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.”

 

Don’t waste your time: Redeem it

May 8, 2017

Colossians-4 5

The Verse of the Day for May 8, 2017 comes from Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT):

Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with outsiders (non-believers), make the most of each opportunity [treating it as something precious]. Let your speech at all times be gracious and pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer each one [who questions you].

Some may be more familiar with the King James Version:

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

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Similar words of encouragement are found in Ephesians 5:15 -17 (AMP):

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise–sensible, intelligent people;

Making the very most of the time–buying up each opportunity–because the days are evil.

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

These passages offer an exhortation to “live wisely” or “walk in wisdom” or “walk circumspectly.” In this instance the term “To walk circumspectly” means to walk carefully, accurately, “to be watchful on all sides.”  Walking in wisdom involves being intentional and making deliberate choices that determine the direction and ultimate fulfillment of one’s purpose in God.

As we mature in our Christian walk, these scriptures exhort us to make the most of our time, “to redeem the time.“ Time in the Word Ministries discusses the verb “redeeming” in the phrase “redeeming the time” which is translated from a Greek word which means “to be in the marketplace.” Literally it means  “to purchase out, buy up;  buy out of the hands of a person; to set free; to buy off, to secure for oneself or one’s own use; to buy up from the power or possession of any one.”

The word “time” in this instance does not refer to time in a general sense, rather the Greek word from which it is translated refers to a “ moment; a specific point in time. The term “a kairos-moment or season” is used to describe–a strategic moment; opportune time; moment or window of opportunity that God creates when something must be done now. We must cooperate with Him now to accomplish what we need to accomplish.

One way of understanding the concept is to see it as being in the right place at right time to purchase exactly what you need because the price is right. You are passing through the department store and you hear the “blue light special” for the item you came in to purchase at a reduced price.”

This idea of time as a quantity or entity to be purchased is powerfully expressed in this prophetic exhortation from Dutch Sheets:

“. . . We must buy or purchase the opportunities or opportune times God creates for us. We must be willing to spend our money; we must be willing to spend our time. It is a season for readjusting our priorities; it is a time when we begin to think very differently; because [of] the opportunities that God has created now we must spend whatever is necessary and purchase those.  We are going to have to spend our time, our money, our talents, our energies, our efforts, much prayer time; we are going have to be ready to do whatever it takes to do what God says in order to purchase those opportunities that are coming.  Tell my people that I’m about to create a season of tremendous opportunities . . . a season of ‘suddenlies’. . . I’m about to move them into a season where opportunities are about to come very, very quickly and they’re going have to be ready to move into them very quickly.”

The essence of “redeeming the time” is also captured in this poem:

 Time

So teach us to number our days,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

 

Our lives begin with a handful of coins.

To wisely invest or squander each dime

The daily choice, though the Bible enjoins

Us to walk as wise, to redeem the time,

As a wise buyer with talents would keep

His eye on best buys sought before the chime

Should ring to bring each soul to his brief sleep

Or those who remain shall be gathered to

The bosom of the Father, there to reap

Their rewards, as each shall receive his due.

Time is fixed; we cannot borrow nor lend.

The coins we are given seem far too few.

Life is the sum of the coins that we spend

Before our time in life’s market shall end.

The accompanying video, while not the usual musical selection, shows the amount of time we have, and it urges us to “redeem the time” which is part of our walking in wisdom.

The essence of the message of Colossians 4:5 and other related verses is set to music with “Redeem the Time” by Joshua Simpkins:

Rejoice, pray, give thanks always

May 7, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5--16-18

Taken from Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, an epistle written by Paul to the believers at Thessalonica, the Verse of the Day for May 7, 2017 provides great encouragement to believers today found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (MSG):

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

The King James Version renders these three verses as three imperative sentences or commands as to how believers should conduct our lives:

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

These three verses are inter-related, forming a three-fold cord that will intertwine with our lives, as we seek to do God’s will. Here is the Amplified Bible’s rendering of these verses:

16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);

17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];

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

A recent blog entry contained some of the following comments:

Thanksgiving

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

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

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

We ought always to pray and not to faint.

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

As the circumstances of our lives unfold in the midst of the perilous times in which we live, unquestionably, “There is always something to pray about.”

We conclude with a Scripture memory verse medley of the Verse of the Day by JumpStart 3: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

To look, to feel, to do

May 6, 2017

John Wesley Quote

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, let us take a look at the Quote of the Day for May 6, 2017. This statement is attributed to the late Kim Clement, and I have used it as a personal mini-motivational speech, as I look into the mirror while preparing for the day on many a-morning.

“I see myself somewhere in the future, and I’m looking so much better than I look right now.”

Later I added this response: “But right now I’m looking good!”

Not only am I looking good, but I’m feeling good as well.

After a recent appointment with my urologist, he asked how I was feeling, and I commented “I’m feeling great!” After looking over my records, he confirmed my state of well-being and said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep on doing it. It’s working. See you in six months.”

In reflecting on his remarks, I happened to think of the Biblical expression “to do good” which I am ever striving to practice. Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to follow after, to pursue, to practice or do that which is right, or just, or good.

We always have a choice to do good or to do evil, but the Word of God reminds us that despite the sinful nature of humanity, our ultimate purpose is to do good:

Ecclesiastes 3:12 (AMP):

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live;

Psalm 34:14 (AMP) exhorts believers to

Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Similarly in Psalm 37:3 (AMP) we are encouraged to

Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.

This verb brings to mind a similar exhortation from Galatians 6:10:

So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers

Finally, Hebrews 13:16 provides these words of encouragement:

Do not neglect to do good, to contribute [to the needy of the church as an expression of fellowship], for such sacrifices are always pleasing to God.

These reminders to do justly or to do good are echoed in the words of John Wesley, who said:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

As we practice or become adept at “doing good,” we will reap the benefits that abound toward us in return. These thoughts brought to mind this poem of celebration:

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living seventy-four years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folk song of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

We conclude with this musical expression of how I feel at this time in life: “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble:

 

Don’t worry; instead, pray about everything

May 5, 2017

Philippians-4 6-7

The Verse of the Day for May 5, 2017 reveals that, as believers, we are reminded that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Here is the rendering of this celebrated passage in the New Living Translation (NLT):

Philippians 4:6-7:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The Message Bible puts it this way:

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Ephesians 5:20 also offers this reminder:

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving is found in I Thessalonians 5:18:

 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.

The King James Version renders the verse this way:

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

To facilitate memorizing this particular verse, here are lyrics to a Scripture Memory Song “In Everything Give Thanks”:

In everything give thanks,

In everything give thanks,

For this is the will of God

In Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

Repeat

 

When things in life don’t seem to turn out

Just as we think they should,

We know that God still has a grand plan

And works all things together—

He works all things together for our good.

 

In everything give thanks,

In everything give thanks,

For this is the will of God

In Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

The sun shines bright or the darkest night,

No matter what the mood,

We still give thanks always for all things.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

We keep an attitude of gratitude.

 

In everything give thanks,

In everything give thanks,

For this is the will of God

In Christ Jesus concerning you.

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

J, Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” For believers thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. Every day we should 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 that some have called thanksliving.” The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all

His grace?  What can we say to offer praise

Worthy of His glory?  How can we call

With all our being upon His name and raise

A new song from the depths of our heart?

We must do more than mouth a platitude–

To express our soul in words is an art;

Yet words cannot express our gratitude.

Mere words are empty and without merit.

“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.

So we must worship God with our spirit

And must give thanks well for all of our days.

To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;

With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Listen to this scripture memory song based on Philippians 4:6-7 from Integrity Music

 

If my people will. . . then I will.. .

May 4, 2017

2 Chronicles 7--14

The entry for the Verse of the Day for May 4, 2017, the National Day of Prayer, was posted a year ago and is re-posted here today.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This verse has been invoked countless times in conjunction with corporate prayer gatherings, and, indeed, has been the theme verse of the National Day of Prayer and other similar occasions.

While this verse often brings to mind people within a particular geographic location, the actual emphasis is on “my people” who could be the people of God in any place across the globe, wherever two or three or more are gathered. Certainly, this is the will of God for the people of God from around the world.

IF

2 Chronicles 7:14 is in reality an “if . . . then” conditional sentence which opens with a conditional clause, followed by a main clause that expresses the results from meeting the conditions set forth. God specifically sets the conditions for “His” people, those who call upon His name and those whom He designates as belonging to Him, those called by His name. If these individuals will perform certain actions, then God will respond accordingly. He sets the conditions with a series of verbs, each of which is connected to the others by “and.” All of these actions must be performed as part of the conditions:

. . . humble themselves

Followers of God should first of all “humble themselves.” This condition is reinforced with these exhortations

James 4:10 (NLT)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

and pray

In addition, believers should also “pray.”

Again, throughout the scriptures God’s people are exhorted to pray:

As the Lord Jesus Christ told his followers, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint,” even as Paul encouraged believers to “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We are also reminded in Philippians 4:6 (NLT):

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

and seek my face

To the three previous conditions, His people are to “seek His face.” Like David, we are to yearn to be in God’s presence:

Psalm 27:8 (AMP):

When You said, “Seek My face [in prayer, require My presence as your greatest need],” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I will seek [on the authority of Your word].”

and turn from their wicked ways

The final condition that must be met is to “turn from your wicked ways.” God expresses His desire for His people:

Ezekiel 18:23 (NLT):

“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.

Isaiah 55:7 also makes known this:

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

If these four conditions are fulfilled on our part, God will do His part, expressed with three distinct actions:

THEN

I will hear from heaven

God will hear from heaven, the place where the ears of God are open. The Verse of the Day is part of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple, where he goes on to say:

2 Chronicles 6:21

21 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.

We are also reminded that

1 Peter 3:12

“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

and forgive their sins

In 1 John 1:9 we find another conditional sentence that relates to the results received: that God forgives our sins if we confess them:

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Psalm 103:3 reiterates this message, in that God “forgives all your iniquities and heals all your diseases.”

Ezekiel 6:33 also proclaims God’s ultimate desire to forgive Israel’s iniquities and restore their land

‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt.

and heal their land

This expression of God’s will is revealed in this portion of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple in 2 Chronicles 6:24-25

If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy,
because they have sinned against You,
and they return to You and praise Your name,
and they pray and plead for mercy
before You in this temple,
25 may You hear in heaven
and forgive the sin of Your people Israel.:
May You restore them to the land
You gave them and their ancestors.

Isaiah 49:8 (AMP) reveals also God’s desire to bless the land of Israel:
Amplified Bible

This is what the Lord says, “In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep watch over You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and give as inheritances the deserted hereditary lands,

The celebrated verse associated with corporate prayer reminds us once more that God is not a respecter of persons, but He is a respecter of conditions which must be met before God fulfills His terms of the agreement. God, however, is a respecter of conditions. Many times the terms of condition are expressed by the use of “if.” Throughout the Bible we find that God has set up “If . . . then” statements” that reveal promises that He will fulfill if we do our part.

We now close with a musical rendering of this familiar verse:

Our confident hope

May 3, 2017

Romans 12--12

The Verse of the Day for May 3, 2017 comes from Romans 12:12 in the New Living Translation:

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Yesterday I received an announcement regarding the approaching hurricane season, encouraging residents in North Carolina to have a plan in place should there be need to relocate during a severe storm. The email brought to mind Hurricane Matthew, the devastating Category 5 tropical storm that ravaged the Eastern seaboard in September of last year.  I also thought of a teaching series related to the storms of life by Dr. David Jeremiah and others, who spoke of the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through another storm.  One of the messages inspired the following poem that uses Romans 12:12 as its epigraph or scriptural introduction:

The Prayer Directive: Strength between Storms

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,

continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Romans 12:12 [NKJV]

When it seems that we have reached our outer limits

Of exhausted options and can no longer cope,

Wrestling with unbelief, our foe that inhibits,

God’s word reminds us to keep rejoicing in hope.

We know that in patience we possess our soul.

In the midst of life’s pressures, we remain secure,

Assured that in Christ Jesus, we have been made whole,

Watching and waiting with renewed strength to endure.

As stately palm trees, we yield and bend in the wind,

And pray in the spirit, with requests that never cease.

As sweet-smelling incense, our fervent prayers ascend

In greater measure, as our petitions increase.

Though storms may overwhelm, we are still in God’s care:

Therefore rejoice, be patient, continue in prayer.

The Verse of the Day opens with a reminder that we should be continually rejoicing in hope. We are also mindful that Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

As a child I have fond memories of singing in the Junior Choir, where I recall “leading” my first song at the age of eight or nine. Actually I did not “sing,” but I narrated the verses while the choir sang the lyrics to “On Christ, the Solid Rock.”  This “vintage hymn” which resounds with “hope” is part of this moving medley “In Christ Alone My Hope is Found.”

In the midst of difficult situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love and encourages us to:

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble  and keep on praying.

Jesus: Our redeemer

April 29, 2017

Job 19.25-26

The Verse of the Day for April 27, 2017 comes from Job 19:25 (NLT):

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.

This verse refers to the  “redeemer,” one who exercises the right of redemption. The act of redeeming literally means  “to purchase out, buy up;  buy out of the hands of a person; to set free; to buy off, to secure for oneself or one’s own use; to buy up from the power or possession of any one.” According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, to be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, to be made holy, to be freed, adopted, and reconciled to God.

Psalm 111:9 (NLT) refers to the redemption of Israel:

He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!

Likewise, Psalm 130:7 (NLT) makes known the same:

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.

The Verse of the Day with its reference to “my redeemer” also brings to mind that as believers we have been redeemed or purchased back from hand of the enemy by Christ Jesus, as Matthew 20:28 proclaims:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many

Jesus is designated as our savior and redeemer. In the Old Testament we find a particular reference to the Kinsman Redeemer. This heroic figure is foreshadowed in the Book of Ruth, where a male relative assumes the responsibility to act on behalf of a distant family member who is in danger or trouble or in need of vindication.

A scripture memory song describes this Old Testament prototype:

The Kinsman Redeemer, our wonderful savior.

The Kinsman Redeemer, we know that He is able

To restore and to bless, to turn sadness into joy.

When we read the Word of God and learn the truth,

We see that the Kinsman Redeemer was Boaz who married Ruth.

A series of teachings based on the Book of Ruth and some of the lessons to be learned from that amazing love story reveals the heroic figure of the Kinsman Redeemer. The teachings inspired this poem which the Verse of the Day brought to mind:

Another Lesson from the Book of Ruth

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.

And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently

for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Romans 15:4 (NLT)

In times of crisis when famine engulfs the land,

Those willing to glean, to sacrifice will survive.

Like Ruth, they shall be satisfied and even thrive

To see blessings flow from the Father’s own right hand.

As a Kinsman Redeemer arose to rescue

Two brave women in despair, Naomi and Ruth,

So their example reveals an eternal truth:

What God did then, He does no less for me and you.

Dismissing failures, our Savior ignored each flaw

As he called us by name and set the captives free,

For our redemption canceled any penalty

When he redeemed our souls from the curse of the Law.

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, still lives,

And through all eternity he endlessly gives.

Heidi French Lovett offers a musical expression of “Jesus our Redeemer”:

The verse from Job also brings to mind George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah, the renowned oratorio based on texts from the King James Version of the Bible. One of the most well-known selections from this frequently performed musical composition is based Job 19:25-26: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth.”

Lose your mind: renew your mind

April 28, 2017

Philippians 2--5

The Verse of the Day for April 28, 2017 comes from Philippians 2:5-8 in the familiar King James Version:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The opening phrase of the passage offers this exhortation to believers in the Amplified Bible:

Philippians 2:5 (AMP)

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 expression brings to mind similar words of encouragement “to put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and “to be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Believers must learn to put off their former way of thinking and put on or develop new thinking habits or patterns based on the Word of God.

I recall an experience when I first began studying and applying the Scriptures in my life in a serious and consistent manner. I was in the Army, and one of my buddies noticed how intently I studied the Bible, as I shared my enthusiasm for what I was learning. One day he pulled me to the side and said in a serious manner, “Johnson, if you keep studying that Bible so much, you’re going to lose your mind.” Immediately I was offended and remarked, “I studied harder and for a longer period of time when I was in college, and I didn’t lose my mind. Why do you think it’s going to happen to me now?” I dismissed his remarks and kept on pursuing spiritual principles, applying them to my daily life. After a short period of time, however, his words came true. I did start to lose my mind, but I also recognized that I had replaced my old mindset with a new way of thinking, as I put on the mind of Christ.

This ongoing, lifelong spiritual process is called “renewing the mind.” Christians are instructed not to be conformed to the thinking patterns of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2).

This section of scripture is associated with the familiar process of metamorphosis. Translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, the phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are also “changed” into the same image by means of this ongoing process.

Butterflies as they undergo metamorphosis are transformed from egg to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly (adult). Christian believers also continually undergo a similar spiritual transformation as they mature in Christ. The essence of this amazing process is expressed this way:

We put off the old, put on the new, and leave the past behind.

As we follow Christ, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. We are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. We personally apply these principles of renewing our minds when we determine that we will change directions in our lives and start following this directive to

Put off, put on, put away

And do not be conformed to this,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable

 and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

 

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but learning to patiently wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with our mouths confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we are, to always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed being sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity,

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace:

Not to seeking revenge but forgiving each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

Jody McBryer concludes with a powerful rendering of “The Mind of Christ”:

 

 

 

Jesus saves to the uttermost

April 26, 2017

Hebrews 7--25

From Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) comes the Verse of the Day for April 26, 2017:

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

The Amplified Bible offers this powerful rendering:

Hebrews 7:25:

Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.

Posted below is a previous blog entry devoted t0 this verse which makes known Jesus Christ as a complete Savior, who fulfills his purpose as the Son of God:

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10)

The Psalmist offers these comforting words to remind us of God’s faithfulness to rescue those who are lost:

Psalm 31:8

And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Psalm 106:10

And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

Psalm 107:2

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

In thinking about Jesus Christ who saves to the uttermost, I recall a blog entry where I commented on our being rescued from a “horrible pit.” What follows is an excerpt from the post entitled “There is no pit so deep. . .”

I recall reading a commentary regarding Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy, who were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps because they helped Jews to escape in Holland during World War II. They found themselves in a horrible situation, in a deep pit, and Betsy’s last words before she died spoke of hope, even in a most difficult situation. Corrie ten Boom, was later rescued and gave her testimony of the amazing power of God’s love that sustained her over the years of her life. Betsy said these words which became the opening line and the title of the following poem:

“There is no pit so deep. . .”

“There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

 Betsy ten Boom

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my steps.

Psalm 40:2                            

“There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

In times of turmoil and deep distress we rest until

We see that God’s Word comes to pass, for we have no doubt

That He will again deliver us and bring us out

With renewed strength to climb an even steeper hill.

 

We are assured that every promise God will fulfill.

When we are exhausted, God will refresh and refill.

No matter how severe the problem we thought about,

“There is no pit so deep. . .”

 

Despite our best efforts, at times life goes all downhill.

In times of despair we seek courage and strength to instill,

As we persevere to triumph along this treacherous route.

Rooted and grounded, we are no longer tossed about.

We remember these words as we strive to fulfill God’s will:

“There is no pit so deep. . .”

Travis Cottrell reminds us “Jesus Saves” and to the uttermost, as the Verse of the Day reiterates: