Past the Marriage Business

I measured wrong! (Sigh.)  

I asked for a navy blue valance for Christmas. I had a Colonial blue one hanging in my guest room. It didn’t exactly go with the sky blue walls and navy bedding.  

I had the correct length but used the blind measurement for the width. The valance hangs on a wrap-around curtain rod. I felt sick when I held it up to the window.  

Seeing my distress, my daughter-in-law, Rachel offered to buy a matching one. I received the second one this weekend and sewed them together.  

I love it! The fullness from the extra material looks better than one stretched across. I was so excited! I took a picture of my window and sent it to Rachel.  

When David came home for lunch, I took him to the guest room to see it. It did not delight him like it did me.  

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Marriage is full of intimacies and ecstasies. What brings you joy may not impress your spouse.  

“Ecstasies – intense joy or delight.” thefreedictionary.com

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Mark 12:24-25, “You’re way off base, and here’s why: One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works. (25) After the dead are raised up, we’re past the marriage business. As it is with angels now, all our ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 18:30, “Then I was constantly at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence.” New International Version

What brings you joy?  

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Become More Than Yourself

Yesterday, I typed up my post in the new editor. The Bible verses ran off the page! I tried again in the classic editor and the same thing happened. After the third attempt, I decided to wait until today to try again. I won’t quit.

Matthew 18:1, “Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.” The Message

* * * * * * *

I like to make people laugh. Not everyone gets my dry humor.

We didn’t have a guitar player for worship. The director decided to cut one instrumental.

I objected, “I get one piano solo and you cut it out.” I didn’t get a laugh.

Instead, the bass player said, “Sounds like someone is doing this for the wrong reasons.”

I burst out laughing. I thought he was funny.

Later, I shared this with a friend who “gets” my humor. I told her I should just keep quiet.

She disagreed, “You can’t stop being yourself.”

Luke 18:14, “…If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” The Message

I’ve spent more time flat on my face than I care to admit. I’ve also spent time with my foot in my mouth. God loves me anyway.

“You’re an original, and it didn’t happen by accident. God designed your DNA. He made you the way He wanted you to be. He gave you your voice, your smile, your freckles, your curly hair, all those things that make you who you are.” The Word for You Today, January 21, 2019

Does everyone get your humor?

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Hold on Tight

“The movie ‘Ben Hur’ won more Academy Awards than any other movie in history. Charlton Heston, who played the hero in this movie, had to drive a chariot for his role. He was supposed to win the climactic chariot race, but there was a problem: He was having trouble learning to drive the chariot. He walked over to his director, William Wyler, and said, ‘Mr. Wyler, I can barely stay on the chariot. I can’t win this race.’ Wyler looked at Heston and said, ‘Son, your job is to stay on the chariot; my job is to make sure you win.’ …Stay on the chariot. Don’t quit on God and don’t stop trusting in Him. Your job is to obey; His job is to make sure you win. …” The Word for You Today, 1-19-19

 

A chariot race is a good picture of a marriage. Everything goes so fast. You have 4 horses who want to go in 4 different directions.

Those who try to win the race – keeping ahead of their neighbors – don’t survive. Those who survive win.

Those who jump off are either killed or maimed. Sometimes, it’s really exciting. Other times it’s really scary. If you’re married – just hold on tight!

 

Matthew 19:10-12, “Jesus’ disciples objected. ‘If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?’ (11) But Jesus said, ‘Not every one is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. (12) Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked – or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.’ ”  The Message

 

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“Two leading schools of Pharisees debated over what constituted appropriate grounds for divorce. The school of Hillel said that divorce was unfortunate, but that a man could divorce his wife for simply burning his toast. By contrast, the school of Shammai declared that a man could divorce his wife only if she had been sexually unfaithful in some manner …He [Jesus] replied by allowing divorce in only one situation: when the wife had committed ‘sexual immorality’ (19:9). …When ancient divorces went to court, a charge of immorality could determine who got the wife’s dowry. …he considered the innocent party in a divorce, and allowed exceptions for those divorced or betrayed against their will (Matthew 5:32; see 1 Corinthians 7:15).” Chronological Study Bible Notes

 

Jesus chose not to marry for the sake of the Gospel. He knew His mission and let go of everything else.

Marriage is one of the blessings of God. He blesses us with other things but we are to hold them loosely. They may pass through our hands to someone else.

 

Matthew 19:22, “That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.”  The Message

 

God’s blessings are not reserved for the saints among us. The same grace and mercy extended to Mother Teresa is given to the deathbed convert.

“God’s rewards are not earned by the time we serve or the energy we expend. They are His gracious gifts to all who follow Him faithfully. Matthew’s parable explains the proverb ‘first will be last’ (Matthew 19:30; 20:16).” Chronological Study Bible Notes

 

How long have you been following God?

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Life on God’s Terms

Thank you for checking back! A sinus infection sidelined me for 10 days. I started an antibiotic last night.

I spent several days on the couch. I got up for the church services – but went right back to bed afterward.

We are taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University on Wednesday nights. I didn’t want to miss 2 weeks.

Yes, I am Frugalfish. Yes, we are debt free – no mortgage! But there is always more to learn.

We know the difference between a need, a want, and a desire. Frugality is our way of life. A conversation with our daughter, Laura, showed we passed that knowledge on.

“Mom, I made a grocery list and left it on my desk at work.”

“I hate when that happens!”

“I bought stuff I wouldn’t have with a list. Did I need that summer sausage? No! I wanted it. Did I need those brownies? No – wait – maybe I did need chocolate…”

“If you live like no one else now, later you can live and give like no one else.”

Dave Ramsey – Introduction to Financial Peace University


Luke 17:33, “If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.”

The Message


“The World’s messages tell us we’ll be content if we look a certain way if we behave in a certain fashion, and if we accumulate a certain number of material possessions. But the contentment the world offers is fleeting and incomplete. Thankfully, genuine contentment – the contentment that results in a lasting sense of inner peace – is not found in shopping malls.”

Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women, January 18

How are you ‘living like no one else’?

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Invite Outsiders, Not Coddle Insiders

I wrapped a small gift for my sister’s birthday. I hope she won’t mind that it’s a day late when I give it to her at church.

There’s a youth worker’s meeting today and that means half of the worship team will be at the main church. I won’t see my son, daughter-in-law, or sister-in-law because of the meeting.

My friends took her parents south for an extended trip. A lot of familiar faces will be missing. I felt a gentle rebuke when I read this verse:

Matthew 9:12-13, “Jesus, overhearing, shot back, ‘Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? (13) Go figure out what this scripture means: “I’m after mercy, not religion.” I’m here to invite the outsiders, not coddle insiders.’ ” The Message

There are many faces at church that I still do not know. And gratefully, there are always new faces!

One thing God has told me is to accept people right where they are. Because God accepts me right where I am. Hurting people come to church and we try to patch them up with religion.

Matthew 9:16, “He went on, ‘No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match.’ ” The Message

God heals from the inside out. They have to believe first. Jesus restores every facet of our lives: spirit, soul, and body.

Matthew 9:35, “Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives.” The Message

Our job is to love people and pray for them. We point them to the Savior, not rescue them ourselves. We cannot be their source.

“…love people and pray for them, but spend your time with those who are willing to be helped.” The Word for You Today, 1-5-19

Did you meet someone new at church today?

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According to Plan

I forgot to send the songs to cousin Brenda. I told her I would in August. Of course, I only remembered in the middle of the night.

This time, I wrote it on my task list: Send the songs that have portions of hymns in them to Brenda. 

My list was long and my basement is in disarray. The stockings are hung on the clothesline with care. (I dry-cleaned them yesterday.) The other clothesline is full of Christmas throws and blankets. Two partially packed totes of Christmas ornaments are in the living room.

Luke 8:1, “He continued according to plan, traveled to town after town, village after village, preaching God’s kingdom, spreading the Message. …” The Message

What is my plan, Lord? I started with the first item on my list. I thought of goals for this year. Some scare me!

Luke 8:37-39, “Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave – too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. (38) The man whom He had delivered from the demons asked to go with Him, but He sent him back, saying, (39) ‘Go home and tell everything God did in you.’ So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done for him.” The Message

I don’t want to push Jesus away because there are changes. And everything happens so fast. (Like right now! I’m typing on a new editor and I have to do everything differently! Type a paragraph – set the bold, set the quote, get out of that box and start a new one. I am not a fan. This is taking forever!)

I want to follow Jesus. Hitting the road looks so glamorous. It’s not. (Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. Television and concerts are not glamorous.)

He keeps telling me to stay home and talk about everything He has done for me. I wondered why He told the parents of the little girl to keep quiet?

Luke 8:56, “Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. ‘Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…Keeping a secret of the new life given Jairus’s previously deceased daughter would have been impossible (Matthew 9:26). So some have thought that when Jesus charged her parents ‘not to tell anyone what had happened’ (Luke 8:56), He was referring specifically to what had transpired in the girl’s room. Perhaps Jesus wanted to leave open the possibility in the minds of some that the girl had actually only been sleeping (Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52), lest His fame for raising the dead should become a hindrance to His continuing ministry. …”

Chronological Study Bible Notes

If the parents spread the news, everyone would have pressed Jesus to raise their dead. He would not have had time to preach, heal the sick, and set the captives free.

Yes, He had a long task list, too! I followed His example and prayed, “Father, what would you have me to do next?”

I marked off all but one item on my list. The Christmas throws are still on the clothesline downstairs. But, the ornaments are all safely packed away – even the new ones!

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

Corrie ten Boom

Do you have a plan?

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What You Believed Could Happen Has Happened

“Let’s read Mark 11:23 in the Modern English Version. ‘For truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.’ How many times did we read the word ‘believes’? Once. How many times did we read the word ‘says’? Three times. …Be careful what you say.” Pastor Monte Knudsen, 1-2-19

In Matthew 8, the captain’s servant was sick. He believed Jesus could heal him. He said to Jesus, ‘Just give the order.’

Matthew 8:13, “Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, ‘Go. What you believed could happen has happened.’ At that moment his servant became well.” The Message

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Last night we attended a cousin’s funeral. While talking with aunts and uncles another relative joined us.

She said, “You should read Pam’s Bible posts. They’re really good. She uses the messenger Bible.” (I think she meant The Message.)

Two of our uncles are preachers. I thought I would get chided for not using the King James Bible. I told them, “I grew up on Bible schools reading the King James Version. I didn’t understand it. I don’t speak Elizabethan English. I read the modern versions so I can understand what I’m reading.”

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Funerals today are much different from in Bible times. We remembered good things and there was a lot of laughter.

Matthew 8:21-22, “Another follower said, ‘Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.’ (22) Jesus refused. ‘First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life!’ ” The Message

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“…No son whose father had just died would be talking with Jesus in public before the father’s body had been laid in a tomb. …Even today in the Middle East, the expression ‘Wait until I bury my father’ expresses a desire to wait until the father has died before embarking too far from home. …Jewish people in the 1st century let the flesh rot off of a corpse’s bones for a year, then returned to the tomb and gathered the bones into a box which they deposited into a slot in the tomb wall. If the disciple was referring to such a reburial, known as ‘secondary’ burial, then he was asking for as much as a year’s delay in following Jesus. …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Your business is life! Pursue life! What are you believing for?

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Just Be There

In the movie, a nun walked through the dormitory ringing a bell at daybreak. Each nun, in their matching nightgowns, slipped out of bed to their knees. You could hear the murmur of morning prayers.

After watching it, I decided I should pray first also. For several weeks, I prayed before reading my Bible.

Then I remembered a Sunday School song I learned as a child. It said, “Read your Bible and pray.” Maybe I should read my Bible first?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present legalism! It’s perfectionism on steroids.

Matthew 6:1, “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” The Message

I found my attention wandering while I prayed. I kept a notepad nearby to write items that I didn’t want to forget.

Matthew 6:6, “Here’s what I want you to do. Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” The Message

For years, I wrote in my journal before I read or prayed. I stopped because I thought that wasn’t putting God first. Then I read the devotional from Proverbs 31 MInistries.

“He brought some beautiful, simple tools into my life that have allowed me to find peace and even joy in prayer. …a pre-prayer journal routine that settles my thoughts and quiets my mind. …” “How to Prioritize Prayer in Your Crazy, Busy Life,” Amy Carroll, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Prayer is a private, personal thing. God is working on me where no one sees. But God will do His best for me.

Matthew 6:30, “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?” The Message

Do you have a pre-prayer routine?

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P.S. I should have waited to publish this post. In the sermon last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen spoke on “perfection.”

“We think perfection means without flaw. Yet the Greek word used here, teleios, means complete, finished, or mature. …To perfect something is a process to completion. …James 1:17 tells us every gift is perfect and complete but it isn’t completely developed in our life. …We are all in the process of completion. …” Monte Knudsen, 1-2-19

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At The End of Your Rope

For many, today is the last day of Christmas vacation. I’m sure some mothers can’t wait for school to start again!

Matthew 5:3, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” The Message

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“Ann Quindlen correctly observed, ‘Love is not leisure, it is work.’ So even on those days when the dog bites or the bee stings, you should be quick to do the ‘walk’ required to give – and receive – love.”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women”

David has been home for the last four days. Things have not gone as I planned! Routines just have to wait.

Matthew 5:7, “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” The Message

My upset routines are nothing compared to what Joseph endured.

“…Joseph…resented by his family, repeatedly tempted by his boss’s wife, then thrown into prison for thirteen years for a crime he never committed. Yet at his lowest points God was with him, arranging each step he took and positioning him to fulfill his calling as the deliverer of his people.” The Word for You Today, January 1, 2019

Joseph’s dreams are what sustained him. Do you have a dream?

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Helping People or Leaving Them Helpless

Children loved Jesus. He would pull them up on his lap and hug them.

He touched everyone. Sometimes it was physical healing or restored hope. Other times His words erased the hurtful words of others.

The King James Bible says, “He went about doing good.” Be like Jesus. Help when you can wherever you can.

Mark 3:4, “Then He spoke to the people: ‘What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?’ No one said a word.” The Message

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Psalms 37:3, “Get insurance with God and do a good deed, …” The Message

I can hear you protesting – “It’s too late. I messed up. I have to start all over. I seem to only do evil.”

Mark 3:28, “Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven.” The Message

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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

Have you offered a helping hand today?

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