Understanding my own propensity to wander and the fullness of blessing that is found in a life marked by a steadfast trust in the Word of God, it has been good for me through the past few weeks--as the pace of life and ministry as slowed through the summer season--to allow the Word of God to recalibrate my heart and mind; for His Word is the very foundation of my life and faith.
Recently I have found my thoughts returning to familiar texts that have inspired and encouraged me as I have journeyed with God for 40+ years. The word of Titus 3:4-5 immediately come to mind: When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved (me), not because of righteous things (I) had done, but because of his mercy. I remember the night, the time and place that this text intercepted my life as a 17 year-old kid who didn't think he needed God in his life; I remember that moment of surrendering to God and embracing His saving grace.
As a young Christian one of the first texts I committed to memory was the words of Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him (submit to him), and he will make your paths straight. I have lived my entire Christian life in light of this promise; it serves as the foundation of covenant I have with God--a covenant that reminds me that I am loved by the Father, that we are in a relationship together; that He desires to break into my life, to lead me in ways that are consistent with His very best plans for me.
Another foundational text for my life is Psalm 91:1-2: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress. Time and again I have to allow God to be my refuge and strength. I am continuing to learn what it means to allow my Shepherd to lead me to the green pastures and still waters where I can find rest for my soul.
Two verses from Isaiah have also served to encourage and inspire me over the years; they both carry a promise from God to me. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3) Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31)
The words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3 have provided for me a perspective for this life, but more than that, they have continually moved my focus to an eternal perspective. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2) These words remind me again and again of the importance of living with 'one eye on eternity'. In the words of 2 Timothy 1:12, I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. I believe to the core of my being that, He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
There are a many more texts that have been and continue to be meaningful to me; too many to note in this posting. But I feel compelled to note just a few more. The psalmist reminds me that, The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. (Psalm 56:3-4) Sometimes I just need to come back to the truth and promises from His Word that have been so meaningful to me; to remind myself that when I am weak, when I am afraid, He is strong. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense. (Isaiah 12:2) I need to remind myself that He has been so very good and gracious to me. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. (Psalm 86:5) He wants me to abide in, to rest in His love.
All of us have portions of the Bible that are particularly meaningful to us. As you have opportunity to slow down, to pause and reflect on those texts that God has used to bless and build up your life, I want to invite you to share those texts through this blog. Use the 'Leave a Reply' box below to share a verse / text. Let's use this as a means to bless and encourage one another!
I leave you with my 'life verse': Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:7)