Become Wiser

I swished the chocolate milk around my mouth and took the Prednisone. Those pills stick to your tongue and leave a bitterness you can’t scrape off. It helps to coat your mouth with thick, chocolate milk.

Following my plan, I ate 2 poached eggs, 2 pieces of toast, and a banana. (A banana or apple count as 2 servings of fruit.)

* * * * * * *

We took our granddaughter, Olivia, to the Olive Garden for her birthday. My goal: 2 Bread, 2 Vegetables, 1 Meat, 1 Dairy, and 1 Fruit. I ordered Chicken Zoodles, but after noting the calories, I ate half.

I’m learning to plan my food choices.

Proverbs 9:9, “Teach the wise, and they will become wiser; inform the righteous, and their learning will increase.” Common English Bible

March 7, 2020: Proverbs 7-10.

 

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Corrective Teaching is the Path of Life

As I looked over various diet plans, I noticed many said, “No bread.” Each time I read that, Matthew 6:11 would run through my head.

“Give us, Lord, our daily bread.”

Then I looked at different menu plans written by nutritionists. There were two servings of bread/cereal at breakfast and lunch. I broke down the menus into the four food groups: Bread, Fruits and Vegetables, Dairy, and Meats.

My daily goal was 1 Bread, 4 Fruits, 6 Vegetables, 3 Dairy, 1 Meat and 11 glasses of water. I would eat a light breakfast with 1 bread; super light lunch and dinner, no bread. I would still be hungry after dinner. I need “Daily Bread!”

I worked out a new plan. I will continue to count calories and monitor the results. I know God will correct me when I get off course.

Proverbs 6:23, “The commandment is a lamp and instruction a light; corrective teaching is the path of life.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 3:1, 2, 12, “My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, 2) because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. …12) The Lord loves those he corrects, just like a father who treats his son with favor.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…Learning wisdom is a journey full of twists and turns, obstacles and open doors, and good and bad choices. Wisdom is found in straight courses (4:11); the way of the righteous is like morning light (4:18). The way of the wicked… is full of stumbling (4:16) and is like deep darkness (4:19).” Common English Bible Notes on Proverbs 4:10-19

March 6, 2020: Proverbs 3-6.

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To Teach Wisdom and Discipline

“For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie Snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals, and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most – not the nutritional value of the food. …he shed 27 pounds in two months. …”

“Twinkie Diet Helps Nutrition Professor Lose 27 Pounds”

The Lord’s Prayer, in The Message Bible, says, “Give us three square meals a day.” Yet most diets plan for three meals and three snacks!

In light of these several rounds of Prednisone, I am concerned about my weight. I eat a salad for lunch every day – and it still keeps creeping up!

I decided to skip snacks and start counting calories. What a surprise! Some of my “healthy” choices pack a lot of calories.

God cares about every aspect of our life. He wants to give us wisdom about everything!

Solomon, the wisest man on earth, studied the flora, fauna, literature, justice, and scientific exploration. We should all do the same.

1 Kings 4:29, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and very great understanding – insight as long as the seashore itself.”

Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…Besides exercising his wisdom in the administration of justice (1 Kings 3:28), Solomon also was involved in literary production or collection and in scientific exploration. He came to be associated with the literature of wisdom. …Since wisdom is both a gift from God and a quest for understanding, it makes sense that Solomon should be interested in the flora and fauna of the natural world. …Solomon’s wisdom can be likened to Adam’s; both were involved in ordering and naming the creatures (Genesis 2:19-20), a task that depended on the wisdom of observation.”

Common English Bible Notes on 1 Kings 4:32-33

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 1:2, “Their purpose is to teach wisdom and discipline, to help one understand wise sayings.”

Common English Bible

Wisdom. Discipline. Order. I am getting all three through prayer and Bible Study. I must constantly evaluate things through observation.

March 5, 2020: 2 Chronicles 1; 1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1, 2.

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Against Terrors That Come by Night

We joyfully announced our upcoming trip to Israel! We were not surprised that Satan attacked to discourage us.

Journal, 2-21-2020: I’m on the last day of my fifth round of Prednisone. I decided to update my license to a real ID. I kept waking up worrying about it. I’m moving ahead on the trip despite these allergy flares. …

Psalms 31:2, “Listen closely to me! Deliver me quickly; be a rock that protects me; be a strong fortress that saves me!” Common English Bible 

* * * * * * *

“Psalms 31 is a prayer for help with the typical elements: complaint and petition…along with affirmations of trust and praise…is unique because the expressions of praise/trust begin, end, and pervade the psalm, giving it a character similar to the psalms of trust.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalms 31:1-24

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 16:12, “Perhaps the Lord will see my distress; perhaps the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing today.” Common English Bible

February 21, 2020: Psalms 31, 55; 2 Samuel 16; Psalms 3-5.

 

Journal, 2-22-2020: The tear duct in my right eye is clogged again. I have red hives under my eyes. I decided to switch from Allegra to Claritin for a few weeks. …

(The Allegra builds up in my system and I have to take a break. I’ve been on a double dose all winter. That is not normal!)

…We have gone over my list of triggers. A week ago, I ordered a new coat. I am allergic to feathers and the “encapsulated feathers” are poking through. The coat is red and the red dye is a possible trigger. I went through the cupboards checking for it. Thank God, Aldi does not add it to their products! 

I found it in my favorite dressing. I mixed “red dye-free” ketchup with mayonnaise. Then added some relish to make my own “1000 Island Dressing.” Each day I ask God to show me anything I can do to stop this reaction. …

2 Samuel 18:4, “The king said to them, ‘I will do whatever you think is best.'” Common English Bible

February 22, 2020: Psalms 6, 8, 64; 2 Samuel 17, 18.

 

Journal 2-23-2020: The tear duct in my right eye is closed. My eyes are swollen with red hives. I used a warm wet compress and flushed them with saltwater. Then I used a sinus rinse and washed my hair in the tub. I hoped the rinse would run into my upper sinuses and run down to unclog that duct. …After church and the nursing home service, I took Benadryl and went to bed.

Somehow, I got off on my list of chapters! I read the ones assigned to the 24th! I didn’t notice it until the 25th!

Psalm 18:27, “You are the one who saves people who suffer and brings down those with proud eyes.” Common English Bible

I sure don’t have proud eyes today! Makeup was out of the question. I know God saves those who suffer. There is hope.

February 24, 2020: 2 Samuel 21, 22; Psalm 18.

 

Journal 2-24-2020: …I moved Valentine’s Day Decorations and red candles from boxes to clear totes. (I decorated for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday.) My goal is to eventually move all my storage into clear totes. Dust is blamed as a huge trigger. …

Psalm 20:4, “Let God grant what is in your heart and fulfill all your plans.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Psalm 20:14, “And save me from willful sins. Don’t let them rule me. Then I’ll be completely blameless; I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Blameless: The word does not mean sinless. It means “completeness, wholeness,” and is sometimes translated “integrity” (see Psalm 18:25). Listening to God’s instruction and being forgiven by God, the psalmist will be fully in relationship to God.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 20:14

February 25, 2020: Psalms 19-21, 65-68.

 

Journal 2-25-2020: Exercise. Journal. Devotions. I wrote a post about going to Israel. Then I checked the 2021 April Bible Reading Guide. …

Psalms 61:8, “Then I will sing praises to your name forever, and I will do what I promised every single day.” Common English Bible

I found I am off on the chapters by a day. Somehow, I missed February 23rd. I read it today.

February 23, 2020: Psalms 61, 62, 89; 2 Samuel 19, 20.

 

Journal 2-26-2020: Both eyes are almost swollen shut!!! I took pictures and sent them to my doctor. Then I made an appointment. 

He replied, “More Prednisone!”

I canceled the appointment. Every few hours, I boiled purified water; I poured it over 2 washcloths; let it cool 10 minutes; then put them on my eyes and mouth for 10 minutes. I have hives around my mouth now, too. Sigh. I switched back to Allegra. …

…David picked up more meds. I took them and finished my devotions. No post today. I just can’t see! …

…I sent a picture of my eyes to the worship pastor, the head of the E3 cafe, and Derek, saying, “Just between you and me, I can’t see! This is an allergy flare. I’m out for tonight!”

Psalms 138:3, 7, “On the day I cried out, you answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength. …Whenever I am in deep trouble, you make me live again…” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Psalm 141:1, “I cry out to you, Lord: Come to me quickly! Listen to my voice when I cry out to you!” Common English Bible

February 26, 2020: Psalms 138-141, 143-145.

 

Journal 2-27-2020: I dragged through exercise. My mouth and eyes have red, swollen hives. …I soaked them four times today. … 

…Kenny V. called. His mother passed away. He asked me to accompany his cousin at the funeral. I should be tapering off of Prednisone by Monday. I agreed. He dropped off music to the hymn she wanted – “Tell Mother I’ll Be There.”

2 Samuel 23:2, “The Lord’s spirit speaks through me; his word is on my tongue.” Common English Bible

I will be there.

February 27, 2020: 2 Samuel 23, 24; 1 Chronicles 21.

 

Journal, 2-28-2020: David woke me up when he left for work. I drug myself out of bed. I boiled water for a warm compress and went back to bed.

I took another picture of my eyes and sent it to the doctor. Some of my lashes were stuck together when I woke up. I wondered about an infection.

He ordered more Prednisone. Three days ago, he increased the dose by half. Now I will be on a high dose for 6 days, not three. I went back to bed. …

…At noon I put a pork roast in the Crockpot and had devotions. I checked it at 3:30 p.m. I didn’t turn the Crockpot on. Sigh. (Life on Prednisone.) I put the meat in the refrigerator and texted David. He brought home pizza with white sauce. I take Benadryl at night to go to sleep.

Psalm 2:12, “…But all who take refuge in the Lord are truly happy.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…The necessity of taking refuge in God shows that true happiness doesn’t mean the absence of threat or suffering…” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 2:12.

February 28, 2020: 1 Kings 1, Psalms 2, 110; 1 Chronicles 22.

 

Journal, 2-29-2020: I’m tired. David picked up the Prednisone refill – 1000 milligrams! …

…I worked on the song for the funeral and practiced for Sunday. Brenda is sick. Derek had to change two songs. …

…I asked to have the Worship Team Christmas Party moved to my house. (Yes, it’s been a hard winter.) I made a gallon of sweet tea and a gallon of lemonade. Then I baked a Chocolate Chip Torte and Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. …

…Rachel called at 4 p.m. Another family is out sick. We postponed again. David froze the cake and I put the pork roast in the oven. Then I went back to bed!

1 Chronicles 24:5, “They divided both groups by lots because they were holy leaders, even outstanding leaders, …” Common English Bible

Goal – an outstanding leader.

February 29, 2020: Psalms 30, 91, 92; 1 Chronicles 23, 24.

 

Journal 3-1-2020: Soaked my eyes. Washed my hair. I’m tired, in a Benadryl fog and wondering if I should give up. I read my Bible.

1 Chronicles 28:9, 10 “As for you, Solomon, my son, acknowledge your father’s God and serve him with enthusiastic devotion, because the Lord searches every mind and understands the motive behind every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you abandon him, he will reject you forever. 10) Now then, since the Lord has chosen you to build the temple for him as the sanctuary, work hard.” Common English Bible

Journal 3-1-2020: …Set up and practiced. I stayed backstage. At this level of Prednisone, my immunity is lower. Derek and Rachel had a meeting in Mt. Pleasant. We tore down the drums and her keyboard during the offering. …Back at home, I put on pajamas and crawled into bed. I stayed there.

I didn’t give up and abandon God. I know I’m chosen for worship. I worked hard to do the tasks assigned to me. I am devoted to God.

Search my mind and motives, God. I turn it all over to you.

March 1, 2020: 1 Chronicles 25-28.

 

Journal 3-2-2020: I woke at 5:15 a.m. and put on the clothes I wore to church. David had to be at work at 7 a.m. …

…I took a picture of my eyes which are still red and puffy. I sent it to the doctor and asked to taper off anyway. …He told me to drop 10 mg every 3 days.

…I took a shower and went to the funeral home early. I signed the book with my gloves on. I went back to the piano and stayed there. I only had contact with 3 people. I stayed in that back room until everyone left and it was time to pick David up for lunch. I waited in the van.

1 Chronicles 29:17, “Since I know, my God, that you examine the mind and take delight in honesty, …” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 2:2, 3, “Turn your ear toward wisdom and stretch your mind toward understanding. 2) Call out for insight, and cry aloud for understanding.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Strategic thinking helps you plan, to become more efficient, to maximize your strengths, and to find the most direct path toward achieving your God-given assignment in life. (1) Strategic thinking simplifies the difficult… (2) …helps you ask the right question… What should we do next? …” The Word for You Today, March 2, 2020

March 2, 2020: 1 Chronicles 29; 1 Kings 2.

 

Journal 3-3-2020: I debated canceling all our plans before our trip and just staying home. I shouldn’t be in crowds on this amount of Prednisone. I wondered if I would be able to enjoy the trip? …David shared his concerns about his knee. Someday, down the road, the doctor wants to replace it. Of course, it has been bothering him recently. He wonders if he will enjoy this trip? …

1 Kings 3:5, “The Lord, appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, ‘Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.'” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” Common English Bible

Lord, we ask you to heal us!

Proverbs 3:5-8, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. 6) Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. 7) Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8) Then your body will be healthy and your bones strengthened.” Common English Bible

My body will be healthy and David’s bones will be strengthened!

March 3, 2020: 1 Kings 3; Psalms 45, 72, 127; Song of Solomon 1, 2.

 

Journal 3-4-2020: …We went to the last meeting for the Israel trip. I was nervous. (Prednisone.) I don’t feel like I fit in. David was outgoing and talkative. That made me feel shyer. …

…The sermon was about discerning: gather evidence, prove it, and then decide. …

…The care pastors, Dana and Linda, came to pray with me. They know what’s going on. I was talking to Pastor Peggy about the trip. I shared our struggles with her and Pastor Brant and Bethany. Not only did they pray for us, but they also shared two other people with health battles who are going to Israel with us. We are surrounded by prayer warriors. Now when I think of our health struggles, I will pray for Jaimie and Nicole!

Song of Solomon 3:7, 8, “Picture Solomon’s bed – sixty heroic men round about it all from the heroes of Israel, 8) all of them skilled with the sword expert in warfare, each with his sword ready at his thigh against terrors that come by night.” Common English Bible

It’s at night that I worry about the trip to Israel. I think of what could go wrong. We have heroes to battle the terrors by night and win!

Proverbs 4:23, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.” Common English Bible

March 4, 2020: Song of Solomon 3-8.

 

And to everyone encouraging me to write a book? I think I just did!

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Up the Slope of the Mount of Olives

In less than a month, we will be flying to Israel! Woohoo! This was a lifelong desire and became a daily prayer in 2011.

We faithfully set aside money each month for a vacation. Our last vacation was in 2012.

We made huge sacrifices! David gave up his big, black truck. I gave up satellite TV – no more Hallmark movies. We used the money we had set aside for a new vehicle. Now we share the van.

Since 2007, God has asked me to give up something. First, it was my job and then my daily Mountain Dew. Last year, he told me to buy my clothes at Goodwill or a consignment shop.

All of these sacrifices are worth it because I will walk where Jesus walked!

2 Samuel 15:30, “But David, his head covered, walked barefoot up the slope of the Mount of Olives crying. …” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…David walks barefoot out of Jerusalem, weeping and potentially about to lose everything. …He refuses to treat the covenant chest like a good-luck charm to take with him, but once again relies on trust in God’s will. To Zadok, he says, ‘If the Lord thinks well of me, then he will bring me back…But if God says, “I’m not pleased with you,” then I am ready. Let him do to me whatever pleases him’ (2 Samuel 15:25-26). This expression is remarkably similar to Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives, ‘not my will but your will must be done’ (Luke 22:42). …He journeys away from the danger of his own death to reclaim his life with God. Many years later, Jesus – the son of David – journeys in the other direction over the Mount of Olives to face his own death, but also to claim his life with God.”

Common English Bible Sidebar ‘Remorseful Journey’ on 2 Samuel 15

February 20: 2 Samuel 15; Psalms 9-13.

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Create a Clean Heart, Part 2

Our wrongdoing is forgiven because God has mercy, is faithful and compassionate. After repentance, we are not guilty and there is no dishonesty in us. God is able to create and re-create a clean heart in us making new life possible!

God does all the work!

Psalms 32:1-2, “The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy! 2) The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty – in whose spirit there is no dishonesty – that one is truly happy!” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Truly happy: The repetition recalls Psalm 1:1, making it clear that true happiness derives not from being sinless but rather from being forgiven (see sidebar, ‘True Happiness’ at Psalm 1).” Common English Bible Note on Psalms 32:1-2

* * * * * * *

“…true happiness is God-centered. It means constantly focusing on God’s will (see Psalms 1:1; 94:12; 119:1), which means doing justice and righteousness (see Psalms 106:3; 112:1; 128:1). Justice involves caring for the poor (see Psalms 41:1; 72:1-7, 12-14, 17). Being righteous doesn’t mean doing everything right but relying on God for forgiveness and grace (see Psalms 32:1-2). True happiness also means depending upon God rather than self, trusting and hoping in God (see Psalms 40:4; 84:12; 146:5), seeking God’s presence in worship and elsewhere (see Psalms 84:4; 89:15; 119:2), and always relying on God for strength and protection (including taking ‘refuge’ in God; see Psalms 2:12; 34:8; 84:5). The ‘truly happy’ are called ‘the righteous’ (see Psalm 1:1).” Common English Bible Sidebar, “True Happiness” at Psalm 1

I’m truly happy, or blessed because God continues to create in me His righteousness!

“The Psalm makes it clear that to be righteous means to depend upon God’s grace (see Psalm 1:56 and often in the prayers for help), not to do everything right. This is why the apostle Paul quotes Psalms 32:1-2 when he writes about righteousness in Romans 4 (see Romans 4:6-8).” Common English Bible Notes on Psalms 32:11

* * * * * * *

Romans 4:6-8, “In the same way, David also pronounces a blessing on the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from actions:

7) Happy are those whose actions outside the Law are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8) Happy are those whose sin isn’t counted against them by the Lord.” Common English Bible

I don’t have to do everything right! In fact, I can’t because I am human.

But God’s grace is always available. He is ready to re-create a clean heart in me.

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go. I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Psalm 41:1, “Those who pay attention to the poor are truly happy! The Lord rescues them during troubling times.” Common English Bible

Forgiveness = True Happiness!

February 18, 2020: Psalms 32, 38-41, 69.

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Create a Clean Heart, Part 1

It was the first night of serving “made-to-order” food in the E3 Cafe. We had new equipment, shelves were cleared, and everything up front looked fresh! We were excited!

Brittney, the new head of the cafe, unpacked the new fryer. She asked for a screwdriver. I went to the information desk and retrieved one.

Then a long, heavy-duty extension cord? I hurried to the auditorium and asked Derek for one. He drew his mouth into a straight line.

Uh-oh, I know that look. It is his irritated, disgusted, slightly angry expression.

I followed him up the stairs, turned the corner, and exclaimed, “Wow!” They had opened the back curtain, adding another third to the stage, and rearranged the instruments. I had not seen it because we haven’t been practicing there.

“Mom! We’re praying!” Derek whispered.

I forgot. That’s why it was so dark. I felt horrible. Satan hit me over the head with a sledgehammer of guilt.

  • Whack – “You knew it was time for prayer!”
  • Whack – “You are a bad Christian!”
  • Whack – “What a rotten mother you are! You just humiliated your son!”
  • Whack – “Did you see Robin glance up? You interrupted her prayer. She won’t be your friend anymore. Will you be invited to the next girl’s ‘pie time’ date?”
  • Whack – “The youth pastor is going to be mad! I bet they won’t even let you in to wash dishes!”

I hurried the extension cord back to the cafe. A few minutes later, we found the electrician had come and installed a second outlet under the table. We didn’t need the cord after all.

I slunk back to the auditorium to return it.

  • Whack – “They didn’t even need it. You are always rushing off to help and they don’t need your help!”

Luckily, Derek was by the door. His mouth went back into that straight line. I handed him the extension cord and fled.

  • Whack – “You just interrupted prayer again! I wouldn’t be surprised if Derek disowned you!”

I finished my tasks in the cafe and gathered my things. On the drive up the hill, I confessed to David. He told me to forget about it and just practice for the service.

King David sent the same message to Joab when it was reported that Uriah had died in battle.

2 Samuel 11:25, “David said to the messenger, ‘Say to Joab; “Don’t be upset about this because the sword is that way: taking the life of this person or that person. …” ‘” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…David seeks to comfort Joab. The phrase ‘Don’t be upset’ puts in English the Hebrew idiom ‘Don’t let this be evil in your eyes’ (11:25). David asks his general not to consider the deed evil, but the final word of this story makes the guilt clear: what David had done was evil in the Lord’s eyes (11:27b). …” Common English Bible Notes on 2 Samuel 11:14-27

We know that David later repented. He wrote several penitent Psalms after this happened.

Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“The opening petitions invite more attention to God’s character than to the Psalmist’s sin. Have mercy: See Psalm 4:1. Faithful love: See Psalm 5:7. Compassion: See Psalm 25:6. All three of these basic qualities of God occur in God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 34:6, which comes at the conclusion of the gold calf incident that involved grievous sin on Israel’s part. The firm belief about God’s merciful character is apparently what enables the psalmist to confess sin so honestly and openly.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 51:1

* * * * * * *

I unrolled my in-ear headphones, grabbed my music, and slid into my place. We did a new song and I had to concentrate. I focused on the worship pastor. The funny thing was when my attention was completely on the leader, I couldn’t hear or feel the guilt.

Pastor Gary also chose, “How Great Thou Art.” I started soft and high. The congregation was singing their hearts out on the beloved hymn. When Pastor signaled me to build, I went loud and low. Amazingly, the congregation got louder! I could hear them singing around my in-ear headphones. It was awesome!

After playing, I told the guitar player that I loved it when the congregation sang at the top of their lungs!

He replied, “Yes, that’s fun. But – when I play well, it’s not about me. When I play badly, it’s not about me.”

I thought, “I needed to be reminded of that.” I went out the back door to return to E3.

    • Whack – “You shouldn’t be playing for church! You interrupted prayer!”

Over the next 2 hours, as I washed dishes and scrubbed the old fryers, I remembered something else I read in Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:10-12, “Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me! 11) Please don’t throw me out of your presence; please don’t take your holy spirit away from me. 12) Return the joy of your salvation to me and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Create…God: God has the ability to create and re-create, activities associated elsewhere with God’s spirit (see Genesis 1:2). The threefold repetition of spirit suggests that new life is possible for the forgiven sinner. Holy Spirit: Isaiah 63:10-11 is the only other occurrence of this formulation in the Old Testament. It seems here to designate the living and life-giving presence of God.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 51:10-12

I repented and asked God to give me a new heart. Once again, God created a new heart for me. The words of the last chorus ran through my head and Satan with his sledgehammer of guilt slunk away.

It doesn’t matter what you have done: murder, adultery, lying, coveting, – God can create a new heart for you! And tomorrow he can create another one. All David did was repent and ask.

Be like David.

February 17: 2 Samuel 11, 12; Psalm 51, 25.

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Just as His Father Was Loyal to Me

Faithful, committed, kind, and loyal are not terms normally associated with politicians!

We are studying King David and his administration. The first thing I noticed was that David’s personal bodyguards were mercenaries, not men from his regular army!

He paid for them to protect him. They had nothing to gain by being disloyal and everything to lose. They would not have trusted anyone because everyone else had a motive to kill the king.

2 Samuel 8:18, “Jehoiada’s son Benaiah was in command of the Cherethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“David’s reign is characterized by the covenant qualities of justice and righteousness. He establishes leaders around him: military officers, scribes, and priests (including at least some of David’s sons). It is noteworthy that while Joab commands David’s regular army, David also maintains a personal mercenary force (Cherethites and Pelethites) commanded by Benaiah. This ensures a loyal force guarding the king’s own person.” Common English Bible Notes on 2 Samuel 9:18

The second thing I noticed was David’s sons were part of his administration. I wondered how they could be “priests?”

1 Chronicles 18:17, “…and David’s sons were the king’s chief personal advisors.” Common English Bible

In Chronicles, they were called personal advisors.

David ran from King Saul for 15 years. He had sons from more than one wife. These young men traveled with David and witnessed firsthand how God rescued him time after time. They watched their father seek God for guidance at every turn. If they were doing the same, they would have been the best advisors. He reigned in Hebron for 7 years making his sons in their early twenties.

* * * * * * *

David didn’t forget his commitment to Jonathan when he became king. 2 Samuel 9 tells how he searched for Jonathan’s son and brought him to live with him at the palace.

“David uses the term translated in 9:1 and 9:7 as ‘faithful love’ three times (it is translated as ‘kindness’ in 9:3) to describe why he sought out Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. The ‘faithful’ quality indicates covenant love or committed love. This kind of love is prominent in the story of the friendship of David and Jonathan, and the commitments they make to each other (see notes on 1 Samuel 20). That pledge of friendship included care for any of Jonathan’s family in the future. Here David fulfills his pledge.” Common English Bible Notes on 2 Samuel 9:1, 3, 7.

Faithful love, covenant love, committed love = kindness!

I have no trouble being faithful to David and keeping my marriage vows. I am committed to him but I am not always kind! This was a humbling paragraph to read!

David went even further! The commitment he made to Jonathan he also made to Nahash, king of the Ammonites.

2 Samuel 10:2, “David said, ‘I’ll be loyal to Nahash’s son Hanun, just as his father was loyal to me.'” Common English Bible 

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“When Ammon’s King Nahash dies, David sends condolences to Nahash’s son Hanun. David states his intention to be loyal as Nahash was loyal to him. This is the same word for faithful commitment used to describe David’s commitment to Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1, 3, 7). Whether it is in personal relationships or in diplomatic relationships, David honors commitments.” Common English Bible Notes on 2 Samuel 10:1-5

David honored Hanun just as he honored Mephibosheth. He treated them as he had treated their fathers.

  • David didn’t give honor; he was honorable.
  • He didn’t show faithfulness; he was faithful.
  • He didn’t express commitment, he was committed.
  • He didn’t show kindness; he was kind.
  • He was the same in his personal life as he was in his diplomatic life.

Be like David.

February 16: Psalm 86; 2 Samuel 8; 1 Chronicles 18; Psalm 60; 2 Samuel 9, 10; 1 Chronicles 19.

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The Lord Had Given Him Rest, Part 2

I decided to publish 2 posts a day until I catch up. I turned the page and found another page full of verses that I wrote down on February 15th! God showed me many times over that he would take care of me!

2 Samuel 7:28, “Lord God, you are truly God! Your words are trustworthy. …” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

1 Chronicles 17:7, 8, “…This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: I myself took you from the pasture, … 8) I’ve been with you wherever you’ve gone. …” Common English Bible

Each day I read a chapter in Proverbs. I found more reassurance there!

Proverbs 15:3, “The Lord’s eyes are everywhere, keeping watch on evil and good people.” Common English Bible

Then I turned to my New International Version Study Bible to study a few verses there. My verses were Isaiah 4:4-6. I read all of the cross-reference verses and the notes at the bottom. God spoke to me through those verses, too!

Exodus 14:13, “…Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see…” New International Version

* * * * * * *

Isaiah 31:5, “Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; …” New International Version

I will be touring Jerusalem! Woohoo! God will be my shield!

Psalms 121:5-6, “The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6) the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

Isaiah 65:18, “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.” New International Version

God is already setting up divine appointments for me to meet the people of Jerusalem. I can’t wait!

February 15, 2020: Part 2.

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The Lord Had Given Him Rest, Part 1

My thoughts at night are on our upcoming trip to Israel. I am a small-town girl who does not travel internationally.

We went to Canada for a few hours when our children were young. We ate lunch, my daughter bought black nail polish, (why?), and we walked back across the border.

* * * * * * *

I dreamed we had not sent all of the money. (We have.) I woke up at 4:30 a.m. worried. Instead of getting up, I rolled over and chose to “rest in the Lord.”

I pictured myself curled up on a cloud that was in my Heavenly Father’s lap. No matter where I went, God was still holding me. I’m safe. I went back to sleep.

Psalms 123:1, “I raise my eyes to you – you who rule heaven.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Raise my eyes: Elsewhere this is often a sign of arrogance, but here the Psalmist looks to God for help (see Psalms 141:8).”

* * * * * * *

Psalms 131:2, “…I have calmed and quieted myself…” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 7:1, “…the Lord had given him rest…” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 7:25, 26, “…Do just as you have promised (26) so that your name will be great forever…” Common English Bible

God is in control. I do not need to worry. He gives me rest. His name is great because he keeps his promises!

February 15, 2020: Psalms 108, 123, 124, 131; 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalms 1.

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