Attentively Obedient

This morning I started reading, “Make Your Bed,” by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy retired). I made notes and didn’t put it down until I finished! The final thing I noted was –

“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.” “Make Your Bed,” by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy retired)

Solomon did great things…

2 Chronicles 7:11, “Solomon completed the building The Temple of God and the royal palace – the projects he had set his heart on doing. Everything was done – success!” The Message

…but when he finished, God reminded him to watch the little things.

2 Chronicles 7:17, 18, “As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, (18) then I’ll back your kingly rule over Jerusalem – make it a sure thing on a sure foundation.” The Message

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Because of the Cloud

It’s a foggy, Sunday morning. When I opened the curtains, I couldn’t see the house at the end of the street.

“Fog – a thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface that obscures or restricts visibility…”

Sometimes, fog is so thick you cannot see your hand in front of your face. The cloud that descended into the Temple of God was that thick.

2 Chronicles 5:13, 14, “Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God. The priest couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud – the Glory of God! – that filled The Temple of God.” The Message

I pray for fog in church this morning!

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Menial Work

Pastor Monte Knudsen set a goal of winning 2500 people to Christ over the next year. Each attendee will need to lead 1 person to Christ every quarter.

The first quarter is almost over and I have not been successful. I’ve planted a lot of seeds. I watered them with prayer but have yet to see a harvest.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. (7) It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. (8) Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. (9) What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working….” The Message

The temple Solomon built was glorious. But someone had to do the dirty work. We remember Huram, who made the pretty things. We don’t know the names of the men working in the foundry.

2 Chronicles 4:17, “The king had them cast in clay in a foundry on the Jordan plain between Succoth and Zarethan.” The Message

I plant seeds and play the keyboard in the background. The menial work is worth doing because of the God I serve. Only He knows how many seeds I planted that others harvested.  And He knows the hearts moved by the music.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Live the Way

The “thick” spaghetti was on clearance but the price was 22¢ higher than normal spaghetti. I didn’t buy it. I am looking at each purchase differently since I read, “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

No longer do I think in terms of dollar price but of life energy. Spending a dollar a day would cost David 2 hours life energy in a month. I would rather he spend those 2 hours with me – not working.

“Watch the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves.” Benjamin Franklin

Frugality frees up funds for generosity. King Hiram was generous with King Solomon because he loved King David, 1 Kings 5:1. Solomon needed cedar and cypress wood. He offered to pay whatever wage King Hiram set.

1 Kings 5:9, “…All I want from you is that you feed my crew.” The Message

Frugality takes planning. You cannot go to the grocery store and grab whatever catches your eye. You need an inventory of what you have and to make menus. Your list consists of items needed to make each menu. You need to look ahead and buy ingredients when they are on sale.

Solomon was good at planning and looking ahead. He built the temple and his palace simultaneously. He laid both foundations at the same time.

2 Chronicles 2:1, “Solomon gave orders to begin construction on the house of worship in honor of God and a palace for himself.” The Message

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1 Kings 6:38, “…It was completed…down to the last detail, just as planned….” The Message

The important thing is not your work but how you live.

1 Kings 6:11, 12, “The word of God came to Solomon saying, ‘About this temple you are building – what’s important is that you live the way I’ve set out for you and do what I tell you, following my instructions carefully and obediently….’ ” The Message

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Laughter and Bread Go Together

“A review of studies following 400,000-plus people for 10 years concluded that artificial sweeteners are associated with long-term weight gain….Ryan Zarychanski, M.D., M.Sc., review coauthor and assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Artificial sweeteners may change the body’s way of metabolizing sugar, intensify your sweet tooth, or alter your gut bacteria in a way that slows your metabolism.” “Better Homes and Gardens Magazine,” March 2018

Long-term weight gain?

Increase my sweet tooth?

Slow my metabolism?

No, Thank you!

I’m waiting for the study announcing bread is good! I can see the title now –

“We Need Daily Bread”

How do I know? Jesus told us to pray for daily bread, Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3.

Anything in excess is bad. Artificial sweeteners are popular because we would rather use a substitute than cut back. Moderation is the key.

Ecclesiastes 10:19, “Laughter and bread go together…” The Message

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Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, “Seize life! Eat bread with gusto…God takes pleasure in your pleasure!

(8) Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.

(9) Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!

(10) Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it….” The Message

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Delighting in the Work

After I stepped down from my job, I did a lot of soul-searching. “Why was I sick? Why did God take away the job I loved? Now what?”

From the library, I checked out the book, “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard Bolles. Reading it, and doing the exercises, pointed me to writing. The first thing I wrote was the “Relevant Bible Reading Guide.” That project was in my heart since I was 13.

Presently, I’m reading, “Your Money or Your Life,” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. The book addresses the futility of working just for money. Solomon said the same.

Ecclesiastes 4:4, “Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste. Smoke. And spitting into the wind.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 4:8, “A solitary person, completely alone – no children, no family, no friends – yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, ‘Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?’ More smoke. Bad business.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 5:11, “The more loot you get, the more looters show up. And what fun is that – to be robbed in broad daylight?” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…our truck driver from Maine…was a registered nurse, a landscaper, a massage therapist and a farmer. ‘Right livelihood’ for him looked like nursing…As a nurse he was caught in a constant flow of charting and report writing…driving a propane truck…he has 1,100 clients and a route that covers many miles of back roads leading to isolated farms and homesteads….Some are old and ill, so he stops for a chat…He might listen to their complaints and help them sort out which to worry about…He’s a ‘healer without pay’…earns his money delivering propane.”

“Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 5:3, “Overwork makes for restless sleep….” The Message

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 6:7, “We work to feed our appetites; meanwhile our souls go hungry.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Within of a year of putting the FI [Financial Independence] program into practice, Steve had enough money saved to support himself for a year,…He decided to try writing some stories…To free up time for writing, Steve started bidding his remodeling jobs a lot higher, assuming that most of those contracts wouldn’t come through…Many people had been so impressed with his work…they were willing to pay whatever he asked. He had all the work he wanted, at much higher wages. Wanting to deliver the quality they were paying for, he put even greater care into his carpentry. His reputation for superior craftsmanship spread, bringing in more work. His hours of paid employment went down, his income went up, his anxiety went down, his peace of mind went up and his time to write seemed boundless.”

“Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 5:12, “Hard and honest work earns a good night’s sleep, whether supper is beans or steak. But a rich man’s belly gives him insomnia.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 7:1, “A good reputation is better than a fat bank account. Your death date tells more than your birth date.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 5:18, 19, “…the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life…

(19)…make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work….” The Message

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Ecclesiastes – The “Millennial” Book

Reading the titles of the sections in chapters 1 and 2, I could hear “millennials.”

“I’ve seen it all.”

“I never said no to myself.”

“I hate life.”

I heard their voices in the verses of The Message translation:

  • There’s nothing to anything, 1:2.
  • Everything’s boring, utterly boring, 1:8.
  • Year after year it’s the same old thing, 1:9.
  • Don’t count on being remembered, 1:11.
  • There’s not much to write home about, 1:13.
  • God hasn’t made it easy for us, 1:13.
  • I’ve seen it all and it’s nothing, 1:14.
  • The more you know, the more you hurt, 1:18.
  • Let’s go for it – experiment with pleasure, have a good time! 2:1.
  • But there was nothing to it, 2:1.
  • You just do what you can, and that’s it, 2:12.
  • I can’t take it with me, 2:18.
  • That’s when I called it quits, 2:20.
  • Gave up on anything that could be hoped for, 2:20.
  • What’s the point? 2:21.
  • The best you can do with your life is have a good time, 2:24.
  • Get by the best you can, 2:24.

“Ecclesiastes is a famous…witness to this experience of futility. The acerbic [sarcastic] wit catches our attention. The stark honesty compels notice….in order to call a halt to our various and futile attempts to make something of our lives, so that we can give our full attention to God – who God is and what He does to make something of us.”

The Message Introduction to Ecclesiastes

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.” The Message

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The Post I Didn’t Want to Write

Proverbs 28:9, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to Him.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 27:1, “Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow, you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 27:2, “Don’t call attention to yourself, let others do that for you.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 27:19, “Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 29:20, “Observe the people who always talk before they think – even simpletons are better off than they are.” The Message

Enough said.

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Custom-Made Piece

“Yesterday you experienced a great sorrow, and now your house seems empty. Your first impulse is to give up and to sit down in despair amid your dashed hopes. Yet you must defy that temptation…” “Streams in the Desert” March 11

Yesterday I experienced a great – disappointment. The house seemed empty. I didn’t sit down in despair; I went back to bed and took a nap!

You know I wanted to move the keyboard and that would entail rearranging David’s office. I got out my reduced-to-scale floor plans and furniture pieces. I moved the pieces around and showed the result to David. He looked at it, and said,


My keyboard rests on a dresser and it’s too high. I raised the drum throne to its full height to play seated. Of course, then I couldn’t reach the pedal.

I moved my photo storage boxes under the keyboard. That raised it to a comfortable height for playing while standing. But I can’t stand on one foot and play for hours. I asked to order a keyboard stand.

“Not until we have a place to set it up.”

Another “No.” I gave up and went back to bed.

After my nap, he promised, “We’ll find something to work. We don’t want to buy just anything and make do.”

Space is premium in our home. Each purchase has to do double duty. Finding the right piece is always a challenge.

When I wanted a large table for our basement, David built a topper. It’s in two pieces. He laid it on top of our oval table and latched it together. Sometimes, custom-fit is the only option.

Proverbs 24:11, 12, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.” The Message

Back to the drawing board. I went online to see what size desk was the right scale for his office. Maybe he could build a topper for our present desk.

If only there was a way to attach the keyboard to my piano. I would have to remove the music stand…and I would want it angled…

Proverbs 24:5, 6, “It is better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day. Strategic planning is the key…” The Message

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Haste Makes Waste

“Don’t tell Derek – I didn’t practice yesterday!”

By the time I got the swelling down it was late. No energy to move the keyboard.

Waking up at 3:00 a.m., I thought of moving it today. I got up because this time tomorrow will be 4:00 a.m. and read.

Proverbs 21:5, “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 19:2, “…haste makes waste.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 21:31, “Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.” The Message

Then I remembered – Rachel will be playing with me tomorrow! Woohoo! I will only need to play the piano parts. She will play the synth/strings/pads parts. I can practice on my REAL piano!

I moved tomorrow’s music to the piano. I placed the items I need to take next to it. I don’t want to forget anything and we all know…

Proverbs 19:7, “…out of sight, out of mind.” The Message

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