Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Future Cloud

Have you ever read something in the Bible and thought, "What?  Where did that come from?"  Then you start checking other translations thinking, surely I would have noticed this if it really is saying what I think it's saying.  This is my sixth time in two years to read through the Bible and I read something yesterday that I have somehow managed to miss the previous five times.  I know you're just dying to know, so I'll share it with you.

This is in Isaiah chapter 4.  The context is the future glorification of Israel.  I believe that Christians will share in this as per Romans 11.  (Paul must have had Isaiah 4 in mind when he wrote Romans 11 because he uses the same language of branch and remnant to refer to true Israel.)

"Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.  There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain."  Isaiah 4:5-6

When we were in Kazakhstan about 5 years ago, we heard rumors that the president was planning the construction of a giant dome to cover their climate-challenged capital, Astana (temperatures reach minus 40 in winter).  The newly constructed pleasure dome allows for a climate-controlled 1.5 million cubic yard enclosure.  It cost over $100 million to construct.  Somehow I think there's more to it than this in Isaiah 4.  The "cloud by day and fire by night" immediately bring to mind the visible way in which God manifested Himself to Israel in the wilderness as He guided them from place to place.

The cloud also seems to be associated not just with the presence of God, but with the glory of the Lord.

"As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal."  Ezekiel 1:4

"Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the house, when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.  And the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord."  Ezekiel 10:3-4

"[Peter] was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.'  When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified."  Mathew 17:5-6 on the Transfiguration of Jesus.

"And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight."  Acts 1:9 on the Ascension of Jesus.

"Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand.... So He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped."  Revelation 14:14, 16 on the future harvest of the earth.
I think I get why God revealed Himself to Israel in a cloud.  No one could look on God and live, right?  This makes sense.  His glory had to be shrouded somewhat.  So why will God also reveal Himself to us in the future in a cloud?  Won't we behold Him face to face then?  Maybe it has less to do with His presence, since we know He is present with us even now in Spirit.  Maybe it has to do with the covering aspect of the cloud.

"Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you."  Isaiah 44:21-22, emphasis mine.

Atonement is the act of covering our sins.  The mercy seat on the ark of the covenant, where God said He would meet with His people, was between the cherubim, just over or "covering" the tablet of the law of God which resided inside the ark.  (The law which His people had broken.)  So, perhaps as His presence on the mercy seat atoned for or "covered" Israel's sins, the cloud of His presence also covered or blotted out their sins.  Maybe this should be the emphasis, not on the form of His presence in the future glorification of His people, but the act of His "covering us" which is what allows for our glorification in the first place.  

Isaiah is a difficult book for me.  There are the chapters on judgment, the prophecies upon prophecies, once in a while a bit of historical narrative I can understand, then more confusing stuff.  But there are some wonderful gems in Isaiah.  Redemption is a theme woven throughout the book.  We all know and love Isaiah 53 which pictures the coming Christ who would suffer on our behalf.  Isaiah 27:19 speaks of the future resurrection.  And many other verses sprinkled throughout proclaim His great and everlasting salvation.  It seems reasonable to me, though I'm no Bible scholar, to interpret the future cloud that will cover Zion in this redemptive way.  Because He will create a cloud to cover us by day (Is. 4:5), and because He has blotted out our transgressions like a cloud (Is. 44:22a), we can return to Him for He has redeemed us (Is. 44:22b).  I'll close with my favorite passage in Isaiah.

"Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."  Isaiah 46:3-4

Friday, February 24, 2012

Playing Catch-up

There's an Indigo Girl song that says something about losing one day and a life-time slips away.  I feel like that's what's happened to me.  I can't even pinpoint the day it all started, but somehow I've ended up behind.  Calvin was really sick for over 3 weeks, so maybe it started then.  I was out of town 3 days last week which didn't help.   I'm not sure how many days behind in 90 day Bible I am now.  I think I was 5 or 6 days behind and I think I'm now just 2 or 3 days behind.  I hadn't taken any grace days yet, so it's really not that bad.  I'm also trying to catch-up on read-aloud with my kids.  We're actually ahead in one book, but behind in others (the ones I'm not as crazy about.)  My husband suggested I have Monk and Twinkle Toes catch-up without me in one book, which I think is a great idea.

I'm also behind in blogging.  There are several posts I'd like to write and I'm hoping to have time this weekend.  I also need to catch-up on reading blogs.  My blogging has really suffered since I began getting up at 4:30.  I guess my main blogging time came during afternoon nap and in the evenings after the kids went to bed.  Now I'm either sleeping during those times or trying to get to sleep!  I love my morning routine, though, and will not be giving it up.  I get started on my Bible reading while sitting in the parking lot of the gym where I swim.  Then I swim about 45 minutes.  Afterwards I drive through Starbucks where I get a tall vanilla latte (my new drink- it has half the calories and sugar of a grande white mocha, my old drink) and read the Bible a few more minutes while destroying the evidence drinking my drink.  Then I come home, shower, make breakfast and get the kids up between 6:15 and 6:30.

I think the main culprit in my getting behind with the kids is running errands during read-aloud time.  I've changed the way I shop.  I used to go to the grocery store once a week and buy everything we needed.  Now I go to Natural Grocers, which is closer to our house, 3 or 4 times a week.  I'm not sure why I can't manage to stock-up, but it seems like every other day we need more fruit and vegetables, etc.  Spring has also been showing its face around here and the temptation to sneak out for a quick walk has been too strong to resist on several occasions.  The kids have been so great about staying on their schedules, I just need to get  better about keeping to mine!

What do you do to catch-up when you get behind?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

TOS Review of See-N-Spell

If you're looking for an easy-to-use spelling reference, check out See-N-Spell, a new spelling and vocabulary quick reference guide by the makers of See-N-Read.  See-N-Spell helps writers to easily find the correct spelling to over 300 commonly used American English words.  See-N-Spell also helps you to easily differentiate homophones by listing them together.

Let me first say what See-N-Spell is not.  It's not your typical Spelling curriculum with lists of unrelated words and tests at the end of each section.  Rather, See-N-Spell is a handy tool that can make writing so much easier, no matter what Spelling curriculum you're using, if any.  I'm one of those people who sits with a dictionary at her elbow.  My spelling isn't atrocious, but I read a lot of British detective novels and always manage to muddle the English and American spellings in my mind.  I also have a knack for stumbling over words with multiple correct spellings like canceled (or is it cancelled?) and worshiped (or worshipped).  Which begs the question of why we have a rule that says we're supposed to double the ending consonant before adding a suffix, when it isn't always followed!  The joys of learning English!  Anyway, if you don't enjoy thumbing through the dictionary as much as I do, See-N-Spell's 40 page compact reference guide will be a big help to you.  The word lists are organized alphabetically by parts of speech followed by a section on homophones for each letter.  For instance, if you're having trouble with a word beginning with H, you simply turn to the H page and can see at a glance irregular verbs such as hide/hid/hidden and the different meanings of hangar and hanger.  It would be truly embarrassing (included in the commonly misspelled words list, by the way), to write about parking your airplane in its hanger!

I have to say my favorite section is the commonly misspelled words listed alphabetically at the back of the guide.  If the word I'm having trouble with is one that others struggle to remember, too, it's faster for me to use See-N-Spell than my dictionary or Google.  If the word I'm looking for isn't listed in See-N-Spell, then I just wasted about 15 seconds, not too bad.  And while I'm pretty quick with a dictionary, my 10 and 12 year olds save a lot of time using See-N-Spell.  The best part is you can purchase See-N-Spell for only $9.99!


Please check out other TOS reviews of See-N-Spell.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of See-N-Spell in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 10, 2012

TOS Review of Math Rider

Are you looking for a fun and intelligent math facts game?  Math Rider helps your elementary school children learn their math facts while playing an adventure style game.  Noble quests which exemplify positive family values such as caring and honesty, help your kids learn their math facts while having fun.  The game's artificial intelligence rehearses the math facts your child needs most at a rate custom tailored for each player.  This leads to mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts (0-12) in record time.

Here's a screenshot from a Math Rider quest.

You can purchase Math Rider on sale for $37 (normally $47) only until February 15, 2012.  It's an instant download and please be sure to check system requirements.  I tried to download this to my PC about 20 times and had problems with Adobe Air which is required for Math Rider to run.  I kept getting an error message about a problem with installing Adobe Air on my computer that told me to contact the administrator.  I'm not terribly computer savvy, but this is the first time I've encountered this problem.  I would make sure you can get Adobe Air successfully installed on your system before purchasing Math Rider.  I was really disappointed that I couldn't get this game to work on our computer.  


Please check out the other TOS crew reviews of Math Rider.

Disclaimer:  I received a link to download Math Rider in exchange for an honest review, but unfortunately I was never able to get it installed on my PC.  I got my information about Math Rider from their website and a webinar they conducted for reviewers.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Calvin's in training

So Calvin is 16 months and not walking.  My big girls didn't walk until they were 16 months, but they were really spoiled and carried everywhere.  Calvin has lots of floor time and he isn't even close to walking.  So, I've got him in training.  I make him push his walker every day back and forth across our living room rug and he doesn't like it one bit.  I told him, "No pain, no gain".

When he realized it was a photo shoot, he did his best to smile through the pain.  I love this kid!

Calvin doesn't talk either and this is unusual for our kids.  We usually have uncoordinated kids who talk our arms off from a very early age.  He doesn't even say Mama, which makes me sad.  Sometimes it looks like he's about to say something, like it's on the tip of his tongue, but he never does.  We think Calvin is perfectly wonderful and know that God has a plan for his life.  Hopefully we'll be able to look back soon and laugh about how we worried about Calvin's development.   I tell you there's going to be a big celebration at this house when Calvin takes his first steps and speaks his first words!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Best Playmates

Do you have sets of best friends at your house?  Our big girls have their share of disagreements, but they're inseparable.  That's how it is with Prince (5) and Queen (3).  They are the BEST of friends!  

Building castles!

Check out my old Star Wars figures!  This girl cracks me up!

Lucie loves her brother so much!
My husband took our oldest 3 kids skiing today.  After Prince went to school, I was home with just Lucie and Calvin.  Lucie and I had a lot of one on one time.  We made playdough and cookies and had a great time.  I asked Lucie if she wished that she were an only child and she said no.  She said she'd miss her kids, as she calls them.  I think that's pretty cool.


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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.