Life Verse

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If you have been around church culture for any length of time, you may have heard the term "Life Verse".

Maybe you have one?

Maybe you have no idea what this means?

Sometimes we can feel the pressure of figuring it out....especially if we are new to our faith and reading the bible. 

My encouragement to you is to simply seek God through His word. And one day, maybe soon or maybe in the years to come, you will read something that will leap off the page and hit you right in the heart and you will just know it is God's heart towards you. 

It may be a verse you have read several times before, or have heard teaching on, or maybe it will be brand new to you. But in that moment, for that time, you just KNOW God is speaking it to you!

For me, my "Life Verse" was something that I had read for the first time, as a 15 year old. I didn't grow up knowing Jesus or or even going to church. I believed in God, but I had no idea about salvation or what it meant to live my life for Jesus. However, someone had given me a little Gideon's bible with just the New Testament and Proverbs and Psalms somewhere along the way.

One night, in a particularly rough season of my life, I opened up the book to start reading. I thought maybe, just maybe, there would be something in there to encourage and help me.

As I skimmed (because let's be honest, most of it was like Greek to me), suddenly there were what looked like words of poetry!

I had always loved poetry. I read a lot of it, and I had dabbled in writing it (although it was mostly just angry and angsty). 

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;                                                                                                          he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.

It felt like such a beautiful promise. I don't think I fully understood it's meaning (what the heck was a miry bog?) but I knew it was for me. I desperately needed someone to hear me crying out. I cried out a lot.....I wrote these words out on a piece of paper and stuck them to my bulletin board in my room. It sat there for a long time.

Fast forward - years later, to my 20 something self: with two babes, a struggling marriage, crippling debt and desperate to find hope in my newly found relationship with Jesus and church. 

I don't even remember how I came back around to find this verse again. I think it was when I was spending my sleepless nights reading my bible, longing to get more of Jesus into my heart because He was one of the few things going right in my world at the time.

I read it again, this time in in the NIV (the version of the bible given to me by my new church)

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

Once again I felt my heart deeply impacted by this truth. This beautiful love of God, who heard me. Really heard me; and was ready to rescue me out of the pit I was in and put my feet on a solid foundation. What a fantastic promise. I remembered reading this as a 15 year old girl and marveled at how God had brought this verse back around to me. 

I still didn't know what a life verse was though. I had never even heard of such a thing. But I knew this was a special promise God had given me and I wanted to hold onto it. I highlighted it in my bible.

Years more passed, I grew in my faith, my family grew in years, my kids growing up in the house of God, my marriage healing and quickly becoming one of my biggest blessings.

I hungered for God, learning his word, diving deep into my faith.

We found ourselves moving to a whole new province, a brand new church and a new church family. 

I heard then, I think for the first time, this concept of a "Life Verse" and decided to seek one out for myself. It didn't take long for me to remember the promise of Psalm 40. I pulled it out and began to read it again with new eyes, fresh perspective and a studying heart. 

This time in the Message Translation. 

I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.

The promise had expanded. How had I missed it before? 

He brought me out of the ditch. (throw back to my 15 year old suicidal self)

Set my feet on a solid rock (the power of Jesus and bring planted in church as a 20 something)

He taught me how to sing and praise Him, and more and more people seeing! (building relationships in my new church family-such health-so much growth!) 

I felt fresh faith and life fill me, I knew God was telling me that this verse was a promise he had given me long ago and was continually working it out and growing it through my faith and walk with Him. 

 

Today, my favourite translations are The Voice and The Passion. They have both brought so much fresh new life and God's heart to me as I read through scripture! 

Here is the even more expanded version from The Passion Translation.

I feel like this is my "Life Verse" because as I have continued to discover my God, he has revealed more of his heart for me and his promise over my life from this verse.

Psalm 40

For the Pure and Shining One
A song of poetic praise, by King David
1 I waited and waited and waited some more,
    patiently, knowing God would come through for me.
    Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.
2 He stooped down to lift me out of danger
    from the desolate pit I was in,
    out of the muddy mess I had fallen into.
    Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place
    and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.
3 A new song for a new day rises up in me
    every time I think about how he breaks through for me!
    Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until
    everyone hears how God has set me free.
    Many will see his miracles;
    they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!
4 Blessing after blessing comes to those who love and trust the Lord.
    They will not fall away,
    for they refuse to listen to the lies of the proud.
5 O Lord, our God, no one can compare with you.
    Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with you!
    And you think of us all the time
    with your countless expressions of love—
    far exceeding our expectations!
6 It’s not sacrifices that really move your heart.
    Burnt offerings, sin offerings—that’s not what brings you joy.
    But when you open my ears and speak deeply to me,
    I become your willing servant, your prisoner of love for life.[a]
7 So I said, “Here I am! I’m coming to you as a sacrifice,[b]
    for in the prophetic scrolls of your book
    you have written about me.
8 I delight to fulfill your will, my God,
    for your living words are written upon the pages of my heart.”
9 I tell everyone everywhere the truth of your righteousness.
    And you know I haven’t held back in telling the message to all.
10 I don’t keep it a secret or hide the truth.
    I preach of your faithfulness and kindness,
    proclaiming your extravagant love to the largest crowd I can find!
11 So Lord, don’t hold back your love or withhold
    your tender mercies from me.
    Keep me in your truth and let your compassion overflow to me
    no matter what I face.

 

God thank you for pulling me out of the pit. For setting my feet onto a solid rock that is Jesus and his church. You somehow took this muddy, broken, mess and made it into something that could praise you through circumstance and serve you with my life.

You have put a new song in my heart, that can help other people see how good you are God. You have allowed me to serve in meaningful ways. You have put the desire in my heart to fulfill your will, opening my ears and speaking deeply to me. Those deep words are such a treasure! I hope that somehow I can live my life in a way that shows others of your great love and compassion for them. That I can tell as many people as possible of how you pulled me out and set me free, and how you continue to help me rise above the circumstances, keeping my eyes on your greatness. That they too can experience this freedom through you. This is my life quest. To make you famous Lord Jesus!

 

Amen

 

 

Taylor Madge