February Bible Reading Challenge

** Post includes this week’s reading summary of Proverbs and check-in.

 

February Bible Reading Challenge

February Bible Reading Challenge

Friday is here and today we check in for the January Bible Reading challenge. I’m so excited about continuing to focus on Proverbs again for the month of February! We will read one chapter a day except the last three days of the month, we will read two chapters a day. This plan will take us through the book of Proverbs during the month. Let’s continue to check in each Friday and share what God is teaching us with one another.

This Week’s Reading Summary

This week, we are summarizing Proverbs 23-29. the chapters we read from last Friday through today. Was there a particular chapter that stood out to you this week? Let’s take a look at each one individually.

Chapter 23

Chapter 23 focuses on the foolishness of alcoholism and specifically outlines all the marks of addiction. I was able to hone in on verse 12:

Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.

Listening and applying are the key words in this chapter.

What kind of action did this chapter evoke from you?

Chapter 24

I love the emphasis of hard work that Solomon places in this chapter. My parents always taught our family to work hard and I can easily picture Solomon lecturing his sons about the importance of honesty and good work ethics. Really this entire chapter would be an excellent employee handbook.

Chapter 25

Feed your enemy. Not the typical words you anticipate from a very wealthy king. Solomon was surely the exception to the rule with his wisdom from God. In this chapter, I found myself focused on a single key verse, verse 11:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

proverbs2511

Which verse captured your focus in chapter 25?

Chapter 26

Chapter 26 is the comparison chapter; did you notice all the “like’s?” The word pictures Solomon paints offer common sense warnings to the one who will listen. Isn’t the timeless nature of these comparisons ever so classic?

Chapter 27

My husband and I joke about verse 15 of chapter 27 quite often. There are a few other similarly-themed verses we throw back and forth in best marriage jesting as well, but this one is interesting.

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike;

I don’t have a fond appreciation for rainy days. Oh I make the most of them, but you know those days that you simply must go out of the house for whatever reason and a continual drizzle of rain is nothing but flat out annoying? It never stops, you never get a break, and well, no matter what you do, you wind up soaked? If anyone knew what a quarrelsome wife was like, the man was Solomon; guess that’s what happens when you have over 700.

Chapter 27 is full of wisdom nuggets, bit after bit of food for thought. One more verse that stood out to me:

iron sharpens iron

Chapter 28

I feel that this chapter is another one difficult to summarize because there are many conclusions and thoughts you can pull from each verse or section of verses.

If you’ve been around here long, then you know that I have a radar for verses that are prayer -related. I found verse 9 quite interesting:

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

As Christians, if we don’t do what we know to do, which is listening to what God’s Word says, then our relationship with God will not grow.

What is your application from verse 9?

Chapter 29

In chapter 29, Solomon is warning his son of the pitfall of pride. Many of the verses speak to how a person of character should speak and act. Because I’m a word nerd, verse 20 called out to me…

proverbs2920

 

“Haste makes waste” applies to words as well.

Why do you think Solomon feels words are so very valuable?

I apologize that the post is going up a bit late and hope that you’ll still have a moment to discuss your study for the week. I can’t wait to keep going in Proverbs for the month of February! Let’s soak up the wisdom together.

Rachel

 

Deborah Who Declared God’s Truth: Women in the Bible Week 2

beautiful and brave deborah

Welcome to week 2 of Women in the Bible: Beautiful and Brave series! Each week for 10 weeks, we are studying the most beautiful and brave women in the Bible. At the end of this post, you will find the prior articles in the series.

This week our focus is on Deborah, the only female judge of Israel named in the Bible. If you are unfamiliar with Deborah, you can find her story in Judges chapters 4&5. We really don’t have a ton of information on Deborah, but I think she is one cool chick. We do know that as a judge, Deborah who spoke truth had to carry a load of wisdom. It is interesting to me that she had a special place where people knew to find her- a tree between two towns in the hill country of Ephraim. (Judges 4:5) I like to imagine the conversations between the people who appeared before Deborah. Believe me, Judge Judy has nothing on the woman who sat under a palm tree. Her discernment was well-known throughout the children of Israel.

Regardless of her wisdom, I’m sure it took an extra surge of boldness to call out Barak and let him know that she knew God had called him to gather 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun in order to defeat the difficult enemy. Essentially, she said, “Look, I know that God has told you to do this. Now get on with it.” As if that were not bold enough, Barak requests more of her brave heart. He says:

Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” Judges 4:8

This statement from Barak really makes me wish that I could have met Deborah. I wonder what her spirit was like and how she carried herself when she walked. It’s clear that Deborah loved God and she found favor in his sight and in the sight of fellow leaders. Reminds me of a statement I read in Your Life Still Counts by Tracie Miles this week:

…when we are real for God, God becomes real to other people. – Tracie Miles

So good. So true.

So Deborah agrees to go with Barak to battle, but isn’t it funny what she says in reply to him:

And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”

Basically, she is warning him that he is not going to get any rewards for this battle because he is not the brave warrior who will kill the worst of the enemies. In fact, God gave that job to a woman named Jael; the battle was indeed won. It’s an interesting story of tent pegs and trickery, but to keep the focus on Deborah today, we can conclude that she was indeed beautiful and brave, especially since her brief mention in the Bible ends with two treasures. The first is a song that she and Barak sing together. The song is one of beautiful storytelling (I wonder if the gory details were sung in a minor key?) and victory. The second treasure to ponder is that after Deborah’s bold leadership, the Bible gives the result of her courage:

And the land had rest for forty years. Judges 5:31

Deborah’s obedience resulted in peace and rest for all the children of Israel.

Obedience is always beautiful and brave.

So here’s our wrap-up for this brave-hearted woman:

  • Name: Deborah
  • Occupation: Judge
  • Family background: Wife of Lappidoth
  • Daily life: palm tree mediator
  • Emotional baggage: None that we know of
  • Weaknesses: None that we know of
  • Beauty secrets: Believing God, Acting in Obedience
  • Acts of bravery: Accepted the challenge of a leadership role, bravely declaring truth and boldly obeying God, in spite of the political setting.

What strikes you the most about Judge Deborah? Be sure to read her story in Judges 4&5!

Each week I want to highlight one of the posts linked up in the previous week. This week, I chose Jen’s awesome post, so be sure check out what she had to say about last week’s brave woman, Sarah!

new whimsical wed

Bloggers, I’m thrilled to have your 100% Christian encouragement  linkups this Whimsical Wednesday. If you have chosen to participate in the Women in the Bible series and link up your post about Deborah, then I plan to choose and highlight one of your posts here on the blog next week.

Rachel

Original Post: Women in the bible: 5 of the most beautiful and brave

Introductory Post: Women in the Bible: Beautiful and Brave series

Week 1: Sarah Who Remembered God’s Promise

Week 2: Deborah Who Declared God’s Truth

 

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Sarah Who Remembered God’s Promise: Women in the Bible Week 1

sarah beautiful and brave

Welcome to week 1 of  our Women in the Bible: Beautiful and Brave series! To catch up on the details of the series, you can tune in here. I’m delighted that you are joining us as we explore Sarah, the wife of Abraham. I think Sarah has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years. I’ve heard many sermons and lessons on Sarah that have discussed her response  upon the news that she would have a child. In Genesis 18, we find the story:

The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”

Prior to this passage, Sarah and Abraham were waiting for the promise of God to be fulfilled. God’s promise was that they would have as many children as the stars. At one point, Sarah got a little ahead of the game and sent her handmaids in to be with Abraham. You know, I can relate to Sarah, because I’m not so great at waiting on God’s timing either. It’s easy to think our human ideas can “help God out a little”, if you know what I mean. So, yes, Sarah gets quite the rap for her issues outlined in Scripture.

But there’s such an incredible nugget of truth tucked in the Bible about Sarah, the first mother of God’s chosen people. Have you ever heard of the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11? Take a look at verse 11:

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

You know, Sarah had her little laugh upholding her doubts about her own physical ability to even get pregnant at her age, but I can’t help but think how brave Sarah was. She was clearly past child-bearing years and her body was thrown into a hormonal tailspin. Many of us women can hardly deal with the normal cycle of monthly hormones; can you imagine a reversal cycle? Seriously!

Since I’ve had 6 babies, I’ve tried to put myself in Sarah’s place. And honestly, I think I might have laughed in her condition also. However, she stopped laughing and took God at his Word. She willingly accepted the hormonal reversal as God’s way of keeping his promise and she knew it could only be him who kept his promise. No one else could have performed such a miracle and there was no mistake about her baby bundle of blessing. Ultimately, she was Sarah who remembered God’s promise.

Believing God’s promises and accepting his delivery method was Sarah’s specialty. There was no FedEx; just Faith.

I wonder what it must have been like for Sarah to experience this unusual physiological process. While there’s no doubt it was miraculous for her to conceive, I have pondered what it must have been like to carry a baby at her age. God must have given her body a total makeover in order to carry a baby for nine months when she was beyond child-bearing years.  Her strength had to come from him; there’s no other explanation. And that’s what I think she would tell us if we had the opportunity for an interview.

So here’s the skinny on Sarah’s beautiful and brave profile:

  • Name: Sarah
  • Occupation: Homemaker
  • Family background: Wife of Abraham, Mother to Isaac
  • Daily life: Tent dweller
  • Emotional baggage: Self-doubt, Fear, Unbelief
  • Weaknesses: Eavesdropping, Laughing inappropriately
  • Beauty secret: Believing God, Receptive to his will, Faithful to his promises
  • Act of bravery: Accepted a total physiological makeover in order to allow God to fulfill his promise through her, by not only conceiving a child, but carrying him safely through birth. All at 90 years of age!

Sarah certainly inspires me to be one who considers God faithful to keep his promises.

new whimsical wed

Bloggers, I’m thrilled to have your 100% Christian encouragement  linkups this Whimsical Wednesday. If you have chosen to participate in the Women in the Bible series and link up your post about Sarah, then I plan to choose and highlight one of your posts here on the blog next week.

Rachel