Tag Archives: transformation

1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2; 2 Thessalonians 3

Solomon had a job to do, and he knew how to go about getting it done. He contacted people who would help him reach that goal–to build a temple. And those people knew other people who were highly skilled in their field.

I may not personally know people who can help me get the job done, but technology has made it so that I can learn from them. I can learn from people who’ve done the things I want to do or they can inspire me to do something altogether new. I can get a book. I can follow a social media page. I can watch a video. I can listen to a podcast. I can join groups online and connect with others.

Sometimes it has taken me out of a routine or a comfort zone–volunteering at an event to help make it a success, or putting my hands to work in a project with people I’d just met to meet the needs of a community. I walked into these situations by myself, without the comfort of someone I knew to help ease the newness of the unknown.

Most of my treasured mentors are people I’ve never met, but whose stories I return to again and again. I’ve learned that reaching a goal isn’t nearly as satisfying in itself as who I become in the process.

In 2 Thessalonians 3, under the subhead “An Exhortation to Proper Living,” Paul has this to say:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.

14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, NLT)

Lord, I praise you. I’m so thankful for the doors you’ve closed in my life, even though I didn’t understand at the time, and for the doors you’ve opened. This is an amazing time to be alive, to be able to learn from complete strangers, to reach across continents or into the past and know people who inspire me to persevere, to never get tired of doing good. I know that if there weren’t these examples, if I didn’t have your word or these others spurring me on, I would have tired by now. Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 19-20, Hebrews 7

I know people who are generous. I know people who are stingy. I know people who are encouraging. I know people who are deceptive. I know people who are patient. I know people who are easily ruffled. I think about traits that mark an impression and define a life and lifestyle.

How will my children remember me?

How will my words or actions influence a stranger?

Whether my life is lived in a big way or a small way, it will leave a mark that seems temporary, but one that has a potential to affect generations. (Lord, help me steward well what you’ve entrusted me.)

The Lord speaks of being set apart as holy in Leviticus.

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy. (Leviticus 20:7-8, NLT)

I find comfort in these words as they point to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the Lord who makes me holy. He is at work within me, transforming me.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. (Hebrews 7:26-27, NLT)

I don’t expect my kids to master any topic in a first reading. Learning takes practice. I’m so grateful for a gracious God who will walk with me all the years of my life to guide and correct me and love me all the while–on my good days, on my bad days.

Lord God, thank you for your words in my hands, that I can turn to you for instruction and wisdom. Thank you for your great patience in my life, the hard tests and tasks that transform me. Thank you for relationship–that I can be close to you and know I am loved.

Courtney (66books365)

From the archives. Originally published February 22, 2018.

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Judges 11:12-40; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

“Go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them.  But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded.  “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.  “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But not with God.  Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:21-27 NLT

Mark 10:27 is such a familiar verse to me.  God has used it in my life to speak hope to my soul.  But, I don’t remember if I have read the entire passage before. It puts it in a whole new light.  It makes me question what I am treasuring.  What am I holding onto that won’t fulfill me?What is hindering me from fully following Him?

“God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.  Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through  them among the Gentiles.” Acts 15:8-12 NLT

What is my faith in?

“Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him.  A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.  When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.  But only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”  So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said.  “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  “My Rabbi, “the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” Mark 10:46-52 NLT

The blind man continued to follow Jesus after he could see.  I can picture him walking the rest of his days with Jesus. Because he knew that He is the only place where true healing could be found.  I don’t think he was thinking about what he was giving up, but what he gained.  Not only his eyesight, but Jesus.

Dear Father, please forgive me when my heart is far from you. I am reminded of a song that says, “There is nothing better than You.”  I want to sing that and believe it, but sometimes I have to tell it to my heart. You are worthy. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Deut 21; Psalms 108,109; Isaiah 48; Rev 18

“She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble.  She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flur, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, wagons, and bodies-that is, human slaves.  “The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry.  “All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.” Revelation 18:12-14 NLT

Reading through this list of luxuries, I think about the wise men giving the frankincense and myrrh to Jesus.  I look into my own heart.  How is it like Babylon? What am I grasping onto for myself?  Am I looking to others for what they can do for me? Or am I genuinely loving them like Jesus?

“This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.  Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.  Your descendants would have been like the sands along the seashore-too many to count!” Isaiah 48:17-19 NLT

What am I looking to for fulfillment? I don’t want to miss out on spiritual blessings, because I am so consumed with the things of this world.  And hold on to them so tightly that it becomes an idol…forgetting that it is all His anyway.

“My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Wake up, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song.  I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.  I will sing your praises among the nations.  For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.  Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.  May your glory shine over all the earth.  Now rescue your beloved people.  Answer and save us by your power.  Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless.  With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.” Psalms 108:1-13 NLT

Dear Father, I want to have a grateful heart.  Thank you for all the ways you have provided for me.  I desire to be a good steward of your gifts.  Give me eyes to see your beauty all around me.  Help me to have an eternal perspective.  You get the glory. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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Genesis 9,10; Matthew 9; Ezra 9; Acts 9

Not everyone goes to a doctor when they’re sick. Sometimes, they wait for illness to pass on its own. Sometimes they mask symptoms with temporary remedies just so they can get through the day or night. Sometimes they become so accustomed to the pain and discomfort that it becomes the new normal, and they don’t realize how bad off they are.

Jesus performs a lot of miracles in Matthew 9. He first forgives a paralyzed man for his sins–for which the watching teachers scoff. So Jesus tells the man to stand, take his mat and go (he does). Another man asks Jesus to come to his house because his daughter just died. On the way, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years reaches out to be healed, and is healed. (The dead daughter is raised again.) Two blind men encounter Jesus and their sight is restored. Jesus heals the sick.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:10-13, NLT)

Sick people go to a doctor to get well, not to stay sick. These examples are of sick people (paralyzed, bleeding, dead, blind) who are healed. An encounter with Jesus is life changing.

16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17, NLT)

I sit at this table this morning with these words. They are rich and full. Readings from four different books covering sin, legacy, life change, faith, prayer, transformation.

If he wanted me to stay just as I was, he need not have come. I might have waited for my affliction to pass, or continued to treat it myself, or worst of all–lived life oblivious of my infirmity and just accepted it as part of me.

Thank you, Lord, for all your miracles, not only to heal physically, but to transform spiritually. You love us so much. This wine in new wineskins so that both are preserved. You are so good.

Courtney (66books365)

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