ashleyandandrew

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48 Day Mystery May 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — AshleyandAndrew @ 9:10 pm
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So in choosing to move to another country with my husband and dog, I’ve also managed to created the world’s longest to-do list and a life of total chaos leading up to moving day. I could probably write 14 blog posts about the miscellaneous loose ends to tie up before we leave, but I will certainly spare everyone from such things.

I share my worries and lists of tasks with family and friends often enough. My most recent moment of panic has been over Mack’s ability to fly with us in July. If it’s above 84 degrees at departure, anytime during the flight, or at arrival, they will not allow him to fly. Need I remind everyone that it is hot hot hot in Miami during the summertime. Nonetheless, a good friend recently told me to stop panicking, God is surely capable of bringing the temperature down a few degrees and all the more glory to Him for making this possible. I thought to myself, either God works it out to where Mack is able to fly with us, or He will provide a backup plan.

I recently scared the crap out of myself by doing a countdown until July 5th, our official departure date, only to realize that we had 48 days left… 48 days?!? Mind you that was last week sometime. There are far too many things to do for there to be a meager 48 days left. Until I check a few more things off my list, there is no way I am checking the countdown again anytime soon. For some reason, when I saw the big 48 in front of me, I was reminded of one of my favorite TV shows – 48 hours mystery. For the longest time, I could not understand why they would name that show 48 hours. Apparently it once focused on showing events occurring within a 48 hour span of time. Far less interesting. Now it covers what has to be months and months when they start to unravel these mysteries. I most enjoy the show when they actually go through the whole trial and give you a verdict. It’s downright cruel to drag someone through an hour of evidence and speculation with no conclusion.

In any event, all of these things ever so slightly remind me of my own 48 day mystery. So many things to pull together, but will we really come to a verdict at the end of all these check lists? Lord I hope so! But in all seriousness, whether every little thing works out the way we expect it to or not, God will work it out in the way that is the most perfect way.

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Nothing Left Undone May 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — AshleyandAndrew @ 10:18 pm
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So after entering the Promised Land, there is much to do with conquering people and dividing up land amongst the tribes. I love the verses that close out Joshua 21, “So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands.  Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” At this point in time, I imagine everyone was on fire for God. He has done exactly what He said He would do, nothing has been left undone.

Immediately following those verses, the tribes say adios to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh as they leave to go back to their land (of which God assigned to them) in Gilead. These two and a half tribes build an altar by the Jordan and the remaining tribes freak out. They assemble and prepare to confront them. I liked this passage because I thought of the incredible accountability taking place in these moments. The leaders ask how in the world they could break faith with God and turn away from Him like this? In essence, ‘have you lost your minds building this altar in rebellion? He is going to be so ticked off with all of us now!’ In response, the two and a half tribes explain that they are merely afraid that by being separated by the Jordan from the rest of God’s chosen people, that they will be forgotten. One day the rest of God’s chosen people and their descendants may assume that this group on the other side of the Jordan doesn’t worship the same God. Instead, this altar they have built will always serve as a witness between all the tribes, wherever they may be, that they all worship the same God… the God who saved all of their ancestors and delivered them to the Promised Land. The whole fiasco ends with the Reubenites and the Gadites giving the altar this name: A Witness Between Us—that the Lord is God.

Joshua begins to give his farewell address. It reminds me somewhat of having a favorite TV series come to an end and everyone tunes in for the final episode. Perhaps I relate it in a similar way because watching a show every week for years makes you grow fond of the characters you see. You can no more have a legitimate conversation with Buffy the Vampire Slayer than you can Moses himself. To me, Joshua is someone I have grown fond of reading about but have never actually known. But Joshua was a living, breathing man in that time period. The difference between the two is our Bible and the people we read about are very real, they are more than just characters. Nevertheless, as all truly influential people are obliged to do, he leaves us with powerful wisdom as the book of Joshua begins to come to an end.  “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Sometimes we grab hold of verses and it becomes wildly popular to put them on coffee mugs and pieces of art and whatnot. The second half of Joshua 24:15 is definitely one of those verses. The first half is quite possibly the more important piece to me though. I would almost reword it to make it especially real to people in today’s society, as the average child in the American public school system would probably ask what in the world the Euphrates is. Here it goes… “If serving the Lord doesn’t appeal to you, then choose right now just who or what you will serve, whether it’s the things the people before you have served or the things everyone else around you serves,” and then I would add “but make the choice, and go all in.”

One of the most interesting things about the Bible is how things connect and come together. In Genesis, Jacob buys land in Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver after reuniting with his brother Esau. At the end of Genesis, before Joseph dies, he makes his brothers swear an oath to carry his bones out of Egypt to “the land He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  Joseph then dies and they embalm him and put him in a coffin in Egypt. Fast forward 400 years and Moses takes the bones of Joseph with him from Egypt during the exodus.  The Israelites carry this coffin with them for 40 years in the wilderness.

At the end of Joshua, after finally settling into the Promised Land, Joseph’s bones were buried at Shechem in the same tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver. This land became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants. What’s really cool is that this is the same land where Jesus will meet the woman at the well in the gospel of John. God has woven every thread of this long and winding story together, and nothing is left undone.

 

The Land of Milk and Honey May 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — AshleyandAndrew @ 6:57 pm
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So Andrew and I recently started a one year canonical reading plan of the Bible. Though we both have taken classes in college on the Bible and attended Sunday school, VBS, youth group, etc., we thought it’d be fun to start and finish the entire Bible together. Sometimes you take things you’ve read a million times for granted. I remember sitting in church when I was younger (probably elementary school age) and think to myself ‘today is the day I read the Bible’ and I would begin with Genesis 1:1 every single time. Needless to say, I’ve read a fair amount of Genesis too many times to count.

Andrew is exceptionally disciplined when it comes to reading the designated chapters for each day on the actual day you are supposed to read them. Admittedly, I have fallen behind at times. There is one place you do not want to be, and that’s a week behind in your Leviticus readings. At one point, I was probably 18-20 chapters behind in the “captivating” books of the laws and I forced myself to sit down and read it in one shot. It felt like a downward spiral of despair as I read about every law under the sun from unclean animals to the meticulous rules for the tabernacle. I just have to imagine that so many regulations could only be in place for the protection of the people . Nevertheless, at this point I was taking pleasure in reading about the land of Canaan and how incredible the land promised by God to His people would be.

I must say, I’ve gotten more out of things this go around. I think in reading about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and towards the Promised Land, I’ve got a much clearer understanding on just how faithful God is… for better or worse. He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. Sometimes when we hear someone say God is faithful, it’s perhaps assumed that He has faithfully provided something for us, faithfully answered prayers, faithfully protected us from the evils of this world, etc. In reading through some of these early books of the Bible, it is very clear that God is just as faithful in the things we hope don’t happen. The simplest act of disobedience on can change your life forever as was the case with Moses. He spent 40 years leading the Israelites and I’m sure had hoped more than anything to be able to enter the Promised Land himself. Whether he wanted to face reality or not, God told him that he would not enter the Promised Land and was faithful in His promise. Moses died at Mount Nebo before the Israelites crossed the Jordan and entered the land God had promised to their ancestors.

Hovering just between 19% and 20% through the Bible, the reigns are handed over to Joshua. I, for one, feel as though I spent 40 years reading to get up to this point. I had such immense anticipation that I cannot even imagine what the Israelites felt like after spending a very real 40 year span wandering and waiting for this. I was nervous for Joshua. Every single person across all twelve tribes had heard of this land and it was up to him to lead them into it. Because of that, it is with good reason that Moses and God himself offer such encouragement to Joshua in telling him to be strong and courageous. It was going to take every ounce of strength and bravery Joshua had in him. One of my most favorite moments is when Joshua tells the Israelites ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’ At that point, if such language were to exist back then, I am fairly certain Joshua would have said Holy crap, this is it.

And for the first time since we started the canonical plan, I found myself reading ahead to get to the land of milk and honey…