Archive for October, 2016

Be sober: Be steadfast

October 31, 2016

1-peter-5-8-9

Like an alarm clock that arouses us from a deep sleep, the Verse of the Day for October 31, 2016 offers this sharp reminder:

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT):

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The Amplified Bible states the warning this way:

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]

Generally speaking, the phrase “be sober” is thought to mean “do not be drunk” or “don’t get intoxicated,” but a more precise translation renders the term: “to be sober, calm and collected, to have good sense, good judgment, wisdom, and level-headed in times of stress.”

This passage gives the reason for being sober: . . . because our adversary, our “opponent in the court of justice” (Zechariah 3:1), the accuser of the brethren, our arch enemy, who only seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, walks about as roaring lion, that attempts to instill fear and startle its prey before pouncing on the petrified victim. As believers, we are to resist, to stand firm in our faith—rooted, established, immovable. We are consoled in knowing that our brothers and sisters throughout the world encounter similar situations and stand strong. We are not alone.

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind a Word for the Day posted earlier this year: the remarkable adjective “Unflappable,” meaning not easily upset or confused, especially in a crisis; imperturbable. Thought to have its origin in the mid-1950s, “cool, calm, and collected” would be another expression associated with being “unflappable.” Other synonyms include being at ease, clearheaded, level-headed, unruffled, and untroubled, maintaining a state of tranquility, despite circumstances that generate turmoil and uncertainty. Learning to become unflappable in all situations is an admirable trait all believers should aspire to maintain.

To be unflappable to is to be at peace, to be secure, unshakable, and unmovable. A similar expression is used in 1 Corinthians 15:58 (AMP):

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

Lyrics from a song inspired by this verse provide similar encouragement to believers:

Be Steadfast, Unmovable

Chorus:

Be steadfast, unmovable,

Always abounding in the work of the Lord.

For as much as you that

Your labor’s not in vain in the Lord.

(Repeat)

 

Don’t be discouraged

When mountains block your way.

In times of doubt

He’ll bring you out.

Stand fast, watch and pray.

(Repeat Chorus):

 

 

When problems press you,

Your back’s against the wall,

Cast fear aside.

God’s on your side.

Keep on standing tall.

(Repeat Chorus):

 

 

In the darkest night

God will give you a song.

Never give up.

He’ll fill your cup.

Trust God and be strong.

(Repeat Chorus):

Justin Rizzo offers a worship song, “Tree,” expressing his desire to be “Unmovable, Unshakable”:

 

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Press toward the mark as we finish the work

October 30, 2016

 

Philippians 3--13-14

Recently I have been receiving a number of quotes along with scriptural references on a variety of topics, and from time to time, I will touch upon “The Quote of the Day.” Today, October 30, 2016, is such an occasion

“Every moment wasted looking back keeps you from going forward in life.”

Accompanying the quote is a reference to Philippians 3:13-14. Earlier this year, I posted comments on this passage from which the following excerpt is taken:

Philippians 3:13-14

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery in the passage. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay.  Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race.  If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line.  To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

The reference to the “finish line” brings to mind this celebratory poem written when I turned 65 and revised for today’s blog entry:

As We Finish the Work

Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment)

is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me

and to accomplish and completely finish His work.

John 4:34 (Amplified Bible)


As we finish the work that God sent us to do

And seek to fulfill all His will and leave our mark,

The Lord blesses, refreshes and makes all things new.

The fire on the altar enflamed from a small spark

Beckons as we press to reach the top of the mount.

We are called, destined to be abundantly blessed,

Reaping the good of this life’s bountiful harvest.

We reflect upon God’s favor as we recount

The days of our years have been multiplied by five

All along the way to express grace upon grace,

As we persevere, not just to survive but thrive

And triumph with renewed strength to finish our race.

Though some may look toward this time and seek to retire,

To serve God evermore is still our heart’s desire.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I recall  that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events,  with the last two races being relays.  Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

 Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,

Forget the past, press toward the mark,

Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close, as Wayne Pascall offers an original rendition of “Press for the Prize” from Philippians 3:13-21:

 

 

 

To serve is to worship

October 29, 2016

romans-12-1-2

The Verse of the Day for October 29, 2016 mentions a “living sacrifice,” a concept presented in Romans 12:1

[A Living Sacrifice to God] And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Paul 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 equals worship.

These two concepts also merge in the Old Testament where Joshua asks questions and makes a bold declaration to the Children of Israel.  The New Living Translation puts it this way:

Joshua 24:15 (NLT)

15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Notice this rendering in the Holman Christian Standard:

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.”

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?

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?”

The lyrics to the following song express our heart’s desire to worship and serve the Lord. These two synonymous and interchangeable words are embodied in David, a devoted servant with a passion for worship. This is our prayer:

 Lord, give us a heart like David,

A man after your own heart.

Purify our motives and intentions,

Cleanse us and set us apart.

Lord, give us a heart like David.

Lord, give us a heart like David.

 

 

Lord, give us a heart to serve you,

With all our heart, completely;

To follow in the footsteps of Jesus,

As we serve you faithfully.

Lord, give us a heart to serve you.

Lord, give us a heart to serve you.

 

 

Lord, give us a heart of worship,

Overflowing with your praise.

May our words and our deeds give you glory.

May we serve you all of our days.

Lord, give us a heart to serve you.

Lord, give us a heart of worship.

We close with a musical rendering: Romans 12-1-2 Song “A Living Sacrifice” (Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song with Lyrics)

The Word will stand forever

October 28, 2016

1-peter-1-24-25

The Verse of the Day for October 28, 2016 proclaims the enduring properties of the Word of God:

1 Peter 1:24-25 (New Living Translation):

As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

This passage is also an expression of Isaiah 40:6-8 (NLT) which echoes the same message:

A voice said, “Shout!”
I asked, “What should I shout?”

“Shout that people are like the grass.
Their beauty fades as quickly
as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade
beneath the breath of the Lord.
And so it is with people.
The grass withers and the flowers fade more
but the word of our God stands forever.”

This particular passage is also used as the epigraph or introduction to a poem written almost 40 years ago while living in northwest Ohio. I recall standing on the stump of a massive oak tree that had gradually died over a period of time, eventually having to be cut down. Although the tree had been around for centuries, its demise brought to mind how fleeting life is in light of eternity.

The Old Oak Stump

 The grass withers, the flower fades,

 because the breath of the LORD blows upon it:

 surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

 but the word of our God stands for ever.

 Isaiah 40:7-8

I stand dead center on the old oak stump,

The ruin of a woodland monument,

My feet encircled by the woody rings

That number far beyond remembered years.

I read between the lines of annual

Reports a history of all you have seen:

You saw the Shawnee dance around his fires;

You knew the name of each German who came

To farm, to build, and to beget his sons

Under the shaded beauty of your boughs;

You spread your arms and offered shelter as

A dwelling place for bird and beast and boy.

Yet time’s swift stroke condemned the tenement

As progress served its eviction notice.

Men leveled the tree whose lease had expired,

Legend of a people, long since cut off,

Like meadow grass overgrowing the land

Where I stand and read man’s life history:

Fleeting as baby’s breath, man’s day sprinkles

Grasslands for a season, then blows away.

All life evaporates like dew, except

The Word of God, which ever shall inspire.

The Psalmist also proclaims the same truth:

Psalm 119:89

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:160 (NLT) reiterates this message:

 The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.

Jesus Christ makes a similar declaration in Matthew 24:35 (KJV):

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Indeed, the Holy Bible, the Book of Life, the Word of God, the word of the Lord endures forever.

We close with Ken Whitson offering “The Word Will Stand Forever.”

The Word of God: Alive and full of power

October 27, 2016

Hebrews 4--12

Yesterday, in discussing the source and purpose of the God-breathed Word, one of the references touched upon came from Hebrews 4:12, which happens to be the Verse of the Day for October 27, 2016:

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

The Amplified Bible provides this rendering:

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

In reflecting upon this verse, I recall a poem which uses Hebrews 4:12 as its epigraph or introduction:

Unfailing Power

 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper

 than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division

 of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow,

 and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 [NKJV]

No word of God spoken shall be devoid of power

But shall prosper in the thing to which it is sent,

Without any  limits, to its farthest extent,

It thus abounds in fruit as seed to the sower,

Returning four-fold measure to the one who lent.

It is impossible not to fulfill God’s will,

Once spoken and thus declared that the Lord might show

The wonders of His amazing ways and instill

In us His unfailing power that we might know

That in the beginning God spoke, and it was so.

Sharper than a two-edged sword, cutting as a knife,

The word is quick to energize and encompass

The past, present and future, as it brings forth life.

While yet in our thoughts, it has already come to pass.

This powerful message regarding the Word of God comes across in even greater measure in the song from Casting Crowns: “The Word is Alive.”

To further reinforce the message, the Seeds Family Worship offer the Word of God Video also based on Hebrews 4:12:

 

God-breathed Word

October 26, 2016

2 Timothy 3 16-17

The Verse(s) of the Day for October 26, 2016 reveal the source and purpose of Scripture:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT):

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

The Amplified Bible offers this translation:

16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),

Upon closely examining this passage, we find seven points to illustrate the origin and intent of the Bible. According to E.W. Bullinger in his study Number in Scripture, the number seven represents spiritual perfection revealed in the Word of God:

  • Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration)
  • and profitable for instruction
  • for reproof and conviction of sin (to make us realize what is wrong in our lives).
  • for correction of error
  • and discipline in obedience
  • [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),
  • and to equip his people to be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Listen to this musical version of 2 Timothy 3:16 as a scripture memory song:

 

In thinking of the Scriptures as words given by the inspiration of God or as the” God-breathed word,” another related verse comes to mind:

2 Peter 1:21

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost

In discussing “Our God-breathed Bible”, teacher John McArthur comments,

So, when you pick up your Bible, you’re not reading the word of men, you’re reading the Word of God that was written down by men who were moved along in the process by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Not  only is all scripture “God-breathed” but its purpose is that believer, the one who puts his trust in God, might be “complete and proficient,” fully equipped, as a cruise ship is thoroughly prepared and outfitted for its maiden and subsequent voyages.

The New Century Version offers this rendering of 2 Timothy 3:17:

Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work.

When God breathes life comes forth. When God breathed into the nostrils of his creation in Genesis, he became a living soul. Likewise, the Word that God breathed is “alive and full of power” or living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). In thinking about the power of the breath of God, the lyrics to the Hillsong worship song “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” come to mind:

 

The Verse(s) of the Day are wonderful reminders of the source and the purpose of the Word of God.

Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs

October 25, 2016

ephesians-5-19-20

The Verse of the Day for October 25, 2016 comes from Ephesians 5:19-20 in the New Living Translation:

singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Colossians 3:16-17 we find the mirror image of these verses which also speaks of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” When we examine these two passages, we find a parallel connection in light of the context of “giving thanks to God.”

Colossians 3:16-17 (NLT):

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

These two passages remind us that expressing our gratitude to God is to be connected to everything that we do: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for all things” with the exhortation reinforced that no matter what you do in word or deed, it is to be done with gratitude, giving thanks to God the Father through Christ.

The Word of God reveals that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives. There is to be a continual overflow of gratitude to God, as we encourage ourselves through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, as we allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly or to make itself at home in our hearts. Not only are we to edify and reassure ourselves, but we are to become a source of strength and encouragement for one another.

In the past, around the Thanksgiving holiday, I have posted my list of “Top Ten Thanksgiving Songs”: five were traditional hymns, and five were contemporary songs of praise and worship, all of which focus on being thankful.  In actuality the list could be viewed as a collection of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Here is a brief definition of these terms plus a sampling of music from these three categories:

Psalms:

Psalms are consider songs of praise directed to God, as directed in the Book of Psalms. Today a number of the Psalms of David have been set to music, as illustrated in one of most popular songs of thanks from the Bible is “ I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving /He Has Made Me Glad offered by Maranatha Music.

Hymns:

Hymns are described as formal and traditional songs often sung by a congregation in praise of God in a public worship setting. Out of the Protestant Reformation emerged songs written in the vernacular of the people. Here is a medley of three popular hymns of thanksgiving: “Come Ye Thankful People Come,” “We Gather Together,” and “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

Spiritual songs:

This category of songs are said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, often based on a spiritual theme or teaching spiritual principles. Much of contemporary praise and worship can be placed in this category.

Here is a new song of gratitude “I’m Thankful” by Alexander Delgado:

Every day may we encourage ourselves and one another, “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

This message is reinforced in the Scripture Memory Song “Speak to One Another,” based on Ephesians 5:19-20, another reminder to be thankful:

Beginning of wisdom

October 24, 2016

Proverbs 9--10

Revised and re-posted, the following entry examines the Verse of the Day for October 24, 2016, which makes a bold statement regarding the origin of wisdom found in Proverbs 9:10 graphically illustrated in this dramatic way:

Proverbs 9:10 (NLT):

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

The Amplified Bible offers this:

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.

When we hear the word “beginning,” we recall the first verse of the Bible that transports us to the place where life began:

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Proverbs 8:23 in the Amplified Bible brings to our attention that even before the beginning spoken of Genesis 1:1, the wisdom of God was on the scene:

From everlasting I was established and ordained, From the beginning, before the earth existed, [I, godly wisdom, existed].

If wisdom existed before the beginning, what is origin or the beginning of wisdom? Once again, the answer comes from Proverbs, the Book of Wisdom:

Proverbs 4:7 (AMP)

The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]! And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation].

The Psalmist adds to the discussion with these enlightening words:

Psalm 111:10 (AMP)

The [reverent] fear of the Lord is the beginning (the prerequisite, the absolute essential, the alphabet) of wisdom; A good understanding and a teachable heart are possessed by all those who do the will of the Lord; His praise endures forever.

The message regarding the origin of wisdom expressed in the Verse of the Day is reinforced and augmented in Proverbs 1:7 (AMP):

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; But arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.

Thus, we see that in order to comprehend more fully the essence of wisdom, we must go back to the beginning.

As we reflect upon wisdom, so brilliantly displayed in the Book of Proverbs and elsewhere, we find that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” poetically expressed in this manner:

The Beginning of Wisdom

The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 19:9 (AMP)

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of

Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 (AMP)

 

We begin and stand in absolute awe of You,

Thoroughly washed in the fountain of holiness.

The old has passed away—Behold, You make all things new:

Redeemed and justified by Christ, our righteousness.

As you search the earth, may we find grace in your sight.

We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.

We stand as perfected ones destined to walk upright,

Your Beloved, whose hearts Your Word purifies.

We are filled with knowledge and wisdom from above

And bound by a covenant no one can sever,

For nothing can separate us from God’s love:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.

We are renewed in strength and upheld by God’s Word,

As we pursue wisdom, growing in the fear of the Lord.

A perfect musical accompaniment to this blog entry is the song “The Perfect Wisdom of Our God.”

“We Choose the Fear of the Lord” by the Maranatha Music also relates to the beginning of wisdom.

Attitude makes all the difference

October 23, 2016

attitude

In keeping with a new feature of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe, we offer another “Quote of the Day.” On October 23, 2016, we examine a comment regarding our attitude:

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

This statement by American businessman and author, W. Clement Stone (1902-2002), is especially noteworthy during October, which has been designated Positive Attitude Month. Despite the negative headlines and surrounding conditions that too often leave many to feel mentally exhausted and utterly frustrated, it is possible to maintain an optimistic outlook on life. It may take considerable effort, but anyone can achieve and maintain a positive outlook. During what some speak of as “these last and evil days,” described as “difficult to deal with,” it is especially important to be positive instead of negative.

Attitude can make a big difference. Maintaining a positive attitude can make a difference in maintaining emotional and physical health.  In his, A Primer in Positive Psychology, Dr. Christopher Petersen, one of the founding fathers of positive psychology, maintains that “…optimism has demonstrable benefits, and pessimism has drawbacks.”  He goes on to say, “…optimism…has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to perseverance and effective problem solving; to academic, athletic, military, occupational, and political success; to popularity; to good health; and even to long life and freedom from trauma.”  Simply put, studies show that people who maintain a positive attitude tend to live longer and maintain an overall state of well being.

Deveonne Cooke, Counselor and Life Coach, also points out the importance of having a positive attitude: “Attitude determines the outcomes we receive. You get the results of what you think.”

Angela Lowe, licensed, Christ-centered counselor and consultant, expresses the same sentiments and speaks of maintaining a “genuinely positive attitude” in terms of “sowing and reaping.”

Individuals who sow with such an attitude will be strengthened, energized and multiply, producing an abundance of endurance and support to withstand any “tests, trials or challenges” that are certain to be awaiting. Maintaining a “genuinely positive attitude” in spite of all circumstances reaps endless benefits. These benefits start from within the individual and flow out into every other area of one’s life, producing seeds of hope for others to benefit from and reproduce.

The kind of attitude one keeps can make all the difference. Chuck Swindoll, noted radio  Bible teacher, comments on the importance of attitude as a critical factor of life:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church… a home.”

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

In thinking about attitudes or the way we think, the Book of Proverbs also remind us that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. The Scriptures also encourage individuals make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers, to bless with our lips and not to curse. Finally, we must learn always to be grateful, for “Attitude begins with gratitude.”

During Positive Attitude Month we are encouraged to soar in life, as we follow the advice of Patricia Russell-McCloud: “Step forward with discipline, determination and knowledge that attitude determines your altitude, how high you will fly in this life.”

Overall, a great way to maintain a positive attitude is to follow the admonition of the popular song:  “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” We conclude our discussion with this classic rendition of the popular song from Bette Midler and Bing Crosby.

Walk the walk and talk the talk in wisdom

October 22, 2016

proverbs-15-23

The Verse of the Day is a word of wisdom from the Book of Wisdom found in Proverbs 15:23 in the New Living Translation:

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!

The Amplified Bible says this:

 

A man has joy in making an apt answer, and a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is!

 

Believers today sometimes speak of words that another believer may speak to them or words flowing  from the Scriptures as a “rhema word from the Lord spoken in due season.” The website ShareFaith.com speaks of the Greek word rhema which means utterance, as a portion of scripture that “speaks” to a believer. “In most cases, a rhema word received while reading the Bible applies to a current situation or need. In essence, the rhema word is timely and extremely valuable in a Christian’s walk with God.” We can think of a rhema word as a “right now word in a right now moment.” Indeed, the Verse of the Day reminds us such a response is saying “the right thing at the right time.”

In the New Testament we find a corresponding passage related to exercising wisdom in how believers should conduct their lives:

Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT):

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Some may be more familiar with the King James Version:

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

The passage begins with an exhortation to “Live wisely” or “Walk in wisdom.” Another most enlightening scripture regarding walking in wisdom occurs in Ephesians 5:15 (NLT):

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.

Correspondingly, here is the verse in the King James:

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

In this instance the term “To walk circumspectly” means to walk carefully, accurately, “to be watchful on all sides.”  Walking in wisdom involves being intentional and making deliberate choices that determine the direction and ultimate fulfillment of one’s purpose in God.

We can view these references in the New Testament as illustrations of what it means to “walk the walk and talk the talk.” If you say that someone talks the talk and walks the walk, you mean that the person acts in a way that agrees with the words that are spoken. There should be a corresponding action to accompany the words that an individual speaks.

 

As believers the Scriptures encourage us to “walk in wisdom” as well to speak words of wisdom when we talk.

Stephen Curtis Chapman offers these words of wisdom in the song “Walk with the Wise.”