Archive for August, 2017

After 44 years, still more in store

August 31, 2017

As Labor Day approaches, once I again, I wax reflective, recalling a most significant event occurring on the last day of the month preceding—August 31, 1973. Ah, I remember it well, the day Brenda Joyce Warren and Lonnell Edward Johnson exchanged wedding vows. My heart continues to overflow with gratitude to God, as I once again croon in my heart the lyrics to our song “You make me feel brand new”:

In celebration of this joyous occasion are these words:

After these forty years and four

 He who finds a wife finds what is good,

gaining favor from the Lord.

 Proverbs 18:22

 

After these forty years and four there is still more in store.

We look back and then ahead after all is said and done.

Still standing before Him: one plus one plus one making one.

We have arrived at another triumphant place to some,

But to us we know that the best is always yet to come.

We were for one another the one we both had we prayed for.

God drew us together to love one another all our days.

After these forty years and four there is still more in store.

For countless blessings overflowing we give you the praise.

Striving to become one, unified in the bond of peace,

God’s favor will never diminish but only increase.

We stand again with open hands and heart that He might see

Our desire to serve and to be all you called us to be.

After these forty years and four there is still more in store.

 

Listen to “our song”: You make me feel brand new

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Unity within diversity: Let the Church rise

August 29, 2017

Galatians 3--28

The emphasis of Verse of the Day for August 29, 2017 is on the Body of Christ, which is described in Galatians 3:28 in the Amplified Bible:

There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority].

God, our Father, is one and all that He has created is an expression of oneness or unity regarding all of humanity:

Acts 17:26 (Holman Christian Standard):

From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live

The Church is the ultimate expression of oneness or unity of purpose, of unity within diversity and diversity within unity.

When the Church, the Body of Christ, those called out among Jews and Gentiles, emerged as a new entity on the Day of Pentecost, God provided an amazing display of diversity. When those who waited for the promise of the Father that Jesus Christ spoke of as he departed to heaven, a remarkable gathering of individuals came to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost:

Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven (Acts 2:5).

Although God demonstrates diversity in all of His creation, He also desires a demonstration of unity within that diversity. The Church, the collective body of believers, who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and who endeavor to live out the precepts and principles of their faith also illustrate this concept. One of the terms used to describe this example of diversity is “the mystery,” a metaphor used to describe the union of Jew and Gentile into one new man, the Body of Jesus Christ, the quintessential example of unity within diversity.

The Scriptures reveal God’s desire for unity among believers, that there be no divisions, literally, no splits, breaches, or schisms, for we have been called in one body. Believers are to strive to remain unified within the Body of Christ: Instead of being divided, the body of believers is to be unified, “perfectly joined together,” a term derived from the Greek word meaning to repair, to mend, to reunite and make perfect what has been broken. We are familiar with the colloquial expression: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The converse would also hold true: “If it’s broken, then fix it.” Certainly this would apply to the Body of Christ, which is to be unified and not fractured nor divided, just as the human body is designed to be whole. Ephesians 4:16 describes God’s divine design:

From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.

The love of God is to be the hallmark that identifies believers, individually and corporately, as members of the Body of Christ. The love of God when activated and boldly demonstrated can be a life-changing force in any community.

Twelve years ago, almost to the day, Hurricane Katrina, one of the costliest natural disasters and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States, ravaged New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast.  At that time the Church came together not only to make a difference, but by their selfless acts of loving service, the Church became the difference in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Today, as Hurricane Matthew with its heavy rains and flooding continues to engulf Houston and other areas of Texas. Once again, the Church will rise to the occasion and be the life-transforming force that it was designed to be.

The video performed by Jonathan Stockstill, “Let the Church Rise,” displays a specific instance where the church rose to the occasion and made a significant difference in a disastrous situation. America, indeed, the whole world continues to be engulfed with endless challenges that seek to overwhelm us. During these trying times, once more, “Let the Church Rise.”

Works of God and greater

August 28, 2017

John 6--28-29

Although the Verse of the Day comes from John 6:29 in the Amplified Bible, we need to examine the circumstances leading up to the statement that Jesus Christ makes regarding the “works of God”

In John 6, we encounter the followers of Jesus Christ, those who had witnessed the series of miracles whereby he fed multitudes with a few fish and a small amount of bread. When they found the Lord on the other side of the Sea of Galilee after they had looked for him in the last place where he had been seen, they asked how they could perform similar miraculous works that they had seen him do:

John 6:26-29 (Amplified Bible):

26 Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, you have been searching for me, not because you saw the signs (attesting miracles), but because you ate the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures [and leads] to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you; for God the Father has authorized Him and put His seal on Him.” 28 Then they asked Him, “What are we to do, so that we may habitually be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”

Throughout the Scriptures we find references to the works of God.

Job 37:14 is this statement:

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

The Psalmist declares, “Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!” in verse 8 and throughout Psalm 107.

Psalm 40:5 makes known this truth:

Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

The hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” comes to mind when thinking of the wondrous works of God.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

We are reminded that as we read the Word of God we should not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments while Psalm 77:11:

I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

As Acts 15:18 reveals:

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

This discussion brings to mind a teaching by Apostle John Tetsola who talked about the power of consistency in overcoming adverse situations where there is overwhelming lack of provision during seasons of difficulty, in the midst of the storms of life. He covered a number of accounts whereby Jesus performed mighty works in word and in deed. He spoke of some of the miracles of feeding the multitude with the fishes and the loaves, having an abundance of “leftovers” afterwards. That life changing ministry of the Word inspired this poem which is also the title of his teaching:

The Miracle of the Bread

 For every single problem that you have, 

the answer lies in the miracle of the bread.

Apostle John Tetsola

 

We will trust in the Lord and will not be afraid.

When the storms of life arise and seem to prevail,

When our strength is gone, and we seem destined to fail,

In these tough times we recall words that Jesus said:

“O you of little faith, tell me, why did you doubt?”

No matter how midnight-black our nights seem to be,

We still access the power of consistency.

Although the world says no way, God will bring us out.

We learn never to elevate facts over truth

But recall past victories and bring them to our mind

When thousands were fed and abundance left behind

From two fishes and five loaves given by a youth.

In times of lack, we will not doubt but have faith instead

And always remember the miracle of the bread.

We must also remember what Jesus Christ declared in John 14:10-12 (Amplified Bible) regarding the works of God that he performed:

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]

12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

Knowing that the Word of God never returns void but that it accomplishes what God desires and prospers where He sends it, we walk forth on those promises which have already come to pass.

Bryan Moyer Suderman closes with “Greater Works Than These.”:

Perfect peace because we trust in God

August 27, 2017

Isaiah-26-Verse-3post

The verse for August 27, 2017, is taken from Isaiah 26:3; however, to more fully appreciate what the verse reveals about trust, we need to examine the following verse as well, where a familiar reference also speaks about the individual who trusts in God:

The two verses are rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].

To emphasize the concept of peace, the phrase “perfect peace” in the King James Version indicates a figure of repetition where the word for peace is repeated in the Hebrew text, literally “peace, peace.” God provides a “double portion of peace” to those who trust in Him. A similar expression is used elsewhere in Isaiah

Isaiah 27: 5 (NLT):

Unless they turn to me for help.
Let them make peace with me;
yes, let them make peace with me.”

Isaiah 57:19 (NKJV)

“I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord,
“And I will heal him.”

The Book of Psalms and elsewhere in Isaiah also show a connection between peace and trust:

Psalm 4:8:

In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.

Isaiah 32:17 (AMP) makes this direct connection:

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.

The passage from Isaiah 26:23-24 and other related scriptures inspired this reminder:

Because we trust in God

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

 

Because we trust in God, you will keep us in perfect peace.

We seek relief, but storms of life seem only to increase.

You have promised to help us, so we will not be afraid.

One word from the Lord can cause the winds and waves to cease.

When we speak words of peace, it shall also be as you said.

 

The peace of God floods our souls, a double measure of peace

Your desire is that peace shall abound and never decrease.

The word spoken shall come to pass though it may seem delayed

Because we trust in God.

 

Our fearless lives display God’s design for His masterpiece

Where the peace of God will never fade but only increase.

We abide in peace: grateful, confident, and unafraid,

For we are filled with joy and peace, even as we have prayed.

Once bound by fear, in Christ our souls we have found release

Because we trust in God.

We conclude our discussion with a song written and performed by Gary Oliver: “I will trust in you.” In actuality the lyrics refer to Isaiah 26:4 and reinforces the comforting and reassuring message expressed in Isaiah 26:3 which promises that God will keep us in a state of perfect peace as we trust him. As a result, we should trust in the Lord God forever, for He is the everlasting Rock of Ages.

 

 

It is finished that we might finish strong

August 26, 2017

John 4--34

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, today we are going to examine the phrase or the Word for the Day for August 26, 2017: fait ac·com·pli

According to Dictionary.com, this French expression means “something that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept.” The noun describes “an accomplished fact, something that has already been done.” Colloquially speaking, “a done deal.”

Recently Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been reminding the congregation of all that God has accomplished for us through the finished work of Jesus Christ, reiterating repeatedly that “It is already done! It is already done!”

What comes to mind are some of the last words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ: “It is finished.” Oswald Chambers speaks of “The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

Just as Christ finished the work that He was sent to accomplish, as believers we also seek to complete the work that each of us has been sent to fulfill:

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 will bless and refresh and make all things new.

The fire on the altar inflamed from a small spark

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

People called, destined to be abundantly blessed,

We reap the good of this life’s bountiful harvest,

Reflecting upon God’s favor as we recount

All the days of our lives in multiples of five,

Yet another expression of grace upon grace.

As we persevere not just to survive but thrive

We triumph with renewed strength to finish our race.

With all that lies within us, we seek to inspire

Others to serve the Lord: this is our heart’s desire.

Jonathan Nelson concludes with a word of exhortation in song: “Finish Strong”

Great peace: Perfect peace

August 25, 2017

Psalm 119--165

Verse of the Day for August 25, 2017 is found in Psalm 119:165 in the Amplified Bible:

Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them (cause them to stumble).

The King James Version declares:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Jesus Christ clearly states that offenses are inevitable:

Luke 17:1 (NKJV)

 [Jesus Warns of Offenses] Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! And [Jesus] said to His disciples,

Anything that causes one to stumble is called an offense. As believers we are exhorted neither to give offense nor to receive an offense. In other words, we are encouraged neither to become a stumbling block nor to receive an offense which causes us to stumble. The old gospel song says, “I don’t want nobody stumbling over my life.”

As we renew our minds, we change our attitude to view what could potentially become a “stumbling block” and transform it into a “stepping stone.” With the mind of Christ, we don’t allow anything anyone does or says to disturb our peace or cause us to stumble into sin.

Francis Fragipane mentions that, as believers, we have all been hurt or encountered situations that left us wounded:

 “. . . Yet, in seeking justice for ourselves, we must guard against the voice of self-pity. Indeed, self-pity keeps all our wounds alive. Instead of carrying the cross, we carry the offense. We must rebuke self-pity and command it to leave. We are followers of Christ! Therefore, forgive the offense and let it go. This is not a deep truth; it is the basic path of Christ!”

James 1:19 in the Amplified Bible offers this reminder

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry

The Psalmist declares nothing offends those who love or adhere firmly to the Word of God, for they manifest “great peace.” If we are going to have great, abundant peace, we have to sow peace first.  In order to have an abundant harvest, we must first plant seeds and nuture them and bring them to maturity.

We note that peace is one of the fruit of the spirit. Of course, fruit is cultivated, the result of a cultivated life; it is mark of maturity.  This particular fruit may not be borne in abundance in the early years, but as we grow in the knowledge of God and the application of His word, peace will abound in our lives, as we follow the exhortation of Isaiah 26:3 (NLT):

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you

You will be kept in perfect peace—literally peace, peace–a double dose of peace, as you trust in the Lord. He will keep you and so shall you

Hold Your Peace

So shall they fear the name of the LORD

 from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun

When the enemy shall come in like a flood,  

the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 59:19

 

The LORD will fight for you,  and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:14

 

These days when the enemy enters as a flood

With distress and intense pressure on every side,

Despite signs of defeat, the Lord God is still good.

In the thick of battle in peace we will abide.

The Spirit of the Lord raises a bold standard:

Lord of Hosts bears His arm, as Jehovah Nissi

Covers us with His love; though foes may have slandered,

His royal banner is displayed for us to see:

Faithful Adonai has never slept nor slumbered.

He is not slack but hastens to perform His Word.

Despite outward signs, we are never outnumbered,

For we know that the battle belongs to the Lord.

On the battlefield, fierce attacks seem only to increase,

But as God told Moses, “Stand still and hold your peace!”

We close with “Perfect Peace” Scripture Memory Song based on Philippians 4:7 and Isaiah 26:3

 

 

 

I love the Lord; He heard my cry

August 24, 2017

psalm 116_1-2

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for August 24, 2017 comes from Psalm 116:1-2 in the Amplified Bible:

[Thanksgiving for Rescue from Death.] I love the Lord, because He hears [and continues to hear] my voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, my specific needs). Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore, I will call on Him as long as I live.

The Psalmist acknowledges his love for the Lord who heard him when called upon His name. Because the Lord “inclined his ear unto” the one who called upon Him, the caller will continue to call as long as he lives.

Verse 4 reiterates the same point:

Then I called on the name of the Lord“O Lord, please save my life!”

Echoes of these verses can be heard in this excerpt from “Plainsong,” a poem written in tribute to my father:

Your plainsong I know by heart,

a hymn stanza learned with ease,

lined out like the flow of chanted words,

syllables fused into a single sound:

I-love-the-Lord-He-heard-my-cry”

raised and repeated over countless Sunday mornings.

The poem makes reference to one of the vintage hymns composed by the great 18th Century hymn writer, Dr. Isaac Watts, who uses Psalm 116:1  as the inspiration for  “I love the Lord; He heard my cries” with this opening stanza:

I love the Lord; he heard my cries,
And pity’d every groan:
Long as I live, when troubles rise,
I’ll hasten to his throne.

The hymns of Dr. Watts found their way into African American churches, being transformed into chants and acapella songs that formed the foundation of 20th Century gospel music. Listen to Gloria Henderson who leads a congregation in lining out this memorable hymn by Dr. Watts.

In addition to Psalm 116:1-2, other verses remind us to call upon the name of the Lord:

1 Chronicles 16:8:

Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

Psalm 105:1:

O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Romans 10:13 so clearly makes known the results occurring to those who petition the Lord:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Throughout the Scriptures we see that believers are encouraged to call upon the name of the Lord. Note this invitation extended in Jeremiah 33:2-3 (NIV):

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name:

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

One of the most often quoted passages from Jeremiah relates a promise given by God to Israel in Jeremiah 29:11-13, a passage that applies to Christians today as well:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Psalm 107 reveals the seemingly never-ending cycle whereby the people of God stray from the pathways of God and find themselves in difficult straights, and as verses, 6, 13, 19, and 28 make known:

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

Despite the truth that God consistently delivers those who cry out to him, His people too often fall back into trouble whereby they once again call upon the Lord in the midst of their struggles.  Throughout the Psalms and elsewhere in the Scriptures we see that our faithful God responds to those who call upon Him and that is why we love Him.

We close with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir offering their rendering of the classic hymn: “I Love the Lord He Heard my Cry”

My delight is in you

August 23, 2017

The Verse of the Day for August 23, 2017 is found in Psalm 94:18-19 (English Standard Version):

When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

The New Living Translation says this:

18 When I said, my foot is slipping, Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, held me up.
19 In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul!

Verse 19 became the inspiration for this scripture memory song:

In the Multitude of My Thoughts

In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
You soothe my mind and strengthen the depths of my heart and soul.
I delight myself in the abundance of Your peace.

You are my God. I know You love me.
You are my God. You’ve set me free.
You are my God. You will never leave me.
You are my God. I long to be all you’ve called me to be.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
Your comforts delight my soul.
Your comforts delight my soul.

Psalm 37:3-4 reminds us:

3 Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s sires.

This particular passage can be viewed as a double entendre or as having two meanings. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the deepest yearnings of our heart. In addition, we could state that as we find pleasure in the Lord, He will place those heart’s desires within each of us, so that our innermost longings become our insatiable hunger to please Him.

Again, Psalm 40:8 reveals this truth:

I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.

I recall that the first poem that I wrote was a rather accidental (providential) occurrence taking place during my freshman year in college in my composition class when I was asked to write a response to this prompt: “May I Tell You What Delights Me?” I made a list of things that brought me pleasure, and when I read what I had written to the class, my professor described it as poetry. Years later I realized that I had written a free-verse, catalogue poem, in the style of Walt Whitman. Near the top of the list of sources of delight for me was the Book of Psalms, which not only speaks of what God takes pleasure in but also relates what the Psalmist delights in or takes pleasure in.

From time to time, we may lose our focus and become anxious regarding our ever-fluctuating circumstances. During times of uncertainty when trouble and anguish attempt to derail us from our destiny, when our feet seem to slip, and we are about to lose our grip, we can turn our thoughts toward the promises of God, assured that just as He has been with us through the stormy trials of the past, so He will be with us now. Along with the Psalmist, we take comfort in this knowledge which delights our souls so much.

We close with Christy Nockels, expressing the essence of this message with the song “My Delight is in You.”

Total solar eclipse: Prelude to the Great Sign

August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse

Today, August 21, 2017, the nation, indeed, the whole world is directing its attention toward the solar eclipse of the sun, described as “the sight of a lifetime.” This rare astronomical event occurs when the New Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, blocking out the sun and casting a shadow on parts of Earth for a limited amount of time. This path of the eclipse will cover 14 states, stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Columbia, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. Because of modern technology, this event will be the widely viewed total eclipse ever.

Many observers are trying to decipher the meaning of this astronomical phenomenon.  Dr. Dale Sides points out what he describes as the Christological significance of the event said to be a prelude to “The Great Sign” spoken of in Revelation 12:1-2.

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

On September 23, thirty-three days after today’s total eclipse, Rosh Shoshana, the Jewish New Year, will occur,  announcing the 120th Jubilee Year in the Hebrew calendar. According to Sides, this astronomical phenomenon is designed to display Jesus Christ and the glory of his second coming.

Christians, in particular, view the increasing frequency of current cosmic phenomena as “signs of the times and the end of the age,” referring to “signs and wonders” said to occur before the return of Jesus Christ spoken of in Luke 21:25-28:

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.

With such signs and wonders appearing in the sun, moon, and stars, observers of  times and seasons are more certain than ever that Christ’s return is at hand; indeed, for countless Christians, their redemption appears to be drawing closer and closer, closer than it has ever been, as this poem reveals:

Signs and Wonders Still

The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Day unto day utters speech,

And night unto night reveals knowledge.

Psalm 19:1-2

 

Signs and wonders still abound in the daytime skies;

Principalities and powers assault and strive.

This solar eclipse witnessed with protected eyes:

A bold prelude before the Daystar shall arrive.

By looking above, we determine where we are.

The heavens declare the wonders of God’s glory;

Maker of sun and moon, calling by name each star,

Unfolds this tapestry for those with eyes to see.

The mystery of His will is now clearly revealed,

For we have an even more sure prophetic word.

On display by night and day, no longer concealed,

Such signs and wonders confirm the Word of the Lord.

Behold! The beloved bridegroom stands at the door:

Our redemption is nearer than ever before.

 

The song “Redemption Draweth Nigh” further reinforces this message:

Life, the spirit of life

August 19, 2017

 

1 John 5--11

The Verse of the Day for August 19, 2017 differentiates between those who have life and those who do not, as 1 John 5:11 in the English Standard Bible clearly reveals:

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

To more fully comprehend what God is saying, we need to examine these related verses:

1 John 5:11-13 (ESV):

11 And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

That You May Know

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we recognize that his ultimate purpose was to offer his life that humanity might have life, life in all its fullness, more abundant life, overflowing life abounding throughout all eternity.

This passage also brings to mind Paul’s reference to the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the inspiration for this work:

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

As we move into this new season, we shall see what it brings,

As we learn that the life in the Spirit is where we should be.

No longer in bondage to sin and death we have been set free.

Since we have been brought into the new, we can now do new things,

For 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 embrace the Spirit of the Living God and understand

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

As we mature, our lives reveal the measure of Christ’s fullness.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free

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

As believers, we navigate through the challenges of life, endeavoring ever to walk in the steps of Jesus Christ while seeking to find “the balanced life.” God’s desire is expressed in the final benediction in 1 Thessalonians 5:23:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our desire for wholeness, for balance merges with God, our Father who assures us with these words:

So shall you find the balanced life

Oh, let me be weighed in a just balance

and let Him weigh me, that God may know mine integrity!

Job 31:6 [Amplified Bible]

 

My

Children

Beloved,

Faithful and true,

All that you have asked

I have given to you,

For I, the Lord, weigh the spirits.

I know your deepest desire to please.

As you transform yourselves by renewing your mind,

So shall you find the balanced life you seek.

It is My good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.

You have not withheld from Me, so I balance your equation

And stabilize your life, as you strive to do My will.

For in the innocence of your hands and the integrity of your heart

I have found in you a perfected dwelling place where My Spirit can abide.

We close our comments with this reminder of the ultimate purpose of Jesus Christ, this lively musical rendering of John 10:10: “I have come”