Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thinking about Lot's Wife

"16 When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful.   26 But Lot's wife looked back as she was following along behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."  Genesis 19: 16, 26

"She'd almost grown accustomed to the faint smell of sulfur in the air. Dropping into the inviting porch chair, Lottie pointed herself toward the mountain and began rocking in a steady rhythm.. As the sky darkened, Lottie was lulled to sleep by the sounds of nature all around her and the assurance that when the sun rose, so would she..."  Bad Girls of the Bible, pg 65.

Why are we so attached to our possessions?  That's a question for the ages - obviously!  Even way back in Genesis, Lot's wife, Lot, and their daughters, had a hard time leaving behind the life they built, despite the warnings of immanent danger and death.  I'm not sure it was just the 'stuff' they mourned, but everything they knew:  friends, memories, a way of life and all that is familiar.  It's hard to leave that behind, even when we know it's for a better future.

My husband's job has moved us a few times over the last 20+ years of marriage.  I'm the adventurous type, so I never really minded the prospect of living in a place where I didn't know anyone.  Behind that spirit of adventure lies the fact that we'd be doing it together - we had each other.  And, our stuff!  In our new home, we would still be surrounded by the familiar.  It's comforting that we could always 'take it with us'.  Even once we had children, who were less eager to leave their friends, they found comfort in the fact that their stuff (their bed, their toys, their books, & pictures) would be waiting for them at the new place.

Leaving it ALL behind!?  That is not such an exciting adventure.  From the story of Lot, we can see that they didn't think so either.  Despite the wickedness of their city and the warnings, they had to be dragged from their home!  Can you imagine?  When we look at it through the fictional story of Lottie, I think we can.

The Study Guide questions in the back of the book are thought provoking!  Give yourself permission to spend some time with them, think in ink as you go.  Since there's not much room in the book, grab your journal or even a sheet of paper and write out your answers and thoughts to the questions.  I find when I slow down to write ideas become clear, lessons sink deeper, and change happens.

One thing that I found fascinating, and kind of mind boggling, is the amount of bargaining that goes on in this chapter!  This behavior is touched upon in question 1b, but is examined further in the workbook.  Let's take a look:  Ms. Higgs points us to Genesis 18: 23-33, where Abraham pleads with God, and she asks, "what does this tell you about Abraham?  And what does it reveal about God?"  Bringing it into our own lives, she asks "was there a time you interceded for your family, asking God for mercy?"  I have heard both amazing stories of salvation and stories of 'I'm still praying for them'.  What's your story?

Ms. Higgs questions then go on to ask why God spared Lot and his family, giving 2 Peter 2: 4-9 as a possible Biblical answer (and hope for us!).  She points out God's patience in Nehemiah 9:31 and asks if we've ever tried God's patience.  Me: Um, yes, I'm pretty sure I have!  Everyday!  She then directs us back to 2 Peter, chapter 3, verse 9.  What is your response to that statement?  Finally, she shows us in 1 Timothy 1:16 why the gift of grace is extended to us and asks us to rewrite the verse in our own words, applying it to our own faith journey.  I like to go back to verse 15 for a complete picture.  Either way, it's some powerful stuff!

I can't wait to talk about this chapter with you!  Won't you take a minute and add a comment to our blog.  Start a conversation about any of the questions or statements; share how you are working through this very human issue in your life or how this has effected you or your family.  You've seen (or at least heard of) the TV show "Hoarders".  Our attachment to the things of this world have grown to epidemic proportions!  Clearly this is a call to let go of worldly possessions, Matthew 6: 19 - 21  for "No one can serve two masters.... You cannot serve both God and money."  Matthew 6:24

After this chapter has sunk in, answer this question: "What's the most important lesson you learned from the salty tale of Lot's wife?"  Bad Girls of the Bible, pg 250.   How will you share what you've learned with others?

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bad Girls of the Bible: Lot's Wife

" 'Run for your lives!' the angels warned.  'Do not stop anywhere in the valley.  And don't look back!  Escape to the mountains, or you will die.' "  Genesis 19:17

My beautiful house!  We just got it the way we want it: a library for me, a game room with a pool table & video games for the kids, a comfy couch, not to mention our clothes & toys & my books!  Then there's our wedding album, the kid's baby pictures, the blanket I made for my grandmother and the ones I made for my children, my great grandmother's jewelry box, the pearls my husband gave me for our anniversary, the pictures & newspaper clippings of our family going back at least 5 generations - do you know what your great-grandparents looked like as young children?  I do :).  So many memories attached to the things in my home.  How could I ever just leave it all behind?

Oh, how I can relate to Lottie (of the fictional story) and Lot's wife!  Even if all the signs were there and strangers came with a warning, would I be able to leave on such short notice?  Would I be willing and able to flee to a "wilderness" and take nothing with me?!  Just typing the thought breaks my heart.  Sadly, I think I would have been turned into a pillar of salt.  I'm not sure I would have been caught in Mt. St. Helen's eruption, but maybe.  I think I would have loaded up my cars with the most important and precious things and driven away.  Still, I would have wanted to take things with me!  I'm not sure I could walk away and not look back.

Even if I could physically keep my eyes forward, my heart would be mourning the loss of all of the things we worked so hard for and the memories and tangible reminders of days gone by.  I can't help but wonder if that is part of the warning to 'not look back', to not mourn the loss, but praise the saving.  As Jesus said to his disciples,"Yes, it will be 'business as usual' right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns.  On that day a person outside the house must not go into the house to pack.  A person in the field must not return to town.  Remember what happened to Lot's wife!  Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it."  Luke 17: 30-33.

This is a question I ask my myself quite often.  I look around my home and wonder, "could I leave it all behind?".  I guess it's on my mind more often because of all the natural disasters we hear about and two of my cousins (2 sepearte fires in the last 18 months) recent house fires (thankfully everyone and the pets are fine and even many of their possessions, but the homes need extensive repairs).  There is no doubt that my family would be the highest priority and the joy that everyone is safe would be overwhelming.  We hear it all the time: 'you're safe and that's all that matters'.  That sentiment is the truest thing anyone has ever spoken.  But we still mourn the loss of our homes.

Lottie and Lot's wife, even with the warnings of impending disaster, chose their 'stuff' over their lives.  We tend to think it was an obvious & easy choice, but hind sight is 20/20.  As you read their stories, put yourself in their shoes.  Walk around your home, looking at all the things that remind you of someone long gone & items that bring back sweet memories and ask yourself, 'if someone you didn't know told you to leave it all and go to the shelter, would you pack nothing, mourn nothing'?  Would you be able to drive away from your home without a backward glance?

I find I am not so different from Lot's wife in that regard.  Even in my thankfulness and praise of being safe, my heart would break for the loss of our home.  It is in that moment that I am thankful for God's grace!  Lot's wife did not heed God's warning and paid dearly for it.  As Christians we are saved by Grace, through Jesus Christ.

Jesus says, "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.  Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be."  Matthew 6:19-21.

Even as I yearn to be free from loving the 'stuff' of this earth, I am aware that I fall short, so short you could fit all my stuff in between me and God!  I am still trying though, and God's forgiveness is able to reach around all that 'stuff' to touch my heart and help me draw closer to Him.

After reading these two amazing stories in chapter 3, spend some time pondering "What Lessons Can We Learn from Lot's Wife?" and answer the questions in the Study Guide in the back of the book.

Please share your thoughts on Lottie and Lot's Wife; click here to go to the blog.  I'd love to read about your experiences, struggles, and victories.  Did you identify with these women?  Is this something you're working on in your faith journey?  How is it going and what have you done to let go of your 'treasures here on earth' physically and emotionally?

I'll be back later in the week with some more thoughts on Lottie, Lot's Wife and why their stories are important to us.

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thinking about Potiphar's Wife

"And now, dear friends, let me say one more thing as I close this letter.  Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  Philippians 4:8 NLT

It has taken me a few days, but my jaw is off the floor and the blush has faded from my cheeks!  It's not that I'm innocent or naive, I'm a child of the '80's for goodness sakes!  The '60's may have had "free love" but the '80's was all about "sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll" and I didn't miss a beat!

It's just that Potiphar's wife is so bold and brazen, it took me a little bit to process the fact that this is a "Bible story".  Such a popular one, too!  Several years ago, my oldest daughter was in the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", so I'm very familiar with Joseph's story.  But it was a children's version, so the seduction was toned down (and a little awkward).  And when I think about all the times I've read the story, it's always in the context or point of view of Joseph.  It's his story and his faithfulness to God that is usually the focus.  I've never given too much thought to Potiphar's Wife.  Focusing on her character, her choices, her situation and her downfall puts a whole different spin on the story.

There are so many lessons to learn from this woman!  The Study Guide touches on a few of them in the three questions on pages 247-248.  Be sure to read and answer them, as we'll start with them in our live discussion on Friday morning.  For those who can't be there, will you share, in the Comment section, something that really jumped out at you.  It would be great to have you in on this conversation!

One point of the story that is not included in the Study Guide, but is discussed in the workbook is the fact that this woman is nameless.  That really struck a chord with me.  Have you ever felt 'nameless', just a face in the crowd, or forgotten.  Have you lost your own identity in the context of your family, job, or situation?    There are times that we are proud to be associated with the ones we love or something we have accomplished.  But it can be deeply painful too, to only be known as the wife of..., the mother of..., the sister of..., the employee of..., or the victim of...  If you can identify with this namelessness, recall how if made you feel.  What emotions are associated with this feeling and did it impact how you lived and interacted with people?

Now let's flip that around and ask ourselves: why is she nameless?  There are other bad girls of the Bible who are named, so why isn't she?  I can think of a few reasons. There are no right or wrong answers here, but it may shed some light on our learning.

We know from the story that Potiphar enjoys a certain lifestyle: one of the rich & powerful.  So, if Mrs. P lives a life of luxury, with servants to do all the daily chores and a smart, good looking young man to deal with the running of the household and business, what did she do all day?  I dont' think she was a member of the historical society, out feeding the poor, or blogging about life in ancient Egypt!  Perhaps she was like Mitzi (of the fictional story), a bored, neglected housewife wondering if she still "had it".  What's that saying about idle hands?  One of the reasons I keep my kids busy with activities is to 'keep them out of trouble'.  Sounds like Mrs. P should have joined a bowling league or had the girls over for a game of Bunco.  If she wouldn't have been so unoccupied, would she have been so preoccupied with Joseph?   In the workbook, Ms. Higgs  gives us a few verses that tell us what we should do instead of going down that lonely path: Matthew 5:27-28 (yikes, maybe not do this), 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 and Colossians 3:5.

Finally, who is to blame for Mrs. Potiphar's and Mitzi's escapade?  Anyone?  Everyone?  Being married is a unique relationship.  It requires sacrifice, compromise, vulnerability, strength, and forgiveness.  Quite honestly, it's hard work sometimes.  The Bible has a few thoughts on how husbands and wives should treat each other and Ms. Higgs was kind enough to list them in the workbook.  Here's some of what God's Word says on husbands & wives: Proverbs 5:18; Malachi 2:15; Ephesians 5:25-28.

Thank you for braving this subject with me!  It can be a tricky one to navigate, for sure.  When we take the story literally, we may not feel we have anything in common with a rich, bored, neglected housewife of ancient Egypt.  But, looking a little deeper and drawing on God's word for lessons on love, relationships, and marriage we can all discover something about ourselves.  More importantly, we can see more clearly what God wants for us and draw closer to Him.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this chapter.  Click here to share your views on this chapter.  What's the most important lesson you learned from Potiphar's Wife?

Your Partner in Ministry,  


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Bad Girls of the Bible": Potiphar's Wife

"Now Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man.  And about this time, Potiphar's wife began to desire him and invited him to sleep with her.  But Joseph refused."  Genesis 39:6b-8a NLT

OH - MY - GOODNESS!  This chapter made me blush!  Potiphar's wife is what we would call a 'cougar' and Joseph, a tasty little morsel who caught her eye!  And poor, neglected Mitzi of the fictional tale - I sympathized with her situation and hoped she wouldn't go through with it; I was actually shouting at her in my head.  But once she decided to lie to her husband & blame Joe, she lost my support.

Oh, the pickle Joseph found himself in is still a staple of modern soap operas, TV dramas, and steamy novels (or so I've been told).  Honestly, I prefer murder mysteries & sci-fi  :)  But, one can gather the general plot just by watching commercials.   And this scenario has made more than a few appearances in murder mysteries, as you can imagine.
The story of this "bad to the bone", nameless woman is here to teach us some important lessons.  Read carefully and be sure to 'think in ink' as you go.

I find it amazing how short the story is in the Bible, covering only 23 verses including back story and consequences.  The actual seduction is told in only 10 verses, but apparently happened over a long-ish (yep, I'm making up words) period of time.  There is a lot of inference on our author's part (and everyone who has written commentary on it) as to the motives, states of mind, and settings.  As long as we don't add to God's word, I think it's okay in order to make the people more real, easier to relate to, and aid in teaching us valuable lessons we can apply to our own lives.

Fleshing out (pun intended) the characters, their circumstances and their thoughts, helps us to see how this ancient story translates into 21st Century life.
Have you ever: 
* been too busy for your 'home life' or those who love you?
* felt neglected, overlooked, taken for granted?
* been tempted by something that looked or felt good? (sounds familiar, Eve)
* been put in an awkward situation or accused of something you didn't do?
* sought revenge or been the recipient of someone else's vengeance?
* shifted the blame to others for your missteps? (Eve & Adam started something with that one!)
Your experiences may not be as bold as those of our fiction & Biblical stories, but maybe there is a subtle connection to your life.

After you're finished reading, flip to the back of the book and do the Chapter Two Study guide questions.  I'll be back on Thursday with some more thoughts on Potiphar's Wife.

Now that you know my reaction to this chapter, will you share your thoughts?  Clicking here will take you to the blog where you can post your reaction in the Comment section.  I can't wait to read it!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Thinking about Eve

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.  It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do."  2 Timothy 3:16-17

I hope you are enjoying both the fictional story of Evie and the Biblical analysis of Eve!  I have to admit, Evie captivated me.  I totally identified with her when she was surprised at how she arrived at the forbidden gazebo.  More often than I can count, I have been in her shoes.  I've gotten to a place, (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually) and wondered, "How did I get here?"  Without realizing it, I had wandered down a path I had hoped to never trod.

Our opening Scripture is exactly why we study God's Word!  It is literally an instruction book for living.  We can learn something, even from 'bad girls'.  Let's see what we can learn together!

After reading the chapter, I took a look at the Study Guide in the back of the book and the questions in the Workbook (you do not need the workbook).  The workbook has great questions and lots of Scripture to add to our understanding, but it's quite extensive.  The Study Guide has a lot fewer questions & Scripture, but leaves out a few of my favorite points.

So, regardless of which book you have, I'd like to give you some things to think about as you read or after you read "All About Evie".  Grab you pen & journal and think in ink!

These questions are paraphrased from Bad Girls of the Bible workbook,  by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Have you ever walked into a trap of doubting God's Word in your own heart (because of what someone else has said) or feeling ill-equipped when you're face to face with someone else who does?

Ms. Higgs gives us a few verses that tell us about God's Word and how we should handle it.
Read Proverbs 30: 5-6, Luke 11:28, and 2 Timothy 3: 16-17.  How do these verses help us when we find ourselves getting tangled up in a discussion about God's Word?

Eve's eyes, her physical eyes and her metaphorical eyes, led her astray.  "The woman was convinced.  The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise!"  Genesis 3: 6a, NLT.  Can you relate?  How have your eyes led you down a rocky road?  In this group of questions, the author asks us to re-write a few passages to make them more personal.  We've done this before and it's one of my favorite ways to connect Scripture to my life.  Liz asks us to re-write each statement with "I will..."
    Psalm 119:10
    Hebrews 10:25
    2 Timothy 2:22
    2 Timothy 2:23
    Colossians 3:2
    Colossians 3:5
    Colossians 3:8

Now choose one to put into action today!  Underline it, highlight it, *star it*, write it on sticky notes to put on your mirror, in your car, and on your computer.  Write down one specific way you will put this into action.  Will you share your action Scripture with us in the Comments?  I'd love to hear from you and support you on your journey.

These are just a few points to consider; there are many others!

Other issues to examine include Eve's (& our):
  * desire to "do it ourselves", be in control of our lives, be like God; 
  * resisting, or not, the urge to sin; 
  * leading others to sin; 
  * coving up our sin; and 
  * shifting blame for our mistakes.  
What can we learn from Eve on these points? 

I hope that as you read and the story of Eve stays with you, that your eyes will be opened to what can be learned from her experience.  Consider how we modern women aren't all that different from Eve and how each of us faces similar dilemmas in our lives.  Turn to Scripture to learn and to equip yourself to face these challenges.

I look forward to reading your Comments and discussing "the mother of all bad girls", Eve!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Monday, January 5, 2015

"Bad Girls of the Bible": Eve

"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a companion who will help him....  But still there was no companion suitable for him.  So the Lord God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep.  He took one of Adam's ribs and closed up the place from which he had taken it.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam."  Genesis 2:18, 20b-22  NLT

Merry Christmas, on this 11th day of Christmas!  Happy New Year, too!!  I pray that 2015 is a year filled with grace, peace, renewed hope, and above all, love.

Now that the gifts have been opened, the garlands & ornaments lovingly stowed away until December, and the revolving door of visitors and visiting has slowed, it's a perfect time to quiet our lives and reflect.

I am so very excited to start our new book, Bad Girls of the Bible, and What We Can Learn From Them,  by Liz Curtis Higgs.
Note: this is the first of the Bad Girl series.  There have been two publications, so the covers may differ depending on which publication you have, but either one is fine for our group.  Also, there is a companion workbook.  You do not need the workbook, just the book.

I am reading this book for the first time right along with you!  Most of our books I have already read, but this one came so highly recommended (thank you, Paula) and had only positive reviews on-line, I decided to take the plunge.  Right from the start, I was not disappointed - she opens the introduction with one of my most favorite lines from Longfellow, "And when she was good she was very, very good, But when she was bad she was horrid."   I'm not sure what that says about me, but I just love it!  I guess it's my inner (and often outward) struggle between my bad girl & my good girl!

We will start right in with the first chapter on Friday, January 9th.  Give yourself permission to take time out of your week to read the Introduction and Chapter 1 "All About Evie".  It's important to read the introduction, to understand the author's writing style (funny, compelling) and why she chose to write her book with both fictional & Biblical stories; she also shares a few startling facts about her personal life.

If you have the Revised Edition (teal & yellow-orange cover), there is a study guide in the back of the book, starting on page 245.  I'm not sure if it's in the original (purple) edition or the e-book edition.  These questions & our discussions is where faith is deepened.  As we read, explore, and see ourselves through Scripture-colored lenses, we draw ever closer to becoming the women God designed us to be.  We renew our soul and open our hearts & minds to what the Lord has to show us.  Believe it or not, we have more in common with these women who lived centuries ago, than we might have first thought.

You have worked hard these last few months, making the holidays bright for family and friends.  Take some time to recharge your soul by diving into the pages of Bad Girls of the Bible.  You won't be disappointed!

I'll be back here on Wednesday, to give you some 'things to think about' from the Study Guide.

Do you know someone who might be interested in reading about these bad girls?  Please pass this on to them and, if you attend our live group, bring them along!  Regardless of where you are along your journey (still questioning, just starting out, or have blisters from walking this path for a long time) you are welcome here!

Happy Reading!!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul, and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24