After searching through past posts on my blog to find some inspiration for today’s post, I realized that the content I generally produce is pretty heavy and weighted. This isn’t to say that it’s not “good” or that you shouldn’t read it (bc you totally should, hint hint, wink wink), but I think it’s okay to lighten up a bit and look at the more joyful side of life and love and being a follower of Jesus.
So I decided to fulfill my goal of getting a new post finished by today (I’m writing this at 10:36pm, so there’s still time to fail) and encourage you with 5 of my favorite scriptures with explanations and stories as to why I still cling to them daily.
1. 2 Timothy 1:7(NKJV)- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
When I was but a wee, little Sena, I was scared of LITERALLY everything. We lived in a giant house (which may have only been giant to me because I was like 3ft tall) and at night, there were always shadows along the walls because of where my room was placed in the upstairs hallway. I always had to sleep with my door open and much to my dad and our electricity bill’s despair, I kept our bathroom light on all night long, every night. I would tell my parents about how I thought we had ghosts and my imagination was sometimes strong enough to fabricate monsters in my head. So I was just a terrified little kid. My dad came into my room one night with a notecard in his hand that had this verse written on it in his all-uppercase-and-slightly-slanted handwriting. He said, “I want you to remember this verse and I don’t ever want you to be afraid of anything. Kapeesh?” Because this verse literally tells me that fear doesn’t come from my Father and that I’ve been given the freedom to feel powerful, loving, and mindful in times of doubt, I still use it today whenever I’m afraid of literally anything.
2. Psalm 91:10-16 – “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra. The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. ‘Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.’ [says The Lord]
It’s a long one, but such a necessary one. When I was in the 5th grade, we lived in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. My parents were finishing up school and I was a much too introspective child and had convinced myself that I had committed the unpardonable sin. You guys, I was like 10. I’ve always been a deep thinker but this really had me so down that I stopped eating and ended up losing enough weight that it scared my mom into taking me to a doctor. One day, though, I came home from school and my mom was standing at the end of the counter in our kitchen. She said, “Sena, I’ve been praying for you and God gave me this scripture to give to you. Now you need to understand that He loves you and He wants to take care of you. You are not going to Hell.” Probably some pretty heavy words for a kid, but hey, they helped me. So any time I find myself questioning my relationship with God, I go to this scripture and remind myself of why it’s so important to rest in His salvation.
3. John 15:9-11 – “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
I think it’s good sometimes to really recognize the love that God has given us through His precious Son Jesus. So often I forget to acknowledge His love and actually it’s incredibly important and necessary that we do so and that we do it often. I was in the middle of a worship service last summer and a song was playing that kept referencing God’s love for us and I was legitimately getting so annoyed. My love for God needs to be evident and my reverence for Him needs to be clear. However, He sent Jesus and let Him die for my sins literally only because He loves me. Dearly. He loves me more than I deserve and more than I can handle and that’s a fact that needs to be acknowledged too. BUT LOOK AT HOW MUCH LOVE GOD HAD FOR HUMANKIND. “For God so loved the world…”
4. John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Our world is so incredibly full of doubt and uncertainty that reading this scripture is a moment of finally having something be “a constant”. I’ve always referred to Jesus as my “constant in a world full of inconsistencies” and as millennial-ish as that may sound to y’all, it’s helped me through some very tumultuous times in my very inconsistent life. Jesus was saying this to His disciples a little while before He went to the cross, but I truly believe He was preparing them for the moment when He would breathe His last and darkness fell upon their hearts. God is not and never has been a God of incompletion and I love that here Jesus is telling them and us that while life may be painful and scary and we may not find the closure we want in certain situations, we can still have a very special kind of peace from the King of Peace Himself. If Jesus, who knew He would soon be hanging on a cross for the world to mock Him and have His Father’s face turn away from Him, could speak these words before His death, we ought to take them and use them ourselves during our own battles.
5. Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”
Like I said, I’m a deep thinker. My parents have always taught me that having a healthy thought-life is really important for my spiritual health. I love to use this scripture in times of doubt because I am told to think on those things that are true. When I think poorly of another person, I think on those things which make them lovely. If I find myself unable to think of anything particularly positive and I seem to be grasping for some glimpse of hope or happiness, I think on how praiseworthy Jesus is. He is my hope and my salvation and my joy. He is my thought.
I just want to remind you, sweet reader, that Jesus’ love is so incredibly far reaching that it can find you at any part of life you may be living. He found me and saved me from fear when I was 5 and I was scared of the dark. He found me when I was in the 3rd grade, not eating anything because I felt so heartbroken at the idea of disappointing God. He reached me at 21 when I was alone, broken, afraid and dying. And He reached me tonight, sitting on my bed in my quiet dorm room just thinking of His goodness. At all times, He is present, He is full of peace, and He is loving you.