Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 34:14’

To look, to feel, to do

May 6, 2017

John Wesley Quote

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, let us take a look at the Quote of the Day for May 6, 2017. This statement is attributed to the late Kim Clement, and I have used it as a personal mini-motivational speech, as I look into the mirror while preparing for the day on many a-morning.

“I see myself somewhere in the future, and I’m looking so much better than I look right now.”

Later I added this response: “But right now I’m looking good!”

Not only am I looking good, but I’m feeling good as well.

After a recent appointment with my urologist, he asked how I was feeling, and I commented “I’m feeling great!” After looking over my records, he confirmed my state of well-being and said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep on doing it. It’s working. See you in six months.”

In reflecting on his remarks, I happened to think of the Biblical expression “to do good” which I am ever striving to practice. Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to follow after, to pursue, to practice or do that which is right, or just, or good.

We always have a choice to do good or to do evil, but the Word of God reminds us that despite the sinful nature of humanity, our ultimate purpose is to do good:

Ecclesiastes 3:12 (AMP):

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live;

Psalm 34:14 (AMP) exhorts believers to

Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Similarly in Psalm 37:3 (AMP) we are encouraged to

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

This verb brings to mind a similar exhortation from Galatians 6:10:

So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers

Finally, Hebrews 13:16 provides these words of encouragement:

Do not neglect to do good, to contribute [to the needy of the church as an expression of fellowship], for such sacrifices are always pleasing to God.

These reminders to do justly or to do good are echoed in the words of John Wesley, who said:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

As we practice or become adept at “doing good,” we will reap the benefits that abound toward us in return. These thoughts brought to mind this poem of celebration:

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living seventy-four years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folk song of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

We conclude with this musical expression of how I feel at this time in life: “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble:

 

For the good of your neighbor

May 23, 2016

Romans 15--2

The Verse of the Day for May 23, 2016 encourages believers to be concerned about the welfare of others:

Romans 15:2 (AMP):

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].

The Verse of the Day brings to mind a similar expression regarding how one should behave toward one’s neighbor and that is “to do good” to those who whom we encounter.  Throughout the Scriptures we find references that encourage believers as to how they should behave. Here are two illustrations from the Psalms of David:

Psalm 34:14 (AMP)

Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 37:3

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

Proverbs 14:22 (NLT) makes clear that those who choose to “do evil” or “to do good” will be rewarded accordingly:

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness

In the Gospels the Lord Jesus Christ encouraged his followers to “do good,” even to one’s enemies:

Luke 6:27 (AMP):

But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you,

Luke 6:35 (AMP):

But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Galatians 6:10 (AMP) offer this sound advice:

So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers).

1 Thessalonians 5:15 reinforces this message:

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.

The exhortation “to do good” also brings to mind the sage advice of John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

The musical group Commissioned closes our comments with this reminder that in all that we do “Only What You Do for Christ Will Last.”

Instruments of peace on earth

December 23, 2015

Luke 2--14In the continuing account of the birth of Jesus Christ from Luke 2:11-14 (AMP), we find the Verse of the Day for December 23, 2015:

For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah). And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.” Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest [heaven], And on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.”

In the closing declaration of the passage the heavenly host offer this resounding benediction:

“Glory to God in the highest [heaven], And on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.”

This expression brings to mind a recent blog entry entitled “Let the peace of God rule: Hold your peace,” which spoke of the peace of God. The following excerpt comments on this concept of ever-increasing importance:

Beyond the generally accepted definition of peace as “the normal non-warring condition of a nation, a group of nations or the world . . . a state of harmony among people or groups; cessation or freedom from strife or dissension,” the Bible speaks of peace as a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being. It is an inner reality . . . the peace of God indicates being free from anxiety and care; it is not dependent upon outside conditions.

In the midst of a world ravaged in war and rumors of war, there is a notable absence of peace. The entire world is still seeking to find “peace in our times.” Despite the desperate cry for peace, peace, there is no peace. Events subsequent to September 11, 2001 have catapulted the world into a state of anxiety and fearfulness. As Americans, we are aware of the absence of peace, as the United States and other nations are engaged in the war on terrorism which continues to consume the thoughts of citizens across the globe.

Our war-torn times bring to mind the words of the Psalmist, who encourages us:

Psalm 34:14

Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Once more we are reminded that the God of peace desires that the world may experience the peace of God that He has given through His son, the Prince of Peace The passage from Luke 2 brings to mind the following poem inspired in part by a line from Dante Alighieri, noted Italian poet: E’n la sua volontade e nostra pace, which is translated: “In his will is our peace.”:

Peace

E’n la sua volontade e nostra pace.
Dante

Lord, make us instruments of your peace, this we pray:
That from our lives may stream heavenly melodies.
As consummate virtuoso compose and play
Upon our souls, 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.

“Lord, Make Us Instruments of Your Peace” expresses this deepest yearning of our hearts for peace.

We close our entry on peace with another song from South Africa, as Lionel Peterson offers “Peace”:

Let the peace of God rule: Hold your peace

November 22, 2015

Colossians-3-Verse-15post

Colossians 3:15 in the King James Version, the Verse of the Day for November 22, 2015, speaks of the peace of God and connects it to being thankful:

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

For a more detailed rendering, take a look at the Amplified Bible:

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

In the midst of our war-torn world, engulfed in confusion and aflame with strife, believers and non-believers alike are seeking to experience some sense of peace–a concept of vital importance today.

Beyond the generally accepted definition of peace as “the normal non-warring condition of a nation, a group of nations or the world. . . a state of harmony among people or groups; cessation or freedom from strife or dissension,” the Bible speaks of peace as a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being. It is an inner reality . . . the peace of God indicates being free from anxiety and care; it is not dependent upon outside conditions.

The peace of God is only possible through Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace, who sent His son, the Prince of Peace, who offered these comforting words:

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

In Psalm 34:14 the Psalmist encourages us to

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Once we experience the peace of God and savor the priceless essence of peace of mind, we desire to maintain that inner state of well-being. Particularly in the midst of the tumultuous times in which we live, we must recognize both the figurative and literal definition of the idiomatic expression “Hold your peace.”

Before you can hold something, you must have it. Literally, we are seeking to retain, to keep, and maintain the peace that God gives, despite the circumstances surrounding us. An illustration of this expression is found in Exodus when Moses leads the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and immediately they encounter circumstances that could easily overwhelm them, as the Egyptians are in hot pursuit behind them and the Red Sea confronts them as they move forward. As they begin to murmur and complain and panic, Moses offers these words of encouragement:

Exodus 14:13-14(NKJ)

13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

This passage, in part, is the inspiration for the following poem with a similar exhortation:

Hold Your Peace

So shall they fear the name of the LORD

from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.

When the enemy shall come in like a flood,

the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 59:19

 

The LORD will fight for you,                                       

and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:14

These days when the enemy enters as a flood

With distress and intense pressure on every side,

Despite signs of defeat, the Lord God is still good.

In the thick of battle in peace we will abide.

The Spirit of the Lord raises a bold standard:

Lord of Hosts bears His arm, as Jehovah Nissi

Covers us with His love; though foes may have slandered,

His royal banner is displayed for us to see:

Faithful Adonai has never slept nor slumbered.

He is not slack but hastens to perform His Word.

Despite outward signs, we are never outnumbered,

For we know that the battle belongs to the Lord.

On the battlefield, fierce attacks seem only to increase,

But as God told Moses, “Stand still and hold your peace!”

Katherine Abbot offers a musical rendering of Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of heart”: