55 for 55: Passages of Scripture that mean a lot to me (11-15)
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.
11. Matthew 28:1-10: “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
There are so many valuable and rich insights in this scripture however one important one for me is that God’s story never ends in the grave. No matter how many times I read this, the account always ends with the Resurrection. Someone who died has been brought back to life again.
This powerful “ending” (which is actually a beginning) reminds me that no matter how dire or devastating my personal situation has been or could be, the power which brought a dead man back to life is available to me to as well. This inspires me to “look for and work toward the resurrection experience” in my daily encounters with others, no matter how small or large or disastrous the problem may appear.
12. Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God” (NASV).
This verse simply reminds me to keep it simple. Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. At times I’ve tried to do much more than that in various life situations with others forgetting that the simplest responses are usually the sweetest. When I was off track, it was usually a nudge from the Holy Spirit who reminded me to just focus on and do these three basics tasks. When simply practiced, everything usually worked out fine. This passage has been a good “bungee cord” truth for me; keep it simple, just keep it simple.
13. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
The definition of Reconciliation (Katallasso) means “to lay aside wrathful behavior while simultaneously imparting peaceful behavior.” “Katallasso” also implies a restoration and change, as two people work to move from a place of enmity to one of friendship. Reconciliation is the gift that Christ has freely given to me, and it is the same behavior that Jesus wants me to practice as well.
The application of this verse always challenges me to “live inside the problem solving box,” where the practice of my values creates personal and (typically) interpersonal peace as a result of my behavior. I know what happens if I’m passive, passive-aggressive or if I neglect to practice these principles; usually its internal and relational strife. I’ve found that when I practiced these values in “real time” then simultaneously I wasn’t giving myself permission to engage in harmful, unproductive, shaming or downright damaging or violent behavior. Trying to live as a Reconciler has proven to be better for all involved!
14. Ephesians 4:26-27: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
I wrote 4 posts called “Experiencing and Expressing Anger” back in May, 2015. In that series, I shared extensively about this verse, but what you don’t know is that this particular verse, along with Luke 6:27-28 (about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you) were vital in helping me to learn a valuable life lesson lwhen I was laid off from a job in Los Angeles in 1996.
On the day after I was let go, I practiced an “A” + “B” combination with these two verses and they changed my attitude about my departure from that organization. During that time, I prayed to God that I was going to do things His way (versus give in to an Adolescent way of responding, which wasn’t going to solve anything nor was it going to be pretty).
During that time, when I felt anger, I immediately prayed “God you Word tells me that to be angry, so I’m angry about…” and I told Him what I was specifically angry about in that moment. That was the “A” part.
But then, I also prayed “but your Word also tells me to love my enemy and pray for the one who persecutes me , so I ask that you bless…” and then I prayed for a blessing, strength, insight or guidance for the person who I needed to love and do good to.
If I felt anger 5 times in a minute, I practiced my “A + B” prescription. Interestingly, as you could imagine, I not only began to feel differently due to “flushing” the anger out of my system before it crystallized into bitterness, but 3 weeks later when I was invited to the organization for an appreciation luncheon I noticed that I wasn’t angry at the people nor the organization. Just as its impossible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, I realized that it was difficult if not impossible to be angry at someone when you’re praying a blessing for them. This was a valuable life lesson for me!
15. Proverbs 31: 10-31: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
This verse means a lot to me in light of another one Solomon mentions earlier in the book; Proverbs 18:22, which reads “He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.”
Favor (Yatab) is actually one of the ten characteristics of Love (Agape), the kind of love that God gives to us unconditionally, and the kind of love that He wants to be cultivated in us, so that we’re able to turn around and give this “fruit” to our neighbor (our spouse, partner, family members, friends, etc.).
I’ve received this form of Love from my wife and through the decades we’ve been together, our family has been better off because of her “Proverbs 31 contributions” to us!
I’ve realized that since Favor is a characteristic of Agape that’s not restricted by gender, then there is nothing that stops me from trying to become a Proverbs 31 man to reciprocate a contribution to my wife. I know we have different gifts and her’s definitely line up with this above mentioned verses, but like I said, theres nothing to stop me from developing then delivering these qualities to her and others!
Thanks for reading these passages and you could find the next 5 passages of scripture (#16-20) in this “55 for 55” series by clicking here.
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