The Love of Money

The most misquoted verse in the Bible is 1 Timothy 6:10. They say, “Money is the root of all evil.” But the verse says it is the “love of money.”

1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

New American Standard Bible

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We assume this verse only applies to the rich. But the poor can be greedy, grasping, and discontent, too.

David and I have lived under the poverty level a few times. We had a choice. We could continue giving to God over and above our tithes (10%) or we could buy lottery tickets and try our luck at gambling. We chose the first option every time and God pulled our income back up.

I was sure we didn’t have a problem with money whether it was just enough or we had extra.

Then I read Hebrews 13.

Hebrews 13:5, 6, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ 6) so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’ “

New American Standard Bible

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Is my character free from the love of money? Do I rejoice when my friends get a new car, house, or go on a trip? Or do I think, “It must be nice?”

Am I “saving for a rainy day” or hoarding? Have I missed church working for money?

Am I content with everything God has provided or do I treat it with disdain wanting newer, bigger, or better? Do I clean and maintain them or treat them like junk?

Do I fill my refrigerator with food and then throw it away when it spoils?

God promises never to leave us. He helps us stretch our money to its greatest potential. He provides our food, (see 2020 post). We don’t have to be afraid of going hungry.

We need not fear rising gas prices. He will show us where to cut back on our spending to cover it.

He has a new car for us. Our job is to save to pay for it when it is delivered!

I look at external things. God is working on my character.

1 Timothy 6:17, 18, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18) Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

New American Standard Bible

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Dear Lord, keep my character free from the love of money. Amen

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Show Hospitality

My cousins gathered for our family reunion a few weeks ago. I have 47 cousins on that side of the family. The hot, breezy weather kept me from attending. (I attended a cool, rainy, send-off picnic in May and battled allergies for a few days afterward.)

Another cousin, Danny, lives three blocks from us. They were hosting three of the out-of-town cousins. His wife Laura brought Jerry over to meet me. He lives in California and hadn’t been back to Iowa for years.

After a few hours of visiting, they rose to leave. They planned to go to my cousin’s farm.

“Can we stop somewhere for food?” Jerry asked. “I haven’t had lunch.”

Embarrassed, I realized I hadn’t even offered him water, sweet tea, or lemonade! I am not the “hostess with the mostest!”

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David went to the reunion with our daughter, Laura, and met our son’s family there. Derek and Rachel were amazingly able to put twenty-one-month-old Gideon down for a short nap. David made a video of Gideon playing on some “rocker animals” to show me.

He casually said, “David and Becky are in town until Wednesday. Cousin Laura is going to bring them over one night.”

After failing my hostess duties on Friday, I went into high gear! Monday, I cleaned the house and made more sweet tea, lemonade, and “no-bake” cookies. I was prepared! (I hid the cookies.)

They came over Tuesday evening and I “talked their leg off” about our trip to Israel. (That means I did most of the talking.)

I apologized and explained, “I don’t get out, literally!”

My favorite memory was David’s face when I brought out the cookies!

“Where did you hide those?”

I didn’t tell.

I felt better about being a hostess until I read Hebrews 13.

Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some had entertained angels without knowing it!”

New American Standard Bible

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I think I’m doing okay but Jesus wants me to go above and beyond what is required. Obviously, it is too dangerous to invite the stranger walking by to come in for cookies. But I could carry some extra water to give away.

The temperature is in the 90’s and humid this week. A bottle of water could be a life saver.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

God Wants to Make You Great!

I thought God made Israel great after they received their inheritance. I was wrong. God made them great while they were slaves in Egypt!

Acts 13:17, “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it.”

New American Standard Bible

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They were in Egypt for 400 years. Nothing can stop God’s blessings!

Acts 13:19, “When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance – all of which took about four hundred and fifty years.”

New American Standard Bible

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When you add in the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, you see it took a thousand years to take Israel from a family to a great nation! God is making us great right here and right now!

Let’s look at David…

Acts 13:22, “…I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”

New American Standard Bible

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Many times, people referred to King David as “a man after God’s heart.” We leave the last part out – “who will do all My will.”

David killed the giant Goliath. He spent 15 years running from Saul in the wilderness. He had 2 opportunities to kill him but didn’t.

“The wilderness is where the Word is heard and we’re formed into a person of the Word. The promised answers to our prayers may not be found in the promised lands, but in wildernesses. Every wilderness, every desert – is not where God deserts – but is where God woos with whispered Word. But you will have to be still to hear his whispered Word.”

June 9, 2022 email from annvoskamp.com

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For the rest of his life, he was the one who destroyed the seven nations in the land of Canaan.

Following God’s heart, and doing all of His will, means:

  • facing giants,
  • years of loneliness,
  • being unjustly treated,
  • fighting those who are opposed to God’s purposes.

We remember the glamor of being king. We forget the impossible and excruciating road David walked to get to the throne. (His parents were murdered while he was in the wilderness running from Saul.) And we forget that he was human.

“Centuries later, the Gospel of Matthew mentions David’s ‘slimy rotten’ predatorial, power-abusing, libido ingratiating sin in the family tree of Jesus where we read, ‘Jesse [was] the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon (by the wife of Uriah) …’ (Matthew 1:6, emphasis mine)

This same David wrote nearly half of the Psalms. He is the one about whom God would later say, “…a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22) Most notably, he is also the one that the New Testament writers had in mind when they repeatedly called Jesus ‘the son of David.’ If you have ever doubted Jesus’ love, affection, and never-give-up love for you, are you willing to reconsider?”

“Rotten Bananas, Bent Humans, and Delicious Grace” Scott Sauls, from the book, “Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans

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Acts 13:48, “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

New American Standard Bible

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That means us! We are appointed to eternal life!

Hebrews 3:12, 13, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13) But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 4:1, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 6:11, 12, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12) so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”

New American Standard Bible

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“When God is first, everything changes!”

Pastor Monte Knudsen, 6-12-22, fcoc.net

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Believing brings a promise of rest, an assurance of hope, removal of sluggishness, inherited promises, an anchor of hope, sanctification (just as if I had never sinned), gifts, and faith that speaks even after we die!

It’s time to click on the “Save me, Jesus, Prayer” above. God wants to make you great!

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

When He Came to Himself

Our trip to Israel was postponed three times, canceled, and then reinstated. David and I joked that we wouldn’t believe it until we stepped on Israel soil. It was a dream.

After flying all night, we were ushered through the Tel Aviv airport by a guide. We shuffled through another COVID test and were led to our bus.

Elle, (short for Elijah), talked and told jokes to keep us awake on the drive to our hotel. Tel Aviv is a growing city. I gawked at the architecture, statues, and sculptures. We stopped at many “roundabouts,” each with its statue and flower garden.

I fell for all of Elle’s jokes.

“This is Israel’s national bird.” He pointed to the cranes next to buildings going up.

The hotel in Netanya was upscale and it felt like a weekend get-away. Caesarea Maritima, Tel Megiddo, and Mt. Carmel reminded me of a school field trip. Israel is a history explosion!

At the Sea of Galilee, I started waking up. Jesus preached here.

It was at Capernaum, standing in front of the ruins of the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught, that I came to myself.

The White Synagogue was built upon the remains of the Synagogue of Jesus.

David said it best, “Nothing else matters except for believing. That is what life is all about.”

We looked at the remains of Peter’s house where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. I went back to the bus and filled my notebook with notes. I went over each picture and wrote down what Elle taught us.

At dinner, Elle sat by me. I didn’t say a word. I wanted to learn everything.

I set my alarm for 4 am. In the predawn hours, I pored over the pictures and notes. I wrote down what Elle said, what I felt, the weather, what we ate, and the things that happened.

I was no longer dreaming. I had come to myself.

I understand how Peter felt when the angels freed him from prison. It was too good to be true and yet it was true!

Acts 12:11, “When Peter came to himself…”

New American Standard Bible

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

What Good Can I Do Today?

Our greatest blessing is for our household to live our faith. Did you know we can be devout but not respect or revere God?

Acts 10:2, “A devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.”

New American Standard Bible

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It’s interesting that the author, Luke the physician, listed “giving alms” before “praying continually.” God cares about those who cannot help themselves. Our charitable gifts are noted in heaven just as our prayers are.

Acts 10:4, “…Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”

New American Standard Bible

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The first “act” of the church in Antioch was not to build a synagogue. It was to take a collection for the needy.

Acts 11:29, “And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.”

New American Standard Bible

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The money was collected and delivered to the elders, before the famine started, see Acts 11:28-30. Another thing that impressed me was they gave knowing that the famine would affect them!

  • When there is a need, give what you can.
  • When hard times are coming, give what you can.
  • When walking through difficult times, give what you can.

We have more to give than money. We can give time, encouragement, services, or goods.

My friend Robin started a floral business. God nudged me to give her supplies. I am embarrassed to remember how long it took me. David dropped off vases, floral wire, green zip ties, and seeds. I invested in her business this way.

Charity is investing. It is stored in heaven like our prayers.

Acts 10:30 says, “Jesus went about doing good.” What good can I do today?

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Random Acts of Kindness

All of my life we have prayed for revival. We ask God to send people that need Him to our churches. As much as we love each other, and the new people coming in, we still will have problems. Look at the first church.

Acts 6:1, “Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.”

New American Standard Bible

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Complaints come from those being overlooked. In this case, the Hellenistic Jewish widows were not being fed. So, after fasting and prayer, they chose Stephen to ensure they were given food. Stephen was martyred.

Acts 8:1, “…And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

New American Standard Bible

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Disciples scatter. Apostles stay. How do we become an apostle? Spend time with Jesus.

The disciples did not abandon their faith. They preached everywhere they went. They were witnesses in their country, the next country, and to the remotest parts of the world, see Acts 1:8. But eventually, they had to come back to Jerusalem.

Acts 8:25, “So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.”

New American Standard Bible

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Those who scattered were sent, and the road they were on wasn’t pleasant.

Acts 8:26, “But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a desert road.)”

New American Standard Bible

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The disciples couldn’t avoid persecution by leaving town. It followed them.

Acts 9:2, “…so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jesus stopped Saul on the road to Damascus. He went from being a persecutor to joining the persecuted.

Acts 9:22, “But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews…”

New American Standard Bible

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Where did Saul’s strength originate?

Acts 9:9, 11, “And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 11) …a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.'”

New American Standard Bible

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Strength comes from fasting and praying. But no matter how strong we become, at some point, we have to return home, see Acts 9:30. Home is where they know you – the good and the bad. They know your history and will not shower you with honor, see Mark 6:4.

Your greatest witness is going home and letting them see how God has changed you. Your greatest testimony is how you treat your family, friends, and those in need.

Acts 9:36, “Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.”

New American Standard Bible

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It is easy to do “Random Acts of Kindness” for strangers. Charity begins at home.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Winnowing is Like Spring Cleaning

Last summer, as I read about the seasons of Israel, I realized there are more than four. I decided to split my year into 7 sessions (since the week has 7 days) and assign one area to each session.

  1. January 1: Paperwork, Budget, Review Insurance, Income Taxes
  2. February 23: Writing Next Year’s Bible Reading Guide, eBooks, Books
  3. April 16: Spring Cleaning
  4. June 7: Painting, Maintenance, Improvements
  5. July 29: Organize Basement, Laundry Room, Storage Room
  6. September 19: Fall Cleaning
  7. November 10: Prepare for the Holidays

Today I finished the 3rd session – spring cleaning. I scrubbed the refrigerator, freezer, and oven. I emptied the cabinets under both sinks and wiped them out. I cleaned the windows and washed curtains, drapes, blinds, and valances. I got into corners and removed cobwebs. I wiped down the baseboards.

I tackled each closet and assigned 2 days for the linen closet and another 2 for the office closet. It was rewarding to toss or donate unused items, wipe down the shelves, and organize the remainder.

The office closet took 3 days. I pondered that as I spent an hour finishing up on Saturday. (I try to leave Saturday for fun projects.) I realized it took so long because I organized everything. I didn’t toss much or donate many items.

There is freedom in assigning tough tasks to a time with a deadline. I kept going because my 4th session starts tomorrow. I told myself anything that did not get cleaned could wait until fall cleaning. But I managed to finish everything assigned each day.

At Easter, I cleared the dining room and David’s “Man Cave.” I stacked the boxes in the storage room. I hung a curtain in front of it. (At Christmas, I hung the curtain in front of the “Man Cave.” No one bothered looking behind it, LOL!) 😉

Each time I went into the storeroom and dug through the boxes stacked to the ceiling, I reminded myself that this room will be decluttered, cleaned, and organized starting July 29th. When it is unbearably hot outside, I will be in the cool basement filling boxes to sell, donate, and toss!

The living room wall got scuffed at Easter by an office chair. Instead of adding it to my list of projects on Saturday, I remembered I could do it first on June 7th when I start painting and improving. I gave myself time to work on everything during the year instead of working on everything at once.

How is that like winnowing?

Winnowing is throwing the wheat into the air, allowing the chaff to blow away. We are winnowed every day as we become more like Jesus. We are “up in the air” about something and we don’t know where we will land! But we can trust Jesus because He is the one holding the winnowing fork.

Jeremiah 15:1, “I will winnow them with a winnowing fork…”

New American Standard Bible

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Anything lost was unnecessary and unfruitful. It was just dragging us down. Each time we let go of things it leads to more freedom. The things we no longer need are taking space that is needed for something new God has prepared.

Isaiah 43:18, 19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

New International Version

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After the events in May, we question God just as Jeremiah did.

Jeremiah 12:1, “Righteous are You, Lord, that I would plead my case with You; indeed, I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why had the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?”

New American Standard Bible

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God answered Jeremiah saying to strengthen himself and prepare for battle. Wars were fought in the thickets of Jordan.

Jeremiah 12:5, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”

New American Standard Bible

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We are to wholeheartedly turn to God.

2 Kings 23:25, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jeremiah 22:3, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.'”

New American Standard Bible

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And on Pentecost Sunday, when we started reading Acts, we were instructed further on how to live.

Acts 2:46, 47, “…taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47) praising God and having favor with all the people. …”

New American Standard Bible

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Acts 3:19, “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

New American Standard Bible

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Like a good spring cleaning, times of refreshing are coming!

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