Tag Archives: new life

2 Kings 17; Titus 3; Hosea 10; Psalm 129-131

For some reason, especially this year, I’ve been trying hard to be perfect. I know that trying my best and working hard aren’t bad. But more and more recently, whether it’s messing up on the piano or not getting something at dance class, I’ve found that I keep getting angry at myself when I make mistakes. And I’ve also been anxious before lessons, because I worry that the teacher isn’t going to think I’m good at the thing if I don’t get it right away.

It’s kind of the same thing with sin. I either try too hard (or don’t) to be good, and when I fail I’m annoyed with the results.

Samaria Falls to Assyria

Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. (2 Kings 17:5-7 NLT)

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ (Hosea 10:12 NLT)

The people of Israel’s continuous sins against God caused Samaria to fall. God had warned them to stop, but they didn’t. Their actions led to their downfall.

This makes me think of all the times my actions have led to my downfall. For the people of Israel it was worshiping other gods; for me it’s what I say to others.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O LORD, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. (Psalm 130:3-4 NLT)

But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4-5 NLT)

I know I don’t have to do good things to get into heaven. But while I’m here, I really want to grow closer to God and try to do what’s right!

Dear God,

Thank you for today’s reading. It really helped me to realize how much you don’t like it when I sin. And because of Jesus I can be forgiven for all that I’ve done. For now and in the future I hope to be at least a little bit better at watching what I say, since it’s my biggest downfall. I know I don’t have to be perfect at everything. So even though I will still work hard, please help me to at least watch what’s going on in my heart so I won’t think I’m better than others. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)


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1 Kings 2; 1 Chronicles 29; Romans 7

Just take the next right step.  Do what needs to be done. Let go and let God. What if all I want to do is scream for what can never be, crawl back to bed and sleep for eternity, or sit and stare at the world as the hours circle the clock face?  The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:22, 23, “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Shameful double mindedness.  On the other hand, an example of single mindedness is illustrated in I Kings 2. Solomon was instructed by his father David before the King’s death to exact punishment on several powerful men in the kingdom.  Young King Solomon recognized their conspiracies and dealt severely with these men, which brought peace to the kingdom through fulfillment of God’s judgment.  Are the instructions given to me any less important than those David left for Solomon? Has God given me a brain and the freedom to follow His instructions, or am I fated to watch what little I cling to drift away as dust gathering in the corners of an empty room?

The war within me to follow God’s will is no less violent and the outcome no less important to my sanity and legacy and soul’s security. As Paul cries out in Romans 7:24, 25, so do I. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

If I had to choose to walk daily in all that I believe God would have me do – without seeing God’s new mercies every morning, without reading the love of Christ assured through His words, and without the supernatural and inexplicable work of the Holy Spirit – I could not.  Yet, how amazing is David’s prayer for God’s people. Man is weak, but God will place even the motivation to do His will when we pray.   David writes, “Keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people and fix their heart toward You. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things…” I Chronicles 29:18

May God place His instructions in the intentions of my heart so that it is not I who lives, but Christ who dwells within me.  May He fix my heart toward His perfect will because only the wisdom from God – given supernaturally and operating independently of my earthly knowledge – will bring peace and fulfillment to me. Who am I to receive this attention? No one of consequence yet loved nevertheless, by our great God. So I will rise up and greet this day knowing that all good things come from God and I can give to Him the honor and praise for a day lived in His presence. What He gives to me I will return through my praise, service, and time. “For all these come from You, and of Your own we have given [back to] You,” I Chronicles 29:14.

What a great God we serve!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

From the archives. Originally published June 1, 2015.

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Exodus 16-18; Ephesians 4

Old Testament. While they wandered that desert for forty years, God provided for them. They were hungry and thirsty, and there was no doubt of it with all their complaining–God saw to it they were fed daily and given a gushing stream of water to quench their thirst. And with (Moses’s) hands held high, in faith, they won victory.

  • Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Exodus 16:17b-18a, NLT.
  • Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Exodus 17:6b, NLT.
  • 11 As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Exodus 17:11, NLT.

My conviction: I don’t know why this winter has felt colder than the others. It must be my age. But God has provided–a functioning wood stove insert that blows out delightful heat, enough wood to get us through the season, even lap blankets unexpectedly gifted to me by a dear friend and my dad. I think I’ve spent too much time complaining.

Old Testament. Stepping out into freedom from slavery must not have been such an easy task–a pursuing army ready to recapture or kill, obstacles ahead that seemed unnavigable, even the lean days–the hard days–where daydreams of captivity and slavery seemed easier.

New Testament. Paul’s letter to Ephesians. He’s begging and imploring–don’t go back to slavery.

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:17-24, NLT.

My conviction: The passages in Old Testament and New Testament speak to me on every issue I face today. While Exodus reminded me of God’s provision and my complaining, Ephesians is the shoulder-grab and about-face direction to remember who I am. Not a slave to who I was. Don’t look back. Throw it off.

Put on (your) new nature.

Lord, I need that thirst quenching gush of water pouring over me: your Spirit to renew my thoughts and attitudes. My victory and salvation are through you alone. You provide for my needs in so many ways. Thank you! Your word today, a gift and gentle, honest reminder to watch where my thoughts lead me. Help me to throw the negative thoughts far, far away.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30, NLT.

Courtney (66books365)


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Psalm 36-37; Acts 23:1-11

I never imagined how this event would mark my life. When the Lord put it on our hearts to move, it was supposed to be a happy time. Wow, I don’t know how many times I’ve said that–it was supposed to be happy. What we took as a step of faith actually was the tipping block for a domino effect of loss, betrayal and wounding. It is three years later, and I often refer to life as before and after.

There’s a familiarity in psalm 37, verses that call out specifically and full of detail. When I read them, my heart responds.

23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:23-24, NLT

I feel his delight in every detail of my life: from the captain’s bell, a fence and trees for my kids to climb, berries along the perimeter of the yard, to the crazy-amazing scent of the field when I cut the grasses, the lush sound of wind through treetops, the woodland song of owls, crows, hawks.

photo collage ps 37

It is not lost on me that he would use a garden as a place for healing.

I’ve had to let go of a lot of things in these years, but God has filled me up with new things. New friendships, new experiences, new opportunities. I read these verses today with a grateful heart–grateful for a God who holds my hand, even when I stumble. And he will not let go.

Courtney (66books365)

Listening to Phillips, Craig and Dean Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.


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1Chronicles 16; James 3; Obadiah 1; Luke 5

Luke 5, New Living Translation:

  • 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
  • 15 But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.
  • 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
  • 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

Jesus is doing all kinds of miracles in Luke 5. He takes what is routine and turns it upside down: Simon out fishing with disappointing results. Jesus tells him, go deep, and abundance flows. A leper, ashamed–an outcast–healed and made new with something to offer and praise on his lips, a story to tell. A paralyzed man, double blessed: forgiven, and to top it off, he jumps up and goes home.

I’ve been there, spiritually. Disappointed and empty handed for my efforts. A modern-day leper and outcast in a community. A life-season paralyzed by insecurity.

I’m thankful.

Thankful to see abundance in taking a chance on Jesus when he told us to go out deeper. Thankful that he made me new, for praise and thanksgiving that fall naturally out of my mouth–and a removal of shame that I can share my story. For friends who carried me to the Lord, always pointing to him–oh, I remember the day when the weight was lifted, and I could stand.

He does miracles still … today.

My Lord, my God. You are amazing.

Courtney (66books365)

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