This is Your Life’s Work

Bill, our bass player, died suddenly yesterday. I got up at 4:41 a.m. and cried some more. I’m crushed. I looked at today’s chapters and wondered,

“Is there any comfort in Chronicles?”

Bill is the reason I’m on the worship team. The first time he asked me, I told him I was housebound. Then the doctor released me to go to church.

The second time, I told him I did not have a keyboard. The keys on pianos are standard. Keyboard keys can be much smaller or a bit larger and they are touchy!

The third time he brought the regular keyboard player and they both asked me to sub once a month. I agreed to sub and the worship leader loaned me a keyboard.

The regular keyboard player’s job changed and that “once a week” turned into a month, then two, and eventually she moved away for work.

After a few weeks, Bill learned the size of the keyboard I was using for practice and he called his brother. John is a professional piano player and he left a professional keyboard at Bill’s house. When he was in town they played together. John gave Bill permission to loan it to me.

Bill came over after church, in heavy snow, to bring me the keyboard, amp, and all its paraphernalia. They let me use that keyboard for almost 2 years. Then I finally bought one like the one I play at church.

Bill understood playing for worship was important work – his life work. You had to practice to do it well.

2 Chronicles 29:11, “God has chosen you to take your place before him to serve in conducting and leading worship – this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well.” The Message

Each week we were part of the orchestra. Bill sang harmony while playing bass. We loved hearing the congregation worship.

2 Chronicles 29:27-28, “…the sacred choir began singing, backed up by the trumpets and the David orchestra (28) while the entire congregation worshiped.” The Message

* * * * * * *

” ‘I have finished the work you have given me to do,’ John 17:4 NKJ. The ant literally dies working….the Bible doesn’t promote a workaholic lifestyle that endangers your health and causes you to neglect your family….That being said, the contemporary concept of retirement can’t be found in the Bible….As long as you’re alive, there’s always work God wants you to do….And in doing it you’ll not only find joy and fulfillment, you’ll bless those around you too.” The Word for You Today, May 6, 2018

* * * * * * * *

2 Chronicles 31:20, “…He was the very best – good, right, and true before God.” The Message

I have 2 hours to prepare my heart before leaving for church. I hope you are there when the doors open.

2 Chronicles 29:3, “In the first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah, having first repaired the doors of The Temple of God, threw them open to the public.” The Message

* * * * * * *

2 Chronicles 30:8, “…Clasp God’s outstretched hand….” The Message

Today will be difficult, to say the least. It will take 4 people to fill Bill’s shoes:

  1. A bass player.
  2. One who can sing harmony.
  3. A skilled, knowledgeable musician.
  4. A comedian to keep us laughing.

Goodbye, Mr. Bill – Mr. Funk. Until we play together again…

2 Chronicles 29:35, “…The worship in the Temple of God was on a firm footing again.” The Message

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The Last Will Be First

We strive to become rich, to rise above middle-class status and we even surrender to things we shouldn’t. We must always remember, in God’s economy the first will be last and the last will be first.

Jeremiah 39:9, 10, “Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to him, with the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left behind in the land of Judah the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.” Modern English Version

They carried off to Babylon all the upper-class and middle-class Israelites and the people of the city. The poorest of the poor were, not only spared, but given vineyards and fields. They went from having nothing to getting everything, and they retained their freedom.

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Busboy = Banker

Last night Charles Nieman taught us to take care of what God puts in our hands. David was a shepherd, which was a despised occupation normally assigned to slaves, and he used that time to become an expert with his slingshot. He killed Goliath with that slingshot.

We may be in a job we despise, but God is there with us and we need to use that time to prepare for the next plan he has for us. Most jobs are not what they appear to be.

Acts 6:2, “The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together and said, “We should not give up preaching God’s message in order to serve at tables.”

“To serve at tables: This may mean either that they were in charge of handing out food to the widows or that they were in charge of the money, since the Greek word ‘table’ may also mean ‘bank’.” CEV Bible Notes

Reduction May Lead to Redirection

2 Kings 10:32, “In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel’s territory…”

We like to think that God will always give us more, but sometimes he takes away.

I loved my job at church and I remember how awkward it was when God started reducing my areas of influence and responsibility. More staff was hired and my job description continued to be whittled away.

When my health deteriorated to the point I was housebound, my responsibilities were reduced to the tasks I could complete from home.

Then in July, 2007 God clearly told me I would only be working six more months. I stepped down at the end of that year.

I finished the Relevant Bible Reading Guide for the year 2008 and a few friends started using it in 2009. I started sharing it online in 2010 and I wrote the Babysteps Bible Reading Guide in 2011.

I didn’t know then that God planned for me to minister at a new satellite church. He was taking the job away to make me available for the next phase of his plan for my life.

It was four years later that I became a member of FCOC and started playing keyboard at the Fairfield satellite.

Reduction may be leading to redirection.

“Forever Reign” – Hillsong

“…you are peace when my fear is crippling…you are true even in my wandering…”

LIFE IS EASY GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN

Our lives are like hiking through the mountains. We struggle to climb a mountain: pay off a debt, endure an illness, suffer a job loss. When we reach the peak life is easier: the debt is paid, health restored, we find employment.

Going down the mountain is a piece of cake compared to climbing up. But at the end is another valley: another trial, challenge, problem, etc. The answer is at the top of the next mountain and we start climbing and struggling again.

We foolishly think the top of the mountain is a plateau and we will always be this well off. We are totally shocked when the next challenge comes.

We need to live expecting challenges:

  • Be frugal; and save as much money as possible.
  • Take care of our bodies.
  • Work hard at our present job.

Only God knows what is ahead.

Ecclesiastes 7:14, “When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.”

“Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”

EAT, DRINK, WORK

I made biscuits and gravy from scratch for breakfast today. I did it for two reasons: 1) We had 1/2 pound of sausage left over from last nights meatloaf, and 2) It’s David’s favorite!

Ecclesiastes 2:24, “The best thing we can do is to enjoy eating, drinking, and working. I believe these are God’s gifts to us, and no one enjoys eating and living more than I do.”

Your favorite breakfast with a good cup of coffee is a great start to your day.

David & I are blessed because we enjoy the work God has assigned to us. David is constantly thinking of ways to improve the lumberyard and grow the business from adding a window by the desk to see into the back room, to cleaning out storage rooms and selling unneeded office equipment.

And I get to write…all day long! I don’t get paid, but God meets our needs.

“10,000 Reasons” – Matt Redman

Opportunity

“The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work.” Anonymous

When Solomon turned to other gods, the Lord chose to replace him with one of his officials, Jeroboam. It’s interesting to note how Jeroboam became an official.

1 Kings 11:28, “Solomon noticed that Jeroboam was a hard worker. So he put Jeroboam in charge of the work force from Manasseh and Ephraim.”

If you are not getting any opportunities, you may not be working hard enough!

“Relentless” – Hillsong

“The time is up for chasing shadows…”

 

I WISH I HAD MORE CHILDREN

It has been a rough year. I contracted bronchitis and shared it with my husband. We’ve been sick for weeks.

My husband’s company can no longer pay into our retirement and his hours were cut. We understand; and are grateful that no one in the company lost their job.

Monday night we were discussing our pile of medical bills that totals in the thousands, and it hit me…

“We may not be rich, but we have a good life. There was roast beef for dinner and our house is warm. We are getting our health back and looking forward to our son and granddaughter’s birthdays this month!”

I was reminded of that conversation when I read today’s verse.

1 Kings 4:20, “There were so many people living in Judah and Israel while Solomon was king that they seemed like grains of sand on a beach. Everyone had enough to eat and drink, and they were happy.” CEV

The verse also made me wish we had more children! Taking care of us could have been spread out more!

Psalms 127:1-5, “Without the help of the Lord it is useless to build a home or to guard a city. It is useless to get up early and stay up late in order to earn a living. God takes care of his own, even while they sleep. Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord. Having a lot of children to take care of you in your old age is like a warrior with a lot of arrows. The more you have, the better off you will be, because they will protect you when your enemies attack with arguments.” CEV

The King James Version mentions “a quiver full” off arrows. That is 12 arrows…or 12 children. My Grandma Cary had the right idea! She went for a baker’s dozen!

“Blessed Be The Name of the Lord” – Newsboys

 

 

November 28, 2013

My son was sitting on the couch while I was reading today’s chapters. I told him he couldn’t play the drums until I finished reading my Bible. I read out loud because faith comes from hearing the Word of God.

I had a little fun. I emphasized the word “mother” in Deuteronomy 5:16 and added the word “car” to verse 21. After reading 5:29, I reminded him his actions will affect his children. I was following the instructions of today’s verse.

Deuteronomy 6:7, “You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the covenant promises of God.

He offers:

  • Life, 4:4.
  • Wisdom and understanding, 4:6.
  • Nearness, 4:7.
  • Justice, 4:8.
  • His word, 4:10.
  • Mercy, 4:31; 5:10; 7:9.
  • Faithfulness, 4:31; 5:10.
  • The same promises for your children, 4:4; 5:3, 29.
  • Long life and prolonged days, 4:40; 5:16, 33; 6:2.
  • Multiply greatly and increase exceedingly, 6:3; 7:13.
  • Love, 7:7, 7:9.
  • Blessed children, 7:13.
  • Blessed crops, 7:13.
  • Blessed livestock, 7:13.
  • No barrenness, 7:14.
  • No sickness or disease, 7:15.
  • No fear, 7:18.

He gives us these things little by little.

Deuteronomy 7:22, “And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you.”

“Your Grace is Enough” Matt Maher

 

 

 

November 4, 2013

Sometimes I get sidetracked as I go through my day.

Today I took the laundry downstairs, and before I brought the empty hamper back upstairs, I had: switched bath mats, cleaned out the picnic basket, rearranged storage under the stairs, got the vacuum from the closet upstairs to sweep up the dust and lint from under the stairs, grabbed a coat from that closet that I wanted to donate, took empty hangers out of that closet, and replaced the batteries  in the touch light.

Those tasks were not even on my list for today! It is easy to get caught up in the details. Moses had a lot of details to take care of in today’s verse.

Leviticus 8:10, “And Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.”

“Walk peacefully with Me…with all that is expected of you…one step at a time…Instead of mentally rehearsing how you will do this or that, keep your mind on My presence and on taking the next step. The more demanding your day, the more help you can expect from Me.” Jesus is Calling, by Sarah Young

“One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture