Archive for July, 2019

As we finish the work

July 10, 2019

The Verse of the Day for Biblegate.com reminds us of the faithfulness of God expressed in Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible:

I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].

The New Living Translation says this:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

God completes the good work begun in us so that, as believers, we will be complete in every good work to do His will, as Hebrews 13:20-21 offers this benediction:

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen

The Psalmist also makes this firm declaration:

Psalm 138:8

The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Throughout the Scriptures, we find that “. . . God is faithful and means what He says.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMP) makes know this truth:

God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him, you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

This blessing and benediction also remind believers of God’s faithfulness:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (AMP):

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

1 Corinthians 1:8 offers words to comfort and assure us of God’s faithfulness:

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.

Philippians 1:10 also reinforces the message:

For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

A previous blog post discussed the concept of a “work in progress” or a “work in process” (sometimes abbreviated “WIP”), offering the following statement: “Each believer is a work in progress.”

Fil Anderson of In Touch Ministries acknowledges this truth:

However, I’m no longer embarrassed or afraid to admit I’m unfinished, incomplete, and imperfect—a work in progress. Neither is God surprised or disappointed with my lack of development. God’s work in my life will never be finished until I meet Jesus face to face. Desiring to follow Jesus isn’t about being complete and perfect; it’s about doing my best and trusting God to finish what He began.”

Until the Lord returns, we continue to learn and grow up in Christ, recognizing that maturation is a process that never ends. As adolescents, we envision the day when we will finally grow up and attain our new status as adults. We often think of adulthood as the final stage of the maturation process, but we recognize the process is ongoing, and we must not only accept the process, but we must embrace it:

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 God has sent us to do
And seek to fulfill all His will and leave our mark,
The Lord blesses, refreshes, and makes all things new.
The fire on the altar enflamed from a small spark
Beckons as we press to reach the top of the mount,
Called by God, destined to be abundantly blessed,
Reaping the good of this life’s bountiful harvest.
We reflect upon God’s favor as we recount
With wisdom our days, so grateful to be alive
To know the fullness of love and grace upon grace,
As we persevere not just to survive but thrive
And triumph with strength and patience to run the race.
According to God’s divine design and framework,
What He began He will complete, as we finish the work.

In reflecting upon God’s faithfulness as expressed in Philippians 1:6 and elsewhere in the Bible, I thought of this song which has come to mean so much to me: “Great Work” offered by Brian Courtney Wilson:

God delights in His people

July 8, 2019

isaiah-62-4-5-1

Throughout the Old Testament God expresses His delight in His people as Jehovah rejoices and celebrates His covenant with His people. Even though they do not always follow His guidance for living the satisfying life He desires for them, His love abounds toward them, revealing His commitment:

Deuteronomy 30:9 (AMP)

Then the Lord your God shall make you abundantly prosperous in everything that you do, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your land; for the Lord will again delight over you for good, just as He delighted over your fathers,

The Expanded Bible says it this way:

The Lord your God will make you ·successful [prosperous] in ·everything you do [all the work of your hands]. ·You will have many children, your cattle will have many calves, and your fields will produce good crops […in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your land], because the Lord will again be ·happy [pleased; delighted] with you, just as he was with your ·ancestors [fathers]

Isaiah 65:19 in the Wycliffe Bible expresses a similar affection for Jerusalem:

And I shall make full out joying in Jerusalem, and I shall have joy in my people (Yea, I shall rejoice over Jerusalem, and I shall have joy over my people); and the voice of weeping and the voice of cry shall no more be heard therein.

Jeremiah 32:41-42 in the Wycliffe Bible reiterates this same message of God’s delight in His people:

41 And I shall be glad on them, when I shall do well to them; and I shall plant them in this land in truth, in all mine heart, and in all my soul. (And I shall be happy over them, when I shall do good things for them; and truly, with all my heart, and with all my soul, I shall plant them in this land.)

42 For the Lord saith these things, As I brought on this people all this great evil, so I shall bring on them all the good (things), which I shall speak to them (that I have promised them).

Not only does God express His delight and take pleasure in His people, but He offers a song of the Lord in Zephaniah 3:17 in the Amplified Bible:

The Lord your God is in your midst, A Warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins], He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Isaiah 62 provides a striking portrait of His beloved, as God expresses His desire that His people be redeemed and restored. The passage speaks of God’s covenant with His people. Though Israel is in captivity at the time of the writing of this passage, God promises to keep speaking and working until His purposes for Jerusalem are fulfilled. Jehovah speaks favorably of His people in a most endearing manner in Isaiah 62:4-5 (New Living Translation):

Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”
    or “The Desolate Land.”
Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”[c]
    and “The Bride of God,”
for the Lord delights in you
    and will claim you as his bride.
Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,
    just as a young man commits himself to his bride.
Then God will rejoice over you
    as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.

  This celebrated passage inspired this response:                          

City of God’s Delight

 Isaiah 62:4-5

Never again to be called “The Forsaken City”                         

Nor will they say that you are “The Desolate Land,”       

But God smiles and says, “You sure are pretty,”     

 And He will uphold you with His righteous right hand.


Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”


You shall be called the “The Bride of God,” just as He said,      

 He promised to love you and always do you right.

He takes your sorrow and turns it to joy instead.         

He keeps on telling you the Lord delights in you;


He will not leave you but will always walk by your side.   

You can count on Him, for He said He will be true:    

 The Lord redeemed you and will claim you as his bride.

Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”

The contemporary worship song “O Bride of Christ” offers a glimpse of the ultimate expression of the fulfillment of God’s promise that the Bridegroom will return for his bride:

God is in control: Be still and know

July 6, 2019

Despite the pressing issues and seemingly endless turmoil that seem to engulf our world, we must remember words found on a silver-framed plaque on my desk: “God is in control!” As I begin my day, these words also come to mind, a gentle reminder to “de-stress” and hold to His unchanging hand that protects and provides for us:

Psalm 46:10 (New Living Translation):

“Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.

The verse begins with a quiet command to be still, literally to take no action and enter a state of tranquility. We recognize, however, following such a simple command is sometime easier said than done. Note the circumstances surrounding one of the first references to the expression found in Exodus 14:14. Here Moses is leading the Children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt moving toward the Promised Land. Shortly after departing, they encounter a crisis that screamed “No Way!” Straight ahead is the Red Sea, and behind are the armies of Pharaoh in hot pursuit. Moses speaks words of assurance:

Exodus 14:14 (Revised Standard Version):

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still.

Psalm 37:7 also provides this exhortation [Amplified Bible]:

Be still before the LORD; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

When believers recognize the magnitude of God’s power and His love toward us, there is never a need to fear even though we may encounter tempestuous times that attempt to shake our very foundations. The Psalmist offers thanks to God for His deliverance out of many troubles:

Psalm 107:28-30

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.

We realize that storms are inevitable. Dr. David Jeremiah and others speak of the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either during a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through another storm. When we encounter stormy circumstances, remember the account of the Lord Jesus Christ when the Disciples became fearful during a severe storm on the Sea of Galilee and aroused him from sleeping:

Mark 4:39 (New Living Translation)

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.

As we encounter the storms of life we can anchor our souls in the Lord as we recall Psalm 46:10 the inspiration for this response:

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalms 46:10

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.
Though your cherished dreams seem to have faded and gone
The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,
As I weave the tapestry of eternity.
Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,
Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,
And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:
Be still and know that I am God.

Though storms may overwhelm, and friends may abandon
When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.
These scenes reveal people whom we thought we could be,
As words of the Psalmist also help us to see,
When this life is over, and all is said and done:
Be still and know that I am God.

As we pause and calmly think about that—as we “Selah” this message, we also give heed to these words—

Be Still

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still my soul and be at peace.
Rise above your circumstances and rest in me.

In closing, listen to Steven Curtis Chapman singing “Be Still and Know.”