Oct 11, 2021
I hope that it will be interesting to you to share 14 verses that rang a bell for me this year. In collecting these verses, until recently I didn’t plan on sharing these with you. Rather, this is more like letting you see verses I wanted to use to preach to myself.
Stay tuned at the end. I would like YOU to share your favorites with me!
GW'20 Proverbs 29:2
2 When righteous people increase, the people ⌞of God⌟ rejoice, but when a wicked person rules, everybody groans.
I’ve heard many groans this year. Remember, by the way, that when the nations of Israel and Judah sinned, one way that the Lord repeatedly punished them was by giving them bad kings.
GW'20 2 Chronicles 26:16
16 But when he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. …
My thought here is that some things have gone well in my life and ministry this year. But I pray that I can avoid pride, because it is such a trap and so dangerous.
How King Uzziah must have regretted going into the temple to burn his own incense during all the remaining years of his life, excluded from visiting the temple, living in a separate house, and receiving reports of how his son was ruling in his place!
PCF Ecclesiastes 10:1
1 One dead fly can make a whole bottle of perfume stink. Even so, a little foolishness can outweigh great wisdom and honor.
I am at the place in my life where I want to finish well. I want to leave behind a good smell (so to speak) when people remember me. The word ‘foolishness’ in Proverbs refers to bone-headed refusal to obey God. The last thing I want to do is to mess up at the finish line. A little stupidity at the end can leave a stench that obliterates a God-honoring testimony.
GW'20 Proverbs 14:14
14 A heart that turns ⌞from God⌟ becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God’s ways.
When I struggle with impure thoughts, it helps me to think that if I gave myself up to follow the cravings of my lower nature, my joy in that kind of a lifestyle would last about 10 minutes. Boredom would come so quickly, and eventually I am sure I would repent. But the resulting wound of remorse in my heart would never totally heal.
PCF/GW Proverbs 23:17-18
17 Do not envy sinners in your
Instead, continue to fear the LORD.
18 There is indeed a future for you,
and your hope will not be crushed.
I picked this verse to use in preaching to myself. I don’t often envy sinners, but just the good fortunes of others. A powerful thing to remember when tempted to envy or lust is that I have a really fantastic future promised by God. The hoped for outcomes there are safe, in that place where moths and rust don’t ruin things. Don’t look back. Keep looking forward! The next verse tells us what we are gazing at.
PCF/NLT 1 Peter 1:8-9
8 You love
even though you have never seen Him.
And even though you do not see Him,
you believe in Him
and celebrate with glorious joy
that goes beyond anything words can say,
9 since you are receiving the proper goal of your faith,
namely, the rescue of your lives.
Love Him. Don’t forget your rescue, and the privilege you have in knowing Jesus through all of God’s Word. Keep hold of joy!
PCF/GW Matthew 12:39
39A He responded, “The people of an evil and unfaithful era demand miraculous signs. …
There is a reason why the Lord gives miracles sparingly. Miracles may help give someone's belief an initial nudge, but miracles never grow mature faith. People who seek to go from one miracle to another (if the Lord permits that to happen) continue to need to be spoon-fed. Most of the heroes of faith in chapter 11 of Hebrews did not receive what they trusted God for. They developed a faith that could stand any test
NET Luke 14:28
28 Which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost? …
This verse is leading up to Jesus’ teaching about counting the cost of being his disciple. However, let me make a tangential point: Some people have gotten the idea that Christians shouldn’t plan anything, but just be led by God without planning. I believe that this is totally false. A parent doesn’t want to always have to tell his child to take a bath or to go to bed. God wants his children launched into this world prayerfully making their plans and moving ahead to complete them.
GW'20 Proverbs 16:3
3 Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.
Read that several times. So I ask you: What will happen if you don’t make any plans?
It’s a good idea to pray!
NET/PCF Matthew 7:11
11 If you then, though you are
know how to give good gifts to your children,
just think how much more your Father in heaven
will give good gifts
to those who ask him!
So I ask again: What will happen if you don’t ask God for good gifts? (And by ‘gifts’ I mean the answer to prayers about plans you have made for glorifying God in your life.)
This is like NET Matthew 7:7
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.
I’ll pause in order for you to
answer out loud. So what happens if you don’t
and don’t ask?!
ESV Hebrews 11:6
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
This is the foundation for receiving what you ask God for in prayer.
GW'20 Matthew 6:6
6 Whenever you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.
After those other verses, I might as well follow the same pattern and ask: What will happen if you DON’T go into your private place and pray?
There is a big promise there that I don’t want to fail to cash in on! Consider: We are going before the Almighty King of the Universe. Through Christ Jesus, we have the wonderful privilege to be able to appear before God the Father and make our requests. I take this verse literally and urge you to do so also. That is, actually go into a private room, actually close the door. Realizing that you are entering the throne room of God, do what people did throughout the pages of the Bible: Humble yourself and be reverent! Get down at least on your knees (if you are physically able to do this) or even bow down lower. Pray. Then rejoice in that promise.
ESV/PCF Psalms 145:18
18 The LORD is near to all who cry out to Him, to all who cry out sincerely.
The ESV says, ‘to all who cry out in truth.’ To me this means that we will not be just going through the motions, saying the right words, but not really meaning them. This is why I translate ‘in truth’ as ‘sincerely’. Sincere prayer is also believing prayer, like James 1 tells us.
I wrap up all that I have shared with this verse, Eccl 12:11. The ‘wise advisor’ in this verse is Solomon, and definitely not me. However we can extend the idea to the Lord being the wisest advisor.
The translation of this verse is my translation of how this verse comes out in the Plain Indonesian Translation.
PET Eccl. 12:11
The teaching of a wise advisor
is like a shepherd’s stick
that is used to guide and direct his sheep.
May every saying given by this advisor and shepherd be nailed into the mind of every learner and guide them in living rightly.
Please pray for my visa to Indonesia to be granted, so that I can go there on November 2. If it is granted, I will need to quarantine for eight days in a hotel before being released to live like I normally do in Jakarta. Exciting things are happening there with the use of the Plain Indonesian New Testament.
Sometime before the end of the year I want to publish a podcast with YOU reading your favorite verse from this year. Here’s what to do: Use a voice recording app on your phone to record your favorite verse. Then say something about why that verse spoke to you. Try to limit your explanation to 3-5 sentences. I recommend going into an echo-free room, like maybe your clothes closet, and hold the phone away from where it will catch explosions of air when you say some words. Send the audio file to me at email@example.com.
May the Lord bless you ‘real good’.