Week 9 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

I am really starting to notice a theme in these postings. I have been really drawn to verses that show God’s faithfulness and His constant presence in our lives. This week is not the same, from Lamentations 3:

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.

And then again in Ezekiel, I marked this verse from chapter 34:

16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick…”

While this may be in line with what I have been posting and I may be getting repetitive, I just love these promises from God. No matter how crummy I start to feel, He will not fail me. He will not leave me. I will always have Him to hope in. I have had some nasty migraine headaches these past three weeks and I spend my days moping around the house waiting for my head to stop trying to explode from within. And during that time I get depressed and worried that these headaches are a sign of something even worse within me. But then I read verses like this and I just feel better. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Amen!

The above photo is from Creation Swap. Text added by me.

Week 8 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

Another verse that I love to keep in mind is from Isaiah 55:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

No matter my circumstances or how frustrated I am at the condition of the lives around me, I try to remember this verse. Knowing that I only see this moment, the right now, and not the end all purpose that God has planned is so encouraging! I remember an analogy Jon Courson once used, life is like a parade. We are the spectators, only seeing each individual float go by but God is up in the helicopter, seeing the big picture, seeing not only beginning and the middle but the end too.

And to continue into the second book of our reading last week, Jeremiah, this thought continues. While His ways are higher than mine, I am also encouraged by who He is and why His ways are always going to be just:

24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness,
judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

I love getting words of wisdom and encouragement from the book of Jeremiah. He was a prophet who warned the people of the coming judgment and exile and while all this was happening around him He was still given words of encouragement by God that people quote all the time today, specifically from Jeremiah 29. The following was said by God during the exile, while the people of Israel were in captivity in Babylon! It truly puts a greater light on these words when given their context.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

The above photo was taken by our assistant pastor, Jared Thomsen.
Text added by me.

Week 7 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

The biggest problem for this high flying, speeding trip through the Bible is I miss the breaks between the chapters. The quick breaths in between the Psalms, for example. After each Psalm I want to take a breath and reflect on David’s words. I did pinpoint one psalm in particular that drew my attention though… Psalm 138.

1 I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold withstrength in my soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

The last verse is my favorite though. In the NIV, verse 8 says,

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

To end a psalm full of praise, David prays for God to fulfill His purpose. And I ask the same. Similar to my post last week, no matter the [cause for the] circumstance, what is the purpose? What is the purpose for this in my life and how can I use it to give Him glory? And lastly, plain and simple, God do not give up on me! And I know He won’t because as the verse says right in the middle, His love endures forever. When all else fails it is God who stays and endures.

Photo sourced from Gabbi4, Flickr. Text added by me.

Week 6 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

The first time I read the book of Job I thought it was so depressing and I think I must have skimmed through most of it just to get through to Psalms! This time through was totally different! I felt like I identified so much more with Job, crying out “WHY?!” So many questions run through my head but can be summed up in that one word, why? There were quite a few verses I marked as I was reading, to remember Job’s reaction to the disasters that had happened to him… a reaction that was still full of faith.

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless man would dare come before him! (Job 13:15-16)

We may not know every element that comes into play, just as Job did not know of the request Satan made to God. We only know our own perspective. Something I have reminded myself a lot, almost daily, is that God is good. God is just. Though we can’t explain the bad, we must look for the ultimate purpose. How can I in this situation bring glory to God?

God does all these things to a man—twice, even three times—to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him. (Job 33:29-30)

Week 5 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

This week covered Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. I remember having a total “a-ha” moment when I read Ezra for the first time. The Bible as a whole had never been made more real to me when Ezra reveals to the king that everything that had happened to Israel in the exile had all been predicted by the prophet Jeremiah. I actually posted about this way back when. I’ll probably talk about this more when we read Jeremiah, but I am glad I wrote that post as it is such an encouragement to me now. Weird how my blog encourages its own writer. It was a different world back then; before my dad had cancer, before one of my closest friend lost two of her babies, before all the craziness these past two years have held and the world made sense. Reading my thoughts then, Sam of June of 2010, encourages the Sam of February 2012.

Well anyway… what I had planned to talk about before getting lost in my blog… was about the book of Nehemiah. One of Nehemiah’s task when he came back from Babylon was to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. As he’s building, army officers of Samaria show up and say,

What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stone from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?

This was so funny to me. These officers obviously don’t know our God. Our God is famous for taking the dirt and scum of this world and creating beauty from it. And I am so thankful for that. No matter my ridiculous choices and the dirt of my past, God is creating a work in me and will continue His good work in my life.

When I read these words I thought of a story my friend Rachel had just posted, the speaker crumples a dollar bill and asks if the dollar lost its value. Of course it didn’t. His point was this:

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who do love you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by who we are.

This is the same of God. He loves us and we find our value in Him.

The original photo above is from Flickr... text added by me.

Week 4 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

The speaker from the weekly video from the Bible in 90 Days, stresses that the characters from the Bible are either a instrument to God or an obstacle. Which one would you want to be? Would you want to be used by God for good and to accomplish His divine will or would you want to cause others to stumble?

Not that women are always the downfall of man, but it is a pretty common theme throughout the Bible. Starting of course with Eve. But as I am reading through the life of David (week 4 covered 2 Samuel through Kings) and then the life of his son, I took note of the foreign wives of Solomon and how they lead him astray from the one true God (see 1 Kings 11).

This then led me to think of my own marriage. Am I an instrument of God in this marriage or am I an obstacle? So of course I look to Solomon’s own words on a godly wife in Proverbs 31—I can only assume that he didn’t write this proverb on one of the foreign wives. A few verses stood out to me that I want to remember on a daily basis so that I may be an instrument in our marriage:

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

I want to get that last one framed for my bathroom!

Proverbs 31 is so much more than the verses I posted here… it speaks of a woman who gives to the poor and needy and works vigorously. It speaks of a woman who sews and cooks for her family. And while I may not know how to sew or cook, the ultimate description of a Proverbs 31 woman is selfless. So out of all of this, remember to be selfless. Which then reminds of the One who truly gave it all for me, Jesus Christ…

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

The above photo is the texture of purple fabric, comment if you know
why I chose that for this post :)... text added by me.

Week 3 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

Week 3 was another whirlwind, completing Joshua, Ruth, Judges, and starting 1 Samuel! The video we watch each week gives us a theme to look for in the upcoming week and this week’s was to look for promises fulfilled by God. So I thought about promises God has made in our lives and that when I start to lose sight of the blessings I have been given, I need to think of this verse (Joshua 1:9):

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

The above photo is from the OSU Special Collections & Archives titled
"Looking Down the Upper Jordan Valley from Mount Hermon"...
text added by me using the typeface Blanch.

Week 2 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

We just finished week 2’s reading of the Bible in 90 Days this past week and I was looking forward to reading the book of Deuteronomy because as I remembered the book to have some real encouraging verses sprinkled throughout the book. It’s a good mix of what many think the Old Testament is (a bunch of laws and rules) and what it truly is about (God’s love through the law). A favorite verse of mine from Deuteronomy 31:

And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.

I think my favorite part of this book is that Jesus himself references it when he was resisting the temptation of the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4). The devil tries to get Jesus to turn stone into bread, have the angels come and rescue him, and then worship the devil himself. Jesus quotes verses from the book of Deuteronomy to defend himself, a great example of what we should do when we are tempted.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

You shall not tempt the LORD your God.

You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.

And now to finish week 3!

The above photo was taken by Pastor Josh of the Jordan River Valley 
while he was in Israel this past week... text added by me.

Week 1 of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge

Our bible study started the Bible in 90 Days challenge the first Thursday of January. The challenge is simple, read 12 pages a day and within 90 days you’ll have read the whole Bible. Cover to cover. Verse by verse, chapter by chapter. Since I started reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in the summer of 2008, I have only got to Mark. That’s at a pretty slow pace and with a lot of breaks on my part. So when this came up for our group to accomplish together, I was so excited! Each Thursday, during our normal Bible study time we watch a short 20 minute video summing up our reading from that past week, going over the themes of each chapter and what to look forward to next. Since we’re already getting into 2 Samuel this week, I am pretty behind in my blogging of this challenge! But I will try to catch up!

What I loved most about the first week’s reading was reading about Moses’ call to go back to Egypt, to redeem the Israelites from Pharoah. What I may not have caught before was Moses’ claim in Exodus 4 that he was not an “eloquent” speaker and “slow of speech and slow of tongue” to which God replied:

Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.

This struck me as such an amazing reminder that we only accomplish what God has allowed us to and has given us the ability to do! So in any area in my life that I may feel incapable about, whether it be skills at work or like Moses, the ability to eloquently speak to others, I must remind myself that I have a Creator who will give me these abilities when I need them. Or as God also did for Moses, I may be given another way to accomplish these needs, as Aaron aided Moses.

All I have to say is thank God I am not totally dependent on myself and myself alone! God is in me to accomplish His will! So if you feel called, do not fret that you do not have the abilities to go and do what you are being called to. Just believe and go and do to accomplish His divine will.

The above image is from willg photos, text added by me.

Christmas Church Services at Calvary Chapel Canyon Hills

If you and your family are looking for a church to attend tonight for Christmas Eve or tomorrow for Christmas morning, you are more than welcome at our church: Calvary Chapel Canyon Hills, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior!

Our Christmas Eve service tonight is at 7 p.m. and there will be desserts and fellowship after. Tomorrow, Christmas morning, there will be one large service for families and their kiddos at 10:30.

We’ll be at both! Hope to see you there!

Services held at Canyon Lake Middle School.

33005 Canyon Hills Road
Lake Elsinore, California