Examine It Again

Last Monday, I was mad at David. I wanted to rearrange the basement for Thanksgiving and he wouldn’t even look at the plans.

I ranted to God. “I know there are three in this marriage. I won’t give up, but I’m getting nowhere with David. You be my husband.”

“Good,” God replied, “go put away David’s clothes.”

(Years ago, our children were not putting their clothes away. David had me pile his clean clothes next to theirs. After work, he put them away. He led by example. He was showing them that I was not the maid.)

I put his clothes away.

God worked on David’s heart and you know the rest of the story. It’s amazing the difference a week can make.

Leviticus 13:5, “On the seventh day…examine it again…” The Message

Today, all the furniture is in place. There are pictures on the wall. The ironed tablecloths are on the tables and dressers. The Thanksgiving tablescape and candles are ready. The table is set and waiting under dust covers.

Through the week, I learned a new approach to dealing with problems in a relationship:

  1. Exclude them from the conversation. The Israelites excluded one from the congregation, (see Leviticus 7:21). I excluded him from the conversation. I stopped talking to David about the problem and talked about it with God.
  2. I choose my attitude. On the hardest day, I studied Proverbs 17:22. It talked about a cheerful heart. The cross-reference verses talked about a peaceful heart, (Proverbs 14:30), and a happy heart, (Proverbs 15:13). I took a break from the basement and finished a Christmas project. That made my heart happy.
  3. Let God pick the time for the conversation. I wanted David to accept my reasons for rearranging, (see Leviticus 10:20). He didn’t on Monday but did on Thursday. I had to let God choose the time for the conversation.
  4. Wait until evening, (see Leviticus 11:24). Give yourselves a day to cool off and ponder the conversation. Look at the issue from their perspective.
  5. It might take a week, (see Leviticus 13:5). We are an instant society. We want problems solved now. We want everyone to agree with us. But God is not dealing with just the problem. He is dealing with hearts. Each heart has to come into submission to God before the problem resolves.

Have you had a problem resolve in a week?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

#bible

Whether Something Shouldn’t Be Done

The hardest part of raising children is letting them stand on their own two feet. We want to cushion each fall.

When they marry, we turn their care over to their spouse. When bad things happen, we still want to step in and rescue them as we always have.

Esther 3:4, “…to see whether something shouldn’t be done about it. …” The Message

Derek had a rough time over the last two weeks. He left work one day to find his back window shattered. He had it replaced before he even told us about it.

The next day, he got a nasty cut at work. It was already cleaned and bandaged when he told me about it. He asked Rachel to change the bandage.

Then his phone started acting weird. He got on the phone with technical support. He had to drive 30 miles to get the problem fixed.

After the car window, David came to me and asked, “Should we do something?”

After an internal debate, I replied, “We are not his source; God is. We need to let God meet his need.”

Derek cut the apron strings last week. He turned to Rachel instead of us. That means we did our job well.

I have one regret. I didn’t know it was his last meal at home. Had I known it, I wouldn’t have fed him leftovers! (You guessed it – macaroni and cheese.)

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

#bible

My Heart Leaped for Joy

It’s wedding week. The song, “Goin’ to the Chapel” is running through my mind.

Psalms 122:1, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” The Message

When the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they rebuilt the Temple. Their joy was boundless as they were able to worship in Jerusalem again. They sang songs on their way to The Temple.

“Hezekiah is known for preparing Jerusalem for a siege by carving a long tunnel from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. Rabbis said the pool’s water was the purest on the planet because Mount Zion is its source.

Every year during the Feast of Tabernacles, water was taken from the Pool of Siloam in golden pitchers and carried up to the Temple in a huge procession. People sang the Song of Ascents, silver trumpets were blown on the Temple steps, and the entire city was lit up with torches. It was called the most joyous time in Jerusalem when the water was poured out on the altar as an offering to the Most Holy God.”

“Rivers of Living Water” by Gordon Robertson in “Frontlines,” September, 2018

Psalms 120-134 are the “Psalms of Ascent.”

Psalms 122:4, “The city to which the tribes ascend, all God’s tribes go up to worship, to give thanks to the name of God – this is what it means to be Israel.” The Message

A wedding is similar to the ascent on the Feast of Tabernacles. Everyone is in their best clothes. The place is lit up and filled with music. The bride walks up the aisle to the altar. Everyone wishes happiness for the couple.

Christ is the key to a successful marriage. He loved us so much that He gave everything – including His life. Seeing His sacrifice, we can’t help but love Him, respect Him, and submit to Him.

King Xerxes tried to create respect for each husband by enacting a law. It didn’t work.

Esther 1:22, “…’Every man is master of his own house; whatever he says, goes.’ ” The Message

Jesus showed us how to do it. The more love you give to your wife, the more respect you gain. The more respect a woman gives to her husband, the more love she receives, (see Ephesians 5:22-23).

If your wife doesn’t respond to what you say, check your motives. Will your decision benefit the family or just yourself?

A master is responsible for nurturing everyone in his household:

  • Are they getting enough sleep?
  • Are they getting enough food?
  • Do they have time with you that is free of distractions?
  • Do they have time alone to develop their God-given gifts?
  • Do you spend one-on-one time with each of your children?
  • Do you regularly share a physical love with your wife?
  • Do your hobbies take up most of your free time?

If no one is listening to you, maybe it’s because you are not listening to them.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

#bible

Quit Focusing on the Handicap

“Wow, you are really beautiful!”

The waitress was looking at me? Stunned, I fumbled for a response. I mumbled, “You must like curly hair.”

“Yes, I really do!”

I went to the bathroom because I wanted to see what she saw. I saw dark circles and not-so-youthful skin.

“I don’t get it, Lord. I don’t see beauty.”

“I see it. You are beautiful to me. You see the cracks, she saw the light coming through the cracks. The beauty is in the light. The Light is Jesus living in you.”

* * * * * * *

Have you ever wondered by some elderly people seem to glow? While others seem to shrivel up? They both sport wrinkles and gray hair. What is the secret?

The Light. After years of serving Jesus, their fire consists of red-hot coals. Coals glow. Coals can cook food without burning it up. Coals can warm a room and start a fire in the dead wood.

We all have “cracks” – weaknesses, scars, or handicaps. If we concentrate on our “cracks” we miss the light shining through them.

“2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “Then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. …I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. (10) Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.” Martin Luther

* * * * * * *

“If the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude, and gratitude is but a way of seeing, a spiritual perspective of smallness might offer a vital way of seeing especially conducive to gratitude. Those child photos, that wonder I experienced firsthand through her eyes – ‘How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it!’ – was that it? I had just held evidence of it. The joy of small that makes life large. Hadn’t I personally experienced it before too, that vantage point that gave a sense of smallness before grandeur? At the lip of the Grand Canyon, peering into the carved earth, the vastness of the hewn and many-hued chasm.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

  • This is why we go to the ocean. It makes us small in its vastness.
  • This is why men go to sea for years at a time. Seeing only the ocean everywhere they look, makes them small.
  • This is why we hike to the top of a mountain. Seeing for miles makes us small.
  • This is why we love to fly. Seeing people reduced to the size of ants makes us embrace our smallness.

I returned to our table in the back room. We chose this restaurant on a whim. The only available tables were in the farthest room. We had finished our salads and still had not been served our drinks.

I’m sure the waitress complimented me to make up for the lack of service. She apologized. And even left a pitcher of sweet tea because that is what we were drinking.

I told my kids, “That waitress must be a drama student at the local college. It’s Father’s Day, and since I didn’t cook, she assumed I would be paying.” (Why can’t I just accept a compliment?)

But this was not a planned dinner, only two of our children were there for a visit. We decided at the last-minute to go out to eat.

I had offered to cook but we are in a heat wave. David didn’t want to warm up the house anymore with cooking.

The food was not the important thing – the visit was. You cannot put a price on time together. You don’t really appreciate its value until you are apart.

David teased me as he put down the tip. “Hey, didn’t I pick up the tab on Mother’s Day, too?”

I quipped, “We picked up the tab on Mother’s Day and we picked up the tab tonight!”

2 Corinthians 12:14, “Everything is in readiness now for this, my third visit to you. But don’t worry about it; you won’t have to put yourselves out. I’ll be no more of a bother to you this time than on the other visits. I have no interest in what you have – only in you. Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children.” The Message

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Closer Than an Aunt

My sisters and I sometimes joked that God sent us the wrong daughters. One niece was studious, like me; and another niece is good with money, like me. (My third niece is artistic and definitely her mother’s daughter!)

My daughter did not keep her room clutter free and likes to play pool; both traits of my sisters. I like every room perfectly clutter free and never did take an interest in pool. When my daughter was growing up, I said it was like living with my sister again. I’m sure my nieces heard the same statement.

The relationship of aunt is a special one. My sisters were the best aunts. I didn’t do as well. In my defense, my children were born first, 21 months apart, and when my nieces were 2 and 4 I had my third baby. I had my hands full.

* * * * * * *

Deborah was the first woman listed as a nurse, not a handmaid. She would have been a second mother to Esau and Jacob and would have been where they turned when they were sick or hurt. She would have been closer than an aunt. No wonder there was great grief at her death.

Genesis 35:8, “But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried beneath Bethel under an oak. It was called Allon Bakuth.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“…she would have been of invaluable service to his young family. Old nurses, like her, were not only honored, but loved as mothers; and, accordingly, her death was the occasion of so great lamentation. She was buried under the oak – hence called “the terebinth of tears” (1 Kings 13:14).” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

 

Forgive

There was one awkward moment at our family Christmas. I walked away quietly thinking, “This moment does not define me. It happened, but the awkwardness will pass.”

The next day, my family was commenting on how much they enjoyed Christmas. I said, “Yes, and there was only one awkward moment!”

None of them could remember it and I didn’t elaborate! There were opportunities to have my feelings hurt, but I consciously refused to let it hurt me.

Forgiveness is not optional.

Matthew 6:15, “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Modern English Version

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the wonderful Christmas. Thank You for taking the hurts from me. Thank You for keeping me from saying anything that hurt others. 

In Jesus Name,

Amen

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

Cardinals

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I tore off the December picture and threw the rest of the 2016 calendar away. I started to fold the picture for my scrapbook when I remembered I posted a photo of it on frugalfish.org. Why was it hard? Why did I want to keep it? The picture was a Cardinal.

“A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed.”

When my dad died, in the spring of 2010, a two cardinals built a nest in the bush next to my mother’s bow-window. Protected from predators, they didn’t realize they gave Mom a front row seat. It comforted her to see the little family every day. She waited for the eggs to hatch and watched the baby birds grow.

You don’t understand and appreciate comfort until you mourn.

Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are those who mourn,  for they shall be comforted.” Modern English Version

My father-in-law loved the St. Louis Cardinals. He passed that love on to his children and grandchildren. It comforts us every time we see a Cardinal. We are seeking them out: Christmas ornaments, gift bags, the calendar, cards, and mugs.

Cardinals are not the only symbols that bring comfort. When I see a daisy, I think of Peyton because it was her favorite flower. Whitney and her sisters look for hearts because it reminds them of their mom, Kerry. Acoustic guitars make me think of my dad.

Pat looks for pennies. She says, “Every time I find a penny, it means God loves me.” As she got out of the vehicle for her first radiation treatment, she saw two pennies on the ground. God knew she needed extra encouragement that day.

Dear Father God,

You are the God of all comfort. Thank You for comforting us as we grieve for John. Thank You for the signs that tell us of Your great love. Thank You for the assurance that we will see John again.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

Divided

In high school, I was on a debate team. One question sticks firmly in my mind:

“Who said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand?’ “

I wanted to answer: “Jesus Christ in Mark 3,” but that was not the answer they were seeking. I gave them the answer they wanted – “Abraham Lincoln.”

Mark 3:24, 25, “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” New Living Translation

My family is gathering to celebrate Christmas today. (We postponed everything after my father-in-law’s death.) This was the perfect day to read Mark 3:25.

Satan hates families. A comment today could hurt or offend another family member. We can refuse to accept the hurt or offense. We can forgive.

There may be an awkward moment. Awkward moments pass and they don’t kill us. We cannot let anything divide us. We have to forgive and ask for forgiveness when unintentional hurts happen.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for sending Your Son. Put a guard over my mouth. Don’t let me say anything that will hurt others. Put a filter over my ears. Don’t let me hear anything and take it the wrong way. Bless our time together.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

Every

My father-in-law was tough. He started working in a foundry when he was 17 and a junior in high school.

He was in the hospital with a blood clot, COPD, and emphysema.They sent him home and readmitted him a day later with pneumonia. It was painful just watching him try to breathe. We prayed for him and believed for a miracle.

Then he had a stroke and slipped away peacefully that night. The odds were against him but we prayed anyway because Jesus heals every kind of sickness, disease, and illness.

Matthew 4:23, 24, “. . . And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed – he healed them all.” New Living Translation

 

Luke 4:40, “. . . No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one.” New Living Translation

I added these verses to my prayer list. I have one page with names of those who are battling sicknesses and diseases. I am not discouraged even though my father-in-law died because the day of his death was written before he was conceived.

Psalms 139:16, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the life of my father-in-law. Please comfort his wife and children. Thank You for the work ethic he passed on to his children and grandchildren.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

Prove

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When I read today’s verse, I thought God was directing me to get that box of clothes to Goodwill. God was directing David to do that. (Insert laughs here.)

Luke 3:8, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. . . .” New Living Translation

How do you prove it?

  1. Give to the poor, 3:11.
  2. Share food with the hungry, 3:11.
  3. Don’t extort money, 3:14.
  4. Don’t make false accusations, 3:14.
  5. Be content with your pay, 3:14.

God wanted me to deal with our stuffed refrigerator. Last week we had a few meals brought in from our church family. We had a two meals with my sister-in-law’s family, but she brought food, too. We also had food brought in by our kids. (Yeah, I know they are all adults now.) 

Being “Frugalfish,” I know how to stretch food. I froze a little, (we don’t have a deep freezer), and alternated the leftovers between lunches and suppers. I cooked on Christmas Eve but that was the only time. I had cooked hamburger and a cake that needed eating today.

My daughter goes to her Aunt Melinda’s every Tuesday. Melinda feeds her and they watch a show they both like. She told me Melinda was making nachos for supper. I gave them the hamburger and started to send the cake – but David objected! I saved 4 pieces of the cake and sent the rest with my daughter.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for my church family, family, and friends. When grief made our appetites disappear, a lasagna appeared and restored them! Give me the words to thank them properly.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/