I admit that I'm still struggling to complete my reading of the Bible this year all the way through. No excuses, just questionable priorities. However, I am diligent in my two Bible study groups. In one we're studying James and the other is going through Exodus-Joshua. In this second one and interesting question was part of our homework this week:
"From the Old or New Testament, give three verses that have meant much to you, and if possible share something with the class as to your reason for choosing the ones you did."
Our class doesn't meet until Wednesday morning so I'm curious as to how the other ladies approached this answer. In some sense, ALL verses of the Bible hold meaning to us individually at some point, for a variety of reasons -- we're confused by them, we cannot pronounce a name and may even giggle at it, we're amazed by the beauty of the verse, or they may convict us, hitting directly to our heart. For me, the three I chose are as follows along with my reasons why.
Jeremiah 29:11 -- "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"
Both my family and I consider me to be quite the planner and someone who doesn't handle changes in plans or spontaneity particularly well. I am so comforted by routine and knowing what is going to happen "next" that it's somewhat pathological. This verse comforts me that even when I feel like I'm spinning out of control GOD is driving the car and in the end it's all for good. It doesn't promise lack of pain or sadness or anything like that and it's certainly unrealistic to expect life to always be a walk down a garden path, but knowing deep in my heart that God is in control and has the plan in his hand is a comfort when I'm flailing about.
Matthew 5:6 -- "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
Here's one that convicts me all the time and even speaks to my comment earlier that I'm not prioritizing my yearly Bible read-through very well. My hunger and thirst, through physical evidence, don't seem to be fully directed toward righteousness. No wonder I am finding myself dis-satisfied and not really even know what it is I'm not satisfied with. I'm basically content in my life, pretty joyful, and often happy, but I'm also often weary and short of temper, much more than I'm comfortable admitting to. I believe I need to re-prioritize what it is I do when I'm experiencing these negative feelings and look toward God for direction. Satisfaction is not of my own doing, it's his.
Ephesians 4:29 -- "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."
This one showed up as the verse of the day on the Bible app on my phone the day I was doing my homework. Gossip, sharing stories of others (particularly bad ones), and any time we speak negatively about someone isn't right. I'm not sure where to draw the line on this one -- I find I even do it to myself -- "I'm such a klutz" or "I'm an idiot" -- even though it's said in a humorous tone, don't we often say such things with a bit of malice behind them? We also tease each other -- again, where do we draw the line and realize that we've gone too far? How do we know when we've crossed it? Do we wait for tears? Anger? And gossip -- "Did you hear about....". Edification means "for the purpose of improving a person morally or intellectually", so Paul's not telling us to only say nice things about each other. But I think he is telling us to talk to people who may need improvement privately and sensitively with a godly spirit and don't ever shame them. Remember, we are no lessor sinners than anyone else, no? Struggle through it as I do!
So those were the three that struck me most this week. Another day I'm sure it'd be another 3 because if nothing else, the Bible LIVES.
Best to you until next time.