Tag Archives: understanding

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

Job 31-32; Acts 13:1-23

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:

“I am young in years,

and you are aged;

therefore I was timid and afraid

to declare my opinion to you.

I said, ‘Let days speak,

and many years teach wisdom.’

But it is the spirit in man,

the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.

It is not the old who are wise,

nor the aged who understand what is right. Job 32:6-9

The other day, while trying to get my kids settled down after a long day of traveling, I watched a rerun of Full House on Nick at Nite. It was a show I loved growing up. I was only a couple of years younger than DJ Tanner and I could fully relate to her experiences as a pre-teen and teenager growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

This particular episode was when DJ and her boyfriend Steve first realized they were ‘in love’. Danny decided it was impossible for DJ to be ‘in love’, she was just too young to understand what love is. He realizes through the help of his girlfriend Vicky that he feels like a teenager ‘in love’ and recognizes that maybe DJ could be experiencing the same emotions.

When I began reading the passages for today, that episode popped into my head again, reminding me of the friction that often occurs between the generations, especially when it comes to wisdom and insight.

More often than I’d like to admit, I fall into the trap of either believing that I don’t know anything, because I am young and don’t have much experience or thinking I know it all and not heeding the advice of my elders. I feel grateful though that I am in the position where I am in relationship with believers of all ages who are able to offer wisdom and counsel to me regardless of their age, in relation to mine.

it’s God’s Spirit in a person,
the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible
… Job 32:8 (MSG)

God makes it clear in His Word that age is not the determining factor in the amount of wisdom one has. I don’t have more wisdom now at 36 simply because I am 10 years older than my 26 year old self. I have more wisdom because I chose to give my heart and my life to Jesus, I chose to follow Him.

Wisdom and insight into life, circumstances, and the question ‘why’ in the midst of joy and trials, comes from His Spirit living in me. It stems from fearing Him and following Him. It comes from asking for His understanding, studying His Word, being prayerful, and listening for His Voice. It comes from heeding godly encouragement coming from other brothers and sisters in Christ.

My desire is that more and more, as I walk with God and His people, I recognize more and more His truth. And, that I remember that truth may come from the mouth of a grandmotherly figure or from the mouth of babes.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Wisdom and Your insight that is breathed into me by Your Spirit. Thank You for breathing it into all believers who truly fear You. Help me recognize Your wisdom when I hear it, and teach me to be discerning without making preconceived judgment. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Job, New Testament, Old Testament

2 Chronicles 10; Revelation 1; Zephaniah 2; Luke 24

Then starting with what Moses and all the prophets had said about him, Jesus began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures…

He said to them, “Remember when I was with you before? I said that everything written about me must happen—everything in the law of Moses, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms.”

Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He said to them, “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that a change of hearts and lives and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:27; 44-48 (NCV)

Since I truly gave my heart to the Lord and began following Him, I have sought out authentic understanding of the scriptures. As I read, I’ve had questions, often generated by conflicts in teachings I have heard over the years.

I’ve heard many versions of the gospel from many different teachers. I have heard some teachings which have resonated with the Spirit inside me and some that have made my toes curl. Some teachers sought to control, while others preached freedom in Christ. Some taught hell fire and brim stone doctrine, full of sin and suffering. Some taught circumcision of heart flesh, co-crucified/co-heir identity, and sin-saturated grave clothes left behind in the tomb.

In the beginning of my journey into the Bible, I didn’t fully understand the importance of the Old Testament, a telling of the history of Israel. And then slowly those passages were opened up to me. The pages became relevant and personal. The stories became real to me, not simply words on ‘papyrus’ anymore. I was shown the significance of each story, of each man and woman’s journey, the role they played in the big picture. The foretelling of Christ hidden within those pages, hidden in plain sight, was revealed to me. I was given eyes to see and ears to hear and I have come to love the Old Testament as much as the New.

Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

Maybe you will escape

on the day the Lord shows his anger. Zephaniah 2:3 (NCV)

Two years ago, as the new mom of a 10 month old and living on the mission field, I was searching for a way to get deeper in the Word despite the busyness of life, of motherhood and ministry. I prayed for something, anything to help me stick to my plan. I needed encouragement; I needed accountability. Less than two days passed and God answered my prayer with an email from Courtney (66Books365), a friend of a friend who I had never met before, inviting me to become a part of the 66Books community. I was astonished by the timeliness and the answer to my prayer. And, I continue to be in awe of our ensuing friendship.

Blessed is the one who reads the words of God’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen. Revelation 1:3 (NCV)

As I read the Bible as a part of this book club, I am blessed beyond measure.

I have come across verses that I have read many times before that didn’t mean much to me in the past, but that resonate for such a time as this. These passages have become significant to my current situation and circumstances and offer new wisdom, re-enforcing my godly identity. Sometimes, what I read is God’s way of preparing me for what I am about to experience, His way of giving me new tools to use in the future, even as early as later in my day.

As I read, I gain new insight and understanding of areas of my walk with Christ that were a mystery to me before. I am given revelation about my struggles and the solutions to those issues. I am given real life examples to follow, mentors to help me through, and a Comforter to walk alongside me. And, in turn, God is using me to teach and impart what I am learning to others, both on and off the foreign mission field.

The Bible is encouraging and inspiring. It is transforming and life-changing. It has increased my faith and my reliance on Christ. It has become the sword I use to deflect the darts of the enemy. God’s Word has become my life-giving, daily bread.

Yesappa, Thank You for blessing me with Your Word. Thank You for making Your Word rhema for my life, my daily bread. Thank You for revealing Your love, Your grace, Your wisdom to me. Continue to open my eyes and ears to receive and to understand Your scriptures; continue to explain to me all that has been written about You. Help me humble myself so that I may truly hear and obey Your message. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation