Archive for the ‘Application of Biblical Principles’ Category

By reason of strength: Thanking God for my life

June 17, 2022

With each passing year, my heart overflows with gratitude to God who has blessed me to be alive another year. This year, 2022, is especially meaningful in that I celebrate my eightieth birthday. As is my custom, I compose a poem to celebrate my birthday and give all glory, honor, and praise to my gracious Heavenly Father. Here is my composition for this year.   

A psalm celebration for my Eightieth Birthday

June 17, 2022

By Reason of Strength

 The days of our lives are seventy years;

And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,

 Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;

For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

 Psalm 90:10 (NKJV)

By reason of strength that only comes from the Lord,

I have reached another milestone in my journey,

Sustained by the life-giving power of God’s Word,

As I proclaim great is your faithfulness toward me

And attempt one more time to thank you for my life:

For all you say I am and all I will become.

Praise God  for countless blessings: for my lovely wife

And daughters and their families and heirs still to come

Who will honor and love and serve you all their days.

Though I have known you, may I know you even more,

While  walking in wisdom, still numbering my days

As your favor abounds with greater blessings in store.

God, the Father of all grace, goes to any length

To protect and to provide by reason of strength.

“Dear God” by Smokie Norful captures the essence of what I attempt to express in my song of celebration:

Celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day® on Sunday, June 5

June 2, 2022

Cancer affects everyone. With nearly seventeen million people living with and beyond cancer in the U.S. today and more than forty-three million cancer survivors, everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer. On Sunday, June 5, 2022, communities around the world will unite to recognize these cancer survivors and to raise awareness of the challenges of cancer survivorship, as part of the 35th annual National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration of Life.

In celebration of National Cancer Survivor Day, I am posting an excerpt from Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. When diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I did not see “a death sentence.” Instead, I saw a “life sentence” that transformed his thinking. The book provides my God-given, holistic strategy to overcome any adversity. Weaving original poetry and Scripture into my God-inspired battle plan, I show how I emerged, as not just a survivor but more than a conqueror.

I have revised and re-posted this entry that focuses on what I call the Word of the Day, which in this case is a survivor. In its most literal sense, the term means “one who survives.” FreeDictionary.com offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as an action verb that has an object to receive its action. In this case, to survive cancer—

  1. To live longer than; outlive.
  • To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
  • To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

The verb comes from Latin—supervivere, combining the prefix super + vīvere, to live.

Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I have come to understand what it means to be a cancer survivor on a deeply personal level. I recognize a survivor as one who, after encountering an extremely adverse situation, is revived not only to survive but to thrive. Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of a survivor, endured the cross, despising the shame, and after undergoing unimaginable physical abuse, along with the emotional and psychological trauma of the highest degree, arose triumphantly over death itself. Like Christ, I have been revived, not only to survive but to thrive, having been transformed from victim to victor.

The true essence of who I am as a believer in Christ comes from Romans 8:37—”nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.”

The Amplified Bible puts it this way—

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].

The expression “more than conquerors” in the Greek New Testament comes from the verb hupernikao, a compound word with the prefix huper—a form of the same prefix found in “survive”—meaning over, beyond, above exceed, more than. Today, common expressions of the preposition would say over and above or above and beyond. The stem would be nikao, translated “to conquer, prevail, overcome, overpower, prevail.” Although translated as such, being more than conquerors or super conquerors, is not who we are, but it is what we do, and how we live. We completely and overwhelmingly conqueror in the present tense with continuous action; we prevail mightily every day of our lives.

Each year I reflect with gratitude to God for being alive and being able to cherish another year of life. As is my tradition, I sometimes compose a poem of celebration on my birthday. Most remarkably, Romans 8:37 was the epigraph or introduction for a poem composed on my 74th birthday, expressing my new identity in light of the Word for the Day for Cancer Survivors Day and every day I draw breath.

Embracing Your Life Sentence–More than a Conqueror

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors

and gain an overwhelming victory through Him

who loved us [so much that He died for us].

—Romans 8:37 (AMP)

Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror,

Defying the odds as a brave conquistador.

Despite intense pressure, I learn to rest in grace,

More than enough to withstand the daily tests I face,

Not merely to survive but to thrive even more.

 

A mighty warrior, triumphant super victor

 With a cause, prepared not to die but to live for.

 At times I fell behind but fought to keep the pace:

 Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror.

 To fulfill all the will of God and then to soar

 To heights sublime where I have never been before.

 Overcomer, bearing light in the darkest place,

  I still fight the good fight, as I finish my race,

  Moving forward, seeking to find the next open door:

  Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror.

We close with this powerful reminder of what we are as believers on National Cancer Survivors Day and every day: “More Than Conquerors” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Encourage one another

May 23, 2022
The word for the day taken from “The Verse of the Day” in Biblegateway.com is “Encourage.”

Once again, I begin my day by looking at today’s  Verse of the Day for May 23, 2022, according to Biblegateway.com:

Romans 15:2 (New Living Translation)

 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.

The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition puts it this way:

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].

The Verse of the Day also brought to mind I Thessalonians 5:11 as rendered in the identical versions:

New Living Translation:

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:

Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

These verses inspired me to write words of encouragement, expressed in this original poem:

  Encourage One Another

So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
.

Don’t stop now—keep on pursuing

Keep seeking His face

Don’t get weary in well-doing

You must keep the pace

Seek and you shall find

The strength to be transformed–

Renewed in the spirit of your mind

Encourage yourself

And encourage one another

Build each other up

Every sister and brother

Speaking the truth, we grow up

Therefore, encourage one another

I found the accompanying video “Encourage one another” which is a compilation of the same verse from I Thessalonians 5:11 and other scriptures and words of encouragement from Kimberly Culpen. May we all be strengthened and encouraged today.

Perfecting the art of patience

May 19, 2022

Instead of beginning our day with the Word of the Day posted May 19, 2022, on Biblegateway.com, I thought of a previously posted “Quote of the Day,” which we can apply today and every day, especially during these extremely stressful and overwhelmingly tense times in which we live. Brian Adams offers this remarkable statement about the “art of patience” which believers must learn to perfect:

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement, and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.”

As believers, perfecting the art of patience involves learning to wait on the Lord. The closing verses of my favorite psalm come to mind:

Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV)

I would have lost heart unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Note the Bible offers this definition of patience, meaning endurance or perseverance, steadfastly bearing up under and remaining faithful while waiting. Patience or perseverance is a fruit of the spirit that should be evident in our lives, as we wait on the Lord.

James 5:11 provides an excellent example of the word for patience translated as a verb and as a noun in a particular individual who embodies the character trait of patient endurance. The New Living Translation offers this rendering containing a familiar phrase that encompasses a character trait most often associated with Job:

11 We give great honor to those who endure suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

The Book of Job is a classic example of the principle of first usage and first spiritual principle, which highlights as particularly important the first time we find a concept in the Bible. Some Bible scholars believe that the first book written was the Book of Job, believed to have been composed by Moses. Job, whom Chuck Swindoll described as a “man of heroic endurance,” was, indeed, a real person, and his story is one of the first demonstrations of spiritual principles, one of the first being that God is “full of compassion and tender mercy” and that he rewards those who demonstrate “patience.” Although we recognize that “Patience is its own reward,” God also rewards patience, as so clearly demonstrated at the end of the Book of Job. Recall Job 42:10:

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends: also, the

LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

The topic of the need for patience in our lives brings to mind a statement by Graham Cooke whose words inspired this poetic response:

A Prayer for Patience

“My suggestion for people in a season of birth or upgrade 

is to write out a prayer for patience and pray it every day.”    

Graham Cooke

For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance,   

so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God,   

and thus, receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Hebrews 10:36 (Amplified Bible)

We look back and pause and then look ahead to see

Clearly who God is and who He has called us to be.

We still journey down the road less traveled by

And pray that patience may serve as a trusted ally.

We must say “No” to the pressures of this life

And say “Yes” to the rest God gives, despite the strife.

As we stay our minds on Him, we abide in peace.

When we praise God, works of the enemy decrease.

May we remain and not fall by the wayside as some

But like Job wait until at last, our change shall come.

Patient endurance seems delayed for some reason,

But fruit abounds to those who wait in their season.

We pray that in this time of transition and shift

That we embrace waiting as a wonderful gift.

We close with another reminder from Scripture about patience from Hebrews 10:36-38 (NLT):

36 Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

37 “For in just a little while,
    the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 And my righteous ones will live by faith.
    But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”

Karen Clark Sheard and Donnie McClurkin offer a stirring rendition of a song to capture the essence of our discussion on the art of patience: “Wait on the Lord.”

God, who is unsearchable, searches every heart

May 15, 2022

The Verse of the Day for May 15, 2022, comes from Ecclesiastes 11:5 in the New Living Translation:

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

This verse reminds us that God, the creator of the universe, is far beyond our ability to comprehend. In thinking about this verse, the word “unsearchable” comes to mind, a term uniquely applied to the Lord, God Almighty:

Romans 11:33-36 (NLT) also reveals His incomprehensible nature:

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?
35 And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?

36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

In the Book of Job and in the Psalms, we find similar sentiments expressed:

Job 5:9 (NLT):

He does great things too marvelous to understand.

He performs countless miracles.

Job 11:7-9 (NLT)                                               

“Can you solve the mysteries of God?

Can you discover everything about the Almighty?

Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—

And who are you?

It is deeper than the underworld*—

What do you know?

It is broader than the earth

And wider than the sea.

The Psalmist also notes the incomprehensible nature of the Creator in Psalm 139:1-6 (NLT)

O Lord, you have examined my heart

And know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel

And when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say

Even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me.

You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

Too great for me to understand!

In describing the ways of God, one of the terms used is “unsearchable” which is also translated “indelineable, marked by being impossible to plot, travel, or trace to the end of, therefore, incomprehensible or impossible to understand.”

Today’s blog post also brings to mind a previous entry focusing on the “Word of the Day” which turned out to be “research,” whose root is “search,” a term related to what God continually does to the human heart.

Research, in its most literal sense, means to “re-search” or to “search again. God, our Father, as the ultimate “Researcher” conducts this grand “research project” whose primary purpose is for the advancement of human knowledge about God, that we might “fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” In the process we discover, interpret, and develop knowledge, which we apply as we grow in our understanding of the Creator and His vast universe. This original psalm centers on “searching” or “trying,” as in examining closely and scrutinizing in detail in order to render some kind of assessment or evaluation. Introducing the work is a section of Scripture from Romans 8:27-28 (NKJV):

27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

God Searches

Romans 8:27-28

God searches the depths of each soul and probes each heart,

To uncover each motive and extract the pure,

Discarding dross, thus perfecting the refiner’s art.

The word of prophecy stands as even more sure,

The touchstone to measure the essence of all life.

All else shall fail, but the Word shall ever inspire.

This two-edged sword, sharper than a finely honed knife–

Living, powerful, piercing each thought and desire,

Penetrating soul and spirit, joints and marrow–

Probing deepest emotions, dispelling the dark.

Life-giving and powerful, swift as an arrow

That finds its target and that always hits its mark

Reaching its own perfection, to its fullest extent,

The Word of God prospers wherever it is sent.

In thinking about God as “the ultimate researcher,” I also recall Psalm 139 where the Psalmist recognizes that God knows all about the most intricate and delicate complexity of His matchless creation. Spiritually speaking, we can view all of Psalm 139 as an invitation to deepest, divine inspection, as the celebrated psalm closes with this heartfelt request:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT} :

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

He who is unsearchable, whose ways are past finding out, searches the hearts of His creation.

We close with Gwen Smith offering a contemporary song of worship “Unsearchable”:

Worry about nothing. Pray about everything.

May 5, 2022

On Biblegateway.com, the Verse of the Day for May 5, 2022, comes from Philippians 4:6-7 to remind believers not to worry about anything but to pray about everything. I am revising and re-posting a previous entry that we can apply today and every day of our lives.

Here is the rendering of this celebrated passage in the New Living Translation (NLT):

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV) also offers this reminder:

By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

The most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving we find in I Thessalonians 5:18:

 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.

The King James Version renders the verse this way:

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

To facilitate memorizing this particular verse, I composed a Scripture Memory Song “In Everything Give Thanks”:

            In everything give thanks,

            In everything give thanks,

            For this is the will of God

            In Christ Jesus concerning you.

            Repeat

            When things in life don’t seem to turn out

            Just as we think they should,

            We know that God still has a grand plan

            And works all things together—

            He works all things together for our good.

            In everything give thanks,

            In everything give thanks,

            For this is the will of God

            In Christ Jesus concerning you.

            The sun shines bright or the darkest night,

            No matter what the mood,

            We still give thanks always for all things.

            In the name of Jesus Christ,

            We keep an attitude of gratitude.

            In everything give thanks,

            In everything give thanks,

            For this is the will of God

            In Christ Jesus concerning you.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin with thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the lengthy list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God.

J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless goodwill.” For believers, thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability;” that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called thanksliving.”  The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude I express in this original psalm:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all

His grace? What can we say to offer praise

Worthy of His glory? How can we call

With all our being upon His name and raise

A new song from the depths of our heart?

We must do more than mouth a platitude–

To express our soul in words is an art;

Yet words cannot express our gratitude.

Mere words are empty and without merit.

“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.

So we must worship God with our spirit

And must give thanks well for all of our days.

To live is to give thanks with tongue and limb;

With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Listen to this scripture memory song based on Philippians 4:6-7 from Integrity Music

Poem in Your Pocket Day: April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the American Academy of Poets has designated April 29 as National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Until the Pandemic, the idea was simple: people selected a poem that they loved during National Poetry Month and carried it with them to share with co-workers, family, and friends. People unfolded poems from pockets throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. In light of the current COVID-19 circumstances, the celebration can continue digitally:

Here are ways to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day 2022:

  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. 
  • Simultaneously participate in the Shelter in Poems initiative and select a poem that brings you solace during this time of distance and solitude. Share what it means to you and use the hashtags #pocketpoem and #ShelterInPoems.
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem aloud from your porch, window, backyard, or outdoor space. 

Poem in My Pocket:

During times of crisis and personal upheaval, especially meaningful poetry comes from the Book of Psalms. David, my all-time favorite poet, has provided comfort, encouragement, and strength during my darkest days. The Book of Psalms continues to be a source of inspiration as well. Despite the devastating aftermath of the pandemic, including a personal encounter with the virus, I wake up each morning abiding in the safety of the Lord, thankful for life, health, and strength, being able to express in words my gratitude. In reflecting on being hospitalized and testing positive for Covid, I am grateful to God for bringing me through that experience triumphantly. Here is a personal poetic expression, an original psalm, “a taste of the blues,” that I would like to share on Poem in Your Pocket Day:

Beyond the Dark Night of Covid

Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God, my Creator,

the one who gives songs in the night?

Job 35:10 (NLT)

Like nothing we’ve ever known, the Covid Pandemic gripped the world in fear

Like nothing we’ve ever known, the Covid Pandemic gripped the world in fear

Bless the Lord, O my soul. What in the world’s going on down here

Twice they rushed me to the hospital—I couldn’t believe my eyes

Twice they rushed me to the hospital—I couldn’t believe my eyes

That low-down Covid pulled a sneak attack that took me by surprise

To steal, kill, and destroy—that’s always what the Enemy has planned

To steal, kill, and destroy—that’s always what the Enemy has planned

But be encouraged and don’t forget God’s got the whole world in His hands

Beyond the dark night of Covid, we shall walk in the light of a brand-new day

Beyond the dark night of Covid, we shall walk in the light of a brand-new day

We won’t be defeated, but we will survive and thrive, no matter what comes our way

God Almighty, our Father, our redeemer, delivers from Covid and every infirmity

Even this perplexing pandemic will work together for the good, just you wait and see

We conclude with a perfect music video: Matt Redman’s “Songs in the Night”

No longer a secret, the Great Mystery is revealed

April 25, 2022

The Verse of the Day for April 25, 2022, like a beautifully wrapped package, provides enjoy a deeper appreciation of God’s wisdom and grace offered to believers. This passage reveals the concept of “the mystery” unfolded in Colossians 1:27-28 in the New King James Version:

To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Derived from the Greek word musterion, translated as “sacred secret,” the essence of “this mystery” is that Jews and Gentiles would be united in one body, the Body of Christ. This God, our Father, hid this “great mystery”  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. God revealed this mystery 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, would demonstrate. Our discussion of the riches of the glory of this mystery of the one body brought to mind an original psalm composed as an expression of my heart’s desire:

Oh, To See the Mystery

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you [and even show you]

great and mighty ­­­­­­­­­­things, [things which have been confined and hidden],

which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.’

Jeremiah 33:3 (AMP)

Enlighten my eyes that I might openly see;                    

Expand my mind and widen my comprehension

To understand the temple of the mystery.

Teach me to fully comprehend each dimension                        

And ascertain the magnitude without measure:

Reveal to me the true length,

            though it is endless;

Teach me to find the full breadth,

            though it is boundless;

Help me to reach the vast height,

            though it is measureless;

Teach me to probe the great depth,

            though it is fathomless.

Show me your divine design for the inner man.

Make plain the purpose, the pattern, the symmetry

Unfolded in the blueprints of your master plan

For the One Body, temple of awesome beauty.

Share with me the value of this priceless treasure,

The riches of the glory of this mystery

Held in the secret places of your good pleasure.

Take my hand and lead me, as you would guide a youth,

A son who lives to explore the depths of your truth.

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

Reflections on the Resurrection: Witness

April 17, 2022
The words of Jesus Christ remind us of his unique position as the Son of God, raised from the dead, who is alive forevermore.

As we reflect on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ this weekend, one of the most memorable accounts of that memorable event  is found in Luke 24:1-9:

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6He is not here but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”

8And they remembered His words. 9Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.

I thought of this account of the women at the empty tomb which inspired this original reflective piece: “Witness”

Witness

Luke 24:1-9

The account of the women at the empty tomb

Though we did not journey with the women

In the dark before dawn that first day,

Nor were we walking, weeping with them when

Two angels spoke, nor did we hear them say,

“He is not here but risen as he said;

Recall that on the third day he should rise;

Why seek you the living among the dead?”

Though we did not see with our naked eyes,

In our hearts, we know God’s desire to bless.

Though we did not touch Christ, nor did we see

The open tomb, yet we still bear witness.

We have a more sure word of prophecy.

By the spirit, fruit of our Promised Seed,

We surely know He is risen, risen, indeed.

We close with this music video by Keith and Kristyn Getty: “Christ is Risen He is Risen, Indeed.”

 

 

God’s thoughts and His ways vs our thoughts and our ways

March 26, 2022

Combining and condensing excerpts from two previous blog posts, the Verse of the Day for March 26, 2022, with the Logos Bible software comes from Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NIV):

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Message Bible says:

8-11 “I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

‎8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  ‎9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

These verses point out distinctions between the thoughts and ways of God and the thoughts and ways of people. The term “way” in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word derek, meaning “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner” and also referred to as a direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle. The Greek New Testament translates the word hodos as “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).

The passage from Isaiah 55 speaks of “the ways of God” and “the ways of man,” as we see a notable contrast between the two. 2 Samuel 22:31 and Psalm 18:30 provide the same rendering in the New King Version:

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Jeremiah 10:23 provides this reminder:  

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

The Prophet Isaiah also makes known:  “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way.” The difference is striking, indeed. The ways of God are righteous altogether; whereas the ways of man are wicked and unrighteous.

The Verse of the Day from Isaiah 55 encourages the people of God to turn from their own unrighteous ways and follow the ways of God who is rich in mercy and who will abundantly pardon.   A series of posts on the will of God also speaks of the will of God as a path that believers should ever seek to follow. To follow the will of God is to decide which path we are going to take. Many times, it is easier to follow our own path and seek our own way rather than God’s way or God’s will. Like the Psalmist, we should choose to follow the path of truth, and when we choose to follow that path, we take comfort in knowing that as for God, His way is perfect.

The following anonymous poem also provides assurance as to where the path that is the will of God will take us.  

The Will of God
Author: Unknown

The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.  

To follow the Will of God is to decide which path we are going to take. So often, it is easier to follow our own path and seek our own way rather than God’s way or God’s will. Like the Psalmist, however, we should choose to follow the path of truth, and when we choose to follow that path, we take comfort in knowing that as for God, His way is perfect. Indeed, His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways, as this Christian Worship and Scripture Song from Isaiah 55:6-9 reminds us: