Tag Archives: thoughts

Job 18-20; Psalm 141; Revelation 15

Empty offers. Canceled plans. Things unspoken, withheld, erased. You aren’t worth it. You don’t matter. These are the words I’ve heard over the years from family and friends, spoken through their tone and by their actions. These are the words an enemy said to me over and over. They became the filter I used to look at my place in life and in relationships, and I hardly knew it. That belief took me to dark places: From I feel lonely to I am alone; from I feel overlooked to I am invisible. I see it in Job, his own thoughts change from a once confidence in God to:

“How long will you torture me?
    How long will you try to crush me with your words?
You have already insulted me ten times.
    You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.
Even if I have sinned,
    that is my concern, not yours.
You think you’re better than I am,
    using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.
But it is God who has wronged me,
    capturing me in his net.

“I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me.
    I protest, but there is no justice.
God has blocked my way so I cannot move.
    He has plunged my path into darkness.
He has stripped me of my honor
    and removed the crown from my head.
10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished.
    He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree (Job 19:2-10, NLT, emphasis added).

Hey, Job, maybe you didn’t know this, but in the beginning of your story: God thought a lot of  you.

He put a hedge of protection around you, but you didn’t know it. All the crazy and loss and pain going on around you made it hard to see. But maybe when you look back, you’ll see you were held.

He thought you could withstand this. And I wonder, if you had known … if you had told yourself those things instead, what would your testimony be?

When I read Job, I don’t always know what to think, but it certainly has me thinking this time around: What are others telling me? What am I telling myself? What is the truth?

Lord, I need to be grounded in YOUR truth to know the truth. I want eyes to see, ears to hear, and a humbled heart to accept what is. I want to tell myself the truth. And when life doesn’t look the way I thought it should or hoped it would, I want to look to You and ask with expectation, “So, what do You have planned instead?” I’m so thankful that anything that happens is under your notice and watch–crazy, loss and pain can have new meaning and purpose.

Courtney (66books365)

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

I Chronicles 5, 6; Hebrews 10; Amos 4; Psalm 148-150

Sometimes I am conflicted about the will of God in my life. “Should I move or should I stay” is a line in a Third Day song that mimics my own questions. When nothing seems to be working out as I would like or had expected, I doubt my heart and look for sin or some other barrier deafening me to God’s will. I feel like the rejected firstborn or one of a whole lineage of people that God judged as unfaithful. When I search my heart I see the after effects of trauma, unresolved grief, periods of isolation from God’s community of believers, and the constant dripping of remorse. Still, I hold tenaciously to Jesus Christ, the One who knows me intimately – my Creator. Amos 4:13 says,

“For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind, who declares to man what his heart is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth…the Lord God of hosts is His name.”He is the One who declares what my heart is – no matter that I am unaware of this heart’s condition.

Even when convicted of sin, my Lord Jesus does not leave me. He could have. He could have saved only Israel through the Levitical practice of offering sacrifices and left me in the dust. I Chronicles 6:49 describes the importance of the high priest’s function:

“But Aaron and his sons offered sacrifices on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel…” However, Jesus Christ, said to God,

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices of sin You had no pleasure. Then I [Christ] said, ‘Behold, I have come…to do Your will, O God,’”(Hebrews 10:5-7).

That once and for all sacrifice, that unwavering willingness of Christ to die for me, that love and understanding of my human frailty, is my inspiration to hold fast to what I know: God is faithful even when I cannot readily see His will for me. He encourages me through Scripture, through friends, through study, and through prayer.

“And let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching,” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

For example, I was reminded yesterday by one of my ‘golden’ friends to praise God in all things – in my sorrow, in my joy, in my confusion, in the most difficult and dark times. And today, God punctuated His reminder to praise Him as I read the last three chapters in the Book of Psalms which exhort Creation from “the heavens to the human heart,” (commentary) to praise God for His mighty works, for the assembly (the church), to praise God for His salvation and judgments, and finally for all things to praise Him:

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord,” (Psalm 148-150).

So, my Lord God, with the breath You have graciously given me to know Your heart and to breathe in Your love for me, I praise You today – in word, in deed, in song, in quietness, and in loud “Halleluiahs!” You have a way of cutting through the fog and clearing the path to see that You are before me, always with me, and upholding me through all that has been and is to come. Most wonderful of all, I praise You for Your very Presence even now! Thank You Jesus, Lord and Savior!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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1 Kings 13; Philippians 4; Ezekiel 43; Psalms 95,96

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and mind as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NLT

This passage has become all too familiar to me. I have recalled it to my weary mind time and time again. But sometimes I forget how powerful it can be in my life. When my nine year old son was scared, I told him to say the name of Jesus and his fearful thoughts would flee. In her book “Battlefield of the Mind for Kids” Joyce Meyer paints such a vivid picture of Jesus guarding the mind. “Dear Jesus, please protect my thoughts and mind. Please stand between me and any lies that might come into my head.” In order to train my thoughts I need to stay disciplined in his word. The Psalms have a way of directing my heart back to him…

He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest of mountains.” Psalms 95:4 NLT

I am reminded of his majesty

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.” Psalms 95:6 NLT

I am reminded of his constant provision.

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Psalms 96:1-3 NLT

I praise him for all he has done!

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT

Thank you Father for your love for me. That you delight in me and care about the smallest details of my life. Help me to be grounded by your word everyday. Forgive me when I grumble, I want to have a grateful heart. Give me a mind that is filled with your desires. Thank you for all you have done for me. Amen.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

Looking at examples in the Bible, I think God is trying to say that it’s okay to go through pain – only He wants to walk through it with us.

Samson is a fine example.  Even though he had failed, God did not leave him.

Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. – Judges 16:30 NRSV

For Paul pain was a way of life and he prophesied the same to us. Only way through it and its the staple of my walk with Jesus is to place my hope in God, counting on His grace as my foundation and my fountain of joy.

 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[d]that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.[e]  I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. – Acts 20:28-30

That is why I struggle with this promise that I still quote from time to time —

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,  I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes – Jeremiah 29:11-14

I struggle with it not because it is not true, but because if it is taken out of context it misses the fact that there was 70 years of pain before this promise was realized.

So Jesus’s life has to be the accumulation of all my thoughts.  The cross and Skull Hill represented death, mockery and pain but for me I found there a place of redemption, forgiveness and hope because of Jesus.  What begins in horror and inhumanity, ends in victory and grace.

 Then they brought Jesus[d] to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).  And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they crucified him – Mark 15:22-24

Lord, thank you for your promises, they are true, every last one of them.  While I  journey with You and we might be joined by hurt, may I take comfort that You and others that You have called have already gone before me.  

evanlaar

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

2 Samuel13,14; John 4:1-26

An heir to the kingdom, taboo desire, violence, disgrace, revenge. Sin plays out a devastating story that leaves a woman broken, a son murdered, and a family fractured and mourning. Sin does that. It destroys. Despite what anyone may try to reason in the midst of a transgression, it never affects only one person.

It seemed a mere 39 verses in a very big book, but spanned a number of years. I read the chapter several times, gripped by how a life and a choice can go so desperately wrong. Amnon, a king’s son and heir to the throne, may not have been so reckless ordinarily, yet he orchestrated events that would wreck lives–including his own. The beginnings of sin, right there at the start of the chapter:

In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. 2 Samuel 13:1

In the course of time, these thoughts led to action and dire consequences. He was consumed, so much so that others noticed. How can a life and a choice go so desperately wrong? Big things (rape, infidelity, addiction, anger, eating disorders), don’t they start with little things–a thought left untamed, a feeling unchecked? Unhappiness, emptiness, frustration, boredom or even curiosity? A mind wanders, meandering at first, down a path best left untraveled. A very Principle of the Path lesson. In the course of time, thoughts lead somewhere. A reminder to me that wherever I set my feet (and thoughts), I will surely reach (some kind of) a destination.

Courtney (66books365)

From the archives … originally published September 17, 2010.

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Leviticus 11,12; Psalms 13,14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

There’s a deep history in scripture. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes reading these verses, the history falls away as I am moved by the words’ timelessness. When I opened to psalm 13, I didn’t know his anguish was sparked by an illness that threatened life.

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:2 (NIV)

These words spoke to a friend under trial; to another one in the midst of an ugly divorce; and to me in my own prison of thoughts. We all read these words; we related to the tiresome treading to ward off an enemy’s triumph. I didn’t see sickness or physical foes advancing upon David–at least, not until I read the study notes. With the absence of word cues like Zion or Israel, it was almost as if sitting with a friend over coffee:

“I feel like God is far” … “These thoughts keep me up at night” … “I don’t know how long I can keep this up” …

The pleading and urgency that follow:

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. Psalm 13:3-4 (NIV)

He is facing a battlefield. But she is crying in a car; another in an empty bed; this one in quiet hours. All of us holding fast to the Only One who could ever help.

David turns his complaint to praise. When feelings and thoughts might lead astray, a warrior fights on:

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6 (NIV)

This warrior can do it too.

Father, when feelings and thoughts betray, thank you for your word. Trials will come, but you can be trusted. Praising you. Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

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