From Creation to Confusion

 

My husband is teaching Genesis Chapter One to Chapter Eleven and he’s entitled it: “Creation to Confusion”.

Tonight, we went through Chapter Two verse by verse. This is where Adam gets put to sleep by God and Eve is fashioned from a rib or part of Adam’s side.

After Adam named all the animals, perhaps he noticed they were created male and female and as of yet, he didn’t have a female counterpart.

In Chapter Two, God speaks prophetically about man leaving his father and mother to unite with his wife as “one flesh”.

Adam and Eve didn’t have earthly parents, which is why leaving parents and cleaving together is for future couples.

The first man and woman at the end of Chapter Two were “naked and not ashamed”.

They were alone with God; they knew nothing of evil.

Next week, we’ll study Chapter Three in Genesis, when sin entered the world. The difference in Adam and Eve’s life must have astounded them and brought great regrets.

I like going to Bible studies because the leader digs into other resources. In our case, commentaries; dictionaries; experts; and of course, a thorough reading of the Bible and prayer for guidance are employed.

We decided Adam must have been more intelligent than we are now because he named every animal and bird. “How many could you name?”

One of the classmates said maybe thirty.

We guessed there must have been a huge multitude of animals and birds represented. It occurred to me, not only did the names need to be created, but remembered so he didn’t repeat himself. Yowza!

Adam lived to be eight hundred years old, so the children, grandchildren, and on and on, his following generations could have asked, “What was the garden of Eden like?”

In Genesis 2, it says God formed trees before Adam’s eyes.

So, for eight hundred years, he could tell of his personal experience with the Creator to anyone willing to listen.

I’ve read Genesis over the years. Tonight’s conversation brought some insights I’d never considered before.

That’s what’s so amazing about the Bible. There’s always more to learn.

My husband asked, “As God brought forth the animals living on land and the birds of the air to Adam, to be named, how would this newly formed man relate to God?”

I said, “He would have been in awe of God and His amazing creativity.”

When we considered that Adam hadn’t been around for more than a matter of hours, this was an opportunity for Adam to get to know God in a way we’ll never experience this side of heaven.

My husband and I believe Creation occurred over six twenty-four-hour periods of time. Adam, Eve and all animals, (with trees and herbs for food), came into being fully grown so they could function and then eat the produce immediately.

Genesis is an extremely important book in the Bible. If I don’t believe Genesis is God’s Word, inspired and given to men, then what else in the Bible can I pick and choose to believe or disregard?

May God bless you!

 

 

 

 

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“Love in the Social Realm”

Yesterday I wrote, “Today was a busy day from morning until night. I got invited to my daughter’s so we could check out a coffee shop she liked. After she did her dishes,” (and then I stopped writing.)

To continue: We ate lunch so I could grocery shop on a full stomach – well, I was hungry by then, too.

I wanted to exercise, so we walked for a bit and once again, I realized I need to exercise more often. We took some time to pray and encourage one another. I shopped at two grocery stores to take advantage of sales and then I went to a meeting at church. By the end of the night, it occurred to me that I’d lost steam. Blogging that night was going on hold.

Our church is seeking God for vision and mission and practical steps for a healthy church. So, we took a survey two weeks ago about the preaching and songs and relationships and outreach, etc.

I’m looking forward to seeing what God will do.

In Hebrews 13 my Bible entitles it “Love in the Social Realm.”

Hebrews 13; 1-6 (NASB) says, “Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your character be free from love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?”

How encouraging God’s Word is! Be Blessed!

To Divorce or not to Divorce?

There are times in my quiet time with God that I think He is saying “Feed My sheep.”

Then I ponder what He might want me to say. Lately, I’ve been running into people that are married and struggling, married and about ready to bail out of the marriage, and/or divorced and dealing with the downside of their choice – custody issues and money issues and the hurting children. I thank God that there are many married and doing well in their relationship!

My daughter recommended a Christian blog called ElisabethKlein.com. It’s for women in crisis relationships. According to my daughter, Elisabeth never advises anyone when they ask, “Should I divorce?”

The thing with couples, there’s always two sides to the story. Each may sound perfectly true from their own perspective. The real picture is only clear to God. So that sounds to me like Elisabeth Klein has wisdom in not telling people to divorce or to stay together.

When I was younger, my husband and I had very close friends that began to have marital problems. We started to take sides. I said, “We’d better not get involved here or we’ll damage our relationship.”

My husband had been thinking along the same lines. So we supported our friends the best that we could and we left “he said, she said,” out of our conversations.

I chose to write about marriage, so I did a lot of research. In “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study,” a book by
Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee says children suffer greatly from divorce, especially if they change homes every week. It’s hard for them to make friends and to make plans with the friends.

That’s only one downside. Yet, if their home is extremely volatile and they may be forever damaged being there, what can a mom or dad do? It’s no easy question.

I feel fortunate that I married a man that respects me and whom I respect. We never call each other names, even when we’re mad. We talk things out so we understand the other persons’ viewpoint. We offer grace when the other person isn’t getting it. We dated just about every week along the years, and still do, almost forty years into our marriage. We allow each other the freedom to explore hobbies and interests that the other is not interested in, when we can afford the money to do so.

My husband and I recently got online to take the Meyers-Briggs personality test and I told my youngest daughter that I’d bet we were totally opposite. Yep. So we thrive amidst the obvious tensions that can and do arise. We talk things out; we try to comprehend the other person’s viewpoint. I’ve gritted my teeth and held on for dear life a time or two when I really wanted to leave. Once, in an extended struggle, I called his best friends and told them I needed their help. They got in his face and told him a few things I never could have. He needed prodding to get outside his shell.

He stuck with me when some of my bad habits quietly eroded his well-being. I never knew that until a few years ago. I’m more of a confront-er; he’s quiet and ponders things deeply before he speaks. He told another friend that he was advising – on how to save his marriage – that he decided he loved me more than my inability to keep the laundry caught up and to keep the clutter away – my lifelong struggle. How important was the guy’s marriage to him? Could he overlook some things as well?

Maybe it’s because I keep trying to change, with God’s help, and he’s changed because of God’s influence in his life, that the longer we’re married, and the more we walk in the other person’s shoes, so to speak, the better it gets. I tuned in to Focus On the Family radio program often in my life and purchased helpful resources. Their website’s value seems priceless to me.

God hates divorce. Jesus speaks strongly about divorce in Mark 10:2-12. My oldest daughter thinks it’s because God knows the damage it causes. Many years ago, my in-laws divorced, so I researched divorce. One author said divorce caused grief worse than a death because the wounds keep getting re-opened when you deal with the other person. Plus, there’s no rejection in a death.

If you are thinking of divorce, think long and hard about it, I urge. Proverbs 11:14 (ASV) states, “Where no wise guidance is, the people falleth; But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

Above all, pray. God may ask you to be patient; God may ask you to work on your own failings and ignore the other persons faults; God may say to separate because of the lack of safety for the spouse and/or the children. Another Proverb warns against acting hastily. Proverbs 25:8a (ASV): “Go not forth hastily to strive, Lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof…”

I’m writing this because people I care about have divorced or are considering divorce and it breaks my heart, along with hoping to make an impact on others. Strong marriages are great for society and as Christians, marriage is a representation of Christ’s love for the church, as portrayed in Ephesians 5:21-33.
These verses speak on the roles of husbands and wives and their responsibilities toward each other. May God be glorified in our lives.

Change Hinderers

I have to admit, I like change. Yet, at a conference where my husband and I, as leaders, were being coached to change, I didn’t like it. Anxiety sat on my shoulder, what would this change do to the flow of things back at the building?

Who am I? Why did I resist the ideas for change. When did I, um, change?

After I looked at the resistance to change at that meeting, I decided to take a deep breath, get over the idea that I might not want to look at new techniques, and became more open. I’m sure the instructor appreciated that. If leadership won’t consider anything new, forget implementing anything after the training.

As some may know, I’ve started keeping a time-log. I’m on week two. It amazes me how quickly time flows and how hard it is for me to keep an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper with me at all times so I can keep track of the fleeing half hours. So, I’ve cheated and tried to remember. Where did that half hour go between eating lunch and finishing a note to my neighbor, now living in assisted-living quarters hours away? How is it that she’s gone and I rarely made it over to sit and chat? How is it that I didn’t know she was lonely until after she moved away and her daughter told me? And surely, it didn’t take me half an hour to say hi, how are you, I miss you.

The other day, I intended to clean for three hours and write for five. The phone rang. “What time did you say you were coming over today?” After setting up an appointment for the afternoon, I called my friend. “Remember our walk, can you make it this morning?” Oh, man. How many hours are there in the day? Overbooking when I’m actually keeping track shows the tendencies that have sabotaged me in the past, which is what this exercise is all about.

Today, a friend needed a ride to see some people. Her close friend called me to see if I could accommodate her, because she was too upset to drive. A friend looking out for another friend, and I agreed. I wouldn’t want emotional duress to cause an accident. So I packed my computer in a bag with a Bible and a writing book and money for lunch. I’m glad I was available, but as soon as I find my time paper, I’ll have to block out three hours of time for a sandwich and the drive and maybe two verses read.

Sometimes when people know you are trying to diet, or to be less available, or kicking the addictive behavior you enjoyed with them, they’ll give you little hints as to why you shouldn’t even bother. “You’ve tried that before and it didn’t work, don’t worry about it.” Or, “I’ll miss you. Surely you don’t have to skip time with me.” Or “What kind of a friend are you? We always go to the ice cream stand after class? One hot fudge sundae a week won’t kill you?” Etc. Etc.

I’m reminded of what Cecil Murphey said to me, “What are you willing to give up?”

For a person who likes change, I can see that I have some routines that I like. I read a book for a resource for a marriage book I’m working on. The man had Asperger’s Syndrome. If I remember correctly, his wife pointed out that he spent forty-five minutes looking in the mirror in the morning while she got their children fed, bathed, dressed, and then got herself ready for work. I think people can fall into time-wasting habits and not even be aware. This man wanted to help his wife and improve his marriage. His book is: “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband,” by David Finch.

He altered behaviors for the benefit of his wife, himself and his children. He didn’t allow others to hinder his progress. As I change and grow, I’ll continue to note hindrances of my own making and maybe see some from others. Then I’ll have to decide, “What am I willing to give up so I can stay seated at the keyboard or to avoid a trip to the dr.s office or hospital, etc.?”

Dinner with Friends

Have you ever been overwhelmed with life? Sometimes I get down because of hearing of trials others are going through, along with my own stresses. Some months ago my husband committed to attending a dinner function with friends of ours one night per month. I balked. One requirement was to bring a dish to pass, sometimes the main entree, and I felt exhausted from all that I do already. He told me fine, I could stay home and he would go.

He knows me well. I am an extrovert. There’s no way I am going to want to miss out on a gathering of friends and time with him in a fun atmosphere. Besides that he told me he needed it and he thought it would be good for me, too. So I reluctantly agreed. After we got there, they asked me to start bringing my guitar. Oh brother, another responsibility. I found it hard to say no.

The last two months, I’ve felt stretched almost to the breaking point. After composing myself at home and praying like crazy, I’ve gone. Once there, we pray for dinner and eat good food. We talk and laugh. A couple of the men kid around with such good natured fun, I can’t help but join in with the jokes and the story telling. Then another guy and I play guitar so everybody can sing to the Lord. We then have a devotional from one of the attendees. It is amazing how much better I feel emotionally and spiritually after these few hours of camaraderie. Plus I’m learning new songs and to play guitar better since he’s at a higher level of proficiency.

After one of the evenings, I told my husband what a blessing it is to attend these dinners. “I knew it would be good for you.”

He’s right so many times when we have disagreements. Whenever he reminds me that he was right, there’s always a twinkle of play and love in his eyes. All I know is that I thank God that He directs my paths, and sometimes it’s with a little push from my husband.

Living Life With Integrity

I read a book a little while ago entitled Good to Great in God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram, copyright 2007, published by Baker Books. He said a colleague wrote things on 3 x 5 cards and then he did, like, “I want to be a person of integrity to bring glory to God,” “I want to show love to my wife in tangible ways every day that will mean something to her,” “I want to pray more often every day and develop an attitude of gratitude.”

He read them every morning and night for a period of time in the beginning,  and then regularly after that but not as often. So I made some for me, shamelessly stealing some of his wording. It is impacting my life because it clearly states things I want to do. Some days I say, “I haven’t started that yet, but I will.”

If it sounds good to you, I’m sure Chip Ingram would be thrilled to have you use his idea. He longs for believers to live a Christian life as a man or woman of integrity. I heard him say it at a seminar a few years back in Upstate New York. The book is worth reading, and making wholesome changes brings zest to life.