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

* * * * * * *

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

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

That’s Your Job, to Bless

Sorry, I’ve been MIA, (Missing In Action). My son was training in another state and Bethany needed me. After yesterday’s sermon, I went home and rested.

Five Areas to Defend Yourself In From Satan’s Attacks

  1. Famished – hungry beyond reason spiritually.
  2. Irritable – bad mood from viewing things from a human perspective, not God’s perspective.
  3. Gullible – lies we want to believe, not walking in truth.
  4. Hurt – Everyone has it, no one wants to deal with it.
  5. Tired – If God had to rest, so do we!

Pastor Josh Cody, 7-1-2018

It’s amazing how getting rest changes your perspective!

“You can walk in a bad mood or in love, not both,” Pastor Josh Cody

“The Word of God has the ability to gut your perspective of past memories that haunt you, of future fears that intimidate you, and of personal insecurities that damage you and cripple you, and bring you into a proper perspective of all that God says you are…” “Correcting Your Perspective,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

“If you avoid God, Satan will seek you first,” Pastor Josh Cody

“When you try to run from God, you keep running into Him at every turn. …When God dislocated Jacob’s hip, in essence He was telling him, ‘Your running days are over, and your limp will be a constant reminder of your total dependence on Me.’ …Everything Jacob needed, he found when he ran into the arms of God.” The Word for You Today,  7-2-2018

“Not dealing with it doesn’t work,” Pastor Josh Cody

1 Peter 4:7-8, “Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. (8) Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.” The Message

“Don’t go for what looks good, but what is good,” Pastor Josh Cody

1 Peter 3:8-9, “Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. (9) No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” The Message

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

If They Can’t See It, They Don’t Believe It

Reading “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul” let me know I am not alone. I found I have a few things in common with Dan Millman, author of “The Peaceful Warrior Way:”

  • A surging desire to share.
  • To somehow make a positive difference.
  • Time flies when I write.
  • What I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity.
  • I’m not attached to the outcome.
  • My overnight success is taking 10 years!

Writing is a great leap of faith. Catherine Lanigan, (“Romancing the Stone” and “Jewell of the Nile”), was told, “Your writing stinks.” She stopped writing.

“I would be smart. I would use logic. If I couldn’t see it, taste it, chew it and spit it out, I wouldn’t believe in anything again.” Catherine Lanigan

After talking with a journalist, she started writing again:

“…I learned that writers make something out of nothing.” Catherine Lanigan

The Sadducees felt the same way as she did at the beginning. If they couldn’t see it, they didn’t believe it. They didn’t believe in the resurrection. That’s why they were “sad, you see.” 😉

Acts 25:8, “Sadducees have nothing to do with resurrection or angels or even a spirit. If they can’t see it, they don’t believe it. Pharisees believe it all.” The Message

Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. What He starts, He finishes.

“…you’re gonna have some people in your life that are gonna walk away…their part in the story may be over. …Just realize that your life is not contingent upon anyone who leaves it. …believe that God is the author and finisher of my faith. That who’s meant to crossover into the next season with me will, and who’s not meant to cross over, there’s no amount of convincing that I can do to get them to stay.” “The Author and Finisher of Your Faith,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Everything worth doing takes faith: marriage, having children, and pursuing your dreams. Remember Jesus isn’t finished yet!

Hebrews 11:1, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under every thing that makes life worth living.” The Message

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

The God of Peace

We were 3 musicians short on Sunday. I had some music out because I needed to play the synth part. Using a double keyboard stand, I stacked the synth over the piano.

Some songs are heavy on the piano and some on the synth. Many times I play the synth with my left hand to hold the chords. Then play the rhythm or lead line on the piano with my right hand. When there is no guitar, I throw in more stuff to fill out the sound.

Things went okay during practice. Then the leader asked me to play both on the soft choruses of one song. On that song, I jump back and forth between the keyboards. It starts out heavy on piano and then soft on the synth. It builds back up but ends quietly.

I reached the “soft” chorus and remembered I was to play both. I quickly moved one hand down.

The wrong hand!

I tried holding a chord on the piano and playing a lead line on the synth. It didn’t work at all! Then I lost my place and hit the wrong chord – followed by several others.

We moved on to the bridge and I dropped my right hand down to the piano. When we reached the second “soft” chorus, I made sure I moved the correct hand.

“Well, that was embarrassing!”

It doesn’t matter what it did to me – embarrassing or humbling me. It matters what God did through me.

Acts 21:13, “…You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?” The Message

I believe God allows things like this to happen to remind everyone that I’m human. Music is uplifting and sometimes we give the musician too much credit. My job is always to lead others to Jesus. If your eyes are on me – I will unintentionally disappoint you.

The opposite is true – blaming one person when things don’t go well. The Jews accused Paul of defiling the Temple. Then they turned the place upside-down and started a riot! That did defile the temple!

Acts 21:27-28, 31, “…At once they turned the place upside-down. …(28) …He’s…defiled this holy place. … (31) As they were trying to kill him, word came to the captain of the guard, ‘A riot! The whole city’s boiling over!’ ” The Message

How should we handle it when others blame us? Or someone criticizes our efforts?

Acts 22:21, “But he said, ‘Don’t argue. Go. I’m sending you on a long journey to outsider non-Jews.’ ” The Message

Our congregation is gracious. No one berated me or told me to practice more. Satan did remind me that I did not practice on Saturday. (I was out-of-town.) He is full of lies and discouragement. I don’t argue with him either. I know his future.

Romans 16:19, “Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus.” The Message

I packed up the keyboards and went home for lunch. I switched my focus to the Nursing Home Service.

“I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted and, behold, service was joy.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

I hit a few wrong notes there, too! (Yes, I practiced.) How did I stay unruffled? God gave me peace.

“One of the greatest blessings God gives us is peace. …pray for peace. Because if all of your prayers center around provision, if you have provision but not the peace, you have the external stuff without the internal infrastructure to even enjoy what you prayed for!” “The Power of God’s Peace,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

Setting Things Right

Decorate, declutter, zone. I do something small – like cleaning the gilded frame on Grandma’s mirror. Sometimes, I move something or paint it.

The biggest improvements are from decluttering. Yesterday, I took the first step decluttering my candle collection.

I started this collection before Y2K. (Computers showed the date as 19 _ _. You could only fill in the last two numbers. Would it crash on 1-1-2000?)

They feared food would not be delivered, gas unavailable. I bought a month’s supply of food and collected candles. I figured we would live in our basement – by candlelight – eating canned meals.

Nothing happened. We had “can night” once a week for months.

I store my candles by size. Each month I had to get out all the boxes to get the color I wanted to use. I decided to box them up by color. (It surprised me to find: tangerine, plum, orchid, lavender, mint, salmon, peach, and a box of teal candles. I don’t decorate with those colors!)

They covered my dining room table and I threw away exactly 3 candles – without wicks. Why am I hanging on to them? Fear of disaster? The fear I can’t replace them? Overwhelmed, I decided to have David go through them with me later.

I went upstairs to work in my zone – the bathroom. I systematically work my way through the house deep cleaning. I opened the door to the medicine cabinet and a tube of lipstick rolled out.

I don’t wear lipstick!

I got out my makeup bags – yes, 2 of them – and the loose makeup. I dumped it out and set aside recent purchases. (I think I bought one of these eyeshadow pallets during Y2K!) This stuff is toxic. Why am I keeping it? I threw 90% of it away.

“There will come a time in your life…where the people…and the mentalities they represent will not be an adequate support system for where God is taking you. …as you’re growing into your inheritance, you’re growing out of your past. And when you start outgrowing it, you’ve got to shed some stuff. You’ve got to shed some ways of thinking.” “Maybe You’re Just Outgrowing It,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

* * * * * * *

Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. (2) Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 10:9-10, “…You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting Him to do it for you. That’s salvation. (10) With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: ‘God has set everything right between Him and me!’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 10:3, “They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 10:6, “But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story…” The Message

* * * * * *

Romans 10:8, “…It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Romans 12:5, “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” The Message

We want to develop the gifts God has given us. Sometimes we have to let go of toxic things to accomplish that.

Romans 11:29, “God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty – never canceled, never rescinded.” The Message

* * * * * *

“Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our time, our very lives. God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities – response-abilities – inviting us to respond to His gifts.” “One Thousand Gifts” Ann Voskamp

Responsible – response-able – able to respond to all things. Flexible. If our friends are irresponsible or toxic we need to seek new ones.

“…be the kind of person that says, ‘I’m gonna be there with you.’ …Oprah says, “Anybody will ride with you in the limousine. What I need is somebody to ride with me when the limousine breaks down, and we gotta take the bus.’ I’m looking for some bus friends! I’m looking for some people who will be by my side when I don’t have anything to give. …” “How to Find Real Friends,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Setting things right from Romans 12:6-21.

  1. Preach just God’s Message.
  2. Help, don’t take over.
  3. Stick to your teaching.
  4. Give encouraging guidance; don’t get bossy.
  5. Don’t manipulate when you are in charge.
  6. Keep your eyes open and quickly aid people in distress.
  7. Don’t get irritated or depressed when working with the disadvantaged.
  8. Don’t fake love.
  9. Run from evil.
  10. Cling to good.
  11. Be a good, loving friend.
  12. Practice playing second fiddle.
  13. Keep yourselves fueled and aflame.
  14. Be alert servants.
  15. Be cheerfully expectant.
  16. Don’t quit in hard times.
  17. Pray hard.
  18. Help needy Christians.
  19. Be inventive in your hospitality.
  20. Bless your enemies.
  21. Laugh when your friends are happy.
  22. Cry when they are down.
  23. Get along with each other.
  24. Don’t be stuck up.
  25. Make friends with nobodies.
  26. Don’t be the great somebody.
  27. Don’t hit back.
  28. Discover beauty in everyone.
  29. Try to get along with everybody.
  30. Don’t insist on getting even.
  31. Feed your hungry enemy.
  32. Give water to your thirsty enemy.
  33. Don’t let evil get the best of you.
  34. Overcome evil by doing good.

©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

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/video/3883595-incredible-video-of-fast-lava-flow-from-fissure-8-in-hawaii/

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

Don’t Frustrate God’s Work by Showing Up Late

Guilty. So guilty. Many Sundays the service didn’t start on time because I was late. I never left enough time for spilled milk or missing shoes. It seemed every Sunday there was spilled milk and missing shoes!

I tried covering my guilt with jokes:

“I’m the only piano player – you can’t start without me!”

“I’m not late – I’m making an entrance.”

But I was late and buried in guilt. Saturday’s verse showed me how deeply my tardiness hurt.

2 Corinthians 3:3-6, “Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated – or not – in the details. (4) People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…in hard times, tough times, bad times; (5) …working hard, working late, working without eating; (6) with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love.” The Message

I’m grateful the Pastors and God always forgave me. But after a while, God moved me away from the piano bench. I thought it was permanent.

To say it jarred me was, to put it mildly. The doctors said, “Don’t leave your house without Prednisone.” (You can only take so much Prednisone before the risks outweigh the benefits.) After that pronouncement, I had a choice to make.

2 Corinthians 7:9, “Now I’m glad – not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from Him. The result was all gain, no loss.” The Message

I turned to God chose to start over. I got out my lesson books and started on page 1.

“This is up; this is down.

Let’s go up and down.”

I played every day with only God hearing – for 7 years! God had a plan all along. The first time I met the FCOC Satellite Coordinator, Rick Brecht, he said, “I see you playing on our worship team.”

I laughed and replied, “That would take a miracle and a grand piano!”

I didn’t get a grand piano. But a year later, I was playing a keyboard on the worship team.

I’m never tardy, but I have so many more areas that could use improvement. Paul listed some pretty tough guidelines:

  • Stay at our post
  • Alertly
  • Unswervingly
  • In hard times
  • In tough times
  • In bad times
  • Working hard
  • Working late
  • Working without eating
  • With a pure heart
  • A clear head
  • A steady hand
  • In gentleness
  • In holiness
  • In honest love

It’s like I told Melissa before church yesterday. “We don’t clean ourselves up before we come to Jesus. We come to Jesus and He cleans us up.”

Jesus works little by little and He never stops. He keeps working with us until we die. But each day, we look a little more like Him.

What was my assignment for Saturday? Get ready for church. God means more than just picking out an outfit.

I practice and pack my music in my bag. I pray for the service, worship team, ushers, greeters, and children’s workers. I ask for anointing on the sermon and worship service. I request converts. We don’t want to make noise; we want to make a difference.

God answered those prayers and more! I saw a breakthrough yesterday. Steven Furtick reminded me a breakthrough does not mean the battle is over. We are fighting for souls here.

“The breakthrough does not eliminate the battle. …the only thing the breakthrough is going to do is put you in the position to fight the battle. But the good news is – it’s already won!…” “Breakthrough is Overrated” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

Trying to Impress?

“…What I was doing was trying to project what I thought would impress, and you cannot be blessed, while you’re projecting to be impressive.” “Are you projecting to impress?” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

Guilty!

When I wrote “My Story” for this blog, I did that. I typed, “My dad served on staff at Bible School.” That sounded impressive.

Last Saturday, I changed it to “My dad was the maintenance man.” He was a student for two years, but they really needed a “handyman.”

It isn’t impressive until I explain. After our house fire, Dad gutted it and rebuilt it. He did: plumbing, electrical, carpentry, sheet-rock, roofing, masonry, laid carpet and installed new cabinets. This was before youtube.com existed!

Eight years after we moved back to Iowa, they hired him again. He spent a few months re-wiring Pinecrest Bible Training Center.

As “maintenance man” at The Ottumwa Clinic, he custom-built cabinets to the doctor’s specifications. He never projected to impress. He always referred to himself as an electrician and handyman. (His degree was in refrigeration.)

But his work still stands. The young men he mentored still talk about him.

* * * * * * *

When I started this blog, I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to start a discussion on theology. (I overheard enough of those growing up.) I wanted to share the basics that I know and understand:

  • God loves me.
  • Jesus died for me.
  • God has a plan for me.
  • Jesus is coming back for me.
  • God cares about the tiny details in my life.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. (2) I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who He is; then Jesus and what He did – Jesus crucified.” The Message

I wanted you to see there are mysteries hidden in the Bible. I wanted to show you how to dig:

  • Look up the words you don’t understand.
  • Read the cross-reference verses found in the center of the page or a concordance.
  • Look up the places on the Bible Maps for that era.
  • Read the notes on the bottom of the chapter or page.
  • Find the Hebrew meaning of words at abarim-publications.com.

1 Corinthians 2:7, “God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of His purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface.” The Message

I try not to preach. I’m sure I fail. I try explaining things the same way I do for my children.

1 Corinthians 4:14-15, “I am not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. (15) I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled.” The Message

My goal is for us to grow together. We never “arrive.” There is always more – much more!

1 Corinthians 3:3, “As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?” The Message

Get out your shovel, dear reader. Dig for yourself!

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

Showing You Step-by-Step

June 5, 2018, 4:30 a.m.

I couldn’t sleep and neither could Derek. He was thinking about buying a particular house.

“… ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign…’ Isaiah 7:11. …There is no reason why we should not ask for great things. Without a doubt, we will receive them if we ask in faith, having the courage to wait with patient perseverance for Him and meanwhile doing those things that are within our power to do. It is not within our power to create the wind or to change its direction, but we can raise our sails to catch it when it comes.” “Streams in the Desert” – June 5

I told him about buying our home. The most important thing is – location, location, location! And how we prayed for 10 months before we closed on it.

My conversation took a downward turn. I realized it when Derek said, “Shouldn’t you be talking to Dad about this?”

Oh, smack!

I read my Bible and saw I would need to share it. (Can’t I just post to instagram.com/frugalfishorg/, God? At least there I may look clever. I don’t want to write about my failures!) 

Being a mature, obedient Christian…

…I took a nap.

Yeah, I was avoiding and procrastinating. (In my defense, I only got 4 hours of sleep on Sunday.)

When I got up, I read, “One Thousand Gifts”

“… ‘For God does speak – now one way, now another’ (Job 33:14 NIV). One way His finger writing words in stars (Psalms 19:1-3), His eternal power written naked in all creation (Romans 1:20); and now another way, the sharp Holy Writ on the page that makes a careful incision into a life, blade words that kindly cut the tissue back to where soul and spirit join, tenderly laying bare the intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).” “One Thousand Gifts”  – Ann Voskamp

That blade did a little work on me this morning! I did not like what it exposed! I did not want to share it. Then, I remembered my most read posts are usually the most humbling or embarrassing.

I still procrastinated. I picked up the “World Challenge Pulpit Series Newsletter” Mom had dropped off…

“As a ministry leader, I occasionally ask myself and my co-laborers: ‘Why are we here? Why do we do what we do? What’s our purpose?’ …The answer is ‘We’re here to minister to Jesus.’ …I’ve seen a terrible pattern…It began with the church-growth movement, a phenomenon that birthed the idea that corporate strategies could advance the kingdom of God. …their purpose… ‘We’re here to get bigger, to expand, to bring in more.’ …” “Intimacy with God – Out of His Presence Come the Works of Jesus” by Gary Wilkerson, “World Challenge Pulpit Series” May 21, 2018

Smack, again!

I can’t share a failure just to get more readers! It relieved me, that I didn’t need to share details. But also saddened me. I forgot my purpose – to show you the Bible speaks to your life every day.

I decided the best thing I could do was…

…Catch up on email.

I was afraid of what God would show me – so I started on the bottom.

“Does God use broken people to do big things? I believe He does. But you’ll never see it happen if you don’t look beneath the surface. We imagine what we could be if we had no weaknesses. We’re blinded to what we could become if we embraced our weakness as an opportunity to showcase God’s strength. I know you have that thing you wish you could do better. …But sometimes, what God leaves out is just as important as what He puts in. It’s what teaches you to rely on Him. …It’s what forces you to pick up a pen and use what you have for the glory of God.” “What God Didn’t Put in You is Just as Important as What He Did” Steven Furtick, In an email dated 9-28-17

Double smack!!

My only recourse was to…

Read Facebook.

A memory from a few years ago was the first thing I read:

“God doesn’t ask us to do hard things only once. He asks us to do it again and again until it is easy.” #whateverittakes 6-2-2016

I procrastinated the day away. But at 4:30 a.m., on June 6th, it was all there waiting for me. God used several sources to teach me. He is a good Father.

“1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, ‘With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, (12) showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into His own kingdom, into this delightful life.’ ” The Message

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

We’re Not Quitters

My granddaughter, Olivia, has lost weight. They couldn’t find the reason and scheduled some pretty intense tests for today. When I got up, I texted some verses to her mom, Bethany.

Psalms 139:2, 5, 7, 10, “You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight… (5) I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead, and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going… (7) Is there anyplace I can go to…be out of your sight? …(10) You’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!” The Message

God arranged for the message to arrive the minute they left for the hospital. I followed it up with…

2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.” New International Version

At 9:30 am, I felt a burden to pray for Olivia. I let Bethany know I was praying and sent this…

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you.” New International Version

I knew the procedure had begun and I prayed harder. Then I remembered my devotion in “Streams in the Desert” yesterday.

“Jacob won the victory and the blessing here not by wrestling but by clinging. …We too will not win victory in prayer until we cease our struggling. We must give up our own will and throw our arms around our Father’s neck in clinging faith.” J. R. Miller

  * * * * * * * *

“An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher illustrates how wrestling prayer is actually a hinderance to prevailing prayer. …”My little boy, Frank, was ill, and the doctors held out little hope of his recovery. …I said to the Lord, ‘Oh, God, I have spent much time in prayer for my son, and yet he is no better. I will now leave him to you and give myself to prayer for others.’ …From that time forward he began to get better.” Streams in the Desert

I gave Olivia back to God and started my work. She came through the tests with flying colors. Now we wait for the results.

* * * * * * *

I was feeling pretty good about myself as I made lunch. I decided to play a computer game while I ate.

Two and a half hours later, I noticed the time! Yikes! I wasted most of the afternoon! Then I felt pretty bad about myself.

Hebrews 10:1, 2, “…No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“It’s not a matter of how badly or how often you’ve failed – it’s a matter of what God can make you when you accept His grace, get up again, and allow Him to empower you to do better. So the word for you today is – you can start again.” The Word for You Today

I repented. Then I listened to Steven Furtick’s 1 Min Motivation…

“This. Stops. Here. …I am making a decision about my priorities today that will affect my tomorrow. …I’m gonna learn some new tactics, some new strategies. This. Stops. Here.”

I need new tactics and strategies!

Hebrews 10:39, “But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.” The Message

If this shattered your image of me – GOOD! Don’t look to me – I’ll fail. Look to Jesus Christ!

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