When Your Heart Stops

Monday, September 26, 2022

Ragweed has blinded my eyes. Please, open them, Lord!

Psalm 146:8, “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.” NASB

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

My eyes are still flaring and watering constantly. I struggle to read.

Zechariah 9:1, “… (for the eyes of all …, are toward the Lord.)” NASB

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

I thought my watering eyes were unbearable. I was going for my second cup of coffee when my heart felt like a hand squeezed it and it stopped.

Repenting, I exclaimed, “Jesus, take me home!” (The pain did not stop but I forgot about my eyes!)

Then, I remembered coughing could start your heart again. I coughed a few times and the pain finally eased.

***

“The books of Kings are the history of Israel from the perspective of the eyewitnesses in the court and the prophets at the time; the books of Chronicles are a recounting of that same history for those who returned from the exile in Babylon drawing spiritual lessons from the heart of the priests. It has been said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat it. At first glance, 1 Chronicles reads as a condensed recap of the entire Old Testament. From Adam to Abraham to Jacob to King David to the exile and finally, to the return of the Jews to their homeland, it’s all there. It’s the official condensed record of Judah’s history from Genesis to Malachi, and that’s just the first nine chapters.”

Introduction to 1 Chronicles
The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom

***

How is history recorded? Through genealogy.

1 Chronicles 1:1, “Adam, Seth, Enosh.” NASB

Father, son, grandson. The story of Adam in the garden of Eden is not recorded here, just his son and grandson’s names. (See Genesis 5:1-8).

These chapters don’t list occupations or titles. Chapter three lists the genealogy of the kings. Yet, only their names are recorded.

1 Chronicles 3:17, “The sons of Jeconiah, the prisoner, .” NASB

King Jeconiah was captured by Nebuchadnezzar, see 2 Kings 24:6-16. He was a prisoner for 37 years, see 2 Kings 25:27-30. But here he is recorded as Jeconiah the prisoner.

***

After feeling my heart stop, I evaluated my life. The only things that matter are my children and their children. They are more important than any occupation, title, accomplishments, or ministry.

The chest pain was replaced by the feeling of a steel band around my ribcage. I went to the ER. My EKG and blood tests showed I did not have a heart attack.

X-rays ruled out pneumonia even though the doctor heard crackling. I am in great health on paper. I just can’t breathe. He was perplexed.

“It’s ragweed,” I stated, “I will blow it out with the nebulizer.”

He was surprised that I had a nebulizer. He prescribed Aleve and Baby Aspirin for the “inflammation.” I declined Prednisone. The doctor agreed when he saw I had 14 rounds in the last three years.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

1 Chronicles 4:4, “…These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem.” NASB

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Ephrathah. The city was named after this man, not the firstborn son, Hur. I’m glad God uses second-born and third-born children. (I’m a middle child!) 😉

***

1 Chronicles 4:14, “…for they were craftsmen.” NASB

This is the third occupation listed in 1 Chronicles.

  1. Scribes, 2:55.
  2. Kings, Chapter 3.
  3. Craftsmen, 4:14.
  4. Potters, 4:23.
  5. Shepherds, 4:39.
  6. Soldiers, 5:18.
  7. Priests, Chapter 6.
  8. Musicians, 6:31-32.

Friday, September 30, 2022

The “inflammation” moved to my right lung and left bronchial tubes. I got to meet my new doctor. (My doctor retired.) 😦

My new doctor liked my curly hair, (because his wife has curly hair), and said I didn’t look my age. I like him! 🙂

He said I look great on paper but breathing is important. I talked him down to the lowest dose of Prednisone and am on Round 15. (Sigh.) I’m at war with Ragweed.

***

1 Chronicles 7:5, “… families of Issachar were mighty men of valor, …” NASB

The mighty men of valor were troops for the army. (See, 1 Chronicles 5:18; 7:5-11; 7:40.)

  • Issachar, 87,000.
  • Benjamin’s son Bela 22,034.
  • Benjamin’s son Becher 20,200.
  • Benjamin’s son Jediael 17,200.
  • Ashur 26,000.
  • Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh 44,760.

King David’s nephews were the officers of the army. His sister, Zeruiah’s sons were Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, 1 Chronicles 2:16; and 2 Samuel 2:18. Amasa, the son of his sister Abigail, replaced Joab, 1 Chronicles 2:17 and 2 Samuel 17:25.

***

Those who returned to Jerusalem were:

  1. The Levites – those in charge of teaching God’s Laws.
  2. The Judahites – the worshippers, princes, and officers.
  3. The Benjaminites – the soldiers.
  4. The sons of Joseph – the Ephraimites and Manassehites. (Israel transferred the birthright of the Firstborn from Joseph to Reuben, 1 Chronicles 5:1.) They were the elders.

To rebuild America, we need to send those who know the Laws of God to Washington.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Genesis 1:12, “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” NASB

We talk about bearing fruit but does our fruit have seeds that reproduce? My children are serving the Lord. Am I doing everything I can to help ensure my grandchildren serve the Lord?

Because when my heart truly stops, that is what matters.

Stalls of vendors in the Jewish Quarter during Jesus' time.
A mural of what the Jewish Quarter looked like in Jesus’ time. Each stall was a different occupation. The artist added a young boy with a baseball cap and backpack in the front for whimsy.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Forty Years

David was a senior in high school when he told me he loved me. I thought, “It will never last.”

Jeremiah 43:2, “…all the arrogant men said…”

New American Standard Bible

***

Jeremiah 43:10, “But they have not become contrite even to this day, nor have they feared nor walked in my law or my statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers.'”

New American Standard Bible

***

Dear Lord, forgive me for every time I spoke in arrogance. Amen.

A Week Ago

“Sow in the morning and evening. Sow in your early years and keep sowing in your later seasons. Be filled, be led, be loving.”

Tim Taylor, MIssionary to Bolivia and India, 8-28-2022

***

This drought, meant to be a curse, was a miraculous blessing for me. It was too dry for Ragweed to grow and bloom. I didn’t battle grass pollen either. We went away for a three-day weekend and walked a few blocks from the hotel to a restaurant.

David hasn’t mowed the lawn since the July 4th weekend. With the price of gas, that was a blessing, too!

I didn’t pray for the drought and I thank God for the humidity in Iowa. The corn can pull the moisture it needs out of the air!

The shores of the Mississippi River are bare. The sandbars are exposed in the Iowa and Cedar Rivers. The creeks are mud puddles. God controls the water levels. He raises the sea level and lowers it.

***

Ezekiel 26:19, “For thus says the Lord God, ‘When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and the great waters cover you.'”

New American Standard Bible

***

Obadiah 1:15, “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Ezekiel 34:16, “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.”

New American Standard Bible

***

“Christianity works while infidelity talks. She feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, visits and cheers the sick, and seeks the lost, while infidelity abuses her and babbles nonsense and profanity. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.'”

Henry Ward Beecher,
A prominent nineteenth-century clergyman, abolitionist, and social reformer

***

Last Sunday

Our pastor’s 40th wedding anniversary was Sunday. We had cake after church. His sermon was on the significance of the number 40 and marriage.

“The number 40 is found 146 times in the Bible. …Marriage reflects the purpose of God; it transforms you. Learn from your differences. Complement, don’t criticize. We focus on the problem not the purpose. Forty is the time you discover your purpose.”

Pastor Monte Knudsen, 9-4-2022

***

Me: “We’ve been married 40 years. Have I been transformed?”

David: “Into what?”

Here’s to another 40 years of laughter!

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Standing

My husband and I were born in this town. Am I doing everything I can to push out any wickedness here?

Ezekiel 21:30, “…In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you.”

New American Standard Bible

***

I am not called to serve in our civil government, but am I praying for my city? Am I contributing to projects that build a wall around my city to protect the inhabitants: Food Bank, The Well, Goodwill, and the Hospital Auxiliary?

Ezekiel 22:30, “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis spoke about this in his sermon entitled, “Battle Stations.”

“They humbled themselves, fasted, and prayed. They stood as one and said something. They pointed to God. They didn’t have to fight but they manned their battle stations. They bowed and worshipped God. Fear not, stand firm, speak, and go forward.”

Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, 8-21-22

***

Ezekiel 7:27, “…According to their conduct I will deal with them, and by their judgments I will judge them. And they will know that I am the Lord.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Dear Lord, give me a new heart so my words are uplifting. Show me where to improve my conduct. Forgive me for judging. I know You are the Lord of all. Amen

“Attacks may be vicious but they are never victorious.”

Deb Steenblock,
After round 11 of chemotherapy

***

Jeremiah Stood at His Battle Station

Jeremiah’s last prophecy given in Jerusalem was not to the king or the high priest. Ebed-Melech was not a Jew or of middle-east descent. He was an African from Ethiopia, possibly a slave because there were men he dreaded – but he trusted God.

Jeremiah 39:15-18, “Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was confined in the court of the guardhouse, saying,

16) ‘Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to bring My words on this city for disaster and not for prosperity; and they will take place before you on that day!

17) But I will deliver you on that day;’ declares the Lord, ‘and you will not be given into the hand of the men whom you dread.

18) For I will certainly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as booty, because you have trusted in Me,’ declares the Lord.” ‘ “

New American Standard Bible

***

Everyone in Jerusalem is starving. The Babylonian army is ready to tear it apart. But God notices one man who trusts Him despite everything. He sends him a prophecy of assurance. Jerusalem’s downfall was his escape.

“The truth is, faith can’t grow without hardship; it must incubate in the darkness of adversity.”

The Word for You Today, 8-24-22

***

The Jews Stood Even After Jerusalem Fell

Their families starved to death. Their country was captured and their temple burned. Enslaved, they were marched across the desert to Babylon.

Their response?

Lamentations 5:19, “You, O Lord, rule forever; Your throne is from generation to generation.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Psalms 79:13, “So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks to You forever, to all generations we will tell of Your praise.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Two Verses to Help Me Stand

Psalms 94:19, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Jeremiah 42:11, “Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you are now fearing; do not be afraid of him,” says the Lord, “for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hand.”

New American Standard Bible

***

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Chosen

Each person chooses a mate with which to build a life. Raging hormones convince us that those feelings will last forever.

Love grows, but not in the direction we expect. Love grows roots. It deepens beyond those first exciting feelings.

Unfortunately, some prize the feelings over the roots. So, they tear their plant apart and try to begin again.

But roots take years to develop. They don’t have as many years left to grow. The shallow roots cannot stand up to the storms that inevitably come.

***

As individuals, we grow. We only have two options: grow closer to God or away from Him. A life away from Him is a life of hardship. He has a plan and a purpose for our life. Without God, we miss it and wander around in a desert looking for the path. Or worse, we end up in a prison of consequences for our actions.

The good news is: We can always turn back to God. Then He “plants” us and establishes our roots. He can prosper us right where we are, even in prison.

Look at the Life of King Jehoiachin

2 Kings 25:27, 28, “Now it came about in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he became king, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison; 28) and he spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Jehoiachin was a royal and became king when he was eight. But he had an evil heart and only reigned for three months, see 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10. He was a prisoner for the next 37 years. He must have had a change of heart because he became king again above all the other kings who served the king of Babylon. The Babylonian king provided him with clothes and a regular income, and he ate at the king’s table.

Living on Love

Most newlyweds start with very little. They are living on love! Slowly, with good planning, they build their net worth. Tearing the marriage apart does not divide the net worth equally because you can build it together more quickly than you can individually. It puts one or both of you in poverty. Those who stay planted in their marriage will have a harvest financially.

Children help a marriage. They give you a reason to get up in the morning. They help you establish routines and disciplines that lead to a healthy life: regular bedtimes, healthy meals, playtime, and time outside.

Grandchildren are all joy with very little work! They are your reward for the work you spent on your children!

We married young and will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this year. We are going out of state for a few days for the honeymoon we couldn’t afford when we married.

You may think we are old, but we are not. God can lengthen the days of our youth or shorten them. We do not need to be old before our time.

Psalms 89:45, “You have shortened the days of his youth, you have covered him with shame.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Young and Beautiful

Flour, sugar, and oil are things we are instructed to avoid now. Could it be the portion sizes, not the food that makes a difference?

Ezekiel 16:13, “Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Beauty is a reflection of God’s splendor. God’s Spirit in me makes me beautiful.

Ezekiel 16:14, “‘Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,’ declares the Lord God.”

New American Standard Bible

***

Wise Words

“How to live wisely and well: 1) Time is precious; don’t waste it. 2) You’re making memories; make them good ones. 3) It’s not what happens, but how you respond that counts.”

The Word for You Today, 8-17-22

***

God exalts the low tree and makes the dry tree flourish!

Ezekiel 17:24, “All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it.”

New American Standard Bible

***

I pray that our children learn from our mistakes and don’t repeat them.

Ezekiel 18:14, “Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father’s sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise.

New American Standard Bible

***

You are Chosen

Ezekiel 20:9, “But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself know to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.

New American Standard Bible

***

God freed them because He chose them. He freed them despite their wickedness because He promised to and He keeps His promises. He can free you, too.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Write All the Words

All night, the devil reminded me of every time I felt like an outsider, awkward, unsure, abandoned, ignored, and alone. Normally, I journal about those moments. God told me to write about the times I was clever, ingenious, smart, relaxed, and laughing instead.

“God repeatedly instructed His people to write down what He told or showed them, Exodus 34:27; Deuteronomy 27:8; Jeremiah 36:2; Habakkuk 2:2. In fact, after His people were delivered from bondage in Egypt, He had them keep a written record of the things He had done for them so that whenever they faced an intimidating enemy, they could review the records and remember God’s powerful hand and loving guidance in their behalf, thus building their faith as they faced new obstacles and difficult adversaries.”

“Write All the Words”
The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom
p. 1157

***

Jeremiah 30:2, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.’ “

New American Standard Bible

***

These are some of the things I wrote down this week:

  1. His desire will be satisfied in the hill country, Jeremiah 50:19.
  2. God is a God of recompense, Jeremiah 51:56.
  3. Take into your heart all My words; listen closely, Ezekiel 3:10.
  4. They found grace in the wilderness, Jeremiah 31:2.
  5. They will walk by streams of water on a straight path, Jeremiah 31:9.
  6. God will remember them, Jeremiah 31:20.
  7. God will heal them and give them an abundance of peace and truth, Jeremiah 33:6.

***

Every day, God shows me at least one verse or phrase. I write it down. I encourage you to do the same.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

God Showed His Bondservants

As happens every summer, members of the worship team went on vacation. Unfortunately, one weekend I was the only instrumentalist and David was the only vocalist! Pastor Gary offered to sing with us.

Tuesday

The song list was posted. Usually, when I have to play alone, I stack the synth over the keyboard. I play strings with my left hand and piano with my right. But it takes several steps to change sounds on the synth.

At home, I practice on a keyboard set on the folded-down music stand of the piano. I pretended the piano was a keyboard bass.

For the service, I decided to set the keyboard on the top of the double stand and the synth on the bottom. It could be my “keyboard bass.”

I listened to the videos of each song and chose a sound based on the dominant instrument. I found a similar sound on the keyboard. I layered piano and strings for the first song, played only strings on the second, and switched to an electric piano on the third. I kept the bass line simple.

Friday

Pastor Monte announced that he would be preaching live in Fairfield on Sunday. (We normally watch the sermon on a large screen.) I looked to heaven and cried, “NO!!!” Our pastor has sung and played the piano all over the world. (I bought his Christmas CD for Mom.) He plays circles around me.

That night, I had a dream. Jesus was standing in the center of the platform with us. His hands were open and inviting but his face was tipped up. He was joining us and encouraging us to worship God, the Father. I felt at peace and stopped worrying.

Saturday

David sang along as I practiced for the final time. He didn’t like the sound I chose for the second song. I had dropped the pick-up lines I normally played on the piano. I had to switch back.

But I had peace.

When I got to church, I went to the platform and looked at the spot where Jesus stood in my dream. I had peace.

We set up both keyboards and I couldn’t find the bass sound on the synth. It has 2000 sounds and 50+ buttons. The book didn’t help!

I pushed all of the numbered buttons. It was 15-20 different piano sounds. (Sigh.) I was ready to put it away but I saw David walking away from me down the hall. The synth is heavy and expensive. I don’t move it.

Then, I wondered: “What if I shut the voice button off and pushed the control button?”

That showed piano sounds but as I kept pushing it, or maybe it was the second section of buttons, I found different instruments: trumpet, violin, cello, and strings. The last button was a bass.

Each button is the first sound in a list. I didn’t care about finding the perfect bass!

As we practiced, the vocalist asked for more. More lead lines. More fills. I looked to heaven for more help! I could tell by their excitement that the vocalists could feel the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes, I feel the Holy Spirit on my hands and I can’t play a wrong note! I relax and enjoy my fingers running along the keyboard. I hoped that would happen today.

It didn’t.

No goosebumps. No tingly fingers. No feeling of someone else playing through my fingers.

But – I had peace.

They call it “peace that passes understanding.” It’s peace without fear or nervousness. It’s a peace that tells you to just play what you practiced.

At service time, I listened to the metronome on my phone for the correct tempo. I played the tempo on the bass for two measures for the vocalists. I played the introduction to the first song as Pastor Gary welcomed everyone. I don’t remember mistakes. I remember the peace. (Pastor Monte said it sounded good.)

Why did God give me a dream? It wasn’t because I am his favorite keyboardist. I was just one of the thousands who played in His churches all over the world. I am His bondservant. But God shows things to His bondservants.

Revelation 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bondservants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bondservant John.”

New American Standard Bible

***

God Showed John, the Bondservant

“…John, the ‘beloved disciple,’ Jesus’ best friend…He and his brother, James, the sons of Zebedee, were among the first disciples Jesus ever called to follow Him – tempestuous hotheads known as the ‘sons of thunder,’ willing to call fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village because they did not give Jesus an appropriate welcome. It’s fascinating to see how the love of God has shaped and tamed John’s heart over these many years.”

“…John was the disciple who laid his head on Jesus’ chest when they were reclining at a meal one night. I imagine being able to hear the heartbeat of God does something to you…truth is more caught than taught.”

The Founder’s Bible,
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom,
Introductions to 2 John and 3 John

***

John wasn’t perfect. He was a bondservant. I kept seeing that term as I read through Revelation.

  • We have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads, Revelation 7:3.
  • Hurt only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, Revelation 9:14.
  • The time came to reward your bondservants, Revelation 11:18.
  • He has avenged the blood of His bondservants, Revelation 19:2.

While We Were in Israel

After touring Jericho, Elle told us about the 150 kinds of flesh-eating birds that are currently living in Israel. The winds have changed. The birds cannot fly any further north. The Israelis are concerned because they don’t have enough food for them. Pastor Monte directed him to Revelation 19:21.

Revelation 19:21, “And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”

New American Standard Bible

***

The pieces are falling into place for the battle of Armageddon. The birds are ready and hungry!

But we have nothing to fear. We are bondservants and God takes care of His bondservants. He shows us what will happen in the Bible and He gives us peace.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

A Bondservant of Jesus Christ

3:30 a.m. The Medical Helicopter woke me as it flew over my house. The new hospital is a mile south of us. When I hear the helicopter, I pray for the patient, medical staff, air flight personnel, and the patient’s family. They will be driving an hour to Iowa City.

My dream is to move to a house in a wooded area in the country. After I prayed, I wondered, “Who will pray for the Medical Helicopter’s patients if I move?” Praying is one thing a bondservant of Jesus Christ does.

1 Peter 1:1, “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

New American Standard Bible

********

Peter listed bondservant first before apostle. Jesus is my Master; I am His slave. Serving Jesus is more important than my “ministry.” As long as this is the house in which I serve Him, I will pray each time I hear the medical helicopter.

I am grateful for the faith and righteousness of God that I received from Jesus Christ. When I became Jesus’ bondservant, my life turned from black and white to color. It’s the difference between watching a movie on TV at home or watching it in a 4D theater. I don’t need a new home to enjoy my life.

All week long, I noted verses showing me how to walk as a bondservant of Jesus:

  1. In a manner worthy of my calling, Ephesians 4:1.
  2. With humility, gentleness, patience, and showing tolerance for one another in hope, Ephesians 4:2.
  3. Being diligent to preserve unity and the bond of peace, Ephesians 4:3.
  4. Renewed in the spirit of my mind, Ephesians 4:23.
  5. Putting away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice, Ephesians 4:31.
  6. Being kind, tender-hearted, forgiving as Christ forgave me, Ephesians 4:32.
  7. Leading a tranquil, quiet, godly, dignified life, 1 Timothy 2:2.
  8. Engaging in good deeds to meet pressing needs, to be fruitful, Titus 3:14.
  9. Being sober, enduring hardship, doing the work, fulfilling my ministry, 2 Timothy 4:5.
  10. Giving account for the hope that is in me with gentleness and reverence, 1 Peter 3:15.
  11. Arming myself to suffer in the flesh, 1 Peter 4:1.

I am not to avoid problems but face the wind!

“When the gale force wind of adversity blow, put your face full into the wind. Let it do its intended work and blow your chaff away. Welcome the sifting; let reality reveal itself in your heart.”

The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom
Introduction to 1 Peter

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Paul Gathered a Bundle of Sticks

After the shipwreck, Paul could have said, “I told you so!” Or “Now do you believe that I am an anointed man of God?” Or “You should have listened to my prophecy!”

Instead, he gathered sticks and threw them on the fire, Acts 28:2. He worked to meet the physical need of everyone. It was raining; they needed warmth.

********

When we were on tour in Israel, we took several bathroom breaks a day. There were times no one needed a break.

Our guide, Elle said, “It doesn’t matter how informed I am. I can give you a ton of information but if you need a bathroom, you won’t remember or appreciate it.”

A mural outside of a bathroom in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.

A person’s basic needs must be met before they can listen. Instead of preaching, we could ask, “Do you need anything?” Or “How can I serve you?”

They will automatically ask questions because we are different from everyone else. We give; others take.

Acts 28:8, “And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid hands on him and healed him.”

New American Standard Bible

********

Once again, Paul met a physical need. This time it was through a work of God, not his physical work.

Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

New American Standard Bible

********

“How can I serve you?”

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Majority Reached a Decision

A decision that plagues me is how to go forward with my blogs:

  • Should I combine this one with frugalfish.org?
  • Should I continue posting to two separate blogs?
  • Should I start a third blog and only post there?
  • Should I import my posts from both blogs to a new one?
  • Should I stop posting and concentrate on my book about my trip to Israel?

I learned a lot while reading about Paul’s journey and shipwreck.

Acts 27:12, 13, “Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there. 13) When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.”

New American Standard Bible

********

  1. They weren’t comfortable.
  2. The majority ruled.
  3. They wanted to reach Phoenix, (It means a bird that rose renewed from its ashes).
  4. A warm breeze was blowing.
  5. They believed they were right.
  6. They sailed along the shoreline, playing it safe.

I wonder. Would they have made it had they sailed straight to Phoenix instead of following the shoreline? I don’t know, but I did learn:

  1. Comfort is not the best reason to make a decision.
  2. The majority is not always right.
  3. Another harbor always looks better.
  4. A warm breeze at the wrong time of year is deceptive.
  5. Confirmation of a wrong idea does not make it right.
  6. Playing it safe is not safe.

Acts 27:14, 15, “But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo; 15) and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.”

New American Standard Bible

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The moderate south wind turned into a “nor’easter!” The violent wind came down from the land. They were caught and couldn’t face it. Finally, they gave up and were driven along. Acts 27:16-43 shows us how it went from bad to worse!

  • They lost control, v. 16.
  • They lost their cargo, v. 18.
  • They lost their ship’s tackle, v. 19.
  • They lost hope, v. 20.
  • They lost their appetite, v. 21.
  • They lost courage, v. 22.
  • They lost their lifeboat, vv. 30-32.
  • They lost their food, v. 38.
  • They lost their anchors, v. 40.
  • They lost their ship, v. 41.

Yet, they were all brought safely to land, Acts 27:44.

I must continue as long as it takes, even in discomfort. I cannot follow the crowd or wait for a new beginning. I can’t trust the winds, believe I am always right, or play it safe.

If I get ahead of God, I could lose everything. I need balance. I cannot just play it safe. I do know no matter what happens, God promises that I will land safely.

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A Short Time or Long Time

Am I willing to wait for as long as it takes?

I am for my family. It took 10 years of prayer for my child to return to faith. My mother prayed for 40 years for hers.

Paul was willing to speak as long as it took to lead everyone to Jesus Christ. Even when he had to do so while living in a prison in chains.

Acts 26:29, “And Paul said, ‘I would wish to God, that whether in a short time or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.'”

New American Standard Bible

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Dear Jesus, I pray that everyone who reads my words will meet you in a personal way. Show yourself to them when they ask. Amen.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.