Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preservation of the Covenant

You know, I had big plans of this covenant bible study going through finals and all that jazz.
It didn't happen. Somehow, my life got a wee bit too busy. Something called Quantitative Methods and American Lit, and Survey of the Hebrew Scriptures got in the way. Um, oops.
So, we're back at it. I have big plans to finish this. Promise cross my heart.

Moses is our man today. 
As I talked about on Day 2, God always remembers His people and never forgets them. Exodus 2:24 reads, "So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." When a new Pharaoh came to town and enslaved the Israelites because he saw them as a threat, because they were multiplying in number, God steps in and rescues his people from the Egyptians. He sent this guy named Moses. But, before I get ahead of myself here, I better back up and tell you how we got to this point.
So, God told Abraham and his people to "be fruitful and multiply". So, they took that as a sign that they should have a bunch of babies. And while Joseph was in power, that was a-okay. I mean, he was BFFs with the king and all. But, then Joseph died and a new king came to power. This king wasn't too fond of all the Israelites. He feared that they would revolt and try and take over Egypt, so he enslaved them and killed all of their male children. Well, one day, Moses's mom gave birth to Moses. But, rather than telling everyone about him (and thus having him be thrown into the Nile) she kept him hidden away. She hid him for three months. But, it became to hard to hide the child, so she placed him in a little basket and put it in the river in the reeds. Miriam, Moses's sister, was to watch him to see what happened. Pharaoh's daughter was walking into the river to bathe when she came across the basket. She saw Miriam and sent her to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her. She said, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." This showed God's provision to Moses's mother, and it showed how God was planning on doing something big with Moses's life.
So, Moses grows up. Sees God in a burning bush. And tells Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh says no. God sends some plagues, kills some firstborn sons. The Israelites cross the Red Sea. You get the idea. Let's fast-forward a bit. Moses goes up to Mt Sinai to get the 10 Commandments from God (It's kind of a big deal). On the first day, we talked about how part of the covenant was that there were sanctions. These sanctions were rules that had to be followed. The 10 Commandments are the ones that we refer to the most, but there were also lots of other laws that God gave the Israelites during this time via Moses. He gave these rules for a reason. With that many people living together, certain behaviors had to be prohibited for the sake of community. If one person in the community began to sin, other people might also begin to sin. That is why the rules were so strict. After the law had been read, Exodus 24:7 says that "Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said,'All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.'" 
Then Moses gets a covenant with God. Just as we talked about the Adamic Covenant, the Noahic Covenant, and the Abrahamic Covenant, there's also a Mosaic Covenant. God tells Moses in Exodus 24:10, "Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you." Later in verse 27, God says, "Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." By entering into a covenant, it shows that God isn't just interested in the Israelites "following the rules or else". Rather, he wants a relationship. It's a mutual thing. It's not an ultimatum, it's a promise that things will be better if you do things they way he asks. He knows the greater good for the Israelites. I mean, he's bringing them to the Promised Land!
We know how the story goes. Even though we would think that the Israelites would jump on board and follow everything...we know they don't. Apparently, even though God can part the Red Sea, send manna, and lead them through the desert with pillars of fire and clouds...the Israelites still think they know better than God. So, they rebel against his law. There's consequences (i.e. they don't get to enter the Promised Land and must wander in the desert for 40 years). But, God doesn't forget them, and God doesn't forget his covenant with Moses. In Leviticus 26: 42-45, God says, 

Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. But,the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes.Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
We're never too far from God. He saved Moses even though Pharaoh was killing all the baby boys. He called to Moses through a burning bush and took care of all of Moses's excuses (by sending Aaron). He led the Israelites out of Egypt (and parted the Red Sea). He gave them the law to preserve their community, but even when they broke the law, he didn't break the covenant. When he walked through the fire to ratify the covenant with Abraham, he knew that he was taking responsibility. He remembered the Israelites even thought they forgot him. Even now, he remembers us even when we forget him.


  1. Do you ever think you are too far away from God? What does Moses's story tell us about this?
  2. If you were in God's position, would you want to forgive the Israelites? Or would you want to utterly destroy them?
  3. What does this tell us about how we need to live our lives if God is our example in all things? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

my heart is breaking.

I'm not sure I can even put how I'm feeling into words.
I know I'm supposed to hate Tuscaloosa.
I loath the University of Alabama with every bit of my being.
But, I would never wish this on anyone.

And my heart is breaking for the city of Tuscaloosa.
The families impacted by this storm.
The students displaced.
I started crying when the reports started coming in.
I put myself in their shoes...and I can't imagine.

Prayer is a powerful thing.
At the moment, 15 people are dead in Tuscaloosa and 50 in the state as a whole.
They are estimating that number to rise.

Pray for Alabama.
Just pray.
Pictures not my own obviously.
From Twitter.
Figured they wouldn't mind the prayer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

motto for the week:

Study, study, study...this girl needed a break.
A little "Secret Life".
A little bit of Teddy Grahams.
And...then back to the Stats book.

Easter Recap

Yesterday was Easter.
This week is finals.
Makes for very busy girl.
But, I'm taking a study break, 
So I thought I could post some pictures.

We'll start inside.
My church is celebrating "Christmastime All the Time".
It was a sermon series my pastor did at the beginning of the year
About how we need to Pray all the time, Serve all the time, etc.
So, all that to say, we still have a Christmas tree up at church.
Don't judge.
I know you wish your Easter pictures were in front of a Christmas tree.

Now to the outside pictures.
Every year, we take pictures by the flower cross.(See 2009 and 2010 pictures)
If you haven't figured it out by now, I didn't make my dress.
Just not interested in looking like a clown.
We'll fix it a bit and finish it and I'll post a picture.
Promise. I like embarrassing myself like that.

So, here are our two "cropped down" pictures I like the best.
I'm not a fan of the family picture (so I'm not posting)
And I secretly think the last one should be our Christmas Card picture.

Hallelujah! The Lord has risen!
Now, let's just remember...
The tomb is STILL empty.
Jesus has STILL risen from the dead.
Death has STILL been defeated.
It's not a once a year thing- It's an all the time thing.
May our lives continue to reflect this- not just in the Easter season.

Maybe it should be Easter-time all the time!
Haha! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brief Interlude

We're going to take a brief interlude off the traditional path we trace when discussing the covenant. Bear with me for a bit, and it will be worth it.

So, to catch you up to Genesis 25, Issac grows up and marries Rebekah. Abraham dies. Rebekah becomes pregnant with twin boys, Esau and Jacob. She knew they were going to be trouble from the time she was pregnant. Esau was born first, but Jacob followed soon after because he was born "gripping to Esau's heel". It was a big deal (even at infancy) who was born first, because they would get the inheritance. So, since Esau was first, he got the privilege of being "man of the house" after his father died and all that fun stuff. Jacob on the other hand? He got to learn to cook and stay at home. As they grew up, Esau grew into a great hunter and Jacob stayed around the house. Here's where our story starts.

At this point, Esau had everything going for him. He had a great life ahead. I mean, the family line (from Abraham and Issac, the covenant relationship, everything) was going to go through him. But, one day, he came home from hunting and he was hungry. I mean, starving. And, as he walks in, he smells Jacob cooking up some marvelous stew. And it smelled divine to this hungry hunter. So he says, "Dude. Gimme some stew." and Jacob replies, "Dude. Gimme your birthright." And Esau is like, "Um..DUDE. I'm STARVING. What good is a birthright to me if I'm about to DIE." (Drama queen much?). So, Jacob makes him swear an oath to give him his birthright. And Esau does it.

Did you catch that? ESAU DOES IT. He gives up everything he had. All his inheritance. All this "family line" stuff. All this "big man of the house" stuff. For some stew. And he really doesn't seem to care all that much. I mean, he just sits down and eats his stew. Like the biggest mistake of his life didn't just happen. Esau continues to make bad decisions in his life. Like, he marries a girl his parents don't like. And another girl his parents don't like. And causes his parents grief (it actually says that in Chapter 26). 

Here's the thing for the day. Esau could have had everything. He would have been in genealogies and chronologies and everything. You know the whole "Abraham begat Issac who begat Jacob" thing? It would have been "Abraham begat Issac who begat Esau" all the way down to Jesus. He could have been in the family line of Jesus...but he gave it up for a bowl of soup. He decided to put something petty over the promises of the covenant. And in the end...I wonder if he really thought it was worth it or if he suffered from regret.

So, for today, let's think about what the "soup" is in our lives. What are you trading God's promises for? Yes, you may not be trading your spot in the "family line", but you might be trading your spot in God's family. Is it worth it? Is a little thing like soup worth a lifetime separated from God? I'm thinking not. 

retail therapy.

End of semester is almost here.
One more day of classes...and then finals.

Since Sunday is Easter, I needed some Easter shoes.
I found them after searching for approximately 30 minutes in a shoe store with no air conditioning.
But they're cute. And white. And ruffly.
But you can't see them until Easter.
Since they are in my car.
(I didn't want to forget them when I went home)

Since I was out and about in Sketchville
(Well, there was a shooting in the parking lot a few weeks ago)
I decided that I should do a little looking around.
I remembered I needed some index cards and tape for finals.
(Well, index cards for finals...tape for when I need tape)

I also went to a cute little shop where I found this.
It's a toothbrush holder.
I've needed one all semester because my hairbrush is right next to my toothbrush....
And you know what that mean.
2 dolla. Steal of a deal, right?
(It's almost better than a 5 dolla, 5 dolla footlong from Subway. Almost)

But my deal of the day?
My steal of a deal?
My best of the best.
It's this baby.

I've always wanted a bump.
But, this girl's hair doesn't want to bump.
Until Mr. Bumpit came into the picture.
We're bffs already.
And he only cost 1.45 plus tax.
I've already tried it once.
And let me tell you...I can give Snookie a run for her money.
Just watch.

Monday, April 18, 2011

monday link love.

Since my laptop (that I love oh so dearly) has decided that the screen no longer wants to work unless I hold it at an incredibly awkward angle with my finger pushing on the screen (I've diagnosed it with LCD Matrix failure from doing a little research on YouTube and the interwebs, we'll see what Dell has to say about it in the upcoming week), I'm taking a brief break from the covenant study (since all my research is on my sick computer). Lucky for me, HC gives a laptop to each incoming student. So, all I have to do is switch stuff over and I'm a-okay until Dr. Dell fixes my luckily-still-under-warranty computer. I'll be working on that for the night, but I thought I would leave you with some links that have been on my mind this past week.

  1. Is Mother Earth human? And does she deserve global human rights (such as "the right to life and to exist; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered; the right to have nature’s processes free from human alteration.")? That's what the UN is debating this week. Apparently Bolivia wants to stick up for Mother Earth. What gets under my skin is these Bolivian government officials care more about the planet than the massive amounts of poverty in their country (and around the world). The earth deserves pure water? What about the humans?
  2. Nicole wrote this wonderful post on her experience at Living Proof Live in Little Rock this past weekend. While I know most of the points she makes are from her notes from Beth Moore's talks, it is simply wonderful and really made me think. 
  3. Amy Beth has become my inspiration. Like really, I want to be like this girl when I'm twenty six and have the passion to live it out for God like she does. Just when I think I'm close, she goes out and becomes a foster parent. (Which means, keep her in your prayers, guys.) Most 26 year old single women would not go out of their way to take in two teenagers and a toddler. Just go read every post. I really can't pick one (but the ones she talks about corn nuggets and buffets are pretty funny. Just saying. If you need somewhere to start).
  4. I have a pinterest now. (Haha, it took me long enough to figure out!) If you want to see how my wedding planning is going (haha. No worries. Not engaged. Not in a relationship. I just like weddings.) or look at pretty pictures and might want to check it out.
  5. Annie posted the following picture on her tumblr this week. And it made me smile a wee bit. I love stereotypes. Especially when we're talking about Alabama. (Note: I love my state and all the ridiculousness that comes with it. But, I also like to joke around and be silly about how we're fat, happy, stupid rednecks that carry around guns. Or at least, that's what Obama thinks.)  
And my dears...that's all for today. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Imagine if one day God told you to move to a land far away. A land where you had no family (aside from your wife that would be traveling with you and your servants). A land where you had no land, because your family's land was in the land you were leaving. In Genesis 12, this was the situation Abraham was facing when God told him, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (vs. 1-3)
Imagine a little while later, after God has brought you to this new land and provided for your needs. Imagine the Lord telling you, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” One small problem. You have no children. You're 99 years old. And your wife? She's 90. It seems like an impossibility. These promises that the Lord is making sound impossible. But you have faith. God reassures you that he has provided for you thus far. And he keeps his promises, even after you and your wife sin. Sarah decides not to trust God, so she has Abraham sleep with her slave-girl, Hagar. All seems like it's going wrong. But then, God steps in. He tells you, I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” God promises to always be there. He has so not forgotten you. Then, he adds that Sarah will give birth to a son, that you will name Issac, about this time next year. God keeps his promise and a year later, the following story plays out:
The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. And Abraham named their son Isaac. Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. -Genesis 21:1-5
This happens after Abraham and Sarah tried to convince various kings that they were brother and sister because they did not trust God to protect them as a married couple because Sarah was so pretty. This happens after Hagar, the aforementioned slave-girl, gives birth to a son named Ishmael. This happens after Abraham and Sarah were incredibly unfaithful. Yet, God stayed faithful. He did exactly what he had promised.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Issac grows into a young boy. And then, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. He says, "Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (22:2) God asks Abraham to give up his most prized possession. At the same time, God puts the covenant at risk. Abraham must have been thinking about how ridiculous he was for trusting God. I mean, Abraham was over a hundred at this point. Sarah was in her nineties. The chances of her getting pregnant again were slim. And, I mean...what would she do when he came home empty handed without their son? How would God keep his covenant if Issac died? How would Abraham have many descendants if his son died? If he had no family line, how could the covenant be kept. But then, God came through.

When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”   “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven.“This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me." -Genesis 22:9-18
Even in the darkest hour, when Abraham was sure he had been tricked, God came through and remained faithful. Even when Abraham was unfaithful, God stayed faithful. Abraham's story is an amazing illustration of God's faithfulness. Yes, God's plans don't always make sense. They sometimes sound kind of funny. But in the end, it will be worth it. God will stay faithful.

1. Abraham and Sarah thought that it was impossible for them to have a child at 90 and 100 years old. Yet, God promised Abraham he would have many descendants. God kept this promise when Sarah gave birth to Issac. What is something "impossible" that can be made "possible" by God?
2. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the one he loved so much. What is the "Issac" in your life that you have put before God? How may God be asking you to "sacrifice" it so that the glory can go to his name? When we obey God and don't withhold our best, he can bless us and show his glory so much more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When the Lord told Noah there was Gonna be a Floody-Floody

So, Friday got a little busy due to some severe weather and some working on the Easter dress (which currently looks like a cross between a clown, an easter egg, and a swimsuit cover-up...but more on that at a later date). So, today we're going to look at the Noahic Covenant- or, as I like to say it, "When the Lord told Noah there was Gonna be a Floody-Floody"

I think most of us are familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark. If you're not, you can look it up in Genesis. Or in your Jesus Storybook Bible. That's my favorite version. :)
But, since you've familiarized yourself with the story already, we're going to pick up at the end after the big floody-floody after Noah and his peeps have found dry land and Noah is talking to God.
Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”-Genesis 9:8-17
If you notice, the word "covenant appears seven times in the previous passage. I'm taking this to mean that it's pretty important what God had to say here.We're going to remember back for a moment to the beginning of the story. If you remember, God flooded the Earth because its inhabitants had become evil and corrupt. But, unlike the people around him, Noah did not partake in the evil that surrounded him and stayed righteous. He kept up the standards that God had laid before him. So, God set him apart and instructed him to build a large boat, well, ark. Because it was going to rain. Water was going to fall from the sky. This was really weird to Noah, but he obeyed God, even though God's instructions sounded kind of funny. You see, in that didn't rain. It had never rained...ever. The water came up from the ground like dew. So, if you would, imagine Noah working on this huge ark and his neighbors walking by asking what he was doing. And imaging him telling them...I'm building this boat-thingy because God says its going to rain. And those people just walk on by laughing at him, day after day. But then, the big flood comes and they aren't laughing anymore. I'm guessing they wish that they had the faith that Noah did that God was going to do what he had promised. God took care of and provided for Noah and his family because of his obedience. God stayed faithful.

And God remained faithful. Imagine being stuck on a boat in the middle of water for over a year with your extended family and lots and lots of animals. I'm thinking it probably began to get a little cramped in the ark. And maybe a little stinky, too. Sometimes I wonder if Noah and his family ever started doubting that God was going to recede the flood waters so that they could get to dry land. I wonder if they ever questioned God during the months and months they were stuck on the boat. But then, it happened. God remembered that they were floating along and he ended the great flood. Then, he made a promise, a covenant, with Noah and his sons. He promised to "never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth". He then gave a rainbow as a sign of the covenant. I think this is such a wonderful reminder. Every time we see a rainbow, we can remember that God is faithful and will always keep his promises. He will always remember his people, even when he leads them into crazy situations. That's what I want us to focus in on today: God's faithfulness never ends. God can lead us into pretty crazy places way outside our comfort zone. Um, hello. Been there, done that. But, we just need to remember he is always there and will never forget us. He doesn't promise safety or security. He doesn't promise it will always be easy. He doesn't promise other people will always agree with us. But, he does promise that if we go with him, he will always be there. And that's the everlasting promise that we are reminded of when we see the pretty rainbow up in the sky. We can remember when the Lord told Noah there was gonna be a floody-floody and how the Lord was faithful to his promises.

1. What kind of "floods" have happened in your life? (I don't mean horrible situations, focus in on what you thought was impossible (i.e. the rain) but was made possible by God). How was God faithful through these situations?
2. What kind of symbol is the rainbow? What are the "rainbows" in your life that reassure you of God's faithfulness?
3. Prayerfully consider what are some"crazy things" might God be leading you to do that are way out of your comfort zone.  How can God help you through these things/ lead you to these things?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the creation story.

There are many theories on how we got here. Some people like to argue that a big bang happened and the Earth was formed. There's multiple stories out there of how it all went. There's also different Greek, Babylonian, etc myths out there. But, the main difference between these creation myths and the biblical creation story is that in all other creation myths, humans were created as slaves for the gods. But, in the Genesis story, we were created to have a relationship with the creator. Isn't that amazing? We were created for the sole purpose of having a loving relationship with the Creator of the Universe. When I stop and think about just blows my mind.
Here's where covenant comes into the story. You see, God could have decided to create a bunch of minions that had no choice but to worship and obey him. He could have created us without the free will to choose to love him. As we talked about in Day 1, But, in order for there to be true love, he had to give man the option to reject his love.  Following the rules without a relationship means nothing.This set up God's intention for humanity. He created Adam who chosen by God to have the first chance at free will. He had the opportunity to have a "one on one" relationship with God. I kind of giggle when I think of having a "one on one" with God because it reminds me of the Bachelor. All of the girls fight over/ get their feelings hurt over who gets the "one on one" dates. What would our spiritual lives look life if we fought to have a "one on one" relationship with God? Anyways, God told Adam one thing. He just had one tiny request. He said,  “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” God had to give man (well, Adam) the possibility of rejecting his love in order to have a real loving relationship with him. Oh- and then God created Eve. Lots of people like to blame Eve for what went down in the garden with the serpent. But, in reality, Adam was the one who God commanded to pass along the rules. So, the serpent comes to tempt Adam and Eve and tells them that they can gain the knowledge of good and evil if they eat of the tree. So, Eve is deceived and Adam is too. It's at this point that the relationship between God and man becomes broken. This is the pivotal point for the entire rest of the Bible. The rest of the Bible is about finding a solution for the sin problem. In the Old Testament, the Israelites try to find the 
solution on their own. In the New Testament, we find a savior.  
Here's the important thing. The fact that God didn't give up on mankind in the Garden shows that God still loves us and wants to be with humans in the future. It is also foreshadowing to the fact that God always keeps up with his end of the deal, even when we fall short. We can have hope for a bright tomorrow because of this. Adam and Eve messed up big time. And this theme is only continued throughout the Bible when God's "chosen people" put themselves first and fail to keep the covenant. In the garden, God set only one stipulation: Don't eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He even told them the consequences: Death. But, this covenant (commonly referred to as the Adamic Covenant) was just the first time that God showed that He would remain faithful even when his people were not. Tomorrow, we'll look at the covenant God made with Noah after the great Flood.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cast of Characters

I am so excited guys. We've made it to Day 2! Every single day is a milestone in my book and is worth being celebrated. Today, we're going to finish up the introduction by discussing the main characters of the story. While obviously we're going to discuss lots of people and the way the covenant applied to them, the two most important characters in this story of covenant are YHWH and Israel. If you're like me, you may have heard of the Israelites. Something about them wandering around in the desert for forty years or something. But, YHWH? What's so important about those four letters? Well. Actually, those four letters in Hebrew mean a lot.  

In the Old Testament, God is referred to using the Hebrew name YHWH or Yahweh. YHWH is a revelation of the true name of God meaning “I AM WHO I AM”. The name given is linked to God’s very essence, which is why God hesitated giving it to Moses to begin with. If you remember back to the beginning of Exodus, Moses had run away from Egypt and escaped to Midian. He was tending his father-in-law's flock up at Mount Sinai when the Lord appeared to him in the fire of a burning bush. Moses was a little freaked out by all of this (as many of us would be also), especially when God told him that he was being called to bring God's people out of Egypt. In the ancient times, knowing someone’s name meant you had power over them. So, Moses asked God what his name was. When Moses did this, he was asking God to give him the power in the relationship. This is why God gives such a mysterious answer. One scholar in The New Interpreter’s Study Bible says, “The everlasting quality of the name signifies the faithfulness of God’s actions towards Israel in the future.” 
Bush at St. Catherine's Monastery that is thought of to be the burning bush where Moses encountered God.
God demands radical obedience and faithfulness. In Deuteronomy 20:2-3, God demands Israel’s sole obedience and tells them that they may have no other gods, or lords. In a political covenant in the Biblical times, when two parties made a covenant, the lesser of the parties was not allowed to enter into treaties with other lords. This was as much for the original lord’s sake as it was for the servant. Having multiple lords would put them at a risk of messing up the covenantal relationship. This reminds me of the place in the Gospels where Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters. This is the covenant relationship he was referring to. The shema is most important statement in Jewish faith. The shema is found in Deuteronomy 6:4 and it reads“Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” This is a statement of monotheism. No other gods are in his presence. Unlike other gods that the people worshiped, the Lord isn’t part of a pantheon. He is in a class of his own.
The most important revelation of the covenant is that Yahweh is faithful. Even when Israel continues to sin, Yahweh continues to show His glory and provide for His people. Even when judgment comes and the Lord must punish Israel for their disobedience, he does not abandon his people forever. God always remembers His people and never forgets them. Exodus 2:24 reads, "So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." When a new Pharaoh came to town and enslaved the Israelites because he saw them as a threat, because they were multiplying in number, God steps in and rescues his people from the Egyptians. This reminds us that even in the darkest of times, we can take comfort in Him and He will remember us. In this pit of darkness when the Israelites felt that their God had abandoned them, God was raising up a leader (Moses) to rescue them (by speaking to him at the burning bush).

So, then. We've talked about Israel on several occasions in the last few paragraphs. I'm going to close today with a quick summary of Israel, just in case you didn't catch some things in the first part. We will go into more detail about the Israelites in the coming days.
According to the Old Testament, Israel was God’s chosen people, set apart by God to be used for his glory. They were the people brought out of Egypt to the Promised Land and composed of twelve tribes. Unlike God, though, Israel did not stay faithful to the covenant. They did not fully realize that being God’s chosen people brings responsibility and were disobedient. They continually fail to keep up their end of the deal. Israel ends up failing completely at keeping the covenant. Many of the prophets went as far to say that Israel was engaging in spiritual prostitution. As a result, Israel’s disobedience brought about severe consequences. Luckily for them, since God was the one who passed through the animal at the ratification ceremony, the keeping of the covenant was not dependent on them. Since God remained faithful, they were provided for. This continues to be applicable to our lives today. Even though we continually sin and fall short, God is always there to pick us up! God's deepest desire is to enter into a loving relationship with us and have us choose to put him first. We still struggle, just like our ancestors, the Israelites. That is why it is so important that we read the Bible so that we can learn from their mistakes. This way, we don't do the same things in our lives. 


  1. Earlier, we talked about how the Israelites did not fully realize that being God’s chosen people brings responsibility and were disobedient. With this knowledge, imagine a job description for being one of "God's Chosen". 
    1. What kind of qualities would it list?
    2. What does this mean for your life? 
    3. Are you taking your "job title" of being one of God's chosen people seriously and being responsible with it? Or do you throw it around like any other phrase?
  2. We're somewhat used to the idea that our salvation is based on Jesus alone. The idea that we are not worthy of eternal life by ourselves is an idea many of us are familiar with. The covenant was based on God's faithfulness, not Israel's faithfulness- which falls along the same lines. I know, I know, the Israelites had to offer up sacrifices every time they sinned. But, even when they failed, God still kept his promises.
    1. Do you think that the idea of OT covenant and the NT covenant are the same? Why or why not.
    2. If you think they are similar, how does it make you feel that it's always been this way? 

Coming Soon: Tomorrow, we will begin looking at the covenant with creation!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not Your Everyday Bible Study: Introduction

Before this semester, I placed little significance on the word covenant. This isn't to mean I hadn't ever heard of it or's just that the word meant little to me. But, I'm currently taking a class on the Old Testament and a big part of the class is learning about the theme of covenant. I've been thinking about trying to do a blog series on here and in the meantime, I had been mapping out the theme and application of covenant in the bible. This was partially due to me having a paper due for my religion class, but it was also done for myself as I read through the Bible. Since this theme has become so applicable to my spiritual life, I wanted to share it will all of you. I have a small plan mapped out, but it may change slightly as we go, since I'm writing most of the material as we go. First, we will address the definition of covenant, YHWH, and Israel. Then, we will dig deeper into some of the biblical covenants, such as the Covenant with Creation, the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, etc. Rather than focusing on all the nitty gritty details, I also want to explore some of the larger themes and what it means to our life today. Finally, we will end up with the New Covenant, which came with Jesus. Please know that I don't have all the answers, I'm so not claiming to. I'm praying that God will show himself through this study and help each of us as we go along. I'm going to have some discussion at the end and throughout for you (and me!). Feel free to answer them if you want to. You can answer in the comments or in your own notebook, whichever you like. No pressure. If you have some thoughts on a particular lesson, feel free to comment or email me. I've never done this kind of this, so I'm learning as we go! I appreciate any constructive feedback you offer. I'm thinking there may be video blogs for some of the days (if I can ever get my webcam to cooperate with YouTube! Haha!). I'm also working on a button for you to place on your blog or in a post (or for me to use to identify the Bible Study posts) that will be available soon on the sidebar.

Let's go! 
Today, we are going to begin by talking about the definition of covenant. defines "covenant" as being "an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified." In the legal sense, covenants have been made outside of the Bible for as long as they have been made inside the Bible. The theme of covenant meant much more to the people in the Bible times. They would have known the seriousness of the matter. When we think of covenant today, we do not understand the seriousness of it. In our minds, contracts and covenants and promises and the like are made to be broken. When signing a marriage license, many people do not realize they are entering into a covenental relationship. They are promising to love each other forever and ever. Yet, couples still get divorced. You have no idea how many girls my age that I hear say things like, "Yeah, he may not really be 'the one', but we can always get divorced". Or "Marriage isn't really forever. That's just in fairytales". The sacredness of marriage and the seriousness of promising someone forever has been lost. 

Berit is the Hebrew word that describes the covenant between God and His chosen people. When translated, it means something similar to promise or pledge. This theme of covenant is repeated throughout the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments. The most basic definition of a covenant is a legal agreement held together by relationship. This differs from a contract, which is held together by law. When God created the covenant with Israel in the Old Testament, he gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and required sacrifices to be made when the Israelites messed up. But, he wanted more than just obedience from his people. God’s intention for humanity was to enter into a loving relationship. But, in order for there to be true love, he had to give man the option to reject his love.  Following the rules without a relationship means nothing. God could have created a tiny army of minions that had no choice by to obey him and love him. But, that's not the foundation true love is built upon. He didn't want to have to force creation to obey Him, he wanted his creation to love him so much that they chose to obey Him all by themselves. 

In order for the covenant to be valid, it has to be ratified.There are typically three ways to ratify the covenant: offer a blood sacrifice, share a meal, or identify with a garment. All three ways were used in the Bible. For example, when God made a covenant with Abraham, he entered into a blood covenant with him. The Lord promised Abraham that he would be given descendants. As part of the blood sacrifice ritual, the Lord walked through the sacrificed animal, but Abraham did not. This signified the Lord essentially saying, “If I ever break this covenant, may what happened to this animal happen to me.” We will discuss more about this later when we talk about the Abrahamic Covenant in a few days. The important thing to know at this point is that the biblical covenant was only based on God's faithfulness- not Israel's.

Earlier, we talked about how "following the rules without a relationship means nothing". 
  1. What does this mean to you?
  2. How does it make you feel that the creator of the universe created you, designed you, for the sole purpose of entering into a loving relationship with him?
  3. How can you take your role in the covenant seriously and what kind of changes in focus do you need to make in your own life? (Meaning, how does your "relationship" need to change? Don't focus on the rules here. That will come with a better relationship.)

End Of Semester Goals

I cannot believe it's almost the end of the semester. Madness I tell you. Two weeks from today, finals start. It's crazy to think I've already been at HC an entire semester. There's still so many things on my list (i.e. eat at the pizza place down the road, see a movie at the Capri, oh- and eat another cupcake from Lousia's. I'm a cupcake freak). In all the craziness, I've seemingly forgotten to blog. And Project Life was forgotten. But, that's okay. I've taken a few week hiatus and I'm ready to get back in the game. Watch out a week from today for Project Life Tuesday. This girl is ready to get the show back on the road!

I have three goals to do by the end of the semester (April 30). I think three is a good number, not too many and not too few! If you remember, at the beginning of March, I listed three goals. I decided that needed an update and that I could add three new ones.

March Goals Update:
1. Play catchup on my SSMT verses. --I didn't do real great on this one. I've had a hard time remembering to do this. While I did complete my Bible Reading Plan I talked about, the memorization thing didn't work. I'm not sure I'll be able to catch up, so I'm setting a personal goal of just one verse a month (starting in April) and reviewing the ones I've already learned. The way I figure it, it's not about the legalism, it's about immersing yourself in the word.
2. Work on finding ways to love the unloved in the community around me. --The girl I talked about in the post is actually not coming to class anymore. I talked to her a little one day when she came and she began blaming her problems on her family and depression. I told her I would pray for her and gave her my number if she needed anything. She's actually transferring at the end of the semester, but if you think about it, pray for T and that God would calm her heart and show her the path he is leading her on.
3. Get the area under my bed organized and do laundry. --I did it! The area under my bed is actually pretty organized and I did laundry several times--yesterday in fact! I'm pretty proud of my ability to keep my laundry levels under control. Yay!

Three Goals to Complete Before the End of Semester:
1. Study, study, study for exams and make outlines of everything I learned in each class to help study for the finals. Don't get behind or wait until the last possible minute.
2. Blog Bible Study- Details coming soon (as in later tonight!)
3. Take pictures at least 5 out of 7 days for Project Life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

book review: save the date

So, it's been awhile since I've done a book review. And seeing as I found a book under my bed last week that I'd been meaning to review for Book Sneeze for a bit, I figbured there was no time like the present.

Today, I'm going to be reviewing Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones. No, my dears, not Junie...Jenny. Haha (how many people got that one?). This one's a fiction novel...which means this chick lit fan really liked it. :)

Enter Lucy. A single woman who works for a nonprofit that she created to take in foster girls off the street and help them learn how to be bright, young Christian women that shine the glory of God. Part of this job is finding and securing donations from local businesses and churches to help keep the organization afloat. Sinclair Enterprises has been one of her biggest donors- until now. Their VP (well, ex-VP, now) had squandered away millions (or, well, thosands. Whatever). So, in order to get back on budget, they slash their donation to 30 percent of what they had been giving Saving Grace (which is big bucks). So, Lucy must find a way to keep the home open so that they can provide a home for these girls.

Enter Alex. Football player. You know. The one you love to hate. Has it all until a knee injury puts him out of the game. Permanently. He has it all...except for the votes he needs for his congressional campaign. Apparently the voters think he's a bit of a player...according to the tell all in People magazine...he is. He needs to find a sweet hometown beauty to win the voters hearts. And that's where Lucy comes in. She needs money to keep Saving Grace afloat. He needs a woman to stand by him. And God? Well, he has a plan bigger than either of them could EVER imagine.

On a scale of 1 to 5...I'd give this one a 7. It's a keeper for my bookshelf...and I'd highly recommend you get yo a copy!

Legal Jargon: I was given this book for free in exchange for a review from BookSneeze's Blogger Review Program. I didn't have to give a positive review. Blah, blah, blah. Don't sue me if you don't like it. I can't help I'm a sucker for these kind of books. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

modern day slave.

It's breaking my heart bit by bit.
It's something so horrible and awful I truly cannot even begin to imagine it.
And it's in the news...again.

I just came across The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern Slavery. I discovered it today while reading the news (yes. I do that. On a variety of sites to make sure I get a complete array of viewpoints.) And it's what I was looking for. Further confirmation I'm not the only one that thinks this is a problem. And I'm looking on their site to see what organizations they discuss...and WHAM...IJM pops up. Yessir. It's a God thing (yes. I just said God spoke to me through CNN. Crazy. I know.)

Here's the thing. Let me educate you a bit.

  • The UN estimates that between 10 and 30 MILLION people in the world are enslaved. Women, children...even some men. This is in a variety of different trades, not just the sex industry. Sometimes even the food you eat...may have been picked or caught by a slave. For obvious reasons, we don't have an exact number. Which's probably higher than we really think
  • The average cost of a slave during the pre-Civil War era (adjusted for inflation) would be about $40,000 of today's US dollars. The average cost of a slave today? $90. Why are we so outraged about what happed 200 years ago in our nation, but we aren't upset about the modern-day slaves today? Do we think that they deserve it? Or do we just want to ignore the problem?
  • The human trafficking industry is now one of the fastest growing illegal enterprises in the world. It's tied with arms smuggling and second only to the illicit drug trade. 
  • Many of these people didn't choose to become slaves (like we would think). They were either sold in to slavery by a family member or they were lured to a big city or another country with the promise of a god job (so that they could support their families). 
  • It's estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 children are at risk in the UNITED STATES (um, hello. That's where you and me live) at getting trapped in the sex trade industry.
  • I know when I think of these children, these young girls, I tend to think of Hispanics and Asians. So, I'm normally able to distance myself a bit from it all. I can pretend they are here illegally and all. But, NINETY percent of the cases in Atlanta (not too far from where I live)...are African American girls. Girls that were raised in poverty and tried to run away. Girls stuck in the foster care system. Girls...just like you and me...that at 13 and 14 should be talking about how cute Justin Bieber is...not having to sleep with 50 to 60 middle aged men...a day.
  •  These girls start out thinking they found a cute older boyfriend. Little do they know...he's not really that into her. Then, he asks her to introduce him to her friend. Or bring him someone she goes to school with. And the cycle continues and multiplies.
  • For more information and stories, go here.
I literally feel nauseated just thinking about it. It's sickening to think that this is happening on our doorstep...within the city walls. And the fact that it's getting out in the open and people (like CNN) are reporting about it and advocating for these people is amazing. But here's the's not just children who are trapped in this industry. There are women, too. Sometimes...they're misled about what they are doing and it's all they can do. Sometimes...they aren't allowed to leave and stop. Sometimes there is someone bigger and stronger. So, next time you hear about something/someone....speak up. Maybe it's for their better good. Yes, she may go to jail. But, she may also me rescued. Don't judge and think someone chose that profession. Let me tell you, 11 year old girls are not capable of making that decision. Get educated guys. Think about it. And tell everyone you know. Together (with God's help) we CAN change this. We can free people. Lives can be changed. And God can be glorified. 

Monday, April 4, 2011


I believe you have two choice in this life: accept the chaos that the world around you and move on or don't accept the chaos and let the it destroy you.

We're reading a story in my American Lit class called "Entropy" by Thomas Pynchon. Honestly, the guy's more than a little psycho. He's completely nuts. And it took me about nine times reading the story to begin to grasp the meaning held within it. But, once I got's here. It's real. And, maybe just maybe, the guy isn't as crazy as I thought he was.

I'm not going to retell the story in it's entirety, because you can preform a simple Google search and find it for yourself. But, the main story is about two characters. The first one, Meatball Mulligan has a lease breaking party at his apartment. The party gets crazy wild and out of hand and chaos enters the equation. At one point there's a girl drowning in the shower. Crazy. I know, right? He realizes he has two choices. He can either go hide in the closet or he can go out there and get the party under control and fix it. He's able to troubleshoot the problem (by calling the refrigerator repair man, giving the sailors more alcohol, etc) and moves on. Rather than hiding from his problems, he resolves them and controls the chaos. On the other hand, we have Meatball's upstairs neighbor Callisto. The first thing we know is off about this guy is that he's married to an alien woman. Um, yeah. Weird. Moving on, we find out him and his alien wifey have developed a perfectly controlled ecosystem within their apartment. They never go out (because they are part of the perfect system), but rather they have anything they need delivered to them. And then- chaos enters the equation. The little bird that Callisto spends the entire story trying to keep alive dies. And at that moment, his perfect system is destroyed. It sets up a string of horrible events and opens himself up to the chaos of the outside world. He's unable to troubleshoot his problems and is ultimately destroyed (it's implied he's certain he is on an imminent path to death/darkness).

So, what does this all mean? And why am I blogging on it?
Entropy (as defined by my English teacher and interpreted by my "I've never taken physics and I never wish to" mind) is the measure of disorder in a system. It's the idea that nature pushes towards disorder or randomness (which we commonly refer to as chaos). Wikipedia (closest thing I have to a Physics textbook) says that "The interpretation of entropy in statistical mechanics [the interpretation Pynchon refers to in the story] is the measure of uncertainty which remains about a system after its observable macroscopic properties, such as temperature, pressure and volume, have been taken into account." As humans, we have a tendency to move towards disorder. We don't want to, but we do. There is a certain amount of uncertainty (that we can't calculate) in our lives. Chaos is inevitable. We try and control our lives, but time and time again, chaos turns up and enters our zone. Basically...we don't have control.

We only have one choice and one thing we can have control over. We can either choose to be destroyed by this chaos (because "in this world we will have troubles") or we can embrace it and trust that God knows what's going on. I believe the God I serve is not bound by the laws of Physics. I believe he can truly do anything and that there is no chaos in His life. He's in complete control of what's going on and he has my best interests in mind. Like in Job. God allows Satan to try and test Job so that the glory of God can be shown. In the end, the greater good is done and Job is rewarded for his faithfulness. While we are here on earth, there will be chaos. And we will not always be in control (you have no idea how hard it is for me to say that). But. Take heart. For HE has conquered the world.

It's up to you to decide. Are you going to embrace the chaos and hang on for the wild ride? Or are you going to be destroyed by it?  Entropy is inescapable. We're all going to have chaos in our lives and can't plan every  detail of what's going to happen. We can't live in a bubble- a perfectly controlled environment- forever. Something's going to come along and shake up our world. So, where do you stand? 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Findings.

Just a few songs that have been stuck in my wee little brain that I thought I would share with all you lovelies on this wonderful Friday morning.
  1. Agnes Dei
  2. Show Me Your Glory
  3. Revelation Song
  4. The More I Seek You
  5. Let Us Love
Oh....welcome to my life. :)