By Kelly O'Dell Stanley, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever looked at a familiar verse in an unfamiliar Bible translation? Most of us have a preferred version, but reading it in a different translation often sheds new light on its meaning. It may reveal nuances, clarify details, or otherwise point us towards a deeper understanding.
As Christians, we view the Bible as the ultimate authority on life—but sometimes, a fresh way of wording it is like having a new translation, providing additional revelation. As you ponder these 10 powerful quotes (and related Bible references), let them change the way you live your faith.
1. "Prayer requires more of the heart than of the tongue." -Adam Clarke
How many times have you thought “I have no idea what to say” in prayer? When situations wear us down or circumstances make us weary, it may be difficult to put our thoughts into words in prayer. Lucky for us, words aren’t necessary. God knows what’s in your heart, even if you can’t find language to express that. Simply be still, and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)
2. "Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them." -Elisabeth Elliot
Faith is not the absence of doubt, but a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). God is big enough, powerful enough, and certain enough to withstand our questions and lead us to the answers. His gift of faith takes the pressure off us. Our role is to simply accept it, use it as a tool to navigate life—and know Who to turn to for answers when we inevitably have questions.
3. "Those who have never rebelled against God or at some point in their lives shaken their fists in the face of heaven, have never encountered God at all." -Catherine Marshall
4. "If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others." -Brennan Manning
I once heard someone say that having all our sins broadcast on the 5:00 news would be the best thing that could happen. Can you imagine the shame and horror of everyone knowing it all? Terrible, right? Until you realize how that would rob shame of its power over us. When our sins are exposed, they can be healed. Until we’re healed (and forgiven), we won’t be effective at shining God’s light into other peoples’ lives. You never know who might need to hear how God rescued you, so don’t be afraid to share your story. Nothing in your past is too dark to be overcome by God’s light. (1 John 1:5-7)
5. "No one has ever become poor by giving." -Anne Frank
6. "Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed him." -C.S. Lewis
We have free will. Even though God is present everywhere and nothing happens without His awareness, He doesn’t cause the bad things to happen. There are natural consequences and ramifications to our actions, and we often make poor decisions. What is amazing is the way God can take any situation—betrayal, grief, loss (of health, relationships, security), despair—and bring something good out of it in spite of us. But just imagine how much better life would be if we didn’t get in His way in the first place. (Romans 8:28)
7. "Prayer trumps panic every time." -Rachel Wojo
Worry about nothing; pray about everything. Sounds good in theory but it’s harder to hold on to this when panic sets in—when the disconnect notice is waiting on your door or the test results make your heart sink or the person you love turns their back on you. But panic gets us nowhere, and in fact, it keeps us from being able to see the truth of who God is. Jesus told us to ask, to seek, to trust, and to have faith. Panicking isn’t the most productive (or fun) way to live out those ideas. (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-7)
8. "Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God's voice in response to mine is its most essential part." -Andrew Murray
9. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." -Brennan Manning
10. "All you need is love." -The Beatles
In the end, love is all that matters. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all our hearts, mind and strength—but, second, we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The Bible says love covers a multitude of sins. It is the hallmark and very genesis of our faith, and our faith is a response to the enormous love God offered to us in the beginning. If all the other concepts overwhelm you, if you can just handle one at a time, focus on this one. The Author of love will be more than enough—all that you need. (1 Corinthians 13:13, 1 John 4:7)
Dear Lord, speak to me. Live in me and instruct me. Guide me and help me to honor You, so that when the world sees me, they ultimately notice You. Amen.
Kelly O’Dell Stanley is the author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray. A graphic designer who writes (or is it a writer who designs?), she's also a redhead who’s pretty good at controlling her temper, a believer in doing everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. She blogs at kellyostanley.com and calls small-town Indiana her home.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com