Was In Love?

February 18, 2019: Psalms 69-71; 1 Chronicles 20; 2 Samuel 13.


When I got up this morning, I found a note on my desk. David canceled Hulu. We didn’t even try it for 24 hours! He decided without talking to me.

I feel like we are roller skating while holding hands. When he makes a decision alone, he changes direction, whipping me around the corner. I’m getting whiplash!

I handled the finances for the first 30+ years of our marriage. I made a few decisions on my own and he was the one with whiplash! (He lost his head a few times.)

I want to leave him a note – “I gave up sex for Lent. Happy Easter!”

But I won’t because that’s not love – that’s revenge. I turned to Proverbs to read the cross-references and notes on a few verses. I got stuck on the first one.

Proverbs 24:29, “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.’ ” The Message


* * * * * * *

“There’s no love without commitment; the level of commitment shows the level of love. …Love is never lust. Someone wanting you is not them loving you.”

Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, “Love Like You Mean It,” February 17, 2019

* * * * * * *

Amnon shows us the difference between love and lust – and the consequences.

2 Samuel 13:1, “…Amnon, also David’s son, was in love with Tamar.” The Message

  1. Amnon was obsessed…to the point of making himself sick over her, v. 2.
  2. She was a virgin so he couldn’t see how he could get his hands on her, v. 2.
  3. Jonadab was exceptionally streetwise, v. 3.
  4. Jonadab made a way for Amnon to get his hands on Tamar without marrying her, v. 5.
  5. Amnon cleared everyone out of the house. That left Tamar unprotected, v. 9.
  6. He asked her to bring the food to his bedroom. Normally, she never would have entered his bedroom, v. 10.
  7. She got too close and he grabbed her, v. 11.
  8. She said no, v. 12, 13.
  9. Amnon did not listen, v. 14.
  10. Since she was alone, unprotected, in a room she never should have entered, he raped her, v. 14.
  11. His lust turned into hate, v. 15.
  12. He rejected her and threw her out, v. 18.
  13. She had no place to go! She couldn’t return to the palace to live with her virgin sisters. She moved in with her brother Absalom and was desolate and bitter, v. 18-20.
  14. Absalom said…let’s keep it quiet – a family matter, v. 20.

But it never stays quiet. It always comes out. That event destroyed Tamar and cost Amnon his life!

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Ignore What the World Worships

February 17, 2019: Psalms 51, 25, 32, 38-41.


We discussed options and debated when to cancel Dish. In the end, I told David I didn’t want to cancel in the middle of the month. I wanted to get my money’s worth.

Psalms 25:15, “If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet.” The Message

I pulled up our bill online. The new month started on the 17th. (Sigh.) We should have canceled on Saturday!

Psalms 40:4, “Blessed are you who give yourself over to God, turn your backs on the world’s ‘sure thing;’ ignore what the world worships.” The Message

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Thirty-Seven and a Half Tons of Silver

February 17, 2019: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; 2 Samuel 11, 12.


I asked God for money to replace the shower.

He replied, “I sent it. You gave it to Dish.”

* * * * * * *

We are going over our expenses with a fine-toothed comb. We want to increase our retirement savings to 15%. That money has to come from somewhere!

When we signed up with Dish, we had three teenagers and 4 TVs. We ordered a “Hopper” and “Joey” for the girls and the same for the boys. The men’s “Hopper” is full of sports. The ladies “Hopper” has dramas and movies. When our kids started working full-time, they paid one-fifth of the bill.

As they moved out, we sent the “Joeys” back and got rid of TVs. We were down to 2 “Hoppers” and 2 TVs. It was nice knowing we could afford both “Hoppers.” But do we want that more than we want to remodel the bathroom? Do we want to be comfortable now or comfortable in retirement?

I added up what we spent on Dish over the last 10 years – $13,000. That would have given us a nice second bathroom!

* * * * * * * *

1 Chronicles 19:6-7, “When it dawned on the Ammonites that as far as David was concerned, they stank to high heaven, (7) they hired, at a cost of a thousand talents of silver (thirty-seven and a half tons!), chariots and horsemen…” The Message

The Ammonites sent 37½ tons of silver to the Arameans to hire them to fight. That was not a good investment. When the Arameans found themselves facing the best soldiers, they ran away!

1 Chronicles 19:14, “But when Joab and his soldiers moved in to fight the Arameans, they ran off in full retreat.” The Message

* * * * * * *

What was King David doing during this war? Taking it easy. He took a nap and then went for a walk admiring his kingdom.

2 Samuel 11:2, “One late afternoon, David got up from taking his nap and was strolling on the roof of the palace. From his vantage point on the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was stunningly beautiful.” The Message

Uriah stayed diligent. He had – as David Ramsey puts it – “gazelle intensity!”

2 Samuel 11:11, “Uriah replied to David, ‘The Chest is out there with the fighting men of Israel and Judah – in tents. My master Joab and his servants are roughing it out in the fields. So, how can I go home and eat and drink and enjoy my wife? On your life, I’ll not do it!’ ” The Message

Uriah’s priorities were in order: God first, his work second, and pleasure last. David let his priorities slip until “pleasure” had first place. His actions slipped to a place he never would have gone.

  1. He committed adultery with Bathsheba.
  2. He ordered the murder of Uriah.
  3. He had the gall to send Uriah’s death sentence with him to Joab!

2 Samuel 11:14, “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.” The Message

* * * * * * *

In our discussion of canceling Dish, David said one thing that stuck with me. “It will all be on again.” We really don’t miss out – we postpone.

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. What is your focus today?”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 16

Keeping Dish instead of getting a new shower would definitely be settling for less!

“Satan tried to get Jesus to settle for less, and he’ll try the same with you.”

“The Word for You Today,” February 16, 2019

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Fair and Even-Handed

February 15, 2019: 1 Chronicles 17; Psalms 1, 86; 2 Samuel 8; 1 Chronicles 18, Psalms 60, 2 Samuel 9.


The billing company for that medical bill replied. They said we owe the money but ignored the double payment. The bill is for David’s appointments.

I borrowed his phone. I took a picture of the October bill and the payment. Then I took a picture of the November bill with both appointments on it and the payment. I emailed them to the billing company.

David had one shoe on when I asked him to see if the email went through. It was not the best time to ask.

2 Samuel 8:15, “Thus David ruled over all of Israel. He ruled well – fair and even-handed in all his duties and relationships.” The Message

It was not fair to ask David when he was leaving for work. My response was not even-handed. I texted, “Sorry.”

* * * * * * *

Marriage is a three-legged race. I turned it into a tug-of-war. I wanted to deal with that email right now!

A three-legged race is usually run with an adult and a child. The adult has to shorten his stride and slow down to the child’s speed. The child has to stretch their legs. They also have to run in sync.

Most marriages include a spender and a saver. The spender has to slow down and the saver has to loosen up.

A couple has to run at their own speed. The fastest runners don’t win three-legged races! They get ahead of their partner, trip, and fall down.

The winners move slow and steady. But they keep their feet. They cross the line together. The goal is to work together – to stay together. That way no one gets hurt.

In a marriage, we are not only tied to each other – we are tied to God. Had I asked God, He would have told me to wait until lunch to check on that email.

* * * * * * *

David wanted to build a temple for the “Chest of God” or “Ark of the Covenant,” (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17). God said no. The Ark was a movable shrine. David could take it with him to battles. Had he built a temple – the ark would probably have stayed put!

How often do I try to put God in a box? He wants me to take Him everywhere I go. He wants to help me fight my battles. He’s the reason I’m still married.

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The King Made Himself at Home

February 14, 2019: Psalms 106, 108, 123, 124, 131; 2 Samuel 7


Our assignment for “Financial Peace University” this week is to invest 15% for retirement. Obviously, we would have to cut expenses elsewhere. One area we considered is our vacation budget.

We are “homebodies.” We enjoy a 3 day weekend away. But after 2 nights we are ready for the comfort of our own bed.

We are not alone! Joanna Gaines latest book is for “homebodies.” It’s called – “Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave.” I look forward to reading it!

Psalms 131:2, 3, “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. (3) Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!” The Message

In our discussion, David mentioned the money we are saving for a new shower. We put in a used shower when we added the second bathroom. The only part remaining is the wall with the pipes! We use shower curtains for the other 3 walls. David built a deck for the floor and a frame to contain the water.

The new shower will have to wait a bit longer. We are content using it as we save for a new one.

Psalms 106:26, “They found fault with the life they had and turned a deaf ear to God’s voice.” The Message

Someday we will have a new shower in a remodeled bathroom!

2 Samuel 7:1, “Before long, the king made himself at home and God gave him peace from all his enemies.” The Message

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Salt-of-the-Earth People

February 13, 2019: Psalms 29, 96, 101, 103-105


We received a medical bill from November 2017. We pay our bills as we get them so David called them. It was the portion insurance was to pay but we hadn’t met our $6,500 deductible.

David wrote the check and I had a bad feeling in my gut. We decided I would double-check the bill.

We do owe that money – but we paid another bill twice! I called them and asked for a statement. The first payment was not credited to our account! It was double the amount we owed. I sent an email asking for a refund.

Proverbs 29:11, “God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace.” The Message

* * * * * * *

It’s “wash your hair Wednesday!” I wash the bedding on Wednesdays and my hair in the afternoon. (It’s how I guarantee a good hair day for the church service.)

As I was picking out clothes for church, I noticed a black, lacy top. It’s too cold to wear it alone. I wore a red, mock-neck underneath for Valentine’s Day.

Proverbs 29:2, “Stand at attention! Dress your best to honor Him!” The Message

* * * * * * *

Laura stopped by to pick up some mail. I caught up with her while double checking the “2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide.” (I know – I planned to finish it by Christmas.)

I have an Excel sheet with every chapter of every book on it. I write down the date we will read each chapter next to it. That is how I know I didn’t miss a chapter.

The “2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide” was the most complicated one I’ve designed yet. I loosely based it on the “Chronological Study Bible.” That Bible breaks chapters up. My guide has you read the entire chapter. I’m glad God is patient.

Psalms 103:8-10, “God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, He’s rich in love. (9) He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. (10) He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

I brought a rug up for the kitchen. I swept, mopped, put the rug down, and moved the table on it. That left no time to practice. Yikes!

When I got to church, I tried the Laura Story intro. I couldn’t remember it! I’m glad I didn’t mention it to Pastor Gary!

Psalms 103:14, “He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Before practice, I handed a letter to Pastor Gary.

“I wanted you to see that those postcards we send from the “The Salt and Light Council” work. The politicians do read them.”

The letter was from President Donald Trump. Pastor Gary asked to show it to the congregation. “The Salt and Light Council” table was up in the lobby. They still had blank postcards and information on current issues.

After playing for the worship service, I snuck out the back door. I walked through the parking lot (it warmed up to 32°) and entered another door for class.

(We are getting so much information out of the “Financial Peace University!” I wish it were a required course for high school students!)

After class, I went back to retrieve my letter. A few people stopped me and said they were impressed. Pastor Gary read the whole letter!

“All I did was send a “Salt and Light Council” postcard. Although, I’m a writer and I used my own words.”

Psalms 101:5, 6, “…I can’t stand arrogance. But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people – they’re the ones I want walking with me; Men and women on the straight and narrow – these are the ones I want at my side.” The Message

(I’ve sent a lot of postcards. I wrote to President Barak Obama but he didn’t reply. I receive correspondence from Democrat and Republican Senators and Representatives.)

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Asaph Was in Charge

February 12, 2019: 1 Chronicles 15, 16; Psalms 24, 26-28

Looking over the list of songs for Wednesday night triggered a memory. Laura Story recorded “Mighty to Save” and had a pretty piano intro. I pulled it up on youtube.com.

I was picking it out when a voice in my head said, “Why bother? The leader will probably have the guitar start it.”

That’s the prerogative of the leader. I learned the intro anyway.

I spend a lot of time doing “useless practice.” I learn instrumentals and complicated transitions that I rarely use. But, every once in a while, the leader likes what I’ve prepared. It adds a note of something new to the service. It keeps worship fresh and me on my toes!

* * * * * * *

Today I read about the worship leader King David chose. His name was Asaph and he was…

…a drummer. (Sigh.)

1 Chronicles 16:5, 7, “Asaph was in charge. …Asaph was on percussion… (7) That was the day that David inaugurated regular worship of praise to God, led by Asaph and his company.” The Message

The New International Version said Asaph was to sound the cymbals. In a marching band, the best drummers play the snare drum. Usually, a freshman plays the cymbals. Asaph may not have been the best percussionist but he was the best leader.

God decides based on heart – not chair. The best musicians in an orchestra sit in the first chair. But they may not have the best heart. They may not be the best leader.

1 Chronicles 16:14, “He is God, our God; wherever you go you come on His judgments and decisions.” The Message

There are other keyboard players at church. If we were assigned chairs, I would go directly to the fourth or fifth one! They all have a heart after God but God is using them in other areas. They are unable to attend practice on Wednesday nights because of their jobs and children’s needs.

I don’t have those responsibilities anymore. I have a bigger job – guarding my heart!

“The next time you’ve got a big job, don’t cut corners.”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 12

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God Has Helped

February 11, 2019: 1 Chronicles 12, 14; Psalms 133; 2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13

I decided to share my great discovery from “Battlefield of the Mind” with David. (I think I got ahead of God.)

2 Samuel 5:24, “When you hear the sound of shuffling in the trees, get ready to move out. It’s a signal that God is going ahead of you…” The Message

I got out the paper with the negative version of the event. I started reading it to David and he stopped me.

“I see where this is going and I don’t care…”

I didn’t let him finish. I wadded up the piece of paper and threw it away. Now, I wonder what the rest of that sentence was?

I don’t care…

  • to talk about this now?
  • to fight?
  • to rehash an event that was painful for you?
  • to read about this in a blog post?

Pastor Monte Knudsen’s sermon series this month is “Love Like You Mean It.” He shared about a couple he counseled.

The man was living with his wife part-time and a mistress on the other days. He advised the wife to cook his favorite meal and dress up the next time he came home.

I didn’t like this story! The man was being a jerk! But, her actions saved their marriage.

Then Pastor challenged us to show love to someone who is hard to love. You know – that difficult coworker, or your grouchy neighbor.

I went back to my office. I never thought the hard-to-love person would be my husband. I felt like he was being a jerk!

God nudged me, “Feed him.”

That was the last thing I wanted to hear. But I obeyed and made him pancakes. Sigh.

* * * * * * *

God worked on my heart all day. He was working on David’s heart, too, because he offered to pick up dinner. I was up to my ears preparing for our tax appointment. He couldn’t have picked a better day.

2 Samuel 12:18, “…All is well, yes, all is well with you, …Yes, for your God has helped and does help you.” The Message

All is well.

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God Replied, “Count on Me.”

February 10, 2019: 2 Samuel 4, 5; 1 Chronicles 11

“I look at these books and keep going back to the same one,” Melinda observed. “It’s called the ‘Battlefield of the Mind.’ “

“That’s a good one.” I replied, “I should read it again.” We agreed to read it at the same time and hold each other accountable. I got out my copy and found my bookmark in the first few pages. I never finished it!

Everything changed after one chapter! I realized, I choose how I remember events. I can record things in a negative light or a positive light.

I wrote the negative version of an event on a sheet of paper. Then recorded only the positive in my journal. It was a battle!

2 Samuel 4:9, “…As surely as God lives – the One who got me out of every trouble I’ve ever been in…” The Message

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 5:19, “…God replied, ‘Count on me. I’ll help you beat them.’ ” The Message

With God’s help, I can win this battle!

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Abner Took Advantage

February 9, 2019: 1 Chronicles 10; 2 Samuel 1-3.

We were finally able to take my mother-in-law, Jane out for her January birthday. It has been bitterly cold and we’ve endured many storms. We picked her up on Saturday evening when it was a balmy 25°.

We surprised her by having David’s sister, Melinda join us. We caught up, laughed, and ate pizza because it was “National Pizza Day.” It is good to get together with our family. I know they always have our back.

King Saul wasn’t so lucky.

1 Chronicles 10:3, “The battle went hard against Saul…” The Message

Where was his general, Abner? Did his cousin abandon him?

1 Samuel 14:51, “Kish, Saul’s father, and Ner, Abner’s father, were the sons of Abiel.” The Message

Abner was King Saul’s general and chief bodyguard.

1 Samuel 26:14-16, “He shouted across to the army and Abner the son of Ner, ‘Hey, Abner! How long do I have to wait for you to wake up and answer me?’ Abner said, ‘Who’s calling?’ (15) ‘Aren’t you in charge there?’ said David. ‘Why aren’t you minding the store? Why weren’t you standing guard over your master the king, when a soldier came to kill the king your master? (16) Bad form! As God lives, your life should be forfeit, you and the entire bodyguard. …’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 3:6, “Abner took advantage of the continuing war between the house of Saul and the house of David to gain power for himself.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Most ancient Near Eastern Kingdoms had established dynasties in which successive rulers came from the same family. …The exceptions were those rather frequent cases when a powerful general seized control for himself. …

When Israel’s first king died, the question of succession became crucial. Some favored a dynastic succession, placing Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth on the throne (2 Samuel 2:8-10). Others, perhaps remembering the pattern of the judges, preferred to crown the man who had shown himself most able, David (2 Samuel 2:10, 11).

In addition, both Ish-Bosheth and David had ambitious generals. Abner, who was commander of Saul’s army, as well as a cousin of Saul, naturally support Ish-Bosheth to succeed his father as king. In the same way, Joab, commander of David’s army and the son of David’s sister Zeruiah, was a powerful element in David’s campaign for the throne. …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 3:7, “Saul had a concubine, Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. One day Ish-Bosheth confronted Abner: ‘What business do you have sleeping with my father’s concubine?’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…a concubine was a woman who had legal status within a family, and who shared the sexual attentions of the husband, while having somewhat lesser authority than a wife. …For one to take another man’s concubine was seen as usurping the husband’s authority. This was especially true of a king’s concubines. To gain possession of a king’s harem was to gain title to the king’s throne. …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Abner already saw himself as king. He took one of the privileges of the king – a woman in his harem. When reprimanded, he switched loyalties.

2 Samuel 3:12, “Abner went ahead and sent personal messengers to David: ‘Make a deal with me and I’ll help bring the whole country of Israel over to you.’ ” The Message

While feigning allegiance to Ish-Bosheth, Abner worked behind the scenes;

  1. He got the elders of Israel together, 3:17.
  2. He took the Benjaminites aside and spoke to them, 3:18.
  3. He met with David, 3:20.
  4. He promised to rally everyone in Israel for David, 3:21.

Joab was not fooled.

2 Samuel 3:25, “You know Abner son of Ner better than that. This was no friendly visit. He was here to spy on you, figure out your comings and goings, find out what you’re up to.” The Message

David knew Abner’s character. He fought many battles with him. He knew Abner looked out for Abner. He betrayed the son of his cousin. Yet, David chose to remember him in a positive light.

2 Samuel 3:38, “The king spoke to his servants. ‘You realize, don’t you, that today a prince and hero fell victim of foul play in Israel?’ ” The Message

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