Archive for July, 2017

Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

July 31, 2017

No condemnation quote

We begin with our morning time of reflection with the Quote of the Day for July 31, 2017, a statement from Mike Bikel:

“The enemy works overtime to keep us in shame. He knows if he can keep us in shame, he can minimize our intimacy with God.”

In response to any attempt to keep us in a state of shame or condemnation, Romans 8:1-2 reminds believers where we stand when we remain steadfast in maintaining our fellowship in Christ:

Romans 8:1-2 (KJV)

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

The passage is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

 1THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.

2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.

The opening verses from an often quoted chapter in the Bible inspired this poetic response which expresses our desire to pursue the path of life and walk in the spirit as opposed to walking in the flesh and pursuing the path of death. Each day we endeavor to walk in the spirit:

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

has made me free from the law of sin and death

Romans 8:2

 

Moving forward in each new season, we see what it brings,

As we learn that we are free from the law of sin and death,

Freed from the hand of the enemy each time we draw breath.

We have been brought into the new to do new things.

Though our desire is to please God, to succeed and to excel,

We know that we are saved by grace, not by our own merit.

We covenant with God that we will walk in the Spirit

And provide a place where the Spirit of God may dwell.

Ever aware of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness,

We seek to walk in wisdom, while striving to understand

That to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh, is God’s command.

As we mature, we attain a measure of Christ’s fullness.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free

To walk into the true fullness of all God called us to be.

Don Moen offers a magnificent song of praise based on Romans 8:1-2 “There is Therefore Now No Condemnation”:

 

 

 

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Let your light so shine

July 30, 2017

Matthew-5--14-16

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for July 30, 2017 is found in the section of Scripture known as “The Beatitudes.” One of the most recognized passages draws comparisons in Matthew 5:14, 16 in the Amplified Bible:

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Here Jesus Christ uses a metaphor to describe the impact that his followers can have upon the world.  When light is introduced, the environment changes.  In our contemporary society those who carry the light and thus bring about change are sometimes known as “change agents,” which education.com defines in this way: “Individuals or groups who attempt change, aid in its accomplishment, or help to cope with it.”

Jorge Luis Boria notes that “Change does not ‘Happen’” in an article related to “change facilitators” or those who facilitate change within an organization: “A change facilitator is a person that leads the process of change. He or she is aware of the risks of the transition and helps the organization to prepare and execute a plan to make the change happen.” Such “change facilitators” or “change agents” make the difference within an organization; indeed, they make the difference in life.

T.M. Moore speaks of three metaphors Jesus Christ uses to describe the Church as agents of change: “The Church changes its society by serving as light, salt, and leaven.” They show up and everything changes. Change agents not only make the difference; they are the change. Mahatma Ghandi is said to have offered this exhortation: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

The following poem was originally dedicated to a group of missionaries who were sent to local areas to carry the light and introduce Jesus Christ:

Light of the World

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on

 a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp,

 and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand;

 and it gives light to all who are in the house.

 Let your light so shine before men, that they

 may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”        

Matthew 5:14-16

 

A call comes ringing. . .     

 

The light that from creation split the dark

still shines today.  The same sun that once graced

Eden’s green place still warms the earth each day.

Without the light there is no life, no hope

For growth, no power to live and give birth.

Without the light there is only the night

To swallow the land and smother all life.

 

Somewhere someone sits in darkness, crying. . .

Send the light. . .

 

The love of Christ constrains us to go forth,

To shine as beacons and carry the love,

To offer shelter from stormy places,

To light the path of everyone who longs

To be at home within God’s family room.

 

Send the light. . .

 

With torch held high, let us stand upon the Rock:

a lantern, a lampstand, a beacon, a lighthouse,

a city set on a hill that cannot be hid

                                   

Let it shine. . .

 

Though the darkness thickens, let our lights so shine.

Let us speak God’s Word and echo God’s voice that

First spoke light into being, commanding it to shine

 

So let it shine. . .

 

So let it shine. . .

                                                                                               

So let it shine. . .

 

forever more.

Cindy Black offers a contemporary version of “Send the Light,” the classic hymn that provides the refrain used in “Light of the World.”

God is able

July 29, 2017

Ephesians-3-20-21

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, we offer the Quote of the Day for July 29, 2017 with this reminder from Dr. Kingsley Fletcher:

“The Spirit of God can do things the mind of man cannot fathom.”

In reflecting on this statement three scriptures came to mind in light of what God is able to do. First, we find a notable account of God’s ability to move in a seemingly impossible situation in the Book of Daniel when the three “Hebrew Children” are going to be thrown into the fiery furnace, and this is their response:

Daniel 3:17:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

Another statement related to God’s ability in light of our human inability to comprehend His awesome super-ability comes from the powerful prayer found in Ephesians:

Ephesians 3:20

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

These two verses serve as the epigram or introduction to this poetic expression:

God is Able

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us

from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

Daniel 3:17

 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly

above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

Ephesians 3:20

 

God is able to do far above all we ask or think.

Life’s greatest challenges will not prevail, but they will shrink.

Although threatened on every hand, we refuse to back down.

In the midst of what seems to be defeat, we will still rebound.

If we have to, we will walk on water and will not sink.

 

Surrounded by disaster, even at the very brink

Of total defeat, so the enemy would have us to think.

Though confronted and intimidated, we stand our ground:

God is able.

 

We have learned that God’s Word and God’s will are always in sync,

That His Word nourishes and sustains us more than food or drink.

Our confident trust in God is nothing less than profound,

As we rise untouched, not singed, even from a fiery showdown.

Renewed in the spirit of our minds, we can now rethink:

God is able.

The third reference to an expression of what God is able to do is found in Jude: 24-25 (NKJV) which serves as an exhortation and benediction:

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Wintley Phipps expresses the same truth in a powerfully rendered version of “He is Able”:

 

Forgetting the past and pressing toward the goal

July 28, 2017

Although the Verse of the Day for July 28, 2017 is taken from Philippians 3:14, to fully understand that particular verse, we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14 (AMP):

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The following Scripture Video expands the context of the passage which has particular application to my life and ministry
Philippians 3:7-14 Scripture Video:

Our understanding of the passage is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery located there. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay, the equivalent to the 4 x 400 meter relay today. 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.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Home-stretch:

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

Philippians 3:13-14

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,
Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.
Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find
Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,
Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.
Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.
We fix our heart and set our affections above.
Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.
Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.
We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure
Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.
We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.
Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:
Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I also remember that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known long beforehand, based on the total 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. Even though we might not come in first in our individual event, our victory as a team has already been determined, however. We are all on the winning team.

Jesus Christ, our team captain, the all-time, undisputed, undefeated champion, has already secured the final victory, as 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJ) assures:

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Even though we are on the winning team, the challenge for each individual believer is 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 with a beautiful new music video “Set my eyes on what lies ahead, forgetting all behind” by Tess Celia

Looking unto Jesus

July 27, 2017

Verse of the Day for July 27, 2017 is the perfect follow-up to yesterday’s discussion of Hebrews 11:1, the introductory verse to the entire chapter known as the “Hall of Faith.” This celebrated chapter offers a series of brilliant examples of men and women, champions, who accomplished astounding exploits “by faith.” For a more comprehensive view of the Verse of the Day, take a look at the first three verses of Chapter 12 of Hebrews which focus on the greatest example of faith in action, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 12:1-3 (Amplified Bible):

[Jesus, the Example] Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,

2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

3 Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

In thinking on this passage, my mind recalls a backpacking experience that occurred at TFI (Total Fitness Institute) in California back in December, 1975. During this outdoor wilderness adventure I was assigned to a platoon of believers, and we portioned out our food supply for the week among the group. I volunteered to carry the food for the last day, which meant that my load stayed the same while the load that everyone else carried got lighter.

On this particular day, we were told that we would hike for a mile and then take a break and rest for a while. After a considerable amount of time, I was certain that we had hiked more than a mile, but we continued. When I realized that I was carrying the food for the last day and that the load of everyone else was lighter than mine, I became agitated and began to complain in my mind that “This is just not fair. . .” During this time of frustration and agitation as I struggled under my heavy load, I thought of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that he gladly bore on my behalf. As I took my mind off myself and turned my thoughts toward the Lord, the distress and exasperation seemed to fade, and we arrive at our destination in a short time. That unforgettable experience inspired this poem:

The Burden Bearer

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah,
When I lay my burden down.

I stumbled up the rugged road;
I almost fell beneath the load
And spurned the pain inside my head,
Recalling words of one who said
“Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”

The yoke I bear cannot compare
With all he took upon Himself:
All sins, disease, and guilt, despair
That I could not forebear myself.
His burden was not made of wood,
His cross beyond all words can name.
Have I resisted unto blood?
Could I for joy endure such shame?

From a glimpse into his face
I’m strengthened by a second wind;
My mind’s renewed to keep the pace
The load is lightened by my friend.

I feel better, so much better
since I laid my burden down.

In reflecting upon that unforgettable experience, two musical compositions come to mind. First of all, “The Burden Bearer” includes lyrics from an old gospel song that I recall my childhood, back in the day, recorded here by “Pops” Staples and the Staple Singers.

A second selection also captures the essence of my experience in light of the Verse of the Day: “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus” by John Lamacang

When we “turn our eyes upon Jesus,” we see he, indeed, is our “Burden Bearer.”

What faith can do

July 26, 2017

The Verse of the Day for July 26, 2017 comes from Hebrews 11:1. Whenever I read or hear this verse, invariably my mind goes back to a Wednesday Youth Night at Camp Gray, a Presbyterian camp in Saugatuck, MI. When the request came forth for a young person to deliver a short inspirational message, I volunteered. As a rising sophomore in high school, back in the day, I put together my first Bible teaching, choosing the topic of “faith.” Using the Bible and study material of one of the camp counselors who was a seminary student, I focused on the two verses from Hebrews that have contributed immeasurably to the foundation of faith upon which I have built my life:

Hebrews 11: 1, 6 [Amplified Bible]:

[The Triumphs of Faith] Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

6 But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

A previous blog post focusing on faith and its importance in my life offered some of the following comments:

Faith can be said to be a kind of sine qua non, an indispensable condition, element, or factor; an indispensable ingredient. These verses remind believers that faith is essential to building and maintaining a solid relationship with God, for without it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11, known as the Hall of Faith, introduces an array of individuals who accomplished great spiritual exploits as they walked by faith. Likewise, as we progress in our walk of faith, we learn that faith must be the firm foundation upon which we build. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we grow and develop, as we discover that faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the midst of thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t” but faith proclaims “We can and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. We recognize and rejoice, knowing that “with God all things are possible.” Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

Without question, faith is an essential element of our lives as Christian believers. Reflecting further upon the Verse of the Day and other related scriptures inspired the following poetic response:

Faith is What it Takes

Even the righteousness of God
which is by faith of Jesus Christ
unto all and upon all them that believe:
for there is no difference:
Romans 3:22

What does it take to gain more than we can conceive?
We have the measure of faith–God says we have it.
Great promises are ours if we only believe.
Having received the title deed, our deposit,
We have the faith of Jesus Christ, so give God praise.
This faith will take us where only the brave dare go,
To a place where rivers of understanding flow;
A faith to move mountains and excel all our days.
Though we are mature, we have the heart of a child,
Ever striving to become more faithful and true;
Not stained by malice but open, ardently wild
In our passion to please God in all we say and do.
Cleansed by the Blood and forgiven of past mistakes,
To stand boldly before Him, faith is what it takes.

The contemporary Christian music group Kutless also reminds us of “What Faith Can Do.”

I hurry to keep your commandments

July 26, 2017

 

In Psalm 119:60 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 25, 2017:

I hurried and did not delay to keep Your commandments.

This is how the King James Version puts it:

I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

Here are additional renderings of the verse that describes how the Psalmist responds to the Word of God:

Psalm 119:60 (Common English Bible–CEB) :

I hurry to keep your commandments—
I never put it off!

Psalm 119:60 (Complete Jewish Bible–CJB) :

I hurry, I don’t delay,
to observe your mitzvot.

Psalm 119:60 (Contemporary English Version–CEV) :

As soon as you command,
I do what you say.

Psalm 119:60 (Easy to Read Version-ERV) :

Without wasting any time,
I hurried back to obey your commands.

The verse also brings to mind the exhortation from James: “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

The various versions all express this important truth: As the Poet says, “We place our ears near to the lips of God,” and when He speaks, we learn to swiftly obey. We do not wait, but we must learn to respond immediately, as one of the stanzas from “The Servant’s Song: My Eyes Are Only on You” reminds us:

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

As the eyes of a servant look to the hands of His Lord,
As the ears of a servant know so well his master’s voice,
So my mind stays focused to watch and learn how you move.
Create in me a servant’s heart; teach me to serve in love.

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,
I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.
I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see
When He bids me to the wedding feast, and He will wait on me.

My eyes are only on you.
My eyes are only on you.
All that you tell me that I will do.
I offer my life; I give it to you,
For my eyes are only on you.

Biblical scholar EW Bullinger notes that Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm of 22 sections of eight verses each with each section starting with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Take a look at the psalm and note that the first eight verses are labeled under Aleph, verses 9-16 are labeled under Beth; the same sequence follows for all 176 verses (8 x22).
The Verse of the Day is part of the Heth section, a portion of which is set to music as a hymn sung in the following video:

Blessed is the man

July 24, 2017

From Psalm 112:5 in the Amplified Bible comes the Verse of the Day for July 24, 2017:

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He conducts his affairs with justice.

The New King James Version put it this way:

Psalm 112:5

A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

Such an individual is said to be blessed and so described in Psalm 1:1 in the Amplified Bible:

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],

Logos Bible Software offers comments regarding this person and points out a parallel verse in Psalm 111:10 (AMP):

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.

The Psalmist reiterates that reverence and deep respect for God and His commandment open up the way to true happiness. The person who delights greatly and meditates deeply in His precepts, the one whose primary focus is to seek earnestly to understand and obey God’s commandments, is blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] beyond measure in every way.

From the Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon come the following comments regarding the believer spoken of in Psalm 111:10:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; this man, therefore, has begun to be wise, and wisdom has brought him present happiness, and secured him eternal felicity. Jehovah is so great that he is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about him, and he is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof.”

4 Him offer their musical rendition of Psalm 112:

Deeds not words

July 23, 2017

Rather than the usual Verse of the Day for Day for July 23, 2017, the topic for today’s discussion could be described as the Phrase of the Day. This time the expression comes from Latin: Res non verba, translated, “Deeds, not words,” or “Deeds rather than words.” The phrase corresponds to the proverb “Actions speak louder than words.”

The Scriptures also speak of both words and deeds. Nowhere are these two elements more brilliantly displayed than in the Lord Jesus Christ described as “. . . a prophet powerful in deed and word in the sight of God and all people” (Luke 24:19).

Colossians 3:17 makes a distinction between what is said and what is done; however, believers are encouraged to maintain a grateful attitude, no matter what they say or do:

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

1 John also points out that as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must express our love not only with the words we say, but we should likewise demonstrate our love by what we do.

1 John 3:18 (AMP)

Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].

This verse reminds us that with love, there must be a demonstration or manifestation to express the reality of that powerful emotion. An anonymous quote reminds us: “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. Every day should be “show and tell.” Another statement reiterates the same point: “Love is a verb. Without action it is merely a word.”

Throughout the New Testament we are encouraged to love God and one another expressed in the closing lines:

“A Single Image”

. . . .

there is
no fear
in love
so why
should we

we are His
He is one
so are we

one
plus
one
makes
one
in
word
in
deed
in
truth

As believers, once we have been reconnected to God, we must recognize that God has given us the privilege and the responsibility (that is, our ability to respond to God’s love), as 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 so clearly states:

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

The reference to both “word” and “deed” brings to mind Annie Johnston Flint’s poem that also reiterates the responsibility given to us:

Christ has no hands but our hands

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue 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 scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?
What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?

In light of the intense times in which we live, the poem raises a number of critical questions regarding our “words” and our “deeds.” Dimitri Caver offers an upbeat musical version of 1 John 3:18, one of the verses associated with these two concepts:

Follow the path of truth: God will make a way

July 21, 2017

In Psalm 119:30 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2017:

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

The New King James Version says this:

I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.

In the Old Testament the word “way” is translated from the Hebrew word derek, meaning “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.
The reference to “the way of truth” brings to mind an earlier blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God,” using the analogy of the will of God being a road, a path or a way. Looking at the Hebrew word derek which is translated “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner,” enhances our understanding of this concept. It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.

In the New Testament, the Greek word hodos is translated “a way, a traveled way, road, and when used as a metaphor it means “a course of conduct” “a way (i.e., manner of thinking, feeling, deciding.  Used 100 times, the word is translated “way” 54 times.

In “Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?” a poetic expression of my personal testimony, I refer to “the path of truth”:

Stumbling down the road of life,
I was wasting all my youth,
Then took a right turn to Jesus Christ;
Now I’m walking the path of truth.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

Today’s blog entry combines excerpts from two previous posts that speak of a way or path. The first speaks of the will of God as “the road less traveled by,” referring to the often quoted poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”; the second is entitled “On the way to doing the will of God, God will make a way.” Years ago I also remember one of the vivid descriptions of God, who was said to be “a way maker, who can make a way out of no way.”

In our efforts to walk with the Lord as we seek to do His will, we all encounter challenges and difficult situations that seem impossible to resolve on our own. The Bible reminds us of God’s unfailing power and strength to turn a seemingly impossible situation into a triumphant victory. Isaiah 43:19 declares what God is able to do:

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

The reality of God’s faithfulness brings to mind the vernacular poem “Hand upon the Plow,” offering several examples from the Bible to illustrate that “The Lord will make a way somehow….”

Hand upon the Plow

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand
to the plow and looks back [to the things behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

“Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!”
–Black Spiritual

When life ain’t like it suppose to be,
Right then and there it occurs to me
Folks been in fixes worse than me,
Right in the Bible where I see:

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

Pharaoh said, “Kill each Hebrew boy,”
But Moses’ Ma was full of joy
Cause Pharaoh’s daughter raised her boy.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

The lions looked so lean and thin
When they throwed Daniel in the den,
But Old Man Daniel didn’t bend.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When Jesus died, God paid the cost
And at that time all seem like lost,
But God planned ahead for Pentecost.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

Paul and Silas didn’t rant and wail
When they throwed both of them in jail.
They called on God, and He didn’t fail.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When troubles start to bugging you
Remember, there’s just one thing to do:
Look to God and He’ll see you through.
What he did for them, He’ll do for you.

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

One of the inspirations for the poem is the line from the spiritual “Keep Your Hand on the Plow,” performed in the inimitable manner of the Queen of Gospel music of the 20th Century, Mahalia Jackson, who offers this inspiring rendition:

The scriptures, poetry, and the accompanying musical reminder reinforce the message that as we strive to live for God and seek to follow the path of truth, that on the way to doing the will of God, God will make a way, even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations. Isaiah 43:19 and the tragic death of his nephew became the inspiration for one of Don Moen’s signature musical compositions, “God Will Make a Way,” offered here by Hosanna! Music to conclude our discussion: