31 December 2014

A brief year-in-review

Just like every year, 2014 was full of highs and lows, though I'd say there were more highs than lows. Here is a brief synopsis of how I will remember this year:

The Good – Chris and I celebrated 10 wonderful years of marriage. I still am amazed at how God brought us together...and keeps us together! Chris marked a lifelong goal off his list when he received his bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. At times, I know he thought that graduation day would never arrive. But he didn't give up, and all of his work paid off when he graduated summa cum laude. God added more sunshine to our lives when He blessed us with Damon Christopher this year, the happiest, smiley-est baby I've ever met. And Avery is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to all of the fun and learning she's doing in kindergarten. I couldn't be prouder of our little family.

The Bad – I unexpectedly lost my job last week. While I was blindsided by this decision, I'm doing my best to see it as a blessing in disguise. The future is very uncertain right now, but my prayer is that I will recognize, accept and submit to God's will...whatever His will is and whenever He reveals it to me.

The Ugly – As if losing my job wasn't bad enough, I also lost my oldest and dearest friend in the process. Losing both my job and my best friend in this way crushed my spirit. It will take some time to remove the bitterness that I built up in my heart, but soon I will forgive her and forget this most painful experience in my life.

So, I'm shaking the 2014 dust off my feet and looking forward to bigger and better things in 2015! Happy New Year to all of our family and friends!

25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

As you celebrate the Saviors birth today, remember the reason
He came to earth. Look past the manger and see the cross!

18 December 2014

11 December 2014

09 December 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 35:1-40:38

This week, the Israelites build the Tabernacle, the place where God will dwell with them.

God instructs Moses to take a free-will offering from the people. Their offerings provide the materials needed to build the Tabernacle. The people give so many gifts that Moses must restrain them from giving any more.

Besides Moses, the Bible mentions two men who are filled with the Spirit of God to be craftsmen for building the Tabernacle. The Spirit gives these men wisdom, knowledge, understanding and skills to build the Tabernacle. Today, the Holy Spirit gives us these same gifts to help us serve God.

God gives skilled workers the ability to do the work of building the Tabernacle, and He gives them the willingness to do the work.

The Israelites build the Tabernacle just as the Lord had commanded. It takes the Israelites about six months to construct the Tabernacle. When the construction is complete, the Tabernacle is set up on the first day of the first month, exactly one year after the original Passover celebration. This is a way for the people to remember what God had done for them.

The Tabernacle and all of its furnishings point to Christ as our Savior. God dwelt among the people in the Tabernacle. Today, God’s people are indwelt once by the Holy Spirit at conversion and are filled over and over with the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Tabernacle is placed in the middle of the Israelites’ camp. God’s presence in a cloud remains over the Tabernacle. When the cloud moves, the people move. When the cloud remains, the people remain. The Israelites must keep their focus on the cloud (God!) and be ready to move whenever the cloud moves.

Things to Think About

  • God’s purpose for the Israelites was to know Him, to love Him, to worship Him, to serve Him and to glorify Him. (We have the same purpose in our lives today!) Their purpose did not change because of their sin. Our sin and grief don’t change God’s purpose in our lives.
  • How often do I complete my tasks just as I was commanded to?
  • Am I doing my secular work according to His plan and purpose?
  • I am God’s dwelling place.

08 December 2014

04 December 2014

02 December 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 33:7-34:35

When we left the Israelites last week, they were mourning for their grievous sin against God – idolatry. Today, God shows His mercy and grace to His people, in spite of their sin.

Moses pitches the Tent of Meeting outside the Israelites’ camp. In this tent, he meets God. Moses creates this tent because God can not be among His people due to their sin.

Moses enters the Tent of Meeting to speak to God. Then he returns to the Israelites' camp. The people demonstrate their repentance when they expectantly watch Moses enter the tent.

While in the tent, God speaks to Moses "face to face, as one speaks to a friend." This was not a literally face-to-face conversation, but it was a personal, intimate conversation with God.

Moses asks to know God more. He wants God’s presence to go with the Israelites. Moses also asks God to show him His glory. But God says no one can see His face and live.

God instructs Moses to chisel two new tablets so He can write His law again. God shows His mercy and His grace to the Israelites by giving them His laws again. Mercy is not getting what we deserve (ultimately, this is eternal death). Grace is getting what we don’t deserve (forgiveness for our sins and eternal life).

Because God says no one can see His face and live, God passes in front of Moses. Moses responds immediately by bowing down to worship Him. Moses stays on the mountain with God for 40 days and 40 nights. When Moses comes down from the mountain, his face is radiant because he had spoken with God.

The Israelites see Moses’ radiant face and are afraid. They see God’s presence in Moses. They can see that Moses spent time with God. Moses met with God and was transformed by it. And the people recognized that Moses was in God’s presence.

Things to Think About

  • Do I earnestly seek God the way Moses sought Him through prayer?
  • To see God’s glory is to see His character. When we reflect God’s glory, we reflect His character. Can people see God’s characteristics in me?
  • God’s people are transformed by God’s presence.
  • How often do I spend quality, quiet time with God?
  • Do I see quality time with God as a blessing instead of a burden?