Inside Out

Shared from SeniorLivingMinistries.org

From the Inside Out

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'” —Luke 4:4

There’s a story about an old man who lived in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning, the grandfather would sit at the kitchen table and read from his worn-out Bible. Wanting to be just like his grandfather, the young boy would imitate him by reading his own Bible.

One day the grandson asked, “Grandfather, I try to read the Bible just like you, but I don’t understand it. When I do understand it, I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The grandfather simply replied, “Son, take this old wicker coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, but the water leaked out of the basket before he could get back to the house. The grandfather sent him back three more times and told him to move faster each time. Every time, the frustrated boy returned with an empty basket.

Finally, out of breath, the young boy said to his grandfather, “See…it’s useless!”

The old man said, “Look at the basket. Instead of a dirty old wicker coal basket, it’s now clean. Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand it or remember everything you read, but when you do, it will change you from the inside out.”

As believers in Christ in a fallen world, you and I must saturate our hearts and minds with the Word of God every day. Just like the young boy above, it may seem that we can’t retain or comprehend everything we read. But remember that God uses His Word to change us from the inside out!

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Make a commitment to the Lord to study His Word faithfully each day. And pray that He will use the Scripture to cleanse you and make you more like Jesus.

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Peace for the Disquiet

peaceforthedisquiet

When come the waters of trials too deep

And come the pain that causes to weep

Churning to anguish and gut-wrenching wails

Shaking fists and angry rails,

 

Pray come the Master to rescue our souls

Pray come the Spirit, surrender controls

Our Father, His Son, and Spirit of Peace

Cradles His loved ones, their flesh to cease.

 

Our hope in self stilled

Transferred to His will

Ease our anxious thoughts

Unravel the knots.

 

We have not the answers we seek for now,

Yet in obedience we agree to bow

To our Lord and Savior, our only hope

And only means by which to cope.

 

We trust in the future He has in mind

And trust, in obedience, we may find

His perfect plan, and not forsake

The joyful path He wants us to take.

 

Psalm 42.5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Light: Tell the Story

tellthestory

“Grandma, tell me the story again.”

Eve smiled. How many times had she heard that plea? How many children called her Grandma? This little one was the daughter of Jared, several generations from her son, Seth. She drew her into her lap. “Which one, Neah?”

“The light.”

“Oh, the light.” Eve paused as she pondered the light in Eden. Really, after all this time, she had never found the precise words to describe it, nothing with which to compare it. Nothing else was like it.

She continued. “The light was everywhere, not like it is now. Here, we have darkness and light. We have ways to make light when it’s dark outside, but it’s not the same as the light we had in the Garden. God was the light, and He was in the garden, and His light was everywhere. Everything shimmered and glowed – everything: the trees, all the plants, even the animals. And Grandma and Grandpa. There was light everywhere, but it was not blinding. It was light that enabled us to see, to see more clearly than we can now, with more truth. There was light everywhere. See those trees?” Eve pointed to some palms. “In the Garden, the trees had light, and there was light springing up from the ground around them. When we walked, our steps were light. We walked with God then…” Eve fell away from her speech.

“Isn’t God still here, with us?” Neah looked up at her Grandma.

“Yes.” Eve brushed the tip of Neah’s nose and smiled. “Yes, He is. Everywhere. And we can still talk to Him. But,” she ended on a wistful note, “it’s not the same as in the Garden. We can’t see Him here like we did.”

“You could see God?”

“No, no we couldn’t see Him, exactly, but somehow our eyes or our vision was different there. Oh, I wish I could explain it!” She gave Neah a hug. “But some day, some day we will be able to see again, to walk with God in purity. He promised. And Neah,” she held her granddaughter’s eyes, “God is always true. He always loves you, and He will always take care of you. Never doubt Him. We may sometimes walk away, but He never does. And He always, always wants us to walk with Him.”

Neah yawned. “I will, Grandma. I will.”

********

John from The Eclectic Contrarian started the unique and intriguing Tell the Story Challenge, and it’s been spreading around. Amy and Stuart nominated me after weaving their well-crafted prose. Please visit them to read and be blessed.

The Tell the Story Challenge rules (as per John): present a picture, then tell the story of the picture. It can be as short or as long as you want it to be. Nominate at least 3 people.

I’m not good at nominating. Here’s a picture, and if it speaks to you, please write a story about it.

tellthestoryballoons

(photo from Google Images)

Genesis Chapter 1

genesisch1*

Gen Ch 1 God’s name in Hebrew: Elohim, God of power, this noun is masculine and plural. Yes, plural. Note that it is paired with the singular of its corresponding verb. Hence, God/Plural/One.

Gen1.1 In the beginning… So there was a beginning. What was before that? God was before that, from forever.

  • English translation of the word (B’rêshîth) used for “beginning:” beginning, choice, choicest, finest, first, first fruits, foremost
  • Created (bara): create, shape, fashion, form
  • Heavens (shamayim): heaven, heaven and the highest, sky, visible heavens, abode of the stars
  • Earth (erets): whole earth (as opposed to part), whole earth (as opposed to heavens), ground, soil

Gen 1.2 Interesting that the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. God started the earth with darkness, and then He moved. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Although Jesus is the Living Water, He Who gives us sustenance; waters in the plural often denote troubles, flesh, tribulation (Lamentations 3.54, Jeremiah 47.2, Psalm 18, etc.). Apparently, the earth is covered with waters, since in verse 9 He gathers the waters together and lets the dry land appear. (Also, 2 Peter 3.5 But they deliberately overlook the fact that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water…)

Gen 1.3 In the first mention of God speaking, God creates by His Word. He speaks, and there is light. Of note: God is Light (1 John 1.5), and in Him is no darkness at all. Yet, in order for there to be any other type of light, God must create it (apart from God, there was no light). Are there differences in light/Light? John, in 1 John 1.5 is not speaking of the same light he got from a candle or lantern. It would be interesting to do a word and topical study on light.

Gen 1.4, 5 God declares the light is good. But He does not decide that light will replace the darkness. He separates light from darkness; darkness continues along with the light, and they are separated. God names Day and Night; henceforth come evening and morning, the first day

Gen 1.6, 7, 8 God creates a firmament (an expanse, a visible arch of the sky) in the midst of the waters, to divide the waters from the waters; waters above and waters under. He calls the firmament Heaven. That is the second day.

The third day:

  • Gen 1.9 – 13 God gathers together the waters under the heaven to let the dry land appear. The dry land He called Earth; the gathering of waters He called Seas.
  • God calls the earth to bring forth grass, herbs, fruit trees.
  • Verse 11 is the first mention of “seed:” so that each may produce according to its kind: His plan of propagation, the beginning of begetting.

The fourth day:

  • Gen 1.14 – 19 God called for lights in the firmament of the heaven. He had specific purposes:
    • To give light to the earth
    • A greater light to rule the day (sun)
    • A lesser light to rule the night (moon)
    • To divide the light from the darkness
    • He made the stars also
    • To give for signs and seasons, and days and years
  • Interesting that God creates grass, herbs, and fruit trees the day BEFORE he created the sun, moon, and stars.
  • He created the lights in the firmament of the heaven in order to divide the day from the night; yet, in verse 4, He divided the light from the darkness. Noted: light and darkness is not the same as day and night.

The fifth day:

  • Gen 1.20-23 Creation of water animals and fowl
  • God said to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas and let fowl multiply in the earth.

The sixth day:

  • Gen 1.24 – 31 God creates living creatures on the earth.
  • He commands the earth to bring forth the living creature: cattle, and creeping thing and beast. Water animals and birds were created before land animals. As for the land animals, they were, from creation, either wild (beast) or livestock (cattle).
  • Gen 1.26 And then God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
    • Man & woman were created the same day as the land creatures, although after the land creatures; also the only creation made in His likeness. God gives man dominion over all the other living things He created. He gives man dominion over the earth, but not over the waters.
    • “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness:” a mention of God’s Trinity. John 1.1 states that Jesus was with God, and was God, from the beginning. Wisdom, in Proverbs 8, is depicted as being with God during Creation.
  • Gen 1.27
    • God created both man and woman in His image: “Man” is used to denote human; God differentiates man into male and female.
    • God is Spirit (Jn 4.24) and created man in His image; therefore, man has an immortal spirit. Man and woman are created in the image of God, equally. Equally in His likeness, equally loved, equally esteemed.
    • Seems a lot was packed into Day 6, and it is expanded in Chapter 2: how Adam and Eve were created; God’s command to Adam not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; bringing all the beasts and fowl to Adam to name; Eve created from Adam’s rib.
  • Gen 1.28
    • God blessed them. God did not specifically bless any other of His creation, just man.
    • God speaks to them. He does not directly address any of His other creation.
    • “Be fruitful and multiply.” God created masses of every other living thing; but of man, He created only two. Because God is omniscient, He could see the coming of sin. In His wisdom, He created but two to be perfect, and then to be banished from the garden.
  • Gen 1.29, 30 God tells man that He has given them all herbs and trees, all which bears seed upon the face of all the earth, for them to eat; and for the beasts and fowl and all that creeps to eat. No mention of eating any flesh.
  • Gen 1.31 God sees all that He has made, and declares it to be very good. Light was good (v 4); dry land earth and gathering together of the waters was good (v 10); grasses, herbs, trees, fruit, seed were good (v 12); lights in the firmament were good (v18); water animals and fowl were good (v 21); everything that He had made was very good (v 31). Each of God’s creations were good; the interaction, dynamics, coordination of all together were very good.

 

* I like maps. Images from bibleatlas.org

I Was Laid Taciturn By My Expectations

iwaslaidtaciturn

“I was laid taciturn by my expectations, and education lifted my hopes.”

When one dreams, can the contents of said dream be contributed to the dreamer? In other words, can the dreamer take credit for anything created in that dream?

I awoke at 6:11 this morning from a dream. This is what I remember:

Picture a man, a husband and father, mulling over the year past, feeling melancholy over the passage of time and of beginning yet another year afresh. He draws his journal to him with the intent of writing some words of substance to close out the old year. But first, he thinks, he will turn back the pages see what he had writ there on the last day of the year previous. These words were on the page: “I was laid taciturn by my expectations, and education lifted my hopes.”

I awoke, as I say, from that dream and pondered what I had just read. I had to write it down, as I knew I would be unable to ponder that which I could not remember.

From dictionary.com: taciturn: adjective; 1. Inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation. 2. Dour, stern, and silent in expression and manner.  Education: noun; the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

I have heard the phrase “laid low,” as to mean something happened and a person felt low as a result. I transitioned that for “laid taciturn” to mean something happened and a person felt taciturn as a result.

I have written about Expectations previously. The gist is that we base our expectations on what we perceive as truth.

So maybe my dream’s quote is a re-mash of an old blog: Learn what real Truth is. Read the Bible, God’s Word (educate yourself). Ask His Spirit to rightly divide the Word for you, and to interpret how to live accordingly. Base your feelings on what God says about you and your circumstances. Put your hope in the Lord.

For this new year, lay aside old, worn-out expectations. Read and put your hope and faith in God and His Word.

I hope that man in the dream was able to reflect on some positive changes he made from the revelations of the previous year.

Genesis Overview

This is an excerpt taken from my very first post, with some editing for this series.

The book of Genesis, all in one book, tells the story of

  • creation
  • God’s power and might and love
  • God’s desire for relationship with man
  • God’s pursuit of man in order to have that relationship
  • man’s inability to live a sinless life
  • man’s inability to seek a relationship with God (because man loves himself first)
  • man’s need for salvation
  • man’s need for God, and a relationship with Him
    • God created us. He knows the hairs on our heads. Before we were knit together in our mother’s womb, He knew us. He had a specific design in mind for each of His children. One part of that design is a desire for intimacy with their Creator. Man may try many and various ways and means to fill that need, that void, but the only thing that fits is God Himself.
    • 1 Chronicles 16.11: Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
  • God’s promise to make a way for a holy God to have a relationship with sinful man
  • our unique make-up, the way God created us to long for relationship, to long for meaning, and the way He created us to find joy and peace and meaning
  • our inability to find joy or peace or meaning in our own efforts
  • God’s choices:
    • His chosen people, to show the world what a beautiful thing relationship and obedience to God can look like,
    • and those whom God does not choose – the evil ones who will end up in the pit of fire.

God so loved the world that He created man and woman in order to have a relationship and share His love. He created His beings with the ability to choose: love is not love, of course, if one is programmed for it and unable to choose love. He created angels with this ability, and some chose to be their own gods. He created man and woman (and all people who came after) with this ability, but, alas, none of the people were able to choose God in and of themselves (Psalm 14.1b – 3: They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. John 15.5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. And Romans 3.23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God) While it’s easy to become huffy and counter with our own goodness, God shows us in the Garden of Eden that our goodness is not the same as His goodness. Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They chose for themselves the ability to make their own plumb lines. They chose to make themselves gods, instead of relying implicitly and completely on God. They willfully turned from obedience to God, and broke the total unity they had with Him. [Just to be clear, we cannot place all the blame for our fallen state upon Adam and Eve, since any of us would have done the same thing (see Psalm 14.1b-3, above). Even with God among us, even with abundant evidence of His goodness and presence and love, even with our created design of desiring Him, we still choose our own way.]

God is a holy god. He will not tolerate sin. He cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden. In His love, He did not allow them to eat of the Tree of Life, for eternity on man’s own terms would be intolerable.

Out of the world, God chose Abraham as the Father of His people. God’s Chosen. This is a picture of what a people look like when God chooses them and showers His blessings on them. He is clear that He is making a covenant with them: He has a plan for their lives, He created them for this plan, and they will find their greatest joy and peace and meaning if they follow this plan. He will bless those who obey Him. God cannot bless disobedience. Even as parents we understand discipline. We do not reward our children for disobedience; we understand what will be good for them, and we nurture them in that direction. We parent imperfectly, but God parents perfectly.

In Genesis, God shows His love and paints a picture of His promise of salvation through the events of Noah (allowing a new beginning, with a picture that, no matter who we start with, man will always fall and God will always save His chosen), Abraham (blessing Abraham’s obedience and making him the father of the seed of salvation), Isaac (providing a wife through the actions of an obedient and faithful servant), Jacob (recognizing a heart devoted to Him, even through deception), and Joseph (showing that, even though God’s plan may look awry to us, He will protect and provide as we obey).

Homemade Timeline

adam to noah timeline

I am posting a series I started (privately) some time ago and never continued, titled “Revelations from Genesis.” As I read the book of Genesis, I am always amazed at how much there is in this book: God intimates why He created us, He gives us a peek at how mighty and awesome and majestic He really is, He shows us why we need salvation, He outlines and details His plan of salvation, He shows us why we can’t do it ourselves, He paints pictures of His love for us and our need for Him; and He presents a tailored plan on how He designed us to live – what’s most healthy and satisfying and joy-bringing.

I begin the series with a timeline I created. I like a good picture, and I couldn’t find one, so I made one. It is accurate, as far as I know how to make it. If anyone sees discrepancies, please let meknow.

Some items of note from this visual:

  • Because people lived so long, they really got to know their family groups: grandbabies and great-great nephews and nieces and sons and shirttail in-laws mingled with one another.  All the way up to Methuselah, ancestors could speak directly with Adam (and maybe Eve?) and hear what it was like in the Garden, to walk with God and be without sin.
  • It looks like maybe Methuselah and possibly Lamech died in the Flood. Noah was born 126 years after Adam died, and maybe born while Seth was still alive. These folks must have felt very related to each other. I don’t think they moved far away like we do now. There was interaction, and they knew their bloodlines. What did Noah think when God closed the door of the ark? Noah knew his relatives were still out there. But he had faith. Faith that God cared for each of them as much as He did for Noah himself, and that all lives were in His capable and loving hands.