Friday, January 29, 2016

All Things New: Israel, the Resurrection Road, Part 1

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

Israel had sent all of his sons off to Egypt...and, to be honest, he did not know if he would see them again.  Aside from the dangers of thieves and bandits on the journey...and they were carrying a fair amount of money...there was the question of how they would be perceived when they got to Egypt.  Would their story be believed?  Would they all be released to come home?

He had no way of knowing how the journey went.  I'm sure that, by the time the small caravan of donkeys, carts and men arrived he had been anxiously watching the road for them for several days.

He had to have been astonished at the provisions...and puzzled by the empty carts as they rolled into the camp.  But he would also have counted the men as they approached, and his relief at seeing all eleven could easily have brought him to tears.

But the news they brought with them was so fantastic, so unexpected, so beyond understanding that they had to repeat it to him , and show him the proof of their news...Joseph was living!  And HE was the man they'd been dealing with in Egypt all along!  And he wanted them all to come and live close to him!  Look...he sent carts and provisions so the whole household could make the trip!

Israel limped up and down the line of carts and goods, accompanied by his exuberant sons, who were all talking at once, pointing out the care that Joseph and Pharaoh had taken to make sure they could make the trip.

Suddenly, Israel stopped.  Genesis 45: 27 reports that  the spirit of their father Jacob revived.

Imagine.  Twenty years of grief, of mourning, of regret for sending Joseph out to a horrible death, all lifted.  Joseph...his beloved son Joseph...had NOT been torn apart by animals as a young boy!  He was alive! And.. Israel could actually see him again.

Hope was reborn in Israel that day.

'I'm convinced!  My son Joseph is still alive.  I will go and see him before I die."

Israel had been living out his days in endurance...Rachel was gone, Leah was gone, Joseph was gone; he had no idea that God had a whole new road for him to walk.  He loaded up all his goods and began the journey.

When they arrived at Beersheba, they stopped for a bit and Israel offered sacrifices to God.  And that night, he had a vision.  God had not forgotten him all these years; he had another prophecy.

I am God, the God of your father.  Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.  I will go down to Egypt with you and I will surely bring you back again.  And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes. (Gen 46:3- 4)

Israel was guaranteed that he would not die until he saw his son Joseph again, and he had God's promise that the great nation would come out of Egypt by God's hand.

No wonder his spirit revived; it was truly a resurrection.  He would see Joseph again.

Dare I hope that the dreams I have given up on could be revived?  Or is it better to reckon them as dead and gone, knowing that God would revive them if it suited His purpose?  

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

There are some news images that, having seen them the day they happened, I cannot look at them again.

The  flaming towers of 9/11 is one image...the crazy Y of the Challenger demise is another.

It's been thirty years since 'Go for throttle up' has taken on such a chilling overtone.

I wasn't even watching the launch.  As I recall, it had been scrubbed and rescheduled more than once, and I'd lost track of when it was actually to launch.  And I had a newborn baby ...a fussy newborn baby...and I just wasn't paying much attention to the outside world.

But thirty years ago I had literally JUST managed to get her down for a morning nap and  was tiptoeing away from her crib when the phone rang.

It was one of my friends, and her question as soon as I picked up the phone was, 'What does [your husband] think?'

Of course, I had absolutely no idea why on earth she would ask me that.   She was surprised I didn't have the TV on.  'The space shuttle just blew up, ' she said.

I hung up the phone and turned on the TV and there, against that beautiful blue sky, was the image that would be shown over and over and over as folks tried to make sense of the tragedy....the one that I've hidden several times today on my facebook feed. 

My Sweet Babboo would spend the next two and a half years working on the SRB redesign team.  NASA hauled a small fleet of office trailers to Marshall Space Flight Center, which is on the local army base,  where the redesign team worked.   Back in the day,  when security wasn't such an issue,  with the contractor sticker on the car, I could pick up Chik-fil-A sandwiches and take our daughter out to the picnic area by the trailers and meet him for lunch.  That wouldn't be possible now. And sometimes he'll talk about someone he ran into somewhere and comment, 'He was in the trailers.'

But that day,  all my plans to accomplish stuff...I don't even remember what I was planning to do...during the precious nap time totally evaporated as I , along with the rest of the country, watched the replays over and over, trying to see something that might've caused the disaster.

The investigation did find the culprit, and the engineers came up with a new design to prevent the same failure from happening again.  We returned to space ...for a season...until the years caught up to the shuttles and  we mourned again, doubly, for that investigation found that the weaknesses could not be engineered away. Each subsequent launch was one more counting down to the end of the space shuttle program.  The remaining shuttles all went to museums.  The space shuttle Atlantis is displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; the Endeavour, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles; the Discovery, at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia; and the test shuttle, Enterprise, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.  Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston has one of the 747's that was modified to carry the shuttles.  Huntsville has the Pathfinder vehicle, which predated Enterprise and was used for testing transportation vehicles and assembly cranes.  Americans going to space do so on Russian rockets now.  The first test launch of the next generation space vehicle is still nearly three years away.

I'm aware this is a rather rambly post;  I don't have a nice little summation to draw from it.  Other than humans are fallible...we have failed before, we will fail again...but we can't let failure be the determiner of the future.    The only way to  truly fail is to give up and quit.

"Never never never never give up, '- Winston Churchill

Monday, January 25, 2016

Thinkin' about music...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've been mulling over some exhortation I received at the songwriter's retreat I went to last fall; the fact that I need to be more current in my listening choices might have been brought up at one point.

Which kinda made me ponder.. what are my favorite cds?   In this day and age of playlists, thinking in terms of CD's is kind of archaic, but we have a 5-disc changer and I wondered...if I were going to put my 5 favorite cd's in, what would they be?

Here's the list that I think it would could change at some point, but my current five faves are, in no particular order:

Whiteheart,  Freedom
Solomon's Wish, Wise Man's Tragedy
Rita Springer, Effortless
Iona, Beyond These Shores
Morningstar Ministries, Fly Me Like The Wind

 Every one of those CDs has stuff on it that touches my heart.  And, yeah, it's all, um, not very current.  But it's still good stuff.

Just outta curiosity, if you could put your five faves in the cd changer to enjoy for an evening...what would they be?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

In which my imagination runs away with me...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

This has happened several times as I've written the All Things New trying hard to give the narrative relevance, I've wandered off into writing a fictionalized account.

It's so hard to find the line between narrative paraphrase and just plain fiction; it took me three edits to get yesterday's post pared down to the paraphrase.

But I kept the deleted portions.  I'd put a lot of work into that and I didn't want to throw it away.

So, for a cold day's reading, here's the fictional-but-possible bit I deleted yesterday,  ;-)

Something like 20 years passed since Judah pulled his brother out of the cistern and traded him off for 20 pieces of silver.   I wonder what he did with his two-piece share.  Did he spend it right away, just to get it out of sight?  Did he put it away somewhere, feeling wrong about even possessing it? How many nights did he lay in bed, awake, wondering what happened to his younger brother?
He had wandered away from his family, from his God, and returned with twin sons.

And then....

Drought.  Serious drought.  The crops shriveled, the sheep starved.  Passing travelers brought word that there was grain to be bought in Egypt.  Jacob looked at the starving flocks and his paltry reserves and sent Judah, along with the rest of his sons, save Benjamin, to make the journey to Egypt to buy some grain to hopefully tide them over until the rains came again.

They made the journey safely and found themselves lined up with numbers of Egyptians and other Canaanites who had come to the capital to purchase grain.   However, their alien appearance made them stand out, and they, along with others who were clearly not Egyptian, were pulled out of line and taken to one of the Egyptian officials.  Each group of foreigners was presented to the official, who interviewed them before allowing them to purchase grain.  When it was their turn, they bowed to the ground in front of the official, who frowned at them and spoke through an interpreter.  'Where do you come from?'  

They all spoke up at once, 'From Canaan, to buy food.'

The official’s eyes narrowed as he regarded them, clearly unhappy with their answer.  He shook his head and spoke to the interpreter, his eyes never leaving them.  The interpreter replied, 'You are spies!  You have come to see that the famine is here, too!'

The brothers bowed again, protesting that their intention was simply to buy food, that they were not spies, that they were honest men, and Reuben added, 'We are all brothers, sons of one man.'  

The interpreter spoke to the official, translating and pointing as best he could to indicate who had said what.  The official's face never changed; clearly, he did not believe them.  At last he spoke again to the interpreter, who relayed, 'No!  My master states that you are here to see how bad the famine is, to report that Egypt is weak!'

Again, the brothers protested, and this time it was Judah who shushed them and replied for them, 'No!  We are your servants, and we are ten of twelve brothers.  Our father is in Canaan with our youngest brother, and one brother is no more.  This is the truth.'

The interpreter relayed this message, but the official was unconvinced. He looked them all over again, then spoke to the interpreter, who relayed the message, 'My master is certain you are spies.  He says that you shall be tested and declares by the life of Pharaoh that you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes to verify your claims.  You are to decide which of you will leave and return to Canaan to fetch that brother and bring him back while the rest stay here confined until your story is proven.  If you cannot do this, you are surely spies.'  

And, before any of them could react to this incredible statement, the Egyptian official spoke to the soldiers standing about and they were all taken to a house and locked in together, with a guard. For three days they were left there, although they were fed well and otherwise taken care of, clearly under suspicion.  They argued amongst themselves as to who would be the one to return to Jacob with the news that they were captive, and to try to persuade him to allow Benjamin to return and ransom his brothers.  None of them wanted that task, and they went around and around trying to come up with ways to convince the Egyptians that they were really who they said without having to grieve their father again.  And that brought up the old grief; how had they been so callous before?  Finally, they began to pray to El Shaddai to intervene and release them by His power.

On the third day, they were escorted back to the official, who had apparently had a change of heart.  But only a slight change of heart, as the interpreter related how much the man had relented...and how much he had not. 'Do this, ' he relayed, 'and you will live, for I fear God.  I will allow you to take grain back to your household, due to the famine, but one of you must stay here.  If you are honest men, return with your youngest brother, and your story will be proven.'

At first, relief washed over them that they would be allowed to take grain back home, but then the full impact hit them.  They turned to each other and began to discuss how to respond to this latest development...and suddenly they all concluded that this was because of the secret they had kept for so many years:

'This is because we're guilty! "

"We knew our brother was distressed and we did nothing!"

"He begged us to let him return to our father and we didn't listen"

Reuben, in exasperation, finally got their attention.  ‘I told you not to sin against the boy!  But you didn't listen!'  His eyes rested on Judah, who said nothing. ‘So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.’

 None of them noticed that the Egyptian official suddenly turned and left them as they continued to lament their circumstances.  How could they leave one of their brothers behind?  How could they possibly take Benjamin away from Jacob?  What were they going to tell the Egyptian?  The argument and despair continued until the interpreter interrupted them; the Egyptian had stepped down from the platform and was standing next to them.  Odd how red his eyes were...that eyeliner must irritate them somehow.  He made the decision for them; he had Simeon taken and bound.  Simeon would stay behind, he told them through the interpreter, as guarantee that they would return with their younger brother.  But they were free to collect their grain and return home.  The sacks of grain were already set aside for them, as was a generous bag of provender for the trip.

They returned to Jacob with grain but without Simeon, who had been kept as a hostage to prove that they were not spies.  And, as it turned out, they had also returned with all the money that they had given to the Egyptians for the grain.

Free grain.  But...what had happened?  Were they now to be considered thieves as well as spies?
Jacob was distraught...Joseph was dead, Simeon was gone, and now it seemed he would lose Benjamin...his only living son from his beloved well.  He refused to let them return with Benjamin, despite Reuben's offer of his two sons as hostage.  

But the famine continued.  They ate the grain, the livestock ate the grain, and soon they were once again in dire straits.  Jacob called them in and told them to go get more.
Judah sighed. 'We can't.  That Egyptian fellow sternly warned us that we would not get any more unless we brought Benjamin back with us.  Now, if you'd let Benjamin go, we can take him and prove ourselves to be innocent and get more food.  But if you still won't let him go, then it's pointless...he won't even talk to us and we won't get anything.'

Israel wrung his hands.  'How could you have been so inconsiderate of me as to tell him about Benjamin!  Why didn't you just keep your mouths shut?'

At this, the brothers all protested, speaking at once.

'We didn't have any choice!
'He actually asked us if our father was still living'

'Yeah, and he wanted to know if we had any more brothers!'
'How were we supposed to know that he was going to ask us to bring Benjamin back?'

'We had to answer his questions!'

Judah, exasperated, finally said, 'Look.  Send Benjamin with me.  I'll take care of him myself.  It's the only way to keep us all from, us, all our children... I'll pledge his safety; if anything happens to him...anything at all...I'll bear the blame and guilt.'  He looked around at them all. 'This lamenting is ridiculous.  We could've gone and come back twice now already.'

Israel closed his eyes for a long time, then spoke in a tired voice. 'You're right.  It's the only way. this...take some of our best produce with you...balm, honey, gum, myrrh, and some pistachios and almonds, as a gift.  And take twice the money with you, so that you can repay what was in the bags.  Maybe someone made a mistake.'  He paused, then continued with a tremor in his voice. 'Take your brother and go.  May God Almighty grant you mercy from the Egyptian, so that he sends all of you back to me.  But if he doesn't...then...he doesn't.  If that's what God wants, I cannot change it.'

They loaded up the donkeys and, within a matter of days, were once again standing in front of the Egyptian official, who looked them over, spoke to his servant, and left.

The servant indicated that the brothers were to follow him, and they were led to a fine house and taken inside. They assumed it was a palace and a place of judgment, and were worried that they were about to be condemned as thieves and all their goods confiscated.  They found the servant who had brought them there, standing in the door.  They tried to talk to him, and he sent for the interpreter.  

Once the interpreter was there, they began to explain urgently that they had no idea how their money had gotten back in their grain sacks but that they were returning it.   When the servant grasped what they were so concerned about he waved his hands dismissively, and the interpreter passed his words along, 'Oh, don't worry about that!  If you had money in your bags, it had to have been a gift from your God; I have on record that you paid for that grain and you don't owe anything.'  The servant then beckoned to someone outside the door and stepped back to allow Simeon, who looked to be in fine health, to join his brothers.  The servant then spoke through the interpreter, 'My lord Zaphenath-paneah will come to dine here with you at noon; I will send water so that you may wash and I will also see that your donkeys have been fed and watered.'  Then he left.

When the Egyptian official arrived, they presented the gift their father had sent, and answered the questions he asked through the interpreter.  Yes, their father was still living.  Yes, he was well, for an old man.  Yes, that was Benjamin, the youngest brother.

Suddenly, the Egyptian turned and hurried from the room.  He was obviously a very busy and important man.  Eventually, he returned, looking strained and preoccupied.  He sat at his seat at the head table, separate from the table of the Hebrews,  and spoke to the servants, who began to serve the food.  The men were instructed to take their places at their table, with Reuben and Benjamin at the head. All the brothers, including Judah, could not help but notice the special treatment Benjamin received.   One platter was put at each brother's place...and five platters at Benjamin's.  One servant was designated to make sure Benjamin's water and wine glasses were full and his plates fresh; three servants all shared the responsibilities for the rest of the brothers.  Benjamin looked uncomfortable, but was gracious to his hosting servant.  The wine was good.  The wine was very good.  The cups never went dry, and the brothers did not even notice when the Egyptian official left the dining hall. All seemed well.  The suspicions had apparently been put to rest, and the brothers were given a place to sleep before leaving in the morning.  They groggily headed off to the designated place, and somewhat less cheerfully rose up in the morning, loaded the donkeys and headed down the road, squinting against headaches.

They were not far down the road when they were overtaken by the official's chief servant and a contingency of soldiers.  The displeasure of the servant was plain to be seen.  Words were spoken, accusations made and...the Egyptian official's special cup was found in Benjamin's sack.  No!  How could that happen!  Not Benjamin!  The brothers tore their robes in grief and distress, loaded the goods back onto the donkeys and followed the servant and the soldiers, who had taken custody of Benjamin, back to the official's house, where they threw themselves at the feet of the official. 

 The Egyptian scowled at them, and said, through the interpreter, 'What have you done?  Didn't you know I have the ability to find things like this out?'

Judah, having been the guarantee for Benjamin's return, rocked back on his knees and looked up at him. 'What shall we say to you, my lord?  We ...we can't clear ourselves of this; God has revealed the guilt of all of us, and we are all your servants.'

The official listened to the interpreter, then raised his eyebrows and shook his head.  The interpreter relayed his response, 'Oh, no, far be it from me that I should consider you all guilty!  Only the one who took the cup is responsible. He will stay and be my slave, but the rest of you may go home with your grain to your father.'

Judah's heart sank.  He knew there was absolutely no way he could return home without Benjamin.  He slowly stood, and, with his hands palms up in supplication, stepped towards the Egyptian.  'My lord, may I please speak a word in your ear?'  The interpreter quickly relayed the request and the Egyptian nodded. 

 Judah, the Egyptian and the interpreter all walked to the corner of the room.  Judah spoke lowly and slowly, for the interpreter.  He related the difficulty they had in persuading their father to allow Benjamin to come, mentioning that Benjamin's only full-blood brother had surely been torn to pieces.  So intent was he framing his story carefully, he did not notice that the official flinched ever so slightly at that point.  He finished quoting his father, ' "...if you take this one, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to the grave." '  Judah paused,  then looked at the official. 'Do you see?  If I return to my father without Benjamin, he will surely die...he's that attached to the lad.  We'll be responsible for his death.  Look, I myself guaranteed Benjamin’s safety.  Please, let me stay here and serve you.  I'll be your slave all my life, just let the lad return with the others.  How could I face my father without him?  I do not want to see him die of grief.'

The Egyptian cut the interpreter off mid-sentence as soon as Judah finished speaking.  He was breathing hard, and he looked around at his people and barked a command.  To the surprise of all the brothers, every Egyptian in the room left, closing the door on them.  Suddenly, the Egyptian began to weep, a deep, gut-wrenching wail.  The other brothers stood slowly, puzzled.  

The official struggled to collect himself enough to talk. Finally, he found his voice and gripped Judah's shoulder as he Hebrew.  '!'  He gasped, to their shocked amazement.  'Tell my father really still alive?'  

They stood there, speechless, as he released Judah's shoulder and pulled the braided wig from his close-cropped head and stood before them with the khol that had framed his eyes now streaking his face.  He wiped his face, smearing it even more, took a deep breath and continued in a more controlled voice.  'I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into slavery.'  

He slowly went to each of his brothers, clapping shoulders as he spoke, still hiccupy from the sobbing.  'Don't be distressed any more about me, and don't be angry at yourselves for what you did.  God sent me here ahead of you to save lives.  This famine, that has been so horrible for two years, isn't even half over yet.  We have five more years of this to endure, with no plowing and no harvest. It really was God who sent me so that you could all be saved.  God has made me Pharaoh's chief adviser, He has put me in this house and given me authority over all of Egypt.
'Now, you've got to hurry back home and report all of this to my father.  Tell him to come here; I will see to it that you are all provided, and that you will not be impoverished by the famine.'  He had come to Benjamin, and his voice wavered as he looked round at them all, 'You all have seen...and my brother, Benjamin, has seen...that it really is me.  Tell my father all of this, and bring him here.'  

His emotions overcame him once more, and he embraced Benjamin and they wept long on each others neck, then he went round the group again, embracing and weeping with each of them.

We sometimes forget that we are reading about real people, who had real struggles.

I just have to be careful not to imply my 'I think it might have happened like this' comes across as  'this is how it really happened...'

Friday, January 22, 2016

All Things New: Judah, the Guilty Road...part 3

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Something like 20 years passed since Judah pulled his brother out of the cistern and traded him off for 20 pieces of silver.   I wonder what he did with his two-piece share.  Did he spend it right away, just to get it out of sight?  Did he put it away somewhere, feeling wrong about even possessing it? How many nights did he lay in bed, awake, wondering what happened to his younger brother?

He had wandered away from his family, from his God, and returned with twin sons.

And then....

Drought.  Serious drought.  The crops shriveled, the sheep starved.  Passing travelers brought word that there was grain to be bought in Egypt.  Jacob looked at the starving flocks and his paltry reserves and sent Judah, along with the rest of his sons, save Benjamin, to make the journey to Egypt to buy some grain to hopefully tide them over until the rains came again.

They made the journey, which was at once disastrous and successful.  They returned to Jacob with grain but without Simeon, who had been kept as a hostage to prove that they were not spies.  And, as it turned out, they had also returned with all the money that they had given to the Egyptians for the grain.

Free grain.  But...what had happened?  Were they now to be considered thieves as well as spies?

Jacob was distraught...Joseph was dead, Simeon was gone, and now it seemed he would lose Benjamin...his only living son from his beloved well.  He refused to let them return with Benjamin, despite Reuben's offer of his two sons as hostage.

But the famine continued.  They ate the grain, the livestock ate the grain, and soon they were once again in dire straits.  Jacob called them in and told them to go get more.

Judah reminded him of the Egyptian's requirements, and offered to take personal care of Benjamin.  Finally, recognizing the futility of refusing, Israel relented, sending a generous gift of local produce as well as twice the purchase price, to repay what they had inadvertently brought home the first time.

The brothers were very anxious when they arrived at Egypt, and doubly so when they were escorted to what appeared to be a palace, fearing they were about to be judged as thieves and all their goods confiscated.  But the Egyptian official's servant assured them that he had payment from them before, and that any money they found had to be a gift from their God. Simeon was released to them and they all ate with the Egyptian,  who went abruptly from the room several times, no doubt due to his responsibilities.  Benjamin was especially well treated, but they all drank well of the wine and likely had headaches when they left the next morning.

They did not get far down the road before they were overtaken and hauled back to town, the Egyptian's special cup mysteriously being found in Benjamin's bag.  The official was insistent that Benjamin had to remain behind as his slave for stealing the cup, but the rest could go home.

Judah could not let that happen.  He took great care to explain the situation to the Egyptian, offering himself as slave rather than Benjamin, for he could not bear to bring such news back to his father.  The Egyptian shocked them all by sending everyone else out of the room and then declaring to them, in Hebrew, 'I am Joseph!'

There was much weeping and embracing as Joseph repeatedly told them that it was God who had sent him ahead of them, that there were still five more years of famine and instructed them to return home and get Jacob and bring him to Egypt so that Joseph could provide for them all.

Judah's guilt was lifted and done away with.  Joseph forgave them...forgave him...and even stated that all those events had worked together to save their lives now.  Guilt would flicker up once more, briefly when Jacob died, but Joseph would reassure them all again that 'what you meant for evil, God has used for good.'  Twenty years of self accusation and shame and guilt were done away with when they saw that God had, indeed, turned it all around for good.

They left to bring Jacob back to see his son.

Judah had come to the place where his father's heart meant more to him than his own future.  And at that point, he saw the reversal of all that he had believed ruined and dead.  What had happened in the past only mattered in that it had allowed salvation to come to them all.  Now he could walk in anticipation of the future, instead of shame and regret for the past.  His life, literally, was beginning again.

What areas of shame and regret am I allowing to discredit the future?  How can I release those to the Father, so that He can turn what I believed was death into a whole new resurrection? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Snapshot 1/21/16

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Seriously?  The first Snapshots post since May of 2014?

I guess I've been a better blogger than I realize; since these are to  bridge the gap between an extended not-blogging period and getting back in the groove.

I am home today with no transportation.

The second car is in the shop because the front suspension is making alarming grating, creaking, grinding noises.

It may or may not have anything to do with the fact that the Actor apparently ran up onto a curb and then dropped off of it a couple of weeks ago.

We were not told this until yesterday.

Hoping it's just an alignment issue.

But I had already worked more than my allotted 48 hours in this pay period anyway.

Our annual Servant Leaders conference was last  weekend.

We had very nearly 1200 folks preregistered; that beat our old preregistration record by over 300.

It was incredible and I'm still going to be processing it for a while.  The sessions are supposed to be online soon; I intend to go back and watch them.

While I'm not preoccupied with registration logistics.

Meantime, I had signed up to take the part two class of the prayer ministry school offered at church.

I took part one last year and had no intentions whatsoever to take part 2.  There are some teachings by this particular curriculum that I find I just cannot accept.

But there's also a good bit of real instruction there.

Just before the deadline (actually, the day after the deadline; I had to turn the form back on to register...the advantages to being the data base admin) I decided that, since I wasn't committed to teaching or any other such thing at the moment, I might as well go for it and signed up.

I've already hit that issue that makes me shake my head really hard.

So I'm trying hard to dodge the issue without making a fuss in the discussion group.

But it's hard.  I'm just that bull-headed.  So maybe this is a good exercise in extending grace.

We are headed into the second of six Saturday seminars.  Surely I can push past the aggravation to get the benefit.

Maybe this is a good exercise in personal discipline.

All I know is...I didn't want to do this, yet I did.  So God must  have a purpose.  I'm not going to quit and so not see that.

I just hope the teeth gritting doesn't aggravate my TMJ. ;-)

I intend to pick back up with the New Beginnings series tomorrow.

I kinda feel like I've gone past New Beginnings at this point, but I will finish Genesis.  There'll be only a couple more  posts anyway.

I feel like my focus is shifting a bit from starting to investing/growth.  That'll be a post or two on its own.

See you tomorrow with one last look at Judah...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Turn Aside

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

1st day of the corporate fast, which meant I got to spend my lunch  (at 3 PM!) in the sanctuary with my Bible and my journal.

It's been way too long since I last did that.

But what sprang out of my pen onto the page...after I noticed that the last journal entry was September 27...! ..was a surprise...

So dry so long...

Wandering off the path, away from the oasis, just trying to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.  So focused on the tasks that I didn't even know I was hungry and thirsty...or starving and dehydrated.  A sip of water or a morsel of nourishment from odd places by the way, I could not seem to turn aside to the well and garden that I knew were just off to the right.   No time or, really, even desire to turn aside, I forged ahead...pushing through the brush.

Finally arriving at my destination, the point at which the tasks were completed, I found there was another point ahead calling with equal urgency. How could I, even now, pause enough to turn aside for refreshment, sustenance, encouragement and instruction?  Duty calls, people are waiting, the clock is ticking.   Plunging again into the thickets, I deny that the call to turn aside is even there, fixing my eyes on the new goal, when I will have enough time to shift my focus and find rest, healing and direction. 

But, no -- there is another deadline, another cause, another need to fill looming even as I fulfill the latest demand.

Suddenly, I see it.  It is a huge circle of overlapping demands.

If I don't find a way to stop, refresh and recharge, I will shrivel into dust as I flail around from one demand on to the next on to the next... 

It is time to take my eyes off of the goal, stop my  ears to its demands and seek the One who holds my days, knows my heart and can pour into me the refreshing that my soul craves and has been too long denied.

Show me YOUR ways, Lord, teach me YOUR paths, for YOU are my God, my Savior and my hope is in YOU all day long.  -- Ps 25:4-5, NIV 11 (emphasis mine)