Counting My Blessings

Take a Census

Thanksgiving. I need 10 places at the table. And 10 comfortable chairs for the inevitable food coma after dinner. Upstairs the couch seats four and I have a rocking chair. The couch downstairs seats three and the loveseat two more. I line the walls with kitchen chairs upstairs.

***

God has a sense of humor; we are studying Numbers in November. He commanded the Israelites to take a census of their families, too, Numbers 26:2.

***

Extended Families

We love our families – but if they turn from God – don’t follow!

Numbers 31:2, “Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward, you will be gathered to your people.” NASB

***

Moses’ wife was a Midianite. But the Midianite daughters seduced the Israelite sons and led them into idolatry, Numbers 25:1-3. God ordered the Israelites to be hostile to the Midianites, Numbers 25:16-18.

I don’t know if the second half of the verse brought Moses sadness or relief! He was 120 years old, Deuteronomy 34:7. He spent 40 years in Egypt as a prince and 40 years as a shepherd. The last 40 were leading the Israelites around the desert following the cloud.

***

Shelter, Water, Bread, Meat

Numbers 13:5, “Then the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses and camped in Succoth.” NASB

***

“Succoth means booths, weavings, or to weave a protection. There are two places called Succoth in the Bible 1) Genesis 33:17, “And Jacob journeyed to Succoth and built for himself a house, …” and 2) Israel’s first camp out of Egypt, Exodus 12:37; 13:20.”

abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Succoth.html

***

When they left Egypt, they went to Succoth and obtained shelter. You can’t go camping without a tent! They packed for 11 days and survived for 40 years.

The Lord provided water, Exodus 15:22-27, and daily bread (manna), Exodus 16:1-7, and meat, Exodus 16:8. The order is the opposite of Thanksgiving!

***

Deuteronomy

“Deuteronomy means ‘second law’ because in this book there is a renewing of the covenant and a repetition of the law. …Moses is recounting their history, the great and mighty acts of God on behalf of the nation; seeking to inspire hope, engender trust, and renew their courage. …”

Introduction to Deuteronomy
The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom
p. 279

***

Deuteronomy 1:6, “The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.'” NASB

***

Mount Horeb or Sinai is where the Israelites met God. They received the Ten Commandments there. Moses got the instruction on building the tabernacle. They built it and saw God’s Spirit fill it. I would be tempted to stay there, too!

Deuteronomy 1:11, “May the Lord, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you!” NASB

Isaac was blessed a hundred-fold, Genesis 26:12. I can’t imagine receiving 1000 times the amount I planted! But to receive that increase they had to move into Canaan and conquer it.

***

I also learned:

  1. God keeps His promises, Numbers 23:19.
  2. Everyone who blesses Israel will be blessed, Numbers 24:9.
  3. Do not defile your land for God dwells with you, Numbers 35:34.
  4. God provided land for Esau, Moab, and Ammon, Deuteronomy 2:4-22.
  5. During the 40 years in the desert, they didn’t lack anything, Deuteronomy 2:7.
  6. God is fighting for me, Deuteronomy 3:22.
  7. Hold fast to the Lord, He keeps you alive, Deuteronomy 4:4.

***

“Unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God, faith puts God between us and our circumstances.”

F. B. Meyer

***

Join me in reading December’s chapters. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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

Holidays and Harvests

Did you know there are holidays, camping, and weeklong vacations in the Bible?

Leviticus 23:24-25, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, and holy convocation. 25) You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.'” NASB

***

This day of rest reminds me of Independence Day. It’s at the beginning of the seventh month. Businesses are closed. Farmers come to town. Trumpets are blown in parades and fireworks light up the night sky.

God commanded the Israelites to rest. We should too.

Leviticus 23:34-35, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fourteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the Lord. 25) On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind.'” NASB

***

The Feast of Booths, 23:34-43, is like a family vacation. You go to church on Sunday and rest. On Monday, you set up your booth, tent, or unpack in your hotel room, v. 40. You spend the week feasting with your family, v. 41. And end your vacation by worshipping the Lord in church, v. 39.

The Blessing of the Sixth Year

When we visited Israel, we saw some fallow fields because 2021 was the seventh year. Despite the empty fields, food was abundant.

Imagine, planting a garden in 2027 and having such a large harvest that it lasts until 2029! That is the blessing of God!

Leviticus 25:21, “Then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years.” NASB

***

From Season to Season

Leviticus 26:5, “Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.” NASB

***

God promises we will not run out of food. Each season we eat the produce He provides and there is always enough to last until the next season.

Numbers Don’t Mean Counting

“Numbers means ‘in the wilderness.’ …In the book of Exodus, it took only forty hours to get the nation of Israel out of Egypt, but in the book of Numbers, it takes forty years to get Egypt out of Israel. …”

Introduction to the Book of Numbers
The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of the Dream of Freedom

***

Ithamar

Eleazar was responsible for the transportation of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the grain, the anointing oil, and all the furnishings inside the tabernacle. He directed the 2,750 men who carried those items, Numbers 4:16-20, 36.

Ithamar helped Aaron and Eleazar cover the holy things, 4:5-15. Then he directed the 5,830 men who transported the curtain panels, poles, and sockets, 4:28, 33, 40, 44. God put him over twice as many men as his brother, Eleazar.

To be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all, Matthew 20:26-28.

Proverbs 12:2, “A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, …” NASB

***

I Learned

  1. Holidays and vacations are ordained by God.
  2. The crop in the sixth year will feed you for three years.
  3. Your food from one season will last until the next season.
  4. Numbers means “In the wilderness.”

Join me in reading November’s chapters. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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

Noah, the Animals, and the Ark

I wrote 42 pages of notes while reading last week’s chapters! I may need to start writing ebooks!

Noah

God told Noah to get some of all kinds of food. He didn’t say to take a year’s supply of their favorite food on the ark.

Genesis 6:21, “As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” NASB

I need to eat all foods in their season at the peak of freshness. My pantry should have a variety, not just my favorites.

Ezekiel 2:8, “…Open your mouth and eat what I give you!” NASB

The Beasts and Cattle

The order of who God remembered struck me: People, beasts (wild animals), and cattle (domestic animals).

Genesis 8:1, “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; …” NASB

***

We are living in the days when good is called evil and evil is called good. Domestic animals are treated like children. Wild animals are protected and great fines are incurred if you damage one of their eggs. But human babies are aborted.

Plants are protected for wild animals to live in. Dogs are offered the best meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains. But humans are supposed to live off of chemical concoctions for protein and plants to replace meat. The dog gets the beef and the kids get pink slime with the feet and beak from a fast food joint. (Guilty. My kids ate chicken nuggets.)

***

We are on the earth to take care of it. We have a responsibility to wild animals but that doesn’t mean we let them live in our homes.

They establish boundaries in the wild by marking trees and urination. We establish boundaries with doors on the houses, and fences in the backyard.

I’m grateful for the deer who favor my backyard. I love waking up early to see the rabbits feeding on the clover.

We are to care for our domesticated animals, Proverbs 12:10; 27:23. I don’t farm or have pets but I recycle and set out birdseed.

***

David and I supported children through World Vision and Feed the Children. I still pray for them. Chandrakant is 30; Jimmy and Vitumbiko are 11.

When Jimmy’s family moved away, we happily adopted Vitumbiko. This month we asked Feed the Children to give us a second child. #goals

We support “Cradle of Hope” which helps all mothers, married and unmarried. They are raising funds to buy a mother’s home for girls who find themselves homeless. And a survivor’s home for girls rescued from human trafficking.

These are the things I am doing to remember people, beasts, and cattle.

The Ark

Genesis 8:4, “In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” NASB

It didn’t get stuck on top of a mountain. God directed it to a place where the water receded and it settled on the land. It was a place where the ark would remain level to allow the people and animals to disembark safely, (Genesis 8:14-16).

God moves slowly and safely. I want out of “my ark” right away! He makes small adjustments.

Noah couldn’t leave the ark until the vegetation had grown and produced food for his family and the animals. That took over 6 months! I have to be patient, knowing that God is moving.

***

Genesis 8:19, “Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.” NASB

You are not dormant while you are in “your ark.” You are reproducing. The animals went into the ark as a couple and came out as families.

Defender of Life

Genesis 9:5, “Surely, I will require your lifeblood; from every beast, I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother, I will require the life of man.” NASB

God requires the lifeblood of every man or animal that takes a life. God is the defender of preborn babies.

“God himself is the great defender of human life (see 4:9-12), which is precious to him because people were created in his image (v. 6) and because they are the earthly representatives and focal point of God’s kingdom. In the theocracy (kingdom of God) established at Sinai, a domestic animal that had taken human life was to be stoned to death (Exodus 21:28-32).”

New International Version Study Bible Notes on Genesis 9:5

***

I learned to eat a variety of foods, to help where I can, and to remember that slowly, God is moving.

Join me in reading this month’s chapters. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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

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.

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.

Show Hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

********

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where did you hide those?”

I didn’t tell.

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

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

New American Standard Bible

*********

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

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

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

What Good Can I Do Today?

Our greatest blessing is for our household to live our faith. Did you know we can be devout but not respect or revere God?

Acts 10:2, “A devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.”

New American Standard Bible

********

It’s interesting that the author, Luke the physician, listed “giving alms” before “praying continually.” God cares about those who cannot help themselves. Our charitable gifts are noted in heaven just as our prayers are.

Acts 10:4, “…Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”

New American Standard Bible

********

The first “act” of the church in Antioch was not to build a synagogue. It was to take a collection for the needy.

Acts 11:29, “And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.”

New American Standard Bible

********

The money was collected and delivered to the elders, before the famine started, see Acts 11:28-30. Another thing that impressed me was they gave knowing that the famine would affect them!

  • When there is a need, give what you can.
  • When hard times are coming, give what you can.
  • When walking through difficult times, give what you can.

We have more to give than money. We can give time, encouragement, services, or goods.

My friend Robin started a floral business. God nudged me to give her supplies. I am embarrassed to remember how long it took me. David dropped off vases, floral wire, green zip ties, and seeds. I invested in her business this way.

Charity is investing. It is stored in heaven like our prayers.

Acts 10:30 says, “Jesus went about doing good.” What good can I do today?

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

Random Acts of Kindness

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

Where did Saul’s strength originate?

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

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

New American Standard Bible

********

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

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

Will Lack Nothing

I was writing in my yellow office and noticed the time.

“Luke was born on this day at this time!”

This was his bedroom. We painted it John Deere Green colors, yellow with dark green trim. (He is also a Green Bay Packers fan.)

When he moved out, I painted over the green. It’s a sunny southwest office. We filled his former closet with shelves for office supplies, scrapbooks, yearbooks, etc.

Getting the stepstool from the kitchen, I climbed up and pulled his baby book down from the top shelf. I remembered the joy of bringing him home. There was a baby in the house! A baby fills a house with sunshine.

I looked at pictures from his first six years. I dressed Luke adorably – thanks to the generosity of my friend Paula. As her son outgrew his clothes, she loaned them to me.

And those curls!

His hair had a reddish tint when he was born. I found the picture taken before his first haircut. Paula cut it for me. I didn’t have the heart to do it.

I keep one of those curls in his baby book. I didn’t get it out this year. I’m not sad. I’m bursting with pride over the man he became – soldier, fireman, mechanic, farmer, husband, and father.

Looking back to that year, I realized we may have been poor but we were never needy. (Yes, there is a difference.) God always provided our needs.

Proverbs 8:3, “Poor people who oppress the needy are rain that washes away food.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…The poor are those who find themselves in situations of temporary want that can be alleviated by the generosity of those around them. The word translated ‘needy’ in 28:3 suggests that these are people who, because of some devastating life situation, most likely will never be able to care for themselves, and must rely on the goodwill of others for their wellbeing.” Common English Bible Notes on Proverbs 28:3

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 29:27, “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who turn a blind eye will be greatly cursed.” Common English Bible

A baby changes everything in the best possible ways.

March 12, 2020: Proverbs 27-30.

©2009-2020 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Take a Deep Breath

May 16, 2019: Jeremiah 2, 3.

I went with Mom to an insurance appointment today. We are also having a late “Mother’s Day” lunch.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and started writing. (I write 3-4 hours each day.) Concerned I wouldn’t finish my post before leaving, I kept checking the clock.

Jeremiah 2:25, “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? …” The Message

I took a deep breath and hit “Publish.” When the semi wouldn’t get over to let me merge onto the four-lane, I took a deep breath. When the appointment was over, I took another deep breath.

I took Mom to the restaurant that ran out of food on Sunday. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

I took my time going home. I even drove through McDonald’s for a small chocolate shake!

I picked David up from work, and when we pulled into the garage, a tire went flat! I took a deep breath and went into the house. David had the tire repaired.

It was over 90° today. It was not a day to hurry and wear myself out!

©2009-2019 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.