Tag Archives: Seasons

Genesis 1-2; Psalm 19; Mark 1

We used to live in a big field. The morning sunrises were spectacular and the sky seemed endless. If anything sang glory, that sky did each morning.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship. Psalm 19:1, NLT

Now we live in the woods, and I never really expected to see the sunrises because of the trees. I’ve learned to appreciate seasons in a different way living in the woods, and winter is no exception. I’ve even learned to love winter in a way I never thought possible. It is still and quiet, and the sunrises sneak up on me through the woods line–only visible because all the foliage has fallen away.

Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world. Psalm 19:2-4, NLT

Sometimes it takes a barren season and stillness to become aware of what has always been.

I have a friend who is like a father to me. He is eighty, and the years have stolen ability and freedom from him. He has long periods of time and stillness to reflect on life. He told me his lack of busyness has birthed wonderment in the world around him.

I praise God that in the winters of life, we can see something in a new way.

I try to find a connection between the readings. In Genesis, creation of heavens and earth, creation of all things and mankind. In Psalm 19, the glory of the heavens proclaiming God and his goodness, and reflection on the frail and faulty heart.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin. Psalm 19:12-13, NLT

And in Mark 1, a way is made, the first disciples follow Jesus, and Jesus travels a region healing people and telling them of God’s kingdom.

It is January 1, and I look at a new year with a mental list of changes I want to make. I can’t help it. Like the psalmist, I’m aware of the visible and the existence of the unseen–I know how sin wrecks a life. But Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to make a list of their faults and a list of how they proposed to fix it all. He just said, “Follow me.”

Thankful for a savior who is bigger than my mess.

Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you. You have the power to create heavens and earth with a word; you have the power to (restore broken relationships, heal the sick and hurting, make the impossible possible, change a heart …). Whether through your word or your creation, help me to seek and see you with wonderment.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalm 47, 48, 49; Acts 26

Clap your hands, all peoples!

Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,

a great king over all the earth.

He subdued peoples under us,

and nations under our feet.

He chose our heritage for us,

the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah

God has gone up with a shout,

the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises!

Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

For God is the King of all the earth;

sing praises with a psalm!

God reigns over the nations;

God sits on his holy throne.

The princes of the peoples gather

as the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God;

he is highly exalted! Psalm 47

 

I have been to many churches in my journey as a missionary, to share the gospel and also to share testimonies of the things that God has done and is currently doing in the churches in our area of South India.

One of the things that always strikes me when I visit a church is the many different styles of worship. Some worship in different languages, praise in the native tongue of the worshippers. Some worship in a very traditional way, singing hymns written centuries ago. Some sing the various Maranatha-type choruses that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s. And, some worship with modern songs with the style of prophetic worship. Some churches stand, some clap and lift their hands to the heavens, some play tambourines or shofars, some dance, some wave flags, and some paint pictures.

Despite the style of worship, one thing remains the same…each person, each church is lifting their voices to praise the One True God, offering a part of themselves to the body of Christ, just like David did. Together we are all joined together in gratitude for all He has done – from creating us, to choosing us, to sending His Son to be a sacrifice on our behalf, to each specific thing He does every day for every one of His children.

I truly love corporate worship; it’s a chance to come together with other brothers and sisters in Christ and remember together God’s goodness and His faithfulness. There is something amazing that happens in my spirit when I hear many voices lifted in songs of praise and see figures worshipping through creative movement. It can usher me into His presence in such a way that it almost feels like I took an escalator into heaven. It has the potential to ready my heart for His healing touch, speaking into the places that feel dry and reminding me that He is always there.

I think that the hardest part of being a mom is that it has become a very rare occurrence for me to be able to fully participate in times of worship, either by myself or corporately. It seems as if when a song begins, that is precisely the moment when one of my little ones needs a drink, a snack, a diaper change, a referee… At this point in my motherhood journey, I haven’t yet figured out how to balance kids versus entering into worship. I haven’t yet figured out how to draw my children into the ‘adult’ worship effectively.

As a start, I am teaching them children’s songs, the ones I grew up on, like “Jesus Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, and “This is the Day”. They also both really enjoy waving flags and making a joyful noise on toy instruments, but right now I realize that it is more about the fun than the praise. I hope as they grow their heart for worship grows too as they begin to feel God’s presence in the worship.

I know that this is a season, a time of learning for all of us, a chance to practice gratitude for God in many different ways. I know that each of us, over time, will move into new seasons of worship, and I look forward to the time when we can come together as a family to exult His name and honor our King.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1Kings 17; Colossians 4; Ezekiel 47; Psalm 103

fall tree in my backyardMy daughter turns eleven tomorrow. I sat in the kitchen with my husband on Sunday and felt the emotional lump growing in my throat as I talked about making her birthday popovers on a day with an early start and a busy pace. I would do it, and do it happily, because these years fly by–this season (motherhood) feels like it’s rushing by me.

The time before seemed leisurely. But these years after our move, time flies.

Fall’s leafy cascade across my lawn, a changing season. Time moves on.

13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
    like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
    as though we had never been here. Psalm 103:13-16 NLT

Today’s passages are a reminder and refrain: Make the most of every opportunity.

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. Colossians 4:2-5 NLT

Paul was in prison for proclaiming the gospel, and perhaps, too, to proclaim it there. His sight is focused on opportunity–to serve the Lord wherever he finds himself.

In a different time of life, I remember treading the days, waiting with hope for a new season. The Lord would teach me to serve through the wait, that I might say even then: this is why I am here. I learned, more clearly in hindsight, to see opportunity in trial.

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

I don’t look at this season of motherhood as a prison–it is a gift, sticky and messy and loud. It is a piece of the Why I Am Here: to wake to laundry and popovers and homework to do. To trash days and chores and grocery trips. There is more to these days than the tasks I have numbered–there is a mysterious plan that I am to speak about and many opportunities to speak about it, in my home and outside of it.

Father God: Thank you for this ministry of motherhood. I pray that I will proclaim your message. I pray that I will make the most of every opportunity in word or deed. On the best days, or on the worst, let me always point to your grace and great love for the world.

Courtney (66books365)

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

Leviticus 20; Psalms 25; Ecclesiastes 3; 1 Timothy 5

God has given them a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing. So I realize that the best thing for them is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live. Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 (NCV)

I think about my life and I wonder why certain things have happened and why other things have not. Why have I experience some of my hopes and dreams and why have many of them been left behind in the dust of life? Why have some of my encounters been joyful, but many filled with sadness and grief?

When I scan the memories of my past, I can identify distinct seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) throughout my life, some easy, some hard:

A childhood filled with neighborhood games, summers swimming, winters sledding, and spending tons of time swinging on a tree swing.

Teen years, yearning to get away from the bullies of high school and trying to break free into my own version of independence.

College. Culinary school. Ministry training.

Relationships come and gone. Friends and family members graduating to Glory.

Sharing the Gospel in India.

Meeting and marrying my husband. Birthing my daughters…

Each one of these times moved me forward to today. And I know that as I live today and pivot into tomorrow, I will continue to live within similar cycles.

I will never truly see the big picture of my life fully. But I understand that my Heavenly Father, who has His hand on my life, desires to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-13). And, it is my desire to be grateful to Him for every aspect of each moment and to find joy and happiness in the rhythms of life.

Yesappa, thank you for keeping my life in the palm of Your hand. Thank you for providing for me and protecting me. Thank you for laughing with me during times of joy and weeping with me in my sadness. Thank you for sustaining me in the good times and the bad. Help me find Your loving, encouraging arms in every season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

May the Lord bestow His peace which surpasses all understanding to all of the men, women, and children affected by the double bombing that occurred yesterday during the Boston Marathon. May healing take place swiftly in bodies and in hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms