Over the past few years, the idea of choosing a ‘word of the year’ has grown in popularity, particularly on Instagram. It’s an opportunity to select a word that means something to us and which we can keep close to us throughout the year. We both selected words this year, and you can read more about them over on Instagram here and here. But God has given us not just words, but His Word. 2021 seemed a great opportunity to select a passage from The Bible to be our ‘verse of the year’, something we can keep close to us as a reminder of God’s unending love and promises.
In this blog post, we’re going to share a bit more about our verses for 2021 and why we chose them.
Our Bible Verse for 2021
Clementine’s Verse For The Year
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
For as long as I can remember, I have often struggled with my mental health, and I’ve experienced many times just how much it can consume me, to the point where I have felt so afraid, anxious, and worried, doubting everything, and letting my mind be filled with lies.
Here’s a little bit about how my verse for the year came about…
Last year I did the Alpha Course, and not only did I learn and grow so much during that period of time, I also got to meet some wonderful people who were in my group. One of our small group leaders prayed for each of us and was led by the Holy Spirit to give a verse from the Bible to each of us. The verse which I was given was Isaiah 55:8-9. It was only afterward that I realised just how powerful this verse is and how much I needed to hear it. This is why I also decided to have this verse as my verse for the year.
A while back I struggled greatly with my mental health. I was left feeling rejected, used and hurt. I felt so much shame and regret that I made the same mistakes I said I wouldn’t make again, I gave in to temptation, I was struggling with sin and the things from the past. I felt so lost, that I had really let God down. My mind was being filled with the enemies’ lies and I was believing them. It felt as though everything had come crashing down around me and there was no way out. I started to feel so alone, and I was filled with anxiety and felt so afraid.
I’ve mentioned in a previous post about one of my favourite chapters from the Bible, which is Matthew chapter 14 from verses 22-33, where Jesus walks on the water. Not only do these verses show just how much Jesus will help us in times of trouble, but I can also relate to how one disciple, in particular, felt, Peter, who got out of the boat and started to walk towards Jesus on the water. Just before he did this, the boat in which they were in was being buffeted by the waves as a strong wind was blowing.
When the disciples saw Jesus coming towards them, they suddenly became afraid and cried out in fear as they thought Jesus was a ghost. “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter then said to Jesus “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus told Peter to come to Him. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, he got out of the boat on to the water and started walking towards Jesus.
But as with so many things in life, storms come and they try to change our direction. Our minds suddenly fill with fear and doubt, and anxiety starts to weigh us down. Like Peter, in that next moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, he was suddenly filled with fear. The storm threw him off balance, causing him to start sinking. And just like Peter, although we have faith and we trust God, sometimes those storms can throw us off course and in that moment, we too take our eyes off of Jesus. But rather than give in and give up, Jesus wants us to keep hold of Him, to keep trusting, to keep believing, and when those storms come, because they will, He is with us always, helping us, guiding us and bringing us through all the storms in life.
But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught Him. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
All the miracles that the disciples saw Jesus do, they knew that He can make all things possible, but they still had doubts, they still let fear creep in and consume them. That’s something that I have experienced many times, but each time, it has helped my faith to grow and grow, and where as in the past I would let that fear and anxiety consume me, when I feel those emotions rise up within me and I start listening to the enemies lies, I remember God’s Word and His truth. I pray, I talk to Him, and I hand it over to Him. Is it easy? No, because my automatic response to a storm in my life is to try and fix it right there and then, to give in to what my flesh wants to do and to listen to the lies that my mind is being fed. But you also must remember that fear does not come from God.
“By walking on water in a furious storm, Jesus demonstrates that He indeed is the Lord over all creation, and so there is no need to be afraid.” ESV Study Bible.
Jesus died on the cross for each and every single one of us, and when we give our lives to Jesus and turn away from sin, chains are broken so that we are forgiven, we are saved, we are made a new creation in Christ. Our pasts no longer have a hold on us, they are wiped clean, and when we give our lives to Jesus, we can spend eternity with our Father in Heaven.
For far too long, I looked to the ways of the world. I looked to the things that were only temporary, I looked to the things that made my flesh feel good, and I let the lies of the enemy control my thoughts, to let the past keep its grip on me. I let unforgiveness fill me and I kept making the same mistakes over and over again.
In that moment when I read that verse, and when I read it again and again, I felt conviction, because I wasn’t fully listening to God, I was listening to the lies and not to God’s truth. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Where the lies told me that I wasn’t good enough, that I was too far gone, that I’ll never be able to do that, that things won’t get better, I looked to who God says I am. I am a daughter of the Most High King, that His promises are not just for everyone else, they are also for me, that I am forgiven and set free from the past and that I am made new, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and God knew me before I was even thought about here on earth.
God’s ways are higher than our ways. All things are possible with God, (Matthew 19:26) He will make the impossible possible, He will make a way when there seems to be no other way and what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn it to good. (Genesis 50:20) And this is the same for each and every single one of us. When I’m feeling anxious and afraid, my flesh tells me to withdraw, to sort it out myself, to think of all the ‘what if’s,’ to feel afraid and look to the things of the world for comfort. And yes I have done this many times in the past. Has it helped? No. It’s remembering that Jesus wants to help us, like He says in Matthew 11:28:30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When we hand it all over, when we pray for guidance, for wisdom, for discernment and for help in whatever we are going through, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7.) And I have felt the most amazing peace when I have done just that. Anxiety will melt away, fear will melt away, depression will melt away. And even though the storms in life come back to try and test us, it’s knowing that we have someone who is greater and above any storm that this world throws at us, we have Jesus. And I want to leave these next few verses from the book of Ephisians here, as when we place the armour of God on us, we can take our stand against the enemies’ schemes. These verses have helped me so much.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-18.)
Although I’m still learning and still growing in my journey of faith, it’s knowing that God is with me always. And yes I do still make mistakes, but I repent, I ask God for His forgiveness and I pray. I ask Him to guide me, to help me and I hand it over to Him. It’s remembering to not let the enemies lies fill my mind, but to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.
David’s Verse For The Year
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Over the past year, the world has been gripped by fear. Our news outlets broadcast it daily, in fact, they positively thrive on it. Fear sells.
However much faith we possess as Christians, it’s all too easy to get sucked into the rhetoric of this world. It’s a world of fear, and let’s be honest, a world built on power and control. We’ve seen this displayed so vividly over the past 12 months. We are bombarded from all directions with people telling us what we should and shouldn’t do.
But what if there was another way?
Who do we really trust in? Do we trust in our leaders and politicians? Let’s face it, most politics is based on control, wealth and corruption. That’s not to say Christians shouldn’t play a role in politics, but we sometimes have to remind ourselves that we have someone to turn to who is far greater, and far more wonderful than our earthly selves can ever comprehend. God never needs to win an election.
These verses were my reminder of that.
By faith, we trust first and foremost in God. That means we have to lay our earthly understanding aside. These verses are a reminder to us all to lean on God’s promises. Only He can make our paths straight. He opens His heart to us, and we must open our hearts to receive Him.
As the popular hymn goes:
‘Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sign or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’
Pray with us
We thank you for all you do in our lives, for the many experiences and opportunities you lead us to, especially those which help us to grow in faith;
We thank you for your promises, a firm foundation on which we can stand as we are buffeted by the storms of this world;
We thank you for those who inspire us on our journey of faith, for those who pray for us, guide us and strengthen us as true disciples of Christ;
We thank you that you are always close to us, that wherever we are, and in whatever situation we find ourselves in, you uphold us in Your love;
We thank you that Your Word offers us so much guidance and insight, and we pray for the wisdom to discern your calling on our lives;
We thank you that amidst the troubles and turmoil of this world, by the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, you are the way, the truth and the life.
Draw us close to you,
Enfold in Your love,
Empower us by Your Spirit, and
Root us in Your Word.
Do you have a Bible verse for the year? If so we would love to know which one you have chosen. Or if you would like to chose one, let us know in the comments which verse you feel led to the most?