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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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God Blesses Those Who Bless You

Technology is not my friend. In fact, today I found one form of technology is actually an enemy.

“…my troubles are intended to deepen my character and to clothe me in gifts I had little of prior to my difficulties, for my ripest fruit grows against the roughest wall. …Trouble never comes to someone unless it brings a nugget of gold in its hand.” Streams in the Desert, October 4

I shared my frustration with David at lunch. I felt overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel. But I found peace in my daily chapters.

Genesis 12:3, “I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse.” The Message

My study of Proverbs 16 showed me this promise.

Proverbs 16:7, “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.” New International Version

I can’t fix this on my own. I am leaving it in God’s hands.

Have you ever faced something that seemed impossible to resolve? How did God move mountains for you?

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

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Noah Was Different

I’m tired. It’s 6:30 p.m. and I want to go to bed. I spring-cleaned the boy’s bathroom today. Then I cleaned the rest of the house.

I felt guilty when I thought of Noah. He was 500 years old when he built the ark. He built it during the day and preached in the evening. He kept that pace for 100 years. He was tougher than I am.

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah was different. God liked what He saw in Noah.” The Message

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“In order to grow in grace, we must spend a great deal of time in quiet solitude. Contact with others in society is not what causes the soul to grow most vigorously.” “Streams in the Desert,” October 2

Quiet solitude is what I need. Unfortunately, I am afraid I will fall asleep. I do want God to like what He sees in me.

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I Hear This Gentle Whisper

When our oldest son Luke married, he requested homemade macaroni and cheese for the rehearsal dinner. I am not used to cooking for large groups. I asked my friend, Paula, to go over everything for the dinner with me. She thought I would need another pan of macaroni and cheese.

To this day, I cannot figure out what went wrong. I cooked another 32-ounce box of macaroni and filled the second pan.

The rehearsal went a little longer than expected. Thank God, Paula and her husband Mike, and our friends Ken and Jill volunteered to help with the dinner.

They said the macaroni and cheese started to dry out. They added milk and it started to swell – and swell. They ran to the store for more cheese. They made more sauce and divided the macaroni and cheese into disposable sheet pans. We ended up with 10 of them. We sent macaroni and cheese home with several families.

Derek’s wedding is this weekend and he asked for macaroni and cheese for the rehearsal dinner. Online I found a recipe for 50. The ingredients were similar to my homemade sauce. It called for 3 1/2 pounds of macaroni.

I bought 3 1/2 cups.

Once again, I called Paula and went over the menu with her. “That doesn’t sound like enough macaroni.”

I reread the recipe – 3 1/2 pounds cooked macaroni is equal to about 14 cups uncooked macaroni. I have to go back to the store.

* * * * * * *

I tried several times to write my post yesterday. My mind was on “macaroni and cheese” and other details for the wedding. Nothing made sense. I finally tried to nap.

I couldn’t sleep.

But once my thoughts stopped churning, I was able to write my post. I just had to get quiet.

“It is very unusual for there to be complete quiet in the soul, for God almost continually whispers to us. And whenever the sounds of the world subsides in our soul, we can hear the whispering of God. Yes, He continues to whisper to us, but we often do not hear Him because of the noise and distractions caused by the hurried pace of our life.”

Frederick William Faber, in “Streams in the Desert,” September 18

* * * * * * *

Psalms 81: 5, “…I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me.” The Message

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They Will Try to Get Rid of Sacred Worship

At Brianna’s bridal shower, she heard an old wives tale. “The number of bows you break opening gifts is the number of children you will have.” She was fearless –

“Does anyone have a pocketknife?”

Weddings are full of symbols, traditions, and hidden meanings. Apocalyptic writings are the same. Daniel 7 and 8 are apocalyptic texts.

“…Apocalyptic texts usually presented symbolic versions, with every detail appearing to have a specific hidden meaning, though not always explaining it. The primary purpose of apocalyptic writing was to comfort those who were persecuted for their faith. Such comfort was found in knowing that all the kingdoms of earth, however powerful they might appear, would one day be crushed and replaced by God’s eternal kingdom, in which the faithful would be vindicated (Daniel 2:44; 7:27; 8:25). …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Alexander the Great fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 8. Some things never change. What Daniel wrote about that time is true today.

Daniel 7:25, “Then he will blaspheme the High God, persecute the followers of the High God, and try to get rid of sacred worship and moral practice.” The Message

Jeremiah 29 tells us how to live regardless of the political state. We are to marry, have children, build houses, plant vineyards, etc. Through it all, we are to cling to our convictions.

“When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey, it would probably be fatal, he answered, ‘It is necessary for me to go – it is not necessary for me to live.’ That was true depth of conviction, and only when we are likewise convicted will our lives amount to something.”

“Streams in the Desert,” September 9

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