Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover

A "shimmering" sun sits tucked behind an immense canvas of pale blue tissues and pillows and cottony skies overhead and millions of reminders underfoot of the multitude of God’s thoughts to me, more than all these grains of sand in my toes. Simone Weil said: “Beauty and Affliction are two things that pierce our hearts.” Oh my goodness…I have both!

Welcome if you dropped by for Cover to Cover. There were a few stories this week that so gripped and grabbed and touched and teared at my questioning soul. It was another week of chronological readings that was so full of what life is really all about. Enormities to sift through... so I suggest that you scroll down and pick one story, one paragraph to read through as it's so much reading to get through.

I finished a book recently by Frederick Buechner and this quote stapled to my thoughts: “Our original shimmering self gets buried so deep we hardly live out of it at all…rather, we learn to live out of all the other selves which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.” We offer only those parts of our hearts where we have learned to perform and gain approval from those who represent life to us. We’ve become efficient and effective. But, I rather think that this week, those of you whom I know, have taken off those worn useless coats in the summertime of your life to be clothed in righteousness, to sit in His Presence and Listen and Linger. What stayed with you as you read the word of God this week? Did you find HIM there? Here are my lingering stories…

“REMEMBER THE KINDNESS SHOWN TO YOU” STORY - 2 CHRON 24
Joash didn’t remember Jehoida’s kindness to him. He killed Jehoida’s son. “May the Lord see this and call you to account.” 2 Chron 24:22. Do I live remembering what God has done for me and let people answer to their God? God will be kind to us whether we have money or not, whether we have friends or not, whether we have careers or not. What is your measure of God’s Kindness?

“WE CAN ONLY DO THIS IN GOD’S POWER” STORY – 2 CHRON 24
The Aramean army had come with only a few men; the LORD delivered into their hands a much larger army. Yet we think it’s because of our speaking abilities, our leading programs even bible studies, our gifting, our ministries, our singing talents. A book I am reading today talked about how “what’s really wrong inside of us can’t be changed apart from intimate communion with God.” Are we are aware today of our profound inadequacies to win any war or make a difference in a life apart from the power of Christ? Do we think it’s all about training and talent and education and equipping?

“DON’T RAISE MY HOPES" STORY – 2 KINGS 4
I don’t know where I have been --- some of these stories it seems I am reading for the first time. I am so desperate. My hopes have been raised and I have been let down with a crash this week in some circumstances---so what do I do with that? What a story this is ... my creditors are coming to take my boys as slaves. 2Kings 4:1 So Elisha had her collect from neighbors all the empty jars she could. And God kept the oil pouring. We don’t live in isolation in our needs, but the only people pursuing me right now are creditors! I am asking God to keep the “oil” flowing as we try to sell the stuff we have in hopes of moving to another ministry.

“BOY RAISED TO LIFE” STORY – 2 KINGS 4
Childless, a Shunammite woman didn’t know that one day she would lay her dead son on Elisha’s bed hoping against hope. "Are you all right," asked Elisha's servant? An amazing reply from the childless woman: “Everything is all right.” What! SHE WANTED ELISHA’S PRESENCE only. She told Elisha in 4:28 didn’t I tell you not to “raise my hopes.” You know, I feel that way when I talk to God that He raises my hopes for stuff like to find a good friend in my life and then lets me down. Truth be told---I’m the only one letting God and everyone else down. What is my hope really in? This world or the next? My God or things working out for me and my world. The woman told Elisha---I’m not leaving you! 2Kings 4:30 When I find God’s presence, don’t leave it Bev. Don’t leave HIM.

“GOD CAN GIVE YOU MUCH MORE THAN THE COURAGE YOU HAVE MUSTERED UP” STORY - 2Chron 25
Amaziah of Judah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD but not wholeheartedly. A prophet told him "Don't fight Amaziah even if you have courage…God will overthrow you. 25:8. Amaziah asked the man of God, "But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?" The man of God replied, "The LORD can give you much more than that."

"UZZIAH’S SUCCESSFUL SERVING" STORY - 2 Chron 26
Uzziah’s pride led to his downfall. And in the year that Uzziah died, Isaiah 6:1, that’s when seeking hearts saw God for their king idol’s death caused them to ponder real life. Uzziah was a demanding king coveting serving God by burning incense (reserved only for priests). Do we ever demand that we get to serve God like we want to serve HIM? Let’s see, what did success look like to Uzziah? Being a recognized holy servant? Ambition! A king out of control. What’s success in our eyes? A big ministry with thousands of people repenting and turning to God. The more people touched, the more successful we are? Well, look at this… Uzziah entered a rage with the priests over this issue. I wonder what Uzziah wanted more than serving God?

"PREPARE TO MEET GOD FOR THE LION ROARS" STORY - Amos
Amos 1:2 “The Lord roars from Zion …” That verse sends chills in me. The Lord roars as HE sees the halfheartedness. Amos the burden bearer was a wordsmith, delivering beautiful wordplays, uncovering the sins of Judah and Israel who believed lies. Amos 2:4. You see, their prophets had been told not to prophesy 2:12. So, God captured their attention: I gave you lack of bread. 4:6. I withheld from you. 4:7. I struck you, sent pestilence. 4:10. I overthrew some of you. 4:11. YET YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME…PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD 4:11,12. Let justice roll down like waters! Woe to those who feel safe and secure but are not grieved over what you see!!!

"IT’S NOT ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT OR ABILITIES" STORY - Amos
A Shepherd. A Gardener. Amos had no prior experience. God got hold of him. No past achievements, no present abilities, just the authority of God. Our calling is not about ACHIEVEMENTS or ABILITIES…it’s about AUTHORITY. The Eyes of the Sovereign LORD are on the sinful kingdom. The Gaze of God with a Glimpse of Grace---no total devastation. Makes me think of God’s piercing eyes on us this very day. And I start feeling guilty---so where does that come from? Wait a minute, there’s no condemnation in HIM. We are all called to advance His Kingdom regardless of gifting or talents. Either we are advancing the Kingdom of God or another kingdom, maybe our own.

"GOD MAKES OUR VALLEYS OF TROUBLE INTO DOORS OF HOPE" STORY - Hosea
Imagine being married to a whore who loves other men more than she loves you. BUT, Hosea found his God in midst of obedience and surrender to God’s plan. God says to Hosea, his wife, Israel, and to us today that He will allure us into our wilderness if we let Him and speak tenderly there. Oooh! And He will make our valley of Achor (means trouble in Hebrew) a Door of Hope so that no longer do we call Him a god but we call our God our Husband. 2:14,15. What an analogy! You know that's where I've been past two years ago---it was the Door of Achor to be terminated from our church of 27 years but God made it a door of HOPE and has strengthened me to walk through that door these past two years and He has changed me SO MUCH---so grateful to Him.

"PLEASE USE ME GOD" STORY - Jonah
God called Jonah twice but Jonah fled His Presence. We think the same thing---that we can get away from his piercing gaze. Otherwise, we wouldn't do some of the things we do, would we?
You know Jonah's story. God hurled the wind. God cast Jonah into the sea. Verse 2:8 is just pivotal for Jonah realizes vain idols rage in the sea of his heart and he has forfeited the grace of God. But no more! God caused Jonah to be swallowed by a whale where he prayed 2:8 that the idols that raged in his heart would die down. And Jonah no longer forfeited the grace of God. Most people would panic inside the belly of a whale but Jonah found God in there. His raging waters ceased. God spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out. Oh dear. So, Jonah heard the word to go to Nineveh for a second time. This time Jonah went and God relented...and Jonah became so angry. We need to look at those times in our lives when anger sneaks up and surprises us. Who was Jonah concerned about? Nineveh or himself? God appoints the plants to shade; God appoints the scorching wind. He is getting the attention of our "shimmering" selves.

13 comments:

helenw13 6/30/2008  

Good morning Bev,
First...how exciting about the Olympic trials...this family is big into the trials and the Olympics...fun to have some names to watch...Dana's name is familiar...

Great post this morning...don't you love Amos...I don't think I remembered that he was a shepherd...you are so right...it doesn't depend on our achievements but His authority...I love that!

Well, I wrote another long post...but it was a week of so much meat...wow!

Blessings to you and I love how you said there are "millions of reminders underfoot of the multitude of God's thoughts to me..."

Here's my thoughts this week A Work of Heart!

May you all have a blessed week!

JnL4God 6/30/2008  

Bev,
I will post this evening, however was curious that there is someone so close in distance from me. I am in Milwaukie Oregon which is the suburb of Portland. Yes the heat has been trying. So Helen Hi and it would be fun to know more about you and where you're at.
Lynn

Michelle V 6/30/2008  

Bev,

Your insights always amaze me! There was a lot of good lessons in this week's reading! I had trouble picking just a few. Our Sunday school class is doing a study of the minor prophets so our readings here are fitting in beautifully! I have my post up on my blog.

Blessings
Michelle

JnL4God 6/30/2008  

Bev,
Such insight you have. Well I have posted my "What Lingers" on my blog.

Be Blessed,
Lynn

Nise' 6/30/2008  

Once again, when I needed to read everyone's lingering thoughts the ability to do so was prevented until tonight! I love His timing. Today as I was trying to get my husband to the doctor, hospital for tests, find out son's results and fitting in an unexpected root canal for myself, I was tisking at God about how much more am I gonna have to handle today! I was measuring His kindness to me by what was happening to me that I perceived as negative. And I was reminded what do I want more than I want God? Conviction hit my spirit... I love His mercy and gentleness in getting my attitude turned around.

My post on this week's reading is here.

annie's eyes 6/30/2008  

I so feel your heart about not getting your hopes raised too high to be let down again. It is a ragged road we journey on, and yours has been so difficult. I see God molding you to be so tethered to His Love, though, Bev, in your words and in your heart's honesty. It has been a hard week for you and Jean, and I pray you both are living above your circumstances, carried by His faithful arms. I have a few things that lingered, but wanted to write much much more. It was really a lot this week! Love to you all, Annette

Marina 6/30/2008  

Bev, I can't keep up with your reading there is so much good stuff hear!marina

Ang baylis 6/30/2008  

I'll be back to read your insights as I know they will make some things clearer that I've found confusing! You seem to have such an understanding!
Love you,
Angie xoxo

Mary Lou 7/01/2008  

Of course, I couldn't pick just one of your observations to read. I had to read them all. There is so much to digest. I may print them off in order to get the most out of them. This week has been a rough week for me to follow and it may be my lack of sleep or the stress or just me, anyway. What you wrote and the others has really helped me. I am one blessed woman. I see through your writing how God is ministering to you and speaking to you and how you are growing in Him. So, glad you got to get away. Today feels like a vacation to me..a long story but today feels so good and I am at home and not on vacation. Thank you for all the time you put in to posting what He has given you and how He is speaking to you. Blessings...Mary Lou

Holly 7/01/2008  

I have been thinking about your quote from Frederick Buechner...I want to read that book. What is it? Praying for delights upon your path this week!
Love,
holly

Holly 7/01/2008  

Oh, and I kind of wrote a post here (http://crownlaiddown.blogspot.com/2008/06/something-about-pets.html) about what God is teaching me Cover to Cover. It is a good teaching for me.

Love you!
holly

Alana 7/02/2008  

Hey Bev,

Stopping in to see if I can get back on track with the reading, but see you don't have the July readings up yet. I'll be back...hope you are well!

Kristin 7/02/2008  

Hi Bev! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. I've been thinking of you, too. I've missed "talking" with you on my blog. I keep meaning to get back into it, but just haven't found the time. Still praying about Siesta Fiesta. I would so love to be there, but are not 100% sure yet. I sure would love to meet you. In fact, knowing you will be there makes me want to be there more. I love you ~ Kristin

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

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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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