After Sunset

April 17, 2019: Matthew 26.

Since the “We Remember” Service is Thursday, they canceled Wednesday’s adult service. Pastor Monte Knudsen is the guest speaker at the youth service in the E3 Center.

As the sun was setting, David popped popcorn. We got comfortable on the couch and watched a movie.

Some sunsets are bittersweet. The last sunset of camp. The last sunset of summer before returning to school. The last sunset of vacation before heading home. The last sunset with our loved one.

But what if you knew it was your last sunset on earth? Jesus knew.

Matthew 26:30, “After sunset,…” The Message

Jesus showed us how to finish our day on His last day.

  • Enjoy the sunset, v. 20.
  • Linger at the table, v. 20.
  • Talk about important things, v. 21.
  • Remember, v. 26-29.
  • Sing praises, v. 30.

My best memories were of conversations around a table full of dirty dishes. Dad would talk about deep things but there was always laughter.

When we were ready for bed, he would get out his guitar. He would sit on the bottom step playing. Sometimes, he played harmonica with it. Other times, he sang…

“There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.”

“And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?”

“He washed my eyes with tears, that I might see…”

Dad died 9 years ago today. (Yes, Dad, I remember!) And our sons carry on the traditions. Luke plays the guitar for his daughter, Olivia, and sings to her.

And on this anniversary, Derek is playing the guitar and singing. He’s leading worship at the E3 Center for over 100 teens, singing,

“Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?”

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I Want You to Know God

April 10, 2109: Hosea 3-8.

Each week I “deep clean” one room. I run a damp cloth over and under everything. I wash the inside of the windows and the glass on the mirrors and pictures. I vacuüm the edges and corners. And I declutter – a lot.

This week the office was my zone. I cleared off my desk and found a place for everything currently on the floor. My goal is to get my house ready to sell. God cannot give me a different house if this house is not ready to show.

“God has written in a book everything we are supposed to do. …We ask God for the right direction. …The more we go in the wrong direction, the more callused our heart becomes. …We are to be productive, not just busy. …Learn the difference between activity and accomplishment. …Faith has a plan.”

Pastor Monte Knudsen, April 10, 2019

This is why I love going to church! I get direction for my daily life. And I love Jesus. God has a plan for me. I don’t want to miss it.

Hosea 6:6, “I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.” The Message

It’s not about attendance; it’s about paying attention.

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

The Temple of Your God

April 3, 2019: 2 Kings 11; 2 Chronicles 22-24.

This is my second year using “time study” sheets. It starts at 4:00 am and ends at 9:00 pm. Every half hour I record what I did.

The morning is easy. I enter “Write” and draw an arrow down to my completion time. I can easily see my “time wasters.”

“Don’t plan without God. …‘Make every minute count,’ Ephesians 5:15-16.”

Pastor Monte Knudsen, April 3, 2019

Today I turned my time study sheet into a planning sheet. My task list is too long! There are not enough hours in a day. No wonder I rarely complete it.

And I have no breaks or downtime. Things will have to change. I may have to get creative.

“Creative thinkers:

  1. Explore every option. …Albert Einstein said, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ Why? Because it looks for new ways to put your knowledge to work.
  2. Embrace ambiguity. Creative people don’t feel the need to stamp out uncertainty.
  3. Celebrate the offbeat. Creativity explores off the beaten path.
  4. Are not afraid of failure. …They refuse to let the ideas that don’t work prevent them from coming up with ones that do.”

The Word for You Today, April 3, 2019

Joash had a plan to repair The Temple. He even implemented his plan. But it didn’t work.

2 Chronicles 24:4, “He got the priests and Levites together and said, ‘Circulate through the towns of Judah every year and collect money from the people to repair The Temple of your God. You are in charge of carrying this out!’ But the Levites dragged their feet and didn’t do anything.” The Message

Why didn’t it work? He left God out. He referred to it as the Temple of your God.

Joash never did make God his God. He feared and respected Jehoiada. But after he died Joash deserted The Temple, (2 Chronicles 24:17-18).

* * * * * * * *

I’m glad I wrote my plan in pencil. With God’s help, I will have to erase a few things!

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

See What Has to Be Done

March 27, 2019: 1 Kings 20, 21; 2 Chronicles 17.

I knew I shouldn’t, but I did.

I was finishing lunch and saw the Spider Solitaire icon. I clicked on it – again.

I had already lost 3 games and moved on to reading email. But I went back and got sucked in for another half hour.

My mind kept telling me, “You’ll win the next one.”

I couldn’t spare 30 minutes. I finished my tasks but did not have time to practice. It was late when I cleaned up. I dried my hair using the van air vents on the way to church.

“When you get tempted it’s from the lust of the flesh. …Fights come from lusts in our body. …“You ask, and do not receive, because you ask to spend it on your passions,” James 4:3. …If you live by the flesh, it dictates your mind, and grace stays boxed up. …” Pastor Monte Knudsen, “Blueprint of Faith,” March 27, 2019

I wanted to say the devil made me do it. But I learned this morning that it’s not the devil.

“…in the realm of our mind, that’s where the attack happens. …We’ve been calling the wrong stuff the devil. …I got a flat tire. It’s the devil. No, it was a nail. …I ate a doughnut. It’s the devil. No, it was delicious. …” Steven Furtick, “That’s Not the Devil,” 1:Minute Motivation, 3-27-19

The chapters I read this morning showed me how to battle my flesh. (It also works in bringing my finances under control.)

Do I take one thing at a time?

1 Kings 20:19, 20, “The commandos poured out of the city, with the full army behind them. (20) They hit hard in hand-to-hand combat. …” The Message

Do I stay alert? Do I build up my defenses, know my capabilities, and see what needs to be done?

1 Kings 20:22, “Sometime later the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, ‘On the alert now – build up your army, assess your capabilities, and see what has to be done. Before the year is out, the king of Aram will be back in force.’ ” The Message

Do I evaluate my generals? Are my banker, insurance agents, and investment advisor, working for my best interest? Or theirs? Do they fight for me to win or are they satisfied with the status quo? Are they leaders or experienced soldiers.

1 Kings 20:24, “Here’s the strategy: Remove each sheik from his place of leadership and replace him with a seasoned officer.” The Message

Do I make rash decisions? Or take the time to weigh the pros and cons?

1 Kings 20:29, “The two armies were poised in a standoff for seven days.” The Message

Do I stay focused? Or do I get distracted and work on other things?

1 Kings 20:40, “But I got busy doing one thing after another and the next time I looked he was gone.” The Message

Do I protect the important things? Or sacrifice the important for the unimportant?

1 Kings 21:4, “…’I’ll never turn over my family inheritance to you.’ …” The Message

Do I have a good defense system? Do I have the right insurance? Do I have enough or too much? When was the last time I evaluated it?

1 Chronicles 17:1, “Asa’s son Jehoshaphat was the next king; he started out by working on his defense system against Israel.” The Message

What am I going to do? I can’t tell you!

Proverbs 27:1, “Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.” The Message

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

For the Rock Who Saved Us

March 17, 2019: Psalms 95, 97-100, 132.

I was happy to see Mary at church. Grief has made her a bit of a recluse. But when her grandson asked her to come to church with him, she agreed. It’s a decision she will never regret.

Pastor Monte Knudsen preached on “Dealing with Doubt.”

“Satan uses doubt to steal your purpose; kill your potential; and destroy your possibilities. …We have to recognize the source of doubt, resist it, and believe what God has said over our circumstances. …God keeps His promises and brings order to our chaos.” Pastor Monte Knudsen, Faith Christian Outreach Church, March 17, 2019

Austin, Mary’s grandson, decided he was done living in doubt. He went forward and prayed the “Save me, Jesus, Prayer”. Mary wasn’t the only one with tears in her eyes.

Psalms 95:1, “Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!” The Message

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

Was In Love?

February 18, 2019: Psalms 69-71; 1 Chronicles 20; 2 Samuel 13.

 

When I got up this morning, I found a note on my desk. David canceled Hulu. We didn’t even try it for 24 hours! He decided without talking to me.

I feel like we are roller skating while holding hands. When he makes a decision alone, he changes direction, whipping me around the corner. I’m getting whiplash!

I handled the finances for the first 30+ years of our marriage. I made a few decisions on my own and he was the one with whiplash! (He lost his head a few times.)

I want to leave him a note – “I gave up sex for Lent. Happy Easter!”

But I won’t because that’s not love – that’s revenge. I turned to Proverbs to read the cross-references and notes on a few verses. I got stuck on the first one.

Proverbs 24:29, “Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.’ ” The Message

Ouch.

* * * * * * *

“There’s no love without commitment; the level of commitment shows the level of love. …Love is never lust. Someone wanting you is not them loving you.”

Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, “Love Like You Mean It,” February 17, 2019

* * * * * * *

Amnon shows us the difference between love and lust – and the consequences.

2 Samuel 13:1, “…Amnon, also David’s son, was in love with Tamar.” The Message

  1. Amnon was obsessed…to the point of making himself sick over her, v. 2.
  2. She was a virgin so he couldn’t see how he could get his hands on her, v. 2.
  3. Jonadab was exceptionally streetwise, v. 3.
  4. Jonadab made a way for Amnon to get his hands on Tamar without marrying her, v. 5.
  5. Amnon cleared everyone out of the house. That left Tamar unprotected, v. 9.
  6. He asked her to bring the food to his bedroom. Normally, she never would have entered his bedroom, v. 10.
  7. She got too close and he grabbed her, v. 11.
  8. She said no, v. 12, 13.
  9. Amnon did not listen, v. 14.
  10. Since she was alone, unprotected, in a room she never should have entered, he raped her, v. 14.
  11. His lust turned into hate, v. 15.
  12. He rejected her and threw her out, v. 18.
  13. She had no place to go! She couldn’t return to the palace to live with her virgin sisters. She moved in with her brother Absalom and was desolate and bitter, v. 18-20.
  14. Absalom said…let’s keep it quiet – a family matter, v. 20.

But it never stays quiet. It always comes out. That event destroyed Tamar and cost Amnon his life!

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What You Believed Could Happen Has Happened

“Let’s read Mark 11:23 in the Modern English Version. ‘For truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.’ How many times did we read the word ‘believes’? Once. How many times did we read the word ‘says’? Three times. …Be careful what you say.” Pastor Monte Knudsen, 1-2-19

In Matthew 8, the captain’s servant was sick. He believed Jesus could heal him. He said to Jesus, ‘Just give the order.’

Matthew 8:13, “Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, ‘Go. What you believed could happen has happened.’ At that moment his servant became well.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Last night we attended a cousin’s funeral. While talking with aunts and uncles another relative joined us.

She said, “You should read Pam’s Bible posts. They’re really good. She uses the messenger Bible.” (I think she meant The Message.)

Two of our uncles are preachers. I thought I would get chided for not using the King James Bible. I told them, “I grew up on Bible schools reading the King James Version. I didn’t understand it. I don’t speak Elizabethan English. I read the modern versions so I can understand what I’m reading.”

* * * * * * *

Funerals today are much different from in Bible times. We remembered good things and there was a lot of laughter.

Matthew 8:21-22, “Another follower said, ‘Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.’ (22) Jesus refused. ‘First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life!’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…No son whose father had just died would be talking with Jesus in public before the father’s body had been laid in a tomb. …Even today in the Middle East, the expression ‘Wait until I bury my father’ expresses a desire to wait until the father has died before embarking too far from home. …Jewish people in the 1st century let the flesh rot off of a corpse’s bones for a year, then returned to the tomb and gathered the bones into a box which they deposited into a slot in the tomb wall. If the disciple was referring to such a reburial, known as ‘secondary’ burial, then he was asking for as much as a year’s delay in following Jesus. …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Your business is life! Pursue life! What are you believing for?

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An Honest Days Work

Mom called and asked about the problems with my blog posting on social media. I told her everything – about everything.

Judges 9:16, “Now listen: ‘Do you think you did a right and honorable thing?…’ ” The Message

Talking about it made it worse. I considered tossing my task list and making fudge…

Judges 9:19, “If you think this is an honest day’s work,…” The Message

…I could watch Christmas movies while I rolled Buckeye centers.

Judges 10:15-16, “The People of Israel said to God: ‘We’ve sinned. Do to us whatever you think best, but please, get us out of this!’ (16) Then they cleaned house of the foreign gods and worshipped only God. And God took Israel’s troubles to heart.” The Message

It’s cleaning day – no Christmas movies for me. I washed the inside of the medicine cabinet and tossed old medications. Then I cleaned the house from top to bottom.

When I finished my task list, I got out the ingredients for Buckeyes. The butter must not have reached room temperature. I dumped it in with the peanut butter and powdered sugar anyway. I put my hand mixer in the bowl and turned it on. That sprayed powdered sugar all over my freshly cleaned floor. (Sigh.)

Proverbs 21:2-3, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. (3) To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” New International Version

After supper, David turned on the movie, “Polar Express.” He had never watched it and Pastor used it in his sermon on Sunday. (I went to bed.)

Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” New International Version

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

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The People You Redeemed

As I came up the stairs and stepped on the rug – it slid. Not good.

The back door is perpendicular to the basement door. The throw rug there does not have a rubber backing.

I recently put several lines of silicone caulk on the back of that rug. I read it would not harm laminate flooring. When I lifted the rug, it looked like a pile of spaghetti. The caulk had come off.

I prayed, “Lord, there has to be a way to secure this rug. I don’t want to throw it away or damage the laminate.”

A few minutes later, I got the answer – duct tape. But not used in the way you would expect.

There’s a register next to the back door. I pulled the register cover out and tore off a long piece of duct tape. I taped one end to the underside of the register cover and put it back. I laid the large piece, sticky side up, on the floor.

Starting at the edge of the register, I unrolled the throw rug. Then I stepped on it to adhere the duct tape. That secured the rug without damaging the floor. You might say I redeemed that rug.

* * * * * * *

“Redeemed – compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something.”

* * * * * * * *

We are starting a new series at church – “Redeemed.” Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis kicked it off with his sermon, “Junky or Spunky: Redeemed.”

“Redeemed – Wear it, declare it, share it. …Don’t roll over – rise up! …Redemption – Put it on, pass it on, party on.” Pastor Gary Van Nyhuis, October 21, 2018

* * * * * * *

Exodus 15:13, “But the people You redeemed, You led in merciful love; You guided them under Your protection to Your holy pasture.” The Message

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You Make God Tired

Last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen spoke about dealing with temptation.

“All temptation is common. …Temptation means you think about it, until you justify it, and then sin is conceived in you. …Flee temptation. …Take your thoughts captive. …Deny yourself. …Recognize the horrible cost of sin. …” Pastor Monte Knudsen, September 26, 2018

He read the temptations of the Israelites in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. They are the same things we are tempted with.

Today was a quiet day. I didn’t fall for any temptations. But, according to Malachi, “normal” days are dangerous.

“Most of life is not lived in crisis…when things are… ‘normal,’ our interest in God is crowded to the margins…and we become preoccupied with ourselves. ‘Religion’ during such times is trivialized…calling God into question or complaining…treating worship…as a mere hobby…managing our personal affairs (such as marriage) for our own convenience…going about our usual activities as if God were not involved. …Malachi…wakes us up…during the times when the only thing we are concerned with is us. He keeps us on our toes, listening for God, waiting in anticipation for God, ready to respond to God, who is always coming to us.” The Message Introduction to Malachi

Many things Malachi listed still happen today.

Malachi 1:7, “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority, ‘that’s defiling.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Malachi 1:12-13, “You profane me when you say,… ‘I’m bored – this doesn’t do anything for me.’ (13) You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Malachi 2:13, “And here’s the second offense: ‘You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Malachi 2:17, “You make God tired with all your talk. ‘How do we tire Him out?’ you ask. By saying, ‘God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.’ And also by saying, ‘Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.’ ” The Message

I don’t know about you, but I feel conviction.

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