Friday, June 28, 2013


As much as I looked forward to summer vacation, we had a tough first week this year.  I realized quickly that loosy-goosey days were not going to work, so I established a schedule.  It was a hard transition. My school aged daughter was not used to doing so much housework.  My son was not used to having his sister home.  The toddler was not used to all the outside play.  

One thing I added to the schedule was a hefty amount (for them) of Bible time.   I decided that each week would have a memory verse, and we would talk about stories in the Bible related to the verse of the week. (Don't you love my fancy memory verse wall?)  Being the mean mom that I am, week number one was Ephesians 6:1. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right."  As the week went on, I knew I had chosen correctly.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whatsoever Teaching

Shimer College class 1995 octagonal table
Helene is a talented and very prolific writer. Seriously, she can write circles around me.  She's also a very busy woman.  One day I asked her how she found the time to do all of the Bible study that accompanies the kind of writing we do.  The answer was simple: She's a teacher.

In her life, Helene has done a lot of Bible teaching.  Ladies' Bible class, children's classes, homeschooling, she's done it all. She patiently explained to me that since she is deeply in the Word to teach these classes, much of her study serves a double purpose" to prepare to teach and to write for our humble blog.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Acts 8:The Ethiopian

Revised Version Bible 03
Have you ever been discouraged in your Bible reading because you just don't understand what you are reading?  If you are anything like me, you might be tempted to give up on your reading when you get to a section like this.  When I recently read Acts 8, I had a thought about these difficult sections.

In Acts 8, Luke introduces us to a man from Ethiopia.  This man is sitting in his chariot reading from the book of Isaiah.  He doesn't understand what he is reading.  Philip is lead by the Spirit to go up to  the man.  He asks him if he understands.  The man responds, that he can't understand if he doesn't have someone to explain it to him.  Even though he didn't have anybody to explain it to him, he kept reading (Acts 8:28-31).  

Sometimes I feel like the Ethiopian.  I think I need someone to explain things from the scriptures to me.  I need to be more like this man and persevere in my reading even when I don't understand.  I believe often when we do this the Spirit puts something or someone in our path to help us understand.  Even if this doesn't happen, we can still rest assured that what we are reading still comes from Him and is still profitable for us (2 Timothy 3:16).   What helps you persevere in your reading through the difficult places? Please share your thoughts below.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Umbrella Morality

New Orleans Umbrellas -Floral Umbrella
A surprise spring monsoon (spring shower is a real misnomer) inspired one of my students to give an impromptu speech. I had assigned the class to give speeches the week before, and he was absent.  Undaunted, he took his inspiration from the rain.  Leaving class he had seen all the students getting drenched.  Walking past them carelessly were classmates with umbrellas.  He was appalled. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Black Thumb

Dead plant in pots
I have a black thumb.  The list of plants I have killed is so long, it's almost comical.  My cactus withered up and died.  I've planted basil at least four times, and it always shrivels.  I'd like to say that I just don't have the knack for being a gardener, but that would be dodging the truth.  The real reason I'm a plant killer is that I don't give them the nourishment they need.  If they had adequate water and soil nutrients, I'm sure my plants would still be alive today.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Smith Scale

When I start looking around for a new Whatsoever Wednesday book, I start to wish someone would create a better rating scale. The five star method that Amazon uses doesn't provide nearly enough information.  When I go to find a book to review for you, I really want to know things like:  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Our Powerful Prayers

Would you be excited if I told you that there were prayers you could pray and be 100% guaranteed that God would say yes?  

Would you be less excited if I told you the lottery is 100% not on the list?

Last week we talked about Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Nehemiah all of whom prayed with power for God's aid.  Solomon prayed that God would uphold the line of David (as he promised).  Jehoshaphat prayed that God would hear his prayer from in front of his sanctuary (as he promised) and rescue them.  Nehemiah prayed that God would rescue, regather and restore the people to their land (as he promised).  All of these prayers were heard and answered.  Why?  Because they were prayed inside the will of God.

Friday, June 14, 2013

God Gave the Increase

When my daughters were babies, I dreaded going to the pediatrician.  Neither one of them grew as fast as the doctors thought they should.  Both of them hovered just over the line of the dreaded "failure to thrive" diagnosis.  As much as I told myself that they were growing at their own pace, I still got scared when I saw their little dot at the bottom of (or below) the line for normal growth.  I was doing all the right things for them to put on the ounces, but in the end, I was not in control of their growth.  When I learned to leave the growth up to God and just do my job of feeding them, I was a much happier mommy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gray Matter: A Book Review

Have you ever heard someone say this: God doesn't hear the prayers of non-Christians.  Or this one: You have to be right with God before you can pray for anything else.  I understand that at times our prayers are hindered by sins, but to say that God does not listen to ANY non-Christian prayers simply isn't true.  The only Scripture that might endorse such a hard-line stance is in the gospel of John.  After Jesus heals the man born blind, the Pharisees confront him about the miracle.  The man himself says "We know that God does not hear sinners" (John 9:31). But remember, Jesus didn't say this; a man he healed did.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thank You

Dear Readers, 

Flickr - Official U.S. Navy Imagery - Racers cross finish line in 5K run for Navy Chief birthday.
Thank you so much for your patience this last year as I shared my reading journey with you.  I can now say that I have read all the way through the Bible.  I agree with comments that Melissa has made before that there are many ways to read the Bible; being in the Word is what we need most. David says in Psalms 119:4-5: "You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.  Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees."  It was long past time for me to complete what I had begun many times.  I couldn't have done it without the encouragement and accountability that came from posting on here.   I know this because I have tried and failed in this more times than I can count.  

I would love to hear what you all have been reading in the Bible lately.  Perhaps this will help give me direction as to where to go from here.  For those of you that want to read through but never have been able to, don't give up.  Find a plan that you like, find an accountability buddy, and let us know on here how it is going.  Looking forward to hearing how the word is touching your lives.  



Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Powerful Prayer

My 11-year old daughter recently commented to me that praying was a bit of crap shoot.  You pray, then you hope God will answer, and all in all there's really no guarantee that what you want and what He wants will line up.  I immediately disagreed.

"There are kinds of prayers, things we can say, and know that God WILL do exactly what we ask." I said to my daughter.  She crooked an eyebrow up in disbelief.  

"We know that God gives us what's good for us." She said with a tiny Mama's-lost-her-mind-again 'tude.  

What do you think?  Do you think prayer is always like a roll of the dice?  Or maybe you are one of those people who think if you do enough good stuff and then you get a reward.  Be good all year and hope Santa comes through for you. Or perhaps you believe that God is like a parent who wants you to be healthy and thus has only carrots and vaccines for you when what you really want is buttery popcorn and a trip to see Disney on Ice.  

None of those ideas is altogether wrong.  Sometimes we pray for rain but God sends another day of sunshine.  Sometimes God does not answer our prayers positively because of our sin (1 Peter 3:7, James 5:16 ). Sometimes God does give us what we need, what will work out for our good instead of the thing we want.  God sees our unhealthy attachment to that handsome jerk from work and instead of answering our prayers to let him ask us out, sends us a bald preaching student instead.  He does have our long-term good at heart. 

But I still contend that there are prayers, powerful prayers, that God will answer in the affirmative every time.  

Take Solomon's prayer of dedication at the temple.  He stands in front of all Israel and the temple he built and thanks God for letting him complete the work that David wanted to do.  God promised that David's son would be allowed to build the temple and he fulfilled it. Then Solomon says this: 

Now therefore, O LORD, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David, my father, that which You have promised him, saying, `You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way, to walk in My law as you have walked before Me.'

"Therefore..." is a really powerful word. Solomon is declaring that since God kept one promise (that He could finish the temple his father envisioned) he could be entrusted to keep David's sons on the throne forever if they would not abandon God.  Solomon was totally confident.  God was faithful.  He said it.  He would do it with his own hand.  

Solomon asked God for more than the continuance of his line.  He prayed that God would continue to hear and answer the prayers for help that the people offered with repentance in front of His temple.  God answered that prayer with a miracle: fire came down from heaven to consume the sacrifice and his glory filled the temple. (2 Chronicles 7:1-3)

Many years later, in front of Solomon's temple, Jehosophat prayed again.  He was in trouble.  Three allied nations had invaded Judah and the king was afraid.  More sensible than some of his later counterparts, he responded to his fear by declaring a fast and calling all the people out to pray.  He said this"

Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, 'Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.'  

Just like Solomon, he states confidently the work of God in the past (he drove out the inhabitants of the land as he promised Abraham) and calls on God to do what he implied he would in answer to Solomon's prayer (rescue the people when they cry out to him from the sanctuary they built in His name).  If you've forgotten the rest of the story, read 2 Chronicles 20 and be encouraged by God's power to save! 

The years slipped by.  The people forgot God.  They were exiled in Babylon and their temple was destroyed.  But still when Nehemiah, serving in the King's palace, decided to pray he reminded God of his promises.  After confessing the nation's sins he asked God to 
Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, `If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;  but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'

Nehemiah said that God promised Moses to gather the people after he exiled them.  And Nehemiah had faith that God would do what he said he would do!  

Me too. 

But the question is what did God really promise us?  What could we confidently take to God like Solomon, Jehosophat or Nehemiah and receive simply because he promised to give it? 

This is the question I asked my girl. She started naming things, reciting verses, getting more and more excited.  I hope you're excited too.  Next week, I'll give you a list of promises that we can and should bring to the throne of God.  I'll give you a hint, a new car, a handsome husband and well-behaved children are sadly not on the list.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Quick and the Bored

Gate at Altonrea - - 551082
My youngest daughter is a sneaky little thing.  At two, she is smart enough and small enough to slide under the gate on our deck and escape the safety of our fenced-in back yard.  I try not to be a helicopter mama, so I let her go out alone, but I have to check every few minutes and make sure she hasn't pulled a Houdini.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One to One Correspondence

When August rolls around with its steamy weather, I'll be homeschooling an 8th grader and a kindergartner.  You can say a prayer for me!  Seeing it on the horizon, we've slowly begun preparing the 4 year old.  This week's preparation was learning to count to twenty; last week it was learning to say the 23rd Psalm.  The two things have more in common than you might think. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Prophets and Me

My reading recently took me through the prophets.  The prophets have never been my favorite material to peruse, and I must admit that there was more that I didn't understand than what I did. However, I did pull out a few pearls of truth and wisdom from these final books of the Old Testament.  This week I would like to share a few random thoughts from that reading before moving on to the New Testament next week.  These ideas come from several of the Lord's prophets.

First, Ezekiel got my attention by saying, "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land'" (Ezekiel 36:20).  As I read these words, I couldn't help but wonder how many times people look at my life and say, "if she is a Christian, why did she do that."  Every time this happens, I am guilty of making God look bad just as the Israelites were.  People are watching us to see if our actions match up with our words of love and faithfulness to the savior.  They notice every time they don't.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Only Happy Wife

<< Return
Old couple in love
Recently I sat at the kitchen table and had a belly-laugh with my husband.  The two of us are sometimes like conjoined twins.  Except backwards.  Two bodies, one brain with the same bizarre sense of humor.  I could try to explain the joke; it was all about prayer, confession and this book we've been reading, but I assure you it would fall flat. Snorting, I laid my head down on the kitchen table catching a glance of my eldest daughter rolling her eyes at her crazy parents.