Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 8

May 22, 2013
As we go through life, we encounter difficult situations whereby we can grow if we apply the lessons learned.

As we go through life, we encounter difficult situations whereby we can grow if we apply the lessons learned.

Many times as I begin my day in a meditative way, a passage of scripture or song lyrics will come to mind to jumpstart my day. This morning I thought of the lyrics to a powerful song performed by Barbra Streisand called “Lessons to be Learned:

Why did that right road take that wrong turn?

Why did our heart break, and why did we get burned?

Just like the seasons there are reasons for the path we take:

There are no mistakes—only lessons to be learned.

I began to think of some of the lessons that God is teaching me this season of my life. As a life-long learner, an ever-eager student in the University of Life, I am continually learning more about God and my relationship with Him, particularly in terms of applying the principles of wisdom, not just this month during this time of sharing “Words of Wisdom” from the Book of Proverbs, but each day abounds with opportunities to learn and grow.

A most valuable lesson that I am learning relates to using wisdom in terms of the words that we speak. An original poem that mentions wisdom in the context of the Spirit of Wisdom is “The Power of the Tongue:”

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

James 3:8

 

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,

So I covenant to guard the gates of my lips,

For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.

I desire life and long to see good all my days,

So I speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.

Like Jesus, I want my tongue to speak what God says.

I seek to be wise but never in my own eyes.

Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,

I seek not just a word but the Spirit of wisdom.

The last line of the poem brings to mind another song that captures the essence of that for which I am seeking: “Seekers of Your Heart” rendered by Steve Green, Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris.

This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 3

May 8, 2013
With the dawning of a new day, I begin by reflecting on wisdom, asking, "Where do I begin?"

With the dawning of a new day, I begin by reflecting on wisdom, asking, “Where do I begin?”

“This is the day that the Lord has made. . .” and I am rejoicing and celebrating His goodness, as I begin my day by reflecting upon wisdom, as I read from the Book of Proverbs once again. Here is another blog entry, a poem, a “Word of Wisdom–a daily dose of words to the wise poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.” Today I am once again thinking about wisdom and asking, “Where do I begin?”

The Beginning of Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.

Psalm 19:9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:

And knowledge of the holy is

understanding                                       

Proverbs 9:10

 

I begin and stand in absolute awe of You,

Thoroughly washed in the fountain of holiness.

The old has passed away—Behold, You make all things new:

Redeemed and justified by Christ, my righteousness.

As You search the earth, may I find grace in your sight.

I seek to be wise but never in my own eyes.

Here stands a perfect man, one destined to walk upright,

A beloved son, whose heart Your Word purifies.

I am filled with knowledge and wisdom from above

And bound by a covenant no one can sever,

For nothing can separate me from God’s love:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.

I am renewed in strength and upheld by God’s Word,

As I pursue wisdom, growing in the fear of the Lord.

Thanks for stopping by and partaking of this blog entry, another daily dose of “Words of Wisdom,” more “good medicine” placed on the shelves of “Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.”

This blog entry is the first in a series featuring "a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring “a daily dose of “words to the wise, poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.”

Psalm 103: An early morning sweet treat

May 7, 2013
Sometimes reading the Word of God early is the morning is as satisfying as that first cup of coffee or tea with a sweet treat.

Sometimes reading the Word of God early in the morning is as satisfying as that first cup of coffee or tea with a sweet treat.

Have you ever risen early in the morning and sat down to enjoy a sweet treat with your morning cup of coffee or tea? Perhaps you enjoy a buttery croissant topped with marmalade or your favorite fruit spread. Maybe you enjoy a fresh baked bran muffin or a warm slice of carrot-zucchini bread or cinnamon roll laden with pecans and sticky stuff. As the day begins to unfold, you relax and enjoy sweet moments of quietude.

This morning I read Psalm 103, one of my favorites, in the Amplified Bible, as I took my time and savored each of the verses, in a series of “Selah” moments, whereby I paused and considered deeply this magnificent Psalm of David. After an extended period of joyful and tearful reading and reflecting, I completed the passage and looked for a musical expression of the Psalm to cap off my time of worship. I came across a version that I had not heard before by Zach Jones.

In a similar way, I am posting Psalm 103 in the Amplified Bible, followed by a musical version of the psalm. Enjoy this morning treat, as I did moments ago.

Psalm 103

[A Psalm] of David—Amplified Bible

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.

He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge.

10 He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].

14 For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16 For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children’s children—

18 To such as keep His covenant [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it] and to those who [earnestly] remember His commandments to do them [imprinting them on their hearts].

19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.

21 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, all you His hosts, you His ministers who do His pleasure.

22 Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion; bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul!

Psalm 103 by Zach Jones

Halloween Reflections: To the Rescue

October 31, 2012

In thinking about Halloween, I recall an experience a friend shared regarding a horrible prank that occurred as a child.

Halloween and some of its negative aspects, such as pranks, remind me of an incident a friend shared with me when he went to live with a relative in the rural South where there was no indoor plumbing, and everyone used an outdoor toilet known as an “outhouse.” Unbeknownst to my young friend, the custom on Halloween night was to move the “outhouse” from its original position so that when a person stepped inside, he would fall into the pit. That’s exactly what happened, and my friend immediately cried out, “Daddy, Daddy, come and get me!” His father came running with a flashlight and reached down and grabbed his son by the collar and snatched him out of the horrible pit.
That incident never fails to remind me of a spiritual parallel whereby I, like the young boy in horrific circumstances, called out to my Heavenly Father in desperation. I identified with my friend and expressed my thoughts in some of the lines of “my testimony in poetry”:

With lovin arms you reach way down
And snatched me from Satan’s outhouse,
Sought me and flat-out rescued me,
Fixed me up in my Father’s house.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

(from Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance)

Many times as we go through life, we become entangled in circumstances that restrict our efforts to succeed and impede our progress. Like the Psalmist we may find ourselves in situations whereby we cry out to God:

Psalm 35:17
Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

The calling out to God in desperation to “come rescue me” is beautifully expressed in this rendition of “I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful:


When I think about being rescued from a dangerous situation, I recall some of the lyrics of this familiar “vintage hymn” from childhood days of growing up in the Church. The hymn was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which had these lines:

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.

The words have become even more meaningful today. I was absolutely overwhelmed by this rendition of the song from the combined choruses of Brigham Young University:


Like Daniel in the den of lions, we sometimes find ourselves in desperate, seemingly impossible situations from which we cannot extract ourselves on our own. When we think of such situations like that of Daniel, we must remember the King’s response when God delivered Daniel:

Daniel 6:27

He [the God of Daniel] delivers and rescues, and he works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

In thinking about the record of Daniel in the lion’s den, the words of a Black Spiritual also raise an important question:

Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, deliver Daniel, Deliver Daniel?
Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel? Then why not every man?

“Hand upon the Plow” gives account in poetry of a number of instances where God came to the rescue of Daniel and other believers:

Hand upon the Plow

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand
to the plow and looks back [to the things behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

“Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!”
–Black Spiritual

When life ain’t like it spose to be,
Right then and there it occurs to me
Folks been in fixes worse than me,
Right in the Bible where I see:

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

Pharaoh said, “Kill each Hebrew boy,”
But Moses’ Ma was full of joy
Cause Pharaoh’s daughter raised her boy.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

The lions looked so lean and thin
When they throwed Daniel in the den,
But Old Man Daniel didn’t bend.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When Jesus died, God paid the cost
And at that time all seem like lost,
But God planned ahead for Pentecost.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

Paul and Silas didn’t rant and wail
When they throwed both of them in jail.
They called on God, and He didn’t fail.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When troubles start to buggin you
Remember, there’s just one thing to do:
Look to God and He’ll see you through.
What he did for them, He’ll do for you.

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

From Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance

During times of intense pressure when I forget just how faithful God has been, He gently comforts and reminds with these words:

Listen to Me
Isaiah 46:3-4
Listen to me. Open your ears and clearly hear
I have always been there. Though you had not perceived
My presence in the wasteland, I was ever near.
Indeed, I knew you before you were first conceived.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He
Who still holds you and causes you to remember.
I open deaf ears and cause blinded eyes to see
The passion that consumes your soul was once an ember.
Though I seem to be delayed, I will not tarry
But will return for the faithful ones who remain:
Those whom I have made those I will also carry;
Those whom I have called by name I will sustain.
Rest in me: I will perform all I said to do.
Know that I will sustain you and will rescue you.

Every Halloween when I recall my friend who found himself in a horrific situation and called out to his father or whenever I find myself in a horrible mess, generally of my own making, I am also reminded of this truth that when I cry out, my Heavenly Father will come “to the rescue.”

When I recall the circumstances from which God rescued me, many times I am overwhelmed with gratitude, as I shudder to think when I might be if He had not intervened in such a dramatic manner. In reflecting upon God’s intervention, I composed this poem which I use to conclude this blog.

If It Had Not Been for the Lord


“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,”

Let Israel now say—

Psalm 124:1

If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side,
I would have drowned in the sea from the tears I cried.
I shudder to think just where I would be today.
I would have lost my mind or turned and walked away,
But I learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when I was tempted and tried,
My shelter from the storm where I could run and hide.
He was my deliverer—that is all I have to say:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Enemies rose up like a flood to wash aside,
But God came through and rescued me and turned the tide.
Pressing toward the mark, dawning of a brand new day,
Through all my trials I learned to watch, fight and pray.
The Lord is my keeper; in Him I confide:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Helen Baylor offers her testimony in song with a selection with the same title: “If it Had Not Been for the Lord.”

“Constant Reminders”: Inspired by the Verse of the Day

October 17, 2012

This morning as I began my day, I thought of Psalm 46 and decided to look up that particular psalm on the Bible software on my laptop. I couldn’t help but marvel at how my routine has changed over the past 45 years since I was first made reading the Scriptures a part of my daily routine. I was drafted into the US Army in 1967 in the midst of the Vietnam crisis, which served as a backdrop to my commitment to Jesus Christ and my introduction to the Word of God upon which I decided to build my life. Before I left for basic training, the members of my former church in Gary, Indiana had given me a small leather-bound Bible with a zipper. I still have the well-worn Bible with frayed pages and though the place where my name was embossed in gold has been worn away, I have endeavored to “hide the word in my heart that I might not sin against God.” Back then with the Bible in hand, taking a “good look at the Good Book” was part of my daily routine. Now that routine often involves reading the Word of God from my laptop.

For the past 45 years I have tried to implement the discipline of reading the Bible as a way of beginning my day.

As I went to pull up Psalm 46, the “Verse of the Day” caught my eye. When I read the two verses, a melody came to mind while meditating on this passage from the New International Version:

Psalm 25:14-15

The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Verse 14 caused me to think of a poem that I had written nine years ago after hearing a message by Apostle David Puplompu who used six words as the foundation for his teaching: God-faith-hope-promise-covenant-love. I used to those six words in crafting a particular kind of poem called a “sestina” which is structured using six words which serve as the ending word of lines of a series of six stanzas plus a three-line closing stanza. One of the six words used is “covenant” mentioned in Psalm 25:14.

 

  Constant Reminders

   for Apostle David Puplompu

 

Quick and powerful is the Word of God.

Once heard, it generates within us faith,

Arising to anchor our souls in hope,

Linked to a sure and unfailing promise,

Sealed with an everlasting covenant:

Constant reminders of His endless love.

 

Never failing, always abounding love,

Still overflowing from the heart of God,

Expressed in the oath of His covenant,

Salted before the offspring of great faith,

From God, who cannot lie in this promise:

That through the Scriptures we might rest in hope.

 

Though we do not see, yet we wait in hope,

For we are rooted and grounded in love

And know that God fulfills every promise.

We place our ears near to the lips of God

And learn to walk, not by sight, but by faith,

Assured that He will keep His covenant.

 

God makes known to us a new covenant,

Quickened within us by a lively hope,

Energized by ever-increasing faith,

That we might know and be known by His love,

Surpassing even the knowledge of God:

How great and how precious is each promise.

 

To us and our children is this promise,

For we are joint-heirs of the covenant.

Grace, mercy and peace from our Father, God:

His plans to give us a future and hope.

As His dear children, we must walk in love,

Since we know that the just shall live by faith.

 

Born again into the family of faith,

As God sent, so we received the promise,

A measure of the fullness of His love.

Bound by words of a righteous covenant,

We shall never be ashamed of our hope:

We know that faithful and true is our God.

 

The seed of faith planted in covenant,

Rooted in its promise, blossoms in hope:

Rich harvest of love from the Word of God.

 

Verse 15 and its reference to “my eyes are ever on the Lord” caused me to think of the lyrics to this original composition:

 

The Servant’s Song: My Eyes Are Only on You

 My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

As the eyes of a servant look to the hands of His Lord,

As the ears of a servant know so well his master’s voice,

So my mind stays focused to watch and learn how you move.

Create in me a servant’s heart; teach me to serve in love.

 

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,

I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.

I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see

When He bids me to the wedding feast, and He will wait on me.

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

What a wonderful way to begin my day.  My routine of reading the Word of God is still the same yet somehow different because of the technology that I did not have access to 45 years ago when I first began to “hide the Word in my heart.”

 

Though I may not literally read the Bible everyday, I still endeavor to apply Psalm 119:11, one of the first scriptures that I committed to memory more than 40 years ago.