My Theme Verse | Part 1, 2016

A couple years ago, I started a tradition with a friend to pick a theme verse/passage to really focus on for the coming year. We normally choose a passage that has stood out to us the past couple months. Throughout the year, we would talk and share with each other all that the Lord had been teaching us from our passage – whether a new insight, struggles or victories we had seen.

Last year my verse was Proverbs 3:5. While it almost seems cliché in Christian circles – printed on journals covers, bookmarks, card designs, etc. – I came to realize at the end of 2016 that “trusting in the Lord” is not just a simple concept. It is not something that that someone decides to do, and then it naturally happens in a person’s life. As I learned through the year, trusting in the Lord is a huge topic. It permeated so many areas of my life – actually, every single one of them. Meditating on this has opened my eyes to the utmost necessity of giving all over to God, believing that He can carry all my cares, burdens, plans and ideas much better than I ever could.

Something I noticed that started to happen was that in my Bible reading each day it became normal to look for verses that specifically tied into my theme verse and characteristics of God that especially encouraged/challenged me. For example, verses on having God be my help really motivated me to make sure that I wasn’t relying on myself or trusting in myself to carry things through.

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. ” -Psalm 121:2

And verses that talked about God being faithful or sovereign, encouraged me that He was never going to forget me or not carry through on something that I had trusted Him about.

“…the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” -Psalm 117:2b  

I like to have a theme verse because it gives me something to pray throughout the year and to see how the Lord is working in my life in a specific way. At the root of it all, I want to know God more. So I urge you as you start a new year – make it your resolve now to seek God and to know Him more. If finding a verse that God seems to be teaching you about will motivate you, then believe it and pray for God to form it in you this coming year. And may you grow in your awe and joy of God in light of seeking His face!

In my next post I want to share with you all my passage for this year. I’m excited about all that the Lord will teach me through it!

Happy 2017, friends!

“With my whole heart” | Psalm 86

Last year, I decided to make a habit of reading a Psalm each morning along with my regular Bible reading. I quickly realized though that my “one-Psalm-a-day” goal wasn’t a very realistic goal. Reading and meditating on a whole Psalm a day didn’t give me near enough time to begin to grasp the truths found in each one (take Psalm 18:1-2 for example!)

And that was the case with Psalm 86. If you have a few minutes, it would be worth it to read this wonderful Psalm. Time would fail to share of all that is packed into 17 verses.

My heart can never hear enough of the Lord’s tender mercies, everlasting love, always-hearing ear, and wondrous deeds. Can yours? Let me just share a few of the gems that come from this Psalm:

“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” 

“In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.” 

“For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.” 

“For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Can your mind begin to comprehend all of that? Mine can’t. Do you even know where to begin to thank the Lord for such precious truths? I don’t. But guess what – we will get all of eternity to thank and praise the Lord for these wonderful things! Verse 17 gives a wonderful summary response to all that is found in this Psalm:

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”

That means when I have a huge pile of dirty dishes to wash, stacks of laundry to wash, paperwork to complete, or a huge to-do list for the day – I can still give thanks to God with my whole heart for these things! May my heart never tire of hearing them! May they always be new, refreshing, beautiful and priceless to my soul. May they be the truths that cheer me in the midst of discouraging circumstances, comfort me in times of sorrow, and delight me in whatever I face.

Let me encourage you, friend – take time to read Psalm 86 and meditate for several quiet minutes on what you find in those verses. Meditate on them. Maybe even memorize them. Delight in them. And REJOICE in them! The Lord was pleased to spread His steadfast love by sending His only Son Jesus Christ to earth!

So why “My Everlasting Joy”?

Welcome, friends! Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your taking the time to drop in. As you may have already noticed, I have a paged titled “About the Author + Blog”, and on that page I have explained the inspiration behind this blog. In this first post, I hope to expound more on the inspiration behind this blog – specifically Isaiah 61 and why we can have an everlasting joy.

Isaiah 61:1-3 directly speaks of Christ. In Luke 4, Christ reads this passage, proclaiming that He is the One who is the Good News, The Binding of the brokenhearted, True Liberty, and the Opening of those locked in a prison.

Before coming to know Christ as our Savior, we are brokenhearted, captive and in prison. We have no hope apart from Jesus Christ. We are bound by sin (John 8:34). Until Christ comes and loosens our bonds, we are shackled to death.

So when Christ shows us His saving power – our  ashes are turned to a beautiful headdress, our mourning is turned into the oil of gladness, our faint spirit is turned into a garment of praise – we ought to resound with joy to this Almighty King! Our response ought to be what is stated in Isaiah 61:10

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God” 

Since our joy is founded on Christ, One who we know as “continuing forever” (Hebrews 7:24) and “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) we can therefore say that we have “an everlasting joy”! It isn’t a joy rooted on circumstance and situations that come our way. It is rooted on Christ alone.

Because of that truth, we know that when we come to know Christ more, it will result in further joy in Him. The purpose of this blog is to share the joy of Christ that I have in my own heart with you and to share what the Lord is teaching me, which results in further joy. I don’t want my Christianity to be one of daily rituals, traditions and mere head knowledge. I want to know Christ to the fullness – a vibrant and living relationship with my Savior!

A. W. Tozer put it very well – ““The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! People should be coming to us constantly and asking the source of our joy and delight.”

Thank you for joining me on this journey! I pray it will be a blessing to you but mostly that you would grow in your joy of Christ!