Tag Archives: prison

Numbers 19-21; Colossians 4

She was a mom of three. She devoted herself to home tasks, which later left her feeling helpless after his trespass and abandonment. The home, a prison. Her children, shackles. Outside her window, a perceived freedom of women climbing corporate ladders–she faced having the electricity shut off; broke and broken. It was too much. She felt hopeless.

***

Another woman was recovering during a time that felt like a life sentence. The nurses were wardens and the rules were constricting, restricting punishments. She felt all freedoms had been stripped away. Every day was punctuated by offense, oppression, complaint. The days ticked past. She praised the Lord for what he’d done in the past, but she was unable to praise him in the present for the meal, the care, the provision. She felt trapped, like she was in prison.

***

I was tasked with duties without warning. A lifelong obligation. A tethering, and sometimes too heavy–the bombardment of negativity, of opposition, of uncertainty. I fought against my own complaint, but sometimes, and sometimes often, I still complained. I fought against bitterness, and when I felt its squeeze, I cried out–oh, not this heart, Lord.  I remembered Paul. I thought of his chains.

Remember my chains. (Colossians 4:18b, NLT)

If he could find understanding and purpose in the worst of circumstances, could I find them in mine?

If I let him, could God use my circumstance to speak the Gospel? Could he use this circumstance to demonstrate his glory and goodness and sovereignty? What the enemy uses to break and beat down, could my God use to build upon and make new? Where an enemy declares an end, could God pronounce a beginning?

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:2-6, NLT)

Nothing is a surprise to my God, however it may surprise me. These things he knew before time. Tasks prepared in advance. Yes. Don’t let me miss it–that sometimes ministry is in the middle of mess and misery. For Paul, he was literally a prisoner in a prison, but for others, it’s circumstance that feels hopeless, punitive, imprisoning, endless.

17 And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.” (Colossians 4:17, NLT)

Archippus, did you? Did you carry out the ministry the Lord gave you?

Lord Jesus, you have been with me every step of this journey, and you know how hard it’s been. You know how desperately I begged to quit from the pressure. And whether the job was heaped upon, handed over, appointed–you knew. And you intend(ed) it for my good and your glory. May it be so. Fixing my eyes on you, author and perfecter of faith. You can bring beauty from ashes.

May God’s grace be with you.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

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

Psalm 41-43; Acts 24

Paul is brought before the governor with the charges against him. He is put in prison where he is given the opportunity to share the Gospel.

He is there for two years.
27 After two years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison. Acts 24:27, NLT.
What’s your prison?
For one friend, it’s his body and a two-year fight against cancer. He is in a situation he doesn’t want, but he is fully aware that God is working through him. Though he may not live, he lives to glorify the Lord through his struggle.
For another, it’s a union of heartache that pummels her resolve. She is weary. So weary.
I’ve felt stuck–in jobs, in thoughts, in relationships, in commitments. Some of these situations lasted years. Some I couldn’t fathom the reason or see the out. Some I prayed for rescue (daily). Some I looked (desperately) for his hand in the details.
I write bullets in psalms.
  • false friends who gather in gossip
  • hate whispers
  • even a bestie (who shared his food!) turns against him
  • day and night, tears for food
  • heart is breaking
  • discouraged
  • forgotten
  • wandering in grief
The psalmist asks and declares:
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 43:5, NLT

He says it frequently–I will put my hope in God. I will praise him again. His words are a battle of what his now looks like, and who his God is. It’s what clinging to God looks like.
Lord, the hardest places are the biggest reminders I have nothing without you. It was through the toughest battles I learned the most about you, saw you in action, sought you in the waiting. You are the God who sees me. You are the one who catches tears. You are the one who saves.
Courtney (66books365)

3 Comments

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

Gen. 40; Mark 10; Job 6; Rom. 10

God’s way of doing things.

Joseph in prison, where God wanted him. He interprets dreams.

Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” he says to the cup-bearer and baker. Joseph interprets their dreams and he requests–remember me  to Pharaoh when you’re set free, I’m imprisoned, but I did nothing to deserve it.

The rich man in Mark, letter keeper of the law, what must he do for eternal life?

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Mark 10:21-22 NLT.

I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. Romans 10:2-3 NLT.

I wonder how it looks to refuse to accept God’s way. The rich man didn’t reject God’s law–he kept it. And perhaps he didn’t want to reject Jesus, but he was saddened by the way he would have to follow Jesus.

Joseph is imprisoned for nothing he had done wrong. He didn’t want to be there, didn’t think it was right. But he continued to serve in the way God made for him. A servant, who would later lead.

Job is pierced with arrows of grief–this is no light matter, when he lost everything. Everything. He works through waves of emotion, and his friends offer insight to make sense of it–they don’t understand God’s way.

Disciples shooing away little, bothersome children. A rich man with a flawless track record. Brothers who want to be seated beside the King in his kingdom. They didn’t understand: Jesus blessing children; treasure in heaven; the least being greatest.

Maybe my circumstances are God’s way too of getting me right with him. Certainly Jesus did all that I could not do, and he died for my sins and made me righteous and clean before God. God still works on my heart–and maybe things I don’t understand (sibling rivalry, a work-related stress, a busy kindergartener, and even a move to a new zip code) are all also God’s way of making me right with him–a sanctification of heart.

I don’t always understand. I can also refuse to accept it. Or I can lean into God on stormy days, and serve him–like Joseph–right where I am.

Lord, I often get caught up in details that I don’t see how they fit into a bigger picture. It is in hindsight, and walking through trials, that I see your great mercy upon me–you’ve saved me from things that I thought were good for me, but truly weren’t. I hope to keep you and your kingdom in focus and serve you where you have me–in my community, in my activities, and in my relationships.

Courtney (66books365)

4 Comments

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

Psalm 1, Psalm 2, Psalm 10, Acts 16:22-40

There is no power like the POWER of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Word of God!

 Blessed is the man… whose delight is in the law of the Lord…whatever he does shall prosper.    Psalm 1

 Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, Psalm 2

 a great earthquake, foundations of the prison were shaken; “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” … immediately he and all his family were baptized. Acts 16

 Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms%201,2,10;%20Acts%2016:22-40&version=NKJV

 Psalm 1         Blessed is the man …in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

               The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away, the way of the ungodly shall perish.

                The Word of God makes all the difference. Keep drinking from the springs of eternal life.   If I don’t I start groping for kool-aid, soda, and other placebo thirst quenchers whose sugar, carbonation, and food coloring thwart the effect of pure water and cause skin blemishes, caffeine effects, etc.

              Lord Jesus, You love me soooo thoroughly through Your Word, I keep coming back for gulps, drinking deeply Your Word. Lord, You have made me aware of many people who do not know You, and so they do not trust You nor live in You and Your Word. Please touch them in all the ways that only You can do. 1

Psalm 2         Why do … the people plot a vain thing? The rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, The Lord shall speak to them in His wrath, (So, instead) Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

              This sounds like a local and world news report. There is no difference between yesterday and today. Man’s nature and God never change. But individuals can change through One Way. The Son of God can set each person free! Jesus, please draw people to Yourself to submit to Your Lordship, rushing for shelter by confessing and repenting and thereby free themselves from death to life. 2

              Lord Jesus, help me to keep Your Word ever in the forefront of my eyes, my mind, and my heart. How futile it is, and how harmful to me, to turn away from You, the Beloved Lord of lords. Because the pain of being aside from You hurts more deeply and sharply than ever before, You’ve trained me to keep short accounts – so my repentances are quick U-turns back to You. Oh how sweet! Thank You Jesus! Please help me bear fruit in keeping with repentance!

Psalm 10       The wicked in his pride persecutes; For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He renounces the Lord, does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account. But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand.

            The Lord is King forever and ever;  Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

              More current newspaper information! Yet, How reassuring Your Actions are to me, my God! What a safety and security You are to me! By Your righteous right hand, display Your glory that the wicked would fear You and turn and be saved from eternity in hell! 3

Acts 16:22-40              They threw them into prison, and fastened their feet in the stocks. (While) praying and singing hymns to God, there was a great earthquake, and everyone’s chains were loosed.  And the keeper, said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And immediately he and all his family were baptized, and he rejoiced.

            How big is my God? How much to I Look at Him? Praying and singing hymns while “trapped” in circumstances and situations? Do I remember the “earthquake” when Jesus rescued my soul from hell? The other earthquakes that changed my perspective, relationships and many aspects of my life irrevocably? How about you, dear reader?

                Lord Jesus, I rejoice in Your many miracles daily, when I do not deny You, but proclaim You in my spirit and with my body! How boring life is without You at the helm! Thank You Jesus for claiming me and having me cling to You right back!!

Bible Insights –

1 –  John 6:63; John 6:68; John 5:24; Psalm 37:4; John 4:13-14; John 7:38; Matthew 10:28; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Romans 1:19-20; Psalm 19 

2 –  Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; John 14:6; John 8:36; Psalm 7:1, James 4:8; Romans 8:13; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:15; Luke 15:10; Luke 3:8 

3 – Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 18:23; Ezekiel 18:32

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized