Tag Archives: reconciliation

Leviticus 2,3; John 21; Proverbs 18; Colossians 1

Whenever I read John 21, there is something about it that fills me with joy.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.

This reminds me of the first time Jesus told Peter to throw his net on the other side of the boat. It was when he called him to be fishers of men. Peter surely remembered it. I wonder if Peter was going back to that time BEFORE he denied Jesus; if he needed to be in that place where he first met Jesus. My bible is precious to me.  It is filled with dates and words and memories of the times I’ve met with Jesus.  When I need to be encouraged, that’s where I go—back to the place I met Jesus.

I thought a lot about Peter and what might have been going through his head in light of how I struggle with my sin—when I know I’ve done something that really must have hurt God.  I’ve gone the gamut from being so upset with myself and couldn’t believe I did it.  I was humbled and sad and ashamed of myself for being tempted to do something I never thought I’d do. I can imagine Peter could have felt like that as well.  In repentance, I’ve gone before the Lord and confessed my sin asking to be forgiven.  But I went feeling shame and remorse. That’s why the fact Peter didn’t hesitate to run to Jesus, to jump out of the boat and swim to shore, fills me with joy.  He didn’t hold back in shame; he immediately went to Jesus. The love Peter had for Jesus was evident.  He had no doubt Jesus felt the same about him. That is a lesson for me as well.  I have no need to hold back in shame but immediately run to Jesus in expectation of forgiveness. Later in this same chapter we see total restoration as Jesus gives him his assignment to continue what Jesus started.  He even prepares him for how he will die. We know the rest of the story and how the disciples went willingly to spread the gospel and how they became martyr’s in the name of Jesus even knowing what might happen.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Jesus reconciled Peter.  Jesus reconciled Paul.  Jesus reconciled me.

Lord, I thank you for stories and an imagination where I can picture myself as the main character.  I can picture myself as Peter, I can imagine how I might feel, and I can receive the same gift you gave to him—forgiveness.  Thank you Lord for forgiving me when I’ve sinned, thank you for accepting me no matter what, and thank you for always being there just like you stood on the shore for the disciples to see. I love you so much!  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Philemon; Psalms 105

“So here I am, an old man, a prisoner for Christ, making my loving appeal to you.  It is on behalf of my child, whose spiritual father I became while here in prison; that is Onesimus.  Formally he was not valuable to you, but now he is valuable to both of us.  He is my very heart, and I’ve sent him back to you with this letter.” Philemon 1:10-12 TPT 

Do I have spiritual parents pleading for me, like Paul was for Onesimus?  I am thankful for the wisdom filled women that God has given me over the years. I pray for strong mentors in the life of my kids, who can fill the spaces that I can’t.  My daughter has a youth leader who goes to battle for her mind.  I have a Heavenly Father who is praying on my behalf.  He knows when my heart has wondered and wants to see me reconciled back to him.

“I  would have preferred to keep him here by my side so that he could take your place as my helper during my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. However, I did not want to make this decision without your consent, so that your act of kindness would not be a matter of obligation but out of willingness.  Perhaps you could think of it this way: he was separated from you for a short time so that you could have him back forever.  So welcome him no longer as a slave, but more than that, as a dearly loved brother.  He is that to me especially, and how much more so to you, both humanly speaking and in the Lord.” Philemon 1:13-16 NLT

Paul loved Onesimus, but he was willing to send him back to Philemon.

What do I need to let go of and trust the Lord with? Do I have faith that he can use every situation for good, like he did for Joseph?

“But he had already sent a man ahead of his people to Egypt; it was Joseph, who was sold as a slave.  His feet were bruised by strong shackles and his soul was held by iron.  God’s promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true.  Eventually, the king of Egypt sent for him, setting him free at last.” Psalms 105:17-20 TPT

Thank you Father that you pursue me.  That you don’t leave me where I am.  Your heart aches when I wonder and you long for me to be restored back to you. You call me friend. I am grateful for your love.  Amen.

“Don’t you ever forget his miracles and marvels.  Hold to your heart every judgement he has decreed.  For you are his servants, the true seed of Abraham, and you are the chosen ones, Jacob’s sons.  For he is the Lord our God, and his wise authority can be seen in all he does.  For though a thousand generations may pass away, he is still true to his word.  He has kept every promise he made to Abraham and to Isaac.” Psalms 105:5-9 TPT

Amy (amyctanner)

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2 Samuel 13-14; Acts 28

David knew family dysfunction. One son’s sinful desires leads to rape, leads to murder, leads to estrangement–a lot of broken pieces, shattered and scattered and can’t be put back together the same way again. When the woman from Tekoa speaks to David about a situation, these beautiful words stand out to me.

13 She replied, “Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” 2 Samuel 14:13-14, NLT.

The imagery and depth are beautiful to me, but my God is so much more–the one who devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

Am I like Absalom, Lord, who stews in anger at being held at arm’s length? When David agrees to his return but refuses to reconcile (acknowledge him or even look upon Absalom), I know this rejection–to live a life near someone and feel totally invisible. Unworthy. Unaccepted.

Am I like David, Lord, with limitations and restrictions? Is it possible David agreed to Absalom’s return only because the woman had him pegged? Was his heart not in it? Certainly one can do the right thing for the sake of doing right, but lack love (sometimes known as civility). I’ve done that too.

Jesus, I see you at the table, serving bread and wine to Judas. I see you on the shore, eye to eye with Peter asking, “Do you love me?” You were the plan for bringing us back–God who devises ways to bring those back who’ve been separated from him by sin. You didn’t forgive us for your sake, but for ours. Thank you for loving me and showing me how to love, for forgiving me and showing me how to forgive. Thank you for valuing my life so much that you would not sweep it away, but look for ways to bring me back to you. Your love–unconditional and eternal–the true example of a father’s love for a child. I’m grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

 

 

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Jonah 1-4; Revelation 9

The Old Testament reading tells of mass repentance.

When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”

10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:6-10, NLT.

The New Testament tells of torment of those who refuse to repent.

20 But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:20, NLT.

I think God will go to great lengths to bring us back to him. He’ll send people to speak into our lives (oh, who is brave enough to speak in love?) or he will let us reap consequences–though I doubt that’s his first choice. Will I be obedient to him? Or will I run like Jonah? Will I feel God’s great compassion for a broken world?

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” Jonah 4:10-11, NLT.

My youngest came downstairs this morning because she had some bad dreams. She is eight. She curled up in my arms and I held her close and felt her fall asleep against me. I don’t know what her future looks like, but God does. And I know that he will go to great lengths to have a relationship with her.

The Bible is a multifaceted testimony of love–of a God who loves us and who sends a son to redeem and restore. I’m thankful for his word for guidance, his spirit for conviction and comfort, his son for salvation.

Courtney (66books365)

We are looking into 2015 with a new Bible-in-a-year reading plan that will cover Monday through Friday. If you are interested in exploring the Bible in a new way and would like to guest write or join our group of contributors in 2015, contact Courtney at 66booksinayear @ gmail.com.

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Isaiah 4-6; Galatians 3

I caught up with an old friend this past week. I haven’t talked to her in years. She filled me in on what those years looked like–disillusionment, rejection, bitterness, generations-long broken relationships, heartache, wandering.  She was working through the trials when a guest speaker came to her church. She said that God impressed upon her that this speaker had a word for her. She approached him afterwards and introduced herself, telling him what she felt the Lord was prompting. This man didn’t know her story, and he said he didn’t have to–that if God had a word for her through him, that he trusted God for it. Then he began to speak to her about restoration. She told me she stood there and cried.

I read of desolation and destruction in Isaiah.

  • Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it. Isaiah 5:6-6, NLT.
  • What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk. 12 They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties—lyre and harp, tambourine and flute—but they never think about the Lord or notice what he is doing. Isaiah 5:11-12, NLT.
  • So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst. 14 The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up. 15 Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation. Isaiah 5:14-15, NLT.
  • What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! Isaiah 5:18, NLT.
  • 20 What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. 21 What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. 22 What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. 23 They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent. Isaiah 5:20-23, NLT.

 

I’m reading St. Augustine’s Confessions with a group of high schoolers. While many themes emerge in the reading, one is of waste and regret turned redemption and praise.

Sometimes we’re quite aware of the desolation, and other times we live blinded and confused in places where dark is light and bitter is sweet–deceived. Certainly, when God reveals truth to us, we will see the waste and shame in sweet light of grace and restoration.

They were calling out to each other,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
    The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Isaiah 6:3, NLT

And it is. Glory birthed even in desolate places. He does a mighty work.

Courtney (66books365)

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