Jacob Buried Them

We took the family to “Appanoose Rapids” to celebrate Derek’s birthday. Olivia, 7, brought a doll that poops! She tired of holding it. I offered to put it in the booth beside me. I misjudged the space and bonked the doll’s head on the table.

“Good job, great-grandma,” Laura quipped.

I froze.

When Olivia has a child I will be a great-grandma. That was a sobering thought.

Then David shared how Kyle, the bass player, calls me “Grandma Pamcake.” (I tell him only Olivia can call me grandma.)

I started feeling self-pity. Why do they tease me about my age?

After eating, we debated about going to Kohls. I wanted to see if they had a space heater on sale. I spend most of the day in my office. I could just heat it.

But everyone was tired. We went home.

Self-pity reared its head again. The lies started going through my head:

  • David always says “no” to me.
  • Nobody cares about what I need.
  • I always have to go without.
  • Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms…

😦

As a child, I was miserable most of the time. I was itchy, bleeding, and in pain with my clothes stuck to the Atopic Dermatitis. It tormented me day and night. I was sleep-deprived. And children are cruel. Self-pity was a constant companion.

“May we remember that if self-pity is allowed to set in, we will never be used by God again until it is totally removed.” “Streams in the Desert,” October 12

I could justify self-pity. But I know it does not please God.

Genesis 35:4, “They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they’d been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem.” The Message

Have I allowed self-pity to become an idol in my life? It is a habitual reaction. It’s one I need to bury.

“Feel locked out? Feel unincluded?…Need some direction in your life? Get behind Me and follow Me through the valley, through the pain. …If you feel disconnected, hook up with Me. …I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And I’m making a way for everybody who will walk by faith.”

“Need Something? God’s Got It…” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

Do you struggle with self-pity? How did you overcome it? How can we share empathy without giving pity to one in pain?

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If You Have a Heart

July 3, 2018, 3:00 a.m.

The only clothes I set out were a jean jacket and a pair of shoes. *Sigh* I decided dressing could wait and started writing. Halfway through, I stopped and ordered shoes for Derek’s wedding.

“Sacrifice, and then celebrate. Don’t get it the other way around. …All sacrifice and no celebration means no strength. It’s the danger of deprivation.” “Sacrifice, Then Celebrate,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

I got up at 3:00 to write for 4 hours before leaving for Terry’s funeral. It was a sacrifice worth making.

Terry had two daughters from his first marriage. I’m sure he would have loved a picture of all three girls together.

That picture exists now. Sadly, they were on motorcycles riding to the cemetery. Just the way he would have liked…

“When Jesus arrives on the scene, He doesn’t diminish her distress or sidestep her sorrow. He just weeps with her as they walk to her brother’s tomb, (John 11:33-35). …Think about it – Jesus knows Mary’s weeping will soon turn to joy. He knows that He’s going to bring her brother back to life, and all the tears will be trumped by cheers. But Jesus doesn’t use the hope of a better tomorrow to avoid the imminent pain of today.” “How to Hold a Hurting Heart” Alicia Bruxvoort, Proverbs 31 Ministries

* * * * * * *

Philippians 2:1-2, “If you gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – (2) then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” The Message

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Was It Something I Ate?

I thought I was having a heart attack.

The pain started in the center of my back and seemed to push through my body until the center of my chest felt on fire. My husband took me to the ER. The diagnosis?

“Pancreatitis”

I decided I would do whatever it took to avoid that pain. I eat 6 small meals a day and try to drink 64 ounces of water.

In spite of my best efforts, I had, not one, but two pancreatitis attacks today! I just had to stop, take medicine, and lie flat for an hour.

My husband thinks it was something I ate. (I think it’s those cheap coffee beans he bought! Lol) Whatever set it off is an abomination to me!

God gave specific instructions to the Israelites about what meat to eat and what meat to avoid.

Deuteronomy 14:3, “You shall not eat any abomination.”

“Some believe that the ‘unclean’ animals…posed certain health risks for those who would eat them, even after the animals had been properly cooked and prepared. Another view is that this system was intended to distinguish God’s people from the religions and practices of their pagan neighbors…such as eating blood (Deuteronomy 12:16, 24) or a young goat in its mother’s milk (v. 21)…A third view is…God established the system as a test of the Israelites obedience and loyalty to him…” ESV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible Notes

Dear Lord,

Thank you for being with me during times of sickness. I pray for wisdom in my diet. Please show me what is triggering these attacks. 

Amen

Undertake, Not Undertaker

Some days I am productive. Today is not that day.

Some days I am bursting with vitality. Today is not that day.

I am recovering from the last round of Prednisone. Usually, I eat everything in sight. This time? I couldn’t sleep. The longer I was on it, the less sleep I got. I averaged 4 hours a night during the last week.

Now that the Prednisone is out of my system, my body is rebelling to the lack of rest: headaches, drowsiness, etc. I know I will just have to go to bed early…

until Christmas!

Two members of the band were still gone today and I had to play their parts. It turned cold and my thumb cracked open. I put a butterfly strip on it to pull it closed and wrapped it in paper tape. (The crack was not on the surface that hits the keys.)

When we arrived at church, it was 60 degrees inside. (I carry fingerless gloves for just such times.) The heat was turned on, but it took an hour for it to warm up.

It’s raining and the changes in barometric pressure wreaks havoc on my sinuses.

Both vaporizers broke.

When I read today’s verse I was looking forward to a nap, not a challenge.

Deuteronomy 12:18, “…And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all that you undertake.” ESV

But, when I entered in to worship, I got the strength I needed to do what God has called me to do.

I rejoice that my thumb is healing and it won’t rain forever. I have a warm bed to sleep in; and David went out and bought a new vaporizer!

My favorite song is “Dance Again”…

“Praise him when your heart is breaking; when your strength is almost gone, lift up your song and praise him, through the fire and fury, in the dark night of your soul. Your God is in control…”  Life Worship, Uk

Dear Lord,

Thank you that I never undertake anything alone. Thank you for bringing healing through worship.

Amen

 

From Each Its Best Part

I slowly pushed myself up in 15 half push-ups. After the last one, I collapsed on the floor, panting as if I had just run a 5K.

I was doing the “No Excuses Workout” that I learned from Jonathan Roche at www.bootcamphub.com. Jonathan is a personal trainer who encourages alternating brief, intense exercise, with brief periods of rest.

After the first exercise, I decided I needed to rest. I slowly counted to 15.

Shoving my feet under the couch, I proceeded to do 15 sit-ups. These were harder! I had to count backwards to trick myself into completing them.

I collapsed back on the floor again, counting even more slowly to 15 for a period of rest.

The “fly aways” were easier, but I still had to take a break. I finished up with the 15 knee bends and prayed no one could see me through the window. I am so out of shape that my balance is off and I looked like I had been drinking.

(I don’t drink.)

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul said, “I discipline my body and keep it under control…” (ESV) The King James version says, “I buffet my body.” I felt like I had been beat up! When I squatted down, my thighs told me I was not getting back up ever again.

For years, I started my day reading my Bible before breakfast. The only problem is, I can dig into it for a couple of hours. When I finished, I would be starving and still in my pajamas.

Last week, I switched it up: eat, exercise, dress, and then read my Bible. I was amazed how much I was getting out of my studying after I met the needs of my body and then brought it under control through exercise. I went from writing 2-3 hours a day to writing up to 6 hours.

Our bodies are to be living sacrifices to God as recorded in Romans 12:1. Exercising was definitely a sacrifice! By offering my sacrifice first in my day, I am giving my best and God has blessed me for my obedience.

Numbers 18:29, “Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated.” (ESV)

Dear Lord,

Thank you for fresh insight.

Amen

No Sleep…But Rested

I’ve been on Prednisone for a few weeks now and it has drastically reduced my sleep. I find it difficult to settle down and am staying up later.

I will sleep for two hours, battle insomnia for two hours, and then sleep for a few hours more. No matter what, my internal rooster crows before six!

How am I surviving? I take power naps, 10-15 minutes at a time, throughout the day. But the most important thing I do is to stop completely on Sunday. After church, I put on exercising pants, a tee-shirt and go to bed.

I may not sleep, but I don’t work. I will eat lunch & dinner in bed and spend the hours reading or watching TV. (The rest of the family are engrossed in ball games.)

Since I’ve made the habit of resting on Sunday, I’ve found I have an incredible amount of energy on Monday.

I’m guarding my health and extending my life as instructed in today’s verse.

Jeremiah 17:21, “If you value your lives, don’t do any work on the Sabbath…”

Refresh Your LIfe With His Love

“Dear Diary,

It was too hot to swim sleep last night…The Prednisone wakes me up after four hours. I took Benadryl, hoping to sleep longer. I was still ready to go after four hours…except my eyelids…they rolled up at four a.m. I was ready for a nap when Bethany and Olivia arrived at six. She is recovering from surgery. I wanted to keep her hydrated. I filled Olivia’s sippy cup, screwed the lid on, and then handed it to Bethany to drink…Bubble bath at seven p.m. Whitney Went to bed.”

Yesterday I started weaning off of Prednisone…today a storm rolled in. The change in barometric pressure brought sinus pressure. For a fleeting second, I thought I might be getting sick….

…and then I read today’s verses.

Zephaniah 3:12, 13, “But I, the Lord, won’t destroy any of your people who are truly humble and turn to me for safety.”

Zephaniah 3:15-18, “…Your Lord is King of Israel and stands at your side; you don’t have to worry about any more troubles. The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love. The Lord has promised: Your sorrow has ended, and you can celebrate.”

God Has Got This!

It’s 5:00 a.m. and the peanut butter cookies are cooling. My daughter-in-law is having surgery today and these are her favorites. I meant to bake them yesterday, but it warmed up outside. I waited to do it in the cool of the morning.

I decided to read my Bible while they cooled and I was encouraged with many verses in these chapters. God knew about the surgery and it was in His plan for me to read these chapters today.

Isaiah 34:3, 4, “Here is a message for all who are weak, trembling, and worried: ‘Cheer up! Don’t be afraid. Your God is coming to punish your enemies. God will take revenge on them and rescue you.'”

Isaiah 40:1, “Our God has said: ‘Encourage my people! Give them comfort.'”

Isaiah 40: 11, “The Lord cares for his nation, just as shepherds care for their flocks. He carries the lambs in his arms, while gently leading the mother sheep.”

Isaiah 40:28, 29, “Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the eternal God, Creator of the earth. He never gets weary or tired; his wisdom cannot be measured. The Lord gives strength to those who are weary.”

Isaiah 40:31, “But those who trust the Lord will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired.

Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.”

Isaiah 41:13, “I am the Lord your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

I think I will go take a nap before my grand-daughter arrives. That little lamb and I will be painting, playing with Play-Doh, playing the piano, cooking homemade marina, dressing up, playing with Barbie Dolls. Her aunt will be taking her to play in the park and Pa is planing on taking her to the library tomorrow. We won’t even worry about mommy because we know, “God has got this!”

 

Kept Safe, Calm and Strong

Isaiah 30:15, “The holy Lord God of Israel had told all of you, ‘I will keep you safe if you turn back to me and calm down. I will make you strong if you quietly trust me.'”

I play the piano at church on Sunday morning and Whitney plays the other sounds: pads, strings, synthesizer, organ, etc. She is battling a health issue more serious than mine.

We held service in the Expo room yesterday because another group was set up for a matinée in the auditorium. We joked about not falling off of the platform.

During the second song, Whitney started to feel ill. She quietly and calmly walked off of the platform and went to lie down. Just as the Lord promised, she safely got off of the platform and God brought strength to her.

When I realized she was gone, I slipped from the keyboard I was playing and played her part on the last two worship songs because it was more needed than the piano.

When I went to check on her she was feeling better. She thanked me for covering for her. I flippantly said she may have to cover for me in September when we are to play at an outdoor concert. I joked about my eyes swelling shut.

This morning I felt convicted. I sent a message to her saying, “I take it back. You won’t have to cover for me in the fall. I’m sick of being sick and Satan trying to stop us. Have a healthy day.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read today’s verse!

Isaiah 33:24, “The Lord will forgive your sins, and none of you will say, ‘I feel sick.'”

 

God Says “Trust Me”

This spring has been as miserable as Ragweed season. The combination of a long winter and frequent rain caused the grass to release pollen the same time as the trees. That double whammy made me want to stay inside completely.

I have been attending church twice a week and going to worship practice. I was ready to decrease my time outside by missing Wednesday evening services. But God kept saying to me, “Trust me.”

Isaiah 7:9, “…and if Ahaz and his officials don’t trust me, they will be defeated.”

The NIV version of the same verse says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

I guess I’m going to church tonight!

Isaiah 8:17, “Meanwhile, I patiently trust the Lord…”

“The Stand” – Hillsong