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Reading Jonah, I felt I had a new pair of eyes. I hadn't noticed a lot of this story before. I recognized a lot of Jonah's characteristics in myself. I laughed yet identified with Jonah as he ran away from the Lord's calling to preach in chapter 1. And then I really identified with him when his world seemed to be falling apart around him, not only affecting him but the crew and those around him. When Jonah was brought to knees in prayer in the belly of the fish, he prayed such a heartfelt prayer full of repentance and promise: 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.” What I love the most about the book of Jonah though is that when he prophesied to the city of Ninevah, the people listened. They repented. They sought God and He relented and had compassion on the city. What if Jonah never prophesied to Ninevah? What if

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

Another verse that I love to keep in mind is from Isaiah 55: 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “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

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

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

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

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"

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

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"