Tag Archives: Intentional

1 Samuel 27; 1 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 6; Psalm 44

…We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. (MSG)

…Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. (NLT)

…We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs you up with pride, but love builds up. If you think you know something, you do not yet know anything as you should. But if any person loves God, that person is known by God. (NCV)

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3

Right now God is working on my heart in the area of “love”; not in the romantic sense (eros), not even in the brotherly sense (philos), but in the agape, unconditional, freely given, never changing sense.

What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love my husband? My children? My friends? My enemies?…

I am learning that it is vital for ALL of my relationships for me to focus on love. Loving with intention. Loving without reservation. Loving whole-heartedly. My goal must be to always seek to ‘keep my love on’.

I am learning that love is transformative. That when I love without inhibition, real freedom is established and my relationships flourish – I am free to be who I am. You are free to be who you are. Even when we don’t see eye to eye. Even when we have different opinions, different revelations, different ways of living life.

But be careful that your freedom does not cause those who are weak in faith to fall into sin. (NCV)

Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. (AMP)

But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track. (MSG)

1 Corinthians 8:9

I am learning that when I make the conscious choice to love above all else, the enemy tempts me to fall into old patterns of pride, anger, fear, and lack of self-control, perverting liberty with bad attitude, with a ‘holier than thou’ outlook.

I easily fall back into believing that I am right, believing that my way is the only way. I substitute true freedom given by God, for captivity. I forfeit true love for my ‘right’ to live in the distorted ‘freedoms’ of my own understanding. My ‘entitlement’ to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, becomes a hindrance for others. My sin causes others to sin. Not only did I get off the path of love, I also risk pulling others off with me. I withdraw into my own little world, separating myself from the things I most desire.

I am learning that breaking those old molds means going back to the Cross. It means putting my focus back on God’s love (John 3:16). It means obeying His commands – to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind; to love my husband, children, friends, and enemies as I love myself (Matthew 22:35-40). It means to love on purpose, to abide in a culture of honor.

I am learning that living IN love is a process. And, some days it is easy…

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

“Can you understand the secrets of God?
Can you search the limits of the Almighty?

His limits are higher than the heavens; you cannot reach them!
They are deeper than the grave; you cannot understand them!

His limits are longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.”  
Job 11:7-9 (NCV)

I know that everything that happens in my life happens for a reason. I am a believer of choice and free will, and I believe that the Omniscient God knows my journey in life as well as He knows the number of hairs on my head.

I don’t fully understand the purpose of the circumstances of my life. But, I also know that I can only see the tiny pieces of my days. He can see the big picture, where one day plus another day and so on add up to the whole, where lives interconnect and are forever changed.

Now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save people’s lives… So God sent me here ahead of you to make sure you have some descendants left on earth and to keep you alive in an amazing way. So it was not you who sent me here, but God… Genesis 45:5, 7-8a (NCV)

In the midst of the day to day of my journey I often don’t pay heed to God’s hand in any of it, the whirlwind of life demands my concentration and I lose focus on my Maker. It is in the aftermath of events, in the hind sight, where I take notice and connect the dots, when I finally see how God’s workings are evident.

A man named Simon, from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. Mark 15:21(NCV)

 

When the army officer who was standing in front of the cross saw what happened when Jesus died, he said, “This man really was the Son of God!” Mark 15:38-39 (NCV)

When I read stories in the Bible, I wonder about the people: their hopes, their expectations for their lives, how they muddled through the circumstances that shaped them and made them into who they became. I get a bit and a piece, a snap shot of their lives, but not the inner workings of their minds, not the details. I read of the moment, but miss out on the big picture reflections.

I wonder, if Pilate, the Jewish Priests, Barabbas, Simon from Cyrene, Alexander, Rufus, the army officer, and every other person who was a first-hand witness to the death and resurrection of Christ looked back on that time the way that I can remember where I was when the towers fell on 9/11 or the tsunami devastated the islands in east Asia.

Did they look back on that day as a defining moment in their lives or pass it off as just another instant in their own cyclonic lives? Did it fundamentally change who they were or get forgotten in the midst of honey-do lists and everyday endeavors? Did they see the finger of God pointing them in the right direction, urging them toward His love?

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope. Romans 15:4 (NCV)

I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity and the freedom to be able to read these portraits of life in the Bible, to learn from and be encouraged by the small glimpses into the big puzzle that we are all a part of, to peruse the past that, if I allow it to, can influence my present and alter my future.

I am grateful that I am able to look back on the days leading up to my own witness to the cross, and remember being drawn into Him and His love.

And, I hope that, in the twinkling of the moments of my living, I recognize the God-perspective more often and become more resistant to losing Him in the shuffle of my hectic schedule.

 

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NCV)

 

 

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 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans