God Hasn’t Changed

My sister was born 21 months before me. When my parents brought me home from the hospital, she asked to hold me. Then she walked over to the stairs. She planned on throwing me down! At least that is what I was told.

We weren’t close growing up but that changed. She was the maid-of-honor at my wedding. And Sunday, when I had to take David to the Emergency Room, (pulled muscle), she came and waited with me.

Our relationship changed for the better. That was not the case for Jacob and Laban.

Genesis 31:5, “I notice that your father has changed toward me; he doesn’t treat me the same as before. But the God of my father hasn’t changed; He’s still with me.” The Message

No matter how difficult the relationship, we need to speak positively. Jacob’s words were fulfilled in Genesis 35:16-20.

Genesis 31:32, “But as far as your gods are concerned, if you find that anybody here has them, that person dies…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 18:21, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” The Message

 

October 10, 2019: Genesis 30-31.

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Jacob Had Obeyed His Parents

During Pat’s funeral, the minister asked us to pray “The Lord’s Prayer.” I was sitting between my daughter Laura and cousin Debbie. Debbie and I dutifully recited, “Our Father, Who art in heaven…”

We all hesitated at the same spot, “Forgive us our…” Would he say trespasses or debts? He used the word “sins.”

I realized Laura was silent. Did she know “The Lord’s Prayer?” I tried to remember teaching it to her. Did I leave that part of her education up to the church?

I’m the world’s worst mother. Can I even call myself a Christian? (Every mother knows the guilt we pile on ourselves.)

After the service, I apologized for not teaching her “The Lord’s Prayer.” Her response?

“He used the wrong word.”

Genesis 27:20, “…Because your God cleared the way for me.” The Message

God does not have grandchildren. You cannot inherit faith. We have to meet God ourselves. That happened for Isaac in Beersheba, Genesis 26:24-25. It happened for Jacob the first night he was away from home, Genesis 28:10-20.

This does not mean we let our children stay home from church and decide as adults. We give them every opportunity to learn about Jesus and His great love.

Genesis 28:7, “And that Jacob had obeyed his parents…” The Message

Parenting isn’t about making life easy for our children. It’s about teaching them the skills they will need to stand on their own two feet. There are no guarantees in life. If they want to go to college, they will have to study and earn scholarships.

They may not meet their mate right after they graduate. They have to know how to cook a meal and mow the lawn.

I failed again. I don’t remember Laura mowing the lawn. And she was the first of our children to buy a house! (David remedied that.)

* * * * * * *

In Bible times, women worked around the tents and men in the fields. The lowest job was to be a shepherd. Even though Rachel had brothers, she took the lowest job.

Genesis 29:9, “…She was the shepherd.” The Message

October 9, 2019: Genesis 27-29.

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A Quiet Man

Conscientious. A hard-worker. Responsible. Dependable. These words were used to describe Pat at her funeral. She was surrounded by family.

She was not famous. There were no long speeches by prominent people, but loving words from her son.

Yet her life was not measured by the attendance of her funeral. She lived a full life. She told her children, “I’m not afraid to die. I know where I’m going. I’m ready.”

* * * * * * *

God chooses people differently than we do. In a society where the firstborn son received twice as much as his siblings, God chose the second son. (In Isaac’s case, he inherited everything, Genesis 25:5.)

Genesis 25:27, “The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter and outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents.” The Message

Where others choose the rich, God chooses the poor. Others look to the famous, God uses the unknown. Others look to athletes, God seeks nerds. Others look for a handsome face and a healthy body. God uses the disabled.

Yes, God is looking for you! No one is disqualified.

October 8, 2019: Genesis 25, 26.

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Barely Finished Prayer

I was at a funeral visitation with my sister-in-law, when a young man walked in. Melinda introduced me.

He whispered to her, “Is she single?”

“No!” she replied, “and my brother will kill you!”

Later she told me what he asked. I burst out laughing, “I’m old enough to be his mother!”

* * * * * * *

God answered my prayer to renew my youth as He did for Sarah! I just had confirmation!

Genesis 24:45, “I barely finished offering this prayer, when Rebekah arrived…” The Message

Jesus had a prayer answered quickly, too!

Matthew 10:1, “The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered…” The Message

Each day I ask God for followers. Today I noticed a new follower before I prayed!

How quickly I forget when God answers a prayer immediately. I remember the things I prayed over for decades. Maybe that’s why He lets me wait!

Thank you, Lord, for answered prayer!

October 7, 2019: Genesis 23, 24.

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Sent for Sarah

I felt like I was going to fall but I was in bed! I also had to pee. I carefully got up and the room swayed. I held the walls and piano as I staggered to the bathroom.

What’s wrong?

I fought a sinus headache last week. I remembered feeling pressure in my left ear. There must be fluid built up in there. I went to the kitchen for Sudafed and went back to bed.

When I woke up, the pressure and wooziness were gone. I could go to the doctor but I already know what he will say, “It’s just allergies.” Or worse, “You’re just getting older!”

* * * * * * *

Age means nothing to God. Sarah was 95. Yet she was so beautiful and youthful-looking that a foreign king added her to his harem!

Genesis 20:2, “…So Abimelech, King of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.” The Message

What we see in the mirror is not a true picture. When the love of Jesus shines through us, He softens our features. He is our backbone. We rely on His strength, not our muscles.

Psalms 103:5, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles.” New Living Translation

* * * * * * *

Ezekiel 37:5, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you and you will come to life.” New International Version

October 6, 2019: Genesis 20-22.

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Its Eye on God

The football team of the home church played the football team of our satellite church. Since everyone was in Mt. Pleasant, the E3 Youth met for a “5th Quarter.” They played games and enjoyed free food.

It was Homecoming for Mt. Pleasant. But we wondered if it would happen at all. It all depended on God. All eyes were on Him.

Zechariah 9:1, “…The whole world has its eye on God. Israel isn’t the only one.” The Message

There was a tornado watch, flash flood watch, and a severe thunderstorm warning from 4 pm to 11 pm. They held the Homecoming parade at 3 pm.

They canceled the junior varsity game and had kick-off for the varsity game at 6 pm. They kept their eyes on heaven all evening. They finished the game and the “5th Quarter” event went off as planned.

Things always go more smoothly when we keep our eyes on God.

September 27, 2019: Zechariah 9-13.

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A Reputation for Honesty and Hard Work

My long-time readers have met many people in my life. I talk about my family and my bandmates.

I’ve shared many times about Joe the guitar player. He alternately compliments and then slams me. I do the same to him. (We speak fluent sarcasm.)

Joe is semi-retired from the band. He plays whenever his schedule allows. He was available this weekend.

But he was late to practice. His wife texted that he was helping someone change a tire.

After 45 minutes, Derek wanted to start practice without him. I reminded him of the time Kyle the bass player forgot about practice. We waited an hour for him.

We waited a bit longer and Joe arrived. It didn’t take long to go through the songs.

I surprised myself by sticking up for Joe. I knew he was helping someone out.

Nehemiah 13:13, “…These men had a reputation for honesty and hard work. They were responsible for distributing the rations to their brothers.” The Message

That’s the reputation I want!

September 25, 2019: Psalms 146-150; Nehemiah 13.

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The Outside Work

I keep trying to turn David into a farmer. (No, ladies, you cannot change a man.)

We bought a tomato plant this spring. He stuck it in the ground next to the house and put a tomato cage around it. (Our ground is clay.)

We harvested 3 tomatoes from it. Another one disappeared after turning red. Squirrel? Rabbit? Deer? Someone walking by? We’ll never know.

As we pulled in after the Nursing Home Service, David lamented the lack of tomatoes.

“The plant itself hasn’t even grown!”

“Did you water it?”

“No, it rained.”

As I said, I could not turn him into a farmer. But I know very few farmers who are comfortable leading worship!

* * * * * * *

The Levites were the only tribe that worked in the Temple. Some sang, some played instruments, some baked bread, some offered sacrifices, some burned incense, and some worked outside.

Nehemiah 11:16, “…two of the leaders of the Levites who were in charge of the outside work of the Temple of God.” The Message

Every job is important. We may not grow our own food but we don’t waste it. Those tomatoes are in the freezer along with some we bought from our son’s father-in-law. He is a farmer!

September 25, 2019: Nehemiah 10-12.

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The Warnings You Gave

Autumn is my season of caution. Once Ragweed blooms, everything changes. Even my diet.

I cut out: melons, cucumbers, zucchini, chamomile, bananas, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and strawberries. After a killing frost, I will be able to eat most of them again. Chamomile and sunflower are in the Ragweed family. I avoid them all year.

I actually prefer rainy days. It cleans the pollen out of the air. Hot, sunny, windy days are the hardest. The pollen is all stirred up.

In 2011, I didn’t leave the house after Ragweed bloomed for 104 days. I was sick for 6 weeks during that fall.

I ask God for guidance. When opportunities come, He tells me whether to go or not. (It’s like listening to your conscience.)

I was asked to go to 2 different places on Monday. I really wanted to go but all morning I felt a cloud over me. Verses in the chapters that I read that day warned against it. I finally gave in and decided not to go to either one.

The second invitation was for Thursday. I feel like I am letting my family down when I say no.

Nehemiah 9:34, “They ignored your commands, dismissed the warnings you gave them.” The Message

That verse reminded me that God said no. I will obey and heed the warning. I called and left a message that I couldn’t go.

After I hung up, God reminded me that I am not their source, He is. He has a plan for that day. I would just be in the way.

September 24, 2019: Nehemiah 7-9.

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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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