Tag Archives: endurance

1 Chronicles 6:31-8:28

A name. A legacy. A portion. A purpose. Chronicles tells me who, what, where and how.

Musicians used their talent to worship the Lord.

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32, NIV)

Others served the Lord with their hearts.

48 Their fellow Levites were assigned to all the other duties of the tabernacle, the house of God. 49 But Aaron and his descendants were the ones who presented offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense in connection with all that was done in the Most Holy Place, making atonement for Israel, in accordance with all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. (1 Chronicles 6:48-49, NIV)

And still others served Him with their strength.

40 All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. The number of men ready for battle, as listed in their genealogy, was 26,000. (1 Chronicles 7:40, NIV)

In these lineages of people, I find it interesting the few phrases that highlight their actions–the whole of a life condensed into a sentence or two. What stands out as well: the service and the willingness to work for the Lord.

This past weekend, I ran a race. I stayed around for the awards ceremony. I watched people receive an award for firsts in their age group. I felt a sadness that certain things had not been valued in my family lineage, and I admit I envied the youngest athletes for their opportunity–that their families valued endurance and fitness. But it was pointless to let my thoughts land there. I give thanks to God for His intervention in my life–I may not have been raised to pursue (certain things, qualities, or even the Lord). But because of God, I can live out a portion of my life pursuing Him, loving Him, serving Him. Whenever I run (or write, or learn something new, or work towards something), I keep my eyes on the Lord. He is my Good Father who sings over me, guides me, teaches me, encourages me, loves me. He is my portion.

Father God, I may not have had the best start, but because of you, I can finish well. Thank you that you loved me enough to have a relationship with me, invest in me, and watch over me. Thank you for showing me what matters, for giving me opportunities to bring you glory, and for showing me you keep your promises. You have grown my faith, my trust, my hope, my love, and you have given me endurance. Please help me to keep a kingdom focus and to honor you with my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 11:10-14:15

When God told the Israelites he was giving them a land, I wonder if they imagined exactly what that would look like and how it would go down. The journey alone tested their patience, endurance and faith, individually. And here, though victory is all but guaranteed, they have to fight for it. Literally.

In reading these chapters, I am reminded that God has a plan; there is a purpose in the journey (a lesson, a strengthening); and he keeps his promises. I see his sovereignty and power.

16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11:16-20, NIV, emphasis added)

And

“As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.” (Joshua 13:6-7, NIV, emphasis added)

14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the food offerings presented to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them. (Joshua 13:14, NIV, emphasis added)

32 This is the inheritance Moses had given when he was in the plains of Moab across the Jordan east of Jericho. 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them. (Joshua 13:32-33, NIV, emphasis added)

I read this last bit today–a testimony of faith and obedience, and it strengthens me.

“You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’

10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:6-12, NIV, emphasis added)

Lord, how can I know what the future looks like? I cannot fully envision what it will be like and how things will go down. But I do know this, because you have told it to me all these years in your word, you have shown it to me in my own lifetime: You are sovereign and powerful. You have a plan; there is a purpose; and you keep your promises. I pray that my testimony is not one that causes others’ hearts to melt in fear, but would speak of trust, faith, and obedience–that I followed you wholeheartedly.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 37:25-40:8

A brother betrayed by his siblings and abandoned for profit … A wife widowed and a promise left unfulfilled … Lies and accusations spoken and believed send him to prison. I’ve always focused on the injustice, malice, and deceit of these verses. Today, I notice the passing of time.

Joseph’s father mourns: 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.” (Genesis 37:34-35, NIV). Judah moves off, marries, and fathers several sons (years). Joseph is sold as a slave and gains Potiphar’s trust over his household–that doesn’t happen overnight. Judah’s son, Er, dies and his widow (Tamar) is passed down to his brother, who dies, and she then is told to wait for the youngest brother to grow up. Years. And then a mention of “after some time” that Joseph was in prison, and then another mention of “after some time” when he is about to interpret dreams. These are stories of endurance.

How does one wait well when there’s no end date? Tamar didn’t know when a promise would be fulfilled, so she took action. Joseph went from slave to prisoner (two sides of the same coin) with his very freedom and life held in someone’s hand. How did they endure this for so long?

Tamar’s story in the wait lacks detail, but Joseph’s story tells of God’s favor in his life. Favor that even though he was betrayed, abandoned, accused by those around him, he was held by God.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:20b-23, NIV)

When stressful circumstances arise, I immediately think, “How do I make this work?” I’ve waded through uncomfortable situations I wasn’t sure I could bear for long. I’ve wondered if I was supposed to find a way through or a way out. These chapters have me focus on endurance and action in trial.

Lord, help me to know when to take action and when to wait patiently. Please comfort me with your presence when I have to endure difficult situations.

Courtney (66books365)

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Esther 1-3; Psalm 139; Revelation 1

This is the world awaiting Esther: a king, his military officers, his nobles and officials had just previously spent 180 days partying.

In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. He invited all the military officers of Persia and Media as well as the princes and nobles of the provinces. The celebration lasted 180 days—a tremendous display of the opulent wealth of his empire and the pomp and splendor of his majesty. (Esther 1:3-4, NLT)

Then, an additional extravagant week of limitless indulgence, for the people, the greatest to the least.

Drinks were served in gold goblets of many designs, and there was an abundance of royal wine, reflecting the king’s generosity. By edict of the king, no limits were placed on the drinking, for the king had instructed all his palace officials to serve each man as much as he wanted. (Esther 1:7-8, NLT)

This was Queen Vashti’s world, a glimpse of it anyway. Partying. Excess. Vanity. And I think, perhaps, she’d had enough. At least that day, anyway. I can’t know for sure, because there isn’t much detail about her perspective.

10 On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him (…) 11 to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. (Esther 1:10-11, NLT)

(You can read the whole of it in Esther 1-3 if you haven’t, but Vashti refuses to be gazed upon “for her beauty” by the king’s drunken nobles and all the other men.)

I look closer at the king and his advisors. I look at the world they lived in. Instead of being starstruck by these delicious words: tremendous display, opulent wealth, pomp, splendor, majesty, abundance, no limits, all they wanted–I see a stage that feeds a king’s ego and his anger, and a group of advisors enjoying a luxuriant life in his good graces–a lifestyle they don’t want jeopardized by opposition or upheaval.

His advisors tell him to banish Vashti so other women don’t stand up to their husbands. And, later, that Haman, whose own ego is affronted when a man won’t bow in his presence (by order of the king), when those around him egg him, “Are you going to let him get away with that?”, his own pride and power position leads him down a murderous, vengeful path.

Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live. If it please the king, issue a decree that they be destroyed, and I will give 10,000 large sacks of silver to the government administrators to be deposited in the royal treasury.” (Esther 3:8-9, NLT)

Simple. Tidy. Just get rid of them. And the king agrees. There’s more to the story, but that’s all for my reading today. A pot of turmoil brewing.

But as I read on in other books, I am comforted and held by the words in all of Psalm 139. Of a sovereign and just God who knows me (he formed me), who goes before me and behind me, who holds a book listing every single day of my life, whose thoughts about me are precious and so many they can’t even be numbered. I know that no matter what today holds, or what tomorrow holds, I am held and known and loved by God.

And I am encouraged by John’s words in Revelation 1:9, NLT:

I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.

A brother and partner in suffering. In God’s Kingdom. In the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. Who was exiled for preaching the word of God and exiled for his testimony about Jesus.

Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you for true stories of courage and perseverance. Thank you for your repetition of your love for me, for all of us, for your sovereignty and plan. I am reminded I am not alone–you won’t leave me. And I am comforted reading a message from John, who knew you and loved you and served you with patient endurance.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 8-10; 2 Corinthians 11

If I were to sum up a theme in these readings, it would be a warning about false teachings.

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4, NLT)

What of the false teacher? What is deceit’s disguise?

14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, NLT)

A deceiver knows how to disguise and hide. Some disguised themselves as apostles of Christ. That’s tricky. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. We are told this for a reason. Bad intentions can sport good appearances.

But what of truth? Shouldn’t truth have an easy road? After all, it is right and pure. If Paul’s story is any example of trying to bring truth to light, that road is far from comfortable. For example, he:

  • worked harder
  • was put in prison more often
  • was whipped times without number
  • faced death again and again
  • 5 different times the Jewish leaders gave him 39 lashes
  • 3 times he was beaten with rods
  • he was stoned
  • 3 times he was shipwrecked
  • he spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea
  • he traveled on many long journeys
  • he faced danger from rivers
  • he faced danger from from robbers
  • he faced danger from his own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles
  • he faced danger in the cities, and in the deserts, and on the seas
  • he faced danger from men who claimed to be believers but were not
  • he worked hard and long
  • he endured many sleepless nights
  • he was hungry and thirsty
  • he often went without food
  • he shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep him warm (from 2 Corinthians 11:23b-27, NLT)

I read the account again, and this time, I imagine standing next to him. Working. Whipped. Shipwrecked. Facing danger–again and again. Exhausted. Hungry. Thirsty. Cold. And when I read it again, I look into the eyes of other prisoners, assailants holding whips and rocks, intimidating authorities, forceful robbers, a shunning community, even the ones who claimed to be believers. Paul’s not telling a passing story of what he did over the weekend. He’s telling a story of how he faced the extreme pressure to abandon the truth and abolish his faith.

I am ever more grateful for these words in my hands. Grateful for all the people who came before me, speaking and preserving truth, so that I could know Jesus and live. I will never know all that it cost them. But I know if they hadn’t persevered, my ignorance would have cost me my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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