Enter My Place of Rest

COVID-19 “Shelter in Place” – Day 2

Journal – March 17, 2020: “I’m finishing my 6th round of Prednisone. I have to take Benadryl to go to sleep. I wake up between 2:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. I force myself to stay in bed until 4:00 a.m.

Yeah, I’m a little sleep-deprived.

Monday, I started the lowest dose. I kept nodding off. All. Day. Long. I fell asleep over and over during the evening.

It’s sunny and gorgeous outside today. I still feel sleepy. I realized I need the rest only God can give. …”

Psalms 95:11, “So in anger I swore: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.'” Common English Bible

“…After I read this verse, I took a nap. That half-hour refreshed me. I cut back to 2 cups of coffee and went to bed an hour early.”

Over and over, I hear people say they are so tired and so busy. I’m sure they asked God to help them.

The silver lining in the COVID-19 Pandemic is many are working from home. They are not as busy and can enter God’s place of rest.

March 17, 2020: Psalms 95, 97-100, 132; II Chronicles 7; I Kings 9.

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Wisdom Brings Humility

I was confident about my new diet plan…until I started adding up the calories.

  • Chicken Zoodles, 1/2 serving – 365
  • Olive Garden Salad – 140
  • Olive Garden Breadsticks, 2 – 300
  • Andes Mints, 2 – 50

Thank God, we didn’t order extra breadsticks or dessert!

My plan fell apart.

We stopped for ice cream – 330 calories. But, hey, we were celebrating Olivia’s birthday!

* * * * * * *

That evening we went to a small town, soup supper fundraiser. Derek was playing and I promised to go.

My choices for the meal weren’t bad but they had pie. I snatched it up not caring about the calories!

At intermission, they offered a second serving of dessert. They didn’t want to waste them.

Of course, I got in line.

Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, so does shame, but wisdom brings humility.” Common English Bible

What food is irresistible to you?

March 8, 2020: Proverbs 11-14.

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Become Wiser

I swished the chocolate milk around my mouth and took the Prednisone. Those pills stick to your tongue and leave a bitterness you can’t scrape off. It helps to coat your mouth with thick, chocolate milk.

Following my plan, I ate 2 poached eggs, 2 pieces of toast, and a banana. (A banana or apple count as 2 servings of fruit.)

* * * * * * *

We took our granddaughter, Olivia, to the Olive Garden for her birthday. My goal: 2 Bread, 2 Vegetables, 1 Meat, 1 Dairy, and 1 Fruit. I ordered Chicken Zoodles, but after noting the calories, I ate half.

I’m learning to plan my food choices.

Proverbs 9:9, “Teach the wise, and they will become wiser; inform the righteous, and their learning will increase.” Common English Bible

March 7, 2020: Proverbs 7-10.

 

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Corrective Teaching is the Path of Life

As I looked over various diet plans, I noticed many said, “No bread.” Each time I read that, Matthew 6:11 would run through my head.

“Give us, Lord, our daily bread.”

Then I looked at different menu plans written by nutritionists. There were two servings of bread/cereal at breakfast and lunch. I broke down the menus into the four food groups: Bread, Fruits and Vegetables, Dairy, and Meats.

My daily goal was 1 Bread, 4 Fruits, 6 Vegetables, 3 Dairy, 1 Meat and 11 glasses of water. I would eat a light breakfast with 1 bread; super light lunch and dinner, no bread. I would still be hungry after dinner. I need “Daily Bread!”

I worked out a new plan. I will continue to count calories and monitor the results. I know God will correct me when I get off course.

Proverbs 6:23, “The commandment is a lamp and instruction a light; corrective teaching is the path of life.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 3:1, 2, 12, “My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, 2) because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. …12) The Lord loves those he corrects, just like a father who treats his son with favor.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…Learning wisdom is a journey full of twists and turns, obstacles and open doors, and good and bad choices. Wisdom is found in straight courses (4:11); the way of the righteous is like morning light (4:18). The way of the wicked… is full of stumbling (4:16) and is like deep darkness (4:19).” Common English Bible Notes on Proverbs 4:10-19

March 6, 2020: Proverbs 3-6.

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To Teach Wisdom and Discipline

“For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie Snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals, and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most – not the nutritional value of the food. …he shed 27 pounds in two months. …”

“Twinkie Diet Helps Nutrition Professor Lose 27 Pounds”

The Lord’s Prayer, in The Message Bible, says, “Give us three square meals a day.” Yet most diets plan for three meals and three snacks!

In light of these several rounds of Prednisone, I am concerned about my weight. I eat a salad for lunch every day – and it still keeps creeping up!

I decided to skip snacks and start counting calories. What a surprise! Some of my “healthy” choices pack a lot of calories.

God cares about every aspect of our life. He wants to give us wisdom about everything!

Solomon, the wisest man on earth, studied the flora, fauna, literature, justice, and scientific exploration. We should all do the same.

1 Kings 4:29, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and very great understanding – insight as long as the seashore itself.”

Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…Besides exercising his wisdom in the administration of justice (1 Kings 3:28), Solomon also was involved in literary production or collection and in scientific exploration. He came to be associated with the literature of wisdom. …Since wisdom is both a gift from God and a quest for understanding, it makes sense that Solomon should be interested in the flora and fauna of the natural world. …Solomon’s wisdom can be likened to Adam’s; both were involved in ordering and naming the creatures (Genesis 2:19-20), a task that depended on the wisdom of observation.”

Common English Bible Notes on 1 Kings 4:32-33

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 1:2, “Their purpose is to teach wisdom and discipline, to help one understand wise sayings.”

Common English Bible

Wisdom. Discipline. Order. I am getting all three through prayer and Bible Study. I must constantly evaluate things through observation.

March 5, 2020: 2 Chronicles 1; 1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1, 2.

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Against Terrors That Come by Night

We joyfully announced our upcoming trip to Israel! We were not surprised that Satan attacked to discourage us.

Journal, 2-21-2020: I’m on the last day of my fifth round of Prednisone. I decided to update my license to a real ID. I kept waking up worrying about it. I’m moving ahead on the trip despite these allergy flares. …

Psalms 31:2, “Listen closely to me! Deliver me quickly; be a rock that protects me; be a strong fortress that saves me!” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Psalms 31 is a prayer for help with the typical elements: complaint and petition…along with affirmations of trust and praise…is unique because the expressions of praise/trust begin, end, and pervade the psalm, giving it a character similar to the psalms of trust.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalms 31:1-24

* * * * * * *

2 Samuel 16:12, “Perhaps the Lord will see my distress; perhaps the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing today.” Common English Bible

February 21, 2020: Psalms 31, 55; 2 Samuel 16; Psalms 3-5.

Journal, 2-22-2020: The tear duct in my right eye is clogged again. I have red hives under my eyes. I decided to switch from Allegra to Claritin for a few weeks. …

(The Allegra builds up in my system and I have to take a break. I’ve been on a double dose all winter. That is not normal!)

…We have gone over my list of triggers. A week ago, I ordered a new coat. I am allergic to feathers and the “encapsulated feathers” are poking through. The coat is red and the red dye is a possible trigger. I went through the cupboards checking for it. Thank God, Aldi does not add it to their products!

I found it in my favorite dressing. I mixed “red dye-free” ketchup with mayonnaise. Then added some relish to make my own “1000 Island Dressing.” Each day I ask God to show me anything I can do to stop this reaction. …

2 Samuel 18:4, “The king said to them, ‘I will do whatever you think is best.'” Common English Bible

February 22, 2020: Psalms 6, 8, 64; 2 Samuel 17, 18.

Journal 2-23-2020: The tear duct in my right eye is closed. My eyes are swollen with red hives. I used a warm wet compress and flushed them with saltwater. Then I used a sinus rinse and washed my hair in the tub. I hoped the rinse would run into my upper sinuses and run down to unclog that duct. …After church and the nursing home service, I took Benadryl and went to bed.

Somehow, I got off on my list of chapters! I read the ones assigned to the 24th! I didn’t notice it until the 25th!

Psalm 18:27, “You are the one who saves people who suffer and brings down those with proud eyes.” Common English Bible

I sure don’t have proud eyes today! Makeup was out of the question. I know God saves those who suffer. There is hope.

February 24, 2020: 2 Samuel 21, 22; Psalm 18.

Journal 2-24-2020: …I moved Valentine’s Day Decorations and red candles from boxes to clear totes. (I decorated for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday.) My goal is to eventually move all my storage into clear totes. Dust is a huge trigger. …

Psalm 20:4, “Let God grant what is in your heart and fulfill all your plans.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Psalm 20:14, “And save me from willful sins. Don’t let them rule me. Then I’ll be completely blameless; I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Blameless: The word does not mean sinless. It means “completeness, wholeness,” and is sometimes translated “integrity” (see Psalm 18:25). Listening to God’s instruction and being forgiven by God, the psalmist will be fully in relationship to God.” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 20:14

February 25, 2020: Psalms 19-21, 65-68.

Journal 2-25-2020: Exercise. Journal. Devotions. I wrote a post about going to Israel. Then I checked the 2021 April Bible Reading Guide. …

Psalms 61:8, “Then I will sing praises to your name forever, and I will do what I promised every single day.” Common English Bible

I found I am off on the chapters by a day. Somehow, I missed February 23rd. I read it today.

February 23, 2020: Psalms 61, 62, 89; 2 Samuel 19, 20.

Journal 2-26-2020: Both eyes are almost swollen shut!!! I took pictures and sent them to my doctor. Then I made an appointment.

He replied, “More Prednisone!”

I canceled the appointment. Every few hours, I boiled purified water; I poured it over 2 washcloths; let it cool 10 minutes; then put them on my eyes and mouth for 10 minutes. I have hives around my mouth now, too. (Sigh.) I switched back to Allegra. …

…David picked up more meds. I took them and finished my devotions. No post today. I just can’t see! …

…I sent a picture of my eyes to the worship pastor, the head of the E3 cafe, and Derek, saying, “Just between you and me, I can’t see! This is an allergy flare. I’m out for tonight!”

Psalms 138:3, 7, “On the day I cried out, you answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength. …Whenever I am in deep trouble, you make me live again…” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Psalm 141:1, “I cry out to you, Lord: Come to me quickly! Listen to my voice when I cry out to you!” Common English Bible

February 26, 2020: Psalms 138-141, 143-145.

Journal 2-27-2020: I dragged through exercise. My mouth and eyes have red, swollen hives. …I soaked them four times today. …

…Kenny V. called. His mother passed away. He asked me to accompany his cousin at the funeral. I should be tapering off of Prednisone by Monday. I agreed. He dropped off music to the hymn she wanted – “Tell Mother I’ll Be There.”

2 Samuel 23:2, “The Lord’s spirit speaks through me; his word is on my tongue.” Common English Bible

I will be there.

February 27, 2020: 2 Samuel 23, 24; 1 Chronicles 21.

Journal, 2-28-2020: David woke me up when he left for work. I drug myself out of bed. I boiled water for a warm compress and went back to bed.

I took another picture of my eyes and sent it to the doctor. Some of my lashes were stuck together when I woke up. I wondered about an infection.

He ordered more Prednisone. Three days ago, he increased the dose by half. Now I will be on a high dose for 6 days, not three. I went back to bed. …

…At noon I put a pork roast in the Crockpot and had devotions. I checked it at 3:30 p.m. I didn’t turn the Crockpot on. (Sigh. Life on Prednisone.) I put the meat in the refrigerator and texted David. He brought home pizza with white sauce. I take Benadryl at night to go to sleep.

Psalm 2:12, “…But all who take refuge in the Lord are truly happy.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“…The necessity of taking refuge in God shows that true happiness doesn’t mean the absence of threat or suffering…” Common English Bible Notes on Psalm 2:12.

February 28, 2020: 1 Kings 1, Psalms 2, 110; 1 Chronicles 22.

Journal, 2-29-2020: I’m tired. David picked up the Prednisone refill – 1000 milligrams! …

…I worked on the song for the funeral and practiced for Sunday. Brenda is sick. Derek had to change two songs. …

…I asked to have the Worship Team Christmas Party moved to my house. (Yes, it’s been a hard winter.) I made a gallon of sweet tea and a gallon of lemonade. Then I baked a Chocolate Chip Torte and Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. …

…Rachel called at 4 p.m. Another family is out sick. We postponed again. David froze the cake and I put the pork roast in the oven. Then I went back to bed!

1 Chronicles 24:5, “They divided both groups by lots because they were holy leaders, even outstanding leaders, …” Common English Bible

Goal – an outstanding leader.

February 29, 2020: Psalms 30, 91, 92; 1 Chronicles 23, 24.

Journal 3-1-2020: Soaked my eyes. Washed my hair. I’m tired, in a Benadryl fog and wondering if I should give up. I read my Bible.

1 Chronicles 28:9, 10 “As for you, Solomon, my son, acknowledge your father’s God and serve him with enthusiastic devotion, because the Lord searches every mind and understands the motive behind every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you abandon him, he will reject you forever. 10) Now then, since the Lord has chosen you to build the temple for him as the sanctuary, work hard.” Common English Bible

Journal 3-1-2020: …Set up and practiced. I stayed backstage. At this level of Prednisone, my immunity is lower. Derek and Rachel had a meeting in Mt. Pleasant. We tore down the drums and her keyboard during the offering. …Back at home, I put on pajamas and crawled into bed. I stayed there.

I didn’t give up and abandon God. I know I’m chosen for worship. I worked hard to do the tasks assigned to me. I am devoted to God.

Search my mind and motives, God. I turn it all over to you.

March 1, 2020: 1 Chronicles 25-28.

Journal 3-2-2020: I woke at 5:15 a.m. and put on the clothes I wore to church. David had to be at work at 7 a.m. …

…I took a picture of my eyes which are still red and puffy. I sent it to the doctor and asked to taper off anyway. …He told me to drop 10 mg every 3 days.

…I took a shower and went to the funeral home early. I signed the book with my gloves on. I went back to the piano and stayed there. I only had contact with 3 people. I stayed in that back room until everyone left and it was time to pick David up for lunch. I waited in the van.

1 Chronicles 29:17, “Since I know, my God, that you examine the mind and take delight in honesty, …” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 2:2, 3, “Turn your ear toward wisdom and stretch your mind toward understanding. 2) Call out for insight, and cry aloud for understanding.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Strategic thinking helps you plan, to become more efficient, to maximize your strengths, and to find the most direct path toward achieving your God-given assignment in life. (1) Strategic thinking simplifies the difficult… (2) …helps you ask the right question… What should we do next? …” The Word for You Today, March 2, 2020

March 2, 2020: 1 Chronicles 29; 1 Kings 2.

Journal 3-3-2020: I debated canceling all our plans before our trip and just staying home. I shouldn’t be in crowds on this amount of Prednisone. I wondered if I would be able to enjoy the trip? …David shared his concerns about his knee. Someday, down the road, the doctor wants to replace it. Of course, it has been bothering him recently. He wonders if he will enjoy this trip? …

1 Kings 3:5, “The Lord, appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, ‘Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.'” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” Common English Bible

Lord, we ask you to heal us!

Proverbs 3:5-8, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. 6) Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. 7) Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8) Then your body will be healthy and your bones strengthened.” Common English Bible

My body will be healthy and David’s bones will be strengthened!

March 3, 2020: 1 Kings 3; Psalms 45, 72, 127; Song of Solomon 1, 2.

Journal 3-4-2020: …We went to the last meeting for the Israel trip. I was nervous. (Prednisone.) I don’t feel like I fit in. David was outgoing and talkative. That made me feel shyer. …

…The sermon was about discerning: gather evidence, prove it, and then decide. …

…The care pastors, Dana and Linda, came to pray with me. They know what’s going on. I was talking to Pastor Peggy about the trip. I shared our struggles with her and Pastor Brant and Bethany. Not only did they pray for us, but they also shared two other people with health battles who are going to Israel with us. We are surrounded by prayer warriors. Now when I think of our health struggles, I will pray for Jaimie and Nicole!

Song of Solomon 3:7, 8, “Picture Solomon’s bed – sixty heroic men round about it all from the heroes of Israel, 8) all of them skilled with the sword expert in warfare, each with his sword ready at his thigh against terrors that come by night.” Common English Bible

It’s at night that I worry about the trip to Israel. I think of what could go wrong. We have heroes to battle the terrors by night and win!

Proverbs 4:23, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.”

Common English Bible

March 4, 2020: Song of Solomon 3-8.

And to everyone encouraging me to write a book? I think I just did!

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I Was Detained

I failed my mammogram.

The receptionist was sympathetic when I checked in for the second one. I told her I wasn’t worried. All-day long I said, “There’s nothing there.”

They took pictures of 2 places and then looked at them with an ultrasound. One was nothing to worry about but the second looked suspicious.

“It looks like a milk duct that did not form correctly. The tubules are growing in every direction,” the doctor informed me.

I told David I had a “milk duct dud.” From then on, we referred to it as a “milk dud.” We didn’t tell anyone about it.

My verses that day, November 5th, was Numbers 9:3, “…following all the rules and procedures.” The Message

Numbers 11:23, “God answered Moses, ‘So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough…'” The Message

* * * * * * *

The next step was an MRI in Cedar Rapids. David took the day off and we ate lunch at Culvers. I had the best salad!

When I arrived, I told the technician I was there to get a picture of my “milk dud.” Then I explained it to her. She laughed.

To take the MRI, you lay on your stomach with your face in a padded doughnut, like when you get a massage. You are on your knees leaning on your stomach at an angle. They stabilize the breasts and give you a “panic ball” in case you feel nauseous, claustrophobic, or panic.

They asked if I would like music. I said, “‘Contemporary Christian Music’ or ‘Skillet,’ but ‘Skillet’ makes me bop my head!”

She said, “Contemporary Christian would be better.”

The first song was “Do It Again,” by Elevation Worship:

“Walking around these walls

I thought by now they’d fall

But you have never failed me yet.

Waiting for change to come

Knowing the battle’s won

For you have never failed me yet.

 

Your promise still stands

Great is your faithfulness, faithfulness

I’m still in your hands

This is my confidence,

You’ve never failed me yet.

 

I know the night won’t last

Your word will come to pass

My heart will sing your praise again.

Jesus, you’re still enough

Keep me within your love

My heart will sing your praise again”

I started crying with the second chorus…

“Great is your faithfulness, faithfulness…”

Then I remembered I was supposed to lie perfectly still. I let the words of the bridge wash over me.

“I’ve seen you move, you move mountains,

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again.

You made a way when there was no way

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again. …”

The next song was “Unstoppable God” by Elevation Worship. As we neared the clinic, I started feeling apprehensive. David turned on the radio and it was playing.

“Let your glory go on and on

Impossible things in your name shall be done…”

I smiled and relaxed. I started to drift off…then the MRI machine kicked into high gear! The beeps and pings turned into bangs and clangs. It sounded like a war in a movie.

I started rehearsing, “Great is your faithfulness.” And I remembered what I prayed this morning. “God, I choose to trust you.” When I’m scared and don’t feel like trusting, I will choose to trust.

The clanging ceased and I heard the chorus of the next song, “Need You Now (How Many Times?) by Plumb

Chorus: “How many times have you heard me cry out

‘God, please take this?’

How many times have you given me strength to

Just keep breathing?

Oh, I need you, God, I need you now.”

 

Verse 2: “Standing on a road I didn’t plan

Wondering how I got where I am

I’m trying to hear that still, small voice

I’m trying to hear above the noise!”

 

Bridge: “Though I walk,

though I walk through the shadows

And I, I am so afraid

Please stay, please stay right beside me

with every single step I take…”

The machine went back into “war mode.” (At least I didn’t jump this time.) The magnet sounded like a machine gun!

I reminded myself, “Just keep breathing” and took several big breaths. At that point, I regretted eating that large salad!

The noise stopped and the fourth song started – “My Hope Is In You” by Aaron Shust.

“I meet with you and my soul sings out

as your word throws doubt far away

I sing to you and my heart cries holy

Hallelujah, Father, you’re near!”

 

“My hope is in you, Lord

All the day long, I won’t be shaken…”

The technician unplugged the IV that delivered the dye. A nurse took away the “panic ball.” They whisked away the towels I was laying on, removed the IV, and wrapped the site. The rest of the verse scrolled through my head.

“…by drought or storm

A peace that passes understanding is my song

and I sing my hope is in you, Lord…”

 

The bridge of that song is “I will wait on you. You are my refuge.” And that is what I have to do – wait. The next step is a biopsy.

* * * * * * *

David took me to Cedar Rapids on Sunday and we spent the night because I had an early appointment. Shopping and eating out kept my mind off of the biopsy. He took me to see the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

* * * * * * *

I slept well but after breakfast, I started getting nervous. At that moment my daughter-in-law Rachel sent a text telling me they were praying for me.

* * * * * * *

We took a wrong turn and David stopped for gas. I went inside for a coffee. When I took a cappuccino to the front a man at the next register offered to pay for it.

He said, “You might think I’m crazy but God told me to pay for your drink.”

“Of course,” I replied. I explained our church was raising money to give away before Christmas.

He asked which one. I gave him a card and explained about truelife.org on the back.

“It’s a website with verses to help during hard times, like death or going to get a biopsy like me.”

He replied, “You know you’re being followed – by goodness and mercy.”

I laughed. I was no longer nervous or afraid.

* * * * * * *

In the examining room, the nurse started explaining what would happen. I suddenly needed the restroom!

The bathroom was full of God’s presence. Someone else had been praying in there! I couldn’t help but raise my hands whispering, “I raise a hallelujah in the presence of my enemy.”

Back in the room, the nurse noted my birthdate. We are the same age and started talking like old friends. She kept me talking through the procedure. I never took my eyes off of her face. I couldn’t feel anything and I refused to look.

They bandaged me up and walked me back to David. The biopsy showed “atypical cells” but was inconclusive. They made an appointment for a surgical biopsy.

* * * * * * *

The surgeon looked at the site with ultrasound, and said, “I’m not going to biopsy it. I’m going to excise it.”

“When?”

“Tomorrow.”

At the look of panic on my face, he retreated, “I was just joking. My nurse does the scheduling.”

They went to get David from the waiting room and I went to the bathroom. I hid in there for 20 minutes but I figured the doctor owed me because I waited in the room that long for him.

I needed a week off from the piano and wouldn’t be able to lift more than 10 pounds for 3 weeks. We scheduled it for December 30th because there was no church on New Year’s Day.

I was in shock for the rest of the day. We stopped at Mom’s and told her about the surgery. Then I called my kids and siblings.

* * * * * * *

Christmas kept my mind off of the surgery. I wrote down 2 verses for that day:

Mark 2:3, “They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men.” The Message

My job today is to let others carry me.

Mark 2:28, “The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath. He is in charge!” The Message

Jesus is in charge of this day.

* * * * * * *

My daughter Laura went with us to the hospital. My youngest son Derek took a half-day off and met us there.

When we arrived, they called my sister Cheryl down who works there. She was such a comfort!

I was pleased when Dana, the “Care Pastor,” came a few minutes later. He brought me a get-well package with books and a mug. He shared a couple of key verses to meditate on and prayed for me.

My granddaughter Olivia gave me a rock with “Courage” stamped on it for Christmas. I placed it on the bed next to the hospital gown and took a picture of them.

I sent it to my daughter-in-law Bethany and told her, “Tell Olivia I have everything I need.”

* * * * * * *

The incision was twice as long as predicted but he took extra tissue to test.

No tumors! No cancer!

The margins are clear!

On January 1st I started reading my new Bible, the Common English Bible.

Luke 7:48, “It’s like a person building a house by digging deep and laying the foundation on bedrock. When the flood came, the rising water smashed against that house, but the water couldn’t shake the house because it was well built.” Common English Bible

* * * * * * *

“Flood: an image for hard times (see Isaiah 43:2, Psalms 69:2). Living by Jesus’ instructions prepares a person to survive life’s trials.” Common English Bible Notes

I was detained but God was with me every step of the way.

P. S. I read my Bible every day but most of the verses were personal. Our church is fasting and I am seeing even more things to work on. I hope you understand why I may not post every day.

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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