Verily, Verily

verily

Definition of verily:
1 : in truth : certainly

We trust Merriam-Webster to give us true definitions of unfamiliar words.  Here is some background info on Mr’s Merriam and Mr Webster.

Merriam–Webster, Incorporated, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially known for its dictionaries. In 1828, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate. All Merriam–Webster dictionaries trace their lineage to this source.

What else do we know about both the Mr Merriams and Mr Webster without further research on any of them?  They were born and died, had a beginning and an end.  Since they were human, they were imperfect.

God has neither beginning nor end. He is the alpha and omega. He is completely perfect and perfectly complete. We can be certain (verily, verily?) that, unlike every book ever written by man—which, of course, would be every book—that written by God, the Bible, is truth. So, for the Great Author of Life to precede a statement, already the utmost truth, with even one “verily” must mean we should pay extra attention to what follows. But what about when He precedes it with two?

Since I generally stick with the NIV, NLT, or CSB, I don’t encounter “verily, verily” often when studying. The verse in the picture above in CSB reads “43 And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be thiefoncrosswith me in paradise.” Another translation I discovered recently on my phone, The Passion Translation, says “Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”  Jesus didn’t just tell the thief this—that would have been enough—this time he promised.

 

rhema_sm

So when God speaks the same thing to me through more than one source, I tend to treat that as a verily, verily. Or, as was the case with the thief on the cross, a Rhema word from God.

 

All that to preface this occurrence which happened a few days ago

Verify #1:  I’d completed the online homework assignment for my Bible study and gone on to Bible reading.  Today, I read out of the NLT, and I was in Matthew.

My homework assignment was to journal about how comparing myself to others hindered my relationship with God and His purpose for my life.  Although this Bible study focuses on weight and body image issues, I was easily able to come up with several other areas where this could apply and jotted them down as well.  These included:

  1. Method and character of prayer.
  2. Method and character of worship.
  3. Career.
  4. Shyness (method and character of fellowship).
  5. Lack of pride in appearance.
  6. Ability or even desire to have an immaculate house.
  7. Poverty mentality (compared to peers).

Some of these are absolutely unbelievable, right? Take a look at the first two!

Yet I have allowed the enemy, oftentimes through well-meaning Christians, yes, even leaders in the church, to put these on me. The fact that I even put my mind to any of these indicates a lack of understanding of the truth of God’s love and my willingness to embrace the lies of the enemy.

What about you? Have you believed and internalized into your very being words that do not line up with The Word and, as a result, done yourself harm? Take a look at this:

Verily #2:  Matthew chapter 15, verses 8-11 (underlining done by me):

“8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.””

 

These verses offer a succinct contrast of lips/mouth and heart. Unless we have some kind of gastric illness, what comes out of our mouths does not come from our stomachs; it comes from our hearts.heart

What goes into our stomachs–“bad” and “good” foods by man’s definitions–does not make us “bad” or “good” in God’s eyes. In fact, we are neither “bad” nor “good” in His eyes. It is impossible to be “good enough”. 

We are either covered by the blood or Jesus or we are not.

Thank you, Abba, for your verily, verily unto me.

Conviction or Condemnation?

identity in christRomans 8:1 There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

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A couple of years ago, I felt inspired to memorize Romans 8.  There is so much good stuff in that one somewhat lengthy (38 verses) chapter.  I am about halfway through this process.  While learning, of course, I’ve recited verse 1 over and over again.  It became quite clear to me this morning why.

Recently I allowed the enemy to place a spirit of condemnation on me.  It was so heavy, nearly incapacitating.  It began with an innocent comment of correction made by another Christian.   Although a dozen other people were present and heard the comment, I felt, probably correctly, I was the primary intended recipient.

At first, I took it as a conviction from God, and I told her so and thanked her.  Of course, part of me was hoping for a statement along the lines of “That wasn’t spoken for you” or even “it was just a general recommendation” which, of course, could have still meant the admonition was for me.  She didn’t say either of those things.

But as I stewed over it and stewed over it, I realized that the words spoken in innocence had brought a deep sense of condemnation over my soul.

No sooner had I realized this than God reminded me of what he said in Romans 8:1.  Then he told me he was pleased with me, that I was doing everything he required.  Right now that reminds me of a time in the hospital fighting cancer where a nurse encouraged me that, although I was still throwing up nearly everything I ate, was not very ambulatory, and was recovering from colon surgery at a painstakingly slow pace, I was doing everything they required of me; that was enough.  It didn’t mean that I was to stop trying to get better; it did mean that I wasn’t a “bad” or “flawed” person.

God doesn’t give us all the same life journeys.  Mine has taken me down wrong roads of my own choosing and those chosen by others.  Because of this, there is much to overcome in my journey to learn to love the way Jesus does.  Chiefly is to learn to love myself the way Jesus does.  After all, the Bible tells us in Matthew 22:39 “And the second (greatest commandment) is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If one doesn’t love herself the way God does—and how can she with a giant weight of condemnation pressing upon her soul—it would be unwise to love others in like manner.  We must get a grasp of the true love of God for us.

The Bible study The Forgotten Way by Christian writer Ted Dekker, is a great means to this end.

It goes without saying that spending much time in the living Word of God is even better.

I am not condemned.

Neither are you, dear reader, if you are in Christ Jesus (as a believer).  We are loved with a love that we cannot begin to understand.

Father, help me to understand to the ability of my finite mind how to fully experience and then express your love.  Help me assimilate and then act with the perfection of my spirit, which is already complete in You, how to experience and express your love. 

Forgive my unbelief, increase my faith, and increase my love.  I love You, my Rock and my Redeemer.