Archive for November, 2014

Open our eyes: Our prayer and God’s prayer

November 16, 2014

Psalm 119--18

The Verse of the Day for November 16, 2014 is a prayer request expressed in Psalm 119:18 (NIV):

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

A corresponding petition is found in Lamentations 33:3:

Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.

Most providentially, the Verse of the Day for November 1, 2014 was taken from Ephesians 1:18. In actuality verse 18 is part of one of the apostolic prayers, an expression of God’s desire written by Paul in Ephesians 1: 14-23. Verses 17-18 are part of the introduction, as indicated in the Amplified Bible:

[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,

By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),

These two verses were the inspiration, in part, for the following poem:

The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

Ephesians 1:17-18 (AMP)

God gives the Spirit of wisdom and revelation

That we might know Him and experience His great love,

Striving to know more fully total restoration

That flows from the wisdom that descends from above.

We walk as uios, not as foolish sons who rebel,

But we pursue wisdom and do whatever it takes.

We make choices, knowing what will attract, what will repel,

For each life mirrors a lifetime of choices that one makes.

We do not shun the Lord’s reproof but embrace correction.

God wants us to know the hope of His calling in this hour,

The riches of His heritage and greatness of His power.

We press toward the mark, to reach ultimate perfection.

God floods the eyes of our understanding that we might see,

As we seek intimacy of the highest degree.

The passage from Ephesians 1, along with the previously cited verses, brings to mind the words of the hymn “Open My Eyes that I Might See” which is, in essence, a similar prayer expressed in song. The lyrics to the hymn are displayed while Nathanael Provis plays the melody on piano:

Another contemporary song offering of a similar request is “Open the Eyes of My Heart” performed by Michael W. Smith.

Not only is our prayer to God is like that expressed in Psalm 119:18 and Jeremiah 33:3: that God will enlighten us and illuminate our lives, but we also recognize that God’s prayer for us is the same: that by means of the spirit of wisdom and revelation, that the eyes of our heart may be flooded with light, as is expressed so powerfully in Ephesians 1.

My delight is in the Word of God

November 15, 2014

psalm 119--143

The Verse of the Day for November 15, 2014 makes reference to trouble and anguish that so often overtake us, particularly in the midst the turbulent times in which we live. Despite the most intense pressures that come with the perils that we face each day, ultimately, we can say along with the Psalmist that the Word of God brings us delight. Other places in the Psalms 119 echo this same sentiment:

Psalm 119:24

Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.

Psalm 119:47:

How I delight in your commands! How I love them!

Psalm 40:8 in the Amplified Bible makes this statement:

I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.

In Psalm 1, the first passage of scripture that ever I committed to memory as a pre-teen, we find this striking portrait:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;

From time to time, we may lose focus and become anxious regarding our ever-fluctuating circumstances. During times of uncertainty when our feet seem to slip, and we are about to lose our grip, we can turn our thoughts toward the promises of God, assured that just as He has been with us through the stormy trials of the past, so He will be with us now. Along with the Psalmist, we take comfort in this knowledge which delights our souls.

Christy Nockels expresses the essence of this message with the song “My Delight is in You.”

 

Put to death in the flesh: Made alive by the Spirit

November 14, 2014

1 Peter 3--18 The Verse of the Day for November 14, 2014 is found in 1 Peter 3:18 (KJV):

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

The New Living Translation provides this rendering:

1 Peter 3:18 (NLT):

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

The verse contrasts being “put to death in the flesh” with being “quickened or made alive by the Spirit.”

Translated from the Greek word zōopoieō, the expression meansto cause to live, make alive, give life, restore to life, endued with new and greater powers of life, of seeds quickened into life, i.e. germinating, springing up, growing)”

The phrase “quickened by the Spirit” also brought to mind this stanza from the poem “Constant Reminders.”

God makes known to us a new covenant,

Quickened within us by a lively hope,

Energized by ever-increasing faith,

That we might know and be known by His love,

Surpassing even the knowledge of God:

How great and how precious is each promise.

I recall seeing a graphic illustration of having been put to death with respect to the flesh in stark contrast to having been quickened or made alive with regard to the Spirit:

Although this is not the particular sculpture that I saw, it shows the transformation taking place as an antelope is changed into a butterfly.

Although this is not the particular sculpture that I saw, it shows the transformation taking place as a dying  antelope is changed into a butterfly.

About 10 years ago while living in Columbus, OH, there was special exhibition called Chapungu, a collection of sculpture from Harare, Zimbabwe on display at the Franklin Park Conservatory. One of the sculptured works of art that particularly arrested my attention was entitled “Dying Antelope Transformed into a Butterfly.” It was the inspiration for this poetic response to what I witnessed:

A Lesson from Chapungu

Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;                                                                        

The snare is broken, and we have escaped.

Psalm 124:7

 

With my eyes open to see what God has to say,

I stroll through varied green scenes while looking to see

Secret messages, sculpted letters sent to me

In rocks that cry out from quarries of Zimbabwe.

Hunted game escapes, just beyond the fowler’s grasp,

An antelope transformed into a butterfly,

Snatched from the clasp of death, quickened to glorify

The God that spoils the powers of the deadly asp,

To release souls who trust Him from the fear of death.

You uphold me with your victorious right hand.

Not even death can limit all that you have planned,

For you sustain all life and safeguard every breath.

The Lord protects my life, preserving flesh and bone,

That I might proclaim His praise as a living stone.

 

Israel Houghton and New Breed offer this passionate prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit,” a worship medley that overflows into praise:

This is the will of God

November 13, 2014

1_Peter_2-15

The Verse of the Day for November 13, 2014 is found in 1 Peter 2:15 (KJV):

For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

Here is the verse rendered in the Amplified Bible:

For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons.

This verse specifically indicates God’s will or His intention for believers: that our lives should be of such a sterling character that they silence the ignorant charges and baseless accusations of the foolish, the accusers of the brethren. God desires that each individual give heed to the words of master teacher, Parker J. Palmer, who writes “Let your life speak,” echoing the words of Jesus Christ who admonishes:

“Let your life so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”(Matthew 5:13)

The Verse of the Day leaves no doubt as to what is the will of God. Two other verses in 1 Thessalonians also clearly reveal the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (KJV)

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice,

Once again, the lives of Christian believers should be above reproach, particularly with regard to sexual immorality, as the Word of God so plainly reveals.

The final indication of the will of God relates to a practice that many American believers associate with the approaching holiday that takes places on the fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving. In its most literal sense, the term means to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us that God’s will is that we are always thankful:

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Once again, the Amplified Bible provides this deeper understanding of God’s will:

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

One of the ways to perpetually abide in the will of God is to give thanks. Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin with thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir brings closure to our discussion of the will of God by offering “In Everything Give Him Thanks.”

To find, to know, and to do the will of God

November 12, 2014

Colossians_1-9Yesterday, in the English Grammar class that I teach at Carolina College of Biblical Studies in Fayetteville, NC, we discussed “verbals,” words formed from a verb, but they function as different parts of speech, such as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. Among the verbals that we discussed were “infinitives,” which are easily recognized by identifying “to” plus the verb form. One of most recognized pair of infinitives comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

This morning as I was preparing to post a blog entry based on the Word of the Day, I had planned to re-post a previous entry that contains a poem with a series of infinitives. Had I thought about it yesterday, it would have been a perfect illustration of how infinitives can be used as nouns. That was yesterday, but today is another day, and the poem still expresses the same truth regarding “the will of God.”

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day for November 12, 2014, the phrase “the knowledge of His will” was highlighted in my mind.   I began to consider deeply this verse that emphasizes “The Will of God,” the place where I ever desire to be found. As is so often the case, when I wax reflective, I also wax poetic, and in this case, I thought of a particular poem that is part of a quartet of original poems centering on “The Will of God.” Colossians 1:9 especially relates to this poetic expression:

The Will of God

To find the will of God is the greatest discovery. 

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

Albert Schweitzer

 

My food is to do the will of Him who sent me,

and to finish His work.

John 4:34 [NKJV]

                                                

To unearth at last the world’s most priceless treasure

And gaze upon the splendor of God’s sovereignty

Is to savor joy unspeakable beyond measure:

To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.

To know intimacy beyond the highest degree,

A confident assurance when I acknowledge

And embrace the path, the destiny, prepared for me:

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.

To live life, knowing I am covered by the Blood

Is to walk with no regret, never to lament,

For all decisions work together for the good:

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

Guided and protected by the Shepherd’s staff and rod,

I rejoice to find, to know, to do the will of God.

Numerous songs have been written related to” the will of God.” In fact, a previous blog entry on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe contains a quartet of poems and songs centering on “The Will of God.” Three are original, and the last one is anonymous. Between each poem is a video of a song related to “The Will of God.”

A song connected to this particular poem is written by Deb Zemke; “His Will” is played and sung by Robert Jason.

Reflecting on the “The Will of God” is a great way to start the day.

Veterans Day Tribute

November 11, 2014

veterans (2)

Most appropriately, our devotional for today focuses on Veteran’s Day, a day of special significance to me in a number of ways.

What began as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on the 11th Day of 11th Month of 1918, was later renamed Veterans Day which commemorates all veterans. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the recognition of November 11 as Veterans Day.

November 11 is also a memorable occasion for me because it is the birthday of my sister, Cheryl Thompson Williams, who was born November 11, 1946. At that time it was called Armistice Day, as I well remember. Also November 11, 2000 was the day that her husband, Elliott Thompson, who was also a Veteran, was buried. She has since remarried, and her husband, Thomas, is also a veteran.

Veterans Day is also special to me for another reason. I am a Veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience is directly related to my being in Fayetteville, NC, where I serve as an adjunct professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and at Fayetteville State University.

I was born and reared in Gary, Indiana, and when I was about 13 or 14, I visited Purdue University, the first college campus I ever set foot on, and I decided at that time that I would attend Purdue and major in Pharmacy. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, and subsequently became a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary. I was enjoying the “good life” when I received my “greetings from Uncle Sam.” In 1967 I was drafted into the US Army. At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Viet Nam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever that what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. While I was in the Army, I rode the crest of the Jesus Movement and experienced a powerful conversion that introduced me to the transforming power of God through receiving the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing of my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians. The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I opted to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching here at CCBS and FSU and at Indiana Wesleyan University where I teach classes online.

As I reflect upon Veterans Day, I pay tribute to one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors so we went through the training at the Medical Field Service School together. But there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indication that I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman, had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year increased the likelihood that you might have to go to Vietnam if there were a pharmacy position that needed to be filled.

About 9 months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until about three years ago when I again looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a class at the IWU Louisville Center of Indiana Wesleyan when I saw my colleague’s sacrifice in a totally different light.

In literature there is term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of whose most notable qualities is “self sacrifice.” I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took my place and gave his life that I might live.

My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28

And 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.

Here is a video “Remember Me” compiled by Lizzie Palmer as a tribute to veterans:

Psalm 115:14: Standing on a promise

November 10, 2014

Psalm_115-14The 8:00 a.m. service at Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC was one of the closing sessions of the Women of Style 2014 Transformation Factor Conference which the entire congregation attended on November 9, 2014. Kristen Mellette, one of the coordinators of the event, was the featured speaker, who commented that the goodness of God abounds toward us to such a degree that wherever we may step, we are landing on one of God’s promises. That comment brought to mind 2 Peter 1:3-4:

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

In the course of her message, Kristen made reference to Psalm 115:14, a verse that has been one of the promises that God has made to His people, a verse that the entire congregation of Christian Provision Ministries has been focusing on. Here is the verse in the Amplified Bible to which I have added a poetic expansion of this particular promise:

Psalm 115:14:

May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children.

May the Lord,

The Lord strong and mighty,

The Lord mighty in battle,

The Lord who heals,

The Lord who has delivered His people,

The Lord who sanctifies and makes holy,

The Lord who consecrates and does all things well,

May the Lord give you increase

bless you with abundant increase of favors,

the increase of possessions,

with land that shall yield her increase,

that you may increase exceedingly

with storehouses also for the increase —

Though your beginning has been small,

yet your latter end will greatly increase.

May the Lord give you increase more and more,

With blessings innumerable,

More than you can imagine,

Above all that you could ask or think,

More than your heart or mind or soul could hold,

Countless blessings,

More than the grains of sand that span vast ocean shores,

More than galaxies of spangled stars, each one called by name,

More and more and more and more and even more

you and your children

extending not only to your bloodline and kindred,

but abounding beyond boundless generations,

out of many tongues and nations

to touch the far-reaches of your posterity,

beyond your legacy that touches eternity

May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children.

Contemporary vocal group, Selah, offers a lively medley of songs including “Standing on the Promises”:

As for me and my house

November 8, 2014

Joshua 24_15The Verse of the Day for November 8, 2014 is taken from Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

In this case, the Holman Christian Standard Bible offers another rendering that is especially meaningful:

Joshua 24:15

But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshipped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”

The King James Version of Joshua 24:15 asks questions as to whom the Children of Israel will serve. In actuality, Joshua is asking whom will they worship, for to serve is to worship, and to worship is to serve. A recent Verse of the Day focused on Romans 12:1, which speaks of offering our bodies as “a living sacrifice,” which is our reasonable service, or as the Amplified Bible puts it: “which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Indeed, service = worship.

I made the following comment which also has application to today’s Verse of the Day:

“Another expression of worship involves doing or serving, as we follow God’s command and make a sacrifice to do His will, to serve Him alone.”

Each day God sets before us the choice: will we choose the path that leads to life everlasting, as we choose to follow the Lord and serve only Him? Or will we choose the path that leads to destruction and choose to serve other gods. The daily choice that confronts us also brought to mind this poem:

Choices, Chances, and the Changes We Make

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 (New King James Version)

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 we take,

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

I recall a popular song from the seventies in which the inimitable Bob Dylan made a profound statement that “You got to serve somebody . . . it may be the Devil, it may be the Lord, but you got to serve somebody.” Just as the question was raised by Joshua when he confronted the Israelites, as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, so the question is raised to believers today, “Whom are you going to serve or worship this day?” Like Joshua we also need to be resolute in our bold response, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That commitment is powerfully expressed in this video by Ron Kenoly: “As for Me and My House:”

1 Timothy 2:1-2: Always something to pray about

November 7, 2014

8095416890_cf2bfbea29_bIn response to the Verse of the Day for November 7, 2014, I am revising and re-posting the blog entry from a year ago which introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God.

I Timothy 2:1-2:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Supplications
With these prayers we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it. White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking, supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

Intercessions
To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge,” providing protection. (Ezekiel 22:30)

Prayers
As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion. Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” (Ephesians 6:18)

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”

As I was working on this blog entry, I recalled a comment from Graham Cooke, who exhorted believers to compose and pray a prayer for patience. I followed his advice and would like to share the following poem in closing:

A Prayer for Patience

“My suggestion for people in a season of birth or upgrade                                                                                      

is to write out a prayer for patience and pray it every day.”  

Graham Cooke

 

For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance,                                                                  

so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God,                                                   

and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Hebrews 10:36 (Amplified Bible)

I look back and pause and then look ahead to see

Clearly who God is, who He wants to be for me.

I still journey down the road less travelled by

And pray that patience may serve as a trusted ally.

I must say “No” to the pressures of this life

And say “Yes” to the rest God gives, despite the strife.

As I stay my mind on Him, I abide in peace.

When I praise God, works of the enemy decrease.

May I remain and not fall by the wayside as some

But like Job wait until at last my change shall come.

Patient endurance seems delayed for some reason,

But fruit abounds to those who wait in this season.

I pray that in this time of transition and shift

That I embrace waiting as a wonderful gift.

This  woodcarving by Elijah Pierce is called the Power of Prayer, the subject of the Verse of the Day.

This woodcarving by Elijah Pierce is called the Power of Prayer, the subject of the Verse of the Day.

Without question in the midst of the turbulent times in which we live, there is always something to pray about. Gateway Worship offer “As We Pray”, a fitting musical reminder related to the Verse of the Day.

Mystery of His will

November 6, 2014

Ephesians 1-9

The Verse of the Day for November 6, 2014 relates to the “will of God,” a place where, as believers, we all desire to abide:

Ephesians 1:9-10 (KJV):

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind another related verse that speaks of the “knowledge of His will.” In order to do or accomplish the will of God, we must know what it is. Colossians 1:9 expresses God’s desire for His people in the opening section of a prayer:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

As I began to consider deeply these verses that emphasize “The Will of God,” I thought of a particular poem inspired in part by Ephesians 1:9:

The Mystery of His Will        

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!

Romans 11:33

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will,  

according to his good pleasure

which he hath purposed in himself:

Ephesians 1:9

Though we seek to plummet the depths of Your wisdom,

We barely touch the surface, for there is always more

To explore as you unfold the mysteries of the Kingdom:

A measure of our inheritance laid in store.

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing,

But the honor of kings is to search out a matter,

To see what jewels of knowledge their searching may bring.

Beyond former days is the glory of the latter,

Where You freely pour out Your spirit upon all flesh.

As Your will unfolds, we too see just how vast You are.

We draw even closer that You might bless and refresh,

As we know You intimately, not from afar.

In such treasured moments we are quiet and still,

As we explore afresh the mystery of His will.

As we endeavor to find and to do the will of God, we may encounter situations that we do not fully understand, but God is not trying to conceal His will. Deuteronomy 29:29 reminds us this truth:

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Indeed, it is God’s good pleasure to make known His will to those who diligently seek to find it.