Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mixing Up Scripture Verses

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 
1 Samuel 16:7

I got up early the other morning to do some weeding while it was still relatively cool. I was weeding by the mailbox when I heard the whine of an electric scooter behind me. Turning around, I saw Bob, my across-the-street neighbor making his way over. I was happy for the break, and sat down on the ground to talk with him.

"I seen you out here on the ground, and I wasn't sure if you were praying or weeding. I was gonna say, 'If you're praying, say one for me.'"

"I always do, Bob," I said. I think I tell them that every time I see them---that I'm praying for them. I'm never sure of what they think of that because they typically don't say much in reply.

He updated me on his wife's chemo treatments and prognosis. She had a setback, but the doctors are hopeful. 

I told him I'd keep praying. 

We went on to talk about the typical neighbor stuff--your yard looks nice/what kind of flowers are those red things/I can't cut the ragweed because I'm allergic/those people are in a nursing home now.

I don't remember what was said, but Bob replied, "Well, like the Bible says, 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and all this will be added to you.' You can only hope and pray that things will work out." 

I nodded my head in agreement. "That's right." But something about the verse sounded funny...did he mix that up?

We chatted a little longer, then Bob sped back across the street. 

Later, I was thinking about the verse that sounded funny, and I realized that he had quoted the first part of one verse and the second part of another.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
and lean not on your own understanding. 
Proverbs 3:5

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you
Matthew 6:33

Well, bless his heart, I thought. He was trying to quote scripture, and his heart was in the right place, even though he got it wrong.

He got it wrong.

Or did he?

Does it really matter if we combine or mix up verses? If our heart is in the right place, if we know what we want to say, does it still count?

When Jesus encountered Satan in the desert, He responded to each of His enemy's taunting and tempting tactics with, "It is written..." 

If we use that same strategy, saying, "It is written..." but "get it wrong," is it considered invalid?

We may hear a voice telling us, "That's not right! See, you can't even remember the verse. It's all wrong, so it doesn't count."

Yeah, that's how God talks to us...NOT!

It is necessary to know scripture, and commit these things to memory. Otherwise, the enemy can--and will--use our lack of knowledge to confuse us, just as he did with Eve. "Did God really say..."

However, sometimes we do mix things up. But I think that God is nodding His head in agreement, just as I did with Bob, saying, "Bless her heart. She's trying to quote scripture, and her heart is in the right place." 

God loves me even when I misquote, even when I miss the mark, because He looks at my heart.

Unlike me, who was quick to judge, God does not say, "Bless your heart. You tried, but you got it wrong," 

God is not a game show host who appears to care that you're no longer in the game, but in reality is happy to move on to the next contestant and couldn't care less about the one who just messed up.

"Awwww, I'm sorry, that is NOT the correct answer. But we have some lovely parting gifts for you as you descend slowly into hell."

Our Lord is always rooting for us. He doesn't look at what's wrong, but what's right with us. Not just when we mix up our scripture verses, but always.

He says, "Bless your heart. You've got it right, even though your scripture is mixed up. You get it. I know you do. You go, girl!"

And if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Don't buy into the lie that if you are battling the enemy with scripture and you get it wrong, then the enemy wins. Not if God is for you. Because if you believe that lie, then you've already lost. God wins---every time. So that means you win too. 

And so does Bob, bless his heart.

Blessings Along the Path,

photo credit: pixabay, Mary Flaherty

Linking up with some other great bloggers here.


  1. Good thoughts, here. Was captivated by the opening picture of the gal in the garden. Love your turn of phrase. Always reading your stuff with a chuckle. I bet God does, too.
    JOY ,

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I've been rolling an idea around in my head since I saw that picture. I'm thinking it can't be too hard to find/make some sort of body form like that, put clothes on it, throw my rainboots that I never wear on and put it in my garden to look like a perpetual person with her head in the flowers. Wouldn't that be a hoot? Thanks for your kind words, as usual.

  2. This is so encouraging, Mary. Bless your heart for sharing! :) xo

    1. That's good, Lyli! Thank you for stopping in for a visit.

  3. God odes win every time ... I was truly blessed with the verses from your neighbor ... And the fact that he comes to ask for prayer - Yes, we're here to encourage and bless one another!
    May God's peace surround your neighbor, his wife and whole family!

  4. Funny, I was going to say,"Well, to clarify, he doesn't ask for prayer. I've just always said I'd pray for them." But the fact that he came over and made that funny comment says that he does, in fact, ask in an indirect way. Thanks for pointing that out, Nina. Maybe someday, I'll be so bold as to pray for them on the spot. Thank you for visiting, and for the prayer!

  5. This is something that I've been thinking about a lot too, Mary, as I've struggled to forgive one particular person in my life. God continually reminds me of how He gives me chance after chance and gives this other person chance after chance too--because He loves and will continue to love us both! What an amazing God we serve! Thankfully He always gets things right! Your humor really had me laughing here and there, sweet friend! You have a gift! :)

    1. Thanks, Beth. You're always so encouraging!

  6. Love everything about these words Mary! You are right that God doesn't stop us mid sentence and say excuse me but you are misquoting me!!! God is always for us and I for one love the reassurance that this is so. Blessed to have you at Weekend Whispers.

    1. I love that picture, Mary---some of us (meaning me) can be so intolerant and quick to judge---"Uh, you're WRONG! I'm RIGHT!!! Na-na-na-Nah-na!" I'm so glad God is not like that!!!

  7. I'd smiles while reading this post. God sees our heart, He knows our intentions even when we make mistakes.
    Lovely Mary.
    Blessings to you

    1. Thank you, Ifeoma. That helps us to remember that we don't have to be perfect!