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Another contest

So, in order to get my name in a draw for a free pass to an online homeschool conference, I have to link to Amy’s Humble Musings and her post about the contest.

Now I have to head over there myself and leave her a recipe or pep talk, Bible verse that is not from Psalms and the link back here so I can have my name in three times.  Amy likes to make you work for your chance at freebies.

{You can also enter a draw over at Preschoolers and Peace and Kendra doesn’t make you work so hard for your entry.  But she also only gives you one entry.  So visit both blogs and get your name in four times!}

BRF: 1 Samuel 1 – 10

I’ve been reading along. I’m not keeping up, as you can see, but I am reading along. I’m finding it slow going, which frustrates me a bit, since it’s a straight narrative and not sorting through doctrine like we do in the epistles. I’m going to blame it on sickness, tiredness and busyness. Like everyone else, we’ve had our share of them in the past month.

I’m home from church this morning. My littlest man and I are having trouble shaking this latest virus and my husband thought it would be best if we stayed put. I’m glad he did. I would have pushed myself to go and the whole congregation would have wondered what beautiful germs I was spewing through the building every time I coughed. (We had to make a trip to the city yesterday for a piano competition and we did some shopping afterwards. The kids had birthday, lawn-mowing and babysitting money burning holes in their pockets, you know. When we got home they all agreed that although they are sorry I have a cough, it came in handy in those big stores. I guess I was easy to find.) So I’m going to take advantage of the last few quiet minutes before the crew returns and keep my promise to my sister to get something posted before the weekend was out.

Back to 1 Samuel.

Like I said, I’m getting bogged down. This will probably be a more-questions-than-answers kind of review. That’s great, as long as I discipline myself to keep looking for the answers!

First of all, aren’t you glad that you aren’t in a polygamous marriage? And aren’t you sad that we women can be so mean to each other? The Hannah and Peninnah story breaks my heart. I feel for both of them. If my understanding of OT marriages is correct, neither wife had much say in the situation.

Peninnah knew she was only there to produce children. Life would be pretty tough with a husband who puts clothes on your back and food on your table but obviously prefers his other wife. I don’t condone her actions, but I do think I can get a feel for what drove her to them. When we are sadly lacking in one area it is very tempting to taunt and flaunt what we do have.

Hannah had Elkanah’s love, but no children. I don’t know what it is to be childless unwillingly, and I don’t have to deal with the pressure of a culture that places your ability to produce children above everything else, but I do know what it is to want a child and believe yourself unable to do so. I have spent years crying along with Hannah and praying for God to work in my situation.

So God answered Hannah’s prayer and Hannah kept her promise. I don’t know how Hannah did what she did. How do you give up your child? Did she know how poorly the priest had done raising his own boys? I’m really not sure she did the right thing, but what is obvious is that God used it. That’s comforting to me, because I of all people know that I have not done, do not do, and never will always do the right thing. God can and will still use me and my bungled attempts to show Him how much I want to honour Him.

I’m not saying Hannah did the wrong thing. I’m saying I don’t know. Whether it was right or wrong, she trusted God and did the best she could with what she had. There are so many situations in my own past where I can look back and know that given the same set of circumstances now, I would handle it differently. But the truth is, I did what I could with what I knew at the time, and it was the best I had to give. We always need to be growing and learning, don’t we?

Reading about Eli’s sons makes me all the more determined to raise my kids well. I trust the Lord that if I train ‘em up in the way they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it. How sad for Eli to see his sons as grown men living such blasphemous lives.

Reading about the ark of the covenant made me realize I have no sweet clue what the ark was all about. God told them not to worship a graven image, then He gave them the ark, and it seems to me like the people sort of worshipped it. You know, if the team mascot is stolen the game won’t go well kind-of-thing. I have some study to do in that regard.

Reading about Saul showed me that I knew the end of his story, but not the beginning. It’s very sobering to read of such a great start when you already know the dismal end. A good reminder for me. Starting well isn’t enough. I need to finish well.

I loved the part about God changing Saul’s heart. All of this OT reading is showing me how wrong I’ve been to always think of the Old Testament as works, works, works and the New Testament as the glorious age of grace. All those sacrifices and rules were still only the outward manifestation of the work God had already done inside. Very cool.

I loved how everyone who knew Saul saw the change in him immediately and was amazed. It wasn’t that he was such a bad guy before – he was a choice and handsome son – but when God changes your heart, it’s obvious. You’re a new creation. The change was so great that it even inspired a new expression among the people. Can’t you just hear the townspeople years later when something incredible happened: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” Kind of like us saying, “well, if that don’t beat all!”

That’s it for this time. The gang’s all here, lunch is ready to come out of the oven, and I have to get on with my day.

{I’m adding one more thought. The last verse I’ve read so far says that there were a few people who weren’t happy with God’s choice for their king. They despised Saul from the get-go. Some people just won’t be pleased. Sad, isn’t it? God was their king, but they rejected Him because they wanted a flesh and bones leader that they could see. So God gave them the desires of their hearts and it would bring leanness to their souls. Another good reminder for me – it’s always better to want what God wants. Sounds obvious, but we miss it so often.}

Just read it.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve pretty much given up blogging. I have lots to say, but I also have lots of other things to do first. Priorities, you know. If I ever get around to getting this computer fixed, I hope to get back to the fun, daily, picture-filled posts I started out writing. I hope.

In the meantime, you need to go read what my sister wrote today.

If I thought it was just her opinion, I wouldn’t get so excited about it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and all that. But I think, no, I KNOW she’s on to something big.

Seriously, you need to read it. And if you get annoyed, dig out your Bible and see if it’s true. It might take a while: days, months even – there’s a lot of Bible to study, isn’t there? – but if you’re annoyed enough, you might be willing to do it.

And that’s a good thing.

Just read it.

{I can’t tell on my computer whether those links are working or not. If they don’t take you to watchthesky.wordpress.com, just copy and paste and get there yourself.}

Morning

PSALM 30
I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Things are much better around here. Thank you so much for the caring comments and emails sent my way after my Easter post. I thought you’d be glad to hear that along with that HOPE, I’ve been feeling a little JOY and VICTORY in recent days.

More later. My computer is crippled and slow, and the days are just packed ~ no time for longer posts today. It’s planting season, you know! Today, our peas are in. How exciting is that?

BRF: Romans 14 – 16

“Yep, I read it.”

To find out what BRF is all about, and to read some real reviews, head on over to Run the Earth, Watch the Sky.

Easter Hope

It is early Easter morning, and my boys are bouncing around in their room, waiting to be allowed out to find some not-so-carefully-hidden chocolate eggs. My daughter is far more able to control her excitement, and is probably reading in her room. My husband is probably trying very hard to get a few more minutes of precious sleep.

Easter ~ the holiday on which we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. A day of joy, victory and hope.

These past three months may have been the most difficult of my life. Then again, they may seem like the most difficult because they are the most fresh in my mind. This week I managed to have my whole local family over for a birthday party, served homemade pizza and welcomed everyone to a neat main floor (we won’t discuss the downstairs for a week or two yet) and a clean bathroom. That is huge, folks. I spent the three following days feeling miserable again for overdoing it, but I can’t tell you how good it felt to be able to pull off one meal again.

This winter of 2008 has not been characterized by joy or victory. What may not be evident to anyone but me, however, is the fact that HOPE has been there every step of the way. It is HOPE alone that has pulled me through. Christ faced my sin and separation from His Father in order to give me that HOPE.

When the Bible talks about HOPE, it is not exactly what we know as hope today. Biblical HOPE is not looking forward to something and wanting it to happen but doubting whether it will happen (I hope it doesn’t rain on the day of the picnic). The HOPE that Christ offers us is a confident, doctrinally founded belief that God will do as He has promised.

It is this HOPE that has seen me through some very hard times. Times that became days (and weeks, no doubt) without reading my Bible, without praying, without joy and victory. Dark days with a constant undercurrent of HOPE: my confident belief that God has brought me to this place for a purpose and that He will bring me through, the knowledge that someday I will be free from this sin-cursed body and my own willful choices. This too shall pass.

And so, this morning I will go with my family to church, and celebrate the resurrection. I’m glad I am the pianist for the service, because I doubt if I’ll be able to sing the hymns. The truths of those beautiful old songs find their way straight to that raw place in me that is still struggling and not quite through yet. I may be less joyful this year, but I will be more thankful than ever: Christ’s HOPE is certainly real to me today.

Happy Easter.

(I hope I win, I hope I win, I hope I win… said with hands clasped and pleading eyes)

Rosetta Stone has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — next week they are unleashing a brand new curriculum, and you can WIN the *all new* Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3… FOR FREE! 

This is a $219 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!) and the winner gets to pick from any of these 14 languages: Spanish (Spain or Latin America), English (American or British), Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Hebrew, or Russian.
This will also include a headset with microphone, and students will participate in lifelike conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program.  Rosetta Stone still incorporates listening, reading and writing as well, in addition to speaking.  Many homeschoolers requested grammar and vocabulary exercises, and with Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3, they’re included!  For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program and allow parents to easily enroll students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, and view and print reports. 
 
To win this most excellent program — in the language of your choice — copy these paragraphs and post it in (or as) your next blog post – then to enter the contest, go to the original contest page HERE: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/JenIG/501132/  and leave a comment with the link showing where you blogged about it.  And please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post it.  And good luck!  The winner will be picked randomly on March 26, and will be notified thru the link they left to their blog pg.   And if you have more than one blog, you can post them and enter those separately for more chances to win.   Yay for free stuff!

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