Thursday, February 25, 2016

Starting in Genesis.

Good morning! If you read my post yesterday, than you know we are reading through the Bible starting in the first book, Genesis. Most of us have probably already read the book of Genesis, but I am OCD and want to start at the beginning. I will provide my notes for you along the way and hope you will join in!

I understand reading all 66 books of the Bible is a hard task to tackle, but if we do it together, make it fun, and hold each other accountable, it will bring so much joy to our lives. Not to mention, we will have a better understanding of God's word, and our walk with Him will be closer than ever!

Materials needed:
  • Bible - I use the KJV, I understand some prefer other versions as the KJV can be difficult to understand, however, I personally want my understanding to come from God, not man's interpretation. (This is just my personal opinion, I am not saying there is a right and a wrong here.)
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Highlighters
Let's begin!

What does Genesis mean? It means "beginnings" of course!  (You probably could have guessed that, huh?!)

Genesis is the book of beginnings. We learn the beginning of creation, the fall of man, the first sin, murder, death, the first time fear was felt, establishing of the nations, and salvation...(to name a few).

First though, let's start in the first 4 chapters.

Yesterday, I read chapters 1-4. As I am reading, I like to take notes summarizing the scriptures, as well as record my understanding of them, but please study how you feel most comfortable.

Here's what I have:

Genesis 1:1-19
  • God created the earth
Genesis 1:20-22
  • God created the sea creatures, as well as the flying creatures
Genesis 1:24-25
  • God created the animals of the earth - living creatures: cattle, creeping thing, beast
Genesis 1:26-30
  • God created man - in his image
  • He gave them dominion over everything on earth
  • He commanded them to be fruitful and to multiply (have babies!)
Chapter 2

Genesis 2:2-3
  • God rested from his work on the 7th day and made this day holy
Genesis 2:4-25
  • These next scriptures are not chronological like the previous chapter but are more of an elaboration of creation
Genesis 2:7
  • This verse is an elaboration of 1:27 when God created man
  • God made man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him - he became a living soul
Genesis 2:8-14
  • God created the Garden of Eden
Genesis 2:15-17
  • God placed the man he had created in the Garden of Eden, and forbid him to eat from the tree of knowledge
Genesis 2:18-20
  • God did not want Adam (man) to be alone
  • God gave Adam the living creatures and Adam named them - Adam was still alone however
Genesis 2:21-25
  • God created a women for Adam - formed from his rib
  • 24: the beginning of marriage
Chapter 3

In this chapter we see the first sin, as well as the fall, and curse, of man.

Genesis 3:1-6
  • Satan (the serpent) tempts Eve (women) to eat from the forbidden tree of knowledge
  • Eve eats from the tree and convinces Adam to eat as well
Genesis 3:7-13
  • Adam and Eve's eyes were open - they now saw good and evil
  • God confronts them - they hide in fear
  • Note: verse 10: this is the first time fear is mentioned in the Bible "and I was afraid"
  • 9-10: God questions them of their actions, expecting them to take personal responsibility, however, we see pride in their answers. Eve places the blame on the serpent - Adam says: "the women who thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree" - Adam is not only blaming Eve, but blaming God as well.
Genesis 3:15
  • This is a hard one! What is your interpretation of this verse?
  • The verse before this, God is cursing the serpent - and he is still speaking to the serpent here
  • What does enmity mean? Hatred.
Genesis 3:16-19
  • For what Eve has done, women will now experience suffering during childbirth
  • Husbands shall rule over their wives
  • The land Adam once had dominion over will now bring him suffering as he tries to control it
  • 19: We understand man must now die - just as man was made from dust, to the dust man will return
Genesis 3:22-24
  • We understand now that man is no longer in union with God - because of sin
Chapter 4

The first sons of Adam and Eve, as well as the first murder

Genesis 4:1-5
  • Eve bares two sons: Cain and Abel
  • Cain, the eldest son, was a "tiller" of the ground (farmer), who brought fruit offerings unto God, but did not find respect in God's eyes
  • Abel, the youngest, was a shepherd who also brought offerings to God, and God respected his offerings
  • Why does God respect Abel's offerings but not Cain's? Perhaps because Abel is offering something greater. He offers God the first born and fattest of his flock, this would cost him greatly, but he wants to give God his best. Cain, however, only offers God fruit, which isn't described as being the first or the best.
  • This angered Cain
Genesis 4:8
  • The first murder takes place in this scripture
  • Cain slew (murdered) his brother, Abel
Genesis 4:10-16
  • God curses Cain as a wonderer and fugitive of the earth
  • Another curse to a man because of sin
Genesis  4:17-22
  • These scriptures reveal Cain having a son, Enoch, and begin the history of Cain's descendants
Genesis 4:25-26
  • Adam and Eve bare another son, Seth
  • 25: Note: could this verse be referring to verse 15 of chapter 3? "For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."   
Summary: We now have learned the beginning of the earth, fear, and pride, as well as the creation of man, the first sin, the fall of man, the curse of man, and the first murder. Side note: we also now understand why childbirth is so awful...thanks Eve!

We have learned of Adam and Eve, their two sons, Cain and Abel, Cain's wife, his son Enoch, as well as a long list of descendants of Cain. We also learned at the end of chapter 4 that Adam and Eve bore another son, Seth.

Yay! We have successfully made it through the first 4 chapters of the Bible! (Insert happy dance here!)

This is just the beginning...literally.

Tonight, let's try to tackle a few of the next chapters and meet here for another discussion tomorrow!

Remember, "The Bible is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions."

I want to be a witness of God's love, but how can I do that if I do not know his word?


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We Must Read His Word To Know His Voice.

We follow along as the preacher reads from the Bible on Sunday's. We look up an occasional verse for comfort, (or for reference). We look up scriptures to color in our Bible journals...but do we really dig in to God's word? Do we know His voice when he speaks? 

Sheep will not follow a strangers voice, but when their master calls, they will follow, because they know his voice. 

"And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." John 10:4-5

Join me today as I begin studying God's word, starting in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. I will take notes along the way and share them with you all here, on my blog. 

If you care to join me, share your findings as well! 

Distance yourself from the world, open your bible, and listen to what God has to say. 


Friday, February 12, 2016

Finding Joy in the Midst

Finding joy in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life is easier said than done. Whether you are a wife, a mother, a student, work, or stay at home, life is stressful. We often turn to the world to bring us pleasure, in hope that it will satisfy our anxiety filled hearts. We think the more we have, the happier we will be. The more we go out with our friends, the less we will feel lonely. The more successful we are, the better we are. We are always looking for ways to quench our appetite for euphoria. But are we really looking in the right places? 

As a mother, wife, and full time student, I often find myself struggling to stay joyous. I get so overwhelmed with life, that I lose sight of where happiness truly comes from. I lose sight of the One person who is actually able to cure my anxious heart.

Friends are very important, and yes, we can poor our hearts out to them and they will listen, but this won't bring us long term joy. Of course we feel all bubbly inside when we buy a new toy, but when the new wears off, we are no longer satisfied. And while being successful does bring us a certain amount of happiness, what if we suddenly lost it all? Would we still be happy? If we lost our friends, our worldly possessions, our money, would we still have joy in our hearts?

If your joy doesn't come from the lord, than the answer is no.

The thief cometh not, but to steal, kill, and destroy. The devil would love nothing more than to rob us of our joy. Don't give him your victory. Your victory comes from above! Your victory comes from the one that will provide you with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

When you have reached your breaking point, cry out to God. Remember, "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." When you are lost and don't know where to turn, turn to His word.
-Psalm 126:5

Remember, the world will only provide joy for a time, but joy in the Lord, will last forever.

When your kids drive you to the edge of your sanity, and you feel you have failed as a mother, remember, God has given us grace. The same grace he shows us, as adults, show to your children. God must think highly of you to have you bare such a miracle. If he thinks you are capable, you are.

When your marriage is in a slump and you feel there is no hope, remember, weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. "When there is no hope, there is grace. When you feel too weak to stand, let the blood take your place." -The Dunaways 

When work or school seems too much to bare, remember, God will never put more on you than you can handle. Put your faith and trust in Him, and he will not forsake you. 

When I find my heart is troubled, I go to the rock that is higher than I. I take my cares to Him, and he provides me the with the ultimate peace.

Lord, when life becomes too much for us to bare, please give us strength to endure. When our hearts are overwhelmed, please fill them with peace and comfort. Help us not to be overcome with everyday annoyances, but to instead exhort the grace that you shed upon us. Please Lord, help us to find joy in the midst of the journey of life.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Do you have a Ruth in your life?

I have seen a few blog posts circulating around Pinterest discussing "why I don't have a best friend." While some may agree, I find it very discouraging to "discourage" women from having friends of whom they consider their dearest.

I had many "best friends" throughout my adolescent life, some of which brought me great sadness, and others of which brought me great joy. As an adult, however, the term "best friend" has a completely different meaning. I have many friends, and I truly believe God hand picked each of them to be apart of my life, each having a special place in my heart, for a very special reason. Without them, I would not be the Christian woman I am today.

I do not publicly claim to have a "best" friend, but I know in my heart of hearts that God places a single person in each of our lives to touch us in a way that no one else can, or has.

touching story of friendship can be found in the Bible, in the book of Ruth. In just 4 chapters, God touches our hearts with the importance and value of friendship. 

A woman, named Naomi, was blessed with two daughter-n-laws of which she loved dearly, it was one, however, who God chose to faithfully stick by her side. 

Naomi was faced with many hardships. She not only had to leave the home she knew and loved and move to an unfamiliar land, but she also lost her husband and two sons, leaving her widowed and childless. 

All that was left to Naomi was her two daughter-n-laws. 

Stricken with heartache, she decided to return to her home in Bethlehem-Judah. Knowing that she could offer no more to the two women, she selflessly insisted her daughter-n-laws stay behind to marry another. While one complied to her mother-n-law's wishes, the other, Ruth, loyal as she was, refused, and promised to stay by her dear friends side until the end of time. "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from the following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." 

Ruth followed Naomi to her home in Bethlehem-Judah, as promised.  

Upon arrival, Ruth's selflessness and loyalty to Naomi is once again shown.

A law in Israel at that time, stated that after a field is harvested, a portion is to be left for the poor and helpless. So, Ruth goes to "glean" in the fields as to provide food for her and her mother-n-law. The owner of the field, Boaz, a godly man, takes up an interest with Ruth, and asks God to bless her for her work, while also going above the requirements of the law to make sure she is provided for. At the end of this touching story, Boaz takes Ruth to be his wife, and she bares Naomi a grandson.

The other women describe Ruth as a respectable, loyal woman saying, "for thy daughter-n-law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons."

Ruth was not just Naomi's daughter-n-law, but also her truest and most loyal friend. God sent Ruth to help Naomi through the troubles of life, to be a provider, a comforter, and most importantly to be the barer of the lineage of King David, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When Ruth's husband passed away, she could have easily chosen to abandon her mother-n-law, and marry again in Moab, but her loyalty lied with Naomi, her dearest friend. Their friendship lasted the test of time, and through Ruth's faithfulness, God used her in a mighty way.

In this very small, but powerful book, God shows us the importance of a friend.

Jesus, our very own Lord and Savior, was born from this very friendship.

God used an unfortunate circumstance and a faithful friend, to fulfill His plan of salvation.

The moral of the story, is that God places friends in our lives because he believes friendship to be very important; if you are fortunate enough that he blesses you with a Ruth, you are a blessed person indeed. 

-Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 27:17

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Please Lord, help us to be a Ruth to someone in need, help us to touch her as Ruth touched Naomi. Bless our friendships, and help us to keep them centered around you Lord. Without you, we are nothing. 

God blessed me with a Ruth, and I am forever grateful. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Look out world!

Packed and ready for a girls weekend! My first girls weekend as a wife and mother might I add. Yes, it has been over five years since I went on a trip without my husband. 

Breath in, breath out. I can do this. 

P.S. I just got The Nightingale over the weekend and haven't started it yet! Is it good?? It better be, otherwise this is about to be a very loooong 5 hours! 

Look out South Gerogia, we're coming for ya! 

Is there an Isaac in your life?

Hello my faithful followers! I am so sorry it has been so long since I last posted. Please let me explain...

A few days after I started this blog, my pastor preached an eye opening message. Actually, he always does, but this one really resonated with me. He asked us what our testamony was. Is God apart of it?  

Honestly, I don't know what my testimony is. I do, however, know that I want everything I do, to be for God's glory. 

When I created this blog, my intent was to please the people. To please everyone. I wanted it to be earthy and fun, with little talk of religion and politics. I wanted my blog to appeal to Christian and non Christian alike. 

This is why I have been absent. This is why I had to take the time do some serious spiritual renovating and remember just what my mission on this earth is. 

How can I, as a Christian, have something apart of my life that doesn't involve God? He created me. He is the very reason I am alive today. I may not know my testimony, but I do know that serving God is apart of it. 

I may not be the most popular, but that's okay. "I'd rather have Jesus than silver and gold!" 

My dream is to touch the lives of others through my writing, and the only way I can do that, is by honoring the one who touched mine. 

God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only child, Isaac. Abraham willingly obeyed God, passing the test of his faith. God stopped Abraham before the work was done, proving that it wasn't Isaac that God wanted, but he wanted Abraham. It was a trial of faith. 

Fear is my greatest enemy. Fear of prosecution mostly. As most people. And if I have learned one thing over the last week and a half, it is to conquer fear through faith. 

Sure I am still too scared to sing anywhere but in my shower, yes I'm still too scared to testify out loud rather than on a piece of paper, no I won't shout my prayers instead of whispering them, but one thing is certain, I will not be too afraid to live my faith openly. We are going to face persecution as servants of God, but that cannot stop us from spreading his love and truth. 

I pray by sharing my walk with God to others, that in turn, others begin their walk with him as well. 

I laid my Isaac down, have you?

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:9