Verses for Weeks 27-29

Week 27

Pursue peace with all men,
and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

This verse indicates that peaceful relationships and sanctification are things to be pursued.  They also need to be part of our lives if we want to see God.  I was struck by the seriousness of this verse. If I want to see God, I need to work on my relationship with others and be working on removing sin from my life.

It is so easy to think that the other person should be kind and considerate of me; yet this verse points out that it is something that each of us should do.  The word all adds another difficulty.  There are some people who are easier to get along with than others.  But God, who loves all people, has asked us to work on peaceful relations with all the people we interact with.  I need to humble myself and be willing to trust that the God who loves all and who I have chosen to follow will help me to improve relationships with others.

Peace was the part that I was focusing on, but sanctification is important too.  Ask the Lord to show you sin in your life.  Agree with Him that it is sin and ask for forgiveness.  Also ask Him to help you to avoid doing that sin again.  He will help because sanctification is what He wants for us.

Week 28

Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God,
being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today,
the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you
if you obey the Lord your God
Deuteronomy 28:1-2

Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings that God will give if we obey Him and the curses or punishments that will come if we do not obey. Verses 2-14 list the blessings and verses 15-65 are the curses.  This seems very unbalanced, more curses than blessings.

I think God cannot list more blessings because they are so wonderful that our language cannot express that level of greatness.  Maybe also because our minds cannot fully appreciate and understand how wonderful the blessings are.  What God states as a blessing is better than anything we picture it to be.

The long list of curses probably has to be so long because we humans have a tendency to look for loop-holes and exceptions.  God is making clear here that sin will bring serious consequences.  This chapter is specifically directed to the Israelites of the Old Testament, but God hates sin no matter whose life is exhibiting the sin.  When things do not seem to be going “right,” it would be good if you and I asked God if there were any sin in our lives that we need to confess and forsake.  If we make that a habit of life, we won’t experience the curses; we will receive the blessings.  When we are surrendering our lives to God, we will start seeing how blessed the blessings are. We will be so thankful that we were willing to turn from sin.

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
Psalm 32:1

Week 29

. . . Indeed, has God said . . .
Genesis 3:1

Genesis 3 is the chapter that records how sin entered into the world.  It seems that sin has on my mind that past three weeks.  Actually during this week what I was thinking about was how easily Satan deceives us.  How can we help ourselves not to fall for his deceit?  The main way is to fill our minds with God’s Word so that we know, understand, appreciate, and love what God has to say then we won’t be tempted to follow Satan’s lies.  I would also add reading The Holy War by John Bunyan.  I am reading that book to my students.  The book is a story of how Satan tempts and how people respond.  I have found the book to be helpful to see more clearly Satan’s tactics and the biblical ways to combat his tricks.  The Bible is our strong defense against the devil and the temptation to sin.

These verses were a help to me months ago.  Considering the events of recent days I pray that they will be a special help to us now.  God’s Word is true and worth following and obeying.

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Verses for Weeks 25 – 26

After a long silence I will renew my 52 week challenge.  I chose a verse for each week, even though I did not write any posts.

Week 25

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.   Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.   And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 13:3-9

This parable is one that makes me think about many things in the Christian life.  I have been reminded not to let “thorns” come in my life so that I am not full of anxiety.  I have been encouraged that fruit is possible.  This time when I read the passage, I wondered if this is a story of how it has to be or is it possible that the seeds could be protected from “the birds” and “the plants” moved to better soil.

Part of the answer is found in verse 9:  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.  Prayer is also key to helping others to come to Christ.  By bringing the needs of others to the Lord, I can have confidence that the Lord is able to protect people and to help them grow spiritually.

the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick,
and the Lord will raise him up,
and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:15-16

Week 26

Those who are sickly you have not strengthened,
the diseased you have not healed,
the broken you have not bound up,
the scattered you have not brought back,
nor have you sought for the lost;
but with force and with severity you have dominated them.
Ezekiel 34:4

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,
and make straight paths for your feet,
so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint,
but rather be healed.

Hebrews 12:12-13

I read the verse in Ezekiel first.  It is a condemnation to the leaders who had not cared for their people. After reading this verse I thought about my students.  Was I a helping them or hurting them?  I decided that I need to strengthen the sick, heal the diseased, bind up the broken, bring back the scattered, and search for the lost with love and gentleness.

A few days later I read Hebrews 12.  The verses were a beautiful confirmation of my thought from Ezekiel.  My goal should be to strengthen, guide and heal.

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Verses for Weeks 22-24

I have gotten behind in posting my verses.  The last term of school is very busy, but we will be finished at the end of the month.

Week 22

In Ezekiel the statement “you shall know that I am the LORD”  is repeated often.  It is mostly used when God has to bring punishment to a nation because of their ungodliness.  He would state that as a result of the punishment the people would know that He is the Lord.  How much better it would be for us if we choose to get to know Him now.   It would be better if we choose to know God before He has to deal with our sins.  By reading His Word and asking for forgiveness we will have the joy of knowing Him.

 that I may know Him
and the power of His resurrection . . .
Philippians 3:10a

Week 23

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6

If a person’s spiritual condition is important to me, my response should be to weep.  Weep – because sin causes so much trouble and it looks so hopeless from a human perspective.  Weep – because it is difficult to represent Christ well sometimes.  Weep – because I could be in the same condition except for the salvation of Jesus Christ that I have received.

These verses are encouraging because they talk of joy.  Joy  will come as a result of the prayers and weeping.  It is encouraging to remember that what we have done for Christ will result in fruit.

Week 24

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling those who have been defiled
sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
how much more
will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God,
cleanse your conscience from dead works
to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:13-14

God accepted the sacrifices of animals because He knew they were a picture of the greatest sacrifice – the blood Jesus shed.  Because Jesus is without sin, His death on the cross is sufficient to bring us salvation.  Jesus is able to do so much more for us because He is still living.  His resurrection enables Him to help us to live changed lives and to be godly.  Because He can do so much more for us, we can go to God with confidence.

let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful
Hebrews 10:22-23

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Verses for Weeks 20-21

Week 20

In Numbers 20 we read that Moses did what he usually did which was to go to God for help and advice.  I have admired this habitual act that Moses did which must have contributed to his very close relationship with God.  It would be so wonderful to be able to have the same kind of relationship with God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3

Week 21

A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He will not put out,
Until He leads justice to victory.
Matthew 12:20

In this verse the He is Jesus.  I have found this verse helpful in two ways.  The first is in reference to myself.  The verse gives us a picture of Jesus being so gentle that He is careful not damage a bent reed and not to put out the smallest flame.  I have been bruised of spirit and discouraged.  I am very grateful that the Jesus will work with me tenderly to encourage me to go on for Him.  He will be careful to find ways to strengthen and to protect me.  If I am feeling discouraged, I can remember that that feeling is not of God.

The second way I have been helped by this verse is as a leader.  It is easy when you are in charge to go on with little regard for those you are over.  Yet if I want to be truly Christ-like, I should be gentle and caring.  I should do what I can to encourage them and to find ways to build them up and not batter them down.

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Verse for Week 19

Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give
you charge over Israel,
so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.
Then you will prosper, if
you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances
which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel.
Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 22:12-13

These words were originally spoken by David to his son Solomon.  The words “you will prosper” caught my attention.  I would like to proper.  I would like that I am doing for the Lord to prosper.  I was encouraged to see that prospering is possible.  Is not the Lord your God with you? (verse 18a)

By reading and studying God’s Word I will see what God wants me to do and I can remember that He will help me.  My part, the part for all of us, is to . . .

Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God
1 Chronicles 22:19

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Verses for Weeks 16-18

Week 16

I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19

The Lord lists many instructions for the Israelites in chapter 19.  I have the sentence “I am the Lord your God” coloured in purple so it stood out as I read the chapter.  What better reason for obeying God than that He is God?

Week 17

 But godliness actually is a means of great gain
when accompanied by contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6

The words “great gain” caught my attention.  I long to serve God well and to gain much for Him.  I was encouraged to find the answer to making it possible – godliness!  Just seeing this verse again made being Christlike look more possible because God would not have said this if it wasn’t something we could accomplish.  It isn’t saying perfection or sinlessness, but godliness.  Godliness which is striving to be more like Christ each which can be accomplished by doing what He says in His Word.

I know contentment is important, but I find it hard to attain it at times.  I wonder if the contentment in this verse means being content with godliness.  In other words, believing that doing things God’s way is the best way and begin content to let Him work through His all-wise, all-loving means.

Week 18

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
1 Chronicles 16:8-9

God is a great God!  He truly worthy of our worship.  These verses are part of David’s praise to God at the time the ark was returned to Jerusalem.  He used this time to organize the priest so that the worship of the Lord was done properly.  Part of his organization included an interesting group of people.

With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen,
who were designated by name,
to give thanks to the Lord,
because His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Leviticus 16:41

“Designated by name, to give thanks to the Lord”  Giving thanks to God for all that He has done must be very important.  I wonder how much better the Lord will like our prayers if we spend more time praising and thanking, instead of listing all of our problems and needs/wants.  He wants to hear both, but if our prayers include more praise and thanksgiving, we will find that our view of problems and needs will change.  We will probably trust Him more.

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Verses for Weeks 14 and 15

Week 14

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

I think one reason why God’s mercies are new every day is because of the way He forgives.

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions
for My own sake,

And I will not remember your sins.
Isaiah 43:25

He will forgive if we come to Him for forgiveness and are repentant.  He will forget them as well.  The guilt that comes concerning past sins – one that have been brought to the Lord – is not of God.  Sin that has not been confessed to God will be brought to our minds so that we can bring it to God to be forgiven.

If God who has been truly sinned against when I sin can forgive and forget, how much more should I forgive and forget!  Whatever sins have been done against me are nothing compared to what has been done against God.  I have sinned myself so what happens against me is often a result of my own sin.  I need to learn to forget the grievance against me and be able to look at people not harbour resentment or hurt.  This attitude will bring  will help usso we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4b)

Week 15

You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
Leviticus 19:2b

The reason to live a holy life is seen in a statement that is repeated throughout Leviticus – I am the Lord your God. We should not want to do anything wrong because that will mar our relationship with God.  We should want to be careful because even little things can be very damaging to our relationship with God.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

Reading and studying God’s Word will help us to not sin.

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