Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Feeling God’s Sadness:Isaiah 1 September 27, 2008

Filed under: Isaiah — womenembracingfaith @ 3:35 am
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Babies are so endearing. Such consumers of our time and money. Wonder why God gives them to us?

“‘I have nourished and brought up children,

And they have rebelled against Me;

The ox knows its owner

And the donkey its master’s crib;

But Israel does not know,

My people do not consider.

Alas, sinful nation,

A people laden with iniquity,

A brood of evildoers,

Children who are corrupters!

They have forsaken the Lord,..'” Isaiah 1:2-4

God is giving a very painful evaluation of the people who are called by His name–specifically those of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem, around 740 BC.  Most of the first part of Isaiah is a call to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to repent before the Assyrians destroy them.  But, this passage is directed toward the Southern Kingdom, Judah, whom Assyria would never conquer.  However, this passage could be applied to anyone who claims to be in relationship with God yet continues living her life her way. Or, by implication, it could be applied to any Christian church tolerating evil and corruption.

Rebellious children break parents’ hearts. After all we do and sacrifice for them! We can all relate to His pain and sorrow.

But in this case, it is the Sovereign God of the Universe who is speaking to Judah, a small insignificant nation claiming to be special to Him. Even the ox and the donkey–noted to be dumb– know who their Master is, who owns them. But this rebellious people don’t even think about that! That’s pretty arrogant, isn’t it? But, God is sorry for them.  “Alas..” They are carrying a heavy load because of their sin and corruption and rejection. They have turned their backs on their rightful Master.

What Bible themes help us apply this passage?

One of the themes is God’s Faithfulness To His People While Remaining Holy and Just. He keeps His promises to them. He will never leave them or forsake them. His compassion and patience stretch to the heavens!

Yet, another theme warns: He will not always look the other way, appearing to tolerate sin. He is Holy, distinct from others because He is perfect and just. God’s compassion is sure. It is most seen in Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness. He satisfied God’s justice.  He covered our sin.

With these themes in the back of our minds as we read this passage, we can apply them to ourselves.

Do you call yourself God’s child? Then don’t be burdened down by your sins. Throw them off and run back to your Father like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Your Father will throw a party! There will be joy, gladness, hope.

God gives us children so, as we raise them, we can learn something about His character, especially His love and compassion. They are created “for His own glory,” –to display what our Savior is really like. Children help us understand how God feels.  “I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against me.” No one wants that feeling.

 Has your church been tolerating evil and corruption by not practicing church discipline?  These biblical principles and this particular passage urge us to turn from our sins and follow the Lord Jesus Christ both individually and corporately.

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It Is Fun To Be a Grandparent! September 25, 2008

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 1:48 am
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Brandt, John-John, and Benjamin playing.

Brandt, John-John, and Benjamin playing.

 

Summer at the Beach

Filed under: Family Life — womenembracingfaith @ 1:39 am
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John William at the beach!
John William at the beach.
 

THE BIG PICTURE September 22, 2008

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 5:54 pm
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Shelling is a lot like Bible study. Focusing on the little things can get in the way of the big picture. I’ve learned to suck in a deep breath as I cross the dune. I pause and let my eye sweep across the horizon and down the beach. Color dazzles. Light flickers. Tide in or out? Is it rough on the Gulf Stream? I take in the whole picture. I enjoy it all as I move down to the water’s edge. Before my eye begins its search for that one special shell or shark’s tooth.

Understanding the Bible is like that too. You can’t let the details block out the whole picture. You need to pause; think about the sweeping themes. Don’t focus on the details of Goliath’s armor and size before tying the story into God’s plan of salvation. One of David’s great, great, etc. grandsons would be the Savior. Jesus would live without ever sinning, then die and be cast into hell because He took on all David’s (and our) sins. His glorious resurrection dazzles, lightens, gives us hope. God’s mercies to and thru David were certain! That is the broad image behind David’s whole biography.

Of course details matter. David was heroic and charismatic. He was sensual, relied too much on his cousins in war and governing. His family was dysfunctional. Yet, he never lost sight of the big picture. He was assured of his own salvation:

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;

I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

So whether you’re telling a story to three year olds or studying for yourself, always relate the details to the main theme of God’s purpose to save sinners, not by anything we could be or do, but only by faith in Jesus Christ’s perfect life, shameful death, and eye-witnessed resurrection.

 

Children’s Bible Stories And Bible Themes September 10, 2008

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 3:15 am
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Let’s have some straight talk. If you think of “Noah’s Ark” and “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” as myths or Jewish cultural traditions, we’re not on the same page. If you look at the Bible as just some books gathered together by some religious men and cloaked in authority and rituals, we are a long way apart. I look at it as truth from God. I hope your journey will bring you to that opinion too.

There are so many details you could include when telling Daniel’s stories. But, if you look at them all, the main theme is that God takes care of His children. Try to focus on that theme instead of just relating many details or going off on some tangent. Instead, use the details to emphasize the theme. Benjamin, my grandson, got all interested in spears when he saw a picture of Daniel being thrown into the den. I am using that interest to ingrain in him that God will take care of him too.

Now Benjamin is not ready to ask the question: “Who are God’s children?” His children are all those who joyfully embrace the truth that God’s purposes are that His justice and His moral purity are fulfilled in Christ Jesus alone. That is the sweeping foundational truth under all these children stories we retell.

I wonder what Daniel’s mother was like. How did she tell him about God’s purposes and Moses and Joshua? He seemed to be pretty sure that God would take care of him and save him in this life and the next. Will your children know that too?

 

Bible Stories For Children September 5, 2008

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 2:36 pm
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Always Relate Story to Bible Themes

Spiritual comfort comes to us indirectly. We must think about the foundational truth; God the Spirit then makes that truth real to our minds and emotions. Children need spiritual comfort too. They are scare of bears or the dark or whatever. So as we tell the Bible story to them, we must emphasize at least one foundational truth.

Think about that. I’ll get back to you soon. I need to stop now to tell Benjamin about Daniel and the Lion’s Den! He needs to know that God Takes Care of His Children.