Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Jumble of Thoughts

So, last night our blogging friend Shelley Hendrix, made the long trek from her home in Georgia to our church here in Tennessee. Shelley brought her camera (I always forget mine) so there may be a picture in the next few days. We had a wonderful dinner of comfort food - roast, hashbrown casserole, green beans, carrots, rolls, salad, and cake. Why such heavy foods at a women's ministry event you ask? Well, because here in TN, we like our food and we like a lot of it. Any more questions about that? I thought not. Anyway, after dinner, Shelley, spoke about 'getting real' with God and 'getting real' with our brothers and sisters in Christ. She did a wonderful job of teaching what God has laid on her heart. If your church or group is looking for a speaker for a women's event, contact Shelley. You won't be disappointed.

As you guys know, I started leading Breaking Free this past Wednesday. The study is not new and most of us have done it at one time or another, but I think it is one study that is worth doing over! This is my third time and I am seeing it in a new way because I am at a different point in my life. I should be working on my class notes, yet for some reason I am again drawn to this blog. Here are just a few of my thoughts.....I might post my notes after they are finished.

Warning: The following thoughts may be difficult to follow:

In the first week of the study, she talks about Israel's kings from Uzziah to Hezekiah. It is funny to see how these kings were so different even though they were family. Uzziah started out to be a godly king. 2 Chronicles 26 tells us that "as long as he sought the Lord, he was blessed" and "...he was greatly helped until he became powerful". He was blessed and helped until he decided he was bigger than God. He was blessed and helped until his pride took over and he entered the temple where he was not supposed to be. The man who started out following God, put himself in place of God and became unfaithful to the God who had placed him in a position of authority. Uzziah went from blessed to cursed in a short amount of time because of pride and arrogance. Sometimes authority makes us feel that we are above the law - even God's law.

Aren't we all a little (or a lot) like Uzziah? Sometimes our pride takes over and eliminates our desire for God. God hates pride, because He knows we are prone to it and He knows it will be our eventual downfall. God hates pride because it hurts His children. Uzziah was struck with leprosy and died because of pride. I wonder how many of us will suffer because of our pride?

Next we talk about Jotham, Uzziah's son, who the Bible says 'did right before the Lord'. While Jotham walked with the Lord, the people in his kindgdom were corrupt. Even knowing how corrupt they were, Jotham refused to remove the 'high places' where the people worshipped idols. Jotham did the 'right thing' while not doing what was in his power to help others do the 'right thing'. Jotham could have come in and torn down those idol altars, but he chose to let them remain. He feared the wrath of the people more than he feared the wrath of God. He had the power to turn the people to God, but he chose to 'live and let live'. Isn't that a great lesson for us?

Moving right along to Ahaz. If I listed all the wrong Ahaz did I would have to get another blog because I would fill this one up completely! Ahaz was a bad man to say the least, but God had a plan for him. Ahaz disobeyed the very voice of the Lord (Isaiah 7:1-13). God spoke to Ahaz and Ahaz blatantly said no to the Lord. Yikes! Ahaz hear the voice of God, but didn't want to hear what God was telling him. So, Ahaz simply put his fingers in his ears and said "lallalala I cant hear you" . 2 Peter 3:9 tells us "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance". Even though Ahaz was a terrible man, God did not want him to perish. Even though he was an idol worshipper, even though he disobeyed God, even though he had led others astray, God still offered a way of redemption to Ahaz (Isaiah 7). That should be a great comfort to us. Even though we have done awful, evil, terrible things in the sight of God, He still offers salvation and redemption to us because He loves us so much He does not want us to perish.

Another thing that struck me about these kings is how their sins affected their children. When we don't remove the high places from our lives (a high place being anything we value more than God) our kids see that and our high places can eventually become our kids' high places. Our disobedience can cause our kids to stumble!

I would love to tell you why the font color changed just now, but I really have no idea.

Looking ahead we see Mannasseh, grandson of Ahaz. Manasseh was even worse than his grandfather! To make a long story short, Manasseh ended up being taken prisoner and was in fear for his life. That is when he finally called out to the Lord. Manasseh had to hit rock bottom before he would look up to the Lord. God put Manasseh through the ringer so that he would not be lost. Sometimes we have to hit the lowest low in order to realize our need for God. Don't be deceived God works that way. He will do whatever is necessary to get our attention and it may not be pretty! Again, God saved a man who was pure evil..........when you think your sins are too big and too many for God to forgive remember Manasseh.

Hezekiah is the next in line. Hezekiah must have learned from his father's failures because he walked with the Lord, he sought to restore Israel, he was the opposite of his father. Even though Hezekiah was faithful, God allowed him to be attacked by his enemy (2 Chronicles 32:1). Good lesson for us here. Satan attacks where God is being glorified. When we are walking with the Lord, satan WILL attack. (There is more to Hezekiah's story, but I think I have said enough already).

That concludes my sermon for today. Now, let's stand and sing hymn #132. ;-)


Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Sounds like a good time at your women's event! And I'm hungry now, thank you. :)

Thanks for sharing your notes...I'm going to go break out my old Breaking Free study and dig in a little more.

He Knows My Name said...

GREAT synopsis! i remember from the bible study fellowship years ago (loved my bsf years) almost every other generation fell away from the Lord. pride is so ugly. it just seeps in everywhere like water does coming in the smallest of breaks.

would that #132 be come thou fount?

"prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."

i have not done breaking free and want too. have a great lesson on wednesday. you've got a gift girl. ~janel

Kelly S. said...

You always have an appropriate word for me. Our pastor mentioned Uzziah and his sin of wanting to be priest and king this Sunday!! I have definitley suffered because of my pride and I pray I learned that lesson the first time! (although it is a daily struggle to keep it in check)

Fran said...

I'm with ya sister!! I love this Bible study and need to do it again. Even if its all by myself.

With each little synopsis I could feel myself saying..."been there, done that." Gross isn't it? But, thank you Lord that you love us always and have such patience with us!

Thanks for sharing. I love a good womens event. I'm glad you enjoyed and learned alot and was full on food and a good Word.

Now, lets stand and sing.


Cheryl said...

Shelley was a dear friend to me during my time at Woodstock. I keep thinking I'm going to invite her to our church but haven't yet. Please tell me we're only going to sing the 1st and last verse, cause that's the Baptist way, you know!

Shelley said...

Hey girl! I'm feeling the love here, so thank you so much! Iris and I had such a wonderful time hanging out and enjoying Jesus together with you and the ladies at your church. I don't know what's up with my website, but thank you for the heads up--I'm checking into it now. Also, I was going to send that "family picture" to you, but I don't have your email addy. What kind of sisters are we that we don't even have each other's email addresses?

jennyhope said...

i saw your pic on her blog so cute!! I love breaking free and should be the poster child for it. LOL

Eddie said...

That's my girl, She knows how to make a dad really proud of her. No Pride, but ALL PROUD. Bethanne is an answer to prayer. In fact, I think she just might be the next Beth Moore or somebody like that, or maybe Beth Moore might just be the next Bethanne. Love you sweetheart. Dad

Steve said...

Beth, my dearest sister in Christ,
You are truly a gift from God to this sinful world. I pray that He will bless you tremendously as He uses you to win hearts and souls to Him!

Mari Fontana said...

I have been a little off the blog for a while...it is refreshing to read your blog!!!

Anonymous said...

Why, Bethanne preach?

No way!......

Alana said...

Is #126 Trust and Obey or I Surrender All?

I always enjoy your sermons!

I have not done the Breaking Free study yet, but I really need to!

Wish I could have been there for some of that home cooked southern food!

Reminded me of Sunnie's. Is that cafeteria still there? We used to love to go there for comfort food in college!