Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 2:14’

“When your battle is fiercest, your victory is nearest.”

December 8, 2018

From time to time, the blog entry for the day will focus on the Quote of the Day rather than the usual Verse of the Day. Such is the case for the Quote of the Day taken from Kary Oberbrunner’s comments about the need for encouragement while facing the struggles not merely to survive but to thrive despite the resistance we face each day.

He reminded us:

“When your battle is fiercest, your victory is nearest.”

The quote also brought to mind the encouraging words of this classic anonymous poem:

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,:
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest, if you must, but don’t quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

In Chapter 3 of my newly released book Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. I recognized that life is a battlefield, and the battlefield is the mind. In actuality, I really came to grips with the intensity of a battle to fight when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. I described my encounter as “the fight of my life” as well as “the fight for my life.” In sharing my battle plan for combating cancer, I examined many scriptural references to the verb fight.

In 1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV), Paul speaks about fighting:

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed a good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

I thought of other scriptures related to fighting in those instances where the Lord fights for His people. Think about this seemingly impossible situation where the words “no way” echo through the mind. Take a look at the account in Exodus where the Children of Israel in their escape from bondage in Egypt run right into the Red Sea with the armies of Pharaoh in hot pursuit behind them. You can imagine the concern they expressed to Moses, their leader and spokesman for God, who offered these word of assurance:

Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV):

13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

We find a similar exhortation in Deuteronomy 20:4 (NKJV):

For the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Here is another reminder of the same truth in Joshua 23:10:

Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the LORD your God fights for you, just as he has promised.

We also find wonderful words of encouragement from David in Psalm 144:1–2:

Blessed be the LORD my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield, and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

Throughout the Old Testament and beyond we see instances where the people of God are grossly outnumbered by forces that appear overwhelming, but God reminds His people of who He is and what He will do. In an encounter with “a great multitude,” “a vast number” of the enemy, Zechariah offers these strong words of encouragement to Jehoshaphat, the King and to the people:

2 Chronicles 20:15 (Amplified Bible):

He said, “Listen carefully, all [you people of] Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. The LORD says this to you: ‘Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Yolanda Adams offers a musical reminder of this truth:

 

We close with a related quote from Les Brown to end on a victorious note:

“The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.”

As believers we are on the winning team and must remember this:

1 Corinthians 2:14:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

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

Thanks again for your prayers and support that made this possible.

Walking in the Spirit

September 28, 2018

The Verse of the Day for September 28, 2018 comes from 1 Corinthians 2:14 in the Revised Standard Version:

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Here is the rendering from the New Living Translation:

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

Revised and re-posted, today’s Verse of the Day contrasts two distinctive groups of people: those who are of a carnal or fleshly nature and those who are spiritual whose spiritual nature dominates. In the first instance, those of a carnal nature are led by bodily appetites, the five senses, and also by a self-exalting spirit, estranged from the life of the spirit. To those who walk after the flesh, spiritual matters or concerns of the Spirit are foolishness to those whose very nature is earthly, sensual, and devilish.

In Romans Paul contrasts those who walk after the spirit and those who walk after flesh in Romans 8:1(NKJV):

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

He goes on to explain how believers are different because we do not walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Galatians 5: 16-18 in the Amplified Bible sharply delineate this dilemma:

16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
17 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.
18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

In the midst of the turbulent times of this present age, many think of the prophetic word spoken on the Day of Pentecost proclaiming words spoken by the prophet Joel regarding the Spirit of God:

Acts 2:17-18

17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days
I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Our discussion also brings to mind this original poem

The Spirit of God

“Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.”
Traditional Gospel Song

As the Spirit of God moved upon the water,
As an eagle ascends on high and stirs her nest,
Attentive to the cries of her starving young ones;
As she satisfies her young and then spreads her wings,
So Holy Spirit with a gentle wavering,
Flutter over, move upon us in a new way.
As a gentle dove would hover over her brood,
Cover our soul and saturate our whole being.
As we wait upon you, spread your wings, bear us up
That we might soar to heights above the fowler’s snare.
Renew our strength and refresh our desire to serve.
As you feed us and sustain us, we shall mount up
On eagle’s wings. We shall run and not be weary.
As we look to you, we shall walk and not faint.

We close with a reminder of how believers should be walking: “Walking in the Spirit.

Natural vs spiritual

September 28, 2016

1_corinthians_2-14

The Verse of the Day for September 28, 2016 comes from 1 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG):

The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

Here is the rendering from the New Living Translation:

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

The Verse of the Day contrasts two distinctive groups of people: those who are of a carnal or fleshly nature and those who are spiritual whose spiritual nature dominates. In the first instance, those of a carnal nature are led by bodily appetites, the five senses, and also by a self-exalting spirit, estranged from the life of the spirit. To those who walk after the flesh, spiritual matters or concerns of the Spirit are foolishness to those whose very nature is earthly, sensual, and devilish.

In Romans Paul contrasts those who walk after the spirit and those who walk after flesh in Romans 8:1(NKJV):

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

He goes on to explain

Romans 8:5 (NLT):

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

The essence of the contrast between the flesh and the spirit is explained here:

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

has made me free from the law of sin and death

Romans 8:2

 

As we move into this new season, we shall see what it brings,

As we learn that the life in the Spirit is where we should be.

No longer in bondage to sin and death we have been set free.

Since we have been brought into the new, we can now do new things,

For our desire is to please God, to succeed and to excel,

We know that we are saved by grace, not by our own merit.

We covenant with God that we will walk in the Spirit

And provide a place where the Spirit of God may dwell.

Ever aware of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness,

We embrace the Spirit of the Living God and understand

That to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh, is God’s command.

As we mature, we attain a measure of Christ’s fullness.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free

To walk into the fullness of all God has called us to be.

The Maranatha Singers provide this musical medley as reminder that we should be “Walking in the Spirit”:

Forward march: March forth on March 4

March 4, 2016

march-4-blue_thumbnail0

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.

Instead of expounding upon the Verse of the Day, as we usually do, today we will take a look at the Word for the Day. Although the Bible does not use the exact words “march forth,” we find a similar expression used in 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 that they encountered was the ancient city of Jericho, a fortified city surrounded by a great wall. Joshua gave orders to the Children of Israel, ultimately leading to victory. Joshua 6:7 (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 Almighty 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, we note that 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 march forward, moving from faith to faith, from glory to glory, and from victory to victory, not just today but every day of our lives.

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

March Forth on March 4th

March 4, 2015

march-4-blue_thumbnail0

The fourth day of March is the only day of the year that is a expressed as an imperative sentence given as a command: March Forth! An Examiner.com article discusses this unofficial holiday that has been created by Deborah Shouse, noted writer, speaker and creativity coach, who invites individuals to march forth into their lives, take on new experiences, and celebrate their accomplishments.

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 similar verb::

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

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

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)

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.”

As believers we find that we can follow the command to “Forward March” in four areas: Family Life, Finances, Favor, and Faith:

Forward March in Family Life, as we recognize that God sets the solitary and places them in families, and we pray the prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21

14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

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

18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fulness of God.

20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

In addition, we “Forward March in Finances”:

God’s desire for His people is health and well-being:

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

The blessings of the Lord makes us rich and adds no sorrow with it. We are blessed that we might be a blessing.

Moreover, we also Forward March in Favor

Where sin did abound, grace (favor) did much more abound.—We are blessed and highly favored in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us:2

And God is able to make all grace (favor) abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Finally, we Forward March in Faith, as we move from—Faith to Faith—Victory to Victory. 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.

And so we march forth on March 4, 2015, as we “Forward March” in four areas: Family Life, Finances, Favor, and Faith.

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

Marriage: a love of endless giving

December 24, 2014
Angela and Shajuan Joyner on their wedding day, December 21, 2014

Angela and Shajuan Joyner on their wedding day, December 21, 2014

As the week passes swiftly moving toward Christmas Day, I pause to reflect upon a memorable event that occurred this past Sunday: the wedding ceremony for Shajuan Jermaine Joyner and Angela Renee Johnson, our younger daughter. Not only did I have the privilege of escorting my daughter down the aisle, but I was also doubly honored to have officiated the marriage ceremony. In absorbing the essence of that memorable event, Proverbs 13:19a came to mind:

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul:

I also recall 1 Corinthians 2:14:

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

Shajuan and Angela’s wedding took place on Sunday, December 21, four days before Christmas, a time where the concept of giving is clearly demonstrated. Marriage also provides boundless opportunities to give, as is expressed in this original poem which was recited during the ceremony:

For Shajuan and Angela

on their Special Day

December 21, 2014

Reflections on Marriage

Sharing is caring

a love of endless giving

 

Marriage isn’t funny,

But it can be fun,

Taking two distinct parts

And blending them into one.

 

In marriage we give and receive to live.

Just how this works is so hard to conceive.

But the same hand that opens up to give

Is the same hand that opens to receive.

Give and then see what the Lord has in store.

Live and start to give and then give some more.

When at last you come to find a closed door,

Open up and then give and give some more.

 

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.

 

He who lives and never gives,

May live for years and never live.

But he who lives and lives to give

Shall live for years with more to give.

 

Whether at Christmastime or in marriage or for any other celebration, giving is always in season.