Walking on the Road Revealed by God

I admired the tree at breakfast. A mature tree, it provided shade for three backyards. This afternoon a tree service removed some of the lower limbs.

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Nothing stays the same – sooner or later everything gets cut back. Transitions are the time to pray and seek God. He is never finished with us.

“…Daniel is not a young man. He is a seasoned man of God who no longer has the ambitions of the young. For years, he has been praying three times a day, and has lived separate from the corrupt culture of the Babylonians…

For Daniel, it all came down to one desire in life: to speak for God.

…You have to understand what a sacrifice this was for Daniel because of how busy he was. He was the third-most powerful ruler in the Babylonian kingdom…Yet even with all those responsibilities, Daniel was a man given wholly to the Word of God.

…Daniel was studying…Jeremiah when the Holy Spirit showed him…The seventy-year period…was now expired. Yet, even though the appointed time had come for Israel to be delivered, it wouldn’t happen until God found a man through whom he could speak.”

“The Heavenly Calling – Your Best Days Ahead Pursuing God’s Great Purposes” By David Wilkerson, “World Challenge Pulpit Series,” August 20, 2018

In Ezra, the people of Israel are returning from Babylon. Unfortunately, it was not 70 years after the exile.

“History had not treated the people of Israel well and they were in decline. A superpower military machine, Babylon, had battered them and then, leaving their city and temple a mound of rubble, hauled them off into exile. Now, 128 years later, a few Jews back in Jerusalem had been trying to put the pieces back together decade after weary decade…”

The Message Introduction to Ezra

Later in David Wilkerson’s article, he shared of God calling him as “barely a teenager.” At 28 he was the pastor of a little Pentecostal church, and after a season of prayer, God sent him to New York City. He witnessed to several boys involved in a murder. Multitudes of those youth were changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the “Teen Challenge Ministry” was born.

When he was 58, he was an evangelist based out of Texas. After months of prayer, God called him back to New York City to start a church. In his seventies, after another season of diligent prayer, God called him to travel the world.

“Whether you are a minister or a lay Christian, it doesn’t matter how long you have served the Lord: your best days may be ahead.” David Wilkerson

Our job is to pray for guidance and stay on the road God sets.

Psalms 119:1-3, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. (2) You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. (3) That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.” The Message

God told me to write this Bible Reading Guide when I was 13. I was 21 when I started working in the church office. That changed in my forties and I wrote the “Relevant Guide” and started blogging. Who knows, God may have a new assignment for me.

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

#bible

Not a Religious Plod, But a Living, Spirited Dance

Each day I make a cup of coffee. Then I open and shut the Keurig on the same pod and brew another one. I mix the two together and add cream and sugar. I pour it into a stainless steel water bottle. The remainder goes into my cup. I pour out a half a cup at a time. I have hot coffee, just the way I like it, as I write.

(Thank you, Paula Adam, for telling me to brew both cups and mix them together! You should be frugalfish!)

Since switching to the Keurig, we both have cut back to 2 cups a day. That was one of our goals.

You would not believe how much I look forward to that first cup of coffee! I’ve burned the top of my mouth and my tongue many times. I was pretty proud of myself for cutting back…until last night’s sermon…

“Do we crave God’s Word more than coffee? …We partake of God’s nature when we eat God’s Word. …Revelation 10:8-9, ‘…Go take the little scroll…Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’ (New Living Translation) …The Word of God is good for correction…” Pastor Monte Knudsen, 6-6-18

I felt like I had been hit in the gut! I don’t crave God’s Word like I crave my coffee!

When I read the Bible it always tastes sweet. But when I chew (meditate and think) on it, I feel sick to my stomach! The Word is correcting me. It points out the things in my life that are contrary to God’s nature.

I dislike sharing my faults and failures. Last night, I realized Pastor Monte does it twice a week – and on Facebook Live! Thank God, preaching is not my vocation!

The synonyms of vocation are: calling, life’s work, mission, purpose, etc. We read a few verses today about doing our work and fulfilling our calling.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-6, “All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. (6) You’re suffering now, but justice is on the way.” The Message

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2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time – pray that our God will make you fit for what He’s called you to be, pray that He’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with His own energy so that it all amounts to something. (12) If your life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor you.” The Message

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2 Thessalonians 2:15-17, “So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. (11) May Jesus Himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, (17) put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.” The Message

God never planned for our vocation as work or drudgery. The secret is to find your calling in your job. Give your best work when you are on the clock. Be the employee of the month every month. That honors God.

But on your breaks, lunch, before and after work, fulfill your calling. Reach out to your coworkers. Everywhere Jesus went, He was doing good, (Matthew 9:35; Acts 10:38).

Being a good person is not our goal; being a God-person is. The more Word we think on, the more of God’s nature manifests.

Paul gave the Thessalonians several instructions on how to live:

1 Thessalonians 4:1, “One final word, friends. We ask you – urge you is more like it – that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.” The Message

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1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. (12) We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.” The Message

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1 Thessalonians 5:13-14, “Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. (14) Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on…” The Message

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be cheerful no matter what, (17) Pray all the time; (18) thank God no matter what happens…” The Message

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2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, “Now, friends, read these next words carefully. Slow down and don’t go jumping to conclusions regarding the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome Him. (2) Don’t let anyone shake you up…” The Message

Pray. Twice Paul said, “Pray all the time!” We will never fulfill our calling, our destiny, without prayer.

“Dear friend, never go out into the danger of the world without praying first. …You have failed to pray, and you will suffer as a result. Temptations are waiting to confront you, and you are not prepared to withstand them. …When we give in to laziness, moments of prayer that are missed can never be redeemed.” Frederick William Robertson in “Streams in the Desert” June 6

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“…We’re all called as gospel ministers, no matter what our job or vocation. I’ve met some of the poorest, most destitute people in the world, and some are powerful evangelists for the Lord. They all have one thing in common with the late, amazing Billy Graham: When you meet them, you know they’ve spent time in God’s presence. That makes all the difference, no matter what our station in life.

…So, what does it mean, exactly, to have God’s nature in us? It means we don’t have to try to be holy; we are holy, by virtue of His presence in us. We don’t have to try to be acceptable; we are made acceptable by Him. We don’t have to try to be good; we already are good by His divine nature, which resides in us through His Spirit.

…Here is yet another aspect of God’s presence in us; having the mind of Christ. No matter what mental battles we face, our stance is always one of victory, because we live and move in God’s presence. Even on our worst days we’re held together, propped up, and put at peace by the life and mind of Christ within us. Yet breaking chains is only the beginning of Jesus’ work in us. The more time we spend with Him, the more He prepares us to do His works. ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil,’ (1 John 3:8).“Intimacy with God – Out of His presence Come the Works of Jesus,” by Gary Wilkerson, World Challenge Pulpit Series, May 21, 2018

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Showing You Step-by-Step

June 5, 2018, 4:30 a.m.

I couldn’t sleep and neither could Derek. He was thinking about buying a particular house.

“… ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign…’ Isaiah 7:11. …There is no reason why we should not ask for great things. Without a doubt, we will receive them if we ask in faith, having the courage to wait with patient perseverance for Him and meanwhile doing those things that are within our power to do. It is not within our power to create the wind or to change its direction, but we can raise our sails to catch it when it comes.” “Streams in the Desert” – June 5

I told him about buying our home. The most important thing is – location, location, location! And how we prayed for 10 months before we closed on it.

My conversation took a downward turn. I realized it when Derek said, “Shouldn’t you be talking to Dad about this?”

Oh, smack!

I read my Bible and saw I would need to share it. (Can’t I just post to instagram.com/frugalfishorg/, God? At least there I may look clever. I don’t want to write about my failures!) 

Being a mature, obedient Christian…

…I took a nap.

Yeah, I was avoiding and procrastinating. (In my defense, I only got 4 hours of sleep on Sunday.)

When I got up, I read, “One Thousand Gifts”

“… ‘For God does speak – now one way, now another’ (Job 33:14 NIV). One way His finger writing words in stars (Psalms 19:1-3), His eternal power written naked in all creation (Romans 1:20); and now another way, the sharp Holy Writ on the page that makes a careful incision into a life, blade words that kindly cut the tissue back to where soul and spirit join, tenderly laying bare the intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).” “One Thousand Gifts”  – Ann Voskamp

That blade did a little work on me this morning! I did not like what it exposed! I did not want to share it. Then, I remembered my most read posts are usually the most humbling or embarrassing.

I still procrastinated. I picked up the “World Challenge Pulpit Series Newsletter” Mom had dropped off…

“As a ministry leader, I occasionally ask myself and my co-laborers: ‘Why are we here? Why do we do what we do? What’s our purpose?’ …The answer is ‘We’re here to minister to Jesus.’ …I’ve seen a terrible pattern…It began with the church-growth movement, a phenomenon that birthed the idea that corporate strategies could advance the kingdom of God. …their purpose… ‘We’re here to get bigger, to expand, to bring in more.’ …” “Intimacy with God – Out of His Presence Come the Works of Jesus” by Gary Wilkerson, “World Challenge Pulpit Series” May 21, 2018

Smack, again!

I can’t share a failure just to get more readers! It relieved me, that I didn’t need to share details. But also saddened me. I forgot my purpose – to show you the Bible speaks to your life every day.

I decided the best thing I could do was…

…Catch up on email.

I was afraid of what God would show me – so I started on the bottom.

“Does God use broken people to do big things? I believe He does. But you’ll never see it happen if you don’t look beneath the surface. We imagine what we could be if we had no weaknesses. We’re blinded to what we could become if we embraced our weakness as an opportunity to showcase God’s strength. I know you have that thing you wish you could do better. …But sometimes, what God leaves out is just as important as what He puts in. It’s what teaches you to rely on Him. …It’s what forces you to pick up a pen and use what you have for the glory of God.” “What God Didn’t Put in You is Just as Important as What He Did” Steven Furtick, In an email dated 9-28-17

Double smack!!

My only recourse was to…

Read Facebook.

A memory from a few years ago was the first thing I read:

“God doesn’t ask us to do hard things only once. He asks us to do it again and again until it is easy.” #whateverittakes 6-2-2016

I procrastinated the day away. But at 4:30 a.m., on June 6th, it was all there waiting for me. God used several sources to teach me. He is a good Father.

“1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, ‘With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, (12) showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into His own kingdom, into this delightful life.’ ” The Message

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God’s Word Stands Firm and Forever

On Wednesdays, I pray for America. I remind God this country was built on the Bible and it stands forever.

Isaiah 40:8, “True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade, but our God’s Word stands firm and forever.” The Message

What is your foundation? What are you building your life on?

“A strong mind is not something slapped together on a shallow foundation. It needs solid rock. Like a skyscraper, the higher you want to go, the deeper you must go.”
“4 Secrets of a Strong Mind” by FBI Agent Larae Quy

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“What the exiles needed – hope, comfort, tender words, a future – could be found only in the faithfulness of Yahweh, their God. The prophet offers exactly that message in Isaiah 40, pointing away from the sins of the past, away from the conditions of the present, to a future when the exiles would experience divine faithfulness and be restored to their land.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

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Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” The Message

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Isaiah 41:14-15, “Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob? Feel like a fragile insect, Israel? I’ll help you. I, God, want to reassure you. The God who buys you back, the Holy One of Israel. (15) I’m transforming you from worm to harrow, from insect to iron.” The Message

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‘…those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life, through the One, Jesus Christ,’ Romans 5:17. The Greek word for reign here means to ‘rule from a foundation of power.’ When Paul talks about ‘reigning in life,’ he’s talking about having ruling power over sin – and not just in heaven but in this life. We are to reign over every demonic power, every lust, every principality that comes against us. That is true sanctification. …

…I asked him what had kept him true to Jesus all these years. He said, ‘Brother David, you told me once that Jesus loved me. I became convinced of that. So, I just started loving Him back. That’s what has kept me.’

Nicky didn’t have any theology of sanctification. But he was being sanctified – because he was loving his Father, and receiving his Father’s love…” David Wilkerson, “The Gift of Righteousness,” World Challenge Pulpit Series, February 19, 2018

The best foundation is loving Jesus – The Rock!

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