Archive for March, 2012

March 26, 2012

This past Sunday during the morning message by Apostle Eric L. Warren at Equip U Ministries in Columbus, Ohio, the word “nevertheless” was used, and it brought to mind this blog with the same word as its title. I also happened to think of another musical selection which includes the same word. Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mass Choir of the Potter’s House offer a stirring reminder that “This Test is Your Storm.” The selection is added , as the final refrain reinforces the message of this blog post: “Nevertheless, it’s only test.”

Dr. J's Apothecary Shoppe

The words of Jesus Christ remind us of the inherent power abiding in the Word of God when he declared, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) Without question the Word of God is energetic and life-giving, as revealed in Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Each word in the Word of Life is an expression of power. Luke 1:37 in the King James Version says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” The American Standard Version offers this translation: “For no word from God shall be void of power.” Indeed, there is life-changing power…

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Three for Twelve for 2012: God’s Crowning Achievement

March 12, 2012

Isaiah 62 with its 12 verses comprises the theme for the New Year: "Twelve for Twelve in 2012."

At the beginning of the New Year, I posted a blog in Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe based on my theme and scriptural focal point for 2012. In this case, I had selected Isaiah 62, a passage that most providentially contains twelve verses. In studying the chapter, I decided to write a series of poems, as I personalized each of the twelve verses, calling the collection “Twelve for Twelve for 2012.” Here is the link to the first installment, published in two parts, inspired by Isaiah 62:1: “One for Twelve”:

I continue the series with the third installment “Three for Twelve,” a personalized poetic rendering of Isaiah 62:3, posted on March 12, 2012.  Here is the verse from the New Living Testament:

The LORD will hold you in his hand for all to see— 

a splendid crown in the hand of God.

Three for Twelve

Isaiah 62:3

 

Three for Twelve

 Isaiah 62:3

 

The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—                                                                                                                                                                               Crowning display of power, glory and victory.                                                                                                                                                                                       This one-of-a-kind crown overlaid with pure gold,                                                                                                                                                                                His crowning achievement whose worth cannot be told:                                                                                                                                                                    Beyond all the wealth of riches that crown the wise                                                                                                                                                                                 Is the crown of glory that shines before our eyes:                                                                                                                                                                                  Ever-increasing splendor never fades away;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             A royal diadem shines brighter in the light of day.                                                                                                                                                                               The love that crowns us, not even death can destroy,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For nothing can ever tarnish our crown of joy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We shall behold the fullness of all that God planned:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           We are the crown of life that He holds in His hand.                                                                                     

 

In reflecting on Isaiah 62:3 and the poem inspired by that verse, I thought of another poem related to the aspect of crowns, as indicated in the phrase “Finishing touch on His crowning achievement” in the following reflective piece:

On My Journey

 May we see clearly where our paths have led

 And be strengthened for the journey ahead.

           Strengthened for the Journey

 

Sometime I feel like I’m on my journey home.

Traditional Folk Song

 

I am steadfast– my soul remains anchored in hope,

Eagerly watching and waiting, looking above.

Feeling during dark times that I can barely cope,

But seasons swiftly change, for I have come to know

Nothing can ever separate me from your love.

Despite appearances, you have the last say so.

Once more I seek to serve, to go where I am sent          

That my life should reflect the praise of your glory,

The finishing touch on your crowning achievement:

The surprise happy ending of this love story

When all creation finally gets back to being one,

Even as with Holy Spirit, Father, and Son.                                                     

The perfect will of God unfolds for all to see,

As I begin this new day on my journey.

                                                                

“I Am on My Journey Home”–this a capella hymn is a recording from the 2009 Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Singing Convention. Harp singing or shape note singing dates back to the colonial period and continues to enjoy popularity in the rural South and elsewhere.

The phrase “crowning achievement” evokes a number of synonyms: crowning accomplishment, crowning glory, masterpiece or masterwork, showpiece, smash hit, work of a master; crowning achievement, great work or magnum opus. The essence of the verse three in Isaiah 62 is magnified and reinforced in a broader context in the New Testament with reference to the Church or the Body of Christ. As born-again believers, we are all new creations in Christ, and we praise God that He has given us all things richly to enjoy. Indeed, Ephesians 2:10 declares that “. . . we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” 

The word “workmanship” is translated from the Greek word poiema, which means “masterpiece, a glorious creation, a centerpiece of attention, as the French would say, le piece de resistance, or showpiece.” Of course, the Greek word poiema is transliterated into our English word poem, which in the minds of many people, present company included, is always a “masterpiece” or glorious creation. Mike Riley has posted a most enlightening Bible Study Article “Christians Are God’s Workmanship” related to this topic.

The Church is designed to be the Crowning Achievement of God's creative wisdom.

Collectively the Church, the Body of Christ, has been designed to be a glorious masterpiece, God’s crowning achievement.  As with any magnificent work of art, there are various stages of development: Beginning with the preliminary design, we find intermediary stages with various alterations—multiple fittings—final fitting—put on finishing touches. Many times the artist will produce a prototype which is not the finished product but a replica in transition. I know first-hand that a literary work will generate numerous drafts on the way to being a masterpiece. The entire process from the initial concept to the finished product can take years until completion. Likewise, the Church is always a work in progress—always in transition, as Ephesians 4:13 reminds us of the direction we are moving in:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

The Church has been designed to display the infinitely variegated, wisdom of God, as Ephesians 3:10 in the Amplified Bible reveals:

[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.

Though we may not presently see the fullness of that revelation, we are ever moving in that direction. For we know that “When that which is perfect is come then that which is in part shall be done away.” The Church is always moving . . . from faith to faith . . . from glory to glory. . . from victory to victory. As we shall see to an even greater degree, the Church is God’s masterpiece, His “Crowning Achievement.”