Archive for the ‘Verse of the Day’ Category

No disappointment, for God is good

March 13, 2019

A recent conversation I had centered on the word “disappointment” a deadly emotion, if unchecked or not countered, can precipitate a most destructive downward spiral that can sabotage the destiny of a believer. We must continually look to God and to what He has promised in His Word when we encounter this potentially devastating emotion. As we do this, we recognize that God does not disappoint nor fail to fulfill the hopes or expectations of His children. No, He does not prevent hopes or expectations from being realized, which is how many define the verb to “disappoint.” One is said to feel “disappointed” or sad or displeased when one’s hopes or expectations have not been fulfilled. However, there is never any disappointment with God who does everything on purpose: As for God, His way

 

 

 

 

yis perfect.

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

The late Kim Clement spoke of the “power of presuppositions.” The term relates to assumptions or preconceived ideas as we speculate on a situation and how we think it should unfold. He went on to say that “Presupposition” is an enemy to destiny. . . .” We may sense that God has failed us when our lives fail to unfold according to our prescribed patterns and plans, as expressed in this poem inspired by the statement from Clement:

Presupposition: Enemy to Destiny

“Known to God from eternity are all His works.”
Acts 15:18

“Presupposition is an enemy to destiny. . . .”
Kim Clement

Prophetic words that God desires to bring to pass
Wither as un-ripened fruit that fails to mature,
As our lives seem to diminish from gold to brass.
In the midst of changing times, of this we must be sure:
“Presupposition is an enemy to destiny.”
Our failed expectations shipwreck us and distort
Our view of the place where we thought that we would be,
As we accept what appears to be the last resort.
Though this downward spiral plummets to depths of despair,
We trust our all-wise Father who makes no mistakes,
For God heals broken lives that seem beyond repair
With exquisite beauty that fills all that He makes.
Known to God are all His works from eternity:
His perfect will unfolds to those with eyes to see.

When we think about it, however, there is no failure in God, for God is good, and because God is good, the Verse of the Day for March 13, 2019, a verse for every day of the year, reminds of this truth:

Romans 8:28

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. [Amplified Bible]

We “silently submit to God”—not with wailing and bemoaning, not criticizing, not condemning nor complaining. We submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God and resist the Devil, who tries to convince us that God disappoints us and never fulfills His promises.

To counter the corrosive nature of being “disappointed” let’s take a look at the Word of God where we find that those who trust in God will not be disappointed.

Throughout the Psalms, we find this reality reinforced:

Psalm 22:5 (AMP)

They cried to you and were delivered; they trusted in, leaned on, and confidently relied on You, and were not ashamed or confounded or disappointed.

Psalm 25:20 (AMP):

O keep me, Lord, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed or disappointed, for my trust and my refuge are in You.

Paul reiterates the point those who trust in God will not be disappointed in their expectations:

Romans 10:11 (AMP):

The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.

When it comes to disappointment, we must counter this negative emotion with expectations according to the Word of God. We need to look to Our Great God with “Great Expectations” which is much more than a novel by Dickens.

First of all, we must remember this:

Numbers 23:19 (KJV):

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Proverbs 23:18 (AMP) reminds us:

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

The Psalmist reminds us that our hope and expectations are in God, not in our circumstances, not in what we have or do not have:

Psalm 39:7 (AMP):

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.

So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good. When facing what appears to be disappointing aspects in life, the lyrics to “Trust His Heart” sung by Babbie Mason provide great strength and comfort:

 

 

Encouraging words to march forth

March 4, 2019

Quite providentially, today’s Verse of the Day is a perfect match for the only day of the year that is a command: March 4th. Most remarkably, March 4th is also National Grammar Day, a significant day for me in a number of ways. Here is a link to a blog entry posted a year ago.

The Verse of the Day for March 4, 2019, offers words spoken to Joshua, whose words also resonate within the lives of individual believers today.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV):

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

From a blog entry posted a year ago today comes the following excerpt:

In the midst of perilous times, circumstances that are said to be “difficult to deal with,” we often become intimidated. The pressures of life and the challenges that confront us try to make us timid and fearful. Many times the adversary of our souls seeks to make us feel inferior or not up to the task, assignment or purpose that God has inspired us to pursue.

The Verse of the Day from Joshua 1:9 is a great source of encouragement in midst of circumstances whereby we could be discouraged. Just as Joshua felt discouraged when he was confronted with the task of leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, we also have similar concerns, as we move in transition into the next phase of our destiny in God.

Another related passage reminds believers to have no fear:

Isaiah 41:10, 13

10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

These particular verses remind us that as believers we are not to fear. The comforting exhortation to “fear not” or “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible, indicating a daily memo from God that we are to have no fear.
When we encounter similarly stressful situations that cause us to respond in fear, we are to be encouraged to seek the strength to overcome any obstacle that attempts to block our path to success.

We counter those attempts that seek to generate fear with reminders from the Word of God that instead of becoming more fearful and afraid, we are to be “fearless”: we should be bold, brave, composed, confident, unafraid, valiant, and courageous.

The Verse of the Day and related verses also bring to mind the exhortation from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to encourage one another, the inspiration for these words of encouragement:

Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Don’t stop now—keep on pursuing
Keep seeking His face
Don’t get weary in well doing
You must keep the pace
Seek and you shall find
The strength to be transformed–
Renewed in the spirit of your mind
Encourage yourself
And encourage one another
Build each other up
Every sister and brother
Speaking the truth, we grow up
Therefore, encourage one another

We close our discussion with “Encourage one another,” a compilation from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and other scriptures and words of encouragement from Kimberly Culpen. May we all be strengthened and encouraged today, as we march forth on March 4th.

Psalm 59: To succor and to strengthen

February 4, 2019


The Verse of the Day for February 3, 2019, comes from Psalm 59:16 (AMP):

But as for me, I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; Yes, I will sing joyfully of Your lovingkindness in the morning; For You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress.

The closing verse of Psalm 59 reiterates the same message:

To You, O [God] my strength, I will sing praises; for God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower], the God who shows me [steadfast] lovingkindness.

The Psalmist expresses this watchful attitude toward God who will come to his rescue in other related verses.
Psalm 5:3

Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 59:9:

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress.

Psalm 88:13 |

O LORD, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.

Psalm 101:1

I will sing of your love and justice, LORD. I will praise you with songs.

2 Samuel 22:3 summarizes a similar expression of looking to God as a source of safety, a refuge and savior:

My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.

This passage provides great comfort and strength to believers, and brings to mind a term “succor,” used as a noun or verb in the King James Version, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary offers this definition:

As a verb, the term literally means to run to, or run to support; hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners.”

As a noun “succor” means aid; help; assistance; particularly, assistance that relieves and delivers from difficulty, want or distress. “Gardening that Gives You Wings” refers to the noun: “The garden was to provide succor and sanctuary for butterflies, giving nectar almost all year round.”

Hebrews 2:18 in the King James Version offers this translation using the verb:

18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Hebrews 2:18:

Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.

We find the verb form used to describe God, our Father who watches over His own and promises to come to their rescue in 2 Corinthians 6:2 used as introduction to this original psalm:

To Succor and to Strengthen

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation

have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV)

In straight and narrow places You provide relief.
In times of loss, You comfort and assuage our grief
In this dry season You water our soul once more
And run to succor and to strengthen us as before.
Again You prop us up on every leaning side.
Rooted and grounded in Your love we will abide.
You are our light, our salvation; we will not fear.
Although we feel estranged from loved ones, You are near.
Though intense suffering may abound on every hand,
You confirm, establish, settle, that we might stand.
Though oceans roar and mountains shake, we remain still.
In times of distress we are centered in Your will.
We stand firm, like a tree planted by the river,
Assured that in Your perfect time You will deliver.

Esther Mui offers a musical rendition of selected verses from Psalm 59 as a Christian Scripture Worship song “God is My Defense.”

Psalm 59:1-2, 9-10a, 16-17:

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Defend me from those who rise up against me.

2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from bloodthirsty men.

9 I will wait for You, O You his Strength;
For God is my defense.

10a My God of mercy shall come to meet me;

16 But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.

17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy.

No eyes have seen, but it has been revealed

February 2, 2019

The Verse of the Day for February 2, 2019 comes from 1 Corinthians 2:9.To complete the context” of the passage, however, we must also look at the preceding verses and the verse that follows to further clarify the promise that God is unfolding.

7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom once hidden [from man, but now revealed to us by God, that wisdom] which God predestined before the ages to our glory [to lift us into the glory of His presence]. 8 None of the rulers of this age recognized and understood this wisdom; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written [in Scripture],

“THINGS WHICH THE EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND THE EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”

10 For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].

Deuteronomy 29:29 in the Amplified Bible also reinforces the message that some things, spiritual matters, only God knows, and some secrets God continues to reveal to believers today:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed and disclosed belong to us and to our children forever, so that we may do all of the words of this law.

The Word of God reminds that we walk by faith, and not by sight. Indeed, what we see with our eyes is temporal, but what we do not see is eternal.

In the words of Fanny J. Crosby, one of the most prolific and popular hymn writers of all time, we have a “blessed assurance” not based on what we see. Ironically, Mrs. Crosby lost her sight as an infant, but this tragic situation gave birth to these unforgettable lyrics:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

Chorus:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This discussion also brings to mind a previous blog entry from which this excerpt comes where I share:

Some things I know. . .

One thing I know for sure is that that God loves me. I know that I love God and that’s really all that matters. Not only do I know that God loves me and that I love God, but these lyrics express what I really know:

I know that I know that I know that I know.
I know that I know You still love me.
I know that I know that I know that I know.
I know that I know You still love me.

No matter how many times I go astray
And leave Your side and choose to disobey.
When I’m overwhelmed and can’t even pray,
No matter what I do or do not say.

No one else knows my heart: You are the one
To call me home when I have no place to run.
When I look all around at all that I’ve done,
Despite all my failures, You still call me Son.

I know that I know that I know that I know.
I know that I know You still love me.
I know that I know that I know that I know.
I know that I know You still love me.

Romans 8:28, my favorite verse in the Bible, and it 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.

The life and legacy of Fanny J. Crosby  provide another illustration of the goodness of God that transcends even the most devastating circumstances.

We conclude with 1 Corinthians 2:9 as a Scripture Memory Song:

To serve: Power of the verb

January 29, 2019

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The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2019, speaks of the oxymoronic nature of true servanthood: the last shall be first and the first shall be last. If you want to be in the premier position as number one, then put yourself in the last position by putting others first, and you will be great.

Mark 9:35 (AMP)

Sitting down [to teach], He called the twelve [disciples] and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all [in importance] and a servant of all.”

Jesus Christ illustrates the same point that those who desire to be first should put themselves last and serve others first. Other places in the Scriptures also reveal this striking portrait of a true servant of the Lord:

Luke 22:26 (AMP)

26 But it is not to be this way with you; on the contrary, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest [and least privileged], and the [one who is the] leader, like the servant.

A similar response occurs in Mark 10:43 (AMP)

43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant

A particularly noteworthy verse is found in Matthew 20:27 (AMP):

27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave;

In following in the steps of Jesus Christ, one of the noblest character traits that a person can demonstrate is that of serving others. Throughout the life and ministry of Christ, he takes upon himself the form of a servant, thus modeling the behavior that he desires to see his followers emulate.

In discussing the contrasting concepts of being free and serving one another, one encounters a most provocative term in the Greek word doulos, the noun meaning “servant”, “bond servant,” or “bond-slave,” or “slave.” In fact, the verb “to serve” is derived from doulos and has been translated “to be a slave, to serve or render service or serving.”

Paul reiterates the message that though as a believer he is free in Christ, yet he chooses to serve others:

1 Corinthians 9:19 (AMP):

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to everyone, so that I may win more [for Christ].

As believers, the state or condition whereby we have been called to salvation is liberty or freedom: freedom from the yoke of bondage, freedom from the chains that bind us in sin. We are, however, not to use our freedom as an occasion for the flesh or as an excuse or pretext for indulging our selfish desires. Instead, we are to be servants, those bound by love to serve one another.
In the midst of our perilous times that preclude a super-abundant harvest season, we must learn

To Serve and To Sow

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5, 6

We learn to serve and to sow with a joyful heart,
To pour from the fountain of our souls and to give
All our strength to the Lord’s work and to do our part
To complete each task, to build that the Word might live,
For only deeds done for the sake of Christ remain.
The legacy that fulfills God’s will lives beyond
The brief journey of our days filled with joy and pain.
This precious token of our covenant, the bond
Of devotion to the Master, perfected love
Is shed abroad in our hearts, enfolded in peace
That passes understanding, flowing from above.
As we plant and water, our God gives the increase.
Freely we have received that we might come to know
The love of God, as we learn to serve and to sow.

Without question, “to serve” is one of the most powerful verbs in the English language. Listen to this excerpt from “The Drum Major Instinct,” unforgettable sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, who unfolds the beauty and simplicity in the words “To serve.”

We close with an expression of our utmost desire to offer to the Lord: A Servant’s Heart:

 

Overcoming dangerous emotions

January 25, 2019

The blog post for January 25, 2019, includes both a Quote of the Day and an expanded rendering of the Verse of the Day. All in all, we have not merely a double-decker but a triple-layer sandwich–delicious, nutritious, and soul-satisfying made from the Bread of Life.

We begin with a statement from author and philanthropist, Steve Maraboli, who offers this sobering reminder:

Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.

The Verse of the Day for Biblegateway.com provides a response to the quote found in m Philippians 4:8, but to comprehend more fully this remedy, we need to examine verses six and seven as well:

Philippians 4:6-8 (Amplified Bible):

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Finally,believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

Both the Quote of the Day and the Verse of Day bring to mind my newly published book, Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into your Greatest Challenges. In Chapter 4, The Fight of My Life, the Fight for My Life, I talk about “Overcoming Toxic Emotions” in a section related to our discussion today.

A deep internal cleansing or detoxing of the body can be part of the strategy some individuals choose to undergo when they have cancer. Similarly, some patients may need an emotional detox program to overcome toxic emotions, which can negatively impact the body’s response to disease. In discussing the concept of renewing the mind, Bishop Charles Mellette speaks of managing your mind: “You have to renew your mind to manage your thoughts (pictures of the mind that have constructive possibilities that affect your life, positively and negatively).”

If not properly handled, these toxic emotions can precipitate a destructive, downward spiral that could sabotage the destiny of a believer. The following poem speaks of negative feelings with devastating consequences:

Dangerous Emotions

We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5b

As the champions of God, ministers of the Word,
We must overcome each dangerous emotion.
As we fight the good fight, using our shield and sword,
Clothed with the whole armor, not seeking promotion
Of ourselves but of the Savior, who gave His life,
An example that we should follow in His steps,
That we might slay giants of fear, envy, and strife.
Stubborn rebellion that would defy God’s precepts
And defile desire to serve Him in purity,
We defeat with one smooth stone of obedience.
Resentment, guilt, anger and green-eyed jealousy:
Each toxic emotion yields deadly consequence.
Pride, described as the most dangerous of them all,
Leads to destruction and goes before a downfall.

In critical situations where a person may have accidentally ingested a highly toxic substance, the state poison control center, if contacted, can suggest a specific antidote to counteract that poison. In some cases, they recommend a universal antidote. Activated charcoal has the well-earned reputation of being such an antidote since it can facilitate the removal of many poisonous substances before they can cause harm. In the case of some of the toxic emotions previously discussed, another universal antidote comes into play to counteract any and all of these negative issues of life. A heavy dose of thanksliving will counter the potentially crippling adverse effects of resentment, guilt, anger, and green-eyed jealousy along with fear, envy, and strife. A contributing factor to the increased activity of these negative thinking patterns is a stubborn rebellion, which aggravates situations involving toxic emotions.

The chapter goes on to explain the concept of thanksliving as opposed to “thanksgiving. The discussion involves the proper attitude, coming full circle with a reminder that attitude begins with gratitude. J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless goodwill. “ It is a great and joyful response-ability, that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As believers, we continually endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual attitude of gratitude, a lifestyle of thanksliving. The essence of this attitude of endless gratitude we express in everything we say and do: “With each breath, each move we live thanks to Him,”

To close we listen to Debra Arnott with a musical summary of Philippians 4:6-8:

 

Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs is available wherever books are sold and online. For more details check out https://lonnelledwardjohnson.com.

Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking

January 22, 2019

The Verse of the Day for January 22, 2019, highlights the importance of praying and receiving answers to our prayers:

Matthew 7:7-8 (Amplified Bible):

[Prayer and the Golden Rule] “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.

In thinking about this passage, we recognize the Greek New Testament expresses the three verbs in the present progressive tense: meaning keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. In the same manner that a child will keep asking for a treat while shopping with his or her parents until the parent relents, Jesus Christ says to continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock in our petitions to God, our Father.

This passage inspired an acrostic poem that spells out the word “a-s-k,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount. Here are lyrics to a scripture memory song based on

Matthew 7:7-8:

Ask and it shall be given you;
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.
Ask, seek and knock.
Ask, seek and knock.

For everyone who asks receives.
He who seeks finds.
And to him who knocks, it shall be opened.
Ask, seek and knock.
Ask, seek and knock.

Always ask, no matter how great or small the task.
Serve the Lord God with a pure heart and remove the mask.
Keep trusting in the Lord–all you have to do is ask.

Someday soon we shall stand on top of the mountain peak.
Every golden promise God has fulfilled, as we speak.
Each day adds another victory toward your winning streak.
Keep pressing toward the mark to obtain the prize you seek.

Keep renewing your mind, assess your thoughts and take stock.
Never give up–build your hope on Christ, the solid rock.
Overcome the odds–by faith get around any roadblock.
Count your blessings with every tick-tock of the clock.
Keep this in mind and call on the Lord: ask, seek, and knock.

This passage also brings to mind Luke 18:1-7 where Jesus Christ illustrates the power of persistence in getting answers to prayer when he shares a parable teaching “that men ought to pray and not give up and lose heart.” The principal characters are a self-righteous judge “who did not fear God and had no respect for man.” The judge encounters “a desperate] widow,” who kept coming to him and saying, “Give me justice and legal protection from my adversary.” For a time he did not respond to her persistent requests; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will give her justice and legal protection; otherwise by continually coming she [will be an intolerable annoyance and she] will wear me out.’”

The Lord Jesus ends the parable by saying “Listen to what the unjust judge says! And will not [our just] God defend and avenge His elect [His chosen ones] who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [in providing justice] on their behalf? 8 I tell you that He will defend and avenge them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?”

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 reinforces the exhortation to be persistent in prayer with this reminder to “pray without ceasing.” Certainly, this does not mean believers need to walk around with clasped hands and closed eyes. We cannot remain on bended knee all day every day, but we can express our gratitude to God in everything we say and do, as we maintain a perpetual attitude of gratitude called “Thanksliving.”

The passage from Luke 18 and the words from 1 Thessalonians 5 combine in these lyrics:

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

We close as the Las Vegas Community Choir offers this stirring reminder: “Ask, and It Shall Be Given Unto You”:

To number our days

January 2, 2019

As the New Year continues to unfold, the Verse of the Day for January 2, 2019 offers sound advice from the Psalmist:

Psalm 90:12 (New American Bible Revised Edition):

Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.

Here is the more familiar expression from the King James Version:

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Proverbs 4:7 also reminds us that

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

In thinking about applying wisdom to our lives, we must recognize that wisdom is not a static entity; it is not a trophy to be displayed with pride, but wisdom connotes action; it is something that must be applied.

The Psalmist further states, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when will you come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart (Psalm 101:2).

Wisdom is said to be the application of knowledge. We, thus, see that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are intertwined as a three-fold cord. Furthermore, in discussing wisdom, we see that the Book of James identifies two sources of wisdom:

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

In the Book of Proverbs we find two additional references to a synonymous phrase for “applying our hearts unto wisdom,” and they are “walking in wisdom” or “to walk as the wise”:

Proverbs 13:20

He who walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walks wisely, he shall be delivered.

Two of the most enlightening scriptures regarding walking in wisdom occur in the New Testament:

Ephesians 5:15

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

To walk circumspectly, means to walk carefully, accurately, “to be watchful on all sides.”

Colossians 4:5 instructs believers to

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”

The exhortation to number our days begins with today, as we learn to take one day at a time. The lyrics to the song “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell, based on the Gospel of Matthew, offer this reminder:

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

Walking in wisdom also involves being intentional and making deliberate choices that determine the direction and ultimate fulfillment of our purpose in God. Here is another reminder to heed the words of the Psalmist in the Verse of the Day:

To Number Our Days

Psalm 90:12

To number our days we must ascend to this place
To view another day beyond our three score years
Symbolic sum of God’s divinely ordered grace,
Flowing to each grateful heart that still perseveres.
From this summit of sweeping vistas now we see
The Great Divide where streams of understanding flow,
Unfolding golden days beyond our jubilee.
Even as we are known, so may we also know
The fullness of the love of God in word and deed:
This passion burns within as an enduring flame.
With ears near to the lips of God may we still heed
The call heard long ago when He first called our name.
Let us walk with wisdom and seek to know His ways
As we continue to learn to number our days.

We close with the Family Radio Broadcasting offering a musical reminder: “Teach Us to Number our Days.”

A new thing in the New Year

December 31, 2018

As we conclude another year, the Verse of the Day for December 31, 2018 reveals the creative power of God Almighty who declares:

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV):

This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

We reflect upon blessings of the past year with gratitude and anticipate even greater blessings awaiting us in the coming year, as each New Year represents a fresh start, as God reminds us once again that He makes all things new. As we considered deeply the concept of a new beginning or another chance, think about these simple lyrics:

It’s new, new, new–brand new.
God is doing a new thing.
Lift your voice and sing His praise.
Bless the Lord and glorify His name.
It’s new, new, new–fresh as the morning dew.
God is doing a new thing in our midst.

If we do not faint, we shall reap in due season.
Open your eyes and see, it’s a brand new day.
God is pouring out His spirit in this new season.
Open your ears to hear what the Spirit has to say.

It’s new, new, new–brand new.
God is doing a new thing.
Lift your voice and sing His praise.
Bless the Lord and glorify His name.
It’s new, new, new–fresh as the morning dew.
God is doing a new thing in our midst.

As we embark upon this new season unfolding before us, we pause to reflect upon God’s goodness and mercy that sustained us through the most challenging circumstances of the past year. We also recognize that in the coming year we may encounter even more challenges and more difficult situations that seem impossible to resolve on our own. We are assured that if God triumphantly came through on our behalf before, He can and will do it again. During this time we also savor the present reality that in all our circumstances “we conquer more and more.” Finally, we look forward even greater triumphs in the days ahead, as we move from faith to faith, glory to glory, and victory to victory. Here is a word of encouragement that we all might be

Strengthened for the Journey

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen your heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 27:14

Let us pause to reflect upon the past,
Not with longing to relive bygone days.
Though some were fine, such moments cannot last
A lifetime. The budding rose never stays
The same but unfolds in lovelier ways.
Let us linger to absorb the essence
Of this moment’s triumph. Another phase
Of growth we note within our lifetime since
We first began the quest toward excellence.
Let us look ahead with vision and strive
Toward greater goals, for each day we commence
To grow toward our perfection, as we thrive.
May we see clearly where our paths have led
And be strengthened for the journey ahead.

Michael John Poirier offers a song of encouragement to remind us that the Lord provides “Strength for the Journey.”

Psalm 103:1-2: Reading with a new mindset

December 27, 2018

The Verse of the Day for December 27, 2018 comes from Psalm 103:1-2, one of my favorite psalms posted in its entirety:

Psalm 103

[A Psalm] of David—Amplified Bible]

1 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—
3 Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;
5 Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!
6 The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.
9 He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge.
10 He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].
14 For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children’s children—
18 To such as keep His covenant [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it] and to those who [earnestly] remember His commandments to do them [imprinting them on their hearts].
19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.
21 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, all you His hosts, you His ministers who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion; bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul!

Although I had previously read the entire psalm many times, this morning’s reading impacted me deeply as I viewed the passage with a new mindset expressed in this original psalm with the Verse of the Day as its introduction:

A New Mindset

1 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not [one of] all His benefits—

Psalm 103:1-2 (Amplified Bible)

That you called us and chose us, may we never forget.
In response we vow to serve and honor the Lord.
Like David, we declare we will not forget your Word.
Transformed into the image of Christ with a new mindset,
Like Jacob, we walk by faith despite our circumstance.
Just as the Good Shepherd richly provides for his flock,
So you will feed us with sweet honey flowing from the rock,
For God is faithful to provide yet another chance
To demonstrate once more the power of God to change.
Though we may not see them, we father countless hosts of sons,
Future heirs of Kingdom salvation, His chosen ones:
Endless influence only the hand of God could arrange.
We shall soar to new heights far beyond where we have been
And behold our true selves—as giants among mighty men.

We close with a musical rendering of Psalm 103 by Zach Jones: