Yesterday began our session. Though there have been some technical difficulties on the main website that are being worked on, the kick off has been great. So far, I've only not heard from two of our group and I'm THRILLED that everyone has started off with such enthusiasm. For those of you that are reading that are participating----GREAT start!!!!
Though this is a READING only plan, many post blogs along the way about what they are learning and how God is speaking to them. Most follow along with the SOAP plan. Though I do greatly enjoy and benefit from the SOAP format, I just like to "write" as it comes! Though I don't anticipate writing every day or at any set times, I do plan on writing my thoughts about the passages when God lays them on my heart!
Today, several different verses jumped out at me. EVERY single time I do this challenge, I'm amazed at how DIFFERENT verses "speak" to me. I obviously have my favorite verses that are frequently quoted by many people, but it's the "other" verses that surprise me with how they speak to me differently each time.
Day 2: Genesis 17:1 through Genesis 28:19 (I'm reading from the NLT version again this session.)
- "I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just." 18:19a
- This verse caught my attention because though the verse is in reference to Abraham it encourages me in the calling that has been placed on me as a mother. God has placed in me a very deep desire to raise my children in a different way than what is often considered "normal". At times, my husband and I feel singled out because we often don't fit in with those around us because of our choices. Though we know that we aren't seeking to be popular and that we are raising our children for HEAVEN---it does at times get a bit hard when we often feel alone. This verse encourages me that we are EXACTLY where God wants us. We want nothing more than our sons and daughters (and THEIR families) to keep the way of the LORD as they grow older.
- In Chapter 19 (story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah), a couple of things caught my attention more than before. Vs. 16 talks about when Lot hesitated in leaving the city at the urging of the angels. The Bible says that the angels "seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD WAS MERCIFUL." Sometimes I am guilty of hesitating when God tells me to do something. I think of so many times that He STILL protected me, used me to fulfill His purpose despite my reluctance, or still blessed me. Why would He do that? Because HE IS A MERCIFUL God. Though he wants my full obedience, immediately and completely...He still provides His grace and doesn't GIVE UP on me!
- Also in Chapter 19, vs. 26 spoke to me. Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back. God had warned them to NOT look back and she was disobedient. This particular verse caught my attention in two ways: one...God DOES expect our obedience and sometimes there are very REAL consequences for not listening! Two: She looked back. Had she not looked back, she would have made it to safety with her family. How many times have I looked back? How many times have I not kept my eyes forward? I get stuck in the past. I failed then, so I'll probably fail again---type of attitude. What about the times I've just not trusted fully and held to tightly to the past? Ouch. Guilty!
- Chapter 21: vs. 2 and 6. At this point we are reading about the birth of Isaac as God has promised Sarah and Abraham. In vs. 2, Sarah had given birth "at just the time God had said it would". God's timing! God's circumstances. What Sarah herself doubted and what medically seemed impossible worked perfectly in God's timing. I often get wrapped up in MY timing with so many different circumstances and forget that GOD'S timing is PERFECT. Even though I may have immediate needs or desires, His timing is ALWAYS perfect even when it doesn't line up with MY timing. He sees the full picture and I have just a limited view! In vs. 6, Sarah declared "God has brought me laughter!". Isn't that amazing! God gives us joy and He truly wants us happy. I imagine that he delights in hearing us laugh! Oh how often I take life too seriously!
- Chapter 22: If ever asked what is the greatest example of stepping out and acting in faith in the Bible, my immediate answer would have to be the testing of Abraham's faith in Chapter 22. Abraham proved his devotion to God and his belief that he would provide a sacrifice other than his son. Vs. 8---he doesn't waver in telling his son that God will provide. Vs. 12--"You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son". He was willing to give God everything, but believed in faith that He would provide. What incredible faith! In vs. 14, Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh which means "the Lord will provide". He believed it from the beginning and didn't allow doubts to enter in. Faith in action doesn't get much better than that!
- Chapter 24:67 "And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah's tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother." Beautiful! That is a beautiful picture of marriage. He loved her deeply and she was a comfort to him. I'm thankful for the relationship I have with my husband. He has been THAT comfort to me as well at many times through difficulties, but especially during times of loss. There is nothing more amazing than to be married to your best friend, to grow together in Christ, and to have someone that is always by your side through the good and the bad.