you pounced on the plunder to sacrifice.

TO OBEY = BETTER THAN SACRIFICE - I Sam 15:22
Who am I afraid of in my life?
Does the LORD delight in sacrifice as much as obeying the voice of the Lord. But, Saul says, I was afraid of the people and I gave in to them.

Jean sent me this quote just now..."When our deepest desire is not the things of God or a favor from God, but God Himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about me, more about Him." (Max Lucado) Hannah and Naomi crossed the threshold as they entered their sorrow with no hiding in their hearts. May we all cross today's threshold and hear the Living Word! What do you hear your beautiful God saying to you?

27 comments:

Ang baylis 4/14/2008  

Good Morning, Bev and everyone reading along. This week was filled with so many good words. Bev, your insights are always so amazing but this weeks was beyond. Oh my goodness, they spoke to my heart! I need to go to God first when I usually want to go to friends first. He calls us "BELOVED". I am blessed by you again! Thank you!
Much love,
Angie xoxo

p.s. I wrote a little on my blog if you want to check it out. :)

annie's eyes 4/14/2008  

The Lord be with you, (as Boaz greeted his reapers.)I loved all of your insights, Bev, printing them out to go through again. Angie, yours was full of hope and joy. I'll finish mine up after this morning and post on annie's eyes, but wanted to thank you ladies for all your insights and most beautiful hearts. Jean, I read yours on ETJ and you have such remarkable and sweet heart responses. And the rest of you bless me tremendously. Bless each of you on the journey. Annette

Mary Lou 4/14/2008  

Oh, Bev, at the risk of being redundant you spoke to my heart once again. I am so blessed that He led me to your site and to a few others too. Your words were great and your thoughts were a blessing. Several of your thoughts applied to me this week but I choose just one..How is your beautiful God stooping down to you? I have a lot of major life changes going on in my life right now and they are shared with my husband, being female I look at things differently from him and attack them differently too, of course. I was very antsy on Saturday and wanted to get this, this and this done. I know I upset my husband. I knew God wasn't happy with me either...He met me in my prayer time last night in such a sweet, special way. I felt His presence so strongly. He flooded me with His peace and His excitement for all the changes that are going to occur in the next six weeks. I did not have this before. He is so good to me and for me and how I bless His name for stooping down and touching me inspite of my bad attitude on Saturday. What a great God we have loving us. Blessings on all today and especially you Bev.

helenw13 4/14/2008  

Hey Bev and everyone...
What a jam packed week of reading...thank you for posting such great questions and insights from the reading...I think I will have to do what Annie did and print them and take them one by one...isn't God's Word amazing...I just get blown away day by day...at times it is almost so powerful that I want to run and hide from the great contrast between me and HIM! But I know I would be lost...lost in my own stuff and not allowing Him to shine His sweet and gracious light on me...

Have a blessed week...I am so glad that you are feeling better...

This week God touched me with His Word and the scripture in I Samuel 3 about God's word being rare in those days...read more here
A Work of Heart!

Laura 4/14/2008  

so many wonderful eye opening points, my friend! I particularly loved the one about letting my sin surprise me. That really got me thinking about my sin nature. And praying about it, I might add. Still praying for you and your family.
luv,
Laura

connorcolesmom 4/14/2008  

God is definitely drilling home the self-focus vs God -focus thing to me. Our pastor spoke on that lesson yesterday.
We are to worship with all of ourselves and not hold back b/c of fear or pride. It is to be God-focused only - that is something I am working on since I am the one who sits on the back row b/c I do not want people to see me.
Stronghold - I am giving it to God!
Love ya
Kim

Nise' 4/14/2008  

I was a little stressed this past week with having the kids home for Spring Break and my mom visiting to get my reading in, but He is faithful to talk to me through what I was able to read! There was no need to stress that I wasn't able to read.every.day as He is able to speak through a few words just as well as through many to tell me to keep my focus on Him alone, not on what is going on a around me (a Word He tells me often).

CrownLaidDown 4/14/2008  

I have so loved reading this week--the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz always thrills my heart. I wonder what their thoughts were in all the in-between times that are not described. Was Boaz hopeful that Ruth would notice him? Was Ruth praying for God to pave a way into Boaz' heart? Did Naomi begin to feel hope immediately when Ruth told her whose field she had gleaned in? I just love it.

I am holding onto the fact that even though God has brought us so far, we still have a good piece to go. Our journey, although at a more restful place, still needs details to be hammered out. We still need salvation! So we hold tight to our Savior, Jesus, who daily is bearing our burdens.

Love you Bev! Am praying for you, too, on your journey. Hold fast to Him, my friend!
Love,
holly

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Hey Ang, I just always love reading your comments and hearing your mother's heart. Loved the verse for your precious girl---may she stand still and see what God is speaking to her heart. OOOOHHH!

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Annette, you have fanned the flame of my fledgling faith again and again and I cannot thank you enough! Loved talking with you!

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Mary Lou, thank you for walking with me through a very difficult time for me. Didn't you just love the words of Hannah that she was sad "no more" even though she was still childless. Her circumstances didn't change to give her peace. It was God HIMSELF who gave her peace. HE IS OUR PEACE. So, tonight for you and for me, may we find our rest in HIM not when our circumstances work out in our favor but may HE HIMSELF BE OUR PEACE. Sounds like God is moving in your heart in such a precious way. Aslan is on the MOVE over here and it's no longer winter all the time. It's good. He is good! Thanks for your deep encouragement.

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Helen, I loved your post about listening...and it so resonates in my soul tonight ---- speak God for we are listening!!!! And I was so surprised at the word being "rare" for there was no written word for Samuel to read. Just loved your post. We have the Word to direct us to our God; we have the Living Word. The Word made flesh in our hearts being fleshed out! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Laura, thank you SO MUCH for your prayers. God is so showing up in my life these past couple of weeks as I have recovered from being so ill. It even seems like I am so different than I was last month and that is so good. I'm so grateful to people like you whom God has used to carry me in your heart and prayers. Can't thank you enough!

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Laura
PS - You are such a prolific writer! I forgot to say that on your blog. Your metaphors are mighty!

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Kim, I just love love love your holy heart for HIM. You are always dealing with the fray of your heart and that has to make HIM so happpy! I can picture you in the front row! Well maybe the third row...smile! We'll sit up close in August and praise HIM from the depths of our soul. Save one song for me sitting next to you!!!

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

'Nise - You are a faithful woman and just love your absorbent heart and teeming passion. You glean and glow. Just love hearing your comments for you deal with specifics. You are a detailed person and I love that about you. Thanks so much for being a part of this for you contribute greatly. It's okay to have times when more activities have come our way. Look forward to reading your blog next week! Much gratitude, Bev

Bev Brandon 4/14/2008  

Thank you thank you thank you Humble Holly for praying for me. It means more than I could ever say! I loved your thoughts about Ruth and Naomi and would love to know. We will one day, won't we? I love your questioning heart pondering the things of God! I love your trusting heart walking blindly at times. I love your courageous heart that rises up in you no matter what the circumstance. You are driven by HIM and so honor HIM! Love you girl!!!

Shonda 4/15/2008  

Bev,
I love reading what the Lord shows you through HIS word. So many rich lessons to learn from the readings. I feel as though I'm skimming the Word. There are so many places I'd like to sit and meditate and dig deeper and do lots of research.

I am reading the daily readings in my quite times in the mornings. However, I have not had the time to write up what ministered to my heart this week.

I have some projects I'm working on that I have a Monday morning deadline (April 21) so I'd appreciate your prayers (and anyone else's prayers) to complete them.

I'm still praying for you and your husband.

Love & blessings in Christ-
Shonda

Karen 4/15/2008  

Bev,
I so love reading your words and seeing how God has touched your heart this week. I also print these out so I can linger over them and pull them out when I need a "moment."

I posted a small comment on my blog if you want to check it out.

karen

Bev Brandon 4/15/2008  

Shonda, what always strikes me about you is your grateful heart! Praying for your projects for peace and passion and purpose and perfection to your goals. Hope it goes well for you. You're such a dear! I'm like you---amazed at all that is there and feel like I am skimming too but may we linger with the Voice we hear as we flesh it out. I keep thinking about Hannah's mouth moving as she poured her heart out to her God and then voile...as she entered her sorrow, her disappointment with God, then she was sad "no more." Because HE IS ENOUGH. May we never find our peace by our circumstances. I just LOVE your being a part of this! Love you girl! Bev

Bev Brandon 4/15/2008  

I loved your "chase" for God post. You really did a great job Karen and we are all so delighted that you have joined us!!!!!!!!!!!!
You have such a tender way about you!

Alana 4/16/2008  

1 Samuel 15:22 LEAPT off the page at me. (The Message Version)

"Then Samuel said,Do you think all God wants are sacrifices—empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him!"

Josh 4/16/2008  

Great Post, Bev. How are things?

Fran 4/17/2008  

I've now had my share of sickness Bev....so, needless to say...I'm behind. I want to get caught up because there are some rich stuff in these scriptures. I love reading everyones comments though. It feeds this weary soul.

Love you friend. You are always in my prayers. May He be the delight of your heart. Hold fast sweetie.

Bev Brandon 4/17/2008  

Alana, Wow! I will remember that verse for a long time. Thank you so much for sharing it in The Message. Oooohhhh!!! That is what God is speaking to me about right now---listening to HIM. It matters so...do we just present our prayer speeches and walk away or do we sit before HIM and listen? I sat today for a while and listened and it was so precious the deep encouragement HE gave me. So, I can't thank you enough for this verse touches me deeply! I love you my dear!

Bev Brandon 4/17/2008  

Josh, My husband and I both are looking for full-time jobs so the finances are really tight. It has been a sweet time with our God trusting Him walking by faith. But, it has been very difficult. Thanks for asking. Thinking about you and your new chapter you are about ready to enter. How fun is that! We were at the Mavs game the other night for a community thing where Britt met Dirk---so much fun for my basketball player!

Bev Brandon 4/17/2008  

Fran, You are a beautiful woman Fran. You have no idea how deeply you encourage me! Thank you so much for your prayers and love! This has been a very difficult time for us. It has been such a sweet presence of God for us!

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
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I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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