Tag Archives: friends

Proverbs 11-13; Psalm 8; Romans 13

The prompts were simple: What are you saying no to next month? What are you saying yes to?

Depending on the end goal, an answer could be no to donuts, busyness, or, as I chose, fear. One might say yes to exercise, moderation, or, as I chose, presence. It was a simple prompt. I looked over months of these prompts and I found I was saying no to a lot of things, including: fear, negativity, excuses. And yes to more, including presence, preparation, and discipline.

It seemed important to define the things I was rejecting and the things I was accepting. I think we can accept things we should reject without even realizing it. With three chapters of Proverbs in my reading today, a contrast is clear.

19 Truthful words stand the test of time,
    but lies are soon exposed.

20 Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil;
    joy fills hearts that are planning peace!

25 Worry weighs a person down;
    an encouraging word cheers a person up.

26 The godly give good advice to their friends;
    the wicked lead them astray. Proverbs 12:19, 20, 25, 26, NLT)

 

Here, wisdom and folly stand on opposite sides of the line. The choice is for the taking: truth or lies, deceit and evil or joy and peace, worry or encouragement, godly friends or wicked ones.

There’s a saying “You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.”

20 Walk with the wise and become wise;
    associate with fools and get in trouble. (Proverbs 13:20, NLT)

This year I’ve had frequent reminders to guard my heart. Guard it against what I allow to grow inside it. Guard it diligently regarding the external influences and circumstances around me.

Lord, sometimes circumstance muddles simple questions–what am I accepting, what am I rejecting? I spend time there, knowing those answers affect my heart and the issues of life. Thank you for your word for instruction and encouragement. Thank you for never leaving me (and the many treasured ways you show your love to me). Thank you for the sweet gift of good friends.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 16-18; John 6

He came so that we could have life.

Old Testament reading of a nation’s beauty, nurtured and tended, turned prostitute. God says of sin:

For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:4, NLT.

The warnings whisper through time, woven in example after example. Sin kills.

30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign Lord. Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live! Ezekiel 18:30-32, NLT.

God speaks and HE is judge. It is not for me to sit back and tally offenses (help me, God, help me). He looks at it all, he is judge.

I was thinking on a New Testament story of a man who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” And then wondered to myself, “Who is my enemy?” God says to bless our enemies, to pray for those who persecute–and I read these verses and think of his heart: Turn back and live. Whether I or another falls into sin, it grieves his heart and he wants something better–will not forsake me and speaks over me: turn back and live.

Sin kills. It breaks apart families and friendships. It snares a heart and squeezes tightly. Lord, you came so that we could have life, and not just eternal life, but life TODAY.

Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

“Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” John 6:27b, NLT.

Where do I spend my energy? Is my time spent clinging to sin that strangles–ensnared in a trap? Lord, I seek and pursue you–you are my peace and my freedom.

32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:32-40, NLT.

Lord, give me that bread every day. This is me: seeking, reaching, grasping, praying–and there you are: looking at me and not past me, never rejecting or losing me; life giving, heart changing, bread of life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalm 109-111, Romans 16

It’s easy to want to skim through Paul’s opening of Romans 16, and that’s always a reminder to me to slow down. To think I would have missed it, as he gives his greetings.

To Phoebe, a deacon, who was helpful to many … especially Paul. Priscilla and Aquinas, co-workers in ministry, risked their lives for him, host church meetings in their home. Epenetus, a first follower in Asia. The many who worked hard for (Paul’s) benefit. Andronicus and Junia, in prison together. He remembers and greets his co-workers in Christ, people who are Good Guys, hard workers for the Lord, brothers and sisters in God’s family, even one who was like a mom.

These people mattered to Paul, and no doubt their love affected the lives of other people–then and today.

I think of people who’ve walked beside me during (or perhaps shared in) a hardship. Ones who mentored me, like a mother, sisters–examples to follow and imitate. Ones who’ve risked comfort or reputation to stand by me. The ones who’ve opened doors of hospitality. Those who’ve been hard workers in ministry. The cookie bakers, the weed pullers, the ones who stay late after a party to help clean up, the ones who show up with grace at Your prompting. You know, it’s a pretty lengthy list, all of it. A humbling love list. I’m so very thankful.

Lord, thank you for brothers and sisters in Christ who’ve acted as your body here–to carry a burden and lift it, to offer love, to be an advocate for prayer, those people who stand in the gap.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 22, 23; Revelation 10; Zechariah 6; John 9

What others say …

Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin. 2 Chronicles 22:3-4 NLT.

What God says …

a priest brings people back under God through obedience; prophecy; rebuilding for the Lord; a blind man sees.

Sometimes the differences between the two can cause a great division of opinion.

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. John 9:16 NLT.

People might call “treason” when the boat of familiarity and habit gets rocked. Friendships can sever when one follows the Lord and the other follows the crowd. I’ve seen this from various angles in my own life.

A few years ago I read a book by Andy Stanley called The Principle of the Path. In it, he explains how we reach a destination, not by accident, but by a series of steps taken on purpose. The end result may be far from where we planned to be when we started out, but it should come as no surprise when we examine the choices we’ve made that lead us there.

It’s always good to examine myself: who are my influences; where am I weak; what are the choices I’m making and where are they taking me (in health, in my family, in my walk with the Lord)?

Lord, help me to see, and to change. I want to be attuned to your voice.

Courtney (66books365)

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Num. 22; Ps. 62,63; Isa. 11,12; James 5

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. ~ James 5:16 AMP

 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ~ James 5:16 NASB

 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. ~ James 5:16 NKJV

 The prayer of a godly person is powerful. It makes things happen. ~ James 5:16 NIRV

 The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. ~ James 5:16 NLT

Over the past three weeks, in three different circumstances, God brought this verse to my attention three times.  I’m noticing a theme and the common denominator is James 5:16.

For what seems like forever, my husband and I have been praying and believing that God will move MIGHTILY in our lives.  We’ve believed for a “shift.”  This is not a mediocre, subtle movement, but a huge and powerful change.  And that time has finally arrived!  I know for certain, when we first began to believe for God to move mightily in our lives, to shift us, we never dreamed it would involve the things we are facing today…as most people don’t look to trials to move them.  But nevertheless, here we are and our choices are to sit still, wondering “when it will pass,” or to forge ahead, knowing we already have the victory!

After we got over the initial shock, we “strapped our armor on,” called close a couple of our friends, and asked them to stand with us on the Word of God.  In order for God to move mightily, we must believe mightily.  The word “fervent” means “intensity.”  War is not for the faint of heart, but for the armed.  With great intensity and mighty power, this war will be won—this trial overcome—through worship, prayer, faith, and courage to believe as we keep moving forward.

Thank you, Father God, for all the ways you have prepared us for this opportunity to run into victory.  Thank you for good friends who let me text them at midnight, just to ask for extra encouragement.  Father, I can’t wait till we have full victory.  To You be all the glory!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Heatherpotts5

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Isaiah 26,27; Ephesians 6

From the archives, March 26, 2010.

I have really struggled with some relationships. I am taken off guard when someone inflicts emotional pain. I scratch my head over cold hearts. Tend to wounds over hurt feelings. Imagine the worst of someone as if they are the embodiment of evil:  plotting, unkind, cruel.

I have asked aloud and of others, “Who is my neighbor? Who is my enemy?” Sometimes it’s hard to tell when an attack comes from a coworker, a stranger, or an old “friend” on Facebook. When callous conflict comes from a relative, a confidant, even a sister in Christ, I wonder are you friend or foe?

Until today.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Today when I wondered about neighbors and enemies, I thought of the faces on each “team” and realized, as I have before, that God loves every one of them. Today, when I considered my list of grievances, I also thought of the list someone may be holding against me. Today, what was different about this inner dialog was that I discovered my enemy is not flesh and blood.

Jesus told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” not because his disciple had morphed into the devil. The next time I try to put a face on my opponent, I need to stop and put on the armor of God. The enemy will use anyone to further his cause. Even a Christ follower.

Courtney (66books365)

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