Sunday, December 29, 2013


Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Afflicted with the Cold That Does Not End (day 12 today, and no real improvement...), I watched church online today. 

Pastor had a most excellent message, but something he said about 2014 triggered a thought in my head, and I proceeded to look through the Bible to see what the 20:14 verses were.

Some were encouraging, some were warnings, some were, well, in the middle of something else.  But, just for grins, I'll share 'em:

20:14, all verses ESV

Genesis - Then Abimilech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him.

Exodus - You shall not commit adultery.

Leviticus - If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you.

 Numbers - Moses sent messages from Kadesh to the King of Edom: "Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardship we have met:"

Deuteronomy - but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take for yourselves and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies.

Judges - Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel.

1 Samuel - If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD that I may not die

2 Samuel - And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Bichrites assembled and followed him in.

 1 Kings - And Ahab said, "By whom?"  He said, "Thus says the LORD, by the servants of the governors of the districts." Then he said, "Who shall begin the battle?"  He answered, "You."

2 Kings - Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, "What did those men say?  And from where did they come to you?"  And Hezekiah said, "They have come from a far country, from Babylon."

2 Chronicles - And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaniah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.

Job - Yet the food is turned in his stomach; it is the venom of cobras within him.

Proverbs - "Bad, bad," says the buyer, but when he goes away, then he boasts.

Jeremiah - Cursed be the day on which I was born!  The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed!

Ezekiel - 'But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them out.'

Matthew - 'Take what belongs to you and go.  I choose to give to this last worker as I gave to you.'

Luke  - But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, "This is the heir.  Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.'

John  - Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she didn't know that it was Jesus.

Acts - And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene.

Revelation - Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  This is the second death, the lake of fire.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Little Christmas Sharing

Maybe you decorate for Christmas...  and maybe you don't.   Maybe there's an Advent wreath or an Advent Calendar, or a manger scene .

Maybe there's a big tree in the window, or a little tree in a corner...or both.  Maybe there's a decorated tree in every room, a wreath on the door, figures on the lawn and lights outlining the house.
Maybe you have a snow village or toy trains around your tree.
Or, maybe there are Christmas books. ;-)
Maybe Christmas feels stressful, and you don't have time to enjoy the season...or maybe you find yourself with a moment here and there to smile over the memories.  Or maybe the tinsel and trimmings all seem to be a distraction from what we really celebrate at Christmas, and you struggle to find the balance.
 Maybe the lights on the tree are all white, or maybe they're multicolored.  Maybe they blink or bubble.  Maybe one or two bulbs have been pulled so there is a plug in available for an ornament that talks or plays music...or a spinner.
 Maybe the ornaments are special not because of where they came from, but because of who was with you when you got them.
 Maybe the ornaments are quirky...and maybe they're traditional.
Maybe your tree has a theme...either color coordinated or hung with ornaments that all relate. Or maybe  your tree is full of the randomness of Christmas past.
 Maybe you have ornaments that YOU made before you had a tree of your own to hang them on.
 And maybe there are ornaments that you made that you hang on the back of the tree and smile over...because it seemed like a good idea at the time...
And maybe you've made ornaments that you look at now and wonder if you'd ever have the patience to do that again.

 Maybe you have ornaments that have been on your tree since the first tree in your first home after you left home.
Maybe there are commemorative ornaments with special dates.

And maybe you have ornaments that were on other trees before they were on yours.

I can't invite everyone over to my house to share the festive decorations and have a cup of Christmas tea, but I can wish everyone who stops by Beer Lahai Roi a Christmas full of the blessings of friends and family and the peace and goodwill that the angels sang over the shepherds.  However you celebrate the season,  may God's richest blessings be yours.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SSMT Verse 24...and it totally snuck up on me...

 Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Ok.  So today is December 15.

That's ten days 'til Christmas.

It was the Christmas program at the satellite campus where The Actor is currently serving as part of his ministry internship.

It's also the date of a high school beau's birthday, but I'm not going there.

It wasn't until I sat down and glanced at the feed burner and saw today's LPM post that I realized what else today is.

It is the due date for the LAST SSMT memory verse of 2013.

Oh, I knew it was coming and had been mulling over what verse I would like to choose for the final verse.

But I was doing it with a 'oh, I've got another week or so' attitude.  I just was NOT paying attention to the calendar.

I was sort of leaning towards an Advent verse...something worth committing to memory that has to do with preparing the way, or expecting the coming Messiah, or some such thing.

But Pastor's sermon today knocked something a little loose...took the shade off of the lamp, so to speak, and I have been pondering one little, teeny,  heard-it-a-thousand-times-and-know-it-but-didn't-really-know-it truth all my verse, which is another one of the 'familiar but never really memorized' varieties again, is actually connected to that epiphany.

I probably won't even begin to do it justice, but, well, I'll give it a shot.

He was talking about distractions, things that can render us deaf to God's voice and God's plan.  Number one on the list was 'Busyness'.

Yeah.  Can I just say that anytime I hear a message on the distraction of Busyness, it hits home?

Anyway, as I pondered what he was saying, I suddenly found myself having a little mental conversation with Jesus that went something like this:

Lord, what do I need to do?  Really?

Spend time with me.

Yeah, I know I need to spend time with You.  But what is the most important thing for me to DO?

Spend time with me.  

The second time, I got it.  I mean, the lightbulb went ON. 

And I wrote down " The number one priority in my life is to spend time with Jesus".

And, yeah, I know, that's a 'D'uh!'

But suddenly my concept of what it meant to 'spend time with Jesus' shifted.

It went from 'Make sure I sit down and read my Bible and pray' to 'He is the number one relationship in my life and I can't do anything unless I'm talking to him and listening to him and hearing his heart and sharing mine and...' 

You know.  Like we were married...or best friends... close and intimate.

That's a tough paradigm to live by.  But I got a glimpse of what it would be like to really make my relationship with Him a priority.  To feel about spending time with him the same way I feel about spending time with the people I love and cherish the most.

And I suddenly realized that, if I did that,  all the 'doing' stuff would somehow fall into place.  Doing stuff for Him will never equal just being with Him.

It was a lightbulb moment.  And I don't know how well I can squelch the tyranny of the urgent to spend time with track record on that isn't good on any level...but, wow, my whole life will be different.

My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with  me." - Song of Songs 2:10 NIV 84

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hodge Podge for Fun...?

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Joyce from This Side of the Pond hosts a weekly random questions party; I saw the questions this week and thought, hey, I have time this week...then I proceeded to depress myself with my answers.  But I put a joke at the can skip to that if you want...

1. Are you doing anything special to mark this season of Advent? If so please share.

Our church really doesn't follow the liturgical calendar; some years I've managed some observance of Advent, as its own season, but this year...couldn't pull it off...

2. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...and of course you recall, the most famous reindeer of, which reindeer name best describes you this week? 
Um, Donner?  I'm thinking of the scene in 'Miracle on 34th Street', in which Kris Kringle corrects the guy doing the window display, saying no one other than himself would notice that Donner's antlers were wrong.  Unless I'm misremembering and it wasn't even Donner's antlers he mentioned...

3. What's worse-too quiet or too loud? Which have you had more of lately?

I've always thought too loud was worse than too quiet.  Too loud interferes with other folks, annoys other folks, draws negative attention.  And I'm usually being Too Loud.  And I regret it later...with humiliation, sometimes...

4. This question comes to you from Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens-thanks Zo!

When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less gifted people to do what they've committed to do?  If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person (in that area) goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through? 

 I tend to expect everyone to do what I would do in a situation...and there have been far too many times when, for whatever reason, the other person didn't follow through and something that I believed was crucial either didn't happen or I found myself doing it under stress, making sacrifices in order to see it done. I felt taken advantage of, disrespected and rather resentful.   But, now and then, there's been the time that I had something under control and was going with it, and the person over that area went ahead and did it or delegated it to someone else and I was superfluous to the whole process.  I felt...incompetent, invisible and unnecessary.

5. What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays? Your most looked forward to holiday task?

I'm willing to bet I have the same 'most dreaded' task as most everybody  There have been years that I didn't even want to decorate, because I couldn't bear the thought of spending two or three days dismantling it, usually by myself.

I love wrapping presents, though, so long as I have enough time to do it without stress.

6. Facebook has released its list of the 'most talked about' topics of 2013. Pope Francis took the number one spot.  Does that surprise you? He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts? What was your most talked about topic in 2013? (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or wherever it is you talk)

Oy.  Probably the data migration project at work.  In some form or other.  It consumed most of the year, anyway.

7. What's something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury?

I'm not a very extravagant person;  my necessity is hot water on tap.  In most of the world, that's a luxury...

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Ok, this has been so heavy that I need to put a joke in here.

Guy explains to his doctor, "Doc, when I got up this morning, I put on a pair of white gloves and started calling my wife Minnie. Then on the way to work I couldn't help singing 'Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to work I go', and when I got there I started calling everyone Happy, Grumpy, Dopey and so on. What's the matter with me?"

"That's easy," replies the doctor. "You're having Disney spells."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snapshot 12/9/13

posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Spent the past weekend chaperoning the theater performance/tech theater magnet kids to the state drama festival.

4th time to go to this campus, which is about 3.5 hours away.

The first time was in 2002.

I realized this year that my inner compass was off by 90 degrees once we were there.

I thought South was West.

It was about 2 AM before I got to bed on Sunday morning.

I was at church at 8.

I went to bed last night about 9.

Suddenly I'm very sleepy again.

The Flute Player still has homework to finish.

I found out that I have to use all my vacation by Dec. 31 or I lose it.

Guess who's going to be working short work weeks and taking an extended Christmas break?

Maybe I'll find the bottom of the laundry basket.

Or get the budget caught up.

Or sew something.

Or catch up on the Hebrews study...I'm two chapters behind.

We had our last official coaching  teleconference for the data base migration today.

I guess that means we are officially migrated.

I still have an awfully lot to learn.

I gave in and let them provide a laptop for me.

Which I am scared to take anywhere lest I lose it or break it or have it stolen.

Which I need to spend some serious time with so I can learn to use it for more than just email and data base updates.

Ball and chain.  Nice ball and chain, but still...ball and chain...

It is raining.  Again.  Yet.  Still.

Some are forecasting that it will turn to freezing rain by morning.

Some are saying it will not drop below 33 F, so probably no ice.

Wish I knew who will turn out to be right.  I could sleep in if it's cold enough.

I am enjoying the Christmas tree.  Did the full decoration with the little incandescent lightbulbs, that can be removed and the sockets used for other things.  Like ornament spinners.

The tree is very kinetic...spinning, bubbling, twinkling.

Funny how it feels like it's been up most of the year.

December is going by awfully fast...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

SSMT Verse 23: Be Holy

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The next-to-last verse ...

I have been pondering holy since the last post...thinking about those things that are reserved, special, set apart.

I thought about it, baking for Thanksgiving, as I completely botched up the pie crusts.  Oh, they tasted alright despite the frustration I had trying to get them into the pie plate, but they were excessively crumby.  Maybe, I thought, pies shouldn't be quite so special.  I obviously need practice making them.

I thought about it as I pulled out the boxes with the good china...the holiday pattern...and wiped down the plates so we could use them for dinner.  In all the years that I've had a slowly increasing collection of festive, rather pricey, plates and cups and saucers and odd serving pieces, I've only used them about 3 times.  I'm kinda afraid of breaking them.

But what good are they in the box in the back of the cabinet?  Set aside for a special purpose...but if the purpose never comes, or they are so difficult to get to that they're just not used for the purpose, they are useless.  After dinner, I made room in the dish cabinet for them and put them on the shelf, where they can be reached.  When I get a minute, I will likely pull out the rest of the pieces and make space on the shelf for them, too.  So they are accessible and ready to use when the occasion merits.

And I had another little revelation.  Being holy, being set apart, being in reserve, doesn't mean doing nothing but hanging out, waiting for the call to come.  It means actively being ready to be used for God's purpose.  Being practiced up, so that I can execute whatever He calls me to do; being on the shelf and accessible, not buried away in storage.

And that's something to ponder...

You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. - Lev. 20:26 NIV 84

Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu Planning and the Holy

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've talked from time to time about Thanksgiving...with that holiday just a couple of sleeps away (an interesting way to mark time that I've really only recently heard)  I'm thinking turkey again.

If you've been around Beer Lahai Roi for more than a year or two, you know we do traditional around here.  No fancy new recipes, no forays into alternative main dishes.
The menu changes not.

Turkey and my grandma's dressing (made with white bread, thankyouverymuch)
mashed potatoes and gravy
my mother's candied sweet potatoes
My Sweet Babboo's mother's green bean casserole 
Aunt Judy's apple salad
Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce
cheese tray
relish tray
rolls (if I have time, my other grandma's dinner rolls.  If not, well, I punt.  For various reasons, this year it's Sister Schubert's...)
pumpkin pie
Aunt Ruth's pecan pie

The Princess is insisting on bringing macaroni and cheese this year, even though I've maintained we really don't need another starch.  She says she has a fancy recipe that she wants to try.  So, well, it'll go on the buffet with the rest, I guess.

But, really, aside from the mashed potatoes, the whole menu is something that I just don't make any other time of year.  And even those will be potatoes that we peeled and cooked and mashed, not instant, which is the usual.

I love turkey.  Really.  But I only cook turkey on Thanksgiving.

Because it's special.  I mean, if we ate turkey on a regular basis, what would be special about Thanksgiving?

And as I've pondered the special menu, I've been reading in Exodus.

Last night it was chapter 30...the last bit of which consists of God's very specific instructions about anointing oil and incense.  Look at what God says about these concoctions:

This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations.  It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition.  It is holy, and it shall be holy to you.  Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.....make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy.  You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you.  It shall be most holy for you.  And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves.  It shall be for you holy to the Lord.  Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people. (Ex 30: 31b - 33, 35 -38, ESV)

When I read Leviticus for the Faithful Friday posts, I looked at the word 'holy' and wrote that it means 'set apart as special' and I realized all over again this week just what that meant.

It means it is reserved for a special purpose.  It is not ordinary.  Just as our Thanksgiving menu is reserved for Thanksgiving, and kept only for Thanksgiving, in order to make Thanksgiving a special day, things that are designated as holy have a unique service.  The anointing oil was reserved for the sanctification of the priests.  The incense was to be burned only in the presence of God, in the Most Holy Place.  Any other use of either of those brought dire consequences.

Because it was holy.  Special.  Dedicated.  Using it for ordinary purposes would detract from its distinction...just as eating roast turkey and dressing for random meals would detract from the celebration of Thanksgiving.

Once again, I come face to face with the fact that God's instruction to me to be holy is not about walking in piety, although that could well be part of it.  It is not about living by a strict code of dos and don'ts, although certainly there are standards.  It is about recognizing that I have been set apart for HIS purpose, and I am not to let myself fall into the trap of being indistinguishable from that which is not set apart for Him.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Musing on .... Comments and discussions

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Not what you're thinking. ;-)

I had two different experiences reading comments on other blog posts today...or, rather, I had a variation on the same experience reading comments on two other blogs today.

The first was this morning; I happened to check Face book, mostly to see if there were any posts about storm damage in Indiana, but someone had linked a blog post they liked and I clicked through and read it.

It was a piece about character, basically, and it was well written and I agreed with it.

Then I read the comments.

Most were favorable, but there was one commenter (there's always one) that felt compelled to argue against the points made by the author.  Then there were comments arguing with the one who disagreed.  Then there were defensive comments on both sides.  The one who disagreed expanded his argument to include his opinions about faith and morality, making blanket statements that both were without value.

I quit reading there.  Grieved.  He has a right to his opinion, obviously, but what was the point of telling people of faith that their faith is worthless?  How could he possibly have a clue of the value of another person's faith?  But I was also grieved at some of the harsh things that were said to/about him by folks who defended the original article.

Then, later today I read one of the blogs in my subscription list.  The author had done a (very fair, actually) assessment of a product, but the product developer had an issue with the constructive criticism and emailed some rather condescending correction to the reviewer.

Who posted the communication on her blog.

Comments ensued, ranging from supportive to indignantly supportive of the reviewer until the product developer joined the fray and began defending her position.  She seemed utterly clueless as to why her position and the way she stated it had upset people.  Three or four responses later, I quit reading.

Again, I wondered why folks would take such tones with each other.

I learned a long time ago that mere writing does not convince anyone of anything if they don't want to be convinced.

I once carried on an email conversation with someone whose views of God and spirituality were quite different from mine.  However, when the discussion would reach a critical point, the other person would just say something to the effect of 'you write better than me' and drop the discussion, rather than see the point I was trying to make. 

Nothing I wrote changed anything.

Without relationship, without credibility, the best discussion, most complete apologetics, loftiest truths are seen as just a way with words.

And, you know, there is really very little credibility on the internet.  I know I have no credibility; so why write things that could be offensive?

On the other hand,  how can I share the convictions of my heart and not offend someone who doesn't share them?  Or, more to the point, how can I share the convictions of my heart and at least get that person to not have a knee-jerk reaction to them, but consider the possibility that I have those convictions for plausible reasons?

That, I believe, is the fine line a faith blogger has to tread.  I don't know if I actually walk that line or if I maintain too much of a safe, non-threatening, virtually useless distance away from that line.  If Beer Lahai Roi is boring,  it doesn't matter what I one will read it.

But, you know, I think I'm ok with that.  Maybe nobody will read it.

Maybe I just needed to write it.

I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that a blog isn't for the's for the author. 

And if there IS an audience, that's fine.  But if there isn't...that's fine, too.

Because I've really just about decided that no comments at all is better than comments that are a war of words.

Friday, November 15, 2013

SSMT Verse 22: Ecc. 1:1

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We are fast approaching the last of this year's Siesta Scripture Memory Verse
Today's verse is from the 'familiar but never actually memorized' category again...and when I decided this would be my verse for today and looked it up, I was surprised at how unlike my sorta kinda memory of the verse the NIV version actually is:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven - Ecc. 3:1 NIV 84

I'm afraid the version of the verse in my head was mostly the Byrds.

See, I woke up this morning with a nearly irresistible urge to pull out the Christmas decorations and start festifiying up the house.

For some of you, that doesn't seem so may already have lights on the eaves and a tree twinkling away in a corner, but for  I don't do Christmas before Thanksgiving.  It's an important distinction to me, and I really, really am set on that.  No decorations, no Christmas music, and no Christmas movies before we pause to thank God for the blessings He gives us every day.  We enjoy Thanksgiving as its own day before jumping into Christmas.

 Yet I found myself thinking, 'This is my house.  I could decorate now if I wanted to.'

I was surprised that the urge was strong.  And so uncharacteristic.

Especially given that the last 3 or 4 years have found me severely lacking in the Christmas enthusiasm department, for one reason or another or maybe a whole bunch together.  I wondered if I had come to the point in life where I decided Christmas was just not what it used to be.  I remember watching that happen with my elders; wondering how they lost that Christmas twinkle.  When I discovered it playing hide-and-seek in my own heart, I began to understand.  But it made me sad.  I didn't want to lose that part of myself that rejoiced with family and music and tradition and awe at the miracle of God coming to us; I didn't want the celebration to be something that I endured for the sake of the kids.

So, while this morning's urge was surprising, it pleased me.  I have not moved completely into fuddy-duddy-dom yet.  I was relieved even as I sternly told myself I had to get the house cleaned and straightened and ready for festifying first.

Because there is a time for every purpose activity under heaven. :-)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hebrews: Chapter 4:14 - 16 - The introduction to our High Priest

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Interesting side note:  I did find  my ESV Bible (I'd left it in my office), so I have been using that as my primary text for this study.  And, as I've been reading, I have noticed how many times the word 'therefore' appears (as of 4:13, I have counted 8 'therefores', not including those that are part of an Old Testament quote).

But the passage that was assigned for this week, Heb 4: 14 - 16, in the ESV, begins 'Since then...'

And the discussion for these verses begins  with a look at the word 'therefore', which is how verse 14 starts in  the NIV.

So I'm not sure there's much point in counting the 'therefores', since it varies from translation to translation.  But the use of connecting words such as 'therefore' and 'since then' indicates the logical structure of Hebrews,  the building of one concept upon another.

And these three little verses are just such connectors,  connecting the argument for the superiority of Jesus to his superior priesthood.

We actually looked at the temptation of Christ in our Friends Club lesson last night, comparing the temptation He endured in the desert to the temptations that face us on a daily basis. It was one of those classes where the teacher (i.e., me) just didn't feel like the essence of the scripture was adequately communicated; a typical junior-highish night, so I was a bit amazed to see this discussed today.

My concept of that passage has been based on Matthew's account...which states that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted.  I've supposed that he was in the wilderness all that time, waiting on the devil to come to him and try to deflect him from his purpose...and that the devil waited forty days, until Jesus was exceedingly weak and weary from hunger and near hydration (I think he found at least some water, but that's another post), and THEN the enemy came at him with his enticements. 

 But, because we looking at Luke's account last night,  today I happened to re-read that and  I noticed something a little differently than I had ever noticed before; the first two verses of Luke 4 tell us that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted by the devil. The verb tense here suggests that my suppositions are wrong.  It almost reads as if the enemy was tempting him the whole time; we just see the biggest guns that he saved for the last, when Jesus was at his weakest.

That would make sense.  Not that the enemy hit him hard, but that he hit him consistently, with annoying and distracting petty temptations with the intention of keeping him from his communion with the Father.  Then, when Jesus was worn in body AND mind AND spirit...THEN the enemy pulled out those temptations to satisfy his physical appetite and achieve the honor and the wealth without enduring the suffering that following the Father's will would cost him.

But...Jesus did not even try to fight the devil with his own strength.  He just applied the scripture...common, ordinary, well-known scripture to the situation at hand.  I almost wonder if he were using the scripture to strengthen his own resolve not to give in.  Luke records the temptations in a different order than Matthew, and Matthew includes Jesus' dismissal of Satan, but the two accounts both show that Jesus never called on any supernatural power to defeat the enemy...Scripture, applied to a specific situation, was enough to keep the enemy at bay.

Our Superior High Priest, having been weakened as a human, withstood the enemy as a human, using the same weapon that is available to the rest of us: the sword of the Spirit.  He knows what it is like to be tempted, and he knows how to use The Sword to avoid temptation's trap.

And, as this little passage in Hebrews reminds us, he is available to us to help us do the same.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Punching Through

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.  I originally posted this as a Facebook note, but decided to put it here, too...

2nd service today, we were singing the bridge 'Show us, show us your glory, Show us, show us your power, show us, show us your glory, Lord...'  and somewhere around the third repeat I heard in my spirit:

Do you really know what you're asking for here?

Suddenly, I experienced one of those moments when I realized that what I thought I was doing wasn't what I was doing at all. Of course, I was earnest in my desire to see God's power and glory, but how blithely I was expressing if a revealing of God's glory and power would be something to see; as if the measure of God's glory and power that I have experienced in my life were the total of what He has and I'm just asking for a second helping.

Do you really know what you're asking?

There was a dangerous edge to that, a 'count the cost' connotation.

Because when we really see God's glory and power, nothing about our lives will be remotely the same.

'Show us your glory/show us your power' is sort of the same as saying 'take my life totally apart and turn it inside out and throw away anything that makes me feel safe and remind me just how NOT IN CONTROL OF ANYTHING I really am.'

And that's putting it mildly.

I remembered an article I'd recently read about a storm chaser, a article that had a bit of the science of severe weather in it.  "Warm, moist air rises until it hits warm, dry air --the cap.  If the moist air becomes warmer than the cap, it can punch through it explosively." 

In a flash, I saw that my requests to see God's glory and power were hitting a cap.  "It's unbelief, isn't it?"  I prayed. "Help my unbelief!"

But the response I got back knocked me back.

No, it's not unbelief.  The cap is your comfort zone.  When your desire for God's manifest presence becomes greater than your desire to keep life safe, simple and comfortable...that's when the punch through will come.

As I related this to My Sweet Babboo on the drive home from church, he reminded me of a story that teacher Steve Thompson related about asking to see God's glory...and actually getting the tiniest glimpse of something supernatural.  As Steve told the story, he came to himself about two hours later, driving down the road repeating, 'God, don't kill me!  God, don't kill me!'

Do I really want to see God's glory and power, knowing it will take me to places I can't imagine and cost more than I can calculate in terms of anything the world values?  Recognizing that the folks who DID see God's glory and power in biblical days were misunderstood, judged, outcast, abused and even killed?  That to whom much is given, much is required...and the glory and power of God comes with profound responsibility to handle the revelation correctly?  That the concept of 'comfortable' will become foreign?

Do I really know what I'm asking?

But, having seen the choice, how could I choose anything other than to tell my screaming selfish nature to talk to the hand, put my head down and say, 'No, Lord, I don't know.  But I want it just the same.  Teach me how to punch through to the other side of comfortable and walk where I don't care if I'm comfortable or not.'

Friday, November 1, 2013

SSMT Verse 21: Hebrews 10:35-36

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Tonight was the sectional Royal Ranger commander pitch-in dinner; we do this every year about this time and, to be honest, while I like eating all the home cooked food and visiting with folks, it always seems to be something that requires more fuss and bother than I have time for.

I did cook for it and came home and cooked more (how did our school get signed up to provide breakfast for the theater festival judges in the morning?) kitchen is WRECKED. 

I think I'm going to do an unheard of thing and bail from the festival as soon as my kid is done tomorrow; come home and clean up the mess I made today.

But I digress.  Tonight was worth the fuss and bother and then some.

Our feature this year was a young lady who is on the worship staff at our church and is just launching out into her own ministry, Kat Holder.  She did an awesome job singing three of her original songs, and she challenged us along the theme of tonight's banquet, 'Top Shot'.  She kinda made a play on of the things the Ranger Boys have to earn is something called a 'Cut and Chop' card, which they must have on them in order to use any sharp tools on any Ranger event; so she said that we would earn our 'Top Shot' card tonight. 

Basically, she anagrammed 'top shot' down the side of the card, then challenged us to consider what makes someone a 'top shot' in the kingdom.  She described her choices, but told us that we would probably all pick different words, depending upon where we each were  in our spiritual journey or how we saw our position.

We were also challenged to post photos of the cards to the Sectional Ranger Facebook page, but, well, since I'm not on that page I just decided I'd do it here:

One of the verses she mentioned tonight caught my ear and I scribbled it down. When I got home and read it, I decided that verse and the one preceding it would be the SSMT verse for Nov. 1:

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. - Heb 10:35-36 NIV84

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hebrews: Chapter 4 on REST

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

To catch up...the assignment for today was to read chapter 4, vs. 1 - 13, and ponder REST.

I have been here before; it was one of the topics I considered during the Jubilee Year, and one truth I discovered early on was that 'real rest is a discipline'.

And what struck me as I read through today's verses was the author's repeated warnings that we, like the ancient Israelites, can hear the good news of God's promises and still not receive them.

From last week, we see that they failed to enter God's rest because of unbelief (3:19)
Today's passage shows that they did not benefit from the message because they did not unite it w/faith (4:2) and they failed to enter God's rest because of disobedience (4:6)

The ancients who fell in the desert did so because they did not believe God would give them victory against intimidating foes,  they did not listen to those who declared that God was able, and they refused to act on God's direct instructions.

We are warned 'if you hear the message, do not harden your hearts.' (4:7)

In verse 10, we read that whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works.

God's rest means that I believe, have faith, and obey.

But that ain't easy.

Notice the author says that we must strive to enter that rest (v. 11).  We have to purposely choose to trust God, when situations say He doesn't make sense.  We have to believe what He tells us, even if everything around us appears to be contrary.  We have to do what He says, especially when he tells us to do something that is beyond our ability.

Because He takes it at that point and does for us that which could not have been done otherwise.  And we rest from our own efforts and work.

Yes, real rest is a discipline...of belief, faith and obedience.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hebrews Chapter 3 Discussion

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

As I read through (late, overdue, but still...) the Hebrews 3 assignment, a kind of broken sentence formed itself:

Therefore...consider Jesus...who was worthy of more glory than Moses...and take care we do not harden our hearts as those led by Moses and were unable to enter God's rest...

Another place in scripture where the chapter breaks not only a section but a thought.  The first word in chapter 3 is 'Therefore'.

Which, of course, means that one must carefully consider what comes after that word in light of what went before it.

In this case, the previous chapter ended with a discussion of how Jesus had become like us in order to help us.

And, therefore, we are to consider Him...look at Him, ponder Him, see how He walked out His destiny.

Consider Christ, in comparison to the lawgiver Moses:  Moses was the House; Christ the Builder.  Moses was the Servant; Christ the Heir.

We are His, so we are to be careful that we do not fall into the same traps that those who followed Moses fell into.

The traps are all summed up in one: an evil, unbelieving heart.

One that accuses instead of confesses.  One that provokes instead of petitions.  One that rebels instead of reverences.

The followers of Moses who did those things fell in the desert and never saw the culmination of their dreams and journeys.  They never saw God's rest.

If that evil, unbelieving heart is the block to God's rest, then one who follows the instruction to be on guard against that would have easy access to the rest of God.

A heart that believes and seeks God's good is a heart that has the ability to rest.

Because a heart at rest is a heart that has truly learned to trust God in all things.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hebrews, Chapter 2 Discussion

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi the craziness that has been October, somehow I missed the post on Hebrews 2 on the 16th.  And the chapter 3 post was up last week...I did see that one, but didn't have time to comment, since I was in full out sleepover prep.  So...I'll hit chapter 2 today and try to get chapter 3 in on Wednesday, just in time for chapter 4...

The theme Suzanne found in chapter 2 is 'He is able'. The phrase that hit me as I read through it was 'Great Salvation', from 2:3-4:

how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?  It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.   ( ESV)

Look at that was

1) Declared by the Lord
2) Attested by eyewitnesses
3) validated by signs, wonders and gifts of the Spirit.

As we read on, we find more details about this salvation...

- by God's grace, Christ tasted death for everyone (vs.9)
- he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all brothers (v. 11)
- through death, he destroyed the one who has the power of death (v. 14) and delivered all those who were slaves because of the fear of death (v. 15)
- He is able to help those who are tempted (v. 18)

The Great Salvation is not just a ticket punch for the ride to heaven, it is an ongoing, growing, reciprocal relationship.

And it is not surpassed by anything.  Not to jump ahead, but here is the groundwork laid for a later argument.  The author is already trying to get the reader to consider...if I neglect this relationship, overlook this truth, reject this opportunity for redemption...what is left?  What will replace it?  What will do its work?

 If one goes in search of  a superior can that person escape?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Snapshots 10/26/13

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Last night was the annual Girls Ministry sleepover; as we have done for a number of years now, the teen girls (grades 6-12) split from the younger girls.

Some years we just split for part of the evening, but this year we basically had a whole separate event at the same time.

We started the evening by attending a local concert featuring Casting Crowns.


Then we went back to church; I did the devo portion first, since we had a girl who had to leave early and I wanted to make sure she got the 'lesson' of the evening, too.

It all worked out to talk about the lies the enemy tells us.

Then they watched a movie...and I hid treasure hunt clues around the church (had to wait for other ministries happening to finish and get cleared out).

Then the girls did a flashlight treasure hunt.

Wasn't going to do it this year, but I had a flash of inspiration about having them look for jewels to put on crowns on which they'd written the truth to counter the lie of the enemy...anyway, we did it again.

And I messed up again.  I gotta get some help doing this, if only to have a second pair of eyes looking at stuff to catch oversights.

After everyone found their jems and I doled out the 'prize' candy,  we watched the Official Every Year Movie, Princess Bride.

That movie finished up about 5:30.  The girls all dozed off; the other teen chaperone and I wandered out into the lobby and watched the sun come up.

I failed utterly to take pictures of the evening, only getting a couple of pics at the concert.

I wanted one of all the girls with their crowns. Forgot.

In the process of planning and preparing, involving, among other things, wrestling a bench seat back into our minivan and hunching over a table cutting rectangles out of poster board to run through the die cutter and turn into crowns, I have done pretty much every bad thing in the book to my back.

Ice pack 20 on/20 off.  Repeat till the ice packs are tepid slush.

Thinking really hard about seeing if I can use some of my comp time for recovery time next week.  I could use a couple of days to just breath.

And visit the chiropractor. ;-)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lies the Enemy Tells Me - # 3: 'You are Disappointing'

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

There were several similar lies that all generated around the same time in my life; I struggled with how to articulate them until I realized that they weren't just similar, they were all different ways of expressing the same thought.

But 'You are Disappointing' is not the same as 'You are Flawed'.  Lie #2 deals with a misconception about who I am, Lie #3 is about what I do.

I would put this in late childhood.  I was a reader and a dreamer...and my farm family relatives were practical, hard workers.  'Book smarts' were nothing compared to 'common sense'.   Good grades were not valued over hard work.

And I was not good at seeing things that needed doing, let alone doing them.  I'd much rather read a book than pick strawberries.

Lazy.  Won't amount to a hill of beans.  Not pulling your weight.

I heard all of that at one time or another and I didn't know how to refute it.  Especially if I got caught reading while everyone else was working.


Consequently, I eventually trained myself to work extra hard when the critics were around.  Cousins would go off and socialize, but I would stay with the aunts, washing dishes, cleaning up...I felt like I had to do more work just to be thought equal, because I had to overcome the negative expectations everyone seemed to have.

They didn't, of course.  That was the lie.  Oh, we had our cross wise moments, but the enemy took those negative opinions and turned them into a curse.

And the curse caused me to become a people turned me from Mary into Martha, trying to earn approval by what I did.

It almost always backfired.  I remember one day, somewhere around grade 7 - 9ish,  when we were doing yardwork.  I tackled a job that was really too big for me. I wanted to achieve something that would bring approval.  But that task was so big I couldn't even make a dent in it.  I labored at it and labored at it but got nowhere...and then I got into trouble for my obvious attempt to get out of doing any work by pretending to work away at something I couldn't move.

I was devastated and went crying into the house.  That time, I did eventually tell my side and got heard and believed and actually got an apology...something that I don't ever remember happening at any other time...but, as I'm sure everyone knows,  no apology completely heals the wound.  There was still the knowledge that I had been perceived as being lazy and unproductive and calculating.  And that still hurt.

That lie still influences me.  I still fear disappointing; being thought  a slacker, a bad return on the investment, untrustworthy,  a sham, out of place, judged and found wanting.  When I am out of my own space, I still push myself to DO when others are wiping their hands and heading off to fellowship.  I feel awkward if I don't know what I can do.

I don't want to disappoint...people.

And that, my friend, is exactly where the enemy wants us.  Worrying about what people think instead of what God has meant for us. Because there's always something someone said that he can then repeat to us with a sinister twist, to make sure we interpret it in the worst possible way and then take it to heart.

Because that's not all I  heard, you understand.  There were awards I won, things I achieved, words of affirmation...some from the very people who had expressed their disappointment in me at other times.  But because of the lie, I overlooked or dismissed those things, frequently believing I really didn't deserve them.

Because of the lie.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, of of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. - Gal 1:10


But here is the familiar truth...

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  All your works are wonderful, I know that full well - Ps. 139: 13-14

I wasn't looking for this, but there was another promise that on the same page:

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;  - Ps. 138:8a

The 5th day in Rita's study guide spoke of battles; the battles that are God's battles that we try to fight  in our own strength.  As I studied this out, I suddenly realized that striving to please people, to be found worthy and acceptable to people is an indication that I am fighting in my own strength.   Because

When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. - Prov 16:7

If my focus is truly pleasing God, HE will handle my relationships with those around me.  That is a battle that I do not have to fight.

That is one battle, one lie, that I am releasing. 

Here are a couple of other verses that I found on my journey, because you never know what verse will speak to whom:

"...I am pleased with you and I know you by name." - Ex. 33 17b

"For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD  was pleased to make you his own." - 1 Sam 12:22

And, even though I've already referenced this verse in this series, I'm going to list it again, because it speaks against this lie, too:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  - Eph. 2:10

It's easy to forget that I have specific things I'm to do...and if I try to please others, I really am, perhaps, getting in the way of someone else who's trying to do the task that God meant for them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SSMT Verse 20 - John 15:16

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

It's funny how some things all kind of dovetail together.

I had posted the first two posts in  the series on 'Lies the Enemy Tells Me'; then days 3 and 4 of the first week of the Finding Eve study guide instructed me to take a long look at... the lies the enemy told me.    On the Facebook page, Rita encouraged us to take as much time as we needed on this part; not to hurry.

There are at least two more posts coming on that series; but when I read "When you were told your first lie it was a direct hit against God's truth about you." I had to go back and look at the first lie.

And I was suddenly confronted with the idea that it wasn't a random attack; that that particular lie was told to me for a reason. What if...that lie was told to me because the Enemy was trying to drive me as far away from the truth as he could?  What if...that lie wasn't just a lie, but was the opposite of the truth?

As I pondered that, I found that a few lines down the page, she challenged us to pray, "Lord, I choose now to believe the opposite of those lies. I commit to you today that I am willing to believe in your purpose for my life. I choose the opposite of what all these lies have spoken."

What is the opposite of a jinx?

I was reeling.  This was new, uncharted territory.

There's a big difference between deciding something is simply not true and deciding that it is the exact opposite of the truth.

How would my prayer life be different if I really believed that the enemy told me I was a jinx because the opposite of it was true?

I looked at that verse I put on that post to counter the jinx lie; I'd used the ESV because that was what was handy at that moment, so I looked it up in NIV, thinking I'd use it for my next SSMT verse.  But somehow, it seemed a little less powerful in the NIV:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

That reads as a linear thought -- you do this, then the Father will do that.  But when I read the ESV, it didn't seem quite so linear.  So I dug out my Greek/KJV interlinear and read:

Not ye me chose, but I chose you, and appointed you that ye should go and fruit should bear and the fruit of you should remain, that whatever ye may ask the Father in the name of me he may give you.

As convoluted and backward as that seems, it also appears that these are parallel thoughts, not linear.

For a better explanation, I pulled out the Amplified:

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you - I have appointed you, I have planted you - that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing; that your fruit may be lasting (that it may remain, abide); so that whatever you ask the Father in My name [as presenting all that I AM] He may give it to you.

That breaks it down even more, with the semi colons, the thought becomes very clear:

I have chosen you  so that 1) you might bear fruit 2) that fruit will remain and 3) whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you.

The promise of whatever you ask is not dependent upon the first two phrases, it is parallel to them.  It is part of the reason Christ chose us ...chose me.

Notice, though, the implications of  asking something in Christ's name.  This is not just tacking on a formulaic, 'In Jesus' name I pray, Amen' on to the end of a prayer...this is standing in the place of Jesus in a situation, representing Christ in that situation and asking for what Jesus asks for.  That's a responsibility; that's relationship.

So I am breaking my little self imposed rule that I would memorize everything in NIV.  For this verse, I'm using the ESV:

You have not chosen me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  John 15:16 ESV

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lies the Enemy Tells Me - # 2: 'You are Flawed'

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

This one may come across differently than I mean it to; I don't mean to imply that it is a lie that I am not perfect.

Of course I'm not perfect.  But this lie goes a lot deeper than that.

The implication here is that I have something wrong with my character that makes me less valuable as a person.

This is a lie that started in elementary school.  Of course, then that lie was worded as 'You have cooties'....

Who knows how the social order is established in a classroom...but in my little rural school, with about twelve classmates, I quickly became one of those on the bottom rung.  Was it because I had not interacted with kids in classroom settings much?  No kindergarten, very little Sunday first real exposure to my peers was first grade.  I didn't know how to behave in a classroom setting...I'd never had to sit still and be quiet much at all.  I talked all the time.  I spent a lot of time in 'time out' ...sitting in a chair in the hallway outside the door (One of my older cousins started the rumor in the family that he saw me with my leg tied to the chair, but that never happened.  I don't know if he assumed that I was tied to the chair or if he saw something that made him think that or if he was just being ornery).  I remember the teacher actually taping my mouth shut with Scotch tape once...but I felt so silly that I giggled it off.

It is a fact that she retired after teaching that year.

It may have been because I was a huge story teller.  I made up crazy stories and tried to pass them off as truth.  I don't know attempt to earn favor, somehow, maybe, but that sure backfired.  It really didn't stop until I was nearly in middle school and got called out by someone whose good opinion mattered to me.  The disgust in his voice at my story telling was the revelation that I needed in order to get a clue about being truthful.  I honestly don't recall that I ever did that again after that point...but the damage was done.

There were probably other social gaffes in my behavior that I did not recognize then or now.  But by the time I was in 3rd grade it was pretty clear that I was not on the same level as the others.

One incident in particular stands out from third grade...we had typical mid-1960's playground equipment; stuff that would be considered too dangerous for a schoolyard now.  Swings and monkey bars and teeter totters and a merry go round and a maypole type thing from which you could hang by your hands and swing round and round, feet off the ground.  I remember one recess, playing on the maypole by myself, when I noticed that my fellow 3rd graders were all on the merry go round, pushing it and pumping the bars to make it go pretty fast.  It looked like fun, so I went over and got on.

Every one of the other kids got off.  Immediately.  Then, they began to complain that I was contaminating the merry go round and I needed to get off so they could get on again.  Of course, it wasn't much fun to make it go 'round by myself, so I pretty quickly got off and went back to the maypole.

The others had the merry go round going at full speed in short order, and I went over again and tried to get on.  Once more they all got off and began to tell me to get off so they could get back on.  The merry go round slowed down to a crawl again, and I got off and went back to the maypole.

This incredible scenario repeated itself a third time, but after I got off the third time the first grade teacher, who had playground duty that day, went over to the merry go round and made all the third graders get off.  I don't know what she told them but those kids came over to me on the maypole and yelled at me for getting them into trouble.

'Peer rejection', the psychologists call it.

It changed shape a bit over the remainder of my school years, but it never went away.

And I swallowed the lie that there was something wrong with me, something bound up in my character that kept me from being likeable, respectable, credible.  Something that made me believe I was in the way, annoying, a bother.

And it got in deep.  So deep that it still, to this day, influences my behavior and my expectations.  It keeps me from offering ideas and suggestions.  Not always, but in places where I am not absolutely sure of my reception.  I rather sub-consciously expect to be dismissed, overlooked, not taken seriously.

But it still hurts when it happens.

This may be the most difficult lie to disengage...because rejection in one way or another is a common human experience.  There is nothing that is unusual or remarkable about it; it doesn't happen in my life any more than it happens in any other, even though that while I typed those words, the enemy threw up recent rejections, recent examples of not being taken seriously, recent scathing and belittling comments from those who are close to me to try and prove that  my statement was wrong.  

See how hard he resists the truth?

If you, like me, struggle with a vague undefined feeling that somehow you are not quite up to the standard of those around you, that you have been assessed by those whose opinions somehow matter and found wanting, here is what is true:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph.2:10)

If God created us, for specific tasks that He has already prepared for us, how can we believe that we are flawed to the point of being useless and ineffective?

I am not flawed...I am God's own creation, and I have things to accomplish for Him.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lies the Enemy Tells Me - #1: 'You're a Jinx'

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

As I did my study this morning, I was instructed to list lies that I had believed...lies the Enemy told me about myself.

I was amazed at what came out when I was writing in my journal; I thought I would share some of those, just in case someone else out there has heard the same sinister whispers and believed them.

I may have even blogged about some of these before...some, I know, will be seeing print for the first time, as I didn't want to face them.

But I'm going to start with the first lie.  I don't even think I'd started school yet when I heard this one.  But I remember it very well.

It was Christmas Eve.  We were just returning home from the annual dinner/gift exchange at Grandma's and someone had turned on the little black and white tv...a basketball game.

I do not have a clue who was playing...on the screen, all I could discern were white uniforms and dark uniforms.  For some reason, I decided I wanted one of the teams (and I don't remember which one) to win.

Suddenly, I thought that I needed to pretend, even in my thoughts, that I wanted the other team to win.

Because I knew, in one moment, that if I wanted one team to win, that would guarantee their loss.

In my child's mind, I thought ... if 'THEY' know who I want to win, 'THEY' will make sure the other team wins.

Stupid.  Incredible.  But I was convinced.

In my mind, I was a jinx.

I don't know where that came from, but that 'jinx' concept stuck.

It stuck through elementary school, where I was the last person picked to be on a team...usually with  groans.

It stuck through high school, where my school spirit posters mysteriously disappeared from the contest display.

It stuck in my prayer life... even as an adult, I had a nagging insecurity that said I should not name  anything specific, because that would insure it would not happen. And, of course, the Enemy would remind me over and over again of the prayers I prayed that apparently were not heard or answered as I wished.

But I am here to tell you, that is a lie.

Because God HAS answered my prayers.  He HAS blessed me abundantly.  He HAS done more than I could ask or imagine in so many ways.

But because I believed the lie, I couldn't see what He had done.

As I prayed over the lies today, the one thing that impressed me is that I was targeted.  The lies were the flaming arrows... the weapons of the enemy...that lodged and stuck.

And he fires those arrows at children.  Because if he can convince the child, he has silenced the adult.

But, for me and anyone else who has swallowed that lie, here is what Jesus said:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you - John 15:16, ESV

Friday, October 4, 2013

First Thoughts on Eve

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

One of the first questions Rita asked as an introduction to the study of Finding Eve was to list 3 characteristics that I've  kind of associated with Eve, just based on my own opinion.

I've always thought of Eve in the context of what happened, the narrative as a whole, so it was kind of interesting to take a look at my own opinions of her specifically.  To be honest, I think my opinions are maybe a hair off from the norm, but that may be because I am such a Genesis fan and I have done a lot of study and reflection on that book (I may have mentioned that Genesis was my favorite BSF study...). 

So when I first think of Eve, I think of her innocence.  It is an innocence that we can't begin to imagine; she wasn't naive or simple, she was pure.  I've  wondered if she was aware that it was even possible to speak something that was not true.  So of course the serpent confused her. 

The next thing that occurs to me about Eve is that she was the very definition of beautiful.  No surgery, Botox, dyes, make up, spandex, special lighting or airbrushing were needed.  Yahweh made her to be His absolute expression of beauty.  I wonder what she really looked like...and how far our concept of 'beautiful' has strayed from the real thing.

Finally, when I think of Eve, I think of the devastating loss she sustained, and the guilt that she carried for the rest of her life.  I've wondered how she managed to bear that load did she cope?  Where did she get the strength to get up each day and go through the toil of survival, remembering what it had been like in the Garden? 

I think that is what I need to learn most from Eve...I mess up, put my foot in my mouth, do/say stupid stuff that should NOT have been said or done...and then, when I am wiser, I must own the mistakes, do my best to make restitution, but continue on following God, knowing full well that I have ruined things and hurt people beyond my ability to restore or repair and that I am going to have to live with the consequences and rely on His grace to do what I cannot. case you missed yesterday's post... I'm giving away a copy of the book, Finding Eve, by Rita Springer, to someone who leaves a comment on that post before Sunday Evening.  :-)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jumping in Again...and a Give Away...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've mentioned before that I was in Bible Study Fellowship for seven years.  It was an amazing journey, and I really, really encourage anyone who has the opportunity to do a BSF study to take advantage of it.

One of the neatest aspects of BSF is the weekly group discussion.  15 (ladies, in my case, as this was a women's only group) discussed in depth questions pertaining to the scripture portion for the week.  We were not allowed to bring in outside sources...quotes from books or commentaries...but were totally to get into the Scripture and discover things for ourselves first; then, after the discussion, we could check other sources.

What awesome discussions we had.

I miss that.  I mean, I really, really miss that.

Part of the reason I started Beer Lahai Roi was to hopefully have some similar discussions but, well, turns out the Internet may not be such a great place to do that, as it's so public.

But a couple of women whom I greatly admire both started online studies within the last couple of weeks.  You've already seen my responses to Suzanne's study of Hebrews; let me introduce you to the second study that I've jumped on board with....

Rita Springer has been a friend of our church for, well, ever since the beginning, I think.  We had not been attending the church very long when Rita and two other ladies, Dawn Sweigart and Terri Gladstone (now Terri Furr), led the women's conference that year, which totally wrecked me and left me with great affection for all three of those ladies.

That team has ended up doing a total of, I think 4 of our women's conferences, and Rita has been a guest for other events as well...sometimes she's just been there on a Sunday to be a guest worship leader (in fact, she will be leading worship at our Madison, AL Campus this coming Sunday).

Well, Rita has written a book, Finding Eve, and  I snagged a copy from the church bookstore not long after it was released.  Took it home, put it on the bookshelf and, so consumed I have been by the data base migration, promptly forgot all about it.

Then, at this year's women's conference, Pastor Leisa said that she would be doing a read-along and challenged the ladies to pick up a 3-book bundle and read along with her this year.

One of the books in the bundle was Finding Eve.  Suddenly I remembered...didn't I buy that book?? What happened to it??

Well, I got the bundle, figuring I could do something with the extra copy should I find that I had, indeed, bought it and managed to find it. 

I was dumbfounded to find that it was sitting on the bookshelf, exactly where it should be. I shook my head at my absentminded self and put the second book on the shelf next to the first one.

Last week, Rita announced on Facebook that she was going to do an on-line,  approximately 12 week, devotional study of the book and invited anyone who was interested to read and follow along.

I really thought it would be a study the likes of which I've been doing here...a blog post with some thoughts and a couple open-ended, thought provoking questions.  So I read the first chapter of the book in anticipation.

Then, yesterday, she posted the link to the first part of the study.  This ain't no little blog post to think about.   This is a serious study guide, and the questions in the introduction (I haven't even gotten to the discussion of the first chapter yet!) have really hit home.  This is meant to be worked through in a week, not quick answered in a day.

Way more than I expected....

Anyway,  as you have no doubt realized, since I have a second copy of the book I decided give it away to one of you lovely folks who are reading my blog.   If  you would like to be entered in a drawing to win my extra copy, just leave a comment on today's post.  I'll be drawing Sunday evening after my Girls Ministry class to see who will receive the book.  I'll mail it free to anyone in the US; I'm afraid international shipping wouldn't get the book out of the country in a timely fashion, so my apologies to anyone from out of the States who happens by here. 

I want to do it fairly quickly, so whoever gets it has time to catch up, because the catch is that if you  win, you need to participate in Rita's study along with me.

The link is up on the Finding Eve Facebook page, but if you are not on Facebook and you want to participate you can send your email address to  Findingeves at gmail dotcom and Rita  will email the link to you each week.

Between Eve and Hebrews,  I should be challenged...this will be good. 

Who wants to come along?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

SSMT Verse 19 - Hebrews 2:1

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I knew last week what today's Siesta Scripture Memory Verse Team verse was going to be.

The moment I read the second chapter of Hebrews for Suzanne's Online Study, verse one jumped right off the page at me.

It was another verse on the theme of being individually responsible for knowing God's truth and being intentional about sticking with it:

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

If American Christianity has become an hour a week of First, Second and Last verse and a pastoral exhortation that just makes folks feel good about themselves, how can we be surprised that so many are drifting away?

We aren't paying attention, period, let alone paying careful attention.

Paying careful attention, it is implied, will protect us from wandering off into error...into that place where we do not know who among the religious leaders of our day are telling us truly what God wants us to hear...and who are telling us what they want God to be saying.

So.  Yeah.  Verse 19.  Because I need to be reminded to pay careful attention.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hebrews, Chapter 1 discussion

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Suzanne has posted the first installment of the online study of Hebrews; just looking at how she dug into that first chapter is an education in Bible study in and of itself.

I read chapter one last week, marveled at the author's use of OT scriptures,  reveled in the amazingness of Jesus, and waited to see what she'd say.

She listed all the names and titles given to Jesus in that chapter...which made me go back and  look at it again and pay real attention to what each one of those names and titles were, instead of just being dazzled by the whole list.

Then Suzanne contrasted them with what other major religions say about Jesus.

It's pretty eye opening to see the discussion laid out like that.

But here's one thing she said:

In our society today we see an eagerness to assimilate facets from all religions into one modge-podge belief system.  

I read that and thought, 'That is the TRUTH!'

And then I thought about the kingdom of Judah before they were defeated and carried away into captivity.

That is exactly what they did.

They tried to maintain the worship of God, even while they participated in the pagan belief systems around them;  trying to stay in God's favor by going through the motions of worship in the temple while they also did all they could to appease the idols of their unbelieving neighbors.  A 'modge-podge' indeed.

And we all know how that turned out.

All the more reason for us to make sure of our faith...where it is placed, and how we exercise not let any of the opinions of people affect how we relate to the One who is

God's Son
Heir to all things
Creator of the World
The Radiance of God's Glory
The Exact Imprint of God's Nature
The Upholder of the Universe
Superior to Angels
Inheritor of the Most Excellent Name
God whose throne lasts forever
Whose scepter is the scepter of uprightness
Layer of the foundations of the earth
One who stays the same, whose years have no end


On to chapter two...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Hodge Podge Day...

I haven't done a meme in quite a while;  thought I'd play this week; partly because I just happened to actually see the questions in time and partly because I actually kinda found myself  intrigued by the questions.

Anyway, our Hostess is Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond, so if you'd like to read up what others had to say or answer the questions yourself, head over and have a go....

1. What's one thing that's still the same about you as when you were young?

The cowlick in my bangs is just the same now as it was in those old hysterical school-picture photos.  I've tried and tried to get them to lie down nice and even, but they still clump and curl and leave a gap-toothed look on my forehead.

2. What's more important-history or science? Why?

This is a toughie; they are both important, for different reasons, so it's kinda like saying 'Which one is better for your health...spinach or apples?'  But, if you really pushed me into making a choice, I think I'd have to say 'History'...because, as a wise person once said, 'Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it' (or some such thing).  Looking at human history, over and over again we find ourselves falling into the same old patterns.  All the advancements in Science can't seem to keep our basically selfish natures from manifesting in the worst possible ways.  We really, really, really need to learn the lessons that history can teach us.

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?
Aaaiieeee...well, based on the one that is served at my table the most frequently, I'd say 'black'.

4. What's something people come to your town to do?
Go to Space Camp, mostly.  But there are a few folks who come to town to play disc golf; the oldest existing regulation 18 hole disc golf course happens to be here, too.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

I was in a meeting Monday morning:  'Database implementation training...inspiring participation.'

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

Y'know, I really don't aspire to attend many big events; I'm drawing a blank at the moment....Oh!  I've got it...I'd love a VIP pass to Catalyst

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?

Don't. Stop. Writing.  (and I need to heed my own advice...)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
 Do you all realize it is exactly 3 months 'till Christmas?  Wow...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Learning to Delegate

I got the 'You have got to start delegating' speech from my pastor-boss yesterday.

And before the day was over I actually totally handed something over to another person to take care of.

It was hard.  But, given the work load that I have at the moment, I really didn't have a choice.

I don't delegate well.  Partly because I can do something way faster than I can train someone else to do it; partly because I *always* overlook some detail in the explanation that comes back to haunt me later;  partly because I want to own the mistakes and learn from them instead of trying to correct someone else; but's a control issue.

I want to do  it so I know it's done right.

But I have to delegate.  I have to supervise, not do.  I learned that he has plans for me to get way beyond what I'm doing now...which means that about 80% of what I do now ultimately will have to be delegated.

Finding someone to delegate it to is a different issue; but once we get the log jam of backed up data entry cleared, I will have time to train a team; I'm believing that the team will be there to be trained.

And then I am going to have to turn the work over to the team.

That's scary.

It's a faith issue, of course...mostly faith that God will work out everything as it needs to be worked out...helping me train folks, helping the trained folks to recall their training, helping us all work together for the common goal of a useful and accurate data base.

And, just maybe, if I can learn to release the details of my current job to others...I can learn to release the details of other things, in other areas, to others as well.

Has anyone passing by here struggled with delegation?  How did you get over the 'let go' hump:?

Share with the rest of us! ;-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm In - Hebrews Online Study

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I'm finding that all my mental creativity is getting poured out at work; trying to figure out ways to make the new software do what we need it to do while I simultaneously teach the procedures to folks who also need to know how to use it.

I really, really enjoy work like this; I just wish I had time to work through the processes before I had to go live with them.  Fortunately I figured out a way to give myself mulligans...i.e, that didn't work, so label it a false start and try again.

But, what all that means is that the blog is languishing for lack of creative energy.  The Siesta Scripture Memory Team has given me some blog material when I haven't had time to develop my own thoughts, and I've been working on memorizing the verses, even if I don't make it to the conference event.

Then, today I found another source for discussion.  I did all seven years of Bible Study Fellowship some time ago (there may be more than 7 now; I've heard rumors of new studies), and for six of those seven years my teaching leader was Suzanne Matthews.  Suzanne has a real desire to dig deep and a real gift of communication.

Not too long ago, I discovered Suzanne's Blog (Coffee, Tea & Thee, on the sidebar).  Now she has announced that she's going to do an online study of the book of Hebrews, and I decided to join in.

She put up the first post in the study today, listing six reasons to study Hebrews, then asked her readers 1) which of those six reasons tugs at the heart and 2) why would each individual personally need to study Hebrews.

And she assigned us to read Chapter 1.

So, true to the 'I really need to post something now and again' mode in which I seem to be operating for at least a little while more, I'm going to participate.  And you, my faithful friends and family (Hi, Mom and Aunt Linda!)  are invited to come along.  You can click through and leave comments on Suzanne's blog, or, if you've got your own bloggy space, write it up over there and leave a link.

Anyway, that's a lot of introduction.  I first decided to use my ESV edition, since I wanted to get the fresh perspective of unfamiliar wording, but I could. NOT. find. it.  And I had it just a couple of days ago; I've no clue where I put it.  Not in any of the usual places.

I sighed and pulled out the NIV.  But, since this Bible is less than a year old, it's not marked up yet.  So I will have a bit of a new perspective after all...

So.  Question One.

Of the six reasons Suzanne listed, the one that stood out the most to me was reason number 5:

5. It was written because Jesus is the answer to every. human. need. Hebrews is the clearest and most systematic presentation in the entire Bible of the Lord Jesus Christ. - See more at:
 It was written because Jesus is the answer to every. human. need.  Hebrews is clearest  and most systematic presentation in the entire Bible of  the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews has always intrigued me because the author so plainly links Jesus to the Old Testament.  Which would be necessary, of course, if he (she? ;-) ) were writing to a predominately Jewish audience.  So I will enjoy exploring that.

But I need to study Hebrews (Question 2) because I need to be reminded of everything Christ is, and therefore who I am in Christ.  The year the BSF class did  'Acts of the Apostles' (which included a look at a number of the epistles those apostles wrote, including Hebrews), my 'Wow!' revelation for the year came from Hebrews.

I'm sure I'll mention it when we get there. ;-)

Chapter one is an amazing logical argument for the superiority of Christ, based on Old Testament scripture.

It has really only been fairly recently that it struck me that every  OT verse cited in the NT was written from memory.   The only copies of those priceless scriptures were in the synagogues, not in the libraries of the common folks.  Not counting the ESV that I seem to have mislaid, I could grab about 6 different translations from various bookshelves about the house.  If I want to quote a verse, I can pull out the book itself and look it up by chapter and verse.

The NT authors had nothing more than their memory.  Which makes me want to work a little harder on those SSMT verses...
5. It was written because Jesus is the answer to every. human. need. Hebrews is the clearest and most systematic presentation in the entire Bible of the Lord Jesus Christ. - See more at:
5. It was written because Jesus is the answer to every. human. need. Hebrews is the clearest and most systematic presentation in the entire Bible of the Lord Jesus Christ. - See more at: