Tag Archives: belonging

Isaiah 16-18; Ephesians 1

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

This is the Father who picked me out. Because of Christ, he looks at me without fault. I’ve found myself caught under the gaze of haughty eyes and judgment for so long, this kind of vision seems unreal. (It is freeing!)

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Generational strain … sometimes family is not a place that welcomes, loves or includes. God tells me I belong. I’m his–with great pleasure. This is family–a place of belonging.

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

The world will tell me all kinds of things to devalue my worth–it will chip away at my appearance, my parenting, my ability. Glorious grace? Yes, please! Grace allows for my imperfections, loves me anyway.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:4-8, NLT.

This Father who delights in me, so rich in kindness and grace. He showers kindness and wisdom and understanding, like confetti falling down upon me–an eternal celebration, glorious grace. Today I’m looking up to watch it fall and reaching out to catch hold, and I laugh with him at his joy and delight. This love, it gathers me close in the hug.

Father, thank you for waking me with these words, a reset and refocus for starting the week, an infusion of love when my tank runs low, and a glimpse of an eternal celebration of glory and grace–your love and great sacrifice to call me yours.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 13; Revelation 3; Haggai 1; John 2

Victory for those who trusted the Lord.

13 Meanwhile, Jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of Judah to ambush them. 14 When Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the rear, they cried out to the Lord for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah.

16 The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. 17 Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day. 18 So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 2 Chronicles 13:13-18 NLT.

Be alive. Persevere. Names written can’t be erased. Hear this.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:20-21 NLT.

Fine houses. Ruin. Rebuild.

Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. Haggai 1:3-8 NLT.

His passion for God’s house.

17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

 

18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

 

19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

 

20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. John 2:17-22 NLT.

Home is a multidimensional word for me. We moved from my childhood home when I was 13, and ever since, I have been searching for a place of belonging. Maybe because this house reminds me of the type of community I grew up around (older home, mature trees), or maybe because God (undeniably) brought us here–this place feels like home. God’s name is written above my doors, and His scripture on heart and hearth. Lord, be welcomed in this place.

These verses move me–a protected land, rebuilding a place for God, a heavenly home … belonging. For me, home means things like welcome, included, safe and loved–I feel this with the Lord, my friend. The years of wandering feel over, and a joy replaces void–God lives in me, loves me, and I am never alone. I am his, and I am thankful to my very core.

Courtney (66books365)

13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!” Haggai 1:13 NLT.

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1 Samuel 21, 22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalm 37

When Brene Brown spoke of love and belonging, I was undone. (Not a belonging about fitting in and being like others, but of being accepted for who you are.) She said without one of these (love, belonging), there is suffering.

David forms an army. These men weren’t perfect specimens. Not with words like distressed, debtors and discontent. God uses the broken for his kingdom.

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. 1 Samuel 22:1-2 NIV.

I didn’t fit in former circles. No, I didn’t even belong. No amount of striving would change that. Suffering felt an awful lot like depression. Perhaps God saw as distressed, discontent. No matter. I didn’t have to be perfect. I was perfect for him.

I did the same things still back then: cookie baking, card sending, garden gifting. There was no new result in that field, but there was newness in my heart. Instead of striving for the approval of man, I chose to serve the Lord. That was life before the move, and in the two years of life after I am still cookie baking, card sending, and garden gifting to honor my Lord. I don’t expect to fit, not when I live counter-culture. Two years here, I press on.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity. Psalm 37 NIV

Two years.

Over the weekend a woman who lives nearby walked down my driveway for the first time, sat across from me at the table and was vulnerable. Because of the cookies. Asked for prayer. She called me kind. Jesus sat at the table with us, and I wanted to elbow him and say, “Do you hear this?! You used the cookies! God, you are awesome!”

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 NIV

God, you are faithful. You are mighty. You are good. You were all those things before. And you are all those things today. Thank you for taking this offering and doing more with it than I ever could. It’s all you–for you and about you. Thank you for bringing us here. And for calling me yours.

Courtney (66books365)

Love Came Down

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