Memories Made More

The earliest memory I have is from when I was about 4 years old.  I was taking my sisters’ old LIFEPACs out of an old square coffee table we used to have in our living room.  This was before I learned to read, which was quite early in life, since I was just about to turn seventeen when I entered my senior year of high school.  Anyway, I only vaguely remember learning to read, like a dream of a bream’s memory, shrouded in the long years.  Nevertheless, I still remember how to read, an ability as easy to me now as walking.  It wasn’t always that way.  For a time, I struggled to read and didn’t make a real practice of it until I was in the 3rd grade.  Unlike public schools today, I was supposed to be a fluent reader when I finished kindergarten in my Mom’s homeschool.  Basically, it wasn’t until I learned to multiply and divide in the 3rd grade that I began to read a book of any length.

Luke 9:23 says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”  This passage speaks of a daily denial of one’s own rights and a surrender to Christ.  Something done daily, like taking up one’s cross should become as natural as reading.  One can hardly spend a day without reading something during that day.  But is surrender that natural to us?  Perhaps we are out of practice; perhaps we have spentso many months or years refusing to surrender that we have forgotten how.  Or maybe we never knew how in the first place.  Learning, then, or relearning becomes the lesson God has to teach us as He slowly unclasps our hands around the issues we hold on to so tightly. 

 There are two concepts that deal with all issues:  Struggle and Surrender.  There are times when life becomes a struggle, a battle, a fight, both within and without.  The best example is a struggle against temptation.  James says to resist the devil.  There are also times when the only path to victory is to surrender control, the only way the things can be resolved.  Yet sometimes, these two concepts are intertwined;  sometimes there is a struggle to surrender….And all this from a fond memory I had while taking a afternoon stroll around the circuit.

JA Menter 3

What God Guards

It has been over two weeks since I blogged.  It can only be due to the fact that I was in Kansas for a week sponsoring a Z-360 trip.  I will let everyone else who went blog about what happened, though if you want my perspective, I’m willing to talk to you about what God did.  I have a different agenda right now than that and will probably never blog about it, so your only option will be to talk to me and ask questions. 

I alluded to something in my last blog about God preserving lineages.  That is where I want to take this dialogue.  From the very beginnig of scripture, in fact from Genesis 4 onward,  God has made a point of protecting certain lineages.  Gen 4 is about Cain and Abel, but the line that God preserves is not Cain’s.  Seth’s desendant, Noah, is the man to which all peoples on earth trace their lineage.  Eve said this of Seth when he was born: “God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel who Cain killed.”  The next verse (Gen 4:26) tells us that it took a generation for there to be someone like Abel on the earth.  “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.”

Next came Noah, as I already mentioned.  Then we see the son of Promise in Isaac.  His wife Rebekah was barren.  Rachel was barren.  In Gen 38, Judah’s son’s were killed for there wickedness and God continued the line through the faithfulness of Tamar, who is the matriarch of the line from which Christ came into the world.  Judah’s adoptive brother slash nephew Ephraim was almost erased from the genealogies of Israel by a disasterous raid, yet in his old age he fathered a son and it is through that line that my favorite character Joshua came to lead the people of God to the Promised Land.  You can read about it in 1 Chr 7:20-27.

In Numbers 36, it talks about seven daughters of Zelophehad of the tribe of Manasseh.  They were the only heirs of their father and so the land of inheritance would have been entailed away from a clan of Manasseh.  God provided husbands for them among their own tribe so that their inheritance would not be given over to another tribe.  In this, God protected not only their line but also their inheritance.  In Judges 21, the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out in a civil war and the other tribes of Israel had sworn they would never give their daughters to the sons of Benjamin, because of their sin.  God gave them a plan to capture wives for them and continue the line of Benjamin, from whom came the most quoted apostle in the New Testament, Paul. 

God preserves a line for His legacy.  God promised David that one of his descendants would always rule over Israel.  In 2 Chronicles 22-23,  David’s royal lineage was almost wiped out, except for a little infant that the priest hid for 7 years, Joash.   Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus runs through Joash.

The last case I found was in Job.  Job 42 says that God restored to Job two-fold what he had before.  He had seven sons and three daughter who were the most beautiful in all the land and Job gave them an inheritance among their brothers.  (Job 42:10-17)  Job saw his grandchildren to the fourth generation.  Not bad for someone who wanted to die only chapters earlier.

In this snapshot of a study, I discovered that God preserves and guards lineages, inheritances, legacies, and lives.  Each of these things I have and God guards them for me.  That is a comforting thought because like Jesus said in Matt 12: 29 and Mark 3:27;  “Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man?   And then he can plunder his house.”  How can one be strong enough that he can bind an All-powerful God?

JA Menter 3

Next on the list is more on the Battle Before Breakfast concept and tying it in to the HOTP Except.