Sabbath Of Returning

•October 3, 2008 • 3 Comments

Tomorrow is called Shabbat Shuvah and it means the Sabbath of Repentance or Return.  It is the Sabbath between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.  This is a time of reflection on our sin and preparation of heart for the coming Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur (upcoming Wednesday).

Tomorrow we are going to read from three passages from the OT that give context to the morning…Hosea 14:2-10(1-9); Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27

Three Portraits of Grace and Repentance 
Coming as they do during the days of awe and specifically on Shabbat Shuvah (the Sabbath of Repentance), these three prophetic portions are read to teach us what repentance means and how God shows us grace. Grace is undeserved favor and we should not imagine that our repentance makes us deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift.

Hosea: The Wisdom of Returning 
Hosea, a prophet to the northern kingdom shortly before Assyria come to destroy, gave Israel a 4-part message:

14:2-4 – Bring words of repentance and return to God, rejecting all idols and reliance on human power.

14:5-8 – God will heal and restore you to a place of love, blessing, and divine protection.

14:9 – You need God and not idols.

14:10 – Those who are wise understand the need for repentance and rejection of idols, even in an unwise generation.

Micah: The Miracle of Forgiveness 
Micah, prophet to the southern kingdom in days of apostasy, gave us instruction about the wonder of God’s gracious pardon. God prefers mercy to judgment and easily forgives. God attacks iniquity when we return to him, destroying the record of our judgment. God desires to restore and reconcile, not remember past offenses.

Joel: Weeping Turns to Rejoicing 
Joel, whose era is not known, gave to Israel a message of contrition, deep sorrow over sin, followed by God’s fierce love and blessing:

2:15-17 – Joel calls for a public display of emotional repentance. This repentance is characterized by a gathering of everyone, great and small, and the weeping and intercession of leaders for the people.

2:18-27 – God’s response to this contrition is jealous or fierce love. The idea is that God longs to see his people restored with an emotional fervency. When the people cry out with emotion, God reacts in kind, loving and restoring with zeal. God will restore his people to blessing if repentance is real.

Lessons From the Texts

• Hosea emphasizes sole allegiance in returning from idols to God where Joel emphasizes emotional contrition. Hosea’s emphasis is on the will and Joel on the emotions, yet both are teaching repentance. Their instructions add to each other, giving us a full picture of repentance as a choice and a deep-felt need.

• Hosea and Joel both speak of healing and restoration, but Micah emphasizes the grace behind the very idea of divine forgiveness. In Hosea God promises to turn from anger and in Joel, God is jealous to restore his people, but in Micah, God is unique among all the deities of religion for his eagerness to show devotion and love. God’s mercy is greater than his judgment.



•June 28, 2008 • 4 Comments

Confession time.  We have a lot of your tupperware.  It is always one of those things in the kitchen that goes to no man’s land.  It simply inexplicably disappears.  If you are missing some tupperware, it is because you brought it to our house to bring us dinner when we had baby Jed about 7 months ago.   We tried at first to keep it all organized, labeled and separate.  But, you know how it goes…we got lazy, grabbed the tupperware that was sitting by the door to bring back to you, and reused it to store that night’s leftovers.  Now, we have 14 different sets of tupperware and have zero ideas on who it goes to.

A New, But Old Blog

•February 22, 2008 • 1 Comment

If you have absolutely nothing left in your life to do or have a terminal disease and need time to go as slow as possible, check out my friend Eric’s new, but old blog. Maybe it is an old, but new blog. You can find it at I know, the name sounds ridiculous, but it isn’t as bad as you might think.


•February 11, 2008 • 4 Comments

So I have welcomed each day for the past week with a migraine headache.  It has happened so much in the last year that Noah can look at me in the morning and say “Daddy, headache, no music, quiet.”  It is this painful, debilitating feeling, most of the time behind my right eye.  Sometimes it has been so bad I throw up.  The weird thing is that I have never had a migraine until after I had the gastric bypass surgery.  I have tried researching it online and have not found that others who have had the surgery have had this in common with me.  This leaves me with some questions…

Do I have a brain tumor?   Did the doctor do something to my brain while doing something to my stomach?  Do I need a new pillow?  Should I get a massage?  Is there some kind of relation between not eating as much food and not having the ability to fight these off?  I honestly think it has everything to do with stress, although I’m not positive.

By the way, Mar is making me write this.  She says that if I find some kind of outlet to get these things out, maybe I won’t have a headache in the morning.

Back to stress.  Before surgery, my method of coping with stress was eating.  It worked REALLY well.  I was almost never stressed.  The only problem was that I worked my way up to 300+ pounds.  Other than that, it worked REALLY well.  So now, I can’t eat when I am stressed.  Honestly, I am not sure what I have replaced it with.  Some people struggle with transfer addictions, but so far, I have not started smoking, drinking, beating my wife or children, developing sexual addictions or gone on major shopping sprees.  I hate to think that I am going to have to deal with migraines for the rest of my life.

For those of you who think it is a coffee thing, it isn’t.  I hardly ever drink coffee these days.  The caffeine makes me light-headed.  I have tested it, and it wasn’t the culprit.

So what am I stressed about?  I guess mostly money stuff.  I usually have this ridiculously stupid faith that we’ll be taken care of.  Our current situation feels a little bit bigger than my faith this time around.  I think since everything has been happening with our house, I have had these headaches 2-3 times more frequently.  I think I am worried about what the next step is for our family and if I am going to be able to provide for them.  As husband and father, you want to make sure your family is taken care of and that my problems are not theirs.  Obviously our kids have no idea what’s going on, but I hate that Mar has to shoulder this too.  And yes, we have faith that God is with us and will work this out, blah, blah, blah…but, you still feel the weight of life’s situations.

Anyway, my heart feels heavy with this stuff right now.  I find myself feeling anxiety about going to sleep because I don’t want to wake up with the headache.  So, maybe getting this out tonight will help me sleep better and wake up better in the morning.  We’ll see.

Finding Time To Read

•February 10, 2008 • 3 Comments

One thing I want to do more of is read.  I can’t seem to find the time.  People who I am most attracted to (not physically) seem to be reading a lot.  There is something about being a reader that makes you an interesting and growing person.  So, all of you, my friends who read a bunch, where in the world do you find the time and have a family simultaneously?  Needing advice…

Superbowl Prediction

•February 2, 2008 • 2 Comments

Now, I know this won’t be earth shattering or anything, but my prediction for the Super Bowl is this:

The New England Patriots will beat the New York Giants.
Score: 35-17

I know most people don’t like the Patriots but I will be rooting for them because I can’t stand Eli Manning. He acts like a whiny little baby girl. He was drafted #1 by the San Diego Chargers and then refused to play for them demanding a trade. So the Chargers traded him. The Chargers are actually better than the Giants but they are in different divisions so that’s why the Giants are in the Super Bowl. The last two weeks have been more important than the Super Bowl. S.D. vs Indianapolis and S.D vs New England were the true Super Bowls. Go Patriots Defense!! Sack Sack That Quarterback!!
Here’s a picture of Eli doing what he does best. Nothing.


Things Are Not As They Should Be

•February 2, 2008 • 2 Comments

The sign went up in our front yard today.  Our house is for sale.  That whole feeling of, “Is this really happening?” is sinking into reality.  It looks like we’re moving again for the fourth time in two years.  It’s really a long and complicated story, but we basically got taken by a dishonest man and because of his actions, we’re losing our house.  The bank is eventually going to take it from us and there is nothing we can do and it wasn’t our fault.  In the process my credit is destroyed for the next 7-10 years, our tax situation is perilous and we’re trusting that God has our next home picked out.  Hopefully we’ll find a place we’ll be able to stay at for a while.  Keep our transition in prayer.  God is supposed to be  in those areas of our lives that make the least sense.  We’ll see how He turns up.

I am sure Mar is eventually going to talk about this in greater length on her blog, so check her blog in the next day or two.