Foundations

In Sunday School, we learned the song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock.” The house of those who built on the sand went “splat” when the rains came down.

People see our houses, not our foundations. They see our good works, not our motives. God sees all – and someday everyone will see, too.

Micah 1:16, “. . . and expose her foundations.” Modern English Version

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Raspberries

As children, my sisters and I were free to roam. All the children of the staff at Pinecrest would meet to walk the trail through the woods. We made so much noise that we never saw any wild animals.

During the summer, when the school closed, we came back to Iowa and lived on Grandma’s farm. My sisters and I usually played close to the house but occasionally we would walk through a designated pasture. There were creeks to wade in and (my favorite) trees to climb. Grandpa would designate a safe field because he didn’t keep the bull in the same field all the time. We always avoided the bull!

The best days were in the middle of the summer when the raspberries were ripe. How refreshing to take the long walk across the hot pasture and soak our feet in the muddy creek while we snacked on berries! It was odd, how the day after we came home covered in berry juice, that the bull would be moved to that particular pasture. I guess he didn’t like raspberries as much as we did! And Grandma made the best raspberry pies!

Hosea 9:10, “Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. . . .” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“As the traveller in a wilderness is delighted at finding grapes to quench his thirst, or the early fig (esteemed a great delicacy in the East) . . . so it was my delight to choose your fathers as my peculiar people in Egypt.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

* * * * * * *

“The images used here (grapes in the desert, early fruit of the fig tree) beautifully convey God’s delight in Israel when she, out of all the nations committed herself to Him in covenant at Sinai.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

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Achor

“Freeman checked Duchess’ lame foot and found a sore spot. After he cleaned it, her limp was better. But she wasn’t ready to take us to a “cousin gathering” tonight since it was 9 miles away, so we used Bonnie instead. Lucy and Esther stayed home to make the load lighter for Bonnie – she tends to balk when pulling a heavy load.”

“Amish Farm Wife’s Diary,” by Annie Helmuth, Our Iowa Magazine, April/May 2017

My dad had 12 brothers and sisters. They took turns going to family reunions because they couldn’t all fit in the vehicle. One year his dad would take half of the kids. The next year, his mom would take the kids who stayed behind the year before. It is a part of life in a large family.

Hosea 4:6, “. . . And because you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children.” Modern English Version

Every large family has at least one story of a child they forgot. Usually, the child fell asleep somewhere and didn’t wake up until their parent returned for them. At Pinecrest, one boy fell asleep in the car. The family didn’t realize it until he walked in the door the next morning!

No parent forgets a child for long. They soon realize one is missing and return for them. God also returned for Israel.

Hosea 2:14, 15, “Therefore, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. From there, I will give vineyards to her, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope. She will respond there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Modern English Version

 

“Achor means trouble. As the prophet reversed the meaning of the names of his children, so also the meaning of Achor – where God first judged his people in the promised land – became a symbol of new opportunity.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

Satan stirs up trouble; our Father God makes it an opportunity.

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According

Volunteering is a trait I longed to pass on to my children. It was a privilege being on the committee that started the first parent-teacher organization at our children’s elementary school. I served as “Pence Pals” 2nd president and I’m proud of what we added to Pence. But I am prouder of our oldest son who joined the military and serves as a volunteer firefighter!

They call me Frugalfish because I stretch the money as far as it will go. I wanted my children to know how to stretch the resources God gave them. My daughter shocked her dad when she filled up a cart and used so many coupons and rewards cards that the bill reduced by two-thirds!

My love for the Bible is obvious. I want to learn all I can. I hoped my children would be as devoted to Bible Study as their father and I am. I cannot express the joy in my heart as our youngest son received his “Certificate of Ministry!” I am glad my children do more than I did.

2 Kings 15:3, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.” Modern English Version

Three times in 2 Kings 15 we read the phrase, “all that his father had done,” (see 2 Kings 15:3, 9, 34). What if the king’s sons had done more than their fathers had done? I’m sure it would have altered history.

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Hush

Why did he say, “Hush?”

Amos 6:10, “And when a relative or one who prepares the bodies picks them up to carry them out of the house, and says to someone in the recesses of the house, ‘Is anyone else with you?’ and he says, ‘No,’ he will say, ‘Hush!’ – not to pronounce the name of the Lord.” Modern English Version

 

“…and they shall all, to a man, die of the plague, a usual concomitant of war in the East. . . . No nearer relative was left of this man than an uncle . . . Burial was the usual Hebrew mode of disposing of their dead. But in cases of necessity . . . burning was practiced. . . . to prevent contagion. . . . After receiving the reply, that none is left besides the one addressed, when the man outside fancies the man still surviving inside to be on the point, as was customary, of expressing devout gratitude to God who spared him, the man outside interrupts him, ‘Hold thy tongue!’ . . . for thou also must die. . . . Formerly ye boasted in the name of Jehovah, as if ye were His peculiar people; now ye shall be silent and shudder at His name, as hostile to you, and as one from whom ye wish to be hidden.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

I am grateful that I can cry out to Jesus at any time and I know He will help me. I do not shudder at His name or hide from Him. Instead, I seek Him.

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Succeed

“My Daily Blogging Schedule/How I Get 25,000+ Page Views a Week.” 

That title captured my attention! I read the article by http://www.dollydowsie.com and researched some of her tips. I stopped when I read, “Click here to purchase viewers!” Her post gave the impression of success, but how many of those 25,000 did she buy?

I’m old-fashioned and frugal. The followers on my blogs are real people. How do I know? When someone starts to follow my blogs, I receive an email with a link to their blog. I check out their blogs, read their “About” page or a post that catches my interest and then I thank them for following my blog in the comments.

You cannot buy success. God is the one who causes us to succeed.

2 Chronicles 26:5, “And he sought after God in the days of Zechariah, the one who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. And in the days that he sought after the Lord, God caused him to succeed.” Modern English Version

I live a quiet, comfortable life. There are trappings of success that most do not consider. If I had 25,000 views, I would get more followers – but I would want to thank them on their blogs. I would get comments on the blog, instead of Facebook where I get them now and I would have to read and respond to those comments.

Blogs can be very time-consuming. They could take the time I spend in reading the Bible, practicing for the worship band, studying, and researching. Crowding out time for teaching at church services leads to disaster.

2 Chronicles 26:16, “And as he grew strong, his heart grew more proud, leading to his destruction. Then he acted unfaithfully against the Lord his God . . .” Modern English Version

Uzziah, who was also called Azariah, was successful as long as Zechariah the priest taught him. During that time, he regularly sought the Lord and it was God’s direction that brought him success.

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Concern

A week ago, seed heads covered the tree out front. Yesterday David commented on the amount of shade the tree is providing. The seed heads fell and the leaves unfurled. I can understand Jonah’s concern about the plant that shaded him.

Jonah 4:10, 11, “But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?’ ” Modern English Version

 

“Jonah and his fellow Israelites traditionally rejoiced in God’s special mercies to Israel but wished only His wrath on their enemies. God here rebukes such hardness and proclaims his own gracious benevolence. . . . Cannot tell their right hand from their left. Like small children . . . the Ninevites needed God’s fatherly compassion. Also many animals. God’s concern extended even to domestic animals. . .” New International Version Study Bible Notes

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Box

I got up early and wrote in my journal the events of yesterday: “Laura called and asked me to go to “Stuff” (a second-hand store) with her but I was out of the house 5 times this week and declined. She called back and asked David to go with her and then to an Iowa Hawkeye Baseball game. I was home alone…again. I ate leftovers…again. I watched “The Fighting Sea Bees” with John Wayne…again. And fell asleep in the tub…again. Oh, my glamorous life.”

This was my life being housebound. I don’t mind telling you that reliving one of those evenings was depressing. Reading my devotional was like a jolt of lightning!

“God didn’t box you in, you did it to yourself, and you need to take the initiative to break out.” http://www.facebook.com/TheWordForYouTodayUSA/

What am I doing that keeps me boxed in? Am I doing something wrong? How can I break out?

2 Chronicles 25:2, “He did what was correct in the eyes of the Lord, only not with a complete heart.” Modern English Version

After I completed the first year of the Relevant Bible Reading Guide, I started a blog to share it. I did what was correct, but not with my whole heart. Today, I will take the first step breaking out of my box.

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Wait

My favorite blogger, theinspiredroom.net, wrote about the “2017 Haven Mentors Conference” yesterday. She will be speaking with 16 other bloggers. I read it half-heartedly because attending conferences is not part of God’s plan for me.

Then God spoke to my heart, “Children and puppies grow up. The subjects I have assigned to you are permanent.”

He’s right! I could blog for the rest of my life and never share everything that the Bible has to offer. The economy goes up and down – frugality helps you ride that roller coaster without losing sleep or your peace.

Psalms 42:11, “Why, my soul, are you cast down? Why do you groan within me? Wait for God: I will yet thank HIm, for He is my deliverance and my God.” Modern English Version

Bethel Music uploaded a video 3 days ago that really speaks to me. “Take Courage” featuring Kristene DiMarco reminded me that God is in the waiting.

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Motherhood

The Nursing Home Service is this Sunday. The three songs I chose for us to sing are: (1) “Showers of Blessings” [April Showers], (2) “In the Garden” [Bring May Flowers], and (3) “Faith of Our Mothers” [Mother’s Day].

I ran across the last one when I was looking for a hymn called, “Imagine Over the Hillside.” A family asked me to play and sing at a funeral and this was the hymn the funeral director named. I went through all my hymnals and checked online but never found it. The family wanted “Mansion Over the Hilltop!”

That hour wasn’t wasted because I found these words that we will be singing on Sunday.

Faith of Our Mothers

Faith of our mothers, living still in cradle song and bedtime prayer;

In nursery lore and fireside love, they presence still pervades the air:

Faith of our mothers, living faith, we will be true to thee till death.

 

Faith of our mothers, loving faith, fount of our childhood’s trust and grace,

Oh, may thy consecration prove source of a finer, nobler race:

Faith of our mothers, loving faith, we will be true to thee till death.

 

Faith of our mothers, guiding faith, for youthful longing, youthful doubt,

How blurred our vision, blind our way, thy providential care without:

Faith of our mothers, guiding faith, we will be true to thee till death.

 

Faith of our mothers, Christian faith in truth beyond our stumbling creeds,

Still serve the home and save the Church, and breathe thy spirit thro’ our deeds:

Faith of our mothers, Christian faith, we will be true to thee till death!

 

In 1865, William Ross Wallace wrote a poem praising motherhood which included the famous line: “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Children walk in the way of their mother’s counsel, even as adults. Her words truly “pervade the air.” (Yes, that is your mother’s voice inside your head!)

2 Chronicles 22:3, “And he also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab because his mother was the one counseling him to do evil.” Modern English Version

Dear Father God,

I am grateful for Hebrews 12:10, “For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. . . .” New Living Translation I know we did the best that we knew how and still failed in some areas. I pray that my children will follow any Godly counsel I gave them and forget the rest.

I pray for the residents who will be attending the nursing home service. These great-grandmothers are the salt of the earth. I pray that the music and the Word shared will touch their hearts and show them how much You love them. Send laborers to love on these ladies.

In the Name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

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