Posts Tagged ‘it’s all about relationships’

Receive one another

September 22, 2017

Romans 15--7

The Verse of the Day for September 22, 207 is found in Romans 15:7 (NKJV):

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

In the preceding verses, we find a discussion of how believers should related to one another in Romans 15:2 (NKJV):

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].

A previous blog entry discussed seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.”  These seven principles were expressed as verbs which connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.”  Here is a poetic summary of those principles taught by Apostle Carolyn Warren:

We must learn to value and steward relationships,

As we ever strive to launch, grow and to maintain them.

As we love, honor, forgive and encourage each other,

We must admonish, serve, and make peace with one another.

In order to apply these seven principles, believers must apply the overarching principle expressed in Romans 15:7 and that is to “receive one another.” The New Living Translation puts it this way:

So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.

The J.B. Phillips Translation offers this rendering:

So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified.

Romans 12:10 (AMP) further encourages believers with these words:

Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor;

The King James Version says this:

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

We might joking say that believers are encouraged to take a trip to “Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love,” since this is the term translated “brotherly affection.” The ESV goes on to say “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

The Verse of the Day and other related scriptures also incorporates two principles of Christian living expressed as verbs applied in terms of how we should behave toward “one another.” In this case, love one another and honor one another, as these previously posted comments exhort us:

Love one another:

To decide, demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

Love is an essential element of life, and Jesus Christ is the model, the standard of love who offered this reminder:

John 13:34-35:

 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

 

Honor one another:

To place value on, respect and hold in high esteem:

Giving preference, we take the lead–we are intentional;

With genuine affection we honor one another.

Another vital component necessary for building and maintaining fruitful relationships is honor.  To honor means to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem. The word also means “to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.” Clearly, this is the essence of the latter part of Romans 12:10.

Apostle John Tetsola comments, “Honor produces an exchange, in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return.” He elaborated upon this principle by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance” which we apply when we honor one another.

Spoken word poet, Amena Brown reads selections from Romans 12, from The Voice, a new Bible translation, from which the Verse of the Day was taken.

We conclude with the musical group Acapella offering this vocal reminder of actions that we can take, as we love one another and honor one another, and “Be Devoted”:

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Love God: Love others

January 14, 2017

The Verse of the Day for January 14, 2017 brings to mind the two foundational relationships upon which we build our lives as believers:

1-john-4-20-21

The Verse of the Day for January 14, 2017 brings speaks of the two foundational relationships upon which we build our lives as believers. These verses also reveal the conditions by which these relationship are judged:

1 John 4:20-21 (AMPC):

If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [believer] also.

This passage also reinforces the message of Jesus Christ, who responded to the question asked by the Scribes and Pharisees who conspired to challenge him and test his understanding of the Law with this question: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” In Matthew 22:37-39 he responds:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

“The Law and the Prophets,” with its more than 600 directives, Jesus Christ distilled into two commandments: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Once again, we recognize that “It’s all about relationships,” relationships rooted and grounded in love.  The following poem convey this same message:

“It’s All about Relationships”

God floods the eyes of our hearts with light that we might know,

As we discover new depths of our relationships

While we mature, applying the Word that we might grow.

We recognize that “It’s all about relationships.”

Enlightened, we now no longer walk in ignorance,

Being much more aware of vital spiritual matters,

We experience victory, healing and deliverance.

The anointed Word of God breaks all yokes and shatters

Barriers that hinder fellowship with God and others.

When the enemy raises his head, we fight to maintain

Relationships with God and with sisters and brothers,

Returning to “His image” the source that will sustain.

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life.

The Maranatha Singers remind us of the primary relationship of life and how it should be established: “You shall love the Lord with all your Heart”:

 

 

Sound advice: Love one another

September 13, 2016

1 Peter 3_8

The Verse of the Day for September 13, 2016 offers sound advice which should be applied every day for those who want to please God with their behavior:

1 Peter 3:8 (Message Bible):

[Suffering for Doing Good] Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things.

The message that God delivers comes forth clearly and simply expressed in the King James Version:

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

Since the expression “be pitiful” generally has negative connotations in contemporary times, perhaps the verse is better understood in another version, such as the Amplified Bible:

Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

The Verse of the Day brings to mind one of the seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” During July a series of blog entries discussed how each of those principles can be applied in the area of race relations, a current area of critical importance. Based on a phrase that was used as the theme of a life-changing conference attended three years ago, “It’s all about relationships,” the blog posts began by focusing on the expression “Love one another.” Here is an excerpt from that series:

Love one another:

Love, indeed, is the very first principle of all relationships, the foundation stone expressed in the first and great commandment: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets,” said Jesus Christ.

As the essential element of life, Jesus Christ is the model, the standard of love who responds to a question regarding the greatest commandment:

Matthew 13:37-39

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Jesus Christ reminded his followers to demonstrate their love for one another:

John 13:34-35 (AMP)

34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

1 Thessalonians 4:9 (AMP) sums up the matter:

Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

As believers, we endeavor to please God and follow the Word that He speaks. Each day we must

Decide to demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

“Love one another.”

This poem summarizes the heart of the matter:

“It’s All about Relationships”

God floods the eyes of our hearts with light that we might know,

As we discover new depths of our relationships

While we mature, applying the Word that we might grow.

We recognize that “It’s all about relationships.”

Enlightened, we now no longer walk in ignorance,

Being much more aware of vital spiritual matters,

We experience victory, healing and deliverance.

The anointed Word of God breaks all yokes and shatters

Barriers that hinder fellowship with God and others.

When the enemy raises his head, we fight to maintain

Relationships with God and with sisters and brothers,

Returning to “His image” the source that will sustain.

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life.

Michael W. Smith offers comments and a spirited rendition of  “Love One Another.”

It’s all about relationships: Closing comments

July 30, 2016

Romans 12--10

Over the past 10 days or so the blog entries on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe have focused on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a life-changing conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” While we can universally apply these principles in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, we can also specifically apply them in the area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

 

Upon further reflection on the series of entries, I recall a statement from Dr. Augustin Fuentes on the subject of race, pointing out some of the myths associated with the subject:

There is not a single biological element unique to any of the groups we call white, black, Asian, Latino, etc. In fact, no matter how hard people try, there has never been a successful scientific way to justify any racial classification, in biology. This is not to say that humans don’t vary biologically, we do, a lot.  But rather that the variation is not racially distributed. . . . Seriously, there are no biological races in humans today, period.

The point of the discussion is that there is only one race, the human race, as Acts 17:26 so clearly reveals Jehovah God’s divine design for humanity:

Acts 17:26 (NLT):

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

In light of that reality, the seven principles discussed and shared are indeed universal concepts that apply to all relationship—indeed, “It is all about all relationships.”

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

The following poem summarizes the seven principles which form the foundation as we learn to

Value and Steward Relationships

“Paying close attention to the relationships in your life is not an extracurricular activity–           it’s the reason for life itself.”

Dane Findley

 

 

We must learn to value and steward relationships,

As we ever strive to launch, grow and to maintain them.

We form a seven-fold perfected cord of purpose:

Golden strands of strength intertwine with one another.

1

To decide, demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

2

To place value on, respect and hold in high esteem:

Giving preference, we take the lead–we are intentional;

With genuine affection we honor one another.

3

To forgive, release from payment, to do a favor,

Even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do,

Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.

4

To call alongside of and to call to be near,

In the midst of fiery trials that seek to beset us,

Comfort each other and encourage one another.

5

To put in mind, to instruct, we seek to give warning.

The Word of Christ dwells in us that we might minister:

We must exhort, urge, and admonish one another.

6

To render service to, to act as a bond slave who serves

And joyfully gives advantage to the one being served,

So use your freedom to serve one another in love.

7

As agents of change we transform our environment;

We give no offense and remove every stumbling block.

We have salt in ourselves, and make peace with one another.

 

 

We must learn to value and steward relationships,

As we ever strive to launch, grow and to maintain them.

As we love, honor, forgive and encourage each other,

We must admonish, serve, and make peace with one another.

 

“Be Devoted,” the music video used to close the discussion of Principle Six, makes reference to “Serve one another” and a number of other principles, thus this song by Acapella is appropriate to conclude our final comments:

 

 

 

Beyond race relations: Make peace with one another

July 29, 2016

Romans 14--19

In recent blog posts instead of examining the Verse of the Day, we have been continuing  the series based on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier posts have discussed the first six principles, and today we will look at the seventh:

Make peace with one another

In the midst of our war-torn world, we find a desperate yearning to experience “peace in our times.” Events occurring since September 11, 2001 have catapulted the world into a state of anxiety and fearfulness.  We are increasingly more aware of the absence of peace, as the United States is now entrenched in the war on terrorism which continues to consume the thoughts of many citizens. The world is seeking relief from the turmoil and strife of these troubled times, crying out, “Peace, peace, and there is no peace.”

Translated from the Hebrew expression shalom, this priceless concept encompasses a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being. According to Strong’s Concordance, shalom means “completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.” It is an inner reality, for the peace of God indicates being free from anxiety and care; it is not dependent upon outside conditions.

The peace of God comes from the God of peace, and it is only possible to obtain it through the Prince of Peace, who declares this truth:

John 14:27 (AMP):

27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

The Lord Jesus Christ also spoke these word about those who make peace:

 Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

“You are the salt of the earth,” one of the striking metaphors used by the Lord, describes those who follow him. Salt, a remarkable change-agent, facilitates the process of change. Such an agent of change appears on the scene and influences the total environment. Jesus Christ elaborates on salt and makes reference to peace:

Mark 9:50 (AMP)

Salt is good and useful; but if salt has lost its saltiness (purpose), how will you make it salty? Have salt within yourselves continually, and be at peace with one another.”

Peace, one of the fruit of the spirit, should be evident in the lives of believers today. As we sow the seeds of peace, we shall reap an abundant harvest of the same, according to James 3:18:

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Romans 14:19 (AMP) reminds us:

So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].

Fruit produced from applying the principle of making peace should be especially evident in the Church. Prior to and during the times of Jesus Christ, Jews and Gentiles did not socially interact. The separation was comparable to the practice of segregation experienced by African Americans in the Deep South in the early 20th century. Jesus Christ, however, through his sacrifice on the cross and his subsequent resurrection, obliterated those barriers that separated these two cultural groups, unifying these factions into one body, the Church, known as the Body of Christ.

Ephesians: 2:14-17 (NLT) speak of the accomplished work of Jesus Christ, the savior of the whole world:

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to dEeath.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.

In Ephesians 4:3 (NLT) we find another exhortation of peace:

Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].

As our thoughts turn toward the peace that the Lord gives and our desire to abide in peace, words from the Medieval Italian poet and philosopher, Dante Alighieri, come to mind, a line that introduces the following poetic prayer:

Peace

In His will is our peace.

Dante

                       

O, Lord, make us instruments of your peace, we pray.

From our lives may there stream heavenly melodies.

As consummate virtuoso compose and play

Upon our soul, inspire glorious harmonies.

In such measured moments of sweetest quietude

Arrange serenades of praise. Let grace notes resound,

As our lives crescendo in songs of gratitude,

From heart to heart, where your grace and mercy abound.

Orchestrate aubades, nocturnes, songs at eventide;

Complete cantatas of peace within us, align

Our desires and your pleasure. Here we abide,

Saxophone and soloist, communing by design.

Knowing our purpose, we remain quiet and still,

Composed in perfect peace, the center of His will.

The essence of the intent of the seventh principle and related scriptures is also expressed in the song “Instruments of Your Peace,” recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

We conclude our discussion with these words:

As agents of change we transform our environment;

We give no offense and remove every stumbling block.

We have salt in ourselves, and make peace with one another.

 

 

 

Beyond race relations: To serve

July 27, 2016

Galatians-5-13

In recent blog posts instead of examining the Verse of the Day, we have been continuing  the series based on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier posts have discussed the first five principles, and today we will look at the sixth.

Serve one another

One of the most striking facets of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was his taking upon himself the form of a servant who did not come into the world to be served but to serve. In discussing this topic of the servant or bond slave, an image almost immediately comes to mind: a basin and a towel, representative of a teachable moment in the ministry of Jesus Christ, who put off his robe and girded himself with a towel, portraying so clearly the heart of a true servant or bond slave when he washed the disciples’ feet in the account from John 13.12-15:

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

Elsewhere in the Scriptures we find similar exhortations to serve one another:

Galatians 5:13 in the New Living Translation:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

As believers, we have been blessed with a wide range of spiritual abilities or talents, as 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) confirms and states how they should be used:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

To serve in its most literal sense means to perform the duties of a servant or bond slave; in our case we serve one another from a position of “voluntary servitude.” We exercise our freedom in Christ Jesus and choose to serve one another. To serve is not to assume the lowest position in the eyes of God, but those who aspire to serve are recognized as great. In Matthew 20:25-27 Jesus Christ reiterates this point:

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—

For a definition of what it means to serve, listen to this excerpt from the classic sermon “The Drum Major Instinct” by Dr. Martin Luther King, who speaks of vast possibilities for greatness for those who choose “to serve.”

As believers we are called upon to serve, we as we are ever challenged to sow as well, expressed in this way:

To Serve and To Sow

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He who continually goes forth weeping,

Bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again

with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5,6

 

We learn to serve and to sow with a joyful heart,

To pour from the fountain of our souls and to give

All our strength to the Lord’s work and to do our part

To complete each task, to build that the Word might live,

For only deeds done for the sake of Christ remain.

The legacy of God’s will fulfilled lives beyond

This brief journey of our days filled with joy and pain:

This precious token of our covenant, the bond

Of devotion to the Master, perfected love

Shed abroad in our hearts, enfolded in His peace

That passes understanding, flowing from above.

As we plant and water, our God gives the increase.

Freely we have received that we might come to know

The love of God, as we learn to serve and to sow.

 

As believers, we respond to the call and demonstrate our choice:

To render service to, to act as a bond slave who serves

And joyfully gives advantage to the one being served,

So use your freedom to serve one another in love.

We conclude with the song “Be Devoted” by Acapella who encourage believers to “serve one another.”

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond race relations: Admonish one another

July 25, 2016

Colossians 3--16 2

In recent blog posts instead of examining the Verse of the Day, we have been continuing  the series based on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier posts have discussed the first four principles, and today we will look at the fifth.

Admonish one another

Throughout the letters written by Paul to the believers in the some of the Churches established in First Century, we find terms related to the words admonishment or admonish. A number of references encourage believers to “admonish one another.”

Many who hear the term “admonish” associate the verb with giving orders or reprimanding or rebuking, but the concept involves more than that. Derived from variations of the Greek word nous translated “mind,” the word is primarily translated “to give advice, to warn, to put in mind (remind)” and only secondarily “to chastise” or “rebuke”. Here are places where the verb form is rendered “admonish one another,” whereby believers are mutually active in this process:

Paul speaks these words to the believers in Romans 15:14 (AMP):

Personally I am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, amply filled with all [spiritual] knowledge, and competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another.

We find a similar pronouncements to the Thessalonian believers:

1 Thessalonians 4:1 (AMP):

[Sanctification and Love] Finally, believers, we ask and admonish you in the Lord Jesus, that you follow the instruction that you received from us about how you ought to walk and please God (just as you are actually doing) and that you excel even more and more [pursuing a life of purpose and living in a way that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation].

1 Thessalonians 5:14:

We [earnestly] urge you, believers, admonish those who are out of line [the undisciplined, the unruly, the disorderly], encourage the timid [who lack spiritual courage], help the [spiritually] weak, be very patient with everyone [always controlling your temper].

Colossians 3:16 is another place where the expression “admonish one another” is found. When we look at the context of verses 15-17, we find a wonderful “gratitude sandwich” with verse 16 being right in the center of three references to being thankful, as noted in the New Living Translation:

Colossians 3:15-17:

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

More than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than giving of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, we express our gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is always an appropriate time to give thanks to God. One of the songs I recall from years ago declares, “Now is the right time to praise the Lord!” No matter the circumstances, no matter the conditions, weather-wise or otherwise, we are to follow this admonition:

In happy moments, praise God.

In difficult moments, seek God.

In quiet moments, worship God.

In painful moments, trust God.

In every moment, thank God.

 

 

At All Times

I will bless the Lord at all times,

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psalm 34:1

 

 

When God’s goodness and mercy follow closely,

And we savor the ecstasy of victory,

When joy overflows and floods our souls, we will praise God.

 

When gripped by the devices of this transient life

And caught in the straits of rising conflict and strife,

During these difficult moments, we will seek God.

 

When we long to abide within a tranquil mood

And linger in moments of sweetest quietude,

From the depths of our souls, we will worship God.

 

Despite raging seas, stormy winds and blinding rain,

When protracted pain strikes like a knife and numbs the brain

So that we can scarcely scream your name, we will trust God.

 

All along life’s journey, no matter the season,

Through every why and wherefore, for every reason

Every moment we draw breath, we will thank God.

 

We seek the Lord and ask ourselves, “What shall we do?”

“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”

“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.

Colossians 3:16 and other related scriptures offer this reminder:

To give counsel, to instruct, we seek to give warning.

The Word of Christ dwells in us that we might minister:

We put in mind, urge, and admonish one another.

Colossians 3:16 is set to music as one of verses using the term “teaching and admonishing one another”:

 

 

 

Beyond race relations: Encourage one another

July 24, 2016

1 Thessalonians 5--11

The blog post for July 24, 2016 continues the series based on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier posts have discussed the first three principles, and today we will talk about the fourth:

Encourage one another:

Among the signs of the times in the last days before Christ returns is the reference to “wars and rumors of wars” where “nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” The word “nation” is translated from the Greek word “ethnos”—from which we get terms, such as “ethnic” and “ethnicity.” Clearly, we find the world is rampant with ethnic conflicts, both internationally as well as intra-nationally. Some of the clashes that we are witnessing in America are really conflicts among cultural groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans and other ethnic groups. In the midst of rising conflicts of this nature, as believers we recognize from these indicators that the return of Christ is near, and we offer words of comfort and assurance, as “we encourage one another.”

Derived from the expression translated “to come along beside of” or “to comfort together,” or “to mutually encourage,” the phrase “encourage one another” is used throughout the New Testament, especially in the Church Epistles written by Paul. We find these words in Romans 1:12 (AMP):

When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

In a situation where Paul could not be present, he sent Timothy to encourage the believers of Thessalonica in their faith:

1 Thessalonians 3:2 (AMP):

And so we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in [spreading] the good news of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you [exhorting, comforting, and establishing you] in regard to your faith,

In a literal sense the expression means to “pour courage into each other.” Before one can give something to someone else, that individual must have received what the person gives to another. As believers, we receive from God the encouragement that we need so that we can then encourage and comfort others in their time of need. This is precisely the message of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Amplified Bible (AMP):

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must].

A source of boundless encouragement and comfort in the midst of our perilous times is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. Indeed, this the focal point of the letters written to the Thessalonian believers. Chapter 4 of 1 Thessalonians describes the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the gathering together of those who have died in Christ along with those believers who are alive, offering these encouraging words:

1 Thessalonians 4:18:

18 Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].

The words of encouragement continue in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

For God has not destined us to [incur His] wrath [that is, He did not select us to condemn us], but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Ch1rist, 10 who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ’s appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life]. 11 Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.

We close our comments with a passage from Hebrews 10:23-25 that offers this hopeful advice as to how and why and when we should be “encouraging one another”:

23 Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]; 24 and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25 not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.

These words and other related scriptures remind believers:

To call alongside of and to call to be near,

In the midst of fiery trials that seek to beset us,

Comfort each other and edify one another.

“Encourage one another”, as this musical reminder tells us

 

 

Beyond race relations:honor one another

July 21, 2016

Romans 12--10

From the Amplified Bible comes the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2016

Psalm 119:30:

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

Here is the verse in the Good News Testament:

I have chosen to be obedient; I have paid attention to your judgments.

In addition to looking at the Verse of the Day, today’s post also examines the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles that can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another,” a phrase that is used 31 times in the Scriptures. The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier this week a blog post discussed the first of the seven principles, “Love one another,” and today we will talk about the second:

Honor one another

The idea of honor is a very important concept in the Word of God where to honor means to respect, to esteem, to have high regard for, and to reward. It also translated to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem; to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.

Apostle John Testola notes that “Honor produces an exchange,” in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return. This is essentially the principle of giving and receiving. Of course, we always receive in greater measure than we give. Luke 6:38 reveals this universal 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.

Although this verse is often used in terms of the financial resources that we give, it has wider implications which would include the giving and receiving of honor. We are encouraged to give honor to whom honor is due.

Just as honor generates honor in greater measure, so likewise is the converse true. As Apostle Testola also mentioned, “Dishonor produces an exchange,” in that “a lack of honor produces a curse.” He explained that “God releases based on the bridge of honor that has been built.”

Another principle taught by Dr.Tetsola related to the statement: “Honor is about value.” The Apostle went on to explain that to “value is to hold in high esteem in your sight.”  He said, “What you don’t value, you don’t honor. . . You never sow into anyone’s life you don’t value.” Honor, he explained, is a genuine expression of the heart. You cannot offer what is not in your heart to give.

Apostle Tetsola elaborated upon the principles discussed by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance.”  Certainly these principles could be applied in the area of interracial relationships whereby each party would honor the other, just as we are reminded in Romans 12:10:

The Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it this way:

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.

This video clip reiterates the message:

Finally, from the Book of Proverbs comes these words of wisdom regarding honor:

Proverbs 15:33:

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom and before honor is humility.

The title of the following is taken from the closing phrase of this verse.

Before Honor is Humility       

“Our honor activates the honor

that is in the heart of God.”

Apostle John Tetsola

 

“Before honor is humility,” says the Lord.

We honor each other according to the Word,

Not withholding honor to whom honor is due.

We follow these precepts, for the Word of God is true,

Giving life, sharper than any two-edged sword.

 

 

We honor one another and walk in one accord.

Where honor abounds God’s favor shall be restored.

When you give honor, honor is given to you.

“Before honor is humility.”

 

 

The power of this precept cannot be ignored.

All those who bestow honor have great reward.

We must give honor in all that we say and do,

Pressing toward the mark for the prize, we continue

Striving for the perfection we all are moving toward:

“Before honor is humility.”

We summarize the second principle of building and sustaining relationships in the area of race relations:

To place value on, respect and hold in high esteem:

Giving preference, we take the lead–we are intentional;

With genuine affection we honor one another.

In closing, listen to “For the honor” by Elevation Worship

Beyond race relations: Love one another

July 18, 2016

John 13-34-35

Previous blog posts have focused primarily on the Verse of the Day with emphasis on the Word for the Day from time to time.  For the next week our entries will closely examine a phrase that is often heard: “It’s all about relationships. . .” This statement resonates through life, as individuals desire to maintain successful relationships. I recall this declaration as the theme of a life-changing conference that I attended in 2013.hosted by Apostles Eric and Carolyn Warren of Equip U Ministries of Reynoldsburg, OH.

The following comments are taken from a blog entry related to that event:

Dane Findley, health writer and wellness coach, commented that “Paying close attention to the relationships in your life is not an extracurricular activity — it’s the reason for life itself.”

Without question, “It’s all about relationships,” starting from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. The Book of Genesis and subsequent books of the Bible unfold the consequences of the first broken relationship when Lucifer chooses to break fellowship with God, thus becoming the “first murderer” and “the father of lies” who begets an untruth in the very presence of truth. We see the devastating consequences of his deadly influence in the Fall of Man and the degradation of humanity and all of earthly life itself.

The Scriptures reveal God’s ultimate desire for reconciliation and the healing of all broken relationships, expressed through Jesus Christ. As ambassadors or representatives of Christ, we stand in his place, using the word of reconciliation which is part of the ministry of reconciliation, as we endeavor to restore broken relationships, first with God and with others as well (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

The primary relationship in life is one’s relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We also recognize “The first and great commandment: To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Believers are further instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God who is love.

Among the powerful and insightful presentations at the “It’s all about relationships Conference was a teaching by Apostle Carolyn Warren who discussed seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” Certainly these principles for achieving and maintaining successful relationships could be specifically applied in an area of critical importance in America today: race relations.

Today’s blog post will discuss the first of these seven principles with an additional entry being posted each day for the remainder of the week. These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another,” a phrase that is used 31 times in the Scriptures. The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

The number seven represents ““fullness, finishing, and spiritual perfection,” according to Biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger. The seven verbs thus comprise a seven-fold template that can be applied to strengthen any relationship, especially in the area of interracial relationships. Bullinger also notes that seven is the number or hallmark of the Holy Spirit’s work.

Love one another:

Love, indeed, is the first principle of all relationships, the foundation stone expressed in the first and great commandment: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets,” said Jesus Christ.

As the essential element of life, Jesus Christ is the model, the standard of love who responds to a question regarding the greatest commandment:

Matthew 13:37-39

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Throughout the New Testament believers are encourage to “love one another.” Note 1 Peter 3:8 in the Amplified Bible:

 Now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write you, for you have been [personally] taught by God to love one another [that is, to have an unselfish concern for others and to do things for their benefit].

Jesus Christ reminded his followers to demonstrate their love for one another:

John 13:34-35 (AMP)

34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

1 Thessalonians 4:9 (AMP) sums up the matter:

Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

As we reflect upon the first principle to be applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships,” each day we must

Decide to demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

“Love one another.”

Michael W. Smith offers comments and a spirited musical reminder: