Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Madeleine's fifth month- November

Holy cow- did I not do a posting for month 5?
Okay, I better get on that =)
In November we were very busy! Not only did we celebrate two years of marriage (11-11), but I also turned 29 and we celebrated Thanksgiving, of course.
Madeleine started on solids this month and she had her first taste of sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. She also managed to cut her first tooth only 1 day shy of 6 months. It made for a very long drive out to Phoenix! Yes, Madeleine visited Auntie Kim and cousins David, Daniel, Hannah & Matthew during November. Hannah loved holding her, and Madeleine loved being held! Hannah babysat almost all day and I wondered if I even had a baby anymore, she was always in someone's arms =). It was a nice reprieve for me, but I did get to missing her often.
She also spent her first night away from us! (gasp!) It was very hard for me to enjoy it, but Tim and I actually spent a night away (locally) and my mom put MJ down for the night at our house and spent the night in our home so MJ could sleep in her own crib. My mom says she was a perfect angel (which comes as no surprise- she is a very easy-going baby) and we had a wonderful night out together. Since Tim worked Thanksgiving (again), I asked that our celebration take place on the 25th; it also happened to be my birthday. We had a delectable ham dinner prepared by my mom and Jared. The food was amazing and I was able to try some white asparagus that my Aunt Sally brought. We also cracked into some of Jared's wine "pantry" (he doesn't have a cellar yet) and the local Rancho Andalusia was awesome. We opened some gifts, and Jared played his guitar at my request. We then had spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting- one of my favorite combos. Tim came home the next day and kindly helped me pull all the Christmas decorations down from the attic, he also helped me put up our enormous tree ( a gift from the Lindsays) and on Monday I did some cyber-Monday online shopping =)

Enjoy the pictures =)
Love, Lauren

TTB: Genesis 21-24

Standout verse: " Abraham said, 'God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering my son.'" (Genesis 22:8a)

Little Insights:
*Children were usually weaned around 3-4 years old. Sarah nursed Isaac at least until she was 92 years old!
*Abraham was a rich man, yet he does not give Hagar an animal or two to provide travel or pack with food and water.
*Beersheba can be translated "well of seven".
*Abraham's reply of "Hineni!" (Here I am, I am ready) is very powerful and echoes of a child completely focused on their father. Moses and Isaiah both say "Hineni!" to God in response to His call!
*Abraham reveals his faith in God when he claims that they will return after worshipping God. (22:5)
*Although many scholars believe that Isaac is in his teenage years--since he can think analytically and carry a bundle big enough to consume a sacrifice--some believe he could be as old as 30 since the next chapter dates Sarah at 127.
*Isaac is a type of Christ in that he willingly lays down his life to his Father. Even the emphasis of 'only son' (Gen 22:2 & 16) is reminiscent of Christ.
*Sarah had been Abraham's constant companion for a LONG time. His lavish burial and expenses reveal his grief.
*Sarah is one of only two women listed in Hebrews "hall of faith". (Hebrews 11:11)

God's ancient calling of His chosen people to sacrifice is one that American Christians today don't often hear. Too many Christians are enamored with the busyness of the world to listen to God's call to sacrifice. It's deeper than just our pocketbooks, it's a total evaluation of our life and His blessings to His glory. Just like Abraham, we can be rich; but, we need to be rich towards God too! Sacrifice is, of course, not often with our money. Sometimes it's all too easy to simply reach for our checkbook to appease the convictions of the Spirit. For me, I have a hard time giving up my time. This is especially true when commitments or ministries cut into my time with Tim. Now, it is godly for me to be with him as his helpmate, but very often I use that position to avoid serving others for God's glory. Sacrificing of blood is no longer necessary, thanks to Jesus, but obedience to God is, and sometimes that means sacrificing what the world would call "your dream" to serve God for His glory. I pray that as I give up, albeit painfully, those things my heart longs for, that I will see the true blessing in life is following Jesus' heart and not my own.

Just for fun: Make a list in your journal of the top things you absolutely could not live without (people too!), prayerfully surrender those items to God so that should He ask for them you can say, "Hineni" to His will.

Love, Lauren

PS- Re: the picture this entry:
When I was in Florence, I had a chance to see the Caravaggio's Abraham and Isaac at the Uffizi Gallery. The painting absolutely mesmerized me!! This posted copy does not do justice to the real one! I love the sacrificial lamb's pleading eyes and its willingness to take the place of Isaac. It is very beautiful. It makes me think about the sublime wonder of Christ's offering which always makes me cry.

TTB: Genesis 18-20

Little Insights:
*Whether or not he knew upon seeing them that it was the Lord and angels, Abraham was a generous and gracious host to his visitors. (Hebrews 13:2)
*God graciously visits the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, just as He did Babel, to allow mercy and enact justice.
*The mob of men was so driven by their lust that they continued in a rape attempt even after they had been blinded. (Gen. 19:11)
*Lot's witness to his townspeople and his own son-in-laws must have been lacking, for they laugh at him and his warning of judgement. (Gen. 19:14)
*Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed utterly, there is no record of the valley being inhabited again.
*Sodomy bears the association with the infamous city, a warning forever to future generations. (2 Peter 2:7 & 10 & Jude 7)
*The Moabites and the Ammonites were judged by God, not for their shameful beginnings, but because they did not serve the Israelites when they wandered in the wilderness.
*God is gracious, even to sinners- a Moabite, Ruth, is listed in Christ's genealogy; no culture, race or person is beyond God's lavish grace!
*Abimelech was restrained from touching Sarah to ensure that Abraham was the father of Isaac.
*At 90 years old, Sarah was still beautiful enough to be desired for a harem- either Abimelech was trying to solidify an alliance with Abraham (in marrying his "sister") or she had a fabulous pregnancy glow!
*Abraham's lie is evidence that humans are prone to struggle with specific sins over and over and over; sometimes those sins pass to our own children too! (Gen 26:7-14 & 27:19-24)
*Abraham is referred to as a prophet, a word used in Genesis only once!

YDW encouraged us to consider a miracle. What thing in the world that seemed utterly impossible that God could do. I think about 3 years ago, I was in need of a miracle. It didn't seem possible that God could take the ashes of my failed life and turn it into beauty; but, that is just what happened. What miracle are you waiting for? What hope, beyond hope have you sidelined because it seems to be impossible. Do you not know that we serve a God of impossibilities?
"Looking at them, Jesus said, ' With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.'" (Mark 10:27)

Just for fun: Google "Necker Cube" or "Impossible cube" and read about my analogous picture.

Love, Lauren

Sunday, January 10, 2010

TTB: Genesis 15-17

Standout verse: "Then he believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6

Little Insights:
*It had been 25 years since God had told Abram he would have a son with Sarah.
*Covenants were made when both parties walked through the offerings, signifying equality between the agreeing parties, and the results for the one who reneged on his portion of the agreement.
*Yahweh is God's personal name, as Abram unveils the sorrow in his heart (Genesis 15:2) God is the true believer's comforting presence.
*By passing through the fire alone, God is assuming all responsibility for upholding the covenant.
*Though the debate still rages, it is generally agreed that circumcision helps reduce complications for males regarding hygiene and disease.
*In obeying God's command, Abram trusted that the Lord would protect him. His whole camp was healing after circumcision and would be unable to fight were they counterattacked by the valley's defeated kings.
*El Shaddai has several meanings; Shaddai is translated Almighty, sufficiency, God of the mountain and breasted. He is capable of meeting every need for his children just as a nursing mother tenderly satisfies her baby.
*The term "walk before me" (17:1) appears about 20 times in the Scriptures and it presents the concept of a position of leadership, one who is open to public scrutinty. (McIntosh)
*God changes the names of Abram and Sarai to reflect their heritage; Sarai means my princess, and Sarah is solely princess.
*God reaffirms His covenant promise to Abram serveral times before it actually manifests in the birth of Isaac. Isn't this what we do with our spouses? We reaffirm our marital convenant with the over and over to remind them of our promise.

YDW encouraged us to surrender our fears to the Lord. This past year has been a year of fear for me. I can't tell you how often I have hid praying under my sheets in the darkness of my lonely room. See, when Tim is home, I never, ever even think about my fears. I feel so secure in his (this is going to sound cheesy, but...) "man-ness" that I am not afraid. But when he is gone all day, and the house is quiet and I'm in my room alone at 11pm with MJ next door, and the door to the garage open to allow the cats to move in and out and one of the dogs suddenly barks at a sound outside, my heart starts racing and I get very scared. I've had to call my parents over, have my brother spend the night, and pray really, really hard that someone isn't coming to kill me or Madeleine. I am stricken, paralyzed and anxious. It was when our church was going through Daniel that I was convicted by the fact that "Daniel purposed in his heart..." (Daniel 1:8). I decided that the best way to banish the fears was to just decide to trust God. I purposed in my heart NOT to be afraid. In Genesis, God tells Abram that He will be his shield. But there's a trick with shields- you gotta get behind 'em!! If you're out there trying to slay your dragons of fear without putting the shield in front of you, what's the use of having one? I still struggle with being afraid. Especially when Tim is gone longer than 24hrs. (like tonight...). Just last night, I stayed up with the light on until 3am reading, just to avoid the darkness (well, the book was pretty riveting too). But I will continue to place Him as my shield and purpose in my heart to rest in Him.

Just for fun: I'll try to memorize Philippians 4:6-9!

Love, Lauren

Saturday, January 9, 2010

TTB: Genesis 12-14

Standout verse: "'I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, the your descendants can also be numbered.'"Genesis 13:16

Little insights:
*The call of Abram is still one that Christians today face. (Luke 14:26 & 33)
*Sarai was Abram's half-sister by their father.
*As the younger nephew, Lot is exceedingly disrespectful and dishonors Abram by choosing the choice land of the valley.
*Lot's choice of comfort and "blessing" put him under the influence of wicked, rebellious people.
*The requirement of the Lord are the same for Abram as it is for us: faith. (Hebrews 11:6, John 5:26, Ephesians 2:8-9)
* It was during the sojourn to Egypt that Hagar, the maidservant, is acquired.
*Egypt has always been associated with wickedness, slavery and bondage for God's chosen people.
*The King of Salem (Peace) is usually viewed as a pre-incarnate Christ. (Psalm 110:1-4, Hebrews 7:1-22)
*Melchizedek brings bread and wine for Abram (a possible signifying of communion.)
*Abram honors Melchizedek by giving him a tenth of all his spoils from the raid. This is often why Christians tithe a tenth of their income to their church, although all God wants is a joyful heart that gives out of love. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
*After fellowship with Melchizedek, Abram is able to avoid an unholy alliance with the valley's king. If he had taken spoils, he may have become indebted to the king and thus, in denying that opportunity he reveals his dependence on God.

Lot is one of those characters, that if it weren't for Peter telling us he was holy, we would never guess! It's easy to look at the life of Lot and be critical. He made some poor choices; his willingness to integrate himself into a life of luxury and plenty with wicked, worldly neighbors put him in danger. Lot is literally taken captive by the world and its pursuits. Is that so different from me? Would anyone look at my life and see Christ? When I think about the mistakes I've made and stupid things I've said to ostracize others, I get very sad. What battles are we fighting in our declining society? Are we winning by the grace of God, or are we losing because we are choosing the "fertile valley" of ease. This idea becomes very pointed when I think about a neighbor who died three days ago because of toxemia. The man lived alone and was either unable or unwilling to tell neighbors that he needed help. I was home the entire time this man was dying in his house under the duress of toxins. What if I was more involved with people and not so much in myself? What if I spent more time in other people's houses getting to know them than in my own, worrying about the decor and cleanliness? This is starting to sound a little like a browbeating, and I know his death is in no way my fault, but I can't help but feel a little like Lot. Our society makes it very easy for Christians to blend in and disappear. But Christ tells us to let our light so shine before men that they might see our good works and turn to God (Matthew 5:16). Am I being taken captive because of my proximity to the world? Or am I far enough away to look down from a mountain and rescue others from the valley of death?

Just for "fun": I have a box of Trader Joe's green tea cake mix. I'm going to bake it up and take it to our other neighbors who are grieving the loss of their friend. I'll also pray that God will embolden me to step out in faith and ask them to come to church again. Maybe this sorrow has softened them to God's call. Do you have neighbors who could use a box of goodies and a prayer or two?

Love, Lauren

TTB: Genesis 10-11

Standout Verse: "They said, 'Come let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the whole earth.'" Genesis 11:4

Little Insights:
*Although it appears that Nimrod was a "mighty hunter before the Lord", it's actually translated "a mighty hunter in the face of the Lord"- his name means rebellious one, and it is evident in his building of Babylon and Nineveh (two cities God judged) that he did not want to follow God's command to multiply and disperse (Gen. 8:17, 11:8)
*Japeth (Gentiles) will dwell in the tents of Shem (Israelites).
*This is the first record of baked bricks and tar used to create structures. The tar was a water-proofing device. These people feared another flood from God.
*Although God created a language barrier so that people would obey His desire of scattering, He will also bring about a unified language for His glory in heaven. (Acts2:1-11, Revelation 5:13)
*Just because people were unified didn't mean that they were doing the will of God. I think it's foolish to believe that if we all just "come together" "work together" and "all just get along" there will be peace and happiness. These people were unified in defiance to God.
*There are over 6, 699 languages in the world.
* The Bible does not recognize the concept of "race", there is only one race-the human race- descended from a common ancestor. (Acts 17:26)
*Although the tower was enormous and a great achievement of man, God still has to "come down" to see it better...a metaphysical and metaphorical implication that the grandiose creations of man are still tiny and indistinct for our wonderful God seated on high!

My mom spoke on this passage and she did a wonderful job! She started by asking, "What towers are you building in your life?" and challenged me to think about what I put all my energy, thoughts and devotion into every day. Am I working on a project that is in rebellion to what God desires? Maybe it is a selfish desire or a lovely little habit I just don't want to surrender to God. Regardless, a tower without God will not stand. He is so madly in love with me that He can't let anything capture my heart but His love.
Maybe instead of the pain of watching my own tower crumble before me, I can look at God's design and build for His glory. I pray that is what I do today.

Just for fun: Build a tower with your child today. Isn't it fun to see our kids knock them over? Consider the creation God is making in your life. Are you mature enough to help Him build what He desires, or are you childishly knocking down His work in your life?

Love, Lauren

Monday, January 4, 2010

TTB: Genesis 6-9

Addendum to yesterday: Tim pointed out something the other day that I think needs mentioning. He highlighted the verse known as the protoevangelion (first-gospel). In Genesis 3:15 God is alluding to the fact that Jesus Christ will crush Satan's head and reign over him in power. While it's amazing just to see that God's plan for Jesus Christ as Savior is evident from the beginning, there is another interesting element to this verse. Tim mentioned that God spoke to the woman regarding her seed and the future production of the Messiah. Isn't it fun to see that God spoke of the woman's seed, not the man's. This may be a subtle hint that the virgin birth was God's desire from the outset of humanity. The use of seed regarding procreation in the Bible is obviously a reference to the male semen (L.-seed; as in disseminate or seminary), however, in this verse it is used in regards to the woman only. Calvin offers the idea that the seed (a plural noun here) refers to all Christians who are victorious over Satan, and his thought is supported by Paul. (Rom. 16:20). I also found an article from Jim Hamilton of Harvard Theological in regards to Genesis 3:15- check it out for more thoughts. I also found this Jewish scholar who counters the Messianic prophecy, to me his logic seems flawed (snakes as simply pests?), but you can read it for yourself =) (1 Corinthians 2- but especially verse 14)

Now, on to today:

Standout verse: "So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japeth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant." Gen. 9:25-27

Little Insights:
*God wasn't surprised at man's wicked state- He knows we are dust (Psalm 103- my favorite verse)
*God is emotive! He feels grief over His creation. (Gen. 6:6)
*Noah was saved through faith. Wouldn't it take some to build an ark for 120 years and convince your family you weren't crazy? (Hebrews 11:6-7 & 2 Peter 2:5)
*In all those 120 years of Noah's ministry, no one came to a saving knowledge of God.
*Noah took more of the clean animals because they were needed for God-honoring sacrifices.
*Just as in Gen. 1:28, God told man to multiply over the face of the Earth- He never said worry about planning your family ;) (Gen. 9:7)
*The descendants of Canaan are the Canaanites who harassed the Israelites- can you see why there will never be peace in the Middle East until Christ reigns? The descendants of Japeth are the Greeks and Europeans. The descendants of Shem are the Israelites and through Shem's seed Christ came. Therefore, Noah's proclamation in 9:23-25 is actually prophetic in regards to salvation through the Jews to the Gentiles.
*Every culture has a myth about a flood, but then, every culture was from Noah!
*40 is numerically associated with testing (40 years of wandering, 40 days in the desert, etc)
*God develops governing laws associated with lifeblood regarding eating and conduct. (Gen. 9:6)

Just for fun: Close up your house and turn every faucet and the washer on and let them run for 40 days and 40 nights and see how high you can flood your house. Just kidding, but seriously- spend some time thinking about the phrase "fountains of the deep". A beautiful picture of the ability of a powerful God to call up the mysterious places and hidden aspects of this world. Think of all the crushing black of the ocean's floor being doubled or even tripled as God brought about His justice and mercy. So as you shower, wash your hands, water the flowers or drink some tea...think about God's use of water, not only to flood the world, but to then create misty particles that diffuse the light into a lovely rainbow- a signal of His covenant to never flood this Earth again.

Love, Lauren

Sunday, January 3, 2010

TTB: Genesis 3-5

Stand-Out Verse: "And I will put enmity/Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel." (Gen. 3:15)

Little Insights:
*Although the serpent was used, Satan was the one who deceived Eve. (Revelation 12:9)
*By asking them where they were, God allowed them to respond in humility and retain dignity after they disobeyed. (Ge, 3:9) He didn't need to look for them, but He does; God pursues His children because He loves them. (Luke 15:3-7)(John 10:1-18)
*Purposeful activity/work was a blessing, not part of the curse! (Gen. 3:15)
*Adam was created in God's direct image, but after the fall, he bears a son in his image- one that is now eternally scarred with sinful nature. (Gen 5:3)(Romans 6:12)
*God is the first one to make a sacrifice for the sins of his first son and daughter (Gen. 3:21). God is also the last to make a sacrifice of his only begotten Son to cover the sins of all His sons and daughters (Romans 6:15) (Hebrews 9:22-28)(John 1:29)(Gen. 22:8)
*God wasn't being punitive when he banished them from the Garden. Had Adam and Eve eaten of the fruit of eternal life, they would be forever doomed, unable to find redemption through death unto God's eternal life justified through faith in Him. God will do what He must to bring all His children unto Him, even if it appears unkind.
*Before the fall, Eve was happy (and child-bearing could have been a breeze) but after the Fall, the "battle of the sexes" became a sad result of rebellion. (Gen. 4:7)
*It wasn't Cain's offering of grains that disqualified him from God's pleasure --for even God set up grain offerings in the Levitical law (Exodus 40:29)--it was because of his heart. (Hebrews 11:4,6)(Jude 11)
*"Then he died" is repeated 8 times throughout chapter 5; what do you think God is trying to tell us about our time here on Earth- the time He has given us to submit to His plan?
*Enoch was a prophet (Hebrews 11:5) (Jude 14-15)
*How can we walk like Enoch? (Micah 6:8)

Just for fun: Well, maybe not fun...In my journal, I am making a list of ways I try to dominate over Tim, instead of submit to him. Submission is beautiful, when it is done unto the Lord. We only view positions of subordination as inferior when we view them as the world does. What does the Lord say about those who serve sacrificially? (Matthew 20:25-28!!) On the other side of the paper, I am brainstorming verses or thoughts I can meditate on to use when conflicts do arise. At some point in time, my desire to rule over his behavior, particularly when it comes to children and the house, will turn selfish and domineering. God's word tells me that it shouldn't be this way! The next time sin crouches at my door and I want to rule over my husband (just as sin wanted to rule over Cain), I can replace fleshly thoughts with heavenly ones in hopes of being a "helper suitable" to my husband who is called to love me "as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25: Yikes!!!- and I thought my task was hard =)
Love, Lauren

TTB: Genesis 1-2

Stand-out Verse: "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him'" Genesis 2:18

Little Insights:
*The Trinity was present at creation. The Hebrew word used of God is Elohim, it is used as a plural noun with a singular verb denoting the Trinity. (Gen. 1:1-2 God & Spirit; John 1:1-4)
The Hebrew word bara serves as the Western created and is used only of God. Only He can bara something- create it with His word ex nihilo .
*God is the one who orders and brings order to the voids of my life. (Gen. 1:2)
*God is the first for female equality! (Gen. 1:27)
*God's ordered creation designates roles for the sexes that are different, yet complimentary for God's glory (Gen 2:18, 22-24)
*God glories in His own creation- that's how awesome it is. (Gen 1:31-2:3)
*From the beginning of human life, and even in ideal conditions, man is by nature a dependent thing, unlike God, who is self-sustaining. (McIntosh)

I just have to take the time to quote this commentary because it is insightful regarding the Creation account:
"Genesis is not the oldest book that provides an account of origins. Critics like to point out similarities between Genesis 1-2 and the stories of origin found in other cultures. Scholars sometimes suggest that the author of Genesis borrowed his material from earlier pagan accounts. Doing so, they argue that Genesis is not an original work. However, close scrutiny of the pagan accounts of origins reveals strong differences with the Genesis narrative of beginnings. One study of numerous pagan myths concludes that three elements are always present: (1) some from of monster opposes or restrains creation; (2) the monster is defeated by a heroic deity, and life-producing powers are released; and (3) the god comes to control those powers. Not really creation stories, these pagan accounts describe beings that already exist alongside their creator deity. While it is reasonable to expect that pagan accounts would have some features in common with the biblical story, likeness does not require dependence. Moses did not revert to myths. The Bible explains that he received the truth directly from God: "With [Moses] I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles" (Numbers 12:6-8) (McIntosh)

YDW (Your Daily Walk) encouraged us to look out a window and praise God for His creation. I see the snow-capped mountains from my kitchen window and I know the beauty of their winter garb enflamed by the pink and purple shadows of the setting sun. I look at Madeleine and the artistry of her creamy olive skin, rosy cheeks and blue-grey eyes. I watch the wind gently touch the long olive branches of the tree in the front yard and the bees touch down to pollenate a new flower;I marvel at the interconnectedness of nature as it brings glory to God simply by being.

Just for fun: Rent and watch Planet Earth in Blue Ray or HD-DVD. Doesn't it bring tears to your eyes as you realize that the God who created all the world and knows its height, depth, breadth and mysteries wants to reveal Himself to you? (Psalm 139:13-14)

Love, Lauren

Through The Bible

I'm inspired by my friends and family who are desiring to read through the Bible with me! I would like to post some thoughts and insights regarding our daily readings and generate further discussion for my soul's benefit and encouragement. To give some order to these posts and set them apart from other personal ramblings, I'll be titling them TTB (Through the Bible). I hope to hear what God is teaching you as we read through His word this year!! Oh, and if you are thinking that it sounds good to join us, then please do!! It's not too late (and never is) to start.
Love, Lauren

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thou Art Worthy...and Coming Soon.

Happy New Year!! Wow, 2010. For some reason, I have been attaching great meaning to this change, a move into a new year and a new decade. I don't know why, but this year is ripe with possibilities and great joy. I enjoyed reading Rose's post about her decade, and I also wanted to reflect on this past year. The first reflection is that I actually finished reading through the entire Bible! I posted a while ago that I was ashamed to have never done this, even though I claim Jesus as my Savior and try to follow his word. Now I am boasting in the Lord that I actually have read through his word in full. I have used Bruce Wilkinson's Your Daily Walk as a devotional study to guide me through the Bible chronologically. As I finished Revelation, the book pointed out the connection between the end of God's word and the beginning. I was very excited to see that both Genesis and Revelation start with a marriage. Adam and Eve represent a shadow of Christ and his bride, coming down out of heaven. In Genesis, Adam is created in God's image, but after the fall, his children are created in his image: the sin nature is present in all men because of Adam's choice to disregard God's plan. This fall brings about pain, tears, curses on the Earth and separation from God. In Revelation, God removes all pain, wipes away every tear, dismisses the curse and comes to live among His people on a new Earth forever.
I was joyful, elated and emotional to see a resolution and desire fulfilled. I was also encouraged to start again, back at Genesis 1 and glean even more from His word. Since CBS is studying Genesis this year (we are in chapter 14), it is also a great refresher for the study I have completed since September. The book encouraged me to find others who wanted to walk with me through the word, and that is just what I encourage you reader to do. Today's reading is Genesis 1-2; prayerfully consider if God is guiding you to read through His word this year. I am so happy that I have found someone who will do this with me already ;)

As I finished Revelation, I was also reminded of how many times the elders and the creatures and all the people of heaven sing to the Lamb that he is worthy. He is worthy of all our praise- of everyone's praise. One day he will have it. But sometimes I get distracted in beliveing that day is distant- possibly not even in my lifetime. John, the author, reminds us several times (in 1, 2 & 3 John too) that Jesus will come quickly and that he is on his way. 2 Peter attests to this saying that scoffers and mockers will say that Jesus hasn't come in a long, long time, so we should just continue to live however we want, but the apostles urge us to be prepared for his return. Jesus is the Christ, he IS worthy of all glory, and he is coming soon. He only delays to make sure that all he has called to be his children respond. Is he calling you to be his child? Don't flitter your time away trying to make a heaven for yourself here on Earth. There is a heaven, and it has a King- and he will come to gather his true children unto himself. Bow your knee now in humble loving submission to him for he will reign over all.

As I look back on 2009, there are some significant events that occurred for me and I would like to thank God for them:

Celebrating our second anniversary.
Gaining 36 lbs.
Giving birth to Madeleine.
Losing 37 lbs. =)
Joining CBS and studying God's word in-depth.
Finishing my credential courses.
Selling my house.
Attending our church regularly.
Quitting work.
Paying off debts.
Growing in my relationships with Tim and my mom.
Being a full-time Mama to MJ.

I so look forward to this next year, I can't wait to see what the Lord has for us. And I want in the fore-front of my mind the truth that God is worthy- of our all, and He is coming soon.
Love, Lauren