Tag Archives: repentence

Habakkuk, 2 Corinthians 7

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. 2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT.

What defiles the body?

What defiles the spirit?

I’m nearing the thirty-day mark of an eating plan that was designed to reset my body and not only reveal to me the situations that sparked cravings, but the foods themselves that had a tighter grip on my will than I ever imagined. So, what defiles the body? Have I thought very often about how I treat and use my body? What does my lifestyle suggest of my faith?

In conjunction with this thirty-day plan, I’ve come off a summer of stress and big change to enter a school year of big change and stress. Nearly daily there’s some situation or another that’s like a shoulder bump off course. (I’m not kidding how many times I’ve felt a prompting to “eat the cookie” to temporarily soothe my frazzled emotions.) These situations that can either bring out my best or my worst. What of my thoughts? What of my attitude? Can these defile the spirit?

These past few weeks have been a time of reflection about habits and attitudes, about past and future, about where I put my faith. When Paul speaks of cleansing, he gets my attention. His statement flows from parts in 2 Corinthians 6, so I look there too for perspective. He tells of his hardships, and a few I can relate to. He speaks of unions (between believers and unbelievers/God’s temple and idols). He calls our bodies temples of the living God, and these are His promises:

“I will live in them
    and walk among them.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
    and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
    and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
    and you will be my sons and daughters,
    says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 16-18, NLT

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

Father, I’m so thankful to be aware of things that were clouding my mind and clouding my heart. I’m so grateful for the bumps and stresses too, because after each one, I feel as though I could hear Paul saying, “What are you going to do? Are you going to take the cookie or take His Word?” Thank you for loving me so much you didn’t want to leave me where I was, but instead welcome me to you, calling me daughter.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Nehemiah 7, 8, 9; Revelation 18

I think a lot of people do this: look back over the year and remember the things that happened. Make resolutions to be different going forward, the clean slate of a new year. A fresh start.

In Nehemiah, the people who are gathered together listen as Ezra reads the words of God to them.

So on October 8 Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law. Nehemiah 8:2-3 NLT.

And there is weeping. Conviction. When faced with the law, they see how far they are from what God wanted for them.

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

11 And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” 12 So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them. Nehemiah 8:9-12.

There is something about being in God’s Word that changes a heart. For me, it has sparked renewal and produced great joy–the presence of the Lord–words written by holy inspiration, here in my hands. My journey through these 66 books has brought me closer to God than I ever imagined, how he has changed my heart, by Word and whisper–more than any list I’ve resolved to do. Still, looking back over a year, I do want to take an honest account of my shortcomings, repent of sin, and pray that going forward, God will continue to meet me where I am in my walk. As in Nehemiah, they praise the Lord of all the things he has done for them–and I should too.

 And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word. Nehemiah 9:8b.

I think of the days when the world spoke to me and I followed it, prioritizing earthly things over a heavenly kingdom. But he has shown me a different way.

Come away from her, my people.
Do not take part in her sins,
or you will be punished with her. Revelation 18:4

Father, thank you for your word in my hands, for this community who hungers for you and follows you, for your whispers to my heart and the change you’ve made in my life. Thank you for making a way that we are together another year, for the friendships forged and founded in you. You have blessed me in ways I never imagined, and I am grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Nehemiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

1 Samuel 10,11,12; Luke 19:1-27

Whenever I thought of this little man up in a tree, I focused on hospitality; on Jesus knowing his name; Jesus saying he would be a guest at Zacchaeus’s house; and Zacchaeus hurrying off with great excitement and joy to make preparations. This is a beautiful picture to me. I think it’s because I connect to joy and excitement at serving guests at my house.

Today I looked a little closer at the details, and I saw new things: Zacchaeus was a tax collector (a loathsome job); he was very rich; and when the crowd following Jesus heard the dialogue, they were displeased and grumbled, “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner.”

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. I don’t know who was in the room when Zacchaeus told Jesus he wanted make right his wrongs. Maybe it was a private conversation. When no one else was able to hear this man’s heart, Jesus did. Sweet Jesus knew this man’s name and knew his heart. And this, too, is a beautiful picture (and I’m not sure if it’s in spite of or because of a few ugly smears–not those of profession, status, or the man’s sin, but the rejection, mumbling and judgment of the followers).

At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. After these signs take place, do what must be done, for God is with you.  1 Samuel 10:6-7 NLT, emphasis mine.

Lord, I am so very grateful that you look deeply into our hearts. The world can sometimes beat down with labels and condemnation, but your words encourage, lift up and assure that yours is the only opinion that matters. In the quiet or in the crowd, let yours be the voice I hear. Thank you that you know my name and my heart. Thank you that you change me from the inside out.

Courtney (66books365)

 

 

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

Judges 13,14,15; Luke 15:1-10

Again.

Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines, who oppressed them for forty years. Judges 13:1 NLT

I was reading a chapter for a bible study about thorns in life. Next to the stick-figure face with pointy horns, it reads the devil is the one who gives us thorns. It felt really good to read that. I had someone to blame for pain in my life. I had a way to make sense of the yucky stuff I’ve experienced. My mind wandered to Job, and God’s offer to Satan, “Have you considered my servant?”

All that tragedy, God approved. I struggled with it. But I still had Satan to blame. Here in Judges, the word “again.” Again, they did evil, and this time, the Lord handed them over to the Philistines. Again, they returned to sin–and God let them go into the consequence.

Samson wants a wife, and the impression I get is that his parents weren’t too thrilled with his choice. But he insists on that one.

His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. Judges 14:4 NLT.

He gets that girl. She betrays him by telling the answer to his riddle. He goes and kills thirty men. Later sets crops on fire. Goes into hiding, only to kill 1,000 more men. All the while, there’s a lot of blaming. “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer”; “Because you did this, I won’t rest until I take revenge upon you”; “I only did to them what they did to me.”

Sometimes tragedy comes upon us–hand selected and delivered by Satan. And sometimes we bring it upon ourselves. Either way, God will use it for good–because He is good. Samson seems a bit self-entitled and vengeful. But God let Samson continue in his way to eventually reveal His strength.

In the New Testament, Jesus is talking about the one lost sheep–and wouldn’t the shepherd leave the flock to search for the missing one? Jesus, the one the Pharisees complained about because he kept company with sinners, (this man who came to heal the sick, because the healthy don’t need a doctor) the one who will go after the one lost sheep. (I love him for that!)

Joy repeats in Luke. And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15:5-7, NLT).

Lord, that I could be more aware of my sin so that I can turn from it to bring you joy. I want to walk with you–not away from you! You love me, still, to find this lost sheep–with joy, claiming me as yours. I am grateful that you have power over evil, to bring good from it. Your power made perfect in my weakness. Help me to see. Help me to turn from it and return to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament