Be There

According to the weather channel, the temperature in town today is -9° with a wind chill factor of -18°. I have the church page up on my computer if they cancel the service in the next few minutes. Otherwise, we will load up the drums and leave in 30 minutes.

Some days, it’s harder than others to keep our commitment and be faithful in our attendance. Today is one of those days! But God cannot do miracles for us if we don’t show up!

Mark 3:1, “Again, He entered the synagogue, and there was a man who had a withered hand.” Modern English Version

The man with the withered hand did not stay in bed begging God to heal him. He went to church! He stood up in faith, (v. 3), and risked embarrassment by stretching out his hand, (v. 5), and Jesus healed him.

(Note: In these conditions, I hope Mother and the others in her generation stay home! We don’t want any broken bones!)

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He Preached the Word

One of the New Year’s Resolutions many people make is to read their Bible every day. They start in Genesis and lose interest in Leviticus or Numbers. It seems boring to many but Jesus taught out of the Old Testament.

Mark 2:2, “…And He preached the word to them.” Modern English Version

He made the familiar words come alive!

Luke 5:1, “As the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God,…” Modern English Version

Only God’s Spirit can make the words of the Bible come alive. We ask Him to open our eyes when we pray before reading.

If that is your resolution, you have two choices here: The “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide or The “Babysteps” Bible Reading Guide. The “Relevant” Guide will be leading us through the teachings, miracles, and ministry of Jesus over the next few weeks.

The “Babysteps” Guide takes you from the shortest chapters of the Bible to the longest. It takes 3 years to read but the habit will form. Here is the chapter on Day #1.

Psalms 117:1, 2, “Praise the Lord, all you nations! Exalt Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” Modern English Version

That’s it! I encourage you to read your “chapter” out loud.

You can print off either Bible Reading Guide from the top of this blog. If you choose to follow this blog, the monthly “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Chapters will be sent to your email. You can start either guide at any time. Just jump in!

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This is Me

I opened Facebook and one of the first things I saw was a video from “The Greatest Showman.”

“Director Michael Gracey and ‘The #GreatestShowman’ star Keala Settle share a behind-the-scenes story of this season’s most joyous anthem, ‘This is Me!’ “

That title seemed familiar. It was part of the title of a chapter in the book I am reading.

“Sometimes, it’s better to forget about grammar and write from the heart….If you’re writing a book about you…then ‘you’ becomes ‘me’ and its literary affectation to write ‘this is I’ – unless that’s the way you talk in real life.”

“Writing for the Joy of It” by Leonard L. Knott

Today we read where Jesus said, “This is me!” to the Samaritan woman.

John 4:19,”Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’ ” Modern English Version

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Tormented with Pain

None of my tricks worked. The sinus pressure kept me up for over an hour the last two nights. I shut myself in my office and turned on the candle warmer under my eucalyptus candle.

Nothing.

I added a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in the warm wax.

Still nothing.

Then I realized I received the candle as a Christmas present from a coworker. (Thanks, Samantha!) My last day of work was December 31, 2007, and I received it a year or two earlier. I dumped out the wax and looked for other ways to use the essential oil without a diffuser.

In the article, I read to use peppermint oil with eucalyptus oil. I put a few drops of the oil on a cotton ball and set it on the register. Then I noticed the wrapped “Wint O Green” Lifesaver candy next to the register.

They are so strong that I have them double wrapped in my pantry. I read spiders hate mint and set them next to the registers a few weeks ago when the temperature was in the 50’s. I wanted to encourage the spiders to move out! (I think it worked!)

In desperation, I went around the house, opened each package, and set them in the center of each register. I still can’t smell them.

I used a sinus rinse, noted when I could take more medication and made a cup of mint tea. Still no relief.

I pulled out my medication calendar. The antibiotic the doctor prescribed for the sinus infection and bronchitis worked through yesterday. I guess I will have to use that refill.

* * * * * * *

I have two friends who suffer chronic pain from difficulties with a shunt. I don’t see how they keep going, but they do. Today I read there were those with chronic pain in the Bible. They didn’t have painkillers, antibiotics, or essential oils!

Matthew 4:24, “…And they brought to Him all sick people who were taken with various diseases and tormented with pain…and He healed them.” Modern English Version

I will continue to pray for them and myself because of this verse.

Luke 4:40, “Now when the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to Him. And He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.” Modern English Version

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Jesus Went Viral!

While reading the first chapter of Mark, I kept noticing the word “immediately.” I wrote them all down and realized,

“Jesus went viral!”

  • 1:10 Immediately the heavens opened.
  • 1:12 The Spirit immediately drove Him into the wilderness.
  • 1:18 Immediately they (Simon and Andrew) left their nets and followed Him.
  • 1:20 Immediately He called them (James and John) and they left.
  • 1:21 Immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.
  • 1:28 Immediately His fame spread everywhere.
  • 1:30 Immediately they told Him of her (Simon’s sick mother-in-law).
  • 1:31 Immediately the fever left her.
  • 1:42 Leprosy immediately departed.

What I Learned From My Facebook Post Going Viral

  1. “…going viral requires content that resonates with your intended audience.”
  2. “It also requires that enough people create momentum by sharing it…”
  3. “…You build a larger audience by consistently producing.”
  4. “It only provides an opportunity to share your message with a larger audience.”
  5. “Success isn’t one event, it’s a culmination of all of the small things you do over a long period of time.” spartanmedia.com/social-media/going-viral/

Jesus went viral when there weren’t computers, the internet, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.

  1. Jesus taught, Mark 1:21, 22, 27, 38, 39.
  2. His fame spread, Mark 1:28, 32, 33, 37, 45.
  3. Jesus continued performing miracles, Mark 1:31, 34, 39, 41, 42.
  4. Jesus taught more people, Mark 1:33, 38, 39, 45.
  5. Jesus preached and performed miracles for three years. He healed a soldier who arrested Him right before His crucifixion, Luke 22:50, 51.

Going viral changed everything.

Mark 1:45, “Instead he [the healed leper] went out and began to proclaim it widely and to spread the news around, so that Jesus could no more openly enter the city, but was out in remote places. And they came to Him from every quarter.” Modern English Version

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I Need Quadruple Grace!

There is a pile of returns on my daybed. I really messed up this Christmas!

  • The toy is missing half of its parts. (I can order replacements.)
  • The metal wallet is held together by elastic. (How did I miss that?)
  • The matching stocking I ordered for my future daughter-in-law has the wrong trim. (Is it time to get all new stockings?)
  • The worst? I transposed the waist measurement with the inseam measurement on my son’s jeans. (Then I suggested he try them on! What was I thinking?)

I opened my Bible and found hope.

John 1:16, “We have all received from His fullness grace upon grace.” Modern English Version

I need grace and grace and grace and more grace! Thank God His mercies are new every morning, see Lamentations 3:22-23.

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I Couldn’t Wait for Him to Open it!

Several years ago, I received three books for Christmas: two entitled, “To My Son, With Love” and one “To My Daughter, With Love.”

These books were full of questions about my childhood, meeting my husband, our child’s birth, and life. The book went through to the birth of his first child.

Our oldest son married and they gave us our first grandchild over 6 years ago. I finally finished filling out his book this year. In it, I wrote all the memories of his life that I had tucked away in my heart.

Luke 2:51, “…But His mother kept all these words in her heart.” Modern English Version

It was the Christmas gift I was the most excited to give! One down, two to go!

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She Believed

I was ecstatic to learn one of the couples on my prayer list was pregnant. We prayed nine years for this child!

I shared the news with another man on my list, hoping to encourage him.

“You can take the other couple off of your list,” he informed me, “she had a complete hysterectomy a year ago.”

“The God who formed her first womb can form another one,” I replied. “Besides, some babies grow in a mother’s heart!”

I prayed for a couple who went through a 3-year adoption process. That boy grew in their hearts. Miraculously, a few years later, the couple conceived and now have a beautiful daughter, too!

Luke 1:37, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Modern English Version

Sarah was 90, see Genesis 21:2; Elizabeth had stopped ovulating, Luke 1:7; Mary was a virgin and had no contact with sperm, Luke 1:34.

  • Sarah had Isaac.
  • Elizabeth had John.
  • Mary had Jesus.

Sarah, Elizabeth, and Mary had one thing in common – they believed.

Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a completion to those things which were told her by the Lord.” Modern English Version

I’m adding this verse to the list I pray for the other 2 couples!

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16 Characteristics of a Good Woman

I was afraid this would happen. After writing the “21 Characteristics of a Good Man,” I knew the study of a good woman would be next. I’m grateful women were given a good example!

“16 Characteristics of a Good Woman” Bible Study

Show me a woman who…

  1. Chooses to serve the One true God, Ruth 1:16; Exodus 20:2, 3. Ruth was a Moabitess, Ruth 1:3, but she stopped serving the gods of Moab.
  2. Is willing to move and willing to stay, Ruth 1:16; Jeremiah 1:7; 46:20; Genesis 12:1; 26:3; Matthew 2:13; Luke 24:49. After Jesus was born, Mary moved to Egypt with Joseph and stayed until King Herod died.
  3. Cares for her parents until they die, Ruth 1:17; Exodus 20:12; 1 Timothy 5:8. Ruth took care of her mother-in-law until she died.
  4. Is determined to do the right thing, Ruth 1:18; Hebrews 10:23, 35, 36; I Corinthians 15:58; 16:13; Galatians 6:9; James 1:12; 2 Peter 1:5-7; Psalms 57:7; 112:6, 7; Isaiah 26:3, 4; Romans 4:19, 20; Colossians 1:23; 2:5.
  5. Is not afraid of work, Ruth 2:2; Proverbs 31:13-27. Ruth asked to go to work. She didn’t work for money, she worked to feed herself and Naomi. The hardest work a woman does is in her own home. She is not paid, there is no prestige, sometimes, no thanks but ridiculed when the work is not completed.
  6. Does not see any work as beneath her, Ruth 2:3-8, 13; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23. Ruth was doing the work of a servant girl or slave, Ruth 2:8.
  7. Is grateful for her blessings, Ruth 2:10, 13; 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
  8. Has a good reputation, Ruth 2:11, 12; Proverbs 22:1. Boaz knew of Ruth by her reputation.
  9. Is not wasteful, Ruth 2:15; Proverbs 21:20; Luke 16:1. Ruth ate until she was full and had some leftover.
  10. Is generous, Ruth 2:18; Proverbs 11:25; 31:20; Luke 6:30, 38; Psalms 112:5; 2 Corinthians 9:11.
  11. Protects herself in the working world, Ruth 2:22, 23; John 17:14-16. She stayed close to her female coworkers and lived with her mother-in-law.
  12. Protects her reputation, Ruth 3:1-14; Ephesians 5:3-6. Someone is always watching.
  13. Is not chasing men, Ruth 3:10; Isaiah 4:1.
  14. Looks at a man’s heart, not his heritage, Ruth 3:10, 1 Samuel 16:7. Salmon was the father of Boaz, Ruth 4:21, and his mother was Rahab, the harlot who hid the spies in Jericho, Matthew 1:5. He was half Canaanite.
  15. Has patience, Ruth 3:18; Romans 8:25; Psalms 75:2.
  16. Cares about her extended family, Ruth 4:13-16. Ruth did not keep her child away from Naomi. Obed spent so much time with Naomi that people called him her son, Ruth 4:17. He was considered the son of Kilion and grandson of Elimelech even though Boaz was his birth father.

Ruth 2:12, “May the Lord reward your deeds. May you have a full reward from the Lord, God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Modern English Version

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