Archive for January, 2017

So good, so ready, so full of love

January 31, 2017

Psalm 86-5

The Verse of the Day for January 31, 2017 offers a remarkable declaration of who God is and what He is willing to do:

Psalm 86:5 (NLT)

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

As we take a closer look at the verse, we see that God is “so good,” “so ready,” and “so full of love. . .”

O Lord, you are so good…

Book of Ezra notes that when the builders completed the foundation for the Temple, the priests and the people celebrated:

Ezra 6:11

11 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:

“He is so good!
His faithful love for Israel endures forever!”

Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.

So ready to forgive. . .

1 John 1:9 reminds us of this truth:

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

The Psalmist also declares:

Psalm 103:2-3

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,

So full of unfailing love. . .

Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT) reveals the extent of God’s faithfulness and love:

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

John 3:16, one of the most often quoted verses in the Bible, makes known that God did not just love, but He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life.

So

Used as an adverb three times in the Verse of the Day, “so” is a little word of great importance. It expresses the degree or the extent of the adjective that it modifies: “So” is also part of the expression “Amen.” The Hebrew word used for amen in the Old Testament is “ei men” and means “so be it, verily, true,” or “truly” (literally “truth”). In the New Testament the expression is transliterated from the Greek word “amen” and is said to be a declaration of affirmation of what was just spoken or written. “So it is” or “truly” and even “true” and “yes”; so be it—thus shall it most surely be, it is so.

Psalm 41:13 is says, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.” When repeated the statement spoken or written is established.

The last word used in the Bible, “Amen”, indicates that God has the last “say so”, for the Lord God Almighty, the creator of the ends of the Earth, affirms and confirms all that He has spoken—Amen—it is so!

We conclude with Casting Crowns offering this call to worship based on Psalm 86: The Voice of Truth:

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Live a life worthy of the calling

January 30, 2017

Ephesians 4--1

Although the Verse of the Day for January 30, 2017 comes from Ephesians 4:2, in order to understand more fully the context of the opening exhortation of chapter 4, we must also include verses 1-3 rendered this way in the New Living Translation:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

In Verse 1 Paul, the prisoner of the Lord, exhorts members of the Body of Christ, to embrace their calling to ministry and conduct themselves worthily, according to the high standards of that calling.

Verse 2 offers another reminder to live in humility and meekness with patience whereby we endure or bear up under, and “put up with,” making allowances for one another because we love one another. Patience is the golden strand woven throughout the gnarled threads that comprise the tapestries of our lives. As believers we are exhorted to wait patiently for the return of Christ who is our blessed hope. We are encouraged, not only to wait for him but to wait on him, as we serve one another in love.

Believers are further encouraged to make haste hence or to be diligent, eager, and to make every effort in maintaining the unity of the faith, “binding yourselves together with peace.” Colossians 3:15 reiterates this point:

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

This passage from Ephesians 4 reminds believers how we should conduct our lives and to walk worthy of our calling:

The Call

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,

beseech you to walk worthy of the calling

with which you were called,

Ephesians 4:1

The call resounds like a repeated name

From the lips of a dear friend who knows you.

We clearly hear our name and see the flame

That lights the path of those whom God foreknew

Would hear and heed a higher destiny.

This calling only God can verify.

Our ears cannot hear; our eyes cannot see;

Yet within our heart we cannot deny

That we have heard and seen what few will know.

We must still rise and strive to reach the place

Where the rivers of understanding flow

And never doubt God’s purpose and His grace.

We stand in the unbroken line of all

Those who, having heard, rise to heed the call.

The accompanying video also invites us to “Answer God’s call”

To serve: The last shall be first and the first shall be last

January 29, 2017

Mark-9 35

In a similar manner as a recent blog post entitled “The way down is the way up,” the Verse of the Day for January 29, 2017 speaks of another paradox related to the 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 puts it this way in the New King James Version:

And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

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

Dr. Martin Luther King also makes the same point in this excerpt called “To Serve” taken from his sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct”:

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.

As believers, as fellow servants, we seek to express our personal application of the principles of servitude found in this intriguing figure described in this poem

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 our essence, we strive to find a word,

Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,

To express our deep yearning for intimacy.

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

Each fiber of our being and each emotion

Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.

As we endeavor to learn and live to impart

The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,

We pledge to work in voluntary servitude,

As we fix our eyes, looking unto our 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

Are these branded bondslaves who embody “the more.”

We close today’s post with “The Servant Song” by Maranatha! Promise Band.

Order my steps in Your word

January 28, 2017

psalm-37-23-2

Similar to yesterday’s blog entry, today’s post is based on the Quote of the Day for January 28, 2017:

“We must learn to order our lives by the Word of the Lord.”

Although believers too often seek to take charge of their own lives and direct their own steps, Jeremiah 10:23 reminds us:

23 O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself;
it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.

In contrast, the Psalmist declares, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

I recall that one of the first scriptures that I committed to memory comes from Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV):

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 20:24 (AMP) goes on to say:

Man’s steps are ordered and ordained by the Lord. How then can a man [fully] understand his way?

Despite our earnest intentions and best efforts to follow our own blueprints that we have designed for our lives, we find ourselves in perplexing, painfully distressing situations where we have absolutely no desire to be.

During such times, we ask ourselves, “Why am I here?  How did I get here? God, what are you doing? What are you trying to teach me?”  We recognize that God does everything on purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1; Romans 8:28). Pastor Rick Warren provided a teaching series entitled “God’s Purpose behind Your Problems.” He mentioned that God is directly involved in every situation of our lives, and He is endeavoring to do one or more of a combination of five things: “Direct you; Inspect you; Correct you; Protect you; Perfect you.”

I took those five verbs and put them into a request, a petition, a personal prayer to God. God becomes the initiator of the action, and I become the object of his action.  In developing my own teaching series, I examine each of the verbs with examples from the Old Testament and New Testament, as I offer my “Five-Fold Prayer: Direct Me—Inspect Me—Correct Me—Protect Me—Perfect Me.”  I close each teaching with a prayer/psalm inspired by each verb.  Here is the first of the series: “A Five-Fold Prayer: Direct Me”:

Generally speaking, “Direct” means to lead or to guide straight, as toward an object. In the Old Testament the verb is used in this sense: to lead, guide gently, softly and with care, as a shepherd guides his flock; to lead or to guide; most frequently of God who leads men.

Two verses from the New Testament are part of benedictions that close out Thessalonians:

I Thessalonians 3:11:

Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.

2 Thessalonians 3:5:

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

The Quote of the Day is personalized with this psalm rendered as a prayer:

Direct me

Prepare the way, straighten my path, order my steps,

Shine your light upon me that I may not stumble,

That I may not walk in the light of my own sparks,

But illumine my way with the lamp of your Word.

Lord, direct my heart into the love of God

And into the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.

Raise me up in righteousness and direct all my ways.

We conclude today’s post with one of my all-time favorite gospel songs related to this desire for God to guide and direct us: “Order My Steps in Your Word”:

Broken and fulfilled promises

January 27, 2017

2-corinthians1-20

Today’s post centers on the “Quote of the Day” for January 27, 2017 which offers this enlightening statement:

”Problems are not meant to destroy you; they are just the “in-between” before the Provision.”

I recall a teaching a number of years ago that pointed out that problems are actually situated as the intermediary phase between “the Promises of God” and His ultimate Provision: Promises—Problems—Provision.

Earlier this week, we posted comments regarding the word “disappointment,” defined as “feelings of dissatisfaction, the emotion felt when a strongly held anticipation is not fulfilled.” We must recognize, however, that disappointments occurred when situations have not turned out the way we thought they would nor at the time that we would. Since that time, I have come across a scientific word to describe some of the negative emotions associated with broken promises. When an individual fails to live up to the high expectations of another person to whom promises have been made, psychologists use the term “negative expectancy disconfirmation.”

In contrast, the Word of God reveals that God has provided His people with “exceedingly great and precious promises” We are also reminded that “all the promises of God in Christ are Yes, and in Christ, Amen to the glory of God.” A previous blog post reiterated this point:

We must remember that there is no failure in God, for God is good. The very essence of God is goodness. Indeed, Jesus Christ said, “There is none good but the Father.” Because God is good, “. . . all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good. When facing what appears to be disappointing aspects in life, we can look to the Word of God and find that those who trust in God will not be disappointed.

The Psalmist also reminds us that God will not let those who trust Him to be disappointed

Psalm 22:5 (AMP):

They cried to You and were delivered; they trusted in, leaned on, and confidently relied on You, and were not ashamed or confounded or disappointed.

Paul reiterates this point:

Romans 10:11(AMP):

The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed. AMP

Above all, we must remember this:

Numbers 23:19 (KJV):

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

In our relationships with others we may encounter countless broken promises, resulting in in “negative expectancy disconfirmation” whereas in our relationship with our heavenly Father we receive boundless promises fulfilled, yielding “positive expectancy confirmation.” As believers our souls are anchored in hope, which has been defined as “expectation of a future good,” which is confirmed in Titus 1:2:

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began

We conclude with Chris Tomlin who sums it all up with “Yes and Amen”:

The way down is the way up

January 26, 2017

james-4-10

Revised and re-posted from a previous blog entry, the Verse of the Day for January 26, 2017 reveals that “The way down is the way up.”

James 4:10 (NIV):

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

This scripture reminds us that humility is the key to promotion. Of course, the ultimate example to illustrate this paradox is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:5-9 in the New King James Version offer this strong exhortation:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

The opening phrase of this passage also brings to mind these lyrics:

Let This Mind Be in You

Let this mind be in you

Which was also in Christ Jesus.

Let this mind be in you

Which was also in Christ Jesus.

Let this mind be in you

Which was also in Christ Jesus.

 

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind be in you.

 

God gets no pleasure

In forcing us to obey.

But He wants us to follow Him

His spirit leads the way.

 

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind be in you.

 

We say we are waiting,

Waiting on God to move,

But we’re the ones God’s waiting on,

His perfect will to prove.

 

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind be in you.

 

Now don’t keep God waiting.

He wants to reign in you.

Ask yourself what is God waiting

For you to let Him do?

 

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind . . .

Let this mind be in you.

Jesus Christ points to the duality of humility and promotion when he says in Luke 14:11:

For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted

Jesus Christ associates being humble with a child in Matthew 18:4 (Amplified Bible)

Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The same point is made in a different way in Matthew 23:13 (Amplified Bible)

Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.

The essence of this discussion of the paradox of humility and promotion is so clearly expressed in the title prayer from a collection edited by Arthur Bennett: The Valley of VisionA Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.

The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.

James 4:6 and James 4:10 are set to worship music:

Without question, in terms of promotion with God, humility is the key. Indeed, the way down is the way up.

Think on these things

January 25, 2017

 

philippians-4-8

The Verse of the Day for January 25, 2017 instructs believers as to what they should think:

Philippians 4:8 (NIV):

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

These words of wisdom formed the introduction to a devotional based on the statement: “THINK before you speak.” Written as an acrostic, the word “T-H-I-N-K” was broken down into a series of questions with scriptures related to each of the questions asked. The blog entry is revised and re-posted here:

“THINK before you speak.”

Every believer is to be conscious of what that individual thinks. We are reminded to control our thoughts. Paul exhorts us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We must never forget that “thoughts are the seeds to our words and deeds.” Therefore, always “Think before you speak” and ask these questions:

T     Is it true?

In every situation we want always to speak the truth, and so we ask this question before we open our mouths in response: “Is it true?” We are always looking to the Word of God as our standard for what is true:

Psalm 19:9 declares:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 119:160 reiterates this truth:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of you righteous judgments endures forever.

Whenever we open our mouths to speak we want to be a “true witness,” as Proverbs 14:25 indicates:

A true witness delivers souls: but a deceitful witness speaks lies.

Jesus Christ made this statement: “Your word is truth. Sanctify them through your word.”

H    Is it helpful?

The words that we speak should be helpful, as Romans 14:19 reminds us:

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Colossians 4:6 also offers this encouragement regarding the words we speak:

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Ephesians 4:29 reinforces the same message:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

I   Is it inspiring?

The words that we speak can build up or tear down; they can encourage or discourage. Before we speak, we should ask, “Will what I say inspire and motivate those who hear me?”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 offers these words of encouragement:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do

Believers are also exhorted to “admonish one another” in Romans 5:14

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Romans 15:14

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

A similar expression is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

A Bible study from Xenos Christian Ministries explains that to admonish is to apply moral correction through verbal confrontation which is motivated by love. We should always endeavor to speak the truth in love which involves “Communication of God’s truth in love in ways that strengthen Christians to go on following God’s will.”

N  Is it necessary?

Although the Scriptures encourage us to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks, (I Peter 3:15), we may encounter situations whereby we should “hold our peace” and say nothing. Indeed, there are occasions when it may not be necessary to say what we have in mind. Indeed, Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking.

In exercising the grace of God, some believers may feel that they can say whatever they think or whenever they want to.  1 Corinthians 10:23 calls to our attention this truth:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

In life we all may encounter situations where it may be better to say little or nothing, as we ask, “Is it necessary?”

K  Is it kind?

Most remarkably, what we put into our minds is what comes out of our mouths. Colossians 3: 12-14 (AMP) exhorts us:

12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

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

If we put kindness into hearts and minds, then what we say and what we do will clothed with kindness, as we follow Paul exhortation in Ephesians 4:32:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

If we are endeavoring to speak the truth in love, we can be assured that what we speak will be kind because “love is kind.” (I Corinthians 13:4)

And so we have endeavored to answer the five questions which form the acrostic based on the statement: “‘T-H-I-N-K’ before you speak.”

The Verse of the Day is expressed in this song “Philippians 4:8 – Whatever Is True” offered by Scripture Release:

Restore that person gently

January 24, 2017

Galatians 6--1-2

The Verse of the Day for January 24, 2017 directs our attention to Galatians 6:1, to which we also add verse 2 to complete the thought:

Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV):

[Doing Good to All] Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

These verses express that when we see a brother or sister fall under a heavy burden of sin, we can spiritually come along side of that person and offer assistance in bearing that burden. We are to “restore that person gently.” This reference brings to mind a Quote of the Day blog entry posted last year:

“God is in the restoration business. He delights in transforming lives through the healing touch of the Lord Jesus Christ, who redeemers and restores and makes whole every wounded soul who calls out for help.”

Not only is God concerned about restoration, but we should also make restoration our business. As we endeavor to restore our brothers and sisters, we recognize that restoration is a process that should be engaged with a “spirit of gentleness, not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness,” so states the Amplified Bible.

The verb “restore” in the Greek New Testament refers to a dislocated limb. In light of that, restoring the limb to its proper position must be done gently. We must keep this in mind as we endeavor to “restore” one another. During this time of restoration and recovery, we make our brothers and sisters aware of God’s desire that they be restored, as expressed in these lyrics:

Rest in me and recover.

Your strength and courage I will renew.

As you trust me you will uncover

The power of Christ at work within you.

I am all that you need.

 

Rest in me and you will discover

I am the Lord, and I do not faint.

Be assured I never get weary.

Rest in me and be comforted to know

I am all that you need.

 

Rest in me and mount up as eagles.

You shall walk and shall not faint.

You shall run and not be weary.

Rest in me and know that I shall not fail.

I am all that you need.

 

I am all that you need in the time of famine.

I am the one that shall feed and satisfy your soul.

I am all that you need in the time of trouble.

I will hasten to be by your side. Now, don’t you see?

I am all that you need.

The Verse of the Day and its reference to the previous Quote of the Day also bring to mind this powerful song restoration by Kevin Levar, “I Will Restore” the perfect way to cap off today’s entry:

 

Asking God for wisdom

January 23, 2017

James 1-5

The Verse of the Day for January 23, 2017 follows closely the words of encouragement found in yesterday’s daily word which focused on the three commands to “ask, seek, and knock.” Today’s exhortation also relates to something that believers should ask God for or earnestly pursue:

James 1:5 (NIV):

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Asking God for wisdom can be seen as part of our pursuit of wisdom which we are asked to do, not only in James 1:5, but the Book of Proverbs also offers “words of wisdom” to all those who desire to seek this valuable attribute. Indeed, as Proverbs 16:16 (NLT) tells us:

How much better to get wisdom than gold,
and good judgment than silver!

Once we recognize the inestimable worth of wisdom, we will seek it, knowing that we will find what we diligently pursue.

In reading the Verse of the Day and reflecting on wisdom, I recall this poetic description:

The Power of Wisdom

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom:

and with all thy getting get understanding.

Proverbs 4:7

 

When we choose to build, we look to the Scriptures and find

That seeking after wisdom is the key to our success,

For wisdom has great power to promote and to bless.

With wisdom we can perceive the Father’s hidden design.

Companion to wisdom is power to loose and to bind

The enemy and then become the strongman of righteousness.

Follow the way of wisdom and path of holiness.

Pursue wisdom as a treasure, priceless as peace of mind.

As we move toward our destiny, wisdom serves as our midwife

To give birth to dreams within us, waiting to be fulfilled.

Wisdom defeats deceptive spirits and nullifies strife.

We walk in the power of our calling, seeking to be filled

With wisdom which brings riches and honor and a long life:

We use wisdom first to dismantle, then accurately build.

Today’s entry concludes with a moving rendition of “The Perfect Wisdom of God” by Keith and Kristyn Getty:

Ask, seek, and knock

January 22, 2017

Matthew 7--7-8

The Verse of the Day for January 22, 2017 offers three powerful commands spoken by Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:7-8 expressed in the Amplified Bible Classic Edition:

Matthew 7:7-8 (AMPC)

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

The passage brings to mind a scripture memory song whose lyrics reveal an acrostic poem that spells out the word “a-s-k,” the first three letters of which express the three verbs found in verse 7.

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

Ask and it shall be given to 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 asks receives.

The one who seeks finds;

And to the one who knocks, the door will 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.

In thinking about the passage from Matthew 7:7-8, especially in the Classic Edition of the Amplified Bible, we 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.

Integrity Music offers this lively rendition of Matthew 7:7-8 with the commands spoken by Jesus Christ: