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Sometimes It’s a One- or Two-Verse Day

June 10, 2019

“Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20b-22 (NIV)

Do you ever get overwhelmed when you sit down to read your Bible? There are so many books, deep thoughts, spiritual insights and life-altering truths — where do we begin for today?

My sticky farm table and I have a long history of early mornings together. I gather up my Bible and my computer. I push past the sleepy feelings begging me to go back to my bed. And I look at the well-worn book as my love letter from God.

Truly, His words are a lifeline to me. A whisper from my God. A personal note. A treasure.

Of course, I don’t always find myself in a season where I can consume chapters at a time. Some days, quite honestly, it’s just one or two verses that I tuck into my heart, so I can live out our key verses: “Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body” (Proverbs 4:20b-22).

This is what I want to do. I want to really pay attention. I need to listen well to what God is saying. I look for one verse I can savor word by word, letting it sink in deeply — interrupting me, rearranging me, redirecting me.

And I pray …

“Dear God, what plans have I made for today that this verse needs to interrupt?

“God, what thoughts did I bring in from yesterday that this verse needs to rearrange?

“And God, what heart attitudes have I been carrying that this verse needs to redirect?”

His Word is the protective covering over my plans, my mind and my heart. To let me run free without it will surely find me tripping over my own selfishness, insecurities and weaknesses. So, with His love letter, He reminds me to pause, pause, pause.

Pause and let the Holy Spirit intervene in my natural flesh response.

Pause so I don’t make the conversations all about me.

Pause and remember: I’m not always right.

Pause to see the blessings, so many blessings, and say “thank you” at least once an hour.

Pause to serve, pause to give, pause to encourage when everyone else rushes by.

The book of Proverbs has even more to say on how taking the time to cherish God’s Word can lead to us being changed by His Word. For example …

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding … Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-3, 9, NIV).

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you” (Proverbs 4:6-8, NIV).

We don’t have to get overwhelmed with the enormity and depth of the Bible.

It’s okay if we read just a verse or two today.

But more importantly than reading His words, we must choose to receive them. And even more importantly, we must live them. Because the more we apply God’s teaching to our lives, the more it becomes part of us.

God’s Word to me. God’s Word in me. God’s Word working through me. God’s Word lived out by me. Let this be the rhythm of Truth in my life.

Dear Lord, help me to see You today in a single word or a single verse. You are all-powerful, and anything is possible through You. May Your words and Your truth seep into the plans I make and every thought I think today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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  1. Searching

    I just never know where to go or what to read in the Bible. It overwhelms me when I open it ; not knowing what to do:/

    • Lauren

      I have just recently started reading the bible daily and Proverbs 31 Ministry has helped out so much. I bought a bible study that follows the first five app and I have enjoyed it so much! Maybe it would work for you as well!

  2. Frankie Gonzalez

    These verses, these exact verses where exactly what I needed today. I’m having trouble with my tinnitus being particularly loud. It started back up after I went to the chiropractor and he snapped my neck twice. It gives me some reprieve, but not a lot. This was something that I got under control a long time ago, with God’s help, and it hasn’t bothered me in years. It’s back with a vengeance. I really, really needed these verses today.

    “Pay attention (listen) to what I say; turn your (ear) to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and (health) to one’s (whole body).

  3. Debbie

    I would love to be able to read this book so I can better help my daughter who is in her 3rd eating disorder facility for anorexia and bulimia. She was told several times this year by doctors in the ER, before checking into this facility, that she is going to die if she doesn’t change what she is doing. I would love to be able to give her this book to read. Please pray for God to help my daughter to beat this illness! She is 23 and a Christian.

    • Liv

      Debbie, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. I’m sharing a link about my story of beating anorexia because I hope it might help. I was anorexic when I was exactly your daughter’s age, and that was the turning point for me when I was 23 years old. I was a Christian throughout it also. I pray your daughter will be healed in Jesus’ name and He will use this for a glorious testimony in her future. May all chains of anorexia, feelings of worthlessness, and wrong mindsets be broken by the mighty name of Jesus! And may He give you strength for this journey as her loving mother. My heart goes out to you. My mother’s prayers helped open my eyes and surrender the disease and bondage of anorexia to the Lord.

  4. Jamie

    Lysa I love how you approach us as friends. Also I love your approach to things!

  5. Lana

    Your post could not have come at a better time. Our church is in a crisis and I am struggling with where I am to be. I am desperately waiting to hear God’s desire for me. I opened my bible this morning and it fell to Proverbs 5. Verse one says, “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight…”. May this verse be mine today.

  6. Porsha Cohen

    Oh my…I just finished listening to your Focus on Family interview on dealing with life’s disappointment (twice) and boy did it put things in perspective for me. It also made me feel less alone. Hardship and disappointment can be a very painful and lonely place; especially when it becomes more like the norm and not the exception in life. I have lived through a childhood of poverty, instability, sexual abuse, parents and environment of substance abuse, homelessness, AIDS, death, being a young Christian unwed mother, prodigal children, marriage and infidelity, separation, divorce, health crises, police brutality, incarceration, and every emotional pitfall that comes along with these things. Yet God has been faithful even though the enemy of my soul tries to convince me that He is not and I am not worthy of love because of these things.
    Thank you for reminding me through your testimony that God does have a good plan-even when we cannot see it.
    Please remember me in prayers and I will do the same.

  7. Bethany

    Love this! Sometimes I can feel like having time with God is a checklist. When I sense that, I also have to slow myself down and ask God to quiet my spirit so I can hear and receive from His Word. It is so very powerful!

  8. Kathy Ray White

    Dear Lysa,
    After twenty-five years of ministry and marriage Lloyd and I divorced. I hated the word from the beginning. The Lord pressed my heart close to his, as I knew the feeling of love had left. Our church began a series called, Better Together, Francis Chan had just released a new book, You and Me Together and the list could go on about God crying out, for us to listen to His word over our thoughts. There was no reconciliation, as the pain was to much at the time to hear or find the sacred bond that had joined us. To add injury to the pain, Nicolas Sparks announced he and his wife of 25 years were going separate ways. I questioned Lloyd in such a sarcastic way,”How could two men who write about the passion of love and being loved, throw it all away?” You and I know it all so well, our hearts were lead astray, one little step at a time.

    I think deception was the most difficult part of the pain for me. Honesty had robbed us of God’s beautiful gift of sacrificial love. A lot of Soul Searching Through The Storm has taken place over the last six years. ( I’ve written a book, to help others confront their pain and hope someday to see God’s word weigh against the most difficult battles, to bring someone else to the place of finding courage in Christ.) As I stepped away from ministry, the faithful hand of the Lord has been steadfast, even as sequestered my soul. The hurt ran to deep to be part of the denomination of where we were “known and judged,” so I found a church were my spirit could be fed and a trusted friend within this body of Christ, I could trust. Truth had to be spoken over the hurt, over and over again. And when truth settles over a broken life and heart, the scarred places do become stronger. Pain is always mended through Divine Orchestration and obedient hearts are healed hearts, for his glory.

    My best friend and I forged the unknown together, as she walked the broken road of divorce a year after my divorce was finalized. We limped, wept, cried and faced the ugly truth together of, “it’s not suppose to be this way.” This past Christmas, she gifted us with your book. It is June and I am just now reading the final chapters over my life and recognizing, Lloyd and I both needed to be reduced to dust, to rise from the ashes. For so long, much of my processing was focused on what he had done, rather than digging deep to own my part of the hurting in the equation. It is so easy to stack up wrongs of others to hide from the bitter truth we need to swallow. Six years, soon to be seven, will be the year of us coming back to that place of being the work of his creation, his crowing glory.

    Your book is our story Lysa, in so many ways. Your prophetic words have ministered to my heart. Your words have called me to rise up to find my place of ministry again, as an ezer. I think it is human nature to go to what we know, when life falls apart. I went back to teaching in Public Education, but the High Calling of proclaiming his word, will not let me go. It is a season of proclamation for me, but what this will look like, I am not sure…Direction is on the way, as I yield to His Spirit.

    Lloyd and I are in the process of reconciliation now and I am writing my second book, Into the Flames. I know you get lots of responses and a multitude of request, but I would love to squish some clay between my fingers with you Lysa and talk about the things that are to become. We are his handiwork, being transformed. Thank you for your transparency.
    Following Him,

  9. Bill

    I am at a point in life where I am feeling lost and without purpose. I pray daily (most days multiple times) to ask God to show me the way to find purpose and my mission in life. How do I hear His message?

    • Tedde Johnson

      Be still and wait before Him.

  10. Caroline

    This is so timely! I so often find myself rushing through my devotionals and bible reading that it doesn’t really “stick”. What a good reminder to pause and let the word really sink in.

  11. Liv

    I love this. Sometimes this is all I can do, and it’s taken me a while to know that it’s okay if I don’t read several chapters at a time. I still struggle to read my Bible at times, but 2 verses are better than none! Plus it gives me the opportunity to really soak them in recall what I’ve read more easily. Glad to know I’m not alone in this.

  12. Ashley Anderson

    About 5 or 6 months ago, I was going through a really tough time. I was dealing with heartbreak and rejection, and my anxiety and depression was at a new place I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. One day I had reached out to a friend, and she suggested a couple of books of yours, and along the way, I have looked into more of your books. Your words and the verses you show through your writing has helped me so much. I’ve been making it a weekly thing, where I choose a day to sit down, follow along a couple of chapters, and open my Bible and go through the different passages you express through your book. Since then, I have been able to coupe with the heartbreak and rejection I was going through, and I have been able to find easy ways that help me coupe with my anxiety and depression. Your books help remind me that God is looking after me and He has a plan for me, and with that I have seen his little signs that he has given to me. I don’t know what brought me to your site tonight to write this, but I had to say Thank you for sharing your stories, and thoughts and reminding people that God is always there for us and He is always listening to our prayers.

  13. Jessieca Sires

    Thank you so much for Uninvited! You do not know how much your story has helped me. Because of you I was brave enough to share my story.
    I pray many blessings for you and your family!

    Jessieca Sires

  14. Pama

    I found your site on my step daughters Facebook and have gone thru several heartaches thru the last few years. I am a Christian but most of the time dont take the time to listen to what hes saying. But I love the way you have laid things out in scriptures ut outs a different light on things. Thank you

    God Bless. Pama

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