Thanks for taking time to read this series of posts “55 for 55: Passages of Scriptures that mean a lot to me.” Below are the passages that continue in this series. Thanks again and may God bless you as He has done so with me by conveying His love and wisdom to me through the Bible.
21. Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I find it interesting that within these next 5 passages, four are connected to spiritual songs that mean a lot to me. This first one was written by Keith Green, and the song is called If you love the Lord. Some of the lyrics that speak to me (as does the scripture) are:
“And if you love the lord, you’ll seek his face with all your heart.
And even when you’re old, from his holy place you won’t depart.
We are his workmanship, created for good works in Christ.
He calls us to offer up ourselves a living sacrifice.”
Keith and his music have been instrumental (no pun intended) in my life since the late 1970’s. His dedication to proclaim God’s word in addition to be used by God to bring glory to the Kingdom via a life dedicated to serving Him has always inspired me to do the same.
The word “Created” (Ktizo) infers that we have been designed with a certain ability, capability and capacity to deliver good works to others, which hopefully, as long as my brain works effectively, will be my daily focus.
22. Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Amy Grant is the singer that performed this song (Thy Word) based on Psalm 119:105. Like Keith Green, I became aware of her music in the 1970’s and some the lyrics that are meaningful to me from this song are:
When I feel afraid, think I’ve lost my way
Still You’re there right beside me
Nothing will I fear as long as you are near
Please be near me to the end
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
I will not forget your love for me
And yet my heart forever is wandering
Jesus be my guide, hold me to Your side
And I will love You to the end
I’m thankful that reading God’s word is one of the spiritual disciplines by which I hear and get to know God (others are Worship and Reflection).
I’ve often said I don’t know where my life would have been without His word, instructing me and providing guidance on a daily basis. Like Amy conveys in her lyrics, when I’ve felt afraid, or felt I’ve lost my way, it has been God’s word that “resets” my heart, direction and actions. I’m very thankful for this.
23. John 13: 34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
One of God’s basic commands as written in His word is to Love one another. Its a simple request and if done, I’ve found that it tends to produce positive results.
In the next scripture below (#24), we’ll see what a practical application of Love looks like, but in this passage, God simply passes along my “job description” to me that He’d like for me to work on for the rest of my days. I’m thankful (and relieved) that He provides the power and assistance to help my actions to be fruitful!
In light of that, I’ll pass along a few lyrics from Stevie Wonder’s song “As,” which has always been close to my heart and motivates me regarding the eternal nature and impact of Love:
“Did you know that true love asks for nothing
Her acceptance is the way we pay
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee
To last through forever and another day
Just as time knew to move on since the beginning
And the seasons know exactly when to change
Just as kindness knows no shame
Know through all your joy and pain
That I’ll be loving you always
As today I know I’m living but tomorrow
Could make me the past but that I mustn’t fear
For I’ll know deep in my mind
The love of me I’ve left behind Cause I’ll be loving you always”
Thank you Jesus and thank you Stevie for inspiring me with your “message music,” which led me to the Author of Love, Jesus.
24. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Whew! What a request! Loving others is not easy, nor is it easy to demonstrate. Its “Uncommon.” But with God, even though the hill is steep, its not impossible to conquer. But it is uncommon to love in the manner He’s requesting.
“Its ‘uncommon’ to be patient, kind and to persevere, when there are so many psychological and possibly spiritual-warfare behaviors that function like waves that crash against us at any given moment, which tend to impede our progress toward producing and demonstrating loving behavior.
Its uncommon to work though complex, challenging, painful and traumatic circumstances we’ve experienced, only to read that God wants us to go “one more mile” with others where we’ve experienced hurt (Matthew 5:41).
Its uncommon to throw away “scorecards, checklists and inventories” about what hasn’t been done in a relationship, only to be challenged by God to give to the other unconditionally, freely and in abundance (Luke 6:37-38).
Its uncommon to love your enemy and to pray (continuously) for the one who persecutes you (Matthew 4:43-44; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), and yet thats a Kingdom principle that designates who we are.
Its uncommon to lean deeply upon God, when you are weak, and wait patiently upon Him, to help you to be strong (Philippians 4:13; Philippians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Please know that God will never shame you into doing that which you cannot do. No, He’ll love you, accept you, support you, and, should you desire, empower you in your endeavor to do the uncommon because you have chosen to associate with and to cultivate an uncommon love (Luke 10:28-37).
Be patient but persevere in your process of growth and pray that your partner (family member or friend) is willing to meet you with the same fervor, so that mutual fruitfulness and growth could be experienced. Still, take time to connect with God, who desires to enlighten, inform, equip, edify and empower you to do the uncommon, as evidenced by behaviors and experiences that truly display and define what uncommon love looks like.”
25. Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
This final scripture in this post was turned into a song by the Maranatha Promise Band (“Send Me“), which as some of you may remember was the final song performed at some of the Promise Keepers stadium conferences, popular during the mid-1990’s.
The Promise Keepers “movement” offered a powerful testimony to many men (myself included) who needed a strong relationship with God, a genuine fellowship with other men and a palpable dose of the Holy Spirit to cleanse our eyes to see, experience and deliver what is important to God. Some of the lyrics I remember singing with the other men are:
“Here am I send me
Here am I send me
Until every nation knows
The power of Your love
Give me a hunger to know
Where it is You want me to go
Father I’m saying
Here am I send me
I will go, Lord send me
I will go, where you need
I will go, where you need, even to the ends of the Earth!
Send Me! Send Me! Send Me! Here am I Lord please send me!”
As I look back on my life, I’m thankful for the places that God has sent me to share His love and His word to others; doing urban ministry in San Francisco, on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles, to El Salvador and to the countries of Ethiopia and Uganda. I pray He will send you to the places He has in mind for you to be a blessing to others!
You could find the next 5 passages of scripture (#26-30) in this “55 for 55” series by clicking here.
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