hot bliggity blog 267

Friday, February 25, 2011

happy GOLDEN birthday, emily!!!


Yesterday was my sister’s Golden Birthday. And yes, before you point out the obvious, I am a day late in writing this post. But that’s ok, Emily won’t mind; sadly she is used to my always-arriving-late spurts of creativity, ‘genius-ness’, and acts of thoughtfulness. Why do we put deadlines on these things?! Anyways, it’s still February, her Birthday Month, and this post, or celebratory letter if you will, is--in my own way--on time.


Emily and I are three years apart. From the time we were little we have gotten along fairly well, as good as sisters can get along I suppose. I don’t know why or how this is but I am glad we have always played well together. Our other friends noticed it even when we were little. As we’ve gotten older, I’ve had several friends say to me that they wished they had gotten along with their sister(s) as well as Emily and I did when we were little.

I have been very blessed to have her as my sister.

We enjoy doing a lot of things together. Said activities include singing Glee songs off-key, traveling, shopping, laying out, laughing, eating, and so, so much more.


Very recently, Emily and I had been driving for a while and were kind of in dumpy moods. Knowing that we were about to be with a group of people we decided we needed a quick pick-me-up. What do the Kiel sisters do in our time of crabbiness? We turn to our handy-dandy Glee Soundtrack Collection! We chose Volume 4 and proceed to sing song in a genre that we picked before each new track. ‘Lucky’ became a twangy rendition that would make George Strait proud and ‘One Love’ a rap bit. We were laughing so hard before we even made it to the opposite of ‘Teenage Dream’!

We can laugh ourselves into stitches without EVER SAYING A WORD and we know what the other is talking about.

Our love for traveling and experiencing new things started at a very young age. We made a lot of road trips when we were little. Here we are, in all our beautiful glory, traveling to where I can only assume is our Grandparents’.


We have had some memorable trips together. One summer we went to the beach; it rained the entire time! We were so bummed! But that didn’t stop us from having fun: we put on our bathing suits, went to the local Wal-Mart where we bought a DVD player and some movies, picked up some Papa John’s and had a picnic in our hotel room floor. The remainder of the time we split between reading books while lounging on the hotel’s patios and sleeping (in our bathing suits, of course!).

While in Canada we thought about taking up figure skating but decided against it when we got into an argument over who would be on the throwing side of the “Iron Lotus”...


In Scotland we trudged through a field of sheep poop to find this darling abandoned castle…


We Whooped on the steps of a Parthenon-Wanna-Be…


And frolicked in a graffiti covered storehouse…


We always have the best of times together!

This doesn’t mean we haven’t had our fair share of arguments, disagreements, and fights. We have hurt each other with our words. We have hurt each other with our actions. While most are unintentional, some are very intentional. But through these times of hurt and major dislike we have grown to know each other more as well as how to treat those around us. Do you have that kind of relationship? One that, no matter what you do or say, will always be there, never leaving you?

I am so thankful that I have this in my sister.

We had the Mother of all Fights a few years ago. It WAS NOT pretty. It doesn’t matter what the fight was about, it has been forgiven. What is important was how we handled the situation; I was so proud! It was the first time that instead of racing to call Mom to get her on our side first we solved it on our own. It got ugly for a hot minute but by the end of the day we had talked through our problem rationally, forgiven and forgotten (and vowed never to do it again!) and pulled ourselves together for a family dinner and photo shoot.


I am thankful for a sister that I can be myself around. If she doesn’t like something that I’m doing, or how I’m behaving, she tells me. Sometimes she doesn’t even have to verbalize it because her face tells me all I need to know.
I hope we are always close.


We have shared a lot of things: memories, bathrooms, initials, etc.

Together we have………

...‘Sawed ‘em off’ on Inismore Island

...fought over the color pink

...taken 1 college class together

...spent a night in the ½-bath floor


...consumed 840 meals at Blue Baker

...justified the need for hash browns

...napped in the Eel Garden at Dublin Castle

...shown up to play piano & keyboards at church dressed in the exact same dress

...performed countless plays and ‘productions’ in our living room

...planned our future weddings 137 times

...worked out so hard we couldn’t walk for 6 days

...climbed, ahem, ridden to the top of the Eiffel Tower


I don’t know if it has been used or not, but I would like to coin a new term for sisters who are best friends: Sistership. Original , I know; I bet I just shocked the pants off of you :) Below is a list I have put together of what Sistership is to me:

Sistership is telling the other that her breathe stinks and offering a piece of gum.

Sistership is being happy for the other’s triumphs and joys when you can’t seem to set your world straight.

Sistership is sticking up for the other one when your ‘friends’ say unkind things.

Sistership is telling the other when the top that you love and have worn to death needs to go.


Sistership is helping you finish off ALL of your brother’s birthday dessert so that you don’t look like a pig by yourself.


Sistership is telling the other one when you need to stop what you’re doing and just go to bed.

Sistership is staying up till 4:00 a.m. making flip-flops and tie-dying t-shirts to help keep promises and commitments.

Sistership is laughing with you when you read a sign that says ‘To Lease’, and, without saying a word to each other, both think about the time you screamed, ‘Two Luck,’ when you actually meant ‘Two on the left that look just alike.’

Sistership is bringing the other coffee and cookies at 2:00 a.m. when you’ve been up for 24 hours.

Sistership is so many wonderful things.


I am so thankful for mine! HAPPY GOLDEN BIRTHDAY, EMILY!!!!! I love you so much and look forward to our next adventure together (and I promise it won't be another round-trip-Ellen-forgot-her-wallet-at-the-house-that-we-are-now-56-minutes-away-from!)!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'll take my spring with no allergies, please

I grew up on the Gulf of Mexico where mold and pollen flourished. All of my friends took their allergy medicine religiously as if their lives depended on it. Because it did. I was never treated for allergies growing up. I’m sure I had them, just not so bad that I couldn’t breathe or felt like I was dying. I was sick often and rarely had a voice but it was always chalked up as a cold, took some Tylenol and dealt with it.

Well, times have changed. And not for the better, I might add. I don’t know if it was my move to Birmingham or my severe case of mono I had at age 20 that caused my tolerance of allergens to drop to a big fat ZERO. I do know that whatever IT is, I don’t like IT. Every year—scratch that—every SEASON since 2004 I have discovered some new pollen, plant, or living organism that sends my ears/nose/throat/eyes/chest/brain into a tizzy. I can even tell you the exact days that certain bushes and trees exploded last year. Take last year, for example: On February 25, I stepped out of my apartment, turned to lock my door only to open it again, reenter my apartment and blindly find my way to my contact solution, case and glasses. I don’t know the name of the bushes outside my living room window, but I do know that they exploded on that morning, as did my eyes. I was in my glasses for the next six months (all through the summer!!!)

This year’s allergens came earlier than last (at least the ones that effect me); I have been in my glasses since February 9 :( I wish there was a way that we could take our eyeballs out and scrub them down, just like we do contacts. Unfortunately science is not there yet.

This year, though, I have vision coverage (I have since learned that I COULD HAVE GONE to the eye doctor last year on my health insurance) and I have already been to the doctor. After looking in my eyes the doctor said that my eyes should be hurting given their present irritated condition. Yes, thank you, I think that’s why I’m here. Ha! Now I am on two different eye drops (one for allergies and one to clear up the mess that has attacked) and counting down the days until my next appointment; anxiously awaiting them to clear up and get well enough so that I can wear contacts again. It’s not that I don’t like my glasses, I just don’t like when they get in the way. Like when you need to wear sunglasses. Or hug someone really tight (Sunday mornings are tough!)


Last year, my friend, Ellen, told me of this magical cure for allergies: eat one teaspoon a day of local honey to keep the allergies away. (Since then I have seen and heard this everywhere.) So, I marched right out and bought me some local honey (the bees from whose hive I eat reside and work about 45 miles from my house). This was going well until my dad ran out of his honey and started eating mine; we were out of honey before I could sufficiently test the remedy. BUT I have gotten us each a new jar and will eating a teaspoon every day from here on out!

So, I should be feeling better, right? NO. For a week now, my left eye has felt funny. The only way I can think to describe it is to say that the skin around my left eye has felt tight. It started feeling tighter on Tuesday night and within two hours of getting home from Beth Moore’s Bible study my eye looked like this:


Isn't that pretty?! This picture was taken at midnight (it proceeded to get worse towards a more swollen stage of shut for another hour). Unfortunately there are no doctors—other than in the ER—open at this time of day. So, at midnight, I threw on some shoes and drove to the 24-hour pharmacy. The pharmacist told me that he was not a doctor. Yes, Sir, I am aware of this fact; but you do know about medicines, right?! I figured the nicest and easiest way to handle this was to ask him what he himself would do if it were his eye swelling at an intense rate of speed. Two Benadryls and no driving is what he told me. So, I went home, took two Benadryls and waited about two hours to make sure the swelling had stopped. When I decided that it was safe to go to sleep I realized that I had taken TWO Benadryls and had four hours to sleep until it was time to get up for work. So, I set 4 alarms on my phone, 2 alarms on my alarm clock, the alarm on my T.V., and a left a note for my dad to call and wake me up. There was still some swelling when I got up but it finally went down by lunch time.
And now I look like my old self again.

Well, my old self plus glasses! I just wish I could twitch my nose like Samantha and, ‘Poof,’ Allergies Be Gone!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

vow6. Luke 12:24

Luke 12:24
24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
God will provide for me.

God will provide for you.

Need I say more?!

Monday, February 21, 2011

julie & julia

I watched Julie & Julia this weekend for the first time. I really liked it! I’m not a huge movie fanatic; I never really enjoy watching movies the first time through but that is another topic for another day. I do enjoy movies, however, when I can really connect with the character(s). As I watched this movie, I couldn’t help but identify with Amy Adams’ character, Julie Powell. We are so similar! I jotted down a list of our similarities as I watched the movie and they are as follows:
struggling to find a place in this world
blogging
need for short term goals
career path gone much different as planned
dream to meet Julia Childs/Beth Moore
want to write a book

There were many others that came to mind, but this was all I could get written down without getting my phone taken away for having it out during the movie. Ha! So, allow me to elaborate:

struggling to find a place in this world:
This is a daily, sometimes hourly, struggle for me. I do have confidence that God will make clear to me where He wants me to serve, just as I am confident I am right where He wants me right now. I just don’t get it sometimes!!! I saw a video clip at church this weekend where a guy finds an empty soup can hanging from a string and leading straight up through the clouds. I WANT TO FIND THAT SOUP CAN! Ha!

blogging:
I began blogging in August of this past year (2010). A friend of mine, Caroline, was blogging and it seemed like so much fun! Shortly after starting, I realized what a relief and de-stressor it is. Not only does it allow me to sort out my thoughts, it keeps a record of where I am and what is going on in my life. Being that I have trouble recalling what I had for dinner last night, this is an extremely valuable tool!

Just yesterday I had 3 separate blog topics pop into my head (brace yourself!). And these aren’t just topics, no. Rather these are 3 different realizations, each separate from one another, but all due to introspective work that going to church often brings about in me.

You never know where blogging may lead you, either. I have no idea who reads this and if and what might reflect instances in their own life, but how cool is it to know that it may, one day, reach the ears (or eyes) and heart of someone that really needs it!?

need for short term goals:
My whole life, up until this point, has been about meeting professors’ deadlines, turning in projects/presentations in on time, and working to obtain a diploma; all short-term goals. I know that life is full of deadlines and appointments and always will be. However, I understand Julia’s reasoning for needing short goals to shoot for. I, like her, am (un)famously known for throwing myself whole-heartedly into a project, losing interest somewhere around 72% completion and looking for something else to throw myself into. It is not something that is fun to admit, but it is the truth. I have been working on this problem by attempting to commit to fewer things/activities and leadership roles and by setting attainable goals.

For example, reading the Bible in its entirety has been a goal of mine several times throughout my life. However, every other time before this past time, my goal was to complete it in one year. Somewhere around Day 17 my attention would ware and my ambitions dissipate, never making it past Leviticus 3:15. When I heard about The Bible in 90 Days by Ted Cooper, however, I saw it as my chance! I knew it would take more of my daily time (about an hour per day) but this time, Day 17 meant almost 20% completion and Judges 3:27! Granted, I did not finish this challenge in the 90 days as planned, but by the time I took my 5 week Christmas and January Siesta* I had finished reading up through the Gospels! I had to finish; I was almost done! So, when I did pick it back up in February I only had about 1 week’s left of reading.

*Please note that during this time I did not simply push my Bible(s) to the back of the trunk of my car; I was still studying and attending church just not actively reading through.

Bottom line: I finished!

With short term goals, I usually drive myself crazy, as did Julie, almost obsessing over finishing the task at hand but it always gets done and I love the feeling of satisfaction when the goal has been obtained!

career path gone much different as planned:
Well, does this one even bode explaining?! With degrees in interior design and architecture I hardly thought I would find myself in the oil & gas position that I have. Many days I find myself asking ‘Why did I even go to school?!’ Ha! I have, however, come to the realization, embraced the fact even, that this job can teach me a lot, keep me fed and clothed, and lead to any number of places; God only knows! I am so thankful that I have gotten to this place; words cannot express how grateful I am to have realized these things and the great peace that surrounds me now.

dream to meet Julia Childs/Beth Moore:
Ok, ok, this one might sound a little crazy at first, and I am obviously am never going to meet Julia Childs. The point, though, is that Julie wanted desperately to meet the woman who had inspired her for so long, who had served as a role model, and shared similar interests and passions. I feel the same way about Beth Moore. Every Tuesday night, as I sit amidst a sea of women, all captivated by Beth’s ability to make clear the truths in the Bible and how we can apply them to our lives, I find myself wanting to be just like her: sharing the Gospel with those who so desperately need it, affecting so many lives, being the vessel that God obviously wants her to be. She inspires me and I am blessed week-in and week-out by her transparency.

Want to write a book:
Unlike Julie, writing was not my first love. In fact, you would never have heard those words grace my lips 10 years ago. Reading and writing were the VERY LAST things on my agenda up until a few years ago. But lately, it has been a constant desire on my heart; we will see! I do not have a book written per se, but I do have a life full of stories, experiences, and testimony that could possibly make it into book form one day. I will keep you posted :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

vow5. Psalm 37:4 & Matthew 7:7-8

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Matthew 7:7-8
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
I had to go with two verses this week as they go hand and hand with where I am in life at this point. For several months I have been asking God to reveal to me why I am in the place in life that I am. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would never in my wildest dreams have said that I would be where I am today. But praise God for that! Obviously He knows what’s up and what’s best for me, even though it is sometimes a tough pill to swallow. I have taken courage in the fact that He has always and will always be there for me, blessing me every minute of the day.

But, there are still many things that I want in my life; desires if you will. I don’t want to live my life as one big, giant check-list but there are some things that I hope are in my life’s story: I would love a family of my own, a job/career that I am passionate about, a home of my own to create memories in, and so many other things that I have always dreamed about. Maybe these things are still in my future, maybe they aren’t. I just pray that if they are not God’s will for me that He will remove these desires from my heart and change my desires to match what He has planned for me.

So, as it says in Matthew 7, I will continue to ASK God to reveal to me His purpose for where He has me and show me who I am to be a witness and light to. I will continue to SEEK His will for me, praying that I do not stray from His path. I will continue to KNOCK at His door, opening every day in prayer and asking Him to guide my footsteps.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

vow4. Psalm 30:5

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
I have had this verse/song stuck in my head since Saturday of this past weekend. I helped lead a weekend retreat for the youth group this past weekend and this was one of the praise and worship songs that was sung. Then, on Sunday morning, we sang it again in big church! I think God was trying to tell me something!?



There may be pain and suffering for a moment/night/season but joy will be restored! Unfortunately we do not know when or how this joy will come: it may be one big fireworks show of a moment or it may come in a text from a friend that says ‘I’m praying for you’. It may be joy that comes to stay for a while or it may be only for a brief moment. Either way it is joy. And it’s what He has promised to his people who live for Him.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snapshots of my life: just made it thru january

Once again I am thankful for my camera phone :) I cannot believe that January is already over! This month has flown by way too fast. There is always so much going on in January; schools, programs, and T.V. shows all start back up in the first couple of weeks of the new year.

I have a close-knit group of family friends that I consider to be my family. And, being that I don’t have any 1st cousins, I don’t think anyone really minds. There are 4 families in this group; all of our parents live withing about a 15 mile radius now and they all lived within about a 15 mile radius in Louisiana when we were all growing up. There are 10 kids in this family group ranging in age from 13 to 27. We behave and function much like that of any other large family, at least to the extent that I can imagine and have observed in others’ families. I love it; we all do, really.

As families do we have grown and expanded over the years. So far there are no grand-kids but there are several new husbands and wives. Our most recent wedding happened in the middle of this month. We have had bridal showers, couples shower, bachelorette/bachelor parties and lingerie showers. We have been busy! Everyone was able to be at or in the wedding. Here is a picture of us at our truest (please note not greatest!) form:


And here is us all paying attention:


Photo booth + parents = funniest moment of the day!


I am so excited this month because Beth Moore’s Bible study has started back up again. I am so blessed to live in the same community as her and that I, along with about 4,000 other females and 5 men, get to join her for Tuesday Night Bible Study. She is teaching from and writing a study on the Book and life of James this semester. For more information and teaching tools visit her ministry’s website, Living Proof Ministries. She is amazing; I walk out every Tuesday night so pumped that I practically do cartwheels all the way to my car!

My church does an excellent job of emphasizing and facilitating local missions/outreach. One Sunday afternoon the church sponsored ‘The Church has left the Building’, a local outreach project. Sunday school classes met after church and went to their assigned local mission field. We were split into groups and were sent out to three different apartment communities, one local grocery store, a food bank and shelter. My class was teamed up with 3 other classes and went to an apartment complex located near the church. We took cleaning supplies, balls and frisbees, Evangicube’s and the love of Jesus to share with the residents.


One of the residents of the apartments (who goes to our church) has put together a program for all of the children who live in the complex. The Lord has provided her an on-site facility that consists of a library, computer room, class/study room, and multi-purpose room. It was amazing! She leads an afternoon program and helps them complete their homework all while loving on these kids.


Our first task of the day was to clean the facility and fix broken furniture, leaky faucets, etc. In one hour, the place was scrubbed from top to bottom, organized from left to right and covered inside and out with prayer. After the marathon cleaning we went to one of the grassy courtyards to play ball, paint fingernails, draw with sidewalk chalk and share the gospel with the kids and families. It was one of the coolest moments. The day was absolutely beautiful and by the end of our 2 hour play time there were at least 50 kids and adults who came out to join us.


At 5:00 we had 2 buses from church come to pick up any and all residents who wanted to join us at church for free dinner and our evening church service. It was incredible. I have no idea how many visitors we had but lives were definitely touched that day.


January starts a string of birthdays in our family. Within 51 days we have 4 of 5 family members’ birthdays to celebrate, starting with mine at the end of January. And we don’t just celebrate in my family. No, we CELEBRATE! Like, we take a month to acknowledge, recognize and party for our birthdays. I think it’s more of an excuse to do fun things, eat dessert at each and every meal, or take the day off work/class for no apparent reason. ‘Well, sure, go ahead and eat the whole piece of cake; after all, Ellen’s birthday is in 3 weeks!’ This whole mess started when parents gave us each our own, successive month: January, February, March.

This year has been particularly hard on my sister (who’s birthday is in February) as she has just realized that she has been getting gypped every year since she was born. I woke up one morning to a series of texts that read something to the effect of: “Oh my gosh, I just realized that you get 31 days to celebrate your birthday and I only get 28, occasionally 29. That isn’t fair!” Hehehe As if I invented the calendar. Last night, she tagged me in her Facebook status and I quote, ‘Happy Birthday Ellen Kiel. You have 24 hours left to celebrate.” Well thank you very much; I believe I will :)



My birthday weekend celebration began Friday night at a Mexican restaurant. I was so happy to see my friends! We had a good turn out, lots of good food and fun gifts! I am blessed to have wonderful friends and family who were all able to help me celebrate. Praise the Lord!


After dinner, most of us headed over to hear (and dance) a personal favorite band of mine: Blaggards. They are Irish. I LOVE all things Irish! I had so much fun! Especially since they announced my birthday and age as 21. Ha!


Saturday was family dinner at Brio. I love that place! There was one nearby my undergrad and I haven’t been there since. YUMMY! Unfortunately I do not have a picture from that night. I must be at that age where taking pictures ON your birthday is either uncool or unnecessary :) and/or :(


According to Facebook counts I have had as many as 9 friends in one day with birthday’s this month! I think we must gravitate to one another. So to all of you born in the fantastical month of January, Happy Birthday! I pray that it is the beginning of a truly remarkable year for you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

vow3. Hebrews 11:6

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews is a personal favorite of mine; I don’t doubt that it is many peoples favorite. It is filled to the brim with encouragement, promises, and examples; encouragement for good times and bad times, promises that trials and tribulations will come to us, examples of people who suffered and conquered difficult seasons. God’s faithfulness to us is written and seen in between every single line of this book.

One particular chapter that I am stuck on right now is Hebrews 11, Faith in Action:
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

I think my favorite verses in this chapters are verses 32-38. It’s as if God is saying, ‘Do you really not get it? Do I really need to go down my resume for you?’ If we are faithful to Him, He can and will do anything to put you right where He wants you, right where you need to be. He’s done it before, He can do it again.

No where does it say that this is easy but that’s the point. If it were easy to have faith, we would never turn to God for help or strength. And He wants us to come to Him; He delights in helping us, surprising us even.
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