More Coming Soon!
Before moving too far into the New Year, let’s take a quick trip back to the 1300’s. Here we find one of the earliest definitions of “resolution” – taken from a Latin word meaning “a process of reducing things into simpler forms.”
Over the centuries, the word’s usage and meaning changed and evolved. But if we consider its early definition, we may very well get to the heart of what we truly desire in its “simplest form,” the greatest “resolution” for the new year and beyond: to echo the highest desire of David’s heart, reduced to its simplest form. And what was that one thing he desired?To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life and to behold His beauty (Psalm 27:4).
Maybe we could use a little simplifying ourselves as we consider all that is in front of us this year. What if we begin this year with HIS words and HIS heart as to what we should pursue? And taking it a step further, what if we prayed for the desire to pursue these things, recognizing that it is God who works within us, both to will and to do for His good pleasure?
A.W. Tozer said, “O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee.”
I, too, long to be filled with longing and long for those I love to be filled with longing; to pursue and seek Him above all other pursuits, however noble they may be.
That is why I have compiled 31 verses (one for each day of the month of January) centered on the theme of pursuing and seeking in order to read, reflect upon, and make my prayer for myself and others. Would you join me?
Is the love of Christ to compel me? Or is the love of Christ to constrain me?
Perhaps surprisingly (or perhaps not) – the answer is both.
His love for me is to both compel and constrain.
I first came across this idea as a young Christian when reading 2 Corinthians 5:14, which in part states in some translations “For the love of Christ compels us…” and in others “For the love of Christ constraineth us…”
I wondered how His love could be what causes me to both do something (compel) and not do something (constrain).
Now I wonder how I could be compelled or constrained by anything but His love.
In fact, a life compelled and constrained by the love of Christ has been described as one that is lived “under the influence of His love.”
Through His Word we have the opportunity to be reminded of what love truly is, as defined and demonstrated by God Himself: “God proved His love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” (Billy Graham)
Having received such amazing love, we are now challenged to be conduits of it.
What an incredible adventure awaits us as we discover — or are reminded of — the greatest love man has ever known!
So the next time you wonder why you should or should not do something, recall these words from 2 Corinthians. Perhaps you, too, will find His love is the answer as you seek to live under its influence.
It is for this reason I have compiled 28+ verses (more than one per day for the month of February) centered on the theme of “love” — God’s love for us and our love for others — in order to read, reflect upon, and make my prayer for myself and others. Would you join me?
This printable provides one verse per day, throughout the month of March, for you (or you and your family) to read, contemplate, and pray.
From the compilation of these verses, we will see that growth is truly His work and yet simultaneously our work
He does the growing, the shaping, the molding.
We do the cooperating, the trusting, the yielding.
The apostle Paul acknowledged his need for growth when he stated that he had not arrived at his goal nor had he reached perfection. How much more true is that of us!
Is it any wonder that Epaphras is described as “always struggling in his prayers” for those in Colossae (Colossians 4:12), that they may stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured?
What a great example for us, too, to pray for ourselves, our families, and anyone else whom the Lord places upon our hearts: that we (or they) would continue to grow in Him.
“We have only to be patient, to pray, and to do His will, according to our present light and strength, and the growth of the soul will go on. The plant grows in the mist and under clouds as truly as under sunshine. So does the heavenly principle within.” (unknown)
This printable provides one verse per day, throughout the month of April for you (or you and your family) to read, contemplate, and pray.
From the compilation of these verses, we are reminded that faith is the key to life – both eternal life (salvation) – and life here on earth.
It is “by grace through faith” that we have been saved (see Ephesians 2:8). Abraham believed and it was “credited to him as righteousness” (see Genesis 15:6). The same is true for us.
On this side of eternity, faith is necessary in order to please God, approach God, pray to God, and to live a life of victory, hope, satisfaction, and so much more.
Yet, how often may our faith waiver because of unfavorable situations or difficult circumstances? We can all relate to the father who, when approaching Jesus to seek healing for his son, exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief,” can’t we? (Mark 9:24)
As we consider, pray, and meditate upon the verses selected for this month, may we find that our faith is strengthened as our eyes are all the more fixed upon Jesus.
May we be able to say with the psalmist, “We do not fear bad news; our heart is firm, trusting in the Lord” (see Psalm 112:7)!
While some argue September is too early for pumpkin spice, most would agree it is too soon to think about Christmas! Growing up as a ballet student with the academy of my city’s professional dance company, however, by September we were well into preparing for the Christmas season, specifically, The Nutcracker performances. Nothing matched the long days of rehearsals, watching the professional dancers, or meeting with the costume and make-up departments. Nothing, that is, until it was time to rehearse, and later perform, in the theater accompanied by the live orchestra.
You don’t need a background in music to appreciate the beautiful, harmonious sounds of an orchestra. In fact, I recently learned the word “symphony” has Greek roots that mean “sounding together” or “harmony of sound.” While we might not know why or how to explain it, we all can recognize pleasing sounds.
Contrast this with a word my children became very familiar with as they learned to play the tin whistle: cacophony, which literally means “bad sound” and refers to a chaotic mixture of sounds. Because of how “untogether” their sounds were in relation to the other students, they were never described as being pleasant to the ear!
“Pleasant,” however, is exactly the way the Bible describes harmony: not harmonious sounds but rather harmonious living.
“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” (Psalm 133:1)
Throughout this psalm, we read harmony is not only pleasant but also precious and refreshing. It is therefore no surprise Paul placed a premium on it:
“Live in harmony with each other.” (Romans 12:16a)
As Paul discussed the different parts of the body of Christ, different gifts, different situations people were going through (which could cause some to weep and others to rejoice), he said “live in harmony.” Harmonious living in Paul’s mind – living in such a way that was pleasant and refreshing – was not reserved for the times the Romans were surrounded by believers just like them or those experiencing life as they were, but rather those times they were NOT.
Paul’s command to live harmoniously is more accurately stated “to be of one mind,” or to be like-minded. The key is found in knowing regardless of our differences, we will always have more in common than not when our faith is in Christ and we are children of God.
Paul knew even with all that we share in common, our differences would still be used to try to divide us. It is why he expressed this prayer for the believers in Rome and why we would be wise to pray it for ourselves: “May God…help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5)
If you would like to consider more “one another” verses as you make it your aim – and
prayer – to live in harmony with each other rather than in cacophony, knowing it is always the right season for such living, I invite you to pray and contemplate these daily verses with me!
This printable provides one verse per day, throughout the month of October, for you (or you and your family) to read, contemplate, and pray.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word, their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.”
Psalm 19 begins with David’s contemplation of God’s glory as displayed through creation and the corresponding message it speaks throughout all the earth. So it’s interesting that David concludes this psalm with a prayer concerning his ownspeech and his own words when he writes: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
Just as the heavens “continue to speak,” “making him known,” isn’t it also our desire to speak and make Him known?
Just as the skies declare His glory, don’t we, too, want to do that through our lives and our voices?
And just as David wanted his words and heart to join the chorus of all creation, isn’t that our greatest longing?
Yet, it doesn’t take long until we realize how short we fall, how reckless our speech can be, and what damage our words can cause. How we can relate to David’s prayer that our words and meditations (our musings, what we contemplate or “chew on”) would be pleasing to Him!
“O Lord, keep our hearts, keep our eyes, keep our feet, and keep our tongues.” William Tiptaft