Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exiles in a Foreign Land

This morning I read Jeremiah 28 and 29 as part of my regular Bible reading.  Nearly everyone has heard the wonderful verse "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (vs 29:11)  This verse comes historically in the time when Israel is about to be taken exile to Babylon.  Dragged away from their homeland because they had turned their backs on God.

Yet God still says he has plans of good for them.

In some small way, I think I might understand the feelings of despair the Israelites felt when taken captive to a foreign land.  Josh and I spent eight years in what God promised to us was a good land.  We had our season of wandering in the desert, like the Israelites, and then the joy and blessing of entering a land of promise.  A year ago we were called out of that good land and the best way to describe our current status in our new home is as "foreigners".  We're not in the desert, but we are not at home here either.  Yes, we have a lovely home, Josh has the best job he's ever had, we have each other, yet there is that sometimes dull, sometimes profound sense that we don't belong here.

"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion...
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?"
Psalm 137:1 and 4

In chapter 29, through Jeremiah, God tells the people : "Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; takes wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you in exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." vs 5-7

The Lord urges the people to live in this foreign land, to settle there and create homes.  What a merciful heart God has, for he could have said "You'll go there and live miserably to make you realize how good you had it when you were under my care in Israel."  No, he wanted them to live.  And he promised them a future,  hope, good, fortune, blessing when they deserved worse.

Although they were in a foreign land, he wanted them to seek the welfare of Babylon. For in that, they too would find welfare.

In a larger sense, we all live in a foreign land.  As Christians, this world is not our true home, yet God has placed us here to live and to be part of his plans.  While we know that ultimately there will be an end to all these things around us, we are also told to seek the welfare of this land that we have been "exiled" to.

I think that means you should pray for this nation, for its leaders (whether you like them or not), and for the Church.

I think that means you should vote.

I think that ultimately it means that we must rely on our sovereign God who has purposely placed us here for such a time as this.

As hard as I have found it to live in a "foreign land" after eight years in a "good land", I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's plans for me and my family are for good and not evil. I find myself more and more dependent on him for all my hope and joy.

When the world seems foreign, that's a good thing.  It causes us to look to our only hope, Jesus Christ.   This season I am in personally, and the season our nation is in, has the power to return our hearts to their true home.

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you," declares the Lord," and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you," declares the Lord, "and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile." Jeremiah 29:12-14

Monday, October 1, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal for October 1st

  • In my life this week… Lots of rain is predicted, which generally makes me happy!  I love any excuse to stay inside and be a homebody.
  • In our homeschool this week… we will spending our second week in Mexico, complete with a fiesta on Friday!
  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… I still feel like a novice at this even after five years.  Needs, interests, and what works can change daily!  When I hit a wall, I tend to jump on the Internet searching for help either by comparing what I do to what others do or looking for a new revolutionary and perfect curriculum.  NOTE TO SELF: Step away from the computer and just pray about it!
  • I am inspired by… a couple I met at church yesterday. They are foster parents to their 1 and 2 year-old GREAT grandchildren.  Amazing people, doing something truly radical.
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Josh and I will be attending a banquet this week for a local pregnancy resource center.  And as I said, the cousins will be having a Mexican fiesta this Friday!
  • My favorite thing this week was… A National Coffee Day dinner party hosted by some new friends.  Each time we get together we get more comfortable and the fellowship is so satisfying.
  • What’s working/not working for us… Getting the basics of school done first thing is really working for us. I used to do all the core subjects first, but my children are such early risers that I need them as fresh as possible for math, reading, writing.
  • Questions/thoughts I have… Will anyone ever let me sleep in a little?  
  • Things I’m working on… no major personal projects, unless you count the never ending battle of keeping the house organized.
  • I’m reading… I just finished Beverly Lewis's latest book The Bridesmaid.  One of my very favorites by her.  She takes the cake for Amish fiction and in my opinion, everyone else is just an imitation. So I long for her books and buy them hot off the press!
  • I’m cooking… I need to make a menu for the week, which I should have made before I went grocery shopping.  But most likely I'll be cooking and baking with apples as we have lots!
  • I’m grateful for… the very essentials that we are blessed with. A pantry full of food, the warmth of a home, the love of my family.
  • I’m praying for… Revival, a Great Awakening.
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him" Isaiah 64:4

We have found it is always, always worth it to wait on the Lord.  He will act and He will come through.

The Homeschool Mother's Link-up can be found here.