My Bible verse for 2017 is 2 Tim 1.7: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

For years I’ve chosen a verse to focus on, one that expresses a need or desire of mine at that given point in life. In this one I especially like the combination of the three things that God’s Spirit gives us.

God is sovereign and loving and has unswerving dedication to his plan to save mankind. From his fullness he gives us his power, love, and self-control.

There is, of course, no biblical order to choose a yearly verse. But it’s a way to meditate further on the word of God.

Do you have a verse for the year? If so, what is it? (Or what would it be if you had one?)

 

When a righteous person prays with faith and perseverance, God answers his prayer. And the Lord gives not only what he asks, but answers far beyond his dreams.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John. Joy and gladness will come to you, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”
Luke 1:13-17 NET

For what did Zechariah pray, for so long? For a son? What else did he ask? Probably, he didn’t ask for much more than a son. Maybe for his son’s good health. Maybe to see his son grow into a man. Normal things, desires that the majority of people have. Continue reading

In a Postive Quote email, John Groom cites Pablo Picasso, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Some Christians, out of fear or laziness or rebelliousness, refuse to get their hands dirty in the work of the Lord. One excuse heard: I don’t know how.

One brother I worked with was reluctant to teach any of his non-Christian friends for fear of messing up and never having another chance to show them the Way. Continue reading

GreatnessSteve Jobs, the head of Apple, Inc., has died. He created electronic devices for communication and the Internet. While still young, he said he wanted to make a dent in the universe. In terms of eternity, however, he did nothing compared to the least in the kingdom of God.

Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap unfailing love.
Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes and showers deliverance on you.
Hosea 10:12 NET Continue reading

I witnessed, some weeks ago, a conversation between a brother I considered faithful and a progressive in the church. I was feeling content with the firmness of the brother until the progressive accused him of creating division because of his protest against false doctrine. The brother apologized and grew silent.

A righteous person who yields to the wicked
is like a muddied spring or a polluted well.
Proverbs 25:26 HCSB

Great promise, poorly fulfilled. So is the just person who, because of the inevitable pressure, gives way before the wicked. The wicked may appear anywhere, even in the church. He pushes constantly toward evil. He uses every resource to pressure, persuade, and win, if not participation, at least, acceptance from others.

Few in the church, from what one sees, do not yield to the flood of impurity and worldliness which crashes upon the faithful.

Will you be one of them?

EschatologyIf Christ has not yet come after two thousand years, will the end come at all? If already in that age of the first century the followers of Christ thought that the end was near, might they have been mistaken? In what way could the end be near if he has not yet manifested himself?

The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light.
Romans 13:12 NET Continue reading

mission-gospelThe phrase takes various forms, but the idea is of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Em terms of God’s great and inclusive plan, for Paul, seeing one tree, one sees the forest.

So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
Romans 11:1 NET

The letter to the Romans is nothing if not a great missionary declaration from the hand of a messenger whose vision includes the whole world, always with an eye to the next field to be worked. Continue reading