Tag Archives: loving God

Joshua 16,17; Psalms 148; Jeremiah 8; Matthew 22

Sometimes I literally forget to look up. I so busy working that my gaze is focused either down at my work or ahead to where I am going next. The beach cures that. There is something about the open space that invites a study of the clouds and contemplation of the horizon. Last Thursday night was a perfect example. I joined thousands of other people on the beach for the annual 4th of July fireworks display.  The lights of boats and ships twinkled off shore as all heads looked up in anticipation of what was about to take place. The fireworks  began. Collective “Ooooo’s” and “Ahhhh’s” went out from the crowd. A shooting star shared the sky with one burst of the fireworks as if to remind us that another hand was at work.  People in the crowd shouted, “Did you see that? Did you see that?” It was probably one of the most beautiful summer evenings I can remember.

Too often, when reading the Bible,  I forget to look up and take in the whole picture. It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, I am trying to get the passages read before heading off to work, and I really couldn’t care less what allotments of land Joshua gave the different tribes of Israel. Then Jeremiah speaks,

How can you say ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,’ when actually the lying pen of the the scribes has handled it falsely…Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?Jeremiah 8:8-9.

God asks me just why I am reading his Word. Is it to check it off the daily to do list from which I derive some sense of meaning and earn my existence or is it to draw close to him? Last Thursday night, I was part of the celebratory crowd. This morning I am called to share in an even greater celebration.

 Let them praise the name of God–it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he’s built a monument–his very own people! Praise from all who love God! Israel’s children, intimate friends of God. Hallelujah!  Psam 148:14

I don’t come to the Bible to become better, wiser or holier. I come to God’s  Word to “Love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind.” My eyes may be turned down toward the page, but I am invited to look up and out to him who loves me beyond measure. I pray I remember this through the day and stay close to God’s heart.



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Esther 1, 2; Matthew 1; Luke 3

  • Esther–a new opening for the Queen’s job. Girls from the area taken and prepared to apply. Esther is chosen.
  • Matthew–a lineage listed, all leading up to the fulfillment of prophecy. A Messiah. When Joseph woke up, he did as he was told.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. Matthew 1:20-25 NLT.

  • Luke–a man prepares the way, preaching and baptizing. Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon. And then one day, Jesus was baptized.

Esther would save her people through obedience and humility.

Jesus did the same.

Esther, Joseph, John and Jesus–these chapters are the first-step-starts of bigger stories and journeys. Each one, responding in obedience: one being taken from the familiar and placed into royalty; another faced with a cultural blemish; one marches fervently and focused; and Jesus–the son of God and Savior.

These stories all united by the tasks before them, the big jobs prepared for them before their births. They are united by the obedience to do what was required. And they tell me that first-step starts lead to bigger stories and journeys.

When my task is to love God with all my heart, and to love my neighbor as myself–first-step-starts in obedience will lead to greater endings than I could ever imagine. It leads to lives changed and God’s glory. Even if, at first, it is only a package of cookies delivered with a smile.

Father, may I always be listening for your call.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Esther, Luke, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

2Kings 25; Heb. 7; Amos 1; Ps.144

Singing a new song today. Searching scripture to find truth. When the world is a war zone for my soul, who is my refuge? Who prepares me for battle? Not so much these hands, these fingers, but this mind through His words.

War. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. Zedekiah witnessed his sons’ executions before his eyes were put out and he was bound in shackles. 2 Kings 25.

War. This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not relent. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah that will consume her fortresses amid war cries on the day of battle, amid violent winds on a stormy day. Her king will go into exile, he and his officials together,” says the LORD. Amos 1:13-15

War. From the deadly sword deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. Psalm 144:10-11

War. This world will tell me what it thinks I want to hear, or what it wants me to hear. Mouths still full of lies. Arguments tailored to a heart’s desire or playing off a hidden fear. From this deadly sword, deliver me.

Rock, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield and refuge–my loving God. A high priest who truly meets our need, guarantor of a better covenant–a better hope is introduced, made perfect, forever.

Ahh, today. Singing!

Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Kings, Amos, Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms