They Were Scheming

As I prayed before writing, I asked God to say what He wanted to say. Then I said, “Even if I’m to say nothing.” That surprised me.

I normally write Saturday’s and Sunday’s post on Monday. This Monday – I got nothing. I didn’t understand until later in the day.

* * * * * * *

The weekend was packed. My niece got married, I had a class reunion, and our annual church hayrack ride. I couldn’t figure out how to be three places at once!

The wedding was in Virginia and it was Derek & Rachel’s first anniversary. (We made a deal to cover for each other on our anniversary weekends.) They went to the wedding, as did our daughter, Laura.

It poured all day. There were flash flood warnings until Sunday night. Our reunion was set at a building near the river. That concerned me. I prayed there would not be a flash flood while we were there.

God came through! As we drove to the river, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. During the evening Rachel sent pictures of the wedding.

Ezra 7:5, “…Because God’s hand was on Ezra, the king gave him everything he asked for.” The Message

September 21, 2019: Malachi 3, 4; Ezra 7, 8.
* * * * * * *

Sunday was just as busy. Pastor Gary and Shannon came over to beef up the band. David switched from vocals to the drums.

Of course, it wasn’t easy. There were glitches with the sound set up. We practiced until the very last minute. But God blessed the worship time.

We tore down, put everything in storage, ran home for the Nursing Home Service music, and met our friends at a restaurant. They hosted the hayrack ride and told us about it. I told them about my class reunion and the wedding.

Then we four headed for the Nursing Home. Imagine our surprise when we arrived, and the meeting room was empty! The Nursing Home booked 2 events at the same time!

Undaunted, I started playing hymns on the Steinway – loudly. That woke up the residents that didn’t go on the outing. After 10 minutes we had 6 residents come to the meeting room.

One resident came to the piano and asked, “Are you going to play this loud the whole time?”

“No,” I replied, “I was trying to wake everyone up from their naps!”

I played softly for the rest of the time.

Proverbs 22:1, “A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.” The Message

After that service, I went home, put pajamas on, and climbed into bed. I was worn out!

Ezra 9:15, “…No one can last long like this.” The Message

September 22, 2019: Ezra 9, 10; Nehemiah 1, 2.

 

* * * * * * *

Monday was a hectic day. David’s boss was gone and the left him as the lone salesman. My daughter-in-law wanted me to go to one place and my sister-in-law to another. I wanted to talk to David before answering.

He was over an hour late for lunch. We decided against my going to either. (Ragweed bloomed.) He hadn’t been home for 10 minutes when my sister called.

I didn’t recognize her voice. She has bronchitis and fluid in her lungs. But she wanted to tell me about the wedding. We talked for an hour and then I prayed for her and told her to go to bed!

Ten minutes later, my sister-in-law knocked on the door – with cheesecake! She went to listen to cousin Todd preach on Sunday. The weekend before she took her son back to college. We had a lot to catch up on. I told her about the wedding and my class reunion.

An hour later, she had to go. I finally understood why I couldn’t write a post. If I had, I would have rushed through those two conversations. Since I didn’t, my sisters were able to share everything in their hearts. And I enjoyed every detail!

The devil tells me I must do everything on my list. Jesus always took time for people. I’m glad I didn’t fall for the devil’s scheme.

Nehemiah 6:2, “…I knew they were scheming to hurt me.” The Message

I’m getting better at listening to God. When He says, “no,” there is always a good reason.

September 23, 2019: Nehemiah 3-6.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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Look at History

“I can’t believe you bought an office chair! It was not a need,” David grumbled.

Instead of getting mad, I thought of the extra-large, walnut mirror. I bought it for $5 but had others load it in the van. The frame is solid walnut. David got it out of the van and was not happy. But after it was mounted behind the couch – he bragged about it!

Malachi 2:2, “…Look at history…” The Message

After getting my haircut, I went to “Buys on Broadway” in Mt. Pleasant. There was an office chair for $60 that was $150 at “Staples.” I sat in it. The hydraulics worked. I bought it with the cash in my wallet.

As David unloaded my new chair, I uncovered the old one. The plastic was peeling everywhere. I took the black baseball socks off the arms. I rolled it into the living room, leaving a pile of fake leather behind. I moved it next to the new chair.

“I guess it did need to be replaced,” David admitted.

I vacuumed the mess up and moved the new chair into the office. Let the record show I did not lose my temper or even respond. I let the old chair speak for itself.

Ezra 4:19, “I gave orders to search the records…” The Message

This is one benefit of keeping a journal. You remember old disagreements and how they were resolved. It gives you patience.

Esther 10:2, “For the rest of it, King Xerses extensive accomplishments along with a detailed account of the brilliance of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, that’s all written in ‘The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia.’” The Message

Anyone interested in a distressed, high back, office chair with stubborn hydraulics?

September 20, 2019: Esther 10; Ezra 4; Malachi 1-2.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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Took Up a Position

I can’t imagine how scared she must have been. She had no food or water for 3 days and 3 nights.

Her life was on the line. All her relatives would die if she did nothing. Just being in that room uninvited was a death sentence.

Yet, Esther bravely walked in. She did not march boldly to the king and demand attention. She did not cower in a corner. She chose a place where the king could see her. Then she patiently waited – holding her position.

Esther 5:1, “Three days later Esther dressed in her royal robes and took up a position in the inner court of the palace in front of the king’s throne room.” The Message

There is injustice I may not be able to change but I can take up a position.

People come and go. I can’t stop them from coming or keep them from leaving. I can stay in my position.

God has “positioned” each of us. Many are in more dangerous positions than I. My job is to know my position. I do not need to demand attention or cower in a corner. I’m to stand and wait until my King calls for me.

September 19, 2019: Esther 5-9.

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Scattered Through the Provinces

Bittersweet. That is the only way to describe it. The last night at E3 with Kyle and Paige. I’m excited about their new jobs and a new church but they will be missed.

Proverbs 18:24, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” The Message

There were tons of selfies taken with them. Some in groups and some with just one person. There wasn’t a teen there that Kyle and Paige did not connect with.

Proverbs 18:1, “Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good.” The Message

You can’t leave the service without a hug or two here. You may think it odd but it shows we care.

Esther 3:8, “…There is an odd set of people scattered through the provinces of your kingdom who don’t fit in….” The Message

I would rather be loved and odd than a loner unloved.

September 18, 2019: Esther 1-4.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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Live Wisely

The headlines today were about the attacks on the world’s biggest oil-producing facility. Oil prices soared 20% and then fell after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said he expected production to be fully back online by the end of the month.

Do we react in faith or fear? I read of a similar scenario yesterday.

“…I was riding with a friend past our neighborhood gas station. He looked up and saw that the price of oil was going up, …To him, the sky is always going to fall…he showed me all the stats as to why the price of oil was going to go up over the next few years. …With that information, I immediately…found a new undervalued oil company…and I bought 15,000 shares for 65 cents per share…those 15,000 shares went up to more than $3 per share…”

“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki

* * * * * * *

Daniel 12:10, “…Those who live wisely and well will understand what’s going on.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Psalms 119:165, “For those who love what you reveal, everything fits – no stumbling around in the dark for them.” The Message

 

September 17, 2019: Daniel 12; Psalms 119.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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Drunk on Dreams

Writing has been my dream since childhood. I admired Laura Ingalls Wilder and faithfully kept a journal.

Writing is different now than it was when she published her books. You must have an online presence.

I considered writing for others. I copied the writing guidelines for Dayspring, Redbud, and (In)Courage. These would be new essays written after I wrote my daily post.

It’s fun to dream but I cannot let it consume me. I can’t neglect writing the 2020 Bible Reading Guide to pursue it. I have to wait for God’s timing.

Daniel 11:14, “…Hotheads from your own people, drunk on dreams, will join them. But they’ll sputter out.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 16:1, “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” The Message

September 16, 2019: Daniel 11, 6.

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You Have Been Weighed

Today was a huge test and I knew it. I didn’t realize it was coming until Wednesday.

Derek the drummer and Rachel the synth player took a week off to celebrate their first anniversary. Kyle the bass player stepped down and is moving to Kansas City. Joe, the semi-retired guitar player, and his wife are visiting their daughter out of state.

That left me. I would be the only instrumentalist.

I got up early and read my Bible. I compared Belshazzar to Daniel.

Belshazzar:

  • Was drunk, 5:2.
  • Scared out of his wits, 5:6.
  • Demanding, 5:7.
  • Arrogant, 5:22.
  • Treated God with contempt, 5:23.

Daniel:

  • Was full of the Holy Spirit, 5:11.
  • Could not be bought, 5:17.
  • Prayed earnestly, 9:3.
  • Fasted from meals, 9:3.
  • Wore penitential burlap, 9:3.

Belshazzar was haughty, Daniel was humble. Belshazzar was murdered, Daniel was promoted.

Daniel 5:27, “Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.” The Message

I knew I would be weighed today. I wanted to be like Daniel, not Belshazzar.

When I walked onto the platform, I saw the Steinway Concert Grand where I normally set up the keyboard!

In disbelief, I asked, “May I play it?”

Jesse the Civic Center worker laughed and said yes!

This is the most babied Steinway in the county. It lives in a humidity-controlled, insulated space. Sometimes, it’s out backstage for a show. I never play it without permission.

I warmed up on a simple chorus and then stopped.

“Jesse,” I called, “do these wheels lock? I can feel it shimmy. And can we open it up?”

He locked the wheels and opened it partway. Then he moved two microphones in under the lid.

During pre-service prayer, Brenda asked the Holy Spirit to move through my fingers. He did!

I started softly and the music built until I was playing as hard as I could. Then I went soft again. The congregation followed and their singing swelled to fill the room.

On the last word, I started to cry. That worship time was so sweet. I was sad, but a little relieved that it was over.

I can’t say if I was haughty or humble. I can say, when I saw the Steinway, that I was positively giddy!

September 15, 2019: Daniel 5, 9.

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Sacred Worship and Moral Practice

A free Saturday! I didn’t have to go anywhere and did not have a large project scheduled.

I went through my granddaughter Olivia’s school fundraiser website. I needed to renew a magazine. I could get 2 years for $27.00. Or use my “long-standing customer” discount and renew it for 3 years for $18.98 using the renewal form they sent. I chose the latter. I can support the school when shopping online.

When David got off of work I went to the library. I looked for a few decent movies. Our library marks new purchases with colored tape. It didn’t take long to pull out the yellow-taped DVD’s. What took time was finding the rating on each one. PG-13 is my limit.

(I will watch an “R” movie if my adult children have previewed it. They know which scenes will trigger a sermon and they fast forward through it.)

I practiced while David was at work. I’m trying to do more than practice. I worship and sing.

Daniel 7:25, “Then he will blaspheme the High God, persecute the followers of the High God, and try to get rid of sacred worship and moral practice.” The Message

The most important things I can do today are to worship and protect my morals.

September 14, 2019: Daniel 7, 8.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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This Privileged Work

“The poor and the middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them. …Most people have a price…because of…fear and greed…fear of being without money…greed…[for] all the wonderful things money can buy. …the sooner you forget about needing a paycheck, the easier your adult life will be….” “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I was the secretary/treasurer at a church of 100-150 people. I knew this was where God called me to serve. I never stopped studying finances or the Bible.

I received a job offer at a local doctor’s office. Our church had a daycare which meant the bosses were coming and going all day. I kept track of them. While sitting in the waiting room, I overheard a nurse ask the receptionist where the doctor was. Without thinking, I replied, “In exam room #2.”

The office manager offered me a job on the spot. I declined.

Another job offer came from the burglar alarm company we used. I’m good at remembering numbers. To program the alarm, you punched in a long series of numbers. I recognized the pattern. (I also programmed the phone system and the pop machine when I changed flavors.)

The technician finished troubleshooting the problem. He wanted me to go into the settings on the keypad to test it. He started the long numerical command and I finished it for him.

He offered me a job in California at double the pay. I declined.

I had determined to never let money influence me. God provides for us. We lived under the poverty level a few times and never missed a meal.

I quit my job at the church when my first child was born. It’s a good thing because our second child arrived the next year!

During that time, my husband signed up for an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) at work. When the paperwork arrived, I found it was a whole life insurance policy, not an IRA.

We set up a meeting with the insurance man. After canceling the policy, and explaining why he offered me a job.

I declined and then explained, “Our vehicles are paid for and our only debt is our mortgage. We are living comfortably on my husband’s wage. I don’t need a job. I can stay at home with my babies.”

Our personal finances were my business. And I worked for free!

Later, my children went to preschool, and I went back to working at the church. The secretary at that time hated the treasurer’s duties. We split the job. Then she moved away and I was back to doing both plus the bookkeeping for the daycare.

Now I’m working for free again! I haven’t missed a meal and God continues to bless us. I know writing a yearly Bible Reading Guide is my work.

Isaiah 45:4, “…I’ve singled you out, called you by name, and given you this privileged work….” The Message

I write the daily devotion to prove the Bible is applicable every day – 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is my 10th year and I’m nearing my 4000th post! I would rather work for God than for money.

September 13, 2019: Isaiah 44-45; Daniel 10.

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They Never Could Keep Me Down

I have a class reunion next week! I’ve received a few friend requests from my classmates and I’ve sent a few, too. I want to recognize people and some have really changed – except Kelly. (I’m going to find out her secret!)

I pulled out my memory book and read what others wrote. I don’t remember helping classmates in accounting but several thanked me.

I don’t remember Bernard taking us to Uncle Bob’s in Bloomfield the night the lights went out. (Was that a marching band competition or a football game?) It must have happened because it’s in there three times!

“Willy,” who is now a conductor, would be disappointed in me. He told me to never stop singing or playing. I gave up singing to concentrate on playing. He also admonished me to “learn to read chords!” That I did do!

I read them all looking for one that stuck with me all these years…

“…will always remember how you never gave up but always tried harder in life.”

I learned that from this verse:

Psalms 129:2, “They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young, but they never could keep me down.” The Message

I just keep getting back up.

September 12, 2019: Psalms 129-130, 135-137; Isaiah 43.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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