She Pulled Herself Together

I am struggling. I had such hopes for this blog. I wanted people to start reading the Bible who never have before:

  • Those who didn’t have time.
  • Those who get bored in the Old Testament.
  • Those who don’t understand how the books of prophecy related to the events.
  • Those who don’t think the Bible is relevant today.
  • Those with questions whose answers are in the Bible.
  • Those who just started this “Faith Walk” with Jesus.

Each day I share something I learned. Or how a verse directed me. Or how the verse related to an event in my day.

Some days, God corrects me. Some verses are too personal to share publicly. I won’t share them just like I don’t write about my love life. It’s intimate and just for me. I hope you understand the missing days.

I keep thinking I’m doing something wrong. So, I take another “blogging course.” They usually depress me. I’m called to write without ads and affiliate marketing. That is how bloggers make their money.

Saturday, I started yet another course. After the first lesson, I was ready to quit altogether! I went to the WordPress Reader and typed in “Faith-Based Writers.” I found “Living Our Days,” at michelemorin.wordpress.com.

“I’m tempted to be still, to shut down, and to believe the lie that my words don’t matter – that, I am, somehow, unqualified.” “Driven by Fear to the God Who Casts Out Fear,” Michele Morin

 

I’m not the only one who struggles! Clarity came when I read the introduction to 1 Samuel on Sunday.

“…our ego-bound experience is too small a context in which to understand and experience what it means to believe in God and follow His ways.” The Message Introduction to 1 Samuel

 

I started reading about Hannah. Her husband had two wives. Her rival wife had children. Hannah was barren. Her rival wife was a bully who taunted her. I love how Hannah reacted.

1 Samuel 1:9-10, “So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. …(10) Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried – inconsolably.” The Message

 

I ate breakfast, pulled myself together, and went to church. While there I visited with a sister in a more depressing situation than mine.

The pain was crushing her, and like Hannah, she cried and cried. That put things with my blog in perspective. Even more amazing? She is the sister I looked for to pray for me! She did! She prayed against discouragement and depression. Even in her brokenness, she gave to ease my hurt. I prayed for her situation, too.

Neither one of us can see the big picture of what God is doing for us. We both know He has a plan and is working in the background. But waiting is sometimes downright painful. We want God to fix it now!

“I’ve been stepping into my prayer closet and asking God to save the day, Superman-style, to provide the quick fix, the happy here-and-now. But God looks at the long-term, what’s best for eternity. An easy life produces flabby souls. Temporary trouble can be a stepping stone to godly character.” “Praying Like a Super Hero,” Shirlee Abbott, at Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

So, I keep going. This is post number 3755. There are 661 posts over at frugalfish.org. I meant to celebrate when I wrote my 4,000th post. That was sometime in 2017. (Oops.) I’ll celebrate my 4,000th post here.

How should I celebrate?

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Just Be There

In the movie, a nun walked through the dormitory ringing a bell at daybreak. Each nun, in their matching nightgowns, slipped out of bed to their knees. You could hear the murmur of morning prayers.

After watching it, I decided I should pray first also. For several weeks, I prayed before reading my Bible.

Then I remembered a Sunday School song I learned as a child. It said, “Read your Bible and pray.” Maybe I should read my Bible first?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present legalism! It’s perfectionism on steroids.

Matthew 6:1, “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” The Message

I found my attention wandering while I prayed. I kept a notepad nearby to write items that I didn’t want to forget.

Matthew 6:6, “Here’s what I want you to do. Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” The Message

For years, I wrote in my journal before I read or prayed. I stopped because I thought that wasn’t putting God first. Then I read the devotional from Proverbs 31 MInistries.

“He brought some beautiful, simple tools into my life that have allowed me to find peace and even joy in prayer. …a pre-prayer journal routine that settles my thoughts and quiets my mind. …” “How to Prioritize Prayer in Your Crazy, Busy Life,” Amy Carroll, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Prayer is a private, personal thing. God is working on me where no one sees. But God will do His best for me.

Matthew 6:30, “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?” The Message

Do you have a pre-prayer routine?

* * * * * * *

P.S. I should have waited to publish this post. In the sermon last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen spoke on “perfection.”

“We think perfection means without flaw. Yet the Greek word used here, teleios, means complete, finished, or mature. …To perfect something is a process to completion. …James 1:17 tells us every gift is perfect and complete but it isn’t completely developed in our life. …We are all in the process of completion. …” Monte Knudsen, 1-2-19

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They’ll Take all the Credit

“I found something deep within me that would not stay pleasant, patient, and kind. I did what I could to keep those traits suppressed, but they were still there. Finally I sought Jesus for help, and when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart and removed everything that would not stay pleasant, patient, and kind. And then He shut the door.” George Fox in “Streams in the Desert,” December 17

I’m grateful #God accepts me just as I am. He knows my faults and loves me anyway.

I give in to frustration. And the thoughts I try to suppress come tumbling out of my mouth – usually in sarcasm. I would rather be pleasant, patient, and kind.

There is nothing I can do to make #God love me more.

There is nothing I can do to make #God love me less.

Even when I fail.

On Sunday, I spoke out of frustration. I worked really hard on the music but inside, I wanted to take the credit.

Judges 7:2, “…they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about Me.” The Message

The beauty of walking with #Jesus Christ is – His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness, see Lamentations 3:22.

He shows me a fault or a flaw. I repent and I’m once again as innocent as a newborn baby. He paid for all my failures on the cross. Only He could fix it.

“I couldn’t help but think what a comfort it would be if, after each mistake I made in real life, I could hear someone interrupt my thoughts and state in a deep, booming voice: ‘I’ll fix it.’ …” “Meet the God Who Fixes Things,” Stephanie Raquel, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Is there a trait you want to suppress? Give it to #Jesus. He already paid for it. And walk away.

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

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Live Them

“Rest is an opportunity to exercise faith that we’ll be taken care of in the absence of our ‘doing.’ …we rest in different ways. One sleeps…another likes to draw, read, and be creative. …a 20-minute power nap…sitting in the sunshine…connect with God outdoors, …going for a run. …May your time of rest demonstrate the trust you have in God…” “Give Me a Break: Exchanging the Guilt of Rest for the Gift of Rest,” Katie M. Reid, Proverbs 31 Ministries

I find rest when I decorate! I’ve “rested” that way a few hours every day. Yesterday I got out my Christmas cups and glasses. I’m washing the Christmas dish towels today.

I’ve put some clues to my Christmas theme on Instagram.com/frugalfishorg/. But, I am not taking a picture of everything.

View this post on Instagram

More clues to my Christmas theme. #christmasdecor

A post shared by Frugal Fish (@frugalfishorg) on

Example: I dug out a piece of gold material. I pressed it and wrapped it around an accent pillow in my bedroom. I secured it with a tiny gold pin. It brings Christmas into the bedroom but is not Instagram worthy. I choose to decorate in my free time.

“If you don’t make your own decisions, somebody else will make them for you.” The Word for You Today, 11-27-18

Rest is important. God instructed us to take a day off each week. It was one of the “10 Commandments.”

Deuteronomy 5:1, “Moses called all Israel together. He said to them, ‘Attention, Israel. Listen obediently to the rules and regulations I am delivering to your listening ears today. Learn them. Live them.’ ” The Message

This verse includes all the rules for a good life:

  1. Pay attention.
  2. Listen.
  3. Obey.
  4. Follow the rules.
  5. Respect authority (Regulators).
  6. Learn the precepts.
  7. Live what you learn.

How do you spend your free time? What is your “resting” activity?

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

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Don’t Start a Fight

I was enjoying a Christmas movie when the phone rang. I could tell by the sound of his voice that David was not happy.

Deuteronomy 2:5, “…restrain yourselves. Don’t try and start a fight.” The Message

I swear I could hear David’s blood pressure going up. Our credit card number was stolen for the second time this year. I blamed his Hotmail account.

Deuteronomy 2:9, “…don’t try to pick a fight…” The Message

He ended the call and gave me the details. I suggested changing email addresses. He didn’t want to deal with it that late in the evening.

Deuteronomy 2:19, “…don’t try and pick a fight with them…” The Message

I dropped it. God told me 3 times not to pick a fight.

“…As the weeks passed, I started seeing this journey with my friend as “chalk-line faith.” It was like God had drawn a chalk line around my feet. Everything within that chalk line was something I could do. I could pray. I could be present. I could love her.

Everything outside of that chalk line was either my friend’s assignment or God’s. …” “Chalk-Line Faith” Suzie Eller, Proverbs 31 Ministries

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God Paved the Way

I accompanied my daughter-in-law, Bethany, and granddaughter, Olivia, to see a pediatric specialist yesterday. (My son is training in Nebraska.) Her food does not go through her system correctly. Sometimes she throws up and other times she gets a painful stomach-ache. Everything stops and she just stops eating.

Genesis 43:14, “And may The Strong God give you grace…” The Message

The parking lot was packed at the University of Iowa Children’s hospital. We drove around several times. We finally squeezed into an available spot. As I carefully slipped out of the passenger side, I prayed the vehicle would be unmarked when we returned.

Genesis 43:23, “The steward said, ‘Everything is in order. Don’t worry. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a bonus. …’ ” The Message

The staff could not have been nicer to Olivia. They let her describe the pain and other symptoms.

Genesis 43:29, “…God be gracious to you, my son.” The Message

The doctor went over everything again after the resident’s examination. They were thorough.

Genesis 44:11, “They outdid each other in putting their bags on the ground and opening them up for inspection.” The Message

This issue has gone on for some time. It is frustrating to find the only treatment is the one you are using. He did triple the dose but the side effects do not make that good news.

Genesis 45:5, 7, “…God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. (7) God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance.” The Message

The doctor scheduled an ultrasound for Thursday. I believe we needed this appointment to pave the way for the ultrasound. As long as there is any pain, we will keep looking.

“…After five of the longest and most excruciating days of my life, a new doctor came to my hospital room. He ran one last test. And, finally, we had some answers. …I had questioned God because of the pain…But in the end, God used the pain to save my life. …The pain was what kept me demanding the doctors run more tests…” “Saved by Suffering” Lysa Terkeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Have you ever had pain that led you to uncover a serious problem? Have you ever requested one more test?

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

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Champion of Your People

Reading Zechariah 11 reminded me of arguments I’ve read on Facebook. Verse one says to “Open your borders” but when you do “Your sentinel trees will burn.” The New Living Translation says, “So fire can burn your cedar.”

In verse 6, God said, “…He was washing his hands of the people of this land. …they’re on their own. It’s dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest.” Sound familiar? We react the same way Zechariah did – we want to do something!

Zechariah 11:7, “So I took over from the crass, money-grubbing owners, and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter…” The Message

But that didn’t work. He gave up. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says our weapons are not physical, but they have divine power to demolish strongholds. New International Version

Daniel 12:1, “That’s when Michael, the great angel-prince, champion of your people will step in…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“I wish I’d understood the liberating truth that God is the one who begins His good work in us, and He will complete it. I thought it was up to me. …”

“Never Too Late to Start Again…” Sheila Walsh, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Does that mean we sit back and do nothing? No. We pray and the angels fight for us. We must remain faithful in whatever small thing assigned to us.

“…By becoming master over the small things, he became master over the large things. Faithfulness is a common characteristic of uncommon spiritual achievers. …Jesus spent more years as a carpenter than He did as a preacher…He was faithful in little things. ‘God is a rewarder of diligent seekers’ (see Hebrews 11:6). You must believe the promise is greater than the problem, the objective is greater than the objections, and God is greater than your giant. …”

The Word for You Today, September 17, 2018

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Shout and Celebrate, Daughter of Zion!

“…’What did you learn today?’ I asked my daughter Lizzy, as we headed home from her first day of preschool…

‘I have to wear a name tag every day at school even though I already know my name! …I guess my teacher just doesn’t want me to forget who I am,’ she said with a shrug…”

“It You’ve Forgotten Who You Are…” Alicia Bruxvoort, Proverbs 31 Ministries

We are learning a new song this weekend, “Who You Say I Am,” by Hillsong. Sometimes, we forget who we are in Christ.

“…You feel kind of dirty and kind of ashamed of yourself and kind of like you don’t belong…You’re still His child…You’re still bought with His blood. Every drop He spilled was on purpose and one of those drops had your name on it. …God will never love you any more than He loves you right now!”

“Just in Case You Haven’t Heard It in A While…” Steven Furtick, 1:Minute Motivation

Zechariah is about who God says we are. God provided clean clothes for Joshua in Chapter 3. He provides clean clothes for us.

“Zechariah shared with his contemporary Haggai the prophetic task of getting the people of Judah to rebuild their ruined Temple. …But Zechariah did more than that. For the people were faced with far more than a ruined Temple and city. Their self-identity as the people of God was in ruins. …Zechariah reinvigorated their imaginations with his visions and messages. …The messages forged a fresh vocabulary that gave energy and credibility to the long-term purposes of God being worked out in their lives.”

The Message Introduction to Zechariah

* * * * * * *

Zechariah 2:10, ” ‘Shout and celebrate, Daughter of Zion! I’m on my way. I’m moving into your neighborhood!’ God’s Decree.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Zechariah 3:6-7, “God’s angel then charged Joshua, (7) ‘Orders from the God-of-the-Angel-Armies: “If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in my service, then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee my affairs. And all my attendants standing here will be at your service.” ‘ ” The Message

I’m a daughter of Zion – part of a royal priesthood, a chosen one, (see 1 Peter 2:9). God says I am.

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

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Above the Dome

“In the small town of Seadrift, Texas during World War II a church posted the pictures of soldiers in their town who were going off to war. There were 52…five of them were brothers. It was the Psalms 91 promise of protection that the prayer warriors prayed over those young men…and not one of them died. …God had them literally bombard heaven. And one by one, every Seadrift soldier returned safely from the battlefields of Europe, the South Pacific, and the Far East, in spite of…hundreds of thousands…that were lost on those battlefronts.” (p. 195) “Psalms 91,” Ruth, Peggy Joyce and Angelia Ruth Schum. Peggy Joyce Ruth Ministries, 2010, quoted on prayerineverycity.com 

I pray Psalms 91 over David, myself, my children, my extended family, church family, the Pastors, missionaries, our town, the soldiers, policemen, firemen, and paramedics. I pray a hedge of protection around these that the spirit of suicide cannot penetrate; cancer cells can not live within; that gives us safety when we travel; and protects our marriages.

As I prayed yesterday, I saw a clear dome over my head and body. There is no fear under the dome because God’s Word protects me.

Was that my imagination? I wasn’t going to mention it in my post. Who would believe me? Then I opened my Bible.

Ezekiel 10:1, “When I looked, oh! Above the dome over the heads of the cherubim-angels was what looked like a throne, sky-blue, like a sapphire.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“We know the will of God when we read and pray the Word of God.

5 Questions to Know If We’re Hearing From God

  1. Does what I’m hearing line up with Scripture?
  2. Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s character?
  3. Is what I’m hearing confirmed through messages at church or in my quiet time?
  4. Is what I’m hearing beyond me?
  5. Is what I’m hearing pleasing to God?

Lysa Terkeurst, “5 Questions to Know If We’re Hearing From God,” Proverbs 31 Ministries, August 9, 2018

* * * * * * *

“You let too many thoughts dominate your mind. …God never called you to second guess yourself; He called you to trust in Him. …I’m going forward in faith…and I’m brave in my heart. …My heart is steadfast. My spirit is secure. His promises are true. His Word is everlasting.” “Go Forward in Faith,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick, Emailed 8-9-18

* * * * * * *

“Pastor and author A. W. Tozer wrote: ‘God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside all things embracing, and inside all things fulfilling.’ “ The Word for You Today, 8-9-18

Why pray God’s Word? Because it puts us under the “dome” of God’s protection. It’s for regular people like you and me – not just angels.

This week has been a trial. I am assured that God is over me. He walks beside me during the dark times.

“Comfort is not given to us when we are lighthearted and cheerful. …when we experience even the thickest darkness, we must remember…the comforting drops of heavenly dew fall only after the sun has set.” “Streams in the Desert,” August 9

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

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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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