Tag Archives: community group

Jeremiah 43, 33, 46; 2 Peter 1

Jeremiah 46:27-28 Do not fear or be dismayed…I will save you from afar…you shall return, have rest, and be at ease…

II Peter 1:5-8 …add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the hope of a Christian?  To be like Christ, for sure. To be with Christ at the end of this life, a certainty. But what if the words that we speak show that the condition of our hear is far from the brotherly kindness and ultimate love portrayed by Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection? When we walk in distress and with an unquiet heart, there is no peace or joy even in the knowledge of Christ. We quickly find ourselves out of control in our daily dealings with the very people that God puts in our lives to learn godliness. And the superficial band aids we place over the needs of our brothers and sisters becomes a barrier not just to their healing, but to offering the greatest of godly virtues – love.

Recently, I was reminded of these things while participating in several gatherings with various groups.  I realized that the sudden hearing loss that I now have in one ear has made it difficult to listen to the words of others. While people were laughing or when several were talking at the same time, my comprehension plummeted. I tried to focus on one or two, but until there was only one speaker at a time, the words become a jumbled mess. My understanding was disjointed, but I picked up nonverbals of negativity, frivolity, ambition, weariness, and silent pain. At first I was merely frustrated, but listening with my eyes reminded me of the powerful impact of words. How can I become be a Christ bearer without being mindful of my words? For I believe the impact of our words are the evidence of our fruit.  Watch how others respond or react to what you say, not with a thought toward being understood or appreciated, but with a thought about whether or not brotherly kindness and love were received.

Breathing in the words; utterances you speak

Flippantly, solemnly, disrespectfully

Filling buckets with grit, gems, grains of truth

Welcoming, haunting, shocking

Squeezing past the defenses; gibberish I speak

Purposefully, randomly, erroneously

Shaping memories like wet clay with heavy hands

Brooding, disciplining, accepting

Breathing out the words; what we speak

Irreverently, uncontrollably, plainly

Dispelling myths with honesty, lies, good intentions

Hoping, expecting, demanding

As long as I’m still breathing.


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Thank you!


Thank you for reading along with us in 2014!

If you didn’t read the Bible in a year, it’s ok. I doubt that God is so concerned if this line item gets checked off. I think more than that, he wants to tell you about himself and about how much he loves you. His book is full of wisdom, encouragement, and life-changing words. And when you start to see it from that point of view, it’s a book you’ll never want to put down.

Next year (that’s tomorrow!), we’ll be starting over with a reading plan that has a chronological influence and runs Monday through Friday–both the plan and approach are new to the blog. We’re excited to see how this plan shows us God’s word in a new way.

Join us?

(Say yes!)

Happy New Year from all of us at 66 Books in a Year,

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 27-28; Ephesians 5

 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21

I like to think of myself as a humble person, but the truth is, I am not. That’s not to beat myself up; it’s just that deep down I am pretty sure that my opinion is the right one. I have to remind myself to truly listen with the intention of understanding, versus half hearted listening and thinking that I already know what the person is going to say and then formulating a response before the person is even finished.

Paul’s description of Christian community requires authentic humility. I KNOW I can’t fake humble in marriage. If I get the idea that I know better and the other person is wrong, too often, I think it’s my job to change the other person. That’s not been a winning strategy for community or marriage. Submission has required that I humbly speak what I understand to be true (and risk rejection, conflict and the embarrassment of being wrong) and be willing to lay all that aside for the good of others. Humility doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s a work of the head and heart that requires God’s mercy on me. If I submit to another in action but not with my heart, ugly, snarky passive aggression comes sneaking out of me. Ugh.

There has been one practical thing I’ve found that’s helped in the battle; it’s taken the form of praise and prayer. I thank God for the other person, for who they are and what God is doing in their life. Then I pray for them as agenda free as possible. In my mind’s eye, I hold them up before God and ask Him to give that person the best for them. I ask God to help me let go of who I want that person to be and what I want from them.

Submission isn’t weak and passive. It’s strong and active. It’s a choice steeped in love for God and for the other person. It isn’t  something that always happens instantly. Sometimes, my actions submit, my heart bucks like a wild horse and then I run back to God to do the heart work. When my proud heart insists that my way is best, it is God that I am shaking my fist at. When I submit to others in love, I submit to God and follow Christ.


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Lev. 25; Ps. 32; Eccles. 8; 2 Tim. 4

I’ll never forget going to summer church camp as a child and going on the horse trails.  Younger years there was a trainer who led as you rode, and I longed for the day when I could take the reins and ride ALONE.  Well, that year finally came and I was so excited and jumped up on my horse, named LUCKY, and I began to trot off.  I tried to turn the horse left, he wanted to go right. When I made attempts to slow down, he sped up going off the course causing the saddle to come loose and me to fall off.  Thankfully the only injury was my ego! Someone retrieved Lucky and helped me back on, showing me  the proper way to lead him.  When the trail ended, we were handing the horses to the next riders and I handed over the reins and said, “If you are as lucky as I was on Lucky, then you will definitely be taught a thing or two!”

In Psalms 32:8-9 it says: “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.  Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

My horse had a bit and bridle, but it was me who was out of control with my thinking–requiring a spiritual bit and bridle to be put upon me to keep my pride in order. I love how we are promised that God will guide us along every pathway and watch over us. He does not need us to plan our own routes and hold tightly to the reins.

Life-changing moments stand out: the horse’s saddle, and the old, wooden, splintery pew in an outdoor open chapel service at the camp that same week.  For that is where I released the control of the reins of my life and heart over to the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 “This reminded me that no one can discover everything God has created in our world, no matter how hard they work at it.  Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do!”

Lord, I ask that when I start to believe that I have it all under control and know everything, I pray that you knock me off the saddle again and help me to willingly hand back the reins and give you the control of my thoughts, actions, words and paths I take in life.

Leviticus 25:20-21 “But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?” “I will order my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a bumper crop, enough to support you for three years.”

BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS OVERFLOWING! He doesn’t owe me an answer, but I’m thankful that He always does give one IN HIS TIMING and I’m working harder each day at having more  faith that when He says GO LEFT I will GO LEFT, even if I really  think going right would be better! Sitting down in a seat of Faith will provide for me a better pathway paved!

2 Timothy 4:3-5 “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching.  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear.  They will reject the truth and follow strange myths.  But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.  Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ.  Complete the ministry God has given you.”

I’m thankful for what I have been given and pray that I use it properly to help LEAD others to Christ!

Erica (guest on 66 Books)


Filed under 2 Timothy, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

Exodus 14, Luke 17, Job 32, 2 Corinthians 2

And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Exodus 14:31

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. Job 32:8

For the Son of Man in his days will be like the lighting which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. Luke 17:24

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2Corinthians 2:14

God gets his point across one way or another. Israel got the message through miracles. Elihu saw that the spirit of God gave man inside information. Christ will return with flashes of lightening. God can spread his message to believers like perfume or for those who choose to ignore him like a stench. Anyone who has ever passed a skunk knows that mal odor is hard to ignore.

I am thankful that God persists in his communications.  I remember him gently calling me when I was eight years old, then twenty, then twenty seven, then thirty-three. I’m happy he didn’t give up on me. I’m just sorry it took me so long to say yes.

The big question for me now is: How do I smell? Is my Christ like scent so strong that it can not be ignored?

Lord, I desire truth in the innermost parts of my being. May I be a fragrant offering in your service. Help me to stay the course even when people hold their breath and walk away.  May your Almighty air fill me with the powerful and sweet aroma of salvation. May the lost and broken feel your life giving breeze. In Jesus Name. Amen


from the archives, March 3, 2010

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