Some Christians have this thing called a "life verse." This is a verse that speaks to the person specifically for very personal reasons. Sometimes, this verse can change. However, I've had the same life verse for several years now.
I wanted to share my life verse for today's Worship Wednesday, and explain why it means so much to me.
MY LIFE VERSE:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." - II Timothy 1:7
WHY THIS VERSE MEANS SO MUCH TO ME
A SPIRIT OF FEAR
I found out in college that this was due to General Anxiety Disorder. I was diagnosed by my college counselor, but I didn't do anything about it. The most I did was become more vocal with a few trusted individuals about my feelings. No meds, and no other counseling sessions.
But it is something that has to be dealt with somehow, and hopefully in a healthy way.
"FEAR OF THE LORD"
I just wanted to clear that up quickly and also point out that this shows the passing of time and changes in language use in Biblical text.
WHAT GOD GIVES US: POWER
I'll leave a link to verses on power here so you can check them all out for yourself. But, if you look at these verses, you'll see that God is exhalted as an other-worldly being that has much more power and strength than us humans. He created us, after all.
There is this beautiful image of all of us gaining the power of God when we accept Jesus as our savior. I most definitely believe that I feel more powerful over my anxieties than I used to. They don't control me as much. THEY ARE STILL THERE and I still struggle at times. This is normal and you shouldn't let any church official or person question your beliefs because you're not 100 percent after accepting the Lord. The Bible doesn't say being a Christian will solve all of your problems!
WHAT GOD GIVES US: LOVE
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - I Corinthians 13:4-7
These verses are precious and often quoted at weddings because the goal is to tell the couple that they should fight as hard as they can for their marriage because love is much more than a feeling. It is a way of life.
"And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones." - Mark 5:2-5
This man was obviously in mental pain. He resorted to hurting himself, likely because he had been regelated to an island to live among the dead. It is made clear by Jesus' casting out of the unclean spirits in the man that this wasn't something given to the man by God.
I feel a lot like those crazy people many times in my life thanks to my General Anxiety Disorder. However, I get comfort in reminding myself that my feelings aren't from God, but from the enemy. If the enemy is coming at you, you must be doing something right.
A whole lot of Americans were born into Christian families. They spend their Sundays and maybe even Wednesdays going to church, sitting with their friends during the message, and learning about Jesus.
But there comes a point where something is said or done that causes a lot of Christians to decide they no longer want to go to church or have a relationship with God anymore. There are a few things that happen: their parents were too strict, they never really connected with the messages, or someone in church said something that put them off.
IF ALL CHRISTIANS ARE GOING TO BE THIS WAY, WHY SHOULD I BOTHER COMING? CHRISTIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER AND KINDER.
Jonathan's home church is a lot different. It is more casual and contemporary, but still filled with the spirit of God. We started attending and got engaged. At this point, the pastor of the church lightly pressured us into hurrying our marriage along. We agreed and got married only a few months later. After this, the real problems began.
LISTING THE ISSUES
I started getting sick and losing all energy. So, we stopped coming on Wednesday nights. Our schedule was rather hectic and I still had a house to take care of.
Shortly after we stopped coming regularly on Wednesdays, but still coming on Sundays, Jonathan received a text message from the assistant pastor. He told my husband to "be a man" and make me come to church. This was not OK. You are not allowed to judge someone's manhood because they aren't forcing their sick wife to hop up and go to church when they wouldn't be able to focus on the message and might actually cause distraction to other churchgoers.
Before all of this happened, I served faithfully in the nursery. I went wherever I was told to go and helped in whatever way I could. I told the lady in charge of the nursery that I would be out of town on most holidays. Several of the ladies who served in the nursery were local and had family near them. We always go out of town to spend time with our parents, grandparents, and siblings.
SO I WAS BARRED FROM SERVING IN THE NURSERY BECAUSE I ASKED HER IF I COULD SWITCH DAYS WITH SOMEONE BECAUSE OF HER NEGLECT WHEN MAKING THE SCHEDULE. THIS REALLY HURT BECAUSE I LOVE CHILDREN AND NEVER COMPLAINED ABOUT SERVING IN THIS CAPACITY.
WHAT FINALLY HAPPENED
It all came to a close when the head pastor visited the house where we live to tell me that I should move or find a different church if I couldn't come every single service. I'd never been so frustrated before. I felt hopeless and wondered why I had ever stepped foot in that place.
But we decided to start looking for different churches. One of my coworkers told me about her church and we decided to give it a visit. From the moment I walked in, I knew it was going to be different. However, since our first visit, I never leave without feeling 1,000 times lighter. I leave with love in my heart and a good message to get me through to the next service. I wasn't getting that at our old church. It felt repetitive and mundane. It felt judgey and harsh.
YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT, AT THIS OLD CHURCH, THE PASTORS WOULD TALK ABOUT SPECIFIC PEOPLE BEHIND THE PULPIT. THEY WOULD TRY TO DISGUISE WHO THEY WERE PREACHING ABOUT, BUT THE CHURCH WAS SO SMALL THAT EVERYONE KNEW.
WHY I'M STILL A CHRISTIAN
I usually put people who are Christians or people with faith to a higher standard. I agree that everyone is human. But you can't go into every situation with an intent to hurt someone and they blame your actions on the fact that everyone is human.
After all, our call is to be like Jesus. It isn't like Jesus to name call or to treat someone with disrespect because they don't fulfill your requirements for the perfect person.
I'M STILL A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE IT ISN'T GOD'S FAULT THAT SOME HUMANS ARE AWFUL. I HAVE SEEN AND CONTINUE TO SEE PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS GOING THROUGH STRUGGLES OF THEIR OWN. CALL IT KARMA OR CALL IT GOD, BUT I THINK THAT IS TEACHING THEM A LESSON.
I love God. He gives me little reminders throughout the day that he is watching, listening, and caring for me. That's why I refuse to let someone influence my relationship with him.
It is easier said than done to ignore chaos around you to worship. When the stuff happening around you starts to impact your relationship with God and your ability to absorb a message, it is probably time to find somewhere new to learn and grow. And that's OK.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge music lover. You can probably tell by my handles on Instagram and Twitter being @gemusiclover (go follow me)!
So, for today’s #WorshipWednesday, I thought it might be interesting to share some famous songs that you’ve probably karaoked or jammed out to in the car that are said to be based on Bible verses or have some sort of imagery related to the Christian faith.
Let’s get started:
1: CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON | KANSAS
"And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want." - Luke 15:12-14
In Luke 15, Jesus shares the parable of the prodigal son. A man has two sons. The younger son asks his father to give him his inheritance, and the father does. The son goes out and wastes his treasure on “riotous living” and finds himself with no money in the middle of a famine.
Lyrics from the song say “I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high,” implying that the son was living the high life, but quickly found himself being “tossed about…like a ship on the ocean.”
2: JOSEPH, BETTER YOU THAN ME | THE KILLERS
"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." - Matthew 1:19-20
This song is pretty clear, in my opinion, but I thought it was interesting that the Killers had a song about Joseph, and it features a number of other artists! The song is about Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father of sorts, who sticks with Mary despite the fact that he was probably surrounded by controversy.
Some give-away lines include “are you bad at dealing with the fame, Joseph” and “you’re a maker, a creator, not just somebody’s dad.”
3: THE SOUND OF SILENCE | DISTURBED
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." - John 8:12
The Sound of Silence, originally by Simon and Garfunkel, was hauntingly remade by Disturbed. The lyrics are chock-full of imagery commonly associated with God and Heaven. It talks about light splitting the darkness.
“People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening,” is a reference to what a lot of people think heaven will be like. Many believe that communication with God will be more of a mental thing than a spoken thing. But, as the writer of the song implies, it doesn’t make sense to them made clear by the line “Fools said I you do not know, silence like a cancer grows.”
The writer then finds that the words were like silent raindrops.
4: WHERE IS THE LOVE? | THE BLACK EYED PEAS
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." - Matthew 5:38-39
I don’t know about you, but this was one of my favorite songs back in the day. It talks about the struggles of the world, mentioning in particular that people are dying from terrorism, police and gang violence, and more.
The song then says “Can you practice what you preach? Won’t you turn the other cheek?” The song then goes on to specifically as “father” for help and send guidance from above.
In Matthew 5, Jesus tells others that they should turn the other cheek and refrain from retaliation when we are wronged.
5: HOW FAR IS HEAVEN | LOS LONELY BOYS
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:" - II Corinthians 5:1-2
This catchy tune is all about escaping the world to get to the paradise of Heaven. To me, the song listens like a modern-day Psalm.
The song has lyrics like “cause I know there’s a better place than this place I’m living,” and “I’ve been lost in my own place, and I’m getting weary.” This translates well with Corinthians 5:1 which says “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: