Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 138:8’

As we finish the work

July 10, 2019

The Verse of the Day for Biblegate.com reminds us of the faithfulness of God expressed in Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible:

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

The Psalmist also makes this firm declaration:

Psalm 138:8

The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

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.

1 Corinthians 1:8 offers words to comfort and assure us of God’s faithfulness:

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.

Philippians 1:10 also reinforces the message:

For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

A previous blog post discussed the concept of a “work in progress” or a “work in process” (sometimes abbreviated “WIP”), offering the following statement: “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.”

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 of 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:

As We Finish the Work

Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment)
is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me
and to accomplish and completely finish His work.
John 4:34 (Amplified Bible)

As we finish the work God has sent us to do
And seek to fulfill all His will and leave our mark,
The Lord blesses, refreshes, and makes all things new.
The fire on the altar enflamed from a small spark
Beckons as we press to reach the top of the mount,
Called by God, destined to be abundantly blessed,
Reaping the good of this life’s bountiful harvest.
We reflect upon God’s favor as we recount
With wisdom our days, so grateful to be alive
To know the fullness of love and grace upon grace,
As we persevere not just to survive but thrive
And triumph with strength and patience to run the race.
According to God’s divine design and framework,
What He began He will complete, as we finish the work.

In reflecting upon God’s faithfulness as expressed in Philippians 1:6 and elsewhere in the Bible, I thought of this song which has come to mean so much to me: “Great Work” offered by Brian Courtney Wilson:

His plans for my life

June 29, 2017

The Verse of the Day for June 29, 2017 reveals David’s confident expectations toward God and a request in the Message Bible:

Psalm 138:8

When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, with your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

The New Living Translation says this:

The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Here is the entire psalm:

Psalm 138

A psalm of David.

1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.
4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, LORD,
for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways,
for the glory of the LORD is very great.
6 Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.
7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

The rendering of the verse 8 in the New Living Translation also brings to mind a parallel passage from Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NLT):

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

Although the words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:
Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

The prophetic word from Jeremiah can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less magnificent than those He has for the Children of Israel.
As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us and teach us all along the path that unfolds as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). The assurance that the Lord will work out his plans for my life, as the Verse of the Day declares, along with the encouraging words of Jeremiah 29:11-14 also inform us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so we need have no fear for our future.

Jason Silver offers this moving musical rendition of Psalm 138:

Seven for twelve on 7-4-12

July 4, 2012

Isaiah 62 with its 12 verses comprises the theme for the New Year: “Twelve for Twelve in 2012.”

At the beginning of the New Year, I posted a blog in Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe based on my theme and scriptural focal point for 2012. In this case, I had selected Isaiah 62, a passage that most providentially contains twelve verses. In studying the chapter, I decided to write a series of poems, as I personalized each of the twelve verses, calling the collection “Twelve for Twelve for 2012.” Here is the link to the first installment, published in two parts, inspired by Isaiah 62:1: “One for Twelve”:

The series continues with the seventh installment “Seven for Twelve,” a personalized poetic rendering of Isaiah 62:6, posted on July 4, 2012 (7-4-12).  Here is Isaiah 62:7 from the New Living Testament:

Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work,
until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.         

Seven for Twelve

Isaiah 62:7

Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work.   

The one who began the work is the faithful one.

Remind Him that what He began is not yet done.

Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work.

Until He establishes the City of Peace,

Do not hold your peace but pray for Jerusalem,

For the Lord’s heart is always turned toward them

Until He establishes the City of Peace.

Until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth,

Until the whole earth shall marvel at her splendor,

Do not hold back, always pray, never surrender

Until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.  

Recently during a time of meditation and reflection, God brought to mind a passage of scripture, part of which I had memorized and repeated countless times. Especially during the past twelve years, I have been mindful the last part Exodus 15:26:

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee

As I meditated deeply upon the words “. . . I am the Lord that healeth thee,” God gently spoke to me as a Father speaks to his son, saying “Now what did I say?” I repeated that portion of scripture several times. After each time, God gently spoke, asking, “Now did I say?” That experience brought to mind verses 6 and 7 from Isaiah 62, whereby Israel is exhorted to remind God of His promise to restore Jerusalem to a place splendor and prominence in all the earth.

In a similar way that a child would remind a father of his promise when the fulfillment of that promise has not yet arrived, like Israel, we are encouraged to “give God no rest “until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.” Just as Jerusalem is to be a brilliant display of the creative ingenuity of God Almighty, the Church is likewise to be a magnificent demonstration of the glorious, infinitely variegated, wisdom of God that will confound and astound the principalities and powers of the heavenly realm when it is brought to a place of prominence, revealing God’s intent.

About four years ago my wife and I visited family and friends in San Francisco and Los Angeles. During our stay in the City by the Bay, we enjoyed a most enlightening experience at the Asian Museum where we saw a special exhibit from the Ming Dynasty. One of the pieces on display was a stationery box which is similar to this one. Although the final product reveals what the designer had in mind, we do not see how the object looked at the various stages of development. So it is with the Church which is still a work in progress, but I believe that God is putting “the finishing touches on His crowning achievement.”

Not too long ago, we celebrated Pentecost, a feast of great importance in the Christian Church, but technically the Church of the One Body was not born or did it actually start on the Day of Pentecost; however, what transpired there was of great significance in its unfolding. Without a doubt Pentecost was a watershed moment whereby the world was forever changed. This poem “Exquisite Exhibit” conveys in part my thoughts regarding the Church and my part in this amazing masterpiece of God’s creation.

Exquisite Exhibit

Viewing a Ryoshi-bako (stationery box)

Power and Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty

Asian Museum–San Francisco, California

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew

in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things

he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10

 

God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety

 to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

 They will see this when Jews and Gentiles

are joined together in his church.  

Ephesians 3:10

 

Sublime thoughts never diminish, only increase,

As I marvel at this ancient masterpiece.

The designer sees the end long before he starts

And envisions intricate details of the parts

And fashions a wood box inlaid with jade and gold,

Lacquered vessel for deepest thoughts the mind can hold.

Beyond all that I see, God formed and fashioned me

With precise measure of each scroll and filigree.

Displayed by the skillful hands of the Master craftsman,

Beyond the finest design of any artisan,

The Church, exquisite exhibit now on display,

Treasures from the hand of God take one’s breath away.

With the eyes of our heart now opened, we find

We are the masterpiece Jehovah had in mind.

Here is a photograph of such a stationery box, a lacquered work of art that is similar to the one that I viewed and described while in California.                   

This ryoshi-bako or stationery box is similar to the one that inspired the poem that draws a parallel with God’s Exquiste Exhibit, His masterpiece, the Church.

Just as Isaiah declared the Word of the Lord, that Israel, in the midst of captivity, was to remind God continually of His promise that He would deliver them from bondage and ultimately make Jerusalem a magnificent display of His glory, so should the members of the Body of Christ bring to God’s attention that He promised to transform the Church in a similar manner.

Individually, each member of the Body of Christ must recognize that he or she contributes to this exquisite exhibit of God’s glorious creation, the Church of Jesus Christ.  The place where we find ourselves today, individually and corporately, is not where we will ultimately be.  Philippians 1:6 reminds us of 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.

This verse brings to mind the contemporary Christian song: “He Who Began a Good Work in You,” performed by Steve Green

Sometimes the rigors of life may cause us to forget that we are God’s workmanship, and the Psalmist also brings this to mind:

The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands. [NIV]

Indeed, we are all a work in progress, and God is putting “His finishing touch on His crowning achievement.” As members of the Body of Christ, his glorious church, we are reminded of what Jesus Christ declared to Peter that Christ would build his church upon “the rock”of the revelation that Peter spoke when he identified the Lord, as Christ, the son of the living God. In Matthew 6:17-18 the Lord went on to say:

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 Kevin J. Conner in his landmark work, The Church in the New Testament,” makes know the purpose of the Church in the closing chapter:

“We will find that the reason for the existence of the Church is basically four-fold. God had an eternal purpose in mind when He planned creation and redemption. This purpose was manifested in Christ, and it is an “eternal purpose.” This great purpose is THE CHURCH. Nothing will frustrate the eternal purposes of God in Christ and His Church (Ephesians 3).  All things work together for good to them that are called according to this purpose (Romans 8:26-28).”

Four-fold Purpose of the New Testament Church:

  1.  Ministry to the Lord
  2.  Ministry to the Saints
  3. Ministry to the Sinner
  4. Ministry of Conquering Satan and His Kingdom

For a more in-depth discussion of the topic, I highly recommend The Church in the New Testament, a resource designed to bring a clearer understanding of the Church, both universally and locally, by showing God’s eternal plan for His people.

Listen to the powerful lyrics to “Let the Church Rise.” This song provides the perfect ending this blog entry, as we consider deeply this glorious note of possibility expressed in the video performed by Jonathan Stockstill: