Archive for the ‘Verse of the Day’ Category

Psalm 1: My first psalm

November 19, 2017

Psalm 1 3

The following was published a year ago and is revised and re-posted here:

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day for November 19, 2017, an expression came to mind that I generally associate with this particular passage, and so once again we have the Verse of the Day and the Word or Phrase for the Day Combo.

Here are the opening verses of one of my favorite psalms:

Psalm 1: 1-2 (AMP):

[Book One] [The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.] Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.

The First Psalm is especially meaningful to me in that it is the first passage of scripture that I “learned by heart.” We, thus, introduce the “Phrase of the Day.” I recall committing the entire psalm to memory in the mid-fifties, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school.” I vividly remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood in a kind of impromptu Vacation Bible School in her home, which was located behind “Little’s Funeral Parlor.” She told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still “know by heart” to this day.

Here is the entire psalm in the King James Version which I committed to memory:

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Recently I came across a discussion of idioms on EnglishStackExchange.com where someone asked if “learn by heart” and “learn by rote” meant the same. In making the distinction between these two expressions, one writer commented that “[to] go over many times is the process of ‘rote learning’; I learned it by heart is the effect it produced or the quality of learning that was acquired.”  Learning by heart means to learn something so well that it can be written or recited without thinking; to memorize something. 

Another writer went on to say: “Learning by heart — which may be somewhat of a dying tradition — means to learn something so deeply that it becomes part of our core: it fills us; it changes us. The difference might be less in technique than in what we do with the acquired information.”

In the years that have transpired since the first time I recited the passage, I have come to identify with the man so described as “blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” in the Amplified Bible:

In a previous blog post I express my identification with this individual in the following self-portrait:

Talk about a Man

Psalm 1

 Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

 

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

 

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

 

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I been truly blessed since I can remember when.

 

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

In thinking about the phrase “to learn by heart,” I recall another related verse which was the first verse in a set of 25 scripture memory cards that I later committed to memory as well:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV):

11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Today, more than 60 years have passed since I first encountered the First Psalm in all of its beauty and learned it by heart, the Word of God remains deeply implanted within me.

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by the Sons of Korah:

 

 

 

Sanctified, set apart for God

November 18, 2017

John 1717 [widescreen]

The Verse of the Day for November 18, 2017 comes from the prayer Jesus Christ offers to His Father in the garden before he goes to fulfill His destiny as the Savior of the World:

John 17:17 (AMP)

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

John 17:17 is part of the final prayer that the Lord Jesus prays before his crucifixion and ultimate resurrection, as he notes,  “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message”(John 17:20). The Lord refers to a group of people who are to be “sanctified, purified, consecrated, set apart for the purposes of God.”

In the Old Testament we find that the Children of Israel were such sanctified ones:

Exodus 31:13

Say to the Israelites, Truly you shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you [set you apart for Myself].

In the New Testament born-again believers were likewise set apart by God:

1 Thessalonians 5:23

And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

In a similar manner to Jesus Christ’s prayer in the Garden, Paul expresses this desire for the believers at Thessalonica:

2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, because God chose you from the beginning as His firstfruits (first converts) for salvation through the sanctifying work of the [Holy] Spirit and [your] belief in (adherence to, trust in, and reliance on) the Truth.

In the tabernacle and temple every vessel and article of furniture was dedicated, even the priests themselves and their garments were consecrated wholly for the service of God. Likewise, in the Temple of the Living, believers are to be sanctified and set apart solely for the purpose of serving God. In reflecting upon our being sanctified and set apart, this poem came to mind:

Sanctified Vessels

Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter,

he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified

and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

II Timothy 2:21

 

We offer these yielded vessels, now sanctified,

Set apart and consecrated for God’s glory,

Transformed from faith to faith, from victory to victory.

Tested in the furnace of affliction and tried

Seven times as silver, as gold is purified,

We have been purged to be a vessels of honor,

Prepared and made suitable to serve even more,

Even as the Lord presents his beloved bride.

As miracles revealed, no longer to conform

And be poured into the molds of this present age

But beholding fullness of glory to transform

Our total being into His glorious image.

Set apart in a place where miracles abound,

Through these sanctified vessels God’s praises resound.

We conclude these comments with “Vessels of Honor” by the Maranatha Promise Band:

God’s Word is a lamp

November 17, 2017

psalm 119 105

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for November 17, 2017 is taken from Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. Also known as the Torah Psalm, this passage makes reference to Word of God in every verse, employing such synonyms as “statues, Law, judgments, precepts, etc. One of the most familiar metaphors used to describe the Scriptures is found in Psalm 119:105 (AMP):

[ן Nun] Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

The Verse of the Day is part of the Nun section set to music in the following video by Clear:

This particular verse was among the first scripture memory songs that I ever composed with the following lyrics:

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

When I am in the dark

And cannot find my way,

I open up the Bible

To see what God will say.

I look and find the answer

And then I gladly obey.

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

When you have a problem,

And you don’t know what to do,

Just open up the Bible

See what God says to you.

Just look and find the answer.

Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

 

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet.

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

God’s Word is a lamp, a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind other references to the Word of God as a light:

Psalm 119:130 (NLT):

The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.

The Amplified Bible renders the verse this way:

 130 The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding (discernment and comprehension) to the simple.

The term “simple,” sometimes viewed in a negative way, is, however, not a pejorative adjective, in that it refers to being naïve, or inexperienced, uninitiated or innocent or guileless. Some might view this quality in a favorable light, as the Shaker hymn states, “Tis a gift to be simple

This message is reinforced in Psalm 19:7-11 (NLT)

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. 9 Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. 11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.  By believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

The Word of God embodies who God is, as 1 John 1:5 so clearly reveals:

[God Is Light] This is the message [of God’s promised revelation] which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light [He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness], and in Him there is no darkness at all [no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection].

We conclude with worship leader, David W. Morris, on “Thy Word” (Psalm 119:105 by Hosanna! Music.

Our prayer to God–God’s prayer for us

November 16, 2017

Psalm 119--18

The Verse of the Day for November 16, 2017 is a prayer request expressed in Psalm 119:18:

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

A corresponding petition is found in Lamentations 3:23

Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.

Most providentially, the Verse of the Day for November 1, 2017 was taken from Ephesians 1:18 (KJV):

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

In actuality verse 18 is part of a prayer, an expression of God’s desire for His people written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1: 14-23. Verses 17-18 are part of the introduction, as indicated in the Amplified Bible:

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),

These two verses were the inspiration, in part, for the following poem:

The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

Ephesians 1:17-18 (AMP)

 

God gives the Spirit of wisdom and revelation

That we might know Him and experience His great love,

Striving to know more fully total restoration

That flows from the wisdom that descends from above.

We walk as mature, not foolish offspring who rebel,

But we pursue wisdom and do whatever it takes.

We make choices, knowing what will attract, what will repel,

For each life mirrors a lifetime of choices that one makes.

We do not shun the Lord’s reproof but embrace correction.

God wants us to know the hope of His calling in this hour,

The riches of His heritage, greatness of His power.

We press toward the mark, to reach ultimate perfection.

God floods the eyes of our understanding that we might see

And know intimacy with God to the highest degree.

The passage from Ephesians 1, along with the previously cited verses, brings to mind the words of the hymn “Open My Eyes that I Might See” which is, in essence, a similar prayer expressed in song. The lyrics to the hymn are displayed while Nathanael Provis plays the melody on piano:

Another contemporary song offering of a similar request is “Open the Eyes of My Heart” performed by Michael W. Smith.

Not only is our prayer to God like that expressed in Psalm 119:18 and Jeremiah 33:3: that God will enlighten us and illuminate our lives, but we also recognize God’s prayer for us is the same: that by means of the spirit of wisdom and revelation, that the eyes of our heart may be flooded with light, as is expressed so powerfully in Ephesians.

 

 

 

Your commandments are my delight

November 15, 2017

psalm 119--143

The Verse of the Day for November 15, 2017 makes reference to trouble and anguish, two inseparable traveling companions that so often overtake us, particularly in the midst the turbulent times in which we live.

Psalm 119:143 (Amplified Bible):

Trouble and anguish have found me, yet Your commandments are my delight and my joy.

Note this rendering when we add verse 144 to the New Living Translation:

Psalm 119:143-144:

143 As pressure and stress bear down on me,

I find joy in your commands.

144 Your laws are always right;

help me to understand them so I may live.

Despite the most intense pressures that come with the perils that we face each day, ultimately, we can say along with the Psalmist that the Word of God brings us delight. A previous blog entry related to finding delight or taking pleasure in the Psalms, as we pointed to other places in Psalms 119 and elsewhere that echo this same sentiment:

Psalm 119:24:

Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.

Psalm 119:47:

How I delight in your commands! How I love them!

Psalm 94:18-19 provide yet another reminder that God is the source of our comfort and delight, rendered here in the Amplified Bible:

18 When I said, My foot is slipping, Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, held me up.

19 In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul!

Verse 19 is the inspiration for this scripture memory song:

In the Multitude of My Thoughts

In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul.

You soothe my mind and strengthen the depths of my heart and soul.

I delight myself in the abundance of Your peace.

 

You are my God. I know You love me.

You are my God. You’ve set me free.

You are my God. You will never leave me.

You are my God. I long to be all you’ve called me to be.

 

In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul.

Your comforts delight my soul.

Your comforts delight my soul.

Psalm 40:8 in the Amplified Bible also makes this statement:

I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.

In Psalm 1, the first passage of scripture that ever I committed to memory as a pre-teen, we find this striking portrait:

Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

From time to time, we may lose focus and become anxious regarding our ever-fluctuating circumstances. During times of uncertainty when our feet seem to slip, and we are about to lose our grip, we can turn our thoughts toward the promises of God, assured that just as He has been with us through the stormy trials of the past, so He will be with us now. Along with the Psalmist, we take comfort in this knowledge which delights our souls.

Christy Nockels expresses the essence of this message with the song “My Delight is in You.”

Doing the will of God as bond-servants of God

November 13, 2017

As individuals called to serve in the Body of Christ, we are ever seeking to find and to do the will of God, as the Verse of the Day for November 13, 2017 gets our attention:.

1 Peter 2:15-16 (Amplified Bible):

15 For it is the will of God that by doing right you may silence (muzzle, gag) the [culpable] ignorance and irresponsible criticisms of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover or pretext for evil, but [use it and live] as bond-servants of God.

A number of recent blog posts have focused on the will of God, and this particular passage opens by stating how the will of God can be done in this instance. The closing verse offers the context by which we are to accomplish God’s will: “as bond-servants of God.” Several blog entries have also touched up this designation. As a bond-slave of the Lord, endeavoring to do the will of God, here are more reflections on the subject of the will of God:

The Verse of the Day specifically indicates God’s will or His intention for believers: that our lives should be of such a sterling character that they silence the ignorant charges and baseless accusations of the foolish, the accusers of the brethren. God desires that each individual give heed to the words of master teacher, Parker J. Palmer, who writes “Let your life speak,” echoing the words of Jesus Christ who admonishes:

“Let your life so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”(Matthew 5:13)

The Verse of the Day leaves no doubt as to what is the will of God. Two other verses also clearly reveal the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (AMP)

3 For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice,

Once again, the lives of Christian believers should be above reproach, particularly with regard to sexual immorality, as the Word of God so plainly reveals.

The final indication of the will of God relates to a practice that many American believers associate with the approaching holiday that takes places on the fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving. In its most literal sense, the term means to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us that God’s will is that we are always thankful:

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

Once again, the Amplified Bible provides this deeper understanding of God’s will:

18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

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

We offer these words of encouragement:

In happy moments, praise God.
In difficult moments, seek God.
In quiet moments, worship God.
In painful moments, trust God.
In every moment, thank God.

At All Times

I will bless the Lord at all times,
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1

When we see God’s abundant goodness and mercy,
As we savor the ecstasy of victory,
When joy overflows and floods our soul, we will praise God.

When gripped by the devices of this transient life
And caught in the straits of rising conflict and strife,
During these difficult moments, we will seek God.

When we long to abide within a tranquil mood
And linger in moments of sweetest quietude,
From the depths of our soul, we will worship God.

Despite raging seas, stormy winds and blinding rain,
When protracted pain strikes like a knife and numbs our brain
So that we can scarcely scream His name, we will trust God.

All along life’s journey, no matter the season,
Through every why and wherefore, for every reason
Every moment we draw breath, we will thank God.

We seek the Lord and ask ourselves, “What shall we do?”
“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”
“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir concludes our discussion of the will of God by offering “In Everything Give Him Thanks.”

Knowledge of His will

November 12, 2017

Colossians 1--9

The Verse of the Day for November 12, 2017 is found in Colossians 1:9:

[Preeminence of Christ] For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

A recent blog post examined “the mystery of God’s will,” just as the phrase “the knowledge of His will” is also highlighted in today’s focus.  The intent and purpose of God, the Will of God, is revealed in Scripture. His will for His creation and His people is set out in the Law and the Prophets, which find their fulfilment in Jesus Christ. Central to the will of God is the desire that people of God might be faithful and obey His will once they know it. 2 Timothy 3:16 in the New Living Translation reveals:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

This discussion of the Will of God also brings to mind two poems, one original and one anonymous, touching on this vitally important subject for all believers:

The Will of God

To find the will of God is the greatest discovery. 

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. 

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

 Albert Schweitzer

 

My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, 

 and to finish His work.

John 4:34 [NKJV]

                                                 

To unearth at last the world’s most priceless treasure

And gaze upon the splendor of God’s sovereignty

Is to savor joy unspeakable beyond measure:

To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.

To know intimacy beyond the highest degree,

A confident assurance when we acknowledge

And embrace the path prepared for us: our destiny.

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.

To live life, knowing we are covered by the Blood

Is to walk with no regret, never to lament,

For all decisions work together for the good:

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

Guided and protected by the Shepherd’s staff and rod,

We rejoice to find, to know, and do the will of God.

The following could be described as “the second verse to the same song:

The Will of God

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

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

The will of God will never take you

Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

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

Among the numerous songs related to “the will of God” is this composition by Deb Zemke; “His Will,” played and sung by Robert Jason.

As for me and my house

November 8, 2017

Joshua 24v15

For the Verse of the Day for November 8, 2017, we find our way to Joshua 24:15 in the New King James Version:

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Notice this rendering in the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

Joshua 24:15

But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.”

Joshua confronts the Children of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land as to whom are they going to worship: the gods of the idolatrous ethnic groups that had occupied the land that God has promised to His people or Yahweh, the true and living God.

Just as Joshua shows a relationship between serving and worshiping God, Paul also connects these concepts in Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

The New Living Translation put it this way:

[A Living Sacrifice to God] And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

A previous blog entry pointed out a popular song from the seventies where the inimitable Bob Dylan made a profound statement: “You got to serve somebody . . . it may be the Devil, it may be the Lord, but you got to serve somebody.” Just as the question was raised by Joshua when he confronted the Israelites, as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, so the question is raised to believers today, “Whom are you going to serve or worship this day?”

God desires that His people worship and serve only Him. From the First and Great Commandment, He clearly states “You shall have no other gods before Me” and reinforces the message throughout the Scriptures; notably 1 John also exhorts: “My little children keep yourselves from idols.” A teaching heard years ago points out that problems arise not from the idols or “Ites” that we destroy but from the “‘Ites’ that Remain,” the title of the following poem:

The ‘Ites’ that Remain

It’s not the ‘Ites’ that you destroy

that determine your victory

but the ‘Ites’ that remain.”

Apostle Eric L. Warren

 

On the verge of the final breakthrough, moving into

The Promised Land, we encounter each enemy,

And like Caleb we claim our reward and pursue

And conquer each “Ite” in spirit, soul or body.

Though fierce as the sons of Anak, the “Ites” that remain

Shall never keep us from the ultimate victory.

As we obey, we dispel these giants and gain

A more expansive view of new territory.

We must first drive out the enemy right where we live

And displace the “Ites” that hinder our progress.

We learn never to hold back but cheerfully give

To utterly destroy the idol of selfishness.

We are willing to count the cost and pay the price

And offer our body as a living sacrifice.

John Waller offers a musical rendering of the Verse of the Day expressed in “As for Me and My House”:

As we pray

November 7, 2017

Revised and re-posted is the Verse of the Day for November 7, 2017 which includes a heading that encourages believers to pray and introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God. This previous blog entry certainly has application today, as we acknowledge the truth: “There is always something to pray about”:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (New King James Version)

 [Pray for All Men] Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Supplications
With these prayers we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it.  White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking, supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

Intercessions
To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge” which provide protection. (Ezekiel 22:30)

Prayers
As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion.  Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” (Ephesians 6:18)

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.”  It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”

In closing, we offer the following poem that reminds of the importance prayer:

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.

Gateway Worship offers a musical selection with the same title: “As We Pray”:

God delights in you

November 6, 2017

Ephesians 1-9

We begin the day with the Verse of the Day for November 6, 2017 found in Ephesians 1:9-10 in the New King James Version

having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

The New Living Translation renders the passage this way:

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.

Here we learn that God has made known unto us, as believers, “his mysterious will” or “the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure.” In a previous blog post, we examined the intriguing phrase “His good pleasure” and asked “What is God’s good pleasure? What brings God delight?

Bible teacher, John Piper, examines the phrase “good pleasure “and notes it is a verb in Greek: “to be a pleasure” or “to be pleased by.” You could translate it: “it pleased God,” or, “God chose it gladly.” One of the best places to see the meaning of the expression is in Philippians where the noun form of the word is contrasted with its opposite:

Philippians 2:13 (Amplified):

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

The New Living Translation says this:

13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

In response we ask, “What delights God? What brings Him pleasure? What is His good pleasure?”

In Psalm 149:4 (Amplified) we find this declaration:

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation and adorn the wretched with victory.

Ephesians 1:5 also makes reference to “the good pleasure of His will” which is the title of the following piece using that verse as its introduction or epigraph:

The Good Pleasure of His Will

Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:5 [NKJV]

 

“The safest place in the whole wide world

 is the perfect will of God.”

Contemporary Christian Song

 

God makes all things new in yet another new season,

In this place where our divine destinies intersect.

As we finish the work, what we lack, He will perfect,

Far beyond anything our mortal minds can reason.

To abide in God’s perfect will Jesus led the way.

In the garden, he said, not my will but yours be done,

Praying that as he and the Father, so might we be one

To reverse the curse of Adam who chose to disobey.

God’s desire is that we know joy without measure.

In fulfilling God’s will His presence is ever near.

Signs, wonders, and miracles happen when we are here

Where we prove His perfect will and know His good pleasure.

The will of God is a safe haven where we can hide:

In the good pleasure of His will we long to abide

We conclude with 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (KJV):

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

Sovereign Grace Music reminds us “God Delights in You”