Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jonah, Part 1

When I begin a study, I like to know just where in history the story takes place. It's kind of like knowing which end of the swimming pool you are about jump into: how deep is the water -- how deep into history are we? So, let's begin with some background and little interesting information.

Setting: The story of Jonah is set in approximately 759 B.C. (give or take a few years). It was during the reign of Israel's King Jeroboam II.

Locations: Joppa: A coastal city in Israel approximately 25 miles from the present day Tel Aviv.

Tarshish: Scholars are not completely sure of the exact location of this city, but most think it is in Southern Spain.

Nineveh: At the time of this story, it was in the kingdom of Assyria. Nineveh was off and on the Capitol of Assyria. It is now in present day Iraq. There have been recent excavations that have proven Biblical and historical records. There could have been more uncovered if not for a burial site that has prohibited further progress.

Jonah (Dove), son of Amittai (Truth). They were Jews from the Northern tribe of Zebulon (II Kings 14:25)

Tarshish Mariners: These men were pagans and worshiped many gods. They were seasoned sailors.

A great fish: This fish was especially prepared for Jonah.

Assyrians: They were feared enemies of the Israelites. The Assyrians were extremely cruel. The Word Knowledge Commentary quotes Ashur Nasir Pal II (859 B.C.) boasting:

"I stormed the mountain peaks & took them. In the midst of the mighty mountain I slaughtered them with their blood I dyed the mountains red like wool . . . "

"Heads of their warriors I cut off - formed them into a pillar against their city."

"Their young men & their maidens I burned in the fire."

Regarding one captured leader he wrote:

"I flayed [him], his skin I spread upon the wall of the city . . .

He also wrote of mutilating the bodies of live captives and stacking their corpses in piles.

Shalmanese II (859 - 824 B.C.) boasts:

"A Pyramid of heads I raised in front of his city. the youths and their maidens I burned up in the flames."

Also, if anyone opposed him or the government, their lips, head or hands would have been cut off according to their crime.

In Jonah 1:1 we find that the Lord asks Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn them of coming destruction. Asking Jonah to go to Nineveh would have been like asking a Jew in NYC during WWII to go to Germany to deliver a message to Hitler and the people of that country! Thankfully, when God asks something of us, He prepares all circumstances and all persons involved. He never takes us only part way, but completes the journey with us. He's so faithful -- always faithful to us!

The story of Jonah in the most controversial in the Old Testament -- mostly because of the fish and whether or not it was possible for a fish to be large enough to swallow a man. Also, the question has been raised as to whether he could have survived three days and three nights inside a fish.

We don't have to go looking for other incidents as evidence to prove that something like Jonah being swallowed by a fish could be true. We don't have to find another occasion of it again because that's part of what makes it a miracle! The miracle is that only God could do it!

The New American Commentary says:

"Searching for historical incidents when people and large animals were swallowed and later recovered from sea creatures, show a posture of defensiveness, unnecessary, counter productive and violates the nature of the biblical accounts."

Dee Stuarts says: "A miracle is a divine account beyond human replications or explanation."

Jesus himself believed the story to be true (Matthew 12). So if we deny Jonah's experience to be fact, then we are charging Christ either with fraud, deception or ignorance of the truth. The truth is, God can do anything, be anything or use anything He chooses for the furtherance of the Gospel and His purpose!

Do you need a miracle today? God's supply is inexhaustible. He is ready and able to deliver you from, in, or through your circumstance. He knows. He knows you. He knows exactly what you need. Trust Him. Believe Him. He loves you and He cares.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Jonah-heart?

Like most of you, I heard the story of Jonah and the whale when I was a small child. Sitting, listening intently with wide eyes, I tried to picture what the inside of a whale might look like. It's one of my grand daughters favorite Bible stories -- probably because her grandfather and I insert sounds and motions that make her giggle.

Recently I felt God leading me to teach on Jonah in my young adult Sunday school class. I ask, "Are you sure? Jonah?" (
Why do I question Him?!!!) I began to read and research. I read the little four-chapter book in every version I could get my hands on. After gathering extra information and insight from commentaries and articles I began putting the four lessons together.

To be perfectly honest, I always get much more out of preparing a lesson than the students get out having it presented to them. This little book has made an impact on me. As God would have it and
considering the world we live in today, the timing was perfect.

It amazes me how the Word of God is never outdated! The setting for this story is set around 759 BC, yet humans are still dealing with similar issues and God is still trying to get us to do what is right!

I've decided to share with you what I learned through this study. I will break it down in four or five posts. God is continuing to use this series of lessons to help me perfect my heart. So, come back soon and we'll get started on the lessons I've learned from the book of Jonah.


Monday, May 25, 2009

B's Bakery

Last week I bought B a few little baking pans. She was so excited when I gave them to her Wednesday and wanted to bake something right away. So she decided that she to bake a "birthday" cake for PaPa. Here are the results:

Blue is her favorite color.
Since this was a pretend birthday,
we decided that this would be his 5th birthday :)
Here's the cake.

Our little chef.
(We're still working on relaxing the smile ;)

Little pans + big cake batter = lots of product!

Aren't these the cutest cup cake holders?
B loves them.
Such fun!

Have a blessed Sunday!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

. . . Sigh . . . .

I have had the most incredible three days! I have had my grandchildren since Thursday night and they left around 7:00 p.m. tonight. I do admit that I am tired from keeping up a pace (around the clock) that I'm not used to, but overall it was awesome! They are such good kids -- ages 5 yrs. and 11 months. In fact, adorable!

Their Mommy and Daddy took a few days to get away for my DIL's birthday. They so needed and deserved a break just for themselves. And Grammie and PaPa? They were so thrilled to have them.

My BIL jokingly said that after having his three grandchildren for a few days, that the best part was seeing the taillights as they drove away. NOT TRUE! After my little ones left I missed them! (Note: I keep them every Wednesday and they only live 2 1/2 miles away. I know - - I'm pitiful!)

As my brother once said. "If you don't have grandchildren, you need to get some - they are GRAND! " :)


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Little Slugger

Tuesday night was B's last Tee Ball game . It is so fun to watch these little ones learn the concept of playing the game. B would rather pick flowers in the out field than wait to catch the ball. Dancing is also a favorite past time out there, too.

In the batter's circle.
She's a pretty good hitter.

On first base.
(She made it all the way to home base.)

Here's a short video.

And last, but not least, the Tee Ball hairstyle!

Precious little girl with a sweet heart!
That's Grammie's girl!


Friday, May 22, 2009

New landscaping?

When we arrived home from Missouri last week, this is what we saw:

There is a tree limb in the background - one of several.

While we were in Missouri last week, there were sever thunder storms and straight winds. We received a call from one of the church board members who told us the roof blew off of the parsonage! Actually, it was the southwest corner. Thanks to 7 men in our church, there was no water damage inside from the big rain storm that followed this. Thanks guys!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Getting Away

This was supposed to be Monday's post. So now it's Thursday and I finally have a little time to myself to blog.

Last week we were in Missouri to attend an Oklahoma minister's retreat. We stayed at Big Cedar in a two bedroom, two bath cabin. Hubs' mother, brother and SIL (from Alabama) joined us there for the week.

Here's a picture of our cabin for the week.
Everything was so pretty and green.

When we arrived, this was the first thing I saw as I walked in the cabin.
My sweetheart had these delivered and waiting!

The next morning I enjoyed a little time out on the deck.
The doors behind me go to the master bedroom.
(I used the camera's timer for this pic.)

Here's a few pics of the interior:

This is the view as you walk in the front door.

The little kitchen.

Looking back at the front door.
All rooms have gabled skylights.
They are stained glass and each one has a different scene.

The stone fireplace.

The master bedroom.

The master bedroom.
I hope you enjoyed the short tour of the cabin. Wouldn't it be nice to own one for a "get-away" place? (These aren't for sale.) Every night a "cookie lady" came by to deliver freshly baked cookies and make sure we had plenty of coffee.

God has been so good to provide get these short times of getting away. I don't know why life is so crazy . . . but it is and this type of thing helps tremendously!

Have a blessed day!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Scripture Memory Challenge

Wow, it's time to add another scripture in the LPM scripture memory challenge!

In continuing to memorize Psalm 139, the next verse is number 10 which again, s iin the middle of a phrase:

". . . even there your hand will guide me,
your strength will support me."

Psalm 139:10 (NLT)

Last Sunday, after the morning service, we left for Missouri and did not return until last night around 8:00 P.M. So . . that's why I have not posted all week long. I will try to do a post tomorrow - with a few pics to recount the week.

Have a restful Sunday evening!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

To Mothers

Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 8, 2009

Who will win?

It has been raining several days a week for over month. So much so that the story of Noah been on my mind a lot lately!

Do you know what comes with monsoon-type rains?


Little ants that think they can just dance their way into your house and set up camp!

We had an infestation of them last week. They must have been dancing ants b/c they moved in under the sub-woofer! I could not believe my eyes! After freaking out for a moment, I got the ant spray and vacuum cleaner and went in for the attack! (Once again, I did not get pictures of the battle scene - I was too busy.)

I sprayed to stop the "movement", then I vacuumed them up, emptied the vac into a bag, tied the bag and put it in the trash outside. I went back and did a thorough spray in several rooms and hubs later sprayed outside and in again.

I am proud to say, WE'VE WON this battle and hopefully the war for 2009! I haven't seen any rainbows yet, but hopefully one will show up soon.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What 's Your Answer Wednesday

My bloggy friend "Lois Lane II", at Fearfully, Wonderfully Made, inspired my post today. What's Your Answer Wednesday is a fun way to learn more about each other. Here goes:

  1. What is your occupation?
  2. Did you go to college? If so, what was your major?
  3. What is your favorite recipe? (Please share!) :)
  4. Do you have pet, and, if you do, what are they and what are their names?


My answers:

1. Pastor's wife and office manage.
2. Yes, I majored in business.
3. One of my favorite recipes is "Merry Heart Chicken Salad"
(at the end of this post).
4. I do not have any pets.
(We're gone too much, so, the poor thing would spend its time alone.)


6 chicken breast halves, cooked and diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup green onions, diced
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
1 cup seedless grapes
1-8 oz. container low fat lemon yogurt
1/4 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
Mrs. Dash Original

Combine all ingredients, toss and season to taste. Add more yogurt if it is not moist enough. Serve chilled. Makes approximately 6 cups.

Note: I boil the chicken in a pot with onion, potatoes, carrots and celery for extra flavor. I buy extra yogurt to have on hand b/c I usually have to use it to moistened the salad. My favorite way to served it is on croissants as a sandwich.

I got this recipe from the Merry Heart Tea Room in Grandbury, TX. This chicken salad is a "hit" every time I make it.


For more What's Your Answer Wednesday fun, go here.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

He's Finally Home

James Howard Curtis

1919 - 2009

He was such a sweet and gentle man who always seemed to have a big smile on his face. We will miss that smile and his kind words. He won the hearts of those he met.

When my family and I arrived at the airport in December 1991, he was there to greet us and take us to our hotel. I will never forget him. We love all of our church family, but once in a while there are those who stand out as exceptional -- he was exceptional!

His funeral will be Thursday, May 7, 2:00 p.m. Please remember Hubs, and all of us who will be taking part in the memorial services, in your prayers. Hubs will be bringing the message and they have asked me to sing two songs. I know with God's unfailing strength, we can do it.

His little wife, who now walks with a walker, already feels the loneliness. Her sweetheart was the kind that leaves a BIG hole when gone. Although she may be physically frail, she's a mighty warrior and is strong in the Lord.

At times like this, it makes me want to strive even more to be a woman of substance for my God.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

He's Been Faithful

Tomorrow will be our last day at the rent house.

I. Am. exhausted!

It seems like our schedule has been more overloaded this time around. I guess there are a few reasons for that:
  1. An extra grandchild to babysit
  2. TWO Bible studies to facilitate during the entire house sale, house hunt, house prep & rental
  3. A bum knee (BTW - I have an MRI scheduled)
  4. Multiple surgeries among our church people. (We have one dear Saint -- a precious 90 year old gentleman -- that is not expected to make it through the next 24 hours)
  5. I'm a year older !?? Could that possibly affect anything here? :)

Anyway, tomorrow I will cease to live out of a suitcase -- for at least two weeks -- no joke, we will be gone again the middle of May. Oh well!

Here are a couple pics showing some of the exciting "entertainment" in my recent past :)



(There are a lot of windows in this house!)

(There's a board propping up the fence, however,
there's a new fence scheduled to be installed this week.)

My job there is almost complete. One more vacuuming, final shining in the kitchen and bathrooms, then, packing up all the equipment.

This has made me think of the dear man whose life is slipping away as I type. He is 90 years old and is a patriarch of our church. Hubs says that he cannot remember a time that this dear one did not say "I love you, Pastor" when departing. As think over the many years that we have known him, I realize that his life here on earth is almost complete. He has run the race and fought the good fight. He has done his part to allow God's light shine bright through him. He's tired and ready to go Home. We will miss him -- desperately so. However, I am jealous for him to go to his reward and be with his Savior that he dearly loves. He will leave a legacy -- of love and faithfulness to his God and of His God's faithfulness to him.

Once again, God has shown His faithfulness to us. He IS faithful -- whether or not things go as we want or expect, God is still and always will be faithful. What a Savior!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Scripture Memory Challenge

I have been enjoying memorinzing God's Word! I keep my little book with me so I can work on the verses just about anywhere I am.

This is my verse for the next two weeks:

"If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans, . . . "
Psalm 139:9 (NLT)
This verse is in the middle of the Psalmist's thought or phrase about how we can never escape from God's Spirit or His Presence.
As a mother, I could not always keep my child in my sight. As he grew, he began spending time away from me while at school, with friends, etc. It doesn't matter where we are, God always has us in His sight, He lovingly watches over His children -- day and night -- 24/7 -- always -- forever!
Psalm 139 is such a personable chapter and has been a favorite of mine since the first time I read it as a child. If you need to feel that God truly knows who you are and cares about you, try reading this chapter for yourself.