Tag Archives: life

1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 42; Romans 8

Heading into a new month, I consider the goals I’m setting, but first, I lay down the things that are heavy on my heart. Fear. I list the things that I’m afraid of, and new questions emerge–what if? I shift my gaze and ask new questions–what is the next right thing, the next loving thing; what is God’s will for me in this situation? How can I honor God?

Solomon asked for wisdom to lead, and how blessed I am too to have a Father who doesn’t hold back love or wisdom, in fact, gives me his Spirit to intercede when words fail me!

I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:2,5-6, NLT)

I praise him, my Savior, my God.

I can walk in the Spirit. (Singing freedom!)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:5-17, NLT)

 

I’m not a slave to fear. I am a child of God.

Deeply, completely, eternally grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Romans, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 15-16; 1 Chronicles 1; Psalm 39; Acts 11

Samuel gave a message to Saul from the Lord. Saul didn’t completely obey the command. Perhaps he thought he did enough, but he really did what pleased himself.

35 Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel. (Samuel 15:35, NLT)

Those words cause me to mourn too. Tasks unfinished, or work half-hearted, one doesn’t have to be a king to do a poor job, to be selfish. The Lord, he sees it all.

Lately, I’ve been working on goals, and as big things get checked off and I consider the little things, I lose heart. These dailies, they seem quite small and insignificant (and to be honest, some things I just don’t want to do). But a friend kindly pointed out the deep importance of my diligence. And when I shifted my gaze to what God has before me, the diligence is not only shaping character, it has a potential to affect generations. These daily little things–a choice to do them or not has very real (and bigger) consequences.

David was out in the fields watching sheep and goats. His place in the family–shepherd and youngest–seeming, perhaps, quite small and insignificant. He wasn’t given a thought to be called to meet Samuel.

11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” (Samuel 16:11-12, NLT)

David goes from the field to serving in Saul’s court as harpist and armor bearer. And that was just the start. He was chosen by God. Would David choose God back? (Perhaps Saul wanted to follow God, but he wanted what he wanted more, and his lack of focus would cost him.)

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” 

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:4-7, NLT)

These readings are full of wisdom and encouragement. Lineages chronicled of people, all part of God’s story. And in Acts, believers, unnamed, are scattered with the power of the Lord, influencing many lives. Life, wholehearted.

24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. (Acts 11:24, NLT)

Lord, thank you for this gentle correction. I praise you for the big ways you’ve moved in my life this year. And I want to be passionately diligent with the (seemingly) little things. You’re looking at my heart. I put my hope in you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Judges 1-3; Psalm 16; Luke 20

10 After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10, NLT)

I can focus on the occasional giant who looms over me. Or I can focus on the Lord, His sovereignty, His faithfulness. Circumstances can try to cup my face and cause me to see only them, and sometimes the grip is strong. But the Lord is good, and He speaks to my heart in His Word. Help me to always remember, Lord. You are good.

Your Word is like a song over my life. You fill me with joy and comfort. Every good thing I have comes from you.

Keep me safe, O God,
    for I have come to you for refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
    Every good thing I have comes from you.”
The godly people in the land
    are my true heroes!
    I take pleasure in them!
Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
    I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
    or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
    You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
    What a wonderful inheritance!

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
    My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
    or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you forever. (Psalm 16, NLT)

When I consider obstacles, opposition, stress–Lord, I remember: You are good. You are sovereign.

They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” (Luke 20:2, NLT)

You are sovereign. The war is already won. Hallelujah.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My wife and I celebrated a little bit earlier in the week.  We attended a Comedy Night sponsored by Focus on the Family.  Leland Klassen is one of my favourite comedians and he did not disappoint.

I still remember the day I gave my heart to Jesus, still one of my favourite memories when it comes to matters of the heart. He promised to be with me always, to never leave me, to guide me and lead me in my life and for His purposes.

Those moments I experienced were usually not as intense as when the children of Israel were crossing the desert, however, His peace was just as reassuring.

 No matter where the people traveled, the Lord was with them. Each day his cloud was over the tent, and each night a fire could be seen in the cloud. – Exodus 40:38   CEV

There is something about giving my heart to Jesus that changed quite a few things in my life – but today I will tell you two of them.

First, there was a change in me from how I viewed life.  I was a mean kid, made my older brother mad and made my younger brother cry.  I was a bully at school. Love has a way of reaching into an angry heart and soothing it.  Jesus gave me eyes like His and I saw things differently and saw the needs of others more clearly.

Secondly, I noticed I was different from others and others noticed I was different than them.  Often people would come up to me and ask me how I stayed happy even when they could see the world against me.  I would gladly tell them of Jesus.

You loved justice
    and hated evil,
and so I, your God,
    have chosen you.
I appointed you
and made you happier
    than any of your friends. – Hebrews 1:9  CEV

It is my prayer today, that as we celebrate with the one we love, that we remember the One who loved us first.  I have found my love for Him is an incredible foundation and reservoir of love for me to give away.

Father, thank you for loving so much and giving so much love that when You asked me to love I had more than enough to give away.  I do thank you so much for my wife.  I love her more than any other person and am so happy that she is part of my life.  Today, as I take a moment to remember the day You became the holder of my heart, my love for You knows no bounds.  How often the English language fails me in expressing my love for You.

Erwin

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Hebrews, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Exodus 10-12; Ephesians 2

Captive 430 years.

40 The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years. 41 In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the Lord’s forces left the land. 42 On this night the Lord kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation. (Exodus 12:40, NLT)

A ruler’s hardened heart.

Signs of such magnitude, so all will know.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10:1-2, NLT)

Modern day captive.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. (Ephesians 2:1-3, NLT)

Modern day hardened hearts.

Signs of such magnitude, so all will know.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:4-10, NLT)

Father, Savior, King of my heart–I’m grateful for your work in my life, your love and mercy. Celebrating you, praising you. Saved by grace. Created anew. Grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 25; Revelation 12; Zechariah 8; John 11

He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly. Decisions and actions that followed revealed the leaning of his heart. He wouldn’t heed warnings.

So the prophet stopped with this warning: “I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel.” (2 Chronicles 25:16b, NLT)

I think about the messages and messengers. A prophet warning a king. In Revelation, a revealing of a mystery. In John 11, Jesus receives the message that Lazarus is sick. Zechariah 8 opens with a message, and I listen.

Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says …” (Zechariah 8:1-2a, NLT)

And He says a lot. I keep reading. He speaks of restoration and perseverance and the impossible and rescue.

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. … “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! (Zechariah 8:6, 9a, NLT)

He plants seeds of peace and prosperity, grapevines heavy with ripe fruit.

13 Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!

14 “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 15 But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 16 But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17 Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”

18 Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace. (Zechariah 8:14-19, NLT)

Lord Jesus, you are my foundation I build upon and anything else IS sinking sand. I have watched you tear down and demolish strongholds, and I know that nothing is impossible for you. The praise is yours. The glory is yours.

23 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23, NLT)

And

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26, NLT)

Grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 6:12-42; 1 John 5; Habakkuk 1; Luke 20

I love Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the temple to God once it was completed.  Full of passion, his body  language denoted humility before an almighty God.  I find myself falling on my knees and raising my hands in prayer more often these days – probably an act of surrender acknowledging to God that more and more I need Him in my life.

Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven. – 2 Chronicles 6:13

Over the years, my “prayer batting average” is pretty low. I have prayed for the salvation of people who have not gotten saved. I have prayed for the restoration of sinning Christians, who have not repented and been restored. I have prayed for the reconciliation of many Christian marriages that have broken up.  I have prayed for physical healing for those in need and they have not been healed.  You would think that I might just give up.  I did once, when I was fourteen, and God showed up so tangibly that I will never lose my confidence that He is working everything out in His own time.

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

I am still learning today the same lessons I did then as I face different situations in my life.  I still cry, still tell Him what bothers me and I have given God exactly what He needs to do to solve the problem – oops – He still is ignoring my solutions.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?  Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? – Habakkuk 1:1

I know there is a temptation for me to abuse prayer, to fake it and to tell everyone how pious I am in my prayer walk.  Pretty sure I have not fallen to the level of the scribes in Jesus’ time.

They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. – Luke 20:47

Father, as I kneel before You with my outstretched arms, I do it knowing that as I come before You, it is to acknowledge that You reign in my life.  I yield my life before You and as Solomon consecrated the temple, I consecrate myself to You again this day.  As Jesus taught us to pray – I acknowledge You as my Father  –  I worship You today.  Be glorified in my life.  If that comes through answered prayer – that would be a blessing and encouragement to me – if it comes from Your hand another way, I am so thankful that You are still listening to me.  For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever – Amen. 

evanlaar

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Filed under 1 John, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Habakkuk, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Uncategorized