It’s been a challenging year. I’ve taken a bit of time to go back through my Bible, to verses I underlined this year. These are my top 10. These reflect things I’m learning, ways I’ve been convicted and how I hope to continue the process of change, by God’s grace.
I’ll present the verses and few bullet points to explain how the passage impacted me. As you read them, I’d like to hear from you. What themes do you see emerging? What verses impacted you this year and why?
Verse 10 – Amos 5:21-24
“21 I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like never failing stream!`”
- In the beginning of the pandemic, I sensed the shutting down of churches was a message to us as believers, that God wasn’t pleased with our offerings.
- The racial divides, our political alignments, the lack of love toward one another is bad fruit.
- The love, righteousness and sacrifice that should be the hallmark of God’s people has been traded for a religion that tickles our ears and makes our flesh tingle. Over the years, I’ve fallen prey.
Verse 9 – Matthew 4:43-45
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
- A theme for me, in this political year has been to love as God loves.
- The world is filled with the common grace of God for all.
- If I’m hateful toward any human, I have missed the image of God in them.
Verse 8 – Matthew 23:11-12
“11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
- This year we’ve seen the mighty in the Christian community, fall.
- BH, JM, RZ, JF, CL have all proclaimed Christ, led thousands, and denied the very nature of our Savior. (another sign of verse 1 above?)
- God, heal the victims and restore them.
- Lord, may I never preach again if I’m not willing to wash toilets or pull weeds.
Verse 7 – Luke 22:19-20
“19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 20 In the same way after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”
- At the table, with other believers (even on Zoom), I’ve found the presence of Christ.
- It is there that I proclaim and participate through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
- It’s an eschatological meal, a meal of the new kingdom of Christ.
- Redemption is renewed in me and the church.
Verse 6 – John 6:35
“35 Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
- He is our manna from heaven, the real bread of God.
- He is the daily bread I pray for in the Lord’s prayer.
- He is my sustenance and hope.
Verse 5 – John 15:10-11
“10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
- Remaining in his love, is to remain in fellowship and unity with him and the Father.
- Jesus himself stayed in fellowship with the Father, during his life on earth, by obeying his commands.
- He is my model, my example and my power.
- His commandments are given out of love and are true.
Verse 4 – John 16:7
“7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
- Christ gives his life to all who believe, by giving his Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit who indwells us brings Christ’s love, grace and strength to each of us who let him rule.
- This Holy Spirit embeds the divine life in us.
- This is the life we live now and will live into eternity.
- I’ve denied him too often, by not letting him have his way. And I’ve limited my experience of the holy life.
Verse 3 – 1 Timothy 2:2-4
[Pray] “2 - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
- We’re not praying for our desires.
- We’re praying for that God will secure for us lives of peacefulness, quietness, godliness and holiness.
- This is our greatest witness and helps accomplish God’s desire – for all to come to him.
- I often pray for the wrong thing – an agenda of my convictions – rather than quiet hearts that can hear the voice of God.
Verse 2 – 1 Corinthians 15:25-26
“25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
- Christ is reigning now.
- The Kingdom of God exists now and is breaking through until death is completely destroyed through the resurrection.
- I’ve spent too much time in my life, trying to figure out the path to the New Creation.
- The new creation has begun in the church and we live it out when we live for Christ in the Spirit.
Verse 1 – Colossians 1:27
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
- By the Spirit, Christ dwells in us.
- He is the glorified Christ.
- As we participate in his death, so we will share in his resurrection and by that, we will share in his glory! My hope has been too small.
- He actually came to share His glory with us. He wants us at the table with Father, Spirit and Son.
I feel God directing me in new ways each day. All I know is that will end in sharing the glory of Jesus. I pray you’re on the path too. I look forward to new learnings in 2021.