Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hello World

One of these days I'll be a dedicated blogger who posts insightful, timely, and creative things for the world at large to peruse at leisure.

Until then, You'll just get my sporadic updates and I'll pretend like you've been waiting with baited-breath for them.

The summer was busy as summers tend to be. The end of summer was a highlight as I was able to visit Georgia and celebrate with my older brother and his wife on their marriage, and my younger brother and his wife at a baby shower. (My nephew has since made his debut into the world. I was blessed to be able to "be there" via the wonders of video chat, but am so excited for Christmas when I get to meet him in person.) It was also great to spend time with friends. I miss the people in Georgia and have a fondness for certain aspects of the South and its culture that you can't find in the Midwest - but I'll be shocked if I ever end up living in the South again.

Chicago has enjoyed an actual fall: beautiful blue skies with a bright warm sun and a cool breeze. Streets and yards were full of fall colors. I've relished the days of jeans and boots and lightweight cardigans. We had our first snow last week - nothing stuck - but for a few moments at a couple times throughout the day - you saw a swirl of white flakes making their way down. It is with guarded anticipation that I look forward to that beauty and magic of snow while knowing that it's also going to bring a slushy mess. It will be my third Chicago winter, but the the giddy excitement about that first blanket of white is still there.

Enough about the weather!

I've been doing a Bible Study the past number of weeks with some ladies from church. We are reading through Nancy Guthrie's The Promised One. It is part of a series she is writing on seeing Jesus in the Old Testament.

I am learning so much. I feel as if I'm seeing scripture as one large continuous picture as I never have before. The way in which God has orchestrated the events and lives of people recorded in the Bible from the beginning of time as prophecies and illustrations of the life and purpose of Jesus is just astounding. It reminds me of my favorite descriptor of God - the great Poet God. For anyone who knows good poetry knows that often when a poem is good - it may appear disjointed at a first glance - but some study, and some attention to both the form and content will reveal a master craftsman whose woven a beautiful image.

If I had to pull only one lesson from the study thus far though it would be this: The Bible is not about me.

So often I open the Bible or sit to listen to a message waiting for what I have to learn - how it will change my life, what directions it will give me, what questions that plague my mind will be answered.

And, these are not bad desires. I'd even say they are good and admirable desires that are most often from pure hearts.

Let me see if I can explain where I am beginning to see the problem with a focus on self (even when it's about learning) when approaching the scripture:

Last week we studied the story of Abraham and Isaac. It is a story that makes me uncomfortable. It seems barbaric, arbitrary, completely unnecessary. But, it's there - and it seems that God honored this obedience from Abraham. And, if I want to follow this God - I want to be honored as well. At times in my life I've taken on almost martyr-like dedication to the idea of sacrifice - claiming Abraham as my model for godly obedience.

Abraham IS a model of godly obedience and faith - - but what has hit me while doing this study about this and many other stories throughout Genesis is this: The point of the story of Abraham and Isaac "is not to convince or convict you that you must be willing to sacrifice to God what is most precious to you. It is that God was willing to sacrifice for you what was most precious to Him." (Nancy Guthrie)

I think I've spent far too much of my life searching for what I must sacrifice in order to achieve the blessing of God's promise in my life - while never understanding and fully embracing the idea that the sacrifice has been made and the promised land has been claimed. Jesus fulfilled this story - he provided the Lamb to be slain and he won the promised land of an eternity in Heaven. That is the point - not for us to spend our lives wondering if we're being as obedient as Abraham - but to praise the One who was.

O, praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.