Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Bible... And Hi! And An Update!

Anyone remember when I wrote this? Anyone remember the last time I wrote anything?

Yeah, me neither. Well, I wrote on my facebook tonight about not being tired, despite the fact that it was approaching midnight and I have class 2 hours from my house tomorrow at 9:30. That was over an hour ago.

Yep, four sentences in and I've already digressed.

I'm baaaaack....

Wait. Is it digressing if you haven't even gotten started with what you were going to say in the first place? Alright. To the point.

So anyway, if you didn't click the link, I wrote a blog post over three years ago, about writing in my Bible. I'm sure some consider it scandalous, but, well - I care a lot less about what some consider than I probably should. (Snark? check. I'm seriously back.)

That poor Bible that I had been writing in for some time three years ago, is still going just about everywhere with me. I'm underlining considerably less, but mostly because I've already underlined most of it. :D But the cover? And the binding? Oh my, my... Not looking so good. I had decided that I was going to get a new one, but I can't find what I want. (A cute parallel featuring The Amplified and NIV. Doesn't exist. Or I'd own it.) Even as I searched for what I wanted, part of me knew that I wouldn't be able to part with my little NIV that has all manner of chicken scratch, underlining, highlighting and other miscellaneous notations that will mean next to nothing to future generations. So this week I had a bright idea and I'm so excited, I'm staying up to ALL HOURS of the night to blog about it, despite the fact that class starts in eight and half hours and I have to drive two hours to get there. Not smart, I know. But I tried to sleep. It didn't work. What are ya gonna do?

So I came in to work the google and low and behold, what do I find? This. A website for a company that will rebind my priceless Bible for the low low price of $90! Um, WOOT! I'm sure I'll get suckered into some of the bells and whistles, and it will be more than that, but this is just the most exciting news since... Hm, since I don't know when, because there ain't been much exciting new round these here parts. So. Yay! Just had to share. Which brought me back to Must Share. My blog! Remember, Rachel? You have a blog!

Right! So Hi! How've ya'll been? I've missed you. If you are anyone, since truly - who reads a blog that no one writes on for stinkin' ever? I've thought about writing so much over the past... forstinkin'ever. Which brings me to the update portion of this blog post...

So much has happened since I last typed a real actual blog post. (Had to scroll down to see what it even was and Oh. My. Word. HUMDINGER! And I can't believe how timely it was for me to read that right now! God is so faithful and I trust that I will not be anymore tired than normal tomorrow, because as per usual God has me up at this crazy hour for a REASON. Thank you, Father! If you have a second, or more like 15 minutes, scroll down and read the Feb 8, 2011 post.)

So. A bullet list. Most likely incomplete. But here's what I've been up to....

~ I got a job. A real one. Where you have to go and stuff. Favorite job ever. Part time. Super fun. (I've descended into fragments. Not that my grammar is anything to brag about. Um, about which to brag. Or something. Yes, I majored in Language Arts. Thanks for noticing. )
~I've been homeschooling Chloe for preschool. Big surprise, I'm not much better at that than teaching seventh grader's science. The plan is for this to be the first and last year of homeschooling. Thank you Jesus, glory, hallelujah, amen.
~I've been training to do prayer ministry. AKA training to walk out my destiny. I suppose that is a blog post all in itself, but for the sake of catch up, I'm training to do something that looks a little like counseling, a lot like discipleship, and is completely focused on hearing from God. The coolest thing about it is that my job will be to depend on God to do my job for me. Ha! Yes, please.
~What else? Honestly, I don't think there has been much else. I rarely get to see friends, I almost never see the majority of my family. God asked me to shut down almost all social involvement in an effort to stay sane during this training phase. I'm thankful that this is a season, and praying that it doesn't last long.

I'm also praying I'll be back to these parts sooner than later.


Felt awesome.

Thanks for reading my silliness.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nelson's Cyclopedic Index: The Best Bible Subject Index Ever

I received a complimentary copy of the Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index: The Best Bible Subject Index Ever, in exchange for my honest review.

I love books. I really love small books. And books about books? Oh, yeah. This is a reference book, and it is a very helpful tool for Bible study. I mention that it's small. Why does that matter? Well, you may know of some of the other Biblical reference books and well, they are "exhaustive" in more ways than one. So to have a reference to over 8,000 subjects, names, places, concepts, etc. all contained within a book just slightly bigger than a standard paperback is something to mention! I am so excited to have this compact, yet very comprehensive subject index on my shelf. I tend to carry my Bible around with me, and this study tool may very well become a a permanent resident of my book bag, as well.

In addition to being the "best Bible Subject Index Ever", it also contains hundreds of word studies and thousands of definitions. This would be a great tool for a student, teacher or anyone who may need to find specifics in the Bible. I'm definitely not a scholar, but I find this reference to be very easy to use and understand. This book would be a great gift for anyone that reads the Bible on any level. I highly recommend it!

Thank you Thomas Nelson and the BookSneeze Program for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nemrey Berses

At our last MOPS meeting, our speaker mentioned that she started her kids working on Scripture memory at age 2 -3. I'm still trying to figure out why I hadn't already started this, but we have been hard at work ever since.

For those of you that didn't already know, Chloe is a genius.

I'm in no way biased.

Seriously, though. She is doing an incredible job of "nemorizing berses" at the speed of light. We started with Philippians 4:5 "Let your gentleness be evident to all; The Lord is near." Or - "Let your genlemess be ebident to all: The Lord is near." - if you read the Chloe version. I can hardly stand the cuteness of it all. I was floored by how quickly she picked up on it.

Our next verse (berse) was Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." I didn't even realize she knew this one until the other day when she was supposed to be taking a nap, but she was actually reciting her berses to her stuffed animals. I heard her say "6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." I couldn't even believe it. I think that was Tuesday and we had just started that one on Sunday. We may have worked on it 5 times.

Next up are:

Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."


Philippians 2:14 "Do everything without complaining or arguing."

I love that I am learning these verses, too! Most of these I would say I knew, but I wouldn't be able to tell you where they were without the help of or leafing through my Bible for 5 minutes.

Anyone have any suggestions for great verses for kids to learn?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Blast From The Past

I was looking for something on my old (OLD) blog yesterday. I came across my post from 4 years ago today. If ever I had a reason to be THANKFUL for where I am, this would be it. I also find it incredibly interesting how some things are so hard wired into you that years later you still struggle. Even after a post like this - where it seems like you FINALLY get it. Another funny thing: I just redid the Beth Moore study that I mentioned in here. Finished it in November.

Enjoy this blast from the past...

Let me just hang it all out there... Here's what started it all, a quote from my incredible Beth Moore study called "Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit"

"Christ has a purpose in the pain you've suffered or He never would have allowed it. Until you surrender to His purpose in the specific matter at hand, He cannot work it for your good. Do you know what that means? It all happened in vain - for absolutely nothing."

The moral of the story is: If I don't surrender and do what I'm supposed to do, where I am supposed to do it, with the attitude I should be doing it with, THIS COULD ALL BE FOR NOTHING! Hello. Wake up call.

This was so eye opening for me. What a revelation from the Lord. He really helped clue me in on a few things.

1. Though I have accepted that I have to stay where He put me, at least for this year (and in my heart , especially now, I know indefinitely...) I had decided I wasn't going to like it and I was going to PRAY that I be laid off or that God get me out of there one way or the other. The point? I was not surrendered. I didn't think of it as being mad at God for having me where I did not want to be, but I most certainly had an "I'll do it, but I absolutely won't like it" attitude. How I thought I was surrendered, I'm not sure. I had just told Em Friday night that I have never so badly wished I could be outside of God's will. Why? Because I know that that is exactly where I am, I just don't (didn't) want to be there. Scary... The only thing scarier than realizing I am not surrendered to my Lord, is realizing that if I hadn't realized this fact, I could have suffered through this whole year FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I can't believe that this whole time I have been blocking God's plan to prosper me (and potentially hundreds of other people) with my negativity and all around rotten attitude. This is alarming to me.

***Just so you don't think I'm a complete moron, (though you have every right to, as I've been acting like one for - oh... 5 months now...) I knew most of the things I'm about to list, in theory. When the coin really goes down into the slot and you GET IT, it makes a big big difference. That's what happened this weekend, cha-ching. ***

2. I realized, (again, hopefully this time for keeps) that I may not be rewarded with seeing the fruit of my labor. Hello? Especially if I were to continue on the ridiculous path I was on. It is not up to me to decide if I am making a difference. It is not my call to say "I can't help people who do not want to be helped." or "These problems are too big for me, I can't do it by myself." Now - mind you, I don't mean that I didn't think God was big enough or anything like that, it's just so many times I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, at school. People who are supposed to be helping are hindering. People who are supposed to be supporting me, appear to lay awake at night thinking of ways to make one of the hardest jobs ever, even harder. The point? I take my marching orders from the One who put me there, and I need to prioritize according to my accountability to Him, not any man. I need to get over wanting my boss to "like me", "approve of me", or even just quit being a jerk. I need to learn to control what I can control, which is me and how I react and interact with the people that God has put in my path. I'm so disappointed with how I have used my influence, and how I have lost the ground I gained with people last year. Relationships that I had fostered last year have suffered, because I have stayed physically, but emotionally and spiritually, I've checked out.... Wait - did I ever even check in? God's grace is sufficient, and I plan to take my second chance VERY seriously.

3. Happiness is based on circumstances. It's okay to not be in love with your circumstances. It is even okay to be unhappy with your circumstances and situations. Sad, frustrated, upset, disappointed, etc... HOWEVER - My joy is in the Lord, who DOES NOT CHANGE. Therefore, if the joy of the Lord is my strength, then that joy should remain regardless of sadness, frustration, disappointment or being upset with my current circumstances which are always TEMPORARY. He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to say - Lord blessed be your name. I KNOW this. I have sung it, thought it and grasp it intellectually. I have seriously FAILED to live it. Oh, for shame.

4. Love and Hate are choices to be made. Effective yesterday I LOVE MY BUICK!!! Instead of choosing negativity I am choosing to see the sunny side. THERE IS ALWAYS A SUNNY SIDE. It is your, our, and most definitely my choice to see the sunny side. Effective immediately, I will begin again to be intentional about looking for the sunny side of all things. I hadn't even realized how negative I had become. I had made so much progress in this area of my life, with a little help from my friends. I realized one of the main differences between last year and this year is the amount of time I have spent with godly truth telling women. Last year, I spent a lot of time either talking to or being with Emily and Julie. They were both instrumental in helping me to realize my level of negativity. It was so ingrained in my personality, routine, sense of humor. I never even realized how glass half empty I was. I (WE -Jesus, Julie, Emily and myself) really turned it around last year, but what do you know? Here I sit in the mud again. Prodigal me.

All of this to say -

5. I now remember why God has me where I am. I also remember that last year I learned that being in easy circumstances does not foster growth. The best thing about last year, (which was HARD, but compared to this year it was a cake walk) was how close I grew to the Lord. It was the best experience because it taught me what dependence on the Lord really was. Don't ask me where all that went this year. In some respects, I feel like a failure. I'm just thankful that God showed me the error of my ways, before the year was gone and there was no time for redemption. So, here starts the journey back across the mountain. Again, Prodigal me. (If you don't understand my reference to the song Prodigal Me, go back to a post that I wrote almost 1 year ago today. I'm sort of like Rain Man when it comes to dates, and I remembered a serious revelation I had last year around the annivesary of Jessie's death, today, which was brought on by the song Prodigal Me. The lyrics are listed in my 2-7-06 post.)

Alright already - ACTION STEPS

How, then, do I remember on a daily basis what's up?

1. Re-implement my Bible memory system. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11 I used to meditate on a verse while getting ready in the morning, and while driving to school in a very safe manner. A perfect example of why this is necessary is, I couldn't remember the reference for this verse. I've known the verse since I was 10 but I couldn't find it. Exactly my point.

2. In addition to my Bible memory, I am also starting a little spiral bound index card booklet of things to REMEMBER. You know, those things that you highlight and write hallelujah and Amen, sister - preach it!! next to in the awesome books you read? Well - rather than just having that for a moment when I'm reading, doing a study, talking with a friend who often says stuff that makes me want to have a go-go gadget tape recorder, or listening to a message, now I will write these statements of TRUTH that I want to remember into my handy dandy notebook, and when I think what was that thing that Joyce Meyer, or Steve Andrews or Julie or one of the Emilys said? I can look in my handy dandy notebook, get my head back on straight and go on about my business. I'm excited about this one.

3. My final goal, for the moment, is to start a prayer sticky note reminder system. There are so many people that I want to pray for on a daily basis, and there are a lot of monotonous things that I do every day. My hope is that I will get in the habit of praying for certain people when I am doing certain things each day. Praying for my dad when I'm brushing my teeth. Praying for my mom when I'm putting on my make up, etc... It worked well the time I put a sticky note on the inside door of my kitchen cabinet. I prayed for that person every time I got in there. The challenge? Not causing a cluttery annoying mess of stick notes. Most of my routine stuff is done in my own room, so hopefully I can use my own bathroom, my computer and other often frequented places that will not subject Frank to this.

And just to put blogger to the ultimate test.... Here is the post I referenced from 2.7.06. This is what I was actually looking for last night when I found the above post. If you haven't already gone blind, keep reading.... :)

I am very much looking forward to church tomorrow... I feel so incredibly under attack. I think my enemy knows that I can't be taken down easily, so he is firing at me from every angle. Pray for me please.

Today is the 4 year anniversary of Jessie's accident. In a lot of ways it doesn't seem like 4 years could possibly have passed already, but then on the other hand it seems like it has been light years... It's amazing to fathom what the Lord has done in me in that time. It was today, 4 years ago that I looked up, for the first time in a long time. For the majority of these past four years, as I have made my slow trek back to the feet of Jesus, I have come from a heart of guilt and shame over the lost years. Within the last week or so, the Lord has been showing me (though He has probably been trying to show me all along) that none of our "lost time" matters to Him. It wasn't until I was really able to listen to the lyrics of "Prodigal Me" by Shane Barnard that I got it.

Here's the video. Start it playing and then read these lyrics. And prepare for chicken skin. (Aka gooseflesh, or goosebumps... :) )

prodigal me
by shane barnard

what have i done to get me here?
unraveled and undone, i need my father
what have i done? i've followed my feet to nowhere
now i'm here! as i ran, i can run no more
prodigal me

the mountains to the west, i know they laugh at me
they know i'm scared to cross and leave this life i lead
oh my pride! i give you up a barter for my freedom
what will they think as i come stumbling down to join their lives?

i need to cross this mountain and find my way home
there is no greater fortune, rescue me
oh unmerciful divide be merciful tonight
show me the other side
prodigal me

the mountains to the east, they've swallowed my beloved
this house completely incomplete, where is my mortar?
where did he go? he followed his feet to nowhere
please come home! you've done me no wrong
each evening i look down that road
i hope and i wait for you
and my servants they look down that road
we watch and we pray for you
master, master, who's that man stumbling down that road?
could it be the one? could it be? could it be?
master, master, it's Your son
coming home to join our lives!

i'm looking down this mountain, i see my way home
there is no greater fortune, i believe!
oh unmerciful divide you laugh at me no more
oh i've reached the other side!
prodigal me

could i be the one? could i be? could i be?
Father, Father, we're Your sons
coming home to join Your life

we've finally crossed this mountain, and found our way home
there is no greater fortune than Jesus
oh how merciful is our God who gave His only Son!
oh we worship You tonight!

(Disclaimer - not their best performance but this is OLD!)

The following is someone's commentary on the Parable of the Prodigal Son and it beautiful illustrates what the Lord has been revealing to me through the song.

But then look at what happens when he returns to his father, humbled, no longer feeling he had the right to be given anything, and with the intent of working for him. He is not driven away because of his previous actions and behavior....the father knew and was so overjoyed at his return he didn't even wait for his son to get all the way back...he ran out and met him! Not only did he meet him with joy, he gave him the best of what he had. The best clothes, the best food, and celebrated his return. Our Father is always there for us. He will not deny us if we come to Him, and He will not shame us for our past actions when we do. Like in the story, He knows we're coming, and is prepared and isn't thinking of our past, just rejoicing for our future.

What an amazing God we serve...

If you made it this far, I hope this blessed you!