Posts Tagged ‘Romans 8:28’

Three things I know–revised

February 2, 2016

1 Corinthians 2--9

The Verse of the Day for February 2, 2016 comes from 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT):

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

 

To complete the context of the passage, we must also look at the preceding verses and the verse that follows to further clarify the promise that God is unfolding.

1 Corinthians 2:7-10 (NLT):

No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.

Deuteronomy 29:29 in the Amplified Bible reinforces the message that there are some things, spiritual matters, that only God knows, and there are some secrets that God continues to reveal to believers today:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed and disclosed belong to us and to our children forever, so that we may do all of the words of this law.

The discussion of what we know and do not know as believers brings to mind a previous blog entry that is excerpted and re-posted below:

The sharing is based on “These three things I Know”:

  • Some things I know
  • Some things I don’t know
  • Some things only God knows

Some things I know. . .

One thing that I know for sure is that God loves me. I know that I love God, and that’s really all that matters. Not only do I know that God loves me and that I love God, but these lyrics express what I really know:

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No matter how many times I go astray

And leave your side and choose to disobey.

When I’m overwhelmed and can’t even pray,

No matter what I do or do not say.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No one else knows my heart: You are the one

To call me home when I have no place to run.

When I look all around at all that I’ve done,

Despite all my failures, You still call me Son.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

Romans 8:28 is my favorite verse in the Bible, and it offers this reminder that because God is good, “We know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” So no matter how bad any situation may appear to be, I know that it will work together for the good.

Some things I don’t know. . .

I recall the lyrics to one of my all-time favorite Gospel songs “I don’t know about tomorrow.” This song was especially meaningful because it was a song that my late sister-in-law, Phyllis Warren Murdock sang. Click here to access a blog entry that pays tribute to Phyllis and offers a recording of the song that she sang so beautifully.

Without question, I don’t know the answers to many of life’s enigmas that seem to defy the mind of man. Quite honestly, I don’t know the answers to the questions that God asked Job. Some things are not mine to know . . . if God doesn’t tell me in the Word or by revelation, then I just don’t know

Romans 11:33-34 remind us of this truth:

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?

I recall the lyrics to the hymn “I Know Whom I Have Believed” which states a series of things that the hymn writer does not know:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

The chorus of the familiar hymn resounds with this assurance found in 2 Timothy 1:12:

But “I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

The last verse brings to mind something that neither I nor anyone else knows:

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noon-day fair,
Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him,
Or “meet Him in the air.”

Some things only God knows . . .

When asked about his return to the earth, Jesus Christ responded in Matthew 24:36b (NLT):

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Although we are assured that the Lord Jesus Christ will return, no one is privy to the exact day and hour, but “of the times and seasons we have no need,” as I Thessalonians 5:1-3 remind us that the Lord’s return will happen suddenly, at the precise time that no one knows, only God.

When confronted with staggering vision of the dry bones, Ezekiel is asked the question in Ezekiel 37:3:

“Son of Man, can these bones live?” He responds, “O Lord God, You know!”

As the New Living Testament puts it, “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “You alone know the answer to that.”

In thinking about things that only God knows, I recall this poem written to express that very idea:

“Lord, You Know!”

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

For we know not what we should pray for

as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes

intercession for us with groanings

which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:16

 

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

When the right words won’t come, and we can’t even pray.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

We set our sights above but our thoughts fall below.

Though we walk by faith, we stumble along the way.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

 

We triumph in Christ and rise to defeat each foe.

Even though we wage spiritual warfare night and day,

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

God puts us in a place for us to prove what we know;

He tests us to see whether we rebel or obey.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

 

God leads the way and only asks that we follow.

We start in strength but often seem to go astray.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

We long to serve the Lord, the one who loves us so,

But doubts and fears arise and somehow still dismay.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

Despite what we may think that we know and what we may think that we don’t know, we are comforted and assured with the words of I John 3:20:

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

Listen to the “I Know Whom I Have Believed” which actually responds to what I know as well as what I do not know:

 

 

 

Reflections on Veterans Day 2015

November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015On Veterans Day, November 11, 2015, as I reflect upon the celebration of this particular national holiday, I am re-posting a devotional from last year, focusing on Veteran’s Day, a day of special significance to me in a number of ways.

What began as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on the 11th Day of 11th Month of 1918, was later renamed Veterans Day which commemorates all veterans. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the recognition of November 11 as Veterans Day.

November 11 is also a memorable occasion for me because it is the birthday of my sister, Cheryl Thompson Williams, who was born November 11, 1946. At that time it was called Armistice Day, as I well remember. Also November 11, 2000 was the day that her husband, Elliott Thompson, who was also a Veteran, was buried. She has since remarried, and her husband, Thomas, is also a veteran.

Veterans Day is also special to me for another reason. I am a Veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience is directly related to my being in Fayetteville, NC, where I serve as an adjunct professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and at Fayetteville State University.

I was born and reared in Gary, Indiana, and when I was about 13 or 14, I visited Purdue University, the first college campus I ever set foot on, and I decided at that time that I would attend Purdue and major in Pharmacy. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, and subsequently became a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary. I was enjoying the “good life” when I received my “greetings from Uncle Sam.” In 1967 I was drafted into the US Army. At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Vietnam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever that what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. While I was in the Army, I rode the crest of the Jesus Movement and experienced a powerful conversion that introduced me to the transforming power of God through receiving the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing of my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given the option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians. The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I opted to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching here at CCBS and FSU and at Indiana Wesleyan University where I teach classes online.

As I reflect upon Veterans Day, I pay tribute to one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors so we went through the training at the Medical Field Service School together. But there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indication that I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year increased the likelihood that you might have to go to Vietnam if there were a pharmacy position that needed to be filled.

About 9 months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until about three years ago when I again looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a class at the IWU Louisville Center of Indiana Wesleyan when I saw my colleague’s sacrifice in a totally different light.

In literature there is term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of whose most notable qualities is “self sacrifice.” I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took my place and gave his life that I might live.

My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

We conclude by listening to Major Jason Billington singing “The Eagle Cried,” a moving tribute to Vietnam Veterans:

Romans 8:28–My Life Verse

March 13, 2015

Romans 8:28, the Verse of the Day for Friday, March 13, 2015, has become especially meaningful for me over the years, and I have designated this scripture as my “Life Verse.” According to the Middletown Christian Church, “Life Verses are those words from Scripture that anchor our faith and become touchstones that illuminate, assure, uplift and energize us to live out our faith.” Here are three of my favorite translations of my favorite verse:

Romans 8:28


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [KJV]

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. [Amplified Bible]

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [New Living Translation]

I recall a previous blog entry in which I discussed “Three Things I Know” where I made reference to this pivotal verse in this excerpt:

Some things I know. . .

One thing I know for sure is that that God loves me. I know that I love God and that’s really all that matters. Not only do I know that God loves me and that I love God, but these lyrics express what I really know:

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No matter how many times I go astray

And leave your side and choose to disobey.

When I’m overwhelmed and can’t even pray,

No matter what I do or do not say.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No one else knows my heart: You are the one

To call me home when I have no place to run.

When I look all around at all that I’ve done,

Despite all my failures, You still call me Son.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me. You still love me. You still love me.

Romans 8:28, my favorite verse in the Bible, offers this reminder that because God is good, “We know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” So no matter how bad any situation may appear to be, I know that it will work together for the good.

This often quoted verse is the inspiration for one of Don Moen’s classic praise songs: “All things Work Together”:

Veterans Day Tribute

November 11, 2014

veterans (2)

Most appropriately, our devotional for today focuses on Veteran’s Day, a day of special significance to me in a number of ways.

What began as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on the 11th Day of 11th Month of 1918, was later renamed Veterans Day which commemorates all veterans. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the recognition of November 11 as Veterans Day.

November 11 is also a memorable occasion for me because it is the birthday of my sister, Cheryl Thompson Williams, who was born November 11, 1946. At that time it was called Armistice Day, as I well remember. Also November 11, 2000 was the day that her husband, Elliott Thompson, who was also a Veteran, was buried. She has since remarried, and her husband, Thomas, is also a veteran.

Veterans Day is also special to me for another reason. I am a Veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience is directly related to my being in Fayetteville, NC, where I serve as an adjunct professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and at Fayetteville State University.

I was born and reared in Gary, Indiana, and when I was about 13 or 14, I visited Purdue University, the first college campus I ever set foot on, and I decided at that time that I would attend Purdue and major in Pharmacy. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, and subsequently became a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary. I was enjoying the “good life” when I received my “greetings from Uncle Sam.” In 1967 I was drafted into the US Army. At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Viet Nam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever that what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. While I was in the Army, I rode the crest of the Jesus Movement and experienced a powerful conversion that introduced me to the transforming power of God through receiving the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing of my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians. The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I opted to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching here at CCBS and FSU and at Indiana Wesleyan University where I teach classes online.

As I reflect upon Veterans Day, I pay tribute to one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors so we went through the training at the Medical Field Service School together. But there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indication that I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman, had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year increased the likelihood that you might have to go to Vietnam if there were a pharmacy position that needed to be filled.

About 9 months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until about three years ago when I again looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a class at the IWU Louisville Center of Indiana Wesleyan when I saw my colleague’s sacrifice in a totally different light.

In literature there is term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of whose most notable qualities is “self sacrifice.” I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took my place and gave his life that I might live.

My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

Here is a video “Remember Me” compiled by Lizzie Palmer as a tribute to veterans:

Psalm 37:4: Your heart’s desires He has placed there

October 19, 2014

 

Psalm 37--4

The Verse of the Day is taken from Psalm 37:4 in the Amplified Bible, but to appreciate the context of the verse more fully, take a look at the following verse as well:

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Each day I am learning to answer yes to God’s call to service, knowing this, according to the Amplified Bible:

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”

That’s Romans 8:28, my all-time favorite verse in the entire Bible.

Paul reminds us, “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” Once again, the Psalmist also clearly offers a similar reminder in Psalm 112:1(AMP):

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.

My heart’s desire is to please God and that desire He has placed there. I express my heart’s desire toward God in this poem:

The Passion of My Heart

The passion of my heart is to fulfill the call,

To walk worthy of the vocation, to stand tall

Yet humbly in His presence, to ever succeed

And abound in God’s grace and to sow righteous seed

That bears fruit each season, wherever it may fall.

 

To serve God with a pure heart, untainted with gall,

May I never forget His goodness but recall

The Word of God spoken to give life and to feed

The passion of my heart.

 

May I walk in peace and live to tear down each wall;

May I know the touch that will quicken and enthrall.

Touched by God’s hand, my life now reveals such deep need.

I must do more than merely hear but must give heed

To the desire to please the Father with all

The passion of my heart.

 

1 Peter 5:10 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) offers this benediction:

10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.

Listen to this delightful version of Psalm 37:4 by Junko Nishiguchi Cheng from Saddleback Church in Southern California:

For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever

May 29, 2014

 

Psalm 103--17

Taken from Psalm 103:17-18, the Verse of the Day for May 29, 2014 makes known this truth:

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

This passage also brings to mind a familiar expression found throughout the Old Testament: “For the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.”

In I Chronicles 16:34 when the ark of the covenant was brought out from the house of Obededom, David and Levites and those associated with worship offered praise and thanksgiving to God saying,

34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.

When the Temple was dedicated, we find a similar expression of praise in 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 which describe what transpired when the Temple built by Solomon was dedicated:

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;

14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

Throughout the Psalms we find this familiar refrain of praise. Psalm 118:1 opens with “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endures forever, “while verses 2-4 end with the phrase: “that his mercy endures forever.”

Likewise, the phrase “his mercy endures forever” is the ending refrain of every verse of Psalm 136.

Jeremiah 33:10-12 reveal the awesome power of God to transform a place of desolation into a thriving habitation of abundance, as His people bring forth praise and thanksgiving:

10 Thus says the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,

11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endures for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, says the Lord.

12 Thus says the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.

“Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men,” says the Psalmist (Psalm 107:1) As I look back over my life, at times I am overwhelmed by the goodness of God. “God is so good”—is all I can say at times. I certainly concur with the Psalmist who declares, “For the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.”

In reflecting upon that familiar verse, I recognize that the very essence of God is goodness. The word good is derived from “God” who alone is good. Indeed, Jesus Christ said, “There is none good but the Father.” And there is no comparative or superlative with God. There are no “better” days with God. God does not have the “best” day He’s had in a long time in comparison to others. With God everyday is a “Good News Day” because “God is good.” Period! Because God is good, “. . . all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28—my favorite verse in the whole Bible) So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good: “For the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever.”

Israel Houghton and New Breed offer this lively rendition of “Lord, You Are Good”

These three things I know

May 22, 2014

what-do-you-know

Recently I thought of the expression “What do you know?” as I began my day in a reflective way. That phrase was also the title of a quiz show heard on BBC radio in the 1950s and 1960s. Generally used as a rhetorical question, “What do you know?” is part of the exquisite lyrics to one of my favorite songs “It’s a Quiet Thing”:

When it all comes true
Just the way you planned
It’s funny but the bells don’t ring
It’s a quiet thing
When you hold the world
In your trembling hand
You think you’d hear a choir singing
But it’s a quiet thing
There are no exploding fireworks
Where’s the roaring of the crowds
Maybe it’s the strange new atmosphere
Way up here among the clouds

I don’t hear the drum
I don’t hear the band,
The sound I’m told such moments bring
Happiness comes in on tiptoe
Well, what do you know
It’s a quiet thing
A very quiet thing

The expression also brings to mind a Bible teaching that I shared a couple of years ago entitled “These three things I Know”:

1)      Some things I know

2)     Some things I don’t know

3)     Some things only God knows

Some things I know. . .

One thing I know for sure is that that God loves me. I know that I love God and that’s really all that matters. Not only do I know that God loves me and that I love God, but these lyrics express what I really know:

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No matter how many times I go astray

And leave your side and choose to disobey.

When I’m overwhelmed and can’t even pray,

No matter what I do or do not say.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

No one else knows my heart: You are the one

To call me home when I have no place to run.

When I look all around at all that I’ve done,

Despite all my failures, You still call me Son.

 

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

I know that I know that I know that I know.

I know that I know You still love me.

 

Romans 8:28 is my favorite verse in the Bible, and it offers this reminder that because God is good, “We know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” So no matter how bad any situation may appear to be, I know that it will work together for the good.

Some things I don’t know. . .

I recall the lyrics to one of my all-time favorite Gospel songs “I don’t know about tomorrow.” This song was especially meaningful because it was a song that my late sister-in-law, Phyllis Warren Murdock sang. Click here to access a blog entry that pays tribute to Phyllis and offers a recording of the song that she sang so beautifully.

Without question, I don’t know the answers to many of life’s enigmas that seem to defy the mind of man. Quite honestly, I don’t know the answers to the questions that God asked Job. Some things are not mine to know. . . if God doesn’t tell me in the Word or by revelation, then I just don’t know

Romans 11:33-34 reminds us of this truth:

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?

I recall the lyrics to the hymn “I Know Whom I Have Believed” which states a series of things that the hymn writer does not know:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace

To me He hath made known,

Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

Redeemed me for His own.

The chorus of the familiar hymn resounds with this assurance found in 2 Timothy 1:12 :

But “I know Whom I have believed

And am persuaded that He is able

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.”

The last verse brings to mind something that neither I nor anyone else knows:

I know not when my Lord may come,

At night or noon-day fair,

Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him,

Or “meet Him in the air.”

Some things only God knows . . .

When asked about his return to the earth, Jesus Christ responded in Matthew 24:36:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Although we are assured that the Lord Jesus Christ will return, no one is privy of the exact day and hour, but “of the times and seasons we have no need,” as I Thessalonians 5:1-3 remind us that the Lord’s return will happen suddenly, at the precise time that no one knows, only God.

When confronted with staggering vision of the dry bones, Ezekiel is asked the question in Ezekiel 37:3:

“Son of Man, can these bones live?” He responds, “O Lord God, You know!” As the New Living Testament puts it, “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

In thinking about things that only God knows, I recall this poem written to express that very idea:

“Lord, You Know!”

 

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:

For we know not what we should pray for

as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes

intercession for us with groanings

which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:16

 

 

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

When the right words won’t come, and we can’t even pray.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

We set our sights above but our thoughts fall below.

Though we walk by faith, we stumble along the way.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

 

We triumph in Christ and rise to defeat each foe.

Even though we wage spiritual warfare night and day,

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

God puts us in a place for us to prove what we know;

He tests us to see whether we rebel or obey.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

 

God leads the way and only asks that we follow.

We start in strength but often seem to go astray.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

We long to serve the Lord, the one who loves us so,

But doubts and fears arise and somehow still dismay.

Many times we journey and don’t know which way to go.

Sometimes the only thing to say is “Lord, you know!”

 

Despite what we may think that we know and what we may think that we don’t know, we are comforted and assured with the words of I John 3:20:

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

Listen to “I Know Whom I Have Believed” which actually responds to what I know as well as what I do not know:

From failure to success: another view

November 23, 2009

This morning I happened to come across a blog entry originally posted more than five years ago. As I read the comments that seemed custom-crafted just for me at this present time, I felt like David, who encouraged himself in the Word of the Lord. I thought this entry might also be a source of encouragement to others as well, and so I am re-posting this discussion of the term “failure,” as viewed from a different perspective. This two-part entry is based on Romans 8:35, 37:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

The journey continues--ever upward toward the light

Part 1

Many times as I go through life and encounter situations that I do not totally understand, I will from time to time write down my thoughts while endeavoring to process the experience that I am going through. After some serious consideration, I have changed my thinking from accepting the duality of “either/or” to embracing concept of “both/and.” In the process I have gone from the designation of being a “total failure” to “not being as successful” as I would like to have been in certain categories.

I think of the lyrics to a powerful song called “Lessons to be Learned”:

Why did that right road take that wrong turn?
Why did our heart break, and why did we get burned?
Just like the seasons there are reasons for the path we take:
There are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned.

What are the lessons God is teaching me during this season of my life? I am a life-long learner, an ever-eager student in the University of Life, and I am continually learning more about God and my relationship with Him. For me, one of the verses that I so often share has become more than just a cliché. Romans 8:28 for me is “life verse”, a constant reminder that God is good and that all things work together for the good, no matter the circumstances.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In the minds of many I am a failure. . . Does it really matter what “people say”?

Here is an-mail that I received that I will include at this point. Most providentially I received this email at a time when I was asking this very question in terms of my own perceived shortcomings.

What is failure?
________________________________________
Failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure;
it does mean you haven’t yet succeeded.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have accomplished nothing;
it does mean you have learned something.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been a fool;
it does mean you have a lot of faith.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been disgraced;
it does mean you were willing to try.

Failure doesn’t mean you don’t have it;
it does mean you have to do something in a different way.

Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior;
it does mean you are not perfect.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your life;
it does mean you have a reason to start afresh.

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up;
it does mean you must try harder.

Failure doesn’t mean you will never make it;
it does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you;
it does mean God has a better way.

Author unknown
________________________________________

The Living Word Library © 1996 – 2008
editor@wordlibrary.co.uk

The last line of the statement about failure brings to mind this poem:

We Pray—God Answers

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Mark 11:24

We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.
If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,
For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”

In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,
For God is not a man that He should lie.
He has already spoken—What shall we say then
But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”

We need more patience so that after we have done
All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled
With confident assurance given to each one,
Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,
Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,
But if we stop and think a moment, we will find
God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.

Part 2

Success and its antonym, failure, are connected in this definition which introduces the last stanza of a familiar poem of great inspiration entitled “Don’t Quit.”

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

Here is a video adaptation of the words of this popular poem:

As I was thinking about the entire subject of failure and success, another poem came to mind, a very penetrating expression of the view of life through the eyes of the noted 19th Century poet, Emily Dickinson, who wrote these words:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

In response, I wrote this poem to express my view regarding success in light of those who fail to achieve it:

I Have Sipped a Sweetness

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete,
but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race]
that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

Now every athlete who goes into training
conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things.
They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither,
but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness]
that cannot wither.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Amplified Bible

Said the fragile lady who never knew such bliss,
“Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.”
In her enigmatic style went on to say this:
“To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need.”
Said the dark poet of another time and place,
I have sipped a sweetness beyond any honey,
The rush in the blood of the one who wins his race,
A foretaste of the glory to come that inspires
Self discipline to sublimate carnal desires,
Casting aside every weight, each besetting sin,
I press toward the mark, the prize now set before me
And run with patience the race I’m destined to win.
Then shall I know ultimate ecstasy of victory
And savor God’s goodness for all eternity.

In closing, let me make this final statement about what appears to be failure. I’m sure that if we scrutinized our lives closely we could easily be overcome by a sense of failure in light of the circumstances that surround us. We can take courage and be strengthened, however, by the example of someone whose life ended most tragically without apparent accomplishment of his mission. He died a shameful death, and those who believed in him, deserted him. Yes, Jesus Christ, in the eyes of the world was a disastrous failure at the end of his life. However, we know “the rest of the story,” and I am writing these words of exhortation to you because of his triumph over the worst possible circumstances—even death itself. Because he was a super-conqueror, in all these things we are more than conquerors.

So take heart, my brothers and sisters, and be encouraged. The best is always yet to come. So we must take heart and remember that when we experience what seems to be failure, that “a set-back is just a set-up for a comeback.”

I also take comfort in the timeless universal truth that “This too shall pass.” This expression is set to music and rendered in a most inspiring manner, as Yolanda Adams reminds us: