This Week’s Memory Verses… Isaiah 40:30,31

Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize a Scripture verse (or verses)… and to think about those verses all through the week. This week’s verses are Isaiah 40:30,31.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,

and the young men shall utterly fall,

but those who wait on the LORD

shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.”

Today is Tax Day. That may be a troublesome day for you this year. Or, maybe, something else is getting to you. Whatever is troubling you today… making you “weary”, these verses remind us – in God – we can be renewed… and we can rise!

God Invites Us to Pray to Him… Jeremiah 33:3

Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize a Scripture verse… and to think about it all through the week. This week’s verse is Jeremiah 33:3.

– The PROMPTING (v.3a)

“‘Call to Me,…'”

To those who do as prompted, God makes a promise…

– The PROMISE (v.3b,c)

“‘…and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things,…'”

God promises to answer us… and WOW us!

– The PROVISION (v.3d)

“‘…which you do not know.'”

God’s provision is always bigger than our problem. God can answer bigger than you can pray!

This is a great verse to memorize… so memorize it along with me!

This Week’s Memory Verse… Jeremiah 33:3

Each week this year, I am challenging myself to memorize a Scripture verse (or verses).

This week’s verse is Jeremiah 33:3. It might help you to memorize it by breaking it down a phrase at a time…

“Call to Me, and I will answer you,

and show you great and mighty things,

which you do not know.”

Of course, this verse has much to say about prayer. But, also, God’s willingness to keep us informed of His plan and progress in what’s happening around us!

Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life… John 11:25

Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize a verse (or verses) of Scripture. This week’s verse is John 11:25… a great verse for the Easter season!

It is the occasion of Lazarus’ death… and the conversation is a short one between Jesus and Martha.

Lazarus, Martha & Mary were good friends of Jesus who lived in a “suburb” of Jerusalem… a little village called Bethany. But Lazarus had died… and there was sadness in the air. The family had gathered together to mourn the loss of a loved one.

When Martha heard Jesus had arrived (“finally”, she thought), she went out of the house and down the road to meet Him. She made a bold statement the minute she saw Him. She said, “Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
But Jesus did not leave Martha without hope. He gave her this promise: “Your brother will rise again. Your brother will live again. Your brother will be with you again.” I am sure the thought brought a faint smile to her tear-stained face. To think of a day – somewhere in the future – where there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more disease should bring a smile to all of our faces. To think of a day when there will be no more tears should bring us some peace. To think of a day when those who are friends of God will live again should bring a little hope to our hearts.

So, Martha stood there with tears and a sense of hope and responded, “I know Lazarus will rise again in the resurrection at the end of time.” But, what Jesus said next shook her to the bones. He said, “I am the resurrection. I am the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he dies, yet shall he live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha said, “Yes, Lord; I believe You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

In a moment – in a flash – something changed in Martha’s life. She had started the day surrounded by death; she ended the day hanging on to eternal life. She had started the day with doubts and sadness; she ended the day with joy and assurance. She put her faith in Jesus… and, when she did, everything changed. She was full of hope. She was full of joy – even in the midst of her sadness. God had somehow reached her in a way she had not allowed Him to reach her before.

On that occasion, 2 miracles happened that day:

1) the miracle of Martha trusting Christ and believing in Him. When she trusted Jesus, her entire outlook was changed; and

2) the miracle of Lazarus coming back to life. After they stopped talking, Jesus went to the graveyard where Lazarus was buried. There He found the grave. Lazarus was dead. Lazarus was buried. Yet, Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus lay and told the people there to remove the stone that covered the grave.  They were surely confused… but they did. Then Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come out of there.” And do you know what happened? Lazarus came out of the grave. His dead body came alive again. Lazarus lived. Another miracle had taken place.

Jesus is in the miracle business. That’s what He does. He can raise people from the dead, but He can also change lives.

This Week’s Memory Verse… John 11:25

Each week this year, I am challenging myself to memorize a Scripture verse (or verses).

This week’s verse is John 11:25.

The setting for this verse is the funeral of Lazarus. Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus, as was Lazarus’ 2 sisters, Martha & Mary. In fact, Jesus stayed in their home in Bethany when He had ministry to do in Jerusalem.

Jesus had received word Lazarus had died… and then waited 2 days before making His journey to Bethany to pay His respects. By the time Jesus got there, Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days.

When Martha heard Jesus was near, she went out to meet Him. And, almost with a rebuking faith, she told Jesus if He had arrived sooner, He would have healed Lazarus and Lazarus would not have had to die. That’s when Jesus reminded her who He was… and still is…

“Jesus said to her,

‘I am the resurrection and the life.

He who believes in Me,

though He may die, he shall live.'”

Think on this… especially in the context of Easter this Sunday!

What the Cross Teaches Us… John 3:16,17

Each week this year, I am challenging myself to memorize a Scripture verse (or verses).  This week’s verses are John 3:16,17.

In these verses… just these 2 verses… we learn some important things from the cross…

1.  The world was (is) in a ruinous, condemned state… destined to perish everlastingly; and was totally without power to rescue itself from destruction.

2.  God, through the impulse of His eternal love, provided for its rescue and salvation, by giving His Son to die for it.

3.  The sacrifice of Jesus was the only means by which the redemption of humanity could be effected.  The sacrifice of Jesus is absolutely sufficient to accomplish God’s gracious purpose: for it would have been inconsistent with the wisdom of God to have appointed a sacrifice greater in itself, or less in its merit, than what the urgent necessities of the case required.

4.  Sin must be an indescribable evil… because it required no less a sacrifice, to make atonement for it, than God manifested in the flesh.

5.  No person – man, woman, boy, or girl – is saved through this sacrifice unless he/she believes.  One “believes” by trusting/accepting for oneself what God has spoken concerning Christ, His sacrifice, the reason it was offered, and the way in which it is to be applied in order to become effectual.

6.  Those who believe receive a double benefit:

–  They are exempted from eternal separation from God – that they may not perish.

–  They are brought to eternal glory – that they may have everlasting life.

These two benefits point out the state of man apart from salvation: he is guilty, and therefore exposed to punishment: he is impure, and therefore unfit for glory.

I’m sure there are many other lessons we might learn from these 2 verses… but these will certainly do for now!

This Week’s Memory Verses… John 3:16,17

Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize Scripture. This week’s memory verses are John 3:16,17.

You probably know the first verse… but do you know the second one?

It might help to memorize them a phrase at a time:

16 “For God so loved the world,

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

17 “For God did not send His Son

into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world through Him

might be saved.”

Let’s see if we can’t memorize these great verses!

Unveiling God’s Heart… Mark 15:37,38

Each week this year, I am challenging myself to memorize a verse (or verses) of Scripture.  I hope you will join me!

This week’s Memory Verses are Mark 15:37,38.  In these verses we see God unveiling His heart through Christ on the cross…

This passage gives us a glimpse into knowing God better.  The tearing of the Temple curtain, or Temple veil, shows us God’s heart for us.  Let’s look at the miracle that happened at 3PM on Good Friday afternoon.

The Temple curtains hung down about 60’ from the ceiling of the Temple, covering an opening 30’ wide.  They were a woven fabric; threads of gold and silver braided together.  The curtains were about as thick as a man’s palm, several inches.  Technically, there were 2 curtains.

Temple worship was – more or less – based on concentric squares.  There was the outer court, the court of the Gentiles, where Jesus upset the tables of the venders and the money-changers.  This was the only place non-Jews could worship. From there was the Court of Women.  Getting closer from there was where Jewish men would worship.  Even further still was the Holy Place, where the Jewish priests would offer sacrifices.  This was separated from the outer courts by a curtain.
But, even further still was the Most Holy Place, called the Holy of Holies.  This was, in the people’s minds, the dwelling place of God’s presence.  In the original Temple built by Solomon – the Temple of Jesus’ day was actually the 3rd temple, built by the scoundrel Herod the Great, who had tried to kill Jesus as a baby – the ark of the covenant was kept in the Holy of Holies.  The ark was the box made to keep the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.  On the beautifully decorated lid of the ark was the mercy seat; there the blood of an innocent, unblemished lamb was poured out on the Day of Atonement, now called Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday in the fall.  The ritual sacrifice was for the atonement, the forgiveness of sins, of God’s people.

Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies behind the curtain.

It was this curtain, the inner veil, that split in 2 when Jesus died.  The presence of God was no longer limited to one person once a year.  This miracle unveils 3 things about God’s heart for you and me:

–  God’s Approachability

All people were now admitted into God’s presence.  Because of this, no person can stand between us and God.  We don’t need to go through a priest or church leader.  In Christ, every person has direct access to the presence of God.  The torn veil is God’s invitation to approach Him.

–  God’s Availability

In people’s minds then, God’s presence was confined to the Holy of Holies.  Worship was more or less limited to the Temple.  But the curtain was ripped in 2, from top to bottom.  That was a sign God wanted to be let out, as if anyone could contain Him to a single building anyway!

–  God’s Affection

The Gospel of Mark is an action-packed story, telling us little of Jesus’ teachings.  But, it reveals how God felt about His Son Jesus.  Marks’ introduction says Jesus was and is the Son of God.  At Jesus’ baptism, God announced: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At Jesus’ transfiguration God said this: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”  And, at Jesus’ death, God responded as any Jewish father would at the death of His Son.  What did Jacob do when he thought his son Joseph was eaten by wild animals?  He tore his clothes as a sign of deepest sorrow.  What did Job do when he heard his children had all been killed?  He ripped his clothes as a sign of deepest sorrow.
When Jesus bowed His head and committed His spirit into His Father’s hands, God tore the curtain from top to bottom, as a sign of deepest sorrow, flowing from His love for Jesus.  By this vivid gesture, God showed He had been nearby through that horrible ordeal.

God is not distant from your sufferings.  God mourned when His Son suffered for you.  And God orchestrated the whole thing – God allowed Himself to suffer deeply – because of His love for you.

This Week’s Memory Verses… Mark 15:37,38

Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize a Scripture verse (or verses).  This week’s verses point to Jesus on the cross… as we’re getting closer to Good Friday.

Try to memorize these 2 verses with me… maybe by repeating them over and over, a phrase at a time:

37 And Jesus cried out

with a loud voice,

and breathed His last.

38 Then the veil of the temple

was torn in two

from top to bottom.

God’s Plan for Your Life… Jeremiah 29:11-14

Each week this year, I have challenged myself to memorize a verse (or verses) of Scripture.  This week’s memory verse is a great one!

When Jeremiah passed these words on from God to His people, it was a dark time in Israel’s history.  God’s people were in exile, and the people were feeling hopeless.

And, in the midst of their frustration and hopelessness, God spoke words of clarity and hope.

God has Plans for their life.  What did God’s Plan include?

–  God’s Plan includes Prosperity.

Prosperity did not mean “financial gain”… but spiritual gain.

–  God’s Plan included Protection.

God was watching out for them… and He watches out for us.  Sadly, too many people think God is just out to get them.

–  God’s Plan includes Promise (hope and future).

LifeAPP:

So, what is to be our reaction to God’s Plan for our lives?

–  Call on the Lord (v.12) to help you find His will for your life.

–  Seek the Lord (v.13) as you seek His will.

–  Allow the Lord to Restore You (v.14) in those times you stray from His will.