52 in 52: Week 3
This week’s verse has so much meaning for me personally, and also it happens to be the main verse of the Organization (Foursquare) to which our church, The Journey, belongs. Any time you visit a Foursquare church in the US or anywhere in the world, you see this verse displayed….sometimes in a subtle way, as we do (we have it beautifully painted by our own member, Christy Grace and displayed on our Info Table), and sometimes in gigantic lettering and lit up on the front wall of the sanctuary! No matter what, it’s there. It reminds us all of a simple, yet powerful truth we all need in our lives: Hebrews 13:8
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
This is an easy one to memorize, and one that seems to really strike a chord in me personally right now in our world. A lot of things seem to be turned upside down, or seem to be unknown. There is so much we can’t predict or even understand. But the best thing is that this is NOT new. Nothing ever is or was predictable or easy to understand. Nothing ever stays the same, whether good OR bad. EXCEPT JESUS. He is the same today, on the right hand of God, as the man we see in the Word. And we can trust him to care for us the same each day.
When I was growing up, I went through what we all do, the roller coaster of life. Ups and downs, emotional chaos, unpredictable changes in circumstance, and a never-ending cycle of crazy twists and turns. We all deal with this, it’s not unique to just me. However, I always felt a bit different, because I was raised a daughter of missionary/pastor parents. I figured out pretty young that this meant my parents were lead by God, and if God told my parents to “GO”, we WENT. I sure didn’t understand how that worked, exactly, because I was just so young. And because I had no say and no real understanding of that idea, my childhood was pretty unpredictable for me, never knowing what might be around the corner. Even if my parents told me we would be living somewhere for a certain amount of time, even if we settled in and got comfortable in whatever new place God had called them, we could be uprooted in an instant. It didn’t happen as often as I was scared it would, but during my very impressionable tween-teen years, we did move from NJ to Europe and then to Wisconsin. And my life was flipped upside down more than once.
I remember trying so hard to understand how to love Jesus at that time and I really saw his love and compassion, but I was also so angry and scared to be bouncing around the world this way. I felt lost and confused, but within months of moving each time, I had new friends, new hope, new things to look forward to. And something even better – a solid faith in my God and a verse that could get me through it.
It’s such a simple verse. A verse that a child, a tween, a teen, a college student, an adult, a 90 year old….can keep it hidden in their hearts always. A verse to cling to when the world around them is constantly shifting and scary. The love of Jesus for me and for you NEVER changes. He is the same today as he was on that cross, dying for ME and YOU. He will NEVER leave us. It is a simple, but powerful truth.
I found the Foursquare church in Madison when I a senior in college (our sister church, Chapel Valley), and my younger brothers invited me to come and check it out. When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was THE verse. MY verse! Right on the front of the bulletin that was handed to me. And I knew that I belonged in a place where the people held onto the truth that was my truth. I have been a part of the Foursquare church ever since, and wherever God calls me and my own family, I plan to find a Foursquare church in the world! And to hold on to this verse. I hope you can hold on to it, too.
Hold on to the truth that no matter what is going on in our world, our country, our lives, JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER.
*Remember to come find me every Sunday after church at the Journey to let me know you have this passage hidden in your heart! I have lots of prizes to give away if you can do it. Can’t wait to see what great things God does in you….