Posts Tagged ‘Revelation 3:20’

God is looking for a dwelling place: Is your heart prepared?

September 6, 2020

The Verse of the Day, for September 6, 2020, comes from John 14:23 (Amplified Bible):

Jesus answered, “If anyone [really] loves Me, he will keep My word (teaching); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him.

The verse begins with the conditional clause “if anyone,” followed by the verb “loves.” “If an individual [really] loves Jesus Christ, that person will adhere to the words that the Lord speaks. If they meet those conditions, that individual will be graced with the very presence of God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son. John 14:23 establishes the conditions which, if met, will result in a corresponding action on God’s part.

As we continue to reflect upon the Verse of the Day, a parallel verse also comes to mind, as we begin to focus on Revelation 3: 20, as my mind becomes flooded with warm memories of a recent dining experience.

Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

A number of years ago, I recall hearing a message “God is Looking for a Dwelling Place,” and I was inspired to write the following poem:

A Dwelling Transformed

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most-High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1


Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,
We continue to learn that everything has its own price,
As we pursue the ultimate goal, a set-apart life:
Joint heirs with Christ presented as a living sacrifice.
With clean hands and a pure heart, we prepare a dwelling place.
To attract the Lord, we provide a pleasing ambiance:

As our songs of love flow from the depths of our inner space,
Our habitation designed and arrayed for God’s entrance.
To walk by the spirit of life, we are driven to pursue.
We dance to brand new music, softly playing in our mind,
And strive to understand that God alone makes all things new.
As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find
A dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,
As we offer all that we are and ever hope to be.

The poem reflects the innermost desire of many fellow believers who are earnestly seeking to situate themselves to be in position for the next “move of God,” yearning for a fresh visitation from the Lord. While to bask in His glorious presence would bring with it, unspeakable joy, the deepest yearning of our heart is to experience an unprecedented visitation that goes on without interruption, a move of God extending indefinitely. Francis Frangipane reiterates this point, “Let us also keep in mind that the goal of a visitation from God is that we become the habitation of God.” Indeed, we long to see times of visitation transformed into times of habitation.

Imagine this scenario—you have a good friend who sometimes comes by to visit. You would like to have that individual come by more often, so you prepare a place for your friend to stay. In a similar way, the Shunamite woman and her husband prepared a special abode for Elijah, who visited them periodically. You know what your close acquaintance likes and does not like, so you have what they like, so you custom design an appointed the place to suit your visitor.

It is no different with God. We endeavor to provide the perfect atmosphere, the ideal conditions that will welcome Him so that He shows up often and stays long. In fact, our ultimate desire is to turn a visitation into a habitation, but how is this accomplished?

When God makes visiting a habit, then visitation becomes habitation. God visits so often and enjoys Himself so much that His visits become more and more frequent, and He stays longer and longer until His visits are a habit, and He decides to abide. Our heart’s deepest yearning for intimacy is expressed in this poem:

Times of Visitation

As you once visited Abraham, our father,

and sent angelic hosts to reinforce your pledge,

in these times of barrenness and seeming defeat,

where are the times of visitation set for us?

We offer our hearts, places prepared for you to meet.

As you sojourn, may you find in our lives a place

so prepared for you to come with friendly intent

that on each occasion where you show up

that your ultimate purpose is most apparent.

As you clearly reveal your promise to fulfill

your will, receive our obedience as sacrifice,

may favor be our portion as your faithful ones.          

May you find us yielded vessels, clean and fitted

for the glory of your presence that you might pour

blessings without measure to overflow and flood

our souls, as we commune with you in perfect peace.

May we never squander times of visitation

but shut the door in face of the enemy,

as we open wide the portals of our spirit

and transform our hearts into your habitation.


Esther Mui offers a tender rendering of Psalm 91 with its reference to God’s dwelling place

Reserved: Come and dine

August 14, 2017

Revelation 3_20

Revelation 3:14, 20 in the English Standard Version offer the Verse of the Day for August 14, 2017:

[To the Church in Laodicea] “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Revised and re-posted, today’s blog post discusses this celebrated passage from Revelation 3:20 and focuses on a particular aspect of dining as revealed in the Bible.

Bishop KC Pillai, a converted Hindu, points out various Eastern customs and manners, called Orientalisms, appreciation of which adds to our understanding of the Scriptures. He notes that in the East when an individual is merely a guest, the host will serve that person. When the meal is complete and the guest departs. The host and his family will then dine together. If, on the other hand, the guest is more than a mere acquaintance but a close, intimate, beloved friend, the host will dine with his special guest. This situation is expressed in Revelation 3:20:

The Lord stands at the door and knocks, offering a verbal invitation to come and dine. If the guest hears the voice of Lord and responds by opening the door, the host will come in and dine, as the two “will share a meal together as friends.”

Lyrics to this scripture memory song were designed to help students learn the Word of God by heart. One of the songs to be sung before serving a meal was based on Revelation 3:20:

Come and Dine with Me

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

If any man hears my voice and opens the door,

I will come unto him and will sup with him and he with me.

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me on my throne,

Even as I also overcame and am sat down with my father in His throne.

 

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

Reserved_Sign

As one who enjoys preparing and serving meals, I also appreciate dining at fine restaurants. In many instances, one must make reservations ahead of time to be assured that your party and you will be able to eat at the time that you would like. The idea of making reservations or having a place “reserved” for you, brought to mind this poem:

Reserved 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again

to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  

to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,

 reserved in heaven for you,

 1 Peter 1:3-4

 

To know intimately the fullness of your grace,

To grasp the truest meaning of being “reserved”

For your glory: for your purpose we are preserved

To someday stand in your presence, face to face

With the Lord in the jeweled splendor of that place

Where those of every kindred, tribe and tongue shall hear

The voice sounding as though many waters are near;

To stand on the bema at the end of the race,

To apprehend living in the eternal now

When all the praises of the ages shall resound:

Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.

Where sin once reigned, grace does now even more abound.

“I ‘reserved’ you, set you apart, for you are mine.

Beloved, this is ‘reserved’ for you—come and dine.”

Revelation 3:20 and other related verses build our anticipation for the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which will be like no other dining experience known to humanity.

Gary Chapman expresses the essence of this powerful message in the song “Come and Dine”:

God’s dwelling place

September 6, 2016

John 14--23

Verse of the Day for September 6, 2016 is taken from John 14:23 in the Message Bible:

“Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.

Here is the verse in the King James Version:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Both translations include the conditional clause “if anyone” or “if any man,” followed by the verb “love.” If an individual loves Jesus Christ, he will adhere to the words that the Lord speaks. If those conditions are met, that individual who meets those conditions will be graced with the very presence of God, the Father and Jesus Christ, His son. John 14:23 establishes the conditions which, if met, will result in a corresponding action on God’s part.

As we continue to reflect upon the Verse of the Day, a parallel verse also comes to mind, as we begin to focus on Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible):

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

A number of years ago I recall hearing a message “God is Looking for a Dwelling Place,” and I was inspired to write the following poem:

A Dwelling Transformed

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

 Psalm 91:1

Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,

We continue to learn that everything has its own price,

As we pursue the ultimate goal, a set apart life:

Joint heirs with Christ, presented as a living sacrifice.

With clean hands and a pure heart, we prepare a dwelling place.

To attract the Lord, we provide a pleasing ambiance:

As our songs of love flow from the depths of our inner space,

Our habitation designed and arrayed for God’s entrance.

To walk by the spirit of life, we are driven to pursue.

We dance to brand new music, softly playing in our mind,

And strive to understand that God alone makes all things new.

As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find

A dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,

As we offer all that we are and ever hope to be.

The poem reflects the innermost desire of many fellow believers who are earnestly seeking to situate themselves to be in position for the next “move of God,” yearning for a fresh visitation from the Lord. While to bask in His glorious presence would bring with it unspeakable joy, the deepest yearning of our heart is to experience an unprecedented visitation that goes on without interruption, a move of God extending indefinitely.  Francis Frangipane reiterates this point, “Let us also keep in mind that the goal of a visitation from God is that we become the habitation of God.”  Indeed, we long to see times of visitation transformed into times of habitation.

Imagine this scenario—you have a good friend who sometimes comes by to visit. You would like to have that individual come by more often, so you prepare a special place for your friend to stay. In a similar way, the Shunamite woman and her husband prepared a special abode for Elijah, who visited them periodically. You know what your close acquaintance likes and doesn’t like, so you have what he/she likes, so you custom-design an appointed the place to suit your visitor.

It is no different with God. We endeavor to provide the perfect atmosphere, the ideal conditions that will welcome Him so that He shows up often and stays long. In fact, our ultimate desire is to turn a visitation into a habitation, but how is this accomplished?

When God makes visiting a habit, then visitation becomes habitation. God visits so often and enjoys Himself so much that His visits become more and more frequent, and He stays longer and longer until His visits are a habit, and He decides to abide. Our heart’s deepest yearning for intimacy is expressed in this poem:

Times of Visitation

As you once visited Abraham, our father,

and sent angelic hosts to reinforce your pledge,

in these times of barrenness and seeming defeat,

where are the times of visitation set for us?

We offer our hearts, places prepared for you to meet.

As you sojourn, may you find in our lives a place

so prepared for you to come with friendly intent

that on each occasion where you show up

that your ultimate purpose is most apparent.

As you clearly reveal your promise to fulfill

your will, receive our obedience as sacrifice,

and favor shall be our portion as faithful sons.

May you find us yielded vessels, clean and fitted

for the glory of your presence that you might pour

blessings without measure to overflow and flood

our souls, as we commune with you in perfect peace.

May we never squander times of visitation

but shut the door in face of the enemy,

as we open wide the portals of our spirit

and transform our hearts into your habitation.

Esther Mui offers a tender rendering of Psalm 91 with its reference to God’s dwelling place

Keep asking, seeking, knocking

January 22, 2016

Matthew_7-7-8

Originally posted a year ago, the following blog entry is modified and re-posted below:

The Verse of the Day for January 22, 2016 comes from Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV):

[Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking] “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened

This passage brought to mind a scripture memory song composed more than 16 years ago. The arrangement of the lyrics shows an acrostic poem that spells out the word “ask,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in verse 7. In addition to singing the lyrics, the song involved gestures that reinforced the message. In a prayer notebook that I once had, I recall having a card with the words “Ask God” on one side and Matthew 7:7, 8 (KJV) on the other. Here are the lyrics to the simple song:

Ask and it shall be given you;
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.
Ask, seek and knock.

For everyone who asketh receiveth.
He that seeketh findeth.
And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.
Ask, seek and knock.

In reflecting on the passage from the Sermon on the Mount, I thought of the last phrase of the 8th verse: “. . . and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Revelation 3:20 came to mind where the Master declares, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and openeth the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”

In discussing Orientalisms or Eastern customs and manners found in Scripture, Bishop KC Pillai, converted Hindu Bible teacher, notes that eating with someone was a most intimate act. One did not eat with strangers or those outside his most intimate circle of family and friends. In that light, Revelation 3:20 takes on even more significance as an invitation to intimacy. Luke 24 speaks of Jesus and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and of their breaking bread together, a time of intense intimacy when Jesus opened the eyes of their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. This unfolding of Himself as revealed in the Scriptures occurred during a meal, a time of wonderfully rich fellowship and intimacy.

During the same period when I wrote the scripture memory song using Matthew 7:7-8, I also recall composing a song that we used to sing before serving our lunch at the summer program for school-age children where I worked. It is based in part on the passage from Revelation:

Come and dine with me, Jesus said
Come and dine with me, Jesus said
I’ve prepared a table to set before you
Come and dine with me, Jesus said

In thinking about the passage from Matthew 7:7-8, we recognize that in the Greek New Testament the three verbs are expressed in the present progressive tense: meaning keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. In the New King James Version we find a similar preface in brackets before the actual scripture. In the same manner that a child will keep asking for a treat while shopping with his or her parents, Jesus Christ says to continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock.

A few years later after having composed the first scripture memory song, I also wrote another acrostic poem whose lyrics became another song based on the same passage:

Always ask, no matter how great or small the task.
Serve the Lord God with a pure heart and remove the mask.
Keep trusting in the Lord–all you have to do is ask.

Someday soon we shall stand on top of the mountain peak.
Every golden promise God has fulfilled, as we speak.
Each day adds another victory toward our winning streak.
Keep pressing toward the mark to obtain the prize we seek.

Keep renewing your mind, assess your thoughts and take stock.
Never give up–build your hope on Christ, the solid rock.
Overcome the odds–by faith get around any roadblock.
Count your blessings with every tick-tock of the clock.
Keep this in mind and call on the Lord: ask, seek, and knock.

Kim McFarland and the Thompson Community Singers offer this stirring reminder: “Just Ask in My Name”

A dwelling transformed

September 6, 2015

John-14 23

John 14:23 (NLT)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

The Verse of the Day for September 6, 2015 begins with the conditional clause “if a man,” followed by the verb “love.” “If an individual loves Jesus Christ, he will adhere to the words that the Lord speaks. If those conditions are met, that individual who meets those conditions will be graced with the very presence of God, the Father and Jesus Christ, His son. John 14:23 establishes the conditions which, if met, will result in a corresponding action on God’s part.

As I continued to reflect upon the Verse of the Day, a parallel verse also came to mind, as I began to focus on Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible):

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

A number of years ago I recall hearing a message “God is Looking for a Dwelling Place,” and I was inspired to write the following poem:

A Dwelling Transformed

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

 

Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,

We continue to learn that everything has its own price,

As we pursue the ultimate goal, a set apart life:

Joint heirs with Christ, presented as a living sacrifice.

With clean hands and a pure heart, we prepare a dwelling place.

To attract the Lord, we provide a pleasing ambiance:

As our songs of love flow from the depths of our inner space,

Our habitation designed and arrayed for God’s entrance.

To walk by the spirit of life, we are driven to pursue.

We dance to brand new music, softly playing in our mind,

And strive to understand that God alone makes all things new.

As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find

A dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,

As we offer all that we are and ever hope to be.

The poem reflects the innermost desire of many fellow believers who are earnestly seeking to situate themselves to be in position for the next “move of God,” yearning for a fresh visitation from the Lord. While to bask in His glorious presence would bring with it unspeakable joy, the deepest yearning of our heart is to experience an unprecedented visitation that goes on without interruption, a move of God extending indefinitely. Francis Frangipane reiterates this point, “Let us also keep in mind that the goal of a visitation from God is that we become the habitation of God.” Indeed, we long to see times of visitation transformed into times of habitation.

Imagine this scenario—you have a good friend who sometimes comes by to visit. You would like to have that individual come by more often, so you prepare a place for your friend to stay. In a similar way, the Shunamite woman and her husband prepared a special abode for Elijah, who visited them periodically. You know what your close acquaintance likes and doesn’t like, so you have what he/she likes, so you custom-design an appointed the place to suit your visitor.

It is no different with God. We endeavor to provide the perfect atmosphere, the ideal conditions that will welcome Him so that He shows up often and stays long. In fact, our ultimate desire is to turn a visitation into a habitation, but how is this accomplished?

When God makes visiting a habit, then visitation becomes habitation. God visits so often and enjoys Himself so much that His visits become more and more frequent, and He stays longer and longer until His visits are a habit, and He decides to abide. Our heart’s deepest yearning for intimacy is expressed in this poem:

 

Times of Visitation

As you once visited Abraham, our father,

and sent angelic hosts to reinforce your pledge,

in these times of barrenness and seeming defeat,

where are the times of visitation set for us?

We offer our hearts, places prepared for you to meet.

As you sojourn, may you find in our lives a place

so prepared for you to come with friendly intent

that on each occasion where you show up

that your ultimate purpose is most apparent.

As you clearly reveal your promise to fulfill

your will, receive our obedience as sacrifice,

and favor shall be our portion as faithful sons.

May you find us yielded vessels, clean and fitted

for the glory of your presence that you might pour

blessings without measure to overflow and flood

our souls, as we commune with you in perfect peace.

May we never squander times of visitation

but shut the door in face of the enemy,

as we open wide the portals of our spirit

and transform our hearts into your habitation.

Esther Mui offers a tender rendering of Psalm 91 with its reference to God’s dwelling place.

Reserved: Come and dine

August 14, 2015

Revelation 3_20In Revelation 3:14, 20 (NLT) we find the Verse of the Day for August 14, 2015:

Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

In discussing this passage from Revelation 3:20, Bishop KC Pillai, a converted Hindu, points out various  Eastern customs and manners, Orientalisms, an appreciation of which adds to our understanding of the Scriptures. He notes that in the East when an individual is merely a guest, the host will serve that person. When the meal is complete and the guest departs. The host and his family will then dining together. If, on the other hand, the guest is more than a mere acquaintance but a close, intimate, beloved friend, the host will dine with his special guest. This is the situation expressed in Revelation 3:20: The Lord stands at the door and knocks, offering a verbal invitation to come and dine. If the guest hears the voice of Lord and responds by opening the door, the host will come in and dine, as the two “will share a meal together as friends.”

Thirteen years ago I was one of the coordinators of a summer educational program, and I composed a number of scripture memory songs to help students learn the Word of God by heart. One of the songs that we sang before serving the noon meal was based on Revelation 3:20:

Come and Dine with Me

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

If any man hears my voice and opens the door,

I will come unto him and will sup with him and he with me.

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me on my throne,

Even as I also overcame and am sat down with my father in His throne.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

As one who enjoys preparing and serving meals, I also appreciate dining at fine restaurants. In many instances, one must make reservations ahead of time to be assured that your party and you will be able to eat at the time that you would like. The idea of making reservations or having a place “reserved” for you, brought to mind this poem:

Reserved

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again

to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,

reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

 

To know intimately the fullness of your grace

To grasp the truest meaning of being “reserved”

For your glory: for your purpose I am preserved

To someday stand in your presence, face to face

With the Lord in the jeweled splendor of that place

Where those of every kindred, tribe and tongue shall hear

The voice sounding as though many waters are near;

To stand on the bema at the end of the race,

To apprehend living in the eternal now

When all the praises of the ages shall resound:

Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.

Where sin once reigned, grace does now even more abound.

“I ‘reserved’ you, set you apart, for you are mine.

Beloved, this is ‘reserved’ for you—come and dine.”

Revelation 3:20 and other related verses build our anticipation for the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which will be like no other dining experience known to humanity.

Gary Chapman expresses the essence of this powerful message in the song “Come and Dine”:

Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking

January 22, 2015

Matthew 7--7-8

The following blog entry originally posted a year ago is modified and re-posted below:

Matthew 7:7-8 (New Living Translation)

[Effective Prayer] “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

The Verse of the Day for January 22, 2015 brought to mind a scripture memory song composed more than 10 years ago. The arrangement of the lyrics shows an acrostic poem that spells out the word “ask,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in verse 7. In a prayer notebook that I once had, I recall having a card with the words “Ask God” on one side and Matthew 7:7, 8 (KJV) on the other.

Ask and it shall be given you;

Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

For everyone who asketh receiveth.

He that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

In reflecting on the passage from the Sermon on the Mount, I thought of the last phrase of the 8th verse: “. . . and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Revelation 3:20 came to mind where the Master declares, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and openeth the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”

In the Bible, eating with someone was a most intimate act. One did not eat with strangers or those outside his most intimate circle of family and friends. In that light, Revelation 3:20 takes on even more significance as an invitation to intimacy. Luke 24 speaks of Jesus and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and of their breaking bread together, a time of intense intimacy when Jesus opened the eyes of their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. This unfolding of Himself as revealed in the Scriptures occurred during a meal, a time of wonderfully rich fellowship and intimacy.

During the same period when I wrote the scripture memory song using Matthew 7:7-8, I also recall composing a song that we used to sing before serving our lunch at the summer program for school-age children where I worked. It is based in part on the passage from Revelation:

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

I’ve prepared a table to set before you

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

In thinking about the passage from Matthew 7:7-8, I recognize that in the Greek New Testament the three verbs are expressed in the present progressive tense: meaning keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. In the same manner that a child will keep asking for a treat while shopping with his or her parents, Jesus Christ says to continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock.

A few years later after having composed the first scripture memory song, I also wrote another song based on the same passage:

 

Ask, Seek and Knock (Matthew 7:7-8)

Ask and it shall be given you;

Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

For everyone who asketh receiveth.

He that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

Always ask, no matter how great or small the task.

Serve the Lord God with a pure heart and remove the mask.

Keep trusting in the Lord–all you have to do is ask.

 

Someday soon we shall stand on top of the mountain peak.

Every golden promise God has fulfilled, as we speak.

Each day adds another victory toward your winning streak.

Keep pressing toward the mark to obtain the prize you seek.

 

Keep renewing your mind, assess your thoughts and take stock.

Never give up–build your hope on Christ, the solid rock.

Overcome the odds–by faith get around any roadblock.

Count your blessings with every tick-tock of the clock.

Keep this in mind and call on the Lord: ask, seek, and knock.

 

Kim McFarland and the Thompson Community Singers offer this stirring reminder: “Just Ask in My Name”

Love: Key to intimate dining

September 6, 2014

John-14 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 14:23 (KJV)

The Verse of the Day, for September 6, 2014, begins with the conditional clause “if a man,” followed by the verb “love.” “If an individual loves Jesus Christ, he will adhere to the words that the Lord speaks. If those conditions are met, that individual who meets those conditions will be graced with the very presence of God, the Father and Jesus Christ, His son. John 14:23 establishes the conditions which, if met, will result in a corresponding action on God’s part.

I have heard the expression that when someone whom you love makes a simple request, it is treated as if it were a command. Certainly this should be the case with the request that Jesus Christ makes in John 13:34 (Amplified Bible):

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.

As I continued to reflect upon the Verse of the Day, a parallel verse also came to mind, as I began to focus on Revelation 3:20, as my mind became flooded with warm memories of a recent experience related to dining:

Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible):

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

Biltmore_EstateThis past Labor Day weekend, my wife Brenda and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary with a trip to Asheville, NC, where we visited the Biltmore House, described as “America’s largest home,” on a magnificent 8,000-acre estate nestled in the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fifteen years prior to that occurrence, I recall another delightful experience related to dining when visited another Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, NY. Here is an excerpt from a journal entry made at the end of a writing workshop that I attended at Bard College in 1999, later incorporated into a blog entry:

Once more I gained great spiritual insight from observing a physical place which provided another glimpse of the grandeur of God. Upon entering the palatial estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a man of enormous wealth–though modest in comparison to some of his brothers–I immediately thought of the verses in John 14: “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, I shall come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also.”

The magnificent estate of fifty-four rooms with fourteen bathrooms on a mere 600+ acres is indeed modest in comparison with the Biltmore Estate built by the younger, more extravagant brother, George Washington Vanderbilt, whose mansion of 220+ rooms has as many bathrooms as the Hyde Park mansion has rooms (54) situated on originally 2000 acres. The opulence of the rooms overwhelms me, with each individual room decorated to reflect a splendor and uniqueness. The bedrooms, especially, but the entire house seems to have been designed with royalty in mind. As I stand awe and walk, observing the rooms on the two levels, I sense the reality that the splendor awaiting us in God’s magnificent “buildings not made by hands,” reserved for us in the heavenlies far surpasses what I am observing in a temporal context.

The last rooms we observe before exiting the building are the servants’ quarters in the lower level of the building. I was especially moved when I saw the servants’ dining room where we were informed that the servants of the household were served by other servants. As I stood observing the servants’ dining room, I thought of Luke 12:37 (Amplified Bible):

Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants whom the master finds awake and alert and watching when he comes. Truly I say to you, he will gird himself and have them recline at table and will come and serve them!

That particular verse I make reference to in another musical composition:

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

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

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

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

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

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

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

 

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,

I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.

I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see

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

 

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

As one who enjoys preparing and serving meals, I also appreciate dining at fine restaurants. In many instances, one must make reservations ahead of time to be assured that your party and you will be able to eat at the time that you would like. The idea of making reservations or having a place “reserved” for you, brought to mind this poem:                                     

           RESERVED                               
 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again

to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,

reserved in heaven for you,

 

1 Peter 1:3-4

 

 

To know intimately the fullness of your grace,

To grasp the truest meaning of being “reserved”

For your glory: for your purpose I am preserved

To someday stand in your presence, face to face

With the Lord in the jeweled splendor of that place

Where those of every kindred, tribe and tongue shall hear

The voice sounding as though many waters are near;

To stand on the bema at the end of the race,

To apprehend living in the eternal now

When all the praises of the ages shall resound:

Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.

Where sin once reigned, grace does now even more abound.

“I ‘reserved’ you, set you apart, for you are mine.

Beloved, this is ‘reserved’ for you—come and dine.”

 

The Verse of the Day, Revelation 3:20, and other related verses build our anticipation for the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which will be like no other dining experience known to humanity. Such a glorious occasion is the fulfillment of the invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ to “Come and Dine,” as Gary Chapman sings:

Matthew 7:7-8: Ask, Seek, and Knock

January 22, 2014

Matthew_7-7-8

The Verse of the Day for January 22, 2014 brought to mind a scripture memory song that I composed more than 10 years ago. The arrangement of the lyrics shows an acrostic poem that spells out the word “ask,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in verse 7. In a prayer notebook that I once had, I recall having a card with the words “Ask God” on one side and Matthew 7:7, 8 on the other.

Ask and it shall be given you;

Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

For everyone who asketh receiveth.

He that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

In reflecting on the passage from the Sermon on the Mount, my mind especially went to the last phrase of the 8th verse: “. . . and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”  Revelation 3:20 came to mind where the Master declares, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If any man hear my voice and openeth the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”

In the Bible, eating with someone was a most intimate act.  One did not eat with strangers or those outside his most intimate circle of family and friends. In that light, Revelation 3:20 takes on even more significance as an invitation to intimacy.  Luke 24 speaks of Jesus and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and of their breaking bread together, a time of intense intimacy when Jesus opened the eyes of their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.  This unfolding of Himself as revealed in the Scriptures occurred during a meal, a time of wonderfully rich fellowship and intimacy.

During the same period when I wrote the scripture memory song using Matthew 7:7-8, I also recall composing a song that we used to sing before serving our lunch at the summer program for school-age children where I worked. It is based in part on the passage from Revelation:

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

I’ve prepared a table to set before you

Come and dine with me, Jesus said

In thinking about the passage from Matthew 7:7-8, I recognize that in the Greek New Testament the three verbs are expressed in the present progressive tense: meaning keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. In the same manner that a child will keep asking for a treat while shopping with his or her parents, Jesus Christ says to continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock.

A few years later after having composed the first scripture memory song, I also wrote another song based on the same passage:

 

Ask, Seek and Knock (Matthew 7:7-8)

Ask and it shall be given you;

Seek and you shall find.

Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

For everyone who asketh receiveth.

He that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.

Ask, seek and knock.

 

Always ask, no matter how great or small the task.

Serve the Lord God with a pure heart and remove the mask.

Keep trusting in the Lord–all you have to do is ask.

 

Someday soon we shall stand on top of the mountain peak.

Every golden promise God has fulfilled, as we speak.

Each day adds another victory toward your winning streak.

Keep pressing toward the mark to obtain the prize you seek.

 

Keep renewing your mind, assess your thoughts and take stock.

Never give up–build your hope on Christ, the solid rock.

Overcome the odds–by faith get around any roadblock.

Count your blessings with every tick-tock of the clock.

Keep this in mind and call on the Lord: ask, seek, and knock.

 

Kim McFarland and the Thompson Community Singers offer this stirring reminder: “Just Ask in My Name.”

Revelation 3:20: Anticipating the ultimate dining experience

August 14, 2013

Revelation 3_20

I begin the day reading and reflecting upon the Verse of the Day.  Today on August 14, 2014, I find two verses: Revelation 3:14, 20, but as I focus on verse 20, my mind is flooded with warm memories of past experiences related to dining.

Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

Eleven years ago I was one of the coordinators of a summer educational program, and I composed a number of scripture memory songs to help students learn the Word of God by heart. One of the songs that we sang before serving the noon meal was based on Revelation 3:20:

Come and Dine with Me

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

If any man hear my voice and open the door,

I will come unto him and will sup with him and he with me.

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me on my throne,

Even as I also overcame and am sat down with my father in His throne.

 

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

A visit to the Hyde Park Vanderbilt Mansion brought to mind a scripture that related to a forthcoming heavenly dining experience.

A visit to the Hyde Park Vanderbilt Mansion brought to mind a scripture that related to a forthcoming, heavenly dining experience.

A few years prior to that occurrence, I recall another delightful experience related to dining when I visited to the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, NY. Here is an excerpt from a journal entry made at the end of a writing workshop that I attended at Bard College in 1999.

Once more I gained great spiritual insight from observing a physical place which provided another glimpse of the grandeur of God. Upon entering the palatial estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a man of enormous wealth–though modest in comparison to some of his brothers–I immediately thought of the verses in John 14: “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my father’s house are many mansions.  If it were not so, I would have told.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go, I shall come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also.

The magnificent estate of fifty-four rooms with fourteen bathrooms on a mere 600+ acres is indeed modest in comparison with the Biltmore Estate built by another more extravagant brother whose mansion of 220+ rooms has as many bathrooms as the Hyde Park mansion has rooms (54) situated on originally 2000 acres.  The opulence of the rooms overwhelms me, with each individual room decorated to reflect a splendor and uniqueness.  The bedrooms, especially, but the entire house seems to have been designed with royalty in mind.  As I stand awe and walk, observing the rooms on the two levels, I sense the reality that the splendor awaiting us in God’s magnificent “buildings not made by hands,” reserved for us in the heavenlies far surpasses what I am observing in a temporal context.

The last rooms we observe before exiting the building are the servants’ quarters in the lower level of the building.  I was especially moved when I saw the servants’ dining room where we were informed that the servants of the household were served by other servants.  Mr. Vanderbilt paid his servants quite well and provided his personal physician in cases of illness, both for the servants and their children, for whom Mr. Vanderbilt provided an education from grade school through college if they so chose.

As I stood observing the servants’ dining room, I thought of Luke 12:37 in the Amplified Bible:

Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants whom the master finds awake and alert and watching when he comes. Truly I say to you, he will gird himself and have them recline at table and will come and serve them!

That particular verse I make reference to in another musical composition:

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

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

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

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

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

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

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,

I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.

I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see

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

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

As one who enjoys preparing and serving meals, I also appreciate dining at fine restaurants. In many instances, one must make reservations ahead of time to be assured that your party and you will be able to eat at the time that you would like. The idea of making reservations or having a place “reserved” for you, brought to mind this poem:

Reserved_Sign

Reserved

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again

to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,

 reserved in heaven for you,

 1 Peter 1:3-4

 

To know intimately the fullness of your grace,

To grasp the truest meaning of being “reserved”

For your glory: for your purpose I am preserved

To someday stand in your presence, face to face

With the Lord in the jeweled splendor of that place

Where those of every kindred, tribe and tongue shall hear

The voice sounding as though many waters are near;

To stand on the bema at the end of the race,

To apprehend living in the eternal now

When all the praises of the ages shall resound:

Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.

Where sin once reigned, grace does now even more abound.

“I ‘reserved’ you, set you apart, for you are mine.

Beloved, this is ‘reserved’ for you—come and dine.”

 

Revelation 3:20 and other related verses build our anticipation for the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which will be like no other dining experience known to humanity. Gary Chapman expresses the essence of this powerful message in the song “Come and Dine”: