Each sunrise reminds us God is faithful

May 17, 2021

This morning I began my day overwhelmed by the splendor of the sunrise, a reminder of the faithfulness of God, as this familiar passage from Lamentations 3:22-23 also came to mind:

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”

Refrains from one of my favorite hymns flooded my soul with song:

Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Other scriptures also ­­­­remind me that God is faithful beginning with Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible:

6 And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

God completes the good work begun in us so that as believers we will be complete in every good work to do His will, as Hebrews 13:20-21 offers this benediction:

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen

Throughout the Scriptures we find that “. . . God is faithful and means what He says.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMP) makes know this truth:

God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

This blessing and benediction also remind believers of God’s faithfulness:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (AMP)

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

In Hebrews 6:10 (AMP) we find another reminder that God is faithful and that He is not unjust:

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown for His name in ministering to [the needs of] the saints (God’s people), as you do.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.

As believers we endeavor to serve God and minister to one another. Our efforts may not always be recognized nor appreciated. Those whom we serve in love may not always remember what we say and do, but we are assured that God never forgets. Not only is God, our Father, faithful and just, but He is also a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), as the following poetic comments illustrate:

A Reminder: God Is Faithful

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love,

which you have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered

to the saints and do minister.

Hebrews 6:10

All the good deeds you have done may not be extolled

When the fervor of God’s love has long since grown cold.

Some so quickly forget all the good you have done,

And they fail to recall you were the only one

To answer the call, seek the Lord and intercede.

Time after time you were the one to meet the need.

When others were busy and chose to walk away,

You were there and remained in the thick of the fray.

In dark times when words of thanks are distant memories,

Recall our God knows all things, for He alone sees

Your labor and saves every tear you have shed.

Our Father is ever mindful of how you serve,

And He shall reward you beyond all you deserve.

As you strive to finish your course, have no regret:

Our God is faithful–He will never forget.

In reflecting upon God’s faithfulness as expressed in the Word of God, I thought of this medley of two songs that have come to mean so much to me: “He’s Been Faithful” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness” offered by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

Listen to the Song of the Lord

May 16, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 16, 2021 offers a strong word to encourage and exhort, a reminder custom-crafted for the perilous times in which we live. Take a look at Zephaniah 3:17 in the Amplified Bible:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A Warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins], He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

The first part of the verse describes the Lord our God as “A Warrior who saves” and brings to mind a similar picture found in Jeremiah 20-11-12 in the New International Version:

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
    so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
    their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
    and probe the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

This passage was also the inspiration behind this poetic portrayal of God, the Almighty One:

Mighty Warrior

The LORD will march out like a mighty man

like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;

with a shout he will raise the battle cry and

will triumph over his enemies. Isaiah 42:13 (NIV)

Mighty Warrior leads the charge into victory.

When we face each foe, Adonai begins to laugh.

As the Man of War, He destroys each enemy,     

For the Lord of Hosts arises on our behalf.

In the midst of battle, He bears His arm and rides

Upon all the fiery chariots of the wind.

He surrounds with power and protects on all sides,

As the ungodly fall and the righteous ascend.

The Almighty Judge rises to discern each heart.

He shakes the heavens and loosens all strongholds

And then probes the depths of truth in the inner part,

As the panoply of total victory unfolds.

Undefeated Super-conqueror—none, superior: 

The Master of Breakthrough is our Mighty Warrior.

 

A previous blog post also commented on Zephaniah 3:17, with this original psalm that also provides words of comfort and assurance:

Song of the Lord

The Lord your God in your midst;
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you with His love;
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

Be well assured that the Lord, your God, in your midst is mighty;

He has always been there, even in times when you could not see.

His strength never fails—His love prevails through all eternity.

Have no fear, only persevere. Rest in Him, for He will save.

To know the fullness of His great love, look at all that He gave.

Now, you are free, released you from every snare that seeks to enslave.

Know your triumphant end; He will rejoice over you with joy.

Your gracious Father has given all things richly to enjoy.

Recall the Word planted deep in your heart nothing can destroy.

He will complete what He began, and He will rest in His love.

Cast off all your cares and set your affection on things above,

He is able to do above all that you can ask or think of.

Weep no more, but know that He will joy over you with singing.

Celebrate a bountiful harvest with sheaves you are bringing.

Drink from the fountain where unspeakable joy is springing.

Listen to the Song of the Lord. . .

We close with a song inspired by Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord, Thy God” sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

I choose to have a heart that forgives

May 11, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 11, 2021 encourages believers to forgive one another:                    

Ephesians 4:32 in the Amplified Bible:

Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Forgiveness is also a topic discussed in detail in my Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. Chapter 7 examines “Forgiveness: A Forgotten Factor” in the healing process related to my diagnosis with prostate cancer. Here is an excerpt from that chapter which includes comments on Ephesians 4:32 and other related Scriptures:

Forgiveness is not only a vitally important concept in Christianity, but it has universal application as well. Described as a two-way street, this virtue is eloquently expressed in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. . . .” The subject is connected to some of the last words that Jesus Christ, who was also brutally slain, as he spoke before his death on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In addition, Paul also exhorts believers to “be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Dr. Arch Hart, Christian psychologist, offers a definition of forgiveness that seems to be particularly applicable in the situations with where one individual has hurt another in some way: “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”

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).

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

Some of the lyrics to the 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 most 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.”

Dr. Sidney Simon offers this definition of this critical concept:

“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”

Dr. Robert D. Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute and pioneer researcher with the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country, has developed Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. This study guide demonstrates how forgiveness, when approached in the correct manner, benefits the forgiver far more than the forgiven, indicating that forgiveness can reduce anxiety and depression while increasing self-esteem and hopefulness toward one’s future. The title of Dr. Enright’s workbook also brings to mind this poem:

I Choose to Forgive

 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,

forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

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, in spite of 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 from your perspective::

May I also see all things working together

For the good, even in perilous times as these.

We close with Kevin Levar singing “A Heart that Forgives”

On Mother’s Day and every day

May 9, 2021

On Mother’s Day

And every day. . .

This is what I say

To my Beloved Brenda,

My Sweet Lady, BJ,

Brenda Joyce

The wife of my youth

In whom I rejoice:

Lyrics from my “boppin’ doowop days”

Still apply today

I hope you remember

Lyrics so tender                                   

And you still see

How much I love you                 

M.T.Y.L.T.T.

(More Than Yesterday Less Than Tomorrow)

On Mother’s Day

And every day. . .

Happy Mother’s Day, My Love

Want to do God’s will? Give thanks!

May 7, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 7, 2021 provides great encouragement for believers to be continually in prayer today and every day. These three inter-related, verses form a three-fold cord that will intertwine with our lives, as we seek to do God’s will. The Amplified Bible’s renders the passage this way:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Thanksliving

A recent blog entry talks about the importance of attitude and offers this reminder:

“. . .  attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” Thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”, that is, my ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As believers, we constantly endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our heart, 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.

Much than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.”

This all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involves everything we do and say, just as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 proclaims: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Jesus Christ also tells 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 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,” as the Word of God encourages us always to be thankful to God,

As We Pray

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

as we pray always for you,

Colossians 1:3

During these dark times, we focus on the Kingdom,

Established and grounded on a sure foundation.

As we diligently pursue Godly wisdom,

New paths of this Apostolic Reformation

Unfold as the sun rises on the horizon.

Even in turbulent times, we must stay the course.

Aware of consequences of each decision,

We look to God our Father, bountiful resource.

As we renew our minds, we are transformed and change:

With a “kingdom mindset” we now see with new eyes.

Beyond past narrow limits our view is long-range.

We number our days with each sunset and sunrise,

As the Word commands: pray without ceasing, night and day,

Knowing that God always fulfills his will, as we pray.        

We close with one more reminder to “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18):

Faith: The bedrock of my life

May 1, 2021

The Verse of the Day for May 1, 2021 reminds us of God’s response to those who earnestly seek Him, found in Hebrews 11:6 in the Amplified Bible:

But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

The verse also brings to mind the importance of faith in my life, as I recall the first Bible teaching that  I ever shared as a sophomore in high school, 64 years ago when I was inspired to use Hebrews 11:1 and verse 6 as starting points. Now, I recognize full-well the importance of faith in an even more life-transforming way. In Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs, I share my holistic strategy to overcome a diagnosis of prostate cancer more than 20 years ago. Chapter 6, “The Faith Factor: Without Faith, It Is Impossible,” discusses faith as a critical component of my response to the diagnosis. Here is an excerpt:

Faith—the Bedrock of My Life

To build a magnificent mansion that will last a lifetime, the builders must begin with a solid foundation. Similarly, to build a purposeful life of success and fulfillment, we must establish a firm foundation upon which we build. For me, faith is the bedrock of life. I define faith as confident assurance, trust, and conviction in God that I will prevail. Faith—“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”— operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Faith is a Sine qua non—that without which there is nothing. Faith is the indispensable ingredient in a successful Christian’s life. The scriptures remind us that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In the midst of thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t!” but faith proclaims, “I can, and I will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than you can number, faith gives you the courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious; you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says, “no way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”

We can find excellent examples of illustrations of faith in the Bible. We begin with Abraham, the father of faith, who did not stagger at the promise of God that he should become the father of many nations, with descendants without number. Despite the circumstances of this hundred-year-old man with a­ barren wife of comparable age, Abraham grew strong and was empowered by faith. Hebrews 11 recounts the triumphs of men and women of faith in what has become known as the Hall of Faith.

Aside from the Bible, we can glean from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Notable examples are the Wright Brothers and countless others, who persevered in faith to accomplish the impossible. We are also surrounded by heroic men and women who live by faith each day to make a difference.

Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. Indeed, as Christian believers, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.

We close with this musical reminder by Kutless: “What Faith Can Do”

To learn more about faith and my life’s journey, checkout Embracing Your Life Sentence

Available on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2021

April 29, 2021

Poem in Your Pocket Day: April 29, 2021

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the American Academy of Poets has designated April 29 as National Poem in Your Pocket Day 2021. Until recently, the idea was simple: people selected a poem that they loved during National Poetry Month and carried it with them to share with co-workers, family, and friends. People unfolded poems from pockets  throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. In light of the current COVID-19 circumstances, the celebration can continue digitally:

Here are ways to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day 2021:

  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. 
  • Simultaneously participate in the Shelter in Poems initiative, and select a poem that brings you solace during this time of distance and solitude. Share what it means to you and use the hashtags #pocketpoem and #ShelterInPoems.
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. 

Poem in My Pocket:

In the midst of all that is transpiring, I wake up each day with a heart filled with gratitude that I am alive and well and “clothed in my right mind.” I often begin my day by reciting Psalm 118:24 the inspiration for this original psalm, the inspiration for the Poem in My Pocket for 2021:

Good News Day

This is the day the LORD has made;

 we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

It’s a good news day

no blues day

new shoes

no way to lose

What a good news day!

It’s a great day

I can’t wait day

lift your voice

let’s rejoice

Good God, a good news day!

It’s a payday

goin my way day

no nay–all yea

what you say

Such a good news day!

It’s a live it up day

overflowin cup day

It’s a bright and bubbly

doubly lovely

Show-nuff good news day!

Here is a link to a discussion of “Good News Day” posted on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. Check out.

Rescued from the Lost and Found

April 27, 2021

The blog entry for the Verse of the Day for April 27, 2021 is a revision of a previous post based on  Luke 19:10 in the Amplified Bible:

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

In fact, in Luke 15 we find three parables related to lost items: “The Parable of the Lost Sheep”, “The Parable of the Lost Coin”, and “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” In each instance, something is lost, and when it is found there is great celebration and rejoicing.

In the first account, a man has 100 sheep, and one is lost. The man leaves the ninety-nine and diligently pursues the lost sheep until he finds it and returns home.

Luke 15:6 (AMP)

And when he gets home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’

Similarly, Luke 15:8-9 describes another lost item and finding it.

 [The Lost Coin] “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins [each one equal to a day’s wages] and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

And when he gets home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’

At the end of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the third instance of a lost item, the father responds to his resentful son who stayed behind while his younger brother “squandered his substance in riotous living”:

Luke 15:32b

. . . for thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

At the end of this moving account, the forgiving father “spread the welcome table and had a family feast. . .” and in Luke 15:24 proclaims:

For this son of mine was [as good as] dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found.’ So they began to celebrate.

These three accounts of lost items remind of us our state before the Lord Jesus Christ rescued us from the “Lost and Found” of this world. Every believer is deposited as lost property awaiting retrieval by our rightful owner. We are eternally grateful that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, came to seek and to save the Lord. The lyrics to “I’m forever Grateful” express our thoughts:

Christ in you: the mystery revealed

April 25, 2021

The Verse of the Day for April 25, 2021, like a beautifully wrapped package, provides enjoy a deeper appreciation of God’s wisdom and grace offered to believers. This passage reveals the concept of “the mystery” unfolded in Colossians 1:27-28 in the King James Version:

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Derived from the Greek word musterion, translated “sacred secret,” the essence of “this mystery” is that Jews and Gentiles would be united in one body, the Body of Christ. This “great mystery” was hidden in Christ before the foundations of the earth.  Had Satan known this mystery or great secret, the Scriptures declare that he never would have crucified the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ. The mystery was revealed to the Apostle Paul as the context of the Verse of the Day indicates.

In the Book of Ephesians, Paul also speaks of the magnificence of God’s new creation in Christ and describes the spiritual impact that the Church, the Body of Christ, was designed to demonstrate. Our discussion of the riches of the glory of this mystery of the one body brought to mind to mind to an experience that occurred several years ago when my wife and I visited family and friends in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

During our stay in the City by the Bay, we enjoyed a most enlightening experience at the Asian Museum where we saw a special exhibit from the Ming Dynasty. One of the pieces on display was a stationery box which is similar to the one shown below. Although the final product reveals what the designer had in mind, we do not see how the object looked at the various stages of development. So, it is with the Church, the Body of Christ, referred to in the Book of Ephesians, especially in Chapters 2 and 3. The Church, as such, is still a work in progress, but I believe that God is putting “the finishing touches on His crowning achievement.”  The poem “Exquisite Exhibit” conveys, in part, thoughts regarding the Church and our role in this amazing masterpiece of God’s creation.

Exquisite Exhibit

Viewing a Ryoshi-bako (stationery box)

Power and Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty

Asian Museum–San Francisco, California

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10

God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety

to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

They will see this when Jews and Gentiles

are joined together in his church.  

Ephesians 3:10

Sublime thoughts never diminish, only increase,

As we marvel at this ancient masterpiece.

The designer sees the end long before he starts

And envisions intricate details of the parts

And fashions a wood box inlaid with jade and gold,

Lacquered vessel for deepest thoughts the mind can hold.

Beyond all that we see, God fashioned you and me

With precise measure of each scroll and filigree.

Displayed by the skillful hands of the Master craftsman,

Beyond the finest design of any artisan,

The Church, exquisite exhibit now on display,

Treasures from the hand of God take our breath away.

With the eyes of our heart now opened, we find

We are the masterpiece Jehovah had in mind.     

               

This ryoshi-bako or stationery box is similar to the one that inspired the poem that draws a parallel with God’s masterpiece, the Church.

A number of years ago I also hosted a radio show “Poetry and Praise,” where I would close each show with a reference to Ephesians 2:10. Recently, I discovered this rendering of the verse from the Passion Translation:

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!

Every day of our lives we recognize and celebrate the truth that as born-again believers we are all new creations in Christ, and we praise God that He has given us all things richly to enjoy. Indeed, “. . . we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (KJV) The word “workmanship” is translated from the Greek word poiema, which means “masterpiece, a glorious creation, a centerpiece of attention, as the French would say, le piece de resistance, or showpiece.” Of course, the Greek word poiema is transliterated into our English word poem, which in the minds of many people, certainly present company included, is always a “masterpiece” or glorious creation. So, that the people of God represent the real poetry of life, for which we praise God. Yes, each of us is a poem, or God’s handiwork or workmanship, a special work created by God that we should be to the praise of His glory…. 

We close with “Christ in You!” from Charlie LeBlanc (Hosanna! Music)

Crucified with Christ, yet I live

April 7, 2021

Revised and reposted, the Verse of the Day on Biblegate.com for April 7, 2021, comes from Galatians 2:20:

The New Living Translation renders the verse this way:

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Philippians 1:21 in the Amplified Bible also makes known this truth:

21 For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity].

The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead resides in every born-again believer. For in Christ we live, we move, and have our being. We have the privilege of demonstrating that same power that raised him from the dead, as we apply the principles of the Word of God whereby we manifest all that God desires for us:

Ephesians 3:17-20

 17that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—

19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

Verse 19 uses a particular expression that inspired this response:

All the Fullness of God

To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Ephesians 3:19

In wisdom, God gives power to loose and to bind,

To enlighten souls and open eyes of the blind.

All the promises of God are “yes and amen.”

God’s Word is true today, just as it was back then

When Christ first spoke the truth to those with ears to hear.

We walk in the spirit of love and have no fear.

We have been empowered by the spirit of might.

To serve the Lord, to please Him is our soul’s delight.

Secure, knowing nothing can snatch us from His hand,

We shall know fulfillment of all that God has planned.

Filled with all the fullness of God, that we might see:

The riches of the glory of this mystery.

We walk by faith and not by sight, for we now know

God sealed us by a covenant, and it is so.

This message of the Verse of the Day is powerfully reinforced in this stirring rendition of the song based on this verse by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, “I am crucified with Christ”: