Tag Archives: glory

Genesis 4, Matthew 4, Ezra 4, Acts 4

I love the word ‘blessing’ – I go around blessing everyone – even a database company I hired set my password up as ‘blessings’ because I blessed them so much – too funny. So you know I love the new year and all the possibilities I have too bless.

It is possible that I am consumed by blessings because I am very much aware of curses.  God was clear when promising Abraham that there were curses as well.  So when Cain was cursed with a mark, and some think it was wild and ferocious in nature that it rendered him an object of universal horror and avoidance, I believe that I can be an object that people can see the face of God.  Amy Grant came out with a song when I was a teenager, My Father’s Eyes, and it was a prayer of mine that others could see that I had my Father’s eyes.

So when Jesus arrived, it had to be His plan to further His kingdom – I believe that He came and aspired to world domination and to deliver His blessing.  The temptations in the wilderness all took aim at that aspiration, trying to make Him take a shortcut, adopt the methods of the curse. I love this quote from Marcus Dods that reflects why the road to blessing/redemption was through the path of suffering —

Satan whispered, “You have come to bind men in a universal brotherhood, but it is hopeless to effect this by acting on men individually and spiritually. Men do not care to be delivered from sin; they do not wish to be led back to God, and you will never make the world what you wish it. But make an earthly kingdom for yourself; that is possible; no mere shadowy imagination. The people are now waiting for a leader who will throw off for them the Roman yoke, and lead them to dominion.” We know it when we wish Christ had provided for his people earthly good as well as spiritual. Nothing but a preference for what is spiritual will secure us against the temptation to wish, either for ourselves or others, what constitutes the glory of this world. 

What does that look like for me?  I think that I keep forgetting about the universality of Christ and at the same time His uniqueness.  The Lausanne Covenant would probably be my version of the Nicene Creed when it comes to my missional statement. It is my book of Acts in covenant form.  In particular, my interest would be in Covenant #3 for today.

If Ezra could see the ‘kingdom’  that describes a king’s rule – and if Jesus is my example on how to lead – then my blessing is to decrease that He might be an increase and in truth, a blessing to a world entering 2017 with quite some uncertainty.  

Lord, may You  lead me and teach me  to be that blessing and to bring about your kingdom in 2017.


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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, Uncategorized

Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

When reading Proverbs, I understand Ezekiel’s appetite, “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am going to give you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted like honey.” Ezekiel 3:3

There are Proverbs that I want to grab hold of, memorize, ponder and turn into personal prayers. I hear God’s warning to protect that which he regards precious, my heart:

“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Another Proverb stands out and I flashback to playing dress up at my grandmother’s house: I am 5 years old, standing in a discarded pair of white high heels and trying on old church hats and admiring myself in the mirror.

“(Wisdom) will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” Proverbs 4:9

Grace is the glorious crown Jesus has put on my head. I mentally don it as I begin the day, It isn’t make believe; it is reality. Grace bestows a beauty that no make up artist or plastic surgeon can come close to. It shines through in the darkest of places and it is the very righteousness of Christ covering me. I am the undeserving sinner who is now a child of the King. The garland of grace transforms all who bow down to receive it.

My hunger for God’s truth, his Word increases.

“The word is near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is in your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Lord, your love is my glory, my crown. Thank you for your life giving grace. May your Word be alive and at work in me today so that I live in the truth of who You are and what You have done. Amen



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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

Daniel 1-3; Psalm 88; John 17

An elderly woman bought a small painting of a Russian bride in Moscow 60 years ago. The painting hung in her small home for years. It brought back warm memories of years gone by and was pleasant to gaze at, but familiarity limited appreciation. It wasn’t until an art expert became aware of it’s existence that its full value became known. He identified the painting as the only known existing study done by the artist in preparation for completing a grand painting of a Russian wedding celebration. The small painting of the bride, while lovely to look at on its own, derived its true value from the master painting.

How can it be that God’s glory is in me?  Knowing the story of this small Russian painting helps me understand the words of Jesus:

“All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” John 17:10

We are the study, but ultimately we are part of the masterpiece which reveals the artist’s vision and personality.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23

When I first sensed Jesus’s loving gaze and appreciation, I ceased being ordinary. My true value is not revealed in my solitary existence, but is derived from my role in His Masterpiece. Apart from the Masterpiece, the story I tell is limited. How blessed am I to know that I am the work of His hand!



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Filed under Daniel, John, Psalms

Isaiah 59-61; 1 Thessalonians 4

lemon birthday cakeWe celebrated my oldest daughter’s twelfth birthday last night with lemon cake (so yummy that everyone wanted a second piece). The kids took off, sufficiently sweetened, and played. My husband and I sat at the table. A discussion on happiness ensued. And he’s either a patient man or a forgetful one, but he listened to me, as he has for years, tell the story of shame and God’s redeeming, restoring faithfulness.

I’ve heard snippets of these verses before, spoken to me or others in trial and mourning. In context, they were spoken in a different time, to a different people facing very different circumstances. Yet these very words are ones of hope and comfort to generations after–how can we grab hold of messages meant for others?

I told a friend once about a scripture in Deuteronomy that I felt was like a love note slipped to me by a Savior. I was timid to accept it, could I really be so bold to apply the promise to myself? How did I fit in that context?

“I wouldn’t put God in a box,” he said. “Who can know how God will use his Word?”

Living and active.

To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3, NLT

For his own glory.

Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7, NLT

My husband and I sat and talked about happiness and shame and freedom. My chest felt tight from emotion and gratitude for the journey. This morning I read these words, spoken to a different people in a different time and out of context of my own life. But I sort of wonder if I hear the Lord saying, “See, I told you so.”

Ashes exchanged for a crown. Shame replaced by honor. For his own glory–because he is that big.

Thank you, Father.

Courtney (66books365)


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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

Isaiah 45, 46, 47; Colossians 3

I call you by your name,

I name you, though you do not know me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other,

besides me there is no God;

I equip you, though you do not know me… Isaiah 45:4b-5

One of the many things that amaze me about God, is that before I knew Him, He still took care of me. He created me. He provided for me. He sent His Son to die and rise from the dead for me; simply that I would be able to know Him. He called me. He equipped me.

He has given me complete freedom, everyday, from the moment I was born, until the moment that my earthly body dies, to choose to walk with Him or to choose to walk away from Him.

He does the same for every person who has lived on this earth, who is currently alive, and who will be born throughout the ages…whether they turn their hearts and minds toward Him or not.

I am reminded of a story* that my husband shared with me one time, of a Christian who wanted to give a homeless man a meal to eat. When he offered the meal, it came with conditions – the homeless man must listen to the Gospel before he was allowed to eat. The homeless man turned down the meal. The Christian was offended at the man’s refusal. In prayer, the Lord reminded the Christian that God had been feeding the homeless man unconditionally since he was born, even though the man didn’t understand where his meals were truly coming from, even though he didn’t know who God was, is, and is to come…and would continue doing so until the man died.

Even though I stand in a place of better understanding and revelation, I realize that I still barely know who God is. He is SO big, so immeasurable, that it is impossible for me to know all of Him.

…I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me,

declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose…’ Isaiah 46:9b-10

And, yet, He tells me over and over in His Word…”I am God, and there is no other, there is none like me…” I am realizing that it doesn’t matter if I fully understand. I will never be able to understand; I am not capable of grasping all of who He is, and that is okay. Whether I comprehend Him or not, He will still accomplish everything He has set out to accomplish, in my life and in the lives of everyone else, regardless of their acceptance of Him.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Now that I do know the grace, mercy, and love of God, however, it is important that I fully honor Him to the best of my ability, that I give thanks for all that He has done for me and will do for me in the future. My actions, my words need to offer honor and glory and praise to His name.


Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)


*I am not sure where this story originated, so I don’t know how to attribute it. If you have any information, please let me know so I can add proper acknowledgement. Thank you.


Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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Filed under 66 Books, Colossians, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Chronicles 28-29; John 11:47-57

Early yesterday evening, I was out on the bay with my daughter. Close beside us, a dolphin glided up, over the water and then slid back down with what sounded like a sigh. He repeated this half a dozen more times and we were left breathless. The moment gave us a glimpse into a world that is mysterious and foreign to us. It filled us with a sense of wonder at the beauty of our Creator. Today, I read David’s words of praise and make his song my own.

Praise be to you, O Lord,

God of our father Israel

from everlasting to everlasting.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power

and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and in earth is yours.

Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom;

you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.

In your hands are strength and power

to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

1 Chronicles 29:10-13

I read today’s passage in the latter part of John 11.  The very Son of God, the Creator who has given me my very form and breath becomes a marked man, the target of all the smallness and evil that exists in the heart of man. Who is this God that I serve? The very one who set the stars in the sky and fills the earth and its waters with wonders took the form of man and became despised and rejected on my behalf. God bowed down low to save me. The beauty of it all takes my breath away. I long for God to make my life one filled with gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done.




Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament

1 Chronicles 11-13; John 9:1-23

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-7

I have been blessed to have witnessed and been a part of a host of miraculous healings, both in the United States and in India. Some of them were observable healings, like large, visible tumors shrinking to nothing, blinded eyes clearing, the lengthening of limbs to heal lopsided gaits, and restoration of life in dying bodies. Some of the healings were physical, yet internal, later confirmed by doctors, like cancer vanishing, clots melting back into the blood stream, heart failure reversing, and women considered barren baring children. Some of them were psychological healings, certified over time, like people with mental disorders returning to their families fully functional and others given freedom from demonic possession.

It is amazing when a miracle occurs, when a life is restored to normal functioning, or sometimes even better. And, it is an honor to be used by my heavenly Father as an instrument in several of these testimonies.

I will admit, when I am asked to pray for people, I often wonder what their back stories are. What happened in their lives to bring them to this point? Is their problem a consequence for sin in their lives? Is it a result of holding onto unforgiveness? Or is it an opportunity for them (and me) to press into God?

The story of the man blind from birth helps me remember that ultimately the circumstances are less important than the demonstration of God’s glory. God desires to show Himself to the world in every way that He can and will use all situations to reach hearts. And, what I have been learning throughout the past few years is that God is able to reveal who He is whether what we call a miracle happens or not. God uses everything that happens in our lives to draw us closer to Him.

One testimony of this is of my Aunt Lynn. Around five years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer; her prognosis was grim. After fighting the disease, through prayer and chemo and radiation, she succumbed a week after the birth of my first born. Her life was a miracle and a testament to God’s goodness, despite the fact that she was not healed on this side of heaven.

During this trial, rather than asking ‘why’, she focused her trust on God. She pressed into Him for peace, for grace, for strength. She drew closer to Him, nestling her head in the comfort and safety of His arms. She showed the world around her the righteousness of God and how truly beautiful relationship with Christ can be when we rely on Him. God was displayed through her experience.

Yesappa , Thank You for Your healing power and Your goodness to Your children. Thank you for the miracles that You do on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for using the circumstances that the enemy has meant for evil, to accomplish Your purposes. Thank You for drawing me close to You during trials and holding onto me in the midst of less than pleasant circumstances. Thank You for showing me how beautiful you are and for helping me show the world Your face. In Jesus name. Amen.


Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)


This is a song that my Aunt sang before her death. Though this version is not her performance, the song speaks to my heart about God’s goodness and how I can show His beauty to the world.



Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, John, New Testament, Old Testament