Tag Archives: understanding

1 Samuel 14-15; 1 Chronicles 4-5; 1 Corinthians 2

I really love to read books–this week’s book samplings from the library include how not to kill houseplants, a Nordic mystery, women warriors in history, how to help those dealing with cancer, and a couple of motivational books on pushing past obstacles.

I like a good motivational book. Sometimes my mind tries to get me to give up on pursuits. Just this past weekend, before my feet even touched the floor, my mind was automatically trying to set me up for failure. I was thankful to get my hands on a book that covered the internal fight against resistance. There were some great phrases that helped shape perspective, however, overall, it lacked the guidance I needed.

Paul writes on wisdom, and it reminds me of how much God loves me and wants to be in relationship with me. I can know the wonderful things God has freely given. God’s foundation is the only one I want to build upon.

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.14 But people who aren’t spiritual[g can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,

“Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to teach him?”[h

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:10-16, NLT).

I’ve read King Saul’s story enough to feel sad as soon as it begins. He was impulsive, undisciplined, proud. His is a story of putting God second to his own agenda.

36 Then Saul said, “Let’s chase the Philistines all night and plunder them until sunrise. Let’s destroy every last one of them.”

His men replied, “We’ll do whatever you think is best.”

But the priest said, “Let’s ask God first.”

37 So Saul asked God, “Should we go after the Philistines? Will you help us defeat them?” But God made no reply that day. (1 Samuel 14:36-37, NLT).

Lord, I don’t want to go anywhere without you. Your Word reminds me often to keep my eyes on you, to wait on you, to trust you. Thank you that you make wisdom available, including the very real truth about the battle against resistance. I’m so very thankful that you won’t abandon me, and that you will help me when I call. You are a loving father, and I am a grateful daughter.

Courtney (66books365)


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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Ezekiel 40-42; John 14

While Jesus was making his ultimate journey to the cross, he continued teaching those around him. His words were often confusing to them because they didn’t have an understanding of the scope of what Jesus was doing.

The passages in Ezekiel were measurements and meaning to the temple. In John, Jesus speaks, and I listen. I have a sweet luxury of the written word, and I can return to it often and sit at my Savior’s feet.

15 If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”

23 Jesus replied, All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going (John 14:15-31, NLT).

Jesus was fulfilling a requirement to show his love for the Father. And in these passages he takes time to explain to the disciples who he is, that he is making a way, that he is coming back–assurances and comfort. He tells them he’s not leaving them as orphans, but sending the Holy Spirit who will guide in truth. He leaves a gift, and it’s something only he can give, and we won’t find it in this world. This world won’t give the kind of peace that Jesus can. Jesus explains these things to the disciples while he is with them–and this is deeply meaningful to me: that he prepares them, comforts them, provides for them, assures them. There is so much love and care in this dialogue.

Lord Jesus, I’m grateful for the ability to read these words and read them often. You are the example I want to follow–your love, your wisdom, your obedience, your guidance, your provision. You show me how to be the kind of friend and parent who cares tenderly, lovingly, responsibly. This is relationship. This is treasure. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, Uncategorized

1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

I was at a curriculum fair in April. I looked at a seller’s books–the seller also being the author of a set of history books. (I’m using a different product next year, but I love books, so I stopped to look.)

She told me how her history book is just like the one I’m using, but it has even more information. I opened the pages and saw even more color coded facts, a rainbow of information spanning one page to the next, page after page, this tome. I closed the book, overwhelmed by all the facts seemingly strung along–the information weightier than the book itself, all this knowledge. And how to make order of it? Was there a system behind the colors? There were so many other vendors, I walked on.

I recently read a graphic novel memoir–the layout of the book and its weight denied the rich story contained inside. Through pictures and dialogue, I was hooked into a story that was heartbreaking, haunting and vivid.

There’s an audience for just the facts, and an audience that craves connection.

These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
    to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
    to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
    knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
    Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:1-7, NLT

How often have I read through Proverbs like a long list? Just the facts? Not connecting? These opening verses gave me real pause.

These proverbs read like an invitation to connection, just stepping into the next words of verse eight, “My child …”

Lord, I want to clear my mind of all the clutter and lists and information–I want to be still at your feet and hear your voice. Help me to drink in the sweetness of your word, savor it and be nourished and refreshed by it.

Courtney (66books365)

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

Exodus 25-27; Psalm 90; Philippians 1

9This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; 10that you will see the difference between good and bad and choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; 11that you will be filled with the good things produced in your life by Christ to bring glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11

I love Paul’s prayers in his letters. They were written to be encouragement for the early believers in the areas he had visited during his time as an itinerant missionary – inspiration to reform certain behaviors unbecoming to the newly burgeoning church or reassurance that the people he introduced to the gospel were holding firm and standing true.

For me, this prayer is a mother’s prayer, one that I have prayed over my children as they sleep at night and as they play during the day.

As a mom, I desperately want my children to experience love…love from me and their dad, love from extended family, friends, and teachers, and most importantly I want them to fully experience God’s love.

I desire my children to be able to view every aspect of life through the lenses of that love they experience. And as they see through eyes of love they will know more and understand more, and the wisdom that they gain will enable and empower them to make good choices with their lives, which will in turn bring glory to God for His goodness and faithfulness.

The truth is that I also pray these same things over myself – an over-tired, over-worked, over whelmed mom, who doesn’t always feel loving and definitely doesn’t always act in a loving way. I struggle with making choices, a battle between what is best for my family and my own selfishness, failing to remember that one of the goals of motherhood is to demonstrate the glory of God to my children and the people around me – to be the Bible they may not have read yet, the fruit of the gospel they may not have tasted yet.

14Fill us with your love every morning.

Then we will sing and rejoice all our lives.

15We have seen years of trouble.

Now give us joy as you gave us sorrow.

16Show your servants the wonderful things you do.

Show your greatness to their children.

17Lord our God, be pleased with us.

Give us success in what we do.

Yes, give us success in what we do. Psalm 90:14-17

Yesappa, I need more of Your love, every morning, all day. I need Your joy and Your encouragements of success in this journey of motherhood. I know You do great things, that You are full of glory and goodness. Help my journey, despite the circumstances that surround me, be a reflection of You and of Your hand in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, New Testament, Old Testament, Philippians, Psalms

Esther 1-3; Psalm 139; Revelation 1

Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem…

Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments. When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem. Esther 2:9; 12-13

One of my spiritual moms has a ministry of anointing oils, and for many years held a perspective-changing conference called the Esther Experience. It was a chance for me to participate in the preparation of the bride, a chance to experience the twelve months of beautification over the course of a weekend, a chance to open my heart to God and seek greater understanding of what He has for me as His child.

O  lord, you have examined my heart

and know everything about me. Psalm 139:1

It is easy for me to think that I am the one who knows myself best. And, while that may be true in regards to how other people know me, I have learned that no one knows me better than my creator. He even is more intimately acquainted with the innermost workings of my heart, my mind, my soul than I am.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. Psalm 139:13-15

His understanding of me doesn’t just end with the miracles of how the human body works. His knowledge encompasses my personality, my quirks, my thoughts, my hurts, my failings…and when I daily offer myself to Him, lay myself at His feet, and trust His hands to mold me, I am cleansed, I am healed, I am offered life again.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

Yesappa, Thank You for knowing me. And thank you for walking with me through this life journey, for healing me, comforting me, and encouraging me. Help me draw more and more near to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

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

1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

My child, listen to what I say,

and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom,

and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight,

and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver;

seek them like hidden treasures.

Then you will understand what it means to fear the lord,

and you will gain knowledge of God.

For the lord grants wisdom!

From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.

He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

He guards the paths of the just

and protects those who are faithful to him.

Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,

and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Wise choices will watch over you.

Understanding will keep you safe. Proverbs 2: 1-11

The Lord gives me wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. He gives me common sense. He guards and protects me because I believe in Him, because I am His child.

And yet, sometimes I don’t always seek Him right away for the knowledge and wisdom that I need. I don’t always ask Him to help me make wise choices as I journey through time. I don’t always ask Him to give me wisdom to handle my kids’ daily shenanigans or to manage my household without feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed.

It’s more often than not, that I remember to ‘cry out for insight and ask for understanding’ when I am at my wits end, when I am not sure how I’ll survive another moment. And sometimes, even when I do cry out, I have difficulty filtering God’s still small voice out from the cacophony of living with three small children.

But all who listen to me will live in peace,

untroubled by fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33

In reality, He is always there for me, always willing to share His heart, offer counsel, and enlighten my mind. He wants me to understand the right steps to take, and know which way to walk. He wants me to be privy to His expansive knowledge, pieces of hidden treasure, God’s ‘hacks’, as it were, to the ups and downs of life.

He wants me be filled with hope and joy that is found in insight. He wants me to be overflowing with love that replaces fear. He wants me to live in His peace, the peace that surpasses human understanding, and untroubled by the potential of harm.

Yesappa, Thank You for being there for me always, providing for my every need. Tune my ears to hear your voice and help me concentrate on Your Words. Remind me to continuously seek out Your understanding. Help me treasure every tidbit of wisdom and insight that You offer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, Romans

Isaiah 45, 46, 47; Colossians 3

I call you by your name,

I name you, though you do not know me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other,

besides me there is no God;

I equip you, though you do not know me… Isaiah 45:4b-5

One of the many things that amaze me about God, is that before I knew Him, He still took care of me. He created me. He provided for me. He sent His Son to die and rise from the dead for me; simply that I would be able to know Him. He called me. He equipped me.

He has given me complete freedom, everyday, from the moment I was born, until the moment that my earthly body dies, to choose to walk with Him or to choose to walk away from Him.

He does the same for every person who has lived on this earth, who is currently alive, and who will be born throughout the ages…whether they turn their hearts and minds toward Him or not.

I am reminded of a story* that my husband shared with me one time, of a Christian who wanted to give a homeless man a meal to eat. When he offered the meal, it came with conditions – the homeless man must listen to the Gospel before he was allowed to eat. The homeless man turned down the meal. The Christian was offended at the man’s refusal. In prayer, the Lord reminded the Christian that God had been feeding the homeless man unconditionally since he was born, even though the man didn’t understand where his meals were truly coming from, even though he didn’t know who God was, is, and is to come…and would continue doing so until the man died.

Even though I stand in a place of better understanding and revelation, I realize that I still barely know who God is. He is SO big, so immeasurable, that it is impossible for me to know all of Him.

…I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me,

declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose…’ Isaiah 46:9b-10

And, yet, He tells me over and over in His Word…”I am God, and there is no other, there is none like me…” I am realizing that it doesn’t matter if I fully understand. I will never be able to understand; I am not capable of grasping all of who He is, and that is okay. Whether I comprehend Him or not, He will still accomplish everything He has set out to accomplish, in my life and in the lives of everyone else, regardless of their acceptance of Him.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Now that I do know the grace, mercy, and love of God, however, it is important that I fully honor Him to the best of my ability, that I give thanks for all that He has done for me and will do for me in the future. My actions, my words need to offer honor and glory and praise to His name.

 

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

 

*I am not sure where this story originated, so I don’t know how to attribute it. If you have any information, please let me know so I can add proper acknowledgement. Thank you.

 

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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Filed under 66 Books, Colossians, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament