There are Difficult Times Ahead

My plan was to arrive early at the bridal shower.

  • My daughter called asking me to turn on the iron.
  • I told David I was going to Wal-Mart afterward for watch batteries. (My fitness tracker gives me a rash in the summer.) He asked for a battery for his desk clock. We tried the ones I had on hand and the minutes slipped away. I taped the battery he needed to the back of the package I had. Then I put it and my watches in my purse.
  • As I parked, I received a text that my sister was running late.

I hurried into the shower feeling like the worst mother-of-the-groom ever! The mother-of-the-bride met me at the door and gave me a hug. She just laughed when I apologized for not coming early. The bride-to-be was gracious, too. She said she arrived later than planned.

The food was amazing: “Build-your-own-parfaits,” mini Quiches, coffee cake, bruschetta with tomatoes and parsley, and bruschetta with strawberries, blueberries, and mint leaves. I took a big bite of a fruit bruschetta and heard Rachel say, “There are some people I would like you to meet.” I chewed furiously and prayed there were no mint leaves stuck to my teeth!

Her mother gave her a silver spoon from her grandmother’s collection…(She lost her grandmother when she was 5)…and the baby bonnet that she wore home from the hospital. Her aunt made it out of a handkerchief. You clip the stitches and have something old to carry in your wedding. She cried and everyone teared up with her.

I gave her the same glasses as my sister-in-law and another guest. I really felt like crying! (No, we did not plan it.)

Instead, I put my foot in my mouth. Not just once, but at least 3 times. I dug a hole, and when I tried to fix it, the deeper I went!

After the shower, I went to Wal-Mart. My favorite watch wouldn’t work – even with a new battery. I still have a white watch for summer and a black watch for winter. It’s funny; I thought I needed that fitness tracker.

I consoled myself with a trip to the library. I checked out as many books as I could carry.

“Sometimes you have to give up things you thought you wanted before you reap the rewards of the things you least expected.” Wanda E. Brunstetter in “The Discovery Saga Collection”

Finally, the verse I read this morning made sense.

2 Timothy 3:1, “Don’t be naïve. There are difficult times ahead. …” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Pebble Beach, on the California Coast, has become quite famous for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore. These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues relentlessly. And what is the result?

Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the beautiful stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.

So why have these stones been left untouched through all the years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they have always been – rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty – for polish is the result of difficulties.

Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.” “Streams in the Desert” –  July 7

* * * * * * *

“We often assume we’ll only have peace when our situation changes. Then like Gideon we learn that inward peace doesn’t depend on altering our outward circumstances; it depends on believing God is with you and experiencing His inner peace.” The Word for You Today

* * * * * * *

“There must be an assignment on your life and so He doesn’t take you up out of it, He gets in the fire with you. …I’m not gonna take you out of the storm, I’m gonna see you through the storm!” “How I Know You’re Important,” 1 Min Motivation, Steven Furtick

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

Refuse Inane Discussions

My dad was a character. He loved giving his friends and family a hard time. A battle of wits was a favorite pastime.

We all inherited his wit. He found in his children a worthy opponent. As adults, we sometimes got the best of him. He always ended those discussions with 1 word…

“Stifle”

Stifle could mean several things:

  • I’m losing the battle and want to end the war.
  • You’re talking too much.
  • I don’t want to discuss that subject.
  • Your voice is too loud.
  • Don’t talk in here, (the car, church, etc).

If Dad were alive and had a Facebook page, I’m sure that would be his comment on many posts – “Stifle!”

2 Timothy 2:23-24, “Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. (24) God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“If we as Christians are going to be a witness in this culture, we must change the way we speak – not only about one another, but also about the world around us.” “The Timeless Voice: Civility is more than manners, it’s the gospel in action” Greg Baker, The Family Leader

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 11:12, “Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

“You’re to stand – not fight. …Our human methods get in God’s way.” The Word for You Today 7-6-2018

* * * * * * *

“Living a life of faith often requires us to leave things alone. If we have completely entrusted something to God, we must keep our hands off it. He can guard it better than we can, and He does not need our help.” A. B. Simpson, in “Streams in the Desert” July 6

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

Frittering Away Their Days

Turning the page on my DayTimer, I found it was the last one. Yeah, I planned to print off the pages for July last Thursday.

A food journal is on one side and a regular journal on the other. It’s more of a diary than a planner now. I have a line down the middle of the 2nd page. It is easier to record activities and reads like a newspaper.

My task list is long but I have no energy. After 2 loads of laundry and writing 2 posts, I shopped online. David’s birthday is next Wednesday. No luck.

Derek came home for lunch and turned on the TV. I decided to play computer games until he went back to work. That turned into playing until I won. The afternoon slipped away and guilt moved in. I’m as bad as the young widows Paul warned Timothy about.

1 Timothy 5:13, “…frittering away their days on…trivialities…” The Message

* * * * * * *

2 Chronicles 20:15, ‘For the battle is not yours, but God’s…’ …Why then do you discourage yourself into defeat, trying to win the battle in your own strength? You engage in a fruitless cycle of repentance, resolutions, struggles, defeat, and discouragement, which leads to more repenting. The only sort of spiritual conflict that’s ever successfully won, is the one God fights for you.” The Word for You Today

I’m adjusting to a new normal. In 2009, we lost our first parent. Since then, we lost 2 more. Burying our parents became our new normal.

This week, we buried our niece’s father. I thought it would be years before that happened. Yet, we’ve lost many classmates. Burying our peers is becoming a new normal.

“As you and I follow Jesus in our new normal, we’ll continually climb out of the familiar because that’s life. We may not always know what’s ahead, but we can be assured we’re on good ground if we’re following Jesus.” “Adjusting to a New Normal” Suzie Eller, Proverbs 31 Ministries

In 11 weeks, Derek will come home for lunch for the last time. An empty nest will be my new normal. I’m sad and excited all at once. I’ll miss him, but I already have plans for his room.

Dad would have been 86 today. I still miss him. Happy Birthday in heaven, Dad.

©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.

Christ Thought of Everything

Grief. The family is walking through the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Everyone grieves differently. Four members of the same family can start in four different stages. Some are in shock and cannot cry. Others can’t stop crying.

There are so many decisions – so much to do:

  • Find the best pictures.
  • Pick verses that reflect their life or were favorites.
  • Remembering everything for the obituary.
  • Choosing a final resting place.
  • Dispersing all the stuff.
  • Re-homing the animals.
  • Explaining everything to his granddaughter.
  • Which songs?

Acts 28 is a wonderful example of how to survive grief or another trauma.

1. Build a campfire.

Acts 28:1-2, “Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it… (2) went out of their way to be friendly…they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it.” The Message

The grieving need to look around make sure everyone is there. The friends of the family are to gather around the family. They are there to listen or just cry with you.

2. Take them home.

Acts 28:7-9, “The head man…Publius…took us into his home as his guests, drying us out and putting us up in fine style. … (8) Publius’s father was sick…Paul…laid hands on him and prayed, the man was healed. (9) Word of the healing got around fast, and soon everyone on the island who was sick came and got healed.” The Message

Send the grieving to your guest room for a nap. Or to rest and let their mind stop spinning. Take them out to eat to let them set the grief aside for a bit.

Friends can get you away from the grief for an hour or so. But, even in grief, look for ways to serve. Doing something kind for someone else lifts our spirits.

3. Meet their needs.

Acts 28:10, “We spent a wonderful three months on Malta. They treated us royally, took care of our needs and outfitted us for the rest of the journey.” The Message

Offer water and food. Loan them what they are lacking – an umbrella on a rainy day. Guard them like royalty. Be a buffer for them.

4. Realize their grieving is not permanent.

Acts 28:15, “Paul, brimming over with praise, led us in prayers of Thanksgiving.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Acts 28:20, “…I’m a hostage here for hope, not doom.” The Message

Time eases grief. It becomes easier to bear. You never stop missing your loved one but you find reasons to smile again. We start to see things differently.

* * * * * * *

Death is not the only hard time we will experience. Divorce, unemployment, accidents, and serious illnesses all take us through a valley.

“We want God to change the situation but not us. God wants to change us.” Pastor Monte Knudsen, 6-27-18

* * * * * * *

“…He wanted me to learn that His grace is sufficient in the pit. …God didn’t rescue Daniel from the pit; He delivered Him from the power of the enemy while he was in the pit.” Pastor Sarah Utterbach – Redeeming Love Christian Center in The Word for You Today, 6-27-18

God has a plan for our lives. We will not stay in this valley or pit forever.

Ephesians 1:8-9, “He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, (9) letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Ephesians 1:11-12, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. (12) …He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” The Message

Lean on your church family during hard times. They want to bear your burdens. Their prayers will carry you when you can’t go any further.

Ephesians 1:22, “…The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.” The Message

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

God Working Things in Your Lives You Could Never Do for Yourselves

June 1, 2018, 4:45 p.m.

I still haven’t written yesterday’s post!

I felt like I should make my Instagram account, instagram.com/frugalfishorg/, public. I set up some safeguards. Then researched and wrote my bio. I kept getting the same error message. It frustrated me because I needed to write that post! I stopped, prayed for guidance, and found the glitch.

Galatians 3:2-5, “Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you?

(3) Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?

(4) Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

(5) Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own Presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust Him to do them in you?” The Message

* * * * * * *

Galatians 3:9, “…and that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure.” The Message

I ate breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen. I had a burning desire to decorate David’s office. It’s yellow and I decided to give it the Iowa Hawkeye color scheme.

I took out the burgundy accents and brought in a black lantern, clock, and vase. I moved things around several times before satisfied.

Mom called. She was in town and I invited her to come over. Then I quickly made my bed! 😉

Galatians 3:11, “…The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.” The Message

Then the guilt came. I hadn’t read my Bible or written yesterday’s post.

It’s in the 90’s today. I decided to do laundry before it got too hot. It was almost lunchtime. I had just enough time to clean the shelves in the door of the refrigerator.

Finally finished! I cleaned the frig one shelf at a time. It’s easier doing a tough job by breaking it down into smaller jobs. Then I read my Bible.

After lunch, I sat down to write my post. Nothing.

Galatians 3:21, 22, “…the law…its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, (22) and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete His promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time.” The Message

I took a nap. Sometimes, my thoughts clear and I know exactly what to write. My 15-minute power nap resets – twice.

Still nothing. I decided to practice. Surely God would speak to me then.

He did. “The family picture would look better in the bedroom. You can hang the clock where it was.”

I moved the picture and clock. Then practiced for 45 minutes. Still nothing.

“At its core, sinfulness is selfishness. It’s enthroning yourself – your desires, your needs, your plans – above all else. …Instead of trying to fulfill His purposes, you try to get Him to fulfill yours. Who’s following who? Instead of following Jesus, you’re trying to get Him to follow you. It doesn’t work that way. …’If anyone desires to follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,…Matthew 16:24.” The Word for You Today

What if I wrote today’s post before I wrote yesterday’s? That would be crazy! That would break all my “rules.”

That is exactly what I did!

©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.