Archive for the ‘Word for the Day’ Category

Not Just a Survivor on Cancer Suvivors Day

June 2, 2019

The blog entry for June 2, 2019, the first Sunday in June, recognizes National Cancer Survivors Day. This observance has been set aside as a “Celebration of Life” for those who have survived a diagnosis of cancer. In events conducted in communities all over the nation and across the globe, those who celebrate show the world that life, indeed, after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful and rewarding.

This post focuses on what I call the Word of the Day, in this case, “survivor.” In its most literal sense, the term means “one who survives.” FreeDictionary.com offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as an action verb that has an object to receive its action. In this case, to survive cancer:

1. To live longer than; outlive.
2. To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

The verb is derived from Latin: supervivere: combining the prefix super + vīvere, to live.

Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I have come to understand what it means to be a cancer survivor on a profoundly personal level. I recognize a “survivor” as one who, after encountering an extremely adverse situation, is revived to not only survive but to thrive. Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of a “survivor,” endured the cross, despising the shame, and after undergoing unimaginable physical abuse, along with emotional and psychological trauma of the highest degree, arose triumphantly over death itself. Like Christ, I have been revived not only to survive but to thrive, having been transformed from victim to victor.

The true essence of who I am as a believer in Christ is expressed in Romans 8:37, the verse introducing the final section of my newly published book based on my experience with cancer: Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].

The expression “more than conquerors” is translated from the Greek verb hupernikao, a compound word with the prefix huper—a form of the same prefix found in “survive”—meaning over, beyond, above exceed, more than. Today, everyday expressions of the preposition would say “over and above” or “above and beyond.” The stem would be nikao, translated “to conquer, prevail, overcome, and overpower.” Although translated as such, being “more than conquerors” or “super conquerors,” is not who we are, but it is what we do, how we live. We entirely and overwhelmingly conqueror in the present tense with continuous action; we prevail mightily every day of our lives.

The book closes with an original poem of celebration with Romans 8:37 as its introduction, expressing my new identity in light of the Word for the Day for Cancer Survivors Day:

Embracing Your Life Sentence–Not Just a Survivor

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors
and gain an overwhelming victory through Him
who loved us [so much that He died for us].

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

Embracing Your Life Sentence–Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror,
Defying the odds as a brave conquistador.
Despite intense pressure, I learn to rest in grace,
More than enough to withstand the daily tests I face,
Not merely to survive but to thrive even more.

A mighty warrior, triumphant super-victor
With a cause, prepared not to die but to live for.
At times I fell behind but fought to keep the pace:
Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror.

To fulfill all the will of God and then to soar
To heights sublime where I have never been before.
Overcomer, bearing light in the darkest place,
I still fight the good fight, as I finish my race,
Moving forward, seeking to find the next open door:
Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror.

We close with the Rend Collection reinforcing the message “More than Conquerors”:

For more details about how to obtain a copy of Embracing Your Life Sentence, go to lonnelledwardjohnson.com. You can also get more information here on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. Not just on Cancer Survivors Day, but as believers, we are more than conquerors every day and in every way.

Rest assured

January 28, 2019

In beginning my morning meditation, a Word of the Day for January 28, 2019, came to mind:

“Rest assured”

The expression means to be convinced of, to have faith in and have no doubt. The verbs involve having trust or believing or relying on, placing confidence; to take at one’s word, according to Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus.

Throughout the Scriptures, God, our gracious Heavenly Father, speaks words to comfort and assure us He is always with us and entirely aware of all that is happening to us. We can rest assured that He knows all about us, and He will take care of us. We are not to be full of care nor “care-full” about anything, but we are to cast all our care on the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. We are confident of this very thing: that He who began a good work in us, will be faithful to complete it. The Word of the Day reminds us to have confidence that what God promised He will fulfill.

Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Bible reinforces that message:

‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’

He assures us of His everlasting presence and offers of words of comfort to the descendants of Jacob and by extension to believers living today:

Isaiah 46:3-4 (Amplified Bible):

“Listen to Me,” [says the LORD], “O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
You who have been carried by Me from your birth
And have been carried [in My arms] from the womb,

Even to your old age I am He,
And even to your advanced old age I will carry you!
I have made you, and I will carry you;
Be assured I will carry you and I will save you.

The opening phrase of the passage introduces this poetic reminder:

Listen to Me
Isaiah 46:3-4

Listen to me. Open your ears and clearly hear
I have always been there. Though you had not perceived
My presence in the wasteland, I was ever near.
And I have upheld you since you were first conceived.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he
Who still holds you and causes you to remember.
I open deaf ears and cause blinded eyes to see
The passion that consumes your soul was once an ember.
Though I seem to be delayed, I will not tarry
But will return for the faithful ones who remain:
Those whom I have made those I will also carry;
Those whom I have called by name I will sustain.
I will perform all I said to do. You shall see.
Rest assured I will deliver. Listen to me.

God continually reminds us of who He is and what He alone can do. We can rest assured that His Word will come to pass. Here is a musical reminder inspired by Isaiah 46:4 and other verses:

Every day should be Forgiveness Day

June 25, 2018

c.

Forgiveness Day takes place on June 26, a time set aside to forgive and to be forgiven. Often overlooked, this designation spotlights forgiveness, a vitally important concept not only in Christianity but one with universal implications as well. My newly released book Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Your Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs recognizes forgiveness as an often forgotten spiritual component of the healing process in responding to a life-threatening disease, such as cancer. Chapter 7 discusses both aspects of forgiveness, examining notable examples from the Bible, as well as my personal application of the principles of forgiveness. In addition, the book discusses some of the benefits that come: to those who practice forgiveness, both in terms of improved mental and physical health. Here is an excerpt

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). Dr. Arch Hart has said, “I forgive when I give up my right to hurt you because you hurt me.”

Simply put, to forgive is to love, and to love is to forgive. Remember, however, that “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” I learned this firsthand in a very graphic way when late one night after getting off from work, I was accosted by a man who demanded that I give him my wallet. As I reluctantly complied, do you think I loved giving him my wallet? Nonetheless, I complied with his demand that I “give.” As I recall, when I went to my car, hurt and humiliated, I prayed and asked God to forgive the man who was in such desperate straits that he resorted to robbery.

Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. 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.

Jesus Christ, of course, is the quintessential example of forgiveness. As he is dying on the cross, having been brutalized and humiliated beyond any atrocious behavior inflicted upon any mortal, among the last words spoken by the Lord are recorded in Luke 23:34:

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

Some of the lyrics to the original 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 more 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.”

When it comes to abounding in God’s grace and abiding in His will in the area of forgiveness:

I Choose to Forgive

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, despite all 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 a much more grand scope:
May I also see all things working together
For the good, even in perilous times as these.

When it comes to “forgiving and being forgiven,” individuals should not have to wait until the 26th of June. Ideally, every day should be Forgiveness Day. Ideally, every day should be Forgiveness Day.

We close with “A Heart That Forgives,” powerful song by Kevin Levar:

 

Not just a survivor: More than a conqueror

June 3, 2018

Romans 8--37

Today’s blog entry for June 3, 2018, the first Sunday in June, is posted in recognition of National Cancer Survivors Day. This observance has been set aside as a “Celebration of Life” for those who have survived a diagnosis of cancer. In events conducted in communities all over the nation and across the globe, those who celebrate show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful and rewarding.

This post focuses on what I call the Word of the Day, in this case, “survivor.” In its most literal sense, the term means “one who survives.” FreeDictionary.com offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as an action verb that has an object to receive its action. In this case, to survive cancer:

  1. To live longer than; outlive.
  2. To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
  3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

The verb is derived from Latin: supervivere: combining the prefix super + vīvere, to live.

Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I have come to understand what it means to be a cancer survivor on a deeply personal level. I recognize a “survivor” as one who, after encountering an extremely adverse situation, is revived to not only survive but to thrive. Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of a “survivor,” endured the cross, despising the shame, and after undergoing unimaginable physical abuse, along with emotional and psychological trauma of the highest degree, arose triumphantly over death itself. Like Christ, I have been revived not only to survive but to thrive, having been transformed from victim to victor.

The true essence of who I am as a believer in Christ is expressed in Romans 8:37, the verse from which the subtitle of my forthcoming book based on my experience with cancer: Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].

The expression “more than conquerors” is translated from the Greek verb hupernikao, a compound word with the prefix huper—a form of the same prefix found in “survive”—meaning over, beyond, above exceed, more than. Today, common expressions of the preposition would say “over and above” or “above and beyond.” The stem would be nikao, translated “to conquer, prevail, overcome, overpower, prevail.” Although translated as such, being “more than conquerors” or “super conquerors,” is not who we are, but it is what we do, how we live. We completely and overwhelmingly conqueror in the present tense with continuous action; we prevail mightily every day of our lives.

Each year I reflect with gratitude to God for being alive and being able to cherish another year of life. As is my tradition, I sometimes compose a poem of celebration on my birthday. Most remarkably, Romans 8:37 was the epigraph or introduction for a poem composed on my 74th birthday, expressing my new identity in light of the Word for the Day for Cancer Survivors Day:

Not Just a Survivor                     

 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors

and gain an overwhelming victory through Him

who loved us [so much that He died for us].

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

 

Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror,

Defying the odds as a brave conquistador.

Despite intense pressure I learn to rest in grace,

More than enough to withstand the daily tests I face,

Not merely to survive but to thrive even more.

 

A mighty warrior, triumphant super-victor

With a cause, prepared not to die but to live for.

At times I fell behind but fought to keep the pace:

Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror.

 

To fulfill all the will of God and then to soar

To heights sublime where I have never been before.

Overcomer, bearing light in the darkest place,

I still fight the good fight, as I finish my race,

Moving forward, seeking to find the next open door:

Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror.

We close with the Rend Collection reinforcing the message “More than Conquerors”:

This post is actually taken from the final chapter of the forthcoming book. Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror.  Go to lonnelledwardjohnson.com and subscribe to get more publication details. You can also get more details here at Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. Not just on Cancer Survivors Day, but as believers, we are more than conquerors every day and in every way.

Being like-minded with a new mindset

May 20, 2018

Romans 15--5-6

The Verse of the Day for May 20, 2018 comes 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.

The New King James Version renders the passage this way:

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 (NKJV):

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

In these two instances the expression is derived from a compound word in the Greek: “autophroneo.” Phroneo, as a verb, means to think, “to be minded in a certain way, attitude, disposition of mind.” The prefix “auto” means “the same.” The Jubilee Bible translates the phrase “to be unanimous among yourselves.”

The phrase “likeminded,” however, is 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: “isopsuchos” with the prefix “isos” meaning “the same” and “psuchos” meaning “soul” In other words, Paul is saying that he and Timothy are “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 poetic response makes our desire to be transformed as we change our thinking patterns with:

A New Mindset

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love,

being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:2 (NKJV)

                   

That you called us and chose us, may we never forget.

In response we vow to serve and honor the Lord,

As we form new thought patterns according to your Word,

Transformed into the image of Christ with a new mindset.

Determined, we walk by faith despite our circumstance.

With one mind and with one mouth we give God the glory

And sing of amazing grace as we tell our story.

For God is faithful to provide yet another chance

To once more demonstrate the power of God to change.

The Spirit of the living God restores, makes all things new

That our lives may truly speak in all we say and do

With boundless potential that only God could arrange.

Walking into the fullness of Christ with no regret,

We harmonize our thoughts toward all with this new mindset.

Kim and Kathy Burrell close with this  exhortation: “Let this Mind Be in You”

Wholeheartedness

March 14, 2018

wholeheartedInstead of the usual “Verse of the Day,” from time to time I will post the “Word or the Phrase of the Day.” On March 14, 2018 we are going to take a closer look at the word “wholeheartedness.” As a noun, the word refers to the quality or state of being wholehearted, that is completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic. A wholehearted person is said to be marked by complete, earnest commitment: free from all reserve or hesitation. Synonyms for the noun include eagerness, enthusiasm, intense devotion and dedication, zeal, or passion.

Throughout the Scriptures we note the Lord God’s concern that His people honor and serve Him with their whole hearts. In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus makes this declaration:

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

38 This is the first and great commandment.

1 Chronicles 28:9 (NLT) offers words of wisdom to Solomon:

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancest1ors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Note God’s response when His people seek and serve Him with their whole heart:

2 Chronicles 15:15 (AMP)

All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought Him with their whole heart, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.

Note what the Psalmist has to say:

Psalm 119:2 (American Standard Version)

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, that seek him with the whole heart.

Finally, Jeremiah 24:7 (American Standard Version) makes known God’s desire for His people:

And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Jehovah: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return unto me with their whole heart

The expression also brings to mind a life-changing teaching entitled “Wholeheartedness” heard a number of years ago. The teaching was part of a series of messages based on the Love of God, emphasizing that as believers we are to love God wholeheartedly. One of the principal scriptures quoted came from Deuteronomy 6:5, used in the introduction to the following poem also inspired by the teaching:

With Our Whole Heart

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5

 

“When you have a heart for something,

you prepare for it.”

Pastor Michael T. Bivens

 

We will never be satisfied until we love You,

Not with half nor the greater part, but with our whole heart,

Where we have reserved a space for You alone to dwell,

That only You might fill each crevice with Your presence.

As a faithful friend, may You always choose to linger,

To abide in this place set apart for Your comfort

And to confide with the most gentle reassurance,

Never being disturbed by any occurrence.

Lord, may we never settle for mediocrity

But ever seek to excel and love You wholeheartedly,

Serving You with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength,

To soar beyond any height or depth or breadth or length.

As the bride listens to hear the voice of the bridegroom,

So we watch and wait in our heart prepared as Your throne room.

The teaching also brought to mind this song “With All My Heart,” composed by Babbie Mason and sung by Into the Light:

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s grandest paradox

January 3, 2018

Romans 11--33

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, we begin with “The Word for the Day for January 3, 2018: Paradox:

Often used in literature and in life, the term is defined as “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.”  Paradoxes are often contrary to what we believe and thus can widen our understanding, as we think more deeply regarding the subject discussed.

Here is paradoxical statement, “Sometimes less is more” or think about this:  “It is only in losing that we really win.” How about “You can save money by spending money.”

The Bible is full of examples of paradox. Consider these words:

You save your life by losing it: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).  To be wise, we must become fools. “If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (I Corinthians 3:18). To be first, we must be last. “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).

The term paradox brings also brings to mind God, our all-wise, all knowing Father, whose ways are past finding out.  Romans 11:33 sets forth the incomprehensible greatness of God Almighty:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and decisions and how unfathomable and untraceable are His ways!

In the Book of Job and in the Psalms we find similar sentiments expressed:

Job 5:9 (NLT):

He does great things too marvelous to understand.

He performs countless miracles.  

Job 11:7-9 (NLT)

“Can you solve the mysteries of God?

Can you discover everything about the Almighty?

Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—

And who are you?

It is deeper than the underworld*—

What do you know?

It is broader than the earth

And wider than the sea.

In describing the ways of God, one of the terms used is “unsearchable” which is also translated “indelineable, marked by being impossible to plot, travel, or trace to the end of, therefore, incomprehensible or impossible to understand.”  All in all, it clearly becomes evident that God’s ways are not our ways; indeed, beyond the most profound examples of paradoxes, His ways are past finding out.

The Word for the Day is the inspiration behind this poetic response.

Life’s Grandest Paradox

One word: the power of a single light, 

like a cloven tongue of fire

to shatter the darkest night.

Lonnell E. Johnson

 

No matter how we try, God will not be put in a box,

For we know it is His glory to conceal a matter.

Behold, He brings death to life: the ultimate paradox.

To water wastelands and to refresh the most barren place.

The full extent of God’s power no mortal can define:

The heavy burden of dark sin He unshackles with grace.

Despite the weaknesses of our frail flesh, He makes us strong,

Causing the barren womb to flourish as a fruitful vine;

He fills our mouths with laughter, releasing our joyful song.

With our blinded eyes wide opened, now we can really see:

We are an enigma you can’t figure, an anomaly.

It is what it is and not what it may appears to be.

We are life’s grandest Paradox with a capital P.

We conclude with a musical expression of who God is and what He does, as Gwen Smith offers contemporary song of worship “Unsearchable”:

It is finished that we might finish strong

August 26, 2017

John 4--34

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, today we are going to examine the phrase or the Word for the Day for August 26, 2017: fait ac·com·pli

According to Dictionary.com, this French expression means “something that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept.” The noun describes “an accomplished fact, something that has already been done.” Colloquially speaking, “a done deal.”

Recently Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been reminding the congregation of all that God has accomplished for us through the finished work of Jesus Christ, reiterating repeatedly that “It is already done! It is already done!”

What comes to mind are some of the last words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ: “It is finished.” Oswald Chambers speaks of “The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

Just as Christ finished the work that He was sent to accomplish, as believers we also seek to complete the work that each of us has been sent to fulfill:

As We Finish the Work

Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment)

is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me

and to accomplish and completely finish His work.

John 4:34 (Amplified Bible)

 

As we finish the work that God sent us to do

And seek to fulfill all His will and leave our mark,

The Lord will bless and refresh and make all things new.

The fire on the altar inflamed from a small spark

Beckons as we press to reach the top of the mount.

People called, destined to be abundantly blessed,

We reap the good of this life’s bountiful harvest,

Reflecting upon God’s favor as we recount

All the days of our lives in multiples of five,

Yet another expression of grace upon grace.

As we persevere not just to survive but thrive

We triumph with renewed strength to finish our race.

With all that lies within us, we seek to inspire

Others to serve the Lord: this is our heart’s desire.

Jonathan Nelson concludes with a word of exhortation in song: “Finish Strong”

Word for the Day: Mess-up-ness

June 14, 2017

tps://www.pinterest.com/jamaa/quotes/

Instead of focusing on the “Verse of the Day,” from time to time our blog post will feature the “Word for the Day,” meaning that we will select a particular word and expound upon its meaning and personal application. The Word for the Day chosen on June 14, 2017 is a coined expression used by Pastor Michael Bivens about five years ago: “Messed-up-ness.” The term is a noun meaning “a state of perpetually ‘messing up’ or being ‘messed up’”. His message inspired the following:

Despite All Our “Mess-up-ness”

Despite all our “mess-up-ness”, you love us as your own Son.
You told us then showed us that we’ve already won.
You wrapped our soul in peace and dispelled all distress,
Cleaned up our mess and clothed us with righteousness.
You are our all-wise Father, the Almighty One.

Who can compare with the Lord, our God? There is none
Who pursues us with such passion. We are undone.
We are speechless, overwhelmed by your blessedness,
Despite all our “mess-up-ness.”

From the dawning of each day to the setting sun,
You remind us, “It’s all right, my beloved one.”
To tell our thanks in words is so hard to express:
We want to tell you and show you, nevertheless.
You alone know the truth, when all is said and done,
Despite all our “mess-up-ness.”

In spite of our best efforts as believers and our most noble and earnest intentions, we so often find ourselves in what can only be described as an “epic mess,” generally the result of our own doing. In the midst of our messes, it is good to recall the goodness of God and His faithfulness to redeem, restore and to give life to every worst case scenario that we ever encounter. A previous blog entry points out the reassuring reality found in the words of Robert Moorman:

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory. God is so good . . . all the time!”

We conclude with a special, classic song that describes the power of the Lord to transform lives: “Something Beautiful,” written and performed by Bill Gaither and Company.

Success: Good success

June 9, 2017

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, today we would like to discuss The Word of the Day for June 9, 2017: a simple seven-letter word, ”success.” The term has been individualized and defined and re-defined in countless ways. I recall hearing this definition in the late seventies: “Success is the progressive accomplishment of a worthy goal.”

Nothing succeeds like success, says the familiar slogan; indeed, success breeds success. I also recall this statement by Thomas Edison regarding the word: “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” In my early collegiate days, I remember a professor remarking that hard work always precedes success. He went on humorously but truthfully to explain that the only place where “success” comes before “work” is in the dictionary.

In one of the first entries posted on my blog, I discussed “success” and its antonym, “failure,” noting how they are connected in this definition which introduces the last stanza of a familiar poem of great inspiration entitled “Don’t Quit.”

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

As I was thinking about the entire subject of failure and success, another poem came to mind, a very penetrating expression of the view of life through the eyes of the noted 19th Century poet, Emily Dickinson, who wrote these words:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

In response, I wrote this poem to express my view regarding success in light of those who fail to achieve it:

I Have Sipped a Sweetness

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete,
but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race]

that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

25 Now every athlete who goes into training

conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things.

They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither,

but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness]

that cannot wither.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (Amplified Bible):

 

Said the fragile lady who never knew such bliss,
“Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.”
In her enigmatic style went on to say this:
“To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need.”
Said the dark poet of another time and place,
I have sipped a sweetness beyond any honey,
The rush in the blood of the one who wins his race,
A foretaste of the glory to come that inspires
Self-discipline to sublimate carnal desires,
Casting aside every weight, each besetting sin,
I press toward the mark, the prize now set before me
And run with patience the race I’m destined to win.
Then shall I know ultimate ecstasy of victory
And savor God’s goodness for all eternity.

The highest degree of success is available to every believer who practices the principles embodied in the Word of God. Success is a personal accomplishment, and God, our Father, is a personal God who desires that each of children of attain their hearts’ desires according to His will. As sons and daughters of God our success hinges upon our commitment and faithfulness to the Word of God. Indeed, we can prosper and attain “good success”, as proclaimed in Joshua 1:8 (NKJV):

8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

We close with a Scripture Memory Song based on Joshua 1:8-9: