March 20, 2013

I am so excited about the 2014 Relevant Bible Reading Guide! My excitement is from what I am learning in the “Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I.” I know it was written around 100 years ago and it is a reprint from the English addition. This week I read the phrase, “…there is a house similar to it here in London…”

I placed Psalms 30 after 2 Chronicles 6, because the title was “For the dedication of the temple. Of David.”  In the commentary on the “title” under Psalms 30, it said…

“Some suppose that “of David” should be connected with the name of the composition, and not with “house;” and refer for the occasion to the selection of a site for the temple (1 Chronicles 21:26-30; 22:1). But “house” is never used absolutely for the temple, and dedication does not well apply to such an occasion, though the phrase in the Hebrew, “dedication of the house of David,” is an unusual form, yet it is equally unusual to disconnect the name of the author and the composition. As a “dedication of David’s house” (as provided, Deuteronomy 20:25), the scope of the Psalm well corresponds with the state of repose and meditation on his past trials suited to such an occasion (2 Samuel 5:11; 7:2). For beginning with a celebration of God’s delivering favor, in which he invites others to join, he relates his prayer in distress, and God’s gracious and prompt answer.”

David planned on building the temple, if he had, it would have been called “David’s temple,” not “Solomon’s temple.” My decision was confirmed when I read today’s verse.

Psalms 20:1, “I will extol you, O Lord, for You have lifted me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.”

David had many enemies; Solomon reigned during peacetime. I want to read the Psalm after the event that triggered its writing. You’ll have to stick around to see where it ends up!

 

October 22, 2012 – Relevant

You may wonder why we are reading Genesis and Exodus in October. The answer is in today’s verse.

Exodus 12:2, “This month shall be to you the beginning of months, the first month of the year to you.”

The Jewish New Year is at the end of September or beginning of October on our calendar. I wanted to read Genesis on the first day of the Jewish New Year. Since it varies from year to year, I set Genesis as our reading starting on October 1st.

August 30, 2012 – Relevant

Joyce Meyers teaches if you are unhappy, or feel like God is far away, and you no longer feel like you are being “fed” at church, it may be because you are not feeding others. We are not designed to be a storage silo; we are designed to be the conveyor belt that moves the grain into the silo.

God teaches us, and we are to share those teachings with others. God loves us, and we are to love others. God blesses us financially and we are to share those blessings with others. If we keep it all to ourselves we become fat sheep!

Ezekiel 34:20, “Therefore thus says the Lord God to them; Behold, I, I Myself, will judge between fat sheep and impoverished sheep, or fat goats and lean goats.”

I am a fat sheep when it comes to the teachings of the Bible. I grew up on Bible schools and worked in a church until my health changed. Then, suddenly, I could not leave my home, or go to church.

God placed the desire to write the “Relevant Bible Reading Guide” in my heart when I was 13. I didn’t start writing it until 1995. I didn’t work on it regularly until 2005, when I could no longer leave my house. It took me 15 years to write.

I often asked God, “Why is my health this way that I can’t leave the house?” I never seemed to get an answer.

After reading today’s verse, I wonder if it was because I was a fat sheep and I was not teaching others out of the reservoir of teaching I had received. Now I know, when the day comes that I am healed, or a new drug is developed that controls my symptoms, and I am able to leave the house freely, I will teach: Sunday School, Bible Studies, etc. Until that day, and even after, I will share here what God shows me, and teach in my Home Group…as soon as the current teacher finishes the course we are currently studying!

August 15, 2012 – Relevant

I’ll never forget the day the allergist said, “There is nothing more we can try. The shots did not work. You have reached the ceiling on Prednisone. I can’t give you any more. Go home, and try to avoid your allergy triggers.”

It was the Friday before Labor Day. Ragweed, my worst tormentor, was raging. I was horribly broken out. I had hives on top of hives on my face. My lips, eyes, and ears were cracked and would not heal. But the absolute worst area was on my fingers. The cracks on my knuckles were so deep that I could not bend them. Twice a day I put ointment on them and wrapped them in gauze to keep them straight, hoping they would close and heal. I could use only two fingers on my left hand and three fingers on my right hand.

I met with my boss and he asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to move my office home and stay there until I healed. He graciously agreed.

I didn’t leave the house for 87 days.

That was 2004 and the beginning of my medical captivity. But, I serve a great God and He plans good things for us in spite of our circumstances as I read in today’s verse.

Jeremiah 19:5, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so will I regard the captives of Judah whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.”

God allowed my medical captivity for my own good. When I let go of my former job, He showed me how to finish the Relevant Bible Reading Guide and gave me a second one that I call “Babysteps”. I loved my former job, but writing is my passion and now I spend my time doing what I love.

He allowed our income to be reduced again and again and again and finally a fourth time, but He told me it was going to keep going lower. He helped me see clearly the difference between my needs, wants and desires. (Example: I need water, I want coffee, and I desire pop, milkshakes and other fancy drinks.)

When I concentrated on meeting the “needs” and adding one of the “wants” in our budget, the desires faded. I am actually healthier.  On our streamlined budget, when I got a windfall, I was able to pay off our debts…and I mean all of our debts: medical bills, credit cards, van payment, truck payment and mortgage! (We had paid extra on our mortgage for years.) Without those payments, I am able to pay cash for everything.

Yes, I have been in medical captivity for eight years. (I was in my house 97% of the time last year and my new record is not leaving the house for 104 days in a row.) But I am experiencing financial freedom beyond my wildest dreams.

No matter what is holding you captive…

  • Financial problems
  • Health problems
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Unemployment

…God can bless you in spite of it.

Jeremiah chapter 29 tells us how we are to live while in captivity:

  1. Build houses and dwell in them, verse 5.
  2. Plant gardens and eat the fruit, verse 5.
  3. Marry and have children, verse 6.
  4. See your children married and having families, verse 6.
  5. Multiply, do not diminish, verse 6.
  6. Seek peace for the city you live in, verse 7.
  7. Pray for your city, verse 7.
  8. Believe it will not last forever, verse 10.
  9. Know that God will visit you, verse 10.
  10. Know that God will keep His good promise to you, verse 10.
  11. Know that God will not leave you in captivity, but will cause you to return, verse 10.
  12. Know that God is thinking of you, verse 11.
  13. Know that God has a plan for you, verse 11.
  14. Know His plans are for your welfare and peace, not evil, verse 11.
  15. Always keep your hope up for the final outcome, verse, 11.

 

 

 

 

June 6, 2012 – Relevant

Sometimes, I feel like I am living somewhere out in left field…and every batter is bunting! I mean, I write Bible reading guides, who does that? It certainly was not on the list of careers in school!

But the desire to write a relevant Bible reading guide started when I was 13, and in 1995, God clearly told me to start. I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion, I just did it. I read in today’s verse that Paul did the same thing.

Galatians 1:16, “…I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone].”

Sometimes it is better to keep it to yourself. Others may discourage you or try to tell you how to do it. When I started writing, I had no concept of a website or the internet, but God saw it all, even before I was born, v. 15.

What verse impressed you?

May 26, 2012 – Relevant

I have been frustrated with the weight gain from the last round of steroids. Then I remembered eight years ago…I was on steroids almost constantly, and it was about this time that I went into the largest size of my life.

All summer long my condition worsened. Finally, in August, I was told there was nothing more they could do. To make matter worse, I had reached the “ceiling” on steroids. They had to wean me off and keep me off as long as possible. They told me all I could do was avoid allergens. Yeah, right.

As the steroids wore off, the hives went ballistic. I had hives forming on top of hives on my face. I moved the keyboard to the edge of the overhead screen to hide behind the screen when I played on Sunday mornings. Finally, I stopped playing all together.

Then my fingers started cracking open. When the crack got deep enough, I could no longer bend them and they were useless. By Labor Day, I had only two fingers that would bend on one hand and three on the other. The hives on my face were not just embarrassing, they were painful. It felt like my face was sunburned or on fire.

My boss agreed to let me move my office home and work from there. I stayed in the house, not even going into the attached garage, for 87 days and waited. But God honors those who wait as we see in today’s verse.

Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”

Slowly, I healed. After the killing frost, I moved my office back to the church and the hives returned.  The next fall, I moved the office home again and in the fall of 2006, I moved it home permanently.

My condition continued to deteriorate and by the fall of 2007, I was only leaving the house for church on Sunday mornings. God told me that July, that my time working there was almost over. I closed the year and printed the W2’s on New Year’s Eve and stepped down from my job of 24 years.

After 8 years of waiting, I would love to tell you I am healed…but I’m not; each year I got worse. Last year I set a new record of 104 consecutive days in the house. Each year they had to increase the amount of steroids I have to take to leave the house for any reason.

But I have never been happier! Each day, when I go to bed, I thank God that I do not have to leave the house. I am grateful because by staying in this highly protective environment, my skin is perfect; before I had a rash somewhere on my body every day since I was 3 months old. My asthma is totally under control and I no longer spend my days sneezing, wheezing and hacking. The only thing I battle now is sinus headaches triggered by a change in the barometric pressure when a storm blows through. When that happens, I can heat up my sinus mask and go to bed until the storm passes over. Before the only way to cope with the headache was to play Spider Solitaire because it distracted me from the pain.

If all of this had not happened I never would have finished the “Relevant Bible Reading Guide”, or started this website, or wrote the “Babysteps Bible Reading Guide”, or started the Frugalfish.org blog or the unhealedbeliever@wordpress.com blog.

I have 37 outlines of posts for Frugalfish.org. I based the Relevant Bible Reading Guide on the number of verses in a chapter; but soon the Bible Reading Guide will be based on the number of words in a chapter. I want to add a feature with verses you can use to help the grieving, sick and those who are praying for a family member who is drifting away from God.

If I have to stay in my house for the rest of my life, I know I will not be bored; I will be busy! I have experienced the “change and renewal of my strength” the verse talks about. When I write, I become energized, not weary, and faint or tired. Yes, there are rewards for those who wait.

What verse impressed you?

May 14, 2012 – Relevant

Over the years many evangelists came to speak at church; but my favorite was always Bill Jeynes. It was for an entirely selfish reason – he always commented on how young I looked. (I never bothered to tell him the church hired me when I was 20.)

When I opened my Facebook account, he was one of the first preachers I tried to find. I got to know his family better through his statuses. I appreciate him more now because of the balance I see in his life. Yes, he preaches, is a published author, lectures at Ivy League universities, is active in politics bringing the Bible back into schools in many states, and is used by God miraculously during his services. But that is not what impresses me!

What impresses me is he obviously adores his wife, even traveling overseas once or twice a year to take her back to visit her family. He gives his children priority. He schedules his speaking arrangements around the activities at their colleges; he doesn’t set his schedule and then attend the activities that are convenient. He goes to professional ball games, (which for me would be torture), to relax and have fun with his family. I learned all of this from reading his Facebook statuses.  I thought of him when I read today’s verse.

Isaiah 8:3, “And I approached [my wife] the prophetess, and when she had conceived…”

Isaiah’s wife was also balanced. She was a prophetess and earned Isaiah’s respect. But she was also a mother, and we know there is only one way to become a mother!

I have heard it said, “She is so heavenly minded that she is no earthly good.” I want to strive for more balance in my life and writing. (I just don’t want to attend any baseball games.)

What verse impressed you?

Babysteps – Day 469

I gave up Spider Solitaire for Lent this year.  I like to play the most difficult edition and I know I can win…so I keep starting over. I can lose an hour that way, when I should be going to bed!

During Lent, verses in the Bible seemed to jump out at me, because God blesses us when we deny ourselves.

Daniel 10:3, “I ate no pleasant or desirable food, nor did any meat or wine come into my mouth; and I did not anoint myself at all for the full three weeks.”

If you want to hear from God, deny yourself. You do not have to go on a 40 day fast; you can fast dessert, meat, TV or your favorite game for a short time.

What verse impressed you?

Babysteps – Day 467

The first lesson in money and wealth is that God owns everything and everyone works for Him. He can cause one man to lose everything and riches to be lavished upon another. He notes our hard work and He is the one who pays us. Our income is not reliant upon our boss or job. He can bless us outside of our jobs.

Ezekiel 29:18-20, “…Nebuchadrezzar…caused his army to render heavy service [at My bidding] against Tyre…Yet he had no remuneration from Tyre [in proportion to the time and labor expended in the thirteen years’ siege]…I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar…he shall carry off her great mass of people and of things (her riches)…and it shall be wages for his army…I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor with which he served [against Tyre] because they did it for me…”

I have been writing since January, 2008 and I have not made a dollar. But the things I write are burning up inside of me and I have to let them out! I know God sees the hours and I know he will pay my wages. He has blessed us in so many ways. We are better off financially now, than we were when I was working three part-time jobs!

What verse impressed you?

Babysteps – Day 435

I celebrated my first eleven birthdays at Bible Schools. To say I was in church a lot, was putting it mildly! But growing up in that atmosphere was like having an IV pumping the Bible into my spirit.

We had been back in Iowa for a year when I realized I needed a constant dose of the life-giving Word of God. I made a commitment, at the ripe old age of 13, to start my day reading the Bible. I was unable to attend Bible School and I have no degrees or titles to my name.  I just read it. That’s why today’s verse is dear to me.

Philippians 3:3, “For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in Spirit and by the spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances.”

  1. I am not a pastor.
  2. I am not privileged.
  3. I have no physical advantages.
  4. There is no external appearance that qualifies me to write like this.

My confidence is in this fact: if I read the Bible, God will speak to me. All I am doing is sharing it with you. All you have to do is read, and I would love it if you shared what spoke to you with us.

What verse impressed you?