Stay Vigilant

“So, you like Jewish authors?”

“…He loved to talk Torah. …I…read the third command: ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain.’ …”

‘Don’t think language; think lifestyle,’ he instructed. …”

“It’s Not About Me” Max Lucado

* * * * * * *

Deuteronomy 4:32, “Ask questions. Find out what has been going on all these years before you were born. …” The Message

* * * * * * *

“He proceeded to create a story involving a Manhattan skyscraper. ‘…the CEO, …on the top floor. Most have not seen him, but they have seen his daughter. She exploits her family position to her benefit. …Making demands. Calling shots. Interrupting schedules. Never invoking the name of her dad. …No need to. Isn’t she the bosses child? Doesn’t the child speak for the father?…

And more than one employee questions the wisdom of the man upstairs. ‘Does he really know what he’s doing?’…”

“It’s Not About Me” Max Lucado

* * * * * * *

Deuteronomy 4:9, “Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“But what if the daughter acted differently? …Rather than demand…she hands him a gift. …she bumps into a woman with an armful of documents. ‘My, I’m sorry. Can I help?’ the daughter offers…

She, through kindness and concern, raises the happiness level of the entire company. …And because they think highly of her, they think highly of her father. …

The daughter takes the elevator to the top floor to see her father. When she arrives, he is waiting in the doorway. He’s aware of her good works and has seen her kind acts. People think more highly of him because of her. And he knows it. As she approaches, he greets her with six words. …

‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ ”

“It’s Not About Me” Max Lucado

* * * * * * * *

Deuteronomy 4:39, 40, “Know this well, then. Take it to heart right now: God is in heaven above; God is on earth below. He’s the only God there is. (40) Obediently live by His rules and commands which I’m giving you today so that you’ll live well and your children after you – oh, you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.” The Message

It’s not about me.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Don’t Start a Fight

I was enjoying a Christmas movie when the phone rang. I could tell by the sound of his voice that David was not happy.

Deuteronomy 2:5, “…restrain yourselves. Don’t try and start a fight.” The Message

I swear I could hear David’s blood pressure going up. Our credit card number was stolen for the second time this year. I blamed his Hotmail account.

Deuteronomy 2:9, “…don’t try to pick a fight…” The Message

He ended the call and gave me the details. I suggested changing email addresses. He didn’t want to deal with it that late in the evening.

Deuteronomy 2:19, “…don’t try and pick a fight with them…” The Message

I dropped it. God told me 3 times not to pick a fight.

“…As the weeks passed, I started seeing this journey with my friend as “chalk-line faith.” It was like God had drawn a chalk line around my feet. Everything within that chalk line was something I could do. I could pray. I could be present. I could love her.

Everything outside of that chalk line was either my friend’s assignment or God’s. …” “Chalk-Line Faith” Suzie Eller, Proverbs 31 Ministries

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


These Are the Borders

It took 2 – 1/2 Hallmark movies to complete. That was 5 hours putting together the new Christmas tree and decorating it.

I ate some Thanksgiving leftovers and pulled out the lights. David spent the afternoon hanging lights outside. I wanted to put lights in the windows.

The third burned out bulb stubbornly refused to come out of the string. After several attempts, I realized how tired I was. I set them aside and went to bed. My verse today told me to know my limits.

Numbers 34:2, “…these are the borders of the land you are getting as an inheritance.” The Message

God gives us boundaries for our own good. His plan never included working until exhausted.

“…without boundaries is like a house without walls. It’s like living in a carport; there’s no protection from outside influences. Nobody feels safe.” The Word for You Today, November 24, 2018

Is your Christmas tree up? Or, do you wait until December?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


December, 2018 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Chapters

  • 1 – Deuteronomy 17-20
  • 2 – Deuteronomy 21-23
  • 3 – Deuteronomy 24-27
  • 4 – Deuteronomy 28
  • 5 – Deuteronomy 29-31
  • 6 – Deuteronomy 32, 33; Psalms 90; Deuteronomy 34
  • 7 – Joshua 1-4
  • 8 – Joshua 5-7
  • 9 – Joshua 8, 9
  • 10 – Joshua 10-12
  • 11 – Joshua 13-15
  • 12 – Joshua 16-19
  • 13 – Joshua 20-22
  • 14 – Joshua 23, 24; Judges 1
  • 15 – Judges 2-4
  • 16 – Judges 5, 6
  • 17 – Judges 7, 8
  • 18 – Judges 9, 10
  • 19 – Judges 11-13
  • 20 – Judges 14-16
  • 21 – Judges 17-19
  • 22 – Judges 20, 21
  • 23 – Ruth 1-4
  • 24 – Luke 1
  • 25 – Luke 2; Matthew 1
  • 26 – Matthew 2; John 1
  • 27 – Luke 3; Matthew 3; Mark 1
  • 28 – Matthew 4; Luke 4; John 2
  • 29 – John 3, 4
  • 30 – Mark 2; Luke 5
  • 31 – Mark 3; John 5

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Their Hearts Weren’t In It

I brought the tubs of Christmas decorations out and put them on the dining room table. I chased a big, old spider and killed it on my 3rd attempt. Carrying the new Christmas tree upstairs made me glad I’ve worked out with 8-pound weights. (Don’t laugh – I started with condensed soup cans.)

The phone rang. It was David.

“Hey, we’re closing at four today.”

“What time is it now?”

“3:50 p.m.”

“What! You tell Fred (David’s boss) that he is in big trouble. I just carried the Christmas tree upstairs. Had I known you would be home in 10 minutes, I would have waited. No pie for Fred!” (I bake his favorite pie for him at Christmas.)

“I could stay away until five,” David suggested.

“No love for David.”

“I’ll be right home.”

* * * * * * *

I looked at the Christmas tree still in the box. My heart just wasn’t in it.

Numbers 32:11, “…They weren’t interested in following me – their hearts weren’t in it.” The Message

What was my heart into? Was God leading me away from setting up the tree into doing something else?

All day long, I thought of things to include in my kitchen centerpiece. I carried the Thanksgiving decorations downstairs. I dug out the Christmas placemat and one of the crafts we made on Thanksgiving. I opened the box of kitchen Christmas decorations and using two items from it, I arranged the centerpiece.

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Then I took the new Christmas towel I found and hung it with some red towels in the bathroom. I pinned an old brooch on them and hung a Christmas ornament above it.

I decorated 2 spots because my heart was in it. Then we went Black Friday shopping.

Do you let your heart guide you when choosing your next task?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Following the Prescribed Recipes

“Pamela, did you wash long underwear yesterday?”

“No, I ran out of time.”

“I’m out. I need a pair for work tomorrow.”

I threw them in the washer and realized I had a load of flannel shirts and pajamas, too. I washed them second because they could spend the night in the dryer. Why didn’t I do laundry first on Wednesday? Then I wouldn’t be doing it while cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

Numbers 29:21, “…gather in holy worship and do no regular work.” The Message

Thanksgiving would have gone a lot smoother had we followed the advice in the Bible.

Numbers 29:18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 37, “…following the prescribed recipes.” The Message

When Mom arrived, I asked her advice on the turkey gravy. She said she never made turkey gravy. I didn’t think there was enough. I decided to pour it into gravy boats instead of the Crockpot with a ladle. We only used half of one gravy boat.

* * * * * * *

We had 7 pies for 11 people. Laura brought 4 of them. She put a mystery ingredient in each. The cherry pie had cocoa sprinkled on top. She put chocolate chips in the chocolate pie. Those who had a piece said there was something crunchy in it that wasn’t chocolate chips!

Late in the afternoon, Laura lamented, “No one ate my apple pie.” 

Luke cut himself a piece. I think he had 7 pieces of different pies throughout the day. She cut herself a piece.

She took a bite and said, “This is awful.”

Luke replied, “I know! I didn’t want to say anything because I was afraid I would hurt your feelings!”

Laura got up, grabbed the remainder of the pie and threw the whole thing away. I never did find out what the mystery ingredient was.

* * * * * * *

Finally, Facebook lied. I read the best cranberry sauce was the one in the can. I bought a can, sliced it up, and put it in a pretty dish. No one touched it. They thought it was beets!

Next year, I will follow the prescribed recipes!

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


The Line Did Not Die Out

“Mom, I need to borrow a sheet pan.”

“What for?”

“I’m bringing pie.”

“What kind of pie?”

“Apple or cherry, or maybe, grape.”

“Grandma is bringing an apple pie.”

“Why don’t I just bring the cooked crusts and have everyone build their own pie?”

(Only my daughter…)

* * * * * * *

Thanksgiving is a family day. God cares about families. Children and grandchildren are our rewards.

Korah rebelled against God, (see Numbers 16). He and his family died – but not all of them. God spared at least one.

Numbers 26:9-11, “The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. [10] (These were the same Dathan and Abiram, community leaders from Korah’s gang, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the Korah Rebellion against God.  The Earth opened its jaws and swallowed them along with Korah’s gang who died when the fire ate them up, all 250 of them. After all these years, they’re still a warning sign. [11]  But the line of Korah did not die out.)” The Message

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy time with your family.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Balak Took Balaam

Balak wanted Balaam to curse the children of Israel. Balaam could not curse what God had blessed. Balak kept trying.

First, he took him to his god.

Numbers 22:41, “At daybreak Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal (The Heights of Baal) so that he could get a good view of some of the people.” The Message

Second, he took him to the highest point.

Numbers 23:14, “So he took him to Watchmen’s Meadow at the top of Pisgah [The Summit].” The Message

Finally, he took him to the wasteland.

Numbers 23:28, “So Balak to Balaam to the top of Peor, with a vista over the Jeshimon (Wasteland).” The Message

We lose when we put anything before God. We cannot get high enough to change His mind. We find ourselves sinking lower and lower.

The blessing only comes when we put God first.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Heard That Israel Was Advancing

It’s Thanksgiving Week! The time for family and great food. But it isn’t all turkey and pumpkin pie. When you get a large group together you may have bickering or squabbling.

* * * * * * *

Our home group did a study called, “The Flag Page Solution.” It is part of Mark Gungor’s “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”

The “Flag Page” list 4 “countries:” 1) Perfect, 2) Peace, 3) Control, and 4) Fun. We all have 2 dominate “countries” where we live.

I live in “Perfect” and “Peace.” But my family is in all 4 countries. I want everything “Perfect.” Others just want to have “Fun.” Those who live in “Control” country want to plan everything. You can tell when someone lives mainly in “Peace” country. They are the ones who say, “Can’t we all just get along?”

No matter what our dominate country is, we all have the same responsibility. We choose how we react.

* * * * * * *

In Numbers 21, two kings felt threatened. Their reactions cost them everything.

The first king started a war based on what he heard.

Numbers 21:1-3, “The Canaanite king of Arad, ruling in the Negev, heard that Israel was advancing up the road to Atharim. He attacked Israel and took prisoners of war. (2) Israel vowed a vow to God; ‘If you will give this people into our power, we’ll destroy their towns and present the ruins to you as holy destruction.’ (3) God listened to Israel’s prayer and gave them the Canaanites. They destroyed both them and their towns, a holy destruction.” The Message

The second king refused passage through his land.

Numbers 21:21-24, “Israel sent emissaries to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, (22) ‘Let us cross your land. We won’t trespass into your fields or drink water in your vineyards. We’ll keep to the main road, the King’s road, until we’re through your land.’ (23) But Sihon wouldn’t let Israel go through. Instead he got his army together and marched into the wilderness to fight Israel. At Jahaz he attacked Israel. (24) But Israel fought hard, beat him soundly, and took possession of his land…” The Message

At Thanksgiving, you will hear thoughtless comments. And your family will crowd your personal space. But, if you react, you will lose everything.

Do you have any secret ways you keep the peace at family dinners? Would you mind sharing them? Please?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


A Gift of God

We had just finished practicing for the service. I grabbed my makeup bag and hurried to the bathroom.

I broke a fingernail during practice and already accidentally scratched my face. I trimmed the nail and filed it smooth.

Then I got out my lip butter. It’s a creamy pot of a deep wine color. Sara and Linda were in the bathroom and I explained…

“My lip cracked. I’m camouflaging it in case it bleeds.”

I visited with Sara as I strolled back to the sanctuary. Opening the door, I saw there were less than 2 minutes before the service.

I missed prayer before the service. (Yikes!)

And I was almost late to start. (Sigh.)

* * * * * * *

After playing, I caught up with my son, the worship leader. I apologized for missing prayer.

Numbers 18:7, “But only you and your sons may serve as priests, working around the altar and inside the curtain. The work of the priesthood is my exclusive gift to you; it cannot be delegated…” The Message

“I have to punish you,” he joked. “You cannot play on Wednesday night.”

(There’s no service on Wednesday night. We have a special Thanksgiving service on Tuesday night.)

I acted shocked. Doesn’t he know I’m a gift from God? (Just kidding.)

Numbers 18:6, “I’m giving them to you as a gift, a gift from God, to help with the work of the Tent of Meeting.” The Message

Would we treat workers differently if we truly saw them as a gift of God? Each worker is a gift. Have you thanked the Ushers? Board Members? Children’s Workers? Nursery Attendants? Sound men?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.