Everything Bible

We’re starting this year off with Everything Bible, an integral part of the craft equation for Christian Writers. I invite you to join us on our journey through the Word of God.

For some, the Bible seems an enigma. It is a collection of stories, parables, epics, adventures, poetry, and prose. Relating history in all of these forms, the Word of God was given for teaching. It’s a learning tool. A reminder of the goodness of God. It binds us together. I could go on and on, but I have to focus. This month, I will share a few of my favorite stories in the Bible.

Every history has a beginning. The Word is our beginning. The Word came first (John 1:1). As a writer begins a new story and creates a world with his or her words, God created the world by speaking words.

We read in Genesis 1:1-5,

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (KJV)

Thus begins a story of epic proportions, a moral tale at times, when bad choices result in tragedy (i.e. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel). Its purpose, not just to relate history, but to inspire us to live according to God’s word. It’s not a rulebook, though it contains rules. Its ultimate purpose is to inspire us to love enough to live a righteous life, outside of rules. In spite of rules. Even some of the best have come up short, but God’s love for us is ongoing.

It is difficult for me to choose a favorite among the Genesis stories, but if I must, I will choose Joseph. His imperfections are what drive him to the top. Long before he became a world leader, his father gave him a “coat of many colors.” That multicolored coat was a “type” or foreshadowing of things to come. Joseph would eventually lead Egypt (he was second only to Pharaoh). Many nations (people and/or races) came to buy grain. This, in my opinion, is the significance of the coat.

United States Public Domain

Joseph was a dreamer. His dreams were vivid and memorable. They paved the way for his future. I used to think it was not too smart for him to share those dreams with his brothers. Was it ego or immaturity that drove him? Of course his older brothers hated him for it. The kid was already their father’s favorite. But I realized this too was God’s plan. How else would Joseph end up in a faraway prison at the perfect moment in history? Right place, right time. You can read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37, 39-47.

Joseph’s integrity remained intact, no matter what obstacles were thrown in his way. A story like this can inspire a writer to create a story of their own.

This week’s prompt:  Some said Andrew was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Athletic and outgoing, he entered grad school with a 4.0 average. Then things went terribly wrong. A young woman with whom he was only slightly acquainted accused him of statutory rape. Within a matter of weeks, he’d lost his job, his scholarship, and most of his friends. He was acquitted of the crime, but his life was forever changed.

Can you come up with a Joseph-like ending to this story? If so, please post it as a comment or send it via our contact page to be eligible for our January prompt contest. If we have multiple posts, we’ll choose the best one and enter that one in the final drawing at the end of January for a $10 Amazon gift card. Watch for additional prompts each Friday and Tuesday for more chances to win!

Thanks for reading,
Betty

שָׁלוֹם-Shalom

 שָׁלוֹם-Shalom

On my personal blog I have a segment I call digging deeper. I had decided weeks ago to write on the word Shalom. It’s not an English word but most of us have heard it, know it. With all that has happened, in my local community where two police officers were shot and killed Sunday evening, Newton, Aurora, Oregon, and the Middle East (the list goes on and on), I thought it appropriate to revisit portions of a blog I wrote during the Easter season.

So here it is:

I’ve been thinking about the whole idea of prayer, repentance, taking care of the poor and fasting. I’ve also been thinking about the forty days Jesus spent in the desert and the forty days Moses spent on the mountain and how those forty days tie into Lent.

As I began to pray over what I should blog about today, God very clearly told me to urge His church to pray for Jerusalem.

But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, and I have chosen David to rule my people Israel. 2 Chronicles 6:6 (NIV

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” Psalm 122:6-7

Many of you know that the Hebrew word for peace is shalom, but do you know that the word shalom means nothing missing, nothing broken?

I love Psalms 137:5-6 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. (NIV) The Jewish Study Bible says, “let my right hand wither . . . if I do not keep Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour.”

On a side, according to the commentary in the Jewish Study Bible (JSB), the breaking of glass at the end of wedding ceremonies is to remember Jerusalem at their happiest moments.

The commentary also suggests that if the right hand is useless and the tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth, then it is near impossible to play music or sing praises.

Are the prayers for Jerusalem an Old Testament edict only? I don’t think so.

As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

There is that word peace again~nothing missing, nothing broken. But more importantly, this incident occurred right after the triumphal entry.

And Paul’s letter to the Romans says, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

During the preparation for this Easter season, please remember to pray for Jerusalem, especially with the escalation of violence in the Middle East.

It’s me again, today, December 18, 2012. What do you think of when you think of Jerusalem? Definitely not peace. It’s been the center of conflict for thousands of years. When David made this holy city his capital it was the capital over the tribes of Judah. After Solomon’s death, it was the Capital of Judah. There are so many things in the Bible that point to Jerusalem, this city of Zion, past, present and future. The Bible talks about the ‘new’ Jerusalem.

יְרוּשָׁלַם  Jerusalem

According to Strong’s Concordance, Jerusalem is the teaching of peace. The past days have been difficult, not only for our Nation, but for the entire world. Well, to be honest, many people have lived difficult lives since they took their first breaths, but in a nation where we are blessed with prosperity and liberty, even those of us find it hard to make ends meet, these days have been difficult. Our understanding lacks, our words are few, our tears many, especially since these horrific events happened as we prepare for our holiday seasons, but may our prayers be many. Prayers of comfort, prayers of peace.

Christmas is supposed to represent a time of joy, a reflection of the greatest gift given to mankind by our Creator, but too often it is filled with stress. Christmas should be a time for giving with cheerful hearts. No, not with expensive, breaking the bank kind of gifts, but ones that come from the heart.

I was just telling a friend of mine that my heart breaks at the thought of the children who won’t have anything under the tree this year, if they even have a tree. My heart cried at the little tags still hanging from the Angel Tree at one of your local Walmarts. My children have plenty. They have two praying parents, a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs. They know, without a doubt, their parents love them. They know they are cared for, not just in a monetary sense. Those children, represented by a piece of paper, may not know such things. Not that I believe a package of socks will give them that sense of well-being, but if the heart is in the right place, I believe God will bless the receiver and make them feel cared for.

So during this Christmas may we be ‘teachers of peace’ the kind of peace where ‘nothing is missing and nothing is broken. May we be used on God’s behalf to bless others.

שָׁלוֹם

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My #1 Dream Vacation Spot

I’ve always had a thing for maps, even as a child. I even have several hanging on my walls. I can’t tell you what that thing is exactly, but I can tell you that there is something that reaches deep into my soul when I gaze upon (and yes, touch) them, especially the antiques. It’s as if, one glance, one touch and I’ll be transported to another time and place.

However, I’m not here to talk about maps, but rather vacations. Although, I once saw a movie, can’t remember the name off hand, where the main character tossed a dart at a map and wherever it landed that is where he/she would venture. How cool would that be?

Better yet, I’d love it if someone actually invented a ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ machine.

Just imagine, we could go where ever we wanted whenever we wanted, spend a few minutes or a few months. Hmmm, I feel like an authentic Greek salad. Let’s go to Greece for lunch. Then again, it would be nice to visit my very good friend in Luxembourg.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible, yet. Sooooo, I have a list of dream vacation spots. Can you guess which one is at the top of my list?

Well, if you know me well, you’ll know it’s one of two places, both rich in history.

I know I’m supposed to be a writer and all, but there is no way my words can do this place justice. And I guess it doesn’t help that the thought of visiting this place leaves me speechless and in awe, besides there are too many places I’d like to see when I get to this vacation spot. Trust me when I say I could take every day of this month and still not cover them all. So, I’m leaving you with a video. It won’t cover all the spots I’d like to see but it does hit the main ones.