A to Z Scripture Adventure: F is John 3:16

Ahhhhhhh, finally a verse you already know, the beloved John 3:16 is our “F” verse. It was very likely the first verse you ever learned if you attended Sunday school as a child. If you have recently given your heart to the Lord, it may have been the verse that was first shared with you. Let’s take a closer look.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

F

The following is a revised version of a post published in May, 2013 entitled “Lost in the Woods, A Fresh Look at John 3:16.”

That’s right pick it up, look at it, turn it around, now inside out. Can you see anything you might have missed before? Are there any phrases that pop out at you, that can speak to you in a new and different way. What I saw when I tried it this morning was a very tightly knit verse that completely and compactly gives us God’s plan of salvation for the world, for you and I. It’s all there. . .who, why, what, when, and how. It’s all we need to know to make our way back to God and literally have eternal life.

But there is more. . .With my picking and poking, I found some amazing revelation. God’s love is far greater than our love for our children and grandchildren, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. He thought of us, created us, created a world for us, created everything in it for us. We are his project, his plan, his purpose. All of His dreams and hopes and plans are wrapped up in us.

And there’s more. . .The Greek word for perish is “apollumi” which actually means “to lose or be lost.” To get a picture of John 3:16 revealed by this interpretation of the word, come with me into a journey by way of your imagination:

F15You are lost in the forest, wandering aimlessly, lost and alone. There are many twists and turns, rocks and stumps to trip you. That tree suddenly looks very familiar. Perhaps you are going in circles. You thought you were making progress, but you are back right where you started. “Help!” you yell. It’s soon going to be dark. and there are going to be scary animals, bears, coyotes maybe even snakes crawling around on their way to dinner. Your imagination starts to run wild. Your breathing becomes heavy, you are frightened and sweating.

 

Then you hear a quiet voice saying your name. You turn and look to your left. It’s not quite dark yet, and you can barely make out a face. He is coming to you, and He is calling your name again. He just asks you to believe in Him, and He will lead you out of darkness and away from all of the scary things. He will make sense of all of the twists and turns, and as daylight comes, He will show you His beautiful creation. He will lead you out of the woods into a beautiful meadow where you can discuss your dreams and plans and His dreams and plans for you and marvel that they are so much alike. And then He shows you how to take the next step and the next and then He shares even more of Himself with you until you can barely breathe with the wonder of it! This is eternal life.

Even though, you may know the verse very well. Meditate it today. You might try taking it phrase by phrase. “For God so loved the world.” Say that ten times and let it speak to you. Then take the next part, “that He gave His only begotten Son.” Say that one ten times, and then, “That whosoever believes in Him;” and then ten times for, “Should not perish (should not be lost.) And finally, say ten times, “but have everlasting life.” Get pictures of each phrase and as it speaks to you, it will become fresh, new and life-giving. Then say the whole verse ten times. You are going to have a fabulous day with the Lord today! It is wonderful to know that eternal life starts now!

I have added salvations for “S” on the prayer wall. All of us know people who need the Lord. As you pray today, remember those who need the Savior and don’t know Him yet. You may be the only one praying for that person, and prayer moves the hand of God.

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This post is also linked with Inspire Me Monday.

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A to Z Scripture Adventure: E is Psalm 100:4

E 2015You’ve made it to the fifth verse of your A to Z Scripture Challenge. I hope you are beginning to feel that these verses are your friends.

Here are some tips to help you as you take each new verse. 

  • Use  triggers like opening a door, or stopping at a traffic light to remind you to say your verse ten times each time.
  • Try writing them down.
  • Consider making cards to take with you or put them on your mirror or refrigerator.
  • Review all of the verses daily by going through the alphabet up to your new verse.
  • Have someone call out a letter, and give them the verse for that letter. Be patient with yourself. April is your introduction to these 26 life-giving verses. You can spend the rest of your life with them.

Be sure to try to do what the verse is telling you to do. For “A”, we practice asking. For “B,” we count our blessings and benefits. “C” reminds us to cast our cares on Him. “D” exhorts us to delight in Him, and “E” inspires us to be thankful to Him and bless His name.

And now introducing “E.”

E

Since it’s only five verses, I’m going to let you take a peek at the whole psalm where we find today’s verse.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Here’s my paraphrase:

1 Make happy, joyful sounds whether it be shouting or singing.

2 Whatever you’re doing for the Lord, do it happily. When you come to Him, try singing.

3 Think about the fact that He is God. You can come right into His Presence, yet He is God. He made us. We didn’t make ourselves. We belong to Him!

4 The gates are the gates to His Presence. Come thanking Him. Praise Him. Thank Him. Bless His name.

5 Why? He is good. His mercy lasts forever. His mercy means when we deserve to be punished, he doesn’t do it. He helps us instead. His truth will last. We don’t have to argue or defend Him. His truth will make Him known to everyone everywhere.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. What a great way to spend a day, and a lifetime!

As you look at the A to Z Scripture Prayer Wall today, please pray that each one of us will enter into His Presence with thanksgiving today because God will surely answer every prayer.

Enjoy your day, entering into His Presence with thanksgiving.

 

 

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A to Z Scripture Adventure: D is Psalm 37:4

D2015“Mmmmmmmm!”  Your eyes are closed, the spoon is held midair; it has just left your mouth. What was it? It was something “delightful.” That is obvious from your expression. Perhaps key lime pie with all it’s tartness, warm brownie with melting ice-cream or flaky apple pie. You really are enjoying that aren’t you? That’s what it means to “delight.” It’s something you really enjoy. You can be savoring a taste, a moment, or being with a Person.

As we continue our A to Z Scripture Adventure, welcome the D verse. Remember you want to allow this verse to become a part of your daily life and repetition is the key. Think it as you wake up and throughout the day and as you fall asleep. From the connection that is made through familiarity, the truth of the verse will be revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. He will speak to you through it. You will be amazed as you experience the life that comes to you from one verse of the Word of God.D

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I have always loved Psalm 37:4, and perhaps, at first, it was for the wrong reason. To me it sounded like God promised to eventually give me what I want if I just delight in Him. Of course the wisdom of it is that as I delight in Him, “what I want” lines up with His perfect will, and He then fulfills the desires of my heart which He, Himself placed there.

I have learned to focus on the first four words of the verse, “Delight in the Lord.” During the day, as you meditate this verse, take some of your repetitions and just say those four words. Imagine what that looks like. Imagine His Presence, think about His love, His power, His goodness. Savor Him. Delight in Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Please check the A to Z Prayer Wall, and lift up those in need. Have a wonderful day, enjoy His Word as it seeps into your heart.

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A to Z Scripture Adventure: C is I Peter 5:7

C 2015Cares? You really don’t need them. All they do is slow us down and keep us from being productive. It is like we are pulling a sack of rocks behind us while trying to run a race. I have a suggestion for us today: Let’s take each rock, each care out of the bag, look at it for one last time, then pull our arm back like a professional baseball player and throw that rock as far as we can into the ocean of God’s love.  You have a beautiful and exciting day ahead of you that you can enjoy with family or friends or people you meet. Don’t wait another moment, start throwing those rocks far away into the sea.C

  As you meditate this verse up to one hundred times today, keep throwing those rocks until the bag is completely empty. And as daylight turns to evening, feel the waves of God’s goodness lap up around your feet and experience His peace.  And please don’t forget to check the A to Z Prayer Wall to pray for others.

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Oh, and by the way, about your cares? Don’t worry about them, He will take care of them because He cares for you.

A beautiful and exciting day belongs to you!

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A to Z Scripture Adventure: B is Psalm 68:19

B 2015On this second day of the A to Z Scripture Adventure, I present to you Psalm 68:19. I affectionately call it the “B” verse.  Each day the challenge is to try to say or think the verse 100 times. That’s just 10 x 10. You may think of it at ten different times during the day, and each time meditate or say the verse 10 times. There is no penalty for not completing the task, so see how far you can get and how much benefit you receive from what you can accomplish. Remember each verse is full of life and a little extra life in your day has to be a good thing!

This particular verse is dear to me because it is one we used to post in our car. We printed it out on a big sheet of paper and taped it to the dash of the car. The boys and I would say it ten times each time we got in the car. Once 5-year old Nick received a twenty dollar bill from a well-known traveling minister, and he was certain it was a result of having meditated on that verse.

B

There really are so many things that God and His angels are doing every day to keep us safe and to move us along into our destiny. There are many things that could go wrong and don’t every day! And many things that absolutely go right that we hardly notice. Let’s notice today and be thankful. Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. As you say the verse today, take time to count the benefits that bless your life every day and be thankful for each one.

If you take the challenge of saying or meditating this verse today, let me know and have a terrific day, loaded with benefits!

Now, would you take a minute and click the A to Z Prayer Wall tab at the top of the post or click on Prayer Wall here. Praying for others benefits you as well as them. Feel free to leave your prayer requests here, and they will be added to the list as they come in.

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A to Z Scripture Adventure: A is John 16:24

A

This is Day One of the Blogging A to Z Challenge 2015. We are embarking on an adventure to learn a verse for every letter of the alphabet. I’ll put our verse up each day with some brief insights, but the greatest benefit will come to each of us as we meditate the verse throughout the day. If you follow the suggestions, you will become so familiar with each verse that you will consider it a Faithful Friend. It will be there in your time of need and can readily be shared with others in need. You can click on the A to Z Challenge 2015 tab at the top to go back and review the posts or catch up if you miss one. Also each day, check the A to Z Prayer Wall and pray for others throughout the month of April. You can leave your personal insights and prayer requests in the comments. Thanks for joining me in this adventure. Let’s go!

 

A 2015I want you to meet our verse for the letter A-John 16:24, the first verse of our A to Z Scripture Adventure. “Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full,” has been with me since July of 2001. I had met this verse in church a few times, but it became real to me the summer before I started teaching at our Christian school in North Carolina. It was the first one of 26 that I knew I would teach my students. My idea was that they would have 26 verses that they could call their own, that if awakened in the night, they would know these verses so well they could quote them from their heart without even being fully awake. These verses would become a part of them and would be with them all of their lives.

 

This amazing verse virtually covers every need anyone could have. It promises that God will answer your every request and every question. Just ask. This is not a slot machine verse where you just say, “I want this and I want that.” This is a relationship verse.

 

When reading it in the context of John 16, you see that Jesus was telling His disciples what was to happen to Him. He would soon leave them and they would be distraught, but He had to go in order to send Someone else. He would send Someone who could be closer to them than even He was. He would send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. This made it possible for them and us to have direct access to God, the Father. We can now ask “anything in His name (Jesus’s name)  and He (God) will do it.

 

Again, this is not a slot machine verse. It is a relationship verse. God was confident that the Spirit of truth living in us would guide us into all truth. This means we would be wise enough to ask the best questions and to receive the best answers. We would learn to listen to our heart for the answers rather than seeking answers only through our reasoning. Because this wonderful Comforter and Friend is closer than close to us, we can ask questions all day long, and learn to hear His answers and receive His guidance. It is having the Wisest One quite literally available to us at all times and willing to provide the answers we need.

 

As we get this verse in our heart, we will know how and what to ask. We will receive, and our joy will be full! Isn’t this enough to make you want to turn flips in the spirit and get this verse in your heart as fast as you can! Say it or think it every time you open a door today, or every time you brush your teeth or every time you see a red car. Say it or think it ten times each time, and learn the reference, too. It takes a good deal of repetition and meditation to get a verse in you, just as it takes many repetitions to strengthen our physical muscles, but it is one of the most worthwhile efforts you can ever make.

 

And Now a Joke Just for Fun:

A fellow was praying one day and feeling very close to the Lord, so close he felt he could ask Him any question and he would get an answer.  So he looked up to heaven and asked the Lord, “Lord, what is a thousand years like to you?” The man was startled when he immediately heard the Lord say, “My son, a thousand years is like a second to me.” The man was encouraged and asked another question, “Lord, what is a million dollars to you?” The Voice of the Lord boomed from heaven, “A million dollars, my child, is like a penny to me.” After a brief pause, the gentleman humbly looks to heaven and asks, “Lord, will you give me a million dollars?” The Lord’s voice rang out, “Just a second.”

We will soon learn to ask the best questions!

 

Now would you take a moment and open the A to Z Prayer Wall tab and ask God to to intervene in these needs. Thanks! Enjoy your day with “Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full.”

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