Enjoying the Journey
Frank Boreham was a pastor in New Zealand about a century ago. He had been trained in Charles Spurgeon’s Pastors’ College, being the last student personally admitted by Mr. Spurgeon. Boreham became a prolific writer. I am reading a collection of his fascinating essays right now entitled Mushrooms on the Moor. Anything you can find by Boreham is worth reading.
One Sunday night Pastor Boreham, discouraged by the low attendance to his evening meetings, announced that he would speak the next Sunday night on the life verse of Martin Luther. The response was so great that he continued to preach on the life text of famous people for 125 Sunday nights. The series filled a number of books, originally under titles like A Bunch of Everlastings and A Handful of Stars. Several years ago they were reprinted under the series title Life Verses in five volumes. Few people realized what a treasure these books were and they were not well received. Pastor Sexton purchased all of the books that were available for our Crown College students. It has been a joy to discover how specific Bible verses became light on the path of men and women through history. God truly knows the need of every man and meets it through His Word.
My Life Verse
Life verses are a wonderful thing. As a boy I adopted Romans 8:28 as mine. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That famous and wonderful verse was the life verse of Dr. Lee Roberson, and perhaps more personal to me, of my own grandmother who is now in Heaven.
As a teenage preacher boy I changed my verse to 1 Timothy 4:12. It reminded me of God’s expectation on my life as a young minister. “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I have often recommended this verse to young people who do not have a verse of their own.
After several years in the Lord’s work I adopted Galatians 2:20. It is the testimony of the great Apostle Paul and might be referred to in a sense as his life verse: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” This verse happens to be my dad’s life verse but it became mine when God put it deeply in my own heart. “Not I, but Christ” is a powerful way to live!
Perhaps it is a misnomer to call them life verses if they keep changing. One thing is sure: a life verse must be personal. In reality, I have not changed my life verses, only added to them. Life is a journey and all along the path there are direction signs which help us keep moving in the right direction. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…” At certain stages of life God seems to make certain passages of special application to us.
My Life Book
As a college student I sat under the Bible teaching of Dr. Frank Sells. He challenged us to adopt a life book – a book of the Bible to do extra study in. I am glad I took his advice. The book of Philippians has become of inestimable value to me. Christ is more precious to me and His joy more full in me because of the time spent there.
I was able to share my life book with a young man who was working as a flight attendant on a plane I was on recently. He stopped by my seat and asked, “Is that a Bible?” He then asked something that I am rarely hear, “Where are you reading right now?” I told him where I was reading in the Old Testament and New Testament. He was a believer but confessed that he was sporadic in his reading of the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit prompted me to encourage him to read my favorite book of the Bible. I told him how the book of Philippians had helped me learn the secret of true joy. He thanked me and went about his work. In about 20 minutes he came hurrying back down the aisle with a smile on his face. He said, “I found it! ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Philippians 1:21! That was what my grandmother kept saying just before she died. I had no idea where it came from. Now I know.”
Life passages are meant to be memorized and meditated on. The joy of a life book is not only the food that you will find for your own soul but the truth you will have to share with others.
My Life Psalm
For the last several weeks I have been spending a lot of time in Psalm 16. It has captivated my attention. Yes, it is a Messianic Psalm about the Lord Jesus, but it has become intensely personal to me. The title of the psalm is “Michtam of David.” The word means instruction, and the psalm is full of it.
The psalmist’s prayer has become my prayer, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (vs. 1). The psalmist’s testimony has become my testimony, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage” (vs. 6). The psalmist’s joy has become my joy, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (vs. 9). I am taking one verse a week and just living with it every day. There are gold nuggets everywhere!
Someone has said that your favorite Bible passage is the one you are in at the time. I agree. You cannot study the wrong passage. God has something for us on every page. Yet while we should read and study it all, I would challenge you to adopt a verse, a book, a psalm as your own. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all” (1 Timothy 4:15). Let the Word of God become a vital part of your life and it will show.