Category Archives: 5 day reading plan

Proverbs 26-28; 1 Thessalonians 3

My oldest daughter graduated high school this year. She’ll be in college full time this fall, and while she’ll still be living at home, I won’t see her as often. I think of what I’ve learned about people and life, but mostly what I’ve learned at Jesus’ feet, and I want to cover her with warning and discernment as she heads out the door, to make sure she’s equipped for the journey. How could I ever say it all?

Proverbs feels like the fervent warnings of a parent condensed on pages, and as I read them, it’s a flood. This is good. I don’t want to forget this. Oh, this is so true, I think to myself. Choices, resentments, trust, character, leadership, reputation, integrity, bravery, strength–I don’t know about you, but as I read through these proverbs, I see how many have played out in my life or the life of someone I know.

This was like a bright red flag when someone recently looked for support and validation in a turbulent situation, one I did not want to be witness to or advisor in: 17 Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17, ESV)

This, a further reinforcement to steward my own affairs:

23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
    and give attention to your herds,
24 for riches do not last forever;
    and does a crown endure to all generations?
25 When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
    and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
    and the goats the price of a field.
27 There will be enough goats’ milk for your food,
    for the food of your household
    and maintenance for your girls. (Proverbs 27:23-27, ESV)

I’m currently reading Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Philip Yancey. I think of it as I read this chapter 1 Thessalonians 3:2-6, NLT, emphasis noted:

and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.

But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you.

Troubles will come. Troubles in circumstances, relationships, choices. Just like I see the life of history past and present at play in these proverbs in 26-28, my daughter will too. I hope she will find encouragement like Yancey did through the testimony of others and through the pages of God’s Word. I hope she walks in wisdom. (I hope this for myself too.)

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 11-13; Psalm 8; Romans 13

I am not too sure that I have met anyone who yielded pomp and power and was liked. I would like to say that favour is not obtained by wealth and I think that is true. I am almost absolute in believing that love is not commanded by authority or even dignity. I think there is an element of goodness found in each arena but violence has no room when it comes to being righteous. That is not to say that righteous people are all loved, but rather there is a love for the well-being of those who are righteous.

When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices,
and when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.

A city is built up by the blessing of the upright,
but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.
– Proverbs 11:10-11 HCSB

So when I reflect on who I am and my purpose I find myself reflecting on my identity and calling to lead, however, not on my own, but rather with God. I know that I am weak – how can I not? One look at the stars on a clear evening sky ensures that, yet not one second later, God seems to be whispering in my ear that He is pleased to walk with me and share His glory with me.

What is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
You made him little less than God[c][d]
and crowned him with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:4-5 HCSB

That is why Paul is so keen to straighten us up. His world was all about earthly power. The Christians were wise to stay away from persecution by paying their taxes, doing what was good, and be subordinate to authorities established by God. But this is what warms my heart and strengthens my soul – Paul wanted those like me to acknowledge the debt of love I owed to other followers of Jesus – Paul turned the laws of the Roman State on their head.

Do not owe anyone anything,[b] except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments:

Do not commit adultery;
do not murder;
do not steal;[c]
do not covet;[d]

and whatever other commandment—all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[e]

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10 HCSB

How easy it is for me, when chaos strikes the world, to forget about the debt of love I owe to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Gospel calls me to love my neighbour and this comes from the debt of love prescribed by Paul.

I am challenged once again, as I have been so many times in the Old and New Testament, on the one most important commandment. I believe we call it The Great Commandment – Love God, Love People.

Father, my head knows how powerful love is, my heart knows how hard that is to do. I do believe that love can change not only my life, but my family’s, my workplace, my church and my neighbourhood. How does that look in my life? How can I be seen standing with You and still be relevant? I know what others think is normal is not normal to You – You ask more from me and You ask me to give my all, just like Jesus did. Teach me every day on how to love You, healthily and then from a place of health, teach me to love others. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Proverbs 6-7; Psalm 7; Romans 11

“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” Romans 11:5&6 NIV

After reading Romans 11, this question from a devotional comes to mind …“Do I scoop out grace with a shovel or a spoon?”  If I am honest, it’s a spoon more often than not.  But when I look into my own heart, I know how ugly it can be.

“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.” Psalms 7:1&2 NIV

I’ve learned that forgiveness takes trust…

Trust that He has a plan greater than my hurt.

Trust that He will never fail of abandon me.

Trust that He loves me and has my best interest in mind.

Trust that He will bring justice.

I like how Lysa TerKeurst describes forgiveness.  “A complicated grace that uncomplicates my anger and helps me see beautiful again.”

“My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.” Psalms 7:10 NIV

Father, thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to freely give it to others.  So that my heart does not become hardened and bitter.  To You be the glory.  Amen.

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 NIV

Amy(amyctanner)

From the archives. Originally published June 5, 2018.

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1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

It sounds like depression. It sounds like grief. It sounds like despair.

Declare me innocent, O God!
    Defend me against these ungodly people.
    Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.
    Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies? (Psalm 43:1-2, NLT)

It sounds like hope.

Send out your light and your truth;
    let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
    O God, my God!

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God! (Psalm 43:3-5, NLT)

It reminds me that when times are dark and pressing in and on, when it feels like God has turned his back, that there is light and truth. There is joy. There is hope.

Circumstances and feelings don’t tell the full story. I turn to God’s unchanging word for truth and guidance. I am reminded of who he is and who I am.

30 What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. 31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. 32 Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. 33 God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said,

“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble,
    a rock that makes them fall.
But anyone who trusts in him
    will never be disgraced.” (Romans 9:30-33, NLT)

Lord, I am so thankful for your words in my hands. You are timeless and true. Your word is living and active. I sit in this space today, glad for quiet and time to drink in truth. Thank you for wisdom. Thank you for mercy and grace.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; Romans 4

I have a purple buff/gaiter that I sometimes use as a head covering when I work in the yard. It’s different from the others I have because if I try to stretch the fabric from top to bottom, it doesn’t budge. But when I take hold from the sides and pull, it stretches. It seems odd that a fabric can be pulled one direction, but not the other. And it’s probably odd that I think of that when I read the scriptures today.

In 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21, David takes a census.

Once again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah,” the Lord told him (2 Samuel 24:1, NLT); and Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1, NLT).

I note how sin has a far-reaching effect–this act carries a consequence touching thousands. Of three possible outcomes, a plague strikes the land taking lives of 70,000 people.

I think of a fabric being pulled and stretched, yielding and groaning to a force. But when I read Romans 4, I see a fabric that doesn’t budge. That doesn’t stretch. That holds by its integrity. And I am reminded again of the great power of faith, the great gift of God, immovable, that maintains its posture.

13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. (Romans 4:13-17, NLT)

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. (Romans 4:20-25, NLT)

When I feel stretched and pulled by battling emotions, I want to remember this truth that should weaken every struggling thought and urge to silence. What if I spoke aloud: Courtney never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, her faith grew stronger, and in this, she brought glory to God. She was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.

Lord, thank you for lessons in fabric that hold their shape and integrity. Thank you for this word today, recorded for my benefit too, assuring me that you will count me as righteous if I believe in you. Greatest gift ever, a faith that glorifies you.

Courtney (66books365)

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