Hello again, friends. Welcome back to yet another Faith-Full Friday. We’re still talking about life verses. If you remember from Monday Mayhem, a life verse is a verse from the Bible that holds purpose and special meaning to a believer.
Today I’m sharing my current life verse, ok technically, life verses (though I will refer to them as my life verse). I think it’s important to note the word “current” because it makes sense that our life verse can certainly change as we maneuver through the various seasons of our lives, as we’re pruned and refined to be more like Christ, and as we draw closer and closer in relationship with our Heavenly Father.
So as you know, I’m an English instructor, so all of the classes I teach (even the literature ones) are writing intensive, meaning that students are required to write multiple essays throughout the course of a semester. Because of this, every semester, without fail, one of my very first lessons provides an overview of the four steps in the writing process.
I tell my students that although inadvisable, they may decide to skip all or at least parts (there are steps within the steps) of the second, third, and/or fourth steps, BUT the first step can’t be skipped or missed because it is the foundation for all the other steps. The first step is to gather ideas, and let’s face it; students can’t write anything if they don’t have any initial thoughts about what to write.
(By the way, in case you’re wondering, the second step is to plan and draft, the third step is to revise, and the final step is to edit and proofread).
And since all of my classes revolve around writing and effective writing requires knowledge about grammar and sentence structure, in addition to overviewing the writing process and highlighting the necessity and importance of gathering ideas prior to actually writing an essay, I assign my students a grammar lesson on the 8 parts of speech—you know (or maybe you’ve forgotten), noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection.
Basically, in each of my classes, I always start with the basics (gathering ideas and the 8 parts of speech) because the basics are the foundation of any effective essay [one that successfully communicates its purpose and main point (called the thesis) to its readers]. Everything else builds on that foundation.
Case in point:
You can’t identify the subject (the who or what that is doing the action) of a sentence without knowing what a noun and a pronoun (2 of the 8 parts of speech) are because the subject of a sentence is ALWAYS going to be a noun or a pronoun.
Caleb talks about Jesus.
(subject = Caleb, a noun; Caleb is doing the talking, the action)
(This sentence is very true by the way. Caleb loves talking about Jesus).
And you can’t determine if a sentence is a sentence fragment (incomplete sentence) or a run-on (two or more complete sentences combined without proper punctuation) without being able to identify the subject and verb of a sentence because for a sentence to be complete, it must include a subject and a verb.
If there is not a subject and verb, you might very well have a fragment.
While talking about Jesus.
(subject = ??? Who’s talking about Jesus?)
If there are multiple subjects and verbs, you might very well have a run-on.
Caleb drew a picture of Jesus I took the picture to my office.
(subject = Caleb, a noun)
(verb = drew)
(subject = I, a pronoun)
(verb = took)
Punctuation between the first subject and verb and the second subject and verb???
I know, friends. This post is supposed to be about my life verse, not a lesson on some fundamentals of grammar and writing, but hang with me, and I think you’ll see where I’m going here.
“For I [Paul] am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 is my current life verse.
Do you know what this verse tells me, friends? It tells me that neither my circumstances in life, nor my circumstances in my eventual death, nor my death itself can separate me from God’s love. It tells me that no higher-than-me authority can separate me from God’s love. It tells me that no happenings and poor choices in my past, present, and/or future can separate me from God’s love. It tells me that no evil forces (i.e. attacks of Satan) can separate me from God’s love. It tells me that absolutely NOTHING He created (and He created it all) can separate me from God’s love.
Friends, to sum up the entire verse, it tells me that God’s love is ever present and never changing. And there is nothing I can do to earn it or lose it. It’s just…there, and it ALWAYS has and ALWAYS will be there, here, with me (and if we choose, and I have, in me).
The apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans in hopes that they (the Romans) might embrace his teaching of the Gospel and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone and not in following the restrictions of pre-Crucifixion legalism. In verses 38 and 39, Paul gives what I believe is the basics, the foundation, the “gathering ideas” of the writing process and the “8 parts of speech” of grammar, of all my (our) hope: He loves me (and you) so much, “that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine).
Romans 8:38-39 is my go-to place, friends, and I breathe it in daily, for it is because of His unfathomable love for me that He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins, and I am now able to have a relationship with Him in spite of my sinful nature. I can be forgiven of my sins. I am washed in His grace and mercy. I am promised eternal life with Him.
And this hope is. My. EVERYTHING.
It carries me through life and seals my steadfast faith in Him.
It makes me embrace His truths and His promises:
That His love is never failing (Psalm 136:1).
That He will never change (Hebrews 13:8).
That He is sovereign (Matthew 19:26).
That He is bigger than anyone or anything (Isaiah 55:8-9).
That He is good all the time (Exodus 34:6-7a).
That real freedom comes from the Cross (Romans 6:18).
That He will never condemn me (Romans 8:1; John 3:17).
That He will pursue me time and time again (Psalm 23:6; Luke 15:4-6).
That I am valued and worthy (Romans 5:8).
That His grace is sufficient enough for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
That His plans are to prosper me (Jeremiah 29:11).
That He will supply all of my needs (Philippians 4:19).
That He will not allow me to be tempted without giving me what I need (Holy Spirit, His Spirit) to overcome the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
That He will bless me abundantly (2 Corinthians 9:8).
That He knows me more intimately than anyone else (and He still loves me) (Psalm 139).
That there will sometimes be great pain and suffering (John 16:33) (I, for one, appreciate the head’s up)….
That He is always for me (Romans 8:31).
And so much more.
All of that, and I haven’t even gotten to the resources He provides so that I can have the strength to “life.” (For example, see “The Whole Armor of God” in Ephesians 6:10-18).
Romans 8:38-39 is my life verse, friends, because it takes me to the basics of my entire Christian existence, to the foundation of what every other truth, promise, resource, etc. depends on. It reminds me that. God. Loves. Me beyond anything I’ve ever imagined, so much so that nothing can separate us, and because of this, Jesus died, and I. Am. Eternal.
Pray with me, friends.
You are so good. And because of Your love that we didn’t earn and don’t deserve, we have been given the most precious gift of all-the gift of eternal life. Thank you, Father, for loving us unconditionally, completely, and perfectly. Thank you for loving us enough to send us Jesus so that we will never be separated from Your love.
Today I especially pray for those who don’t know how much You love them either because they don’t know You, or because they have forgotten You. I pray that You will reveal Yourself to them in such a way that they have no choice but to believe in Your love for them.
I lift up my students from September 11, 2001, Father, in the hopes that they know and believe that they are loved more than they could ever know.
And may Your everlasting love give us all everlasting hope.
In Jesus’s Holy Name,
Jamie’s next, friends. See you Monday.