Posts Tagged ‘1 Peter 5:10’

The Church: God’s crowning achievement

July 21, 2018

 

The Church is designed to be the Crowning Achievement of God’s creative wisdom.

Inspired by a new series of teachings entitled “Church Matters” by Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries of Sanford, NC, I have been thinking about the magnitude of the Church, as God is putting the “finishing touches on His crowning achievement.” God is perfecting the Church, individually and corporately. A blog entry posted last month spoke of the “perfecting work” God is performing:

Hebrews 13:20-21:

20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

When we encounter situations we where we recognize that we are being perfected or brought to a higher level of maturity, we must remember this:

James 1:2-4 (NLT):

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing

1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV offers these words of comfort

10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

As we find ourselves in transition moving toward the perfection or completion of all that God has planned for us, we must remember:

Philippians 1:6

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.

As reflections of God’s love, we are not just a good work, but we are part of God’s masterpiece, a glorious display of His workmanship. The good work that was begun in us when we first accepted Christ as our Savior culminates in the glorious manifestation of all that God designed us to be. God desires that we fulfill His purpose for each believer, individually as well as corporately as members of the Body of Christ.

Another phrase to describe the Church is God’s “crowning achievement” evokes a number of synonyms: crowning accomplishment, crowning glory, masterpiece or masterwork, showpiece, smash hit, work of a master, great work or magnum opus. Ephesians 2:10 declares that “. . . we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

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, present company included, is always a “masterpiece” or glorious creation. Likewise, the Church is always a work in progress—always in transition, as Ephesians 4:13 reminds us of the direction we are moving in:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

The Church has been designed to display the infinitely variegated, wisdom of God, as Ephesians 3:10 in the Amplified Bible reveals:

[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.

Though we may not presently see the fullness of that revelation, we are ever moving in that direction. “For we know when that which is perfect is come then that which is in part shall be done away.” The Church is always moving . . . from faith to faith . . . from glory to glory . . . from victory to victory. We are continually getting closer to

The Finish

Jesus said unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work.

John 4:34

I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you

will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].

Philippians 1:6

In this present season God is placing a great demand
On those who excel, those seeking to run and win the race.
Though the way seems grueling, we are still guided by His hand.
God exhorts us to run as He sustains us by His grace.
First we cross the finish line, then we mount the victor’s stand.

Awaiting true sons, all creation still groans and travails
Until our full redemption when, at last, Christ shall descend.
Each one who endures to the end is the one who prevails.
With strength to finish our course, we strive to the very end.
First we cross the finish line, then we mount the victor’s stand.

We run with purpose, and we discipline our lives to win,
And we know all things are working together for the good.
Laying aside every weight and every besetting sin,
To do the will of God and to finish: this is our food.
First we cross the finish line, then we mount the victor’s stand.

We now run the race, being conformed into his image,
Assured our God is faithful to provide and to protect,
For each day we see ourselves transformed into Christ’s visage,
Knowing this work He began, He will complete and perfect.
First we cross the finish line, then we mount the victor’s stand.

As we run, we watch and wait, knowing that we shall endure.
As with Timothy, we make full proof our ministry.
We ever seek to make our calling and election sure,
Pressing toward the finish, the mark of full maturity.
First we cross the finish line, then we mount the victor’s stand.

As believers we are members in particular in the Body of Christ, the Church, God’s masterpiece, His “Crowning Achievement.” Philippians 1:6 and other verses reinforce the message that we are part of God’s “Great Work” sung by Brian Courtney Wilson: “Great Work”

What are the desires of your heart?

July 20, 2018

As I began my day in quiet reflection, a question came to mind. I guess you might say this is the “Question of the Day” for July 20, 2018:

“What are the desires of your heart? What is the innermost yearning that fuels the passion of your soul?”

In response Psalm 37:3-5 in the Amplified Bible came to mind:

3Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
Trust in Him also and He will do it.

A previous blog entry recognizes this particular passage as a double entendre or as having two meanings. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the deepest yearnings of our heart. In addition, we could state that as we find pleasure in the Lord, He will place those heart’s desires within each of us, so that our innermost longings become our insatiable hunger to please Him.

Again, Psalm 40:8 reveals this truth:

I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.

The passage from Psalm 34 and related verses also bring to mind the first poem that I wrote. The situation seemed to be rather accidental (providential), taking, place during my freshman year in college in my composition class. I was asked to write a response to this prompt: “May I Tell You What Delights Me?” I made a list of things that brought me pleasure, and when I read what I had written to the class, my professor described it as poetry. That incident occurred years before I fully recognized and embraced my calling as poet. Years later in graduate school, I realized I had written a free-verse, catalogue poem. Near the top of the list of sources of delight for me was the Book of Psalms, which not only speaks of what God takes pleasure in but also relates what the Psalmist delights in or takes pleasure in.

From time to time, we may lose our focus and become anxious regarding our ever-fluctuating circumstances. During times of uncertainty when trouble and anguish attempt to derail us from our destiny, when our feet seem to slip, and we are about to lose our grip, we can turn our thoughts toward the promises of God, assured that just as He has been with us through the stormy trials of the past, so He will be with us now. Along with the Psalmist, we take comfort in this knowledge which delights our souls so much.

Each day we are learning to answer yes to God’s call to service, knowing this, according to the Amplified Bible:

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”

That’s Romans 8:28, my all-time favorite verse in the entire Bible.

Paul reminds us, “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” Once again, the Psalmist also clearly offers a similar reminder in Psalm 112:1(AMP):

1 Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.

Our heart’s desire is to please God and that desire He has placed there. This poetic response expresses our heart’s desire toward God:

The Passion of Our Heart

The passion of our heart is to fulfill the call,
To walk worthy of the vocation, to stand tall
Yet humbly in His presence, to ever succeed
And abound in God’s grace and to sow righteous seed
That bears fruit each season, wherever it may fall.

To serve God with a pure heart, untainted with gall,
May we never forget His goodness but recall
The Word of God spoken to give life and to feed
The passion of my heart.

May we walk in peace and live to tear down each wall;
May we know the touch that will quicken and enthrall.
Touched by God’s hand, our lives now reveal such deep need.
We must do more than merely hear but must give heed
To the desire to please the Father with all
The passion of our heart.

1 Peter 5:10 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) offers this benediction:

10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.

Listen to this delightful version of Psalm 37:4 by Junko Nishiguchi Cheng from Saddleback Church in Southern California:

How long is eternity?

June 7, 2015

Psalm 90--2Modified and re-posted from last year, the Verse of the Day for June 7, 2015 is found in Psalm 90:2, 4 (KJV):

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Take a look at this rendering of Psalm 90:2,4 in the New Living Translation:

Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.

For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.

Here we find verses that make known the magnitude of God. Indeed, the Scriptures speak of “the God eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, to whom is due glory and honor and majesty forever and ever.” Other passages reveal the magnitude of an eternal God who is great and greatly to be praised.

1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. . . .” and 1 Timothy 1:17 makes known this magnificent benediction:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

In addition, Deuteronomy 33:27 makes a similar declaration about who God is and what He will do:

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

God is timeless. The above scriptures and others speak of eternity. As finite beings we have difficulty comprehending the infinite. I recall two analogies which help us to grasp to a degree eternity:

First of all, take a bucket, the size that you could handle, and use that bucket to remove water from all the seven seas or all the water that covers the earth. When you have completed the task that would mark the first day of eternity.

Another analogy asks that we imagine the Earth as a solid sphere of stainless steel. Every thousand years, a white dove takes a journey from the farthest side of the universe and flies to Earth and touches the planet with a brush of its wing, wearing away a microscopic amount of the planet. After a period of time the bird eventually wears away the whole earth. When this occurs, the first day of eternity will begin.

In addition, song writers attempt to express the eternal nature of God. The passage from Psalm 90 is the inspiration for one of the popular hymns by the great 18th Century hymn writer, Isaac Watts, “Even from everlasting, Thou art God.” The well-known hymn is offered in three different versions. The first is a “shape note anthem,” an example of “Sacred Harp singing” or “shape-note singing. Shape notes are a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. Harp singing or shape note singing dates back to the colonial period and continues to enjoy popularity in the rural South and elsewhere.

The second version is “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” comes from the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute Singers

The third version is a contemporary rendering of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Harvest Church.

Lord, help us to see to a greater degree, the magnitude of eternity.

Psalm 37:4: Your heart’s desires He has placed there

October 19, 2014

 

Psalm 37--4

The Verse of the Day is taken from Psalm 37:4 in the Amplified Bible, but to appreciate the context of the verse more fully, take a look at the following verse as well:

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Each day I am learning to answer yes to God’s call to service, knowing this, according to the Amplified Bible:

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”

That’s Romans 8:28, my all-time favorite verse in the entire Bible.

Paul reminds us, “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” Once again, the Psalmist also clearly offers a similar reminder in Psalm 112:1(AMP):

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.

My heart’s desire is to please God and that desire He has placed there. I express my heart’s desire toward God in this poem:

The Passion of My Heart

The passion of my heart is to fulfill the call,

To walk worthy of the vocation, to stand tall

Yet humbly in His presence, to ever succeed

And abound in God’s grace and to sow righteous seed

That bears fruit each season, wherever it may fall.

 

To serve God with a pure heart, untainted with gall,

May I never forget His goodness but recall

The Word of God spoken to give life and to feed

The passion of my heart.

 

May I walk in peace and live to tear down each wall;

May I know the touch that will quicken and enthrall.

Touched by God’s hand, my life now reveals such deep need.

I must do more than merely hear but must give heed

To the desire to please the Father with all

The passion of my heart.

 

1 Peter 5:10 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) offers this benediction:

10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.

Listen to this delightful version of Psalm 37:4 by Junko Nishiguchi Cheng from Saddleback Church in Southern California:

The magnitude of God: The eternal God

June 7, 2014

Psalm 90--2

The Verse of the Day for June 7, 2014 is found in Psalm 90:2, 4 (KJV)

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Take a look at this rendering of the verse in the Amplified Bible:

Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed and given birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.

For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

Here we find verses that make known the magnitude of God. Indeed, the Scriptures speak of “the God eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, to whom is due glory and honor and majesty forever and ever.” Other passages reveal the magnitude of an eternal God who is great and greatly to be praised.

1 Peter 5:10 speaks of “the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. . . .” and 1Timothy 1:17 makes known this magnificent benediction:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

In addition, Deuteronomy 33:27 makes a similar declaration about who God is and what He will do:

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

The passage from Psalm 90 is the inspiration for “Even from everlasting, Thou art God,”one of the popular hymns by the great 18th Century hymn writer, Isaac Watts.  This well-known hymn is offered in three different versions. The first is a “shape note anthem,” an example of “Sacred Harp singing” or “shape-note singing.” Shape notes are a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. Harp singing or shape note singing dates back to the colonial period and continues to enjoy popularity in the rural South and elsewhere.

The second version, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” comes from the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute Singers.

The third version is a contemporary rendering of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Harvest Church.