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.


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

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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

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Mollie Tibbetts


Our Love as Newlyweds

I lost my box of summer decorations!

I split them into patriotic and summer – seashells, flowers, etc. I remember there wasn’t room on the shelves with my other seasonal decorations. I thought I put it in a safe place. I’m afraid it went to Goodwill with our other donations.

I was at a loss – what do I decorate with now? It’s too early for fall decorations. The answer came when we went shopping last weekend.

“Goin’ to the Chapel”

I had my eye on a chapel birdhouse at Kohl’s I wanted it last spring but waited until I could get it at 80% off. I had a coupon and it was on clearance. I hung it in the window between the kitchen and living room. Every time I walk by, the tune “Goin’ to the Chapel” goes through my head. I’m going to use the paraphernalia from my wedding to decorate. The “Bride and Groom” glasses will look adorable in my china cabinet!

In less than 2 months, our second son will tie the knot. Two months before my wedding, I was furiously sewing the bridesmaid’s dresses. It’s good to look back and remember.

Jeremiah 2:2, “…I remember your youthful loyalty, our love as newlyweds…” The Message

The year between our engagement and the wedding seemed to last forever. It was a busy year but I couldn’t wait for the wedding!

“Rest assured that if God waits longer than we desire, it is simply to make the blessings doubly precious.” Andrew Murray in “Streams in the Desert”

Young girls dream of their wedding. They chose their favorite colors or colors that have special meaning. I chose pink because that was the color my mother chose. And blue – the color of my husband’s eyes.

Dreaming about your wedding is a good fantasy. I am studying Proverbs 12 where they define a bad fantasy.

“Chasing fantasies – scheme for making easy money.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

We had very little when we married. We faithfully saved and planted seeds throughout our marriage. We are comfortable now as the seeds produced for us. Sadly, many use credit instead of waiting for the seeds to produce. They end up with grass instead of a garden.

“…Stop laying sod where He’s planting seed…” “Becoming Love” Bob Goff in Proverbs 31 Ministries

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“I Own All This!” God’s Decree

I just finished making supper when David called, “Practice is canceled. Tornadoes struck Pella, Marshalltown, and Bondurant. They are headed this way. I’m going to the bank and Wal-Mart.”

I took supper, water, crackers, and bananas downstairs. Then I grabbed the computers, my DayTimer, purse, and flashlights. The candles and kerosene lanterns were already down there. (Don’t tell Joe, but I also grabbed the guitar and mandolin. I looked longingly at the piano – but it was too heavy.)

Iowa was hit with 27 tornadoes yesterday. The warehouse at headquarters where my husband works was hit. The tornado peeled off the back wall and part of the roof. Then it blew rain in soaking everything inside.

David put on his work shirt and drove down to help out. (He works at the site here in town.) On the way home, he checked on our daughter.

“The dog was acting funny. He kept going to his kennel. I noticed the tree laying down in the front yard. When the hail started, I decided to go to the basement.” (The tree got back up on its own.)

Two large trees blew over, taking out power lines. My sister lives in the same town. She was canning green beans. When the power went out, she finished the job by flashlight.

After the storm passed through, I called to check on my mom.

“Did you go to the basement?”

“I opened the door.”

My friend was in Pella when the tornado hit. She posted a picture of her car underneath a roof!

Vermeer in Pella was celebrating 70 years of business. They had 4000 people from all over the world at their open house. The tornado decimated their business. Miraculously, there were only minor injuries. People were treated and released.

The Van Buren County Fair was in full swing. They closed it down and sent everyone to the basement of the community building. Several stock trailers were rolled over. One was upside down by the lumberyard. The historic Galloway barn built in 1826 was leveled.

27 Tornados – 0 Fatalities! God is good!!!!

Isaiah 66:1-2, “God’s Message: ‘Heaven’s my throne, earth is my footstool. What sort of house could you build for Me? What holiday spot reserve for Me? (2) I made all this! I own all this!’ God’s Decree. ‘But there is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say.’ ” The Message

I want to be that person! Simple and plain, reverently responsive to God. As scheduled, I studied the cross-reference verses to Proverbs 12:6-7.

Proverbs 10:25, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” New International Version

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Refuse Inane Discussions

My dad was a character. He loved giving his friends and family a hard time. A battle of wits was a favorite pastime.

We all inherited his wit. He found in his children a worthy opponent. As adults, we sometimes got the best of him. He always ended those discussions with 1 word…


Stifle could mean several things:

  • I’m losing the battle and want to end the war.
  • You’re talking too much.
  • I don’t want to discuss that subject.
  • Your voice is too loud.
  • Don’t talk in here, (the car, church, etc).

If Dad were alive and had a Facebook page, I’m sure that would be his comment on many posts – “Stifle!”

2 Timothy 2:23-24, “Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. (24) God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“If we as Christians are going to be a witness in this culture, we must change the way we speak – not only about one another, but also about the world around us.” “The Timeless Voice: Civility is more than manners, it’s the gospel in action” Greg Baker, The Family Leader

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 11:12, “Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

“You’re to stand – not fight. …Our human methods get in God’s way.” The Word for You Today 7-6-2018

* * * * * * *

“Living a life of faith often requires us to leave things alone. If we have completely entrusted something to God, we must keep our hands off it. He can guard it better than we can, and He does not need our help.” A. B. Simpson, in “Streams in the Desert” July 6

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

Adventurously Expectant Life

Nicholas Sparks writes 4 hours a day. He’s written a multitude of best sellers. Yesterday, I wrote for over 4 hours and produced 1 post. *Sigh*

I want to include everything God has shown me since the last post. And everything He reminded me about from past sources. He talks to me all day long.

I used to read my Bible and write my posts in the morning. (My mind is the most productive in the morning.) Then I fell behind. Backtracking over chapters I read the day before is hard. I would publish a post and realize I left out a key point!

I still write my post early in the morning. But sometimes, I don’t read the chapters assigned to that day until after lunch! On Sundays, I may not read them until right before bed.

I write verses, excerpts from my devotionals or the book I’m studying, down. Then I sleep on it. It takes all night for my unconscious mind to put together a somewhat cohesive form.

This new “routine” takes up more time. The laundry still needs doing and dinner made. I don’t want to forget to practice. I’ve found myself asking, “What should I do next, Lord?”

I get bogged down with urgent items and trying to stick to a strict routine. When I prayerfully consider my list – it all gets done.

Several times over the last week, God instructed me to “Take a nap” next! He’s a good father!

Romans 8:15-17, “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’ (16) God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. (17) …Father and children…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“I used to think God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.” F. B. Meyer

* * * * * * *

“To receive God’s gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn’t a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God’s gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

* * * * * * *

“The enemy can’t take away a single thing that God gave you. If you’ve got a gift, you’ve got a gift. …If you’ve got a purpose, you’ve got purpose.” “What the Enemy Can’t Take Away,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

We all have gifts from God. We all have a job, a purpose. Sometimes, we know what it is, sometimes we don’t!

I know I have a gift to play the piano. Satan tried to snuff it out, but he could never take it away.

I didn’t know I had a gift to write! The secretarial tasks were my least favorite duties when I worked at the church. (I enjoyed taking whatever offering the Lord gave and stretching it as far as possible.)

Yet, the writing was a gift I carried – like a pregnant woman. I started a diary as a preteen and I have boxes of journals. That gift just waited for the right time.

Romans 8:25, “That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“The adult coral invertebrates, known as polyps, work underwater constructing coral reefs. They so never imagine they are building the foundation of a new island, which will someday support plants and animals and will be a home where the children of God will be born…Beloved, if your place in God’s army is hidden and secluded, do not grumble and complain. …He is looking for those who are willing to serve in places hidden from the sight of others, yet in full view of heaven, and who are sustained by the Holy Spirit.” “Streams in the Desert” June 21

Have you seen the video of the lava rushing to the ocean in Hawaii? The earth is groaning for the things to come. Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, monsoons, typhoons, floods, wildfires, and famines are labor pains.

Romans 8:18-19, “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. (19) The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Mark 13:8, “Nation will rise against nation. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.” New International Version


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