Tag Archives: paths

Proverbs 16-18; Romans 15

We can make our own plans,
    but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1, NLT

It was a nudging that became nagging–a questioning of plans. I felt unsettled with the choices before me. It was hard to decide. I picked the easier path.

We can make our plans,
    but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9, NLT

I rested easier having made a choice. But a few months later, the nagging returned unexpectedly, and undeniably.

We may throw the dice,
    but the Lord determines how they fall. Proverbs 16:33, NLT

I wanted to hear answers and guidance from the Lord, and yet when I did, I questioned, “Is that what you really mean?” “Is this something to be aware of or to act upon?” In a matter of a few nights’ sleep, something clear lost its definition.

The path of the virtuous leads away from evil;
    whoever follows that path is safe. Proverbs 16:17, NLT

Proverbs has a lot to say about the foolish, the wise, and paths.

Those who listen to instruction will prosper;
    those who trust the Lord will be joyful. Proverbs 16:20, NLT

Lord, how can I hear you and then so quickly forget? It’s like a whisper in a dream and I wake up foggy. Help me to hear you better, Lord: to believe you and trust you. Is that what this is really about?

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

23 Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
    stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil. Proverbs 4:23-27, NLT

Sometimes sin is so subtle. It comes packaged as fun or funny, exciting or entertaining.

God, help me to guard my heart. Help my children to guard their hearts. Help our family to build boundaries and set straight paths. Help us so that when troubles and trials and temptations come, we keep our eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 5-6; 1 Corinthians 14:1-20

“Well, whatever happens, I know God will bring something good from it,” she said it so matter-of-fact that I laughed. I love the view of hindsight–and among the many lessons learned from looking back, one is the truth in her statement. However, in the years of the sometime-struggle, I know I wondered often–what good can come from any of this? And it was years more on the other side of it to see that good could come from it. From start to finish, it turned out to be an enormous and foundational lesson on trust. All those things I thought were good, actually weren’t so good in the end (on some level, I think I even knew it). And the thing that looked like a hot mess was the biggest blessing. God sees things much differently than I do.

For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
    examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
    they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
    he will be lost because of his great foolishness. Proverbs 5:21-23, NLT

I have to watch reading through Proverbs, because my eyes skim and my head nods in agreement, and all too soon it’s out of my mind–this stuff on adultery, poor decisions, laziness. Self, slow down. Aren’t the days evil? Sit with these holy words. Hold onto them. Pass them down.

My son, obey your father’s commands,
    and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21 Keep their words always in your heart.
    Tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
    When you sleep, they will protect you.
    When you wake up, they will advise you.
23 For their command is a lamp
    and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
    is the way to life. Proverbs 6:21-23, NLT

Lord, I’m thankful for your great mercy. Many of the teachings I received led to dead ends. Thank you for challenging my pursuits, values and beliefs. Open my eyes and heart to your word. Lead me, protect me, advise me. Your way leads to life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ex. 39; John 18; Prov. 15; Phil. 2

Filigrees and gems. Rich color and finery. Garments beautifully made. Names engraved like a seal. Holy to the Lord. This is Exodus 39.

Jesus is betrayed and he is questioned about his teaching. Pilate asks,

“So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” John 18:37 NLT.

In Proverbs 15, it’s a view of a walking path splintered at choice–on the one side, the things God detests, and fools belching, trash feasts, trouble, and crushed spirits. The other side, understanding, gentleness, a hunger for knowledge, a continual feast, life.

  • A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers, but the path of the upright is an open highway. Proverbs 15:19 NLT
  • Foolishness brings joy to those with no sense; a sensible person stays on the right path. Proverbs 15:21 NLT
  • The path of life leads upward for the wise; they leave the grave behind. Proverbs 15:24 NLT

There was a time I never thought about the path I was on. I followed the map that was handed to me, until Jesus redirected my steps.

In Exodus, the priests wore garments with the names of the tribes of Israel engraved upon the gems. And in the New Testament, Jesus, my high priest, bears my name engraved upon his hands.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8 NLT

A phone call this past weekend showed me how a path can seem so far, and yet so close at the same time. That map I once held is really only a choice away from me.

Oh, God, help me to always seek and choose truth.

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. Philippians 2:12-18 NLT, emphasis mine.

Hold firmly to the word of life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Philippians, Proverbs

Joshua 22; Jeremiah 11; Acts 2; Matthew 25

Choices and paths. Preparedness and action. Earlier posts came to mind when I read Matthew 25 this week. I thought about Dave’s reflection last Sunday about Matthew’s book being about choice and what we do with what God has given us when I read about the servants entrusted with the talents when the master went away (Matthew 25:14-30). And Greg’s thoughts yesterday of the servant tending daily responsibilities were the precursor to reading of the ten virgins, the lamp oil and awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).

Choices and paths. Preparedness and action. These were the words that flavored the text as I read about feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36.

Sometimes reading verses like these take me to a broader, global application–which is good. But when I considered the local, immediate involvement … the daily application of compassion and hospitality … opportunities to look into someone else’s eyes and glimpse Jesus–the sowing becomes the harvest.

A food gift to a new neighbor; a pitcher of ice water to the cable installers on a summer day; inviting a new mom to playgroup and cultivating a friendship; assisting a family struggling in a rough economy; caring for someone afflicted with a chronic illness; looking into the eyes of someone imprisoned who may feel forgotten and unwanted.

What am I doing with the talents God has given me? I could read these passages and feel condemned–or I can read them and see great possibility even in the smallest action.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40.

I echo Greg’s prayer. Lord, give me the staying power to be obedient to your will moment by moment.  It is my greatest desire to abide in you so that when you come looking for me you find me serving your purposes.  Amen

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament