Archive for the ‘Quote of the Day’ Category

1 Corinthians 13: A positive view

October 23, 2017

1 Corinthians 13--1-3

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, let us take a look at the “Quote of the Day” for October 23, 2017,

“If I don’t, then I won’t—if I do, then I will.”

Actually the line is the title of a freshly composed poem inspired by 1 Corinthians 13 where the Word of God answers in detail one of the questions of the ages: “What is love?” The chapter unfolds as an extended  definition of the concept of “love” or “agape”, the unique expression of the love of God used throughout the New Testament, particularly in 1 Corinthians 13. Actually, the extended definition of love takes the form of a definition by negation, meaning the concept is explained in terms of its opposites or what it is not.What something is not becomes what it is. “It is what it is,” one of the popular sayings of the day, brings to light that “charity” or “the love of God” or “agape” is the opposite of what the Scriptures declare it is not.

In reflecting on this celebrated chapter so often recited as a whole or in part on Valentine’s Day or at weddings or other special occasions, I thought I would read it from a different view point in light of principles that I recall from high school lessons in math and English.

In math if you have a negative number and you multiply it by a negative number, the result will be a positive number; for example, -4 x -3 = + 12. Likewise, in English, we have a “double negative” when you use of two negative words in the same sentence. The resulting sentence will convey the exact opposite of what you intended, as your negatives cancel each other out. “I do not want you to NOT love” is the same as saying “I want you to love.”  These concepts bring to mind the lyrics of the popular song from the 1950s reminding us to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

Here is a different view of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 in the Amplified Bible modified from a more positive viewpoint:

 1IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, [and do have] love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am [more than] only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.   I become an instrument of peace.

 And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but [do have love] (God’s love in me) I am [not] nothing (a useless nobody). I am really something (I am somebody).

3Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that [God may be glorified], [and have love] (God’s love in me), I gain [everything].

When we choose to walk in love or demonstrate the power of love, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here is a poetic summary of our discussion:

If I don’t, then I won’t—If I do, then I will

A different take on I Corinthians 13

 

What does 1 Corinthians 13 really say? Talk to me;

Follow me and let me show you what I see.

The Word never returns void but prospers where it is sent

When read from another view, this is what I think it meant:

If I speak in tongues fluently but don’t have love,

Though I have evidence of the sign of the dove,

I am a clanging cymbal, nothing more than noise

But if I choose to love, I can now use my voice

To make new music as an instrument of peace,

To silence discord and cause all jangling to cease.

Although I flow prophetically with faith that is great,

But without love I am not even second rate.

But if I love, I am not least but the greatest.

Even if I give my life, the ultimate test,

Without God’s love what have I really gained—nothing,

But when I give, moved by love, I gain everything,

Kingdoms may fade, but the love of God will never cease.

For love will not diminish but only increase.

Whether to walk in love or not, we each must choose.

Strange as it may seem, when you give you cannot lose.

If God’s love is not the motive, you cannot win,

For the one who loves always wins, again and again.

Bernie Armstrong offers “1 Corinthians 13—The Wedding Song–Love Never Fails,” not just a lovely song for marriage but a truly beautiful song of life:

 

The will of God: The road less traveled by

October 16, 2017

Romans 12--2 last part

Instead of commenting on the Verse of the Day as we usually do, today we will select the Quote of the Day as a starting point for our blog post on October 16, 2017:

“To know the road ahead ask those coming back.”

Chinese Proverb

The statement brings to mind “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, one of the most popular poems taught in American schools in the Twentieth Century. First published more than a century ago in 1916, the poem, particularly the last lines, is still often recited today. I recall having to memorize the entire poem in my junior year of high school in the late 1950s, and I still know it by heart today. Most providentially, the same poem found its way into a composition and literature class I taught as a college professor twenty years later. Here is the classic poem:

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Even more remarkably, 10 years later I recognized a similar inclination to write poetry that has been described as “didactic,” in light of my desire to teach, particularly to incorporate concepts and principles from the Scriptures into my poems. In graduate school while working on my doctorate in English, I took a seminar which deepened my appreciation for the great American poet, having been first “Frost-bitten” back in the day in the middle of the Twentieth Century.

Reflecting on the Quote of the Day also brings to mind the closing lines from the celebrated poem by Frost, the inspiration, in part, for this piece:

The Will of God: the Road Less Traveled by

 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,

but let God transform you into a new person

by changing the way you think.

Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,

which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

Robert Frost

 

I begin again this year of my jubilee.

Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny

That the will of God is the road less travelled by:

To choose to serve, even though having been set free.

The straight and narrow way I once again select.

I press on, still striving toward the highest good.

In this place we renew our covenant of blood,

Reassured that “As for God His way is perfect.”

I see clearly with new eyes where our paths have led.

In the midst of turbulent times I remain still,

Proving that good and acceptable and perfect will.

I look back, waiting in the now, then look ahead.

Each day God offers another chance to commence:

The choice to do God’s will makes all the difference.

Although one can certainly learn from someone who has traveled the road that one may be taking, each individual must choose the road to take, and I concur with Frost that “the road less traveled by” makes all the difference, particularly in thinking of “the will of God” as that road.

Amy Grant closes today’s entry with her rendering of the hymn “Sweet Will of God.”

Seeing ourselves through the eyes of God

September 18, 2017

Ephesians 1 18

We begin this brand new week with the Quote of the Day for September 18, 2017: a profound statement from Dr. Kingsley Fletcher:

“If you can see yourself through the mirror of time or through the eyes of God, you will see what God intends for your life.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 in the Amplified Bible provide the accompanying scriptures:

17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

If we could only see ourselves from God’s perspective rather than from our own myopic viewpoint, we would get a totally different view of our lives in light of eternity.  Rather than focusing on transitory pressures and afflictions of the moment, we need to recognize the grand scope of God’s plan for our lives. The challenging circumstances we currently face are part of the preparation process that will result in our becoming “vessels of honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”

The quote also brings to mind the prayer found in Ephesians 1:14-23 expressing God’s desire for His people. Verses 17-18 reveal His intentions:

17 [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,

18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),

Verse 18 brings to mind the words of the hymn “Open My Eyes that I Might See” which is, in essence, a prayer expressed in song. The lyrics to the hymn are displayed while Nathanael Provis plays the melody on piano:

Another contemporary song presenting a similar request is “Open the Eyes of My Heart” performed by Michael W. Smith. The lyrics offer an appeal that God will enlightened us, just as He desires that we might also be enlightened. Not only is our prayer that God will enlighten us and illuminate our lives by means of the spirit of wisdom and revelation, but God‘s prayer for us is the same.

Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

July 31, 2017

No condemnation quote

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

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

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

Romans 8:1-2 (KJV)

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

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

The passage is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

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

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

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

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

has made me free from the law of sin and death

Romans 8:2

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

We covenant with God that we will walk in the Spirit

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

Ever aware of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness,

We seek to walk in wisdom, while striving to understand

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

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

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free

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

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

 

 

 

God is able

July 29, 2017

Ephesians-3-20-21

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

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

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

Daniel 3:17:

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

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

Ephesians 3:20

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

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

God is Able

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

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

Daniel 3:17

 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly

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

Ephesians 3:20

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Surrounded by disaster, even at the very brink

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

Though confronted and intimidated, we stand our ground:

God is able.

 

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

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

Our confident trust in God is nothing less than profound,

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

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

God is able.

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

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

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

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

 

Watch your mouth

July 11, 2017

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, today we are going to examine the “Phrase of the Day” for July 11, 2017: “Watch your mouth!” This idiomatic expression means to take into consideration what you say before you speak. It is sometimes used as a warning to become aware of the words that one is about to speak.This expression also brings to mind the often-quoted statement attributed to Frank Outlaw, former President of Bi-Lo Food Stores:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

What Mr. Outlaw encourages individuals to watch could be seen as part of an acrostic in that we are to “Watch our. . . Words-Actions-Thoughts-Character-Habits.”

Regarding watching your mouth, out of which come the words you speak, Ephesians 4:29 in the Amplified Bible states:

Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it

The Message Bible puts it this way:

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

A previous blog entry on Ephesians 4:29 offers these comments:

Throughout the Scriptures believers are exhorted to be mindful of the words they speak. For the words that we speak are expressions of what is in our hearts. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” says Solomon. With this in mind, John Bunyan recognizes that individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

We are encouraged not only to watch what goes into the mouth but watch what comes out of the mouth. Paul further reminds us: “Let your words always be seasoned with salt that they may minister grace to the hearers.”

James 1:19 (AMP) has this to say about the matter:

19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

We must be very concerned about the words that we speak since the “power of life and death” is in the tongue. This message is reinforced with this reminder:

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;
It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison
James 3:8

We know the tongue has power to generate life,
To produce seeds that will eventually take root
And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:
Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife
Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.
With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,
So we covenant to guard the gates of our lips,
For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.
We desire life and long to see good all our days,
So we speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.
Like Jesus, we want our tongue to speak what God says.
We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.
Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,
We seek not just a word but the spirit of wisdom.

As born-again believers, we are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Phrase of the Day and other related scriptures remind believers that we should be concerned about the words we speak, as we are encouraged to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

TobyMac expresses our desire that the words that come from our mouths will build up and not tear down, as we “Speak Life”:

To look, to feel, to do

May 6, 2017

John Wesley Quote

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, let us take a look at the Quote of the Day for May 6, 2017. This statement is attributed to the late Kim Clement, and I have used it as a personal mini-motivational speech, as I look into the mirror while preparing for the day on many a-morning.

“I see myself somewhere in the future, and I’m looking so much better than I look right now.”

Later I added this response: “But right now I’m looking good!”

Not only am I looking good, but I’m feeling good as well.

After a recent appointment with my urologist, he asked how I was feeling, and I commented “I’m feeling great!” After looking over my records, he confirmed my state of well-being and said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep on doing it. It’s working. See you in six months.”

In reflecting on his remarks, I happened to think of the Biblical expression “to do good” which I am ever striving to practice. Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to follow after, to pursue, to practice or do that which is right, or just, or good.

We always have a choice to do good or to do evil, but the Word of God reminds us that despite the sinful nature of humanity, our ultimate purpose is to do good:

Ecclesiastes 3:12 (AMP):

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live;

Psalm 34:14 (AMP) exhorts believers to

Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Similarly in Psalm 37:3 (AMP) we are encouraged to

Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.

This verb brings to mind a similar exhortation from Galatians 6:10:

So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers

Finally, Hebrews 13:16 provides these words of encouragement:

Do not neglect to do good, to contribute [to the needy of the church as an expression of fellowship], for such sacrifices are always pleasing to God.

These reminders to do justly or to do good are echoed in the words of John Wesley, who said:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

As we practice or become adept at “doing good,” we will reap the benefits that abound toward us in return. These thoughts brought to mind this poem of celebration:

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living seventy-four years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folk song of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

We conclude with this musical expression of how I feel at this time in life: “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble:

 

Faith is a journey

April 24, 2017

Within the past several weeks, a number of Quotes of the Day as well as Verses of the Day have focused on faith. In addition, faith continues to be a topic of importance in that Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been teaching a series related to faith. From the series a metaphor emerged which described “faith as a journey.”

In addition, I discussed a related quote “Faith is a journey; when you start, you can’t quit.” Bishop Mellette also make the following statements to corroborate this point:

“Faith is not an experience—Faith is a journey. . . Your faith is coming and growing,” as he also shared 2 Thessalonians 1:3:

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

He also shared Romans 10:17:

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

He went on to say, “Your faith grows exceedingly—Faith is progressive . . . It involves a process. It is ongoing. God is not your previous experience. . . God is your new beginning, as we are living our faith every day.”

In a previous blog post on faith, I commented on the significance of faith in my life as a believer, as I recalled that my first Bible teaching shared at a Youth Night service at a church camp in high school centered on faith, as I explored Hebrews 11:1, and verse 6. More than 50 years later when I was required to write my personal testimony to share with students whom I taught at Indiana Wesleyan University, I entitled my sharing “My Journey of Faith”

One of Bishop Mellette’s teachings related specifically to “Faith as a journey” and inspired the following poem:

 On Our Journey . . . The Journey Continues

May we see clearly where our paths have led

And be strengthened for the journey ahead.

“Strengthened for the Journey”

 

“And now I cause you to begin even a new journey. . .

The journey has already begun.”

Apostle John Tetsola

 

We are steadfast– our souls remain anchored in hope,

Eagerly watching and waiting, looking above.

Feeling during dark times that we can barely cope,

But seasons swiftly change, for we have come to know

Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Despite appearances, God has the last say so.

Once more we seek to serve, to go where we are sent

That our lives should reflect the praise of His glory,

The finishing touch on your crowning achievement:

The surprise happy ending of this love story

When all creation finally gets back to being one,

Even as with Father, Holy Spirit, and Son.

The perfect will of God unfolds for all to see,

As we begin each new day on our journey.

Recently while developing an online American Literature course for Carolina College of Biblical Studies, I incorporated the same metaphor: “Life is a journey of discovery,” as a theme revealed in a variety of literary works by American authors. Students also explore their personal feelings, thoughts, and reactions evoked from the various readings as they intersect with each individual’s quest to find his or her personal identity.

The course points out one of the universal concerns of humanity is the quest for identity. Every individual seeks to find out “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose in life?” Life can be viewed as a “Journey of Faith,” the  quest to discover our true identity as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In thinking about this concept, a meaningful song comes to mind to remind us to take joy in each phase of our ongoing journey of discovery.

Michael Card offers “Joy in the Journey”:

Did you hear. . . Are you listening?

April 12, 2017

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, the blog entry for April 12, 2017 is another “Quote of the Day” which in this case is based on two questions: “Did you hear what I said? Are you listening to me?” These two questions also bring to mind a related verse found in James 1:22 (NKJV):

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The same verse was the basis for a previous blog entry entitled “Hearing vs. Listening: The Art of Listening” which is revised and re-posted here:

James 1:22 also brought to mind a number of thoughts regarding the distinction between hearing and listening, as I thought of a discussion on “listening” in a public speaking class that I teach.

In discussing the communication process, we noted the difference between “hearing” and “listening.” Indeed, hearing and listening are not synonymous. According to Stephen Lucas, hearing is “the process by which sound waves are received on the ear; it is the sense by which sound is perceived.” We hear the ambient sounds that surround us without really paying any attention to the fan on the computer or the air conditioning or the ticking of the clock.

On the other hand, listening is the act of interpreting and evaluating what is being said; it is an active activity that involves receiving, deciphering, and perceiving a message with intent to respond. Hearing is passive, whereas listening should be active. Keith Davis comments, “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind.”

In Chinese calligraphy, the character for “listen” consists of pictures of the ear, the eye, and the heart, illustrated in this way:

The discussion regarding hearing and listening also brought to mind that listening is an art that is perfected over time by conscious, consistent effort to improve. This is especially true in a spiritual context whereby believers must learn to listen to God. We find that God is always speaking; indeed, God is never not speaking. As we continually place our ears near to the lips of God, we develop our proficiency in listening to hear the Master’s voice, as we practice in order to perfect this art:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,
God has something to say.
Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.
God has something to say.

Children’s Song

The Lord GOD has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

Listen, listen, children: hear with the inner ear.
Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.
I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.
To listen intently and obey is an art,
Practiced and perfected day by day.
As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,
I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.
In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,
For to walk in love is the more excellent way.
Partake of my promises and consume my Word.
As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear
And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.
Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.
Listen, listen, children: hear with the inner ear.

Although I use this poem when I teach the section on listening in the oral communication classes that I teach, quite providentially, I wrote the poem years before I started teaching these classes. When when the poem was first read at a Bible study, someone pointed out that at the center of the piece is the word “heart” which encompasses hear, ear, and art, all of which reinforce the message, as illustrated in this way:

Without a doubt we must strive each day to become more proficient at developing the “art of listening.”

As we close, listen to the JumpStart3 contemporary Scripture Memory Song of James 1:22:

No disappointment in God

April 5, 2017

Romans 10--11

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day for March 5, 2017, we want to take a look at another Quote of the Day, based on the Faith:

“Faith and trust will never meet with disappointment.”

The statement reiterates the message of assurance found in Romans 9:33 (AMP):

As it is written and forever remains written, “Behold I am laying in Zion a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense; And he who believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”

Romans 10:11 (AMP) also reinforces the same promise:

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”

Here is an excerpt from a previous blog entry that examined the same subject of “disappointment”:

The word is “disappointment” is defined as “a feeling of dissatisfaction, the emotion felt when a strongly held anticipation is not fulfilled.” As we go about our daily lives, all of us have experienced disappointment to some degree. We must recognize, however, that disappointments occurred when situations have not turned out the way we thought they would. In actuality, our disappointments – every one of them – come from the “add-ons” we attach, those things God never promised but which we add to God’s promises. In every situation whereby we might feel disappointed, we need to focus on the Word of God, and be grateful for the promises that we have rather than dwelling on what we do not have, which ultimately leads to being disappointed:

2 Peter 1:4(NKJV) reminds of the vast reservoir of God’s pledges:

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV):

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

We must continually look to God and to those exceedingly great and precious promises in His Word. As we do this we recognize that God does not disappoint nor fail to fulfill His promises. No, He does not prevent hopes or expectations from being realized, which is how we define the verb to “disappoint.” One is said to be “disappointed” or sad or displeased because one’s own hopes or expectations have not been fulfilled.

We cannot hold onto any feelings of being disappointed!  In reality, feelings of disappointments consist of our hopes and expectations. Disappointments come when God does not come through at the time that we “expect” Him to nor in the way we “expect” Him to. Disappointment is the result of “failed expectations” on our part.

We must remember that there is no failure in God, for God is good. The very essence of God is goodness. Indeed, Jesus Christ said, “There is none good but the Father.” 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) So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good. When facing what appears to be disappointing aspects in life, we can look to the Word of God and find that those who trust in God will not be disappointed.

Proverbs 23:18 (AMP) further reminds us:

For surely there is a latter end [a future and a reward], and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) also reminds us God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The Amplified Bible again expresses this truth this way:

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Edith Lillian Young has found a simple way of countering disappointment simply by making a small change which can result in a big change in our attitude toward this particular “deadly emotion.”

Disappointment

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me.
His appointment must be a blessing,
though it may come in disguise,
for the end from the beginning
open to His wisdom lies.

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Whose? The Lord, who loves me best,
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test;
For, like a loving earthly parent,
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts, unquestioned,
All that from His wisdom flows.

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
“No good thing will He withhold,”
From denials oft we gather
Treasures of His love untold,
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.

“Disappointment – His appointment,”
Lord, I take it, then, as such.
Like the clay in hands of potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
All my life’s plan is Thy molding,
Not one single choice be mine;
Let me answer, unrepining –
“Father, not my will, but Thine.”

Phil Keaggy offers a musical rendition of these same lyrics: