Archive for August, 2014

The Church: ultimate unity within diversity

August 29, 2014

Galatians 3--28

The emphasis of recent Verses of the Day has been on the Church, the Body of Christ, which is described in the Verse of the Day for August 29 found in Galatians 3:28 in the Amplified Bible:

There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

God is one and all that He has created is an expression of oneness or unity, as Acts 17:26 reveals regarding all of humanity:

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

The Church is the ultimate expression of oneness or unity of purpose, of unity within diversity.

Listen to and take a look at musical rendering of Galatians 3:27-28 called “As Many of You” which is also expressed in sign language.

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Looking at the works of God

August 28, 2014

John 6--28-29In John 6, we encounter the followers of Jesus Christ, those who had witnessed the series of miracles whereby he fed multitudes with a few fish and a small amount of bread. When they found the Lord on the other side of the Sea of Galilee after they had looked for him in the last place where he had been seen, they asked how they could perform similar miraculous works that they had seen him do:

John 6:28

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

 In John 6:29, the Verse of the Day for August 28, 2014, Jesus responds:

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (KJV)

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

Throughout the Scriptures we find references to the works of God.

Job 37:14 is this statement:

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

The Psalmist declares, “Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!” in verse 8 and throughout Psalm 107.

Psalm 40:5

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

The hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” comes to mind when thinking of the wondrous works of God.

We are reminded that as we read the Word of God we should not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments while Psalm 77:11:

I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

As Acts 15:18 reveals:

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

I recall a teaching where Apostle John Tetsola talked about the power of consistency in overcoming adverse situations where there is overwhelming lack of provision during seasons of difficulty, in the midst of the storms of life. He covered a number of accounts whereby Jesus performed mighty works in word and in deed. He spoke of some of the miracles of feeding the multitude with the fishes and the loaves, having an abundance of “leftovers” afterwards. That life changing ministry of the Word inspired this poem which is also the title of his teaching:

The Miracle of the Bread

 

 For every single problem that you have, 

the answer lies in the miracle of the bread.

Apostle John Tetsola

 

I will trust in the Lord and will not be afraid.

When the storms of life arise and seem to prevail,

When my strength is gone, and I seem destined to fail,

 In these tough times I recall words that Jesus said:

“O you of little faith, tell me, why did you doubt?”

No matter how midnight-black my nights seem to be,

I still access the power of consistency.

Although the world says no way, God will bring me out.

I learn never to elevate facts over truth

But recall past victories and bring them to my mind

When thousands were fed and abundance left behind

From two fishes and five loaves given by a youth.

In times of lack, I will not doubt but have faith instead

And always remember the miracle of the bread.

We must also remember what Jesus Christ declared in John 14:10-12 (Amplified Bible) regarding the works of God that he performed:

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).

 

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]

 

12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

Knowing that the Word of God never returns void but that it accomplishes what God desires and prospers where He sends it, we walk forth on those promises which have already come to pass.

Listen to this recording of a song entitled “All You Works of God.”

Everybody is somebody in the Body

August 26, 2014

Romans 12--4-5

In Romans 12:4-5 (KJV) we find the Verse of the Day for August 26, 2014:

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

A previous blog entry, God’s Doing A New Thing: Watch Him Work and Work with Him (Philippians 2:13), speaks of the “God’s new thing: The Church of the New Millennium:

I Corinthians 15:44 speaks of the correspondence between a natural body and a spiritual body:

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

Ephesians chapters 2 and 3 speak of the “mystery of the one body—the Church—the Body of Christ.” In discussing this concept, we find echoes of the sentiments expressed in the Verse of the Day, as I mention that “Everybody is somebody in the Body.” I also share a well-known selection that is related to the topic: “The Parable of 4 People—The Parable of Responsibility.” This selection by an unknown author is a condensed version of Charles Osgood’s “A Poem About Responsibility.”

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody were members of a “Church.”

 There was an important job to do, and Everybody was asked to do it.

 Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

 Anybody would have done it, but Nobody did it.

 Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job.

 Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Anybody wouldn’t do it.

 It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did, what Anybody could have done.

In closing out our discussion of the “one body,” I thought of the lyrics to the Children’s Ministry song:

“We are all members of the Body of Christ”

Sons of God by birthright.

We are chosen gems, polished by God and His Word.

We are beautiful in God’s sight.

Ephesians 4:16 also speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Kevin Conner in his book The Church in the New Testament brings out these points:

  • Every member of the church is part of God’s family.
  • Members are a building with Christ being the chief cornerstone.
  • Each member is described as the body, all having special parts and functions.
  • God has given each Christian a special gift. This means each person has talents and abilities that can be used to help other believers and advance the Kingdom of God.

Conner summarizes the discussion by pointing out the significance of Romans 12:4-5, as revealed in the New Living Translation:

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,

so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

Another song also tells us:

Remember we are all members of the Body;

Each one has a special place.

We try to build up everybody

For we are members of one another,

   saved by grace.

John Michael Talbot sings of “One Bread, One Body”:

Great peace: Nothing shall offend

August 25, 2014

Psalm 119--165The Verse of the Day for August 25, 2014 found in Psalm 119:165 (KJV) makes this declaration:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

The Amplified Bible offers this rendering:

Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them (cause them to stumble).

In Luke 17:1 Jesus Christ clearly states that offenses are inevitable:

And [Jesus] said to His disciples, Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come!

That which causes one to stumble is called an offense. As believers we are exhorted neither to give offense nor to receive an offense. In other words, we are encouraged neither to become a stumbling block nor to receive an offense which causes us to stumble. The old gospel song says, “I don’t want nobody stumbling over my life.”

As we renew our minds, we change our attitude to view what could potentially become a “stumbling block” and transform it into a “stepping stone.” With the mind of Christ, we don’t allow anything anyone does or says to disturb our peace or cause us to stumble into sin.

Francis Fragipane mentions that, as believers, we have all been hurt or encountered situations that left us wounded:

“. . . Yet, in seeking justice for ourselves, we must guard against the voice of self-pity. Indeed, self-pity keeps all our wounds alive. Instead of carrying the cross, we carry the offense. We must rebuke self-pity and command it to leave. We are followers of Christ! Therefore, forgive the offense and let it go. This is not a deep truth; it is the basic path of Christ!”

James 1:19 in the Amplified Bible offers this reminder

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 Psalmist declares nothing offends those who love or adhere firmly to the Word of God, for they manifest “great peace.” If we are going to have great, abundant peace, we have to sow peace first. In order to have an abundant harvest, we must first plant seeds and nuture them and bring them to maturity.

Peace is one of the fruit of the spirit. Of course, fruit is cultivated, the result of a cultivated life; it is mark of maturity. This particular fruit may not be borne in abundance in the early years, but as we grow in the knowledge of God and the application of His word, peace will abound in our lives, as we follow Christ’s command to love one another:

Walk in Love: Our Best Defense

Don’t bite the bait,          

Don’t take offense.

Walk in the love of Jesus Christ

It’s your best defense.

 

Scripture Memory Song

 

Always attacking, the Accuser stalks his prey,

Relentless in maligning Saints, both night and day.

Fiery darts of wicked words hurled in endless assaults:

The aim of evil deeds that magnify our faults.

He sets the traps, lures of the Spirit of Offense.

To counteract, we walk in love, our best defense.

He tries to trip us up, to be a stumbling block,

But we are ever vigilant around the clock.

Although we strive to reach the highest good,  

Our motives are questioned; we are misunderstood.     

Despite life’s challenges, we seek to rise above.

Though deeply wounded when betrayed, we still walk in love.

The thief comes to offend, falsely accuse and betray,

 But we conquer through Christ, each time we trust and obey

 

Psalm 119:165 is the inspiration for the classical composition “Great Peace have They which love Thy Law” by James Rodgers with Craig Combs, piano and performed by Nate Moon.

Call upon the name of the Lord

August 24, 2014

psalm 116_1-2The Verse of the Day for August 24 is found in Psalm 116:1-2 (KJV):

I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

The Psalmist acknowledges his love for the Lord who heard him when called upon His name. Because the Lord “inclined his ear unto” the one who called upon Him, the caller will continue to call as long as he lives. Verse 4 reiterates the same point:

Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

Echoes of these verses can be heard in this excerpt from “Plainsong,” a poem that I wrote in tribute to my father:

Your plainsong I know by heart,                         

a hymn stanza learned with ease,                       

lined out like the flow of chanted words,

syllables fused into a single sound:

I-love-the-Lord-He-heard-my-cry”

raised and repeated over countless Sunday mornings.

The poem makes reference to one of the vintage hymns composed by the great 18th Century hymn writer, Dr. Isaac Watts, who uses Psalm 116:1 as the inspiration for “I love the Lord; He heard my cries” with this opening stanza:

I love the Lord; he heard my cries,
And pity’d every groan:
Long as I live, when troubles rise,
I’ll hasten to his throne.

The hymns of Dr. Watts found their way into African American churches, being transformed into chants and acapella songs that formed the foundation of 20th Century gospel music. Listen to Debra Henderson who leads a congregation in lining out this classic hymn by Dr. Watts.

In addition to Psalm 116:1-2, other verses also remind us to call upon the name of the Lord:

1 Chronicles 16:8

Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

Psalm 105:1

O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Romans 10:13 so clearly makes known the results occurring to those who petition the Lord:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Throughout the Scriptures we see that believers are encouraged to call upon the name of the Lord. Note this invitation extended in Jeremiah 33:2-3 (NIV):

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name:

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

One of the most often quotes passages from Jeremiah relates a promise given by God to Israel in Jeremiah 29:11-13, a passage that applies to Christians today as well:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Psalm 107 reveals the seemingly never-ending cycle whereby the people of God stray from the pathways of God and find themselves in difficult straights, and as verses, 6, 13, 19, and 28 make known:

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

Despite the truth that God consistently delivers those who cry out to him, His people too often fall back into trouble whereby they once again call upon the Lord in the midst of their struggles. Throughout the Psalms and elsewhere in the Scriptures we see that our faithful God responds to those who call upon Him

Jim and Ginger Hendricks provide a moving musical exhortation: “Call unto Me”

God: The ultimate giver

August 22, 2014

Romans_8-32

Romans 8:32 KJV

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The Verse of the /Day for August 22, 2014 brings to mind that God is the ultimate “Giver.” As the supreme giver, God practices the very principles that He implements. As a liberal giver par excellence, our Father gives, withholding nothing. Without question, He is generous and extravagant in His giving. As the supreme expression of giving, God applies the very principles that He establishes. Jesus Christ teaches this foundational principle in Luke 6:38:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

 

The essence of this principle is poetically expressed in this excerpt which opens with a poem by John Oxenham, followed by an original stanza:

 

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.

 

He who lives and never gives,

May live for years and never live.

But he who lives and lives to give

Shall live for years and years and years

With more to give and give and give.

Giving is a demonstration or manifestation of love. It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Whenever we think of love and its connection with giving, we think of God who demonstrated or manifested His love, as revealed in one of the most quoted Bible verses of all time: John 3:16:

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.

This verse relates to Romans 8:32, in that we also ask, “If God is willing to give the greater, would he withhold the lesser?” Verse 32 is part of the section of Romans 8 that lets believers know that with God there is no accusation as verses 32-34 reveal:

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Though the adversary of souls, the accuser of the brethren, brings railing accusations against us day and night, Jesus Christ, our advocate, intercedes for us. As such, he is the consummate expression of love that the Verse of the Day speaks of so clearly.

Here is a musical rendering of Romans 8:32:

Lovingkindness and songs in the night

August 21, 2014

                                               Psalm 42_8

The Verse of the Day for August 21, 2014 is found in Psalm 42:8 (KJV):

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

Translated from the Hebrew word chesed, the term lovingkindness is used 26 times in the Old Testament. In addition, the word has been translated “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “steadfast love” and “compassion,” even “goodness.” with the word occurring 21 times in the Book of Psalms, four times in Jeremiah and once in Hosea: In most instances the Psalmist refers to an attribute of God with references to “thy lovingkindness” or “my lovingkindness” or the lovingkindness of the Lord. The following notable illustrations speak of God’s lovingkindness that gives life and rescues from the grave:

Psalm 63:3

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Psalm 88:11

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

The familiar verse found in Psalm 103:4 speaks of the Lord

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Psalm 119:88 offers a request:

Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

A similar petition is revealed in Psalm 119:149

Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment.

Hosea 2:19 speaks of the enduring relationship that God establishes with His people:

And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.

In addition to the declaration of God’s lovingkindness during the day, the latter part of Psalm 42:8 refers to “his song” which shall be with me in the night. In the Book of Job we find a reference to “God, my maker, who gives songs in the night,” while Psalm 77:6 makes a similar reference:

I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

Isaiah 30:29 also describes such a special song:

Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.

The expression brings to mind this original song:

 Songs in the Night

 

Though the battle is long

And opponents seem so strong

And everything you do seems to always turn out wrong,

At your point of need, God is faithful and true.

God will encourage your heart and strengthen you,

He will lengthen your courage and see you through.

You are not alone; God remembers His own.

God will give. . .God still gives songs in the night.

 

Songs in the night to brighten the road.

Songs in the night to lighten the load.

Songs in the night to comfort and assure,

To uphold you and to help you to endure.

You are not alone; God remembers His own.

God will give. . . Yes, God still gives songs in the night.

The Maranatha Singers offer “Thy Loving Kindness” based on Psalm 63:3

The Concordia Choir provides a moving rendition of “My Song in the Night”:

Tribute to Minister Ronnie Lee Hill: Master Chef and so Much More

August 19, 2014
Minister Ron Hill and Dr. J in a photo taken in Columbus, OH.

Minister Ron Hill and Dr. J in a photo taken in Columbus, OH.

Without question, there are times when words seem inadequate to express the depths of sorrow and sense of loss that come with the passing of someone who is close to us. Although the passing of our beloved Minister Ronnie Lee Hill deeply saddens us, we are comforted by the Word of God which reveals so clearly the hope of Christ’s return and the reminder that as believers, we should not sorrow as those who have no hope. We also receive strength and encouragement, as we recall special times that we have shared with our beloved brother and friend.

In reflecting upon the life of Minister Ron Hill, my mind is flooded with warm memories of a passionate minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, devoted husband, loving father, Master Chef, and so much more. Three special encounters with Ron stand out, however, for me.

My friendship with Ron and his wife Renee goes back to the 1ate 1970s when we first met. I had the privilege of performing the marriage ceremony for Ron and Renee in Bloomington, IN, Renee’s hometown and the place where I was enrolled in graduate school at Indiana University.

Our paths diverged and for a number of years we lost contact, but my wife Brenda was led to contact Renee when we were living in Columbus, OH. The Hills came to visit and eventually moved to the Columbus area where we both served in ministry at Equip U Ministries. During this time when I was serving as Professor of English at Otterbein University, I participated in a summer program for local high school students, and I invited Ron to be a guest speaker. He talked with the students about his career as a chef, demonstrating his culinary skills by preparing Caesar salad for the group and explaining the origin of the celebrated salad.

At that time he also talked about the various kinds of chefs, ranging from short order cooks to Executive Chefs. He went on to explain that a Master Chef was not only certified but also qualified to teach culinary arts. I later commented that Ron, indeed, was a Master Chef with a passion to teach not only culinary skills and practices, but he loved to teach the Word of God, as a faithful minister whose life had impacted countless believers across the nation.

One of my most vivid recollections of an encounter with Ron Hill occurred in 1980 when he was coordinator of Food Services at Camp Gunnison, Biblical research training facility outside Denver, CO. I was serving as an adjunct instructor, assisting with a Hebrew class. While there, Ron described a breathtakingly beautiful experience, as he observed the sunrise while sitting on top of a water tower on the grounds of the facility. He invited me to join him the next day, as we climbed the water tower in the early morning darkness and waited. The first rays of the new day illuminated the landscape of the Rocky Mountain in the foreground. The sun rose behind us with its golden rays flooding the snow-covered mountains with a deep purple hue that lightened with the rising sun. As I looked upon this indescribably beautiful sunrise, I understood more clearly the lyrics from “America, the Beautiful,” with its reference to “. . . purple mountain majesty.”  That unforgettable experience was one of those “golden moments” that took my breath away, becoming the inspiration for this poem which has become even more meaningful in light of Ron’s passing:

purple-mountain-majestySunrise

The sun also arises, and the sun goes down,

and hastens to the place where it arose.

Ecclesiastes 1:5

Today I beheld the beauty

of the dawning of the day,

the purple mountain majesty

crowned with mounds of sifted snow

displayed against the molten sky.

I saw no veil, no morning mist.

The sun’s purest rays revealed

mountains of uncut amethyst,

ignited in dawn’s afterglow,

lingering as a fading flame.

Fleeting embers are man’s reward,

tokens of passing pleasures till

we all are gathered with our Lord,

to see Him face to face and know

the sun shall rise to set no more.

We are strengthened and encouraged by the life of that Minster Ron Hill lived and the legacy that he leaves behind.

Many times during painful and perplexing experiences, I think of the lyrics to a song by Babbie Mason, and they express my sentiments during those difficult times. May all those who have experienced the loss of a friend or family member, such as Minister Hill, be fortified and comforted by the words of “Trust His Heart,” a song popularized by Babbie Mason, a contemporary Christian artist:

Yes and amen: In answer to God’s call

August 11, 2014

2 Corinthians 1_19

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 in a single word from the Word, as the Poet notes:

. . . the power

of the printed word,

the power of a single light,

like a cloven tongue of fire,

to shatter the darkest night.

One of the most powerful words in the English language, in my estimation, is “yes.” With regard to Jesus Christ, Paul makes known this profound truth in 2 Corinthians 1:19-21 (New Living Translation)

19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.

20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us,

Used to express affirmation or assent, “yes” often indicates as an affirmative reply. Certainly we are aware of that the word as a strong expression of joy, pleasure, or approval. When a player scores the winning shot in an overtime game, often excited fans respond with animated gestures and a vigorous “Yes! Way to go!”

Today I am celebrating an experience where I said “yes” forty years ago when I was ordained to the Christian ministry. Ordination is the public recognition of a response of an individual to the call of God to serve. For me, the recognition of this inner prompting to be of greater service may have transpired a considerable amount of time prior to August 11, 1974.

I recall as a child being aware of the presence of God, and as I grew older and was introduced to the Bible, I remember reading the passage in Isaiah 6 where the glory of God overwhelms the Prophet, who responds to the question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us.” Isaiah answers saying, “Here am I, send me.” This simple response resonated within me for years, and I simply acknowledged the call to ministry and said “Yes” in my heart, even before I really knew what I was doing.

In reflecting upon that life-transforming experience I was inspired to revise this poem written earlier:

In celebration of my ordination

to the Christian Ministry

August 11, 1974

 

Forty Years ago

The number 40 is the product of 5 and 8,

and points to the action of grace (5),             

leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).              

This is certainly the case where forty relates

to a period of evident probation.

E.W. Bullinger

Number in Scripture

 

Forty years ago in a kairos moment in time,

I was forever changed, beyond all reason and rhyme.

I answered God’s call, offered my life, and I said “Yes.”

The exact path my life would take I could only guess

The valleys I must descend, the mountains I must climb.

 

I would need great courage, symbolized in fragrant thyme

That graced my neck, as I was striving to reach my prime

Forty years ago.

 

To stumble and fall along the way is no crime,

For my earnest desire was to minister full-time;

Despite the challenges, to serve God nevertheless,

To go where I am sent, to please the Lord and to bless.

With a simple “Yes,” I began my quest toward heights sublime

Forty years ago.

Matt Redman offers “Yes and Amen,” the perfect expression in song of my response to God’s call to serve:

Be still and know

August 10, 2014

Psalm-46--1-3

In case we should ever forget, the Verse of the Day for August 10, 2014 offers this blessed assurance found in Psalm 46:1 (KJV):

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Not only are we strengthened by the first verse, but the entire psalm offers comforting encouragement of the highest degree, as especially revealed in the Amplified Bible:

 1GOD IS our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,

3Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

4There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning].

6The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

8Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth.

9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.

10Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Psalm-46--10a

The first three words of Verse 10 is the title of an original poem with verse 10 as its introduction:

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalms 46:10

 

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.

Though your cherished dreams have faded and long since gone

The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,

As I weave the tapestry of eternity.

Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,

Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,

And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:

Be still and know that I am God.

 

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon

When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.

These scenes will reveal the man I thought I could be,

As words of the Psalmist comfort and remind me,

When this life is over and all is said and done:

Be still and know that I am God.

 

As we pause and calmly think about that—as we “selah” this Psalm, we also give heed to these words—

Be Still

 

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still my soul and be at peace.

Rise above your circumstance and rest in me.

 

In closing, listen to Steven Curtis Chapman singing “Be Still and Know.”