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

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“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

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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

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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.

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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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The Intervention of Jesus Christ – Grace

In the movie, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,” he was an actor in trouble. He trashed a motel and was given 200 hours community service in a church.

They were casting for their big Easter production and he tried out. Claiming Christianity to participate, they gave him the role of Jesus Christ. While rehearsing the scene of the woman caught in adultery, he asked a question…

“What did Jesus write in the sand?”

“The Bible doesn’t say,” the director replied.

He spent a lot of time with three of the men playing “his disciples.” And even helped repair a car that was given to a single mother. He stopped shouting his lines dramatically and started saying them kindly.

He finally understood on opening night. During the scene of the woman caught in adultery, he wrote in the sand…

“Grace”

“Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet. Every moment of my wandering never changes what you see.” “How Can It Be” Lauren Daigle

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2 Peter 1:1-2, “…I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2) Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.” The Message

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2 Peter 1:12-13, “Because the stakes are so high, even though you’re up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I’m not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. (13) This is the post to which I’ve been assigned – keeping you alert with frequent reminders – and I’m sticking to it as long as I live.” The Message

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“The letter is written out of pastoral concern to counter false teachings and their influence on the lives of early Christians. Certain teachers, for their own personal gain, were promising that people could be Christians and still live immoral lives. …concerned that there be a check against this false teaching and immoral living even after he is gone (1:12-15).” Chronological Study Bible Introduction to 2 Peter

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“When we focus on our perceived value and worthiness, we lose our sense of awe and wonder at just how magnificent Jesus is. …the first century believers in Colossae,… wanted to be right with God, and there was no shortage of people willing to tell them exactly how they could do that. Some argued for religious observances like circumcision, holy days and rules about food. Others suggested angel worship and secret rituals, plus other mystical practices. …Paul speaks firmly against these checklist teachings, explaining that those who promote such ideas are not holding on to Jesus. It’s Jesus alone…and He is enough.” “You are Not Enough, and That’s OK” Asheritah Ciuciu, on Proverbs 31 Ministries email

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

Frittering Away Their Days

Turning the page on my DayTimer, I found it was the last one. Yeah, I planned to print off the pages for July last Thursday.

A food journal is on one side and a regular journal on the other. It’s more of a diary than a planner now. I have a line down the middle of the 2nd page. It is easier to record activities and reads like a newspaper.

My task list is long but I have no energy. After 2 loads of laundry and writing 2 posts, I shopped online. David’s birthday is next Wednesday. No luck.

Derek came home for lunch and turned on the TV. I decided to play computer games until he went back to work. That turned into playing until I won. The afternoon slipped away and guilt moved in. I’m as bad as the young widows Paul warned Timothy about.

1 Timothy 5:13, “…frittering away their days on…trivialities…” The Message

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2 Chronicles 20:15, ‘For the battle is not yours, but God’s…’ …Why then do you discourage yourself into defeat, trying to win the battle in your own strength? You engage in a fruitless cycle of repentance, resolutions, struggles, defeat, and discouragement, which leads to more repenting. The only sort of spiritual conflict that’s ever successfully won, is the one God fights for you.” The Word for You Today

I’m adjusting to a new normal. In 2009, we lost our first parent. Since then, we lost 2 more. Burying our parents became our new normal.

This week, we buried our niece’s father. I thought it would be years before that happened. Yet, we’ve lost many classmates. Burying our peers is becoming a new normal.

“As you and I follow Jesus in our new normal, we’ll continually climb out of the familiar because that’s life. We may not always know what’s ahead, but we can be assured we’re on good ground if we’re following Jesus.” “Adjusting to a New Normal” Suzie Eller, Proverbs 31 Ministries

In 11 weeks, Derek will come home for lunch for the last time. An empty nest will be my new normal. I’m sad and excited all at once. I’ll miss him, but I already have plans for his room.

Dad would have been 86 today. I still miss him. Happy Birthday in heaven, Dad.

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

If You Have a Heart

July 3, 2018, 3:00 a.m.

The only clothes I set out were a jean jacket and a pair of shoes. *Sigh* I decided dressing could wait and started writing. Halfway through, I stopped and ordered shoes for Derek’s wedding.

“Sacrifice, and then celebrate. Don’t get it the other way around. …All sacrifice and no celebration means no strength. It’s the danger of deprivation.” “Sacrifice, Then Celebrate,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

I got up at 3:00 to write for 4 hours before leaving for Terry’s funeral. It was a sacrifice worth making.

Terry had two daughters from his first marriage. I’m sure he would have loved a picture of all three girls together.

That picture exists now. Sadly, they were on motorcycles riding to the cemetery. Just the way he would have liked…

“When Jesus arrives on the scene, He doesn’t diminish her distress or sidestep her sorrow. He just weeps with her as they walk to her brother’s tomb, (John 11:33-35). …Think about it – Jesus knows Mary’s weeping will soon turn to joy. He knows that He’s going to bring her brother back to life, and all the tears will be trumped by cheers. But Jesus doesn’t use the hope of a better tomorrow to avoid the imminent pain of today.” “How to Hold a Hurting Heart” Alicia Bruxvoort, Proverbs 31 Ministries

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Philippians 2:1-2, “If you gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – (2) then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” The Message

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I Urge You to Eat

Stephanie’s father died of a heart attack – 2 states away. (She had rushed to his side after the first heart attack.) She was alone because her husband is deployed.

We received the news while driving to Cedar Rapids Saturday. On the way home, I called her. Alone in a motel room, she was happy to let me ramble for an hour. I told her every funny story I could remember about him.

What do you say to someone suddenly responsible for a cattle ranch, 2 llamas, and several pets? You tell them to eat.

Acts 27:34, “But I urge you to eat something now. You’ll need strength for the rescue ahead. You’re going to come out of this without even a scratch.” The Message

Sunday, I called again to check on her…

“Did you eat today?”

“Oatmeal and yogurt.”

“Not enough. Go eat more.”

Monday, I texted, “Did you eat?” She was smart and replied, “Breakfast.” 

I left her alone while she made arrangements with the funeral director. The Red Cross was able to locate her husband and get him home. After he arrived, I stopped nagging her. I figured he could make sure she ate.

Making funeral arrangements is difficult. I know God will be with her every step of the way. I expect God to bless her even during this journey of grief.

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Acts 27:1, “As soon as arrangements were complete for our sailing to Italy…” The Message

Paul knew he needed to share the Message of Jesus in Rome. He talked about going to Rome, (Romans 1:15). God made arrangements for the Romans to pay for his trip!

It was not an ideal journey. He was in chains and the ship was lost in a 2-week storm. He ended up stranded on an island for 3 months.

How do you survive a difficult journey? Take the next step. Put one foot in front of the other. Each day, get up and do it again. Don’t ever give up.

“Peter teaches us that sometimes the greatest courage is in not giving up. It’s in rising from defeat, daring to walk with Jesus another day.” “When You Used to Be Brave” Elizabeth Laing Thompson, in Proverbs 31 Ministries

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

Change Your Life

I watched “The Zookeeper’s Wife” today. It started on a bright, sunny day. She breezed through her routine with a baby camel following her. Then the Nazi’s bombed Warsaw and everything changed!

“When disaster strikes, understanding God is at risk.” The Message Introduction to the book of Joel.

The Nazis took their rarest animals to Berlin “for safekeeping.” And shot the rest, saying they wouldn’t make it through the winter. Of course, the head zoologist shot the eagle himself. “Stuff it and bring it to my office.”

“I don’t think I’m gonna find a solution if I start with myself.” Why you need a new loop, Steven Furtick, April 24, 2018

Desperate to keep their zoo, they talked the Nazis into letting them raise pigs. After all, the soldiers needed meat.

“Where will you get food for them?”

“From the garbage in the Warsaw ghetto.”

The Nazis liked that idea and agreed.

“We can fight change, or we can trust God has a plan and purpose for it. And allow our trust in His faithfulness to be the foundation for joyful living.” Tracie Miles, Proverbs 31 Ministries, 4-24-2018

Each time they collected garbage, they smuggled a few Jews out in it. It was extremely dangerous. They were the first step to freedom for the Jews. There were others who made fake identification papers for them. Some transported them to a “safe house” and others hosted a “safe house.”

Joel 2:8, “They don’t get in each other’s way. Each one knows his job and does it.” The Message

God’s mercies are new every morning, (see Lamentations 2:22-23). Each day is an opportunity to change our lives in spite of circumstances.

Joel 2:13, “Change your life, not just your clothes.” The Message

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“If you change the way you think about change, the way you’re looking at that change just might change.” Tracie Miles, Proverbs 31 Ministries, April 24, 2018

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