Have you ever experienced deception?
I have. More than once.
Ranging from practical jokes to outright cruelty, deception is something we all have or will encounter during our life journey.
How we react when a deception towards us is revealed often depends on the motives driving the deceiver.
If the deception was to keep us in the dark so that we can experience a surprise blessing from our family and friends, we might react with delight and joy.
When deception is dishonorable, though, our reaction might range from sadness to outright rage toward the deceiver.
Isaac, in Genesis 27, experienced deception by both his wife Rebekah and son Jacob.
Have you ever thought about Isaac’s reaction to this betrayal?
Continue reading “Too Dim to See Part Three”
One day near the end of my kindergarten days, my teacher had us write our answers on our own paper to questions that were on a chalkboard.
After reviewing my written answers, she called me to her desk and asked me all the questions verbally.
My written answers were incorrect, but my verbal responses were accurate.
My teacher then called my mother, saying, “I think your daughter has a vision problem.”
Thankfully, having spent several months with me in a classroom, my teacher was right to speculate that my performance with the written answers meant something was amiss.
Her decision to test me with a different sensory mode enabled her to encourage my parents to get my eyes checked.
Yep, except for a brief period in my teens, I have worn glasses ever since.
A few weeks ago, we studied Genesis 27:1-5, where Isaac could no longer see because of his old age.
Today, we will consider what other senses he relied on because of his physical blindness.
Continue reading “Too Dim to See Part Two”
Recently, my husband and I spent some time with extended family members taking a tour of the cave at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. During the cave tour, there was a point when the guide turned out all the lights so we could experience what the first explorers had.
When the guide turned the lights back on, one of the younger tour members asked in a frantic voice, “Are you going to do that again?”
The guide assured the young tour member that she would not be turning the lights out again.
We all understood the concern experienced by this youngster about not being able to see.
Unlike being in a cave with no light, many of us experience a gradual loss of physical sight as we age.
This forces us to rely on others and use our other senses to process our interactions with others in this world.
Genesis 27:1 starts by telling us Isaac was old and his eyes had grown too dim to see.
Continue reading “Too Dim to See Part One”
Physically, I know how to recover from a joint injury. The acronym RICE is the standard protocol for sprains to more serious injuries: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Some injuries take a longer time to heal than expected, though.
Case in point, I tore my right ankle ligament back in 2018. Thankfully, the tear did not require surgery.
Yet, even now, in 2023, I still struggle with pain and mild swelling if I attempt to do over fifteen minutes of walking consecutively.
My goal for 2023 is to shore up this weakness in my ankle so that I can walk for thirty minutes consecutively by the time 2024 has dawned.
But how do we recover from other weaknesses, like selfishness?
Continue reading “After Our Weaknesses Are Revealed”
A couple of years ago, my primary doctor was looking over my medical history and made the comment, “your primary issues are clearly orthopedic.”
We both laughed because, in the short time that she has known me, I have sprained an ankle or both frequently, torn an ankle ligament, sprained a thumb, pulled muscles in my low back, neck, and hip, and was currently being referred to a specialist for a shoulder injury. She even has in my history that I struggle with plantar fasciitis.
I wish I could say these are my only weaknesses. But, along with all other humans on this planet, I share the same weakness.
What is this shared weakness we are all prone towards?
Continue reading “When Our Weaknesses Are Revealed”
Several years ago, I developed plantar fasciitis.
I had been pushing myself with lots of walking prior to going on a cruise trip with my husband’s family.
On the last full day of the cruise, my husband and I walked over ten miles in one day.
When I stood up after the evening meal, I could not put any weight on my left foot.
I was still limping the next day when we had to navigate getting off the ship and through the airports to return home.
Once we were finally home and I elevated my feet, I realized both feet were in pain.
For the next three years, I lived in tennis shoes because of this injury. Going barefoot was excruciating.
Thankfully, over time and with a commitment to wearing good shoes and plenty of stretching exercises, I have only occasional flare-ups.
Are you wondering why I’m talking about my crippled feet on a Bible study blog?
Continue reading “From Crippled Feet to the Love of God“
Yesterday, Christmas eve, my husband returned home after attending our church’s 2:00 pm worship service to tend to our pets before heading over to a friend’s house to share an evening meal and play a game of Scrabble.
While my husband was outside walking our dog, he noticed running water coming from the back of a neighbor’s house. Given the temperatures had been at record lows for our area overnight and had barely risen above freezing by this point, my husband immediately intervened.
Thankfully, the neighbor was home, enabling my husband to instruct them on how to turn their water off and encourage them to contact an emergency plumber.
Then, as we were loading our car up to head to our friend’s house, a fire truck arrived. Another one of our neighbor’s homes had sprung a leak as well. Unfortunately, they were not at home. Thus, the firefighters had to turn their water off from the street with some guidance from my husband where the access existed.
Even though we were running late, my husband took time to reach out to our neighborhood group to report that water was off in these two homes, with the specifics of one being turned off from inside the house and the other from the street.
What does any of this have to do with joyful celebration and verse four of the carol Joy to the World?
Continue reading “What Are You Joyfully Celebrating Part Four”
Recently my husband and I have hosted some driveway firepit nights.
The most recent time was on Thanksgiving evening. We prepared a traditional thanksgiving meal but shared it around a driveway firepit instead of a formal table setting. It was a relaxing and simple time of joyful celebration with our friends who joined us.
One of our neighbors even came over to join in the fun for a bit.
Our conversations flowed easily as we enjoyed the warmth of the flames, the succor of the savory foods, and the fellowship in a laid-back setting.
How does this relate to this series of considering what we are joyfully celebrating this holiday season?
Continue reading “What Are you Joyfully Celebrating? Part Three”
Time spent observing nature is one of my favorite things to do.
I find it brings me great joy.
A soft sunrise or a bold sunset always garner an expression of awe in me.
Tending to a vegetable and herb garden spring through fall also brings me joy, especially when the plants yield a harvest we get to eat!
Being from the Midwest, I appreciate the beauty of a golden wheat field, but I also love spending time in the mountains, whether it be the Rockies or the Blue Ridge.
The Bible sometimes personifies the forces of nature, not to cause us to worship them, but to encourage our own joyful celebration of our Lord.
In this vein, Isaac Watts penned a verse that starts with “Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!”
How does a reigning Savior bring joy to the earth?
Continue reading “What Are You Joyfully Celebrating? Part Two“
Twice a day we prepare food for our pets pictured above, sharing some sunbeams.
The tortoiseshell and white cat named Tink demands her food, starting an hour or more before we usually feed her.
The gray cat named Gunny will occasionally issue a weak and pitiful-sounding meow if she thinks we’re taking too long to prep the food. Mostly, though, she just paces the room while we prep the food. Well, and sometimes tackles Tink for some unknown reason. Hmmm. Maybe Gunny thinks Tink should be quieter? Giggling…
Meghan, the canine, has a very different reaction. Her response to the sounds and smells of food being prepared for her is pure, unabashed joy. She dances and jumps while wagging her tail at the prospect of receiving her meal every time we prepare it. Her tongue hangs out with a touch of drool and a distinct sparkle is in her eyes regarding the anticipation of the tasty meal being prepared.
Seeing Meghan’s joy at mealtime always brings a smile to my face, no matter what I may have dealt with prior to that moment.
And it causes me to wonder about what stirs pure, unabashed joy in my heart.
Continue reading “What Are You Joyfully Celebrating? Part One.“