Sunday, January 17, 2021

Preparing for Possibilities

It has been a busy week in the quad life, and I have enjoyed it, at least somewhat. However, wondering of changes to come has also required a bit of learning new things.

For the last few years, web development work has primarily only been declining and I have had little opportunity to flex my programming muscles. I had the opportunity to build a site from scratch this week and enjoyed getting into it again. The designer did a very good job in preparing it and made my job easy.

Within just a few hours, spread over two days, it went from start to finish for design. Now, it's down to approval and a group of people adding content to the pages. While it was a short-lived project compared to some sites I've made, it was still a good feeling getting back into it again.

Some of my friends, and conservative news resources, have been getting either temporarily suspended or completely banned by social media platforms and tech companies. Therefore, alternative options have been suggested and utilized in hopes that free speech will be allowed on them.

I made accounts on a couple platforms, but am learning how they operate and finding friends, and channels, to follow. With all the time I spend laying flat, I frequently use these sources for keeping up with friends, including other quadriplegic families, as well as education and entertainment. Adjusting to new sources without a list of areas I follow takes time to learn.

One of the companies having issues with Christian related content is the provider of this blogging platform. I have a small enough following that I don't think it will get removed too quickly, but is still possible. Therefore, I'm trying to download backups more frequently and consider alternate locations.

My own website, joelvm.com, is capable of having a blog like this. I'm not sure if I can transfer earlier posts from here if needed, but I will look into it further if needed. Until then, have a great week ahead and I will continue to remember God is in control of everything.

Friday, January 15, 2021

How old was Benjamin?

For the last few days, my morning reading has been about Joseph in Egypt. Yesterday, and today, he tested his brothers when they came to Egypt to buy food (Genesis 42-45). Part of the evaluation was to bring Joseph's younger brother, Benjamin, to Egypt. However, Jacob, Joseph's father, initially refuses to let his youngest son go for fear of something happening to him.

Jacob refers to Benjamin as a boy, or lad, multiple times in this passage. In the times I have read it, I pictured him being anywhere from the age of around 5-12 years old. A child that was no longer a toddler, but had yet to reach puberty. When I carefully read the text though, I realized this wasn't the case at all.

When Joseph's brothers sold him to Egypt, he was 17 years old (Genesis 37:2). After testing and trials, he became the second highest ruler in the country at age 30 (Genesis 41:36). Seven years of plenty then passed and Joseph made himself known to his brothers in the second year of the famine (Genesis 45:6). Looking at these numbers, we can see Joseph had been in Israel 22 years before being reunited with his brothers.

Since Joseph knew, and recognized, Benjamin when he first saw him, he had to have been at least a few years old before Joseph was sold to Egypt. We aren't told exactly what year Benjamin was born, but I would guess he had to be in his upper 20's to early 30's at this point. Therefore, my original thought of a boy he wasn't even a teenager was very incorrect. This is further confirmed when Jacob's family is listed to say who traveled to Egypt, Genesis 46:21 lists Benjamin as having ten sons.

Just casually reading the Bible is a good habit and has many benefits. However, taking time to thoroughly study the text and understand it will open it further and correct possible wrong ideas. This passage shows that no matter what age, we never outgrow being our parents children. It also reminds Christians that as children of God, we always need to look to our Father in heaven for guidance, protection, and forgiveness.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Writing Week

The first week of the year is now complete, and it was a busy one for writing. It feels good to make progress on projects, but it also makes for more work ahead.

As the last two entries show, I did write comments on current Bible reading. It is something I have considered doing for a while, but didn't take time for it. With just two posts though, I can already see it will take more commitment than I considered. I read every morning when I get on my computer.

Going through the passage, thoughts come to mind that I want to elaborate on. However, working in time to get them recorded can take longer than I like. Friday's entry was in my head all morning, but I couldn't write until early evening. By that time, I had forgotten part of what I wanted to say and just mainly pushed myself to get it done. These Sunday entries aren't as time sensitive and easier to write. Future Bible commentary will need to be done differently if they continue.

After several years of working, I finally completed the initial draft of my book. I concluded with 2020 and plan not to go further in time. Now, I'm going back to the beginning and starting my first round of serious editing. In just the first chapter, talking about life before my accident, I already added half a page of writing. The book is currently 261 pages long, but I'm afraid to guess a page count after getting edits complete. I'm trying to set a goal on when to have it finished, but I don't know how well it would go with other upcoming projects.

Looking back on my writing changes will likely prove to be the biggest challenge. When life is presenting difficulties, I know it is reflected in the way I write. Making a coherent flow for anyone to understand may require a lot of work. No matter what, I'm thankful I got this far with it. I will see what this week brings in the quad life and what, if anything, I can get done.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Two Nations Together

Reading this morning, Friday, was continuing in Genesis, chapter 25. In verse 22, Rebekah is talking to God about problems with her pregnancy, the babies were fighting in her womb. God responded that two nations were within her and the older would serve the younger.

The first book of the Bible is the foundation for the rest of the book. Within a week,  I have already covered nearly 2000 years of history and the foundation of the world. In this passage, I noticed something a lot of people want to deny, God says Rebekah has people, live humans, in her womb.

As abortion continues to be part of many countries, and increasing in allowances, proponents try saying what is in the woman's body is just a clump of cells. However, medical science let's us see a developing embryo and different stages. Through these images, we can clearly see a human, with all correct features.

Any time the Bible talks about a pregnancy, it says a child is in the womb. It's clear in this passage as well as Jeremiah 1, Psalm 39, Luke 1, and elsewhere. When the Bible is used as our foundation in every part of life, it gives the correct way to gauge our thinking.

Sadly, as the world compromises on the Bible, everything else becomes unclear. America will rapidly show this in upcoming weeks, but I pray a return to biblical truth will eventually return.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Isaac Thoughts

In my morning reading this year, I'm going straight through from Genesis to Revelation. Part of today's reading was Genesis 22:1-19, where God tests Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

Every year when I read this passage, I wonder what Isaac thought about it or what kind of conversation took place between him and Abraham. The Bible doesn't give us this information, only that Isaac asked where the sheep was (verse 7). First, my question is how old was Isaac at this time?

He is referred to as a "lad" or boy depending on the translation. I have seen these terms used for anyone around age six to late 20's, but I'm guessing Isaac was likely in his pre teens if not younger. He was old enough to be familiar with regular sacrifices, know what was needed, and why they were done.

Abraham traveled for three days, on foot, knowing what God had asked him to do, but he and Isaac didn't discuss the journey until the end. Today, with kids buried in cell phones, I could see this happening easily, but it must have been hard for Abraham not to say anything.

When we finally get to the mountain, we're only told that Abraham told Isaac a lamb would be provided. Next, the alter is arranged and Isaac is bound and placed on it. God then stops Abraham and shows him a sheep caught in a thicket.

Either in this instant or on the way home, father and son would have talked about faith in God and serving Him in all times. Abraham's faith is referenced multiple times in the Bible as a testimony to him and an example.

A few months ago, I watched a documentary on people who were persecuted for their faith. One man from Russia recalled when he was a boy, his father was arrested for being a Christian. The boy and his mother were later allowed to visit his father in jail, and see how much he had been tortured.

When the mom tried to quickly slip a New Testament to the dad, a guard noticed and threatened torture, or execution, for such an action. Mom stood up to the guard and said she, her husband, and son could be killed and they would not deny Christ. Now as an elderly adult, and his own prison story, the man said that instance solidified his faith and made him respect his parents.

Thousands of years earlier, I imagine this must have been similar for Isaac. He too was a faithful man of God as an adult. This entire passage is a foreshadowing of what was to come. Jesus, God's only Son, was sacrificed for our sins. All who repent of sin and trust in Him alone will be saved.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Thankful Nights

We are three days into 2021 and, so far, all seems well. I haven't watched the news, and don't plan to start, but I still haven't heard anything major. Today, I am thankful to have a month with all nights covered.

In mid-December, my main night nurse, Jackson, let us know he would be having surgery at the end of the month. Recovery time would be 6-12 weeks and he would not be back until after that time. I only have two night nurses and Jackson normally covers five nights a week. My agency rearranged my other caregiver to work five nights a week, but that still leaves two without coverage, every week.

My parents and I were preparing for a long winter with little sleep, but received an early Christmas present. Jackson researched further, and decided that surgery was worse than the problem he was having. Therefore, he wasn't having the procedure and could work. Instead of having months of late nights, everything is now covered.

He was gone two nights this past week for something else. Tuesday night was after snow and ice all day in my area. Dad had little sleep Wednesday morning when he cleared the driveway and sidewalk, but he got it finished very well. It is always a relief to see a full schedule, and I'm thankful that God has blessed my family with funding and caregivers to help.

I know several other people living the quad life and most only have a few hours a week covered by nursing. The rest is up to family, sometimes a single family member, or volunteers. As we continue through this year, changes will likely come, but I can give thanks for the current times.

This year, I may also blog more often about comments on Bible reading. I'm still considering how it would work and when to write, but it is at least a thought. Looking back at last year, most posts ended up with 20-30 views. It isn't very many to help educate, but anyone is welcome. Until next time, have a good week!