Tag Archives: Worth

Numbers 2-5; Acts 14

I read of family, purpose and responsibility in Numbers. Families that are set aside under a banner with specific tasks to lead in a direction, to carry special cargo or to manage a task. These themes are deeply meaningful to me. Family members are counted. They are unified in a common goal to serve as the Lord directs.

Again, these themes are deeply meaningful to me. I sit with the words and hold them like a precious gift.

Acts 14 and Paul and Barnabas are met with opposition. They flee to preach the Good News elsewhere and encounter a man with crippled feet.

While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. 10 So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking (Acts 14:8-10, NLT, emphasis added).

Father God, I am so thankful that when you look at me, you see worth, a daughter, a beloved. Thank you for bringing me into your family and entrusting me with tasks and responsibilities for your glory and my good. Oh, even if my father and mother abandon me, you Lord will hold me close.

Courtney (66books365)


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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

“My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds have led them astray

and turned them loose in the mountains.

They have lost their way

and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold….

 

But the one who redeems them is strong.

His name is the lord of Heaven’s Armies.

He will defend them

and give them rest again in Israel…

Jeremiah 50:6; 34a

I am learning about identity. Who am I? What is my sense of self?

Often, when thinking about identity, I tend to look first at the roles I take part in – I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a wife, a mother, a friend, etc. Also, I think about my characteristics – I’m honest, caring, compassionate, strong, hungry for learning, loyal, etc. Sometimes I think about the ugly of my past or the sins of my current experience. All of these things make up identity as the world sees it; they are the identifiers that make me different than another person or similar to someone else.

But I am coming to learn that heaven sees me in a different light.

Before I really knew Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I was a lost sheep; I was led astray by the enemy and those that sided with him. Just like the people of Israel, I was turned loose into the wilderness and didn’t know how to find my way back. But my sin didn’t cause the Lord to abandon me, to leave me or forsake me. He was still my God, even though I wasn’t walking by His side. He still called me to come to Him.

“For the lord of Heaven’s Armies

has not abandoned Israel and Judah.

He is still their God,

even though their land was filled with sin

against the Holy One of Israel.” Jeremiah 51:5

The reality is, whether I have full revelation of it or not, that my identity is completely connected to God, as my creator, as my Father.

I am Julie. Who I am is loved by God. I am forgiven and saved. I am valuable and worthy. I am a child of God. I am a daughter of the King. I am called.

Yesappa, Thank You for being strong and full of grace and mercy. Thank You for never abandoning me, even when I was lost. Thank You for calling me out of the darkness into Your arms. Thank you for giving me true identity that neither the circumstances of my life nor the enemy can steal from me. Thank You for giving my life purpose. Help walk out ‘who I am is loved by you’ ever moment of every day; and when I stray from that, pull me back into Your love. 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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Psalm 62-64; Romans 1

You are not worth fighting for.

That is the message the enemy sends to me. In a Bible study by Angela Thomas, in the unexpected chapter of the undermining messages we hear, this is the one that shouted at me in all-caps fury. Suddenly things past and present were punctuated with the thought: you are not worth fighting for.

It emerged with new voice from the years of (his) silence.

It smiled from (her) face the day she let the door shut in mine.

It was made plain over coffee when (one) said as much, “I won’t fight your battle.”

It whispered at me through every dangling text, canceled plan, empty promise.

That first winter, I walked trash cans down the driveway. It was night, and it was windy and cold. Our driveway is longer under those conditions. I looked up at the stars and spoke to God about all the things that were going wrong. That year, I was introduced to Psalm 62 in a study on David. It was waiting for me today.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
    for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
    He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
    Pour out your heart to him,
    for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8, NLT

An enemy’s message still surfaces from the most unlikely sources. It is met this morning with an eternal truth, interestingly enough, over coffee.

When one is silent, He speaks. When one door is closed, He holds open the other. When one won’t stand with me, He is a refuge where no enemy can reach. When one tells me I’m not worth the effort, time–God is there. He says He’s got time for me.

He tells me I’m worth it.

God fights for me. My victory and honor come from him.

What does the enemy tell you?

More importantly, what does God have to say about it?

Lord, thank you for never leaving my side. Thank you for fighting for me. Help me to be aware of the messages I send to others. I don’t ever want my voice to be that of an enemy.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Chronicles 22; 1 Peter 3; Micah 1; Luke 10

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NCV)

Every day (yes, even in India), I am bombarded with images of male and female models who project what the world values as beautiful. The men are well dressed, muscular, a trace of 5 o’clock shadow, eyes staring dreamily at something on the unseen horizon, a flirty smile on their lips. The women, more often than not, are adolescent girls exposing stick thin figures and ample cleavage in barely-there fashions with come-hither expressions painted on their faces.

The world’s definition of beauty has always left me feeling inadequate, falling just short of the perceived ideal. Even though I did some local modeling while in high school, I still always felt too dumpy, too fat, not enough this, not enough that.

Throughout the years, I have experienced times where I looked at myself and liked what I saw in the mirror. My positive self-esteem strengthened by my understanding that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and being unique is appreciated. I have also experienced times when I was unhappy with my reflection, especially after being a veteran of childbirth. Though I love my daughters immeasurably, getting to know my post-pregnancy body has sometimes been a less than pleasurable encounter.

In the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, Andie (played by Kate Hudson) is going to a gala event with Barry (played by Matthew McConaughey). She steps out of her apartment building in a stunning gold dress, walks to the edge of the steps and turns a 360 in front of Barry who is standing at the bottom of the stairs on the sidewalk. He is awed by her outer beauty.

A few years ago, while I was in the midst of a self-image struggle, God showed me a picture similar to this scene. Dressed in a gorgeous red gown, I walk out of the building, walk to the edge of the step and slowly twirl around. Jesus, standing near the road, looks at me with awe. God whispered in my ear, “You are beautiful. You’re covered in the blood of Christ. You are made perfect in me.”

“Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (NCV)

Beauty isn’t simply skin deep. It isn’t about how I dress up or accessorize; it isn’t about wearing the latest trends or having the latest hairstyle.

Choosing Jesus made me beautiful. My beauty is found in my character, in my spirit. It originates inside of me and radiates to the outside. Being beautiful is about Christ in me and the fruits produced as a result of our relationship. Being beautiful is about what I do with that harvest.

The beauty the world prizes will fade – aging is inevitable. But, my inner beauty, the beauty that is precious to God and ultimately treasured by those around me, will never be taken away. It will only grow more beautiful because of Jesus.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me. Thank You for proving my value and worth when You died for me on the cross and covered me with Your blood. Thank You for making me beautiful. 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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2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7; Amos 1; Psalms 144

Lord, why are people important to you?

Why do you even think about human beings?

People are like a breath;

their lives are like passing shadows. Psalm 144:3-4 (NCV)

There are times in my life when I suffer from hopelessness. In those moments, my world as I know it comes crashing down around me, dreams shatter and desires smash. And, like most people, I begin questioning “why”.

When I feel hopeless, I experience a sense of depression. I wonder if I am valuable to anyone, loved by anyone. I start thinking about what could have been, fantasizing about greener grasses. It is easy to listen to the lies of the enemy when I am vulnerable, the whispers of worthlessness, insinuations of rejection.

…Now a better hope has been given to us, and with this hope we can come near to God. Hebrews 7:19b (NCV)

Before I knew Jesus, my hope was based on my aspirations and on my relationships with people who surrounded me. Then, when the Lord revealed Himself, arms wide open, waiting expectantly for me to walk into His embrace, I began to see that my hope needed to be grounded in Christ. I realized the importance of centering my expectations on the Everlasting, Always-Loving God.

…Because Jesus lives forever, he will never stop serving as priest. So he is able always to save those who come to God through him because he always lives, asking God to help them.

Jesus is the kind of high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and he is raised above the heavens. He is not like the other priests who had to offer sacrifices every day, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Christ offered his sacrifice only once and for all time when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:24-27 (NCV)

When I put my hope in the fallible things around me, in mutable thoughts of the future I will inevitably be disappointed. When I put my hope in other people – family, friends, and those I don’t even really know – I am often hurt, my heart disillusioned and feeling more lonely than ever.

Happy are those who are like this;

happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15 (NCV)

But, when I draw near to God, placing my hope in Him, I am able to give thanks in all things. And, when I choose to bless His name, especially when circumstances are challenging, happiness arises from His gift of sufficient grace. I remember my heavenly identity and the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. I find joy in my salvation. I discover that I’ve become strong despite my weakness and my faith has been fortified.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my hope, my salvation. Thank You for thinking of me and counting me as important, valuable, and worthy of Your Love. Thank you for Your steadfastness and Your grace. Thank you for drawing near to me as I draw near to You. Thank You for Your many blessings over my life. 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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1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Luke 17

I can say this about them: They really try to follow God, but they do not know the right way. Because they did not know the way that God makes people right with him, they tried to make themselves right in their own way. So they did not accept God’s way of making people right. Christ ended the law so that everyone who believes in him may be right with God. Romans 10:2-4 (NCV)

Samuel answered, “Don’t be afraid. It’s true that you did wrong, but don’t turn away from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Idols are of no use, so don’t worship them. They can’t help you or save you. They are useless! For his own sake, the Lord won’t leave his people. Instead, he was pleased to make you his own people…You must honor the Lord and truly serve him with all your heart. Remember the wonderful things he did for you! 1 Samuel 12:20-22; 24 (NCV)

All people in the core of their beings are searching for more. We desire to fill a gap in our lives that nothing in the world can satisfy. All of the things we seek out to satiate the desire for wholeness can never be compared to the fullness that is found in God.

In my own life, though I was raised in a Christian home, I didn’t truly understand what was being offered to me. I thought I was following God because I memorized scripture verses, went to church, to Christian school, I did my ‘obligatory’ Bible studies…I even said a sinner’s prayer, or two.

I used to believe that following God was about the rituals, the stand up, kneel down, stand up, sit down liturgy. I used to think that if I didn’t have a ‘quiet time’, didn’t read my Bible every day, didn’t  a, b, or, c…that God was going to be angry with me, that I was going to end up in hell, after all. I used to feel judged by the ‘big man in the sky’ for every little thing I did, or didn’t do. When I sinned, I figured I wasn’t worthy of His love in the first place, and no matter how hard I tried, I would always be a failure.

But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. Romans 10:14 (NCV)

I was searching for that something more, knowing that I felt empty and frustrated that I couldn’t find what I knew was out there.

During a divine encounter, a friend assured me that no matter how long I had been separated from Jesus, all I needed to do was believe. All I needed was to turn around and ‘see’ His arms outstretched, waiting for me to run into them; to trust that His mercies are new every morning.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NCV)

I chose to run toward Him. I chose to believe. I chose to lay my life before the Living God who IS Love and in that moment, I experienced grace. My perception was forever altered, my understanding of relationship with Christ redeemed just as my spirit was restored and my mind was renewed.

Christ is my friend, someone who I want to spend time with and who wants to spend time with me. My bond with Jesus is rooted in freedom, my value established by His sacrifice. Our connection is sealed with joy, jam-packed with love. In my human weakness, I am made strong; in my human failings, I am made perfect. I am in Him and His kingdom is within me.

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”

Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Everyone can experience fulfillment in Jesus. Everyone can experience His grace and His mercy. Everyone can experience His love. Will you join me in freedom?

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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Numbers 36; Psalm 80; Isaiah 28; 2 John 1

I didn’t expect to find Jesus in the pages of a book comparing child attachments with peers versus parents pre- and post-World War 2. There was no mention of His name in the chapter discussing the weakness and wounding that takes place when children derive their value and esteem from peers.

In contrast, the parent,

“When the parent is the compass point, it is the messages he or she gives that are relevant. When tragedy and trauma happen, the child looks to the parent for clues whether or not to be concerned. As long as their attachments are safe, the sky could collapse and the world fall apart, but children would be relatively protected from feeling dangerously vulnerable.” Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate.

I saw Jesus there, out of context. When I tie my identity to this world, my job, what others think of me, if I am not tethered to or held up by Christ the Cornerstone, I am dangerously vulnerable to weakness and wounding. When Jesus is my compass point, I find Him completely out of (and within) context. He permeates every part of life.

Isaiah writes of the armies of Assyria and Babylonia, but I see Jesus reflected:

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:    “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Isaiah 28:16 (NIV)

When I wonder what the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant” sounds like, I halt at His presence:

“17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

 19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:17-19 (NIV)

Lord, you are the compass point. You are the One who was and is and yet to come–a sure foundation. (I can stand on you.) You are justice and righteousness, the plumb line. (I can discern what is true or false by holding it up to you.) You are the truth that lives in us and will be with us forever. (Sweet salvation.) I find you out of context and in the least expected places … your reminder and reassurance still that you hold it all together.

Courtney (66books365)

from the archives, originally published May 27, 2011.

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