Tag Archives: purpose

Revelation 9:12-14:8 

Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity. It implies permanence or, at least, duration. It’s an act or an instance of enduring or suffering. It was my word for the year in 2022–mostly because I was focused on stamina, not so much the part about suffering. When I think of endurance, I think of physical and mental toughness. I apply it to training plans and finish lines. Endurance goes farther and deeper than that.

It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Whoever has ears, let them hear.

10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
    into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
    with the sword they will be killed.”

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Revelation 13:7-10, NIV, emphasis added

An enemy is given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And this familiar refrain from the gospels “whoever has ears, let them hear” tells me to pay attention. But it’s the word endurance that really grabs my attention.

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

It causes me to ponder endurance and faith when it comes to my walk with Christ, and how my example, effort, and attitude not only affect my ability to endure, but are seeds sown into future generations. I was 47 years old when I bought a pair of running shoes. I couldn’t even run .25 mile without stopping to catch my breath. Now, at 53, I run half marathons, and I’m signed up for my first triathlon in 2023. That progress took consistent, intentional effort. I factored in cross-training and rest days. Some days I was enthusiastic. Some days I went through the motions just to get started. But what it all taught me was that there was growth outside of my comfort zone–and that I was capable of way more than I ever imagined.

This year, an Advent study on 1 John sparked new intention in my Bible studies. I’m grateful and excited to read through the Bible on 66 Books again in 2023–and expectant of what God has in store. So grateful to have his words in my hands and in my heart. So grateful that he can do way more than I ever imagined.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

Did you have a word of the year in 2022? Do you have one in mind for 2023? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Courtney (66books365)

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Romans 11:25-15:33

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:4-6, NIV, emphasis mine

When I set goals in the past, the satisfaction of the accomplishment felt short-lived. I set a goal to run a mile. I ran a mile. And then I wondered, “Is this it?” I set other goals and reached them. But when I cloaked the goal in purpose, they stopped being one-and-done events, and became details of a bigger picture.

A post by an account I recently started following (@horseandchariot) reminded me about purpose: “What should your one purpose in life be? Something that never needs to change and can continue to be pursued in the very best and worst situations. The one purpose in life you are called to fulfill is to seek to glorify God in all you do by pursuing a virtuous life.” (Excerpt from a post on November 29, 2022, Horse and Chariot)

This morning as I poured a second cup of coffee, I glanced at the disappointment that’s been vying for my attention. It isn’t a physical thing, but a thought that’s been poking at me, “(That scenario) didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Not at all. What do you have to show for (it)?” While the results may not have been what I imagined, the steps that I took were made in acts of faith–regardless.

Endurance is about the long course, not the one-and-done. (And I’m not done!) I read these verses in Romans 15 and hold them today. Everything that was written was written to teach. Endurance is taught through the Scriptures. And the encouragement they provide gives HOPE.

Father God, you give endurance and encouragement. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for hope. Help me to live in purpose, on purpose. May you be glorified.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 45-49

18 For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
    he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
    he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
    but formed it to be inhabited—
he says:
“I am the Lord,
    and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
    from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
    ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
    I declare what is right. (Isaiah 45:18-19, NIV)

Father God, thank you for always reminding throughout your word who you are, what you can do. You make yourself accessible, you guide, you equip. You do these things, all of it, for your glory. Thank you that you meet me when I seek you. Thank you for truth. Thank you for deciding what is right.

As I read through the scriptures in Isaiah, I see a steady emphasis on God stating who he is and what he’s done and can and will do.

I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
    from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do. (Isaiah 46:10-11, NIV)

No secrets.

“Come near me and listen to this:

“From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret;
    at the time it happens, I am there.”

And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me,
    endowed with his Spirit.

17 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go. (Isaiah 48:16-17, NIV)

Thank you, Lord, for loving me like you do. For loving me enough to want to teach me what is best, for being with me, for your loving provision and compassion. Help me to stay focused on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 13:17-19:10

There’s a lot of activity in Isaiah. People and places, lifting, shifting, balances teetering. The entire book is a study alone.

24 The Lord Almighty has sworn,

“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
    and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land;
    on my mountains I will trample him down.
His yoke will be taken from my people,
    and his burden removed from their shoulders.”

26 This is the plan determined for the whole world;
    this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
    His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (Isaiah 14:24-27, NIV)

But in all the activity, among many verses that call out, I focus here. It’s awe inspiring, fear inducing, reverential, and comforting–the sovereignty, might, trustworthiness and faithfulness of the Lord.

Surely as he has planned, so it will be. Who can thwart him?

Lord, I can fix my eyes on you and trust. You are sovereign, mighty, trustworthy and faithful. Your purposes will always prevail.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Chronicles 6:31-8:28

A name. A legacy. A portion. A purpose. Chronicles tells me who, what, where and how.

Musicians used their talent to worship the Lord.

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32, NIV)

Others served the Lord with their hearts.

48 Their fellow Levites were assigned to all the other duties of the tabernacle, the house of God. 49 But Aaron and his descendants were the ones who presented offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense in connection with all that was done in the Most Holy Place, making atonement for Israel, in accordance with all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. (1 Chronicles 6:48-49, NIV)

And still others served Him with their strength.

40 All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. The number of men ready for battle, as listed in their genealogy, was 26,000. (1 Chronicles 7:40, NIV)

In these lineages of people, I find it interesting the few phrases that highlight their actions–the whole of a life condensed into a sentence or two. What stands out as well: the service and the willingness to work for the Lord.

This past weekend, I ran a race. I stayed around for the awards ceremony. I watched people receive an award for firsts in their age group. I felt a sadness that certain things had not been valued in my family lineage, and I admit I envied the youngest athletes for their opportunity–that their families valued endurance and fitness. But it was pointless to let my thoughts land there. I give thanks to God for His intervention in my life–I may not have been raised to pursue (certain things, qualities, or even the Lord). But because of God, I can live out a portion of my life pursuing Him, loving Him, serving Him. Whenever I run (or write, or learn something new, or work towards something), I keep my eyes on the Lord. He is my Good Father who sings over me, guides me, teaches me, encourages me, loves me. He is my portion.

Father God, I may not have had the best start, but because of you, I can finish well. Thank you that you loved me enough to have a relationship with me, invest in me, and watch over me. Thank you for showing me what matters, for giving me opportunities to bring you glory, and for showing me you keep your promises. You have grown my faith, my trust, my hope, my love, and you have given me endurance. Please help me to keep a kingdom focus and to honor you with my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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