I'm the Odd Couple's 38 year old mom in a 68 year old body

I never know what to put in the title line, especially on a day like today. Maybe: My hip and knee hurt bad! Or: I have pockets of puffiness under my eyes that won't go away and weren't there yesterday. Or: My baby is eight today! Or: My sister is coming tomorrow!

I'll tell ya, 38 has been a year of physical breakdown I didn't expect until at least 58.   And I don't like it one bit!  I shouldn't have to pull on the car door to get out of my car because of my knee pain in my 30's!  And I shouldn't be limping and walking half bent over the day after going for a one mile jog.  And I should be popping 1600 mg of ibuprofen everyday so I can not wince with everyday movements.  All of this should be non-exsistent.  I can't even think about squatting or lunging or burpees or kettle bell swings or any other gym workout that isn't in the old-lady water aerobics class.

So I had an MRI on the 8th and was referred to an orthopedic doc.  I saw him today.  He wants to do three injections of orthovisc in my knee.  Basically it's a lube job for the knee.  That and physical therapy.  He says he thinks I'm having IT band pain and I have atrophy of my left quadriceps which isn't helping, hence the physical therapy.  I think he's a good doctor, he listened to me... methinks that's the most important thing in a physician next to skill and knowledge. 

All this at age 38 with no good reason (I'm not exactly a competitive athlete) has me searching online for some information about some changes I could make in my diet that may help prevent the kind of inflammation the ortho said showed on the MRI of my knee.  I'm gonna have to eat crow, or herring rather, and join my husband in eating canned herring.  It's his favorite snack... eats a couple cans a day.  I give him a lot of grief for it.  It's not exactly a breath freshener!  I guess if we both have herring breath.... ugh.  Nevermind.  Maybe I'll look into fish oil supplements.

So I'm thinking maybe it's the flonase (which I was prescribed along with my antibiotic for a sinus infection) that left a sac of fluid bulging below my left eye today.  It's not pretty.

I can't believe it's been eight years since Ryland was born.  He's such a gift.  My Christmas gift!  I treasure the gift and stewardship of both the sons I've been given.  Each one is distinct.  Ryland is methodical, logical, matter-of-fact, sensitive, not-a-jock, a puzzle-solver, a math-lover, a rule-follower, a tad bossy, a Felix, very affectionate, a bit of a momma's boy, has a keen justice-meter, wishes he could eat sugar and play video games all day long, and has a smile that lights up a room.

I'm always studying to learn the bend my children have so I can guide them in the direction they were designed to go.  I think Ryland's bend is towards numbers and order.  Maybe CPA?  I see an inclination towards self-righteousness and judgmentalness.  But I also see a great sensitivity to the mercy he knows is not earned or deserved.   This one has a dirty heart like the rest of us, but the soil is good and soft and ready to receive truth.   You know what else grows well in good soil?  Weeds.  And as a momma-servant in my Master's child-raising-field I find myself tending to those weeds with lots of prayer, total dependence upon the mercy and grace a fallen-and-redeemed-parent needs, and loving discipline.  I'm so glad I get to be Ryland's mom!  (And just as glad I get to be the mom to his Oscar-like brother Connor!)

My sister is coming from Shasta Lake, CA tomorrow to ring in the new year with me!!!  I'm so excited and blessed.  She's leaving my precious nephews to come spend some time with her nephews.  I hope I get to do the same in the spring.  I purchased tickets last month to the Phoenix Symphony's New Year's Eve Celebration.  I can't wait!  I've always wanted to go to a symphony.  In heaven, I hope I can play an instrument really well or have a fantabulous singing voice!  Musicians and people who build things intrigue me!  I want my boys to at least have had the experience of a dress-up night at the symphony.  So, despite their moaning about how boring it will be, they're coming!  I think they'll be surprised.  I might have to put them on a 24 hour fast from all things electronic before we go.


Things were different this year. But one thing never changes.


Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house... everyone was doing their usual thing.

But as I look back over the last month (which flew by at record speed) I'm glad we did things a little differently this year.  I hope it'll be even more different next year.

All those gifts under the tree that crowded out the nativity scene aren't there now.  They produce sounds of glee and smiles and excitement for about an hour and then came the complaining.  One boy came out of the bedroom tattling on the other, "Mom ___________ says this is the worst Christmas ever."  It's no fun seeing and hearing the evidence of the fallen creatures we are come out of your children.  The self-centered twist from the Christ-centered way is in all of us.  Even our children.

This could evoke punishment, anger, rash-consequences... all of those rose up in me like embers from a flame and then fell like ash.  Then grace and truth like a faithful friend rose up and I called the erring boy to my side.  He confessed with tears, knowing the very words that were coming out of his mouth were evidence of the poisonous wound deep inside.  He spewed out all the reasons why.  He didn't like this.  There weren't as many as last year.  And the tears flowed and shame filled the air thick.  There was the option of using shame against him, rubbing his nose in it, taking presents away, etc., but that Paraclete moved me forward and I lifted his quivering chin and looked into his guilty eyes and said, "This is in all of us son.  This is selfishness and its in us all and its not the way God made you to be."  His tears flowed more, truth and grace are like keys unlocking the guilt and letting the flow of sadness over sin come.  "Why are you crying son?"

"Because I know what I did wrong."

"You know, God gave a gift and we did the same thing to his gift too.  He gave us His Son but many people refuse the gift of God.  They don't like it.  It's not what they wanted.  It's not something they can unwrap and hold and play with so they don't want it."

Tears start to clear.  Head begins to lift.  Thoughts are turned towards the truth.  And quietly it sinks in.

"You know what to do to stand against that selfishness in you?"

He shakes his head.

"Be a giver.  And give thanks.  Some things people give you, you may not like, you may not want, but be a giver.  Give thanks.  Think about how they wanted to give to you.  Give thanks for them wanting to give.  And remember those people who got chickens and rabbits and a water filter from us?  I bet they are sure glad someone gave to them.  The more you are a giver the more giving will be a gift to you."

I'm sure much of that conversation was not understood.  But it was a seed planted.

This year Ann encouraged me to take these words of His and receive them as His preferred birthday present.  So I did.  And I took that seed of truth to the hearts of my boys and planted it there.  And they seemed to get it, after all, they have birthdays, and on their birthdays they get gifts.  So what He wants for his birthday was something they could understand.  They wanted to give Him a gift.

This year the Jesse Tree grew and the tradition took on more permanence even amidst opposition.

This year giving to each other took on a from-the-heart quality.  The boys made a Lego game for their dad out of Lego's they already had, and they did chores to earn a 7 and 9 year old's wage so they could pick out a gift they wanted to give to each other.

And after it was all over, and all the trash from the torn paper and boxes were thrown out, I looked and there was the scene and I heard the words:

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever. - Isaiah 40:8

God's word, the Word made into flesh... lastly God spoke to us in His Son, and if we've seen the Son, we've seen the Father.  Immanuel.  God with us.  The incarnation of the Savior of the World.  He endures forever.  Past the gifts.  Past the complaints. Past the lessons. Past the day after Christmas.  Oh what a steadying, secure, confident and calming anchor we have in heaven while we endure the sin and fleeting feelings and thoughts in the world!

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.] - Psalm 145:14


The purpose of Christmas

The tree is lit, ornaments hanging, gifts piled, the homemade nativity scene crowded out by fancy wrapped boxes.  Everyone is waiting. The kids are waiting for about 24 hours from now when they'll wake up and rip that pretty paper off those boxes and smile at the surprises inside.  My Jesse tree advent readings have us anticipating the birth of the Long-Promised One.

Tomorrow's the big day, but really the big day already came.  And went.

Mary's big day came and went to.  She swelled with the Promised One and delivered Him.  She was born a mom that day, but even more, she was born a Christ-bearer.  Christ was born through her.

Like me, she pondered that miracle and just who this Child was.  And we get some hints at what she maybe thought He was.

When those scraggly shepherds came telling her and Joseph what they'd heard from angels she was amazed and pondered what they said in her heart.

And this homemaker at the end of 2012, ponders the Word that has been spoken to me concerning the Christ.

But when an old man waiting to see the Messiah before he died caused Mary and Joseph to marvel when he spoke of this Son's purpose, he turned to Mary and spoke something to her none of us want to hear about our Christmas gift:

"Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." 

A sign that is opposed.

A sword will pierce through your own soul.

Thoughts from many hearts... revealed.

Is that what I'm anticipating this Christmas?

Is Christ who is born in me, Christ my hope of glory... is He going to be opposed?  Is He going to pierce my own soul?  Is He going to reveal the thoughts of my heart?

Yes lights from the Father of lights. Yes gifts from the Giver of all good gifts who is Himself the Gift.  Yes treats from Him who has given us all things to enjoy.  Yes smiles and laughter and songs from the One in whose right hand are pleasures forevermore.  But first.  But first opposition.  Piercing.  Thoughts revealed.

Yes the joy of the Christ come born as a baby in a cave, in the cold, to a teenage girl and her noble fiance... Love come down to save us.

Yes the laughter and the presents and the goodies.  These are just some the crumbs of the goodness that fall from the feast of His good grace.  These are some effects of Love come down, of God made into flesh.  These are some of the effects of Christmas.  But these aren't the purpose of Christmas.  The purpose of His coming was first to absorb the poison of our snake-bitten sin and the righteous wrath against it.

Sometimes I think we forget this, not just at Christmas, but everyday.  Christ came.  He died for our sins.  And by just as much a miracle as was done in Mary, He is in me.  Christ in me, the hope of glory.  Yes glory.  But first thoughts revealed, opposition and piercing.  Yes glory is coming, and even now has begun.  Yes everyday can be received as a gift of His goodness and grace with thanksgiving... even the piercing, even the hard to own-up-to thoughts revealed, even the opposition that will come.  Because first His purpose is to conform me to the image of His Son.

Mary thought maybe first His purpose was to set her reputation straight... make more wine.  I've thought maybe first His purpose was to ____________________.  You fill in the blank.  Make my marriage happy.  Make my husband understand me.  Make my children appreciate me.  Make more good life.  Make things nice and right and the way they should be. 

Sometimes I read things like, "How long O Lord?  How long?"  And I think of my blank.  All those good things I want.  All those pretty wrapped presents.  But that's not what He came for the first time.  My, "How long?" gets turned into "As long as it takes Lord!" when I consider that His purpose is to use all things- hard marriages, difficult kids, deaths, illnesses, weakness, poverty, things not right, evil seeming to run rampant, mental illness taking its toll on relationships, hard things- to make me Christ-like.  Then glory.

Christ in me.  The hope of glory.

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? - Luke 24:26

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. - Colossians 3:4

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. - 1 Peter 5:10

Oh piercing Christmas I want you to just be happy 
Good smells
But You come first revealing
Oh opposed Christmas I want you to just be accepted
But You come first dying
Oh miraculous Christmas I want you to just take over
God among Us
But You come first propitiating

Glory is coming
You gave us a glimpse
A New Man raised
Reconciliation commenced


The problem of evil

I was asked tonight why God doesn't end the evil now, why wait? I was asked why pray to a God who is going to let evil continue?  "Why pray He's not going to change His mind, He's going to do whatever He's going to do anyway!"

I feel like I failed miserably in my attempts to answer.  I pray somehow, in my weakness, God would show Himself strong and speak truth in the ears of the ones with understandable questions.

As I sat tonight after reading about Elijah, calling on God in a set-up to prove nothing is impossible with Him and that He alone is God, and after reading the prophecy that some day, the lion will lie with the lamb, and after reading Peter's letter to answer the questions about why and how long- he said God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance.  God is waiting for us.  He is not slow in bringing about His promise to bring evil to an end, He is patient to draw us out first.  After I read all this, and watched some of my questioners fall asleep as I read, feeling like my words were falling on sleeping ears, feeling like no awakening was getting in, I went out to the couch and watered the word I spoke with my tears.

And I called on God, the God who is God even over Connecticut.  Even over sleeping ears and doubting hearts and questioning men.  I cried:

Why shouldn't I call on You Lord?  Who should I call on?  Should I call on no one?  Shall I hide in my hobbies?  Or TV?  Or music?  Or food?  Or politics?  Shall I stick my head in the sand and act as though nothing is happening?  Shall I carry on numbly as though nothing is ever going to change?  Shall I act as though I can save myself and live the good life while those around me fall victim to evil?  Shall I call on politicians?  Or philosophers?  Shall I call on new laws or religious leaders?  Shall I call on education or psychologists?  Shall I call on philanthropists or musicians?  Shall I call on neighbors to rally?  Shall I become a hermit and flee from the troubles of the world?  Shall I call on no one?  

Who have I but you Lord?  Even if nothing I think should change changes because I call on You, does that mean you don't hear, or don't care?  Shall I not cry to you and ask you to change things and yet surrender to your goodness and sovereignty and acknowledge my brevity and fallenness?  

Do I presume to know what you should do?  Shall I not entrust myself to You who sees all things and knows all things and is working all things according to Your will?  I choose to cry to You, not turn from You.  I don't understand.  I can't explain You.  I can't defend You.  I can't convince others of You.  But I will call on You.  Though evil seems to prevail, though the ones I love seem to doubt You, though I myself do not understand why Your will plays out this way, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!  I will run to the only One who saves!  I will choose to believe Your promise to one day make all things new through Christ who is your answer to the problem of evil.

And so I go looking for others whose faith will stoke the smoldering reed of mine.  I pick up If God is Good on my Kindle and start reading:

"The cross is God's answer to the question 'Why don't you do something about evil?'"- Chapter 21 of If God is Good by Randy Alcorn.

"God may already be restraining 99.99 percent of evil and suffering...  Given the evil of the human heart, you'd think that there would be thousands of Jack the Rippers in every city.  Her statement stopped me in my tracks.  Might God be limiting sin all around us, all the time?  Second Thessalonians 2:7 declares that God is in fact restraining lawlessness in this world.  For this we should thank Him daily." - Chapter 30 of If God is Good by Randy Alcorn.

"Behind almost every expression of the problem of evil stands an assumption:  we know what an omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect being should do.  But we lack omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection- so how could we know?  We should rescue ourselves as judges.  As finite and fallen individuals, we lack the necessary qualifications to assess what God should and should not do.  Not only do we know very little, even what we think we know is often distorted.- Chapter 35 of If God is Good by Randy Alcorn


What image?

In Romans 8:28-29 it says God's agenda for my life is to conform me to the image of His Son.

I've had an agenda in mind for what God would do for me.  Was it to conform me to the image of His Son?  What image did I have in mind?

Was it one of power and glory?  Here and now?  Princess of God?  Woman of valor?  Strong?  Powerful?  Free?

Did it have anything to do with humility?  Obedience?  Endurance of suffering?  Thinking more highly of others than myself?  Death to self?  Following the Foot Washing King, even the cross-bearing One?

I don't think I have the image wrong, but the order I get wrong all the time.  I put the glory before the suffering.

Does not the seed have to die before it becomes a flower?  Did not the One whom I'm to be made like suffer before He was raised?  Did not the One who said He was Lord and King, come first as a servant to all? 

One day I will enjoy the glory, the strength and the wonders of being made like Him.  But first I must be made like Him.  Like Him in submission.  Like Him in obedience.  Like Him in suffering.  Like Him in willingness to lay down my life.  Like Him in loving. Like Him in serving.  Like Him in dying.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.- Phil.2:5-13

Could you not watch one hour?- Christ, from Mark 14:37

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God... And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.- Romans 8:16-19, 23-25

So I wait in this advent with hope.  Every day is advent.  Not for the first.  The first has come.  The first is here.  I am being conformed to the image of the King of Glory who has come as a Suffering Servant in humility, obedience, willingness to suffer to bring the truth that frees to another, to self-sacrificially love, to die, to live "my life for yours", to watch and pray.  But I wait for the advent of what I don't yet see.  And I wait with patience, because I wait in hope, in confidence.  One day He will come in glory.  And when I see Him, by the immeasurable riches of His grace, I will be made like Him.  I will shed the perishing and put on the imperishable. He is in His rightful place, but then I will get to see Him that way.  Life will be right.  The One I wait for, the One who I know is mine I will see and I will be His forever!  

Behold, I am a servant of the Lord.  Let it be to me, according to the Word!


So basically you are your dad with female parts. - An un-named spouse

I had a dentist appointment yesterday that ended in scheduling two crowns at the cost of $1000! Four of my teeth have old fillings from 1980 something which now have deep fissures.  Two of them have been causing me quite a bit of pain.

I had the first eye exam of my life today.  Got tired of having a hard time reading without having to extend my arm after about 10 minutes.  The unsurprising verdict: I need reading glasses, but my distance vision is good.

Tomorrow I have an appointment for what I think is a torn meniscus in my knee, bursitis in my left hip and a "slipped disc" in my lower back.  I think the knee injury I've been living with for the past year has caused un-neccessary wear and tear on my hip, causing the bursitis.  And the pain in my hip and knee have caused me to stop squatting and start bending over which has caused the week spot that I always seem to put out on my back to go out again this week.

I don't like going to doctors.  I don't like having to try to explain myself and then have them order a battery of tests which show everything is normal.  I'd rather just accept the wear and tear on my body, but unfortunately the knee and hip and back are not in agreement.  They are not accepting it!  I about passed out in the store with the kids the other day when I leaned forward the wrong way apparently and the pain in my back caused me to go to my knees.  As I was standing up everything went black.  That's when I decided I'd better not just keep ignoring the problem.

My dad has all these maladies.  I guess we're alike that way.  That and Eeyore.  You know the donkey from Winnie the Pooh?  My dad and I can be known for our somewhat gloomy and anhedonic mannerisms amongst family and close friends.  I think my dad is worse... I think I'm a "healthy" (if that isn't an ironic word) mix of my dad's downright depressing tone and my mom's slightly manic one.  Lately I've been feeling "Ohh-kayyy"(in my best Eeyore voice).  But tonight Sarah gave me a smile.

Tonight's Jesse Tree reading was Sarah's laughter and naming of Isaac, her very unlikely yet promised-by-God son.  I've been feeling a little down in the dumps, but tonight when I read Sarah's line, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will also laugh with me," (Gen.21:6) I did.  I chuckled.  I felt a little joy dance in me like a quickening of new life.  Despite the discouragement and bitterness and disappointment this fallen world handed Sarah... and me, God has kept His promise.  The most unlikely of all:  God in the flesh.   And He will keep His promise to make me new.  One day I will laugh with joy like Sarah at the scandalous grace that has made me a son of God.  Now I laugh a little.  But then I will belly roll I think... after I've gotten up from being on my face for at least a thousand years. 

I might be a little Eeyoreish now, but then I will be a Tigger! And even now, a little bounce rises up in me as I think about what He has done and what He has yet to do.  With God, nothing will be impossible!


What to do when you feel alone and the past still hurts?

Some days are easier than others. Some days are harder than others. None of the circumstances really change that much, but the feelings sure do.

So what do you do when those old aching wounds throb and you feel alone, like no one understands?

There are sure chains that masquerade as quick escape hatches from such suffocating feelings.  Some of those decieving chains come in a bottle.  Some in a wrapper.  Some on the T.V.  Some in another's spring. 

David felt the desire to escape too.  Here's what he did:

For it is not an enemy who taunts me-- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me-- then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend... But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.- Psalm 55:12-13, 16-17

He complained to God.  He moaned to God.  He called to the only One who can save you out of the pit.

I moaned Habakkuk's moan to Him today:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. -Habakkuk 3:17-19

Even if there were no seeming fruit from the Lord in my life.  Even when everything seems a loss.  Even still, my God is good.  And I will take joy in Him.

I remember once seeing a woman who had suffered a terrible tragedy at a church I was part of.  I think of her still.  I remember hearing the day before that she had lost her daughter and grand-daughter in a terrible accident.  And the next day, there she was, in the midst of us messed up church people, raising her hands in surrender as tears poured down her facing, singing, "Blessed be the name of the Lord... You give and take away.  You give and take away.  My heart will chose to say.  Lord blessed be Your Name."

Her hope in the only One who can save us out of this mess of sin and falleness still encourages me.  Even today.


Marveling at our history of grace

It's my fourth year doing it. You'd think I'd be on track by now. I don't know why I thought that today was November 31st. I guess I forgot that old rhyme I learned back in first grade.  When I ran into my friends from church who are about to have their first baby in a few weeks, and Michele, the mom to be, mentioned her baby shower tomorrow, my brain instantly began searching my non-exsistent mental calender.  I seriously need an iPhone with Siri for the sole purpose of having it vocally remind my of appointments and dates.  Written calendars do me no good.  They're not right in front of my eyes!

Anyway, so when I got the stuff for making our Jesse Tree ornaments a little more permanent from the craft store and started putting them together this evening at home with Ryland, I realized we were supposed to start the Jesse Tree on the 29th.  So, tonight we'll have an extra long reading.

I'm just a little idealistic.  I'm convinced I was meant to be a wife and mom in the 1940's.  I would like to have meaningful traditions and a little decorum in our lives.  I'd like dinner to be... special and manner-filled.  I believe, as Elizabeth Elliot said, that manners speak of that pattern shown in Christ which says, "My life for yours."  And to some degree I believe meaningful traditions are a medium to teach truth and impress those truths on our children.  Of course the meaningful tradition is only as meaningful as the everyday life that accompanies it.  

Today I was reading thru the genealogy of Christ in the book of Matthew again to prepare for the last women's Bible study we're doing at my church on the five women mentioned in that genealogy.  I've really enjoyed digging up these women from the pages of scripture and learning more about the God in Whom I put my hope through His work in their lives.  The message that He delivers in delivering His Son through such brokenness and... messes.  Grace.  Total grace.  Unearned favor.

Anyway as I was reading thru it this morning I ran across this easily walked-right-past section in a dry genealogy:

"...and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah..." - Matthew 1:10

It caught my eye.  Hezekiah.  I remembered him as being that king who begged God not to let him die.  It seems like he might have looked back on that time after his son Manasseh was grown and wished he had have died rather than lived to see his own son do such evil.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem shall my name be forever."And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger...The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention... -2 Chronicles 33:1-6,10

You should really go read the rest of chapter 33 actually. Sad. It's the way we are. Without a gracious God who can even turn Manassehs around we'd be toast!

I bet if I investigated those listed in that genealogy I'd find a never-running-dry well of grace!

This is why I enjoy the Jesse Tree so much... takes you clear back to the beginning of our benevolent Creator's gracious relation with us, His fallen Imago Dei ones. 

There are a lot of lies about God that float around, or rather aim and shoot like poisonous arrows at our minds.  But the Bible records a gracious God relating with us not as we deserve, but as He is.  Good. Period. 


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