You Have Been Weighed

Today was a huge test and I knew it. I didn’t realize it was coming until Wednesday.

Derek the drummer and Rachel the synth player took a week off to celebrate their first anniversary. Kyle the bass player stepped down and is moving to Kansas City. Joe, the semi-retired guitar player, and his wife are visiting their daughter out of state.

That left me. I would be the only instrumentalist.

I got up early and read my Bible. I compared Belshazzar to Daniel.

Belshazzar:

  • Was drunk, 5:2.
  • Scared out of his wits, 5:6.
  • Demanding, 5:7.
  • Arrogant, 5:22.
  • Treated God with contempt, 5:23.

Daniel:

  • Was full of the Holy Spirit, 5:11.
  • Could not be bought, 5:17.
  • Prayed earnestly, 9:3.
  • Fasted from meals, 9:3.
  • Wore penitential burlap, 9:3.

Belshazzar was haughty, Daniel was humble. Belshazzar was murdered, Daniel was promoted.

Daniel 5:27, “Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.” The Message

I knew I would be weighed today. I wanted to be like Daniel, not Belshazzar.

When I walked onto the platform, I saw the Steinway Concert Grand where I normally set up the keyboard!

In disbelief, I asked, “May I play it?”

Jesse the Civic Center worker laughed and said yes!

This is the most babied Steinway in the county. It lives in a humidity-controlled, insulated space. Sometimes, it’s out backstage for a show. I never play it without permission.

I warmed up on a simple chorus and then stopped.

“Jesse,” I called, “do these wheels lock? I can feel it shimmy. And can we open it up?”

He locked the wheels and opened it partway. Then he moved two microphones in under the lid.

During pre-service prayer, Brenda asked the Holy Spirit to move through my fingers. He did!

I started softly and the music built until I was playing as hard as I could. Then I went soft again. The congregation followed and their singing swelled to fill the room.

On the last word, I started to cry. That worship time was so sweet. I was sad, but a little relieved that it was over.

I can’t say if I was haughty or humble. I can say, when I saw the Steinway, that I was positively giddy!

September 15, 2019: Daniel 5, 9.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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Sacred Worship and Moral Practice

A free Saturday! I didn’t have to go anywhere and did not have a large project scheduled.

I went through my granddaughter Olivia’s school fundraiser website. I needed to renew a magazine. I could get 2 years for $27.00. Or use my “long-standing customer” discount and renew it for 3 years for $18.98 using the renewal form they sent. I chose the latter. I can support the school when shopping online.

When David got off of work I went to the library. I looked for a few decent movies. Our library marks new purchases with colored tape. It didn’t take long to pull out the yellow-taped DVD’s. What took time was finding the rating on each one. PG-13 is my limit.

(I will watch an “R” movie if my adult children have previewed it. They know which scenes will trigger a sermon and they fast forward through it.)

I practiced while David was at work. I’m trying to do more than practice. I worship and sing.

Daniel 7:25, “Then he will blaspheme the High God, persecute the followers of the High God, and try to get rid of sacred worship and moral practice.” The Message

The most important things I can do today are to worship and protect my morals.

September 14, 2019: Daniel 7, 8.

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This Privileged Work

“The poor and the middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them. …Most people have a price…because of…fear and greed…fear of being without money…greed…[for] all the wonderful things money can buy. …the sooner you forget about needing a paycheck, the easier your adult life will be….” “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I was the secretary/treasurer at a church of 100-150 people. I knew this was where God called me to serve. I never stopped studying finances or the Bible.

I received a job offer at a local doctor’s office. Our church had a daycare which meant the bosses were coming and going all day. I kept track of them. While sitting in the waiting room, I overheard a nurse ask the receptionist where the doctor was. Without thinking, I replied, “In exam room #2.”

The office manager offered me a job on the spot. I declined.

Another job offer came from the burglar alarm company we used. I’m good at remembering numbers. To program the alarm, you punched in a long series of numbers. I recognized the pattern. (I also programmed the phone system and the pop machine when I changed flavors.)

The technician finished troubleshooting the problem. He wanted me to go into the settings on the keypad to test it. He started the long numerical command and I finished it for him.

He offered me a job in California at double the pay. I declined.

I had determined to never let money influence me. God provides for us. We lived under the poverty level a few times and never missed a meal.

I quit my job at the church when my first child was born. It’s a good thing because our second child arrived the next year!

During that time, my husband signed up for an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) at work. When the paperwork arrived, I found it was a whole life insurance policy, not an IRA.

We set up a meeting with the insurance man. After canceling the policy, and explaining why he offered me a job.

I declined and then explained, “Our vehicles are paid for and our only debt is our mortgage. We are living comfortably on my husband’s wage. I don’t need a job. I can stay at home with my babies.”

Our personal finances were my business. And I worked for free!

Later, my children went to preschool, and I went back to working at the church. The secretary at that time hated the treasurer’s duties. We split the job. Then she moved away and I was back to doing both plus the bookkeeping for the daycare.

Now I’m working for free again! I haven’t missed a meal and God continues to bless us. I know writing a yearly Bible Reading Guide is my work.

Isaiah 45:4, “…I’ve singled you out, called you by name, and given you this privileged work….” The Message

I write the daily devotion to prove the Bible is applicable every day – 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is my 10th year and I’m nearing my 4000th post! I would rather work for God than for money.

September 13, 2019: Isaiah 44-45; Daniel 10.

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They Never Could Keep Me Down

I have a class reunion next week! I’ve received a few friend requests from my classmates and I’ve sent a few, too. I want to recognize people and some have really changed – except Kelly. (I’m going to find out her secret!)

I pulled out my memory book and read what others wrote. I don’t remember helping classmates in accounting but several thanked me.

I don’t remember Bernard taking us to Uncle Bob’s in Bloomfield the night the lights went out. (Was that a marching band competition or a football game?) It must have happened because it’s in there three times!

“Willy,” who is now a conductor, would be disappointed in me. He told me to never stop singing or playing. I gave up singing to concentrate on playing. He also admonished me to “learn to read chords!” That I did do!

I read them all looking for one that stuck with me all these years…

“…will always remember how you never gave up but always tried harder in life.”

I learned that from this verse:

Psalms 129:2, “They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young, but they never could keep me down.” The Message

I just keep getting back up.

September 12, 2019: Psalms 129-130, 135-137; Isaiah 43.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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God Encircles His People

I rode with Derek to E3 youth last night. We talked about our memories of 9/11. There were so many horrific images.

Psalms 107:5-6, “…parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion. (6) Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God. He got you out in the nick of time.” The Message

Then we talked about those who were spared. Remember the man who rode a slab down as the towers fell and survived with only a broken leg.

What about the four rescue workers who arrived in an SUV as the towers fell. They uncovered the SUV and all four jumped out unharmed.

The one in charge of the subways saw the first plane hit. She stopped the trains and got the trains out that was under the World Trade Center.

We could have lost 30,000 in those attacks. We only lost 3,000. We mourn those losses and honor the personnel who died saving lives.

We give God the glory for the lives that were spared. We can trust Him. He is our Helper.

Psalms 115:9-11, “But you, Israel, put your trust in God! – trust your Helper! trust your Ruler! (10) Clan of Aaron, trust in God! – trust your Helper! trust your Ruler! (11) You who fear God, trust in God! – trust your Helper! Trust your Ruler!” The Message

God is our refuge. He’s as unmovable as a mountain. He surrounds us.

Psalms 125:2, “Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles His people – always has and always will.” The Message

“It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you!”

September 11, 2019: Psalms 107, 111-115, 120-122, 125, 126.

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I Care

The evening news is filled with stories commemorating the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Life goes on but we were changed forever.

One story was about the “13 Children of Fallen 9/11 Firefighters” who will graduate and become firefighters. One widow had 2 of her 10 children graduating and 2 already serving.

As I remembered that bleak day, I thought of those who asked, “Where was God?” God was heartbroken over the loss of lives and the damage to the city.

Zechariah 8:2, “A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: ‘I am zealous for Zion – I care! I’m angry about Zion – I’m involved!'” The Message

God’s message is: “I care. I’m involved.”

September 10, 2019: Zechariah 8; Psalms 128; Ezra 5-6; Psalms 81.

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Holding a Tape Measure

I decorated in the colors of cranberries and pears for September. I took down the print of a blue flower and hung a fall scene. It had orange and gold flowers in it.

I wasn’t satisfied. The print was too small for the wall space and the wrong colors.

Then I remembered the print of the young girl. It has a gold frame and an off-white mat. The fabric in the print was deep chocolate. I decided to switch.

I reused one nail and measured over and down from the ceiling for the second nail. It was in line with the outlet. I didn’t want to get shocked.

I chose another nail hole, that I filled in when I hung the blue flower print. I measured over and hammered in the nail. Then I filled in the extra holes.

I enjoyed decorating so much that I wondered, “Did I quit the wrong blog? Should I have kept posting to frugalfish.org and stopped writing on this blog?”

Then I remembered. I meant to use command hooks when I switched the pictures. Oh well, at least I measured this time!

Zechariah 2:1, “I looked up and was surprised to see a man holding a tape measure in his hand.” The Message

September 9, 2019: Zechariah 2-7.

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The Sound of Their Voices Reverberated

Jesus and Anna were walking around town on Sunday morning. They heard the music from the Civic Center, (where we hold church), and decided to check it out.

Surprised, Jesus said, “That’s David from the lumberyard singing!”

Ezra 3:13, “…The sound of their voices reverberated for miles around.” The Message

Jesus is a contractor. (Ironic isn’t it?) He sees David every week. Then he spotted Derek playing the drums.

“Anna,” he said in Spanish, “that drummer is Derek from the plumbing supply company! He’s the one who says, ‘What can I do for Jesus my Savior today!'”

During the greeting time, David took me over to meet them. Silly me, I kept asking Anna questions. At the same time, David was talking to Jesus. Jesus would answer David, interpret for Anna and give me her response. Such a sweet couple.

* * * * * * *

This is why the music is loud – to draw the people outside in! We worship like the Israelites:

  1. Standing, v. 10.
  2. Using loud instruments (trumpets), v. 10.
  3. Using drums and cymbals, v. 10.
  4. Praising God in the tradition of David, (clapping, dancing, leaping), v. 10.
  5. Singing praise and thanksgiving, v. 11.
  6. Proclaiming his love, v. 11.
  7. Booming out hurrahs, v. 11.
  8. Shouting with joy, v. 12.
September 8, 2019: Ezra 3; Haggai 1; Psalms 85; Haggai 2; Zechariah 1.

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Crusts of Hearsay

I enjoy Bible Trivia Games. I learn each time I play. I don’t know everything and never will but I get over 85% of the answers.

My friend Mike thinks I know more than I do. He loves asking me questions. The hardest one?

“Why?”

I answer to the best of my knowledge. But I’m relying on things I heard in sermons or read in books. They are not always accurate.

Job 40:3-5, “Job answered:

(4) ‘I’m speechless, in awe – words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth!

(5) I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen.'” The Message

I think it’s best to answer with scripture. Sometimes, the Bible explains why but not always.

Job 42:1-6, “Job answered:

(2) ‘I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.

(3) You asked, “Who is muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing My purposes?” I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.

(4) You told me, “Listen, and let Me do the talking. Let Me ask the questions. You give the answers.”

(5) I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand – from my own eyes and ears!

(6) I’m sorry – forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.'” The Message

Quoting sermons and books could be “crusts of hearsay and crumbs of rumor.” Citing a Bible verse never is.

Proverbs 7:1-2, “Dear Friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.

(2) Do what I say and you’ll live well.” The Message

Careful instructions are found in the Bible. Reading it and obeying what He says is the secret to living well.

September 7, 2019: Job 40-42; Ezra 1.

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Learn from Suffering

Today’s verse gave me hope for my white coat. I put shampoo on the dye spots and washed it again.

Job 36:15, “But those who learn from their suffering, God delivers from their suffering.” The Message

It shed and bled again. (The suede is not shedding, it’s the “pleather” that is peeling.)

I cannot use one verse in the Bible to counteract another verse. Both verses are true.

Yes, I learned from my suffering. I lost money and time. (Maybe, I should put the coat out of its suffering.)

September 6, 2019: Job 35-39.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

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