About Frugal Fish

I grew up on Elim Bible Institute, Lima NY and Pinecrest Bible Training Center (Now the Whitestone Academy), Salisbury Center, NY, where my father, Charlie Cary, was on staff. When we moved back to Iowa, (12), I joined the "Gospel Lighthouse Telecast" choir, a local weekly program sponsored by the Gospel Lighthouse in Batavia. I have read the Bible through, every year, since I was 13. I became the church janitor when I was 16 and played piano for services. I moved to Fairfield and started playing the piano, when I was 18, at the Fairfield Foursquare Church. I married David Fishel there when I was 20. At 21, I became secretary/treasurer and served for 24 years, stepping down due to a health issue. My family now attends the Fairfield satellite of Faith Christian Outreach Center, Mt. Pleasant, where we serve in the worship band. We have three grown children and one grandchild. ©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

He’s Famous for Great and Unexpected Acts

“Job’s second friend, Bildad the Shuhite, discards all pretense at offering comfort (ch. 8). Bildad’s whole purpose is to defend the traditional wisdom teachings that had been passed from generation to generation. Job’s own experience of injustice is unimportant to Bildad, compared with the time-honored teachings of ‘the former generation’ and ‘what their ancestors learned’ (8:8).

Bildad takes one step beyond the wisdom teaching that the righteous prosper and the wicked suffer. Turning the teaching around, Bildad concludes that Job’s children must have been wicked since they died (8:4)….While biblical wisdom writings, such as appear in Proverbs, do teach that the wicked will suffer, they never permit the reverse reasoning that everyone who suffers is being punished for wickedness.” Chronological Study Bible

Job stated his friends were ‘…as fickle as a gulch in the desert.’ Job 6:15. The Message

Job 6:19, “Merchant caravans from Tema see them and expect water, tourists from Sheba hope for a cool drink.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…Tema was at the crossroads of three important trade routes running through northern Arabia….Caravans passing through Tema (Job 6:19) would have been familiar with streams that run during the rainy season, but dry up when they are most needed. Such streams were an appropriate illustration for Job to employ in describing his ‘undependable’ friends (Job 6:15-20)….Tema in northwest Arabia worked closely with the Sabeans from Saba (or Sheba) in southwest Arabia to dominate the incense trade. It is natural then that Job should mention Tema and Sheba together (Job 6:19).” Chronological Study Bible

Job is desperate and feels helpless. We are not! His questions in the Old Testament were answered in the New Testament.

Job 9:2, “…The question is, ‘How can mere mortals get right with God?’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 John 1:9, “…if we admit our sins – make a clean breast of them – He won’t let us down; He’ll be true to Himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Job 9:32, 33, “God and I are not equals; I can’t bring a case against Him. We’ll never enter a courtroom as peers. How I wish we had an arbitrator to step in and let me get on with life.” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 Timothy 2:5, 6, “There’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us – Jesus, (6) who offered Himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Coal is produced by the tremendous heat that burned the ancient forests. In the same way, spiritual force is stored in the depths of our being and is brought about by the very pain we cannot understand.” “Streams in the Desert” 3-23

* * * * * * *

Job 5:8, 9, “If I were in your shoes, I’d go straight to God, I’d throw myself on the mercy of God (9) after all, He’s famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to His surprises.” The Message

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Job Sat Among the Ashes

I love how God ties everything together. We started reading the book of Job. It is the textbook on suffering. Suffering was the subject of more than one source today.

March 22, 2018, “1-Min Motivation”

“If you read the Bible like a magic rulebook you will never fully understand the extent to which it is meant to speak to your situation and guide your life. God is not scared to walk right up in the details of your situation…you think He doesn’t know about your loneliness, your tears, your heartbreak, your questions? You think He’s intimidated by your skepticism? You think your broken heart can chase him away?…But if you open yourself, even with your face downcast…”  “God is in the Details,” Steven Furtick

* * * * * * *

“…We do right and get knocked down. We do the best we are capable of doing, and just as we are reaching out to receive our reward we are hit from the blind side and sent reeling….Job says boldly what some of us are too timid to say….He shouts out to God what a lot of us mutter behind our sleeves. He refuses to accept the role of a defeated victim….Job does not curse God, as his wife suggests he should do, getting rid of the problem by getting rid of God. But neither does Job explain suffering. He does not instruct us in how to live so that we can avoid suffering. Suffering is a mystery, and Job comes to respect the mystery.” The Message Introduction to Job

* * * * * * *

Job 2:7, 8, “Satan left God and struck Job with terrible sores. Job was ulcers and scabs from head to foot. They itched and oozed so badly that he took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself, then went and sat on a trash heap, among the ashes.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Ashes. Symbolic of mourning (see 42:16; Esther 4:3; cf. Jonah 3:6, which speaks of sitting in dust).” New International Version Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * * *

“Job rejects wisdom’s view that the world is orderly, that all is arranged according to just principles. His tragedy is not just. Righteousness does not always result in good fortune. Bad things do happen to good people. His friends argument – that Job must have sinned to deserve such suffering – only indicates the poverty of this particular aspect of wisdom teaching. Job also rejects the idea that wisdom is to be sought from tradition….Nevertheless, Job does not give up his search for enlightenment and never completely gives up his hope for justice. Nor does he surrender his faith in knowledge by experience.” Chronological Study Bible Introduction to Job

* * * * * * *

“The most difficult ingredient of suffering is often time….Without the grace of God, the heart is sure to sink into dismal despair….As Joseph did, we should be more careful to focus on learning all the lessons in the school of sorrow than to focus anxious eyes toward the time of our deliverance….Then we will know we could never have served in our place of higher service without having been taught the very things we learned during our ordeal. God is in the process of educating us for future service and greater blessings….” “Streams in the Desert,” March 22

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

But I Want to Go Home

Last night I watched a “B & W” and went to bed early. (Derek calls the black and white movies a “B & W.”) I wasn’t physically tired – I was “soul tired.”

I spent over 3 1/2 hours typing out the Babysteps Bible Reading Guide – all 1189 chapters. I went to the eye doctor and did all the other tasks I “should” do. It just didn’t leave time for a project that fed my soul.

I woke up thinking about the Shamrock in my front window. I want to decorate for Easter but Valentine’s decorations are still on the table downstairs. I have to put them all away to start creating. I want to make a wreath and fill my lighted glass block.

When I worked, I dreamed of the day when I could stay home. I loved that job but I just wanted to go home.

1 Kings 11:22, “…’Everything has been just fine,’ said Hadad, ‘but I want to go home.’…” The Message

Now that I don’t have to go anywhere, I fill up my days with work. I stopped working on the projects I’m passionate about. God reminded me decorating for each holiday was the first thing I wanted to do.

Then I realized, there’s a sewing project I want to finish before Easter. The only table large enough to sew on is the kitchen table. It has the best light from the north-facing patio doors. There won’t be room for a centerpiece until I finish this project.

It’s a sunny day. I took down all the Shamrocks. I’m going to sew. I can start creating and decorating tomorrow.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

What’s the Story Behind These Ruins?

A group of forty from our church are touring Israel. I asked my friends to post lots of pictures on Facebook. Seeing the photos of friends being baptized in the Jordan River was priceless.

One picture confused me. It was the ruins of one of Solomon’s six-chambered gates.

1 Kings 9:8, “And this Temple, splendid as it now is, will  become an object of contempt; visitors will shake their heads, saying, ‘Whatever happened here? What’s the story behind these ruins?’ ” The Message

Back in Iowa, Christian Books and Gifts was having a closing sale. We went last weekend and I bought another Bible – the Chronological Study Bible. It is divided into 9 Epochs.

  • Epoch 1 Creation and the Beginnings of Human Civilization
  • Epoch 2 Israel’s Ancestors, Egypt in the Middle Bronze Age
  • Epoch 3 The Rise of a Unified People, the Exodus, Conquest of Canaan
  • Epoch 4 From Tribes to a Nation, the United Monarchy in Israel
  • Epoch 5 Divided Monarchy in Israel, Neo-Assyrian & Neo-Babylon Empire
  • Epoch 6 Exile and Return, Wisdom in Ancient Near East, Persian Empire
  • Epoch 7 Between the Two Testaments, Greek Empire, Roman Empire
  • Epoch 8 Coming of the Messiah, Life of Jesus Christ
  • Epoch 9 Church Age, Spread of the Gospel, the End Times

I read the same passage in Epoch 4. There was an article about the six-chambered gates.

“…Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer all had nearly identical six-chambered gates. The chambers were part of a gate complex and part of a larger tower structure. They were constructed by building four parallel piers on each side of the entranceway. These piers were connected and made into rooms by an outside wall on each set of piers. There were, then, three rooms on each side, with an aisle down the middle.

Wooden gates were place between the piers, which meant that the entire gate complex had four separate gates. The multiple gates, and chambers behind each gate, assured a difficult access for those trying to take the city by force.

At both Hazor and Gezer, a casemate wall was connected to the unique gateways. Casemate walls were two closely parallel walls which were subdivided into rooms. While these walls were rather narrow and not very thick, dirt from within the city could be quickly placed between the walls, transforming the two walls into one thick wall.”

“Solomon and His Architecture,” Chronological Study Bible, Epoch 4, 1 Kings 9:15

That gate sounded impregnable but it wasn’t; the tower and walls are gone. Only the foundations remain. The only impregnable place is found in God.

“The Name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe,” Proverbs 18:10. New International Version

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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…” google.com

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!

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. 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

* * * * * * *

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

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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

* * * * * * *

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

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


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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