Archive for April, 2018

Grow up in Christ

April 30, 2018


The Verse of the Day is found in Ephesians 4:15, but to more fully understand the context, we will take a look at the preceding verse as well which relates to our being members of the Body of Christ in Ephesians 4:14-15 in the Amplified Bible:

14 So that we are no longer children [spiritually immature], tossed back and forth [like ships on a stormy sea] and carried about by every wind of [shifting] doctrine, by the cunning and trickery of [unscrupulous] men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything [for personal profit]. 15 But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.

Throughout the New Testament believers are exhorted not only to speak the truth in love but to walk in love, to demonstrate or manifest love, to put on love. Love is to be the guiding principle in all that we say or do.

A previous blog entry encouraged us to follow the Scriptures, whereby we “put off, put on, and put away.” Here is an excerpt from that post:

Colossians 3:12-14 in the Amplified Bible speaks of how believers should behave:

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].

Poetically speaking, we are directed to

Put off the old. Put on the new and leave the past behind.

Follow Christ and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. We are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices.  Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of God, our lives should be moving in this direction:

Toward a Mature Expression of Christ

But speaking the truth in love [in all things—

both our speech and our lives expressing His truth],

let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.

Ephesians 4:13


With the doctrine established in our younger years,

As we live, maturity should be evident,

For perfected love dispels all our doubts and fears,

Having heard God’s Word and then knowing what it meant.

As we fully mature in Christ, we seek to please

The Lord who watches to see what kind of steward

We have become. As our all-wise Father He sees

Not just the outward appearance but the inward

Thoughts and motives of the hearts of daughters and sons

Who are no longer children looking to be fed

But as new creations in Christ, His chosen ones,

Not as carnal, we choose to speak the truth in love instead.

Toward a mature expression of Christ we must strive

And pursue it with passion until we arrive.

We close with musical reminder to the Body of Christ: “Growing Together in Grace”

I know my redeemer lives

April 29, 2018

The Verse of the Day for April 29, 2018 can be found in Job 19:25 (AMP):

“For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, And at the last He will take His stand upon the earth.

This verse refers to the concept of “redeemer,” one who exercises the right of redemption. The act of redeeming literally means “to purchase out, buy up; buy out of the hands of a person; to set free; to buy off, to secure for oneself or one’s own use; to buy up from the power or possession of any one.” According to the King James Dictionary, to be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, to be made holy, to be freed, adopted, and reconciled to God.

As born-again believers, we have been justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Reflecting on the Verse of the Day and the redemption we have in Christ Jesus inspired this poetic response:

I Know My Redeemer Lives
Job 19:25

I know my redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.
He knew me and loved me long before the vision for my life was cast.
He called me and filled with the Spirit of life that I might so live
To serve joyfully with a heart of gratitude as I learn to give
And forgive, just as He has forgiven all the failures of my past

I desire to abound in the love that redeemed me, to be steadfast
In sharing this boundless love nothing in this life has ever surpassed:
Nothing can separate me, and nothing on Earth can ever outlive.
I know my redeemer lives.

No vessel in the universe can hold this love, no matter how vast
Though my heart and flesh may fail, in faith I hold fast,
For the Savior never gives up nor gives out but has even more to give.
I have been freed and redeemed from the curse of the law that I might live.
There is none like my redeemer, the First and the Last.
I know my redeemer lives.

Nicole C. Mullen offers a song of praise: “I Know My Redeemer Lives”:

The verse from Job also brings to mind George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah, renowned oratorio based on texts from the King James Version of the Bible. One of the most well-known selections from this frequently performed musical composition is based Job 19:25-26: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth.”

Have you lost your mind?

April 28, 2018

For April 28, 2018 we are going to take a look at the Phrase of the Day, a rhetorical question that is sometimes asked in a state of utter disbelief. When an individual fails to understand the seemingly bizarre behavior of someone else, the question might be asked,

“Have you lost your mind?”

“To lose your mind” generally means to “to become mentally ill” or “to start behaving in an utterly foolish or strange way . . .”

I recall on rare occasions in my childhood my mother would emphatically ask, “Boy, have you lost your mind?” She questioned my state of mind in response to something I said or did that seemed totally irrational or absolutely “off the wall”, indicating that I was not seriously thinking about the consequences of what I was saying or doing.

In thinking about the expression, I also recall a specific occasion when someone warned me about the possibility of “losing my mind.” After being drafted into the Army during the late 1960s, I experienced salvation through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. During this time an Army buddy noticed that I was always reading the Bible and talking about God and spiritual matters to the degree that seemed too much for a person with a sound mind. In all seriousness, he pulled me aside and said, “Johnson, if you keeping studying the Bible so much, you’re going to ‘lose your mind.’”

Immediately, I went on the defensive and explained when I was in college, I devoted much more time and exerted much more effort in studying to earn my degree in pharmacy, and I didn’t lose my mind then. “Why should I lose my mind from studying the Bible?” I asked.

After a period of time, however, something strange began to happen. I began to “lose my mind,” but I began replacing it with a new mind. In studying the Scriptures, I was introduced to the concept of “renewing the mind,” the ongoing spiritual process that all believers go through every day we draw breath.

In nature we note this process of metamorphosis that butterflies and other organisms undergo, reminding us that, similarly, Christians are instructed not to be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1). The New Testament phrase is translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are “changed” into the same image. The essence of this process is expressed in this response:

As we renewed our mind

And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed

by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove

what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

We will not to be conformed but transformed as we renew our mind

That we might see for ourselves all that God desires us to be.

We seek to walk in power and excel and not be left behind,

Striving to know even deeper levels of intimacy.

With laser precision we will target the old man nature,

And we will put to death the deeds of  the flesh once and for all.

We will respond in obedience in answer to God’s call;

For as we put on the mind of Christ, we will grow and mature.

Where darkness once filled our minds, the Word of God now inhabits.

Lying and all kinds of corrupt speech we learn to put aside,

We put off the old man, vile, corrupt, wrapped in sinful pride

And put on the new man, as one changes garments, habits.

Above all else we put on compassion, cords of love that bind

Our transformed hearts to one another, as we renew our mind.

We end with a scripture memory song based on Romans 12:1-2  “A Living Sacrifice” :

We should, indeed “lose our minds” and be transformed by renewing our minds that we may prove what is that “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

To seek and save the lost

April 27, 2018

Luke 19_10

The Verse of the Day for April 27, 2018 is taken from Luke 19:10 in the Amplified Bible:

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

In fact, in Luke 15 we find three parables related to lost items: “The Parable of the Lost Sheep”, “The Parable of the Lost Coin”, and “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” In each instance, something is lost, and when it is found there is great celebration and rejoicing.

In the first account, a man has 100 sheep, and one is lost. The man leaves the ninety-nine and diligently pursues the lost sheep until he find it and returns home

Luke 15:6 (AMP)

And when he gets home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’

Similarly, Luke 15:8-9 describes another lost item and finding it.

 [The Lost Coin] “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins [each one equal to a day’s wages] and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

At the end of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the third instance of a lost item, the father responds to his resentful son who stayed behind while his younger brother “squandered his substance in riotous living”:

Luke 15:32b

. . . for thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

At the end of this moving account, the forgiving father “spread the welcome table and had a family feast. . .” and in Luke 15:24 proclaims:

For this son of mine was [as good as] dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found.’ So they began to celebrate.

These three accounts of lost items remind of us our state before the Lord Jesus Christ rescued us from the “Lost and Found” of this world. Every believer is deposited as lost property awaiting retrieval by our rightful owner. We are eternally grateful that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, came to seek and to save the lost. The lyrics to “I’m forever Grateful” express our thoughts:

Adversity: the best teacher

April 26, 2018

“The Quote of the Day” for April 26, 2018 comes from author Malcom Gladwell, who provides a different perspective on a term people often view in a negative light: adversity.

“Adversity is the best teacher. Overcoming disadvantages can be a more efficient way of learning crucial skills than applying advantages.”

In life we all encounter adverse situations that challenge us when our lives do not unfold as we thought they would. When you lose your job after working 10 years in what you thought was a secure position, you have to navigate through the upheaval and in the process you learn and grow in many ways.

Gladwell speaks of learning disabilities and other challenges that people face as “desirable difficulties,” or challenges that force people to learn new skills that prove extremely helpful. “In order to learn the things that really need to be learned we require a certain level of adversity,” he states. Adversity, in such cases can be good. They are not stumbling blocks nor impediments to success, but they can be seen as a stepping stones instead.

Many times believers will view adversity as a tool of the adversary, the enemy of our soul. In actuality, God allows such adverse circumstances to teach us invaluable lessons, as we learn once more that all things work together for our good. The Psalmist declares that adversity is good in Psalm 119:71, the inspiration behind the following original lyrics:

It is good for me
Psalm 119:71

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I might learn Your statutes,
To walk in Your precepts,
To keep Your commandments,
To follow as You teach me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I have been made humble,
That I have known both joy and sorrow.
In times of famine and in plenty,
That You have always been beside me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I might learn Your statutes,
To walk in Your precepts,
To keep Your commandments,
To follow as You teach me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

It is good for me to draw near unto You.
I have put my trust in You
That I may declare Your works
And always sing Your praises,
And give glory to Your Name.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

About nine years ago I recall hearing a message entitled “Advancing in Diversity” which touched upon the source of our adversity and inspired this poetic response:

Advancing in Adversity

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19

Advancing in adversity is not easy.
As I fight the good fight and patiently endure,
I learn to discern the source of adversity.

I face the common foe of all of humanity.
Like Abraham, I walk by faith, strengthened and secure.
Advancing in adversity is not easy.

No longer in bondage, for I have been set free
And stand in His presence with a heart that is pure.
I learn to discern the kind of adversity.

Judge the source, whether of God or the enemy;
Recall we live in a fallen world—that’s for sure.
Advancing in adversity is not easy.

Does a predicament or problem confront me?
Beyond the inconvenience, God will reassure.
I learn to discern the kind of adversity.

Each day I design and refine my strategy,
Following in the steps of Christ as I mature.
Advancing in adversity is not easy.
I learn to discern the kind of adversity.

The portion of Psalm 119 containing verse 71 is called the Teth section offered here in musical form:

Christ in you, the hope of glory

April 25, 2018

The Verse of the Day for April 25, 2018 is like a beautifully wrapped, surprise package offered to believers. This passage reveals the concept of “the mystery” unfolded in Colossians 1:27-28 in the Amplified Bible:

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

Derived from the Greek word musterion, translated “sacred secret,” the essence of “this mystery” is that Jews and Gentiles would be united in one body, the Body of Christ. This “great mystery” was hidden in Christ before the foundations of the earth. Had Satan known this mystery or great secret, the Scriptures declare that he never would have crucified the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ. The mystery was revealed to the Apostle Paul as the context of the Verse of the Day indicates.

In the Book of Ephesians, Paul also speaks of the magnificence of God’s new creation in Christ and describes the spiritual impact that the Church, the Body of Christ, was designed to demonstrate. Our discussion of the riches of the glory of this mystery of the one body brought to mind to mind to an experience that occurred several years ago when my wife and I visited family and friends in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

During our stay in the City by the Bay, we enjoyed a most enlightening experience at the Asian Museum where we saw a special exhibit from the Ming Dynasty. One of the pieces on display was a stationery box which is similar to the one shown below. Although the final product reveals what the designer had in mind, we do not see how the object looked at the various stages of development. So it is with the Church, the Body of Christ, which is made reference to in the Book of Ephesians, especially in Chapters 2 and 3. The Church, as such, is still a work in progress, but I believe that God is putting “the finishing touches on His crowning achievement.” The poem “Exquisite Exhibit” conveys in part thoughts regarding the Church and our role in this amazing masterpiece of God’s creation.

Exquisite Exhibit

Viewing a Ryoshi-bako (stationery box)
Power and Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty
Asian Museum–San Francisco, California

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10

God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety
to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
They will see this when Jews and Gentiles
are joined together in his church.                                                         Ephesians 3:10


Sublime thoughts never diminish, only increase,
As we marvel at this ancient masterpiece.
The designer sees the end long before he starts
And envisions intricate details of the parts
And fashions a wood box inlaid with jade and gold,
Lacquered vessel for deepest thoughts the mind can hold.
Beyond all that we see, God fashioned you and me
With precise measure of each scroll and filigree.
Displayed by the skillful hands of the Master craftsman,
Beyond the finest design of any artisan,
The Church, exquisite exhibit now on display,
Treasures from the hand of God take our breath away.
With the eyes of our heart now opened, we find
We are the masterpiece Jehovah had in mind.

A number of years ago I also hosted a radio show “Poetry and Praise,” where I would close each show with this reference to Ephesians 2:10:

Every day of our lives we recognize and celebrate the truth that as born-again believers we are all new creations in Christ, and we praise God that He has given us all things richly to enjoy. Indeed, “. . . we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The word “workmanship” is translated from the Greek word poiema, which means “masterpiece, a glorious creation, a centerpiece of attention, as the French would say, le piece de resistance, or showpiece.” Of course, the Greek word poiema is transliterated into our English word poem, which in the minds of many people, certainly present company included, is always a “masterpiece” or glorious creation. So that the people of God represent the real poetry of life, for which we praise God. Yes, each of us is a poem, or God’s handiwork or workmanship, a special work created by God that we should be to the praise of His glory….

We close with “Christ in You!” from Charlie LeBlanc (Hosanna! Music):

It’s about time: Now is the time!

April 23, 2018

Once again instead of commenting on the Verse of the Day, we are going to take a look at the “Phrase of the Day” for April 23, 2018:

“It’s about Time.”

According to, the phrase “It’s about time” is an idiom that relates to the “right time.” In one sense it can mean “long past the right time” or “approximately the right time.” Thus, It’s about time you started an exercise plan can mean either that you should have started to exercise much earlier (often stated with emphasis on the word time), or that now is the appropriate time for you to work out. A synonym would be “high time”: It’s high time you went to the gym.

Exactly when is the “right time”? Some say that “Now is the right time.” It has been said that yesterday is a memory; tomorrow is a promise, but today is a gift–open the present and enjoy its beauty.” In How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie quotes Sir William Osler, who encourages people to cultivate the habit of learning to “Live in day-tight compartments.” Rather than dwelling excessively on the past or being absorbed with the future each moment, the idea is to make each day count, as we learn to “live in the now,” succinctly expressed in this poem:

The Eternal Moment

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:16

Now is always the time.

Though grains of sand
fall and form
a mountain
does not
add nor take;
the moment cannot change.
The time is always Now.

This little three-letter word conveys eternity. As an adverb “now” indicates time. The word generally means “at the present time or moment” or “in the time immediately before the present, as in “just now” or “right now.” Used throughout the Bible, the word “now” often begins a statement that expresses the present moment or time.

I also recall that many years ago I shared a teaching that focused on the word “now.” To illustrate that now is an ever-present reality, I drew a picture of a clock with no hands on it. In the center of the clock in bold capital letters was the word “NOW.” I asked the audience a series of questions, as they looked at the clock: “What time is it?” “In five minutes what will be the time?” “If the Lord tarries, in five years what will be the time at that time?” In each instance, the response was the same. “Now!”

With regard to time, Believers are encouraged to redeem the time. To seize each opportunity and “live in the now.” We are familiar with this statement:

Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That is why it is called the present.

To follow up on that anonymous quote, we must learn to redeem the time, to seize the moment, and live in the now, and do the will of the Lord now. As these words encourage us to do:

Do It Now!

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore be ye not unwise, but understanding
what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:16-17

If you want to live each minute
With the fullest measure in it,
To run your best race and win it,
Then start to do it now!

Don’t wait until it’s tomorrow
To look for the time to borrow,
For you may be filled with sorrow
Unless you do it now!

Don’t wait until the time is right.
By then you may have long lost sight
Of work to do with all your might.
Be sure to do it now!

Make up your mind; don’t hesitate.
Now is the time to act, don’t wait.
You’ve got nothing to lose; go straight
Ahead and do it now!

Just put the past behind somehow
And with each moment make a vow:
Now is the time to do it now.
Get up and do it now!

Babbie Mason offers a reminder that “Now is the right time to praise the Lord.”

Good, better, best

April 22, 2018

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, we want to examine the Quote of the Day for April 22, 2018. Here are motivational lines attributed to Saint Jerome:

Good, better, best
Never let it rest
Until your good is better
And your better is best

Professional athletes, such as Tim Duncan and others, use this motto in an athletic as well as personal context. This saying also serves as the motto for the classes that I teach. Since I describe myself as a “player/coach,” a writer who also teaches writing classes, the quote applies in an academic context as well as in my personal walk.

In introducing my students to the saying, I sometimes show them a video excerpt from “Facing the Giants” to illustrate someone who all he asks of another individual is that that individual give him “his best.” Here we have a coach asking one of his players to “him his best.” That’s really all that anyone can ask of another person. Even so, as the player coach that I am, all I’m asking of my students in each class—“Give me your best.” Take a look at the excerpt from “Facing the Giants” posted at the end of this entry and see if it has personal application.

In discussing the Quote of the Day, let us look for a moment at the adjective “good” which is derived from “God” who alone is good. Indeed, Jesus Christ said, “There is none good but the Father.” Good is an adjective, and an adjective has a comparative form and a superlative form. When you compare two objects, one is said to be better than the other.  If you compare three or more items, one is selected as the best of the group. With God, however, there is no comparative nor superlative. No, God has not seen “better” days, and God does not have the “best” day He’s had in a long time in comparison to others. With God everyday is a “Good News Day” because “God is good.” Period! 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—my favorite verse in the whole Bible) So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.”
“For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever.”

As we strive to apply this inspirational quote to every aspect of our lives, there should be an underlying motivation: that we want to express to God our gratitude for all that He has done for us through Christ Jesus, His Son, the least that we can do is give him our best. Like the coach in “Facing the Giants” that’s all that God is asking of us. This should be our response: “Giving My Best to You, Lord.” as offered by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

“Facing the Giants” Excerpt

My times are in your hands

April 21, 2018

The Verse of the Day for April 21, 2018 provides this comforting reminder that we are in “good hands”:

John 10:28-30:

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Jesus Christ assures his followers that beyond the claims of Allstate Insurance, we are not only in “good hands,” but we are in we are in God’s hands and nothing can snatch us out of His powerful and all-protective hand.

Not only does God, our Father, hold us in the palms of His hands, but the scriptures also reveal that He has tattooed us in the palms of His hands.

Isaiah 49:16 in the Amplified Bible makes this known:

16 Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.

New King James Version states:

16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.

Although tattooing is extremely popular today, what God has done for us is unique. KC Pillai, converted Hindu, who dedicated his life to enlightening students of the Bible regarding Orientalisms or customs and practices from the Eastern sectors of the world, explains that tattooing is the oriental way of remembering people expressed in Isaiah 49:16:

If you give a present, you may lose it, but if you tattoo something on an individual, you will never lose it. Therefore, we always remember you. They tattoo all over the arm different places, but never in the palm. The palm is too tender and delicate. It takes time to look for other tattoos, but here in the hand [there is] no time to look, just as open as your palm.

Pillai goes on to explain, “No man can engrave on palms, because the area is tender and the needle is hot and hurts too much.”

Every time God “does something with His hand” those whom He loves come to mind, for He remembers everything about them. God tattoos our names and faces in His palms—we are always before Him. Far beyond the lyrics of Willie Nelson, “We are always on His mind.”

In addition, the Psalmist also makes reference to God’s hands in this passage:

Psalm 31:14-16 Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 But as for me, I trust [confidently] in You and Your greatness, O LORD;

I said, “You are my God.”

15 My times are in Your hands;
Rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from those who pursue and persecute me.

16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.

The first part of verse 15 inspired these original lyrics:

My Times Are In Your Hand

There are times in life when I simply don’t understand,
When I cannot see the intricacy of your perfect plan,
When I’m tossed about and full of doubt,
When it seems I just can’t endure,
Your spirit comes beside me,
To comfort and to guide me,
To redirect and reassure,
To help me understand that my times are in your hands.

My times are in your hands.
My times are in your hands.
Your spirit comes beside me,
To comfort and to guide me,
To redirect and reassure,
To help me understand that my times are in your hands.

My times are in your hands.
My times are in your hands.
I submit every vision, each purpose and plan.
Though I may never fully understand,
I stand secure in knowing my times are in your hands.

It’s so comforting to know
My times are in your hands.
My times are in your hands.

The Braeded Chord offers a lovely song inspired by Psalm 31: “My Times Are in Your Hands”

Feasts converge in April

April 19, 2018

1 Corinthians-15-Verse-20

As the month of April moves toward its conclusion, we recognize that this year the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ began on Sunday, April 1. During that same time, the Jews observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 8-day festival that began at Sundown on Sunday, April 1 and ended in the evening of Saturday, April 8.  Passover, also known as Pesach, the first event of the celebration, commemorating the Jewish exodus from Egypt, also took place on April 1. Following the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was Feast of First-Fruits, which began at sundown on April 7 and ended at sundown April 8.

The Verse of the Day for April 19, 2018 makes reference to this observance:

1 Corinthians 15:20-22:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

In the Old Testament, the first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the first-born of man and animals. The Law required that newly harvested grain corn should be waved by the priest before the altar, as every individual, besides, was required to consecrate to God a portion of the first-fruits of the land.

Leviticus 23:9-10 offers these instructions:

The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.”

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ has become the first fruit offering as described in the Old Testament.  Jesus Christ’s resurrection is a promise that we, too, will be resurrected. In a similar manner the Church, the Body of believers, has become “a kind of first-fruits,” as James 1:18 declares:

18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created.

This message is reinforced in this poetic offering:


Of His own will He brought us forth by the word

of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

James 1:18


Transform and then so fashion our very visage

To be like Christ, the brightness of all of your glory.

In your refiner’s fire melt and mold me,

Cast my being in His express image:

As boldface type printed upon the page,

As a new coin minted in your treasure,

Stamped with the essence of your character

To convey the power of your message.

So saturate my spirit, heart, soul and mind,

Every fiber of my being, each of our pores;

So permeate our presence that we also might find

My true calling as Christ’s chosen ambassadors.

The promised fulfilled that the Earth has awaited:

Like Christ, we are first-fruits of all God’s created

We close with a musical expression “First Fruits” by Steve McConnell