Archive for May, 2013

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 15

May 29, 2013
As we pursue Godly wisdom, we are also encouraged to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

As we pursue Godly wisdom, we are also encouraged to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

In looking over a collection of poetry in which there is a reference to wisdom, I came across “As We Pray,” a poetic exhortation to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” I also thought of a particular day that is set aside for various groups to come together to pray for Jerusalem. One such occasion is the first Sunday in October, when hundreds of thousands gather across the globe to offer prayers to God on behalf of the Holy City. The exhortation to pray for Jerusalem is not confined to one specific day of prayer, but the indication is that such prayer should be ongoing.

Last year, I presented a series of blog entries entitled “Twelve for Twelve in 2012,” based on the 12 verses of Isaiah 62 which was the personal theme passage that I had adopted at the beginning of the year.  In one of the entries we find a reminder to call unto God “And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” For a more detailed discussion of that verse check out “Seven for Twelve on 7-4-12.” I am simply suggesting that the reminder to pray for the peace of Jerusalem should be ongoing, particularly in light of the ever-escalating critical conditions in the Middle East.

Note the reference to pursuing wisdom which we have also discussed in previous “Words of Wisdom”:

As We Pray

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

“May they prosper who love you.

Peace be within your walls,

Prosperity within your palaces.”

Psalm 122:6-7

 

This week as we pray, we focus on the Kingdom,

Established and grounded on a sure foundation.

As we diligently pursue Godly wisdom,

New paths of this Apostolic Reformation

Unfold as the sun rises on the horizon.

Even in turbulent times, we must stay the course.

Aware of consequences of each decision,

We look to God our Father, bountiful resource.

We are new wineskins, flexible, open to change.

With a “kingdom mindset” we now see with new eyes.

Beyond past narrow limits our view is long-range.

We number our days with each sunset and sunrise.

Observing the times and giving meaning to them,

We ever pray for “the peace of Jerusalem.”

 

Mariano Jose Jimenez offers a musical composition inspired by the exhortation to “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.”

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“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 14

May 28, 2013
This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

In thinking about wisdom this morning, I recognize that wisdom is not a static entity; it is not a trophy to be displayed with pride, but wisdom connotes action, it is something that must be applied. The Psalmist declares in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” and further states, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when will you come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart (Psalm 101:2).

In the Book of Proverbs we find two references to walking in wisdom or to walk as the wise:

Proverbs 13:20

He who walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walks wisely, he shall be delivered.

Two of the most enlightening scriptures regarding walking in wisdom occur in the New Testament:

Ephesians 5:15

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

To walk circumspectly, means to walk carefully, accurately, “to be watchful on all sides.”

Colossians 4:5 instructs believers to

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”

Walking in wisdom involves being intentional and making deliberate choices that determine the direction and ultimate fulfillment of one’s purpose in God.

The following poem composed a number of years ago refers to “walking in wisdom” in the context of renewing the mind and maturing in Christ.

A New Song: Changing the Way We Receive the Word

“Praise prepares us for worship.”

 Jimmy Mitchell

 

To change or remain the same is always a choice:

Either to conform to the world or be transformed,

To act to express our lives in the middle voice.

We face each new day, renewing our minds, reformed

To embrace a new way of receiving the Word.

To rise to another level demands a price:

To follow in the footsteps of Jesus, our Lord,

We must renew our minds and a make a sacrifice

And mature in Christ, as we walk forth in wisdom.

Our apostolic model will thrive and abound

To become a major influence for God’s Kingdom.

We bring forth fruit one hundredfold sown on good ground.

Sing a new song, for praise prepares us for worship:

The ultimate expression of our true sonship.

The accompanying video, while not the usual musical selection, shows the amount of time we have and urges us to “redeem the time” which is part of our walking in wisdom.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 13

May 27, 2013
This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

As I began the day reflecting upon wisdom and looking over some of the poetry that I had written with references to wisdom, I came across a journal entry written over ten years ago where I discussed the term “apothecary” which is part of the name used for my blog. Here is an excerpt:

“[I am] reading Exodus 25: a discussion of the recipe given to Moses to prepare the holy anointing oil for the tabernacle, to be “compounded after the art of the apothecary.” I am moved to tears as I read the passage and think of the years I spent as a pharmacist; indeed, I was endeavoring to follow recipes “to compound after the art of the apothecary.” Only within the last three or four years have I come to realize the connection between the natural and the spiritual within the context of my “compounding after the art of the apothecary,” both in terms of my bi-vocational endeavors.  The phrase, of course, is also the title of a villanelle composed for the collection Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance.”

The poetic entry for today is “A New Anointing” with a reference to the anointing oil that I mention in the journal excerpt.

This verse provides the introduction to "A New Anointing."

This verse provides the introduction to “A New Anointing.”

A New Anointing

But my horn you have exalted

like a wild ox; I have been

anointed with fresh oil.

Psalm 92:10

                                               

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,

to give unto them beauty for ashes,

the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise

for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called

trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord,

that he might be glorified.

 

Isaiah 61:3

 

I am still overwhelmed, utterly astounded

When I recall all that the Lord has done and stand

In this place of grace where sin had once abounded.

Yielded and still, I submit to all that He has planned.

Here I receive a new anointing compounded

Still after the art of the apothecary.

Fragrant  blessings caress all that  I do and say,

As I touch the realm of the extraordinary.

I must walk in wisdom and not be confounded

By devilish devices that distract and dismay.

I look to God who shall bless and refresh my soul,

As He pours this precious ointment upon my head

That I might be sanctified, preserved and made whole

And trade sorrow for the oil of gladness instead.

Trusting in God’s will is never disappointing,

As I receive from on high this new anointing.

 

David Baroni gives us a spirited rendition of “A New Anointing,” a perfect musical selection for today’s blog entry, more “Good Medicine” placed on the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

 

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 12

May 27, 2013
This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

The number 12 represents governmental order, according to E.W. Bullinger, who speaks of 12 as “a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection.” On the 12th day of this series of entries on wisdom, I recognized that lately I have been thinking about putting things in order, in that I have been undergoing a period of intense personal introspection. One of poems that relates to this topic also contains a reference to wisdom.

A number of years ago, Apostle Eric Warren of Equip U Ministries taught a series of messages on the rebuilding of the wall and the gates at Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah. As I heard the messages and took notes, I was inspired to write a poem for each of the twelve gates. The last gate was the Miphkad Gate. The Hebrew word miphkad means “appointment, account, census, mustering,” as this gate is said to the place of numbering or census:

The last gate mentioned in Book of Nehemiah is the Miphkad Gate which is associated with inspection, gathering, assessment.

The last gate mentioned in Book of Nehemiah is the Miphkad Gate which is associated with inspection, gathering, and assessment.

Miphkad Gate: “I Ask Again That You Inspect Me

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

 Psalm 139:23-24

 

 

The Lord, our God, one who has never slept nor slumbered,

The only wise God who sees all and always takes note,

Observing where the people gather to be numbered

And assessed, whether to cast aside or to promote

At the Miphkad Gate, place of accountability:

The gate repaired by ministers of the market place.

Here in this place I ask again that you “Inspect Me”,

Here where everyone must give an account, face to face,

And stand before God Almighty, who alone is good.

As I pass through this last gate, may I never forget

God’s mercy and grace but follow after Christ as I should

And fully transform my thoughts to a Kingdom mindset.

May I walk in truth, applying my heart unto wisdom

And by obedience reap benefits of the Kingdom.

 

Hillsong offers a moving rendition of “Search Me O God,” an appropriate musical accompaniment to this blog entry, another dose of “Good Medicine” from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 11

May 25, 2013
This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

Each morning as I rise to use the bathroom and refresh myself to start the day, I often recite a statement made by Prophet Kim Clement, as I look in the mirror and wash my hands: “I see myself somewhere in the future, and I’m looking so much better than I look right now. . .” I go on to attach this personal addendum: “But right now, I’m looking good!”

While looking in the mirror, many times I think of my true identity, as I continually attempt to assess who I am and who I desire to be, as I seek to do the will of God. Some time ago, I posted a blog entry entitled “My New Identity Kit” which contained a poem with a reference to wisdom as well as to knowledge. Here are “Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise” for Day 11:

My True Identity

 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,

are changed into the same image from glory to glory,

even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

II Corinthians 3:18

I look in the mirror of God’s Word and I see,

Not the man I am but the man I shall become,

Reflected in my eyes, my true identity.

 

Released from shackles of a slave mentality,

The bondage of Egypt I have now overcome.

I look in the mirror of God’s Word and I see.

 

I smile as I keep singing of “A Brand New Me.”

In my heart I have prepared for God a new home,

Reflected in my eyes, my true identity.

 

“I am what I am” is my new reality:

A first-born son, model of the Father’s Kingdom.

I look in the mirror of God’s Word and I see.

 

God’s blessings in double measure overtake me,

Flowing by the spirit in knowledge and wisdom,

Reflected in my eyes, my true identity.

 

I live to fulfill my prophetic destiny,

As joys unfold with even greater joys to come.

I  look in the mirror of God’s Word and I see

Reflected in my eyes, my true identity.

 

As I begin to understand more fully who I am and who God intended for me to be, not only am I looking good, but I am also “feeling good” as this YouTube video by Michael Buble makes known:

 

 

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 10

May 24, 2013
This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is a variation in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs, in that its inspiration is another source.

This morning I did not begin my day by reflecting on wisdom as revealed in the Book of Proverbs, but I was inspired to compose a poem based on remarks that I heard at the graduation ceremony for the Columbus, Ohio campus of National College where I serve as an adjunct professor. The former director, Joe DeLuca, who originally hired me, offered some remarks in presenting awards to students whose lives he had impacted as the first director of the College. He spoke of “Three C’s of Life.” Although I did not produce a poetic work directly based on wisdom from the Book of Proverbs, the following poem does fall into the category of “Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise.” So what initially seemed like a digression from the series is not after all.  Here is the entry for Day 10:

Choices, Chances, and the Changes We Make

for Joe DeLuca, whose remarks inspired this poem

 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed        

by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is        \

that good and acceptable and perfect will of God

Romans 12:2

 

As we journey life’s highway, we all must make a choice:

To follow the path that leads to life or the way of death.

The Lord says choose life, but we must give heed to His voice

And follow the path of life each day that we draw breath.

 

Each day we can remain where we are or take a chance

And open up to release what we have and to give,

As we determine whether we diminish or enhance.

Only when we give in love do we begin to live.

 

God’s Word encourages us to be transformed, to change.

As butterflies emerge in beauty, our lives unfold.

From death to life, beauty for ashes God will exchange.

For those who walk uprightly, nothing good will He withhold.

 

Life is the sum of choices and chances, risks that we take,

Not to be conformed but transformed by the changes we make.

Zebra Longwing Butterfly

The ultimate expression of change is the metamorphosis that takes place with butterflies, as alluded to in the poem. Earlier this spring the annual Blooms and Butterflies exhibit opened at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, and as Columbus Christian Spirituality Examiner, I posted an article which discussed metamorphosis and shared its spiritual application and showed a time-lapse video of the process. Here is the link to the article:

http://www.examiner.com/article/blooms-and-butterflies-exhibit-opens-a-spiritual-application

Today’s entry is a slight variation on the Words of Wisdom series but  “good medicine,” nonetheless.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 9

May 23, 2013
This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

Despite the sweet savor of past victories that we desire to linger forever or the bitter aftertaste of former times of seeming defeat that we seek to forget, each day unfolds as a new beginning, an opportunity to make a fresh start. How do we begin? We go back to the beginning.  As we reflect upon wisdom, so brilliantly displayed in the Book of Proverbs, we find that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” poetically expressed in this manner:        

The Beginning of Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.

Psalm 19:9    

 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:

 and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.   

Proverbs 9:10

 

I begin and stand in absolute awe of You,

Thoroughly washed in the fountain of holiness.

The old has passed away—Behold, You make all things new:

Redeemed and justified by Christ, my righteousness.

As You search the earth, may I find grace in your sight.

I seek to be wise but never in my own eyes.

Here stands a perfect man, one destined to walk upright,

A beloved son, whose heart Your Word purifies.

I am filled with knowledge and wisdom from above

And bound by a covenant no one can sever,

For nothing can separate me from God’s love:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.

I am renewed in strength and upheld by God’s Word,

As I pursue wisdom, growing in the fear of the Lord.

A perfect accompaniment of this poem is the worship song “We Choose the Fear of the Lord”  by the Maranatha Singers, another dose of “Good Medicine” from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 8

May 22, 2013
As we go through life, we encounter difficult situations whereby we can grow if we apply the lessons learned.

As we go through life, we encounter difficult situations whereby we can grow if we apply the lessons learned.

Many times as I begin my day in a meditative way, a passage of scripture or song lyrics will come to mind to jumpstart my day. This morning I thought of the lyrics to a powerful song performed by Barbra Streisand called “Lessons to be Learned:

Why did that right road take that wrong turn?

Why did our heart break, and why did we get burned?

Just like the seasons there are reasons for the path we take:

There are no mistakes—only lessons to be learned.

I began to think of some of the lessons that God is teaching me this season of my life. As a life-long learner, an ever-eager student in the University of Life, I am continually learning more about God and my relationship with Him, particularly in terms of applying the principles of wisdom, not just this month during this time of sharing “Words of Wisdom” from the Book of Proverbs, but each day abounds with opportunities to learn and grow.

A most valuable lesson that I am learning relates to using wisdom in terms of the words that we speak. An original poem that mentions wisdom in the context of the Spirit of Wisdom is “The Power of the Tongue:”

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

James 3:8

 

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,

So I covenant to guard the gates of my lips,

For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.

I desire life and long to see good all my days,

So I speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.

Like Jesus, I want my tongue to speak what God says.

I seek to be wise but never in my own eyes.

Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,

I seek not just a word but the Spirit of wisdom.

The last line of the poem brings to mind another song that captures the essence of that for which I am seeking: “Seekers of Your Heart” rendered by Steve Green, Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris.

This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 7

May 21, 2013
This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This morning as I start to think about wisdom in Proverbs, I recognized that wisdom is portrayed as a woman in the first nine chapters of the book, as the entire message concludes with the 31st chapter which offers the magnificent portrait of the epitome of wisdom displayed in the “virtuous woman.”

Lady Wisdom

In researching the personification of wisdom as a woman, I discovered a discussion by Bryony Taylor, who asks, “Why is wisdom personified as a woman in the Old Testament book of Proverbs?” The text is an undergraduate essay that she wrote for her BA in Theology & Ministry. One of her references speaks of the image of “Lady Wisdom,” a term that I use in the poetic entry for the daily dose of “words to the wise” for Day 7:

Come, Dine with Lady Wisdom

Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.      

Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I’ve prepared a table to set before you. “

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

 Ambassador Academy Blessing

 Riches and honor are with me,
enduring wealth and righteousness.

[New American Standard Bible] Proverbs 8:18

                              

Come, dine with Lady Wisdom, consummate hostess.

She invites you to partake of her sumptuous feast.

All who eat at her table will know great success.

For Wisdom is principal: the first and not the least.

Come, be satisfied at her banqueting table.

Eat and drink—those who hunger and thirst she will fill

With fruit from above—gentle, pure and peaceable.

To give long life is the pleasure of her perfect will.

Come, buy without money and purchase without price.

The gracious Lady freely gives to those who ask.

From her bounty she has more than enough to suffice.

Your goblet will ever overflow from her flask.

“Come and dine with me, Wisdom calls throughout the lands.

Glory, honor, wealth and favor flow from her hands.

Today’s blog entry concludes with a YouTube video of a tribute for Mother’s Day 2007 from Cornerstone City Church, containing excerpts from the God’s Word Translation of Proverbs 31 with background music.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 6

May 18, 2013
This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring “a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This morning as I began to reflect upon wisdom as expressed in the Book of Proverbs, I happened to think about an important component of my spiritual life: “faith.” My mind went back to what I recall as my “first teaching based on the Bible.” I was a rising sophomore in high school when I volunteered to prepare a message for Youth Night at a church camp that I attended in Northern Michigan that summer. For some reason, I was led to share on “faith” and opened with Hebrews 11:1, 6:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

But without faith, it is impossible to please him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

Over the years, faith has been a subject that I have studied and endeavored to understand and apply to my life, in my efforts to be “the mighty man of faith whom God called me to be.”

A number of years ago, my daughter, Melissa, asked me to write a commentary on faith for her website, and this is what I shared:

To unleash our true purpose and passion and then turn it into profit, we must establish a firm foundation upon which we build. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the midst thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!”  Voices shout “You can’t” but faith proclaims “We can and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible.  We, who live in the state of Ohio, recognize and rejoice in our State Motto: “For with God all things are possible.”Indeed, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

Following a similar pattern of building, we must also apply wisdom to our lives, for as Proverbs 9:1-3 remind us:

Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns.

She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table.

She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.

In looking over some of the poems that I have written with wisdom as the subject, I found this piece that speaks of these two vital elements of our lives as believers:

Wisdom and Faith           

Through words of wisdom and faith, I call forth blessing

to come upon me and overtake me.”

Patricia King

 

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,

but in the power of God.

I Corinthians 2:5

 

Through words of wisdom and faith, I call forth blessing

Upon blessing to overtake me and abound,

As I press toward the mark, while each day progressing

Until all who love His appearing will be crowned.

Through wisdom and faith, I call forth that which is not,

As though it were and follow faithful Abraham,

The father of all who still believe, no matter what.

I declare that I am all that God says I am

And align my life in synch with the coming Kingdom.

Through the Blood of the Lamb and my testimony

I overcome by faith and the power of Christ’s wisdom,

For nothing can deter me from my destiny.

I press toward the mark, the prize I am destined to win,

By faith, hand in hand with wisdom, her gracious twin.

Here is a link to another blog entry discussing faith with accompanying musical selections, more “good medicine” from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe:

https://drlej.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/faith-the-foundation-of-my-life/

How firm is my foundation: Not a question but a statement

Faith and Wisdom are two vital components of building our lives as committed believers who walk in the power of God.