Chapter-a-Day I Samuel 12

Shame2
Samuel said to them, "Don’t be fearful. It’s true that you have done
something very wrong. All the same, don’t turn your back on God.
Worship and serve him heart and soul! Don’t chase after ghost-gods.
There’s nothing to them. They can’t help you. They’re nothing but
ghost-gods! God, simply because of who he is, is not going to walk off and leave his people. God took delight in making you into his very own people
. I Samuel 12:20-22 (TM)

One of the most common responses when I’m faced with my own sin is shame – that feeling of being utterly worthless. When shame attacks, I can’t comprehend how God would ever love me accept me, or want to continue His relationship with me. When confronted with their sin, Israel responded the same way I’ve responded a million times – by shrinking away in shame, fearful that this has been the last straw – surely God has had enough of me and my stupidity – surely He will walk away from this time, give up on me, and call it quits.

I’ve recently been grieving over a broken relationship. A dear friend has been giving me the cold shoulder, refusing to answer messages and not responding to invitations to talk it through. It’s very shaming. I’ve obviously done something to hurt my friend and rather than work it through he’s walked away.

That’s why today’s verse spoke to me. I love Samuel’s response to Israel, reminding us that God is not human. Because of who He is, He is not going to leave us or forsake us. I Timothy 2:13 puts it this way: "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself."

Thank God.

Flickr photo courtesy of Simon Pais

Chapter-a-Day I Samuel 9

The very day before, God
had confided in Samuel, "This time tomorrow, I’m sending a man from the
land of Benjamin to meet you. You’re to anoint him as prince over my
people Israel
. I Samuel 9:15 (TM)

The story of Saul is a tragic one. We tend to remember how he blew it in the end – how he disobeyed Samuel, how he went crazy trying to kill David in fits of jealous rage, how again and again he missed the mark of what God wanted in a leader for His people. Yet, we forget that God chose Saul to be king. Saul was God’s man as much as he was the choice of the people. Why? Why would God choose someone He knew would disappoint? Could it be that He wanted to give the people an object lesson – a compare and contrast between Saul and David? I don’t know…just something I’ll be pondering today.

Vander Well Clan Get Together

Vw_reunion
The four of us took a road trip yesterday and headed back to the family’s stomping grounds in Northwest Iowa. My Uncle Bud and Aunt Jane celebrated their 50th Anniversary. The Vander Well’s don’t get together much any more, so this was  kind of special. It was a long day on the road, but it was a nice day and we had a lot of laughs with family. I had fun seeing the town where my family lived when I was born and where I spent many a weekend of my childhood. My mom took Wendy, Madison, nephew Sol and me on a guided tour of Le Mars. We saw where she and dad first met, the house the family lived in when I was born, etc., etc.

Then we sat in the American Legion Hall with many old people eating ham buns, drinking ice tea and staring blankly at the dark wood paneling. It was a quintessential midwest, small town moment. It’s the kind of touchstone event that dot the timeline of life. After seeing Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town" a few weeks ago, it made me think about those moments a bit. It made me quietly grateful for those moments even though I make fun of them and at times they drive me crazy. I guess we often laugh hardest at those things that are most true about ourselves.

Chapter-a-Day I Samuel 8

Andson
But his sons didn’t take after him; they were out for what they could get for themselves, taking bribes, corrupting justice
. I Samuel 8:3 (TM)

This is a theme that runs throughout scripture. The children of leaders are given positions of leadership, but they don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps. In some cases they don’t have the gifts. In most cases they don’t have the heart. Eli, Samuel, David, Solomon follow this theme – just to name a few. The theme runs through most of the historical books of the Old Testament. Family relationships are complicated enough, but they get even more complicated when they become part of business, political and/or religious organizations.

Flickr photo courtesy of Trevor Blake

State Fair!

State_fair_2006_wheel_lrState_fair_2006_wendy_lr It’s time for that Midwest summer tradition: The Iowa State Fair! Last night was our opportunity to visit the event and we picked a great night for it. Wendy had been working all day at the Goalsetter’s booth in the Varied Industries Building (she even sold one! You go, Wendy!). Taylor, Madison and I arrived in the evening to eat food on a stick, ride the big slide (a tradition I’ve had with the girls since they were wee ones) and take in the cultural center. Taylor and Madison even got to sit inside the wheel of a John Deere combine. Now that’s something you don’t get to do everyday!

State Fair!

State_fair_2006_wheel_lrState_fair_2006_wendy_lr It’s time for that Midwest summer tradition: The Iowa State Fair! Last night was our opportunity to visit the event and we picked a great night for it. Wendy had been working all day at the Goalsetter’s booth in the Varied Industries Building (she even sold one! You go, Wendy!). Taylor, Madison and I arrived in the evening to eat food on a stick, ride the big slide (a tradition I’ve had with the girls since they were wee ones) and take in the cultural center. Taylor and Madison even got to sit inside the wheel of a John Deere combine. Now that’s something you don’t get to do everyday!