Posts Tagged With: hope

Abundance, Destruction, Resurrection

OK, so through this week of blissful preparation for this post I’ve come to realize that this new weekly format is to be more of a Bible Study format than a devotional format. This was news that I was VERY excited about!!! 😀 so I hope you like the new format too, because I’m LOVING IT! Also, I will be posting last week’s sermon notes as the Bible study for next week, mostly because I just could NOT pass this lesson by without telling you about it!!! 😀 I pray that it encourages you, wherever you are in the pattern today. 😉 There is ALWAYS hope in Christ! Be blessed this week my friends! I cherish you! -Tamar

Last week’s readings:

Day #: 

Week #: 

Bible Reading: 

Date: 

162 

24 

Job 39:1-42:17

Nov 9

163 

Joel 1:1-3:21

Nov 10 

164 

John 1:1-3:36

Nov 11 

165 

John 4:1-6:21

Nov 12 

166 

John 6:22-8:30

Nov 13 

167 

John 8:31-11:37

Nov 14 

168 

Sabbath

Nov 15 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the LORD, “they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you.” Says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

This week’s readings were… sigh… encouraging! We started in Job where we meet a man who has been as faithful and obedient to the LORD as anyone can be. He was wealthy beyond the normal means, and comfortable in every way possible. And then disaster struck his entire household. In one day he had servant after servant presenting themselves to him in order to report that they had been the lone survivor of the attack that had just occurred on his family.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like Disaster was chasing your house and leaving you the sole survivor in order that you would retell the tale to someone else? And maybe, perhaps, that’s why you survived. To tell the tale of your SURVIVAL.

What have you been through? What have you survived that needs retelling? What’s your story my friend?

Job’s story started out in abundance and surplus but quickly turned to disaster and the loss of everything including his own health. BUT that wasn’t the end of his story, it was only the middle! My Dearest One, no matter where you are in your story, you’re not to the end yet! If you were, well, then you wouldn’t be reading this then would you?

Take a few seconds right now and review the end of Job’s story in: Job 42:10-17.

Words like, “the LORD restored his fortunes, in fact He gave him twice as much as before” and “So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning”, are kinda hard to argue with. While Job HAD endured a very difficult season in his life, it hadn’t ruined him. In fact, quite the opposite had occurred. It had shaped him. I’m guessing that while God did physically bless him with double portions of all his physical assets, I doubt that that is why Job went to the grave a happy man. I’m guessing that he was happy because he had achieved a newfound appreciation for all the things that he might have been taking for granted before the destruction came.

The story of Job establishes for us a pattern that the rest of our reading’s this week end up following as well. Which I see as no small coincidence! Job begins his story with obedience and abundance. Then he moves to complete destruction. And finishes with a renewal that is better and more abundant than before the story began.

This theme is taken up next in the prophecy of Joel, with but a small variation. While Job was amazingly dedicated to God in his obedience, the people in Joel’s story were not. Their story is one of disobedience and abundance that moves to a destruction of discipline. While Job’s troubles moved from a place of proving his obedience to God, the troubles of the people in the book of Joel were from a place of proving their disobedience to God in order to move them back into a place of obedience once more.

When destruction hits, it doesn’t matter if you’re obeying God or disobeying God, it will still hit. And when it hits it will show YOU your standing with God. Right now you are either looking to God, or away from Him. If you’re looking to Him, then this shaking will prove that. If you’re looking away from Him, then this shaking will prove that and cause you to look to Him again. That’s how this works. And the really amazing part is, that when the shaking is finished there is still a common thread – blessing!!!

Look at these verses in Joel for your confirmation of blessings after the destruction:

Joel 2:3 – How does the LORD describe the land that lies ahead?

Joel 2:25 – What are those first two words that God says in this promise? WHO is responsible for carrying out the results of this promise? You or God?

Joel 3:1 – In this verse, does the LORD say “if”? How would that little two letter word change the meaning of this verse? Isn’t it great that “if” isn’t the word He uses? What word does He use instead?

And here’s one from Isaiah just for good measure, don’t leave it out!

Isaiah 40:27

God is NOT ignoring you!!! He sees your troubles. He see’s what you’ve been going through – ALL of it! He knows your pain and frustration. He knows and He CARES about it. Read Joel 3:21 to see what He has to say about it. Or perhaps John 3:16-18 might be a more familiar way to explain.

You see, the theme that started in our readings of Job and continued into Joel concludes in John!!! While there is destruction, it’s not the end! The end of Joel presents us with a prophecy, a promise, of THE coming pardon, the fulfillment of the FULL pardoning of all our sins past, present and future. John 1:1-5 helps us to understand how Jesus – the fulfillment of the promise – is our answer to the destruction around us.

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Who is “the Word”? Jesus! And what does this verse say about Jesus that is the key to our renewal from destruction? His life brought LIGHT to EVERYONE.

Why is that a big deal? BECAUSE! The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can NEVER extinguish it!!!

Boy, if that’s not good news today then I don’t know what is! That darkness that’s trying to destroy you from the inside out can NEVER destroy the light that shines from a heart that believes!

Read John 10:10, what is Satan’s purpose? And what is Jesus’?

To wrap up a week of stories of renewal after destruction God put this great bow on the package that I simply can not leave out! Take a moment to re-read John 11 here.

Take a special look at the wording of verse 4, “This sickness will not END in death.” Yes, Lazarus died and lay in a cold DEAD grave for FOUR days and that STILL wasn’t the END! So don’t you dare tell me that you’re at the end of your story and that there’s no hope left for your dream to find its way to fruition! Look at verse 4 and 14, what was the purpose of Lazarus’ sickness?

Could your “sickness” have the same purpose?

Have you been lying cold and dead for four days in a rock hard tomb waiting for the Savior of the World to come and roll away your stone and say, “Lazarus, come out!” Is it time for your resurrection? How about today you appeal to, as Paul calls Him in Ephesians 3:20, the One who can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or imagine. Let’s follow Martha and Mary’s eloquent lead and send HIM a message, “LORD, the one You love is sick.”

There may have been some destruction in your life as of late, but take heart my friend! For you time of resurrection is just around the corner!!!

 

Next Week’s Readings:

Day #:

Week #:

Bible Reading:

Date:

169

25

John 11:38-14:14

Nov 16

170

John 14:15-18:18

Nov 17

171

John 18:19-21:25

Nov 18

172

1 John 1:1-5:21

Nov 19

173

2 John & 3 John & Jonah

Nov 20

174

Joshua 1:1-4:24

Nov 21

175

Sabbath

Nov 22

Categories: 365 Life, Job, Joel, Jonah, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Impossible Dream

2 Chronicles 24:20-28:21

“The LORD is able to give you much more than this.” 2 Chronicles 25:9

One day when I was in Kindergarten, or there abouts, my mom said something to me that would stick with me forever. She said, “Honey, I think you’d make a really good teacher someday.” I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I remember how it made me feel when she said it. It felt like I’d been hit by a lightning bolt of revelation. I certainly wouldn’t have described it that way at the time mind you, I was like, 6. But more than anything I remember that feeling coming from deep inside me that she had said something deep and right. In that moment I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. And from that moment on that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. But at the time that this dream of teaching was born “I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) I was a child in elementary school, surrounded with women who taught elementary school and seemed to really love me for me. At the time that was all the higher I was able to dream because I didn’t know any differently.

As I grew the dream to be an elementary teacher solidified and become firm in my mind. I was going to be an elementary teacher. Period. When I got to high school all my friends knew that I wanted to teach elementary school. One of my friends went so far as to tease me that I should work with the Kindergarteners because they would be the only ones I could teach that would be shorter than me and take me seriously. (I’m 5 foot 2… on a good day.) I hated his taunt and vowed to *never* teach little kids.

Once I made it to college and I was studying at Purdue to be an elementary teacher, when something interesting started happening. There was this desire birthed inside me that was different from the original dream. I remember the classroom, the teacher, the other students in the room when the revelation started. I realized that I wanted to teach the building blocks of life. I wanted to teach them how to take a good test, how to be a good friend, how to survive in life. I wanted to teach so much more than what they were offering me to teach. I wanted to teach about LIFE more than math or reading or spelling.

So while I was still on my path to be the awesome elementary teacher I had always dreamed of being, there was disquiet in my soul about it now. Without my realizing it, the dream had changed. While I still desperately wanted to teach, I wasn’t exactly sure that elementary school was the right place for me anymore. But I was a semester or two from graduating, and I still wanted to teach so I carried on with my studies and graduated.

Just before graduation September 11th hit and changed our world forever. My husband and I had been married just over a year at that point and were considering having a baby. Then the towers fell and world was suddenly plunged into a darkness we had never experienced before. And the only thought in my head was, “how can we bring a child into a world like this?” But then God countered with, “If people like you never bring children of light into this world it will always be dark.” And by the time I walked across the stage at graduation I was fully pregnant. We moved back home to be close to our parents and I applied for a job at the local elementary school where they all knew and loved me. I got an interview fairly easily. But then the unthinkable happened. I was admitted into the hospital at 33 weeks gestation for pre-ecclampsia (high blood pressure). I was there for about a week before our son Gabriel was born.

He was born the day before my interview. I didn’t get the only job they had available to me. The door to that particular dream had officially shut. And really, I was OK with it. Mostly because at the time I was still battling for my life! But I’ll have to tell you more about that part later.

Gabe was about six months old when a daycare center opened up the next town over. We needed extra income and it was the ONLY thing for a teacher in the area. I applied and the owner thought she had died and gone to heaven. She couldn’t believe I wanted a job there instead of at the elementary school. I explained that there was nothing for me there and she snatched me up like a hot pancake fresh off the griddle. I was promoted to daycare director within a month of working there. And I LOVED it. Here I had been swearing I would NEVER work with little kids and now I was working with toddlers every day and thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Shortly after settling into my role as director we moved again. This time, to Glendale Heights, a suburb of Chicago, so that my husband could go back to school to be a mechanic. While there I tried my best to get a subbing job at the school that was located in our back yard but they weren’t hiring at the time. Imagine that. But I did manage to get a job in a local daycare center as a floating substitute. Except two weeks before I was set to start they had 15 kids enroll, this is absolutely unheard of. So they needed to open up a new classroom and guess who got to teach it. ME! I was in heaven. For the first time I had my own classroom, my own students, I was a real teacher. I was in love.

For the next five years I taught in three different preschool daycares and loved almost every second of it. I didn’t stay at that first one very long though because it was a corporate daycare and I could feel God calling me to a church daycare down the street.

There I was teaching children the true building blocks of life; both the physical ones and the spiritual ones. I was living the dream. But it wasn’t anything like the dream I had first started dreaming. It had grown and changed as I grew and changed and learned more about myself and who God was calling me to be.

Eventually I risked death once more in order to have our baby girl and my husband and I both could feel the Holy Spirit nudging us to take the financial plunge and have me stay home with the kids.

And this is where things really started changing. That first year home with a newborn was one of the hardest in my life. We had a new house, a new baby, I had a new job, it was crazy to say the least. But I had one salvation; our local women’s Bible study. That weekly meeting kept me sane through the chaos. But more than that, it was through that Bible study that God awakened something new in me. While I had always loved the LORD and had a relationship with Him; it was time to kick the teaching dream into real high gear. So He reawakened my dream and love for writing. A dream so dead in my life that I had completely forgotten I had had it in the first place. When I announced on Facebook that I was writing a book about God and sex (True Intimacy) I had a friend from middle school tell me that she still had all my short stories from that time. Stories I didn’t even remember writing she had kept for over ten years!

Even before I met my husband, I had dreamt of being a writer, a good one. It was a dream that I hardly even entertained because at that point it didn’t fit with my larger and longer lived dream of being an elementary teacher. I was still a child thinking like a child at that point. I was literally incapable of thinking any larger than the box I was currently in. Honestly, because I was dreaming up to the sides of the box… but never past what I could see as possibly achievable.

But then I started writing True Intimacy and everything changed. I was still teaching that dream has never died and I doubt it ever will. I was born to teach. I’ve come to the point where I’ve realized that I can teach just about anybody just about anything depending on the circumstance. When I was a child my dream was to be like those teachers I loved when I was in their classrooms. My dream is so different now, and yet completely the same. The Holy Spirit is my teacher; I’m an eternal student in His classroom of Life. And I want to be a teacher like Him in whatever classroom He chooses to place me in. Right now that classroom is my website, my books and my newspaper article. I’m also teaching social media classes at the local library. When I was a child my largest and grandest dream was to have my very own classroom that I could decorate any way that I chose and to teach whatever I felt appropriate. And while I no longer dream of an elementary classroom filled with construction paper decorations that fade in the sunlight, I do dream of souls saved by the Son light. I pray God uses me to bring His marvelous light into their lives. My classroom is the world.

At last count my website has been viewed by people in over seventy countries. My articles are in over a thousand homes in the area weekly with the numbers steadily rising. My deepest desire is no longer to teach children how to take a good test; it’s so much bigger than that. My dream is to teach the children of God how to pass the tests of life when they seem oh so impossible. I want to bring hope to the hopeless through the Word of Christ, because how can they believe if no one ever shares things with them? How will they hear if no one ever tells them? I have a heart for the lost children of God who think they have Him and know Him when in reality all they have is the dry bones of religion and nothing more. How will they know there is more
to the abundant life if someone doesn’t tell them?

Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” I have lived this more times in the last thirty-three years than I can count! God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or imagine through the power found in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 3:20) if we would only believe in Him. God has challenged me over the years to “dream big” and I feel like I have. Yet I know that my dreams still pale in comparison to the plans that He has for me.

He has plans for my welfare and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) “For now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) When I was a child, I dreamt a possible dream. Now as an adult I have chosen to dream an impossible dream. It’s a dream that I can’t possibly achieve on my own, not ever. But God has placed it in my heart none-the-less. It’s a dream where I write the books the world reads because they’re hungry for the bread from heaven. It’s a dream where I stand on a stage before thousands of people and lead them through a prayer of salvation followed by a worship and praise that they’ve been holding in their entire lives. I dream for people to KNOW Him like Adam knew Eve, intimately and beyond all shame because they’ve been eternally forgiven and not condemned. None of that is possible without God. Apart from God we can do nothing, but a part of Him we can do everything!

So often I feel like Mary in Luke chapter 1 when the angel Gabriel comes to her and tells her that she has been chosen to birth the Christ child and she says, “how can this be?” And the angel replies, “Nothing is impossible with God”.

Often I find myself praying and thanking God for using me for this or for that and I will say, “Lord, you could have used anybody to do that, but you used me. Thank You!” Do you know what He said the last time I prayed that, “No. I couldn’t have used just anybody. I could only use you.” And I knew that He had a point.

We are all made so uniquely that we all have a unique purpose in this world. We were created to perform certain jobs and functions that only we can do. And if we’re not doing them then who will get them done? If we’re not doing the job that we were created for then that job isn’t getting done correctly.

I was created to be a teacher. A teacher of the Word of God. I know that now. I NEVER in a million years would have known that in Kindergarten. I couldn’t dream that high. I still have trouble dreaming that high. But I know that as long as I keep following the Man with the plans I’ll get there. Somehow. Someday. In His way. Until then, I’ll keep dreaming the impossible dream that the God of all hope gave me to dream. He is a good God who fulfills His promises. No matter how impossible they may seem to us.

What’s your impossible dream?

Categories: 2 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He knows the plans

I’ve been having a rough week this week, things haven’t really been horrible, just not great either. It’s been a lot of sleepless nights, vivid dreams I can’t seem to remember and some I’d rather not. But today things seemed harder because today was the end of an era.

I’ve written a book for God with my husband and have not been able to publish it yet. We have a self-publishing company that we’re planning on going with, but the money for the project just isn’t coming in at all. God confirmed to me two Weeks ago that it is His will for me to be creating a program, to go along with the book we wrote, for small groups to go through the book together and support each other. He confirmed this to me by having the publishing company send me a flyer for their “publish two books for the price of one” sale. So, I’ve got to admit that when I saw the flyer the day after I realized that it was God’s will for me to write a companion journal for True Intimacy I assumed that it also meant that the funds for this whole project to get it off the ground would be here by the ending date of the sale… today.
As you have probably figured out, no money fell into my pockets from the sky today. And I have to admit there is a big part of me that wants to be disappointed about it. But at the same time I also know that GOD knows the plans that He has for me. They’re plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans for a hope and a future. Because I have called upon Him, I have come to Him in prayer and He has listened to me. I have sought Him with my whole heart, so I will find Him. He will bring me back from the captivity that we are in (financially). He will gather us from all the nations and places where He has banished us to and will bring us back to the place from which He carried us into exile. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
You see, there is something I have learned over the last few years of getting to know God more intimately… He really likes the dramatic last second rescue. He likes to be our knight in shining armor, riding in on His white horse to save the day. And why not? He is God after all, it’s not like He can’t do it. In Jeremiah 32:27 He tells us “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?” IS anything to hard for God? Is it too hard for God to get $25,000 together and into my bank account in 14 days? Of course not! So why didn’t He do it then? Because He has something better in mind that’s why!
He knows that it’s not my big dream to pay someone to publish our book, it’s my dream to have someone pay me to publish our book. And I believe that He will do it that way too.

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , ,

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