The Love of Money

The most misquoted verse in the Bible is 1 Timothy 6:10. They say, “Money is the root of all evil.” But the verse says it is the “love of money.”

1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

New American Standard Bible

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We assume this verse only applies to the rich. But the poor can be greedy, grasping, and discontent, too.

David and I have lived under the poverty level a few times. We had a choice. We could continue giving to God over and above our tithes (10%) or we could buy lottery tickets and try our luck at gambling. We chose the first option every time and God pulled our income back up.

I was sure we didn’t have a problem with money whether it was just enough or we had extra.

Then I read Hebrews 13.

Hebrews 13:5, 6, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ 6) so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’ “

New American Standard Bible

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Is my character free from the love of money? Do I rejoice when my friends get a new car, house, or go on a trip? Or do I think, “It must be nice?”

Am I “saving for a rainy day” or hoarding? Have I missed church working for money?

Am I content with everything God has provided or do I treat it with disdain wanting newer, bigger, or better? Do I clean and maintain them or treat them like junk?

Do I fill my refrigerator with food and then throw it away when it spoils?

God promises never to leave us. He helps us stretch our money to its greatest potential. He provides our food, (see 2020 post). We don’t have to be afraid of going hungry.

We need not fear rising gas prices. He will show us where to cut back on our spending to cover it.

He has a new car for us. Our job is to save to pay for it when it is delivered!

I look at external things. God is working on my character.

1 Timothy 6:17, 18, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18) Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

New American Standard Bible

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Dear Lord, keep my character free from the love of money. Amen

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Show Hospitality

My cousins gathered for our family reunion a few weeks ago. I have 47 cousins on that side of the family. The hot, breezy weather kept me from attending. (I attended a cool, rainy, send-off picnic in May and battled allergies for a few days afterward.)

Another cousin, Danny, lives three blocks from us. They were hosting three of the out-of-town cousins. His wife Laura brought Jerry over to meet me. He lives in California and hadn’t been back to Iowa for years.

After a few hours of visiting, they rose to leave. They planned to go to my cousin’s farm.

“Can we stop somewhere for food?” Jerry asked. “I haven’t had lunch.”

Embarrassed, I realized I hadn’t even offered him water, sweet tea, or lemonade! I am not the “hostess with the mostest!”

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David went to the reunion with our daughter, Laura, and met our son’s family there. Derek and Rachel were amazingly able to put twenty-one-month-old Gideon down for a short nap. David made a video of Gideon playing on some “rocker animals” to show me.

He casually said, “David and Becky are in town until Wednesday. Cousin Laura is going to bring them over one night.”

After failing my hostess duties on Friday, I went into high gear! Monday, I cleaned the house and made more sweet tea, lemonade, and “no-bake” cookies. I was prepared! (I hid the cookies.)

They came over Tuesday evening and I “talked their leg off” about our trip to Israel. (That means I did most of the talking.)

I apologized and explained, “I don’t get out, literally!”

My favorite memory was David’s face when I brought out the cookies!

“Where did you hide those?”

I didn’t tell.

I felt better about being a hostess until I read Hebrews 13.

Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some had entertained angels without knowing it!”

New American Standard Bible

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I think I’m doing okay but Jesus wants me to go above and beyond what is required. Obviously, it is too dangerous to invite the stranger walking by to come in for cookies. But I could carry some extra water to give away.

The temperature is in the 90’s and humid this week. A bottle of water could be a life saver.

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Random Acts of Kindness

All of my life we have prayed for revival. We ask God to send people that need Him to our churches. As much as we love each other, and the new people coming in, we still will have problems. Look at the first church.

Acts 6:1, “Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.”

New American Standard Bible

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Complaints come from those being overlooked. In this case, the Hellenistic Jewish widows were not being fed. So, after fasting and prayer, they chose Stephen to ensure they were given food. Stephen was martyred.

Acts 8:1, “…And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

New American Standard Bible

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Disciples scatter. Apostles stay. How do we become an apostle? Spend time with Jesus.

The disciples did not abandon their faith. They preached everywhere they went. They were witnesses in their country, the next country, and to the remotest parts of the world, see Acts 1:8. But eventually, they had to come back to Jerusalem.

Acts 8:25, “So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.”

New American Standard Bible

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Those who scattered were sent, and the road they were on wasn’t pleasant.

Acts 8:26, “But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a desert road.)”

New American Standard Bible

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The disciples couldn’t avoid persecution by leaving town. It followed them.

Acts 9:2, “…so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jesus stopped Saul on the road to Damascus. He went from being a persecutor to joining the persecuted.

Acts 9:22, “But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews…”

New American Standard Bible

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Where did Saul’s strength originate?

Acts 9:9, 11, “And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 11) …a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.'”

New American Standard Bible

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Strength comes from fasting and praying. But no matter how strong we become, at some point, we have to return home, see Acts 9:30. Home is where they know you – the good and the bad. They know your history and will not shower you with honor, see Mark 6:4.

Your greatest witness is going home and letting them see how God has changed you. Your greatest testimony is how you treat your family, friends, and those in need.

Acts 9:36, “Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.”

New American Standard Bible

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It is easy to do “Random Acts of Kindness” for strangers. Charity begins at home.

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The Heat of Summer

We experienced all four seasons while we were in Israel. It was the last three days of winter but it felt like fall – cold and rainy. We were on top of Tel Megiddo when a storm hit. Our umbrellas turned inside out and on some, the material tore off of the spokes! Peggy Knudsen, our Pastor’s wife called it a monsoon!

On the third day, the high was 39 degrees. I didn’t bring a coat!

I put on the capris and long-sleeved Henley top that I planned to sleep in. I layered a tee-shirt, 3/4 length sleeve tee-shirt, and jeans over them. I put on my cardigan sweater and stowed protein bars in my backpack.

When we reached Caesarea Maritime, I put a hooded rain poncho over all of it. I cinched my gardener’s hat, aka tourist hat, under my chin and kept my hands under my poncho. I looked like a soldier with a full pack!

David did not do as well. He didn’t bring a coat either. When we were packing, I asked him if he wanted the black raincoat or the red one. He packed the black one.

They were rain pants!

We left the red raincoat at home! He wore two shirts and a hoody and carried our umbrella.

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We drove through the Golan Heights while they were getting 3-5 inches of snow! The bus driver and guide had never seen so much snow. I pulled a scarf out of my backpack to wrap around my torso under my sweater.

I didn’t need it. We drove down the mountain and the snow turned to rain. Flowers seemed to bloom right in front of our eyes. Spring had sprung!

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Two days later, I struggled to corral my curls into a scrunchie. Peggy asked me what I was doing.

“Probably tying my hair into knots,” I replied.

We were at the Dead Sea and it was hot! I had to get my hair off of my neck and back. People were wearing shorts.

Not only was it hot, but it was also dry. Our guide kept reminding us to drink water.

We took a cable car to the top of the MASADA fortress. The sun beat down on us and the wind parched us. They had a water station at the bottom and the top to refill our bottles.

I looked over the edge and saw a new, straw hat below. I was grateful for the cord that kept my hat secure. The wind caught it twice but the cord kept it from blowing away.

I can’t imagine how uncomfortable Jonah was sitting on the east side of Nineveh.

Jonah 4:4, “The Lord said, ‘Do you have a good reason to be angry?'”

New American Standard Bible

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The landscape on the Dead Sea.

God delivered Jonah from his discomfort on the first day with a plant that shaded him, Jonah 4:6. The next day, the plant died and God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat on his head until he felt faint and begged to die, Jonah 4:8.

God cares about our comfort. But God does not want us to get so comfortable that we forget about others. Our first concern is for those who don’t know Him.

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“The Woman”

The series at E3 Youth this month is “Clean” teaching about purity. It led to an interesting conversation on the way home.

Laura: “Hey, dad, who did you hope to marry? Farah Fawcett?”

David: “No.”

Laura: “Olivia Newton-John?”

David: “No, but I did like Valerie Bertinelli.”

Me: “Good choice! She is pretty and sweet!”

Laura: “Betty White?”

(We both burst out laughing.)

David: “That would be like having a crush on your grandmother!”

David wisely waited until God sent the woman he was to marry – me!

Abner did not.

2 Samuel 3:8, “Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, ‘Am I a dog’s head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hands of David; and yet today you charge me with a guilt concerning the woman.'”

New American Standard Bible

Abner had casual sex, so casual that he couldn’t remember her name. When confronted, he became angry and decided to switch allegiance to the army he had fought for three years. Unfortunately, the leader of that army, Joab, was still mourning the death of his brother, Asahel, whom Abner killed in the first battle.

Abner’s casual sex cost him his life.

King David also started having sex with many women.

2 Samuel 5:13, “Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David.”

New American Standard Bible

Sex is the glue that holds a marriage together. Each time you become one flesh; you glue parts of yourself to each other. You cannot get that glue back.

If you have casual sex with others you lose a part of yourself each time. And a part of each partner, and every partner they had sex with, is stuck to you. You may be healthy and they may be healthy, but someone their last partner slept with may not. It could be years before what is stuck to you displays symptoms.

There is one partner, you may not know, who is ready to spend the rest of their life learning how to please you sexually. They prove it by making a lifelong commitment called marriage. And the temptation to have sex is the greatest right before you meet them.

Sex is an appetite, just like hunger. While trying to lose weight, we remove the temptation to our hunger. We stop buying junk food, snacks, and soft drinks with empty calories.

We know what feeds our sexual appetite. We have to remove the apps, movies, and romance novels that arouse us because they will leave us empty. And giving in to that temptation once could lead to our death – like Abner.

King David’s story is different. After he let his lust rule him, he repented. He was forgiven and didn’t die, but still suffered the consequences. He watched his children die: Bathsheba’s baby, Amnon, and Absalom.

When encountering a sexual temptation, our only option is to run!

1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

New American Standard Bible

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Who Is It?

1 Samuel 17:55, “Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, ‘Abner, whose son is this young man?’ And Abner said, ‘By your life, O king, I do not know.'”

New American Standard Bible

Wait a minute. Saul didn’t recognize David? We read how Saul sent messengers to Jesse to send David to him, 1 Samuel 16:14-23.

David played and sang whenever Saul was tormented. It said, “Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.” 1 Samuel 16:24. Yet, when he left to face Goliath, Saul didn’t know who he was?

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This is my “Why!”

I’m working through homework from a Dean Graziosi class that I took on January 4th. One exercise is to determine your “Why?”

“Why do I blog?”

One reason I discovered was that I believe everyone is important. Everyone deserves a place to dream and create. Everyone deserves to thrive – even while unemployed or living under the poverty level.

Been there. Done that. Got the tee-shirt! 🙂

Everyone matters. Saul should have recognized the youth who played and sang while he was depressed. He should have recognized his armor-bearer.

Dear Jesus,

Please don’t let me overlook anyone. Help me to remember names and their story. And give me the words to help others thrive regardless of their income, both here and at frugalfish.org.

Amen.

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Under the Pomegranate Tree

1 Samuel 14:2, “Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron. And the people who were with him were about six hundred men.”

New American Standard Bible

Notice the phrase, “the pomegranate tree which is in Migron.” The Bible does not say, Saul stayed under “a” pomegranate tree but “the” pomegranate tree which is in Migron. What was special about that tree?

“Under a pomegranate tree. Under Rimmon, which not only signifies a pomegranate tree, but also a strong rock, in which 600 Benjaminites took shelter, Judges 20:45. Probably it was in this very rock that Saul and his 600 men now lay hidden.”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible,
Abridged by Ralph Earle,
1 Samuel 14:2, p. 306

It was more than a pomegranate tree but I am not surprised that Saul chose that place because I believe he liked to eat. So do others. Me, I am the others!

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I have a strange relationship with food. If I have an abundance, I give most of it away. When shopping, I buy just enough for a week and then I break that chocolate bar into 7 pieces and only eat 1 piece a day!

I count my cheese, lunchmeat, graham crackers, bread, and coffee pods before I have seconds to make sure I don’t run out before my weekly Aldi’s run.

I learned something about myself this weekend. I have food rules:

  1. Clean up your plate.
  2. When eating at someone’s place, eat everything offered to you.
  3. Don’t waste food – save the leftovers.

Saturday night, we had our annual Star Awards Volunteer Banquet. This year’s theme was “A Taste of Italy.”

They served: lasagna, chicken alfredo, salad, breadsticks, and chocolate cheesecake. After my second breadstick, I was too full for cheesecake! I thought I would eat it during the awards presentation.

I was part of the “Chicken Dance Flash Mob” and ran around a lot during the “People Bingo.” Surely, I would have room for cheesecake after that!

Nope.

After taking pictures?

Nope.

After the “Dad Jokes?”

Nope.

During the awards?

Nope.

The highlight of our evening was when our son Derek and his wife Rachel were named the youngest recipients of the “Volunteer of the Year!” You can only win that award once!

As we gathered our things to go, Derek said, “Mom, that cheesecake is no good.” (It had been on the table for over 3 hours.)

“I know,” I replied.

Still, I put it and the other piece that was left on the table on a plate to take home.

Why? Because of my food rules. I put them in the refrigerator and after 4 days, my conscience will let me throw them away.

Where did my food rules come from?

I grew up in Bible Schools where my father served as the maintenance man. He was a handyman who could fix anything. Part of his salary was food. We ate what the students ate.

(Liver, three times a day for a month. We had a “chef” cooking when a truckload of liver was donated to the school.)

During the summer months, we lived with Grandpa and Grandma on the farm. Dad worked with my uncles who were electricians and mom helped with the gardening, butchering chickens, making homemade catsup, and canning.

We ate whatever Grandma made. We cleaned up our plates and didn’t waste food.

I was taller than my sisters and slender because of my high metabolism. Until I got braces, I had difficulty chewing my food. I ate slowly. They kept trying to put “meat on my bones” by adding a bit more food to my plate.

It never worked. I stayed slim until I turned 40 and my metabolism slowed down.

I am glad to know why I struggle with weight loss. It is my “food rules.” But Saturday, I decided to change them. I will take half-portions to avoid stuffing myself. I will leave the leftovers for others.

I said all of that to say, I can relate to Saul. I like food!

David and I at the “2022 Star Awards Volunteer Banquet.”

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The Bread is Gone

Israel wants a king. Samuel prayed and the Lord tells him He has a man in mind.

1 Samuel 9:1, “Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, …a mighty man of valor.”

New American Standard Bible

The Bible describes Kish as a “mighty man of valor.” But he is not the man God has chosen. He chose his son, Saul. Saul is described as “choice, handsome, and tall,” v. 2. Later in the chapter we see another characteristic of Saul – he likes to eat.

In verse 5, Saul told his servant they should return because his father would be worried. Was he truly thinking of his father? Or his stomach?

1 Samuel 9:7, “…For the bread is gone from our sack…”

New American Standard Bible

The servant told him he had a little money, v. 8. If Saul was led by his stomach, he would have thought, “We can buy food.” He would have been happy to hear there was a sacrifice that day, (v. 12), because there was plenty of food, even for travelers.

When we are out of bread, we want to buy what we can get or have someone give us what we need. God wants to give us exceedingly more than we can ask or think, Ephesians 3:20.

1 Samuel 10:24, “Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it before Saul.”

New American Standard Bible

The Bible does not say what animal was sacrificed. It could have been a leg of lamb or the leg of a bull! God continued to provide food for Saul and his servant.

1 Samuel 10:4, “And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand.”

New American Standard Bible

As we encounter empty shelves at our local stores, we need to remember this. We are not dependent on the amount of money in our pocket. We are not dependent on the charity of others. We depend on God. He is an extravagant giver.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we ran out of carrots and potatoes. I had hoped to find a 5-pound bag of potatoes and a 1-pound bag of carrots. The shelves were empty. That afternoon my sister showed up with 10 pounds of white potatoes, 10 pounds of red potatoes, and 5 pounds of carrots. She wouldn’t take any money for them. You can read about it here.

Do you need food? Ask God!

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It’s Out of My Jurisdiction

The Pharisees “plotted together how they might trap Him,” Matthew 22:15. They asked him if it was “lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” Matthew 22:17.

“…keep in mind the separate jurisdictions in the Bible: (1) the individual, (2) the family, (3) the church, and (4) the government.

…For example, the Bible speaks of bearing the sword to punish wrongdoers (Romans 13:14), but this verse is for civil government, not the other three.

…When we see a command in the Scriptures, we should always ask ourselves: To which sphere(s) did God direct this command?

…At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Jews lived under a political system they hated and from which they were seeking a Messiah to deliver them, but it was a capital offense to stir up opposition to Rome or Roman law.

…If Jesus answered, “No,” it would be considered civil insurrection and the Romans would execute Him. But if He answered, “Yes,” He would lose support among the people, …Jesus answered this potentially lethal question by reminding them of the proper jurisdictions…”

“To Whom is God Speaking,” The Founder’s Bible, The Origin of the Dream of Freedom, pp. 1489-1490.

The Sadducees questioned him on a command to the family. They were unsuccessful.

Matthew 22:34, “But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.”

New American Standard Bible

Next, they tried to trick him with a command for the individual, “Which is the greatest commandment,” Matthew 22:35-40.

Then Jesus pointed out all the ways the Pharisees exploited the commands to the church, Matthew 23:13-36.

As an individual, I do not have the authority to inflict punishment – that belongs to the civil government. I do not have the authority to discipline others children – that belongs to their parents. I do not have the authority to decide how the saints are equipped, (Ephesians 4:12), – that belongs to the leaders God established in my church.

My job is to “love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself,” Matthew 22:37-39. If I love my neighbor, I would never: murder him, sleep with his wife, steal his belongings, lie about him, or wish I had his belongings.

When I do as Jesus commanded – love my neighbor as myself – the “don’ts” are never a consideration. It is not a matter of “Don’t murder” but love, not hate, because hate leads to murder. When I do as Jesus instructed, I don’t desire to break any of those five commandments. When I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, and mind, I don’t desire to break any of the first five commandments.

Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.”

New American Standard Bible

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Receive a Hundred Times as Much

God weighs my motives when I give. Am I giving just to get something? Am I giving grudgingly? Am I giving to impress someone? Or am I planting a seed expecting a harvest later?

Mark 10:30, “But he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”

New American Standard Bible

Persecution? That is not something I like to see on the list! But even those who give everything to share the love of Jesus Christ will endure persecutions. The ultimate reward for us all is eternal life.

“And having secured the approval of our hearts by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty…let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raiseth up and pulleth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as He pleases.”

John Hancock, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
Louie R. Heller, early American Orations 1760-1824 (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1902), pp. 48-49, John Hancock’s Oration on the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1774

A faithful and unwearied discharge of my duty will secure the approval of my heart.

A servant will become great, and a slave to all will become first. Just as Christ came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many, Mark 10:42-45.

“But remember, my dear friend, that ‘none liveth to himself’ (Romans 14:7). Even our old age is not our property. All its fruits of wisdom and experience belong to the public. ‘To do good’ is the business of life. ‘To enjoy rest’ is the happiness of Heaven. We pluck premature for forbidden fruit when we grasp at rest on this side the grave.”

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration
‘Letters of Benjamin Rush,’ ed. L. H. Butterfield (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), Vol. I, pp. 478-479, to John Dickinson on July 15, 1788.

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“Understandably, the Founding Fathers would have very much preferred to live their lives quietly secluded with their own families…

George Washington…as a young man…called away from his home…to lead…in the French and Indian War.

…Years later…called on him to serve them in the Continental Congress, …he was chosen to lead all military forces in the American Revolution.

…He was called out of retirement to head a convention that produced the U. S. Constitution…

…Once more called him from retirement to lead the new government…”

The Founder’s bible, The Origin of the Dream of Freedom, pp. 1526-1527

Our Founding Fathers understood duty and service. They didn’t sit on their laurels but shared their wisdom and experience when called. Their objective was to do good and please their Heavenly Father. How can I do less?

Proverbs 20:5, “A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

New American Standard Bible

Dear Merciful God, draw me closer to you. Heal my country. Show me what I should do. Amen.

Daniel 9:18, “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

New International Version

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