10 Passages That Refresh My Soul Again and Again

There are times I sit down with the Lord, my water-stained Bible in hand, and I expect Him to teach me something new. And sometimes He doesn’t do that. Because my God knows better than I do that I don’t always need new. Sometimes I need comfort and familiarity. Sometimes I need the joy of my favorite weather. Sometimes I need the simple relaxation of a bath and tea. Sometimes I just need my soul to be refreshed by the same ten passages that refresh it over and over again.

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Song of Songs 8:6 “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”

Isaiah 40:4-5 “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Luke 12:7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 2:6-8 “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”

Hebrews 6:19a “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our “God is a consuming fire.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 

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Nature

I am completely lost, and I mean that literally, not in the sense of not knowing where my life or my soul is going. I mean, I don’t entirely know where my life is going, but you’re not supposed to, I think. It’s just one of those things. I’m lost a lot though, literally and metaphorically (if that’s even the right word). It’s in my nature, I guess.

Being lost is usually something I would spend time writing about. I do that a lot – write about what I don’t know rather than what I do. Because, frankly, the rule “write what you know” is stupid to even exist and maybe writing about all the things I don’t know will help me understand them. Usually that’s the order my mind goes: Question. Write. Understand.

But sometimes there are things I do understand first. And I have to write them anyway, as a reminder for myself but also for you, dear friend, because I want you to understand them as well.

So, for once, here’s what I know:

I know that the people I’ve seen around here have a purpose – the man walking his dog, the police officers ticketing cars, the women kissing on the street corner. We’re all loved, we’re all here. I know that we’re all offered, given rather, grace. And we all have a habit of using too many unnecessary words to confuse that, but it really is that simple.

We’ve confused a lot.

I recently listened to a man speak about heaven and salvation and it should have been good, but it was disappointing at best. He shared about a man who had recently passed, someone who had chosen Jesus as his savior. And he questioned the man’s salvation because there were some sins he just couldn’t fight off.

I watched as people’s hearts streamed out of their eyes, as they questioned their own salvation. because they didn’t do this or they did do that. But that’s the point of having a savior, we don’t have to be perfect. He isn’t a question, He’s an answer.

Because we all get swept up in battle grounds and sometimes we’re soldiers and sometimes, more often, we’re civilians. We watch the explosions, the breaking of souls – our own at first, and then others, because we don’t always know what else to do. We let ourselves be mended and we can rest in that.

Because this is what I know:

It is impossible for our souls to re-break. You cannot be unsaved.

I found a bench to sit on while I wait. I’ll watch the world around me and I’ll think of the ways I work with it and I’ll know that I am more than that.

Because, while I’m lost a lot, I’m always found. It’s in my nature, I guess.

And that is not up for debate.

On my new tattoos

Over the weekend I got my second and third tattoos. It was important to me that I got them together.

cross tattooThe first is a cross because I will always need a reminder of God’s love for me, of His ultimate sacrifice. As His word says, “…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” Nothing better has happened in human history.

We hear so often that the world was created and the world broke, shattered by the depths of our imperfections, but we don’t hear often enough of how the world was saved. We don’t question enough why the worst thing that could happen to a person happened to the perfect person. To not do so is selfish, it’s us thinking only of ourselves. We become our own idols and we can’t live that way. It’s impossible to breathe if you refuse to let the oxygen into your lungs. It’s impossible to stand while refusing to let your legs hold you up.

We were created with galaxies roaring inside of us, with stars so bright we could see all the way up to the heavens above. And when those stars burned out we died, buried by our sin, and He took His cross and used it to give them light again.

The cross is a symbol of how He saved us all. He’s not my savior because He died. He’s not my savior because He rose again. He’s my savior because He’s taking me with Him. The cross is for me, so that I may have a ladder that leads directly to Him.

Fish tattoo

The second is what’s known as a “Jesus Fish” and is often seen as a cliche in the world of tattoos. And maybe it is, but what it represents is anything but. The idea behind it is not used nearly enough.

Historically, it was a symbol used to mark a safe place for Christians in severe danger. Today it’s more simply used to label a disciple. I don’t think it should end there though. It’s not enough to call myself a follower of Christ if I don’t live it out. I can’t keep all of the air for myself.

When He rose He told us to go and make disciples of all nations. Who am I to not listen? TO not do so is to be the child who breaks their toys so that no one else may play with them. It doesn’t make sense. It is the greatest blessing to get to be a part of God’s redemption plan.

I don’t believe He would reignite our stars if He didn’t want them to shine. He’s not my savior because He died. He’s not my savior because He rose again. He’s my savior because He’s taking me with Him. And He can take you, too, if you wish. The fish is for you, so that you may know you are safe to ask me where my ladder can be found.

Why I’m Scared, but more importantly, Why I’m Not Scared

Do you ever have those moments when you’re with the Lord and you know, without a doubt, that He is there and He starts teaching you some things about yourself that scare you just a little bit? And you’re like “God, you crazy.” That has been my life lately but I’m more afraid to share with the world exactly what it is that’s been scaring me, but I know I need to so here goes:

I’m bisexual. That’s not what scares me though.

What scares me is the number of friends I know I’ll lose, even though that makes me question if they are even friends worth keeping.

What scares me are the people who don’t understand the difference between “I’m attracted to more than one gender” and “I’m attracted to you” and the people who will constantly tell me to “just pick one” because of that. Don’t you think I would if I could? This would all be so much easier. I can’t do that though and that’s something I’ve accepted. These people have no place to not do the same.

What scares me is how often I have heard that people who aren’t straight are all destined for Hell with no chance for redemption, no matter how untrue that is. It’s so easy to misinterpret passages and I believe that’s what a lot of people have done.

I shouldn’t have to be afraid though. I’m not the one with a problem here, not really anyway. I feel sorry for those people; I can’t imagine how terrifying the world must be, living in it with such a closed mind. I don’t believe that this should separate me from the church in any way. The church that believes it should is not the church my Savior describes and it’s not the church I want to be a part of.

I know they need to be shown a love that understands us both and that brings us to why I’m not scared:

I know that God created me and He is not surprised by this any more than He is surprised by the way birds soar and flowers grow. I know that if I’m wrong about anything that comes with this realization, He will love me unconditionally. I know, without a doubt, that when my time comes He will be there to welcome me with open arms.

Ignorance is a result of the fall and there is no such thing as a God who hates.

If you take only one thing away from this, I pray with all my heart it’s that: There is no such thing as a God who hates.

Whisper

When I think about the world being spoken into existence, I can’t imagine God was very loud or very quick with it. Seven days has a completely different meaning to us. He had to have taken His time, put thought into every little detail.

That’s why, as we approach fall, the trees won’t change and lose their leaves in unison.

It’s why I’m cared for differently than you are.

I don’t believe God is the focal point of all equality. He is fair and He is just. Everybody gets what they need.

We all need love, we have that in common, but we need it in different ways. I need to spend time with you. I need to hear it over and over or else I’ll forget that the idea even exists. Others need touch, to physically feel it.

And that’s the beauty of love.

We all need it and we can all have it, but His love is personalized.

It isn’t forced and it isn’t harsh.

It is offered and it is gentle.

It’s whispered so I know the love I’m offered is for me.

And it’s the greatest whisper there ever was.

 

 

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Change

I don’t think there’s any way I could ever understand what change really is, there’s no way any of us ever could really explain it. We don’t know and we might not ever and sometimes it feels wrong, but it’s happening anyway. But sometimes there are changes that feel so good, the ones that make my soul dance around and around. The way He never changes but is always changing me – changing me into someone more like Him – that’s what life is all about. It’s the way I stumble about when I try to walk on my own and the way He teaches me how to get through it all. But it’s also the way I can sometimes be too stubborn to actually let Him. I want my independence and nothing more. I want to spend my time understanding the present without things constantly moving. But change happens in my life regularly whether I’m ready for it or not. It pushes me forward, moves me back, and hugs me so I know I’m in the right place all at the same time. He uses it to teach me love, to teach me strength, perseverance. And I always and ready for it and I’m always not. And that is just nonsense. But everything that doesn’t make sense one day will and that is how I remember that change – the change that is meant to be – is so so good.

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Tell them of Life Abundant.

It took me a really long time to be at peace with telling people my thoughts. I was afraid of what people might think of me, dwelling on the thought of being thought poorly of. Fear ate away at my independence and I tried so hard to be just one of the crowd.

And then I eventually realized that it wasn’t working. There is no such thing as being just one of the crowd. I was created as an individual and that is what I will always be, whether that is something I want to be or not.

So I started speaking up. I started telling people of my anger. I started telling people of my humor. I started with what was the least important and that’s okay. It was important that I learned to speak up – it was important for me to use this to learn about myself, to make my voice more heard and I’m still learning how to do that, but I am also learning that there is so much more I need to tell.

Why have I forsaken what is most important in the things I tell?

So here is a reminder for myself, and for you if you need it, too:

Tell them of love everlasting.

Tell them of grace and all the ways we need it.

Tell them of hope that never fades.

Tell them they are worthy, they are important, they deserve all of the above, and they will always be remembered – their name will always be written in the book of life – and they will always be wanted.

Tell yourself the same. You need it just as much as they do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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