Tag Archives: joy

Genesis 32-34; Luke 10

I spent a lot of years stuck in patterns, rhythms, relationships. When I was finally unstuck, I wondered why I hadn’t chosen freedom sooner. In these verses, I see freedom.

Esau had plenty of reason to be angry. I wouldn’t have blamed him at all. In fact, I’ve often wondered about Esau and how he must have wrestled with his past/family. Jacob knew he wronged his brother. He had good reason to be afraid of seeing him. Jacob sends offerings ahead of himself, a peace offering of sorts.

Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. 11 Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.

Genesis 33:8-11, ESV, emphasis added

Esau’s statement, “I have enough, my brother …” this is freedom.

When Jesus sends out the 72, he’s not about making them stay until they’ve convinced everyone. He gives them permission to move on, and not be stuck somewhere. Even their peace will return back to them if they are not received. They don’t have to feel like they’ve failed. They have peace.

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

Luke 10:5-11, ESV

It’s interesting to me that a lawyer would ask Jesus these questions. That someone who so deeply valued rules, parameters, and justice would want to know the exact terms to live by. He was stuck in the details.

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” … 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29, 36-37, ESV, emphasis added

Having been one who has hosted gatherings, I know how easy it is to get stuck in the task and the details that sometimes I miss the point–I miss out on the joy of gathering and spending time together because of distraction (and frustration).

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:40-42, ESV

Thank you, God, for freedom and peace. Thank you for cutting through resentments, performance, and the details we’ve puffed up that somehow make us ineffective, to show us how to live free, to love, to have peace, to be unstuck. Thank you for mercy. Life is so much fuller living unstuck.

Courtney (66books365)

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Acts 2:14-4:37

Repent is the first word that caught my attention. It has been on my mind in recent readings, and I wonder why I don’t read more about repentance from other resources.There’s ownership and accountability in repentance. It’s a turning away–a choice.

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Acts 2:27-30, NIV, emphasis added

Lord, I need your word. I need my mind renewed daily.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:8-13, NIV, emphasis added

I (formally) met a woman the other day. She was so friendly. Her eyes were bright. Her enthusiasm was sincere. I had seen her interact with others before, and when she left me, her parting words stayed with me, “Peace be with you.”

Her smile. The joy. Those words. Who does this … on a Monday … in a cafeteria? And I felt astonished (and grateful, and seen, and blessed).

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 4:31, NIV, emphasis added

Lord, I feel the retreating call of winter, to hunker down at home when pressures and bustle and impatience seem at a frenzy. I want to draw closer to you, and these Scriptures stir a longing in me to live emboldened and courageous. Maybe courage starts with a whisper–peace be with you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalms 125-131

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalms 126 NLT

Am I focusing on the dead, dry places or His power to restore? How awesome that my tears can be seeds that are turned into joy.

“From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.” Psalms 130:1-5 NLT

The Psalms help me to preserve. And remind me where my hope is.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord-all who follow his ways!” Psalms 128:1 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness. For hearing my prayers. Thank you that you are with me. My joy is found in You. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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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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2 Kings 16; Titus 2; Hos. 9; Ps. 126-128

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them.” Titus 2:1-15 NLT

I am so grateful to have had older, wiser, godly woman mentors in every season of my life. From singleness to marriage to children…they have encouraged me, spoke the truth in love and gave me a hunger for God’s word. They were humble and would admit their need for Him. They showed me what it was like to live for Jesus. They walked with me through painful and joyful times. I pray that I can be that person for someone else. Even when I don’t feel adequate, God can use me the most through my weakness and surrender. He is weaving a testimony of faithfulness and victory in my life. I wonder who needs to hear my story? Who needs to know that on the hard days when sowing the seeds can be tiresome, that it matters. That God will make something beautiful from it one day.

“When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams in the desert. Those who plant tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalms 126 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. Thank you for always meeting me where I am at. Thank you that you hear my prayers. Thank you for the people that you have brought into my life at key moments. I know it wasn’t by accident. You love me that much, to show your love through others. Help me to live with an eternal perspective. Amen.

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects the city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Psalms 127:1-4 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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