As Long As the Cloud Was There

“What time…?”

“Noon.”

“I can’t believe you answered my question before I finished the sentence.”

“Why not, I’ve known you for 10 years.”

I spent the morning with Luke’s wife, Bethany, when this conversation took place. We visited while working on 2 different projects in my office. She wanted to know when we would celebrate Thanksgiving.

Numbers 9:3, “Celebrate it on schedule…” The Message

She left to get groceries before lunch. I stripped the bedding to wash it. I was ready to put the pillowcases back on when she called.

“I just wanted you to know, I had a car accident and I’m in the Emergency Room.”

“Are you alone?”

“Yes.”

“I’m on my way.”

I jumped into the truck – which was a feat in itself because I was wearing my new maxi coat. I tried not to speed as I drove the mile to the hospital.

She was in x-ray when I arrived. I sat down and got comfortable – prepared to wait as long as needed. Luke walked in a minute later. He stayed behind to take care of the car.

Numbers 9:22, “It made no difference whether the Cloud hovered over The Dwelling for two days or a month or a year, as long as the Cloud was there, they were there.” The Message

God graciously protected Bethany. The car spun but did not roll. She missed the utility pole. She slammed into the console, breaking it, without breaking a rib. Her head hit the steering wheel but there was no brain trauma or concussion. She didn’t break any bones. Olivia was still in school and no other cars were involved.

Thank God for His protection. This is why I pray Psalms 91 over my family every day.

Have you walked away from an accident that should have been worse? Has God helped you avoid an accident that seemed impossible?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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Examine It Again

Last Monday, I was mad at David. I wanted to rearrange the basement for Thanksgiving and he wouldn’t even look at the plans.

I ranted to God. “I know there are three in this marriage. I won’t give up, but I’m getting nowhere with David. You be my husband.”

“Good,” God replied, “go put away David’s clothes.”

(Years ago, our children were not putting their clothes away. David had me pile his clean clothes next to theirs. After work, he put them away. He led by example. He was showing them that I was not the maid.)

I put his clothes away.

God worked on David’s heart and you know the rest of the story. It’s amazing the difference a week can make.

Leviticus 13:5, “On the seventh day…examine it again…” The Message

Today, all the furniture is in place. There are pictures on the wall. The ironed tablecloths are on the tables and dressers. The Thanksgiving tablescape and candles are ready. The table is set and waiting under dust covers.

Through the week, I learned a new approach to dealing with problems in a relationship:

  1. Exclude them from the conversation. The Israelites excluded one from the congregation, (see Leviticus 7:21). I excluded him from the conversation. I stopped talking to David about the problem and talked about it with God.
  2. I choose my attitude. On the hardest day, I studied Proverbs 17:22. It talked about a cheerful heart. The cross-reference verses talked about a peaceful heart, (Proverbs 14:30), and a happy heart, (Proverbs 15:13). I took a break from the basement and finished a Christmas project. That made my heart happy.
  3. Let God pick the time for the conversation. I wanted David to accept my reasons for rearranging, (see Leviticus 10:20). He didn’t on Monday but did on Thursday. I had to let God choose the time for the conversation.
  4. Wait until evening, (see Leviticus 11:24). Give yourselves a day to cool off and ponder the conversation. Look at the issue from their perspective.
  5. It might take a week, (see Leviticus 13:5). We are an instant society. We want problems solved now. We want everyone to agree with us. But God is not dealing with just the problem. He is dealing with hearts. Each heart has to come into submission to God before the problem resolves.

Have you had a problem resolve in a week?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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A Name for Yourself

September 26. Grandpa Lester Lincoln’s birthday. It was my first due date for Derek’s arrival. (He didn’t cooperate.)

David was close to his Grandpa and Grandma. He wanted to name one of our boys after him. Neither one of us loved the name, Lester. But there is a connection to President Abraham Lincoln.

Lester’s grandmother was Mary Todd Lincoln’s friend. When David’s aunt named her son, Todd, great-grandma cried. That’s why Derek’s middle name is Lincoln.

We all want our name to live on. At the wedding reception, more than one relative hinted at Derek and Rachel becoming parents. They wisely informed everyone they were going to wait.

Someday, we will have a namesake. But there is only one Name that endures.

“…You made a Name for yourself that lasts to this day.” The Message

God honors His name and the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s a powerful name. We pray “in Jesus’ Name,” and we have access to everything He has access to.

We also need to honor our name. In our family, we do things because they are the right thing to do. Regardless of how others are acting.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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Fight for Your Wife and Home

Derek’s favorite childhood book was “I Love You Forever.” It tells how a mother rocks her son to sleep every night. First as a baby, then a toddler, then a boy, then a teen. Her boy grows up and moves into a house across town. His mother puts a ladder on top of her station wagon and drives to it. She climbs into his window, picks him up, and rocks him, back and forth…

Saturday night, I dreamt about that book. Derek and Rachel bought a 2 story house. I woke up from my dream thinking, “I need a longer ladder.”

Then I shook myself. I waited almost 26 years for him to move out. I’m done rocking him! I guess adjusting to an empty nest may take longer than I thought.

Nehemiah 4:2, “…Do they think they can get everything back to normal overnight? …” The Message

Marriage is like a wall. You set this boundary around yourself and your spouse. What many do not realize is you work on it. Every. Day.

Nehemiah 4:6, “We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.” The Message

In the beginning, we had a heart for the work. It’s “You and Me Against the World.” But as the years go by, it is easy to neglect it.

Your wall will not look like your parent’s wall. It will not look like your friend’s wall. God designed your wall. It will protect your marriage while you fulfill His purpose for you as a couple.

Saturday night, before we went to sleep, David and I prayed. “We are empty nesters now. We were youth leaders when we were young. You called us to serve on worship teams during our entire marriage. Now that we have freedom, show us where we are to serve together.”

Nehemiah 4:9, “We countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them.” The Message

In the wedding, Pastor Josh Cody instructed Derek and Rachel to fight. Fight for their marriage. Fight for each other. Keep God first and He will fight for you.

Nehemiah 4:13-14, “So I stationed armed guards at the most vulnerable places… (14) …’Don’t be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for…your wives and your homes.’ ” The Message

Guard the vulnerable places. Don’t be afraid. Look to our great and awesome God. Fight for your wife and your home.

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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Whether Something Shouldn’t Be Done

The hardest part of raising children is letting them stand on their own two feet. We want to cushion each fall.

When they marry, we turn their care over to their spouse. When bad things happen, we still want to step in and rescue them as we always have.

Esther 3:4, “…to see whether something shouldn’t be done about it. …” The Message

Derek had a rough time over the last two weeks. He left work one day to find his back window shattered. He had it replaced before he even told us about it.

The next day, he got a nasty cut at work. It was already cleaned and bandaged when he told me about it. He asked Rachel to change the bandage.

Then his phone started acting weird. He got on the phone with technical support. He had to drive 30 miles to get the problem fixed.

After the car window, David came to me and asked, “Should we do something?”

After an internal debate, I replied, “We are not his source; God is. We need to let God meet his need.”

Derek cut the apron strings last week. He turned to Rachel instead of us. That means we did our job well.

I have one regret. I didn’t know it was his last meal at home. Had I known it, I wouldn’t have fed him leftovers! (You guessed it – macaroni and cheese.)

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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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 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

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Closer Than an Aunt

My sisters and I sometimes joked that God sent us the wrong daughters. One niece was studious, like me; and another niece is good with money, like me. (My third niece is artistic and definitely her mother’s daughter!)

My daughter did not keep her room clutter free and likes to play pool; both traits of my sisters. I like every room perfectly clutter free and never did take an interest in pool. When my daughter was growing up, I said it was like living with my sister again. I’m sure my nieces heard the same statement.

The relationship of aunt is a special one. My sisters were the best aunts. I didn’t do as well. In my defense, my children were born first, 21 months apart, and when my nieces were 2 and 4 I had my third baby. I had my hands full.

* * * * * * *

Deborah was the first woman listed as a nurse, not a handmaid. She would have been a second mother to Esau and Jacob and would have been where they turned when they were sick or hurt. She would have been closer than an aunt. No wonder there was great grief at her death.

Genesis 35:8, “But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried beneath Bethel under an oak. It was called Allon Bakuth.” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“…she would have been of invaluable service to his young family. Old nurses, like her, were not only honored, but loved as mothers; and, accordingly, her death was the occasion of so great lamentation. She was buried under the oak – hence called “the terebinth of tears” (1 Kings 13:14).” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I

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Forgive

There was one awkward moment at our family Christmas. I walked away quietly thinking, “This moment does not define me. It happened, but the awkwardness will pass.”

The next day, my family was commenting on how much they enjoyed Christmas. I said, “Yes, and there was only one awkward moment!”

None of them could remember it and I didn’t elaborate! There were opportunities to have my feelings hurt, but I consciously refused to let it hurt me.

Forgiveness is not optional.

Matthew 6:15, “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Modern English Version

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the wonderful Christmas. Thank You for taking the hurts from me. Thank You for keeping me from saying anything that hurt others. 

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Cardinals

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I tore off the December picture and threw the rest of the 2016 calendar away. I started to fold the picture for my scrapbook when I remembered I posted a photo of it on frugalfish.org. Why was it hard? Why did I want to keep it? The picture was a Cardinal.

“A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed.”

When my dad died, in the spring of 2010, a two cardinals built a nest in the bush next to my mother’s bow-window. Protected from predators, they didn’t realize they gave Mom a front row seat. It comforted her to see the little family every day. She waited for the eggs to hatch and watched the baby birds grow.

You don’t understand and appreciate comfort until you mourn.

Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are those who mourn,  for they shall be comforted.” Modern English Version

My father-in-law loved the St. Louis Cardinals. He passed that love on to his children and grandchildren. It comforts us every time we see a Cardinal. We are seeking them out: Christmas ornaments, gift bags, the calendar, cards, and mugs.

Cardinals are not the only symbols that bring comfort. When I see a daisy, I think of Peyton because it was her favorite flower. Whitney and her sisters look for hearts because it reminds them of their mom, Kerry. Acoustic guitars make me think of my dad.

Pat looks for pennies. She says, “Every time I find a penny, it means God loves me.” As she got out of the vehicle for her first radiation treatment, she saw two pennies on the ground. God knew she needed extra encouragement that day.

Dear Father God,

You are the God of all comfort. Thank You for comforting us as we grieve for John. Thank You for the signs that tell us of Your great love. Thank You for the assurance that we will see John again.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Every

My father-in-law was tough. He started working in a foundry when he was 17 and a junior in high school.

He was in the hospital with a blood clot, COPD, and emphysema.They sent him home and readmitted him a day later with pneumonia. It was painful just watching him try to breathe. We prayed for him and believed for a miracle.

Then he had a stroke and slipped away peacefully that night. The odds were against him but we prayed anyway because Jesus heals every kind of sickness, disease, and illness.

Matthew 4:23, 24, “. . . And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed – he healed them all.” New Living Translation

 

Luke 4:40, “. . . No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one.” New Living Translation

I added these verses to my prayer list. I have one page with names of those who are battling sicknesses and diseases. I am not discouraged even though my father-in-law died because the day of his death was written before he was conceived.

Psalms 139:16, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the life of my father-in-law. Please comfort his wife and children. Thank You for the work ethic he passed on to his children and grandchildren.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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