How to Live Well and Obediently

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ezekiel 16:8, “…I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. …” The Message

Does this mean I can stay in bed?

Galatians 6:5. “Take responsibility for…your own life.” The Message, The Word for You Today, August 11, 2018

I guess not.

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ezekiel 17:24, “All the trees of the field will recognize that I, God, make the great tree small and the small tree great, made the green tree turn dry and the dry tree sprout green branches. I, God, said it – and I did it.” The Message

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Ezekiel 19:14, “…(This is a sad song, a text for singing the blues.)” The Message

I have a choice. I can sing the blues or wait for God to make my dry branches green.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Ezekiel 20:9, “I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt. And I acted in a way that would evoke honor…” The Message

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Ezekiel 20:11, 12, “I gave them laws for living, showed them how to live well and obediently before Me. (12) I also gave them my weekly holy rest day, my ‘Sabbaths,’ a kind of sign post erected between me and them to show them that I, God, am in the business of making them holy.” The Message

God is not in the business of making me happy. He’s in the business of making me holy.

“Nurture the root and you’ll always have fruit.” Beatty, Melody. “More Language of Letting Go.” (Center City, MN: Hazeldon, 2000). 223-231

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“How can we have rain without clouds? Our troubles have always brought us blessings…Our Lord’s love letters often come to us in dark envelopes.” Charles Spurgeon, in “Streams in the Desert,” August 13

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“What if God wants to show you His strength? …How did He strengthen you, Paul? Through letting me struggle. I saw His strength through my struggle.” “Strength Through Struggle,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

Today:

  • Remember Who God is and everything He is doing will bring honor.
  • I cannot act based on how I feel.
  • Am I breaking God’s law – eating healthily, drinking water, rest?
  • Examine my “roots.”
  • Look for the blessings in the clouds.
  • Keep struggling and God will show me His strength.

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

#bible

The Big Three

A relapse. When will this end?

Ezekiel 14:14, “Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job – the Big Three…” The Message

Noah worked 2 jobs for 100 years – building the Ark and preaching to warn people of the flood. Then he endured 40 days and 40 nights of a flood. Only his family survived the flood. When God opened the door to the Ark, Noah had to start over, (See Genesis 6:8-9:29; Hebrews 11:7-9).

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” King James Version

Daniel lost everything and became a captive. He stayed true to God and endured a night in a lion’s den. Slated for execution, he interpreted the king’s dream – saving all the wise men. He never returned home but God revealed mysteries of future events to him. (Read the book of Daniel.)

Daniel 12:13, “And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.” The Message

Job lost everything but his wife and his life. He lost all ten children and his riches in one day. He broke out in boils all over his body. He was living in the town dump. He endured his friends’ “consolation” that was really a condemnation. (Read the book of Job.)

Job 42:12, “God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life.” The Message

He ended up with double riches, 7 more sons, and 3 more daughters. He lived to see 4 generations of his descendants!

“Who can estimate the great debt we owe to suffering and pain? If not for them, we would have little capacity for many of the great virtues of the Christian life. Where would our faith be if not for the trials that test it; or patience, without anything to endure or experience and without tribulations to develop it?” “Streams in the Desert,” August 10

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“Your real enemy is not even a situation. …Fight your fear. …Fight discouragement. If you can fight your discouragement, you can fulfill your destiny.” “Are You Fighting the Wrong Things?” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick, emailed 8-10-18

This will not last forever.

Proverbs 13:19, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul…” New International Version

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#bible

Above the Dome

“In the small town of Seadrift, Texas during World War II a church posted the pictures of soldiers in their town who were going off to war. There were 52…five of them were brothers. It was the Psalms 91 promise of protection that the prayer warriors prayed over those young men…and not one of them died. …God had them literally bombard heaven. And one by one, every Seadrift soldier returned safely from the battlefields of Europe, the South Pacific, and the Far East, in spite of…hundreds of thousands…that were lost on those battlefronts.” (p. 195) “Psalms 91,” Ruth, Peggy Joyce and Angelia Ruth Schum. Peggy Joyce Ruth Ministries, 2010, quoted on prayerineverycity.com 

I pray Psalms 91 over David, myself, my children, my extended family, church family, the Pastors, missionaries, our town, the soldiers, policemen, firemen, and paramedics. I pray a hedge of protection around these that the spirit of suicide cannot penetrate; cancer cells can not live within; that gives us safety when we travel; and protects our marriages.

As I prayed yesterday, I saw a clear dome over my head and body. There is no fear under the dome because God’s Word protects me.

Was that my imagination? I wasn’t going to mention it in my post. Who would believe me? Then I opened my Bible.

Ezekiel 10:1, “When I looked, oh! Above the dome over the heads of the cherubim-angels was what looked like a throne, sky-blue, like a sapphire.” The Message

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“We know the will of God when we read and pray the Word of God.

5 Questions to Know If We’re Hearing From God

  1. Does what I’m hearing line up with Scripture?
  2. Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s character?
  3. Is what I’m hearing confirmed through messages at church or in my quiet time?
  4. Is what I’m hearing beyond me?
  5. Is what I’m hearing pleasing to God?

Lysa Terkeurst, “5 Questions to Know If We’re Hearing From God,” Proverbs 31 Ministries, August 9, 2018

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“You let too many thoughts dominate your mind. …God never called you to second guess yourself; He called you to trust in Him. …I’m going forward in faith…and I’m brave in my heart. …My heart is steadfast. My spirit is secure. His promises are true. His Word is everlasting.” “Go Forward in Faith,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick, Emailed 8-9-18

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“Pastor and author A. W. Tozer wrote: ‘God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside all things embracing, and inside all things fulfilling.’ “ The Word for You Today, 8-9-18

Why pray God’s Word? Because it puts us under the “dome” of God’s protection. It’s for regular people like you and me – not just angels.

This week has been a trial. I am assured that God is over me. He walks beside me during the dark times.

“Comfort is not given to us when we are lighthearted and cheerful. …when we experience even the thickest darkness, we must remember…the comforting drops of heavenly dew fall only after the sun has set.” “Streams in the Desert,” August 9

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

#bible

I’m Braced for the Worst

I tried linking my blog to my new Frugalfish Facebook page yesterday. I got this error message several times:

“There is no page associated with this blog.”

I closed all the windows on the computer and walked away.

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When I got up this morning, my head was full of questions:

  • Why didn’t it work?
  • Was I wrong starting the frugalfish.org blog?
  • Is frugalfish.org my Ishmael?
  • Should I delete all my social media accounts and start over?
  • Why did I pick such a long domain name – thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com?
  • Should I combine the blogs? No, wait – I tried that and lost $300.00.

I prayed and did my devotions.

Habakkuk 2:1, “What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how He’ll answer my complaint.” The Message

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Habakkuk 2:3, “…If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” The Message

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Psalms 77:11-14, “Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; (12) I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long loving look at your acts. (13) Oh, God! Your way is holy! (14) You’re the God who makes things happen; you showed everyone what you can do.” The Message

I made breakfast – burning my toast. (Our toaster broke yesterday and David bought a new one. I left it on the factory setting. That was a mistake!)

As I ate, I asked myself:

  • Could you let this all go, if God asked?
  • What if it never works, will you keep writing?
  • Are you willing to wait?

Then I went over the times I locked myself out of my former website. God always led me to the place to fix it.

I finished breakfast and walked to my office. God whispered, “Try this.” I did and the new Frugalfish Facebook page linked up to this blog! God is my tech guy. I can trust Him.

“You can trust the Man who died for you.” J. H. M. in “Streams in the Desert,” August 1

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“There’s more victories behind me than there are battles ahead of me.” “Don’t Stop in the Gap” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

#bible

Follow His Instructions

The email came last week but I waited until Monday to deal with it.

“As of August 1, Facebook will no longer allow you to automatically share a blog post on your profile. You can only share to a Facebook page.”

I didn’t have a Facebook page. It couldn’t take that long to set up – right?

Wrong. During the process, I accepted a friend request from a hacker. He sent requests to all my friends on both profiles saying he knew me! I blocked him and tried to fix the damage.

My Frugal Fish Facebook page is public. I don’t know many of the people there. They follow my blogs and joined my Facebook page. Normally, I check each profile before accepting a friend request. Skipping that step today caused a lot of trouble.

Proverbs 12:26, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” The Message

I am so, so sorry.

A few friends sent me messages asking if I knew Thomas Westley. I let them know it was a hacker. I’m afraid he got more friends posing as my friend.

He froze the page where I could report him in both profiles. I sent a message to Facebook another way. In light of the big change on August 1st, I don’t expect a prompt reply. I was ready to throw in the towel and delete both Facebook pages.

“Moses had all the potential in the world at forty, but felt like a lost cause at eighty. Instead of doing God’s will God’s way, he tried to expedite God’s will and delayed it for four decades! At some point in our lives most of us feel like life has passed us by. Our dream seems like a lost cause. The crises presents us with a choice: Throw in the towel, or throw our hat back in the ring. Many of us give up on our dreams because we feel like God has given up on us. But we serve a God of restoration (See Joel 2:25).” “All In” Mark Batterson

My first mistake was working on the Facebook page before I prayed and read my Bible. Tuesday I prayed and had my devotions before I did anything!

2 Kings 23:3, “The king stood by the pillar and before God solemnly committed them all to the covenant: to follow God believingly and obediently; to follow His instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to put into practice the entire covenant, all that was written in the book. The people stood in affirmation; their committment was unanimous.” The Message

I do not believe God was punishing me for working before devotions. That’s not how God works. Although, I do have to deal with the consequences of getting things out of order. Once again Steven Furtick’s “1 Min Motivation” encouraged me.

“Let me warn you. When you make God a priority the enemy will send a storm. You never cross over without conflict. …The reason the storm is raging might not be…because you are headed away from the will of God. It might be because you are crossing over into the calling that is on your life. …” “You Never Cross Over Without Conflict”

I’m crossing over into the fullness of God’s plan for my life.

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

#bible

 

His Judgments are Just

Reading the chapter on vegetables in “52 Small Changes” I felt pretty confident. Brett Blumenthal recommends 4-6 servings a day and suggests you measure them.

“One serving = 1/2 cup of non-leafy vegetables or 1 cup of leafy vegetables.” Brett Blumenthal

Lunch every day is a salad because I love them. I decided to measure the ingredients yesterday. What an eye-opener!

In my food journal, I recorded my salads as 2 servings. But it is 4 servings and a 1/2 a serving a fruit!

Eating 6 servings a day seemed difficult but dinner at Pizza Ranch made it easy! Their salad bar in the summer is the best!

My standard is now 6 servings each day. Measuring makes judging the number of servings easy.

Revelations 19:2, “His judgments are true, His judgments are just.” The Message

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“…You’re looking to celebrities for your standard? Really? Them? The ones who are so miserable they can only be happy when they have attention? …The battle that I’m in is too real for me to play around and live my life with exposed places and low standards?” “Who Set Your Standards?” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

None of What They’ve Done is Wasted

My “To Do” list on Sunday is for rejuvenation, rest, and relaxation:

  1. Worship practice.
  2. Play for the church service.
  3. Take a nap.
  4. Watch a movie.
  5. Read a book.

Yesterday, I watched an old war movie, “The Naked and the Dead.” I am not a fan of violence and gore. In fact, I refuse to watch “R” rated movies for that reason. The older movies use a little ketchup for blood and the scenes are not graphic.

The thing that draws me to those movies is the indomitable human spirit. You see flowers on the table in a house abandoned because the front line turned. You see men and women overcoming impossible odds and obstacles. You see men following orders they disagree with or don’t understand.

One lieutenant served as a general’s aide. He didn’t agree with him and defied him. The general assigned him to lead a dangerous patrol.

“…rejection is nothing more than redirection,…some of the heartbreak in your life was really God moving you into postition for some of the blessings that He desires to bring…” “When Somebody Rejects You,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

On this patrol was a soldier whose wife died giving birth. Grieving, he agreed with the soldier that saw the futility of everything. They lost a lot of soldiers along the way. The lieutenant was gravely injured. The sargeant assigned 3 men to carry him back 18 miles to the boat.

There were only 5 left when they reached their objective. Then their sargeant was killed. One soldier peeked over the ridge and saw thousands of enemy soldiers pulling out. They radioed in the coordinates and their comrades started a major offensive.

The 4 soldiers sat in the woods listening to the explosions. The pessimistic soldier thought it didn’t matter what they did because they would die anyway. The new father stood up.

“I’m going back! I have a motherless baby that needs me.”

The 4 men climbed down the mountain, swam across a river, and marched to the beach. They reached the boat before it left with the wounded lieutenant.

When the general came to the hospital, the lieutenant said,

“There’s a spirit in man that’ll survive all the reigns of terror and all the hardships. Man cannot achieve the authority of God. …The spirit in man is godlike – eternal, indestructible.” The Naked and the Dead

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Genesis 1:27, “God created human beings, He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature…” The Message

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Revelation 14:13, “…’Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘and blessed rest from their hard, hard work. None of what they’ve done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end.’ ” The Message

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

God Sees Everything You’re Doing for Him

To celebrate his birthday, David rushed home after work and took a shower. We drove for a half hour and arrived at 6 pm. He entered the building and took his place on the throne – the drum throne!

We practiced for an hour and played for the service. Even on his birthday, David kept his commitment. Even when the senior pastor was out-of-town, he kept his commitment. Even on a Wednesday night, when the congregation is smaller, he kept his commitment.

Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis preached about heaven – “Home, Sweet Heaven.” He used one of the verses I wrote down today.

Revelation 2:10, “Fear nothing in the things you’re about to suffer – but stay on guard! Fear nothing! …a time of testing…won’t last forever. Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.” The Message

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“God will reward you for what you did in the ’70’s, ’80’s, and 90’s. He sees your service.” Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, July 11, 2018

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Revelation 2:2-3, “I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. (3) I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.” The Message

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Revelation 2:19, “I see everything you’re doing for Me. Impressive! The love and the faith, the service and persistence. Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day.” The Message

Pastor Gary had an altar call to pray for “attitudes” and those who lost their joy. Members of the worship team were quick to respond. People see our works. God sees our motives and attitudes.

Revelation 2:23, “…Then every church will know that appearances don’t impress Me. I x-ray every motive and make sure you get what’s coming to you.” The Message

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“The devil will let you go backwards all day long and never fight you. In fact, he’ll pop pills so you don’t even feel the pain of your lack of progress…” “The devil will let you go backwards all day long” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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“God will often extricate us from the mess we have made, because ‘His love endures forever’ (1 Chronicles 16:34). Yet if we had only been patient and waited to see the unfolding of His plan, we would never have found ourselves in such an impossible maze, seeing no way out. We would also never have had to turn back and retrace our way, with wasted steps and so many tears of shame.” F. B. Meyer, “Streams in the Desert,” July 11

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Revelation 2:24, “…be assured I’ll not make life any harder for you than it already is. Hold on to the truth you have until I get there.” The Message

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Revelation 1:3, “…Time is just about up.” The Message

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Revelation 1:12-16, “I turned and saw the voice. I saw a gold menorah with seven branches, (13) and in the center, the Son of Man, in a robe and gold breastplate, (14) hair a blizzard of white, eyes pouring fire-blaze, (15) both feet furnace-fired bronze, His voice a cataract, (16) right hand holding Seven Stars. His mouth a sharp-biting sword, His face a perigee sun.” The Message

A cataract is a large waterfall. Perigee is the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest the earth.

When Jesus returns, no one will miss it. His voice makes Niagara Falls sound like a whisper. His face is brighter than the sun when it is nearest to the earth.

“We will be caught up together with the Lord, (1 Thessalonians 4:17). He will give us a home in heaven, an eternal body, and new clothes (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). There will be no more death, sorrow, tears, or pain (Revelation 21:4), and no more curse, bondage, darkness or night (Revelation 22:3, 5).” Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, July 11, 2018

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

There are Difficult Times Ahead

My plan was to arrive early at the bridal shower.

  • My daughter called asking me to turn on the iron.
  • I told David I was going to Wal-Mart afterward for watch batteries. (My fitness tracker gives me a rash in the summer.) He asked for a battery for his desk clock. We tried the ones I had on hand and the minutes slipped away. I taped the battery he needed to the back of the package I had. Then I put it and my watches in my purse.
  • As I parked, I received a text that my sister was running late.

I hurried into the shower feeling like the worst mother-of-the-groom ever! The mother-of-the-bride met me at the door and gave me a hug. She just laughed when I apologized for not coming early. The bride-to-be was gracious, too. She said she arrived later than planned.

The food was amazing: “Build-your-own-parfaits,” mini Quiches, coffee cake, bruschetta with tomatoes and parsley, and bruschetta with strawberries, blueberries, and mint leaves. I took a big bite of a fruit bruschetta and heard Rachel say, “There are some people I would like you to meet.” I chewed furiously and prayed there were no mint leaves stuck to my teeth!

Her mother gave her a silver spoon from her grandmother’s collection…(She lost her grandmother when she was 5)…and the baby bonnet that she wore home from the hospital. Her aunt made it out of a handkerchief. You clip the stitches and have something old to carry in your wedding. She cried and everyone teared up with her.

I gave her the same glasses as my sister-in-law and another guest. I really felt like crying! (No, we did not plan it.)

Instead, I put my foot in my mouth. Not just once, but at least 3 times. I dug a hole, and when I tried to fix it, the deeper I went!

After the shower, I went to Wal-Mart. My favorite watch wouldn’t work – even with a new battery. I still have a white watch for summer and a black watch for winter. It’s funny; I thought I needed that fitness tracker.

I consoled myself with a trip to the library. I checked out as many books as I could carry.

“Sometimes you have to give up things you thought you wanted before you reap the rewards of the things you least expected.” Wanda E. Brunstetter in “The Discovery Saga Collection”

Finally, the verse I read this morning made sense.

2 Timothy 3:1, “Don’t be naïve. There are difficult times ahead. …” The Message

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“Pebble Beach, on the California Coast, has become quite famous for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore. These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues relentlessly. And what is the result?

Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the beautiful stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.

So why have these stones been left untouched through all the years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they have always been – rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty – for polish is the result of difficulties.

Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.” “Streams in the Desert” –  July 7

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“We often assume we’ll only have peace when our situation changes. Then like Gideon we learn that inward peace doesn’t depend on altering our outward circumstances; it depends on believing God is with you and experiencing His inner peace.” The Word for You Today

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“There must be an assignment on your life and so He doesn’t take you up out of it, He gets in the fire with you. …I’m not gonna take you out of the storm, I’m gonna see you through the storm!” “How I Know You’re Important,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

Stay Right There

July 4th

We were invited to a cookout and David had plans to work in the yard. But after yesterday, we canceled all plans and stayed home. We realized we needed rest.

1 Timothy 1:3, “…Stay right there on top of things so that the teaching stays on track.” The Message

Jesus took naps. He slept in one of the worst storms His disciples encountered, (Matthew 8:24; Mark 4:38)! He taught everywhere He went – on the mountains and in the valleys.

“We don’t change the world because we shout over good news on the mountain. We change the world because we bring good news into the valley.” “You are God’s Distribution Center,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Our family is walking through a valley. When one of us hurts, all of us hurt. Grief doesn’t end when the funeral is over. The hardest work starts then. You have to deal with all the “stuff” left behind.

Jesus doesn’t just walk through the valley with us – He carries us.

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