Thanks for taking time to read this series of posts “55 for 55: Passages of Scripture 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.
6. John 15:1-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes it so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Again, so many takeaways in this passage of scripture but one specific takeaway is there is power (v.5 – Dunatai, from which we get Dynamite) available to us if we remain in Christ to receive the life giving, strengthening, achieving power that helps us to be capable of producing fruit because we’re connected to His vine (His life).
I’ve often said as I consider Matthew 10:8 (“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give“) that I couldn’t raise the dead nor cleanse those with leprosy but I could heal (Therapeuo) the sick by offering the fruit of the Spirit to others because its God’s power that works in me and through me to provide this form of nourishment to others in my daily affairs.
These miracles are only achievable when I remain in the Vine for God to mature the fruit of Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, etc., which He has wanted to do from the moment I was born. As the next passage implies, someone else had something in mind from the moment I (and you) came int this world.
7. Genesis 3:1-7: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
I like this passage of scripture because it clearly reveals the plan of the Enemy of Humanity (Satan, Devil, Diabolical One, etc.). Below are five “Deadly D’s” that he constantly operates by in his attempt to “steal, kill and destroy” which happens to be his unchanging job description located in John 10:10. My studies have helped me to see that the Diabolical One has and will always seek our demise (John 8:44; Revelation 12:10) as his intent is to destroy us. Here’s the progression of the “Deadly D’s”:
First, he instilled (1) Doubt in God’s promises to us (v.1 – “Did God really say…”), and from there, he chased that up with (2) Dishonesty (v.4 – “You will not die…”) and in doing so creating in that brief moment the notion (and delusion) that what he had to offer was better than what God freely gives to us. Don’t miss the “divide and conquer” tactic here as up to this point Adam and Even have enjoyed being in fellowship with God, however in this moment, the Devil seized upon the opportunity to manipulate Eve, due to no fault of her own, when she was alone.
Third, the Devil conjured up the (3) Deception (v.5 – “You will be like God…”) which taps right to the core of who I am (and I dare say, we all are): “That I not only want to be all powerful, but I also need something from outside of my person to attain that level of existence.”
For me, I ate the fruit of addiction because it deceived me into believing that when I’d found the right chemical, person or process (again, something outside of me) and when I ingested it, I would quickly, intensely, and powerfully have it all.”Addiction, like the Enemy, subtly or violently screams we’re not enough in and of ourself (note the shame message here) whereas with God, He loves and accepts us just as we are.
Fourth, the Devil oversaw the (4) Dependence Shift (v.6 – “the fruit of the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom”) as scripture records on page 3 of the Bible one of the first choices we made was to selfishly relate with and possess the created thing versus seeking relationship and fellowship with the Creator.
Finally, after the deed was done, the (5) Doom set in (v.7 ff – “their eyes were open and they realized their nakedness”). A typical shame based response when we feel inadequate, not enough, like a failure or when we have failed is to cover up, which is what Adam and Eve sought to do.
When I came off a “euphoric and exciting” high from being around, ingesting and intimately knowing (YADA, #4) that created object, the crash of reality set in that I’d been manipulated, duped, suckered, taken, mistreated, abused, beaten, violated and in most cases, been a victim of attempted murder (certainly soul and spirit murder) as the Devil tried to destroy me. I didn’t want anyone to know about my error, inadequacy and foolishness related to “drinking Satan’s Kool-Aid,” which he mercilessly reminded me about through disdain, accusations and (shame) attacks. I wrote about how to escape this type of Shame in three posts, as I needed to escape this horrible “shame-filled to shameless” cycle that was set into motion! Today, I realize who loves me. I realize the Enemy of Humanity does not. This is valuable to me.
8. Matthew 10:1, 8: (v. 1): “Jesus called his twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (v. 8): “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
As mentioned above in Passage #6, the Greek word for our English word Heal in this passage is Therapeuo. This simply means that with God’s help, I’m the Therapon (Therapist) who provides the Therapeia (Therapy) and the outcome could be Theapeuo (Therapeutic).
I knew from the moment I became a Christian in 1977 that God’s power, which was freely gifted and given to me was to be directed toward helping others. I could also see how He was directing my steps to eventually become a Psychotherapist who loved to integrate Psychology, Theology, Counseling and my limited awareness of how Medicine could help the treatment process. As Jesus stated, the combination of His power, the training I received and the life experiences that I’ve been a part of have helped me to see and be a part of healing experiences in the lives of others.
Oh, you don’t need to be a Therapist in order to be apart of the healing of others; you only need to be Therapeutic in your disposition and the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) will definitely help you in this area. If you have the heart, desire and passion to become a Psychologist or Psychotherapist though, we could always use more good people!
9. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Many of us have memorized this scripture and the one thing that has stood out for me is the Hebrew word for “future” (Ahar).
The word picture for “Future or Ahar” is of a person who is in a rowboat. Think about that. If we were in a rowboat, we’d never really see where we were going (our future), however we’d always see where we’ve been (our past; or in our periphery, our present). It makes a lot of sense to me because only God knows our future and I’ve come to rest in His awareness of what my future will look like.
Sometimes I’ll share with people who have had (or currently have) devastating and traumatic life experiences which resemble(d) scorched earth or moonscape scenes on the banks of the river they’re in to keep rowing. Rowing into your future equates to doing a little work everyday (a stroke is equivalent to one day at a time) on your treatment, in your recovery, with other loving and caring passengers who you invite to travel with you during selected periods of your life journey.
Eventually, if you keep doing your work, your scenery will change from the burned out past to the greener, richer, more productive and edifying “today” where lush foliage which symbolizes your current progress and healing is experienced.
In staying with the analogy, sometimes you may see a tree that’s been struck by lightning and is badly burnt, which may feel like you’re having a “traumatic recall” or a depressive episode thats connected to your losses. Even still, I do encourage you to keep rowing and to not lose the “forest for the tree,” noting again the progress you’ve been able to achieve in your work. For me, this passage has helped me and given me the hope that I needed to experience in light of some of my own challenging life circumstances.
10. John 8:2-11: “At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I’ve also written a post on this passage of scripture (“Mercy Alleviates Suffering” and “Keynotes: Living A Rock-Free Lifestyle”) but if I could single out one point about why this is a favorite scripture is that God does not wish to condemn, shame nor cajole us when we blow it. He simply wants us to “go and sin no more,” which I’ve reframed into the saying “go and learn how to live,” and hopefully wisely.
This passage helps me to see the love, grace, empowerment and safety that Jesus provided to all involved in that chaotic moment and it challenges me to deliver the same when I encounter moments and people who also need these empowering words.
If you have time, take a moment and read these posts and I’ll encourage (if not challenge you) to liberally apply the love, grace and mercy to someone or some situation (or even to yourself) who probably needs to see the love of God through you.
You could find the next 5 passages of scripture (#11 – 15) in this “55 for 55” series by clicking here.
Thanks for visiting and please visit the other blogs written by Dr Ken McGill: Dr Ken McGill’s blog and “3-2-5-4-24” for additional information that could be helpful. I welcome your comments below or via email and your favorites, your retweets and your “+1’s” if you have a brief moment and find the information helpful, please pass along a rating or review of my book Daily Bread for Life, Vol. 1 in the Amazon bookstore. Again, it is my desire to provide the very best info for your consideration.
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