Archive for the ‘Verse of the Day’ Category

Let the words of my mouth. . .

October 16, 2021

The Verse of the Day for October 16, 2021,  comes from Psalm 19:14 in the New Living Translation:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

We can view the Book of Psalms as a collection of songs which has been the inspiration for countless musical compositions over the centuries. The Psalms continue to be one of my favorite books of the Bible and has been such an inspiration to me as believer who writes poetry. Psalm 19:14 inspired these original lyrics expressed as a prayer to God:

Lord, give us a heart like David,

A man after your own heart.

Purify our motives and intentions,

Cleanse us and set us apart.

Lord, give us a heart like David.

Lord, give us a heart like David.

Lord, give us a heart to serve you,

With all that lies within us,

To follow in the footsteps of Jesus,

As we serve you faithfully.

Lord, give us a heart to serve you.

Lord, give us a heart to serve you.

Lord, give us a heart of worship,

Overflowing with your praise.

May our words and our deeds give you glory.

May we serve you all our days.

Lord, give us a heart of worship.

Lord, give us a heart of worship.

Johnny Holmes concludes with a rendition of Psalm 19:14 entitled “Song of My Heart”

May these words express the deep desire of our heart uttered as a prayer as we begin this day and every day.

The Beatitudes: The Be Attitudes

October 1, 2021

The Verse of the Day for October 1, 2021, comes from the section of Scripture known as “The Beatitudes.” The following entry is revised and reposted below:

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” which some scholars maintain is really the “Sermon on the Plain,” the Beatitudes form a series of eight declarations that begin with the word “blessed.” Translated from the Greek word, makarios, “blessed” refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity, expressing deep joy and fulfillment of the soul. The word has been translated, happy, fortunate, favored. A contemporary response when asked about one’s state of being is the expression, “blessed and highly favored.”

The following scripture memory song speaks of the passage from Matthew 5 in this way:

The Beatitudes Are the “Be Attitudes”

The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”

They help us to see. They help us to be

All that God wants us to be.

We will be blessed and be a blessing in return

When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Blessed are you.  You shall be blessed.

You shall be blessed when you follow the “Be Attitudes.”

The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”

They help us to see.  They help us to be

All that God wants us to be.

We will be blessed and be a blessing in return

When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”

The Sermon on the Mount begins with Matthew 5 which offers the Beatitudes which are dramatically recited in this video:

We close with a musical rendering of the Beatitudes by Hillsong:

The anointing of honor: Before honor is humility

September 18, 2021

Philippians 2:3-4, the Verse of the Day for September 18, 2021,  is revised and reposted with  this reminder:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, those who serve the Lord seek to set their priorities: They say to themselves and to others, “God is first; others are second, and I am willing to be last.” The first and great commandment establishes the order for our lives:

Matthew 28:37-39:

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Romans 12:10 is another related verse that comes to mind when we think of putting others first:

10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

10 Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.

In a previous blog entry, I discussed the term “Honor one another” and commented, “To honor means to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem. The word also means “to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.” Clearly, this is the essence of the latter part of Romans 12:10.

Apostle John Tetsola notes that “Honor produces an exchange, in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return.” He elaborates upon this principle by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance” which we apply when we honor one another.

This same sentiment is expressed in 1 Thessalonians 5:13:

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

Dr. Tetsola, in a teaching on the subject of honor, also inspired this response:

The Anointing  of Honor          

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom;

and before honor is humility.

Proverbs 15:33

“Our honor activates the honor that is in the heart of God.”  

Apostle John Tetsola

“Before honor is humility,” says the Lord.                  

We give honor to those who minister the Word,

 Not withholding honor to whom honor is due.

We follow these precepts, for the Word of God is true,

Giving life, sharper than any two-edged sword.           

We honor one another and walk in one accord.                 

Husbands and wives—symbolic of a three-fold cord—

Must cherish honor, appreciate its value:

 “Before honor is humility.”                                  

The power of this precept cannot be ignored.   

All those who bestow honor have great reward.

We must give honor in all that we say and do,

Pressing toward the mark for the prize, we continue          

Striving for the perfection we all are moving toward:         

“Before honor is humility.”    

To wrap up our discussion, song writer Jimmy Scott sings a composition “To Honor You,” a tribute to the memory of a loved one.

All Scripture is God-breathed. . .

July 30, 2021

The Verses of the Day highlighted on the Logos Bible Software homepage for July 30, 2021, come from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and reveal the source and purpose of Scripture:

These two verses indicate the source and purpose of Scripture which is more clearly expressed in the Amplified Bible:

16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),

17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Scripture Release offers this version of 2 Timothy 3:16 as a scripture memory song:

In thinking of the Scriptures as words given by the inspiration of God or as the” God-breathed word,” another related verse comes to mind:

2 Peter 1:21

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost

In discussing “Our God-breathed Bible”, teacher John McArthur comments,

“So, when you pick up your Bible, you’re not reading the word of men, you’re reading the Word of God that was written down by men who were moved along in the process by the power of the Holy Spirit. “

When God breathes life comes forth. When God breathed into the nostrils of his creation in Genesis and he became a living soul. Likewise, the Word that God breathed is “alive and full of power” or living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). In thinking about the power of the breath of God, the hymn “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” came to mind, rendered here in a contemporary style:

Not  only is all scripture “God-breathed” but its purpose is that believer, the one who puts his trust in God, might be “complete and proficient,” fully equipped, as a cruise ship is thoroughly prepared and outfitted for its maiden and subsequent voyages.

The New Century Version offers this rendering of 2 Timothy 3:17:

Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work.

The Verse(s) of the Day are wonderful reminders of the source and the purpose of the Word of God.

     

To serve is not a dirty word

May 22, 2021

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for May 22, 2021 comes from Galatians 5:13 in the New Living Translation and highlights the paradox between freedom and servitude:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

This verse and other related scriptures bring to mind the idea of the servant or slave who has been set free. In the early 70s or thereabout, I was introduced to the Greek term “doulos”, translated servant or more literally “bondslave,” one of the most misunderstood concepts found in the Scriptures. The portrayal of the servant or slave, as revealed in the Bible has particular significance to me for a number of reasons, aside from my being a descendant of slaves brought from Africa to America.

In 1975, I produced an article “Doulos: A Different View of the Slave.” In 1978, while completing my master’s thesis, I explored the subject in light of Paul’s literary style in the Church Epistles. I went on to complete my Ph.D. in 1986 with a dissertation entitled Portrait of the Bondslave in the Bible: Slavery and Freedom in the Works of Four Afro-American Poets. 

Being a doulos involves a deep commitment to one’s Lord and Master.

The term doulos has become an intricate part of my life since I first learned of the concept of the “bond servant” or “bond slave” back in the early 70s. As used in the Bible, doulos is a metaphor that I have personalized and internalized. I explored the concept in master’s thesis which looked at the literary style of Paul in the Church Epistles, where he opens the Book of Romans with his “calling card”: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle (note the order).” Beyond its biblical significancethat, the concept is deeply embedded into my soul, in that it has become the essence of who I am, as I attempt to express in this poem:

More Than Metaphor

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,

separated to the gospel of God

Romans 1:1

To capture my essence, I strive to find a word,

Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,

To express my deep yearning for intimacy.

Like Paul, my calling card reads: “servant of the Lord.”

Each fiber of my being and each emotion

Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.

As I endeavor to learn and live to impart

The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,

I pledge to work in voluntary servitude,

As I fix my eyes, looking unto my Lord’s hands,

To heed His Word and to do more than He commands,

To serve with love from a heart filled with gratitude.

Beyond a single concept, more than metaphor

Is this branded bondslave, who embodies “the more.

The basin and towel are symbolic of the essence of servanthood as demonstrated by the Lord Jesus Christ in John 13.

In discussing this topic of the servant or bond slave, an image almost immediately comes to mind: a basin and a towel, representative of one of my favorite passages regarding the ministry of Jesus Christ, who revealed so clearly the heart of a bond servant when he washed the disciples’ feet in the account from John 13. This very moving excerpt inspired another related poem:

Let Me Wash Your Feet

John 13:4-5, 19

As Jesus put off his garments and wrapped a towel

around himself,

So I lay aside my pride with nothing to hide and

expose myself.

As a humble servant I long to wash your feet.

You could yourself

Perform this deed of loving service, but let me

Serve you myself.

To allow me to wash your feet is to bless me,

as Christ himself

Blessed the Twelve before he departed from this earth.

You have yourself

The key to the door of blessing for you and me:

As Jesus took

Upon himself

The servant’s form

That I myself

Might freely give

To you yourself,

So I ask you

As Christ himself

Still asks of me,

So I ask you to

Let me to wash your feet.

One of the ancient practices associated with bond servants in the Bible is the year of the Jubilee, the Old Testament practice whereby the 50th year was a special sabbatical period when Hebrew slaves were released from their obligation of servitude, and they were free to leave their masters and go out on their own. These servants could by their freedom of will choose to serve their masters for the rest of their lives in light of the close relationship they had established. On my 50th birthday, I wrote “This Year of My Jubilee,”  alluding to this Old Testament practice:

This Year of My Jubilee

Exodus 21:1-6

Leviticus 25:1-17

I stand alone, clothed only with the wind

At the end of my seventh sabbath year.

Gathering of blessings now flow through my mind

As the shofar’s call resounds in my ear

To proclaim this year of my jubilee.

I reflect upon the wonders of this grace

Wherein I stand, a bondslave now made free.

In this golden moment as I embrace

The truth and pledge to love as you command,

Pierce my ear–place your brand upon my soul.

Enlighten me so I may understand

That to run to serve is life’s highest goal.

Unfold before me pleasures of your ways

And seal my vows to serve you all my days.

Once more Michael Card has the perfect song entitled “Jubilee” to accompany this poem.

I will conclude this entry by posting a PDF of the original article “Doulos: A Different View of a Slave” which was first published in 1975. Accompanying the article is a letter to  Apostle Thamo Naidoo to whom I sent the original article along with two of the poems posted above: “More Than Metaphor” and “This Year of My Jubilee.” I am grateful to my beloved Brother Lester Wiley Carver, who encouraged me to post the article. I trust that it will minister to all who read it. I welcome any comments or thoughts that this post might have inspired.

Before reading the article, listen to a powerful song written and performed by Dean Ellenwood, who captures the depth of commitment embodied in the individual called of God to be a  bondslave, a true Doulos. 

Doulos

Doulos: A Different View of a Slave

When a believer accepts Jesus Christ as Lord, that individual assumes the position of a “servant” or “bondslave”–a doulos.

Be likeminded: What does that mean?

May 20, 2021

Revised and re-posted below is the Verse of the Day for May 20, 2021,  coming from Romans 15:5-6 in the New Living Translation:

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is the New King James rendering:

Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here we find a verse that encourages believers to be “likeminded,” but exactly what does that mean?  In addition to its use in Romans 15:5, the phrase is used in Philippians 2:2:

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind.

In these two instances the expression is used as a verb derived from a compound word meaning to think, “to be minded in a certain way, attitude, disposition of mind.” The Jubilee Bible translates the phrase “to be unanimous among yourselves.”

The phrase “likeminded,” is also used as an adjective in Philippians 2:20 where Paul describes his relationship with his “spiritual son,” Timothy:

For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

Here the term is translated from another compound word meaning  “equal souled.”

Verse 6 of Romans 15 exhorts the followers of Christ to be unified with “one mind and with one mouth glorify God. . . .” The one mind that Christians should have is “the mind of Christ” referred to in Philippians 2:5 in the Amplified Bible which offers this reminder:

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

The Scriptures also encourage us to put on the mind of Christ, to put off the old and put on the new. We are not to be conformed to the world, nor should we think as the world thinks, but the Word of God exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we, as believers, keep our minds focused or stayed on the Lord, we are kept in perfect peace. Although we endeavor to remain consistent in our efforts to let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus, our thoughts stray from time to time. This original poem makes known the reality of our sometimes-failing efforts to stay our minds on the Lord:

Mindful

What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

Psalm 8:4

Although we croon “You were always on my mind,”

We admit that has not been the reality.

Our thoughts may stray down some distant alley, and we find

Ourselves in places where we do not desire to be.

Those times of wandering are fewer than before,

As we are mindful that you are ever mindful,

We strive to abide in your presence more and more.

Your Word, both spoken and written, is remindful

That your passionate thoughts toward all men are constant,

That your thoughts toward us are endlessly good.

You are ever mindful to keep your covenant,

But we must align our thoughts to be as they should.

We want our lives to speak in all we say and do,

So that others see Christ and say, “God is with you.”

Jennifer Jill closes with a musical exhortation of Philippians 2:5-11: “Let this Mind Be in You.”

Listen to the Song of the Lord

May 16, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 16, 2021 offers a strong word to encourage and exhort, a reminder custom-crafted for the perilous times in which we live. Take a look at Zephaniah 3:17 in the Amplified Bible:

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

The first part of the verse describes the Lord our God as “A Warrior who saves” and brings to mind a similar picture found in Jeremiah 20-11-12 in the New International Version:

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
    so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
    their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
    and probe the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

This passage was also the inspiration behind this poetic portrayal of God, the Almighty One:

Mighty Warrior

The LORD will march out like a mighty man

like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;

with a shout he will raise the battle cry and

will triumph over his enemies. Isaiah 42:13 (NIV)

Mighty Warrior leads the charge into victory.

When we face each foe, Adonai begins to laugh.

As the Man of War, He destroys each enemy,     

For the Lord of Hosts arises on our behalf.

In the midst of battle, He bears His arm and rides

Upon all the fiery chariots of the wind.

He surrounds with power and protects on all sides,

As the ungodly fall and the righteous ascend.

The Almighty Judge rises to discern each heart.

He shakes the heavens and loosens all strongholds

And then probes the depths of truth in the inner part,

As the panoply of total victory unfolds.

Undefeated Super-conqueror—none, superior: 

The Master of Breakthrough is our Mighty Warrior.

 

A previous blog post also commented on Zephaniah 3:17, with this original psalm that also provides words of comfort and assurance:

Song of the Lord

The Lord your God in your midst;
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you with His love;
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

Be well assured that the Lord, your God, in your midst is mighty;

He has always been there, even in times when you could not see.

His strength never fails—His love prevails through all eternity.

Have no fear, only persevere. Rest in Him, for He will save.

To know the fullness of His great love, look at all that He gave.

Now, you are free, released you from every snare that seeks to enslave.

Know your triumphant end; He will rejoice over you with joy.

Your gracious Father has given all things richly to enjoy.

Recall the Word planted deep in your heart nothing can destroy.

He will complete what He began, and He will rest in His love.

Cast off all your cares and set your affection on things above,

He is able to do above all that you can ask or think of.

Weep no more, but know that He will joy over you with singing.

Celebrate a bountiful harvest with sheaves you are bringing.

Drink from the fountain where unspeakable joy is springing.

Listen to the Song of the Lord. . .

We close with a song inspired by Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord, Thy God” sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

I choose to have a heart that forgives

May 11, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 11, 2021 encourages believers to forgive one another:                    

Ephesians 4:32 in the Amplified Bible:

Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Forgiveness is also a topic discussed in detail in my Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. Chapter 7 examines “Forgiveness: A Forgotten Factor” in the healing process related to my diagnosis with prostate cancer. Here is an excerpt from that chapter which includes comments on Ephesians 4:32 and other related Scriptures:

Forgiveness is not only a vitally important concept in Christianity, but it has universal application as well. Described as a two-way street, this virtue is eloquently expressed in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. . . .” The subject is connected to some of the last words that Jesus Christ, who was also brutally slain, as he spoke before his death on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In addition, Paul also exhorts believers to “be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Dr. Arch Hart, Christian psychologist, offers a definition of forgiveness that seems to be particularly applicable in the situations with where one individual has hurt another in some way: “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”

What does it mean to forgive?

To forgive means: to send away, dismiss, set free; to acquit by a verdict; to give no punishment to the guilty person and to view the guilty person as if he is innocent. Another definition means to let loose or set at liberty (a debtor).

Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. This poem by John Oxenham expresses a profound truth about love and giving:

Love ever lives, outlives forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives,

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give.

You actually could keep adding “and give” to last line ad infinitum. For such love expresses endless giving.

Some of the lyrics to the song “Please Forgive Me” reinforce this truth.

God first gave to us so that we might live.

We give to others when we learn to forgive.

Jesus, our example so perfect and true,

Said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

I forgive you. I forgive you.

I forgive you. I forgive you.

I forgive you this time. I forgive you each time.

I forgive you.

When we practice forgiving, we apply the principle of “giving and receiving.”

Luke 6:38 relates this principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

When we forgive, we also recall another expression of truth by Jesus who said, “It more blessed to give than to receive.” In a situation where one person offers forgiveness and another receives forgiveness. Who is most blessed? I often say, “When you choose to give, you cannot lose, but when you choose not to give you cannot win.” In his book Total Forgiveness, R. T. Kendall states,

“Forgiveness is not total forgiveness until we bless our enemies—and pray for them to be blessed. Forgiving them is a major step; totally forgiving them has fully been achieved when we set God free to bless them. But in this, we are the first to be blessed, and those who totally forgive are blessed the most.”

Dr. Sidney Simon offers this definition of this critical concept:

“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”

Dr. Robert D. Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute and pioneer researcher with the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country, has developed Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. This study guide demonstrates how forgiveness, when approached in the correct manner, benefits the forgiver far more than the forgiven, indicating that forgiveness can reduce anxiety and depression while increasing self-esteem and hopefulness toward one’s future. The title of Dr. Enright’s workbook also brings to mind this poem:

I Choose to Forgive

 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,

forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

I choose to forgive and to release from payment,

To clear the account and forego the debt once more.

Though rightfully owed to me, I choose to forgive,

To be gracious, in spite of the ingratitude.

My desire is to be kind and tenderhearted;

Even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me,

I rise to the occasion of the Word of God.

Not keeping a record of any wrongs suffered,

I seek to walk in the footsteps of the Savior.

As Joseph, in compassion, assured his brothers

What Satan meant for evil, God fashions for good,

Widen my vision to see from your perspective::

May I also see all things working together

For the good, even in perilous times as these.

We close with Kevin Levar singing “A Heart that Forgives”

Want to do God’s will? Give thanks!

May 7, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 7, 2021 provides great encouragement for believers to be continually in prayer today and every day. These three inter-related, verses form a three-fold cord that will intertwine with our lives, as we seek to do God’s will. The Amplified Bible’s renders the passage this way:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Thanksliving

A recent blog entry talks about the importance of attitude and offers this reminder:

“. . .  attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” Thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”, that is, my ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As believers, we constantly endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our heart, 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.

Much than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.”

This all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involves everything we do and say, just as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 proclaims: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Jesus Christ also tells us that “Men ought always to pray and not to faint,” another reminder “to pray without ceasing.” We combine these two scriptural references to praying in the following scripture memory song:

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

To pray, pray, pray, pray, pray without ceasing.

As the circumstances of our lives unfold in the midst of the perilous times in which we live, unquestionably, “There is always something to pray about,” as the Word of God encourages us always to be thankful to God,

As We Pray

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

as we pray always for you,

Colossians 1:3

During these dark times, we focus on the Kingdom,

Established and grounded on a sure foundation.

As we diligently pursue Godly wisdom,

New paths of this Apostolic Reformation

Unfold as the sun rises on the horizon.

Even in turbulent times, we must stay the course.

Aware of consequences of each decision,

We look to God our Father, bountiful resource.

As we renew our minds, we are transformed and change:

With a “kingdom mindset” we now see with new eyes.

Beyond past narrow limits our view is long-range.

We number our days with each sunset and sunrise,

As the Word commands: pray without ceasing, night and day,

Knowing that God always fulfills his will, as we pray.        

We close with one more reminder to “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18):

Faith: The bedrock of my life

May 1, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 1, 2021 reminds us of God’s response to those who earnestly seek Him, found in Hebrews 11:6 in the Amplified Bible:

But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

The verse also brings to mind the importance of faith in my life, as I recall the first Bible teaching that  I ever shared as a sophomore in high school, 64 years ago when I was inspired to use Hebrews 11:1 and verse 6 as starting points. Now, I recognize full-well the importance of faith in an even more life-transforming way. In Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs, I share my holistic strategy to overcome a diagnosis of prostate cancer more than 20 years ago. Chapter 6, “The Faith Factor: Without Faith, It Is Impossible,” discusses faith as a critical component of my response to the diagnosis. Here is an excerpt:

Faith—the Bedrock of My Life

To build a magnificent mansion that will last a lifetime, the builders must begin with a solid foundation. Similarly, to build a purposeful life of success and fulfillment, we must establish a firm foundation upon which we build. For me, faith is the bedrock of life. I define faith as confident assurance, trust, and conviction in God that I will prevail. Faith—“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”— operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Faith is a Sine qua non—that without which there is nothing. Faith is the indispensable ingredient in a successful Christian’s life. The scriptures remind us that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In the midst of thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t!” but faith proclaims, “I can, and I will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than you can number, faith gives you the courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious; you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says, “no way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

We can find excellent examples of illustrations of faith in the Bible. We begin with Abraham, the father of faith, who did not stagger at the promise of God that he should become the father of many nations, with descendants without number. Despite the circumstances of this hundred-year-old man with a­ barren wife of comparable age, Abraham grew strong and was empowered by faith. Hebrews 11 recounts the triumphs of men and women of faith in what has become known as the Hall of Faith.

Aside from the Bible, we can glean from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Notable examples are the Wright Brothers and countless others, who persevered in faith to accomplish the impossible. We are also surrounded by heroic men and women who live by faith each day to make a difference.

Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. Indeed, as Christian believers, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

We close with this musical reminder by Kutless: “What Faith Can Do”

To learn more about faith and my life’s journey, checkout Embracing Your Life Sentence

Available on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.