Tag Archives: pleasing God

2 Chronicles 2; 1 John 2; Nahum 1; Luke 17

December is the month I look back and look ahead. I think about valuable lessons I learned, places where I grew, other areas that need improvement, the books read, the memories made. I’m going on my fourth year of intentional goal setting/getting. So when I look ahead into a next year, I want to live intentionally.

Contemplating a new year, I wondered in the margin, “What would God think of my goals?”

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NLT)

I watched from a distance this year as people closed goal books and set aside plans when momentum hit the Horse Latitudes. But God has repeatedly whispered to me, “Kingdom focus.”

20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”

Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. 21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” (Luke 17:20-21, NLT)

I gather the thought bubbles across a goal page to find themes and similarities, and words ripen unexpectedly in my hands: running, relationship, reimagining. These words rich with meaning.

24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.

26 I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. 27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.

29 Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children. (1 John 2:24-29, NLT, emphasis added)

Thank you, Lord, for putting a focus and desire in my heart, and reminding me repeatedly to keep a kingdom focus, to remain in fellowship with you. Help me to steward well all that you have put in my care. I stand and kneel only before you. Give me courage.

Courtney (66books365)


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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

2 Kings 12-14; John 5:25-47

I just finished a study by Angela Thomas called Stronger. One thought stayed top of mind this week from it, a part about being covered by God’s mercy. She had an action step (one of several personal focal points) of doing whatever she had to do to keep Satan outside of her house. I appreciated her focus, and it gave me a lot to think about–ways that I leave the door open for trouble in a household, things that don’t even seem like a big deal at the time.

I noticed in 2 Kings 12-14, how two “households” handled sin issues.

Judah’s kings did what was pleasing to the Lord. Joash in particular followed advice from his mom and a priest, but still he did not destroy the pagan shrines. He was able to bring about change during his rule–notably the restoring of the temple.

Israel’s kings have a record of repeated wrongs–habitually doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They brought a lot of trouble and grief upon themselves.

When comparing the two kingdoms, I thought to myself: I want to do what is pleasing to the Lord. I want to have godly advisers. Judah probably shouldn’t have left those shrines standing–seemed like they left the door open for trouble with that. And Israel, wow, they just kept on sinning.

23 Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, began to rule over Israel in the fifteenth year of King Amaziah’s reign in Judah. Jeroboam reigned in Samaria forty-one years. 24 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. 25 Jeroboam II recovered the territories of Israel between Lebo-hamath and the Dead Sea, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised through Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher.

26 For the Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel, and that there was no one in Israel, slave or free, to help them. 27 And because the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel completely, he used Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, to save them. 2 Kings 14:23-27, NLT.

Judah’s kings wanted to please the Lord. They accomplished notable things. They died (today’s reading tells the two kings die by assassination). Israel’s kings stay stuck in sin and lead others into it as well. They are often attacked by other armies and there is bitter suffering. They also die. This is an over-simplification to a closing thought: We all have a story to tell–each with varying degrees of success and failure, with hardships that come our way and ones we bring upon ourselves, but God is bigger than all of that.

31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. 32 But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. 33 In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. 34 Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. 35 John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. 36 But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, 38 and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you.

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” John 5:31-39, NLT.

He sends Jesus to save us.

I want to guard against bringing trouble into my house. I want to live a life pleasing to God. But I know that if I mess up (sin), His love doesn’t diminish. I’m covered by his mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ. Through the good and the bad, I have a story to tell of how I am held by the God of the universe. His love endures forever.

Courtney (66books365)


Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year