Whatever They Felt Like Doing

“Have you experienced a sorrow caused by unkindness, when others cruelly mistreat your trusting heart, and you even begin to wonder if there is really a God above who sees what is happening yet continues to allow it? …God has allowed the difficulty to come upon you, in order to bring you closer to Himself.”

“Streams in the Desert,” 12-22

Christmastime is family time. Wherever there are siblings – there will be a rivalry! It goes back to Cain and Abel.

* * * * * * *

The People of Israel asked the Benjaminites to surrender the men who killed the concubine. They refused.

Judges 20:12-14, “…’What’s the meaning of this outrage?’… (13) ‘Surrender…’ (14) But they wouldn’t do it. …” The Message

The Benjaminites fought the other tribes. Everyone wanted justice for the concubine. The Benjaminites saw everyone was against them and went to war.

Judges 21:25, “At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” The Message

Most of their tribe died. The soldiers that escaped lost their wives and families. The rest of the tribes swore they would not allow their daughters to marry a Benjaminite. They got wives from 2 different sources in Chapter 21.

“When you hold resentment it feels like there’s a war going on inside you. …the more you fight, the more ground you lose. Arguing just drains you of energy and leaves you more hurt and angry. You’re in a no-win situation. You struggle with who’s right and who’s wrong. You spend so much time trying to out-do, out-shout, and out-maneuver others that you lose your peace and joy. …Don’t allow someone’s actions to determine your reactions. …”

The Word For You Today, December 22, 2018

I like that. “Don’t allow someone’s actions to determine your reactions.”

Will you be with your siblings this week?


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…Or We’ll Burn You

My sister complained to that social media platform because she couldn’t see my posts. They forwarded the message to me.

One person said, “That is offensive” and they removed the post. Then they threatened to disable my account.

Another person said, “I want to see this!” and they forwarded the message to me? Why? Do they want me to promote my post? Do they want me to buy an ad? Probably.

But I learned from Samson’s story – complying when threatened does not work. They may carry out the threat anyway.

His fiancée complied and lost Samson. Then they burned her and her father alive anyway.

Judges 14:15, “…Worm the answer out of your husband or we’ll burn you and your father’s household. Have you invited us here to bankrupt us?” The Message

* * * * * * *

Judges 15:6, “The Philistines said, ‘Who did this?’ They were told, ‘Samson, son-in-law of the Timnite who took his bride and gave her to his best man.’ The Philistines went up and burned both her and her father to death.” The Message

Forget social media. I would rather be in isolation than allow them to control me.

“It is in the experience of isolation that the Lord develops an independence of life and of faith so that the soul no longer depends on the continual help, prayers, faith, and care of others.” “Streams in the Desert,” December 20

Do you feel isolated? Without hope?

“Maybe God is trying to show you the nature of true hope. …the kind that gets down deep enough in your heart where people can’t get it. …” “Having Hope When God Seems Silent,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

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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.


No Battle Experience

December 15, 2018

“…through all delays, in spite of all the difficulties, and in the face of all the rejection we encounter in life. And in spite of our feelings and evidence to the contrary, and even when we cannot understand our way or our situation, may we still ‘trust also in Him; [for] He shall bring it to pass.’ The way will open, our situation will be changed, and the end result will be peace. …” Streams in the Desert, December 15

* * * * * * * *

Judges 3:2, “He did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience, in the art of war.” The Message

I’m learning to take my fight to the highest power – God. I am not finding blogging success in the traditional way. Others will have to share my posts on social media.

I can identify with Shamgar. There is only one verse in the Bible about him. There is no record of his conversations with God or details of his battles. We don’t know how people reacted to him. Did they help him? Or were they indifferent?

Judges 3:31, “Shamgar son of Anath came after Ehud. Using a cattle prod, he killed six hundred Philistines single-handed. He too saved Israel.” The Message

Shamgar did not fight the way others fought. They had knives, swords, bows, and arrows. All he had was a cattle prod, or as the King James Bible puts it, an oxgoad. But he used the tool he had and saved Israel.

Other bloggers are writing books or about products or selling tee shirts. Not me. Here I am…over here…with a cattle prod…killing it…for the last ten years.

What tool do you have?

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Shoulder The Task

“In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are special rooms devoted to the spinning…completely dark, except for the light that falls directly on the developing pattern, from one small window. Only one person sits in each small room, …

Sometimes, the darkness in our lives is worse, because we cannot see…or understand what we are doing. Therefore we are unable to see any beauty or any possible good arising from our experience. Yet if we are faithful to forge ahead and ‘if we do not give up’ (Galatians 6:9), someday we will know that the most exquisite work of our lives was done during those days when it was darkest.” “Streams in the Desert,” December 13

I’ve been silent for a week. It’s time to share what happened. Here’s the post I wrote on December 6th.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Confirming the Work

I’m in Facebook jail. Yes, there really is such a thing. (I didn’t believe it either.)

Someone marks your post as offensive and they send you a warning. My first warning came after I shared a post of #MollieTibbetts. I shared several posts of missing children.

My Frugal Fish Facebook page was public. Someone in the “public” reported my posts as “offensive.” Facebook blacked out all the pictures of missing children.

Someone reported another post as “offensive.” Facebook locked me out of my personal page for 24 hours. I could not even see it! Although I could see my Frugal Fish page. Go figure.

Thinking of Daniel, I wrote my post as usual and it automatically published to my Frugal Fish page. That angered Facebook. They blocked me from posting for another 14 hours. I could read it, but couldn’t post, comment, like, or share.

I’m not surprised. Peter told us the gospel would offend.

2 Peter 2:7-8, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘The Stone which the builders rejected, this became the very cornerstone,’ and, ‘A Stone of stumbling and rock of offense,’ for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.” New American Standard Bible

Why did I write a post when Facebook told me not to? Because it just confirmed I was doing what God told me to do.

Proverbs 90:17, “And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!” The Message

Facebook let me know they will disable my pages, both Frugal Fish and my personal page if I continue posting from this blog. So, I cut the link that shared to Facebook. I won’t stop writing daily – they just won’t go to Facebook.

My posts will still publish on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Those who give their email to follow this blog will still read them there.

I’m not blogging for money. (It’s a good thing because I haven’t made a penny!)

Each day I read the chapters and God speaks to me. Sometimes, it’s just one verse or a phrase. It gives assurance or direction for what I’m facing today. I will continue until the day God calls me home. It’s what keeps me young.

Deuteronomy 34:7, “Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step.” The Message

December 6, 2018

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

God spoke to me each day and I recorded verses and notes. I will not share them all with you, but one post brought great comfort.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gibeon Joined Up with Israel

“In God’s kingdom you don’t achieve success on your own, you receive it from God. …Let others compete and compare! Just stay faithful in what God has given you to do – and when the time is right He’ll come and get you! …When you try to promote yourself, you have to sweat, strain, and struggle, but when you trust God and do things His way, it comes ‘easy.’ That doesn’t mean you won’t have to work hard or sacrifice in order to succeed. It just means you won’t have to strive to get it, or keep it.” “The Word for You Today,” 12-10-18

* * * * * * *

Joshua 10:4, “Come and help me. Let’s attack Gibeon; they’ve joined up with Joshua and the People of Israel.” The Message

These events happened because five kings attacked an ally of Israel. They weren’t attacking Israel – just their ally, the Gibeonites.

  1. Joshua took them by total surprise, 10:9.
  2. God threw them into total confusion, 10:10.
  3. Israel chased them, 10:10.
  4. They ran, 10:11.
  5. God pitched huge stones on them, 10:11.
  6. The sun stopped, 10:13.
  7. The moon stood stock still, 10:13.

The earth paused and all the inhabitants knew it. Descriptions of that day are in the “Book of Jashar.”

Now we see what happens to those who help others attack Israel.

Joshua 10:33, “Horam, king of Gezer, arrived to help Lachish. Joshua attacked him and his army until there was nothing left of them. No survivors.” The Message

I stand with Israel.

December 10, 2018

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The sad and most frustrating thing is, I have no recourse. The one who reported me is kept anonymous. I cannot face my accuser or explain my motives. I am not safe from further attacks. I wish there was a “City of Refuge” in situations like this.

“Cities of Refuge…were not places where justice could be avoided, but places where further bloodshed could be prevented while an investigation took place (20:6).” Chronological Study Bible Notes

I want to fight back but my study of Proverbs 20 reminded me that the battle is not mine.

Proverbs 20:22, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and He will avenge you.” The Message

God spelled out my directions clearly today.

Joshua 22:3, “…you’ve shouldered the task laid on you by God…” The Message

My task? Write the “2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide” and keep blogging. My 10-Year Anniversary for this blog and being on Facebook was on Sunday. Funny, since they aren’t connected to each other anymore.

God provided the blogging fees for 10 years without ads, affiliate marketing, sponsors, or donations. He can grow this blog without Facebook.

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


An Ox and a Donkey

An ox and a donkey were 2 modes of transportation in ancient civilizations. An ox could pull more weight and endure longer distances. A donkey carried you to your destination more quickly. They were both needed for different purposes. But they couldn’t work together.

Deuteronomy 22:10, “Don’t plow with an ox and a donkey together.” The Message

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul instructed believers to marry believers. Marriage is like being yoked together.

2 Corinthians 6:14, “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark?” The Message

An ox and a donkey yoked together is a good picture of being unequally yoked in marriage. The donkey has to go wherever the ox wants because it is weaker. The ox has to carry more of the load than necessary and works himself to death.

Life is hard. Every marriage will go through the fire.

“Steel is the product of iron plus fire. …In the same way, the development of human character requires the plus attached to it, for great character is made not through luxurious living but with suffering. …the very things they now rebel against are the instruments He has used to perfect their character…” Courtland Myers, “Streams in the Desert,” December 2

* * * * * * *

“Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer for the roots of character. The great objective of this life of character, for it is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity.” Austin Phelps, “Streams in the Desert,” December 2

Some of the strongest marriages come from the deepest trials: the loss of a child, catastrophic events, debilitating sickness, bankruptcy. Other marriages implode at the first one. “I didn’t sign up for this,” they say.

Yes, you did.

You vowed: “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death parts us.”

“To cherish” is loving and nurturing someone who can’t love you back. We all have times where our spouse carries everything because we physically cannot. But those times are temporary. We can’t let our spouse do everything permanently.

I’m guilty. We all are.

But then we are like the ox and the donkey. The Bible had another name for donkeys. When we don’t share the load equally, that is what we become.

God designed marriages to be rich. An intimacy that we share with no other. The only one who “gets me.” The one who knows my deepest faults and failures and cherishes me in spite of them.

“When you think about it, you can be rich in one of two ways: either in how much you have, or in how little you want. …Many financial experts say credit is the motivating factor for perhaps 80 percent of all divorces….” The Word for You Today, 12-2-18

The most important thing is that we pull together. We must go in the same direction.

“…hopeless debt is like a deep pit into which one may descend quickly and where one may struggle vainly for many days. It is a pit of sorrow and regrets where the brightness of the sun is overcast and night is made unhappy by restless sleeping.” “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason

Marriage is a 3-strand rope. The third partner is God. He guides us through difficult paths. Sometimes coaxing and sometimes prodding. When we follow God’s leading, we are unstoppable.

I have to ask David – am I an ox, sharing the load in our marriage? Or, am I donkey?

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


Directed By God

Our oldest son, Luke, called last night. He’s been training out-of-state for 3 weeks. David answered the call and started asking questions. I listened in. It was good to hear his voice.

He explained what he had done and the next steps in rank. I had no clue what they were talking about.

I don’t speak military acronym.

I remembered a verse I read yesterday and decided not to ask questions. I’m content to know he is healthy and home.

Exodus 14:14, “God will fight for you. And you? Keep your mouth shut.” The Message

He told his dad about the 6 papers he had to write. Then said, “Actually, I only had to write 5 – one was a résumé. Is Mom there?”

“You’re welcome, Luke.”

All three of my children had a résumé before they were 16. We wrote the first one together. They just keep it updated. (Meanest Mom in Fairfield, right here!) Our children know how to work hard and are not afraid of work.

I love to talk. It’s a miracle I was able to listen to the conversation without butting in.

“If you could change through self-effort, you wouldn’t need the Lord.” The Word for You Today, October 23, 2018

* * * * * * *

Exodus 17:1, “Directed by God, …” The Message

* * * * * * *

“When frosts are in the valley,

And the mountaintops are gray,

And the choicest blooms are blighted,

And the blossoms die away,

A loving Father whispers

‘This all comes from my hand!;

Blessed are you if you trust

When you cannot understand.


If after years of toiling,

Your wealth should fly away

And leave your hands all empty.

And your hair is turning gray,

Remember then your Father

Owns all the sea and land;

Blessed are you if you trust

When you cannot understand.”

“Streams in the Desert,” October 23

I don’t understand why Luke is a soldier. I thought he would be a preacher. God is leading him down a path I would not have chosen.

Children are our greatest wealth. One day they each fly away. Which makes the words even sweeter each time you hear them.

“Thanks, Mom.”

Isn’t it great when your child realizes you were right! What did your child thank you for making them do?

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


My Soldiers, My People the Israelites

After a busy week, I spent the day catching up laundry. (Exciting life, I know.)

I practiced longer because we don’t have a synth or guitar player this week. The last song is “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong.

After 400 years of slavery, the Israelites were beaten down. The work was hard and the conditions harsh.

Exodus 6:9, “But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him – they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.” The Message

The world saw slaves; God saw soldiers!

Exodus 7:4, “Pharaoh is not going to listen to you, but I will have my way against Egypt and bring out my soldiers, my people the Israelites, from Egypt by mighty acts of judgment.” The Message

* * * * * * *

” ‘In Christ…we find out who we are.’ Ephesians 1:11 The Message …The reason many of us fail is because we trade what we want most for what we want now. No; the greater the challenge, the greater the reward that awaits you beyond it. …” The Word for You Today, 10-19-18

The Israelites would have been happy to live in Egypt – if they were not slaves. Some even tried to go back, (see Exodus 16:3; Numbers 14:4). God wanted so much more for them. He wanted them to own land and grow prosperous.

“Wherever God’s finger points, His hand will clear a way.” Streams in the Desert, October 19

How do you see yourself? A slave or a soldier? Are you looking behind or looking ahead? Is God pointing to the unknown? Remember who God says you are!

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



Jacob Buried Them

We took the family to “Appanoose Rapids” to celebrate Derek’s birthday. Olivia, 7, brought a doll that poops! She tired of holding it. I offered to put it in the booth beside me. I misjudged the space and bonked the doll’s head on the table.

“Good job, great-grandma,” Laura quipped.

I froze.

When Olivia has a child I will be a great-grandma. That was a sobering thought.

Then David shared how Kyle, the bass player, calls me “Grandma Pamcake.” (I tell him only Olivia can call me grandma.)

I started feeling self-pity. Why do they tease me about my age?

After eating, we debated about going to Kohls. I wanted to see if they had a space heater on sale. I spend most of the day in my office. I could just heat it.

But everyone was tired. We went home.

Self-pity reared its head again. The lies started going through my head:

  • David always says “no” to me.
  • Nobody cares about what I need.
  • I always have to go without.
  • Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms…


As a child, I was miserable most of the time. I was itchy, bleeding, and in pain with my clothes stuck to the Atopic Dermatitis. It tormented me day and night. I was sleep-deprived. And children are cruel. Self-pity was a constant companion.

“May we remember that if self-pity is allowed to set in, we will never be used by God again until it is totally removed.” “Streams in the Desert,” October 12

I could justify self-pity. But I know it does not please God.

Genesis 35:4, “They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they’d been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem.” The Message

Have I allowed self-pity to become an idol in my life? It is a habitual reaction. It’s one I need to bury.

“Feel locked out? Feel unincluded?…Need some direction in your life? Get behind Me and follow Me through the valley, through the pain. …If you feel disconnected, hook up with Me. …I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And I’m making a way for everybody who will walk by faith.”

“Need Something? God’s Got It…” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

Do you struggle with self-pity? How did you overcome it? How can we share empathy without giving pity to one in pain?

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Live to the Hilt

“The education of our faith is incomplete if we have yet to learn that God’s providence works through loss, that there is a ministry to us through failure and the fading of things, and that He gives the gift of emptiness. …And whenever our earthly stream or any other outer resource has dried up, it has been allowed so we may learn that our hope and help are in God, who made heaven and earth.” F. B. Meyer in “Streams in the Desert,” October 5

Things are not working out as promised by social media. Yesterday was discouraging. Today I decided to work around it.

Genesis 17:1, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live entirely before Me, live to the hilt!’ ” The Message

I lived to the hilt. I finished the last piece of pumpkin pie and exercised. I created a fall tablescape in my office. It’s full of things I love. And I did some preliminary work on a big change for my kitchen.

It wasn’t all fun and games. I updated my worksheets for income taxes and researched health insurance for next year. I am living God’s way of life so that He can complete in me what He promised.

Genesis 17:19, “…train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what He promised him.” The Message

The only way to live is – kindly, generously, and fairly. What does it mean to you to “live to the hilt?”

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