Sunday, April 30, 2006

Heading for Seattle

I am leaving to visit my sister. I'll be back at the end of the week. This is not a vacation. It will be a very difficult time because my sister has Alzheimers Disease. I'm going because this is likely the last time I will see her while she still knows who I am. She is not old...and she is my favorite person in the world, besides husband and kids. If you think of me, please say a prayer for courage. I'll be continuing in Luke along with you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

discredit me

Luke 6:22-23

Count yourself blessed everytime someone cuts you down or throws you out, everytime someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means that the truth is too close to comfort, and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens - skip like a lamb if you like! - for even though they dodn't like it, I do ... and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company my preachers and my witnesses have always been treated like this.

It's easy to proof text this, and I hope I'm not doing that now.

But what struck me today from reading the Message account was this - we are blessed if our name is blackened - if we undergo a character assassination with the motive of discrediting God. The fact that we are discredited ourselves is NOT the focus of this passage (though maybe I hadn't noticed that before)

TNIV reads
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you or insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man (Luke 6:22)

The message goes onto give a very important teaching (especially if you are perfomance oriented like I am)

There's trouble ahead when you only live for the approval of others ... and then the real clincher ... No more tit for tat stuff. Live generously

and finally onto Luke 7

falling behind

I'm not into the swing of the one chapter a day yet so playing catch up !! crazy after the 90 days, but there you go :)

Luke 5
The first head line was push out into Deep Water and I got no further. What does it mean. Why don't I do that. What am I afraid of? etc etc etc

I went to Walsingham shrine in the UK with my mum a couple of years ago - there we sang a newly composed hymn - it impacted me then, and I still remember it

push out into the deep
leave safe harbours behind

jesus told the fishermen "there is nothing to fear" (Luke 5:10) yet I cling onto my safe harbours, happily staying put within my comfort zones? I so long to push out into the deep but I fail - because I am afraid, though I'm not sure what it is I really fear to be honest.

(now I realise that this post is better suited to my own but I leave this here for now anyway - it at least tells you why reading just one chapter a day is taking so long!)


be blessed

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Withdrawing for prayer

One verse in Luke 5 that particulary caught my attention was verse 16

"And from time to time he (Jesus) would withdraw to remote places for prayer"

I thought, what a lesson there is in that for me - If Jesus (God`s own Son) needed to get away from being busy to be alone and to pray, how much more I need to do that - that I must make more time in my busy life for prayer.
I have such good intentions of doing so, but must confess that I find it so difficult to actually put into practice and do. Maybe I need to try and find a quiet place to withdraw to, rather than try and do it in the house where there are always distractions - like a phone ringing, mail to answer etc.. But, where and when remain the questions!

reading schedule for this coming week

Sun 23 Luke 5

Mon 24 Luke6
Tues 25 Luke 7
Weds 26 Luke 8
Th 27 Luke 9
Fri 28 Luke 10
Sat 29 Luke 11
Sun 30 Luke 12

Luke 4

Luke 4 tells us of Jesus reading in the synagogue in Nazareth. He read the famous passage from Isaiah 61:6 and as he did so every eye in the place was on him, intent. … The were surprised at how well he spoke. but they couldn’t accept him and indeed Jesus challenged them about their fixed ways, saying that a prophet is never welcomed in his hometown. That hit the mark That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village and were even prepared to kill him.

Jesus went onto the next place, Capernaum a village in Galilee - They were suprised and impressed - his teaching was so forthright, so confident, so authorative, not the quibbliing and quoting they were used to. … Jesus was the talk of the town.

Two towns. Same Jesus. In Nazareth: the eyes of hostility and suspision; in Capernaum Jesus was the talk of the town. I love that thought. What was the difference? It was the attitude of the people: some were closed to the message, others were open. In Nazareth they focused on his humanity, they sneered that Jesus was the son of Joseph the carpenter, and probably still sniggered at the facts surrounding that marriage too (people have such long memories in the area of gossip and scandal!) - in Capernaum they came with open hearts and open minds. That made all the difference.

(copy of post over at see-through faith)


Friday, April 21, 2006

Luke 2

Reading the verse where Jesus says to his parents "Did you not know I was bound to be in my Father`s house" set me thinking.... How did Jesus know as a child that he was God`s son? I can imagine that Mary and Joseph probably told him many times about the things that happened when he was born, but how was he certain that he was who he was?

Luke 2, Luke 3

Are really interesting - and so fresh in the Message too.

It calls the birth of Jesus An Event for Everyone. I like that :)

TheMessage is gender inclusive - so for example the angels are reported to sing
Glory to God in the heavenly heights
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

That latter got me thinking. Doesn't he bring peace to us all - (whether we please him or not) but is it so that we cannot receive (accept) His peace unless we know him, and by knowing him we please Him - we are back in relationship with Him and that warms His heart :)

As for Jesus staying behind in the desert
The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions[this shows he is already a teacher himself!] The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents wer not impressed; they were upset and hurt. His mother said "Young man, ...." (to me that sounds so much more like a mum than 'son' (grin)

Chapter 3
a lot of history to begin with. I'm at long last beginning to see the importance of this!

I don't think I've ever really noticed John's condemnation of baptism for the sake of it. It's very striking in the Message

Brood of snakes.
What do you think you're doing slithering down here to the river?
Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God's judgement?
It's your LIFE that must change, not your skin.
Ouch!
And then John's teaching ...and the prophesy in Luke 3:16
(Here I admit I prefer the NIV - I baptise you with water, but one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie)

and then the geneology (remember those from the 90 days? )
The one in the Message is definitely much less to take in but still a lot of - in the main - unpronouncable names.

And that's it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm with you

I'm heading out of town for a badly needed break, but I wanted to let y'all know that I am reading. I'll try to be more articulate when I return. There is SO MUCH to think about in those first two chapters of Luke! I always wonder about the young Mary, and the older Elizabeth. Their meeting, Elizabeth's prophecy and Mary's lovely praise always move me. Then Mary stayed with her relative for three months. What do you suppose they spoke of? What do you suppose they prayed in their time together? It must have given Mary strength to go home and face the comments and stares and criticism.

Back in a few days, and I'll be reading with you all.

rest of Luke 1

listen to this!

Surprise followed surprise - Z's mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God

A deep reverential fear settled over the neighbourhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it too it to heart, wondering ...

I'd never noticed this before .. that the news of John's birth had spread so far and so deeply. Miracles do that :)

I'm not so keen on the poetry in the message (too old fashioned for that I guess - blush)
but there are some lovely expressions...

God's Sunrise will break in upon us
shining on those in darkness
those sitting in the shadow of death
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.


oh yes - maybe i like this modern poetry after all :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

nearly forgot

quarter to midnight and I remembered this.

Some very scattered thoughts from half of Luke. (blush)

I'm reading the Message and its new and refreshing and strange after NIV.

the angel said about John the Baptist:
He will herald God's arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to childre, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics- he'll get people ready for God

(I love it)

Elizabeth went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.

Why did she go? To where? Was this 'normal' practice for a woman at this time? She relished her pregnancy but didn't flaunt it. Interesting when so much of a woman's identity was bound up in her ability to bears sons. Remember Rachel and Hannah from the OT and our time there?

I love what Gabriel said to Mary (dont you think Peterson really enjoyed his work translating the Bible like this?)

Good Morning.
You're beautiful with God's beauty
Beautiful inside and out
God be with you.

and she was thoroughly shaken!!! (understatement of the year I'd say. I mean those angels were big, and he'd come from the presence of God!) wow.

Many Writers?

Well, I`ve started on Luke and read the first chapter this morning. I`m reading the Revised English Bible.

Reading from verse one to four "...many writers have undertaken to draw up an account of the events that have taken place among us.....So I in my turn as one who has investigated the whole course of these events in every detail have decided to write an orderly narrative for you ....so as to give you an authentic knowledge......."

That set me thinking and wondering - it sounds as if they had been lots of versions of the events written - and if so - why have only the four gospels we have in the bible today been kept and recorded? what happened to all the other versions of events? What did the others contain - were they accurate or inaccurate? who wrote the others?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Luke it is

ok singing owl and I will start Luke tomorrow (19th) any more takers - one chapter a day

Weds 19 Luke 1
Th 20 Luke 2
Fr 21 Luke3
Sat 22 Luke 4
Sun 23 Luke 5

Mon 24 Luke6
Tues 25 Luke 7
Weds 26 Luke 8
Th 27 Luke 9 (I'm having my gall bladder removed today)
Fri 28 Luke 10
Sat 29 Luke 11
Sun 30 Luke 12

MAY
Mon 1 Luke 13
Tu 2 Luke 14
Weds 3 Luke 15
Th 4 Luke 16
Fri 5 Luke 17
Sat 6 Luke 18
Sun 7 Luke 19

Mon 8 Luke 20
Tues 9 Luke 21
Weds 10 Luke 22
Th 11 Luke 23
Fri 12 Luke 24

If anyone wants to join us welcome.
We'll post some thoughts as we go along :)

and oh I'm using the Message but any version is good :)

Be blessed

Sunday, April 16, 2006

thinking out loud

I'm wondering where to go next ...

would anyone like to take a Bible walk with me?
I'm thinking of either

Luke (one chapter a day) and that here we'd jot down thoughts and questions
or
Proverbs (31 chapters ... 31 days)

any version
I'll use either NIV or Message I think

I've missed the encouraging each other ...
somehow reading on my own hasn't been as rewarding this past week.

let me know what you think
or
if you've got an idea of your own.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It is finished

On Maundy Thursday, no less.

And believe it or not, as I rounded the bend of Revelations, the sky grew dark and the lightening began. God is so dramatic sometimes! LOL.

What will I do with my evenings, I wonder?

I think I will get back to centering prayer...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Romans

Well, I just finished Romans last night and it is DEFINATELY one of the books I will go back and read more slowly. Actually, in the fall I may be joining a Bible Study Fellowship and they will be spending an entire year studying the letter of Paul to the Romans. Even though I have read it before, I realize it is just packed with stuff. Everything from predestination to kosher food.

So, I am 8 days from completing the bible cover to cover. (I started 11 days behind ya'll! LOL) I hope you won't mind that I continue to post about it! I am amazed that a. I am going to finish during Holy Week, b. I am finishing it at all and c. I am actually going to finish it in 89 days. (God willing, of course.)

Back to reading!

Love+
Rachel

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A job well done

Last night I completed my Bible in 90 days -reading. Yeah! I’m happy, I’m relieved, I’m sick of spending every night with my nose in the Bible while hubby watches TV (a shameful truth…) - and I’m SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Ok, that wasn’t very Christian, either.

But I truly am really happy and feel so good that I stuck to the job, even if it was really hard at times. I needed God’s help not to give up, and He gave that to me. So now I don’t have...

***

Read more over at my place: the invisible, A job well done.

-e-

me too

grin

though I feel I read through Revelation in a whirlwind.

The first thought today was 'God what do you want me to do' you see I think He has a great sense of humour.

Today I no longer have the 90 days programme( and I'll miss it)
and
Today I begin the first day of life in our local church 'just' as a member again.

And I'm reminded
Today is the day the Lord has made. Be glad in it and rejoice.

Come rejoice too.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Yipeeeeeeeeee!


D O N E ! ! !

Almost there

According to the reading plan I was supposed to finish this job yesterday. But I didn't. I did start the Revelations, and I'm planning to finish tonight.

I've been lazy and haven't written down almost any of the questions that has risen during this reading. I'm hoping they'll come back to me in God's time. They have been plenty, and during the reading I've gone through some good, some weird - even some scary thoughts and feelings. But it's been good, and I've been given a new, improved picture of the Holy Book.

-e-

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hebrews, James, 1, 2 Peter check

I loved reading Hebrews in one setting. It's a book that I've always found hard and still do but it does flow well.

then I was onto the final straight the catholic (genearal) episles. I did a course in these just in January so they are familiar and well loved too.

Tonight John's letters and little old Jude

And then Revelation. That will be tough as I find that really confusing and never really know what to make of much of it.

I've never run a marathon (and doubt I ever will) but I'm sure I feel like the marthon runners do on their final stint. The goal is in view and I'm exhausted but will plod on over the line.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Onto Hebews

I read the Pastoral Letters in bed this morning. (Timothy and Titus)

Two phrases leapt out :)

Onesiphorus often refreshed me (2 Tim 1:16)


and

Now to the King eternal immortal insisible the only God be honour and glory for ever and ever Amen (1 Tim 1:17)


which I've never noticed before but which instantly had me singing the hymn "immortal invisible God only wise" (grin)

Reading Titus it was as if God underlined that our character and our behaviour really matters

"He must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it"


That's a high standard. I found myself doing a mental checklist and finding myself falling short. Repentance brings us back to the heart of God - and that's good - and I'm well aware I can only be what He requires me to be, because of His grace. But I also realise that I need to do some major adjusting in my life and the way I act. It's all good. Wake up calls are - though hurling oneself out of bed isn't always easy.

Be blessed