Archive for the ‘Word for the Day’ Category


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, 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


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:

Not just survivors: More than conquerors

June 4, 2017

Romans 8--37

From time to time, instead of posting the Verse of the Day, I will offer comments under the Word for the Day. Such is the case today, having chosen to examine the word “survivor” and touch upon its meaning and personal application. The word is especially suited for June 4, 2017, which has been designated as National Cancer Survivors Day.

Observed annually on the first Sunday in June, National Cancer Survivors Day is 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, whether a cancer survivor, family member, or medical professional.

In its most literal sense, the Word of the Day, survivor means “one who survives.” offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as a transitive verb, 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 personal level. Within the past two years, I have become involved in helping to establish The Survivors Ministry at Christian Provision Ministries (CPM) in Sanford, NC. The overall vision for CPM is “Changing Lives and Building Communities.” This particular ministry seeks to accomplish this objective by providing support for those diagnosed with cancer, their family members, and others connected to these individuals.

“The Survivors Ministry” with its subtitle “Where recovery is glorified” provides a support system for those affected by cancer in an effort to improve their quality of life and reduce stress by accomplishing its objectives. Through this ministry and other connected support groups, I have grown in my understanding as to what it means to be a “survivor,” 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, we are revived not only to survive but to thrive, as we are transformed from victim to victor.

The true essence of who believers are in Christ is expressed in Romans 8:37(KJV):

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

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

37 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.

Romans 8:37 is the epigraph or introduction for a poem expressing our new identity in light of the Word for the Day:

Not Just Survivors                     

 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 survivors, more than conquerors,

Defying the odds as brave conquistadors.

Despite intense pressure we learn to rest in grace,

More than enough to withstand the daily tests we face,

Not merely to survive but to thrive even more.


As mighty warriors, triumphant super victors

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

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

Not just survivors, more than conquerors.



To fulfill all the will of God and then to soar

To heights sublime where we have never been before.

Overcomers, bearing light in the darkest place,

We still fight the good fight, as we finish our race,

Moving forward, seeking to find the next open door:

Not just survivors, more than conquerors.

The perfect music to complement to our celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day is “More than Conquerors” by the Rend Collection:

The patience of Job

May 17, 2017

James 5--11

On May 17, 2017 let us take a look at the one of the “longest words in the dictionary”: “patience.” Although it has only eight letters, this enduring virtue has a familiar synonym “longsuffering.” In teaching children a Scripture Memory Song of the fruit of the spirit in the King James Version, the first syllable of “l-o-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g-suffering” was sung strongly for several seconds in an exaggerated way to emphasize the meaning of the term. In looking at patience in the Bible, we can learn much about this essential component of life.

Recently the Verse of the Day looked at James 1: 2-4, a passage that ends with a reference to patience:

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

That blog entry also brought to mind a more extensive discussion of patience from which the following excerpt is taken:

The passage pinpoints the importance of the character trait of patience or endurance or perseverance, steadfastly bearing up under and remaining faithful while waiting. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that should be evident in our lives, as we wait on the Lord. One of the words related to “patience”  or being patient as a verb means “to stay, remain, abide”, literally abiding under; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, to persevere — abide, endure.  The word translated patience as a noun is also translated: endurance, patient enduring, perseverance, and steadfastness.

Another passage from James stresses the importance of patience, providing an excellent example of both the verb and the noun in a particular individual who embodies the character trait of patient endurance:

James 5:7-11 (AMP):

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

In discussing Job, whom Chuck Swindoll described as a “man of heroic endurance,” we also note some distinctive features of the Book of Job. Although it is not listed with the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, E.W. Bullinger and other Bible scholars believe that the first book written was the Book of Job, believed to be composed by Moses. Job, was, indeed, a real person, and his account is one of the first demonstrations of many spiritual principles: God is “full of compassion and tender mercy” and that he rewards those who demonstrate “patience.”

Recall Job 42:10:

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the     LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Nate Wolf  in The Gatekeepers: Whatever God Can Get Through You, He Will Get to You further comments about the classic Biblical example of endurance:

Job’s patience was the golden secret that helped him overcome the pain he faced. Patience is more than just having the ability to not become angry in a difficult situation. Patience is the power that will carry you through the painful moments of life into the pleasurable moments of life. . . . The patience of God within you will always outlast the pain that’s trying to come upon you. .  . . Patience is the power that will keep you in the proper place and mindset, during discomfort or pain, until you possess your final promise and reach your ultimate purpose.

This discussion of the importance of patience also brings this to mind:

A Prayer for Patience

“My suggestion for people in a season of birth or 

is to write out a prayer for patience and pray it every day.”  

Graham Cooke


For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance,

so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God,

and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Hebrews 10:36 (Amplified Bible)


We look back and pause and then look ahead to see

All that God is and all He plans for us to be.

We still journey down the road less traveled by

And pray that patience may serve as a trusted ally.

We must say “No” to the pressures of this life

And say “Yes” to the rest God gives, despite the strife.

As we stay our minds on Him, we abide in peace.

When we praise God, works of the enemy decrease.

May we remain and not fall by the wayside as some

But like Job wait until at last our change shall come.

Patient endurance seems delayed for some reason,

But fruit abounds to those who wait in this season.

We pray that in this time of transition and shift

That we embrace waiting as a wonderful gift.

We conclude with John Waller offering “While I’m Waiting”:




James 1:2-4: “No want state”

May 10, 2017

James 1--4

The blog entry for May 10, 2017 is based on the Word or the Phrase  for the Day: “No want state,” a powerful expression used by Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC.  He delivered a life-changing message entitled “A No Want State” based on James 1:2-4:

[Faith and Endurance] Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

The New King James Version renders verse 4 this way:

But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

The expression “no-want state” also came to mind, as I recalled a recent conversation with a fellow brother in Christ who shared that he was in the midst of intense spiritual warfare and experiencing challenging circumstances on every hand. In our walk with God, as we press on in our efforts to discover our purpose in the Father  and fulfill our destiny, we encounter all kinds of fiery trials. During these trying times when our faith is being tested, we are building our endurance as we wait on the Lord, who has promised to strengthen us. We, however, are not waiting in a state of anxiety, not in a state of doubt or fear, but we are patiently waiting, as we strive to situate ourselves where we are “perfect and entire, wanting nothing”—in a “no want state,” the title of this poem:

“A No Want State”

 James 1:2-4


Right now we are striving to arrive at a “no want state,”

A place of assurance that God alone is in control.

In our zeal to please God, we learn to labor and to wait

While still running to serving the Lord as our life’s highest goal.

Pressed by enemies that seek to steal, kill, and to destroy,

Our ability to trust God is once more put to the test

In every fiery trial we trust God and count it all joy,

Especially in the midst of great turmoil and unrest.

God knows where we are at this time; nothing is by chance.

He has given freely of His spirit that we might know

In Christ we prevail despite any adverse circumstance.

When our faith is tested, our endurance will also grow.

As we yield to patience and allow her to have her way,

We are perfected to stay the course and trust and obey.

Hebrews 10:36 also offers this reminder in the New Living Translation:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Knowing this, we can count it all joy when we encounter various fiery trials that test our faith and build patient endurance.

The Winans offer this reminder to “Count it all Joy.”


Research: Search again

March 7, 2017


The Verse of Day for March 7, 2017 presents this personal petition:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV):

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

This celebrated passage also brings to mind a previous blog entry that focused on the word “research.” Just as it was at that time, so I am also currently teaching a composition course where my students are working on a research paper, and once again the term “research” continues to be very much in my thoughts.

Research in its most literal sense means to “re-search” or to “search again.” In thinking about the concluding  passage from Psalm 139, we recognize that this entire psalm could be viewed as an invitation to deepest, divine inspection. The Psalmist opens with recognition that God knows all about us. He has made, formed and created us. Indeed, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The psalm closes with a heartfelt request in the closing verses.

Psalm 139 also brings to mind a previous blog entry that made reference to a life-changing teaching from Dr. David Jeremiah, who taught on the refining fire of God. I made reference to that message in this excerpt from a journal entry made following hearing the teaching:

It is one of the most moving tapes I have heard, as he relates how God puts us through the process of refining in order to extract the precious metal from within us.  In the same way that a refiner breaks the stones and sends them through the fire over and over again, so God sends us through the fires of life in order to extract and purify the gold within our souls.  God removes our need to feel secure, to be in control, and to survive by putting in situations that try us, “fiery temptations” that prove who we really are.  God controls the entire process, determining the timing, the temperature, the target, and the terms of the fire. Our tendency is respond with a series of questions as to “why?”: “why me?”, “why now?”, and “why not someone else?”  Like children, we continually ask why when God, as a good parent, is not obligated to explain that which children cannot understand at the time they ask “why.”  The only questions we should be asking are “What are you trying to teach me?” and “What are you trying to change in me?”

Finally, in reflecting upon the passage from Psalm 139, my mind is flooded with an understanding of what is transpiring in my life at this time. God is doing precisely what I asked Him to do in two poems, both of which express my deepest desire:

Try Me

24Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;

24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24


Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary. . .

pure and holy, tried and true. . .

Contemporary Gospel Song

Purify my motive; assay my devotion;

weigh each desire, carat by carat, dram by dram.

In the refining fire of your furnace try me.

Test the mettle of my soul; scrape away all dross,

all debris that would adulterate my intents

and leave behind the purity of ore that I

may see my face reflected in the pool of gold.

I long to take the treasure of your precious Word,

securely hide it in the lock box of my heart

and as a faithful son, hand you the only key.

Another poem that could be described as “the second verse of the same song” is also inspired in part by the same verses from Psalm 139:

Search Me: A Song for You

“I know your image of me is what I hope to be

If I’ve treated you unkindly, can’t you see?

That there’s no one more important to me.

Oh, won’t you please look through me. . .”

“A Song for You”–Leon Russell


23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

 24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life

Psalm 139: 23-24 (NLT)


The whole of my life unfolds as an open book,

Known and read by all with eyes to see, page by page.

As you read each line, take an even closer look,

Probe the depths of each of my thoughts, as you engage

The text, searching my heart for its deepest meaning.

Your searching and knowing is the ultimate scan.

As you discern my essence, my inmost being,

I will align myself according to your plan.

Beyond MRIs, devices to diagnose,

You see and assess any abnormality.

In these times of watchful waiting, you draw me close:

Despite what tests reveal, you have healed and delivered me.

At times I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do,

“But we’re alone now, and I’m singing this song to you.”

Hillsong offers a moving rendition of “Search Me O God,” an appropriate musical accompaniment to close today’s blog entry:

Forward march on March 4

March 4, 2017


Today we are taking a close look at the phrase of the day which is today’s date: March 4, 2017. Most remarkably, the fourth of March is the only day of the year that is expressed as a command, an imperative sentence: March Forth! We also note the intersection of another unofficial holiday, National Grammar Day observed on March 4.

The Grammarly blog offers a brief history of the holiday and explains its purpose:

“On National Grammar Day, we honor our language and its rules, which help us communicate clearly with each other. In turn, clear communication helps us understand each other—a critical component of peaceful relations.”

Host of the 2017 National Grammar Day, author Mignon Fogarty, comments, “Language is something to celebrate, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”

Although the exact words “March forth” are not used in the Bible, a similar expression to “march forth” is found the Amplified Bible in Psalm 68:7:

 O God, when You went forth before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness—Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!—

Psalm 45:4 also uses a related expression:

In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.

In a couple of instances in the Old Testament, we note commands to march forward:

When the Children of Israel advanced into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, one of the first places they encountered was the ancient city of Jericho, a fortified city surrounded by a great wall. Joshua gave orders to the Israel, ultimately leading to victory:

Joshua 6:7 in the Holman Standard Bible indicates what they were told to do:

He said to the people, “Move forward, march around the city, and have the armed troops go ahead of the ark of the Lord.”

Another place where Israel marched forth into victory occurred when David inquired of the Lord before going against the Philistines, and God told him how to proceed:

1 Chronicles 14:15 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then march out to battle, for God will have marched out ahead of you to attack the camp of the Philistines.”

In yet another account, when the Children of Israel are departing from Egypt, they encounter the first of a series of challenges, as the Egyptians are in hot pursuit behind them and the Red Sea rises as a barrier ahead of them. Exodus 14:13-16 unfolds what occurred and relates the Word of the Lord for Moses and the people:

13 Then Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to move forward [toward the sea]. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, so that the sons of Israel may go through the middle of the sea on dry land.

In a similar manner when we encounter obstacles and situations that could so easily overwhelm us, we must follow God’s command to move forward.

In the military we hear the command “Forward March.” “Forward” is the preparatory command whereby the individual shifts weight to the right foot before stepping out smartly on the left foot with on the command “march.”

Today is a day that speaks a command: Forward March!—March Forth—on March 4th.  Today we will follow the command of the Lord and March forth into victory:

Now thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph in Christ and makes manifest the sweet savor of His knowledge by us in every place. (1 Corinthians 2:14).

We follow in the footsteps of faithful Abraham, our Father, the father of Faith

Like Abraham, we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Romans 4:20-21 describes the “Father of Faith” in this way:

20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

We march forward from faith to faith, from glory to glory, and from victory to victory, not just on the 4th of March but every day of our lives. Whether we are enjoying an opportunity to move forward and march forth into victory in a variety of areas of our lives or celebrating the merit of good grammar, March 4 is “a doubly lovely day.”

An appropriate song to close out this blog entry is “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton: