Posts Tagged ‘James 1:2’

How long will you be a work in progress?

March 26, 2019

 

 

The blog entry for March 26, 2016, is a revision of a previous post discussing the concept of a “work in progress” or a “work in process” (sometimes abbreviated “WIP”). We could use the following statement as the Quote of the Day:

“Each believer is a work in progress.”

Fil Anderson of In Touch Ministries acknowledges this truth:

However, I’m no longer embarrassed or afraid to admit I’m unfinished, incomplete, and imperfect—a work in progress. Neither is God surprised or disappointed with my lack of development. God’s work in my life will never be finished until I meet Jesus face to face. Desiring to follow Jesus isn’t about being complete and perfect; it’s about doing my best and trusting God to finish what He began.”

Philippians 1:6 (AMP) expresses the same truth:

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].

The New Living Translation says this:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

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

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

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

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

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

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (AMP):

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

Until the Lord returns, we continue to learn and grow up in Christ, recognizing that maturation is a process that never ends. As adolescents, we envision the day when we will finally grow up and attain our new status as adults. We often think adulthood as the final stage of the maturation process, but we recognize the process is ongoing, and we must not only accept the process, but we must embrace it:

The Process

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,
we must acknowledge the process . . . trust the process. . .
embrace the process . . . and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

Dear brothers and sisters, 

when troubles of any kind

come your way, consider it

an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2 (New Living Translation)

 

What we perceive as failure, God sees as success.
In peace and confidence, we know that we will find
Understanding that reveals what God had in mind.
As we pursue truth, we acknowledge the process.
Though adversity seeks to hinder our progress,
Though we may be shaken to the depths of our soul,
If we refuse to give up, we will be made whole.
Because our God is faithful, we trust the process.
God’s heart of compassion forever seeks to bless.
We no longer wrestle but surrender—we yield.
As bold soldiers, we vow to stay on the battlefield.
Though we would shun it, we embrace the process.
Our gracious God is good, despite the strain and stress;
Resting in the Lord, we now enjoy the process.

Until the Lord returns, we are all “works in progress,” learning to embrace the process and ultimately to enjoy the process.

In reflecting upon Philippians 1:6 and other related verses, a familiar song immediately comes to mind: “He Who Began a Good Work in You” performed in this classic medley by Don Moen:

 

Moving forward: understanding the process

January 13, 2018

As 2018 continues to unfold, we recognize that as members of the Body of Christ, we are ever in transition, individually and corporately, moving from faith to faith, glory to glory, and victory to victory. In thinking about this reality, I recall a made statement by Dr. Tom Edwards during his workshop series “Moving My Life Forward” which serves as the Quote of the Day for January 13, 2018:

“Every great assignment and destiny requires transition”:

Dr. Edwards went on to define transition as ‘”a passage, development or movement from one state, condition, phase, or place to another . . . a period of instability proceeded by and followed by a period of instability.” The in-between time can be painful and completely black at times and you cannot see where you are going , but you are pressing toward your destination, the place of your destiny.

The transitional period we are all experiencing is related to the three stages leading to the ultimate fulfiling of the promise of God or a word of the Lord that we have heard. Dr. Edwards notes that the first stage involves hearing and receiving a promise while the second stage indicates the process, the refining or finishing stage that we must not only endure but come to embrace before we reach the third stage: the prize. The poet proclaims: “You’ve got to go through to get to the prize.”

Here is a poetic description of the second stage:

The Process

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,

we must acknowledge the process . . . trust the process. . .

embrace the process. . . and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

My brethren, count it all joy
when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2

 

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,

 we must  acknowledge the process … trust the process…

 embrace the process…and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

My brethren, count it all joy

 when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2

  

What we perceive as failure, God sees as success.

In peace and confidence we know that we will find

Understanding that reveals what God had in mind.

As we pursue truth, we acknowledge the process.

Though adversity seeks to hinder our progress,

Though we may be shaken to the depths of our soul,

If we refuse to give up, we will be made whole.

Because our God is faithful, we trust the process.

God’s heart of compassion forever seeks to bless.

We no longer wrestle but surrender—we yield.

As strong soldiers, we vow to stay on the battlefield.

Though we would shun it, we embrace the process.

Our gracious God is good, despite the strain and stress;

Resting in the Lord, we now enjoy the process.

During this most painful period of transition, many questions may arise: “What is going on?” Why is this happening to me when I am right at the point of my breakthrough?” “Why me?” “Why now?” We may question God and ask “What are you doing?” Our question should be “Father, what are you trying to teach me?” We must learn to echo the sentiments of the Psalmist who declares:

Psalm 119:71

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

These lyrics also express the song of our heart:

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;
That I might learn Your statutes,
To walk in Your precepts,
To keep Your commandments,
To follow as You teach me.
It is good for me. It is good for me.
It is good for me. It is good.
I have learned to love Your Word and Your ways.

We recognize that God is good, and that all things work together for the good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. While we are going through the process, it may not feel good, but it is good for us, working together for our good.

We close with this musical exhortation: “Moving Forward”—Israel Houghton:

No temptation

January 18, 2017

1 Corinthians-10-13

Revised and re-posted from a year ago, the Verse of the Day for January 18, 2017 speaks of our response to “life’s temptations,” as mentioned in the Classic Edition of the Amplified Bible:

1 Corinthians 10:13:

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

The New Living Translation put it this way:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Here is the rendering in the New Revised Standard Version:

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Logos Research Systems speak of “temptations” not in the limited sense of allurements to sin, but trials or distresses of any kind which test and purify the Christian character. . . . Every possible trial to the child of God is a masterpiece of strategy of the Captain of his salvation for his good.”

A similar expression is used in James 1:2-4 (KJV):

2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

The expression “divers temptations” can be translated the testing or proving of your faith, In Romans 5:3 we learn that tribulation, another word for temptation, works patience, and patience experience.

In James 1:12 (NLT) we learn that those who patiently endure trials or “temptations” will be rewarded. A “crown of life” awaits the individual who endures trials while carrying out the purposes of God’s plan:

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

While reflecting upon “temptations” as trials or tests, this poem written from the perspective of a “student/teacher” came to mind:

All Tests

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and

challenges come at you from all sides.” [The Message]

 James 1:2

 

With zeal we make our calling and election sure,

As we attempt to complete yet another test.

As ever eager students, we will do our best.

You promised good to us, your Word our hope secure.

Search us and know us—discern that our motives are pure.

Our souls now anchored in hope; in you we find rest.

You are our light, even when times seem their darkest.

As a patient father who seeks to reassure

Children, so the Master Teacher shows His design:

All tests are formed not to punish but to refine.

Despite shortcomings and failures that we have made,

You are gracious and generous each time you grade.

With each assignment, we seek to excel, not just pass,

But graduate with honors, the first in our class.

The temptations or tests or trials that we encounter are common to humanity, as we learn to patiently endure. Hebrews 10:36 also offers this reminder in the New Living Translation:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Knowing this, we can count it all joy when we encounter various temptations or fiery trials that test our faith and build patient endurance.

From the CD “Thank God for Jazz” Tony Monaco offers a jazz vocal interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

When he has tried me

March 2, 2016

Job 23--10

The Verse of the Day for March 2, 2016 is found in Job 23:10-11 (AMP):

“But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]. “My feet have carefully followed His steps; I have kept His ways and not turned aside.

As I reflected upon this passage, my thoughts turned to Psalm 139, all of which can be can be viewed as an invitation to deepest, divine inspection. The Psalmist opens with recognition that God knows all about us. He has made, formed and created us. Indeed, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The celebrated psalm closes with a heartfelt request:

Psalm 139:23-24 (AMP)

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 139 also brings to mind a previous blog entry “Try me: Search me again” which I have modified and re-post today, as another dose of good medicine from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

The original blog entry made reference to a life-changing teaching from Dr. David Jeremiah, who taught on the refining fire of God more than ten years ago. I discuss the message in this excerpt from a journal entry made following the teaching:

It is one of the most moving tapes I have heard, as he relates how God puts us through the process of refining in order to extract the precious metal from within us. In the same way that a refiner breaks the stones and sends them through the fire over and over again, so God sends us through the fires of life in order to extract and purify the gold within our souls. God removes our need to feel secure, to be in control, and to survive by putting in situations that try us, “fiery temptations” that prove who we really are. God controls the entire process, determining the timing, the temperature, the target, and the terms of the fire. Our tendency is respond with a series of questions as to “why?”: “why me?”, “why now?”, and “why not someone else?” Like children, we continually ask why when God, as a good parent, is not obligated to explain that which children cannot understand at the time they ask “why.” The only questions we should be asking are “What are you trying to teach me?” and “What are you trying to change in me?”

In reflecting upon the passage from Psalm 139, my mind is flooded with an understanding of what is transpiring in my life at this particular time. God is doing precisely what I asked Him to do in two poems from a collection of seven works that intertwine through their opening lines: “All Tests” and “To Graduate with Honors,” both of which express my deepest desire:

All Tests

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and
Challenges come at you from all sides.” [The Message]
James 1:2

With zeal I make my calling and election sure,
As I attempt to complete yet another test.
Ever the eager student, I will do my best.
You promised good to me, your Word my hope secure.
Search me and know me—discern that my motives are pure.
My soul now anchored in hope; in you I find rest.
You are my light, even when times seem their darkest.
As a patient father who seeks to reassure
His son, so the Master Teacher shows His design:
All tests are formed not to punish but to refine.
Despite shortcomings and failures that I have made,
You are gracious and generous each time you grade.
With each assignment, I seek to excel, not just pass,
To graduate with honors, the first in my class.

 

Esther Mui offers a moving musical rendition of Psalm 139: 23-24, Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song: “Lead Me in the Way Everlasting”:

Another poem that could be described as “the second verse of the same song” begins where the previous poem ends:

To Graduate with Honors

I desire to be a straight-A student in the University of Life
Lonnell E. Johnson

To graduate with honors, the first in my class;
Once more “to pioneer a new and living way.”
To rise above the mundane, striving to surpass
Past limits, still moving toward a more perfect day.
In reflecting on bygone years, I recall
These words: “The Lord is my light and my salvation,
Whom shall I fear?” words implanted to strengthen me,
Learned by heart, this prophetic declaration.
Though my thoughts may stray, your presence is always near.
Hand-in-hand, while walking toward my destination,
With my ears still near your lips, ever listening to hear
Words of life that endear, words of exhortation.
I ponder the winding path that my life has turned,
With deepest gratitude for all that I have learned.

Hillsong offers a moving rendition of “Search Me O God,” an appropriate musical accompaniment to close today’s blog entry:

All New Things Begin in Darkness: Transitioning Through Your Dark Night–Personal Poetic Responses–Part 2

January 20, 2012

New life begins in darkness, as this germinating seed reveals.

What follows is an excerpt from the prophetic word entitled All New Things Begin in Darkness: Transitioning Through Your Dark Night posted as an e-letter by John Paul Jackson, interspersed with original poetry at strategic points, as I read the words of exhortation. This is Part 2 of a response to the message which will be posted over the next few days. Click here to view the message without the poetic inserts:

http://www.streamsministries.com/index.php?cat_id=32&page_id=141

January 20, 2012  Part 2

Three Levels of Darkness

From pregnancy to creation, from anointing to new days, everything begins in darkness. It has been that way from the first day of creation, and it will continue to the end.

New things begin in darkness. There are three levels, or deep times, of darkness that we encounter on the road to our destiny and true, pure spirituality: the Dark Night of the Wilderness or Desert, the Dark Night of the Soul and the Dark Night of the Spirit. With each one, you will feel like you are immersed in a deeper darkness than you have ever been in before.

This section brought to mind “This Lonesome Valley” a poem that speaks of a similar kind of wilderness experience.

 This Lonesome Valley

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

You have to walk this lonesome valley.
You have to walk it by yourself;
O, nobody else can walk it for you,
You have to walk it by yourself. 

Traditional hymn

Valley places are always places of testing. . . 

It’s in the valley places that your character is tested.

Apostle Eric L. Warren

Though there is no place where God’s presence does not dwell,

 There is this lonesome valley we all must cross alone.

 The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness,

 And as a pilgrim, I too go through this barren land.  

Propelled by goodness and mercy as my rearguards,

I am led by the hand of God into a wasteland,

Where I must stand on my own and confront my fears,

As I pass through the valley of the shadow of death,

The dark place where no companion can go with me.

Unsure of all that lies ahead, I hesitate,

But I must follow the Spirit’s call into the unknown:

The narrow way–to walk by faith and not by sight.

Though my path may be unclear, this I know for sure:

If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.

 

You will see less clearly, if at all, where you thought you were going. You most likely will not understand the purpose of it and why God is allowing you to go through such a dark, difficult time. Depending on what God is after, this time may shake you to your very core.

Whenever I am shaken to the very core of my being, I am reminded that the intense shaking that I am enduring is all part of “The Process”:

The Process                          

“When everything that can be shaken is being shaken,

we must  acknowledge the process . . . trust the process. . .

embrace the process. . . and enjoy the process.”

Dr. Mark Chironna

 

My brethren, count it all joy

when you fall into various trials,

James 1:2

 

What I perceive as failure, God sees as success.

In peace and confidence I know that I will find

Understanding that reveals what God had in mind.

As I pursue truth, I acknowledge the process.

Though adversity seeks to hinder my progress,

Though I may be shaken to the depths of my soul,

If I refuse to give up, I will be made whole.

Because our God is faithful, I trust the process.

God’s heart of compassion forever seeks to bless.

I no longer wrestle but surrender—I yield.

As a soldier I vow to stay on the battlefield.

Though I would shun it, I embrace the process.

Our gracious God is good, despite the strain and stress;

Resting in the Lord, I now enjoy the process.

The statement “trust the process” brings to mind a familiar hymn: “Trust and Obey,” which always has application, no matter the situation:

Closing out this entry is a commentary by William Dyer entitled “Fiery Trials Make Golden Christians.” Dyer (1632-1696) is described as a godly pastor, a man of great piety, and a serious fervent preacher, who was expelled from his church in London during the ‘Great Ejection’ of 1662: