Wednesday, March 30, 2016

...A Time to Breathe...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I thought I'd push hard and get the next installation in the Ps 119 tour put together bit by bit this week, because I'm not going to be able to do it on Friday.  Alas, there's just too much else on my plate...I'm coming down to the wire on the prayer ministry classes I'm taking.  I still have to finish reading the required book, I've got four more lessons to work through...and the last class is a week from Saturday.

So I just decided I'm not pushing myself on the blog post...there's no deadline for finishing that study anyway, and I may have an odd week here or there where I can't get the study put together.  There's no reason to  make it a burden.

But I didn't want the folks who actually come looking for the post on Friday to wonder where it was, so ...just wanted to let you all know I'm good, the study will progress but I'm taking a weekend off.

But, that's a cheap post.  So, since it's Wednesday,  I'm going to take a few and play along with  The Hodgepodge again...because, you know, I ought to post at least once a week.

Thanks to Joyce for some April Fun....

1. What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?
 At the very least, I expect that I should never, ever let someone down or be a disappointment.  I expect that I should pull my own weight in any situation.

I suspect that's  too much to expect.

2. In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up this spring?
HAHAHA!  It would be easier to answer what way it doesn't.  We've focused on the actual house, and the yard/garden areas have kinda just gone natural.  It doesn't help that there never was a good 'outdoor' space here to begin with.  And I'm such a brown thumb; I've no idea what to do to make it look inviting.  Maybe when we get the work done on the house we can spruce up the outdoors.

3. According to this site (Roadtrippers), six of North America's most wondrous waterfalls are-Webster's Falls in Ontario, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Lower Yellowstone Falls, and Niagara. Have you seen any on the list? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list that you've seen in person?
I've actually been to Niagara.  Which was absolutely breath-taking, even in its touristy setting.    I've seen Bridalveil Falls  in Yosemite, but it was dry season and it was not as spectacular as it would've been at another time.  But it's worth seeing those falls because that means seeing Yosemite...
4. Looking back, what's something you wish you'd done as a teenager?

I wish I'd taken those tests seriously...the PSAT and the SAT.  I really had no concept of what was riding on those scores and I'm certain I could have done better if I had actually prepared for them.

5. Ham...yes please or no thank you? If you said yes please which of the following do you like best-baked ham with all the trimmings, a ham and cheese sandwich, prosciutto with melon, a ham biscuit, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, or a slice of pizza topped with ham and pineapple?
Being the daughter of a hog farmer, I love me some ham.  Baked with trimmings, hot ham and cheese,  ham in any bean soup,  and my favorite pizza is ham, mushrooms and onions...hold the pineapple.  It's all good...
6. Are you typical of your generation? How so?

I am certainly not typical of my generation.  I have been out of step since I was born, I think.  It caused me problems in school...I just never fit in.  Some painful memories there.  But, it's funny, it just doesn't seem to matter anymore.  Which, I suppose, is good.  

7. April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme...'act the fool', 'nobody's fool', 'a fool's errand', 'could have fooled me'...which foolish idiom most recently applies to you? Explain.
Hm.  Maybe 'nobody's fool'...we're car shopping, and I'm determined to be practical. No matter how much I'd like to drive a Mustang again...we're looking at crossovers.  Because I want to be able to see over shrubs at corners.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
The mountains are calling and I must go...see you on the flip side...

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Tour through Ps. 119: Daleth

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
Week 4 out of 22; today's letter is Daleth (not 'Dalek'!), and verses 25 - 32 each start with that letter in the Hebrew.

Here is the passage as rendered by the NIV 84:

I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then will I meditate on your wonders.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statues, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

Wow.  Hm.  Interesting.  Mulling it over.

Let's see how it pans out paraphrased with definitions from the Hebrew Dictionary...

My soul clings to the dry earth; revive and refresh me [by the instrument of] your speech.
I have recounted my journeys and [how] you responded; teach me your statutes.
Cause me to understand the direction of your precepts so [I] will meditate upon how marvelous you are.
My soul drops from grief; establish me [by the instrument of] your speech.
Remove from me the habit of deception, and [by] your divine instruction show me favor.
[I] have chosen the path of fidelity; your judgements are set in place.
[I] cling to your testimonies, Yahweh, put me not to shame.
[I] shall run the path of your commandments, because [you] enlarge my inner man: mind, will, heart, understanding. 

I'm kinda surprised;  the NIV translation seems very free-form; when I started digging into the Hebrew, I see poetic structure... Look at the repetition of structure in verses 25 and 28:

My soul (clings to dry earth/ drops from grief);  (revive and refresh/ establish) me by the instrument of your speech.

I also see a pattern in verses 30 - 32...vs. 30 looks at the past, vs. 31 is present and vs. 32 looks to the future.  Now I can see that in the NIV translation as well; but I didn't until I dug deeper.

Choose the way...hold fast... and run.

Just a little aside, there's a commentary note from Mr. Scofield at this point in my NIV, in which he points out that, out of the 176 verses in Ps. 119, only 4 (verses 90, 121,122 and 132...although I kinda think 90's use of 'faithfulness' could be stretched to cover the word) do not contain a synonym for God's Word.

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Tour Through Ps. 119: Gimel

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Week three: this will be a look at verses 17 - 24, which all start with the Hebrew letter Gimel. (NIV 84):

Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands.
Remove from me scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statues are my delight; they are my counselors.

(Takes a deep breath and clicks through to; flips through the Zodhiates while the page we go...).

Suddenly, the light dawns and I see the correlation between those little letters that show up next to Strong's numbers, the laminated index card and the numbered Grammatical notes that are all part of the Zodhiates Old Testament Word Study. So THAT'S where those pronouns are hiding...

Recompense; deal fully with your servant;  sustain life [and] [I will continue to] keep, guard, observe and give heed [to your] speech, word, speaking.

Uncover [my] mental and spiritual faculties to [cause me to] look upon and regard [the things that are continually] marvelous, wonderful, surpassing, extraordinary among Your law, direction, [and] instruction.

I [am] a temporary inhabitant on the earth: conceal not Your commandments from me.

My inner being is crushed [with] longing towards Your judgements [for the] whole summation of time.

[You] Have rebuked presumptuous, continually cursed , straying [ones] from Your commandments.

From [me], roll away reproach (resting in shame [and] disgrace) and contempt, because I [have] kept and observed Your divine testimonies.

Rulers indeed have sat and conversed [about] me;  your servant put forth thoughts about Your statutes.

Your divine testimonies indeed [are the] delights [and the] counselors of man.


Looking up those grammar notes sheds a lot of light on the translations, but it was interesting that in some areas I really didn't come up with the same thing as the NIV or KJ.  I'm gonna say I'm wrong and all the scholars are right, but I put down what I extracted just the same, because I don't think it's a real shift in meaning...just a slightly different focus.  Think of it as a tediously constructed paraphrase.

Because  the slightly different shades of meaning are thought provoking.    Look at verse 21, which in the NIV reads that God rebukes the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from the law.  But my muddling came up with that  those who are presumptuous and continually cursed  and straying are rebuked by God from His law...just because I couldn't tell the construct of it.  I really couldn't tell if it's referring to people who are presumptuous, cursed and straying or if it refers to folks who are presumptuous, folks who are cursed and folks who are straying..  But the concept that God rebuked them from His law kind of made me sit and go, 'Hmmmm..'

Likewise verse 23,  which reads that the rulers all slander the psalmist, but he ignores them and meditates on God's decrees.  But I rather got that the rulers had sat and talked about him (discussed?  Judged?  Gossiped?)...yet the Psalmist responded with the statutes of God.  Shades of meanings in the Hebrew...long lists of possible translations...make it kind of interesting to explore.

And time consuming, lol.  This is going to be a challenge.

I know I haven't given a tidy commentary on Gimel's verses like I did Aleph and Beth, but  I learned a lot this week about using the Bible study tools.  And I'll confess something...when we first got the Zodhiates volumes, years ago, My Sweet Babboo tried to show me how to look up those grammar notes and it went right over my head.  Today it clicked and I got it.

But I think this is my take home message from this set, just the same.  No matter how deep you dig in God's word, you will find truth.  And there's always more to be found if you dig deeper.  So don't  give up and don't quit; He's got more and more and more for you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hodge Podging 3/16/16

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

It's been a while since I squeezed in time for a Hodgepodge post.  After noticing that it really has been pretty heavy around here lately, I decided to lighten things up a little and play along today...on St. Patrick's Eve...

If you'd like to click through and see what others have the above button !  As always, thanks to Joyce for the weekly prompting!

1. What do you think about luck?
Overall, I really don't think luck is an actual thing.  If I believe God directs my steps, then I have to believe that, so long as I'm pursuing Him, everything that comes my way comes for a reason and/or a purpose...which may be completely beyond my understanding.  

But there are a few instances where I might call myself lucky.  If I were to randomly draw 7 letters that work to make a word in Scrabble, it really would be  just a favorable outcome of a random event.  So I'd say I was lucky, not because I thought there was any beneficial force at work, but specifically because there's no such force and I couldn't have manipulated it one way or another.  Having a large vocabulary just makes that favorable outcome slightly more likely.

In other words, 'lucky' is a description, not an attribution.

 2. Not counting your own backyard, what's a favorite green space in your town, city, or state? 
That would probably be our favorite get-away place, Gorham's Bluff.  It's just a little over an hour away;  and such a lovely spot to just breathe.

3. How do you make your life more complex than it needs to be?
I don't seem to have the ability to make a plan and stick to it... I get distrac...(oh! look at the time!  Must eat breakfast!)(returns MUCH later...)

4. I read here the three places you should visit with friends. They are-New York City, Hawaii, and Amsterdam (rent a bike, walk along the canal, visit one of their world class museums). I felt the need to expound on that one. Moving on...Of the three places listed which would you most like to visit with friends? What's one place not on the list you think should be visited with friends?

 Oy.  I really don't have much desire to visit any of those three places.  I'm not into big cities, the thought of being on an island way out over the ocean almost makes me claustrophobic and...Amsterdam?  Really?  Not London or Paris or Rome or Athens?  But...taking the question to mean 'which place would you like to visit with friends, as opposed to visiting alone, if you had to visit it?'  -- I suppose I would pick New York, and I'd go with sewing buddies so we could hit the garment district and we could enjoy the goodies.  Somewhere to recommend you visit with friends?  Hm...not being the world traveler with vasts amount of experience, I would say...Disneyland.  I've only been once, and really don't have a burning desire to go back, but sharing the experience with friends would certainly make it more magical.

5. What's the last live performance you saw? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being best) how would you rate it?
I really had to think about that one.  I finally decided the last live performance was a pre-competition presentation at a local high school.  I'd say...8.  The kids did well, but I have seen 10's and it just wasn't quite there.

6. March 14th is National Potato Chip Day. Are you a fan? Your favorite flavor? Besides potato, what's your favorite chip type of snack?
 I'm not a big potato chip fan.  Ruffles with french onion that I can chow down on (I have actually had, and now cannot find,  french onion dip made from greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Almost guilt-free ...).  My favorite chips, believe it or not, are blue corn tortilla chips.  I don't know what about the 'blue' makes them better, but I really like 'em...

7.What rule is most important in your home?
 We don't have a lot of rules...expectations, yes, but not rules per se.  However, I AM trying to get one rule to be a part of our family life: Do Not Park the Car in the Drive with Less Than 1/4 Tank of Gasoline! 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

And I thought 3/14 was Pi Day!  I so meant to make a pie...and I so didn't get it done...

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Tour Through Psalms 119: Beth

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Today, we're looking at verses 9 - 16 of Ps. 119, which, in the Hebrew, all begin with the letter 'Beth'

NIV '84:

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, O  LORD; teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Working with the Word Study Bible/Hebrew Dictionary/online sources is a little tricky; not all of the English words are matched up to Hebrew words.  In many cases, the subject of the sentence is not explicitly stated in the Hebrew I can actually reference; where I have had to specify something to make the English make sense I've bracketed it; basically going on what is implied or understood from the scholarly work of previous translations.  With that caveat, here's what I've pieced together from the Hebrew dictionaries:

How [can your] servant cleanse [the self and] keep pure? Hedge about,  protect and take heed to the word [of God] - the sayings, utterance and matter.

[With] The whole [of the] inner man: mind, will, heart and understanding  resort to, seek with care, inquire of God; never go astray [from] the commandment of God.

The word of God [is] treasured and stored up [in the] inner man: mind, will, heart and understanding in order to  never miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, lose oneself.

You are blessed, Yahweh! Teach statute, ordinance, decree and prescribed boundary.

Language and speech [regularly] recount, rehearse and declare the whole judgement and justice spoken [from God's] mouth.

[The]Way and manner of moral character rejoices [in God's] testimony over and above wealth and riches.

[Upon God's] Precept and statute  ponder, meditate, muse and study; regard, pay attention to, and consider  [God's] way of living.

Delight oneself  in [God's] statute, ordinance and limit; never  forget [or] ignore [God's] speech, sayings, words.

Verse nine states a question (How can a young man  - servant is an alternative translation-  keep his way pure?) and answers it (By living according to your word)...and the other 7 verses describe the intentional actions to fulfill that answer...what it is to 'live according to [God's] word'.

Here's a short to-do list:

Seek God with one's whole being
Store up and treasure the Word of God in one's inner self
Speak out loud the righteousness of God - often
Value God's word above riches
Ponder, study, consider God's instructions
Find delight in God's decrees

AND...a shorter DON'T-do list:

Wander off of the way God has described
Miss the way,  go wrong, incur guilt, lose one's self
Forget and/or ignore God's  instruction

Basically, the Psalmist says that God's word needs to be the standard by which life is lived. But notice...buried in the middle of the list of dos and don'ts is a prayer...Teach us!  We can't learn it on our own! is the overall thought for the day: if we truly value God's word, He Himself will teach us how to live by it.

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Tour through Ps. 119: Aleph

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

(Notes for this study:  I will primarily be using the NIV84 translation, but I will also reference an online interlinear reference, which you will find  at  It may look a bit odd, but the Hebrew reads right-to-left, so the word that appears first in the English is the word on the far right in the Hebrew,  and the initial letter in the word is actually the one on the right as well.  As it appears that not all the words are linked, I'm going to be also referencing Zodhiates' Word Study Old Testament to fill in the blanks)

So, let's have a look at the first eight verses of  Psalms 119, which, in Hebrew, each begins with a word that begins with the letter Aleph. 

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.
You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. 

Working with the interlinear links and Zodhiates one Hebrew word at a time, this is what I get:

Blessed!  Complete, whole, entire, sound;  [is the]  course of life to walk [in, according to] law, direction and instruction of Yahweh!

Blessed! [It is to] Guard, watch over, keep laws of divine testimonies; resort to and inquire of  God [with] totality [of the] inner man: mind, will, heart and understanding.

Furthermore, to make no [one an] unrighteous (unjust, perverse) one;  [those who are so blessed] walk [in, according to] manner, habit and way  [of Him].

You laid charge upon [us]  to exceedingly ,to a great degree, keep, guard, observe, and give heed to [your] precepts .

Would that the course of life be firm, stable and established to keep, guard, observe and give heed to [your] statute, ordinance and prescribed boundaries!

Then [there would be no] shame [as I/we] move toward and regard with pleasure the whole commandment of God.

[I/we will] praise,with an upraised hand, and give thanks to God [with] straightness and uprightness of [the] inner man: mind, will, heart, soul and  understanding; taught and trained [by the] justice [and] righteousness [of God's] verdict.

[I/we will] Keep, guard, observe and give heed to [your] statute, ordinance and prescribed boundaries; never utterly leave, forsake, or set loose [me/us].

Aside...I can tell this is going to take a bit longer to put together than past studies...

Things worth noting:

The Psalmist laments his own inability to keep the law perfectly (v. 5)  and acknowledges that he feels the shame of disobedience as he pushes deeper into the precepts of God (v.6) BUT...he does not let that shame keep him from the goal of embracing God's commands.    Instead, he allows God's verdicts to teach him and train him (v. 7). He is determined to live under the blessings listed in the first three verses.

And it is also interesting that the word translated as 'forsake'  can also be translated 'set loose'.
If you put that translation not utterly cut me loose... It takes on a bit different shade of meaning.  God promises over and over again never to forsake His people.   He does, however, let people who have been determined to go their own way...go their own way.

They are set free to follow their own desires.

So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. - Gen. 4:6

Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.  - Rom. 1: 28

This is something that gives me long as we have an honest bit in us that longs for God, that longs for His truth, He will continue to correct and train and discipline us so that we can learn to move past shame into relationship.

But, the other hand...sooner or later, if we continue to choose to not to push through shame, to not admit God is right and we are not,  so that we ultimately give up pursuing the One whose knowledge is so far above ours, he will cut us loose to pursue our own destruction.

He has done everything that needs doing to restore us.  Will we receive it or resist it?