None of What They’ve Done is Wasted

My “To Do” list on Sunday is for rejuvenation, rest, and relaxation:

  1. Worship practice.
  2. Play for the church service.
  3. Take a nap.
  4. Watch a movie.
  5. Read a book.

Yesterday, I watched an old war movie, “The Naked and the Dead.” I am not a fan of violence and gore. In fact, I refuse to watch “R” rated movies for that reason. The older movies use a little ketchup for blood and the scenes are not graphic.

The thing that draws me to those movies is the indomitable human spirit. You see flowers on the table in a house abandoned because the front line turned. You see men and women overcoming impossible odds and obstacles. You see men following orders they disagree with or don’t understand.

One lieutenant served as a general’s aide. He didn’t agree with him and defied him. The general assigned him to lead a dangerous patrol.

“…rejection is nothing more than redirection,…some of the heartbreak in your life was really God moving you into postition for some of the blessings that He desires to bring…” “When Somebody Rejects You,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

On this patrol was a soldier whose wife died giving birth. Grieving, he agreed with the soldier that saw the futility of everything. They lost a lot of soldiers along the way. The lieutenant was gravely injured. The sargeant assigned 3 men to carry him back 18 miles to the boat.

There were only 5 left when they reached their objective. Then their sargeant was killed. One soldier peeked over the ridge and saw thousands of enemy soldiers pulling out. They radioed in the coordinates and their comrades started a major offensive.

The 4 soldiers sat in the woods listening to the explosions. The pessimistic soldier thought it didn’t matter what they did because they would die anyway. The new father stood up.

“I’m going back! I have a motherless baby that needs me.”

The 4 men climbed down the mountain, swam across a river, and marched to the beach. They reached the boat before it left with the wounded lieutenant.

When the general came to the hospital, the lieutenant said,

“There’s a spirit in man that’ll survive all the reigns of terror and all the hardships. Man cannot achieve the authority of God. …The spirit in man is godlike – eternal, indestructible.” The Naked and the Dead

* * * * * * *

Genesis 1:27, “God created human beings, He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Revelation 14:13, “…’Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘and blessed rest from their hard, hard work. None of what they’ve done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end.’ ” The Message

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Never Hide Your Feelings from God

“Isn’t it ironic that we spend so much time and energy trying to figure out how to get to where God wants us to go, when all we have to do is simply say, ‘Here I am’? It’s God’s job to get us where He wants us to go; our job is to make ourselves available.” “All In” by Mark Batterson

When David gives me “that look,” he doesn’t care if my hair is frizzy. He doesn’t mind the extra pounds. I don’t even need to put on makeup or jewelry. He loves me. He wants to spend time with me. All I need is to be…

Available!

God loves me more than David. Why do I feel like I need to be perfect before approaching Him? I’ll never be perfect on my own.

But I believe in Jesus Christ! When God looks at me, He sees Jesus in me. Jesus is perfect!

I have no fear sharing everything with David. He’s seen it all! Every emotion and reaction I’ve ever had. Still, he loves me.

Psalms 34:5, “…Never hide your feelings from God.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Psalms 34:4, “God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Psalms 34:12, 13, “God, you did everything You promised, and I’m thanking You with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.” The Message

God loves you that much, too!

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Moving at Thanksgiving

Each Thanksgiving marks another year in our home. We moved the night before Thanksgiving.

“I was 5 months pregnant!”

It was a hectic move! After work, we took one load over, cleaned up, and sang a special number at the community Thanksgiving service. We went back home and took another truckload over.

We hired professionals to move my piano but did the rest ourselves – with a lot of help from Melinda! She determined that I wouldn’t lift anything heavy and jeopardize her first niece or nephew. (We waited until he was born to find out.)

“My daughter was smarter.”

She moved last night but asked for help from family and friends. She even enlisted the help of Santa Claus! Our friend Mike, who plays Santa Clause for our family at Christmas, brought a 24′ trailer and they packed all her furniture in it last night.

“I was still a helpless bystander.”

Her dog lives in the house and it was not prudent for me to help. Instead, I made 18 ham and cheese sandwiches and sent them with David. I appreciated those who helped when I couldn’t. Even her cousin’s kids helped! (Grandma Melinda should be proud!) I guess Cameron put her clothes and shoes in her closet. They worked until she sent them home. Everyone did what they could.

* * * * * * *

The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were just as committed to their extended family. They chose the land on the east side of the Jordan river but promised to fight alongside their relatives until everyone moved into their new homes.

Numbers 32:23, “But if you will not do so, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” Modern English Version

What sin was Moses talking about?

  1. Turning away from following God, 32:15.
  2. Abandoning livestock, 32:16.
  3. Abandoning children, 32:16.
  4. Not keeping their commitments to extended family, 32:17.
  5. Going home before the work was done, 32:18.

“Did they?”

Joshua 22:2, “He said to them, ‘You have done everything that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed me in everything that I have commanded you.’ ” Modern English Version

This Thanksgiving as we gather with our extended families, we can follow their example:

  1. Keep God first.
  2. Feed the dog.
  3. Watch out for the children.
  4. Keep your commitment.
  5. Stay until the work is done.

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

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God Crowns Me

Taking a day off is hard! I told myself I would not work on my birthday. I wanted to write a frugalfish post and catch up on email. I read a few birthday wishes and finally left my phone in the office, ignoring Facebook.

I spent the day watching Christmas movies, painting Christmas decorations, and coloring a heart that was given to me. The card that came with the heart said,

“The dentist told me I needed a crown. I was like, I know, right?”

I was queen for a day! It is God who crowns us – not the dentist, (see Psalms 5:12, 65:11, 103:4).

Exodus 29:6, “And you shall put the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban.” Modern English Version

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Memorable Acts

Haman was not only evil but very greedy. He wanted to slaughter all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, and to plunder all their possessions, see Esther 3:13.

The Jews acted differently:

  • They assembled to defend their lives, 9:16.
  • They assaulted only those seeking their injury, see Esther 9:2.
  • They didn’t kill those who made peace with them, see Esther 9:16.
  • They didn’t take the plunder, see Esther 9:10, 15, 16.

I believe they left the plunder for the widows and children of their former enemies. They showed mercy. Mordecai made sure these memorable acts were not forgotten. He established the Feast of Purim and told the Jews everywhere to celebrate it every year, see Esther 9:23-32.

Esther 6:1, “During the night the king could not sleep, so he ordered that the book of memorable acts (the chronicles) be brought and they were read to the king.” Modern English Version

The books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles are the memorable acts of King David and the other kings. 1 Chronicles start with the genealogies from Adam to those who returned from exile in Babylon. The final paragraph of 2 Chronicles is King Cyrus’ proclamation allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem.

The next time you have insomnia, read some of the memorable acts in the Bible!

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Dawn

Wednesday night Pastor Monte Knudsen continued his series, “Information + Application = Transformation.” He quoted Proverbs 4:20, “My son, attend to my words . . .” Modern English Version.

Then he explained, “To attend means to prioritize.”

I applied that verse by wearing my Fitbit to bed and setting the alarm for 5:00 a.m. When it went off the next morning, it shocked David and he asked, “Are you really getting up?”

I said, “Yes.”

For the last two weeks, David has woken me up right before he left for work at 7:45 a.m. Sometimes, I would fall asleep again until 8:30 a.m. (I blamed Benadryl.) The frustrating thing was I would have bad dreams during those last 2 hours of sleep.

It was hard getting up that first day. The second day I shut off the alarm and went back to sleep for an hour. Each day it got easier to wake up.

Then an odd thing happened. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. It wasn’t time to get up and I went back to sleep. I woke again an hour later wondering if it was time to meet with God. I would sleep lightly until the alarm went off. I understand what David is talking about in today’s verse.

“Psalms 57:7, “. . . I will awake the dawn.” Modern English Version

Normally, I would start my devotions by writing in my journal. I would get everything off my chest before reading my Bible. After getting up early for a couple of days, I found I had more energy in the evenings. I started journaling before bed.

This morning, I woke up twice before the alarm, anticipating meeting with God. I prayed and read. When I finished, I actually said, “That’s it?” I looked at the clock, shocked at the time. That hour flew by.

We naturally pray through dark times when we are in great need. I think God designed us to pray in the darkness before the dawn.

I put God first, and am getting 2 hours less sleep, but I have more energy and am still productive in the evenings! No more putting on pajamas after dinner and reading or watching a movie. I have a quilt to finish!

Dear Father God,

Thanks for the bursts of energy. I’m excited to see this quilt come together! I look forward to our time together tomorrow. Open the mysteries of the Bible to me.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Much

We received our giving receipts on Friday. I checked to see how much we gave over and above our tithes or 10%. The amount is smaller than others, but the percentage of our income could be larger.

Mark 12:43, “Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. Many who were rich put in much.” Modern English Version

The first 10% we give is due to God. Anything above is seed we plant. God multiplies our seeds.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for meeting our needs last year. Thank You for the miraculous way you multiplied our seeds.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Father-in-law

Thursday David called to tell me his dad, John, had suffered a stroke. I went right to the hospital with his sister. John was in the hospital with COPD, emphysema, and pneumonia.

By late afternoon, he seemed better and was even breathing easier than the day before. He got to see all of his grandchildren and I expected him to recover.

At 2:30 am Friday morning, we got the call that he slipped away peacefully. We dressed and got in the van. The song on the radio was “Tell Me” by Carrolltown. We listened in silence, soaking up the message as we drove a mile to the hospital.

I don’t know how people walk through this valley of grief without Jesus Christ holding them up. How do they wade through the avalanche of details in planning a funeral without the peace only Jesus gives?

Judges 5:3, “Listen, you kings! Pay attention, you mighty rulers! For I will sing to the Lord. I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel” New Living Translation

We don’t sing to the Lord because he requires it. We sing the song that He sends, and we derive comfort from it. This is the chorus of “Tell Me.”

“Tell Me” by Carrollton

“Tell me I am loved. Tell me I am known,

that you died for me I am not alone.

Tell me I’m your child, the one your heart beats for

and I will find my strength knowing I am yours.

You’ve always known what my heart needs

and you tell me.”

Dear Father God,

Thank You for giving us a song even in the darkest of nights. I pray for Jane, his wife, and his kids: David and Melinda. I pray for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I pray for his sisters and nieces and nephews. You are the God of all comfort. Thank You for giving us comfort and carrying us during this difficult time.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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December, 2016 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Chapters

• 1 – Deuteronomy 17-20
• 2 – Deuteronomy 21-23
• 3 – Deuteronomy 24-27
• 4 – Deuteronomy 28
• 5 – Deuteronomy 29-31
• 6 – Deuteronomy 32, 33; Psalms 90; Deuteronomy 34
• 7 – Joshua 1-4
• 8 – Joshua 5-7
• 9 – Joshua 8, 9
• 10 – Joshua 10-12
• 11 – Joshua 13-15
• 12 – Joshua 16-19
• 13 – Joshua 20-22
• 14 – Joshua 23, 24; Judges 1
• 15 – Judges 2-4
• 16 – Judges 5, 6
• 17 – Judges 7, 8
• 18 – Judges 9, 10
• 19 – Judges 11-13
• 20 – Judges 14-16
• 21 – Judges 17-19
• 22 – Judges 20, 21
• 23 – Ruth 1-4
• 24 – Luke 1
• 25 – Luke 2; Matthew 1
• 26 – Matthew 2; John 1
• 27 – Luke 3; Matthew 3; Mark 1
• 28 – Matthew 4; Luke 4; John 2
• 29 – John 3, 4
• 30 – Mark 2; Luke 5
• 31 – Mark 3; John 5

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November, 2016 “Relevant” Guide Chapters

• 1 – Leviticus 4-6
• 2 – Leviticus 7, 8
• 3 – Leviticus 9-11
• 4 – Leviticus 12, 13
• 5 – Leviticus 14, 15
• 6 – Leviticus 16-18
• 7 – Leviticus 19-21
• 8 – Leviticus 22, 23
• 9 – Leviticus 24, 25
• 10 – Leviticus 26, 27
• 11 – Numbers 1, 2
• 12 – Numbers 3, 4
• 13 – Numbers 5, 6
• 14 – Numbers 7, 8
• 15 – Numbers 9-11
• 16 – Numbers 12-14
• 17 – Numbers 15-17
• 18 – Numbers 18-20
• 19 – Numbers 21, 22
• 20 – Numbers 23-25
• 21 – Numbers 26-28
• 22 – Numbers 29-31
• 23 – Numbers 32, 33
• 24 – Numbers 34-36
• 25 – Deuteronomy 1, 2
• 26 – Deuteronomy 3, 4
• 27 – Deuteronomy 5-7
• 28 – Deuteronomy 8-10
• 29 – Deuteronomy 11-13
• 30 – Deuteronomy 14-16

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