He’s the Gardener

“Good luck waits to come to that man who accepts opportunity. …My first judgment is my best. …Make a prompt deposit. …Procrastination is the enemy. …” “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason

God gave the Israelites a great opportunity. He gave them good land but they had to work it. They depended on Him for rain.

Deuteronomy 11:11-12, “But the land you are about to cross the river and take for your own is a land of mountains and valleys; it drinks water that rains from the sky. (12) It’s a land that God, your God, personally tends – He’s the gardener – He alone keeps His eye on it all year long.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…for thirty years, Tel Aviv, on the coast, has never recorded rain in June, July, or August. After such a dry summer, the coming of the rains is especially important for the farmer. They should begin in mid-September, but the start of the rainy season is sometimes delayed. This gives the farmer less time for ploughing, and there is also less time for the wells to fill up again after the summer’s use.

…The margin of the desert is not fixed. In some years the margin withdraws east and south. In other years it overruns the area and there is drought and famine. These exceptionally wet and exceptionally dry years…constantly remind God’s people that they depend on Him.”

“The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible” Edited by Pat Alexander, 1978

Everything depends on God. There is none more dependable!

Deuteronomy 11:1, “So love God, your God; guard well His rules and regulations; obey His commandments for the rest of time.” The Message

Then in my study of Proverbs 19, I read this:

Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

“The truth is, you’ll never know how close you are to a breakthrough or a blessing until you learn to listen.” The Word for You Today, 11-28-18

What opportunities do you have today? Have you missed an opportunity because of procrastination?

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Say to Them…

“Are you going to move the boxes out of the guest room?” David asked.

“I can’t until I make space in the storage room,” I replied.

I spent the morning in the storage room. I packed the drums and moved the cases to the bottom of the stairs. Then I texted Derek to pick them up.

David moved the drum shield on his lunch hour. (I couldn’t lift it.) I cleared the corner; rolled up the rug, and swept the floor.

“…God is for you. That means you can do the thing you are afraid you can’t do. …Beginning is usually the hard part. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; after that it gets easier. …Radio commentator Paul Harvey says, ‘You can always tell when you’re on the road to success. It’s uphill all the way.’ ” The Word for You Today, 11-13-18

I spent the afternoon putting fall decorations away. Then I put away the decorating boxes. I cleared the suitcases and boxes off of the bed. When David got home from work, we took the bed apart. We leaned the pieces against the wall in the storage room. We swept the floor and called it a day.

* * * * * * *

This morning, David asked if I had a plan for the game/craft room. I got out my floor plan and showed him. It helps him to see the plan.

“…A Harvard study has demonstrated that our brain cannot tell the difference between a visualized image of our success and reality. However, it can tell the difference between a visualized image and a fantasy. …our brain looks at fantasies as a threat. …” How to Visualize Your Success in 3 Easy Ways, LaRae Quy, FBI Agent

The first step was “Be very intentional with the way you talk to yourself.” We also need to be intentional about how we speak to others.

Numbers 6:23-27, “…This is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them, (24) God bless you and keep you, (25) God smile on you and gift you, (26) God look you full in the face and make you prosper. (27) In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel – I will confirm it by blessing them.” The Message

Are you procrastinating on a project? Can you draw a picture of the result? Can you write steps to your goal? What is the first step?

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


A Most Jealous God

At the top of several pages of my sermon notes is one word – “testimonials.” In the middle of a sermon, #God would nudge me and whisper, “Make a testimonials page.” I would write the note and plan on doing it the next day. Then I procrastinated.

Listening to Steven Furtick’s “1:Minute Motivation” jolted me. There was that word – procrastination.

“Whatever is in your heart to do you better do it now. …sometimes the devil will tell you you’re being patient…if he can get you to mistake procrastination for patience, he can keep you locked out of the blessing that is on the other side of your obedience.” “Don’t Blow It,” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

I had put every other task ahead of the assignment #God gave me. I repented and pulled up the one testimonial I had copied.

Over the next four hours, I read every comment on my blog and LinkedIn. Then I went to my Facebook page and read the comments there.

I typed the comments and the title of the post. I added the name and job of those I knew. I noted where the comment was from and the date. Then I added links to each post. As I published the page, I realized, procrastination is an idol – it’s putting other things before God.

Exodus 20:5, “…I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me.” The Message

I learned something else, too. I thought the phrase “punishing the children to the third and fourth generation” meant God punished them for their parent’s sins. That is not necessarily so.

God punishes children for sins they commit. They may justify them because their parents did the same thing.

However, sin has consequences. Unfortunately, children suffer the consequences right along with their parents. These consequences are for unrepentant people who hate God. There’s a promise for those who repent and love God.

Exodus 20:6, “But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“You don’t have to do anything to experience God’s love, but you must know His voice and follow His direction to experience His blessing.” “The Word for You Today,” October 24, 2018

Have you completed a task you procrastinated over? How do you defeat procrastination?

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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?

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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!

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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?

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That Which You Took

“Gratitude isn’t a natural response to adversity; it’s a discipline you develop.” The Word for You Today, October 6

I’m getting a lot of opportunities to develop my discipline of gratitude. Yesterday, I found my posts were going to a fake Frugal Fish page. I pray God comes to the perpetrator in a dream as He did Abimelech.

Genesis 20:2-3, “So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her. (3) But God came to Abimelech in a dream that night and told him, ‘You’re as good as dead – that woman you took, she’s a married woman.’ ” The Message

I disconnected Facebook from my blog. I will have to post manually. I reported the fake page to Facebook and WordPress. I changed my passwords earlier this week but changed them again today. I may have to kill the page.

Genesis 22:9-10, “They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. (10) Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.” The Message

God provided a way for Abraham that did not take Isaac’s life. I believe He will make a way for me.

Has someone taken something of yours? How did God repay you?

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And Then There Were the Musicians

“We…have inner strengths and gifts that need to be refined but we’re not aware of them because a demand hasn’t been placed on them.” The Word for You Today, 9-30-18

When I married David, I determined to bring honor to his surname. My actions showed his name meant hardworking, honesty, doing the right thing, faithfulness, and dependability. David was already living this way. We taught our children the same things.

But what if you were born into a family with a different reputation? Are there strengths and gifts in you? Yes!

1 Chronicles 7:21, “…Ezer and Elead, cattle-rustlers, killed on one of their raids by the natives of Gath.” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 Chronicles 7:24, “His daughter was Sheerah. She built Lower and Upper Beth Horon and Uzzen Sheerah.” The Message 

* * * * * * *

“Beth-Horon, House of the Hollow… Much later King Solomon would fortify both Beth-Horons (2 Chronicles 8:5). abarim-publications.com

* * * * * * *

“Uzzen-Sheerah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List…some sharp pinnacle and reads ‘Top of Sheerah.’ ” abarim-publications.com

While her brothers were out rustling cattle, Sheerah was building defendable towns. Two of them were later used as fortresses. The third had a pinnacle where she could watch for danger.

* *

What if you have a boring job? Are there strengths and gifts in you? Yes!

1 Chronicles 9:18, “Up to now the security guard at the King’s Gate on the east. They also served as security guards at the camps of Levite families.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…the temple gatekeepers played very significant roles in a temple-centered society with crude locks and keys. In one role the gatekeepers functioned essentially as secret service agents, controlling the inner city security of Jerusalem.

…Some gatekeepers held substantial political power themselves. By guarding doorways a gatekeeper could play the role of the royal ‘chief of staff,’ controlling access to the king.

…Another gatekeeper, a certain Zechariah, is called a ‘wise counselor’ (1 Chronicles 26:14), which is a phrase the Chronicler reserves for royal advisors (1 Chronicles 27:32, 33).

…Kore, a gatekeeper of the East Gate, …’in charge of the freewill offerings given to God,’ a responsibility that included distributing allotments by divisions (2 Chronicles 31:14-16). Without bank vaults persons of great integrity were necessary to ensure the proper financial care of the temple and its personnel.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

The gatekeepers were more than bouncers. They were wise advisors, with political power, entrusted with the finances.

* *

Some duties required greater commitment and sacrifice. Would you accept a job that required 24-hours, 7 days a week duty?

1 Chronicles 9:33, “And then there were the musicians…They had permanent living quarters in the Temple; because they were on twenty-four-hour duty, they were exempt from all other duties.” The Message

Serving on the worship team looks glamorous but it’s not. We practice or play every day, 7 days a week. We are constantly learning and memorizing new songs. We can’t just run away for the weekend.

Some weeks we carry more responsibility than others. The weekend of Derek’s wedding one leader played percussion as she led. Another singer stepped up and led 2 songs. Some weeks, I play 2 keyboard parts and cover the bass part all at once.

* *

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your family’s reputation is. It doesn’t matter what your day job is. God put strengths and gifts in you to do more. You have great political power – all you have to do is cast a vote.

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


They Lived in Them

I took the leaf out of the kitchen table. Now I have a round table instead of an oval one. The centerpiece is a round placemat made of faux leaves. On it is a white candle embedded with cranberry flowers. It sits atop a black metal candle holder with copper wire wrapped around its stem. Between two of its curled legs is my new, cranberry colored, velvet pumpkin. Adjacent to it is a pumpkin scented candle in a copper tin.

My glass block has copper, leaf-shaped cookie cutters in it. There is a string of copper lights running through them. Next to it is a metal basket with leaf cut-outs on each side. I put a twine bow and leaf in the corner of the basket.

You might say decorating is my passion. Although it is not very spiritual. Or is it? I used to buy all sorts of things to decorate my house. Lately, I have used fewer things. I am even removing items from rooms. I envision what I want to use and see. I keep adding or taking away items until pleased with the result. Maybe decorating is spiritual after all.

“It’s your vision that fuels your passion. …once you line up your passion with God’s plan, there will be no stopping you. …instead of trying to stifle your passion, let God redirect it.” “The Word for You Today,” September 29, 2018

The family of Reuben’s passion was ranching. They had livestock and their operation kept growing. They outgrew their settled land. They had to expand.

1 Chronicles 5:9-10, “His family occupied the land up to the edge of the desert that goes all the way to the Euphrates River, since their growing herds of livestock spilled out of Gilead. (10) During Saul’s reign they fought and defeated the Hagrites; they then took over their tents and lived in them on the eastern frontier of Gilead.” The Message

The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh had a vision. They needed more room for their livestock. They needed more room for their families. They needed to conquer land occupied by the Hagrites.

How did they do it?

  1. They trained for war, 5:18.
  2. They were physically fit, 5:18.
  3. They practiced handling shield, sword, and bow until skilled, 5:18.
  4. God helped them as they fought, 5:20.
  5. They cried out to God during the battle, 5:20.
  6. God heard them because they trusted Him, 5:20.
  7. They acknowledged the war was God’s, 5:22.

I think the last one is the most important. No matter what we are battling, we need to remember the war is God’s. We train, take care of our bodies, and work on our skills. But trust God with the results.

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God Is Interested in People, Not Religion

Yesterday, I got up at 4 am, and after devotions, went to the Fairfield square. It was “Kiwanis Kid’s Day.” They set up a huge tent and serve pancakes. You can enjoy sausage, juice, milk, coffee, and all the pancakes you care to eat. (Later there is a parade and other events.)

This fundraiser is well attended. We saw people we haven’t seen in years. It was fun catching up with neighbors and acquaintances. I invited one young lady to church. I am not trying to make her religious, I want to see her more often.

Zechariah 7:6, 9, 10, “And when you held feasts, was it for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people. (9) …Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. (10) Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another – that’s evil.” The Message

Life is about balance – spend time helping others and spend time with your family. Work hard but enjoy the “fruits of your labor.”

Psalms 128:1, 2, 6, “All you who fear God, how blessed you are! How happily you walk on his smooth straight road! (2) You worked hard and deserve all you’ve got coming. Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness! …(6) And enjoy your grandchildren. Peace to Israel.” The Message

Remember, you have a purpose. God planted goals, projects, and dreams in us. A full life means we work on them. They give us a reason to get up each morning.

“Giants can be tangible or intangible: the things we haven’t overcome because, seduced by fear, we think we can’t. They can also be unattainable goals, unfinished projects, or unfulfilled dreams – the ‘loose ends’ of life that keep us mired in mediocrity…”

“The Word for You Today,” September 16, 2018

Write down your goals, projects, and dreams. Pick a day in the next month or so to work on each one. Take small steps. Do the first thing, and then the next, and the next.

How do you eat a stack of pancakes? One bite at a time.

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