Tag Archives: community

Happy New Year!

Thank you for journeying with us through the Bible in 2022.

We are happy to say we’ll be starting up again on Monday, January 2, 2023, with a 5-day plan. The plan is up on the blog–or take a look here.

We hope you’ll join us and trust that God will meet you wherever you are.

Happy New Year and God’s blessings to you!

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Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 1:1-4:13

Romans 16 is full of greetings. When I read the names listed, there is a description that follows along. I read things like:

A benefactor of many people … they risked their lives for me … the church meets at their house … my dear friend … worked very hard for you … whose fidelity to Christ stood the test … in the household who are in the Lord … women who work hard in the Lord … our brothers and sisters …

This list causes me to slow and remember … the family whose broken English first introduced me to the Lord … the third-grade friend who told me about salvation … a sister who told me sins could be forgiven … a bold woman who wasted no time in bringing me to church … the people I’ve served alongside … the ones who’ve shown up and walked alongside here for years.

My heart warms at the Christian community.

I’m doing an Advent study (good grief, I’m already one day behind!) called “Light and Life to All He Brings” published through Well-Watered Women. It’s a study through 1 John. Its dissection of light, darkness, love, children of God, the world, and more completely takes hold of me. So when I read in Romans today, I take heed.

17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Romans 16:17-20, NIV, emphasis mine

Grace and peace be with you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalms 132:1-135:14 

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

I became an ambassador for a sports event company earlier this year. Being part of that group of athletes has been so very positive. I serve alongside them as a volunteer at races when I’m not actually running in the races. My first run out was a trail run in February. Wave 1 was on the second loop of a half marathon as Wave 6 (my group) was starting out (I was running a 10k). One of my team members called out to me as we passed, and we smacked hands. That was my first experience on the team and my first race ever.

I’m glad that this was my first experience because it’s played a huge role in shaping me and my focus this year. Even the leadership of the company maintains a focus of unity. These athletes cheer one another on, from first to last. It is the most positive environment I’ve ever been part of.

I think on unity. I think on God’s way. He wants the best for us. Oh, he knows that unity is good and pleasant. Precious.

Thank you, God, for real and authentic glimpses of unity. Help me to take this experience into other aspects of my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 6-7; Hebrews 13

I remember the first time I left the kids with a sitter–the instructions, the notes, how to reach us. A friend did that with me too, when she and her husband were taking a trip and wanted me to care for some things at their home. A list: remember, remember, don’t forget.

Words in Hebrews cause me to pause and reflect. Keep on, remember, remember, don’t forget. These are reminders of things that matter. What are words that I would want to impress upon someone for their success and perseverance? How would I encourage others in perspective and purpose? And how would my words align with what God says?

20 Now may the God of peace—
    who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

22 I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. (Hebrews 13:20-22, NLT)

I have a dear friend who, at the end of our coffee dates, walks me into the parking lot, puts her hand upon my shoulder and prays for and over me. She is an example of precious community. I am fortunate to know others who do the same.

God of peace, thank you for friends who pray and point me back to you and what matters. Thank you for your word in my hands, scriptures that remind me of who you are–unchanging, powerful–all glory to you. Thank you for words like keep on, remember, remember, don’t forget, to encourage and remind. Because sometimes I’m discouraged. Sometimes I forget.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 21-23; Hebrews 8

Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.

And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:1-5, NLT)

Leviticus goes into description about offerings, cleanliness, worthiness. It lists the festivals and holy days, the reasons why and the ways they should be celebrated.

Growing up, holidays were commercial, and the traditions were meaningless, self-serving pleasures. When I read about the how and why of these holy days, they are rich with meaning in a way I was unaware of for at least half my life.

As an adult, I remember one year our friends David and Anita invited us to be guests at their Passover dinner. Anita lined up tables and covered them with beautiful tablecloths, giving an impression of one long table to seat over twenty people. It was spring. The sun set later in the evening and lit the room with a golden glow. I looked around at the faces of their family and friends and felt grateful to be counted among them. They explained the reasons for everything to us, and there were opportunities for each one of us to contribute to the evening’s celebration and remembrance.

When my kids were in their elementary school years, we read a book called All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. Other holidays and traditions came to light in this story–costumes, games, merry making–that, today, in the reading of Leviticus strike a chord of memory and curiosity. Of value and tradition.

I wonder if we sometimes forget the why of tradition in the focus of the what and how. I didn’t have a personal religious context for the Old Testament readings today. But I sat with the outline of what, how and why, and it reached my heart–it spoke of community, worship, honor and gratitude. It spoke of remembrance, celebration, humility and submission. So when Hebrews 8 mentions this is only a copy, a shadow of the real one, I am deeply moved.

Majestic God in heaven, thank you for holy days, tradition, community and worship. Thank you for reminding me that it’s about you, your sovereignty, love and power. Thank you for a challenging read today, to draw me closer to you. Thank you for glimpses of goodness in the copy of now.

Courtney (66books365)

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