Tag Archives: Compassion

2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea 13; Psalm 137, 138

The years of the Sometime-Struggle were a slow descent into depression. It was a constant and tiresome treading to keep my head up. At times, it sapped my energy and my hope. It chipped away at dignity. An enemy placed a sign on my back I couldn’t read, but I could feel it there. It was hurtful and heavy; it grew heavier over time.

When I talked to a seasoned Christian about my trial, she said, “Think of all the suffering Jesus went through. He was beaten and mocked.” Her response did not help me, though I would not have dared to say such a thing. I was probably a Christian for fifteen years at that point, but I had no real understanding of the person of Jesus Christ outside of my salvation. Rooted in rocky soil, I was withering.

I tried to work out the equation: Jesus suffered = I should be able to suck this up (x guilt at still feeling powerless)/there are worse things in the world.

The conclusion was always the same: FAIL.

I picked up my Bible five years ago, and God met me right where I was. These years of pursuing God showed me he has actually been pursuing me.

God moved us here a couple years ago. One day, I met a woman while she was working in her yard. In that first meeting, she told me things I couldn’t believe I was hearing. I said to her, “I think we have a similar story.”

Later, I sat with God and marveled. There are times I wish I had not met the people who had inflicted such pain in my life, but not at the expense of the lesson. When I met this fellow sojourner in her yard, without a doubt I knew if I had a do-over, I would have gone through the Struggle again, so that she would know she is not alone.

Jesus says, “I love you like that.”

And in my heart, I know he does. He is the leader in love. He does his refining work when we’re under pressure. He teaches how to love God, and love a neighbor.

Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. Hebrews 2:9b-10 NLT.

Lord, your suffering wasn’t so I could have a sense of strength in myself, to do life on my own. It was to show me love, to bring me into relationship with you, and to teach me how to love. (And it was so much more!) There is no greater love than yours, that you would lay down your life for your friends. Thank you for the Sometime-Struggle, the lost years that were never really lost. Thank you for loving me, and walking alongside me so I would know I am not alone.

Courtney (66books365)



Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Mark 7:14-15 NLT.

This summer, I’ve given a lot of thought to words. I listen to kids pick at each other … to a friend as she vents (and rightfully so) … the words out of my mouth tell a deeper story beyond what I say … and even silence speaks its own language, makes a statement.

17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:17-23 NLT.

Words become highlighted in colors of jealousy, betrayal, envy, evil thoughts. And even silence can speak hatred.

This language takes me to my knees, changes my prayer life, gives me new focus. When I look past the words and into the heart behind them, I see the need for Jesus in all of us, and I am filled with compassion where the wounding once occupied.

Courtney (66books365)


Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament

Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38-72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2034;%20Ps.78:38-72;%20Isa.%2026;%201%20John%204&version=NKJV

Numbers 34             Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries.’ These are the ones the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan. V.1-2,29

            The Lord God, the only Owner of all, has the authority and exercises His authority in giving inheritance to whomever He chooses. God’s commands are specific in detail. Who am I to not obey Him in using His gifts? How do ignore His spiritual, physical and intellectual gifts and not use them for His designed purpose and glory? When do I ignore the responsibility He has given me?  Where is the territory God has entrusted me to “rule” under His authority by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit? Do I hold myself and those assigned to me, such as my children, family, friends, neighbors, everyone I encounter, so to see, sense and be drawn to the Love of God by His Son Jesus Christ in order for their eventual surrender to follow the Lord Jesus? Do I live and speak the Word of God in love? How often do I pray for them? Lord, thank You for trusting me. Help me to honor You more.

Psalm 78:38-72                   But He (Lord God), being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them.  …  How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!  They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy, … For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. When God heard this, He was furious, And greatly abhorred Israel, …  He also gave His people over to the sword, And was furious with His inheritance. … He put them to a perpetual reproach.

               Lord God, I am grateful that Your mercies are new every morning. That You forgive my iniquities as quickly as I repent to You. Thank You for Your mercy on those who have not yet repented to You, by Your patience for them to come to You before their time here on earth is over. Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 3:9

            But chose the tribe of Judah, …He also chose David His servant, … To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

            Lord God, You sent Your one and only Son Jesus to be born of the line of King David, of Judah to shepherd Your people! Thank You merciful King of kings! John 10

Isaiah 26        You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

              As I see destruction around me, God’s judgment for rebellion, my heart and mind are safe because I trust in You, Lord God. Proverbs  3:4-6   Your love for me compels me to love them all.

            The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. … With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

My soul grieves for the unrepentant –

Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.

1 John 4                    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God … Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

              The culture these days is wrought with deceiving spirits. May I cling to Your Word (Romans 12:1-2) in my mind and heart to abide in You Lord God. John 15

            In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  

I rejoice in this!!

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  We love Him because He first loved us.

              I continue to proclaim, to serve, to pray. It is endless: the work and love that is involved in being humble under You King of kings! Yet You refresh me by the fellowship with Your children! The mind of Christ Jesus is powerful within them! Thank You Lord God for Your Son and all His people!

You are of God, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than He Who is in the world.   By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Bible Insights –

1- Exodus 19:5; Psalm 50:10; Joshua 1:2-9; Deuteronomy 28; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51; Psalm 46:10; Romans 12:1-2; John 15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)


Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Num. 3; Ps. 37; Song 1; Heb. 1

Am I becoming more like my father or my Father?

One of the wonderful gifts I’ve enjoyed writing for this blog is that I don’t feel so weird. I suspect I’m not alone when I share that I often feel like I don’t belong in this world as it has changed drastically since I was a child. Just the other day while escorting my daughter to the local repair shop, we stepped out of the car and I was aghast to hear the foul language coming from 2 of the mechanics mouths with their supervisor in plain sight. I immediately addressed these men, telling them my daughter was present, and that their language was unacceptable. But, really… did I really need to say that this type of behavor wasn’t acceptable? Did it need to take someone having to point out that they were acting more like rambunctious teenagers than men? The sad part is that is more the norm than the exception of late; that while chronologically, we see men, they’re acting as boys with very little concern or respect for themselves, let alone others. And then it hit me hard… this was an example of the warning Timothy expressed in 2 Timothy 3, where he states that difficult times are ahead of us… that as the end of the world approaches, people would continue to turn away from God towards themselves, worship other gods like money and power, becoming lustful, harsh, crude and profane, acting like animals with little regard for respect and the sanctify of life.

Looking around, it’s hard for me not to believe that we’re living in the end days. But we’re also commanded to remain clear of these individuals as they are caustic to our spiritual well-being! Instead, we’re called to embrace the teachings we’ve learned and believe in through the Word of God to prepare us to deal with such events we face on a daily basis. The Psalm of David reinforces this approach… Psalm 37 reminds us to rejoice and trust in the Lord and have no concern for the wicked as they will fade away and wither. Additionally, we’re called not to be angry or to lose our temper as that only causes harm, but that a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. Hebrews 1 offers a beautiful description of the importance of Jesus and that He will live forever. Through this reassurance of His presence with us always, we can feel stronger knowing that we can navigate life in partnership with a loving Savior; never alone, and always with an example of loving leadership.

By the way… my daughter later shared how proud she was that I handled the events I described earlier firmly, but without going overboard… that she was proud that she had a Daddy who stood up for her when those around her we actually badly. Have my daughter call me Daddy is an amazing gift; one I take seriously, and one that our Father in Heaven takes seriously, as well, as He is jealous for His children. He prepares us for what we can expect to face in life, but offers us His Word so that we know we’re not alone as we navigate this life.

Heavenly Father… thank you for giving us your Word. It’s hard to comprehend that You knew that we would need a ‘road map’ on how to traverse these troubled times. In Your infinite wisdom, You provided us words that not only prepare us for what we will see as we ‘do life’, but you offer the assurance of companionship in the process and beyond. Father, in the midst of the difficult times You described, let me seek You for guidance always and be strong enough to be Your hands and feet here on earth as I stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. That when people see me, they see You, and maybe, they will be moved enough to die to themselves, seek You to become the men You have called them to be, giving up their childish and selfish ways, so they can lead their families and others with integrity. I ask this through Your Son’s name… Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)


Filed under 66 Books, Hebrews, Numbers, Psalms, Uncategorized

Exodus 9; Luke 12; Job 27; 1 Corinthians 13

…I gain nothing if I do not have love. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends…So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:3b-8, 13 (NCV)

I think about what it means to love, what it means to be loved and, as I read this all too familiar passage written to the men and women of the Corinthian church, I am convicted at the inadequacies of the quality of love I offer to others.

In the Greek, the word that is used in this passage is agape. It means to love unconditionally, to love someone not because of what they do or don’t do, but because of who they are. Unconditional love is the embodiment of God on this earth, and took the form of Christ when He died on the cross to cleanse me of my sins and restore my relationship to Him.

As much as I have a desire to care for my husband, my children, my family, my friends, myself, my God, and even my enemies with these characteristics of love, I often fall short and sometimes completely fail at giving the kind of love I am called to offer to others. I frequently find myself experiencing feelings of offense, frustration, and impatience toward those ones I hope to love. I am occasionally tempted to throw up my hands in defeat and run away from the commitment to walk in love.

Though I want to love all people at all times, I find that cynicism, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness creep into my modes of thinking. Sin begins to undermine my charity and twist my benevolence. And when I am not loved well by others it adds fuel to the fire and makes worse the cycle.

I want to be a clear reflection of my Savior’s love to others who have only experienced worldly versions of love that neither fill nor satisfy. But, in my selfishness, I often end up muddying the waters more.

In the midst of it all, I am so grateful that my Father is love (1 John 4:8). Because I have put my trust in Him, He is able to shine through me, despite my own shortcomings and failures, to redeem. He is able to move my heart toward compassion and at the same time meet the needs I have in my own heart to be loved.

The Bible tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). That strength comes in the form of His love. And as His love strengthens me, I am able to love others in grace and mercy. I am able to forgive. And in my own restoration, because God first loved me (1 John 4:19), I can in turn love others to life in Christ.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament