Resolutions for 2010

  • #1 Raise $10,000 For My Husbands Garage
  • #2 Spend 1 Year Without Cable Television
  • #3 Spend a 24 Hour Period in Complete Silence
  • #4 Loose 15lbs By Memorial Day Weekend
  • #5 Listen to only Christian radio stations
  • #6 Read the entire Bible
  • #7 Conquer my Diet Coke addiction

Monday, February 22, 2010

Abraham: Genesis 12-25:18


Conflicts, casual sex, and co-parenting at it’s finest…oh and something about a covenant too.


General Summary:

*Chapter 12 leaves off right where chapter 11 ended. Abram is in Haran because that’s where he, his wife Sarai, his father Terah, and his nephew Lot had settled on their way to Canaan. One day God tells Abram to leave his country, relatives, and fathers house to some land that eventually will be revealed to him because he is to be the father of a great nation. So Abram departed with his wife, and nephew and all of his wealth (a.k.a. livestock and servants), and started traveling. While in the area of Canaan, God tells Abram that he is going to give this land to Abram’s offspring, so Abram builds an altar to commemorate Gods visit. Then a famine strikes, so Abram and his entourage head for Egypt to wait it out. Before they go to Egypt, Abram tells his wife Sarai to tell everyone in Egypt that she is his sister. Apparently, Sarai is so beautiful that Abram fears the people of Egypt would kill him to get to Sarai if they knew she was his wife, so Sarai agrees. Sure enough when they get to Egypt, everyone spoke of Sarai’s beauty. Eventually Pharaoh gives Sarai’s “brother” many gifts in exchange for her. God sees that Pharaoh had taken another mans wife (unknowingly) and sends a terrible plague upon his household. Pharaoh is mad at Abram (rightfully so) for lying to him and sends all of them out of the country.

*Chapter 13 Abram and crew begin to back track, camping at many of the same places they stopped at on their way to Egypt including the place Abram built an altar in chapter 12. It doesn’t take very long for conflicts to arise among Abram and Lots entourages because the land they were occupying could not support all the livestock (talk about being rich!). Abram gives Lot first choice at any land he wanted to inhabit, so naturally Lot chose the best possible (superficially speaking) land for him and his posse. They settle just outside the city of Sodom even though Sodom was known for it’s wickedness. After Lot was gone, God told Abram to look around and that everything in his sight range was going to be given to his offspring as a permanent possession. So Abram settles in Hebron and builds an altar to God.

*Chapter 14 Next, a war breaks out between a bunch of kings whose names I cannot pronounce or spell. Lot is captured in the midst of the chaos and when Abram hears of this, he gets a bunch of men from his household (318 to be exact, which shows just how rich he was) together and they rescue Lot. Abram is returning from battle when a man named Melchizedek is introduced to us. He is referred to as the king of Salem and the priest of God most high. His character is one of the great mysteries of the bible (for more on him read, “Questions that got answered while doing this Bible study” section). He brings Abram bread and wine and blesses him. Then Abram presents the bibles first mentioned tithe, one tenth of all the goods he recovered from the battle, to Melchizedek. This chapter ends with Abram giving the goods he won from the battle to his allies and Melchizedek is not mentioned again until Psalm 110:4, and Hebrews 5-7.

*Chapter 15 Later on God speaks to Abram in a vision reassuring him that he will have a son eventually. When Abram asks how he can be sure God tells him to make a sacrifice. While Abram is making his sacrifice to God, he suddenly falls into a deep sleep and has a horrible nightmare. Then the Lord tells Abram that one day his descendants will be oppressed slaves in a foreign land but eventually delivered and their enemies will be punished. Then he tells Abram he will die an old man in peace. As the sun went down Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between his animal sacrifices and God goes into more detail about the land that Abrams descendants will eventually inherit.

*Chapter 16 After such a personal encounter with the creator of the universe you would think that Abram would be well behaved , at least for a little while, but instead, he and his wife Sarai decide that they are going to have a child on their terms-not Gods. So Sarai gives Abram her servant, Hagar, to have sex with so that they can have a child before they both get too old. I’m sure Sarai really had to twist Abrams arm to talk him into that one. As you can imagine, that plan back fires because once Hagar gets pregnant, she starts treating Sarai with contempt (can you blame her?!). Then Sarai has the audacity to blame Abram and tell him that God is going to punish him. She then treated Hagar “harshly” which I interpret as abusive. Poor knocked up Hagar runs away to a desert spring (probably not as 4 star as it sounds), and an angel of the Lord comes to Hagar and tells her to return to Sarai and submit to her authority. Then the angel makes a similar promise to her that was made to Abram (she is carrying Abrams child after all), that she will have more descendants than she can imagine. He also tells her that she is to name her baby boy Ishmael. The angel goes on to say that Ishmael is going to be a wild child from the get-go, with a free spirit and he is compared to a donkey saying that he will be against everyone and everyone will be against him….poor Hagar. She doesn’t react anything like I would, she instead gets excited and nick names God, “the God who sees me.” She returns to Abram and gives birth to his son Ishmael when Abram was 86 years old. I am putting on my “Team Hagar” shirt as we speak. What a woman!

*Chapter 17 Fast forward 13 years and God is still consistent. He speaks to Abram again and reminds him of the covenant to give him many descendants. Abram falls face down in the dust which is very interesting to me because God has spoken to him so many times before, but this time he has this kind of reaction? Maybe it was because he hadn’t heard from God in over a decade. Anyways, after God repeats his covenant, he tells Abram that his name is now to be changed to Abraham and then God introduces circumcision as Abrahams part of the covenant. God tells him that all currant males in the household, future male descendants, and male servants need to have their foreskin removed. God changes Sarai’s name to Sarah and tells Abraham that Sarah will bear a son in a year that is to be named Isaac. Abraham responds by laughing to himself and saying, “Ya right!” God continues on by telling Abraham that not only will Isaac enjoy many blessings but so will Ishmael. Abraham wastes no time and takes Ishmael (who is now 13 years old) and every male in his household and circumcises them all….ouch.

*Chapter 18 starts off soon after the circumcision with 3 visitors coming to Abraham’s house. Two of them are angels and one of them is God himself. The three of them are disguised as men and come to visit Abraham and Sarah to reiterate that in a year, Sarah will have son, and that they will be returning during that time. Sarah is eavesdropping nearby and her reaction to her having a child within the year is, “Ya right.” God of course hears this doubt and asked Abraham why Sarah laughed, because nothing is too difficult for God to do. So, when Sarah is confronted, she denies ever laughing….I think I’m becoming less and less of a Sarah fan as I read… The rest of the chapter is God telling Abraham that he is planning on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah because the people that reside there are, “extremely evil, and everything they do is wicked.” Keep in mind that Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family live there because it can help explain what Abraham does next: He spends the next 9 verses bargaining with God. What an ego! But ever patient, God bargains back with him about how many innocent people there would have to be in Sodom and Gomorrah before he would reconsider destroying everything, and they settle (as if God didn’t already know) on 10. If there are 10 innocent people God will not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

*Chapter 19 Turns out their aren’t 10 innocent people in Sodom and Gomorrah because in this chapter the cities are reduced to rubble. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Chapter 19 starts out with the two angels entering the city of Sodom and going strait to Lot’s house. Lot washes their feet and prepares a feast for them. Just before bedtime, every male in the city (a huge number, I imagine) surround Lot’s house and demand that he send the two men (the angels in disguise) so that they can have sex with them. Lot pleads with them to have sex with his virgin daughters instead, which infuriated the gay men. They attacked Lot but the angels pulled him back inside and blinded the men of Sodom so they could not get in the door of Lot’s house. The angels then tell Lot to get himself and his relatives out of the city because it was going to be destroyed. Lot tries to round up his daughters fianc├ęs but they don’t believe him. At dawn the next morning the angels urge Lot even more to leave. Lot still hesitates and the angels grab his hands and the hands of his wife and daughters and force them to leave the city telling them not to look back. Apparently, bargaining runs in the family because as the angels are leading Lot to the mountains, he asks that they take him and his family to a small village instead, because he is afraid that disaster will catch up with him in the mountains. The angels concede and take the family to a village that is later named Zoar (meaning “little”). Just then a fire storm of sulfur rains down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife makes the mistake of looking back and she is immediately turned into a pillar of salt. A while later Lot becomes afraid of the people of Zoar, so he and his daughters move to the mountains, which I guess are not as scary as he thought they were when the angels were trying to get him to move there. Anyways, brace yourself for the last part of chapter 19. While in the mountains, Lot’s daughters take it upon themselves to preserve their family line by getting their father drunk and having sex with him since there are no other men in the mountains…..eww. Both of them get pregnant by their father (Lot) and give birth to Moab and Ben-ammi double eww. But God still blesses Lot’s children/grandchildren by making them the ancestors of great nations, the Moabites and the Ammonites.

*Chapter 20 sure made me feel better about my own spiritual short comings, because for the second time Abraham pretends that Sarah is his sister when they move to a town called Gerar. Just like chapter 12, the king takes Sarah to live with him in the palace This time, God intercedes and makes it so King Abimelech never touches Sarah and warns him that she is married. Abimelech argues that he had no idea he was about to sin with a married woman (I think he kind of has a point here). God makes all the women in the kingdom infertile until Sarah is returned to Abraham. Of course Abimelech is furious with Abraham for making him sin. Abraham cops out with the whole, “It wasn’t a total lie, she is my half sister” excuse and then the king gives Abraham livestock, silver, and his choice of where he wants to live in the kingdom. God removes the infertility curse and everything goes back to normal.

*Chapter 21 This is when God finally fulfills his promise to Abraham and his wife Sarah by giving them a son. He names the boy Isaac and he circumcises him on the eighth day of life, just as he was told to by God. When Isaac grows up and is weaned, Abraham throws him a party. At the party, Sarah notices that Ishmael is making fun of Isaac and then promptly comes to the conclusion that this little blended family-co-parenting-situation is not working for her anymore. She kicks Hagar out and when Abraham gets upset God tells him to get over it, and to do what his wife says. Hagar and Ishmael wander around the wilderness until they are almost dehydrated to death. Hagar cries as she leaves Ishmael 100 yards away because she can’t bear to watch him suffer. She is visited by an angel who tells her that the Lord has heard her prayers and for her to go back to Ishmael because God was going to give him many descendants. As God opens Hagar’s eyes there is a well in front of her and her and Ishmael drink. Then there is a brief epilogue stating that Ishmael became and expert archer and his mother arranged a marriage for him with an Egyptian girl. Go team Hagar! The last part of this chapter comes out of left field for me. It is about King Abimelech (from chapter 20, the one Abraham deceived) finding Abraham and making sure that he will never deceive him or his offspring. Then they talk over a fight that broke out between their servants, exchange some livestock and go on about their business.

*Chapter 22 The most famous part of the Abraham story. The almost sacrifice of his beloved son, Isaac. God tells Abraham to go to the land of Moriah (about a 50 mile journey), and to sacrifice Isaac. Just as Abraham lifts a knife to Isaac, an angel stops him and tells him that God was just making sure that Abraham was still faithful. So, Abraham sacrifices a ram instead and God speaks to Abraham from heaven telling him yet again that he would have many descendants. Soon after this, Abraham gets word that his brother Nahor has eight sons, and that one of his sons Bethuel , has a daughter named Rebekah (remember her, she is very important). Then it mentions the kids Nahor has from his concubine.

*Chapter 23 (don’t worry there are only 3 chapters to go until the end of Abrahams story) Sarah dies at the ripe old age of 127. Abraham was devastated. She dies while they were in Hebron and the people of this city agreed to give Abraham any place he wanted to have to bury Sarah. Even though Abraham offered them money the wanted to give him the burial plot for free. Abraham ends up insisting on paying him something, and Sarah was burried in the cave of Machpelah.

*Chapter 24 Abraham is getting very old by this point in the story, and he gets to thinking about how Isaac is going to survive without him. He wants Isaac to have a wife, so he sends his servant Eliezer to find someone suitable for Isaac. Abraham has a few stipulations though. First, she must be from his homeland, second, Isaac was not to accompany him, third, the bride-to-be was to come back with Eliezer immediately. Abraham tells Eliezer that God has sent an angel ahead of him to make sure there was a good wife there for Isaac. Eliezer takes off on the journey and when he reaches a spring to take a water break, he prays to God for a sign. He wants a girl to offer him and his camels water, as a sign that she is the one God wants for Isaac. Sure enough, while he is in mid-prayer, Rebekah (from chapter 22) comes to the spring and gives Eliezer and his camels water. He praises the Lord and asks Rebekah to take him to her parents. After meeting her parents they all decide that Rebekah is meant to go with Eliezer and is to be married to Isaac. And now for one of the great, “How I met your mother stories” of the bible. As they approach the city where Isaac is, Rebekah sees her husband-to-be and it is love at first sight. She dismounts from her horse, and covers her face with a veil. Isaac is staring at her mesmerized while Eliezer tells him the whole story. They immediately go into a tent and get married….and probably consummate their union as well…at least this is how it happens in my imagination.

*Chapter 25:1-18 Okay, this is the last official part of the story of Abraham. It concludes like any good blockbuster, with death. But before that, he does what any God fearing man does after their wife dies…. He gets himself another wife (named Keturah), and a couple of concubines and starts having babies with them. He lives another 175 years and when he dies, Isaac and Ishmael burry him next to Sarah. Then there is a list of Ishmael’s descendants noting that he had twelve sons that have 12 tribes named after them. Ishmael died at the age of 137 and it says he joined his ancestors in death which I think means that he went to “the place of comfort” section in Hades to wait for Jesus to take him to heaven (refer to the “questions…..”section in my Adam and Eve blog for more on where people in the Old Testament went when they died.).

Things I loved

*14:17 Melchizedek…..I love a great mystery.

*16:9 God tells Hagar to return to her abusive master (Sarai). This seems very unfair on first read, but it teaches a great lesson in submission. God calls on us to submit to our earthly masters (our husband, boss, parents, etc.), even when they are not being kind to us. Keep in mind that when we obey our earthly masters no matter what the cost, we are actually showing respect to God (Ephesians 5:12), because God has put them in charge of us for a reason.

*16:12 God knows our personality before we are born. When Hagar is prego with Ishmael, she runs away and is visited by an angel who tells her among other things, what to expect from her son. The angel goes into great detail of the type of personality Ishmael is going to have. I love that God knows our personality and our destination in life before we are even born.

*17:20 When Abraham asks for God to bless Ishmael, he does, even though Isaac was the son that God intended to bless.

*18: 22 Abraham begs for mercy and God is very patient. This is the part where Abraham bargains with God to spare the innocent in Sodom presumably because Lot and his family reside there. God doesn’t yell at him and say, “how dare you question me?!!!” Instead he is patient and humors Abraham by engaging in his bargaining.

*21:12 God insists on a peaceful home. When Hagar and Sarah are having yet another fight (I’m sure their little co-habitation scenario was like MTV’s the Real World) Sarah kicks Hagar and Ishmael out of the house. Even though Abraham is upset at this, God tells him to let them go. I translate this as God showing how much he values a peaceful home.

*25:9 The brothers reunite to burry their Dad. I’m not sure how much actual animosity was present between Ishmael and Isaac. I think the conflict was more with the grown-ups. But naturally there might have been some tension between the boys. If I were Ishmael, I would be most upset over the fact that I had to get circumcised when I was 13 verses being circumcised as a baby like Isaac. Whatever issues there might have been, they made peace long enough to have a funeral for Abraham.

Things I did not love:

*Abraham has always been so glorified. Yes, he did do many great things. He was obedient at times and faithful to God. But when I think of that song about him I sang as a kid at vacation bible school, I feel like I have been deceived! You know the one I’m talking about:

Father Abraham had many sons,
many sons had father Abraham,
For I am one of them.
And so are you,
So lets just praise the Lord….

Why didn’t that song tell the whole story? I guess the words adultery, and concubines were a mouthful for school-aged children, but up until I became an adult and read his story myself, I had no clue that he ever sinned because all we ever hear about him is how great he was!

Questions to ask God when I get to Heaven:

*17:9 Why circumcision? As the mother of a little boy, I can tell you the circumcision ritual seems kind of barbaric, couldn’t God have chosen something else for Abraham to do to hold up his end of the deal?

*16:16 When did 86 become old? This verse is the end of chapter 16 when Hagar gives Abraham a son. It was decided that Abraham would have a baby with Hagar because he and Sarah were getting too old. It was just a few chapters ago when Noah and everyone else on earth was popping out kids when they were over half a century old…what the heck?

*19:2 Did Lot know that the two men were angels before he invited them to his house?

*19:8 Why would Lot rather protect his guests (the angels) from being gang raped than his daughters virginity? Was hospitality that important? If Lot knew that they were angels he would have known that God would not have allowed them to be raped.

*19:18 Why did God punish Abimelech and his family even though they were innocent?

*22:10 How old was Isaac when his dad tried to sacrifice him? Did he know what was going on when his Dad tied him up?

Questions that got answered while doing this Bible study:

*14:17, and Hebrews 5-7 Melchizedek. No, I did not get all of my questions answered about him. But in researching him I have learned a lot. Here is what I know for sure: Mel was of a higher spiritual standings than Abraham because Abraham tithed 10% of all the goods he recovered from battle. Mel recognized God as the “Most High.” Mel did not have parents…some interpret this as him being and angel or a pre- incarnate Christ, but he could have just been an orphan. He was considered a king and referred to as, the King of Salem which means the king of peace. Here are the main theories about him: 1. He was a respected King in the region, 2. He was a type of Christ, 3. He was an angel…What do you think?

*19:26 Lot’s wife turns to a pillar of salt, literally? Or was that just an expression? At first I was sure this was some sort of expression. I mean, I know God is capable of doing this, but why would he choose to turn her into a salt lick? I think if this was a metaphor, it would be a metaphor for death because we know that Lot’s wife is not around anymore after this. So, why then is this “metaphor” not used anywhere else in the bible to describe death? If this was a common phrase used during this time, we would have heard this phrase throughout the bible which we do not. So yes, in my opinion literally she was turned to a pillar of salt…..what a way to die!

*Are Ishmael and Isaac to blame for the currant wars in the middle East? It has been said that there can be no “peace in the middle East” because of the whole Ishmael/Isaac thing. In my opinion, this is NOT true. I have not found any evidence that Ishmael and Isaac were enemies. The only thing close, was Ishmael making fun of Isaac when Isaac was a baby, but that just sounds to me like good old fashioned brotherhood to me. I think the animosity that did exist was between Hagar, Sarah, and Abraham. In verse 25:9, it states that the two brothers reunited to bury their father Abraham, so their couldn’t have been too much hatred between them. I think that the continuing battles between Jews and Arabs in the middle east today are because of religious and geographical misunderstandings and differences. I still believe that there is hope for , “peace in the Middle East.”

Final thoughts:

God wants to (and does) bless us in spite of our sins. When I think of Abraham, I know I should reflect upon his faithfulness, but instead, I can‘t help but think of how many mistakes he made. I don’t want this to minimize the miraculous amount of faith it took for him to leave his homeland without so much as a name of the destination, or how obedient it was of him to almost sacrifice Isaac, but for some reason all I could focus on while reading his story was his mistakes. He lied, he had affairs, he was impatient, he was a human. Regardless, God chose him, blessed him, and never turned his back on him.

On a personal note, this is a very powerful lesson to me because since the birth of my daughter, I have been waiting for God to pull the plug on my blessings. I used to think that Isabelle was the result of three solid years of direct and deliberate sin on my part. Now I know she is the direct, deliberate result of Gods grace and mercy. She was born into chaos but healthy nonetheless. So from the time she was born I have been waiting to reap the consequences of all the things that lead to her birth. I waited, and she only grew stronger and more beautiful every day…..5 months later we were both saved from the clutches of an abusive man through a series of miracles. Once we were safe, I waited for my well deserved punishment….a year later I met my husband, the one God made just for me that I should have waited for in the first place, but didn’t…..so I waited for him to leave,…….one year later he gave me a ring, and gave Isabelle a father…..still I waited. I waited for the catch, it was too good to be true….…then we got married…….okay, now God will finally punish me, my husband is going to leave me…..a year later we had our son, perfect and healthy, I have been waiting for the bottom to fall out ever since. For some reason God chose me to bless. Yes, I chose him too…eventually. But how many mistakes have I made along the way? And How many times has God blessed me before I even thought to ask for his forgiveness? Countless.

Grace. God does not bless us because of our good deeds. God blesses us in spite of our bad ones, with infinite patience, mercy and love. From my earthly perception there is no rhyme or reason to who or why God blesses, all I know is that he does.

Miscellaneous

*The earthly author of Genesis was probably Moses. He wrote Genesis between 1450-1410 B.C. which is the time period from when Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt to when he died. The oldest biblical manuscripts of Genesis were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (a collection of about 900 documents discovered between 1947-1956 in 11 caves in and around the northeast shore of the Dead Sea) , while all the newer copies of Genesis are found among the Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, The Masoretic Text, and the Samaritan and Syriac texts.

*All of my research as been through prayer, the Life Application Study Bible: The New Living Translation, Wikipedia.com, gotquestions.org, discussions with fellow believers, discussions with pastors, and one of the blogs I follow: http://zoesbibleblog.blogspot.com/

#5

The Classic Crime - Salt In The Snow
From the album The Silver Cord


Give me wings, give me peace
These are the things that I need
I’m tormented, broken and shamed
Are you listening?
Give me shelter from the storm,
I know it’s a lot to ask for
considering how recent I’ve piled the dirt on your name
Are you listening?

I have heard that winter’s cold will give way to summers warmth,
Oh no! Like salt in the snow I’m melted and left all alone on the side of the road

Is this where I am for your sake, stuck between sleep and awake? My mind is dreaming of things. Are you listening?
I took you for granted again and threw you aside and pretended for one minute that I had control of my life and direction it seemed to be in
I was wrong again, are you listening?
I will wait for you to come again,
and I can’t pretend like I’m confident
and I can’t pretend like it makes much sense when it doesn’t

I have heard that winter’s cold will give way to summers warmth,
Oh no! Like salt in the snow I’m melted and left all alone on the side of the road

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Silence is Golden


Why is silence so uncomfortable? I am finding resolution #3 (spend a 24 hour period in complete silence) very frightening. It is the only one of my resolutions I have not worked on yet. How often do we really experience silence-especially in our own homes? How many daily moments do we spend without musical or television background noise, cell phones ringing, kids talking, car horns honking, and the neighbors dogs barking? My answer is zero. Tonight John is out with the boys racing and the kids have been put to bed. With no TV and no radio on (I don’t want to wake the kids), I am finding myself jumping at the very sound of the icemaker. When I stop typing the quiet is too much. So I got to thinking of my pending day of silence. When I wrote that goal, I hadn’t really given it much thought. Do I want 24 hours of silence around me, or do I want to be around noise and I have to remain silent? The reasoning behind this resolution is because my mouth is constantly getting me in trouble. I am always saying to much. I don‘t listen, I wait to talk, and sometimes I don‘t even wait. So I guess that answers one of my questions. My 24 hours of silence will be me keeping my big mouth shut with the world talking around me (maybe next year I will attempt a day without sound around me). So how do I do this? I have to do it on a weekend because I would get fired if I didn’t talk at work, but how will my kids react? Belle might understand and I can write her notes but Garrett won’t understand he is still too little and might think that I am ignoring him. If I do a day of silence without my family, that kind of negates the purpose of my little experiment. I want to NOT talk when things are going on around me, I want to watch and listen. Any ideas/thoughts on how I am going to pull this off?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Recipe For a Great Valentines Day!


The best thing about being on a tight budget for Valentines Day (thanks again resolution #1), is that we are all forced to give presents from the heart (aka presents that are free). I had pink construction paper hearts left over from Isabelle's class party. I wrote things on them that I loved about the kids and taped them all over the house for them to find. Then I made an X rated heart for my hubby with pictures and everything! I got up early and made heart shaped pancakes...at least I attempted to, its the thought that counts right? My husband made me a homemade card chronicling our life together. To my surprise it was the best Valentines Day I ever had. No pressure, no crushed expectations, no kids on sugar highs. To my even greater surprise my kids loved it. They loved finding all of the pink construction paper hearts and reading (or hearing, since I had to read them to my 3 year old) all the ways that they were special to me. Money or not, every year I will be doing some variation of this recipe for a great Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Noah: Genesis 6:1-11:32


Angelic Intercourse, Arks, and A Construction Foreman’s Nightmare!.....This is Entertainment Tonight...I mean...This is the story of the great flood and the city of Babel....

***Disclaimer****
It appears as though all of my Bible blogs are going to be more lengthy than the passages in the Bible from which the came, so from now on, if you see a Bible blog, plan on skimming it or setting aside an adequate amount of time to read it. I will format them all as follows (in list form to make it more reader friendly):
General Summary,
Things I loved,
Things I did not love,
Questions to ask God when I get to Heaven,
Questions that got answered by doing this Bible study,
Final thoughts, and
Miscellaneous.

General Summary:

*Chapter 6 begins with some very shocking details. I had to keep flipping to the cover of my Bible to make sure I wasn’t accidentally reading a tabloid. Verses 1-4 are all about fallen angels having sex with mortals and creating giants….but there is a large debate about this (refer to the, “Questions to ask when I get to Heaven” section). God gets fed up with how wicked everyone has gotten on earth so he gives them 120 years to change there ways…I think (this is also up for debate, and is further discussed under the “Questions to ask when I get to heaven” section). As God looks down upon how horrible things have gotten since the fall, he becomes very sad and decides to wipe out the entire human race except for a man named Noah, and his family. God tells Noah about his plan for humanity to start over again by destroying everyone and everything in a massive flood. He tells Noah to build a boat and even gives him the blueprint to build it so that he, his family, and some animals are safe from the flood waters.

*Chapter 7 God tells Noah that he has one more week until the 40 days and 40 nights of rain begin, and then he gives him some more specific directions on how many animals to bring on the ark. So, the day comes and all the animals hop on board, so to speak, and the rain begins. But not only is it rain falling from the sky, it is coming from underneath the ground as well. This chapter mentions twice that Noah is 600 years old when this happens. The chapter closes by going into details as to the immensity of the flood, at one point describing the flood waters to be 22 feet (approximated from the Hebrew measurement of 15 cubits) above the highest mountain peak.

*Chapter 8 Once all living things outside of the boat have been adequately destroyed, God sends the wind to begin drying up all of the water. After 150 days the boat comes to rest on top of a mountain. Then 2 months later the flood waters receded enough to show other mountain peaks. Forty days after that, Noah opens a window and releases a raven, and then a dove to see if they can find dry land. But the dove comes back, so 7 days later Noah sends the dove out again and it returns with an olive branch in it’s beak. Noah knew that the water was almost gone. He waits another week and sends the dove out and this time it does not come back. What a time of celebration that must have been!!! God told Noah to leave the boat, and release the animals (what a time of celebration that must have been for the animals!). Then Noah builds an altar and makes an animal sacrifice. It is then that God makes his promise to Noah to never destroy all living things even though he knows that humans will continue to sin.

*Chapter 9 God blesses Noah and his family and tells them to re-populate the earth. Then he gives them power over the animals and tells them they are only to eat animals that are dead (Were they eating animals that were alive before?), and that murder is forbidden, and then he restates that they need to go and repopulate the earth. Then he repeats his promise to Noah and his sons about never flooding the earth again and tells them that a rainbow in the sky is a reminder of this promise. God sure does have to repeat himself a lot! Maybe it was to make a point to the readers that these facts hold some sort of importance, or maybe it was because Noah was so dang old he couldn’t hear. Then there is a funny little story about Noah getting drunk and naked and one of his sons, Ham (yes that was his real name), telling his brothers about his fathers nakedness instead of immediately covering him. Noah’s two other sons cover up their lush-of-a father and when Noah wakes up, he is furious with Ham so he curses all of Ham’s descendants (the Canaanites). Then he blesses the descendants of his other sons, Shem and Japheth. Lastly, this chapter states that Noah lived another 350 years, making him 950 years old when he died.

*Chapter 10 This is a chapter of genealogy lists for each of Noah’s sons. No disappearing Enoch’s here (like Chapter 5), just a good old long boring list. Japheth list is the shortest, and it closes by saying that his descendants became “seafaring peoples in various lands.” Next is Ham’s list which is longer than the list of Japheth’s descendants mainly because in the middle of the list, there is a lengthy description of a man named Nimrod. Apparently, Nimrod was a “heroic warrior in God’s sight,” and was famous even after he died. Chapter 10 ends with the descendants of Shem and it is pointed out that Shem was the older brother of Japheth.

*Chapter 11 The story of Babel. At this point in history people all spoke the same language, but because of their sinful ways God had to change that. You see, for some reason the people that settled in the land of Babylonia thought it would be a great idea to build a monument to their own greatness. When God saw that they were working together for bad, instead of good, he decided to strike them down and make them all speak different languages so they could no longer communicate and team up to build monuments to themselves. Last in chapter 11, is the prelude to the story of one of the most well known characters in the bible, Abraham. The prelude starts with another genealogy list linking Shem (Noah’s son) to a man named Terah. Terah had three sons mentioned in this passage: Nahor, Haran, and Abram (later to be named Abraham….)

-Haran has a son named Lot
-Abram married a woman named Sarai (who is later named Sarah) who was unable to have children.
-Nahor married Milcah Lot’s sister (It doesn’t say if Milcah was the daughter of Haran or nor, she could have been Lot’s half sister).

Are you still with me? These genealogies can be so confusing. So next, Haran dies leaving his son Lot, so Terah decides to take Abram, Abrams wife Sarai, and his grandson Lot to the city of Canaan, but they never make it and instead settle in the village of Haran.


Things I loved:

*6:20 Noah did not question or complain (unlike some other people we will read about in upcoming chapters and books). Even before Noah was told to build the ark he was faithful to God. So faithful in fact, that he and his family alone were chosen to survive the flood. When God told him to build the ark, he did it. He didn’t bother to ask God the details like, “how am I supposed to gather all these animals,” or, “how long is this gonna take?” He just said, “yes, sir” and let God handle the details….which of course God did.

*7:16 “The lord shut them in” I believe that this actually physically happened, I believe that God shut the door in a literal sense but I also believe that God shutting the door is a beautiful metaphor for the assurance that God was present and going to protect Noah’s family. It could have read, “Noah and his sons developed a lever/pulley system to close the boats door” but no, there was no need. God shut the door, God took care of it and took care of them.

*9:16 The creation of rainbows, and the promise that they represent. Enough said.

*We get to see more examples of Gods personality traits. He was powerful enough to flood the entire planet, he was fair in punishing wicked and rewarding good, he was faithful in keeping his promise to Noah.


Things I did not love:

*I could not find one thing I did not love. I’m a little bummed that we all have to speak different languages now because that means I have lot of work to do learning different languages before I can travel abroad, but mostly I just loved everything I read. It had all the makings of a great story: scandal, awe, love, anger, redemption and a 601 year old man getting drunk and naked. What‘s not to love?


Questions to ask God when I get to Heaven:

*6:3 How should I interpret God saying, “My spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, they will live no more than 120 years.” I used to think that this meant that humans were not allowed to live to be over 120 years old but in chapter 11 the genealogy list has people that lived to be over 400 years old. It has also been suggested that this was Gods warning before the flood that the people had 120 to change their evil ways, but why would he give them the time when he knew that they weren’t going to change? Was it to give Noah time to build the ark?

*6:1 Did fallen angels really impregnate mortals to create giants? Let me be clear. The beginning of chapter 6 does not use the word “angels,” but rather the term “Sons of God.” It is assumed that the, “Sons of God” mentioned in chapter 6 are angels because when the phrase, “Sons of God” is used else where in the Old Testament, it is in reference to angels. There is also a theory that the “Sons of God” were the product of Seth’s descendants breeding with Cain‘s descendants. Because Cain was a murderer, his descendants would have been a bad influence on Seth’s descendants creating evil to take over.

*Have all of Cain’s descendants been wiped off the face of the earth? Noah was a descendant of Seth, but what about Noah’s wife and Noah’s daughter -in-laws? Were they a descendant of Cain or Seth?

*7:9 How did all of those animals get on the ark? According to my 7 year old who is reading this over my shoulder as I type, her bible says that God “sent” them. So I guess that answers that question. I guess that I will have to ask God to elaborate. Did he send them all at once when the ark was ready, or did he send them little by little over the years?

*7:6 and 7:11 Why does the Bible constantly remind us that everyone lived for many centuries? Was God bragging or does he need us to know these peoples ages for a specific reason?

*10:6 Why were Ham’s descendants successful even after Noah cursed them? Nimrod, who God refers to as a great warrior was one of Hams descendants.

*11:7 and 1:26 God referrers to himself in plural form. I ignored this when I read it in 1:26 but when I read it again it made me wonder…was he talking about himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Or maybe himself and a team of angels?

*11:27-32 Was is just a coincidence that Terah had a son named Haran and then settled in a town called Haran?

Questions that got answered while doing this bible study:

*6:6 Did God regret creating humans? As God is looking down upon the earth at all the sin, my bible says that he was, “sorry he had ever made them” I used to think this was God filled with regret and admitting to making a mistake. But the more of the Bible I read, the more I understand that it would be impossible for God to make a mistake, or to change his mind. God knows the outcome of every creature he creates yet he continues to create them and watch them screw up. My bible translation says at the end of verse 6, “It broke his heart.” I think his earlier rant about how he was sorry he ever made them was an expression of his sorrow and him feeling sorry for the decisions they were making, and for the fact that he was going to have to destroy them.

*6:7 Why a flood? Why not a disease? We know that God is capable of selective extermination because he kept all the Israelites from the plagues during the story of Moses. So why didn’t he use that same method here? I did not find the answer to this question in any text. The more I thought of it the more the flood made sense to me. If God would have struck everyone down with an illness, archeologist today could have just attributed it to an epidemic. But because God did a massive flood, he left earthly evidence for modern day man to find, therefore proving that what is written in the bible is true, which would make skeptics wonder if the rest of the Bible stories are true as well.

*6:9 Was Noah sinless? I knew that Jesus was the only one ever to be sinless but all we ever hear about Noah was how favored he was by God for his obedience and faithfulness. My bible uses the word “blameless” to describe him. But he was by no means sinless. Maybe Noah and his family were the only ones who made animal sacrifices after their sins, so they were forgiven. I guess that is why God still saved them from the flood even though God knew that after the flood (a story that showcases Noah’s attributes), the whole drunken-tent-flashing incident happens. Which partially answers my next question:

*9:21 Why was the drunken-tent-flashing incident included in the Bible? From what I can see, it was included so that we see that Noah was not sinless. And also to show the character of Noah’s sons. Ham did not cover his fathers nakedness, but the other boys did. This gives us insight into the type of people Noah‘s sons were. Which in turn gives us insight into the personality of Abraham, one of Shem’s descendants.

*7:2 Why did God need animal sacrifices in the Old Testament , but he doesn’t now? Animal sacrifices were necessary to repent for sin. Why animals? They were sinless. We don’t need them anymore because Jesus, who was sinless, was our sacrifice which is why he is sometimes referred to as “the lamb” (and all this time I thought he was “the lamb” because he was so gentle, I should have paid more attention in Sunday School instead of checking out all the boys in my class).

*7:4 Was the flood was the first time the earth had seen rain? Most likely yes. Rain is mentioned in the Bible for the first time in 7:4. During creation, and the Adam and Eve story (Genesis 2:6), vegetation was kept watered by H2O coming up out of the ground.



Final Thoughts:

God is the perfect parent. On first read, it seems harsh of God to kill almost everyone of his children because they were making bad choices. But it wasn’t just bad choices they were making, Noah was not sinless, he made bad choices, and God saved him. The people God killed were not just being disobedient- they were evil. God wiping out all of the evil people on earth was done to protect not only Noah, but to protect all future generations. Yes, there is still evil in the world today, but imagine if God had not wiped out the evil people of Noah’s day. They would have kept breeding and bring more and more evil into the world and Noah’s family could not have birthed enough good children to kept up with their pace.

The closest hypothetical earthly comparison I can think of, would be this: I have two children, Jane and Joe. Jane decides to do drugs and eventually becomes an addict causing her to be violent and untrustworthy. Joe grows up and makes good choices, he is not sinless, but he tries hard and is obedient to me. After repeated attempts to get Jane into rehab, she just gets worse and she is becoming a major threat to Joe. As a parent, my two choices would be to keep Jane in the house and endanger the rest of the family, or I could implement tough love and kick her our of the house. If I chose to keep her in the house, her bad influence could eventually wear off on Joe or she could harm him physically. If I kicked her out, I would be devastated, but I would be putting an end to the evil influence that she had brought into my household (Hey, I think I just created my very own parable).

****Prayer break: Dear Jesus, Please protect my children from evil. Please do not ever allow me and John to be in a position where we would have to make the same hypothetical decision I mentioned above. Bless the parents of children that do have to make these kinds of decisions, give them comfort, wisdom and peace. Amen.***

God must have been so hurt having to watch his children drown. Evil or not, they were still his children, his creations. He did not love Noah’s family more than he loved the ones who perished in the flood. The decision that he made was not a happy one, but a necessary one.

The fact that God is a perfect parent is one of the major things I got out of reading this. There are so many other obvious lessons to be learned from the flood and the city of Babel. Fear and reverence of God, obedience to his wishes, and of course, the main theme of the Bible that is echoed in every chapter I read: Love. The consistent, unwavering love of God for his children.




Miscellaneous:

*When converted to modern day measurements, Noah’s ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, with three decks inside.

*Scholars estimate that almost 45,000 animals could have fit on the ark

*Noah and his family were on the ark for approximately 370 days

*All of my research as been through prayer, the Life Application Study Bible: The New Living Translation, Wikipedia.com, and gotquestions.org.

Friday, February 12, 2010

God Never Closes One Door Without....


God never closes one door without….
….giving me another job, giving my husband overtime, and lowering the electricity bill! Resolution #1 (save $10,000 to build a garage) is back on track!!!

Okay, first the new job: I was knee deep in the trenches of substitute teaching in a preschool class yesterday (meaning that I was covered in glue, glitter and Valentines Day crap) when I made a decision. I was going to enjoy myself. I have only had a couple of sub jobs since I got laid off 3 weeks ago, and all I have done at these jobs is mope around and reminisce about how good I had it at my old job. But yesterday, I decided that I was going to make the best of subbing and enjoy the kids. I subbed 5 months of last year before getting my previous special needs job and I loved it. Subbing is like being the fun Auntie. I get to go in, have fun with the kids and then leave. I don’t ever have to worry about paperwork, test scores, or parents. I lost this optimism somewhere in the last couple of weeks but yesterday I got it back. Just as I was starting to enjoy the look on the kids faces as I shook the glitter off of their construction paper and it stuck on the glue, I got a phone call from the school district offering me a long term sub potion as a one-on-one aid with a special needs girl….wait, hold your applause, it get’s better. It is at my daughters school!!!!….wait, it gets better. I didn’t even have to interview for the job, I was recommended because of my reputation at my last job….oh wait, it gets even better…..! The girl I get to work with has a chromosomal disorder that makes her happy all the time! Okay now you can applaud, I know I am! That’s right, her special need is that she is happy all the time, therefore lacking in any common sense. What a great way to live. God is so amazing! Special needs kids have been touched by God. The more I am around them, the more I am convinced of it. Even though they will surely have social and physical problems here on earth, they have the gift of eternal innocence and they will surely have a special place set aside for them in heaven. And now I will get to be around one of God chosen little people every day!!!

Next on the blessings list, a bill. A couple of blogs ago, I expressed my discouragement in spending almost the entire month of January with no electricity in order to lower our bills and save money, only to get an electricity bill that had actually gone up. This month all our hard work has paid off. Our electricity bill dropped down to a shocking $25.68!!!! That is less than a dollar a day that we are spending on electricity. So all the extra money that we budgeted for that bill can go into the garage fund!

And last, but certainly not least, John got asked to do some overtime. My husband has not gotten overtime since September of ‘09. This was difficult for us because up until then, he had always worked 12 hour shifts so we had gotten comfortable with at least 30 hours of overtime on each paycheck. To go from 30 to zero hours of overtime…in September of all months (the month of the kid’s birthdays), was particularly hard. Since his income has been cut I have been praying. Not for money to fall from the sky, but for God to give both of us the opportunity to work and earn more money. Then I got my previous job which compensated for the lack of overtime at his work. Then I got laid off from that job, so I continued the same prayer: “God, please give us the opportunity to earn money.” And those prayers have been answered three times over. I got another job, John got overtime this weekend, and living with minimal utilities is finally starting to pay off. And just for show, God did all of these in a single day…within hours of each other. I got the job offer, so I immediately called John to tell him, and he tells me he gets to work overtime. I go home, check the mail and what is in the mail? Our stellar electricity bill. What a day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Adam and Eve: Genesis Chapter 2:4-5:32


Sin, Serpents, and Sibling Rivalry, Oh My!

***Disclaimer***

I did not intend for this blog to be so lengthy. So for your convenience (and for my own obsessive compulsive impulses to be satisfied), I have created this blog in a list form. You will find the list after the general summary of what I read. Feel free to skim over it and pick and choose what you want to read about. I am well aware that you probably don’t have an hour to spare to read my biblical ramblings.

General Summary:
Chapter 2:4-25 God made Adam out of the ground and placed him in the Garden of Eden. In the center of the Garden of Eden were two trees: The tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam not to eat any fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because he would die. Then God made animals and told Adam to name them. God saw that these animals were not suitable companions for Adam so he made him fall asleep while he performed the earths first surgical procedure: A rib transplant…also known as the creation of woman.
Chapter 3:1-24 Satan, disguised as a serpent tempts the woman (she is not yet called Eve until 3:20) with fruit from the tree of knowledge. She decides not only to directly disobey God, but to take Adam (and the rest of mankind) down with her. Satan got what he wanted: Sin, and Adam and Eve got what they wanted: knowledge. What they didn’t bargain on was the knowledge of their own nakedness which caused shame and embarrassment. This lead them to cover themselves with fig leaves and attempt to hide from God. Have you ever heard the saying, “Ignorance is bliss?” I wonder if Adam and Eve coined the phrase? Anyway, God confronts them and the finger-pointing begins! God punishes the serpent, making him crawl on his belly forever, and making him and the woman mortal enemies. God then fore-warns the serpent of Jesus Christ returning to earth to, “Crush his head(3:15).” Then God dishes out the individual punishments for the humans. For the woman, pain during child birth (thanks a lot Eve), and her forever longing to control her husband but him always being her master. As for Adam, he was to be agriculturally-challenged for his remaining years. God also gives Adam and Eve joined punishments such being banished from God’s presence in the Garden of Eden, and being fated to “return to the dust from which you were created (death).” After the sentencing, Adam names his wife Eve, meaning “to give life” (which is a pretty generous name considering that she was responsible for the whole fruit-eating-division-from-God-debacle). Chapter 3 wraps up with God clothing Adam and Eve and sending them out of the Garden of Eden. He promptly makes sure that they can never return, by placing mighty angelic beings with flaming swords and all at the entrance to Eden.
Chapter 4:1-17 Adam and Eve begin populating the earth with Cain and Able. Cain gets angry at Able after a farm-produce/animal-sacrifice fiasco, and commit’s the worlds first murder. Cain lies to God when confronted with Abel’s murder and God punishes Cain by banishing him and making him agriculturally-challenged just like his father. Cain complains about his punishment and fear of being killed so God protects him from being murdered by putting a mark on him (the worlds first tattoo?). Cain settled in the land of Nod and he and his wife had a son named Enoch which he named a city after.

Chapter 4:18-26 Next, is a brief genealogy list linking Enoch to a man named Lamech. Lamech married two women and those women gave birth to lots of children that possessed many talents such as: the first musician, the first metal worker, and the first instrument maker. One day Lamech says to his wives that he killed someone out of self defense, and then compares himself to Cain (his great-great-great-grandfather), saying that if anyone takes revenge on him for the murder he committed, they will be punished 77 times just as God had promised that anyone who killed Cain would be punished 7 times over. The final part of chapter 4 goes back to Adam and Eve having another son named Seth, and Seth having a son named Enosh (not to be confused with his brother Cain’s son Enoch) .
Chapter 5:1-32 On first glance, this chapter is a seemingly long boring genealogy list telling us who fathered whom from Adam all the way to Noah. Cain is not mentioned in this list. Instead, it starts at Adam and then goes directly to Seth who has a son named Enosh (again, not to be confused with Cain’s son Enoch). The verses go on and on with ages and unpronounceable names until you get to verse 23 and then something quite shocking happens. It involves Enoch…no, not Cain’s son Enoch from 4:17, a new Enoch, the son of a man named Jared (finally, a name I can pronounce!). Jared’s Enoch is one of the only people in this lengthy list that we are given any information on besides his age and who he fathered. It says in 5:23, “Enoch lived 365 years in all. He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him.” I love a good twist at then end of a story! Then the author of Genesis (Moses) goes back to listing names as if no explanation of the Enoch disappearance is necessary. Chapter 5 concludes with the introduction of Noah, starting with Noah’s father named, Lamech (not to be confused with Lamech the descendant of Cain in chapter 4, verse 18) proclaiming that Noah would “bring relief from the painful labor of farming the ground that the Lord has cursed. 5:29.”


Things I loved:

*2:21 Women were created from the flesh of a man. This is something I try to remember when I feel like me and my husband are Mars and Venus.

*2:24 God gives us permission to leave our parents….no explanation necessary.

*3:8 God wanted to hang out with humans. In the Garden of Eden, God is described as walking and talking with Adam and Eve. I love this because he is the creator of the universe, yet he doesn’t want to sit on a throne and watch us from afar, he wants to be near us, and to be included in our lives.

*3:15 God starts to revel his plan for the coming of Jesus Christ. While the impending birth of Jesus is a threat to the serpent (Satan), it is a means of reassurance for everyone else. This comforting reminder is repeated again and again in the Old Testament but it is spoken about for the first time here in Genesis, immediately after the fall. He wastes no time reassuring Adam and Eve, (and us, the readers) that he already has a plan to bring us back into his presence.

*3:16 Women were put in a submissive role. You might think that this would be put under the, “Things I did not love” section, but I am actually relieved by this. What a load off that I am required to follow the lead of my husband. Thank God I am not the leader of my family because all I would be doing is eating forbidden fruit (A.K.A. COACH bags), and convincing my husband to open his wallet. God gave women a chance to be in control, and Eve blew it. I know that I am more easily manipulated than my husband because of my genetic makeup. I am more emotional, whereas my husband is logical, strong, and assertive, as are most men. These are all qualities of a great leader. That being said, I think God intends for women to follow this rule as long as the husband is submissive to God. If he is truly submissive to God then he will not abuse the power that God has given him over his wife.

*3:20 Adam forgave Eve. The Bible does not directly say this, but it is the conclusion I have come to based on what Adam decided to name his wife. Keep in mind that he named her after they got disciplined by God for eating the fruit, so you think he’d be a little angry at her for convincing him to sin, but when the time comes for him to pick her name, he chose, “Eve” meaning “to give life.” He knew she not only would give life to their immediate children, but that her descendants would eventually produce Jesus Christ, who would also, “give life.” Eve was a term of endearment so he must have forgiven her pretty soon after the fall to decide on that name.

*3:21 God clothed Adam and Eve. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, God still didn’t want his children to feel embarrassment, so he clothed them. He must have looked at those shabby fig leaves and thought, “Those will not do, my kids deserve fur!” And so he clothed them with animal fur to protect them from the elements and from their feelings of shame. What an expression of love!

*4:15 God protects Cain even after he murders. Yet another example of Gods love. Cain was a murderer and yet God comforted him and protected him from being murdered.

*5:23 Enoch disappearing. I love how casually this was thrown into the end of this chapter. Because of the way this verse adds shock value to a boring list of names, I am convinced more than ever that God is the ultimate author of the Bible…and that God has a sense of humor. He certainly likes to keep us on our toes. Which reminds me of one of the melodic themes of the bible: STAY AWAKE!!! Keep alert! Jesus is coming when we least expect it…he can snatch you up just as he did to Enoch.


Things I did not love:

*3:10 We can’t be naked anymore. This is such a bummer because if nudity were socially acceptable, I would have so much more time on my hands. Have you ever stopped to think about how much time is spent on clothing? We spend countless hours buying it, working for the money to buy it, washing it, drying it, folding and hanging it, and deciding how and when to wear it. Not to mention those pesky tan lines in the summer!

*3:16 Adam's punishment. Is it just me or does it seem like Adam got off a little easy for the whole “bringing sin into the world” thing? Eve passed on the curse of painful childbirth, a fear of snakes, and being put in a submissive role to her husband. Adam had poor crops and had to work extra hard at farming…did I miss something? Why is it that Eve's individual consequences got passed down to every other woman after her, but Adam's individual consequence was only passed down until Noah came on the scene. Was Eve that much more at fault for the fall!?…Wait, don’t answer that.

Questions to ask God when I get to Heaven:

5:23 Why was Enoch chosen to be taken?
Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?….After all, they didn’t require an umbilical cord.
4:5 Why did God accept Abel’s offering but not Cain’s offering?
4:19 Was it okay for Lamech (descendant of Cain) to be married to two women?
Did Cain repent for the murder of Abel?
4:12, 4:16 Why did Cain “settle” in the land of Nod if he was to be a fugitive, homeless, wanderer?
4:17 Where did Cain’s wife come from? A sister?
4:26 Why was it only after Enosh was born that people began to worship God, why not sooner?

Questions that got answered while doing this Bible study:

*Where did Adam and Eve go when they died? According to my research everyone that died before Jesus’ resurrection went to a place of conscious existence that the Old Testament refers to as Sheol. The New Testament calls it Hades. Sheol, or Hades was divided into two realms: A place of comfort (for the believers) and a place of torment (for the non-believers). During the days that Jesus died and rose from the dead, he went to Hades and at his resurrection the occupants of the “place of comfort” realm of Hades were moved to heaven. According to Revelation 20:13-15 on judgment day the rest of Hades in the “place of torment” realm will be emptied, judged, and thrown into the lake of fire…ouch! Yet another reason to serve God. Has anyone else researched this topic, and if so, did you find the same things that I did?

*How were people saved before Jesus? They believed Gods promise, that Jesus would be sent eventually just like we believe that he was sent already. The didn’t see him performing miracles and hanging on the cross, but they new he would, just like people today never saw him perform miracles or hang on the cross but we believe that he did. It was faith that God would fulfill his promise just as our faith tells us that he did fulfill his promise.

*Does the first part of chapter 2 contradict with chapter 1? Chapter one ends on the seventh day when God rested after creating light, the sky and water, land, the heavens and the seasons, animals, and people. Then, chapter two starts off with the statement that there were no plants, or humans. After reading it several times I realized that I was expecting to read the bible like a novel but the Bible is anything but a novel. It is not in sequence like I am accustomed to reading. Some books of the bible follow each other in perfect sequence, but other books are parallel to each other giving different perspectives on the same facts. Chapter one gives a general description of the creation and then chapter 2 back tracks and gives a more detailed look at days 3-6.

*Why did God create Adam and Eve if he knew that the fall would take place? The only way I can comprehend this is to compare myself to God (very humble of me, yes I know), and to compare my own kids to Adam and Eve. I knew before I had kids that they would defy me, and they have. I knew before I had kids that one day they would eventually leave me, and they will. But I still wanted to bring them into the world so that I could love them (and be entertained by them). And that is how I explain God's reasoning for creating humans knowing very well that they would defy and leave him. Love. The only possible answer is love.

Final Thoughts:

Wow! I was not expecting to spend so much time on these short chapters, at the rate I’m going, I will be lucky to finish the Bible before I get to heaven! It is amazing that I have read these chapters at least a dozen times in my life, but I am just now really understanding them. If anyone else has any insights, please share.

Miscellaneous:

All of my research as been through the Life Application Study Bible: The New Living Translation, Wikipedia.com, and gotquestions.org. Next I will be studying Genesis chapter 6:1-11:32, The Flood.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My First Road Trip Without Secular Music


For the first time this year, #5 was challenged over the weekend. I had to drive from Barstow, California to Phoenix, Arizona without secular music (a six hour drive…wait, no a seven hour drive with my daughter). For normal people this might not be a problem, but thanks to resolution #1 I can not afford satellite radio….or music downloads to my iPod…..or CD‘s….or Starbucks, but that’s another blog. At home I listen to Air1 the Positive Alternative radio station, and I love it! As a matter of fact, it is the only Christian radio station I have found that doesn’t make me cringe from the corny “holier-than-thou” musical selections. It plays relevant contemporary rock-ish Christian music. The only problem is that when I am off roading in my 4 door mommy-mobile in the middle of the Mohave desert to shave 30 miles off of my trip (and save gas money for resolution #1), there are no radio signals. And when I returned to civilization (also known as interstate 10), Air1 was no where to be found…..for 4 hours!!! My only choices were:

A. The Spanish Only Station,
B. A Country Station,
C. A Corny Christian Station or,
D. A Spanish station that sounded like it might be a praise and worship station

I chose option C, and about 30 seconds later I was literally dozing off. I turned off the radio and talked to Isabelle, prayed, and then I broke resolution #7.…yes, I had to get a Diet Coke…Starbucks is way too expensive and caffeine is one of the only things that can combat corny Christian music. Three hours and 6 potty breaks later (it was a large Diet Coke) I caved in (sort of) and listened to a country station for one song (it was “If You Get There Before I Do,” by Collin Raye which in my opinion, is a Christian song disguised as a country song). The trip back from Arizona was about the same.

My observations on my first non-secular road trip? Not much. I wasn’t divinely rewarded by being teleported to my destinations, I didn’t get free Starbucks, and I still can’t stand corny Christian crap…I mean music. God doesn’t love me more than he did the last time I made this trip with secular music blaring. I reached my destination safely which probably would have happened even if I listened to 2pac the entire trip. But then again I am not attempting any of these resolutions for the external rewards. Maybe I am getting a round of applause in heaven for my endeavors, but that is not why I am doing them either. It makes me feel good (as trite as that sounds) and that is the reward in and of itself.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I am Ready to give up on Resolution #1!!!!!


#1 is getting so frustrating! It has been over a week since I got laid off and put back on the sub list. In that time I have only gotten two sub jobs that were 3.75 hours each. I had to move my son to a new day care that would take him part time, but at the rate I’m going I won’t be able to afford to keep him there much longer.

I am applying to be on the sub list for the next nearest school district (there are no permanent jobs at any school in California!),which is 10 miles outside of town. But even if I am on their sub list, I’m wondering if it will be worth the gas money driving out there.

There is also the option of taking my son out of daycare and me NOT working which would save us gas money and that huge daycare bill, but then I won’t be bringing in any money either. I could try looking for another job but the only ones here are minimum wage jobs that I would be working at just to pay daycare.

I really want to forget about saving the $10,000 for the garage and just earn enough money to stay afloat! I know there is no good time to save money, there will always be unexpected bills, and unemployment from time to time happens in every family. I also know that God will always provide all of our needs…..but doesn’t God see that we need a garage? There is a car radiator on my husbands night stand for goodness sake!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Creation: Genesis Chapter 1:1-2:4




“God Loves a Good Fart Joke, and Other Reasons Why the Beginning of Genesis is So Great!”

I am finally getting around to Resolution #6: Reading the entire bible. Like I mentioned before, this will be an ongoing lifetime resolution that I do not want to finish in a year. I intend to take my time and fully digest Gods word. With that being said, here are my thoughts on Genesis Chapter 1:1-2:4:



I love the beginning of Genesis for two main reasons:



One: On the third day God created vegetation, which we all know is very important because without vegetation, there would be no Veggie Tales. Veggie Tales provides parents and children with numerous hours of Christian comedy (something that used to be considered an oxymoron),and without sounding too much like a Veggie Tales promotional blog, I just have to say that Veggie Tales DVD’s have helped make our “No Cable Resolution” possible. I am even considering adding an anti-vegetarian diet to my resolutions list just because I feel guilty now every time I cut into a tomato or a cucumber. But that’s another blog altogether, I’m getting really off track already, didn’t this paragraph start out claiming to be about the book of Genesis?


Ah yes, Genesis and reason number two why the beginning of this book is so great! Genesis gives us a clear description of Gods personality. God has a plethora of admirable qualities and here they are as I see them (wow, I sure do use colons and lists a lot):


-His most obvious personality trait is that he is POWERFUL, he just thought to himself, “I’d like to create an entire universe” and it happened. In my daily life I strive to be like God, but in this instance it is a very good thing that I can never fully achieve this. Having given this amount of power, I would probably use it to create Coach bags, and chocolate desserts. But God uses his infinite power to create the universe, and everything in it, talk about thinking outside the box!


-The next personality trait I get from reading this is that God is very ORGANIZED. This excites me on so many levels! For those of you who know me, or have had to suffer through working, or living with me, you know that I have a functioning case of what the world refers to as obsessive compulsive disorder. I just call it being touched by God, because our creator obviously likes order. He did not create people in the dark and then created the light. He did not put animals in space and then create the earth, he had a plan, a checklist if you will (oh, how I love, love, love a good check list!).


-Which brings me to number 5 on Gods creation checklist: animals, which I interpret as Gods next personality trait: HUMOR. Even if you are not an animal lover, you have to admit that God invented some pretty entertaining creatures. How do you think he came up with the idea for the duck-billed platypus? Did he have some body parts left over and he decided to stick them all together AND decide to make it a walking (or waddling) contradiction? A mammal that lays eggs too? God is funny. Or the skunk, a creature whose entire defense is based on passing gas- yes, folks, even God enjoys a good fart joke. Has anyone else other than me asked God for a sign and then been pooped on by a bird…more than once…in the same day? God could have made birds capable of using toilet facilities but instead he allows them to relieve themselves in mid flight! God was the original comedian, just look around at his creatures and you too will begin to see all the funnies God seasoned the earth with!


-I also love that Genesis shows that God has a healthy SELF-ESTEEM. After every creation he sits back on his golden La-Z-Boy and says “That was good!” What a show off! I love that God makes no excuses for giving himself a pat on the back at the end of every creation. It makes me wish I would have congratulated myself more often in my accomplishments. Even though God is behind every good thing I do, I should still give myself permission to say “Good job!” every so often. As a matter of fact, I am going to start tonight by congratulating myself when I make hamburger helper, only after of course I have humbly thanked God for the food and the ability to hold a spatula with my God-given opposable thumbs.


- God also shows us his GENEROUS spirit in chapter one verse 26 when he makes people. He could have made little worshiping robots, but instead he chose to make mini-me’s. We were created in His own image or in other words, God shared some of his divine qualities with us. Everyday we have the option of choosing God-like qualities. No, we will never be perfect like God, but at least we can try. We can love, create, forgive, work, share, and my favorite, we can have sex. Sex is a great way to be God-like because God’s greatest creation was humans; and the fact that God gave us the ability to make mini- humans and express love at the same time, is very generous.


- And the last character trait that I see in the first part of the Bible (believe me, there are many more traits to come), is that God is a LEADER. This is shown to me in verse four, chapter two, when God rests on the 7th day. Did God need to rest? I don’t think so, he is God, with infinite power and energy, it’s not like his body was aching and he needed to lie down (then again, maybe he did need the rest, knowing it would be the last time he could take a breather before Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and all Hell broke loose, literally). Whether he need a break or not, he still set the example of rest to show us that it is okay for us to work hard, appreciate a job well done, and then rest to refresh ourselves for the work that lies ahead. God is the epitome of a good leader, he leads by example, keeps his promises and is never hypocritical.
That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the beginning off Genesis. For anyone that is reading a long with me, I’d love to hear what you got out of your readings.



F.Y.I: The earthly author of Genesis was probably Moses. He wrote Genesis between 1450-1410 B.C. which is the time period from when Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt to when he died. The oldest biblical manuscripts of Genesis were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (a collection of about 900 documents discovered between 1947-1956 in 11 caves in and around the northeast shore of the Dead Sea) , while all the newer copies of Genesis are found among the Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, The Masoretic Text, and the Samaritan and Syriac texts.