Substituting Statistics for Trust

February 27, 2019: 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21, 22; Psalms 30.


Trusting God with Our Budget

This is our third month using the free “Every Dollar” app. I love it! David is not convinced. He divides our income by our budget on an Excel spreadsheet. The salary-based budget does not reflect overtime, interest, tax refunds, etc.

I set up the March budget on “Every Dollar” and adjusted the spreadsheet to match. There are still areas we need to fund and that is where trust comes in. We trust God to either provide more income or show us where to cut expenses.

1 Chronicles 21:2, “Then David prayed, ‘I have sinned badly in what I have just done, substituting statistics for trust; forgive my sin – I’ve been really stupid.’ ”

The Message

Trusting God with our Savings

We also need to trust God with our investments. The “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25:14-30 is a story about investments. One servant was given $5,000, another $2,000, and the third $1,000. The first two worked hard and doubled their money. The third one buried it.

When the master returned he asked for an accounting. The first two pleased him but he was furious with the third. He told him, “The least you could do was deposit it and earn a little interest.”

No matter how much God gives us, our goal is to at least double it. Why? It takes money to spread the Gospel. It takes money to send missionaries, help the poor, provide for our churches and staff, etc. To give generously, we have to have it first.

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God is On the Side of the Victims

February 26, 2019: Psalms 140, 141, 143-145; 2 Samuel 23.


“In the upper room the disciples all looked for a prominent place to sit, but Jesus looked for a place to serve! …The world bases importance on the number of people serving you, but God is much more interested in the number of people you are serving.”

The Word For You Today, 2-26-19

Letters to Linda


Linda was my neighbor when I was a teenager. I admired her voice and her style. She carefully decorated her home and smartly landscaped her yard. She sang at our wedding.

They admitted her to a nursing home and gave her a year to live. I heard this in May 2008, the same month they took Bromfed off the market. Bromfed was an antihistamine developed in the fifties. It was the only one that worked for me. It looked like I was housebound permanently.

I decided to write a letter to Linda each week. I wanted her grandchildren to know about the neighbor I admired. When one year stretched into two, I started sharing the funny things my children said and did.

Today, I wrote my letter to Linda. She is a victim of a disease that put her in a nursing home decades early. This is her third nursing home. The doctors say she doesn’t have long to live. (Yeah, their first prediction was so accurate.)

I needed Linda. She gave me a reason to get up on Monday morning. I had to write a letter. She is the reason I put such detail in my journal. She made me a better writer.

Psalms 140:12, 13, “I know that you, God, are on the side of the victims, that you care for the rights of the poor. (13) And I know that the righteous personally thank you, that good people are secure in your presence.”

The Message

Keyboard Tutorials


We are singing a new song this Wednesday in Mt. Pleasant. We will introduce another new song on Sunday in Fairfield. They sent me the keyboard tutorials to the second song.

I dutifully listened and wrote out the notes. When I practiced I found it was in the wrong key! I listened to 2 more tutorials. They have 3 different versions! I decided I’ll listen to the original and play it by ear.

“Romans 12:11, ‘Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.’ New Living Translation. ‘Whatever you choose to do, you have one other obligation, and that is to yourself. Do it with passion. If you’ve not yet found your passion, keep searching. You never know when it will find you.’ Condoleezza Rice”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 26

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Silence is Praise

February 25, 2019: Psalms 65-68, 138, 139.


David had a dentist appointment at eleven today and Dick is home sick with pneumonia. That left them short-handed at the lumberyard. David grabbed lunch uptown and didn’t come home. It was a long, quiet day!

Psalms 65:1, “Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, and also obedience. You hear the prayer in it all.”

The Message

Battlefield of the Mind


My chapter in “Battlefield of the Mind” today was about wandering, wondering minds. I can relate to that! I get side-tracked. All. The. Time.

I determined to follow my task list and stick to the item until done. I looked for a St. Patrick’s Day flag online. (I painted my old one 5 years ago and it cracked.) I gave up looking after 52 pages. (I think I need to set a timer when shopping!)

At 3:00 pm, I was only halfway through my list. I persevered and got two-thirds of it done. Mom was right. The work was still there in the morning!

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David Prayed This Song

February 24, 2019: 2 Samuel 22; Psalms 18-21.

Sunday’s Storm

We dodged a bullet. The winter storm that swept through Iowa didn’t bring us snow. But it left us wet and wind-blown.

2 Samuel 22:10-13, “He stepped down; under His feet an abyss opened up. (11) He rode a winged creature, swift on wind-wings. (12) He wrapped Himself in a trench coat of black rain-cloud darkness. (13) But His cloud-brightness burst through, a grand comet of fireworks.”

The Message

* * * * * * *

God’s appearance at Mount Sinai when Moses received the law was marked by thunder, lightning, earthquake, and smoke. The phenomenon of earthquake, volcano, and thunderstorm came together (Exodus 19:16-10).”

Chronological Study Bible Notes

Our weather was nothing like that but it did keep a few people home from church. It’s too bad because safety is found by running toward God.

Psalms 18:30, “What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward Him makes it.”

The Message

David’s Victory Song

2 Samuel is the song David sang after each storm or battle. The same song is in Psalms 18. He sang it before when running from Saul.

2 Samuel 22:1, “David prayed to God the words of this song after God saved him from all his enemies and from Saul.” 

The Message

In every storm and every battle, we need to run to God. He is the way and He makes our road straight.

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The Men of Israel Deserted David

February 23, 2019: 2 Samuel 19-21.


Three bloggers I follow gave a review of the book “Girl’s Club.” Two loved the book and one was less than enthusiastic. I liked the last review best!

Friendship comes in many forms. Some friends are only in our lives for a season – like school chums.

* * * * * * *

After Bible study last night, Sarah told me she defended me to a mutual acquaintance. She told them, “I can’t be your friend if you treat my friend this way.” 

She will never know how deeply that touched me!


I thought of Sarah as my friends’ daughter. She didn’t see me as her mom’s friend. I am her friend!

Friendship crosses generational lines. I get advice from Aunt Nellie and from my daughters-in-law. I am not in the same season of life as any of them!

My closest friends travel – sometimes for weeks at a time. (I. Go. To. Church. Period.) But when we talk it’s like no time has passed.

And my best friend? My sister-in-law, Melinda! I’m close to my sisters but they live in different towns. When I need help – she comes running and I do the same. (She’s afraid I’ll send her brother back!)

* * * * * * * *

After his war with Absalom, David lost most of his friends. All the men of Israel followed Sheba, the son of Bicri.

2 Samuel 20:2, “So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba the son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.” The Message

David won the war but lost his son and most of the people. Only his family – his tribe – stuck with him. He didn’t have time to grieve because of the war with Sheba. Then the Philistines came to fight.

2 Samuel 21:15, “War broke out again between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went down to fight. David became exhausted.” The Message

David was heartsick and tired. Why did God allow more wars?

For the next generation!


David killed the giant, Goliath. There were 4 other descendants of Rapha. (That’s why he picked up 5 stones for his slingshot.)

The younger generation killed the other four:

  1. Abishai son of Zeruiah killed Ishi-Benob, a warrior descended from Rapha, 21:16, 17.
  2. Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another warrior descended from Rapha, 21:18.
  3. Elhanan son of Jaar, the weaver of Bethlehem, killed Goliath the Gittite whose spear was as big as a flagpole, 21:19.
  4. Jonathan, son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed a giant with twenty-four fingers and toes, 21:20, 21.

Two of these men were David’s nephews: Abishai and Jonathan. One was the son of a weaver! Elhanan killed Goliath’s brother.

1 Chronicles 20:5, “In another war with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath the Gittite whose spear was like a ship’s boom.” The Message

When we keep in touch with the older generation we show our children that they matter. They have wisdom and experience that only comes from living a long life.

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David Organized His Forces

February 22, 2019: 2 Samuel 18; Psalms 61, 62, 89.


I plugged our tax refund into the “Every Dollar” app. I set money back to pay the CPA next year. I overpaid for years when I did my own taxes. She knows what is due and where we can save.

I left the rest uncategorized until David and I can decide together. We tithe on and save 10% of our gross income. We won’t tithe on this again but we will give a designated offering.

It’s like a little army. We decide categories and then deploy each dollar.

2 Samuel 18:1, “David organized his forces. He appointed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. Then David deployed his troops…” The Message

* * * * * * *

My friend Jill called. She is going on an extended trip and wanted to print off the 2019 March Bible Reading Guide. She said she read I was struggling to complete it.

“Yes,” I admitted, “I lost Ezra 4.” (Sigh.)

I sent her the March guide because I thought everything was good through May. It wasn’t.

I found Ezra 4 and moved things around to keep the average. Then I saw earlier I had moved things around in March!

I made corrections and emailed it to her. I called to let her know. She said they wouldn’t return until April and she would catch up the readings then.

I told her that would be difficult. I corrected April and emailed it to her. She thanked me and said she couldn’t believe I went through all of that work. I didn’t know how to respond.

Psalms 62:12, “Love to you Lord God! You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Make God’s will the focus of your life day by day. If you seek to please Him, you’ll find yourself satisfied with life.” Kay Arthur

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 22

* * * * * * *

I ordered a shower and wedding gift for the bass player. Then David and I decided on a TV antenna. While going over reviews, we saw it was 1/2 price at Amazon. Why didn’t I order it with the gifts? I could have saved on shipping!

That prompted me to make an Excel spreadsheet for purchases. I listed all the stores where we shop. Next time, I’ll research it and find the best deal.

“…God has a plan for you that’s unique and personal. His methods may sometimes seem strange and His training laborious, but His results are always worth waiting for.”

The Word for You Today,” February 22, 2019

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I Have God’s More Than Enough

February 21, 2019: Psalms 3-6, 8, 64; 2 Samuel 17.


Today I set my favorite Pentel blue pen aside and picked up a pencil. Satan wants us to write with ink. He wants us to see each scribbled-out word, scrawled-out sentence, and crossed-out paragraph. He wants us to believe our mistakes are permanent. He wants us to think we are a mess – just like our notebooks.

But with Jesus, everything is in pencil. He erases mistakes for us. We correct the error and go from there. We can even change our mind and write something new! We know where the erased mistakes are but no one else sees them.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and got up. That was a mistake! I was groggy at 8 a.m. – even after 3 cups of coffee. God reminded me that Jesus was napping in the boat when the storm hit. If Jesus could take a nap – so could I! I stretched out on the couch for an hour.

“But it’s not enough to know God’s will, you’ve got to do things God’s way. Moses was working from early morning until late at night, six days a week, with no vacations and no time off. He was eating on the run, planning appointments, meeting deadlines, and seeing everybody who wanted to see him. …‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Exodus 33:14 New King James Version”

“The Word for You Today,” 2-21-19

* * * * * * *

I knew it was coming. The first verse I wrote down warned me that there would be a test.

David picked up the finished taxes on his lunch hour. As he was making his sandwich, he grumbled, “I wish I didn’t have to make my lunch.” We’ve had this conversation before and it still hurt my feelings. Without that nap, I would have reacted badly.

Psalms 4:1, “When I call give me answers, God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!” The Message

I told myself, “He’s having a bad day,” – several times. David likes a sandwich and chips for lunch. It’s not healthy. I quietly reminded him, “If I make your lunch, it will be a salad!”

* * * * * * *

I’m studying, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker. He recommends figuring your net worth every month. We made changes since starting “Financial Peace University.”

Curious, I printed off the form. I even looked up the value of our van at I told David my goal was to have a net worth of X dollars. I added it up and we are almost to the next X!

Psalms 4:6-7, “Why is everyone hungry for more? ‘More, more,’ they say, ‘More, more.’ I have God’s more than enough, more joy in one ordinary day.” The Message

I traded more stuff for God’s “more than enough!” When Laura stopped by I shared some of the good things God has done. Then I gave her some old hand towels. The joy of living is found in giving!

Psalms 8:1, “God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.” The Message

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God’s Business is Putting Things Right

Making my task list, I thought I wouldn’t get it all done before church. God instructed, “Stop cleaning at noon.”

Psalms 11:4, “But God hasn’t moved to the mountains; His holy address hasn’t changed. He’s in charge, as always, His eyes taking everything in, His eyelids unblinking.” The Message

I wanted to tuck the rug under the china cabinet. I would have to unload it first. I didn’t clean the house yesterday or my zone. (I deep-clean one room a week.)

I started with the china cabinet. I moved the appliances to the guest room on cookie sheets. I stacked the china on the chairs moved to the living room. I corralled cups and glasses in baskets. I moved the table and turned the rug.

I was in the “moving mood!”

Earlier, while working in the office together, David commented there wasn’t enough room. I moved the filing cabinet over to the door frame. Shifting the desk over to it gave him three more inches of leg room.

My zone for this week was the girl’s bathroom. The lid of the white, Rubbermaid hamper was filthy. I soaked it in the tub with dishwasher soap and hot water. After a few hours, I scrubbed it with a battery operated toothbrush. It looks new! (I did the garbage pail next.)

I took a break to change the sheets and get out green pillowcases. I wrapped the accent pillow in St. Patrick’s Day material. That refreshed my spirit.

Back in the bathroom, the tub cleaned easily. I scrubbed the toilet – using the same toothbrush around the hinges. (No, it was not David’s!) Then I swept and mopped the floor.

At noon, David and I discussed the rug. If I put it under the china cabinet the table would be off-center. We decided to slip it under the stove. David dutifully lifted the stove and it wouldn’t fit! The rug fits exactly between the stove and china cabinet. I need to find a way to keep it from sliding and bunching up. We added the leaf to the table and ate lunch.

David went back to work and I turned on Christian music. I loaded the china cabinet and called it my workout! I put everything back in the bathroom. Then I dusted, swept, and vacuumed the rest of the house. I rewarded myself with a long soak in the tub.

Psalms 11:7, “God’s business is putting things right; He loves getting the lines straight, setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look Him straight in the eye.” The Message

I practiced while my hair air-dried. The bass player is sick and I’ll need to cover for him. I usually play 2 keyboards on the first song – one on strings and the other piano. But I also needed to play bass.

At church, I split the top keyboard between bass and strings. That meant both hands were jumping up and down between keyboards. The intro was strings and piano. The verse and chorus were strings and bass. The bridge was strings and piano. My left hand went back and forth between the strings and the bass.

The practice wasn’t pretty.

Before the service, I prayed, “God, You and I both know I can’t do this alone. I really need your help!”

Psalms 31:24, “Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.” The Message

He answered! My hands jumped up and down and landed on the right notes!

Psalms 13:6, “I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.” The Message

After worship, I told the other instrumentalists I was relieved it was over. God came through! I fell asleep on the drive home from church.

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I’m Writing the Book on Your Wonders

February 19, 2019: 2 Samuel 14, 15; Psalms 9.


They say “less is more.” Then why do we keep buying more? The momentary happiness of having something new fades quickly.

We went shopping last Saturday. I determined to buy only what I “needed.” We went to Shopko because they are going out of business. Their 20%-40% off was still higher than Wal-Mart!

I bought:

  1. A few Christmas items – half off of clearance.
  2. Smaller scrunchies to sleep in – also on clearance.
  3. Lotion – that was cheaper than Wal-Mart.

If these were things I needed, why did they stay on the day bed for three days?

I bought 3 new bath towels. My daughter, Laura, gave me the matching hand towels for Christmas. We bought the matching washcloths later.

Some of the towels in my cupboard are over 20 years old. As they frayed I zigzagged the edges. Later, I hemmed them. Then I ran a zigzag stitch across them when the ends started to separate.

I cleaned out the cupboard in my bathroom. I put in the 3 new towels and took half of the hand towels downstairs. (Laura bought me 14!) I put the most recently purchased towels in a box for consignment. (They weren’t 100% cotton.)

I was joyful for the rest of the day. I have what I need and was able to share.

Psalms 9:1-2, “I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. (2) I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.” The Message

* * * * * * *

David saw the teaser line from yesterday’s post on Facebook – “…I gave up sex for Lent.” He didn’t have time to read it. He told me he saw it and was curious.

Then he called Dish. They offered yet another package. He wisely brought the phone to me and made her explain it all over again.

I told her I would think about it. We will make this decision together.

Psalms 9:4, “You took over and set everything right; when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.” The Message

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Was In Love?

February 18, 2019: Psalms 69-71; 1 Chronicles 20; 2 Samuel 13.


When I got up this morning, I found a note on my desk. David canceled Hulu. We didn’t even try it for 24 hours! He decided without talking to me.

I feel like we are roller skating while holding hands. When he makes a decision alone, he changes direction, whipping me around the corner. I’m getting whiplash!

I handled the finances for the first 30+ years of our marriage. I made a few decisions on my own and he was the one with whiplash! (He lost his head a few times.)

I want to leave him a note – “I gave up sex for Lent. Happy Easter!”

But I won’t because that’s not love – that’s revenge. I turned to Proverbs to read the cross-references and notes on a few verses. I got stuck on the first one.

Proverbs 24:29, “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.’ ” The Message


* * * * * * *

“There’s no love without commitment; the level of commitment shows the level of love. …Love is never lust. Someone wanting you is not them loving you.”

Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, “Love Like You Mean It,” February 17, 2019

* * * * * * *

Amnon shows us the difference between love and lust – and the consequences.

2 Samuel 13:1, “…Amnon, also David’s son, was in love with Tamar.” The Message

  1. Amnon was obsessed…to the point of making himself sick over her, v. 2.
  2. She was a virgin so he couldn’t see how he could get his hands on her, v. 2.
  3. Jonadab was exceptionally streetwise, v. 3.
  4. Jonadab made a way for Amnon to get his hands on Tamar without marrying her, v. 5.
  5. Amnon cleared everyone out of the house. That left Tamar unprotected, v. 9.
  6. He asked her to bring the food to his bedroom. Normally, she never would have entered his bedroom, v. 10.
  7. She got too close and he grabbed her, v. 11.
  8. She said no, v. 12, 13.
  9. Amnon did not listen, v. 14.
  10. Since she was alone, unprotected, in a room she never should have entered, he raped her, v. 14.
  11. His lust turned into hate, v. 15.
  12. He rejected her and threw her out, v. 18.
  13. She had no place to go! She couldn’t return to the palace to live with her virgin sisters. She moved in with her brother Absalom and was desolate and bitter, v. 18-20.
  14. Absalom said…let’s keep it quiet – a family matter, v. 20.

But it never stays quiet. It always comes out. That event destroyed Tamar and cost Amnon his life!

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