Each person traverses their own spiritual journey. Whether by life-changing conversion, seeds of faith planted in a Christian home, or somewhere in between––we each have a deeply personal experience with the God of the universe. Along this journey, Christian counsel, religious material, and an abundance of other resources help deepen our relationship with and grow our faith in Christ. Promptings by the Holy Spirit, along with the Word of God, however are the cornerstones that build our faith foundation.
As we explore the impact of Scripture on our lives, we asked some of our Communication Leaders from each of the conferences in the Southwestern Union to share a bit about their experience. Think of your own experiences and you learn about theirs.
Be still and know that I am God.
In this Psalm I discovered that God was inviting me to know Him in a special way. I was used to the rhythm of this world—going to and fro fulfilling my enterprises, entertained by technology that I could never reach, and busy with personal affairs that didn’t let me rest. However, it was necessary to enter that stillness and rest in order to know God the way that He desired.
To be still meant to want to know the great “I Am” and disconnect from everything that blocked my way to Him. It involved removing my eyes from temporal things to contemplate Him fully, replacing my mundane headphones for divine hearing aids to hear Him clearly, and changing my position to one of quietude and rest. When I became still, I recognized that my power to do things was small and futile compared to God’s and that without Him I was nothing. My faith was activated and God began to reveal Himself in unexpected and amazing ways.
To be still is not an event that we program once a week or on a weekend away in the mountains. It is a continuous attitude to know God in every moment of our lives. It is simplifying our way of living and setting ourselves apart from the world’s restlessness to live the peace that we receive when we know God. I invite you to be still and know the God who is everything for you.
Southwest Region Conference Communication Administrative Assistant
Sabbath traditions in my house as a child included listening to Your Story Hour on the radio after lunch and asking Bible trivia questions. The goal was to be the first to answer the questions. What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 119. Who wore a coat of many colors? Joseph. What is the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept,” John 11:35. I was shocked when I learned that text. Jesus actually cried? I could not believe it. Jesus was an authority figure to me at that point so I could not imagine him crying. But, that verse resonated with me. It started a connection. Jesus was no longer distant or far away. He was someone I could relate to because I knew what it felt like to cry.
During my freshman year in high school, my relationship with Jesus totally changed. A fellow classmate taught me Jesus wanted to be my best friend. That was powerful. Since then, Jesus and I have been through a lot and His words in the Bible have brought tremendous comfort and joy.
Tamara Michalenko Terry
Texas Conference Communication Associate Director
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
When I was little I learned a neat song that has impacted my life for 70 years! “There’s something quite peculiar about this world of ours, sometimes we live in sunshine bright, sometimes we live in showers. But if you would keep happy, when things are looking sad. Just lift the corners of your mouth and make believe your glad. So, smile, smile, smile; and keep right on a smiling.” I once heard a story about a missionary walking through a dark jungle singing songs while the angels kept away the tigers and leopards. Singing songs have kept evil away in my life several times.
Along with these songs, the following verses have also served as my guide. Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” These words have helped me continue in my walk with the Lord, when is seemed hard to do, or when someone tried to tell me that I wasn’t doing it right.
When I was discouraged and tired and the way seemed long, I remembered the words of David in Psalm 19, “the law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul….They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.” The Lord is Good! God’s Word is Life!
Sylvia Downs, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Communication Secretary
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
Not exactly a verse you might expect to be part of the same doctrine that helps guide billions of Christians around the world. Ecclesiastes can be an off-putting book for the unfamiliar. In fact, asking a group of people what they associate with the infamous book might give you an answer like, "It’s depressing." Such was my perspective before actually diving into it a few years ago.
Once I actually sat down with the real Ecclesiastes (and not the version others had purported it to be), I found that it contained an incredibly profound message that, to this day, helps focus my spiritual life. Yes, the author of Ecclesiastes does say everything is meaningless. He even launches into a long diatribe about why he thinks that way. And yet, his conclusion is perfect. Everything on earth is meaningless apart from God. Family and friends, work, education, hobbies—these are all still important! But, putting God at the center of our lives is our first and greatest purpose. Everything else is meaningless without Him.
Jason Busch, Texas Conference Communication Director
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Bookstores, libraries, and the digital world are filled with books promising to give us all the answers we need to live a successful and happy life. The problem with most books is that the options, plans, and answers provided in their pages are not of God. The true keys of a successful and joyful life are found in God’s Word. Most of us have several copies scattered throughout our homes and daily we carry it tucked inside our cell phones and tablets. But do we open it enough and search for truth? Most of us have a favorite verse. But do we remember that all Scripture is inspired by God and apply it to our lives? Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, share that the Bible is a book of many purposes. He admonishes Timothy to continue in his childhood habit of studying and learning the scriptures “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.” He writes, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Bible is filled with verses for each of us that we will connect with in the different seasons of our lives. There are so many verses that resonate with me and draw me closer to my Creator and Savior, that its difficult to choose a favorite. God has filled each season of my life with the perfect verses for each of these particular times. Instead of some random, self-help book, I, choose THE book––The Bible. I can think of no better source of inspiration, guidance, and comfort than our Creator and His Holy Scriptures!
You may be searching for understanding, motivation, encouragement, reassurance, or peace. In order to resist the ungodly pattern of life in today’s world, we must study the Word. Search its pages for the special verse or verses that God has planned for you at this particular time and season of your life. God promises that through the study of His Word you will be made complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
James Bokovoy, Oklahoma Conference Communication Director
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.
As part of his homework, my son has to memorize a scripture text every week. Recently, he came to me excited because the verse he had to memorize that particular week was easy to remember. Gleefully he exclaimed, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you! Psalms 56:3.” As he happily ran away, those words resonated in my head and I remembered that, as a child, that was my favorite memory verse. I, too, had grown up reciting many verses, but this one was special to me because it reminded me that the only thing I had to do when I was afraid was to go to God.
As a child, I was often afraid of the dark. At night I would recite the verse, clutch my hands together, and I knew that the God who created the universe was going to take care of me. And He did. He has taken care of me ever since, especially during the dark moments in my life. I am endlessly grateful for the promises God left us in His word. They are powerful and can transcend age and all understanding, and can grant us peace when we need it most.
Debbie Marquez, Texico Conference Communication Director