“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
In context: Philippians is a letter written by the apostle Paul from prison. In this letter, he is thanking the Philippians’ for their gifts and support while he is imprisoned. The letter is passionate and upbeat, sharing the joy, even while in prison, that he knows in Christ. The verse itself follows Paul’s description of understanding what it takes to be happy or content in any situation- even imprisonment and hunger.
What it means to me: This particular verse is perhaps my favorite. I’ve been through a lot of negativity; I was a young single mother, poor and impoverished, and at one point abused. However, remembering in all of these difficult times that I can do anything (or overcome anything) with the help of Jesus is all it took to make it through. Even now, while my mishaps and problems are not quite the same magnitude, I remember that I have the Lord with me always, and I can make it over the smallest and the largest potholes and road bumps life sends my way. We all have difficulties, small or large; the next time you have a problem, say this verse to yourself and remember that you can do anything in Christ and He is with you always.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
In context: Matthew is a gospel, the first book in the New Testament, in fact. It shares the story and good news of the birth of Jesus, His life, and the resurrection. This verse, like much of the gospel, was said by Jesus himself, who often spoke and taught in parables. He explains in later versus the love of God for His children.
What it means to me: We all know that not everything we want in life magically appears, but I also know that every prayer is answered and that my needs are provided for by my Father in Heaven. The answers to our wants and needs do not always come in the way that we may wish for, but the answers always come; it is simply a matter of hearing the answer and understanding that it’s not always yes. Sometimes “no” is better for us, even when we do not understand why. Sometimes “not now” can mean better outcomes in the future. In any case, our prayers are answered. Knowing that when I ask, I am heard, and that God is with me, is all I need. I am content in this understanding. So ask for understanding, seek the Lord, and knock when the door is presented to you. God loves us, and He certainly has our best interest at heart.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
In context: The book of Romans is perhaps my favorite book because it includes so many inspirational verses; the book is Paul’s letter sent to the Romans to prepare them for his upcoming visit to teach the fundamentals and practicality of the Christian faith. Chapter 12, in particular, is helpful during times when one is having trouble with other people. It talks about loving one another in a true Christian sense, even those you find difficult to love.
What it means to me: A Christian must live in the world, but not be of it. There is a lot of gossip in today’s world, especially in the workplace. We don’t always get to work with, speak with, or even spend large quantities of time with people we love and get along with. This means reaching down deep and understanding that we must love even the most difficult people. This simple verse encompasses practicality in today’s world: do not let the gossip, slander, or bad attitudes in your workplace and life overcome you: be joyful and love others and in such a way you can overcome the gossip, slander, and bad attitudes with your Christian love and your good examples. The old saying “kill them with kindness” comes to mind. Do not let the evil in your life sour your heart; instead win over the evil with love.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1
In context: Ecclesiastes is a book that asks the question why, as many of us do. The point the book makes, quite frankly, is that there is a purpose for everything, but without God at the center of our lives, ‘‹Å”everything’ doesn’t matter. This verse, in particular, lists after it that there is a time to — just about everything (born, die, plant, uproot, heal, build, laugh, dance, etc.)
What it means to me: It is often that many of us find ourselves asking “why?” Why now, why me, why us, why this? The answers to these questions are not often found quite as frequently as their sought, but, simply put, the answer is because. The verse says there is a time for everything, and this is very true. We have seasons in our lives, and it is important to pay attention and understand what time it is in our lives. More importantly, it is important to understand that no matter what season we’re in, whether the dead of winter, spring, summer, or fall, we must make God the center of all of these events and seasons. I’ve found that when the question is “why” the answer is “because it’s time.”
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” Hebrews 12:6
In context: This particular verse is the answer to God’s promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews is written encouraging those close to giving up their Christian faith and describes how Christ was the sacrifice for our sin, satisfying laws in the Old Testament. The book outlines Christian living and is relevant, as is the rest of the bible, today.
What it means to me: God promised to always be with me and to never forsake me, and He keeps His promises. Having faith in God always being present has gotten me through some very difficult times. When nothing else seems to be going right and it feels as though others may leave me or forsake me, I know that God is with me. When it feels like no one is on your side, or you’re suffering a difficult loss, remember God’s promise and know that He is with you in every circumstance. God loves you no matter what choices you make, and He is readily available to you.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
In context: Peter also writes to encourage suffering Christians and in 1 Peter there are many insights in living as a Christian during hardship. Chapter 5 describes the importance of willingly humbling oneself before God and assures that at the end of suffering and difficult times we will be lifted up and made strong.
What it means to me: God wants us to lay all of our burdens, cares, worries, and woes at His feet. He loves and cares for us, and wants us to trust in Him that He will see us through. He does not want for us to fear or be anxious about the things in this life. It is very difficult to eliminate stress, to not worry about things, and to just “give away” all of your burdens. While it is difficult, sometimes there are things we must simply trust God to handle. Giving up your burdens to God means leaving them at His feet; when I feel guilty about something, I ask forgiveness and am forgiven. I then leave it with God, and will not allow myself to feel guilty about the same instance again. With God’s guidance, I can leave those burdens lay and I can do so because Jesus paid for my sins. All of my worries, anxieties, and burdens I leave at the feet of the Lord because he cares, personally, for me.