Monday, January 29, 2007

Kathy the Israelite

This post has literally been a week in the making. It has been through several drafts and to be honest, I'm still not happy with it. It's hard to write about something I'm ashamed of. But I published anyway, because as Christians, we're supposed to be real. Not all about the happy veneer exterior. So I'd feel dishonest and fake if I didn't share a deep, dark secret...

I was such an Israelite last week!

Now before anyone gets offended, please understand I'm talking about a Moses-led, Exodus-experiencing, miracle-witnessing, wilderness-wandering Israelite. You know... the kind that, back in Sunday school class, you referred to as a whiner and complainer. Yep, that was me last week.

You see, my son had pneumonia. In fact, in his young life, he's had it three times and when his little body is wracked with coughing, I just feel so helpless! And frustrated! (Parents, can I get a witness on that?!) So in between long waits in the doctor's office and pharmacy, in between juggling my daughters' homework and dinner with plying an unwilling, feverish child with nasty medicine, in between frustration with missing work, and all the other nuances of life, self-pity began to kick in:

"Oh Lord, why? Why can't my kids ever make it through winter without getting sick? Why do mine get sick more than anyone else's?" (Not true, but it always seems that way). "They only have sugary cereal for breakfast on rare occasions and they never drink pop. We eat only whole grain bread, and I make sure they have lots of fruit and at least one serving of veggies per day. We try to get in as many Superfoods as possible. I take them to the chiropractor for regular adjustments in order to boost their immune systems. Oh, Lord, how can they possibly be getting sick?"

Translation: God, I'm doing my part and you're not doing yours.

Whoa. Now wait a minute there. If I boil all my complaints down to one underlying issue, that misaligned view must really be what is at the core of all my mental caterwauling. Ouch.

Just like the Israelites, I was focused on me, my immediate and short-sighted circumstances, and had not placed hope and faith where they belonged. As incredulous as the Israelites' wavering faith always seemed to me, I'm confronted with the gnawing realization that I'm even worse than they were! Why?

The Israelites had just witnessed plagues against their enemies and walked through the sea between parted water walls, and they thought the Lord would let them die of starvation?

I have three generally healthy, bright, beautiful kids, and I suggest that God's not doing his job?!

The Israelites had Moses interceding for them and still drifted toward other idols?

I have JESUS interceding for me and I've done the same?!

I didn't craft a golden calf, but I had come to believe that through diet and other "keys to optimal health" that I had some modicum of control over my kids' health. Oh, how I clinched it tightly. But over the course of the last week, God gently pried my fingers loose, showing me that HE is in control and His grace is sufficient for me (II Cor. 12:9). Shane often says, "It's only by God's grace that we can even get up and tie our shoes in the morning." And it's only by His grace that my kids (or any of us) are healthy.

Father, thank you for smashing my idol. I know from your word that you do want us to be good stewards of our bodies and in faith I believe you do bless us in part according to how we manage your gifts. But in Exodus, you demonstrated that obedience to your will came FIRST, even clearly stating you'd protect the people from plagues if they remain faithful. Obviously, that's where I fell short too. I thank and praise you for your forgiveness and your grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now...I'm off to the doctor. No, really. Lexi has a cough and an ear infection. (PTL!) :-)

Monday, January 22, 2007


Now typically, I like frogs. They're kind of cute, they eat insect pests, and my kids love to play with them. But imagine being completely overrun with them. Genesis 8 describes the plague of frogs as being so thick that they were even invading beds, ovens, and kneading bowls. It'd be kind of hard to sleep with those slimy, ribbitting guys trying to slip into your PJ's for warmth. It would also be a bit disconcerting to bite into your bread and sense something unusually chewy, only to look down and see half a frog oozing out at you. And then there's what they leave behind.

So Pharaoh, fed up (pun intended) with all this, summons Moses and Aaron to pray to their God to remove the frogs. Moses challenges Pharaoh to determine the time the prayer should take place. (Now here's the part that makes my jaw drop...)

Pharaoh responds, "Do it tomorrow."

(Okay, re-read that first part of v. 10. because I KNOW he didn't just say "tomorrow.")

"Do it tomorrow," Pharaoh said.

Oh no he didn't. Why on earth would he allow the frogs to remain one more day if he didn't have to?! Unless it was exactly 11:59:59 p.m. (or whatever the ancient Egyptian equivalent would be), then I simply do not understand how Pharaoh could respond this way in the midst of such nastiness. Why did he not burst out desperately, " it right now to end this!"

But then as God so often does, He transports me from His Word to my life...or more accurately, His Word IN my life: "Kathy, why do you judge him? You do this all the time. When you're worrying about a decision to make, you tell yourself that you need to pray about that, and sometimes you do, but sometimes you forget entirely. Or someone who is struggling will confide in you and you tell her 'I'll pray for you,' implying that you'll do it later. Why not do it right then? By waiting, you're postponing resolution or healing, just like Pharaoh did. So quit judging."

Excuse me while I go eat some humble pie...hopefully, the frogless variety. :-)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Moses, Moses, Moses

How cool is the story of Moses? He beat the odds from the very beginning by being born to a very creative and brave mom. But when the going got tough, Moses got Midian, that is. God kept his hand on his chosen one, however, and revealed his plans to one stubborn, stuttering dude. For every protest Moses offered God about why he couldn't possibly do what he was asked, God had an answer for it...

Moses: Who am I to lead the Israelites? I'm nobody.
God: I'll be with you.
Moses: What if they don't believe me or listen to me?
God: I'll do miraculous signs through you.
Moses: But I'm slow of speech and tongue.
God: I made that mouth; I'll help you use it.
Moses: Please send someone else...

At this point (Ex. 4:14), Moses had pushed even Almighty God to the limit. In fact, my NIV says, "Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses" (emphasis mine). But he still provided help in the form of brother and spokesman Aaron.

So in the big picture, things looked like they were humming along...the plan was revealed, Moses was finally on board now with the promise of Aaron joining in, and as they traveled, God was sharing what would happen when they got back to Egypt. Then the story takes a very interesting turn:

Ex. 4:24--26, NLT: "On the journey, when Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the Lord confronted Moses and was about to kill him..." (What?! Kill him?! This was the guy hand-picked to deliver the Israelites! This really threw me for a loop.) "...But Zipporah, his wife, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She threw the foreskin at Moses' feet and said, 'What a blood-smeared bridegroom you are to me!'...After that, the Lord left him alone."

Was God still angry with Moses for arguing? Was there something else that wasn't mentioned? In confusion, I consulted my NIV study Bible to see what explanation it offered about this bizarre scenario. It states: Sensing that divine displeasure had threatened Moses' life, she quickly performed the circumcision on her young son...Circumcision may have been repulsive to her. (The "may" there cracks me up--Ya think?!) An interesting side note is that "feet" was probably a euphemism for "genitals"--Zipporah really wanted Moses to understand how angry she was that she had to do his work for him!

Moses had neglected to circumcise his own son, disobeying THE benchmark covenant that began with Abraham. Good thing Zipporah stepped up! So what's the application here? Even though God has chosen you specifically to further His divine plan, you'll still be held accountable for disobedience. (The bonus lesson: choose a responsible spouse!) :-)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finishing Genesis

As our RTBIAY group comes to the end of Genesis, there is one overriding feeling that I just can't shake: these people were just as screwed up as we are. But even more important is the fact that God used them, nonetheless...guess there's hope for us, Amen?! I know it's really important not to judge, especially since we can't fathom the difficulties of living in this ancient time. But I can't get past a few things and I was wondering if some of you had anything you'd like to share on these matters...

A "Lot" to say on this: Okay, so Lot (Ch. 19) is so protective of his guests that he willingly volunteers to subject his daughters to the sexual atrocities of the gang of perverts outside?! I know it was a host's duty to ensure the safety of those under his roof, but I would think that would include his own flesh and blood as well. Or was his offer simply a ruse intended to stall the mob? He may have known he had some heavenly help inside and was merely trying to get rid of the crowd...especially if he was aware of their homosexual intent, he might have been guessing his daughters were safe. Thoughts?

A lot of deception going on! Poor Abimelech fell for the same old "She's my sister" line (Ch. 20) from not only Abraham (a lie he'd had success with before on Pharoah in Ch. 12), but also Isaac! Jacob, who became the father of nations, schemed to get what he wanted (Ch. 27). Laban and Rachel were dishonest. Simeon and Levi, even though they were avenging their sister's rape, disregarded the agreement between Shechem and their father and slaughtered all the men in town (Ch. 34). Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute to finally bear the children she'd been denied in Judah's family (38). Joseph's brothers lied about his disappearance (37) and Potiphar's wife's lie got him imprisoned (39). And yet in all this deception, God worked it out. Comments?

Crazy Sexploits! In addition to the aforementioned lewd behavior, Lot's daughters got him drunk to procreate in Ch. 19 (guess that would fall under "deception" too, huh?), and Reuben slept with his father's concubine...(I'm seeing a pattern here...)! Insights?

And all of this is just since my last post!

The way the book ends is actually sort of cathartic. The sons of Jacob each "received a blessing that was appropriate to him" (49:28) and Joseph and his brothers achieved peace before he died. You know, people who say the Bible is boring have not read Genesis. I'd put it up against any Hollywood blockbuster and say it has enough drama to emerge victorious! But even better is that we're given hope in seeing that God has a purpose for each of us, and even as we mess up--BAD, if we continue to seek him and his will with our whole hearts, he not only forgives, but works it all for good.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

About the Blog Title...

I've been asked why I named the blog Legacy. The answer's actually kind of relevant to the reading that our RTBIAY group has been doing. As shown by the geneologies as well as the multiple promises God had made to his faithful so far (and we're not even through Genesis yet!), leaving a legacy was of paramount importance. Being barren and childless was a disgrace and the best blessing was a whole quiver (Psalm 127:5) full of kiddos to carry on the family heritage.

As a mom of three, I can honestly say that the legacy of my dreams for them is that they love and seek the Lord their whole lives. Shane and I are, of course, trying to ensure an earthly legacy by being financially responsible. But we both know it is all in vain unless each of them desires and pursues a relationship with the Living God. That's the legacy we strive for... Living out our Christian faith, providing an example of what it means to be children of God, even if we fall short in numerous ways every day. Seeking the Lord's will in decision-making. Being Jesus to others. If our kids inherit such a legacy, then Praise God for His mercy and for using broken tools to get the job done!

So why name the blog that? I guess I view it as one of the stepping stones in the legacy we're tying to leave, and a documented one at that. I want my kids to read postings and responses that show excitement for God's word. I want them to see that we don't have to understand everything and that faith and love cover a multitude of sins (James 5:20). I want them to witness fellowship (in person OR online) with other believers and know that it's vital. I want them to see that going public for our Lord truly affects others, and that they'll just maybe decide to start their own legacy... :-)

Friday, January 5, 2007

And We're Off!...

All right, Buds, the blog is off and running! 2007 marks the year I've committed to reading the entire Bible in a year and several of you have joined me in that commitment. Our goal is not so we can say we did it, or even to expand our knowledge of scripture (though that will be a nice perk!), but rather, to better know the very heart of God. In today's reading (Gen. 12--15) I noticed how Abram built alters after he encountered God in special ways. A friend once pointed out that when we take the time to note praise and thanks for what God has revealed to us or done in our lives, we're building an alter of sorts, too. That's my hope for this blog...that it becomes a place where we can stop and give glory and honor to the One who makes all things possible.

Since I'm new to blogging, I'm gonna throw a few "housekeeping" items at you. If a post is labeled "RTBIAY" that means the posting is directed towards those of you who are Reading The Bible In A Year with me. (Yes, it took me hours to come up with that!) Any other labels will probably be self-explanatory. I'm hoping you'll see some labeled "Shane" as I encourage my incredibly better half to contribute from time to time.

Lord, I pray that this blog will be used to carry out Your will. Let it be a tool for encouragement, enlightenment, seed-planting and tending--an all-around forum for "lovin' on others" as You want us to. In Jesus' Name. Amen.