God’s Truth in Bible Verses for Each Year
When I turned 50, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. The pressure of keeping them locked me into an annual battle with legalism. Instead of resolutions, I ask God to give me a Bible verse for the year – something I keep before me like a mantra for the next 12 months. Throughout the years, those verses have become tools in my spiritual discipline kit and also a spiritual journal.
During 2000-2001, I served as an international minister at the University of Kansas. It was a daunting and wonderful task, to teach English and Bible to students from all over the world. Colossians 1:10 reminded me to “live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” It was a rich year, watching those brilliant but lost students find their way into God’s arms.
2002 became the year for Jeremiah 29:11. As I walked through divorce, God knew I needed to be reminded that he still had a good plan for my life. He wanted me to know that divorce did not cancel his call on my life. Although I had cached that verse into memory years before, it was a daily reminder that the same God who crafted me in my mother’s womb would also craft a hopeful future for me.
That same verse repeated in 2010 – the year I struggled with long-term unemployment. For 14 months, God kept my son and me financially secure through a series of miracles. As 2011 began and interviews resulted in empty results, I needed to know that my God still had a plan. In February of that year, I secured a new job.
Throughout 2003-2005, God kept me in Isaiah 54. Every day, I read that chapter because I needed to be reminded that my maker was also my heavenly husband, that he would take away any shame and restore my life in a better direction.
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” (Isaiah 54:5)
As 2006 flipped over on the calendar, my son moved away and I relocated, moving closer to work. The loneliness of the empty nest forced me to my knees, and God knew during the next couple of years, I would need to keep Hebrews 10:22-23 close to my heart. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” He was faithful – to keep me close when I missed my son. The lonely nights were a reminder that living alone with God was OK.
In 2008, I stepped more fully into a teaching position – again with international students. A Chinese church asked me to teach English and Bible. So my verse that year, Colossians 3:10, helped me to “…put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self, to be renewed in knowledge in the image of my Creator.” I studied to provide lessons for my Chinese friends, to be renewed in knowledge and share that new Spirit with my Asian students. As a result, I found a second family who called me “Teacher.”
2009 and the following years brought Ephesians 4:32 and the reminder to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” For some reason, the seven-year mark after the divorce brought fresh grief and God’s reminder to forgive, to be kind and compassionate. As I journaled about my grief and experienced God’s compassion for me, it was easier to walk through that forgiveness door and let some of the pain dissolve. When life gets hard, I can look at the verses from each past year, and the Bible keeps my heart grounded.
God’s word keeps me centered in the truth of his promises, and reminds me that he is faithful every year, in every way.
So what is my verse for 2014? This year, God reminds me through 2 Corinthians 4:16 that although I am aging, he focuses on the eternal. “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
I look forward to that renewal process as I propel through the calendar and resolve to live each day in hope and trust.
Read an earlier post by RJ here.
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