10 Bible Verses For Your Day

Some weeks I have a story to tell or a Bible passage to explain. This week I’ve found myself thinking about a number of verses. Each one is a source of encouragement and strength to me, so I thought I’d just share them and leave you to ponder God’s word. Enjoy. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) But those who hope in the Lord     will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;     they will run and not grow weary,     they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) The righteous person may have many troubles,     but the Lord delivers him from them all (Psalm 34:19) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians  2:8) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

He Loved Us First

It’s easy to get discouraged in our Christian walk. When we focus on our shortcomings and sins, we can find ourselves moving further away from God rather than closer to him. We need to focus more on the God who loves us. I’ve discovered that many Christians feel that God’s love and acceptance of them depends on their performance. As long as they are a ‘good Christian’ then God loves them and cares for them. But if they aren’t performing up to some standard then God is upset and angry with them. They become discouraged. When they stumble or sin they believe that God doesn’t love them anymore. It’s a performance-based Christianity and it’s deadly to the spirit and soul. Here’s the thing we need to remember: God loved us first. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. (Romans 5:8) So we need to relax a little bit and rest in his love. I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t take sin seriously. We should be seeking to live holy lives. But we don’t do it to earn God’s favor; rather, we do it to love him back. Recently I came across this quote by St. Augustine: “It is not that we keep His commandments first, and that then He loves; but that He loves us, and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace, which is revealed to the humble, but hidden from the proud.” I think Augustine must have been reading 1 John. John makes this point several times so that his readers can’t possibly miss it: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 God loved us before we even knew anything about him. He loved us when we were hopelessly lost in sin. Now that we are his children, how could he stop loving us? When we sin and fail – and we will – we need to repent, confess our sins and remember that God’s love has not been diminished. He still loves us; we don’t have to earn it back. That’s the grace that God reveals to his children. We keep his commands not to earn his love but rather because he loves us. It’s a motivation to live in such a way that we bring him pleasure. Our desire is to live a life worthy of the one who loves us and will never stop loving us. So don’t run away and hide. Don’t become discouraged with your Christian walk. Accept that God’s love never fails and just keep moving forward.

It's good to be prepared

One of the things that is difficult to get used to in our community is saying goodbye. International communities, by nature, tend to be somewhat transient. People are moving in and out all the time. You feel like you get to know someone and they are off again. Sometimes you are the one who is off again. International living has its benefits but it’s sad saying so many goodbyes. An unexpected goodbye is the hardest to deal with. It’s far better when we know the transition is coming and we can prepare for it for. When Jesus died the disciples were overwhelmed with grief. They didn’t really understand and weren’t fully prepared for it. However, when Jesus ascended into heaven we have no record of the disciples being upset or confused. That’s because Jesus had spent time preparing them for his ascension. Luke tells us that over the course of forty days, Jesus was able to get his followers ready for what was coming next. First, he had time to convince the disciples and others that he had actually risen from the dead. After the trauma of his death and resurrection the disciples needed to know they weren’t just dreaming. It really did happen. Jesus really did come back to life. Luke tells us that Jesus “presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3) Jesus spent time assuring his disciples that he is the victor over death and anything that followed would be easier to deal with. The second thing Luke tells us is that Jesus used the time to tell the disciples what to do next. He told them to go to Jerusalem and “wait for the promise of the Father.”(1:4) That ‘promise’ was the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for him to leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come. The Spirit would come and empower them to continue, to be his witnesses and to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. The disciples could take comfort in knowing that as Jesus ascended into heaven they would not be forgotten. Someone was coming to help them. Finally, Jesus used those forty days to clarify some of the disciples’ misconceptions. The disciples were still concerned over when Jesus’ earthly kingdom would start. They asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” (1:6) Jesus didn’t challenge their understanding of the kingdom – he will come and rule someday – but he told them not to worry about the timing. God the Father will determine when the time is right for the new heaven and new earth. In the meanwhile, his disciples are to continue proclaiming the good news. Tomorrow is a holiday in Switzerland, Ascension Day. It’s a celebration of Christ’s bodily ascension to heaven. It’s also a reminder of his promise to come again. Jesus prepared his followers for his departure but it was two men in white robes who offered the most comfort that day. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (1:11) So my question to you is, “are you prepared for his return?”

Computers and Anger

Over the years I’ve had my share of frustration with computers. My laptop will crash at the worst possible moment. The home computer won’t load the software I need. There are times when I am trying to enter simple data and the program isn’t working. Yes, there have been many frustrating moments. Most people I know get short tempered with a computer every now and then. But in my frustration I’ve never shot my computer for misbehaving. In April, a man by the name of Lucas Hinch was given a citation by police for discharging a weapon within city limits after he took his PC into an alley and shot it eight times. Apparently he had been having problems with the computer for months before deciding to exact revenge and execute it. Unfortunately, the computer did not survive the attack. Mr. Hinch, however, is feeling much better. Anger is a powerful emotion. When Jesus saw how people were trying to make a profit in God’s house he was angry. Jesus threw out those who were taking advantage of the poor. He was angry at the wrong they were doing as well as at the blatant disrespect they were showing towards God. This is a ‘righteous anger’ – anger that comes from watching injustice and wrongdoing. Our world today is filled with injustice that stirs anger in our hearts. And it should. When we read of people being sold into slavery or jailed for practicing their faith, we get angry. This type of emotion should motivate us to do something, to help others or to work towards solutions that are life giving. If things are going to change in our world then we need to be part of the solution. Perhaps it begins in prayer, talking to God about our concerns. But certainly it should lead to some kind of action. Maybe not overturning tables in church but helping in some way to see justice prevail. “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” (Psalm 103:6)