Stay Apart

I went to my doctor for a checkup and he broke my heart – twice.

I lost 5 pounds. He didn’t notice it on the chart. (That took 3 months of hard work!)

Then he asked, “Are you still playing the ‘organ’ at church?” 

I never played the organ. I play the piano. I thought he knew me.


After 3 years of being totally housebound, and numerous rounds of Prednisone, my immune system was extremely weak. He had me attend church to start building it back up.

Six months later, I was playing the keyboard and attending Thursday’s practices. After a few more years, I started playing on Wednesday nights.

I have permission to go out whenever I want. But, most of the time, I only leave 3 days a week for church. You might say I stay apart.

Genesis 46:34, “…That way he’ll let you stay apart in the area of Goshen. …” The Message

When God asked us to stay apart from the world (see John 17:16), he was offering us the best.

Genesis 47:6, “…Settle your father and brothers on the choicest land – yes, give them Goshen…” The Message

How do you “stay apart?” Is it by choice or other circumstances?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


God Paved the Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Put on Clean Clothes

Recognizing God’s voice is important to me. I talk to Him All. The. Time. His answers sound a lot like my conscience. I ask Him about the teeny, tiny details in my life.

Tuesday, I asked Him what color to wear to church on Wednesday night. He said, “Yellow.” I reminded Him I didn’t have yellow. I gave away my yellow and pink clothes a few years ago.

Wednesday, I asked again. Still yellow. I dug through my scarves and found a plaid one with a yellow stripe. I wore it over a red corduroy shirt and my favorite black jeans.

When we were practicing, I noticed the other musicians were all wearing gray, black, and beige. So much for blending in.

I didn’t wash the jeans because I only wore them for 3 hours. I wore them to practice the next night.

Saturday, I asked God what color I should wear to church. “Green.”

Since it was cold, I pulled out a green cardigan. I was going to wear it with my favorite black jeans.

“Are you really going to wear dirty clothes to meet with Me?”


I pulled out my second favorite jeans and a long-sleeved, navy tee-shirt. I topped the outfit with a navy and white scarf.

At church, the first 2 ladies on the worship team looked like twins. They wore dresses, gray tights, knee-high boots, and jean jackets. The third one wore a gray dress, tights, knee-high boots, and a cardigan.

I thought, “Wow, I must not have heard God.”

He replied, “You don’t own knee-high boots.”

Good point.

At least my clothes were clean.

Genesis 40:14, “Pharaoh at once sent for Joseph. They brought him on the run from the jail cell. He cut his hair, put on clean clothes, and came to Pharaoh.” The Message

Do you think Pharaoh would have listened to Joseph if he had come directly from jail? It does not say Joseph put on expensive clothes – just clean ones.

He took the time to cut his hair. He was ready to step into his new role. They didn’t have to give him a “makeover.”

Do you ask God about the small things? Which route to drive to work? What food to eat?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


God Made Sure It Worked Out

I’m a kid trapped in an adult body. I want to climb trees again and enjoy the view from the top. (I used to scare the wits out of my mom.) Now I could scare her and three more generations.

“Age means nothing unless you’re cheese. …Claim the promise. ‘You will come to the grave in full vigor.’ Keep dreaming. Accept new challenges. And don’t even think about taking it easy!” The Word for You Today, October 13, 2018

Six days a week I exercise. “The Plank” is the hardest when I am exercising my core. And push-ups are worse than any other strength-training exercises. I am up to 5-pound weights now. I started with soup cans in July.

Some things you just have to endure – like “The Plank.” But even during those times, God still shows us His favor.

Genesis 39:20-23, “…But there in jail, (21) God was still with Joseph: He reached out in kindness to him; He put him on good terms with the head jailer. (22) The head jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners – he ended up managing the whole operation. (23) The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.” The Message

Look at how God blessed Joseph while he was in jail:

  • God was with him.
  • God was kind to him.
  • God put him on good terms with those in authority.
  • God put him in charge.
  • God made him manager of everything.
  • Joseph had free rein.
  • Joseph worked independently.
  • God made sure everything worked out for the best.

Can you think of a time when God gave you favor? During your school years? While working in an unpleasant job?

©2009-2018 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?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


On His Way

I started setting up the 2019 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide. To mix it up this year, I am comparing it to the Chronological Study Bible. I didn’t want to follow it exactly because it breaks up chapters. In both of my Bible Reading Guides, we read the entire chapter.

I turned the pages in the Chronological Study Bible one at a time. I saw one chapter in Psalms that they linked to a different book.

I read my notes and saw the Psalm was in a series of three. In the first one, there was a link to the chapter where I placed it. I decided to leave it there instead of breaking up the series. Those notes told me I was on the right track.

Genesis 32:1, “And Jacob went on his way. Angels of God met him.” The Message

Jacob knew he was on the right path when the angels met him. How do you know when you are on the right path? A feeling in your gut? Other ways?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


God Hasn’t Changed

Rachel demonstrated trying to make things happen in her own strength. She didn’t steal the household gods to worship them. They held a greater purpose.

“…household gods were used as evidence of family leadership. …Rachel stole the gods to give her husband the position of tribal leader. …Laban was so insistent on getting them back to make sure one of his own sons would become the family chief. …to erect a boundary…to make sure Jacob never returned with the household gods to claim the first rights to the family holdings.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Jacob relied on God. He knew all his blessing came from God:

  • His children, 30:2.
  • His wages, 30:31-33; 31:8-9.
  • His home, 31:3, 13.

Laban changed his wages 10 times but God blessed him every time. He trusted God because He never changes and never leaves.

Genesis 31:5, “…But the God of my father hasn’t changed; he’s still with me.” The Message

Was there ever a time when God vindicated you after being cheated? What about vindicating your children?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


He Went to His Father


Those three names had the same result as “Atten-hut” or “Attention.” Usually, it meant it was time to eat. I always happily responded to that command. I knew Mom’s voice and she knew mine.

Isaac knew Esau and Jacob’s voices, too. He was waiting to give Esau his “firstborn blessing.” (The firstborn was given twice as much as the other children. They called it a double portion.) He knew it was Jacob and gave him an opportunity to come clean.

Genesis 27:18, “He went to his father and said, ‘My father!’ ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Which son are you?’ ” The Message

Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him the “firstborn blessing.” Isaac was human and human fathers make mistakes.

But our Heavenly Father does not. He knows my name. He knows my voice. He reserved a blessing for me alone.

“…Praise unblocks the blessing of God in your life. …” “Unblocking God’s Blessing in Your Life,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

Share a time when God heard your voice and answered. Have you ever heard God call your name? Or did your Mom use a nickname to call you? Did you like that nickname?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Richer By The Day

The hot air coming out of the lazy-Susan cupboard concerned me. I insulated behind it in July 2011. Peering back in the corner, I could no longer see newspapers. Over the years they settled.

I got out my shoebox of old newspapers. Then wadded and stuffed them behind the masonite board until there wasn’t room for more.

Next to the lazy-Susan are drawers. I pulled them out and stuffed newspapers behind them. That closed up one area where the hot air came in. I expect to save some money on my heating bills, too.

* * * * * * *

Each day we are given a choice:

  • Build wealth or spend it.
  • Build strength or grow weak.
  • Use our time wisely or waste it.
  • Eat healthily or get sick.

How do you become wealthy? You build it one day at a time.

Genesis 26:13, “The man got richer and richer by the day until he was very wealthy.” The Message

What did you do today to build wealth? Or to keep it?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.


It Became Abraham’s Property

God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham. When Sarah died, he could have buried her in the burial plot of the Hittites. He chose to pay for a separate burial ground.

He was a good example of being “in the world but not of it,” (see John 17:16; 1 John 2:15-17). He did not join the Hittites. He paid for the piece of ground and buried Sarah there. Abraham got a foothold in the land his descendants would occupy.

Genesis 23:17, “That’s how Ephron’s field next to Mamre – the field, its cave, and all the trees within its borders – became Abraham’s property.” The Message

Am I willing to pay a price to keep separate from the world? Have you?

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.