Job 1-2

As part of my church I’m taking part in a year long Bible reading plan called OWNit. You read a couple of chapters from the Old Testament each day, and then a couple of chapters from the Prophets or the New Testament. It is 6 days a week. You can check it out here.

First thought….(sarcasm) “Oh how joyful and encouraging, we get to start out the year with Job”… who thought that was a good idea??

Job 1

Job’s characteristics: completely honest, a man of his word (so dependable, trustworthy, reliable), completely devoted to God, and “hated evil with a passion”.

He was also”the most influential man in all the East”. That’s quite impressive.

1:5 He would sacrifice on behalf of his children just in case they had sinned. 1) wow, what devotion to God and care for his children. 2) ummm can you sacrifice on behalf of others? don’t they have to do their own sacrificing??

1:6 interesting… the angels report to God. Apparently Satan does as well since he is among them this day.

1:8 I’m still not sure how I feel about this. God is the one who mentions Job to Satan. Points him out. Gee thanks God.

First test: Family and Fortune

Job then  proceeds to have a day from hell. He loses his oxen and donkeys to attackers who steal them and kill his field help. Bolts of lightening turn the sheep and shepherds into crispy critters. His camels were raided by another group of attackers and the handlers murdered. Oh yeah, and a tornado took out his children. And all the messengers arrived one after another to inform him. What the heck God?? It makes me think twice about wanting to be friends with God, He might mention me. Eek!!

But, nevertheless, Job really is amazing. In his grief and sorrow he pronounces, 21 Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return to the womb of the earth. God gives, God takes. God’s name be ever blessed.
Wow!!

And then the last verse tells us that Job never sinned in the midst of all the disasters that fell on him that day and He didn’t blame God.   : O   Oh so much to learn from Job. *sigh*

Chapter 2

Second test: Health

How far apart were these happenings?

Once again God mentions Job to the Accuser of the Brethren. Satan then says that if God would allow Job’s own body to be touched then he would curse God. So God gives him the go ahead (v 6) to do whatever to Job except kill him.

Despite losing his health and having his wife tell him that he should just curse God and die basically, Job still doesn’t sin and STILL maintains his faith in God. He even wisely points out that we must take the good days and the bad days.

Then Job’s friends get involved. I’m pretty sure they meant well. After all, the three men all traveled a great distance to be with their friend and then they sat with him for seven days and nights without speaking. They saw the devastation, the sorrow and they grieved with him.

 

Genesis 5

3 “When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son who was just like him, his very spirit and image, and named him Seth” Oh hey look it’s part of the answer to my last question. So it took 130 years for Seth to be born… how old was he when he had Enosh?

Cain and Abel had brought offerings to God before, that brought about the whole Cain killing Abel story. So does it mean that Adam and Eve weren’t praying and worshiping God and then after Abel is killed, Cain is cursed and banished and it isn’t until Seth has Enosh that people begin to worship God?

6 “When Seth was 105 years old, he had Enosh”
So 235 years before people began to pray and worship God?

5:5 Adam lived 930 years. That’s a long time to live with the knowledge that you got kicked out of the garden and helped usher sin into the world. I’m just saying.

24 “Enoch walked steadily with God. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him.”
Simply amazing. In the middle of this long genealogy discourse we find this statement. Enoch walked so closely to God that one day he just vanished. Is that still possible??

5:29 What made Lamech believe that Noah would bring about a break from tilling the cursed ground?

Genesis 4

Cain and Abel – sibling rivalry from the beginning

4:3-5 Both bring an offering to God, but Abel’s is more acceptable. Why? The Bible cites that Abel brought from among the firstborn, so the first fruits. The best of what he could offer instead of just any old offering. And this pleased God.

4:5-7 Harsh but true words to Cain. His offering didn’t measure up so he throws a tantrum. Yeah, I do the same. God basically asks him why all the pouting because it was his own decisions that caused his offering to not be acceptable. Ouch! God then goes on to say that if he didn’t do his best then it was only because of sin and that he needed to diligently be on guard because sin was out to get him.

“If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” (4:7)

Sinning is a choice. It is always waiting to trap us, but we can master it, we can choose to do what we know is right.

4:8 Whoa Cain, really? All over some cuts of meat? All because your brother did what was right in God’s eyes, you go out and kill him??

4:9 Cain sounds like a bratty teenager that needs to be set straight. “What am I his babysitter?” or in some versions “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

4:10 “The voice of your brothers blood is calling to me from the ground” WHOA! That’s kind of a crazy thing to me, blood calling to God from the ground. Injustice will not go unnoticed by God.

4:11 Cain will only receive curses from the ground… sounds eerily like Adam’s curse.

4:15 Why did God mark Cain so that no one would kill him? Was it so that as he wandered the earth he would be reminded of what he did so he couldn’t “escape” his punishment? What kind of mark was it? was it some kind of visible mark?

4:16 Cain leaves the presence of God to wander in no man’s land. What if he had repented? He doesn’t even seem sorry he did it and in v. 11 is upset that the punishment is too great.

4:23-24 What are these verses about? 1) Lamech had two wives. Was he the first to have multiple wives? 2) he killed some guy for attacking him, okay but why the “If Cain is avenged seven times, for Lamech it’s seventy-seven” Eh? Can he make that pronouncement? And why? It seems he at least had some justification of being attacked, Cain was just upset.

4:26 Seth has a son named Enosh and “That’s when men and women began praying and worshiping in the name of God.” What caused this sudden turn around? How long does that mean it was before people began praying and worshiping God?

Genesis 3

Genesis 3

Has anyone else ever found it odd that the serpent talks and Adam and Eve aren’t alarmed? Was it just normal??

Speaking of the serpent… God is all knowing so didn’t He know the serpent would deceive them. In which case, why create the serpent in the beginning? Isn’t it kind of like a set up for failure?

3:5 – the temptation: “You’ll be just like God, knowing everything”.

  •       Exactly what people are still trying to achieve today.
  •       They lived in the perfect world and had only one recorded “do not” and still failed. What was it that made the serpent’s temptation so appealing? Why do we think we want to be like God?
  • Is the core of the temptationa failure to believe that God is really good, that He really has our best at heart?

3:6 – Instead of saying, “No. God said we are not to touch it and I will honor that,” Eve considered the serpent’s words and, thus, the downfall. Though it seems Adam was with her, why didn’t he step in?

The Bible says it was fruit, not what kind, so where did we get the apple thing from??

3:7 How did they know how to sew fig leaves and I can’t sew on a button?! Guess that knowledge came after eating the fruit too? 🙂

3:8 Hiding from God… shame. We still do this. I still do this. Instead of running to the only One who can help, we hide out like He isn’t going to notice or know. We hide in our sin and shame and only cause further trouble.

3:12-13 The blame game. “The Woman you gave me…” Not only was Adam blaming Eve but also God. You gave her to me. Don’t blame me for this downfall when You are the one that put her in my life. Like he couldn’t have still said no.
“The Serpent seduced me”… again blaming something else. And it continues today.

3:14-19 The consequences. There are ALWAYS consequences to our disobedience of God, to our sin, because God is just.

3:23-24 God expelled them from the garden. It must have pained Him deeply. He created this place to commune with them but because of their disobedience He couldn’t trust them to stay away from the Tree of Life.
Did Adam and Eve later sit and talk about what the garden was like, what those days before the fall were like?

Genesis 1 – 2

So as I mentioned yesterday in my resolutions, I started a Bible reading plan for the year. It’s a couple of chapters in the Old Testament each day and a couple of chapters from either the Prophets or the New Testament each day. I’m reading from the Message because while I do not recommend it as a primary study version, it is certainly easier to grasp than King Jimmy (though I like his poetic qualities) and I’ve really just never fallen in love with the NIV.

I thought I would post my thoughts, comments, questions here. I won’t send them out to the entire list but if you’re interested they will be here.

Day 1

Genesis 1

I love that from the very beginning of our story it shows the creativity of God and the power of His word as He spoke everything into being. It has always been one of the things that captures my attention. I can never remember what was created on what day but I never cease to find amazement at the vastness of God’s creativity.

How did that work by the way? Did God speak and suddenly it just materialized out of thin air? Or did He like speak trees and shrubs into existence and that planted the seed in the ground that then over the natural course became trees and shrubs? Was it both? Because in Gen 2:5 it speaks of Adam being formed “before any grasses or shrubs had sprouted from the ground”.

God created us to reflect His nature and to be responsible for the Earth and all therein. (Gen 1:16-18)

Were Adam and Eve vegetarians? God says He gave them all the seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing trees  and whatever grows from the ground as food. (Gen 1:29-30)

Genesis 2

God rested!! (2:2) If God had to rest what makes us think that we don’t need to?

We are formed from dirt. I wonder if Adam looked like a huge sand sculpture on the beach before God breathed life into Him?  Regardless, God breathed His life into man

Gen 2:8 – God planted a garden. It doesn’t say He spoke it into existence. Did He actually, physically come down and plant the garden?

What was the purpose of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?

Gen 2:19 – God forms all the animals from dirt. Somehow I think in all my years I’ve overlooked that. Ummm… wow! And then Adam go to come up with names for them all. Proof that Adam was also very creative.

Oh and let’s not forget God’s best creation happens in this chapter… yayyy woman! 😉

 

 

No Salad Before Bed and Other 2012 Resolutions

New Year’s Day.

The day when people all over the world begin mis-writing the date again. How many times will you sign something as 2011 in the next coming week?

It’s also the day that kicks off a new year with renewed hopes and the ever dreaded New Year’s Resolutions.

I do good if I stick with something for more than a week honestly, so resolutions are basically a waste of breath for me. Still I find that over and over I try.

Sometimes I cheat.

Like 2012 Resolution #1: No more salads before bed.

I’m pretty certain I can keep this resolution. If you are wondering how this came about it’s basically because I ate salad before bedtime a few nights ago and dreamed that Danny Devito and Morgan Freeman were attempting to take over the world and I was their Administrative Assistant. I think it is safe to say I don’t need anymore salads before bedtime, though given my history of vivid, nonsensical dreams I’m not actually certain it was the salad.

Resolution #2 is also pretty much a given since I am planning to return to Ukraine: Lose weight.

Now before you turn and give “hmph” at another skinny girl wanting to lose weight, I want to just throw in that between Thanksgiving and Christmas I have successfully managed to not fit into the pants that came with me from Ukraine. I’ve enjoyed the food here a bit too much and it is time to get back to the smaller portions and exercise I’ve grown accustomed to in Ukraine.

All the other resolutions for the year are going to require more commitment:

#3: Read through the Bible in a year.

As if in answer to prayer, my church in Kyiv sent out a link to the Bible in a year program called OWNit365 that we are doing as a church. So maybe this year I’ll have some accountability and will actually not get lost in Leviticus and quit.

“The Whole Bible plan is a 6-day-a-week journey through the entire Bible with two readings per day. The acronym “OWN” represents one daily reading from the Old Testament, along with one from the Wisdom Books or New Testament,” according to the web site and for all you technology lovers you can get apps for your smart phone or get it emailed to you daily so you can track your progress.

#4: My biggest goal for the year  is FOCUS.

I am terrible at focusing  and everything that goes with it. I plan to see less of Facebook, email, and social media in general and more of the important things this year. I want to pay more attention to those that prayerfully and sacrificially support me. I hope to work more on dreams and what God has created me for than on making others happy and just doing things because there is a need (because there are ALWAYS needs and sometimes you do more service by saying “No” than exhausting yourself).

So when I really look ahead at 2012 I’m excited for the opportunity to become more of the person God has created me to be and I think my “resolutions” this year may be the most sensible ones I’ve ever set.

What excites you about 2012? What are your goals for the year ahead?

Do you think it was the salad or should I be concerned that Morgan Freeman and Danny Devito are, in fact, plotting a take over?

 

Elevensies

2011 is coming to an end and I love lists. So here are a few as we close out this year.

11 Reasons I Love Ukraine

A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park... another reason I love Ukraine

1. CCX university students – Seriously they are AMAZING
2. International Christian Assembly (ICA) – I love my church
3. Borscht! – I still need to learn how to properly make this beet based soup (I know some of you just wrinkled your nose, but you just need to try it)
4. My roommates Alla and Nadia – They make me laugh constantly and often refer to me as the Crazy American Girl
5. L’viv – old world European style city known for chocolate and coffee
6. Fresh flowers – sold year round all over the city for cheap and they are a common gift. LOVE!!
7. Easter – the adults carry around Easter baskets!
8. Hospitality – once you have a relationship with someone, Ukrainians are some of the friendliest, most hospitable and caring people I have ever met
9. Creativity – the country is filled with artists, writers, etc. So much creativity!
10. Quirky – also one of the things that drives me crazy, but Ukraine definitely has its own little quirks (just like me!). For example, mullets still seem to be in style and people pick their noses whenever/wherever like it’s just no big deal – gross but convenient sometimes.
11. Fighters – Ukrainians are strong. They are fighters. Their history is filled with all kinds of atrocities still they remain resilient and many have a deep love for their homeland despite the many flaws plaguing the country. I like people with a little spunk 🙂
12. Chocolate!!! I know I said eleven but this one can’t be left out. It’s so much better than American.

Casper
My cat Casper... how could you not miss this?!?!

11 American Luxuries I Miss the Most

1. Clothes Dryer – I hate planning days in advance that I need clothes to wear
2. Breakfasts at the Roystonian with the Ekklesia ladies – grits, coffee and good conversations
3. IHOP Atlanta – Having somewhere 24/7 where there is prayer and worship
4. Being able to communicate – My biggest daily struggle in Ukraine. I REALLY miss being able to communicate effectively.
5. Current bestseller books – Though I think I’ve remedied this one by obtaining a Kindle. YAYYY!!!
6. Driving – What would be a 30 minute drive in Ukraine actually takes me an hour and half on crowded, nasty public transport (though it’s much cheaper than driving)
7. My cats – They make me laugh and they help calm me. They always seem to understand and often are quite mischievous. I miss them a lot.
8. Wide open spaces – The countryside. Quiet. Unpolluted air. Trees to sit under. *sigh*
9. Warm weather – while the mild Ukrainian summer was nice, even a mild winter is far, far too cold for me and seriously lacks the sunshine and Vitamin D I am accustomed to
10. The AIM community – I miss the closeness and realness of this community. Good thing we sometimes get World Racers in Kyiv!
11. My bed – my Soviet style pull out couch isn’t horrible but it definitely can’t beat a real bed (especially when that bed has a very cute, white kitty curled up in it!)

captured fox
I'll let you fill in the caption here...

11 Signs You Live in Ukraine

1. A babushka tried to run you over with her cart and then yelled at you.
2. You find yourself pressed against a complete stranger multiple times a day on public transportation and it’s almost not awkward anymore.
3. You only get one thing accomplished in a day, and that’s considered a success!
4. You start forgetting to use articles (a, an, the, etc.) in sentences.
5. You automatically answer “Da” or “Nyet” even when speaking to other Americans.
6. You carry hand sanitizer, tissues, an umbrella and shoe polish in your purse.
7. You actually polish your shoes
8. You forget what it’s like for absolute strangers to be friendly/polite to you.
9. You’ve been hit on by a guy with an albino rat on his shoulder.
10. Salo (unrendered pork fat) and kvass (a drink made from fermented bread) are not unusual in meals
11. You look at a packed marshrutka (bus) or metro and think “There’s always room for one more”

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It is already 2012 in Ukraine but with a few more hours left here on the eastern seaboard of the US, I want to say thank you for joining in the journey this past year.

I’m still in need of about 90% of my budget for the coming year (which is coming really really quickly!!), would you consider a one time or monthly donation so I may continue reaching out to students in Ukraine?

For tax deductible support, make checks payable to: Ekklesia International 70 Lee Street Royston, GA 30662 Memo: Ukraine

For non-tax deductible support through PayPal please click this button. If you select “Gift” then it does not incur fees and I receive your entire donation.