Archive for January, 2015

Put others first and you will be great

January 29, 2015

Mark-9 35

The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2015 speaks of the oxymoronic nature of true servanthood: the last shall be first and the first shall be last. If you want to be in the premier position as number one, then put yourself in the last position by putting others first, and you will be great.

Mark 9:35 (NLT)

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Other places in the Scriptures also reveal this striking portrait of a true servant of the Lord:

Luke 22:26 (NLT)

But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

A similar response occurs in Mark 10:43 (NLT)

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,

A particularly noteworthy verse is found in Matthew 20:27 (NLT):

And whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

In following in the steps of Jesus Christ, one of the most noble character traits that a person can demonstrate is that of serving others. Throughout the life and ministry of Christ, he takes upon himself the form of a servant, thus modeling the behavior that he desires to see his followers emulate.

In the New Testament we find that the metaphor of the servant or bondslave is used in the Bible to portray this admirable heart of service. The distinction between the term “slave” and the “bond servant” which is translated from the Greek word doulos in the New Testament is that the servant or bondslave offers his life in “voluntary servitude.” Though often looked upon in a negative light, choosing to become a servant of the Lord is a most admirable character trait.

My attraction to this particular metaphor occurred more than 40 years ago when I was introduced to the concept of the doulos, translated “servant” but more accurately rendered “bondslave.” I produced an article “Doulos: A Different View of the Slave” published in 1975. In 1978 while completing my Master’s thesis, I explored the subject in light of Paul’s literary style in the Church Epistles. I went on to complete my Ph.D. in 1986 with a dissertation entitled Portrait of the Bondslave in the Bible: Slavery and Freedom in the Works of Four Afro-American Poets. Aside from a purely academic exploration of the topic of the bondslave, I have also endeavored to practically apply the precepts of this biblical term. I express my application of the principles of servitude found in this intriguing figure in the poem “More Than Metaphor”:

More than Metaphor

For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me:

and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another,

Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it

Matthew 8:9

 

To capture my essence I strive to find a word,

Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,

To express my deep yearning for intimacy.

Like Paul, my calling card reads: “servant of the Lord.”

Each fiber of my being and each emotion

Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.

As I endeavor to learn and live to impart

The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,

I pledge to work in voluntary servitude,

As I fix my eyes, looking unto my Lord’s hands,

To heed His Word and to do more than He commands,

To serve with love from a heart filled with gratitude.

Beyond a single concept, more than metaphor

Is this branded bondslave, who embodies “the more.”

 

Listen to “The Servant Song” by Maranatha! Promise Band, as we close this blog entry.

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John 4:24: Worship is more than a song

January 28, 2015

 John 4--24 2

Revised and re-posted below is a blog entry originally posted a year ago:

John 4:24 (New Living Translation)

For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24, the Verse of the Day for January 28, 2015, was a verse from which I composed a scripture memory song more than 10 years ago with these lyrics:

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him

Must worship him in spirit and in truth.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him

Must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

For the Father seeketh such to worship him.

The Father seeketh such to worship him.

The Father seeketh such to worship him,

To worship Him in spirit and in truth.

In a journal entry written a number of years ago, I comment on aspects of praise and worship which are a part of many church services. I note that the service will often begin in a very lively manner, as an attitude of praise energizes the morning service, but a noticeable change takes place as we move from praise into worship where we linger in the intimate presence of God. It is almost like riding in a raft over the white water rapids of a river and then the raft suddenly, yet not so subtly changes its course onto to a placid stream where you float swan-like downstream. Many times those directing praise and worship will lead the congregation into a number of spontaneous acapella worship songs that will usher us into the very presence of God.

The Verse of the Day from John 4:24 speaks of true worship and God’s desire that we “worship Him in spirit and in truth.” This “spirit of worship,” however, is to be maintained outside the confines of the church, as each believer should endeavor to develop “a lifestyle of worship.”

In reflecting upon worship as an expression of the most intimate relationship with God, we recognize and come to know the value of this deepest intimacy, which is the title of a poem also inspired by John 4:23-24:

The Value of Deepest Intimacy

Worship is a lifestyle which reveals God’s worth.  

James Cook

 

23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true                                       

worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit

and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him

must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

 

Beyond the price of passion when two lovers meet:

You are my treasure, and I am yours furthermore,

More precious than anointing oil compounded to pour

Upon Aaron’s head and running down to his feet.

Costly are aloes that perfume our bed, a token.

How precious is the balm that soothes and allays all fears:

Whispered words tenderly express to caress the ears,

Endearing words of affection constantly spoken.

Though satisfied for now, our love is yet to be fulfilled

To quench the deep thirsting in my soul for more of you.

Though each time that we are together our love seems new,

Only in eternity will true love be revealed.

What is the worth of true worship in the highest degree?

Priceless is the value of this deepest intimacy.

 

Among the many worship songs that speak in terms of an intimate relationship with God is “Worship is More than a Song” by Montell Jordan:

Just as we are earnestly seeking a true worship experience with God, the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.

Put on the whole armor

January 27, 2015

Ephesians-6 10-11

The Verse of the Day for January 27, 2015 is found in Ephesians 6:12-13, which is part of fhe most celebrated passage related to putting on the whole armor of God, beginning with verse 10 and continuing through verse 20. The New Living Translation renders the first four verses of passage this way:

Ephesians 6:10-13:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

The first part of Ephesians 6:10 exhorts us to be strong in the Lord, and reminds us of similar words of encouragement found in an earlier blog post: “Be strong and take courage.” In examining Joshua 1:9, we find great encouragement in midst of circumstances whereby we could be greatly discouraged. Just as Joshua felt discouraged when he was confronted with the task of leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, we also have similar concerns, as we transition from the Wilderness of our lives into the “Promised Land” that God has set before us.

The first part of Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “put on the whole armour of God.” The phrase ”put on” is part of an expression connected with renewing the mind, whereby Paul encourages believers to “put off, put on, and put away.” The essence of this message was also discussed in an earlier blog post where I shared the poem “Moving in the Opposite Spirit” which ends with the same phrase:

. . . .

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

 

The celebrated passage from Ephesians 6:10-20 is shared in a most inspiring video produced by David Wesley:

Humility before honor

January 26, 2015

james-4-10

Taken from James 4:10 (New Living Translation), the Verse of the Day for January 26, 2015 reminds us that that “the way down is the way up”:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

In Mark 9:35 Jesus Christ illustrates the same point that those who desire to be first should put themselves last and serve others first.

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Nowhere is this portrait of a true servant of the Lord more vividly revealed than in the account where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples in John 13.

A number of years ago, my wife and I received a special Christmas gift: a statue of Christ washing one of his disciples’ feet with the inscription John chapter 13 embossed on the base. I was deeply moved when I opened the package and discovered such a priceless gift inside.   Here is a replica of the sculpture that we received.

John 13 Statue

I recall a similar experience when I viewed another work of art that evoked a similar response. In a journal entry written in 2003 as I was on my way to Dakar, Senegal, I described the situation where I viewed a work of art and shared a poem based on the same account in John 13:

El Lavatorio (Tintoretto)

As I am enjoying the Vision of Madrid bus tour, I decide to get off at one of the stops—The Prado, the world famous museum housing a number of noteworthy works by such artists as Goya, El Greco, Velasquez, et.al. Some of the most recognized works in the collection are religious themes and portraits based on incidents and individuals portrayed as if they were members of the contemporary society at the time the works were painted. One particular painting, “El Lavatorio” by Tintoretto, deeply moves me in a profound way. The larger than life painting depicts Jesus washing the feet of Peter, as the others have either had their feet washed or are waiting for the experience. Once again I try to envision what the disciples must have thought when Jesus took a towel and a basin and began to wash their feet. What an overwhelming lesson in humility. As I reflect upon the painting which moves me to tears, I thought of this poem:

Let Me Wash Your Feet

As Jesus put off his garments and wrapped a towel

around himself,

So I lay aside my pride with nothing to hide and

expose myself.

As a humble servant I long to wash your feet.

You could yourself

Perform this deed of loving service, but let me

Serve you myself.

To allow me to wash your feet is to bless me,

as Christ, himself

Blessed the Twelve before he departed from this earth.

You have yourself

The key to the door of blessing for you and me:

As Jesus took

Upon himself

The servant’s form

That I, myself

Might freely give

To you, yourself,

So I ask you

As Christ, himself

Still asks of me,

So I ask you to

Let me to wash your feet.

“The Basin and the Towel,” musical composition by Michael Card, also portrays this moving account of John 13 in this video:

The Word of God reminds us once again that those who would be great must first serve others.

Let us pray:

God, our Father, we thank you for the honor and the privilege to carry out Christ’s command that we love one another and give our lives in service, just as he did. As we follow in Christ’s steps, may we also learn the lessons of humility and recognize that if we humble ourselves in your sight, that you will lift us up. In the name of Jesus Christ, our living Lord and Savior, Amen.

Think about these things

January 25, 2015

Philippians_4-8

The Verse of the Day for January 25, 2015 comes from Philippians 4:8 in the New Living Translation:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 instructs believers as to what they should think. Take a look at this graphic illustration of the verse set to music:

The Amplified Bible also drives home just how believers should endeavor to think:

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

In a blog entry posted last year, I discussed Philippians 4:8, one of the pivotal scriptures related to a devotional based on the statement “T-H-I-N-K before you speak.”

This verse also causes me to think of Colossians 3:2 in the Amplified Bible:

2And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

These verses bring to mind the process of metamorphosis that butterflies and other organisms undergo, reminding us of a similar spiritual process called “renewing the mind.” Christians are instructed not to be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1). The New Testament phrase is translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are also “changed” into the same image.

As believers, we are exhorted to change the way we think. We are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. We are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of God, we are encouraged to move in the opposite direction, as this poem reminds us to do:

Moving in the Opposite Spirit

Quit backbiting—God doesn’t want to hear it.

Don’t retaliate—move in the opposite spirit.

“Bump it up!”

 

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

 

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but patiently learning to wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with our mouths confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we are, to always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed that is sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

 

Here is a musical version of Philippians 4:8 from Seeds Family Worship.

James 1:5: Asking God for wisdom

January 23, 2015

James-1-5

The Verse of the Day for January 23, 2015 can be viewed as a follow-up to the Verse of the Day from the previous day where we focused our attention on the verbs, “ask, seek, and knock,” as revealed in Matthew 7:7-8. Today we are looking at the blog entry posted a year ago and modifying it, as we direct our attention to James 1:5 in the New Living Translation:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

This exhortation from James brings to mind the exhortation to pursue wisdom. Asking God for wisdom can be seen as part of our pursuing of wisdom which we are asked to do, not only in James 1:5 but throughout the Book of Proverbs as well. The idea of pursuing wisdom brought to mind an incident that occurred a number of years ago.

I recall going on a field trip to the Indiana Dunes State Park, outside of Gary, Indiana, when I was in middle school, what we called “junior high school,” back in the day. Somehow I came across a small stream running through a wooded area. As I followed the creek through the winding woods, I was determined to find the area where the stream began, but as I progressed, the size of the stream remained the same and continued to flow on seemingly endlessly. After about a half an hour, I realized that I needed to get back to area where we supposed to meet before departing on the bus and returning to “the Steel City.” When I arrived at the place where we were to meet, I learned that I was quite late, and that I had delayed their departure.

As I was reflecting upon the exhortation to ask God for wisdom, this experience from my childhood came to mind, in light of the directive to pursue wisdom, to search diligently for wisdom, and wholeheartedly seek to find this valuable spiritual entity. I also thought of the following poem that is related to one of the Seven Spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 and elsewhere:

 The Spirit of Wisdom

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom.

  And in all your getting, get understanding.

 Proverbs 4:7 NKJV

 

As I finish my course, I shall walk and not faint

And cause to flee, as one chases an enemy.

As a hunter tracks down his game with no restraint,

So your fragrance arouses me as I awake.

Desire, a fire, flames the passion deep within me.

Though I have felt your touch and kissed your lips before.

As a lover pursues his beloved, so I

Yearn to be with you and to know you even more,

Assured that all who pursue you shall also find.

As the sun rises to follow its daily course,

Zealously I seek you with my heart and soul and mind,

As one traces a winding river to its source.

As one forsakes all to pursue a priceless treasure,

So I seek the Spirit of Wisdom’s good pleasure.

 

Although that experience occurred almost sixty years ago, I am still asking for wisdom while earnestly seeking to find the source of all life, the river of life, from which flows wisdom, knowledge, understanding and all the attributes of God.

The last line of the poem brings to mind a song that captures the essence of who all believers desire to be: “Seekers of Your Heart” rendered by Steve Green, Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris.

Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking

January 22, 2015

Matthew 7--7-8

The following blog entry originally posted a year ago is modified and re-posted below:

Matthew 7:7-8 (New Living Translation)

[Effective Prayer] “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

The Verse of the Day for January 22, 2015 brought to mind a scripture memory song composed more than 10 years ago. The arrangement of the lyrics shows an acrostic poem that spells out the word “ask,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in verse 7. In a prayer notebook that I once had, I recall having a card with the words “Ask God” on one side and Matthew 7:7, 8 (KJV) on the other.

Ask and it shall be given you;

Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

For everyone who asketh receiveth.

He that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

In reflecting on the passage from the Sermon on the Mount, I thought of the last phrase of the 8th verse: “. . . and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Revelation 3:20 came to mind where the Master declares, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and openeth the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”

In the Bible, eating with someone was a most intimate act. One did not eat with strangers or those outside his most intimate circle of family and friends. In that light, Revelation 3:20 takes on even more significance as an invitation to intimacy. Luke 24 speaks of Jesus and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and of their breaking bread together, a time of intense intimacy when Jesus opened the eyes of their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. This unfolding of Himself as revealed in the Scriptures occurred during a meal, a time of wonderfully rich fellowship and intimacy.

During the same period when I wrote the scripture memory song using Matthew 7:7-8, I also recall composing a song that we used to sing before serving our lunch at the summer program for school-age children where I worked. It is based in part on the passage from Revelation:

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

I’ve prepared a table to set before you

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

In thinking about the passage from Matthew 7:7-8, I recognize that in the Greek New Testament the three verbs are expressed in the present progressive tense: meaning keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. In the same manner that a child will keep asking for a treat while shopping with his or her parents, Jesus Christ says to continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock.

A few years later after having composed the first scripture memory song, I also wrote another song based on the same passage:

 

Ask, Seek and Knock (Matthew 7:7-8)

Ask and it shall be given you;

Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

For everyone who asketh receiveth.

He that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

Always ask, no matter how great or small the task.

Serve the Lord God with a pure heart and remove the mask.

Keep trusting in the Lord–all you have to do is ask.

 

Someday soon we shall stand on top of the mountain peak.

Every golden promise God has fulfilled, as we speak.

Each day adds another victory toward your winning streak.

Keep pressing toward the mark to obtain the prize you seek.

 

Keep renewing your mind, assess your thoughts and take stock.

Never give up–build your hope on Christ, the solid rock.

Overcome the odds–by faith get around any roadblock.

Count your blessings with every tick-tock of the clock.

Keep this in mind and call on the Lord: ask, seek, and knock.

 

Kim McFarland and the Thompson Community Singers offer this stirring reminder: “Just Ask in My Name”

Views on sowing and reaping

January 21, 2015

Galatians-6-7-9

The Verse of the Day for January 21, 2015 is taken from Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Galatians 6:9-10 goes on to say:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The passage speaks of the universal principle of sowing and reaping. This same concept brings to mind God’s promise to Noah after the flood:

Genesis 8:22 :

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Another expression of this principle is the Law of Giving and Receiving revealed in Luke 6:38 (NLT)

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Whether you refer to “sowing and reaping” or “seedtime and harvest” or simply “giving and receiving,” we are always applying those immutable principles in our lives.

While reflecting on the Verse of the Day, I happened to think of one of the poems originally composed on my birthday. The words remind me of where I am and what I am doing at this present time, as think on the Word of God and see its personal application, as

 

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living seventy-two years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folksong of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

One of verses to one of my favorite hymns is taken from the verse 22 in Genesis 8: which speaks of

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above.

Join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

I would like to close our devotional with this hymn, as I recall the faithfulness of God. . . our God is faithful—“full of faith”—faithful to His Word: “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Aled Jones sings the verse that I am referring to.

A no want state

January 20, 2015

James 1--2-3

James 1:2-3 NLT

[Faith and Endurance] Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

The Verse of the Day for January 20, 2015 brings to mind that as we wait on the Lord, we are not to waiting in a state of anxiety, not in a state of doubt or fear, as we encounter fiery trials. Instead, the state in which we wait is the state of patience—we are patiently waiting. Not too long ago, I heard a message entitled “A No Want State,” a life-altering teaching related to James 1:2-4.

As I was reflecting upon verse 2 I thought of the whole idea of trials as tests, as I recalled a poem that I wrote from the perspective of a “student/teacher”

All Tests

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and

Challenges come at you from all sides.” [The Message]

James 1:2

 

With zeal I make my calling and election sure,

As I attempt to complete yet another test.

Ever the eager student, I will do my best.

You promised good to me, your Word my hope secure.

Search me and know me—discern that my motives are pure.

My soul now anchored in hope; in you I find rest.

You are my light, even when times seem their darkest.

As a patient father who seeks to reassure

His son, so the Master Teacher shows His design:

All tests are formed not to punish but to refine.

Despite shortcomings and failures that I have made,

You are gracious and generous each time you grade.

With each assignment, I seek to excel, not just pass,

To graduate with honors, the first in my class.

As we encounter all kinds of fiery trials we as we wait on the Lord, we are not to waiting in a state of anxiety, not in a state of doubt or fear, but we strive to situate ourselves where we are perfect and entire, wanting nothing—in a “no want state,” the title of this poem that opens with the section of scriptures from James 1:2-4:

 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

 

“A No Want State”

James 1:2-4

Right now I am striving to arrive at a “no want state,”

A place of assurance that God alone is in control

In my zeal to please God, I learn to labor and to wait

While still running to serving the Lord as my life’s highest goal.

Pressed by enemies that seek to steal, kill, and to destroy,

My ability to trust God is once more put to the test

In every fiery trial I trust God and count it all joy,

Especially in the midst of great turmoil and unrest.

God knows where I am at this time; nothing is by chance.

He has given freely of His spirit that I might know

In Christ I prevail despite any adverse circumstance.

When my faith is tested, my endurance will also grow.

As I yield to patience and allow her to have her way,

I am perfected to stay the course and trust and obey.

 

Hebrews 10:36 also offers this reminder in the New Living Translation:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Knowing this, we can count it all joy when we encounter various fiery trials that test our faith and build patient endurance.

The Winans offer this reminder to “Count it all Joy.”

A closer look at Matthew 7:12

January 19, 2015

Matthew_7-12

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NLT)

The Verse of the Day for January 19, 2015 comes from the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus Christ expresses a command that has become known as the “Golden Rule.” This guideline for human behavior can be found in some of the writings of ancient civilizations as well. The blog entry for the Verse of the Day posted a year ago identified some of these parallel expressions: Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule. Other passages of Scripture also reiterate this same message:

Luke 6:31-36 (NLT)

31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

In Matthew 22:40 the Lord points out that “The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments”: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Paul states in Romans 13:8-9 (NLT):

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.

For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Finally, Galatians 5:14 puts it this way:

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus Christ, in addressing the multitude gathered to hear him, offers a profound one-sentence statement that embraces all human behavior whereby he expresses God’s desire for all humanity.

The Sermon on the Mount begins with Matthew 5 which offers the Beatitudes which are dramatically recited in this video which is a prelude to the Verse of the Day taken from Matthew 7:12