Tag Archives: God’s Kingdom

1 Samuel 21, 22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalm 37

When Brene Brown spoke of love and belonging, I was undone. (Not a belonging about fitting in and being like others, but of being accepted for who you are.) She said without one of these (love, belonging), there is suffering.

David forms an army. These men weren’t perfect specimens. Not with words like distressed, debtors and discontent. God uses the broken for his kingdom.

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. 1 Samuel 22:1-2 NIV.

I didn’t fit in former circles. No, I didn’t even belong. No amount of striving would change that. Suffering felt an awful lot like depression. Perhaps God saw as distressed, discontent. No matter. I didn’t have to be perfect. I was perfect for him.

I did the same things still back then: cookie baking, card sending, garden gifting. There was no new result in that field, but there was newness in my heart. Instead of striving for the approval of man, I chose to serve the Lord. That was life before the move, and in the two years of life after I am still cookie baking, card sending, and garden gifting to honor my Lord. I don’t expect to fit, not when I live counter-culture. Two years here, I press on.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity. Psalm 37 NIV

Two years.

Over the weekend a woman who lives nearby walked down my driveway for the first time, sat across from me at the table and was vulnerable. Because of the cookies. Asked for prayer. She called me kind. Jesus sat at the table with us, and I wanted to elbow him and say, “Do you hear this?! You used the cookies! God, you are awesome!”

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 NIV

God, you are faithful. You are mighty. You are good. You were all those things before. And you are all those things today. Thank you for taking this offering and doing more with it than I ever could. It’s all you–for you and about you. Thank you for bringing us here. And for calling me yours.

Courtney (66books365)

Love Came Down

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

1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Luke 17

I can say this about them: They really try to follow God, but they do not know the right way. Because they did not know the way that God makes people right with him, they tried to make themselves right in their own way. So they did not accept God’s way of making people right. Christ ended the law so that everyone who believes in him may be right with God. Romans 10:2-4 (NCV)

Samuel answered, “Don’t be afraid. It’s true that you did wrong, but don’t turn away from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Idols are of no use, so don’t worship them. They can’t help you or save you. They are useless! For his own sake, the Lord won’t leave his people. Instead, he was pleased to make you his own people…You must honor the Lord and truly serve him with all your heart. Remember the wonderful things he did for you! 1 Samuel 12:20-22; 24 (NCV)

All people in the core of their beings are searching for more. We desire to fill a gap in our lives that nothing in the world can satisfy. All of the things we seek out to satiate the desire for wholeness can never be compared to the fullness that is found in God.

In my own life, though I was raised in a Christian home, I didn’t truly understand what was being offered to me. I thought I was following God because I memorized scripture verses, went to church, to Christian school, I did my ‘obligatory’ Bible studies…I even said a sinner’s prayer, or two.

I used to believe that following God was about the rituals, the stand up, kneel down, stand up, sit down liturgy. I used to think that if I didn’t have a ‘quiet time’, didn’t read my Bible every day, didn’t  a, b, or, c…that God was going to be angry with me, that I was going to end up in hell, after all. I used to feel judged by the ‘big man in the sky’ for every little thing I did, or didn’t do. When I sinned, I figured I wasn’t worthy of His love in the first place, and no matter how hard I tried, I would always be a failure.

But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. Romans 10:14 (NCV)

I was searching for that something more, knowing that I felt empty and frustrated that I couldn’t find what I knew was out there.

During a divine encounter, a friend assured me that no matter how long I had been separated from Jesus, all I needed to do was believe. All I needed was to turn around and ‘see’ His arms outstretched, waiting for me to run into them; to trust that His mercies are new every morning.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NCV)

I chose to run toward Him. I chose to believe. I chose to lay my life before the Living God who IS Love and in that moment, I experienced grace. My perception was forever altered, my understanding of relationship with Christ redeemed just as my spirit was restored and my mind was renewed.

Christ is my friend, someone who I want to spend time with and who wants to spend time with me. My bond with Jesus is rooted in freedom, my value established by His sacrifice. Our connection is sealed with joy, jam-packed with love. In my human weakness, I am made strong; in my human failings, I am made perfect. I am in Him and His kingdom is within me.

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”

Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Everyone can experience fulfillment in Jesus. Everyone can experience His grace and His mercy. Everyone can experience His love. Will you join me in freedom?

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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 Samuel, 66 Books, Jeremiah, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans