Favorite Scripture 2


 "Fear thou not;
for I am with thee:
 be not dismayed;
 for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee;
  yea, I will help thee . . . "

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)


I read the above quote pretty much daily, since it was given to me as a gift on a pocket card containing my name, by a Catholic priest, at a key time of great change in my life. 

Of all the wisdom found in Scripture, I think one of the wisest and most courageous statements made by an individual in a tense situation was Gamaliel's (below).  The apostles have been arrested and are before the Sanhedrin who will determine their fate.  The whole scene starts at Acts 5:17, however, the part I like can be summarized using verses 34-35 & 38-39; "But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them [the council] . . .        . . . keep away from these men and let them alone; because . . . " 


"If this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them — in that case you may even be found fighting against God!"

Acts 5:38-39 (NRSV)


Most of my time in the New Testament is spent in the four Gospels.  However, 2 Corinthians chapters 10 thru 13 gives me hope regarding the ministry path I am on.  Some very specific doubts and experiences of my journey seem to be answered and validated in the light of these passages, making them a valuable reminder.  Too long to quote in their entirety here, I have picked one pertinent verse to share with you below.  The rest you will need to look up in your Bible, or online, if interested in seeing the broader context. 


"I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows."

2 Corinthians 12:2 (NRSV)


"Blessed is he
whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
the maker of heaven and earth, the sea,
and everything in them— the LORD,
 who remains faithful forever."

Psalm 146:5-6 (NIV)


Psalm 146:3-4, which precedes that which you just read, states "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing."  Who are the "princes" of our times? The rich; movie stars; famous athletes; politicians; a preacher evangelist who impresses; or maybe just the pastor of your church?  They, and we, are all "mortal men" (or women), but it is easy to forget someone else cannot hold the answers for our lives.  Only God does. 

As I copied the above verse it reminded me, and I decided to mention, that in the Old Testament, whenever I see "LORD," I read "Yahweh," (the Hebrew name for God, although it had no vowels in their spelling) both mentally or out loud when I am alone.  Though it is not the one I utilize daily, I have a Bible translation, given to me as a gift, where that has already been done. And, of course, the Jehovah's Witness' Bible inserts Jehovah.  In prayer I am less formal, but more specific, directing my words and thoughts to "Abba" (what Jesus called our Father). Sometimes, in mixed groups, I use "Creator."  I am the same person whether I am called Bill, or william.  Whatever you are most comfortable with, or others use around us, God is still God, "Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen, and unseen."


"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven,
nor the Son, but only
the Father. "

Mark 13:32 (NRSV)


Verse 33 goes on to say "Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come." In light of these verses, it amazes me that people expend so much energy trying to figure out time tables for the "end of the ages."  Although, whenever I eat my dessert first, I have often stated it is because I take Scripture very seriously, and need to be ready just in case Jesus shows up before we finish eating!  Some people think I am kidding.  Well, maybe . . .  


"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."

Romans 7:15 (NRSV)


"God makes all things work together for good . . ."

Romans 8:28 (NRSV commentary)


Those two previous verses walk hand in hand for me.  Without Romans 8:28, Romans 7:15 is too much of a downer.  It could, otherwise, easily discourage me from even trying.


"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28 (NRSV)


"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself."

Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)


The smart aleck in me always wants to point out that the above verse should not apply to masochists (among others).  Maybe we need to learn to truly "love ourselves" as well. 


"His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of a man;
the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love."

Psalm 147:10-11 (NIV)


Psalm 147:10-11 says much the same thing to me, in a little different way, as Psalm 146:3-6. Although, in the past, I have been a member of a Lutheran church and a Catholic church, my real religion is Truth.  The focus is all on God, not on doctrines and dogmas. 


"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

Matthew 7:1-3 (NIV)


I am startled at how quickly I can judge (or prejudge) someone.  I do not wish to.  I can see it serves no good purpose, and even potentially harms me.  It often gets in the way of truth. I have prayed many times to be free of such a trait.  Still, it remains.  I know not why? 


"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you; for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Matthew 7:12 (NIV)


My many years as a member of a Lutheran church seemed quite random to me at first.  But, of all the denominations I have visited or experienced, it was a pretty good fit.  Much of my philosophy focuses on God being the true Power. My greatest task is to be completely open, accepting of His gifts, and humble in response. 


"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God . . ."

Ephesians 2:8 (NRSV)


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