If Only

We all desire to live a life without regrets. Sometimes, I have gotten the impression that regretting anything in life is a sin, because “God works out everything for good.” Yet, to be realistic, I often do regret things I have done in the past.

Isaiah was not afraid to verbalize God’s regrets regarding the children of Israel. “IF ONLY,” he cried out (Is 48:18). “If only you had paid attention to my (God’s) commands.”  He then lists five ‘would haves’ — things that Israel could have enjoyed, but did not because of disobedience.

In the reading today, we continued the classic rollercoaster ride of Israel’s history through dark days under the leadership of godless kings. My heart also echoes, “If only.” Did they realize how much they were giving up, how much heritage they were throwing away, how large a price had been paid to get them to their current status? There were God-fearing leaders now and then: Hezekiah, Josiah, Amaziah, Amariah, Jehoshaphat. But both kings and prophets alike were very ‘back and forth’ between good (which the prophets rejoiced over) and evil (which the prophets in turn condemned).

As Josiah despaired when he heard the book of the Law, so we can easily despair upon hearing all of God’s expectations for us. Just as with King David, we hold this consolation: “Only acknolwedge your guilt” because “I am merciful; I will not be angry forever” (Jer 3:13).

Ours, then, is to come in humble repentance. God IS merciful.

Am I paying full attention to God? Am I striving, by His grace, to live a life without regrets?

Bible Trivia Day Seven: What things do those who make wooden idols do with other parts of the pieces of wood used for making those idols?

~ Diane

Posted in Bible, Bible Read-a-Thon, Inspiration, Personal | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ready for Week 2

The second week of Bible reading begins this morning. In DOVE Nairobi yesterday, Ibrahim shared on the role and power of God’s word in our lives. Very relevant.

We are grateful that 87 hours have already been sponsored and ‘paid for’!! Thank you! Read-A-Thon jpgThis will take us through most of the week. At this point however, the experience of reading itself has overshadowed the goal of raising money. What started as a fund-raiser for DOVE Africa missionaries has also become a life-changer.

The story of David, from shepherd boy to king, has always fascinated me; there are so many things to comment on.  David’s struggles with the ‘sons of Zeruiah’, and especially Joab, would be enough for a riveting novel. They were so close, and yet the relationship involved blackmail, differing values, and outright mutiny. Joab is the one who killed Absolom, but also the one who earlier convinced David to bring Absolom back to Jerusalem. Hmm.

The testimony about King David, from his own writing and also from the record of God’s Word to his prophets, is that he was ‘blameless,’ a man after God’s own heart , who followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Yet we know his sins. How does that work?

The answer is not easy. But I usually come back to the fact that David was truly and genuinely repentant. His immoral act with Bathsheba, and subsequent murder of her husband as a cover-up, was sin. Thankfully he realized that, and repented sincerely. The willingness and capacity to humbly repent is so crucial for any of our lives, and especially for Christian leaders. David certainly suffered consequences for these acts: his son died, and immorality (especially seen in Solomon) and violence (especially seen with Absolom) followed in the family line.

If we ever want to site David’s faults to make excuses for sin in our own lives, we better beware.

Thank you for following this journey with us!

Bible Trivia Day Five-Six: What did the Pharoah give his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon?

~ Diane

Posted in Bible, Bible Read-a-Thon, Inspiration, Personal | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day Four and All is Well

A chronological plan for Bible reading really ‘adds value’. I recommend that you try it. Consider, for example, Psalm 52 immediately after II Samuel 22 – David’s prayer of response after being betrayed by Doeg.

Today’s readings contained a lot of intrigue, drama and violence. The latter can be quite disturbing. David was very conscientious about not shedding innocent blood in some instances, yet when it came to the enemies of Israel, he was renowned for slaying ‘tens of thousands.’ I always breathe a sigh of relief when we read, “The land had rest from war.”

“…When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (Ps 73:10-11). Yes, in the presence of God, our minds and quieted and hearts encouraged.

I noticed that in the Hebrew culture, ones family line was apparently very important. The lists and lists of genealogies, repeated backward and forward and inside out, indicate this. Maybe it was similar to the African culture – more about ‘who’ you know than ‘what’ you know. An uncle or aunt in high office is seen to hold a key for your future.

I gleaned a meaningful promise: “Yet I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory” (Ps 73:23-24).

Bible Trivia Day Four:  What are the only complete chapters of Chronicles that are not repeated from other Old Testament books? (In I Chronicles, even the fact that Zelophehad only had daughters is mentioned again).

~ Diane

Posted in Bible, Bible Read-a-Thon, Inspiration, Justice, Personal | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Choose Today

Today’s reading took us through the eras of Moses and Joshua and into the years of the judges. Reading a lot of Swahili (which was great) slowed things down, so reading time extended to 10 hours.

It is noteworthy that the frustrations of the Israelites in the desert, the unconquered nations in the Promised Land, and even God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac were all intended by the Lord to be a test of hearts. What might God be using to test the sincerity of my heart today?

God’s people ever had a mind of their own. But all choices had consequences. The theme of blessing and curses — blessings when people obeyed and disaster when they disobeyed — is so strong in these Old Testament books. The final appeal of both Moses and Joshua was the same: choose whom you will serve!

Even today, we have choices to make. So often we read the parts of the Bible that we enjoy: the blessings. But the curses are just as real. Blessings and curses come as a consequence of our actions. Yes, in the New Covenant we have forgiveness in Jesus, but the principle is the same: we are expected to live right.

We noticed that some things were repeated over and over:

  • The 2½ vis-à-vis 9½ tribal allocations apparently required frequent explanation;
  • The fact that the Levites did not receive an inheritance seemed to be a very big deal;
  • The daughters of Zelophehad: Mahlah, Hoglah, Milcah, Tirzah and Noah, were mentioned soooo many times. I was not counting but must have read that list maybe 7 times.

On this journey through God’s Word, I continue to learn things that I have never noticed before!

Bible Trivia Day Three:

  • In KJV, what did God (through Moses) call “new arrivals?” (sounds like a Walmart ad!)
  • What did Abimelech do to the city of Shechem after he captured it?

~ Diane

Posted in Bible, Bible Read-a-Thon, Inspiration, Personal | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

‘As You were Shown’

Several refrains, similar in emphasis, reverberated through our Bible reading trek through Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers today.

  • “Do it the way you were shown (on the mountain).”
  • “Just as the Lord commanded Moses. . .”
  • “Moses did according to all that the Lord commanded him.”

Of course the ten plagues and Israel’s deliverance from Egypt are phenomenal beyond measue. But once God’s people came out of slavery, the rest of the reading comprised a full day of rules, guidelines, restrictions, regulations, instructions about sacrifices, and prescribed punishments. Whew!

Also very striking is God’s attention to detail. There was rich symbolism in every item of the Tabernacle and its construction. Just consider Aaron’s garb – he carried the entire nation of Israel on his head and chest!

Overriding it all stands one powerful lesson for me: THANK GOD for JESUS! THANK GOD for GRACE!

Bible Trivia Day Two:

  • What reminder of Israel’s wilderness wanderings was kept in the Ark of the Covenant?
  • What is the meaning of the ‘covenant of salt?’

~ Diane

Posted in Bible, Bible Read-a-Thon, Inspiration, Personal | Tagged , | 3 Comments

‘It was Very Good’

The first day of Bible reading was amazing! We started with everyone on our small team reading 2 chapters each. Then came the longer ‘turns’ of one hour at a time. We completed Genesis and Job. There is so much treasure in that precious Book!

I have ‘read through’ the Bible many times, but reading it out loud is quite different. Try Genesis Chapter 10, for example. This author leaves Dr. Seuss in the dust!

  • Starting with the Creation story, I was reminded again that “God saw that it was good.” All of His creation: good and very good.
  • Then the personal stories of those who walked with God: Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. People with ‘issues,’ weaknesses – just like us even though so long ago.
  • If you have ever doubted God’s power, please read Job 38 – 39. If you have not, just read it anyway!
  • I love the story of Joseph, and selfishly read all those 15 chapters myself. <:)

We ended the day with a shortfall of 6 chapters that need to be ‘made up’ today, but I am confident that we’ll make the schedule work.

Bible trivia Day One: What was God’s first accusation against Adam? (don’t peek)

Have a great day!

~ Diane

Posted in Bible, Inspiration, Personal | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Ready to Read

The first lady of Kenya recently completed a full 42 km marathon race in order to raise money to support Kenyan women who do not have access to pre-natal and post-natal care.  I am not a first lady, and am definitely NOT called to run a marathon race!

But her courageous act really challenged and inspired me. “What can I do to make a difference?” I wondered. The plan that came to mind is to hold a Bible reading ‘marathon’ (Read-A-Thon) to raise money for missions in DOVE Africa.

Read-A-Thon jpgThe Bible Read-A-Thon starts today and will continue for two weeks. In addition to the fund-raising and amazing benefit of reading God’s word, we will also be declaring Truth in the neighborhood around our Nairobi church.

Here in Kenya, and I believe worldwide, people often seek sponsorship to participate in a walk or a run or even a golf tournament. This time, members of DOVE Kenya are encouraged to sign up for one hour of Bible reading (and give me a break now and then) at a cost of $12 per hour. I also am looking for sponsors — and the wonderful news is that the first week+ is already fully sponsored! All proceeds will go to the work of DOVE Missions in Africa.

Need to go get started…..

~ Diane

(Donate here).

Posted in Bible, Inspiration, Missions, Personal | Tagged , , | 5 Comments