One Scripture?

Recently, a blogger asked me a great question in the comments on his blog. When I offered to help answer his questions about the Bible, he asked me if there was one Scripture that I considered “gold” or thought about every day. What a great question!

But it made me pause. One Scripture? I love every book of the Bible. My favorite one is always the one I am studying at the moment. There is so much depth, beauty, insight, inspiration, and joy in the Scriptures. Could I pick just one? I am not one who has chosen a “life verse” that encapsulates my faith or purpose. God has always provided the right Scripture at the right time for my situation. One Scripture? I decided to dig back into the bedrock foundations of my faith. What is essential? What do I know is true? What do I depend on?

I thought back to one of the great turning points in my life – a literal choice between life or death. I was just a young teen, probably finishing 8th or 9th grade. I had chosen to follow Jesus with my life a year or two earlier. I was on a youth retreat with my church at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. My life was just not going the way I wanted. I wasn’t athletic or popular. I wasn’t funny or attractive. I wasn’t talented in anything anyone noticed. I was believing Satan’s lie that no one loved me. One night I just sat out in the open air hallway outside my room. I looked down two or more stories to the ground and rocks below. A voice inside whispered, “no one will care if you just fall off of here and die…” I didn’t know the term “spiritual warfare,” but I knew this was a spiritual attack. I went back inside to get away from the immediate temptation. However, I was still wallowing in the self-pity and the lie. Later, I went back outside, letting the tears, at least, fall to the ground below.

One of our college age counselors, Keith, came and sat with me. He tried to offer advice and wisdom and comfort. It was nice to have someone notice my struggle, but it wasn’t enough. I did come in for the night, but my despair continued. However, during that week, God got my attention through the speaker. My memory isn’t clear on exactly what the speaker said, but God clearly revealed to me that He loved me. No matter what anyone else thought, He loved me. God loves me just the way I am! It sounds like such a simple truth, but it gripped me with a real power. I have value and worth. I have a purpose and a destiny. It isn’t because of anything that I am, except that I am loved by the King!

So here is that one scripture that, upon reflection, is the bedrock of my faith. When my faith wavers, looking for a foundation, this Scripture calls me back to the love that changed my life that week. Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (NASB)

 

Administrative note: Over the weekend, this blog received its 1000th all-time view. People from 17 countries have stopped by (unbelievable). Durt on the Bible isn’t taking the internet by storm, but I am thankful for all who take time to read. If it has value to you, please share it with someone else who might be encouraged.

Psalms Project: Psalm 1 – Planted or Seated?

Today, I am beginning a project I have wanted to do for many years – a journey through the Psalms. I have started before, alone, but I am hoping that the accountability of a blog (and your comments, etc.) will encourage me to keep going. I plan to write about every Psalm (150 of them) in order.

The stirring Psalm 1 (go read it first!) is my favorite Psalm (at least for now) and is an appropriate beginning to this collection of Israel’s praise and worship. In just six verses, the writer (who is unknown) paints a vivid contrast between the wise and the wicked. And he (or she) provides the wisdom and motivation we need for finding daily nourishment.

It becomes a simple question of whether we choose to be seated or planted. The unwise person is seated. There is a progression here. The unwise person begins walking with the wicked, then stands around with the sinners, and finally settles into a seat with the scoffers. Now the unwise has become wicked like those around him. As a result, there is no blessing from God. He or she becomes dry, useless, and blown away like chaff. There will be no place to stand in the judgment. The wicked will perish. Why would anyone choose this curse? Sadly, too many do.

The writer promises, though, that we will be blessed if we do not choose that dried-up doom. Instead, the righteous one is like the tree planted by the river, always nourished and never wilting. That is the life of blessing I want! How does it happen? I let God plant me in His Word (here called “the law”). I must meditate on it day and night. Meditation in the Bible is not the mind-emptying silliness practiced by eastern religions. Instead, Christian meditation is the active reflection upon and digesting of God’s truth. Like the tree in the picture, I should be leaning toward the water and sending out a multitude of roots into its quenching flow. I can study the Word; I can ponder its impact in my life; I can practice its rules and wisdom; I can mull its truths; I can recite it, sing it, memorize, and pray it. God’s Word imparts life, if I soak it in. It becomes an inseparable part of who I am. Thus, I am blessed and can expect to grow.

How about you? Will you choose to be planted into God’s life-giving Word today? Or will you sit down and dry up with those who perish?

Celtic Christian artist Eden’s Bridge has a lovely rendition of this Psalm called “Blessed is the Man.” Listen as you soak in the beauty of this first Psalm.