Archive for May, 2014

He shall return

May 31, 2014

1 Thessalonians 4_16-17

The Verse of the Day for May 31, 2014 comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This particular passage makes reference to a subject that continues to generate much discussion: the return of Jesus Christ. Whether termed “the Rapture” or “the Gathering Together,” or somewhat irreverently called “the Big Snatch,” the Return of Christ still stirs the hearts of believers. Although the term “rapture” is not used in the Scriptures, the Latin derivation of the word is translated from the Greek word harpazo, meaning “to carry off,” “snatch up,” or “grasp hastily.”

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the Bridegroom, went away to prepare a place and promised to return for his bride. That promise ignites passion in the heart of believers. Lately this “enduring flame” burns even more brilliantly, as we grow older and witness the passing of family members, friends and loved ones, especially contemporaries of our same age range. Such occasions bring to mind the words of the Psalmist who describes our lives as but a vapor.

Whether the person who dies is a celebrity, such as Maya Angelou, who recently passed away at age 86 or a co-worker who lived and died in obscurity, during such times we may experience the depths of sorrow and a sense of loss that can be overwhelming. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we take comfort and encouragement from the passage that includes the Verse of the Day. The New Living Translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 provide great comfort and assurance:

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.

17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

18 So encourage each other with these words.

The lyrics to this song remind of the certainty of the Savior’s  promise:

He Shall Return

 

He shall return.

He shall return.

Look up toward the Eastern sky.

He shall return.

He shall return.

Look up, your redemption is drawing nigh.

 

He shall return.

He shall return.

He shall return.

 

Derrick Drover provides a vocal picture of what will occur when “He Shall Come.”

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Do I put my trust: Five songs of trust

May 30, 2014

Psalm-56 4

The Verse of the Day for May 30, 2014 makes this bold declaration:

Psalm 56:4

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

The Amplified Bible offers this rendering:

By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?

Verse 11 of Psalm 56 reiterates the same point:

11 In God have I put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Indeed, some variation of the expression “do I put my trust” is used throughout the Psalms in Psalm 7:1, 16:1, 31:1, and 71:1

I recall that on occasions when my father would be asked to bless the food before our family shared a meal together, he would say, “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust,” the first part of Psalm 31:1:

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

The Psalmist also makes known that it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. As I turn from my former position of totally depending upon myself and others, I learn to put my trust in God. In thinking about trust, I developed an acrostic that expresses the essence of what it means to trust or to have trust, which is spelled T-R-U-S-T:

I proclaim that I will maintain a “Triumphant attitude” with “Rugged determination” and “Unswerving commitment,” as I further develop “Strengthened believing” and “Tremendous confidence.”

“I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus”

The Verse of the Day also brought to mind five songs related to “trusting God.” The first one is “I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,” a hymn that I was introduced to a week or so before I was married more than forty years ago. As we were driving toward our first ministry assignment, the lyrics rang in my head.

I recognize and declare the truth of these lyrics that continue to remind me that: “I Am Trusting Thee Lord Jesus”:

Here is a rendering of the hymn by the Lutheran Quartet:

“Trusting Jesus”

Recently I discovered another 19th Century hymn “Trusting Jesus” with the memorable line “Trusting Jesus, that is all.” Here is video of this a capella hymn rendered as sacred harp singing or shape note singing recorded at Mount Pisgah in Stroud, AL, May 24, 2008. Harp singing or shape note singing dates back to the colonial period and continues to enjoy popularity in the rural South and elsewhere.

Edgar P. Stites wrote the lyrics, and Ira D. Sankey provided the music:

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain:
Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly doth His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

“Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”

One of the most popular hymns of all times relates to trust: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” This recording features the Altar of Faith Men’s Chorale:

“I Will Trust in You”

The next song of trust is a contemporary song of worship written and performed by Gary Oliver: “I will trust in you”

“I Trust You”

The final song is another contemporary gospel song that has come to mean a great deal to me: “I Trust You” by James Fortune and Fiya.

These five songs of trust reinforce the message that “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever

May 29, 2014

 

Psalm 103--17

Taken from Psalm 103:17-18, the Verse of the Day for May 29, 2014 makes known this truth:

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

This passage also brings to mind a familiar expression found throughout the Old Testament: “For the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.”

In I Chronicles 16:34 when the ark of the covenant was brought out from the house of Obededom, David and Levites and those associated with worship offered praise and thanksgiving to God saying,

34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.

When the Temple was dedicated, we find a similar expression of praise in 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 which describe what transpired when the Temple built by Solomon was dedicated:

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;

14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

Throughout the Psalms we find this familiar refrain of praise. Psalm 118:1 opens with “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endures forever, “while verses 2-4 end with the phrase: “that his mercy endures forever.”

Likewise, the phrase “his mercy endures forever” is the ending refrain of every verse of Psalm 136.

Jeremiah 33:10-12 reveal the awesome power of God to transform a place of desolation into a thriving habitation of abundance, as His people bring forth praise and thanksgiving:

10 Thus says the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,

11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endures for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, says the Lord.

12 Thus says the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.

“Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men,” says the Psalmist (Psalm 107:1) As I look back over my life, at times I am overwhelmed by the goodness of God. “God is so good”—is all I can say at times. I certainly concur with the Psalmist who declares, “For the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.”

In reflecting upon that familiar verse, I recognize that the very essence of God is goodness. The word good is derived from “God” who alone is good. Indeed, Jesus Christ said, “There is none good but the Father.” And there is no comparative or superlative with God. There are no “better” days with God. God does not have the “best” day He’s had in a long time in comparison to others. With God everyday is a “Good News Day” because “God is good.” Period! Because God is good, “. . . all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28—my favorite verse in the whole Bible) So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good: “For the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.”

Israel Houghton and New Breed offer this lively rendition of “Lord, You Are Good”

Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep

May 28, 2014

Romans_12-15

The Verse of the Day for May 28, 2014 is taken from Romans 12:15 which tells us to  “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 in the New Living Testament also remind us:

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.   A time to grieve and a time to dance.

One of the times when we “weep with them that weep” occurs with the death of a family member, a friend or loved one. During such times we may experience deep sorrow and great loss, as we look to the Word of God to find the comfort and strength to overcome the sense of anguish that can be overwhelming. Because of the hope of Christ’s return, the Scriptures indicate that believers should not sorrow as others who have no hope, but the Bible does not state that we should not sorrow at all. Indeed, there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.

When it comes to “weeping with them that weep,” from time to time someone expresses the misguided notion that “a man ain’t supposed to cry.” On the contrary, the greatest man who ever lived, a real “man’s man,” a man for all seasons, openly displayed his emotions in the John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” We also see that Jesus wept over Jerusalem. In the hours prior to his crucifixion, Jesus Christ experienced great sorrow, as Matthew 26:37-38 (NLT) reveal:

37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.

38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Jesus Christ before his departure from this life was forewarning his disciples that they would likewise experience great sorrow in John 16:20-22 (NLT):

20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.

21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.

22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.

As believers when we experience great loss, we are reminded that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. The essence of the message regarding sorrow and loss is expressed in this poem:

Ain’t No Harm to Moan Sometime

a blues sonnet of sorts

 

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:4

 

Jesus, the Savior said, “Blessed are they that mourn.”

Yes, sir, the Master said, “Blessed are they that mourn.”

Think about that the next time you’re sad and forlorn.

 

Though you be a witness, proclaiming the gospel news.

Yes, you may be a witness, proclaiming the gospel news.

Yet and still, all God’s children gotta taste the blues.

 

Hard times come–some folk have few, and some have many.

Hard times come–some folk have few, and some have many.

Don’t forget, even Jesus had His Gethsemane.

 

Though dark clouds hang so low you don’t know what to do,

Though dark clouds hang so low you don’t know what to do,

Remember, the sun shines on the other side of “through.”

 

Don’t matter how low you go, how high you climb,

I declare, “Ain’t no harm to moan. . . sometime.”

 

Though our hearts may be heavy during times of sorrow and loss, we rejoice, knowing that God will turn our mourning into joy, and will comfort us, and make us rejoice from our sorrow. Psalm 126:5-6 (NLT) remind us:

Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

The Sons of Korah provide this musical rendition of Psalm 126:

To finish my course

May 27, 2014

Acts-20 24

Taken from Acts 20:24, the Verse of the Day for May 27, 2014 relates Paul’s final words, as he departs from the believers at Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem and ultimately to Rome, the place of the final phase of his journey.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

This verse also brings to mind Paul’s admonition in 1 Timothy 6:12:

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 in the Amplified Bible Paul makes a similar declaration, as he recognizes that his departure from this life is close at hand:

I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

[As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

Throughout the New Testament Paul uses a number of athletic references, such as “finishing my course, or race.” In such instances my thoughts often turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay. Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race. If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distance and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line. My desire was not just to finish but to finish strong, to press toward the mark for prize and to win.

I recall that many times the outcome of the track meet was known before completing the last two races which were relays. As members of God’s Team with Jesus Christ as our champion, our captain, we have already won, but we still need to finish our course, the race that is set before us. The believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot possibly lose; however, the challenge is to finish our individual race with our P.B. (personal best). So that like Paul we can also make known that “I have finished my race with joy. . . I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Listen to the Overtones as they sing of “Unstoppable Joy,” inspired by Acts 20; 24:

John 3:16 and John 3:17

May 26, 2014

John 3 17

The Verse of the Day for May 26, 2014 is found in John 3:17 (KJV):

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:17, of course, follows John 3:16, one of the most often quoted verses in the Bible. Christianity Today reported that Bible Gateway visitors spent more than 76 million hours on BibleGateway.com in 2013. Of the 456 million visits and 1.5 billion page views, number one among the top 10 searches for Bible verses last year was John 3:16 (KJV):

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Sound of Music, one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all times, gives us these memorable lyrics from Oscar Hammerstein II:

A bell is not a bell till you ring it. A song is not a song till you sing it. Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.”

The last line reminds us that with love, there must be a demonstration or manifestation to express the reality of that powerful emotion. We speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16.

The book of I John also elaborates on the love of God in the corresponding verse:

1 John 3:16

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.

I recently came across this anonymous quote: “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. Another statement reiterates the same point: “Love is a verb. Without action it is merely a word.”

Verse 18 of 1 John 3 further reminds us,

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or brought to maturity in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. We must do more than think about love or talk about love; we must demonstrate love by what we do, just as God did in offering His son as a demonstration that He so loved the world.

St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir offers the classic choral piece “God So Loved the World” which is based on John 3:16-17.

Guard the gates: what you see, hear, speak

May 25, 2014

James 1-19

The Verse of the Day for May 25, 2014 is found in James 1:19 rendered in this way in the Amplified Bible:

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

The passage brings to mind a comment from writer John Bunyan, who recognizes that individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys also comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

Three_wise_monkeys_figure

As guardians of the gates of our heart, we must:

 Watch what we hear: Hear No Evil

Whenever possible, individuals should consciously and consistently make every effort to listen to words and music that edify and encourage rather than words and music that tear down and destroy. Positive generates positive, while negative produces negative. We must learn to listen attentively that we might not only hear but also understand. We should consciously make a concerted effort to listen to hear words of life and hope, for as K. Eubanks noted, “It is faith that breathes life into hope. It is hope that fuels a positive life-giving attitude.”

 Watch what you see: See No Evil

Without question the mind can be flooded with negative images of all sorts, but we can choose to focus our attention on the positive aspects of life as revealed in the Word of God. In the same way that David determined: “I covenant with my eyes to see no evil,” we must determine to dwell upon positive mental images rather than negative ones. We can use visualization techniques to see ourselves successfully completing the tasks set before us. Paul J. Meyer maintains that “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”

Watch what you speak: Speak No Evil

Since “life and death are in the power of the tongue,” we must carefully choose the words that we speak, as the lines from this poem states:

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.

We are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

The essence of the importance of guarding these three gates is captured in a simple children’s song that expresses profound truths: “O Be Careful Little Eyes:

Love, honor, forgive one another

May 24, 2014

 

Romans 12 10

10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. Amplified Bible

Here is a video reminder of this verse

The Verse of the Day for May 24, 2014 incorporates two of the seven principles for achieving successful relationships. Developed by Apostle Carolyn Warren of Equip U Ministries, these valuable, practical principles can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.”

Each of the seven principles is expressed as a verb that connotes action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another,” a phrase that is used 31 times in the Scriptures.

1)      Love

2)     Honor

3)     Forgive

Love one another:

Love is an essential element of life. Jesus Christ is the model, the standard of love who offered this reminder:

John 13:34-35

 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

Honor one another:

To honor means to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem. The word also means “to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.” Clearly, this is the essence of the latter part of Romans 12:10

Apostle John Tetsola comments, “Honor produces an exchange, in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return.” He elaborated upon this principle by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance” which we apply when we honor one another.

Song writer Jimmy Scott sings a composition “To Honor You,” a tribute to the memory of a loved one.

Forgive one another

In actuality, a third principle—that is—to forgive one another is incorporated in the first part of the Verse of the Day which encourages us to “love one another.”   An aspect of love is giving. Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. John Oxenham reminds us of this truth:

Love ever lives, outlives forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives,

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give.

You actually could keep adding “and give” to last line ad infinitum. For such love expresses endless giving.

And so the Verse of the Day encompasses not only the exhortation to love and honor one another but also by implication to forgive one another.

Spoken word poet, Amena Brown reads selections from Romans 12, from The Voice, a new Bible translation, from which the Verse of the Day was taken.

Romans 15:2–Please his neighbor

May 23, 2014

Romans_15-2

The Amplified Bible renders Romans 15:2 this way:

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].

The Verse of the Day for May 23, 2014 brings to mind the importance of our relationship with others as expressed in the first and great commandment: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets, said Jesus Christ. When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God, who is love.

Here is a musical expression of these profound truths by Martha Hall Bowman, who sings “The Greatest Commandment”:

I recall attending a life-changing “It’s All about Relationships” Conference, where Apostle Carolyn Warren discussed seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These seven principles were expressed as verbs which connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” Here is a poetic summary of those principles:

We must learn to value and steward relationships,

As we ever strive to launch, grow and to maintain them.

As we love, honor, forgive and encourage each other,

We must admonish, serve, and make peace with one another.

The Verse of the Day brings to mind the first principle: “love one another.” Each day we must decide to demonstrate, freely give and practice love: the first thread whereby we must launch all relationships and follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

Michael W. Smith offers comments and a spirited rendition of a “Love One Another.”

These three things I know

May 22, 2014

what-do-you-know

Recently I thought of the expression “What do you know?” as I began my day in a reflective way. That phrase was also the title of a quiz show heard on BBC radio in the 1950s and 1960s. Generally used as a rhetorical question, “What do you know?” is part of the exquisite lyrics to one of my favorite songs “It’s a Quiet Thing”:

When it all comes true
Just the way you planned
It’s funny but the bells don’t ring
It’s a quiet thing
When you hold the world
In your trembling hand
You think you’d hear a choir singing
But it’s a quiet thing
There are no exploding fireworks
Where’s the roaring of the crowds
Maybe it’s the strange new atmosphere
Way up here among the clouds

I don’t hear the drum
I don’t hear the band,
The sound I’m told such moments bring
Happiness comes in on tiptoe
Well, what do you know
It’s a quiet thing
A very quiet thing

The expression also brings to mind a Bible teaching that I shared a couple of years ago entitled “These three things I Know”:

1)      Some things I know

2)     Some things I don’t know

3)     Some things only God knows

Some things I know. . .

One thing I know for sure is that that God loves me. I know that I love God and that’s really all that matters. Not only do I know that God loves me and that I love God, but these lyrics express what I really know:

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No matter how many times I go astray

And leave your side and choose to disobey.

When I’m overwhelmed and can’t even pray,

No matter what I do or do not say.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No one else knows my heart: You are the one

To call me home when I have no place to run.

When I look all around at all that I’ve done,

Despite all my failures, You still call me Son.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

Romans 8:28 is my favorite verse in the Bible, and it offers this reminder that because God is good, “We know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” So no matter how bad any situation may appear to be, I know that it will work together for the good.

Some things I don’t know. . .

I recall the lyrics to one of my all-time favorite Gospel songs “I don’t know about tomorrow.” This song was especially meaningful because it was a song that my late sister-in-law, Phyllis Warren Murdock sang. Click here to access a blog entry that pays tribute to Phyllis and offers a recording of the song that she sang so beautifully.

Without question, I don’t know the answers to many of life’s enigmas that seem to defy the mind of man. Quite honestly, I don’t know the answers to the questions that God asked Job. Some things are not mine to know. . . if God doesn’t tell me in the Word or by revelation, then I just don’t know

Romans 11:33-34 reminds us of this truth:

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?

I recall the lyrics to the hymn “I Know Whom I Have Believed” which states a series of things that the hymn writer does not know:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace

To me He hath made known,

Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

Redeemed me for His own.

The chorus of the familiar hymn resounds with this assurance found in 2 Timothy 1:12 :

But “I know Whom I have believed

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.”

The last verse brings to mind something that neither I nor anyone else knows:

I know not when my Lord may come,

At night or noon-day fair,

Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him,

Or “meet Him in the air.”

Some things only God knows . . .

When asked about his return to the earth, Jesus Christ responded in Matthew 24:36:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Although we are assured that the Lord Jesus Christ will return, no one is privy of the exact day and hour, but “of the times and seasons we have no need,” as I Thessalonians 5:1-3 remind us that the Lord’s return will happen suddenly, at the precise time that no one knows, only God.

When confronted with staggering vision of the dry bones, Ezekiel is asked the question in Ezekiel 37:3:

“Son of Man, can these bones live?” He responds, “O Lord God, You know!” As the New Living Testament puts it, “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

In thinking about things that only God knows, I recall this poem written to express that very idea:

“Lord, You Know!”

 

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

For we know not what we should pray for

as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes

intercession for us with groanings

which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:16

 

 

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

When the right words won’t come, and we can’t even pray.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

We set our sights above but our thoughts fall below.

Though we walk by faith, we stumble along the way.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

 

We triumph in Christ and rise to defeat each foe.

Even though we wage spiritual warfare night and day,

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

God puts us in a place for us to prove what we know;

He tests us to see whether we rebel or obey.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

 

God leads the way and only asks that we follow.

We start in strength but often seem to go astray.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

We long to serve the Lord, the one who loves us so,

But doubts and fears arise and somehow still dismay.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

Despite what we may think that we know and what we may think that we don’t know, we are comforted and assured with the words of I John 3:20:

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

Listen to “I Know Whom I Have Believed” which actually responds to what I know as well as what I do not know: