Archive for the ‘Quote of the Day’ Category

Mountain to valley

February 3, 2018
the-valley-of-the-shadow-of-death

The painting “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” by George Inness graphically depicts how overwhelming this valley appears to be.

We begin the day with a Quote of the Day for February 3, 2018 from the ministry of Shattered Men, where the author speaks of both mountain top experiences as well as those taking place in the valleys:

We often call those times when we feel great, “mountain top experiences.”  We love those times. Most of us never want to come down from the mountain.  We would stay up there forever if we could.  Well my friend, please realize it is the valleys we go through that make the mountain top so wonderful.  For if it were not for these valleys, we would not appreciate the mountain tops.   

In reflecting on the Quote of the Day, I recall lyrics to “We Shall Walk through the Valley in Peace,” a moving musical composition often sung as a hymn or spiritual inspired by a verse from the 23rd Psalm. I recall singing these lyrics as a member of the Junior Choir, back in the day.

We shall walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

For Jesus, himself, shall be our leader

We shall walk through the Valley in Peace

The lyrics also bring to mind another poem inspired, in part, by one the teachings from a series of messages on the gates mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah, specifically the “Valley Gate”

This Lonesome Valley

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

You have to walk this lonesome valley.
You have to walk it by yourself;
O, nobody else can walk it for you,
You have to walk it by yourself. 

Traditional hymn

 

Valley places are always places of testing. . .                                                              

It’s in the valley places that your character is tested.

Apostle Eric L. Warren

 

Though there is no place where God’s presence does not dwell,

There is this lonesome valley we all must cross alone.

The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness,

And as a pilgrim, I too go through this barren land.

Propelled by goodness and mercy as my rearguards,

I am led by the hand of God into a wasteland,

Where I must stand on my own and confront my fears,

As I pass through the valley of the shadow of death,

The dark place where no companion can go with me.

Unsure of all that lies ahead, I hesitate,

But I must follow the Spirit’s call into the unknown:

The narrow way–to walk by faith and not by sight.

Though my path may be unclear, this I know for sure:

If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.

We conclude with “Mountain to Valley,” from the musical group “House Fires,” assured that since Jesus Christ, our Lord, leads us from faith to faith, glory to glory, and victory to victory, we shall walk through every valley in peace:

The patience of Job

January 19, 2018

Instead of the Word of the Day, we are going to examine the Quote of the Day for January 19, 2018, a remarkable statement about patience:

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.

Brian Adams

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!

In the Bible the word for patience been translated 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.

When we examine one of the words translated “patience”, we see a compound word meaning “to stay, remain, abide”, literally abiding under. The verb form means to stay under or behind, remain; figuratively, to undergo, that is bear (trials), have fortitude, to persevere — abide, endure, take patiently, suffer, tarry behind.

The root idea of the noun is that of remaining under some discipline, subjecting one’s self to something which demands the yielding of the will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy — enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting). It is a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies our heavenly Father, not merely to grin and bear it.

James 5:11 provides an excellent example of the word for patience being used 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:

We give great honor to those who endure under 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 that a concept is mentioned in the Bible. E.W. Bullinger and other Bible scholars surmise 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 many 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 it is said that “Patience is its own reward,” God also rewards patience, as so clearly demonstrated at the end 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 travelled 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 mind 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 conclude with Karen Clark Sheard and Donnie McClurkin offering a song to capture the essence of our discussion on patience: “Wait on the Lord.”

Moving forward: understanding the process

January 13, 2018

As 2018 continues to unfold, we recognize that as members of the Body of Christ, we are ever in transition, individually and corporately, moving from faith to faith, glory to glory, and victory to victory. In thinking about this reality, I recall a made statement by Dr. Tom Edwards during his workshop series “Moving My Life Forward” which serves as the Quote of the Day for January 13, 2018:

“Every great assignment and destiny requires transition”:

Dr. Edwards went on to define transition as ‘”a passage, development or movement from one state, condition, phase, or place to another . . . a period of instability proceeded by and followed by a period of instability.” The in-between time can be painful and completely black at times and you cannot see where you are going , but you are pressing toward your destination, the place of your destiny.

The transitional period we are all experiencing is related to the three stages leading to the ultimate fulfiling of the promise of God or a word of the Lord that we have heard. Dr. Edwards notes that the first stage involves hearing and receiving a promise while the second stage indicates the process, the refining or finishing stage that we must not only endure but come to embrace before we reach the third stage: the prize. The poet proclaims: “You’ve got to go through to get to the prize.”

Here is a poetic description of the second stage:

The Process

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,

we must acknowledge the process . . . trust the process. . .

embrace the process. . . and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

My brethren, count it all joy
when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2

 

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,

 we must  acknowledge the process … trust the process…

 embrace the process…and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

My brethren, count it all joy

 when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2

  

What we perceive as failure, God sees as success.

In peace and confidence we know that we will find

Understanding that reveals what God had in mind.

As we pursue truth, we acknowledge the process.

Though adversity seeks to hinder our progress,

Though we may be shaken to the depths of our soul,

If we refuse to give up, we will be made whole.

Because our God is faithful, we trust the process.

God’s heart of compassion forever seeks to bless.

We no longer wrestle but surrender—we yield.

As strong soldiers, we vow to stay on the battlefield.

Though we would shun it, we embrace the process.

Our gracious God is good, despite the strain and stress;

Resting in the Lord, we now enjoy the process.

During this most painful period of transition, many questions may arise: “What is going on?” Why is this happening to me when I am right at the point of my breakthrough?” “Why me?” “Why now?” We may question God and ask “What are you doing?” Our question should be “Father, what are you trying to teach me?” We must learn to echo the sentiments of the Psalmist who declares:

Psalm 119:71

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

These lyrics also express the song of our heart:

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.

We recognize that God is good, and that all things work together for the good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. While we are going through the process, it may not feel good, but it is good for us, working together for our good.

We close with this musical exhortation: “Moving Forward”—Israel Houghton:

Learning to trust

December 21, 2017

 

Learning to trust

Earlier today I read a list of quotations from a wide range of people who talked about “trust.” One particular quote caught my eye, and I selected it to be the Quote of the Day for December 21, 2017:

“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.”

The statement comes from the great 18th Century hymn writer, Dr. Isaac Watts, English pastor, preacher, poet, and hymn writer with about 600 songs to his credit, including the popular Christmas carol “Joy to the World,” heard so frequently at this time of the year. Another of his most recognized compositions also makes reference to “trust.”

I love the Lord, He heard my cries:

I love you, Lord; you heard my cries,
and pitied every groan;
Long as I live, when troubles rise,
I’ll hasten to your throne.

I love you, Lord; you bow your ear;
you’re ever good and just.
Then let my heart feel no despair!
Your power has all my trust.

If you behold me sore distressed,
you bid my pains remove;
I’ll turn my soul to you, my rest,
and witness to your love.

The topic of learning to trust also brings to mind a 20th Century Christian musician and songwriter, Andre Crouch, and his celebrated song of encouragement with these lyrics as the chorus:

Through It All

I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
there’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consolation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.

Chorus:
Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

Upon further reflection on learning to trust God, I recall two acronyms to remind us of the meaning of T-R-U-S-T. As we walk by faith and learn to trust God more than ever before, we proclaim that we will maintain a

Triumphant attitude” with

Rugged determination” and

Unswerving commitment,” as we further develop

Strengthened believing” and

Tremendous confidence.”

As we end 2017 and go into 2018 we are learning to T-R-U-S-T:

Taking Risks Under Stressful Times.

Finally, this passage also relates to trust:

Isaiah 26:3-4 (AMP):

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].


“Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner],
For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].

We close our discussion with a song of trust written and performed by Gary Oliver: “I will trust in you.” In actuality the lyrics refer to verse 4:

R.C. Sproul: The pursuit of God

December 16, 2017

Psalm 63--8

This morning as I began my day, I learned that R.C. Sproul, beloved theologian, author, pastor, and founder of Ligonier Ministries, passed away earlier this week. Christianity Today commented concerning his influence: “He is responsible for introducing a generation to the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, and the glory of the Gospel of justification by faith, salvation by grace, in Christ alone.”

In a tribute in memory of R.C. Sproul, Daniel Motley listed 20 of his quotes on the Glory of God. One in particular caught my attention and will serve as the Quote of the Day for the blog entry for December 16, 2017:

“The pursuit of God is not a part-time, weekend exercise. If it is, chances are you will experience a part-time, weekend freedom. Abiding requires a kind of staying power. The pursuit is relentless. It hungers and thirsts. It pants as the deer after the mountain brook. It takes the kingdom by storm…The pursuit of God is a pursuit of passion. Indifference will not do. To abide in the Word is to hang on tenaciously. A weak grip will soon slip away. Discipleship requires staying power. We sign up for duration. We do not graduate until heaven.”

In reflecting on the quote, I thought of an experience occurring more than 60 years ago. I recall going on a field trip to the Indiana Dunes State Park, outside of Gary, Indiana, when I was in middle school, what we called “junior high school,” back in the day. Somehow I came across a small stream running through a wooded area. As I followed the creek through the winding woods, I was determined to find the area where the stream began, but as I progressed, the size of the stream remained the same and continued to flow on seemingly endlessly. After about a half an hour, I realized that I needed to get back to area where we supposed to meet before departing on the bus and returning to “the Steel City.” When I arrived at the place where we were to meet, I learned that I was quite late, and that I had delayed their departure.

Although that experience occurred sometime ago, I am still earnestly pursuing God with a passion, with determination to find what I am seeking. R.C. Sproul’s comments also brought to mind this poem:

The Proof of Desire

 My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You

Psalm 63:8a (AMP)

 

The proof of desire is pursuit.

Mike Murdock

 

In each new season may our lives abound with fruit,

As we follow after God and seek His favor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

 

This passion to please is our relentless pursuit,

As we seek to taste His goodness as we savor.

In each new season may our lives abound with fruit.

 

As a seasoned tree is strengthened from leaf to root,

We flow with fullness of joy as we labor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

 

Though we may seek as silver God’s wisdom and truth,

This life swiftly passes, fleeting as a vapor.

In each new season may our lives abound with fruit.

 

We have yearned for God’s presence, even as a youth.

We now forsake all to scale the heights of Mount Tabor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

 

We ever seek to know God’s will and to do it,

To follow in the steps of Jesus, our Savior.

In each new season may our lives abound with fruit,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

The quotation and commentary also make reference to Psalm 63:8 (KJV):

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

My whole being follows hard after You and clinPgs closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.

This verse is the inspiration for “My Soul Follows Hard after Thee” performed as a medley with “I’m Gonna Love You,” two classic praise and worship compositions of Don Moen of Hosanna! Music.

God does everything on purpose

December 9, 2017

Romans 8--28

From time to time, instead of the Verse of the Day, our blog entry will feature the Quote of the Day. In this case, we are going to look at this statement from A.W. Tozer, renowned pastor and author.

“Everything God does has purpose and intention behind that design. It is a master design, and every little thing has its proper place and function.”

In reflecting on these comments a number of scriptures come to mind related to the purposes of God.  We are reminded that God is intentional and that He does everything “on purpose.” Solomon declares “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heavens.”

Solomon, in his wisdom, goes on to speak about the purposes of God planted in the heart of humanity who yearn to know and fulfill that purpose. There is a universal yearning to know why am I here and what role do I play in the grand scheme of life.

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5)

God has a purpose for everyone, and nothing can stop that purpose from being fulfilled:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

Job made this discovery: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

As Christian believers we must recognize that God has saved us and called us to a higher calling:

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9).

As believers,

We must arise and strive to reach the place

Where the rivers of understanding flow

And never doubt God’s purpose and His grace.

In thinking about the Quote of the Day, Romans 8:28 also immediately comes to mind:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [KJV]

Here is the Amplified Bible rendering:

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Romans 8:28, my favorite verse in the Bible, offers this reminder that because God is good, “We know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” So no matter how bad any situation may appear to be, we know that it will work together for the good.

These lyrics also reinforce the message:

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.

The comments on the Quote of the Day and the related scriptures are summarized in the song: “Intentional” by Travis Greene.

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”: