Live Off of That Salary

I don’t need more money, I need fewer expenses. When I spend more than our income, I am setting myself up to lose everything.

I believed I was on a bare-bones budget and then we took the Dave Ramsey course. In Financial Peace University, I realized that satellite TV was draining our money.

We canceled, paid to get out of our contract and bought 2 TV antennas. Each TV gets 8 channels. We have 2 Blu-Ray players and stream entertainment through them.

I recently found the free movies on I only have 1 or 2 nights a week to watch movies. My goal is to avoid any service with a monthly fee. I want to live within our means and keep our land!

Genesis 47:22, “…they received a fixed salary from Pharaoh and were able to live off of that salary. So they didn’t need to sell their land.” The Message


October 16, 2019: Genesis 46-48.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

At His Private Table

Joseph was the most powerful man in Egypt – under Pharaoh. His brothers were terrified when he invited them to his home.

He maintained his Hebrew heritage. That is one reason the Egyptians did not eat with him.

Genesis 43:32, “Joseph was served at his private table, the brothers off by themselves and the Egyptians off by themselves (Egyptians won’t eat at the same table with Hebrews; it’s repulsive to them).” The Message

Why didn’t his brothers recognize him? They believed he was a slave or dead. Slaves were overworked, underfed, and sleep-deprived. They didn’t get vacations or a day off. Most of them died at a young age.

This 39-year-old Hebrew looked nothing like the 17-year-old they sold into slavery. They couldn’t imagine Joseph rising to second-in-command.

Joseph lived skillfully in the fear of God. Wherever he was, he made it a better, more prosperous place. There was no place too humble – not even a jail.

Proverbs 15:33, “Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living – first you learn humility, then you experience glory.” The Message

October 15, 2019: Genesis 43-45.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

He Cut His Hair

What did Joseph, Samson, and Paul have in common? They all lived in prison for years and had long hair.

Delilah shaved Samson’s head and that led to his capture, see Judges 16:1-22. Paul shaved his head in Acts 18:18.

Joseph’s long hair distinguished him from the Egyptians. Ancient Egyptian men shaved their heads and wore wigs. Joseph looked like a Hebrew because of his long hair.

Genesis 41:14, “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

Notice, he cut his hair, not shaved his head. He made himself presentable to Pharaoh without losing his identity.

He also didn’t get in a hurry. Pharaoh sent for him “at once.” They “ran” him to Pharaoh. But he took the time to cut his hair and put on clean clothes.

If he had not, Pharaoh would have seen him as a wise prisoner. Instead, he saw a wise man and put him in charge of the country.

October 14, 2019: Genesis 41-42.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

But There in Jail…

I was scrolling through pictures of a “Church Planter Conference” organized by the “Nepal Calvary Ministry.” They were on the page of Joel Lamb, one of the two speakers.

Joel was an evangelist when I was a teen. He married a local girl named Rose. His parents ran the Country Mission Camp that I attended. He’s the pastor of Community Chapel in Somerville, Texas.

I was not surprised Joel posted pictures of food and the people at the conference. But I skipped over one picture of what looked like a cement bunker in the night. Going back up through the pictures, I noticed what Joel wrote…

“A prison where 8 of our pastors and 40 Christian women are held for their faith.”

I don’t have names but I added them to my prayer list: “8 pastors and 40 women in Nepal.”

Hebrews 13:3 instructs us to pray for those in prison. But what do I pray beyond asking for their release?

Genesis 39:21-23, “But there in jail 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

I can ask God to:

  • Reach out to them in kindness.
  • Put them on good terms with the jailer.
  • Put them in charge.
  • Give them free rein.
  • Make sure everything works out for the best.

I don’t want to do what the cupbearer did.

Genesis 40:23, “But the head cupbearer never gave Joseph another thought, he forgot all about him.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Now the verses from Saturday and Friday make sense. God was asking me to pray for Joel.

Genesis 35:1, “God spoke to Jacob: ‘Go back to Bethel…'” The Message

Country Mission Camp was my Bethel. It’s where I committed to serve God wholeheartedly.

* * * * * * *

Joel and Rose named their son Benjamin. Whenever I see that name, I think of this couple.

Genesis 35:18, “With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune).” The Message

Benjamin in the Bible was first named Ben-oni, son-of-my-pain by his mother because of a difficult birth. His father changed it to Benjamin, son-of-good-fortune.

In 2 Chronicles 4, another mother named her child “pain” after a difficult delivery. Jabez went to his Heavenly Father who changed his destiny. Now we associate Jabez with blessing, enlarged territory, and the Father’s hand on him.

* * * * * * *

The last time I heard Joel preach was in 2008. David and I took Mom to see him because he lived with our family for a few months when he was starting out. He would go on short trips for meetings and used our home as a home base. (He was single.)

Genesis 32:1, “And Jacob went his way. …” The Message

I don’t know when I will see Joel again but when I do, I am going to ask for an update on the prisoners in Nepal. His last post said he was stranded in Istanbul. I will keep praying until he is safely home.

October 13, 2019: Genesis 38-40.
October 12, 2019: Genesis 35-37.
October 11, 2019: Genesis 32-34.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

God Hasn’t Changed

My sister was born 21 months before me. When my parents brought me home from the hospital, she asked to hold me. Then she walked over to the stairs. She planned on throwing me down! At least that is what I was told.

We weren’t close growing up but that changed. She was the maid-of-honor at my wedding. And Sunday, when I had to take David to the Emergency Room, (pulled muscle), she came and waited with me.

Our relationship changed for the better. That was not the case for Jacob and Laban.

Genesis 31:5, “I notice that your father has changed toward me; he doesn’t treat me the same as before. But the God of my father hasn’t changed; He’s still with me.” The Message

No matter how difficult the relationship, we need to speak positively. Jacob’s words were fulfilled in Genesis 35:16-20.

Genesis 31:32, “But as far as your gods are concerned, if you find that anybody here has them, that person dies…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 18:21, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” The Message


October 10, 2019: Genesis 30-31.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

Jacob Had Obeyed His Parents

During Pat’s funeral, the minister asked us to pray “The Lord’s Prayer.” I was sitting between my daughter Laura and cousin Debbie. Debbie and I dutifully recited, “Our Father, Who art in heaven…”

We all hesitated at the same spot, “Forgive us our…” Would he say trespasses or debts? He used the word “sins.”

I realized Laura was silent. Did she know “The Lord’s Prayer?” I tried to remember teaching it to her. Did I leave that part of her education up to the church?

I’m the world’s worst mother. Can I even call myself a Christian? (Every mother knows the guilt we pile on ourselves.)

After the service, I apologized for not teaching her “The Lord’s Prayer.” Her response?

“He used the wrong word.”

Genesis 27:20, “…Because your God cleared the way for me.” The Message

God does not have grandchildren. You cannot inherit faith. We have to meet God ourselves. That happened for Isaac in Beersheba, Genesis 26:24-25. It happened for Jacob the first night he was away from home, Genesis 28:10-20.

This does not mean we let our children stay home from church and decide as adults. We give them every opportunity to learn about Jesus and His great love.

Genesis 28:7, “And that Jacob had obeyed his parents…” The Message

Parenting isn’t about making life easy for our children. It’s about teaching them the skills they will need to stand on their own two feet. There are no guarantees in life. If they want to go to college, they will have to study and earn scholarships.

They may not meet their mate right after they graduate. They have to know how to cook a meal and mow the lawn.

I failed again. I don’t remember Laura mowing the lawn. And she was the first of our children to buy a house! (David remedied that.)

* * * * * * *

In Bible times, women worked around the tents and men in the fields. The lowest job was to be a shepherd. Even though Rachel had brothers, she took the lowest job.

Genesis 29:9, “…She was the shepherd.” The Message

October 9, 2019: Genesis 27-29.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

A Quiet Man

Conscientious. A hard-worker. Responsible. Dependable. These words were used to describe Pat at her funeral. She was surrounded by family.

She was not famous. There were no long speeches by prominent people, but loving words from her son.

Yet her life was not measured by the attendance of her funeral. She lived a full life. She told her children, “I’m not afraid to die. I know where I’m going. I’m ready.”

* * * * * * *

God chooses people differently than we do. In a society where the firstborn son received twice as much as his siblings, God chose the second son. (In Isaac’s case, he inherited everything, Genesis 25:5.)

Genesis 25:27, “The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter and outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents.” The Message

Where others choose the rich, God chooses the poor. Others look to the famous, God uses the unknown. Others look to athletes, God seeks nerds. Others look for a handsome face and a healthy body. God uses the disabled.

Yes, God is looking for you! No one is disqualified.

October 8, 2019: Genesis 25, 26.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

Barely Finished Prayer

I was at a funeral visitation with my sister-in-law, when a young man walked in. Melinda introduced me.

He whispered to her, “Is she single?”

“No!” she replied, “and my brother will kill you!”

Later she told me what he asked. I burst out laughing, “I’m old enough to be his mother!”

* * * * * * *

God answered my prayer to renew my youth as He did for Sarah! I just had confirmation!

Genesis 24:45, “I barely finished offering this prayer, when Rebekah arrived…” The Message

Jesus had a prayer answered quickly, too!

Matthew 10:1, “The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered…” The Message

Each day I ask God for followers. Today I noticed a new follower before I prayed!

How quickly I forget when God answers a prayer immediately. I remember the things I prayed over for decades. Maybe that’s why He lets me wait!

Thank you, Lord, for answered prayer!

October 7, 2019: Genesis 23, 24.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.

Sent for Sarah

I felt like I was going to fall but I was in bed! I also had to pee. I carefully got up and the room swayed. I held the walls and piano as I staggered to the bathroom.

What’s wrong?

I fought a sinus headache last week. I remembered feeling pressure in my left ear. There must be fluid built up in there. I went to the kitchen for Sudafed and went back to bed.

When I woke up, the pressure and wooziness were gone. I could go to the doctor but I already know what he will say, “It’s just allergies.” Or worse, “You’re just getting older!”

* * * * * * *

Age means nothing to God. Sarah was 95. Yet she was so beautiful and youthful-looking that a foreign king added her to his harem!

Genesis 20:2, “…So Abimelech, King of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.” The Message

What we see in the mirror is not a true picture. When the love of Jesus shines through us, He softens our features. He is our backbone. We rely on His strength, not our muscles.

Psalms 103:5, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles.” New Living Translation

* * * * * * *

Ezekiel 37:5, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you and you will come to life.” New International Version

October 6, 2019: Genesis 20-22.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.


Its Eye on God

The football team of the home church played the football team of our satellite church. Since everyone was in Mt. Pleasant, the E3 Youth met for a “5th Quarter.” They played games and enjoyed free food.

It was Homecoming for Mt. Pleasant. But we wondered if it would happen at all. It all depended on God. All eyes were on Him.

Zechariah 9:1, “…The whole world has its eye on God. Israel isn’t the only one.” The Message

There was a tornado watch, flash flood watch, and a severe thunderstorm warning from 4 pm to 11 pm. They held the Homecoming parade at 3 pm.

They canceled the junior varsity game and had kick-off for the varsity game at 6 pm. They kept their eyes on heaven all evening. They finished the game and the “5th Quarter” event went off as planned.

Things always go more smoothly when we keep our eyes on God.

September 27, 2019: Zechariah 9-13.

“2019 Relevant Bible Reading Guide”

©2009-2019 All Rights Reserved.