Past the Marriage Business

I measured wrong! (Sigh.)  

I asked for a navy blue valance for Christmas. I had a Colonial blue one hanging in my guest room. It didn’t exactly go with the sky blue walls and navy bedding.  

I had the correct length but used the blind measurement for the width. The valance hangs on a wrap-around curtain rod. I felt sick when I held it up to the window.  

Seeing my distress, my daughter-in-law, Rachel offered to buy a matching one. I received the second one this weekend and sewed them together.  

I love it! The fullness from the extra material looks better than one stretched across. I was so excited! I took a picture of my window and sent it to Rachel.  

When David came home for lunch, I took him to the guest room to see it. It did not delight him like it did me.  

* * * * * * *

Marriage is full of intimacies and ecstasies. What brings you joy may not impress your spouse.  

“Ecstasies – intense joy or delight.” thefreedictionary.com

* * * * * * *

Mark 12:24-25, “You’re way off base, and here’s why: One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works. (25) After the dead are raised up, we’re past the marriage business. As it is with angels now, all our ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 18:30, “Then I was constantly at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence.” New International Version

What brings you joy?  

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

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Think About It

I don’t watch the news – not even Fox news. Why? Because they show every gory detail. It burns the image on your brain.

I don’t watch movies with violence or read horror stories – except in the Bible. And the chapter I dread reading is Judges 19. Like the people in verse 30, I ask, “How could this happen?”

* * * * * * *

They did whatever they wanted.

Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” The Message

They took whatever they wanted.

Judges 18:24, “Micah said, ‘You took my god, the one I made, and you took my priest. And you marched off? What do I have left? How can you now say, “What’s the matter?” ‘ ” The Message

They did not acknowledge their sin.

Judges 18:25, “But the Danites answered, ‘Don’t yell at us.’ …” The Message

The victim did not get justice.

Judges 18:26, “…Micah saw that he didn’t stand a chance….” The Message

They killed those unable to protect themselves.

Judges 18:27, “…they arrived at Laish, that city of quiet and unsuspecting people. They massacred the people and burned down the city.” The Message

They kept other’s property for their private use.

Judges 18:31, “…they kept for their private use the god-figure that Micah had made.” The Message

They ignored their marriage vows.

Judges 19:2, “…But she quarreled with him and left, returning to her father’s house…” The Message

(The New International Version says she was unfaithful to him.)

They quit early instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Judges 19:9, “Look, the day’s almost gone…enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can…” The Message

(Contrast that to this verse.)

Judges 19:16, “Then late in the evening, an old man came in from his day’s work in the fields.” The Message

They ignored the homeless.

Judges 19:15, “The Levite went and sat down in the town square, but no one invited them in to spend the night.” The Message

They viewed everyone as a sex object.

Judges 19:22, “…We want to have sex with him.” The Message

They didn’t shelter and protect their women. They saved themselves.

Judges 19:24, “Look, my virgin daughter and his concubine are here. I’ll bring them out for you. Abuse them if you must….” The Message

He dismembered his raped and murdered wife.

Judges 19:29-30, “…he took a knife and dismembered his concubine… (30) …’Has such a thing ever happened?… Think about it! Talk it over. Do something!’ ” The Message

Each step was viler.

* * * * * * *

Fast forward to 2018 – it’s worse.

  • “Don’t tell me what to do.”
  • “You are rich – don’t charge the thief.”
  • “It’s not a baby.”
  • “My boss doesn’t pay me enough, I need these supplies.”
  • “It’s only sex.”
  • “No work gets done after 4:00 p.m.”
  • “All homeless are con artists.”
  • “There’s nothing wrong with porn.”
  • “I’m too busy to pick you up tonight – walk home alone.”
  • “See the Christians beheaded in Egypt, here.”
  • “Planned Parenthood sells baby parts.”

The New International Version says “Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, ‘…We must do something! So speak up!’ ” 

But what can I do?

Go back to the first step. Submit to King Jesus and do what he tells me.

  1. Speak for the victims.
  2. Support organizations protecting the unborn.
  3. Be faithful to my husband.
  4. Do an honest day’s work.
  5. Support organizations that help the poor and homeless.
  6. Share posts of missing children.
  7. Click “Unfollow,” instead of watching a video.

Proverbs 21:13, “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.” New International Version

I need to gather some food for the Lord’s Cupboard to take to church tomorrow!

Proverbs 21:16, “Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.” New International Version

The King’s birthday is Tuesday. What are you giving for Him?

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

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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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Obediently Do Everything

December 14, 2018

I say the number of followers does not matter. I block the number on my blog. No one sees it. I hadn’t even checked it since last summer. But I was curious since I disconnected from that social media outlet.

I lost over 96% of my followers. Discouraged, I wasted an hour playing Spider Solitaire.

Judges 23:4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 19, “Stay alert. … (6) Now stay strong and steady. Obediently do everything written in the Book of Revelation of Moses – don’t miss a detail. …(8) Hold tight to God, your God, just as you’ve done up to now. … (10) Think of it – one of you, single-handedly, putting a thousand on the run! Because God is God, your God. Because He fights for you, just as He promised. (11) Now, vigilantly guard your souls: Love God, your God. …(14) …Know this with all your heart, with everything in you, that not one detail has failed of all the good things God, your God, promised you. It has all happened. Nothing’s left undone – not so much as a word. … (19) …He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t put up with your fooling around and sinning.” The Message

That convicted me. I know playing game after game of Spider is just fooling around.

Proverbs 20:24, “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” New International Version

We finished the series, “The Condition of Your Soul,” on Wednesday night. I knew I had to get a handle on my emotions. Steven Furtick provided just the word I needed.

“As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the ability within you to bounce back. …the harder the bottom, the higher the bounce!” 1:Minute Motivation, “Bounce Back!” Steven Furtick

How do you get out of the doldrums?

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

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Justly and Fairly

A storm hit as we drove into Ottumwa for our anniversary dinner. The wind was pushing the semis on the highway.

There was road construction on Main Street – the detour took us by the high school. A football game just ended and the traffic was thick. I watched a youth climb over the chain link fence to retrieve his water bottle. As he climbed back over, I prayed his ride was nearby.

David turned on the local radio station and they were urging everyone to take shelter. We weren’t sure where to go. I directed him to where I thought the restaurant was. We drove right by it.

The tornado siren went off. We pulled over at 2nd Street Cafe to get out of the storm. After 2 minutes, we decided we didn’t want to celebrate there.

Back in the van, David realized he was almost out of gas. He drove to Pennsylvania Avenue where the gas station had a canopy. He used the pump next to the building where the canopy almost reached the roof. While I waited, I called “Appanoose Rapids” for directions.

Turning on the correct street, we drove through the alley and parked under the bridge. The radio predicted hail and downed trees. It was raining as we rushed through the parking lot. The rain came hard after we sat down. Tornadoes hit North English, Parnell, and Williamsburg.

But, why wasn’t I terrified? Normally, I would be yelling at David to get me somewhere safe. I didn’t even yell at him for almost running out of gas. That would have been exciting in a tornado.

I realized my steps of faith last week helped me overcome my fear. It no longer held me in a paralyzing grip. I would rather live in peace. God is in control. I’m His favorite – as are you.

* * * * * * *

I felt confident when I opened my Bible today. Then God showed me a new area to work on – getting along with family members.

“…the twins Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25-36)…came out of the womb fighting. Jacob…the people of Israel, Esau…the people of Edom. …They had a long history of war and rivalry. When Israel was taken into exile…Edom stood across the fence and watched, glad to see her old relative get beat up. …But the last line…Israel…is…saved from the injustices of the past and taking up a postion of rule…But instead of doing to others what had been done to them…they are…taking over the reins of government and administering God’s justice justly. …On the Day of Judgment, dark retaliation and invective do not get the last word.” The Message Introduction to Obadiah

* * * * * * *

Obadiah 1:21, “The remnant of the saved in Mount Zion will go into the mountains of Esau, and rule justly and fairly, a rule that honors God’s kingdom.” The Message

Studying Proverbs 14, I found this gem in the cross-references.

Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 19:11, “Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” The Message

We are good at forgiving our family members but not at forgetting. When offended, we bring up every offense from before. We know which family members to share the latest hurt and who will agree with us. We don’t mention it to the ones that will disagree with us.

“Peacemakers…make excellent therapists and mediators… But sometimes they’re inclined to seek peace at any price, use their relational skills to blend in, and avoid taking the initiative or assuming risks because of their undue attachment to comfort and security. They often suffer from ‘terminal niceness’ when courage is what’s really required.” The Word for You Today

Am I keeping the peace or enabling one to continue in an unhealthy manner? Is my silence interpreted as agreement? Am I a doormat because everything I say or do is used against me? I need courage. I guess I am still facing my fears.

Dear God, Help me be just and fair. Amen.

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

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A Circle of Quiet

Derek texted me: “UPS shipment today wedding stuff”

Me: “Not our anniversary gift?”

Derek: “Sheesh”

Me: “I couldn’t resist.”

Reflecting on our marriage, I thanked God for holding it together when we were falling apart. I tell brides that marriage takes 3. Stick to your vows and cling to God. Let God thump your husband on the head when he gets out of line!

Sometimes, we get in God’s way trying to correct him ourselves. That is God’s job. Unfortunately, it works both ways!

Marriage is hard work and everything is against it. There is a hurricane of evil trying to tear us apart.

Psalms 74:12-13, “How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in Your Word, (13) providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…How happy we are if the hurricanes that blow across life’s raging sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious to us! It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him.” J. R. Madcuff, “Streams in the Desert,” August 28

Instruction in God’s Word is the secret of a long, successful marriage. David and I both read and study the Bible every morning. I found the reward for daily devotions while studying Proverbs 14 today.

Proverbs 14:26, “Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” New International Version 

* * * * * * *

“…the godliness of parents will result in blessing for themselves and their children (20:7)…” New International Version Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 20:7, “The righteous lead blameless lives, blessed are their children after them.” New International Version

The Bible gives practical advice for staying married and having a fulfilling marriage. We are to love each other as Christ loved us.

Romans 12:10, “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” The Message

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David and I at the restaurant

Go About Your Work

Sometimes, when I get bad news, I just want to sit down and cry. I shared that Saturday I wanted to go back to bed after my relapse. I didn’t.

Every time I felt overwhelmed and teared up, I just did the next thing. Meals need cooking and laundry needs washed. Had I given in to my tears I would have been literally buried in laundry.

Friday, I poured water around the edge of my washer to clean it. The “lid lock sensor” got wet and the washer wouldn’t turn on. I called the repairman and he told me it may dry out on its own. I was grateful it started working again on Saturday. I did laundry all day.

After yesterday’s news, I hoped for an encouraging word in today’s chapters. Instead, I saw a command – twice!

Ezekiel 24:16, 17, “…But, please, no tears…. (17) Get dressed as usual and go about your work. …” The Message

* * * * * * *

Ezekiel 24:23, “You’ll get dressed as usual and go about your work. No tears…” The Message

I was already dressed and this blog is my work. I continued my devotions. In studying Proverbs 14:1, I read of the wise and foolish woman.

Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

“She [the wise woman] is a source of strength and an example of diligence for her family (see Proverbs 31:10-31).” New International Version Study Bible Notes on Proverbs 14:1.

One of the cross-reference verses was Proverbs 1:7.

” ‘Fools’ are those who ‘hate knowledge’ (Proverbs 1:22) and correction of any kind (Proverbs 12:1), who are ‘quick to quarrel’ (Proverbs 20:3) and ‘give full vent’ to their anger (Proverbs 29:11), who are complacent (Proverbs 1:32) and who trust in themselves (Proverbs 28:26) rather than in God (Psalms 14:1).” New International Study Bible Notes on Proverbs 1:7

I have a choice: diligent (wise) or complacent (foolish). Even when wounded, crushed, or broken, God is still planting good things.

“The best things in life are the result of being wounded. Wheat must be crushed before becoming bread, and incense must be burned by fire before its fragrance is set free. The earth must be broken with a sharp plow before being ready to receive the seed. And it is a broken heart that pleases God.” “Streams in the Desert,” August 15

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

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No More “Business as Usual”

“They say sometimes you win some

Sometimes you lose some

And right now, right now I’m losing bad…

“It’s easy to sing

When there’s nothing to bring me down

But what will I say

When I’m held to flame

Like I am right now…”

“Even If” Mercy Me

Two members of my immediate family went to the doctor this week. They both received life-changing news.

Ezekiel 21:26, “…No more ‘business as usual.’ ” The Message

I found hope in my devotional, “Streams in the Desert.”

“Someone who was passing through the deep water of affliction wrote a friend: ‘Isn’t it glorious to know that no matter how unjust something may be, even when it seems to have come from Satan himself, by the time it reaches us it is God’s will for us and will ultimately work to our good?’… (Romans 8:28).” Hannah Whitall Smith, “Streams in the Desert,” August 14

I moved on to studying Proverbs 13. One of the cross-references for verse 24 was Hebrews 12:7.

Hebrews 12:7, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. …” New International Version

The Message version made this verse and passage clearer.

Hebrews 12:7-11, “God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. (8) This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. (9) Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? (10) We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. (11) At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” The Message

These hardships are training. Discipline is not punishment. Another definition of discipline is an “area of study” or “specialty.” God’s purpose is training us in the “specialty” for which He created us.

As always, Steven Furtick’s “1:Minute Motivation” was on point.

“If your life is under attack, that means you must be carrying something good inside.” “How the Devil Plans His Attacks…” “1:Minute Motivation,” Steven Furtick, emailed 8-14-18

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The Big Three

A relapse. When will this end?

Ezekiel 14:14, “Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job – the Big Three…” The Message

Noah worked 2 jobs for 100 years – building the Ark and preaching to warn people of the flood. Then he endured 40 days and 40 nights of a flood. Only his family survived the flood. When God opened the door to the Ark, Noah had to start over, (See Genesis 6:8-9:29; Hebrews 11:7-9).

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” King James Version

Daniel lost everything and became a captive. He stayed true to God and endured a night in a lion’s den. Slated for execution, he interpreted the king’s dream – saving all the wise men. He never returned home but God revealed mysteries of future events to him. (Read the book of Daniel.)

Daniel 12:13, “And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.” The Message

Job lost everything but his wife and his life. He lost all ten children and his riches in one day. He broke out in boils all over his body. He was living in the town dump. He endured his friends’ “consolation” that was really a condemnation. (Read the book of Job.)

Job 42:12, “God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life.” The Message

He ended up with double riches, 7 more sons, and 3 more daughters. He lived to see 4 generations of his descendants!

“Who can estimate the great debt we owe to suffering and pain? If not for them, we would have little capacity for many of the great virtues of the Christian life. Where would our faith be if not for the trials that test it; or patience, without anything to endure or experience and without tribulations to develop it?” “Streams in the Desert,” August 10

* * * * * * *

“Your real enemy is not even a situation. …Fight your fear. …Fight discouragement. If you can fight your discouragement, you can fulfill your destiny.” “Are You Fighting the Wrong Things?” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick, emailed 8-10-18

This will not last forever.

Proverbs 13:19, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul…” New International Version

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Rescue Victims from Their Exploiters

My personal Facebook feed is full of pictures of #Mollie Tibbetts. She is a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa. She was last seen jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18th around 7:30 p.m. Yesterday, the reward for information on her went from $2,000 to $30,000. Today 172,000 has been raised so far and is offered for the safe return or release of Mollie.

I shared her picture after she disappeared. Yesterday, I shared the reward poster. Then I thought, “I wonder if I should share it on my Frugal Fish Facebook page? Someone may have information.”

When I got up this morning, the thought was still there. I asked God for direction.

Jeremiah 22:3, “This is God’s Message: ‘Attend to matters of justice. Set things right between people. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Don’t take advantage of homeless, the orphans, the widows. Stop the murdering!’ ” The Message

Sharing posts about missing people is not my blog’s mission. Helping people is. I could help Mollie Tibbetts. I could lose friends at Facebook and followers on my blogs.

“Obedience to God in the pressures and stresses of day-by-day living and trust in God’s ways in the large sweep of history are always at risk, but especially in times of suffering and persecution. Obedience to God is difficult when we are bullied into compliance to the God-ignoring culture out of sheer survival. Trust in God is likewise at risk of being abandoned in favor of the glamorous seductions of might and size.” The Message Introduction to Daniel

Then I remembered 2 girls who were missing in the last 8 months. One from our small town was found in the next county. The other from a neighboring town was found in Connecticut! But they both found!

I decided I had to share Mollie’s story and any others who are missing. I am hoping you will share them too. We need shares and prayer! As you share, pray for the victims and their families.

I know what you are thinking. What can one person do?

Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Daniel 1:11, “But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” The Message

Stand up and others will stand with you.

Proverbs 13:1, “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions…” New International Version

Daniel and his friends stood up for their beliefs. They wanted to adhere to a Kosher diet as God commanded.

The Result of 10 Days on Vegetables and Water:

  1. They looked better, 1:15.
  2. They were more robust, 1:15.
  3. God gave them knowledge, 1:17.
  4. God gave them skills, 1:17.
  5. God gave them ten times the understanding in books than the magicians and enchanters, 1:17, 20.
  6. God gave them ten times the understanding on anything in life than the magicians and enchanters, 1:17, 20.
  7. God gave Daniel an understanding of visions and dreams, 1:17.
  8. The king found them far superior to all the other young men, 1:19.
  9. No one was a match for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 1:18.
  10. They took their place in the king’s service, 1:19.

“People who eat the most fruits & veggies have fewer wrinkles.” Better Homes & Gardens, August, 2018, p. 136

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

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Mollie Tibbetts