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

* * * * * * *

“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

* * * * * * *

“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

* * * * * * *

“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.

If You Have a Heart

July 3, 2018, 3:00 a.m.

The only clothes I set out were a jean jacket and a pair of shoes. *Sigh* I decided dressing could wait and started writing. Halfway through, I stopped and ordered shoes for Derek’s wedding.

“Sacrifice, and then celebrate. Don’t get it the other way around. …All sacrifice and no celebration means no strength. It’s the danger of deprivation.” “Sacrifice, Then Celebrate,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

I got up at 3:00 to write for 4 hours before leaving for Terry’s funeral. It was a sacrifice worth making.

Terry had two daughters from his first marriage. I’m sure he would have loved a picture of all three girls together.

That picture exists now. Sadly, they were on motorcycles riding to the cemetery. Just the way he would have liked…

“When Jesus arrives on the scene, He doesn’t diminish her distress or sidestep her sorrow. He just weeps with her as they walk to her brother’s tomb, (John 11:33-35). …Think about it – Jesus knows Mary’s weeping will soon turn to joy. He knows that He’s going to bring her brother back to life, and all the tears will be trumped by cheers. But Jesus doesn’t use the hope of a better tomorrow to avoid the imminent pain of today.” “How to Hold a Hurting Heart” Alicia Bruxvoort, Proverbs 31 Ministries

* * * * * * *

Philippians 2:1-2, “If you gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – (2) then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” The Message

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

That’s Your Job, to Bless

Sorry, I’ve been MIA, (Missing In Action). My son was training in another state and Bethany needed me. After yesterday’s sermon, I went home and rested.

Five Areas to Defend Yourself In From Satan’s Attacks

  1. Famished – hungry beyond reason spiritually.
  2. Irritable – bad mood from viewing things from a human perspective, not God’s perspective.
  3. Gullible – lies we want to believe, not walking in truth.
  4. Hurt – Everyone has it, no one wants to deal with it.
  5. Tired – If God had to rest, so do we!

Pastor Josh Cody, 7-1-2018

It’s amazing how getting rest changes your perspective!

“You can walk in a bad mood or in love, not both,” Pastor Josh Cody

“The Word of God has the ability to gut your perspective of past memories that haunt you, of future fears that intimidate you, and of personal insecurities that damage you and cripple you, and bring you into a proper perspective of all that God says you are…” “Correcting Your Perspective,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

“If you avoid God, Satan will seek you first,” Pastor Josh Cody

“When you try to run from God, you keep running into Him at every turn. …When God dislocated Jacob’s hip, in essence He was telling him, ‘Your running days are over, and your limp will be a constant reminder of your total dependence on Me.’ …Everything Jacob needed, he found when he ran into the arms of God.” The Word for You Today,  7-2-2018

“Not dealing with it doesn’t work,” Pastor Josh Cody

1 Peter 4:7-8, “Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. (8) Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.” The Message

“Don’t go for what looks good, but what is good,” Pastor Josh Cody

1 Peter 3:8-9, “Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. (9) No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” The Message

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

If They Can’t See It, They Don’t Believe It

Reading “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul” let me know I am not alone. I found I have a few things in common with Dan Millman, author of “The Peaceful Warrior Way:”

  • A surging desire to share.
  • To somehow make a positive difference.
  • Time flies when I write.
  • What I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity.
  • I’m not attached to the outcome.
  • My overnight success is taking 10 years!

Writing is a great leap of faith. Catherine Lanigan, (“Romancing the Stone” and “Jewell of the Nile”), was told, “Your writing stinks.” She stopped writing.

“I would be smart. I would use logic. If I couldn’t see it, taste it, chew it and spit it out, I wouldn’t believe in anything again.” Catherine Lanigan

After talking with a journalist, she started writing again:

“…I learned that writers make something out of nothing.” Catherine Lanigan

The Sadducees felt the same way as she did at the beginning. If they couldn’t see it, they didn’t believe it. They didn’t believe in the resurrection. That’s why they were “sad, you see.” 😉

Acts 25:8, “Sadducees have nothing to do with resurrection or angels or even a spirit. If they can’t see it, they don’t believe it. Pharisees believe it all.” The Message

Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. What He starts, He finishes.

“…you’re gonna have some people in your life that are gonna walk away…their part in the story may be over. …Just realize that your life is not contingent upon anyone who leaves it. …believe that God is the author and finisher of my faith. That who’s meant to crossover into the next season with me will, and who’s not meant to cross over, there’s no amount of convincing that I can do to get them to stay.” “The Author and Finisher of Your Faith,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Everything worth doing takes faith: marriage, having children, and pursuing your dreams. Remember Jesus isn’t finished yet!

Hebrews 11:1, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under every thing that makes life worth living.” The Message

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

The God of Peace

We were 3 musicians short on Sunday. I had some music out because I needed to play the synth part. Using a double keyboard stand, I stacked the synth over the piano.

Some songs are heavy on the piano and some on the synth. Many times I play the synth with my left hand to hold the chords. Then play the rhythm or lead line on the piano with my right hand. When there is no guitar, I throw in more stuff to fill out the sound.

Things went okay during practice. Then the leader asked me to play both on the soft choruses of one song. On that song, I jump back and forth between the keyboards. It starts out heavy on piano and then soft on the synth. It builds back up but ends quietly.

I reached the “soft” chorus and remembered I was to play both. I quickly moved one hand down.

The wrong hand!

I tried holding a chord on the piano and playing a lead line on the synth. It didn’t work at all! Then I lost my place and hit the wrong chord – followed by several others.

We moved on to the bridge and I dropped my right hand down to the piano. When we reached the second “soft” chorus, I made sure I moved the correct hand.

“Well, that was embarrassing!”

It doesn’t matter what it did to me – embarrassing or humbling me. It matters what God did through me.

Acts 21:13, “…You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?” The Message

I believe God allows things like this to happen to remind everyone that I’m human. Music is uplifting and sometimes we give the musician too much credit. My job is always to lead others to Jesus. If your eyes are on me – I will unintentionally disappoint you.

The opposite is true – blaming one person when things don’t go well. The Jews accused Paul of defiling the Temple. Then they turned the place upside-down and started a riot! That did defile the temple!

Acts 21:27-28, 31, “…At once they turned the place upside-down. …(28) …He’s…defiled this holy place. … (31) As they were trying to kill him, word came to the captain of the guard, ‘A riot! The whole city’s boiling over!’ ” The Message

How should we handle it when others blame us? Or someone criticizes our efforts?

Acts 22:21, “But he said, ‘Don’t argue. Go. I’m sending you on a long journey to outsider non-Jews.’ ” The Message

Our congregation is gracious. No one berated me or told me to practice more. Satan did remind me that I did not practice on Saturday. (I was out-of-town.) He is full of lies and discouragement. I don’t argue with him either. I know his future.

Romans 16:19, “Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus.” The Message

I packed up the keyboards and went home for lunch. I switched my focus to the Nursing Home Service.

“I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted and, behold, service was joy.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

I hit a few wrong notes there, too! (Yes, I practiced.) How did I stay unruffled? God gave me peace.

“One of the greatest blessings God gives us is peace. …pray for peace. Because if all of your prayers center around provision, if you have provision but not the peace, you have the external stuff without the internal infrastructure to even enjoy what you prayed for!” “The Power of God’s Peace,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

Setting Things Right

Decorate, declutter, zone. I do something small – like cleaning the gilded frame on Grandma’s mirror. Sometimes, I move something or paint it.

The biggest improvements are from decluttering. Yesterday, I took the first step decluttering my candle collection.

I started this collection before Y2K. (Computers showed the date as 19 _ _. You could only fill in the last two numbers. Would it crash on 1-1-2000?)

They feared food would not be delivered, gas unavailable. I bought a month’s supply of food and collected candles. I figured we would live in our basement – by candlelight – eating canned meals.

Nothing happened. We had “can night” once a week for months.

I store my candles by size. Each month I had to get out all the boxes to get the color I wanted to use. I decided to box them up by color. (It surprised me to find: tangerine, plum, orchid, lavender, mint, salmon, peach, and a box of teal candles. I don’t decorate with those colors!)

They covered my dining room table and I threw away exactly 3 candles – without wicks. Why am I hanging on to them? Fear of disaster? The fear I can’t replace them? Overwhelmed, I decided to have David go through them with me later.

I went upstairs to work in my zone – the bathroom. I systematically work my way through the house deep cleaning. I opened the door to the medicine cabinet and a tube of lipstick rolled out.

I don’t wear lipstick!

I got out my makeup bags – yes, 2 of them – and the loose makeup. I dumped it out and set aside recent purchases. (I think I bought one of these eyeshadow pallets during Y2K!) This stuff is toxic. Why am I keeping it? I threw 90% of it away.

“There will come a time in your life…where the people…and the mentalities they represent will not be an adequate support system for where God is taking you. …as you’re growing into your inheritance, you’re growing out of your past. And when you start outgrowing it, you’ve got to shed some stuff. You’ve got to shed some ways of thinking.” “Maybe You’re Just Outgrowing It,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

* * * * * * *

Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. (2) Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 10:9-10, “…You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting Him to do it for you. That’s salvation. (10) With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: ‘God has set everything right between Him and me!’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 10:3, “They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 10:6, “But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story…” The Message

* * * * * *

Romans 10:8, “…It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 12:5, “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” The Message

We want to develop the gifts God has given us. Sometimes we have to let go of toxic things to accomplish that.

Romans 11:29, “God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty – never canceled, never rescinded.” The Message

* * * * * *

“Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our time, our very lives. God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities – response-abilities – inviting us to respond to His gifts.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

Responsible – response-able – able to respond to all things. Flexible. If our friends are irresponsible or toxic we need to seek new ones.

“…be the kind of person that says, ‘I’m gonna be there with you.’ …Oprah says, “Anybody will ride with you in the limousine. What I need is somebody to ride with me when the limousine breaks down, and we gotta take the bus.’ I’m looking for some bus friends! I’m looking for some people who will be by my side when I don’t have anything to give. …” “How to Find Real Friends,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Setting things right from Romans 12:6-21.

  1. Preach just God’s Message.
  2. Help, don’t take over.
  3. Stick to your teaching.
  4. Give encouraging guidance; don’t get bossy.
  5. Don’t manipulate when you are in charge.
  6. Keep your eyes open and quickly aid people in distress.
  7. Don’t get irritated or depressed when working with the disadvantaged.
  8. Don’t fake love.
  9. Run from evil.
  10. Cling to good.
  11. Be a good, loving friend.
  12. Practice playing second fiddle.
  13. Keep yourselves fueled and aflame.
  14. Be alert servants.
  15. Be cheerfully expectant.
  16. Don’t quit in hard times.
  17. Pray hard.
  18. Help needy Christians.
  19. Be inventive in your hospitality.
  20. Bless your enemies.
  21. Laugh when your friends are happy.
  22. Cry when they are down.
  23. Get along with each other.
  24. Don’t be stuck up.
  25. Make friends with nobodies.
  26. Don’t be the great somebody.
  27. Don’t hit back.
  28. Discover beauty in everyone.
  29. Try to get along with everybody.
  30. Don’t insist on getting even.
  31. Feed your hungry enemy.
  32. Give water to your thirsty enemy.
  33. Don’t let evil get the best of you.
  34. Overcome evil by doing good.

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

Adventurously Expectant Life

Nicholas Sparks writes 4 hours a day. He’s written a multitude of best sellers. Yesterday, I wrote for over 4 hours and produced 1 post. *Sigh*

I want to include everything God has shown me since the last post. And everything He reminded me about from past sources. He talks to me all day long.

I used to read my Bible and write my posts in the morning. (My mind is the most productive in the morning.) Then I fell behind. Backtracking over chapters I read the day before is hard. I would publish a post and realize I left out a key point!

I still write my post early in the morning. But sometimes, I don’t read the chapters assigned to that day until after lunch! On Sundays, I may not read them until right before bed.

I write verses, excerpts from my devotionals or the book I’m studying, down. Then I sleep on it. It takes all night for my unconscious mind to put together a somewhat cohesive form.

This new “routine” takes up more time. The laundry still needs doing and dinner made. I don’t want to forget to practice. I’ve found myself asking, “What should I do next, Lord?”

I get bogged down with urgent items and trying to stick to a strict routine. When I prayerfully consider my list – it all gets done.

Several times over the last week, God instructed me to “Take a nap” next! He’s a good father!

Romans 8:15-17, “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’ (16) God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. (17) …Father and children…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“I used to think God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.” F. B. Meyer

* * * * * * *

“To receive God’s gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn’t a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God’s gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

* * * * * * *

“The enemy can’t take away a single thing that God gave you. If you’ve got a gift, you’ve got a gift. …If you’ve got a purpose, you’ve got purpose.” “What the Enemy Can’t Take Away,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

We all have gifts from God. We all have a job, a purpose. Sometimes, we know what it is, sometimes we don’t!

I know I have a gift to play the piano. Satan tried to snuff it out, but he could never take it away.

I didn’t know I had a gift to write! The secretarial tasks were my least favorite duties when I worked at the church. (I enjoyed taking whatever offering the Lord gave and stretching it as far as possible.)

Yet, the writing was a gift I carried – like a pregnant woman. I started a diary as a preteen and I have boxes of journals. That gift just waited for the right time.

Romans 8:25, “That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“The adult coral invertebrates, known as polyps, work underwater constructing coral reefs. They so never imagine they are building the foundation of a new island, which will someday support plants and animals and will be a home where the children of God will be born…Beloved, if your place in God’s army is hidden and secluded, do not grumble and complain. …He is looking for those who are willing to serve in places hidden from the sight of others, yet in full view of heaven, and who are sustained by the Holy Spirit.” “Streams in the Desert” June 21

Have you seen the video of the lava rushing to the ocean in Hawaii? The earth is groaning for the things to come. Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, monsoons, typhoons, floods, wildfires, and famines are labor pains.

Romans 8:18-19, “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. (19) The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Mark 13:8, “Nation will rise against nation. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.” New International Version

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/video/3883595-incredible-video-of-fast-lava-flow-from-fissure-8-in-hawaii/

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

Don’t Frustrate God’s Work by Showing Up Late

Guilty. So guilty. Many Sundays the service didn’t start on time because I was late. I never left enough time for spilled milk or missing shoes. It seemed every Sunday there was spilled milk and missing shoes!

I tried covering my guilt with jokes:

“I’m the only piano player – you can’t start without me!”

“I’m not late – I’m making an entrance.”

But I was late and buried in guilt. Saturday’s verse showed me how deeply my tardiness hurt.

2 Corinthians 3:3-6, “Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated – or not – in the details. (4) People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…in hard times, tough times, bad times; (5) …working hard, working late, working without eating; (6) with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love.” The Message

I’m grateful the Pastors and God always forgave me. But after a while, God moved me away from the piano bench. I thought it was permanent.

To say it jarred me was, to put it mildly. The doctors said, “Don’t leave your house without Prednisone.” (You can only take so much Prednisone before the risks outweigh the benefits.) After that pronouncement, I had a choice to make.

2 Corinthians 7:9, “Now I’m glad – not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from Him. The result was all gain, no loss.” The Message

I turned to God chose to start over. I got out my lesson books and started on page 1.

“This is up; this is down.

Let’s go up and down.”

I played every day with only God hearing – for 7 years! God had a plan all along. The first time I met the FCOC Satellite Coordinator, Rick Brecht, he said, “I see you playing on our worship team.”

I laughed and replied, “That would take a miracle and a grand piano!”

I didn’t get a grand piano. But a year later, I was playing a keyboard on the worship team.

I’m never tardy, but I have so many more areas that could use improvement. Paul listed some pretty tough guidelines:

  • Stay at our post
  • Alertly
  • Unswervingly
  • In hard times
  • In tough times
  • In bad times
  • Working hard
  • Working late
  • Working without eating
  • With a pure heart
  • A clear head
  • A steady hand
  • In gentleness
  • In holiness
  • In honest love

It’s like I told Melissa before church yesterday. “We don’t clean ourselves up before we come to Jesus. We come to Jesus and He cleans us up.”

Jesus works little by little and He never stops. He keeps working with us until we die. But each day, we look a little more like Him.

What was my assignment for Saturday? Get ready for church. God means more than just picking out an outfit.

I practice and pack my music in my bag. I pray for the service, worship team, ushers, greeters, and children’s workers. I ask for anointing on the sermon and worship service. I request converts. We don’t want to make noise; we want to make a difference.

God answered those prayers and more! I saw a breakthrough yesterday. Steven Furtick reminded me a breakthrough does not mean the battle is over. We are fighting for souls here.

“The breakthrough does not eliminate the battle. …the only thing the breakthrough is going to do is put you in the position to fight the battle. But the good news is – it’s already won!…” “Breakthrough is Overrated” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

Trying to Impress?

“…What I was doing was trying to project what I thought would impress, and you cannot be blessed, while you’re projecting to be impressive.” “Are you projecting to impress?” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Guilty!

When I wrote “My Story” for this blog, I did that. I typed, “My dad served on staff at Bible School.” That sounded impressive.

Last Saturday, I changed it to “My dad was the maintenance man.” He was a student for two years, but they really needed a “handyman.”

It isn’t impressive until I explain. After our house fire, Dad gutted it and rebuilt it. He did: plumbing, electrical, carpentry, sheet-rock, roofing, masonry, laid carpet and installed new cabinets. This was before youtube.com existed!

Eight years after we moved back to Iowa, they hired him again. He spent a few months re-wiring Pinecrest Bible Training Center.

As “maintenance man” at The Ottumwa Clinic, he custom-built cabinets to the doctor’s specifications. He never projected to impress. He always referred to himself as an electrician and handyman. (His degree was in refrigeration.)

But his work still stands. The young men he mentored still talk about him.

* * * * * * *

When I started this blog, I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to start a discussion on theology. (I overheard enough of those growing up.) I wanted to share the basics that I know and understand:

  • God loves me.
  • Jesus died for me.
  • God has a plan for me.
  • Jesus is coming back for me.
  • God cares about the tiny details in my life.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. (2) I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who He is; then Jesus and what He did – Jesus crucified.” The Message

I wanted you to see there are mysteries hidden in the Bible. I wanted to show you how to dig:

  • Look up the words you don’t understand.
  • Read the cross-reference verses found in the center of the page or a concordance.
  • Look up the places on the Bible Maps for that era.
  • Read the notes on the bottom of the chapter or page.
  • Find the Hebrew meaning of words at abarim-publications.com.

1 Corinthians 2:7, “God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of His purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface.” The Message

I try not to preach. I’m sure I fail. I try explaining things the same way I do for my children.

1 Corinthians 4:14-15, “I am not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. (15) I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled.” The Message

My goal is for us to grow together. We never “arrive.” There is always more – much more!

1 Corinthians 3:3, “As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?” The Message

Get out your shovel, dear reader. Dig for yourself!

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