My Heart Leaped for Joy

It’s wedding week. The song, “Goin’ to the Chapel” is running through my mind.

Psalms 122:1, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” The Message

When the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they rebuilt the Temple. Their joy was boundless as they were able to worship in Jerusalem again. They sang songs on their way to The Temple.

“Hezekiah is known for preparing Jerusalem for a siege by carving a long tunnel from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. Rabbis said the pool’s water was the purest on the planet because Mount Zion is its source.

Every year during the Feast of Tabernacles, water was taken from the Pool of Siloam in golden pitchers and carried up to the Temple in a huge procession. People sang the Song of Ascents, silver trumpets were blown on the Temple steps, and the entire city was lit up with torches. It was called the most joyous time in Jerusalem when the water was poured out on the altar as an offering to the Most Holy God.”

“Rivers of Living Water” by Gordon Robertson in “Frontlines,” September, 2018

Psalms 120-134 are the “Psalms of Ascent.”

Psalms 122:4, “The city to which the tribes ascend, all God’s tribes go up to worship, to give thanks to the name of God – this is what it means to be Israel.” The Message

A wedding is similar to the ascent on the Feast of Tabernacles. Everyone is in their best clothes. The place is lit up and filled with music. The bride walks up the aisle to the altar. Everyone wishes happiness for the couple.

Christ is the key to a successful marriage. He loved us so much that He gave everything – including His life. Seeing His sacrifice, we can’t help but love Him, respect Him, and submit to Him.

King Xerxes tried to create respect for each husband by enacting a law. It didn’t work.

Esther 1:22, “…’Every man is master of his own house; whatever he says, goes.’ ” The Message

Jesus showed us how to do it. The more love you give to your wife, the more respect you gain. The more respect a woman gives to her husband, the more love she receives, (see Ephesians 5:22-23).

If your wife doesn’t respond to what you say, check your motives. Will your decision benefit the family or just yourself?

A master is responsible for nurturing everyone in his household:

  • Are they getting enough sleep?
  • Are they getting enough food?
  • Do they have time with you that is free of distractions?
  • Do they have time alone to develop their God-given gifts?
  • Do you spend one-on-one time with each of your children?
  • Do you regularly share a physical love with your wife?
  • Do your hobbies take up most of your free time?

If no one is listening to you, maybe it’s because you are not listening to them.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


I Hear This Gentle Whisper

When our oldest son Luke married, he requested homemade macaroni and cheese for the rehearsal dinner. I am not used to cooking for large groups. I asked my friend, Paula, to go over everything for the dinner with me. She thought I would need another pan of macaroni and cheese.

To this day, I cannot figure out what went wrong. I cooked another 32-ounce box of macaroni and filled the second pan.

The rehearsal went a little longer than expected. Thank God, Paula and her husband Mike, and our friends Ken and Jill volunteered to help with the dinner.

They said the macaroni and cheese started to dry out. They added milk and it started to swell – and swell. They ran to the store for more cheese. They made more sauce and divided the macaroni and cheese into disposable sheet pans. We ended up with 10 of them. We sent macaroni and cheese home with several families.

Derek’s wedding is this weekend and he asked for macaroni and cheese for the rehearsal dinner. Online I found a recipe for 50. The ingredients were similar to my homemade sauce. It called for 3 1/2 pounds of macaroni.

I bought 3 1/2 cups.

Once again, I called Paula and went over the menu with her. “That doesn’t sound like enough macaroni.”

I reread the recipe – 3 1/2 pounds cooked macaroni is equal to about 14 cups uncooked macaroni. I have to go back to the store.

* * * * * * *

I tried several times to write my post yesterday. My mind was on “macaroni and cheese” and other details for the wedding. Nothing made sense. I finally tried to nap.

I couldn’t sleep.

But once my thoughts stopped churning, I was able to write my post. I just had to get quiet.

“It is very unusual for there to be complete quiet in the soul, for God almost continually whispers to us. And whenever the sounds of the world subsides in our soul, we can hear the whispering of God. Yes, He continues to whisper to us, but we often do not hear Him because of the noise and distractions caused by the hurried pace of our life.”

Frederick William Faber, in “Streams in the Desert,” September 18

* * * * * * *

Psalms 81: 5, “…I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me.” The Message

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Champion of Your People

Reading Zechariah 11 reminded me of arguments I’ve read on Facebook. Verse one says to “Open your borders” but when you do “Your sentinel trees will burn.” The New Living Translation says, “So fire can burn your cedar.”

In verse 6, God said, “…He was washing his hands of the people of this land. …they’re on their own. It’s dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest.” Sound familiar? We react the same way Zechariah did – we want to do something!

Zechariah 11:7, “So I took over from the crass, money-grubbing owners, and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter…” The Message

But that didn’t work. He gave up. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says our weapons are not physical, but they have divine power to demolish strongholds. New International Version

Daniel 12:1, “That’s when Michael, the great angel-prince, champion of your people will step in…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“I wish I’d understood the liberating truth that God is the one who begins His good work in us, and He will complete it. I thought it was up to me. …”

“Never Too Late to Start Again…” Sheila Walsh, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Does that mean we sit back and do nothing? No. We pray and the angels fight for us. We must remain faithful in whatever small thing assigned to us.

“…By becoming master over the small things, he became master over the large things. Faithfulness is a common characteristic of uncommon spiritual achievers. …Jesus spent more years as a carpenter than He did as a preacher…He was faithful in little things. ‘God is a rewarder of diligent seekers’ (see Hebrews 11:6). You must believe the promise is greater than the problem, the objective is greater than the objections, and God is greater than your giant. …”

The Word for You Today, September 17, 2018

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God Is Interested in People, Not Religion

Yesterday, I got up at 4 am, and after devotions, went to the Fairfield square. It was “Kiwanis Kid’s Day.” They set up a huge tent and serve pancakes. You can enjoy sausage, juice, milk, coffee, and all the pancakes you care to eat. (Later there is a parade and other events.)

This fundraiser is well attended. We saw people we haven’t seen in years. It was fun catching up with neighbors and acquaintances. I invited one young lady to church. I am not trying to make her religious, I want to see her more often.

Zechariah 7:6, 9, 10, “And when you held feasts, was it for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people. (9) …Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. (10) Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another – that’s evil.” The Message

Life is about balance – spend time helping others and spend time with your family. Work hard but enjoy the “fruits of your labor.”

Psalms 128:1, 2, 6, “All you who fear God, how blessed you are! How happily you walk on his smooth straight road! (2) You worked hard and deserve all you’ve got coming. Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness! …(6) And enjoy your grandchildren. Peace to Israel.” The Message

Remember, you have a purpose. God planted goals, projects, and dreams in us. A full life means we work on them. They give us a reason to get up each morning.

“Giants can be tangible or intangible: the things we haven’t overcome because, seduced by fear, we think we can’t. They can also be unattainable goals, unfinished projects, or unfulfilled dreams – the ‘loose ends’ of life that keep us mired in mediocrity…”

“The Word for You Today,” September 16, 2018

Write down your goals, projects, and dreams. Pick a day in the next month or so to work on each one. Take small steps. Do the first thing, and then the next, and the next.

How do you eat a stack of pancakes? One bite at a time.

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Shout and Celebrate, Daughter of Zion!

“…’What did you learn today?’ I asked my daughter Lizzy, as we headed home from her first day of preschool…

‘I have to wear a name tag every day at school even though I already know my name! …I guess my teacher just doesn’t want me to forget who I am,’ she said with a shrug…”

“It You’ve Forgotten Who You Are…” Alicia Bruxvoort, Proverbs 31 Ministries

We are learning a new song this weekend, “Who You Say I Am,” by Hillsong. Sometimes, we forget who we are in Christ.

“…You feel kind of dirty and kind of ashamed of yourself and kind of like you don’t belong…You’re still His child…You’re still bought with His blood. Every drop He spilled was on purpose and one of those drops had your name on it. …God will never love you any more than He loves you right now!”

“Just in Case You Haven’t Heard It in A While…” Steven Furtick, 1:Minute Motivation

Zechariah is about who God says we are. God provided clean clothes for Joshua in Chapter 3. He provides clean clothes for us.

“Zechariah shared with his contemporary Haggai the prophetic task of getting the people of Judah to rebuild their ruined Temple. …But Zechariah did more than that. For the people were faced with far more than a ruined Temple and city. Their self-identity as the people of God was in ruins. …Zechariah reinvigorated their imaginations with his visions and messages. …The messages forged a fresh vocabulary that gave energy and credibility to the long-term purposes of God being worked out in their lives.”

The Message Introduction to Zechariah

* * * * * * *

Zechariah 2:10, ” ‘Shout and celebrate, Daughter of Zion! I’m on my way. I’m moving into your neighborhood!’ God’s Decree.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Zechariah 3:6-7, “God’s angel then charged Joshua, (7) ‘Orders from the God-of-the-Angel-Armies: “If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in my service, then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee my affairs. And all my attendants standing here will be at your service.” ‘ ” The Message

I’m a daughter of Zion – part of a royal priesthood, a chosen one, (see 1 Peter 2:9). God says I am.

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The Work Wasn’t Stopped

The main church in Mt. Pleasant is remodeling its foyer. The “Word Shoppe” moved and we are removing the walls of its former home. You read that correctly “we.”

Pastor Monte asked for volunteers on Wednesday night. Over the next few days, they knocked down walls and ripped up carpets.

Next Saturday is a “Prayer Breakfast.” They are well-attended. I wonder – will we have the same number of volunteers at each event? According to Haggai – we should.

“…it is not uncommon for us to be dismissive of the buildings themselves by saying, ‘A place of worship is not a building; it’s people,’ or ‘I prefer worshipping God in the great Cathedral of the outdoors.’ …Haggai keeps us in touch with those times in our lives when repairing the building where we worship is an act of obedience every bit as important as praying in that place of worship.” The Message Introduction to Haggai

I did not volunteer for demolition because of my health. I will also miss the “Prayer Breakfast.” I stepped down as a “Prayer Partner” when I started playing the keyboard. They both meet at the same time. God blesses us when we donate our time, (see Haggai 2:18-19). Haggai told the Jews that the drought came because they were not rebuilding The Temple.

Haggai 1:9-11, “…Because you’ve run around, caught up with taking care of your own houses, my Home in ruins. (10) That’s why. Because of your stinginess. And so I’ve given you a dry summer and a skimpy crop. (11) I’ve matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing – not man or woman, not animal or crop – is going to thrive.” The Message

Will the work get done without our help? Sure – but we miss out on a blessing.

Ezra 5:5, “But God had his eye on the leaders of the Jews, and the work wasn’t stopped.” The Message

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Daniel Outclassed the Others

I looked forward to this day for months. Martha, at Aurora’s Beauty Salon, was cutting my hair for Derek’s wedding next week. My curls love her. They form pretty spirals that lay obediently on my head.

After my appointment, I went shopping because I had to stay in town for practice. Then I chose a restaurant that served pie.

The “Pie of the Day” was not one I cared for and I resisted temptation. I’m eating dessert once a week. Saying “No” to a piece of pie this week means I can say “Yes” to dessert at the rehearsal dinner and wedding.

The chicken in my dinner was great – it reminded me of my grandmother’s. But the waitress forgot butter for the homemade roll and the coleslaw. She was in high school and I decided to give her grace.

As I checked out, I asked if I was to get coleslaw with my dinner. Embarrassed, she offered to get me some “to go.” I said, “Yes, please.” I didn’t mention the missing butter and gave her a large tip. I emulated what I read in Daniel today.

Daniel 6:3, 4, “…Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence…outclassed the other(s)…[They] got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life…but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. …no evidence of negligence or misconduct.” The Message

Those are high standards Daniel set:

  • Brimming with spirit.
  • Intelligent.
  • Classy.
  • Free of scandal.
  • Exemplary (a desirable model, the best of its kind).
  • Trustworthy.
  • Never negligent.
  • No misconduct.

Daniel stayed loyal to God, praying three times a day. He took a strong stand and kept his head on straight. Then he walked out of the lion’s den after spending the night there. The lions tore the men, who were thrown in later, to pieces before their bodies hit the ground.

Daniel 11:32, 33, “…those who stay courageously loyal to their God will take a strong stand. Those who keep their heads on straight will teach the crowds right from wrong by their example.” The Message

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Let the Light Shine Out

The star in the southern sky was still shining when I got up. I downloaded a “night sky” app to see if it was a planet. It was part of the Cancer constellation.

Psalms 119:147, “I was up before sunrise, crying for help, hoping for a word from you.” The Message

I enjoy being up early. The quiet house is conducive to writing. I made my coffee and started devotions.

Psalms 119:130, “Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.” The Message

That verse is my prayer. I want ordinary people to see the “light” from God’s Word.

The problem is we are looking for a “spotlight” but God offers a “nightlight.” There is enough light to see the next step. We won’t trip in the dark – but we won’t see the entire trip.

“…Ancient lamps were…small ceramic bowls…a “nose” on one edge…Wicks of cloth were laid in the nose and extended into the oil of the lamp. The light produced was not brilliant but necessary for finding one’s way. …Psalms 119:105…compares God’s Word with a lamp. While the light from that word does not blind the eyes, it does point the way for its hearers.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

God shows me the next step. Sometimes in the light of a star.

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Walking on the Road Revealed by God

I admired the tree at breakfast. A mature tree, it provided shade for three backyards. This afternoon a tree service removed some of the lower limbs.

* * * * * * *

Nothing stays the same – sooner or later everything gets cut back. Transitions are the time to pray and seek God. He is never finished with us.

“…Daniel is not a young man. He is a seasoned man of God who no longer has the ambitions of the young. For years, he has been praying three times a day, and has lived separate from the corrupt culture of the Babylonians…

For Daniel, it all came down to one desire in life: to speak for God.

…You have to understand what a sacrifice this was for Daniel because of how busy he was. He was the third-most powerful ruler in the Babylonian kingdom…Yet even with all those responsibilities, Daniel was a man given wholly to the Word of God.

…Daniel was studying…Jeremiah when the Holy Spirit showed him…The seventy-year period…was now expired. Yet, even though the appointed time had come for Israel to be delivered, it wouldn’t happen until God found a man through whom he could speak.”

“The Heavenly Calling – Your Best Days Ahead Pursuing God’s Great Purposes” By David Wilkerson, “World Challenge Pulpit Series,” August 20, 2018

In Ezra, the people of Israel are returning from Babylon. Unfortunately, it was not 70 years after the exile.

“History had not treated the people of Israel well and they were in decline. A superpower military machine, Babylon, had battered them and then, leaving their city and temple a mound of rubble, hauled them off into exile. Now, 128 years later, a few Jews back in Jerusalem had been trying to put the pieces back together decade after weary decade…”

The Message Introduction to Ezra

Later in David Wilkerson’s article, he shared of God calling him as “barely a teenager.” At 28 he was the pastor of a little Pentecostal church, and after a season of prayer, God sent him to New York City. He witnessed to several boys involved in a murder. Multitudes of those youth were changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the “Teen Challenge Ministry” was born.

When he was 58, he was an evangelist based out of Texas. After months of prayer, God called him back to New York City to start a church. In his seventies, after another season of diligent prayer, God called him to travel the world.

“Whether you are a minister or a lay Christian, it doesn’t matter how long you have served the Lord: your best days may be ahead.” David Wilkerson

Our job is to pray for guidance and stay on the road God sets.

Psalms 119:1-3, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. (2) You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. (3) That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.” The Message

God told me to write this Bible Reading Guide when I was 13. I was 21 when I started working in the church office. That changed in my forties and I wrote the “Relevant Guide” and started blogging. Who knows, God may have a new assignment for me.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


It Will Happen

I woke up this morning singing an old song – “Even so, Lord Jesus, Come.” We are in the middle of the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah. It began at 6 pm last night, the 9th, and continues until 6 pm on the 11th. Some believe the rapture will take place during the Feast of Trumpets this year.


It has been 70 years since Israel became a nation, in one day, on May 14th. Matthew 24:34 tells us this generation shall not pass away until all these things happen. Psalms 90:10 says the length of our days is 70 years – or 80 if our strength endures.

I read a generation was the age you were when your first child was born. In Abraham’s case – that would be 100 years. Genesis 6:3 said the length of our days is 120 years.

Jesus could come any minute or in 50 years. No one knows the day or the hour, (see Matthew 24:36-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3).

What I do know is He will be right on time. He is never early, never late.

Isaiah 14:24, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: ‘Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape.’ ” The Message

I’m ready. Are you?

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