Bedtime Tears

Humble selfie by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Tears flow as I think about my mom taking me to the airport early tomorrow morning. I will miss my mom so much! I have so many memories coming to my mind like when I was little my mom read and quoted repeatedly the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. The line that keeps replaying over and over in my mind is:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my Mommy you’ll be.

As a kid, I hated that book! I thought it was the dumbest, worst book ever! Over time I have come to love and appreciate that book. I praise God for the love that my mom has for me. I praise God for the opportunity to love my mom and to be her daughter. (No worries, I can get really annoyed and irritated with my mom!) If I was ever forced to cry on demand, all I have to do is visualize the look on my mom’s face when I say something that verbally hurts her and that brings instant tears to my eyes.

I know that my mom hurts too because of our distance and that grieves my heart. I know that God loves my mom and that she has amazing friends. I pray that my mommy knows that no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing that I will love her, I am here for her and “as long as I’m living my mommy [she’ll] be.”

Since the beginning of 2020, there has been so much death, loss and grief all over the world. It is with a humble and sincere heart that I encourage you to tell and show your loved ones that they matter. Even if it is uncomfortable for you to show love and vulnerability to others, I implore you in Jesus’s Name to share yourself with them. We are NOT guaranteed tomorrow. I do not ever want anyone that I know to wonder if I loved them. I get this wrong a lot! I am thankful that God has mercy on me a sinner. I am thankful that even as I sit here typing and crying, I have peace. I have peace knowing that Jesus loves me as well as my family and friends. I am humbled and thankful that I am able by the Spirit’s power to love Jesus and my family and friends.

Lord God, confession is good for the soul! Lord God, thank You and praise You for this time with my mom! Lord God, thank You for the godly women that You place in Your peoples lives. Lord God, prepare my mom and I to say, “see you soon!” and prepare me for my next adventure in and with You. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Prepare this reader for their next adventure in and with You as well! Thank You Lord for Your encouragement and love toward me and allowing me to share my heart. Lord God, help Your people to live open, authentic lives in this dying and decaying world. Lord, encourage this reader to share with their loved ones how much they love them while there is still time. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

On my way!

Sunrise, 24 January 2022. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, there was NO airport security line! While it is 47f in St Pete, FL as I type this, that sounds a whole lot better than the 25F in Lancaster, PA!

God willing, I will be with my mom today until early Thursday morning and then I will fly from Tampa to LA to visit with friends until next Monday. I am SO excited and appreciative to God for this opportunity! I am thankful that my dad and another friend will hangout with PQ while Nathan is at work! I am thankful for Nathan for supporting me in visiting my mom and our friends in SOCAL (Lord, please let it be warm there!!!).

Thank you dear reader for adventuring with me. We were never meant to travel on this Jesus road alone. I have never in my life thought I would make such great connections with folks through this blog. Please know that I love you and that it’s a joy and an honor to pray for you.

Lord God, thank You for this opportunity! Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord God, take this reader on an adventure in Your Word. Lord God, may this reader read Acts and all the journeys that Paul went on. Or may they read Exodus and journey with Israel through the Red Sea or journey in Numbers through the wilderness. Lord God, may we all adventure through the Psalms feeling the grief, joy and hope of the psalmists. Lord, praise You that in Revelation You bless Your people who read it. May we live in confidence knowing that the road for those who are in Christ is leading us to victory regardless of what happens in this life.

Thank You and praise You Lord for this reader. May they be encouraged by who You are and how You work. May this reader embrace their journey with You knowing that without You life makes NO sense. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

21 January 2022 Sunset

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Father God, thank You for Your extraordinary color at the close of a very cold day! Lord God, thank You that the sun always comes out to set. Lord God, thank You that each sunrise and sunset are glimpses of Your Majesty, Might and Glory! Lord, I am humbled and awed by how involved You are with Your Creation. No wonder David said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:3-4 ESV).

Lord God, help Your young people to stay pure this weekend. Lord God, fill our youth with the peace of Your presence this weekend. Lord God, there is so much garbage in the world enticing Your young people to sin. Lord for those who are more mature in the faith, may they not forget what it was like to be young. Lord God, may those of us who are older in years not look down on the younger with contempt but rather with a heart to serve, mentor and guide.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord, whether this reader is younger or older, new believer or seasoned saint, may they marvel at being a new creation in Christ. Lord God, for the reader who does not know You, may they seek Jesus while there is still time. Thank You and praise You Lord for who You are and how You work. Amen.

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Sunset 15 January 2022

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord God, whatever troubles this reader today, I ask Lord that You fill them with peace. Lord, for the reader who is ill, I ask that You will heal them as You see fit. Lord God, for the reader who is rejoicing, may their praise be acceptable to You.

Thank You Lord for each day You give us to live for You. Thank You that in our sleeplessness we can cry out to You in prayer. Lord God, as no two sunsets are the same, thank You and praise You that You have created each person unique.

Lord God, for the reader who is far from You, draw this reader to Yourself by grace through faith in Christ while there is still time. Thank You Lord for this reader. Thank You for our identity and position in Christ. Bless this reader and encourage them, as You have blessed and encouraged me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Deception of Jacob’s Sons

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” 31 Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard. 

Genesis 37:29-36 ESV

(Disclaimer: I love Jacob and I am in no way out to malign his character nor call into question his favored position with God by sharing this.) I am always amazed how Jacob responds to Joseph’s plight. While Jacob has been both the deceiver (Gen 27) and deceived (by Laban Gen 29 and in this passage), the deception that occurs in Genesis 37:29-36 is both tragic and prophetic.

Isaac, due to his failing eyesight questioned Jacob numerous times to hear and feel if he was really Esau (Gen 27). Jacob questioned Laban’s deceit in marrying Leah (Gen 29:25). Yet, no questions were asked in Genesis 37:29-36. Jacob’s sons commanded him to identify (hiphil, imperative, 2ms) if this was his’s sons robe or not (v 32). Jacob identifies it and automatically without doubt assumes that Joseph was devoured by a fierce animal and torn to pieces (v 33). Jacob does not ask one question. Jacob blindly accepts that what he sees is the truth. Jacob does not give any consideration to the fact that he is being deceived. Due to the sons hatred for Joseph they willfully deceive their father. The sons could have alleviated Jacob’s heartache by confessing “they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver” (37:28) and that the blood on Joseph’s robe belongs to a goat (37:32).

This perception of the truth results in Jacob tearing his own garment and putting sackcloth literally on his loins and mourned (v 34); refusing to be comforted (v 35). Mathews states, “Jacob performed the traditional acts of mourning the dead. Scruffy “sackcloth” was worn (here, lit., “on his loins”) by mourners to inflict on themselves biting discomfort…That Jacob refused his children’s consolation was uncommon, revealing the intensity of his grief (cf. Isa 22:4), for his rejection of comforters meant the most aggravated anguish (e.g., Ps 69:20[21])…Typically, a period of mourning would be appointed (e.g., 27:41; 50:4; Deut 34:8), but in Jacob’s mind no end to his sorrow is possible (e.g., Isa 51:19); therefore he believes he will die “in [the state of] mourning” (v. 35), finding relief only in meeting his deceased son “in Sheol” (K. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26 NAC, 2005, p. 701).

For 22 years Jacob believed that Joseph was dead. But God, in His mercy allows Jacob to reunite with Joseph after 22 years! (For my thoughts on Jospeh and Potiphar click on the hyperlink.) “What happens to Joseph foreshadows all that will happen to the sons of Jacob. They will be carried into Egypt and will be put into slavery. In this sense, then, Jacob’s final words set the focus of the narratives to follow: “in mourning will I go down to the grave [Sheol] to my son” (v. 35). Ironically, the narratives about Joseph conclude with Jacob’s going down (46:3–4) to Egypt to see his son and then end with his own death (50:24–26)” (J. Sailhamer, “Genesis” REBC, 2008, p. 275).

What happened with Jacob is again, tragic and prophetic. It is equally tragic and prophetic that the sons (children) of God are being deceived today. There is no question that end time deception is upon us and Jesus’s words are coming to life in real time: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt 10:34-36). Not all family members share in our joy of our faith in Christ. Not all family members accept that we hold the Bible as our standard of Truth. Not all family members have the same view of current events.

We are living in a time where it is easy to be manipulated. Dear reader, you do not need me to tell you that we have access to information at rates never before imagined. Not every act of deception is intentional and nefarious (some really are unintentional); however, now more than ever do believers need to ask questions about what they see, read and hear. We need to exercise wisdom, discernment and common sense when it comes to what we take in and what we share with others.

It is concerning to me how often believers share information without checking to see who wrote the article and if what they are sharing is valid. 22 years is a long time to wait before asking questions. The way this world is moving we may not have 22 years to wait to find out the truth like Jacob did and learning that Joseph was alive.

We need to start asking questions now. We need to be like the Bereans and examine if what we are hearing is in line with Scripture (Acts 17:11). Truth be told, it is always easier to see how someone else is being deceived rather than self-reflecting if our own beliefs/thoughts/perceptions are true. There is no longer any excuse, the time has come for each believer to “test the spirits to see if they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

Lord God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You Lord that in Your Word we learn who You are, who we are and what You require of Your people. Lord God, have mercy on believers. Lord God, fill those of us who are in Christ with wisdom, discernment and common sense. Lord God, for those whom You have called to be watchmen, help them to be vigilant in being on guard. For those who You have called to shepherd Your people, may they lead, feed and protect Your people well. Lord God, help us to what information to take in and what information to discard. Help us to investigate to the best we can if what we are reading, hearing and seeing is true.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, for the reader who is in Christ may they set their hearts and minds on You and not the things of this world. Lord God, for the reader who does not know Christ, I ask with a heavy and burdened heart for today to be the day of their salvation. Lord God, You abhor sin. You abhor deceitful scales and lying tongues. Lord, help Your people to be Ambassadors of Christ today: pointing the lost to Jesus and building up Your Body. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

Winter Sunset

Sunset. 7 January 2022. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

Lord God, thank You that no matter what the day is like the sun always comes out to set. Lord God, thank You the sun sets in my location, You allow the sun to dawn elsewhere. Lord God, thank You that You are not chaotic nor disorderly. Thank You Lord that Your Word will never fade away, unlike the seasons. Thank You Lord that this world exists on Your time schedule. Until Thank You Lord that spring always follows every wintry season, literally and figuratively!!!

Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord, fill this reader with awe and reverence at Your Presence. Fill this reader with Your joy. Fill this reader with confidence in who they are in Christ. Lord, for the reader who may not know You, may today be their day for salvation. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Happy New Year! January 2022 Prayer

Father God, radically change our minds, hearts and hands in 2022 from constant rebellion and disobedience to minds, hearts and hands that fully desire to love and obey You.

Lord God, thank You for this new year! Thank You for this new month! Lord God, may we learn more about Your glory and holiness this year! Lord God, Your glory is seen in salvation and in judgment. Lord, motivate us more in 2022 to warn people of Your coming judgment. Motivate us Lord to love You and worship You more in this new year!

Lord God, for those of us in cooler climates may we wrap ourselves in Your Warmth and for those who are in warmer climates may they know the cool breeze and refreshment of Your Word.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord, help this reader to make spiritual goals rather than New Years resolutions. Lord God, help us to grow in You more this year and in this new month. Thank You and praise You Lord that Your mercies are new each morning. Lord God, as Jesus Christ in His Humanity grew physically, spiritually, emotionally may the same be said of Your people this year. Thank You Jesus that You are God and we are not! Thank You Jesus that You are perfect! Lord, help us to embrace that while You do NOT call us to be perfect You do call us to be holy and wise!

Lord God, help us to be holy this year. Sanctify us and unite us in Your Word and Truth. Lord God, may there be peace among the Body of Christ this year rather than spears, swords and division. Lord God, teach us to set our minds on You and the things above rather than on the things of this life. Praise You Lord that You are Sovereign and that Your will and way will NEVER be stopped!

Lord God, fill this reader with confidence in 2022. Fill this reader with courage and boldness to live for You in this changing world. May we seek to live in Your Kingdom rather than in the metaverse. Lord God, help this reader to cling to You more this year. Help us to put away childish things so that we may love, grow and serve You more faithfully.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Thank You Lord that for the reader who is in Christ that I will one day see them face to face in Your Kingdom! Lord God, for this reader who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior I ask boldly Lord that today will be their day of salvation. Lord God, thank You that You are still stirring, convicting and bringing individuals to Yourself by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Lord God, thank You that salvation is Your Work from start to finish. Lord God, may we never think that You will give us tomorrow. May we live in a manner each day where we complete the tasks that You have set before us. Not to merit our salvation or for greater reward but because we love You and want to please, honor and glorify You.

Lord God, thank You for this new year and month. Thank You Lord for new beginnings. Thank You Lord that in Christ we are new creations. Thank You Lord that while we still contend with us, when we call on You in repentance You are Faithful and Just to forgive and cleanse us for our sins. Lord, help us live in a manner that honors and glorifies You. May this reader allow You to transform them, sanctify them and use them for Your glory. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

See you next year, Mom!

For the last time in 2021 my mom and I are about to say, “see ya soon.” I am so thankful for the time my mom spent with Nathan, PQ and I this Christmas season. I am so thankful for all the time I had with my mom this year. There are few people on earth who know me and who I can laugh with like my mom. There are few people who know how to correct me like my mom.

While I love my mom unconditionally, I have no problem sharing my mom with Christian women who need a strong woman of faith like my mom. I love that God has brought some young women into my mom’s life this year. I am thankful for the friends that God has given my mom in FL.

I am genuinely thankful for all the love and support y’all have shown me and my family this year!

Father God, thank You for the gift of family, whether by physical birth or by spiritual rebirth. Thank You and praise You Lord that You do NOT call us to do life alone! Lord God, thank You for our salvation which allows me and my mom to enjoy You now but even more so in eternity. Thank You for all my saved brothers and sisters whom I will one day be with in heaven singing, worshiping and serving You. Lord God, I pray for this reader who is need of community that You will send a believer into their life to minister to them. Lord God, help us to seek mentors and to be mentors to others in this new year. Help us to continue building Your Kingdom in 2022. Lord God, thank you for this reader. Lord, fill this reader with the Peace of Your Presence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Thankful and Grateful: Reflections on 2021

“Reflections.” Raystown Lake, 16 October 2021. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

2021 has been full of personal failures, struggles, joys and growth. I will freely and humbly admit that this past year was the worst year that I can remember in terms of my daily Bible reading. While many people are encouraged and strengthened by reading from different portions of the Bible daily, that is not for me. I have learned that I am a person who needs a chronological or book by book reading plan! My reading plan for 2022 will follow the order of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the canonical order of the New Testament.

The last few weeks of 2021 I have really resonated with the Apostle Paul’s statement, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19 ESV). I hate and despise how much time I spend looking at newsfeed headlines. I am not nor will I ever be a gambler/slot machine player; however, I have allowed my brain to be rewired to crave updated news headlines. I realize how ridiculous and pathetic this sounds but it is absolutely true. I absolutely hate how much time and effort I give to reading things that have very little earthly value. I despise how I allow myself to tune out Nathan, my mom and others because I am on my electronic device.

There are times when PQ (my cavapoo puppy) wants to play and I do not want to be bothered because I am scrolling through newsfeeds (praise God I have my notifications turned off or it would be even worse!). This grieves my heart more than you will know! I know what the right thing to do is but the minute I have down time, if I am not on guard, my rewired brain literally searches random stuff online. I am thankful and grateful that the Holy Spirit is working on me in this area. I welcome accountability from y’all so never hesitate to ask me how I am doing in this area. I cannot stress this enough: if anyone ever thinks that I have it all together, I assure you that is a lie from the pit of hell!

2021 has been a year with a lot of firsts. On January 2, 2022 Nathan and I will be married four years and this was the first full year where we were not moving. Praise God! I can honestly say having an established residence did not prevent Nathan and I from having some serious disagreements. In all my relationships I need to be quicker to listen, slower to speak and MUCH slower to anger and frustration. I pray that in 2022 I will learn to be a more godly wife, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, mentor, blogger, teacher etc.

I am thankful and grateful to God for the church family that He has given us at Faith Bible Fellowship Church. I am so thankful that God has provided us with a church that teaches sound doctrine! It has been a massive joy to share with the youth at TCAC as well as being a part of their Tuesday night Bible Study. I am so thankful and grateful for sound churches who are rightly teaching the Word of God!

While my personal reading was not as great as previous years, I am thankful for the community God has given me with likeminded believers! I am thankful for Alan, Jimmy and Michael for allowing me to guest blog for them. I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to connect with many bloggers outside of WordPress (whether through email, Skype, text, zoom). I love each one of you and I cannot thank you enough for your love, prayer and care toward me and my family!

After I wrote “Authority of Scripture” it seemed fitting that the Lord would lead me to write on Psalm 119. I am humbled and awed by the love and support y’all showed me through this endeavor. I am so thankful and grateful for all the love and responses y’all had to my variety of posts this year from Bible posts, prayer posts, life application fishing posts etc. Thank you so much for traveling with me!

2021 was the first time in five years where I was not in Seminary. After taking the last year off and really praying about where God wants me, in October 2021 I applied to Westminster Theological Seminary. Praise the Lord I was accepted! February 7, 2022 I will begin their Master of Arts in Religion degree. I am really excited about this. God has used 2021 to refresh and revive my love for Academic studies.

At the end of the day (or year), even with everything that is happening around us, I am thankful and I am grateful. I am thankful for all the people the Lord has placed in my life. I am so thankful and grateful for all the time I was able to spend with Nathan, my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with friends this year. I am thankful and grateful to all those who love, support, encourage and believe in me. I am thankful and grateful that I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful and grateful for each person who reads this blog. I am thankful, humbled and grateful for each person who takes the time to comment. I am always thanking God for each person who reads this blog. I know first hand how much stuff is online and competing for our attention. Thank you for taking the time to do life with me in 2021 and I look forward to what God has for us in 2022! Lots of love and blessings!

Father God, thank You and praise You that You are Sovereign over each and every moment. Lord God, thank You for each reader and each unique experience You allowed them to have this year. Lord God, 2021 has been a year unlike any other. Prepare us Lord for 2022. Help us to take the time to reflect on 2021 and to learn from our mistakes. Help us to continue to grow in our love for You and Your Word. Lord God, thank You and praise You for this reader! Lord God, thank You for all that You are doing in the lives of Your people all over the world. Lord God, help us to endure and persevere. Help us to reflect on Your Goodness, Kindness, Grace, Forgiveness and Mercy to us over the past year. Thank You Lord for this reader and prepare all of us for what we will face in 2022. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 119

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Psalm 119 encourages believers to love the Word of God and to walk in obedience according to the Word of God. Psalm 119 encourages us to be the Lord’s students and servants. Wise is the person who takes the Lord’s Word to heart, walking in its ways.

Lord God, thank You for this study on Psalm 119. Lord God, may this study be an encouragement to believers and conviction to those who are not. Lord God, thank You for this reader. May this reader grow closer to You through Your Word. Thank You and praise You Holy Trinity to live in such a time to share Your Word online. Thank You again Lord for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Introduction to Psalm 119

Psalm 119:1-8

Psalm 119:9-16

Psalm 119:17-24

Psalm 119:25-32

Psalm 119:33-40

Psalm 119:41-48

Psalm 119:49-56

Psalm 119:57-64

Psalm 119:65-72

Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:81-88

Psalm 119:89-96

Psalm 119:97-104

Psalm 119:105-112

Psalm 119:113-120

Psalm 119:121-128

Psalm 119:129-136

Psalm 119:137-144

Psalm 119:145-152

Psalm 119:153-160

Psalm 119:161-168

Psalm 119:169-176