Tag Archives: vulnerability

Genesis 38-40; Matthew 12:22-50

  • Judah already lost two sons, and was afraid he’d lose his last–so he told Tamar to stay with her father until (Shelah) was old enough to marry her. He had no intention of following through with his end of the deal.
  • Tamar disguised herself and led Judah to believe she was a prostitute so that he would sleep with her. It worked.
  • Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph and tried to seduce him. When he wouldn’t comply, she accused him of trying to rape her, to cover up her actions.

Fear, a quest for justice, desire. These are the things I notice in today’s reading–and I see deceit, disguise, cover-up.

Jesus talks about fruit and what’s in a heart.

33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” Matthew 12:33-37 NLT.

In my life, I will feel so many things. Sometimes those feelings come upon me and knock me over. Hurt over a comment that sits and stews in my heart–it strains a relationship; insecurities that whisper and taunt and push at me–they make me want to hide; a pressing desire for change (that leads to a hair color snafu; or a spending spree; or in frustration/weakness, a chocolate binge).

These days, I’m trying to just take it to God. He knows my thoughts anyway–and I can’t run and hide or cover up the truth. I can try a new approach–and just tell him what’s on my heart.

Lord, I feel hurt by that comment she made.

Lord, I feel discouraged.

Lord, I feel inadequate to do this job.

It’s in those honest moments that I approach God and lay it before him. Help me, I’m weak … I don’t know what to do … I don’t know what to say.

Sometimes the feelings aren’t pretty or noble. But it’s when I suppress, cover-up, deny and try to control a situation that I can make a mess of it.

Jesus, you are always with me and want to help. I can ask for wisdom at any time and you will give it. I can ask for forgiveness and you will give it. I can look to you and find my identity and strength. You know my heart and I can trust you with it.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea 13; Psalm 137, 138

The years of the Sometime-Struggle were a slow descent into depression. It was a constant and tiresome treading to keep my head up. At times, it sapped my energy and my hope. It chipped away at dignity. An enemy placed a sign on my back I couldn’t read, but I could feel it there. It was hurtful and heavy; it grew heavier over time.

When I talked to a seasoned Christian about my trial, she said, “Think of all the suffering Jesus went through. He was beaten and mocked.” Her response did not help me, though I would not have dared to say such a thing. I was probably a Christian for fifteen years at that point, but I had no real understanding of the person of Jesus Christ outside of my salvation. Rooted in rocky soil, I was withering.

I tried to work out the equation: Jesus suffered = I should be able to suck this up (x guilt at still feeling powerless)/there are worse things in the world.

The conclusion was always the same: FAIL.

I picked up my Bible five years ago, and God met me right where I was. These years of pursuing God showed me he has actually been pursuing me.

God moved us here a couple years ago. One day, I met a woman while she was working in her yard. In that first meeting, she told me things I couldn’t believe I was hearing. I said to her, “I think we have a similar story.”

Later, I sat with God and marveled. There are times I wish I had not met the people who had inflicted such pain in my life, but not at the expense of the lesson. When I met this fellow sojourner in her yard, without a doubt I knew if I had a do-over, I would have gone through the Struggle again, so that she would know she is not alone.

Jesus says, “I love you like that.”

And in my heart, I know he does. He is the leader in love. He does his refining work when we’re under pressure. He teaches how to love God, and love a neighbor.

Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. Hebrews 2:9b-10 NLT.

Lord, your suffering wasn’t so I could have a sense of strength in myself, to do life on my own. It was to show me love, to bring me into relationship with you, and to teach me how to love. (And it was so much more!) There is no greater love than yours, that you would lay down your life for your friends. Thank you for the Sometime-Struggle, the lost years that were never really lost. Thank you for loving me, and walking alongside me so I would know I am not alone.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

2 Samuel 14; 2 Corinthians 7; Ezekial 21; Psalm 68

I have, in fact, the greatest confidence in you. If only you knew how proud I am of you! I am overwhelmed with joy despite all our troubles.”2 Cor 7:1-4 MSG

Have you ever had a friend like Paul…who can tell you how proud they are of you, but also speak the truth in love?

When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn’t settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn’t relax because we didn’t know how it would turn out. Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus… I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while….

Am I able to have an open heart and mind to accept the rebuke as well as the love?

…Now I’m glad-not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets. And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart.

I am grateful to have friends like that in my life…who help to turn me around. Who hear from God and urge me out of my comfort zone & on towards Jesus. They are in it with me and are proud of me,because they know the deepest, inner, private struggles of my soul. They know my ugliness. They remind me of who I am in Jesus, who I was and who Jesus in His all sufficient grace is making me to be. When they say they are proud of me, it breathes new life into my soul. It gives me a new sense of purpose and direction.

I’m so confident and proud of you” 2 Cor. 7:5-11;16 MSG

Dear Jesus, I am grateful for the way that You lovingly come alongside of me and remind me of Your truth. You see the ugliness of my heart, but You love me anyway. You have redeemed me. Thank you for the ways that encouraging and sometimes hard spoken words have healed my soul and brought me closer to You. Amen 

Amy(amyctanner)

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