Though there have been verses that have caught my attention since my Day 3 post, timing just hasn't been right to sit down and blog about them.
Some of my favorites (mostly just making a list so I can go back later and really soak them in):
Exodus 14:13 & 14---"Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (Those are some powerful words that spoke directly to my heart as I'm struggling to stay calm in some situations and needing rescue! I'm NOT good at being still. However, the battles we are currently facing are requiring me to just STAND still and let God do HIS work, because I can't do it.)
Exodus 15:2---"The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him---my father's God, and I will exalt him!" (This one really touched me on so many levels. It's beautiful. Praise God---He IS my strength and my song. He has given victory! He is always worthy of praise. It also has been so touching because of Dad. He was my father's God and He did provide Dad with victory. It wasn't the victory we had hoped for because of our selfish natures, but it was the most beautiful victory. This verse just means so much now!)
Exodus 15:26---"He said, If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying His commands and keeping his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians for I am the Lord who heals you." (That is some powerful advice that just really sums up life in general. Listen carefully to the voice of God and do what He says. Obey his commands and keep his decrees. No wiggle room. No partial obedience (which is disobedience!). Though He offers grace and forgiveness when we fail (which we WILL do often!), our lives are just much simpler when we obey!)
Exodus 17: Just rereading the story of the fight against the Amalekites and how Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses when he was too tired was quite emotional for me. Being the text that was used at Dad's funeral and because of the blog I had written right after his diagnosis (here and here, too), it was just emotional. Beautiful, but emotional.
Exodus 33:12b-13a "You have told me, "I know you by name, and I look favorably on you. If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor." (Aren't those incredible words? That is the cry of my own heart. )
Numbers 6:24-26 "May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace." (What a blessing to pour over everyone that means so much to us. I'm currently searching and studying about praying Blessings and this obviously jumped out as one of the more popular ones we hear said. It's a topic that definitely has my interest right now!)
Numbers 14: 14, 17 "I can't carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! ....I will come take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will no have to carry it alone." (Moses is one of the most remarkable men of the Bible, yet he told God that the burden was too heavy. God agreed and provided him with help in sharing it. My husband and I have been specifically talking about this lately. There are situations going on right now that are too heavy for me. We have been asking God specifically for ways to make it "less heavy"---whether that be someone to help carry it, letting go of some of it, or trusting Him more. Regardless of what the answer will be, I'm reminded of how important it is to have someone "share" our burdens.)
All of these bring me to today's current reading. Though other verses obviously meant something to me, those were the ones that spoke the loudest.
Today's reading literally ran all over me. Perhaps it was because I had the rare moments of reading in REAL peace since I had finally been able to sleep soundly and woke up before the kids (even before the energizer bunny woke up!!!). I've had a ROUGH battle with insomnia for about 10 days, so being blessed with REAL sleep has been amazing for clearing out my foggy brain!
Today's reading really talked often about how we can't do anything outside of God's will SUCCESSFULLY. Sure, we can rebel. We can go on our own way. He gives us that free will. However, it is absolutely fruitless. Our driving desire should be to be walking in God's will. Sometimes it may feel inconvenient, it may feel radical, it may feel lonely, and it may feel counter-cultural. That's OK. Being in His will it what matters.
In the second half of Numbers 22 vs 18 says, "I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD my God." Though the conversation was taking place between Balak and Balaam, the words are still powerful. "Tracye is powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD her God." Making that verse personal absolutely moved me. Outside of the will of God, I am powerless. How many times has that been true? Too many to count.
Continuing in that same chapter to read about Balaam and the talking donkey really made me stop and reread and LISTEN. Though kids love to hear the story about the donkey that talked, I found that today when I read it, I saw it in a whole new light. Three times God had used the donkey to change Balaam's direction, but he didn't listen. Instead, he beat the donkey. When God allowed the donkey to talk and then opened Balaam's eyes to see what the donkey was seeing (the angels), it all became clear to Balaam. It made me stop and think about the times that God has tried to turn my direction by putting obstacles in my way or by placing people in my path that I needed to listen to. The donkey asked Balaam, "But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life. Have I ever done anything like this before?" He was acting out of character and Balaam didn't recognize it for what it meant. How many times has that happened in my own life? More than a few. My prayer is that my own eyes will be open to see and my own ears open to hear the "speaking" donkeys in my own life. Which obstacles are being placed to prevent me from going down the wrong path? What voices speaking in my heart are being ignored because of my own selfish desires or disobedience?
Two more verses spoke to me in today's reading. Numbers 23: 19: (God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?" Knowing this to be true, why in the world do I continue to fail to trust at times? Definitely something to think about.
Finally, 32:23 says "But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out." Yes, there is no hiding from God. No need to try and hide our sinful actions and thoughts. He already knows. We end up spending so much effort trying to hide our faults and sins from the "world', but yet God already knows. If we (especially including myself!) just would put that much effort into avoiding our sinfulness and turning away from it as much as we do hiding it, how the world would change. Instead of hiding the sin, if we were instead seeking counsel and accountability with others, our lives would change dramatically. It takes energy to hide sin. Putting that same energy into doing good instead....that would make radical differences!
So, this is much more lengthy than even I expected....but if for no other reason, I have it all in one place to refer back to as needed. Perhaps, maybe next time I won't get so far behind!
What a blessing this round of B90 has been so far. Yes, it's incredible to be meeting and sharing with the ladies in group 62 and it's a blessing to be part of my larger mentor group. Having had the choice to just mentor or mentor AND read, I'm so thankful I chose the reading part. Though this is the 3rd time I've started this challenge in the last year, it is amazing. Each and every time, I learn more. I become more vulnerable and open to what the word says. New understanding. New blessings. New faithfulness. New growth. Unbelievably amazing!