I hurry to keep your commandments

July 26, 2017

 

In Psalm 119:60 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 25, 2017:

I hurried and did not delay to keep Your commandments.

This is how the King James Version puts it:

I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

Here are additional renderings of the verse that describes how the Psalmist responds to the Word of God:

Psalm 119:60 (Common English Bible–CEB) :

I hurry to keep your commandments—
I never put it off!

Psalm 119:60 (Complete Jewish Bible–CJB) :

I hurry, I don’t delay,
to observe your mitzvot.

Psalm 119:60 (Contemporary English Version–CEV) :

As soon as you command,
I do what you say.

Psalm 119:60 (Easy to Read Version-ERV) :

Without wasting any time,
I hurried back to obey your commands.

The verse also brings to mind the exhortation from James: “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

The various versions all express this important truth: As the Poet says, “We place our ears near to the lips of God,” and when He speaks, we learn to swiftly obey. We do not wait, but we must learn to respond immediately, as one of the stanzas from “The Servant’s Song: My Eyes Are Only on You” reminds us:

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

As the eyes of a servant look to the hands of His Lord,
As the ears of a servant know so well his master’s voice,
So my mind stays focused to watch and learn how you move.
Create in me a servant’s heart; teach me to serve in love.

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,
I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.
I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see
When He bids me to the wedding feast, and He will wait on me.

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

Biblical scholar EW Bullinger notes that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).
The Verse of the Day is part of the Heth section, a portion of which is set to music as a hymn sung in the following video:

Blessed is the man

July 24, 2017

From Psalm 112:5 in the Amplified Bible comes the Verse of the Day for July 24, 2017:

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He conducts his affairs with justice.

The New King James Version put it this way:

Psalm 112:5

A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

Such an individual is said to be blessed and so described in Psalm 1:1 in the Amplified Bible:

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],

Logos Bible Software offers comments regarding this person and points out a parallel verse in Psalm 111:10 (AMP):

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.

The Psalmist reiterates that reverence and deep respect for God and His commandment open up the way to true happiness. The person who delights greatly and meditates deeply in His precepts, the one whose primary focus is to seek earnestly to understand and obey God’s commandments, is blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] beyond measure in every way.

From the Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon come the following comments regarding the believer spoken of in Psalm 111:10:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; this man, therefore, has begun to be wise, and wisdom has brought him present happiness, and secured him eternal felicity. Jehovah is so great that he is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about him, and he is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof.”

4 Him offer their musical rendition of Psalm 112:

Deeds not words

July 23, 2017

Rather than the usual Verse of the Day for Day for July 23, 2017, the topic for today’s discussion could be described as the Phrase of the Day. This time the expression comes from Latin: Res non verba, translated, “Deeds, not words,” or “Deeds rather than words.” The phrase corresponds to the proverb “Actions speak louder than words.”

The Scriptures also speak of both words and deeds. Nowhere are these two elements more brilliantly displayed than in the Lord Jesus Christ described as “. . . a prophet powerful in deed and word in the sight of God and all people” (Luke 24:19).

Colossians 3:17 makes a distinction between what is said and what is done; however, believers are encouraged to maintain a grateful attitude, no matter what they say or do:

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

1 John also points out that as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must express our love not only with the words we say, but we should likewise demonstrate our love by what we do.

1 John 3:18 (AMP)

Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].

This verse reminds us that with love, there must be a demonstration or manifestation to express the reality of that powerful emotion. An anonymous quote reminds us: “Love is a verb. Love is doing, saying, showing. Never think just saying you love someone is enough.” There must be corresponding action to show that we love. Every day should be “show and tell.” Another statement reiterates the same point: “Love is a verb. Without action it is merely a word.”

Throughout the New Testament we are encouraged to love God and one another expressed in the closing lines:

“A Single Image”

. . . .

there is
no fear
in love
so why
should we

we are His
He is one
so are we

one
plus
one
makes
one
in
word
in
deed
in
truth

As believers, once we have been reconnected to God, we must recognize that God has given us the privilege and the responsibility (that is, our ability to respond to God’s love), as 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 so clearly states:

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

The reference to both “word” and “deed” brings to mind Annie Johnston Flint’s poem that also reiterates the responsibility given to us:

Christ has no hands but our hands

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?
What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?

In light of the intense times in which we live, the poem raises a number of critical questions regarding our “words” and our “deeds.” Dimitri Caver offers an upbeat musical version of 1 John 3:18, one of the verses associated with these two concepts:

Follow the path of truth: God will make a way

July 21, 2017

In Psalm 119:30 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2017:

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

The New King James Version says this:

I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.

In the Old Testament the word “way” is translated from the Hebrew word derek, meaning “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.
The reference to “the way of truth” brings to mind an earlier blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God,” using the analogy of the will of God being a road, a path or a way. Looking at the Hebrew word derek which is translated “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner,” enhances our understanding of this concept. It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.

In the New Testament, the Greek word hodos is translated “a way, a traveled way, road, and when used as a metaphor it means “a course of conduct” “a way (i.e., manner of thinking, feeling, deciding.  Used 100 times, the word is translated “way” 54 times.

In “Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?” a poetic expression of my personal testimony, I refer to “the path of truth”:

Stumbling down the road of life,
I was wasting all my youth,
Then took a right turn to Jesus Christ;
Now I’m walking the path of truth.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

Today’s blog entry combines excerpts from two previous posts that speak of a way or path. The first speaks of the will of God as “the road less traveled by,” referring to the often quoted poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”; the second is entitled “On the way to doing the will of God, God will make a way.” Years ago I also remember one of the vivid descriptions of God, who was said to be “a way maker, who can make a way out of no way.”

In our efforts to walk with the Lord as we seek to do His will, we all encounter challenges and difficult situations that seem impossible to resolve on our own. The Bible reminds us of God’s unfailing power and strength to turn a seemingly impossible situation into a triumphant victory. Isaiah 43:19 declares what God is able to do:

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

The reality of God’s faithfulness brings to mind the vernacular poem “Hand upon the Plow,” offering several examples from the Bible to illustrate that “The Lord will make a way somehow….”

Hand upon the Plow

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand
to the plow and looks back [to the things behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

“Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!”
–Black Spiritual

When life ain’t like it suppose to be,
Right then and there it occurs to me
Folks been in fixes worse than me,
Right in the Bible where I see:

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

Pharaoh said, “Kill each Hebrew boy,”
But Moses’ Ma was full of joy
Cause Pharaoh’s daughter raised her boy.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

The lions looked so lean and thin
When they throwed Daniel in the den,
But Old Man Daniel didn’t bend.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When Jesus died, God paid the cost
And at that time all seem like lost,
But God planned ahead for Pentecost.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

Paul and Silas didn’t rant and wail
When they throwed both of them in jail.
They called on God, and He didn’t fail.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When troubles start to bugging you
Remember, there’s just one thing to do:
Look to God and He’ll see you through.
What he did for them, He’ll do for you.

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

One of the inspirations for the poem is the line from the spiritual “Keep Your Hand on the Plow,” performed in the inimitable manner of the Queen of Gospel music of the 20th Century, Mahalia Jackson, who offers this inspiring rendition:

The scriptures, poetry, and the accompanying musical reminder reinforce the message that as we strive to live for God and seek to follow the path of truth, that on the way to doing the will of God, God will make a way, even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations. Isaiah 43:19 and the tragic death of his nephew became the inspiration for one of Don Moen’s signature musical compositions, “God Will Make a Way,” offered here by Hosanna! Music to conclude our discussion:

Fellowship with God and one another

July 20, 2017

The Verse of the Day for July 20, 2017  is taken from 1 John 1:7 in the Amplified Bible:

but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

Here is the verse in the New King James Version:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.

The context for 1 John chapter 1 is fellowship with God and with fellow believers, as verses 7 sets the condition: “If we walk in the light . . . we have fellowship with one another. Translated from the Greek word koinonia, this fellowship involves communion or oneness, harmony. In Acts the believers of the early Church were said to be “of one heart and one mind.” Having this close fellowship with God and with one another is God’s desire for His people expressed in 1 John.

This particular verse also brings to mind Psalm 133 and the unfolding of the breathtaking beauty of unity. In thinking about the topic, I also recall a poem related to striving to “get there”, to scale Mount Zion to arrive at the place of everlasting blessing. I also remember an excellent word of exhortation and encouragement from Al Thomas to the Body of Christ regarding God’s desire that we also reach that place of sublime communion with one another and with Him. Indeed, God will take us from “here to there,”

Here are the concluding comments he makes in excerpt ”God Said, “YOU’VE BEEN HERE WAY TOO LONG, I WANT TO TAKE YOU THERE–GET READY”:

“There ahead of you is your destiny,” says the Lord. “The hope, then dream and the fulfillment of My promise–it’s simply staring you in the face! Here, is where you are now, but how you conduct yourself today has everything to do with where I will take you tomorrow–My there. Extend My grace to others when you least feel like doing so–it will prepare you to go from here to there. Determine that you are serious to get to My there for you (Luke 9:62). You will get there by serving Me in the here and now (1 Corinthians 10:21, James 1:8).

“Are you serious about the vision you are following? If so, then build in the now (here) for what I have shown you in the future (there). If you are faithful in little, here, I will give you much there (Luke 19:17). Use the compass of praise, private prayer and undaunted searching in My word to guide you and keep you on course (Mark 4:14-20).

“Be faithful today–tomorrow is almost upon you, and it is nearly time to take you from here to there. Look up, it’s approaching and you are about to leave here and arrive there–right where I’ve been waiting for you. Pack up, say goodbye, and prepare to leave here for there. My command is coming for many to move out–out there.”

“Faithful is He that called you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

To get from “here to there” on the surface, seems such a simple process: you simply go! On the journey, however, one encounters obstacles, pitfalls, diversions, distractions and all kinds of set-backs. At times it seems as though “you can’t get there from here.” We respond to that notion as we encourage ourselves along this tedious journey called life. God ever sets before us pictures of possibilities. The glorious portrait of harmony and communion of the highest degree is set before us in Psalm 133 which inspired this poetic work:

From Here to There

1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!

2It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron,

running down on the edge of his garments.

3It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion;

For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore.

Psalm 133:1-3

 

The final phase of life’s journey from here to there,

Yearning to return to Eden, beyond the place

Of the first promise spoken to all who would hear

And receive the fullness of the measure of grace

And know the never-ending flow of perfect peace:

Where perfect love has triumphed to cast out all fear;

Where all shall dwell in harmony and wars shall cease;

Where there shall be no night for the Lamb of God is near;

Where our joy shall never wane but only increase;

Where we know intimacy far beyond Hebron;

Where our raptured souls shall find rest and sweet release

In endless afterglow of sublime communion;

Where we know the everlasting blessings of unity

As we dwell in Zion for all eternity

Our musical benediction comes from Esther Mui who offers Psalm 133 Song “Behold, How Good and How Pleasant It is” (Scripture Praise Worship with Lyrics)

No need to fear: Do not fear

July 19, 2017

 

The Verse of the Day for July 19, 2017 from Isaiah 41:10 offers words that are especially comforting and reassuring today:

Isaiah 41:10 (AMP):

Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’

Isaiah 41:13 also provides great encouragement and reiterates the message:

“For I the LORD your God keep hold of your right hand; [I am the Lord],
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

Once more God, our Father, reminds us to have no fear. Previous blog posts discuss other passages related to issue of fear and God’s continual reassurance that He is with us and there is no need to fear. Here are comments from some of those entries:

In the midst of the perilous times in which we live, we cannot deny that fear seems to abound. We all recognize that fear is a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. Unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that limits and inhibits. Pastor Rick Warren describes fear as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

In 1 John 4:18 we find the perfect antidote to fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free.

In those who hear the Word of God and keep it, the love of God is “perfected” or made perfect or complete, wanting in nothing or brought to maturity in them. To be “perfected” is to be brought to a full end.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or full in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear.

The following poem is inspired by the verse from 1 John and the statement from Rick Warren:

There is no fear in love

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves torment. But he who fears
has not been made perfect in love.
I John 4:18

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you
from becoming what God intends for you to be.”
Rick Warren

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear
And abounds to transform any adverse atmosphere.
We are perfected and made whole when we walk in love,
A true love that we live and not one we just speak of.
Such love is pure and never repels but draws us near.

This balm of love heals all wounds, no matter how severe
With words of compassion each soul on earth longs to hear;
Love conquers any disaster and rises above.
There is no fear in love.

We follow in Christ’s steps, knowing our mandate is clear.                                                                          Assured of triumph, there is never a need to fear.    We press toward the mark, the prize we seek to lay hold of                                                                                  To ascend in victory on wings of a gentle dove.          We walk forth as bold pioneers on a love frontier:   There is no fear in love.

The essence of the message for today is “There is no fear in love.” We conclude as Wintley Phipps offers this encouraging musical reminder: “No Need to Fear”

He endured the shame so I am not ashamed of the gospel

July 17, 2017

In Romans 1:16 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 17, 2017:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

The New Living Testament put it this way:

Romans 1:16 (NLT):

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile

Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds believers that because of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that he endured on our behalf, as believers we are encouraged when we recall the shame that he experienced::

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

When we turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ, we recognize all that he endured when he was made a curse, as he endured the cross, despising the shame and humiliation associated with such a disgraceful and shameful act, his crucifixion. Although Christ overcame death on the cross by means of his resurrection from the dead, we cannot forget that the cross was a critical component of the Gospel message: a stumbling-block to the Jews and utter foolishness to the Greeks. (1 Corinthians 1:23).

Other places in the New Testament also make reference to “not being ashamed of the Gospel.” Note this exhortation from Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8 (NKJV):

[Not Ashamed of the Gospel] Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

Paul goes on to say this in 2 Timothy 1:12 in the New Living Translation:

12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

Because the Lord willingly bore our sin and iniquity on the cross, he released us from the bondage of guilt and shame for past failures. Because Jesus Christ was not ashamed of us, we need never be ashamed of the gospel of the good news he declared to the world. Lyrics from the song “I am not ashamed of the Gospel” reinforce the message of the Verse of the Day, recorded here by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

Favor of God

July 16, 2017

As the days of 2017 continue to unfold in rapid succession, we have moved past the halfway point, as we recall the theme discussed in one of the blog entries posted in January:

“2017 will be a year of unlimited goodness and unlimited favor.”

In reflecting further upon these two concepts in light of what has transpired and what lies ahead, we discover that the goodness of God, our Father, still abounds, and the subsequent favor of God continues to flow steadfastly from His goodness. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, so says the Psalmist, and we recall that the goodness of God leads us to repentance.

In the original blog entry, we noted that the word “favor” has also been translated “grace.” God extends His grace, His undeserved favor toward His people. The lyrics to the following song describe God’s super-abounding favor:

Favor upon Favor

Favor, favor, favor upon favor,
Favor, favor, favor upon favor
Unprecedented favor, unparalleled favor,
Flowing from the fullness of the Father,
Is falling without measure upon the Body of Christ.

Where we work there is favor
Where we live there is favor
Where we meet there is favor
Up and down each street there is favor
Where we pray there is favor
Where we play there is favor
Every day there is favor
In every way there is favor
Where we learn there is favor
Everywhere we turn, there is favor
Here and there and everywhere
There is the overflowing favor
Never-ceasing, ever-increasing favor.

There is favor, favor, favor upon favor,
Favor, favor, favor upon favor.
Let us savor each golden moment of the favor of God.

Favor, favor, favor upon favor,
Favor, favor, favor upon favor
Unprecedented favor, unparalleled favor,
Flowing from the fullness of the Father,
Is falling without measure upon the Body of Christ.

Another recent blog post pointed out that in the midst of our times that have been described as perilous or difficult to deal with, we find a noticeable emptiness in the lives of people across globe. Without question, there is “a famine in the land,” not just in the United States but around the world. According to the United Nations World Food Programs, About 842 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That mean that one in every eight people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night. Indeed, hunger continues to be a worldwide crisis, both in the natural and in the Spirit as well.

Eight years ago the theme for the New Year at the church I attended was “Favor in the midst of famine.” Certainly that statement has application to our current year’s theme. Note what the following poem has to say:

Favor in the Midst of Famine

Favor in the midst of famine: all eyes can see
That bountiful goodness defies each enemy.
God blesses each step we take and anoints our head,
As we look back to see where paths of life have led,
And continue, knowing the truth has made us free.

We abide in His presence, serving faithfully,
Endeavoring to do, not less, but more instead,
Knowing that those who hunger shall surely be fed:
Favor in the midst of famine.

We press toward the mark, to reach the highest degree
With the fullest measure of each plurality,
Steadfast and unmovable, as the Word has said.
Though seasons change, this remains our reality:
Favor in the midst of famine.

As we look back upon what God has done over the past seven months; as we observe what the Lord is doing daily in abounding His grace and kindness toward us, and as we look to see what lies ahead, we continue to be overwhelmed by God’s “unlimited goodness and unlimited favor.”

True Worshippers offer “Favor” to conclude today’s blog post.

Another word for the weary

July 15, 2017

At the beginning of the New Year, a friend whom I had not corresponded with for decades reconnected and asked if I had a word of encouragement for one who is “weary.” In response to her request, several scriptures came to mind as well as previous blog posts with references to “the weary.” Here is an excerpt from that original post which serves a prelude to a new word of encouragement for the weary in this current season:

A verse that comes to mind as a source of encouragement from the words of the Lord Jesus Christ is found in Matthew 11:28 (Holman Christian Standard Bible):

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

In thinking about Jesus Christ, remember this exhortation from Hebrews 13:2-3

2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

From Galatians 6:9 (AMP) comes this encouragement:

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

This word is echoed in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 (AMPC)

And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right [but continue in well-doing without weakening].

One of my all-time favorite Old Testament passages related to being weary comes from Isaiah 40:28 31 (NLT):

28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

I thought about these particular verses today, as I “happened upon” a poem that I had written years ago that could be viewed as a fresh word of exhortation for anyone who may have grown weary during the current season, the perilous times that some describe as a severe famine:

“Now there was famine in the land. . .”

Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down
into Egypt to live temporarily, for the famine in the land
was oppressive (intense and grievous.

Genesis 12:10 (AMP)

Although there may be many famines in the land,
We shall never want during times of scarcity,
But we survive and thrive, upheld by God’s right hand.
Anchored in the Word of God, as a seasoned tree
Planted by rivers of water with a tap root,
Even in times of drought our leaves still remain green
With bountiful harvests of spiritual fruit.
Each day we walk by faith and not by what is seen.
Though we may falter, we still strive to do our best.
For the faithful and loyal, those called to obey,
Those created in righteousness and set apart,
This time of extreme lack is yet another test.
In famine we will trust and not seek our own way,
Never yearning to return to Egypt in our heart.
As we follow God and pursue His righteous ways,
We will be strong and wise and prosper all our days.

May these words offer strength to those who may feel weary, knowing that God promises to renew our strength, as we wait upon Him. Esther Mui offers this comforting reminder: Isaiah 40:25-31 Song “Those Who Wait on the LORD.”

Remain and abide in His love

July 14, 2017

The Verse of the Day for July 14, 2017 brings to mind the expression “Follow the leader,” as Jesus Christ speaks to his followers:

John 15:10:

If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

This particular verse is part of a familiar passage that unfolds a striking metaphor used by Jesus Christ to help his followers understand more fully who he is and how he relates to God, his Father, using this comparison:
His Father is the “vine-dresser” (grape farmer), or “husbandman”, as some translations have it, and that he, Jesus, is “the true vine”, and those apostles are “branches” who are attached to Jesus, the Vine. In order to be fruitful the branches must “abide” in the vine. When the branches remain intact with the vine, God is glorified as the branches bear much fruit, producing a spiritual harvest for God. Jesus Christ ends the comparison on a “love note” in verses 9-12:

9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you].

10 If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

11 I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

12 “This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.

The following photo shows a fruitful vine from a vineyard that illustrates the parable where Jesus describes himself as “the true vine.” Just as the Lord remains or abides in the love of God, so we who follow his example should demonstrate our love to one another and continually abide in His love.

The photo shows a fruitful vine from a vineyard that illustrates the parable where Jesus describes himself as “the true vine.”

Esther Mui has composed a tender musical rendering of John 15:4-5 “Abide in Me” (Esther Mui) Christian Scripture Praise Worship w Lyrics: