Kind Mercy Wins

June 23, 2019: James 2-5.

 

James 2:13, “For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.” The Message

She was standing by the outer door when we pushed the code to leave the nursing home. She was still wearing the red, white, and blue lei that Bev passed out during the service.

“I don’t see my car,” she said. “I can just walk, my mother lives over in those apartments.”

We coaxed her back into the nursing home. She wandered around the hall.

We asked Vivian, a member of our team, about her. Vivian told us she had just lost her husband and moved into the home.

We punched the code again and walked out. The automatic door stayed open too long and she slipped out again. As we walked back toward her, she burst into tears.

“I can’t find my husband.”

I put my arm around her and promised we would help. Back in the hall again, David asked about her children. (Thank God he knew her!) He told her we got married on the same day as her daughter.

David kept asking her questions and I went to the break room to find a nurse. The nurse distracted her and we were able to leave.

“…when we fail to count our blessings, we rob ourselves of the happiness, the peace, and the gratitude that should rightfully be ours. … ‘So much has been given me, I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied,’ Helen Keller.”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” June 23

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God Knows A Person’s Thoughts

June 22, 2019: Acts 15; James 1.

 

Acts 15:8, “And God, who can’t be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person’s thoughts…” The Message

I’m mad.

A million tiny things grew into a haystack. I’m buried, wheezing, and suffocating.

“Write it down.”

I had to get it off my chest. I opened up Microsoft Word and typed, “Why am I mad?” in 72-point font. Then I listed 20 things I’m mad about. Of course, they are all David’s fault. 😉

I felt better and started my day.

“Delete the page.”

What, God? No, he needs to fix these things! I ignored that still small voice and went on to my next task.

“Type, ‘I forgive you,’ after each point.”

That I can do! I felt better after that and a little self-righteous. (Yes, I know that is wrong.)

“Now, act as if you have forgiven him.”

That one was harder but I did it.

“Send an email to resolve #16.”

I sent the email. When David got off work, I mentioned the email. We sent the same email from his address. Later, I casually talked about #17 and #18. They can be handled with one phone call.

“Poet Christina Rossetti had this sound advice. ‘Better by far you should forget and smile than you should remember and be sad.’ It’s better to forget than regret.”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” June 22

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God is On the Side of the Victims

February 26, 2019: Psalms 140, 141, 143-145; 2 Samuel 23.

 

“In the upper room the disciples all looked for a prominent place to sit, but Jesus looked for a place to serve! …The world bases importance on the number of people serving you, but God is much more interested in the number of people you are serving.”

The Word For You Today, 2-26-19

Letters to Linda

 

Linda was my neighbor when I was a teenager. I admired her voice and her style. She carefully decorated her home and smartly landscaped her yard. She sang at our wedding.

They admitted her to a nursing home and gave her a year to live. I heard this in May 2008, the same month they took Bromfed off the market. Bromfed was an antihistamine developed in the fifties. It was the only one that worked for me. It looked like I was housebound permanently.

I decided to write a letter to Linda each week. I wanted her grandchildren to know about the neighbor I admired. When one year stretched into two, I started sharing the funny things my children said and did.

Today, I wrote my letter to Linda. She is a victim of a disease that put her in a nursing home decades early. This is her third nursing home. The doctors say she doesn’t have long to live. (Yeah, their first prediction was so accurate.)

I needed Linda. She gave me a reason to get up on Monday morning. I had to write a letter. She is the reason I put such detail in my journal. She made me a better writer.

Psalms 140:12, 13, “I know that you, God, are on the side of the victims, that you care for the rights of the poor. (13) And I know that the righteous personally thank you, that good people are secure in your presence.”

The Message

Keyboard Tutorials

 

We are singing a new song this Wednesday in Mt. Pleasant. We will introduce another new song on Sunday in Fairfield. They sent me the keyboard tutorials to the second song.

I dutifully listened and wrote out the notes. When I practiced I found it was in the wrong key! I listened to 2 more tutorials. They have 3 different versions! I decided I’ll listen to the original and play it by ear.

“Romans 12:11, ‘Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.’ New Living Translation. ‘Whatever you choose to do, you have one other obligation, and that is to yourself. Do it with passion. If you’ve not yet found your passion, keep searching. You never know when it will find you.’ Condoleezza Rice”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 26

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David Organized His Forces

February 22, 2019: 2 Samuel 18; Psalms 61, 62, 89.

 

I plugged our tax refund into the “Every Dollar” app. I set money back to pay the CPA next year. I overpaid for years when I did my own taxes. She knows what is due and where we can save.

I left the rest uncategorized until David and I can decide together. We tithe on and save 10% of our gross income. We won’t tithe on this again but we will give a designated offering.

It’s like a little army. We decide categories and then deploy each dollar.

2 Samuel 18:1, “David organized his forces. He appointed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. Then David deployed his troops…” The Message

* * * * * * *

My friend Jill called. She is going on an extended trip and wanted to print off the 2019 March Bible Reading Guide. She said she read I was struggling to complete it.

“Yes,” I admitted, “I lost Ezra 4.” (Sigh.)

I sent her the March guide because I thought everything was good through May. It wasn’t.

I found Ezra 4 and moved things around to keep the average. Then I saw earlier I had moved things around in March!

I made corrections and emailed it to her. I called to let her know. She said they wouldn’t return until April and she would catch up the readings then.

I told her that would be difficult. I corrected April and emailed it to her. She thanked me and said she couldn’t believe I went through all of that work. I didn’t know how to respond.

Psalms 62:12, “Love to you Lord God! You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Make God’s will the focus of your life day by day. If you seek to please Him, you’ll find yourself satisfied with life.” Kay Arthur

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 22

* * * * * * *

I ordered a shower and wedding gift for the bass player. Then David and I decided on a TV antenna. While going over reviews, we saw it was 1/2 price at Amazon. Why didn’t I order it with the gifts? I could have saved on shipping!

That prompted me to make an Excel spreadsheet for purchases. I listed all the stores where we shop. Next time, I’ll research it and find the best deal.

“…God has a plan for you that’s unique and personal. His methods may sometimes seem strange and His training laborious, but His results are always worth waiting for.”

The Word for You Today,” February 22, 2019

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Thirty-Seven and a Half Tons of Silver

February 17, 2019: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; 2 Samuel 11, 12.

 

I asked God for money to replace the shower.

He replied, “I sent it. You gave it to Dish.”

* * * * * * *

We are going over our expenses with a fine-toothed comb. We want to increase our retirement savings to 15%. That money has to come from somewhere!

When we signed up with Dish, we had three teenagers and 4 TVs. We ordered a “Hopper” and “Joey” for the girls and the same for the boys. The men’s “Hopper” is full of sports. The ladies “Hopper” has dramas and movies. When our kids started working full-time, they paid one-fifth of the bill.

As they moved out, we sent the “Joeys” back and got rid of TVs. We were down to 2 “Hoppers” and 2 TVs. It was nice knowing we could afford both “Hoppers.” But do we want that more than we want to remodel the bathroom? Do we want to be comfortable now or comfortable in retirement?

I added up what we spent on Dish over the last 10 years – $13,000. That would have given us a nice second bathroom!

* * * * * * * *

1 Chronicles 19:6-7, “When it dawned on the Ammonites that as far as David was concerned, they stank to high heaven, (7) they hired, at a cost of a thousand talents of silver (thirty-seven and a half tons!), chariots and horsemen…” The Message

The Ammonites sent 37½ tons of silver to the Arameans to hire them to fight. That was not a good investment. When the Arameans found themselves facing the best soldiers, they ran away!

1 Chronicles 19:14, “But when Joab and his soldiers moved in to fight the Arameans, they ran off in full retreat.” The Message

* * * * * * *

What was King David doing during this war? Taking it easy. He took a nap and then went for a walk admiring his kingdom.

2 Samuel 11:2, “One late afternoon, David got up from taking his nap and was strolling on the roof of the palace. From his vantage point on the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was stunningly beautiful.” The Message

Uriah stayed diligent. He had – as David Ramsey puts it – “gazelle intensity!”

2 Samuel 11:11, “Uriah replied to David, ‘The Chest is out there with the fighting men of Israel and Judah – in tents. My master Joab and his servants are roughing it out in the fields. So, how can I go home and eat and drink and enjoy my wife? On your life, I’ll not do it!’ ” The Message

Uriah’s priorities were in order: God first, his work second, and pleasure last. David let his priorities slip until “pleasure” had first place. His actions slipped to a place he never would have gone.

  1. He committed adultery with Bathsheba.
  2. He ordered the murder of Uriah.
  3. He had the gall to send Uriah’s death sentence with him to Joab!

2 Samuel 11:14, “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.” The Message

* * * * * * *

In our discussion of canceling Dish, David said one thing that stuck with me. “It will all be on again.” We really don’t miss out – we postpone.

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. What is your focus today?”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 16

Keeping Dish instead of getting a new shower would definitely be settling for less!

“Satan tried to get Jesus to settle for less, and he’ll try the same with you.”

“The Word for You Today,” February 16, 2019

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Asaph Was in Charge

February 12, 2019: 1 Chronicles 15, 16; Psalms 24, 26-28

Looking over the list of songs for Wednesday night triggered a memory. Laura Story recorded “Mighty to Save” and had a pretty piano intro. I pulled it up on youtube.com.

I was picking it out when a voice in my head said, “Why bother? The leader will probably have the guitar start it.”

That’s the prerogative of the leader. I learned the intro anyway.

I spend a lot of time doing “useless practice.” I learn instrumentals and complicated transitions that I rarely use. But, every once in a while, the leader likes what I’ve prepared. It adds a note of something new to the service. It keeps worship fresh and me on my toes!

* * * * * * *

Today I read about the worship leader King David chose. His name was Asaph and he was…

…a drummer. (Sigh.)

1 Chronicles 16:5, 7, “Asaph was in charge. …Asaph was on percussion… (7) That was the day that David inaugurated regular worship of praise to God, led by Asaph and his company.” The Message

The New International Version said Asaph was to sound the cymbals. In a marching band, the best drummers play the snare drum. Usually, a freshman plays the cymbals. Asaph may not have been the best percussionist but he was the best leader.

God decides based on heart – not chair. The best musicians in an orchestra sit in the first chair. But they may not have the best heart. They may not be the best leader.

1 Chronicles 16:14, “He is God, our God; wherever you go you come on His judgments and decisions.” The Message

There are other keyboard players at church. If we were assigned chairs, I would go directly to the fourth or fifth one! They all have a heart after God but God is using them in other areas. They are unable to attend practice on Wednesday nights because of their jobs and children’s needs.

I don’t have those responsibilities anymore. I have a bigger job – guarding my heart!

“The next time you’ve got a big job, don’t cut corners.”

“Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women,” February 12

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At My Post, Praying for You

The high Wednesday was -10° Fahrenheit with a windchill factor down to -53° Fahrenheit. Of course, all three of my children had to work.

Our boys have their wives looking out for them. Our daughter is an independent woman.

The owner of the company where she works was on vacation. No one wanted to bother him to see if they could close. Her boss had the day off to take her son on a college visit. (The University of Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Northern Iowa closed today.)

There’s no mail delivery and FedEx would not be picking up boxes. I told her it was worthless to go in.

But she’s the supervisor of her department and 3 other employees were coming in. Those who could work at home did and the rest took a personal day.

She would caravan with 3 friends and wear coveralls. She assured me that she was taking every precaution. She promised to text when she left for work and when she arrived.

I received the first text at 6:05 a.m. It took her 30 minutes to drive 13 miles.

“I’m here.”

“Thank you, Jesus!”

“Jennifer says you had better put extra in the collection plate this Sunday.”

* * * * * * *

Derek works for a plumbing supply company. They stayed open for when a plumber needed a part for a broken furnace. He only had to drive across town. Rachel’s office closed. If he didn’t show up at work or make it home, I was sure she would call.

Luke won’t be home. Soldiers don’t get snow days. Firemen don’t get snow days. Farmers don’t get snow days. Luke is all three! I have to choose not to worry about him every day!

David talked to him on Tuesday night. Yes, he would be working and on call for a fire. Yes, he would be doing chores.

“Don’t worry,” he assured us, “I have the proper clothes. I’ll be fine.”

Luke and Bethany live in a small town. It is a close-knit community. When someone is missing, everyone looks for them.

All I could do was pray.

1 Samuel 12:23-24, “…I’m staying right here at my post praying for you and teaching you the good and right way to live. (24) But I beg of you, fear God and worship Him honestly and heartily. You’ve seen how greatly He has worked among you!” The Message

 

* * * * * * *

I got a taste of retirement today. The trucks at the lumberyard run on propane. You damage the engines if you run them when it is this cold. David’s boss closed for the day.

We decided to take advantage of the day off to update our budget. (There’s nothing warmer than being “hot under the collar.”)

“Let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.” Romans 14:19-20, The Message (Today’s verse in “Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women)

 

We finished the budget and I went to the kitchen to make hot chocolate mix. David, who was paying bills, kept calling my name. On the sixth trip, walking the length of the house, to answer another question, I thought…

“This is worse than a snow day with the kids!”

Then I started muttering, “I will not get angry. I will not get angry. I will not get angry.”

Laura forgot to text me when she got home from work. But she texted David. Relief – she’s safe and warm. And no text from Bethany or Rachel. The boys are safe and warm, too.

What did you do on this cold winter day?

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Whatever Job You’re Given

Weather forecast: High of 5° and low of -19°.  

I wore 2 long-sleeved tee shirts, a sweater, a vest, and a scarf. When my hair dried, I removed the waterproof vest.  

God turned on the sun! I took the scarf off. By the time it reached my desk, I had peeled off the sweater.  

My goal was to move the TV and hutch 3-1/2 inches to the right. Why? Because last year I switched side tables and moved the couch 3-1/2 inches. It was no longer centered on the TV. We both wanted the seat on the left.

1 Samuel 10:7, “…Whatever job you’re given to do, do it. God is with you!” The Message

First, I took the pictures off the wall and filled in the nail holes. It was hot up on the step stool. The sun was pouring in the big window warming the room to 72°. I took off one long-sleeved tee-shirt.  

I moved the TV and hutch and started sweating. I took off the long-john pants and dug out a tank top. Then I moved the chair, drum throne, and column holding the lamp.  

Cutting open a paper bag, I lay the print I wanted to hang on it. I cut out the outline. Then put the paper on the back of the print to mark the hooks.  

Measuring from the ceiling to the top of the TV was 29 inches. I put a piece of painter’s tape over the chair 29 inches from the ceiling. I held the paper on that mark and leveled it. Then I pushed down on the tape in the corners to adhere it. I hammered nails through the marks and removed the paper and tape.  

After hanging the print, I leveled both mirrors. I put Velcro dots on the back of them to keep them from moving.  

I moved a ceramic column next to the hutch. On it, I placed the “Conica Spruce” my brother sent me for Christmas. Then I moved my largest plant and table east 2 inches. That centered it on the wall in the corner.  

I plugged everything back in and…the TV wouldn’t turn on! I heard the garage door opening. David had to take an early lunch. I thought he would be mad. But we worked together checking connections and got the TV back on.

 

I sat down and admired my work. I felt chilly. I put one long-sleeved tee-shirt on and made a salad. I pulled the second one on before I ate. By the time I typed my post I had shrugged back into the sweater.  

“Life is best lived on purpose, not by accident – the sooner we discover what God intends for us to do with our lives, the better. …” Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women

What projects are you working on during this cold snap?  

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A Promise is a Promise

When I took down the Christmas decorations, I put them in trays and boxes. I put each tray or box on the tote where it belonged. I promised David I would pack up one tote a day.  

I gleefully set out Valentine’s Day and snowmen decorations. The Valentine wreath wasn’t my design. The surfaces in my house looked cluttered. I took down all the Valentine decor and started over.  

Meanwhile, I had only packed up 2 totes. I got into one tote and took out stars and snowflake ornaments. I designed a winter wreath.

My kitchen centerpiece confused Pinterest. I posted it on a “Winter” board. They thought it was a wedding centerpiece. Now I am getting wedding pins!

I decorated my picture window with lights, stars, snowflakes, and flocked pine cones. I finished it in time to watch a major storm come in last week.

I asked David to bring the quilt frame upstairs. I planned on setting it up in the guest room The room is 6 inches longer than the frame. (Sigh.)  

The only place I can set it up is in the basement. But – you guessed it – the big room is still full of Christmas decorations and totes! I slid the frame under the dining room table. 

I packed up 2 of the Christmas totes. After all – a promise is a promise.  

Matthew 23:21, 22, “What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? (22) A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.” The Message

* * * * * * * * *

Isaiah 50:4-5, “Every morning He wakes me. He teaches me to listen like a student. The Lord God helps me learn.” New Century Version  “We need to ask ourselves what we will allow to guide us through the coming day: our own desires…Or will we allow God to lead the way?” “Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women, January 22

The quilt will have to wait.  

What promise are you procrastinating over?  

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Life on God’s Terms

Thank you for checking back! A sinus infection sidelined me for 10 days. I started an antibiotic last night.

I spent several days on the couch. I got up for the church services – but went right back to bed afterward.

We are taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University on Wednesday nights. I didn’t want to miss 2 weeks.

Yes, I am Frugalfish. Yes, we are debt free – no mortgage! But there is always more to learn.

We know the difference between a need, a want, and a desire. Frugality is our way of life. A conversation with our daughter, Laura, showed we passed that knowledge on.

“Mom, I made a grocery list and left it on my desk at work.”

“I hate when that happens!”

“I bought stuff I wouldn’t have with a list. Did I need that summer sausage? No! I wanted it. Did I need those brownies? No – wait – maybe I did need chocolate…”

“If you live like no one else now, later you can live and give like no one else.”

Dave Ramsey – Introduction to Financial Peace University


Luke 17:33, “If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.”

The Message


“The World’s messages tell us we’ll be content if we look a certain way if we behave in a certain fashion, and if we accumulate a certain number of material possessions. But the contentment the world offers is fleeting and incomplete. Thankfully, genuine contentment – the contentment that results in a lasting sense of inner peace – is not found in shopping malls.”

Hugs – Daily Inspirations for Women, January 18

How are you ‘living like no one else’?

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