Tuesday Christopher & I spent a couple of hours visiting with our friends Tim & Grace. They run Haven for Life Ministries, a home for pregnant girls. They've been formed as a ministry since 2005 but have spent almost three years getting their licenses in place, fingerprints checked, classes taken and just all of that red tape stuff you need in order to take children into your home in our foster care system. I know these two are beautiful people who are looking forward to the young women God will bring into their care and I can't wait to meet them, either. I have agreed to be a mentor in their ministry and we will all (Tim & Grace, the Board & Mentors) be praying over each girl as she comes into the home and when they feel they have one that would be a good match for the mentor, that's when the mentor will "get" a girl. I'm not sure how else to describe it, really, I just know I'm looking forward to whomever God tells them is mine.
Wednesday I met with our Missions Pastor and the Executive Director of Proverbs 31:20 Ministries and (1) Proverbs 31:20 will be supporting me as I begin work in the human trafficking area and (2) I have been given permission to be Canyon Hills' representative in the Coalition. THAT was exciting news!!! I have to continue praying as I step out here and I most definitely would appreciate it if you mention me in your prayers as I move forward. As a member of this Coalition, representing my church in this community endeavor, I need to discern God's voice constantly and I get a bit nervous about that. I will need to remain humble and that idea concerns me, too. Pride is a problem for everyone and it is a bit of a conundrum for me...I know God gave me a personality for "leadership" but I never feel comfortable with it. People tell me that's a good thing - I'll never be too sure of myself or get cocky but that doesn't help too much, really. There are decisions to make and I have to make them or help make them - I don't get to just sit back and get told what to do. Lives will actually depend on what this Coalition does and we can never forget it belongs to God and it is His work we are to do. It's easy to run in front of Him or head down a side road He doesn't want us on. It is harder to keep our eyes focused on Him and not worry about watching where we walk - He is to be our guide, our leader. Giving up that control is really hard for me. Yes - I know - everyone struggles with that idea but I don't have to live inside anyone else, I am stuck inside of me.
So...back to my calendar of events. Thursday I actually spent some time cleaning around the house a bit, watched my husband finish taking out the back deck and relaxed. It was kind of fun just sitting around for a good part of the day. We had our Lifegroup over Thursday night and talked through Chapter 21 of Ezekiel. It was good in that it brought up another question for me. Lately, my reading through the Bible or other's readings have had me thinking of a few interesting questions. One them being from Ezekiel 21. Now, in Ezekiel 21, God is telling Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that He's done. He's given them all the warning their going to get and now Jerusalem is going down. Additionally, God states His wrath is going to take out the Ammonites (for laughing at the Israelites and their troubles, which is putting it mildly, by the way). He's not going to just discipline them a bit, He says:
28 "And you, son of man, prophesy and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says about the Ammonites and their insults:
" 'A sword, a sword, drawn for the slaughter,
polished to consume and to flash like lightning!
29 Despite false visions concerning you
and lying divinations about you,
it will be laid on the necks
of the wicked who are to be slain,
whose day has come,
whose time of punishment has reached its climax.
30 Return the sword to its scabbard.
In the place where you were created,
in the land of your ancestry,
I will judge you.
31 I will pour out my wrath upon you
and breathe out my fiery anger against you;
I will hand you over to brutal men,
men skilled in destruction.
32 You will be fuel for the fire,
your blood will be shed in your land,
you will be remembered no more;
for I the LORD have spoken.' "
Couple of things in there and not the least of which is the part where He tells them He's going to hand them over to brutal men, men skilled in destruction. I shivered when I read that. Imagine being turned over to men who are "skilled in destruction." Men who enjoy inflicting pain and killing - men without conscience. I wonder...who else will God pour His wrath on like that? Try to think of those He already has...
In verse 32, God states the Ammonites will be remembered no more. I need to do some digging on this one because it threw me off a bit when I read it. If they are to be remembered no more, per God, why do they get written down in the book of Ezekiel? How does that word in Hebrew REALLY translate into English? (And here we get into one of my biggest pet peeves about Bible translation but that's for another post. How much I wish I knew Hebrew & Greek!!!) What are we missing? "You will be remembered no more" here - does it really mean "will no longer hold any place on earth, will no longer be of any consequence in the world of nations."? Doesn't that create a scary, mighty example? To laugh at Israel - to mock Israel - to not help God's chosen people - incites the wrath of God in such a way as to be obliterated from earth. At this point in Ezekiel, God has told Ezekiel He is so angry at Israel He can no longer contain His wrath - they are to feel pain poured out by God because they have ignored Him for too long, insulted Him too often and in ways that defile even rational thought but He's even angrier at the Ammonites!
*NOTE: I did read a commentary this morning (Sunday) that states: "to be remembered no more = be consigned as a nation to oblivion." I honestly believe the "to be remembered no more" is a physical thing, they were obliterated as a people however they are "remembered" every time you read any one of a dozen different Scripture that mentions them. They are not remembered well, though. They are, first of all, the people of Lot's younger daughter (if you don't know the story of Lot, let me know. I'll fill you in) and were a people who were a hindrance to the Israelites in the beginning. The Israelites were warned to disassociate from them and ignored them. Solomon even married a few of their women... They are listed throughout the Bible and so far? I haven't read anything positive about them. One commentary got me thinking but I think I'll put that in another post. Now...back to the original post...
You know... Hebrews 10:31 states "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God"
I think, if I am to fall into His hands, I pray it is with the forgiveness that only Christ can provide because if it is in any other way, I can not imagine the horror.
So... that was Thursday.
Friday I had lunch with a friend of mine and it was just so nice to have lunch and not have to rush back to work. Nancy has been a good friend for I don't even know how many years now. She is truly an "iron sharpens iron" friend and I love having her in my life. She doesn't pull any punches and she's never going to tell you anything but how it is - or she's going to ask you what the Scripture says about whatever you're talking about - but you can bet she's never going to give you a thoughtless, careless answer to anything, either. I tell people often that I hope to grow as close to God as Nancy is, I love hearing about her walk with Him. Even the struggles are like watching a beautiful butterfly fight its way out of a cocoon. Ask me sometime about Nancy and the chicken. It is my most favorite story ever, I think. While I was at lunch (and then over at Nana's trailer to do some laundry - I can NOT wait until we don't have to do THAT anymore!), we had a company come in and haul away our junk. Not just our junk, most of it, actually, was what the previous owners left in the woods. Incredible how disgusting some people can be. We actually found a kitchen sink... yup... tossed in the woods. They even cut down some brush to cover it up so folks wouldn't see it. Can you see me rolling my eyes at this? Anyhow - they took away a truck full. Look at the piles from tearing down the deck and then... empty back yard... SOOOOOO nice!!! Now, the contractor can come in and put in our new drainfield and we can build our new deck! Get ready... that "Have a Flush on Us" party will be happening soon!!! :)
Today we went to the zoo. Christopher (who insisted he wasn't tired when we were done...look at the last picture...) had a great time. The lions and bears were sleeping so we didn't see them but the gorillas, elephants & giraffes were out playing a bit. I love the way the giraffes were being all affectionate and what-not. Hopefully the video posts correctly!
Tomorrow, I think, will be a day of rest. We have church in the evening and I'm serving at the information booth but I think we'll just... sleep. Watch movies. Nap. You know - do what vacations are meant for...
Hope you have a great summer vacation, too!!