Archive for February, 2015

Love: In word, in deed, in truth

February 27, 2015

KJV_1_John_3-18

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:18 (NIV)

The Verse of the Day for February 27, 2015 brings to mind the common expression: “Actions speak louder than words.” This phrase is particularly noteworthy in light of recent discussions regarding the love of God, as reflected in two principal relationships in all of life: we are commanded to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Book of 1 John emphasizes the importance of love, for, indeed, God is love. If we say that we love God, we ought also to love another.

When it comes to loving God, there must be a demonstration of our love for Him beyond mere rhetoric, as the poem “The World’s Bible “by J. E. Hamilton reveals:

Christ has no hands but our hands
to do His work today.
He has no feet but our feet
to lead men in His way;

He has no tongue but our tongues
To tell men how He died,
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible
The careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel,
We are the scoffers’ creed;

We are the Lord’s last message
Given in deed and word,
What if the type is crooked?
What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy
With other things than His?
What if our feet are walking
Where sin’s allurement is?

What if our tongues are speaking
Of things His life would spurn,
How can we hope to help Him
And welcome His return

A recent blog entry spoke of the love of God being “perfected” or made complete or brought to maturity in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. We must do more than think about love or talk about love; we must demonstrate love by what we do, just as God did in offering His son. We speak of the love of God in manifestation, so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, 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.

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

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

The last line reminds us that with love, there must be a demonstration or manifestation to express the reality of that powerful emotion.

I recently came across this anonymous quote: “Love is a verb. Love is doing, saying, showing. Never think just saying you love someone is enough.” There must be corresponding action to show that we love. Another statement reiterates the same point: “Love is a verb. Without action it is merely a word.”

The Verse of the Day reminds us to love God and one another “in word, in deed, and in truth.”

Dimitri Carver offers an upbeat musical version of 1 John 3:18:

Love God; love your neighbor

February 25, 2015

Matthew 22--37

The Verse of the Day for February 25, 2015 is part of the dialogue between the “rich young ruler,” who asks Jesus Christ, “What must I do to be saved?”

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Not being satisfied with the answer to his question, the young lawyer seeks to justify himself by asking another question: “Who is my neighbor?” The Savior’s response introduces one of the most recognized illustrations, whose influence is still felt centuries beyond the time that it was first spoken: “The Parable of the Good Samaritan.”

I recall teaching the parable in children’s ministry where we emphasized the character trait of compassion:

As we labor, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

We minister just as the Good Samaritan.

We also used this scripture memory song:

I Want to Touch the World with Compassion

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Whatever I give to others, it shall be given back to me,

Not just the same but to an even greater degree.

Lord, help me to be merciful.

May I see with the eyes of Jesus.

Lord, I want to walk in the steps of Jesus

And always be loving and kind.

May I reach out my hand to others,

To heal broken hearts and give sight to the blind.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

I want to do whatever I can.

I want to be like the Good Samaritan.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

I want to do whatever I can.

I want to be like the Good Samaritan.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

Lord, help me touch the world with compassion.

The exchange between the rich, young lawyer and the Lord Jesus makes known the two primary relationships whereby followers can experience salvation: by loving God, first and foremost, and then loving one’s neighbor as oneself. The passage which makes known this truth was the inspiration for the following poem:

Building Godly Relationships

Matthew 22:36-40

 

God sets aside and keeps for Himself a remnant

Of Godly sons, His beloved, whom He foreknew

And predestinated to keep His covenant,

His righteous ones, called and chosen, faithful and true.

In Christ is defined a Godly relationship,

But we must submit to Jesus and make him Lord

To understand the essence of this true friendship,

Unfolded in these two commandments of God’s Word.

May we renew our vows and never violate

The trust you placed in us but ever seek to find

In you the strength to walk in love and never hate

But to love you with all our heart and soul and mind.

May we no longer be called servant but a friend,

Growing in devotion and faithful to the end.

Israel Houghton offers this reminder: “Love God, Love People”:

God’s thoughts and plans

February 24, 2015

Jeremiah-29-11

This entry combines comments on a passage from Jeremiah 29 with comments from a related passage from Isaiah 55.

We begin with Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV), the Verse of the Day for February 24, 2015:

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.

To understand more fully the magnitude of God’s declaration, take a look at the following video that graphically illustrates the context of the verse taken from Jeremiah 29:11-14:

The Amplified Bible renders Jeremiah 29:11-13 in this way:

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.

13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

As I reflected on this familiar passage from the Old Testament, I thought of a statement made by Apostle Eric Warren, who mentioned, “Everything God gives you is to prepare you for your next assignment.” His statement has particular significance during this period of transition where find ourselves.

Although the words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:

Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

The prophetic word from Jeremiah can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less grand than those He has for the Children of Israel.

As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us and teach us all along the path that unfolds as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). Jeremiah 29:11-13 also informs us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.

Damaris Carbaugh shares “I Know the Plans” (Debby’s Song) a musical reminder of Jeremiah 29:11:

The passage from Jeremiah 29 which speaks of the thoughts of God toward the people of God also brings to mind Isaiah 55:7-9

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This passage describes the mind of God, explaining that His thoughts are far beyond our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 was also the inspiration for a poetic piece composed five years ago:

We Ask Why

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

 

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary

to send forth a stinking savor: so does a little folly

him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.

Ecclesiastes 10:1

 

Though God is able to do above all we ask or think,

Our lives may still unfold in ways that we cannot explain,

As dead flies cause the apothecary’s ointment to stink,

And we ask why until the day when all shall be made plain.

Watching and waiting in hope while poised on the very brink

Of disaster, as our pathways seem to lead to defeat;

We seek the favor of God to reverse the curse and turn

The hearts of fathers to sons that our joy may be complete.

As patient farmers wait for the former and latter rain,

We fix our eyes toward Eastern skies, for Christ shall return again,

When angelic reapers shall separate tares from the wheat,

And every knee shall bow before the mighty Judgment Seat.

As we write pages of our history, though not with pen and ink,

We find that the Lord’s return is much closer than we may think.

We close this blog entry, as we listen to this Christian Worship and Scripture Song based on Isaiah 55:6-9

Perfect love casts out fear

February 22, 2015

1 John 4 9-10 1 John 4 18

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day for February 22, 2015, I recall two previous blog entries related to fear and the love of God. I have combined these two entries into today’s post:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

The book of I John also reveals the “perfect” connection between fear and love, particularly in 1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this know that we are in Him. [NKJV]

In those who hear the Word of God and keep it, the love of God is “perfected” or made perfect or complete, wanting in nothing or brought to maturity in them. To be “perfected” is to be brought to a full end. This concept is further discussed in chapter 4 verse 12 which reminds us:

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

Verses 13-16 go on to explain just how the love of God comes to abide or remain or dwell within us:

By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

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

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or full in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. Verse 17 elaborates on this reality:
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world

Verse 18 provides the basis for love being the perfect antidote to fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison,” from which Christ came to set the captives free.

Self-imposed Prison

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you

from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

– Rick Warren

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear involves torment. But he who fears

has not been made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

This self-imposed prison, not made with bars of steel,

Nor formed with bricks, yet each subtly constructed wall

Restricts the mind, scars the soul and cripples the will

And impounds us to a state of constant free fall.

Held captive by past mistakes that seek to instill

Fear: this deadly acronym binds, confines the heart,

So disguised as “false evidence appearing real”

Keeps us from being all God intends us to be.

But Christ, our sovereign Lord, pardoned each life sentence,

Commuted penalties, declaring not guilty.

With his blood, having blotted out every offense,

Displayed undying love: key to set captives free.

Pure freedom to serve awaits those with ears to hear,

For perfected love destroys all walls built by fear.

Throughout the New Testament believers are exhorted to walk in love, to demonstrate or manifest love, to put on love. Colossians 3:14 in the Amplified Bible puts it this way:

And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we walk in power of God’s love, we will recognize a notable change, not only in our own lives individually, but we will also experience fruitfulness and favor upon our land, even in the midst of famine. The expression “corn, wine, and oil” is symbolic of the material abundance that God gives. The following poem expresses the two-fold blessing that God generates:

Perfected Love

Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people,                                                                                              

Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and                                                                                      

ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make                                                              

you a reproach among the heathen:

Joel 2:19

Jehovah, creator, author and finisher,

Who initiates to nourish perfected love;

Ever-abiding source and resource, publisher

Of declarations of genuine love to move

The soul of man to return to the place of his first

Love, the Beloved, whose heart overflows to give,

For only this passion can satisfy our thirst,

As you refresh us and teach us how we should live.

You have pledged your love through a sacred covenant.

If we maintain your vows of love, you will sustain

Our souls and feed us so that we shall never want.

You will shower with mercy as the gentle rain

And will bless and multiply the fruit of our land

With corn, wine and oil supplied by your gracious right hand.

To close this discussion here is a musical composition that repeats message: “There is no fear in love.”

Love fulfills the Law

February 21, 2015

Romans_13-9

“Everything must change”: the lyrics to classic song, a showpiece for countless singers, is really an adaptation of the words of Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3 which reminds us that “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” This past week has been one of significant change for me, in that the problems that I had been having with my laptop continued until my faithful device “gave up the ghost” and totally gave out on me. Fortunately, I had a replacement, a tablet which I should have been getting accustomed to using months ago, but I kept putting it off until now, when I am forced to make a quick adaptation. In the process, I have not been blogging consistently, but I am trying to get back on track. Here is an entry which is a re-posting of the Verse of the Day entered a year ago.

Romans 13:9-10 NIV

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Verse of the Day for February 21, 2015, reminds us once again that “It’s all about relationships. . . Whether interacting as a married couple, getting acquainted as a single man or woman, whether communicating as friends or co-workers, from pre-teens to senior citizens:

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life

Dane Findley, health writer and wellness coach, commented that “Paying close attention to the relationships in your life is not an extracurricular activity — it’s the reason for life itself.”

Without question, “It’s all about relationships. . . “from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. The opening verse of Bible declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” establishing the relationship between the heavens and the earth, between bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial. Genesis further reveals the relationship between God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. The expression of the interaction of the three is in revealed in Genesis 1: 26: “And let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.”

Verse two of Genesis 1 beginnings with the conjunction “and,” the most frequently used word in the King James Version of the Bible, being used 28,364 times. The figure of speech known as polysyndeton involves using “many ands” where is there is emphasis placed on each item listed in any series connected by the conjunction. This figure is particularly noteworthy in Genesis 1:2 and the verses that follow.

The Book of Genesis and subsequent books of the Bible unfold the consequences of the first broken relationship when Lucifer chooses to break fellowship with God, thus becoming the “first murderer” and “the father of lies” who begets an untruth in the very presence of truth. We see the devastating consequences of his deadly influence in the Fall of Man and the degradation of humanity and all of earthly life itself.

The Scriptures reveal God’s ultimate desire for reconciliation and the healing of all broken relationships, expressed through Jesus Christ. As ambassadors or representatives of Christ, we stand in his place, using the word of reconciliation which is part of the ministry of reconciliation, as we endeavor to restore broken relationships, first with God and with others as well (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

The primary relationship in life is one’s relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We also recognize “The first and great commandment: To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Believers are further instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God who is love.

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

Love still prevails

February 12, 2015

1-John-4-10

Today’s blog entry comes two days before Valentine’s Day, as we take a look at a verse that continues to focus on love:

1 John 4:10 (KJV):

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The lyrics to the popular love song “My Funny Valentine” express the following profound yet simple truth:

Stay, funny Valentine, stay.

Each day is Valentine’s Day.

And so days before Valentine’s Day, love still prevails—the love of God, the highest form of love, called agape, never fails. And every day on and after Valentine’s Day love still prevails. As 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us:

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The chapter presenting the greatest definition of the love of God closes with this reminder:

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (New Living Translation)

To Love

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Above all else, nothing is greater than God’s love.

Beyond all limits, nothing is better than

real love.

When it comes down to the salient points of life,

Nothing is free. Everything has it price

but love.

No one can make you do what you don’t want to do.

Each day you decide if you are going

to love.

Searching for the right words and the right melody:

Ballads, show tunes, doo-wops, and blues–all songs

of love.

Been round the world from pole to pole and back again,

Looking here and there and everywhere for

true love.

Define it, mine it, and then refine it, if you will.

If you seek it, you will find it, for God

is love.

Although we may graduate, learning never stops.

It is only by loving that we learn

to love.

“Lonnell, keep on and you will lose your mind for sure.”

To put on the mind of Christ is to put

on love.

Ultra refined, pure for sure, to the highest degree:

Strip away all pride and you will see

pure love.

Beyond display, more than a game of show and tell,

Read between the lines of my book and find

God’s love.

A previous blog entry written for February 14 closed with the Jim Brinkman song performed by Amy Sky: “Love Never Fails.” So during the week of Valentine’s Day, the message bears repeating:

Let us pray: God, our Father, we thank you for your love that endures. We thank you that nothing can separate us from your love and that your love will sustain and keep us. We bless you and give you praise for all that you have done for us to express your great love for us. You so loved that you gave, and in giving you allowed us the privilege of receiving your gracious gift revealed in Jesus Christ, your only begotten son, in whose name we give you thanks. Amen.

God’s love is what it is not

February 11, 2015

Revised and re-blogged from a year ago is the following entry:

1-Corinthians-13-4-5_web

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

The Verse of the Day for February 11, 2015 continues with the unfolding of 1 Corinthians 13 and its quintessential definition of love, we move toward Valentine’s Day. The next section from verses 4-5 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Here the Word of God continues answer in detail “What is love?” What unfolds is an extended definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

And so the definition of the love of God continues to unfold.

The video “Love is Patient” provides a graphic illustration that defines the love of God:

Flourishing faith and growing love

February 9, 2015

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2015 comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the New Living Translation:

[Encouragement during Persecution] Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT):

Today’s verse notes two areas of growth in Christian believers: faith and love which are mentioned in Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is hope, the hope of Christ’s return.

Faith

Faith is not static but God’s desire is that our faith grow, increase and abound. When the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)

The plant mentioned by Jesus Christ to illustrate faith is the very small seed of the mustard tree, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, which is also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. Faith is described in this way: “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.” Jesus goes on to say, “It [faith] is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” A mustard seed once planted and nurtured grows into a mighty tree, just as our faith should grow and abound.

Love:

Not only are believers to grow in faith, they are also exhorted to abound in love, as is mentioned in

2 Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Philippians 1:9

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

1 Thessalonians 3:12

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

One of the classic metaphors that describe love is a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—

The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.

The Verse of the Day reminds us that our faith and love are to increase and abound.

The Epistles of First and Second Thessalonians with their emphasis on the Return of Jesus Christ are sources of strength and encouragement for believers. There is no correction or reproof to “the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The passage for today opens with this note in the New Living Translation: Encouragement during Persecution

In thinking about the encouraging words found in Thessalonians, I recall Thessalonians 5:11 which provided the inspiration for this poem:

Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Don’t stop now—keep on pursuing

Keep seeking His face

Don’t get weary in well doing

You must keep the pace

Seek and you shall find

The strength to be transformed–

Renewed in the spirit of your mind

Encourage yourself

And encourage one another

Build each other up

Every sister and brother

Speaking the truth, we grow up

Therefore, encourage one another

The accompanying video “Encourage one another” is also a compilation of the same verse from I Thessalonians 5:11 and other scriptures along with words of encouragement from Kimberly Culpen. May we all be strengthened and encouraged today.

 

Love your enemies

February 8, 2015

Matthew-5-44

The Verse of the Day for February 8, 2015 is found in the section of Scripture known as “The Beatitudes”:

Matthew 5:43-45 (New Living Translation)

[Teaching about Love for Enemies] “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Below is a blog entry on the Beatitudes that is revised and re-posted here:

Part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” which some scholars maintain is really the “Sermon on the Plain,” the Beatitudes form a series of eight declarations that begin with the word “blessed.” Translated from the Greek word, makarios, “blessed” refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity, expressing deep joy and fulfillment of the soul. The word has been translated, happy, fortunate, favored. A contemporary response when asked about one’s state of being is the expression, “blessed and highly favored.”

The following scripture memory song speaks of the passage from Matthew 5 in this way:

The Beatitudes Are the “Be Attitudes”

The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”

They help us to see. They help us to be

All that God wants us to be.

We will be blessed and be a blessing in return

When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

 

Blessed are you. You shall be blessed.

You shall be blessed when you follow the “Be Attitudes.”

 

The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”

They help us to see. They help us to be

All that God wants us to be.

We will be blessed and be a blessing in return

When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”

Dr. Martin Luther King speaks of the transforming power of love and makes reference to the passage from the Beatitudes that states “love your enemies.”

Just how God will deliver us

February 7, 2015

Psalm 97-10

The Verse of the Day for February 7, 2015 is a source of great encouragement:

Psalm 97:10

You who love the Lord, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked.

The Amplified Bible renders the verse this way:

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil; He preserves the lives of His saints (the children of God), He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.

The closing phrase brings to mind Isaiah 46:4, rendered in the New King James version:

Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

The promise that God will deliver caused me to think of a poem composed sometime ago, but I revised it and now recognize that it has a timeless message that echoes in our lives today:

Just How God Will Deliver Us

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,

that we should not trust in ourselves,    

but in God which raises the dead:

Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver:    

in whom we trust that he will still deliver us;  

1 Corinthians 1:8-9

 

Just how God will deliver us this we do not know,

But of His unfailing love and power we are sure:

He can send ravens or simply command a widow

To sustain Elijah and all those who will endure.

Although He may not be early, our God is never late.

We rest in knowing that God, our Father, is faithful,

As we trust in Him, learning to labor and to wait.

For each promise fulfilled we are ever so grateful,

And we express our gratitude in word and in deed.

Despite the challenge, God has been there time after time.

Each day we will walk by faith wherever Christ may lead,

Knowing grand mountain vistas await all those who climb.

The hand of God has brought us thus far along the way,

And we will finish our course is all we have to say.

In thinking about God as a deliverer, I also recall lyrics to another original song:

I Will Deliver You

I will deliver you from the snare of the fowler.

As a bird escapes from the cage, so I will release you from captivity.

I will lift you up, out of the hand of your fiercest enemy.

I will draw you to myself and hide you under the safety of my wing.

I will deliver you from the raging deep waters.

The sea shall not overwhelm you, but I will bring you through the storms in peace.

I will lift you up, and bear you up on the wings of an eagle.

I will provide for you and hide you in my secret dwelling place.

These lyrics bring to mind yet another song of great comfort and assurance: “My Deliverer” offered by Chris Tomlin: