Tag Archives: boundaries

Nehemiah 10-13; Revelation 8

27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. 28 The musicians also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem—from the villages of the Netophathites, 29 from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the musicians had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. 30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall. (Neh. 12:27-30 NIV)

Nehemiah is known for being a great leader and orchestrating one of the most amazing building project fetes of all time—rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem in 52 days. He did this by having everyone focus on the area right in front of them–not worrying about any other part.  He defied the opposition that came at him from all sides and was laser focused on the task set before him. Without the wall for protection, Nehemiah knew the temple could be destroyed again, the people would be afraid to live in the city, and Jerusalem would not be the Holy City of God. It was 12 years later, but finally Nehemiah gathered all the people living in and around the city to celebrate. There was a great procession filled with ceremony and fanfare, music and singing—all praising God for His goodness, His blessings upon them, and that He had not given up on them.

This is such a picture of my own life. There was a time when I was an exile from God living far outside His place of protection. I had no boundaries—no walls. The world had free access to me, and I didn’t know a different way to live. Yet, somewhere deep inside I knew there had to be a better way to live. I cried out to the Lord and He answered my cry.

One of the first things I learned was how important it is to build that wall, that boundary, to keep bad things out and good things in. Without that fortified structure in place anything you acquire (peace, emotional distance, emotional growth), any progress you make, can be torn down or stolen. Despite what I always thought, a boundary is a good thing. As we saw in earlier chapters of Nehemiah, people don’t like when walls are built. He encountered anger, intimidation, and threats. Did the enemy try to tear my wall down? You bet. Did things happen to try to distract me from my goal? Without a doubt.  Did I encounter intimidation and scoffing?  Yes–and from unexpected sources.  However, the wall withstood all of that!

From there, God started rebuilding inside of me. We sifted through the rubble of my soul. Piece by piece God lovingly reconstructed a shattered life. I was blessed to have an amazing therapist, a sister in Christ, as my guide. One of the first things we did after establishing boundaries was to purify me. We did this through confession, repentance, and renouncing anything in my life that was not of God. Slowly but surely God put the pieces of my broken heart back together. It was a long, painful process—much like rebuilding the City of David. But I, too, can celebrate with songs of thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord.  He is faithful!

Heavenly Father I can do nothing but lift my hands in the air, sing songs of praises to you, and fall on my knees with gratitude for mending my heart, sealing the cracks, and filling it with your love. Where once it leaked out, it now overflows. May I be like Nehemiah and lead the procession joyfully proclaiming Your great name for all to hear. And may my voice join with the heavenly host singing praises of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as this season of Christmas is celebrated. In His name I pray, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Genesis 6-8; Psalm 104; Mark 3

As I think about my first 2018 post, I look back on 2017 knowing right from the very first month that God was going to take care of me and my family through a difficult year.  It was tough on quite a few different fronts.  Yet Jesus walked with me in each and every day.  Sometimes I think – why does it matter that I love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind? At the end of such a year and the reflecting on this new year, it matters a lot – I believe I am giving God a window to be a blessing in my life.

But the Lord was pleased with Noah,  and this is the story about him. Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God. – Genesis 6:8-9 CEV

As much as blessings are great, and they are – for they are visible expressions of God caring for me and others can see that I have His favour – promises are even better.  God’s promises are rock solid and every one of the them points to me the incredible and detailed expressions of just how much God cares. They are only visible when I am confident in them and people around me can see that they demonstrate in my life that God is a priority.

Now you have set boundaries,
    so that the water will never
    flood the earth again. – Psalm 104:9 CEV

I mean, would I forgive the people who hung me on a cross?  Can I forgive those in leadership over me that do not understand the abuse they had out every day?  What about family members who just want to hurt because they cannot get their own way?  Yes, 2017 had some bad memories and I know God wants me to forgive and many I have and will probably still forgive in 2018.

Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did, and his bad hand was healed. – Mark 3:5 CEV

Yes, my love affair is with God.  It is His Holy Spirit that sustains me, heals me, cares for me, extends the power of His grace and peace to me and like a hen gathers me under His wings.  Wow – can I do that for those who have hurt me and who have been stubborn? Yes, because the promises of God that are true for me are true for them.  Looking forward to a great 2018 being more like Jesus.

Lord, I am yours.  Let me demonstrate You are my priority this year. I want to care as much as You do. Let people look at me and say I have my Father’s eyes. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

One of the things I love most about fall is the smell of a wood smoke coming from the fireplace. The warm colors from changing tree leaves, a crisp air and a long-sleeve shirt, a hot mug of something sweet and soothing, these are things that make me feel wrapped and grounded.

This fall, I’ve had to institute some strict personal boundaries for time. This calendar year has taught me many things, and one is that things come at a price. What was the cost I’ve been paying? Cost to my core responsibilities, cost to time with my husband, cost to my health, cost to a sense of presence with my family … and oddly, while some activities were service for the Lord, my relationship with God seemed lost in the noise of all the busy.

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24, NLT)

My relationship with God was slowly shifting from intention to convenience. The mindfulness of his presence was being muted and obscured by the din of busyness and obligation and overwhelm. I lost grasp of Peace and the One who grounds me–even while I was trying to serve him.

In a season where everything jockeys for first place (isn’t that every day?) … when I evaluate and reevaluate how I spend my time, talent, treasure … when I see a plate that’s heaping and heavy … oh, what is the cost?

“That girl with the cape is cheating somewhere.” (p 147, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst, Thomas Nelson Books)

It is a discipline. Learning and discerning when to say no and when to say yes.

I welcome the cooler temps creeping into the forecast, the wood stacked along the driveway anticipating a season’s first burn, the pumpkin spice everything–but nothing will ground me more than intentional time with the One who knows and loves me best.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of first things, for redirecting my heart towards you. Please help me to order things in my life. Help me to be a better steward of the time, talent, and treasure you’ve give me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 11; Psalm 95,96; Isaiah 39; Revelation 9

I could spend hours in Deuteronomy 11.  The boundaries are set up, they are simple to follow, do not leave any room for doubt or questions, straightforward and to the point – this is what it looks like to follow Jesus.

 

No one will be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the fear and dread of you on all the land on which you set foot, as he promised you. I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – Deuteronomy 11:25-26

There are secrets to making this all happen.  If you are like me, worship plays an incredible part in my walk with Jesus.  Worship is an act of hope for the one day when Jesus returns – for all of us, creation included – will worship Him together

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth.  He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth. – Psalm 96:11-13 NRSV

Shame on me if I am only thinking of myself to be ready for such a day.  Can you imagine Hezekiah being so selfish.  Every king was given the same promise given to David and one by one they failed to be faithful – they chose curses instead of blessings.  Hezekiah was the last opportunity and all he could think was that he would not see the curse in his lifetime.

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.” – Isaiah 39:8  NRSV

Shame on me if when I find myself slipping away from my walk with God and I do not stop, turn around and run back into the arms of Jesus.  Even when judgement comes, so hard to believe that many of us will not turn back and repent.

 

The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts. – Revelation 9:20-21 NRSV

Lord, may my heart be attentive to Your loving arms around me, may my faith and hope be strengthened by Your blessings and should I find myself leaving Your side for even a moment, my the curses that come my way jar me and make me awake to the fact that somehow we have disconnected.  May I find myself taking a moment each day to repent so that I will always be right with you.  Amen

evanlaar

 

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Ezekiel 46-48; John 16

Offerings. Boundaries. Understanding.

Reading of a prince’s offering, the best of grain and animal. I think about offerings and the “best of” what I have. Who and what get my best? Where does God fit in all this? Some days, I feel really spent and have little to offer. God has been teaching me a lot about offerings and boundaries this year. And in this, I’m learning how I can offer my best and not feel exhausted or unbalanced. (This has nothing to do with over-achieving, showy super-stardom. My 8-yr-old gave me a simple example of the best of yesterday–leaving co-op, I passed through the lunchroom and wanted to say goodbye to her. She gave me the best of her in a squeezer of a hug and telling me, wide-eyed, of the important things that happened to her that morning. She gave me kisses and spoke love to me.)

Boundaries. It was no wonder that I had little to offer when I felt overbooked and overwhelmed. Old Testament reading of actual land boundaries–but that word is key to my lesson this year. Boundaries in what’s asked of me. Boundaries to protect my family time. Boundaries in relationships, especially those unhealthy ones that want to sabotage other areas of my life.

Understanding. Jesus tells the disciples that (in a little while) he’s going to leave, but that the Advocate will come.

12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ John 16:12-15, NLT.

Lord, my mind will make up all kinds of scenarios as I try to sort things out and fill in the blanks. I want to focus on what is true. I want to be mindful of the land you’ve given me–a home, family, tasks, relationships. I want to offer what you think is the best of me, and not someone else’s definition of best. Lord, please guide my steps.

Courtney (66books365)

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