and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Shortest Verse (NT)

       Well, I personally have not read or even scanned the entire New Testament to see which one is the shortest verse, but these are the contenders that I have found.  Is it important?  Probably not, but it is interesting.  I think we tend to like the traditional Jesus wept because we relate on an emotional level.  Truthfully, it actually depends on what we perceive ‘the shortest verse’ to mean.

  Verse          English Translation     Eng. Count       Greek Transliteration              Actual Gr. Letter Count

Jh. 11:35      Jesus wept.                         9 letters        dakruo ho Iesous                            16 letters
1Th. 5:16     Rejoice evermore.            15 letters         pantote chairo                                 14 letters
1Th. 5:17     Pray without ceasing.     18 letters         adialeiptos proseuchomai              22 letters

       The verses are all complete sentences.  Only two have two English translated words.  Only two have two Greek words (in the original language). They contain 9 to 18 letters in English, 14 to 22 letters in Greek.  So I guess it’s up to the individual if the shortest verse is the shortest English or Greek, shortest in letters for either language or just how we determine it.  Which verse would you choose as the shortest? 

In the end, it isn’t that important, but all the verses have tremendous meaning.

Jesus wept.
       We want to know that Jesus has feelings just like us; preferably that He understands the depths of our feelings.  This means He can relate to us better.  Well, God created us and made us emotional beings and we were made in His image (Gn. 1:26,27) so He must have emotions*.  Setting aside the reason He cried and that the wording indicates an underlying issue, Jesus, Savior of our lives shed tears and that is proof of His emotional side.

Rejoice evermore.
       We have great reason to rejoice.  (Be happy, glad, rejoice exceedingly even.)  For God came down in the flesh (Mt. 1:23) to be with us in Jesus who taught us that the way to the Father (Jh. 14:6) was through Him.  He loved us so much (Jh. 13:34) that He shed his blood for our salvation (Ep. 1:7), died for our sins (1Cr. 15:3) and rose again (v.4) for our hope of eternal glory (Tt. 1:2; Cl. 1:27).  Our God with us, never leaving us, with the hope of eternal life with no sin, sickness, pain, corruption or death, how can we not rejoice?

Pray without ceasing.
       The importance of prayer cannot be emphasized enough.  In the book of Matthew alone, Jesus commands prayer seven times, exemplifies private prayer at least twice.  John 17 is 26 verses of prayer Jesus said aloud in the disciple’s presence.  Can one pray without ceasing?  Well, I would say probably not (we do need sleep J ), but there have been times in my life when I have prayed so often that I didn’t know how it was possible.  Certainly, we need to pray more than we do… especially for others!

*some emotions of Jesus:
“…being grieved…”  Mr. 3:5 grief
“…My peace I give…”  Jh. 14:27 peace
“…My joy…”  Jh. 15:11 joy
“…wept over it”  Lk. 19:41 distress, sadness
threw over merchandizers  Jh. 2:16,17 anger / jealousy
“…be touched with the feelings of…”  Hb. 4:15 Greek- sympathy, compassion
“…exceedingly sorrowful…”  Mr. 14:34 deep sorrow
“…why have You forsaken me?”  Mt. 27:46 feeling of abandonment

Thursday, July 03, 2014


        It isn’t safe throwing out paper with personal information these days especially with the rise in identity theft.  Most people want to destroy that information somehow and the easiest way is with a shredder.  While the first shredders used long ribbon cuts, eventually this was found to be insecure as they could be put back together.  Today, you can buy cheap $25 cross cut shredders that are far more secure.  Sometimes it feels like we’ve been through a shredder ourselves, with our lives being shredded into pieces.  Shattered, shredded, broken, torn up, crushed, ripped apart, worn out, pieces of our lives that we can’t put back together like Humpty Dumpty that fell from the wall.

       In my life there have been many times a dream, a hope, a promise, a situation, a relationship, my work or my feelings have been shredded by life or words or actions of people.  It is painful to go through, but often a part of life most of us experience.  “You’re the stupidest person on earth,” “You’ll never amount to anything,” “You can never bear children,” “I don’t love you anymore,” “You can’t be a pilot,” “It’s cancer.”  Devastating, things we hear can tear us apart from deep inside of us, and what do we do?

       My first reaction was usually to withdraw and build walls of protection around me so that I couldn’t be hurt again.  That isolation felt better than the vulnerability of remaining open to others.  My reaction didn’t change much as a Christian except that for a short period I would cry unto God to help me… but once that help failed to appear in the way I desired, I turned my back on Him which made my situations much worse.  It’s too bad I didn’t completely trust Him in the midst of my troubles.  It would have been so much easier to get through it.  See, Jesus understands so He can help us.  He tells us to come to Him.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of (affected with the same feeling, sympathize with, have compassion on) our infirmities (weaknesses, frailties); but was in all points tempted (tried, tested) like as we are, yet without sin. Hb. 4:15 KJV
Come to Me all you who labor (tired, weary) and are heavy laden (burdened, loaded down), and I will give you rest. Mt. 11:28

       And Jesus Himself was tried, tortured and tormented for us, for our sins, for our salvation (Mt. 26:47-27:50).  In fact, we can read many sites online about Roman scourging/ flogging and see how the leather whips with bone and metal often shredded the backs of the convicted.  Jesus was physically shredded for us, for our healing: spirit, soul (mind, emotions) and body.  It is good to know that when our lives are shredded we can go to the One whose back was shredded for us for He will be with us through it all.

And when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. Mt. 27:26
Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him;

and with His stripes we ourselves are healed.
Is. 53:4,5 (also 1Pt. 2:24

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Pulled in Two Places

       At various times in my adult life I wanted to be elsewhere:  P.E.I., the Rockies, alone in a cabin somewhere, with friends on a beach, with my hubby in Hawaii, a warm beach in the Caribbean, climbing the Mayan temple, watching the sunset over the pyramids, roaming the hills of Scotland, walking through the buildings of Petra…  That list is virtually endless.  It’s funny though because, with the exception of P.E.I., I always want to return home within a few weeks, like there are two places I want to be at the same time.  And that is how it is today.

       At some times of my life I have wanted to be with my Father, literally, physically with Him.  Surprisingly half the time is when life is going well, but I know what is in store there and the longing in my heart to see Him face to face is overwhelming.  I’m ready to go anytime my purpose for Him is fulfilled and my race complete.  On the other hand, half the time I want to be here to continue watching my children grow and change, but also to fulfill God’s plan for me here which I believe will be to help others find life in Him.

       So I’m pulled toward Heaven and pulled toward earth.  Many times one place is pulling me more, but then it switches again.  Paul understood the desire for Heaven:

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our dwelling-place out of Heaven; if indeed in being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tabernacle groan, being burdened; inasmuch as we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that the mortal might be swallowed up by the life. And He who has worked in us for this same thing is God, who also is giving to us the earnest of the Spirit. Then being always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are away from home from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight; then we are confident and we are pleased rather to go away from home out of the body, and to come home to the Lord. 2Cr. 5:1-8 

        Paul knows as John did that in this body, this earthly house or tabernacle (1Cr. 6:19), we are the abode of God.  “Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.(Jh. 14:23)  One day these bodies, these abodes of God will be exchanged for heavenly abodes.  Now we are groaning with burdens as unclothed, but then we shall be clothed and death shall be swallowed up by life.  But we have the assurance that one day we will come home to be with the Lord forever (Mt. 28:20).

       Until then I am content to be where the Lord wants me to be- right here in body on planet earth, ready and willing to do His will.  Whatever I can for the kingdom of God: kicking the kingdom of the enemy out and giving a helping hand to others to come in.  No matter where I am I wish to please Him, to press forward in His will for my life by doing the works He wishes me to do.

Therefore we are also laboring to be well-pleasing to Him, whether at home or away from home.  2Cr. 5:9
My brothers, I do not count myself to have taken possession, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Php. 3:13,14
Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father. Jh. 14:12

Lord, I desire to do much for You, but the truth is that I cannot do any of it without You abiding in me, teaching me, helping me, guiding me, and giving me Your strength to move forward. 

(But Lord, when You’re ready for me, I’m all set to go!!!)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sand Castles on the Beach

Sorry, not mine...
       Hi, my name is Vicky and I am still a child.  Not really, but I still like to ride grocery carts at stores, make mud pies (actually mud pottery) in the dirt, and build sandcastles on the beach.  Often I will spend hours on my castle, putting on turrets and sand bricks, digging the mandatory trench, adding a drawbridge and decorating with rocks and feathers.  It is a relaxing time of creativity that I enjoy on my own or with capable assistance.  One thing I always do is build it a couple feet from the water knowing that the tide will take it away.  It reminds me of the frailty of life.  (My kids think I'm nuts to do that after all the work...)

       Yesterday in church we sang that old hymn that says, "On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand."  After the song, one person spoke specifics about the Rock that made me think of those words differently: the Rock of His grace, the Rock of His love, the Rock of His mercy...  I guess I always thought of Him being the Rock, and He is, but He is the Word (Jh. 1) and His Word is sure and true as is who He is and what He does.  All that encompasses Him is the most sure 'thing' in the universe, the only 'thing' that can be counted on 100% of the time.  He IS the Rock.

   Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock. 
   And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall.  Mt. 7:24-27

       Because of who He is and who we are in Him, we are built on Him, His mercy, grace and love for they are as sure a part of Him.  Other people will give these things when they want to or chose to, but they can fail because of feelings, stress, thoughtlessness, or other issues.  We can try to build our lives on other people, spouses, children, friends, but those foundations are as uncertain as sand.  Jobs are lost, possessions break, rust, and fail to work, nature lets us down, organizations fail their purposes, but Jesus never fails us, "He will not fail you nor forsake you." (Dt. 31:6)

       How wonderful to think that if we build our house on Him, our solid Rock, that we will continue to stand for our foundation is strong.  And because of that, we know His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, help, strength, justice, compassion, life, hope, peace, joy, basically all the good that is Him, is ours IN Him.  It is to be counted on, 100%.  

       See, we are also promised troubles in this life, "...In the world you shall have tribulation..." (Jh. 16:33) and by experience, we know it is so.  If we are built on sand, 'things' other than Jesus, when the storms of life hit, they will erode the ground beneath us leaving sink holes into which we will sink.  Many a person has lost their real house to a rock slide, crumbling cliff, earth erosion, or other natural disasters; it is the same with us, God's dwelling place.  "Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." (Jh. 14:23)  So our houses, even in the storms of life, can remain standing, as long as they are first built upon the Rock- the Lord Jesus Christ.

For any other foundation can no one lay than the one being laid,
who is Jesus Christ.
1Cr. 3:11

Only with Him as our foundation can we continue to stand!