Sunday, June 17, 2007

Favourite or Meaningful Bible passages

I have amassed quite a collection of meaningful Bible passages. I very much miss the Bible I lost in the hospital (some confused patient walked off with it, but left the cover for me). Most of all I miss the scraps of paper with passages given to me in ministry sessions. So in celebration of my Heavenly Father, this being Father's day, I thought I would list some of my favourite passages from his love letter to me. It would be nice if I could have links in this, so you could follow them to my favourite passages, but I am not that blog savvy.

Romans 8 the whole chapter, especially "All things work out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose" and "Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ"
Ezekiel 16:8 "Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!"
That particular passage was given to me twice, once by Ace Clark when he visited for supper and gave out comic books and once by one of my pastors who I really admired and still do.
Psalm 139
I read this passage when we were studying Frankenstein in Professor Bowen's class. Since then it has come to mean a lot more.
Psalm 18
See my previous post.
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd. I read a book while in the hospital about this psalm. It was written by a shepherd from Africa and I never will forget what this book taught me. Later I saw a beautiful liturgical dance to this psalm and after the service I let this song wash over me like cool cleansing water.
Psalm 91
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This is a psalm my Dad would read to me.
Psalm 11
Karen my older sister gave me this one when I first got ill at sixteen.
Psalm 103
I included this passage in my testimony at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church over a year ago. My Oma was there as was my friend Mary-Ann and my parents.
Isaiah 43:1-7
My friend Jerri Batterink gave me this passage in a card when I was hospitalized at seventeen.
Ephesians 1:3-14, 15-22
My current pastor gave me this one (15-22) in a card, after I left his church for greener pastures (read shorter services, familiar worship style, comfort zone, timed sermons, wonderful, very dignified, people).
Ephesians 6:10-18
I always am in desperate need of the armour of God.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. This is practically my theme verse from the past decade.
Joshua 1:9
Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: For the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
These words to Joshua resound in my spirit. I got a name card with this verse on it, shortly before entering the hospital (for the first time in nine years or so.) Later I got a journal with this verse on it at the Elim Women's Conference.
Lamentations 3:27-33
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust- there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
My mentor and hero from South Africa showed me this passage.
Matthew 6:25-34
My parents' wedding text, the meaningfulness of my name, the name of this blog all have to do with this passage. I would be a white lily of the valley if I ever was a flower.
Jeremiah 30:17 "For I will restore health to you and I will heal your wounds says the Lord."
My Aunt Reta sent me this one. That's a promise God is keeping.
Others: John 15 (I once preached a sermon on this to a congregation of one), Matthew 5:1-ll (the Beatitudes, I learned more about this at the Elim Women's Conference on my first weekend pass this past hospitalization. A woman named Eve spoke). Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 6:20, all of 1 John especially 1:12.

How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!

I also love any passage about unity, spiritual gifts, and the body of Christ. The high priestly prayer of Jesus before the cross is very meaningful.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Psalm 18

Psalm 18 NIV
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn [a] of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave [b] coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded. [c]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies ,
great bolts of lightning and routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, O LORD,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop [d] ;
with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind;
I poured them out like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations;
people I did not know are subject to me.
44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me;
foreigners cringe before me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from violent men you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD;
I will sing praises to your name.
50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
Psalm 18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength.
Psalm 18:5 Hebrew Sheol
Psalm 18:13 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Samuel 22:14 most Hebrew manuscripts resounded, / amid hailstones and bolts of lightning
Psalm 18:29 Or can run through a barricade

This psalm that David wrote is so meaningful to me. I've been reading a lot in the psalms throughout my recent illness and a wise person told me to meditate on this psalm. David's enemies might have been more concrete, but I definitely have a real enemy going about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. In God I find my strength and refuge. I love the part about God drawing David up from deep waters, because sometimes I really feel like I am drowning, and I also appreciate the imagery of God broadening the path for his feet. I now have strength to fight and to stand firm while God fights for me. I am improving day by day, but I don't want to lose the urgency that draws me to God and to Jesus David's descendent and my Lord. Now I am coming into a more spacious place and Jesus is my shepherd who watches over me. God has provided for all my needs and I can't get over how much he loves me. I hope I never forget all he has done for me.