30 April 2015

28 April 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Deuteronomy 33-34

This week, we see Moses approach his death focused on God and His people. Moses could have focused only on himself. Instead he wanted to share everything he could with the Israelites to draw them to God.

Moses starts by praising God. He directs their attention to God and reminds them that He will help them conquer the Promised Land. Then Moses blesses each tribe. The tribes were blessed according to what God knew they needed. Each tribe (and its accompanying blessings) worked together as a nation. Moses ends the blessings by again pointing the people to God and His character.

And finally, Moses climbs Mount Nebo. There God shows him all of the Promised Land. Then Moses dies. God buries Moses on the mountain. The Israelites grieve Moses for 30 days. Joshua is empowered to lead the people into the Promised Land.

Moses stands firm to the end. God calls him a faithful servant of the Lord. Moses is a beautiful Old Testament picture of the Messiah. Moses’ life and life work pointed to the coming of Jesus Christ:

  • Moses was faithful to walk with God and spoke to God as a friend. Jesus called His disciples friends.
  • Moses humbly denied his own abilities and relied on God. Jesus did not consider Himself worthy of His task.
  • Moses spent time with God, listened to God’s word and obeyed. Jesus came to do God’s will.
  • Moses was devoted to his people and interceded on their behalf. Jesus did the same.
  • Moses shepherded his people and was ready to lay down his life for them. Jesus did lay down His life for us.
  • Moses and Jesus were born into godly homes at difficult times in Jewish history. Their lives were threatened. They gave up riches and rewards to obey God and lead their people.
  • Moses and Jesus were rejected by their people at their first comings. The people accepted Moses at his second coming, and soon the whole world will see Jesus for who He is at His second coming.
  • Moses and Jesus were meek and humble.
  • Moses and Jesus trained their disciples before they went to heaven.

It’s hard to believe we’ve finished our study of Moses’ life! Next week I’ll share what I learned this year.

Things to Think About
  • Don’t compare my blessings to others’ blessings. Any blessing from God is part of His plan for me.
  • A man or woman of God praises the Lord and blesses others. God calls us to bless people who are kind to us and people who curse us. He even tells us to pray for the people who persecute us.
  • How will I praise God this week? To whom will I speak blessings this week?
  • Moses left a legacy for his people. What kind of legacy am I leaving my family?
  • How are my life and my life work reflecting Jesus?

24 April 2015

Flip flop

We have discovered that Damon loves to be upside down. When we hold him upright, he usually flips himself backwards so he can be upside down. Then he gives us the biggest grin. Too bad we still don't get many belly laughs out of him!

23 April 2015

21 April 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Deuteronomy 31-32

We are almost at the end of our study of the life of Moses. This week, we see Moses give more words to the Israelites and then prepare to die.

Moses assures the people that even though he is about to die, God will be with them and Joshua will lead them. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (31:6). Moses reminds them to follow the commands he gave them through God.

Moses instructs the people to write down God’s law and give it to the Levitical priests. Moses instructs the priests to assemble all of the people and read the law to them every seven years. This ensured that all of the people knew God’s law and how to fear and obey Him.

God instructs Moses to commission Joshua. Moses tells Joshua that the people will forsake God and break their covenant with Him. The people will not turn away because of Joshua’s leadership. Moses assures Joshua that his leadership will not cause the people to sin. God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous and assure Joshua that He will be with him.

Then Moses presents a song to the Israelites. This song predicts that the Israelites will rebel and forsake God. There are four sections in Moses’ song:
  • The character of God (32:1-4)
  • The kindness of God (32:5-14)
  • The faithfulness of God (32:15-25)
  • The vengeance of God against his adversaries (32:26-43)

Moses’ song reminds the people of their past mistakes, warns them not to make the same mistakes in the future and offers hope that comes only from trusting God.

After Moses recites his song, he instructs the Israelites to take his words to heart and instruct their children to obey these words as well. Moses says these words are not idle words, but they are life.

God’s Word still is life to us today. We must memorize God’s Word to keep it before us at all times. God can change our lives when we allow His Word to penetrate our hearts. God also can change other people’s lives when we speak and live His Word to others.

In God’s grace and mercy, He allows Moses to see the Promised Land even though he will not enter it. Next week, God will gather Moses to his people and will bury him.

Things to Think About
  • God promised the Israelites that He never would leave them or forsake them (31:6). God never will leave me or forsake me.
  • How has the promise of God’s presence replaced my fear with godly courage? Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to obey and trust God in the face of fear.
  • What is creating fear in me? Will I face that fear with godly courage because God never will leave me or forsake me.
  • If God has called me to something, He will see me through it.
  • How do I respond when God’s plans differ from my own plans? Ask God for a heart that willingly embraces His Word and His will for me.

20 April 2015

BSF 2015-2016: Are you prepared for the end times?

With all the excitement and busyness that comes with finishing my BSF study of the life of Moses, I have failed to tell you about the amazing opportunity you have to join BSF next year.

After years of prayer and preparation, BSF is launching its study of the book of Revelation next year. This couldn't come at a better time. Based on events happening around the world and in our own country and the persecution we see toward Christians everywhere, it is clear that we are living in the end times. The end times lead up to Jesus' second coming.

Even before Jesus died on the cross, He promised to return to earth one day and take His children home to heaven. Jesus also promised to bring eternal judgment on those who are against Him. While Jesus' return is something Christians look forward to, it will be a trying and difficult time for anyone who does not believe in Christ. Our study of the book of Revelation next year will explain the specific events leading up to Jesus' second return, the blessings Christians will experience in their eternal lives with Jesus and the ghastly judgment unbelievers will experience for all eternity.

I hope my posts through the years have shed some light on what it means to study the Bible in BSF. If you still have questions, find out a little more about BSF in this short video.

Do you want to study the book of Revelation next year? Find a class near you. Or join me on Monday nights on the south side of Indianapolis. If you have school-aged children, I would love to have them join me in the School Program! We are hosting welcome classes tonight and next Monday night. There you can hear about BSF and register for next year's study. We also have satellite classes that meet on other nights of the week in Mooresville and Greenfield. Contact me for the details!

And as always, you can follow along here on the blog. I've studied the book of Revelation in the past, but I know the BSF plan will be much more in-depth and thought-provoking. Next year's study will cover some challenging material. But I'm so excited to see how God will use this study to strengthen believers around the world to stand up for Christ and share His salvation message that can change the world...and your own life. Will you join me as we learn about Jesus' second coming as told in the book of Revelation?

Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy,
and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it,
because the time is near.
Revelation 1:3

18 April 2015

Nine-month doctor's appointment

Yesterday, Chris and I spent part of our anniversary at the pediatrician's office for Damon's nine-month visit. This visit did not include any vaccines, so there were no tears from Damon! Here are his current stats:

Weight – 19 pounds, 7 ounces (50th percentile)
Length – 27.5 inches (25th percentile)
Head – 17 inches (10th percentile)

We discussed several concerns with Dr. Roscoe. First was Damon's chronic cough. He has been coughing pretty much all winter. It isn't a constant cough, and it definitely isn't slowing him down at all. But it's a very wet and raspy cough. We've tried several remedies to no avail. The doctor said Damon's ears and lungs are clear, so there's no need to worry about pneumonia or something worse. The cough could be the result of viruses that won't go away, asthma, allergies or even reflux. Since we can't really test for any of these things yet, the doctor wants to take a wait-and-see approach. If the cough doesn't improve, we'll have to investigate some of these possibilities. Until then, I'm praying that Damon outgrows or simply heals from whatever is messing with his sinuses!

Damon also isn't sleeping well at night. He usually wakes once every night (although lately he is sleeping through the night a few times each week). We hold and rock him for a little bit, and then he goes back to sleep until morning. At first I attributed this to getting rid of the pacifier back in February. But the sleeping has only slightly improved since then. Also, it's probably time for us to stop swaddling Damon...although he really loves it, and it seems to calm him down and give him a clue that it's bedtime. We're still trying to decide what to do about the swaddle. Once again, the doctor said we should be patient and let Damon outgrow this phase as well.

Finally, Damon isn't taking to table foods as well as we expected him to. (He still loves baby foods though!) Dr. Roscoe suggested that Damon just needs to get used to our foods' textures and tastes. We'll keep trying table foods and give it some more time. By 15 months, Damon should be weaned from the bottle and eating only table foods.

I guess the theme for this doctor's appointment was patience and waiting for God's timing to grow Damon at His pace!

Damon and Avery are different in so many ways, including their growth and development. It's so hard not to compare them. That's a lesson I'll need to keep learning throughout motherhood!

17 April 2015

Eleven blissful years

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:3

Eleven years ago today, I started a journey with this loving, caring, funny and strong man. Our marriage has been more wonderful than I ever thought it could be. I know there have been some challenges and difficulties along the way, but those are overshadowed by all of the fun, laughter, hugs and sweet memories we have shared together.

Chris, I thank God for bringing us together. I am so glad He chose us to walk through life together, because I can't imagine myself with anyone else. Thank you for blessing me with your love, trust, humor, commitment and zest for life. Life is better with you by my side.

16 April 2015

14 April 2015

BSF 2014-2015: Deuteronomy 27-30

As the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land, God asks Moses and the elders to gather all of the people. In unity, Moses and his fellow leaders share God’s instructions about two ceremonies after they enter the Promised Land.

For the first ceremony, God commands the people to cover stones with plaster, to write His commands on the stones and to put the stones on Mount Ebal. God also commands the people to build an altar using field stones. The people could not use tools to make this altar.

The law revealed the Israelites’ need for a Savior. It does the same for us today. The altar demonstrated God’s way to forgiveness and Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for us.

For the second ceremony, God commands the people to sit on Mount Gerizim – six tribes on one side and six on the other. God commands the Levites to speak twelve consequences for the people’s sins, and He commands that the people should say “Amen” to agree with these God-given consequences.

Then God explains a conditional covenant. If the people obey God, He will bless them with:

  • God’s protection
  • Numerous offspring
  • Abundant food
  • Abundant livestock
  • Everything they do will be blessed.

If the people disobey God, He will curse them with the opposites of the blessings:

  • No protection from enemies
  • Few offspring
  • Very little food
  • Confusion
  • Plagues, droughts and diseases
  • Cannibalism
  • Captivity to other nations
  • Utter destruction of their nation.

This conditional covenant will show the other nations that God’s hand is on Israel.

Next God renews His unconditional covenant with the Israelites. This covenant shows that the Israelites are God’s chosen people. And this covenant is passed down to subsequent generations (29:14-15).

Finally, Moses stands before the people and gives them a choice – choose between life, obedience, blessings and death, disobedience, curses. When we choose life, we choose to love God and others. Then He will be with us and help us live this life.

Things to Think About

  • God blesses us when we obey Him, and He gives us consequences when we sin.
  • Loving, trusting and obeying God bring blessings now and eternally.
  • God promises restoration when we take responsibility for our sins and return to Him.
  • From which sin(s) do I need to repent today?
  • Choosing the Lord and His ways is living life to its fullest.
  • How do I respond to the choices God gives me? Can people recognize me as God’s child based on the choices I make?

09 April 2015

08 April 2015

Nine months old

This was the best milestone picture I could get today without any assistants helping me entertain Damon from behind the camera. The ball did help a little. He loves playing with this basketball! Yes, he's "palming" it, as much as a baby can palm a basketball.

And of course, the best overall picture I captured didn't include the sign. Because once I put the sign next to him, he was distracted beyond belief!

07 April 2015

2015 brackets: Championship update

The tide has shifted! Grandpa Hromada held the bragging rights and the family trophy for the past two years. But someone finally bumped him from the top of our bracket pool...and it was me! Victory is mine!

Karen and I were fighting it out on Saturday night. If Kentucky had beaten Wisconsin, then Karen would have taken home the trophy.

Chris will be quick to point out that he actually guessed more games correctly than I did. But the points are what count, leading to my first victory in the family bracket pool!

Here are the final rankings (in order of ESPN points standing):

2-1 in Final Four
44-19 overall

2-1 in Final Four
45-18 overall

2-1 in Final Four
39-24 overall

Jon (Grandpa Hromada)
0-3 in Final Four
40-23 overall

Shirley (Grandma Hromada)
0-3 in Final Four
35-28 overall

0-3 in Final Four
20-43 overall

BSF 2014-2015: Deuteronomy 1-26

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses and the Israelites are on the other side of the Jordan River from the Promised Land. Moses gives three “sermons” to share his final words with the Israelites. In these sermons, Moses reminds the people of where they came from and where they’re going.

Moses calls together the entire Israelite community. He gives his parting words to everyone, not just the leaders. Moses wants the people to know that God is their leader, and He will be their faithful guide. He will fight on their behalf.

Moses instructs the people to listen and obey. He recounts the Israelites’ history – their successes and failures. Then Moses repeats God’s commandments and decrees and reminds the Israelites to obey God because He is their leader.

Moses reminds them to worship God alone and not to worship idols and other gods. Through Moses, God instructs the Israelites to destroy their enemies’ idols and altars because He alone is worthy of their worship. God calls His people to holiness and righteousness.

Finally, Moses gives principles for godly living.

Things to Think About

  • What are my parting words to people? Am I gracious and kind? Do I point others to God?
  • What should I change in my parting words so people remember God instead of me?
  • Revelations from God demand a response. How do I respond when God reveals Himself through my Bible study? How long does it take me to respond?
  • To love God with all of your heart means to obey Him with all of your strength. Is my greatest passion to serve and love God?
  • Am I loving and obeying God?

02 April 2015