Monday, April 02, 2007

What is Your Mountain Experience?

Mount Everest is the gold medal in the Olympic Games of mountaineering. At 29,028 feet, it is the tallest mountain in the world and represents the highest point of achievement for humans on the face of the earth. Sitting astride the border between Tibet to the north and Nepal to the south, Everest is a huge mass of black, forbidding rock and ice that dominates the landscape in every direction.
Meet Mr. John Amatt, a member of the first Canadian expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In the introduction of his book entitled, Straight to the Top and Beyond – Nine Keys for Meeting the Challenge of Changing Times, ©1995, he encourages his readers with the following quote:

The challenge of change is forcing us to rethink our values and to rekindle the spirit of adventure. It will take courage, resourcefulness and endurance to meet this challenge – the courage to try, to commit and to take risks; the resourcefulness to be innovative and creative in finding new ways of doing old things; and the endurance to keep going when the going gets tough.

It is one of the great paradoxes of human existence that, by nature, we seek out comfort and predictability, using all of our financial resources and intellectual powers to devise technologies that will make our lives easier and less stressful. The paradox is that once we have created the comfort we desire, we must leave it all behind if we are to move forward toward future opportunity.

His parents, on their honeymoon in 1936, climbed in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland and, two years later, reached the summit of the 12,142-foot Wetterhorn, a mountain that his sister and he climbed when he was eighteen years old. Also in 1938, his parents were present in Grindlewald when the deadly north face of the Eiger was climbed for the first time, at that point, the most dramatic climb in history.
In chapter ten of his book, Mr. Amatt introduces a faith principle that he calls: Adventure Attitude. The nine keys of the Adventure Attitude are:

Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life! By the same token, life in adaptation.
- Alvin Toffler

Desire and Determination
You’ve got to hang on to your dreams. Great dreams don’t happen overnight.

Vision and Values
Vision…is the ability to:
Look to the past and learn from it;
Look to the present and be attuned to it;
Look to the future and be prepared for it.
- Unknown

The only failure in life is when we fail to learn the lessons from our experience.

Natural Curiosity
If we’re not pushing our limits, we’re not discovering anything new.

Teamwork and Trust
Rarely do we achieve complete success in today’s changing world without the help and support of others. The essence of teamwork is to identify and use the strengths of others to offset our own limitations, so that the strength of the team becomes greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Unlimited Optimism
Life is a leap of faith. There is no way that we can know what will happen tomorrow.

The only limiting factor to our achievements in life is our fear of the unknown.

Exceptional Performance
Achievement is the constant process of going one step beyond your previous experience.

John 10:10 – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

As the mountain climber gets an occasional exhilaration from climbing, we get the most out of life when we live for Christ. I see an application to the Christian’s experience. Jesus did not call us to live the Christian life just to escape hell. It is not a life of minimum joy and fulfillment, but a life that is full and overflowing. Our purpose in following Christ should not be merely to avoid eternal punishment. If that is our primary motivation, we are missing the wonders and joys and victories of climbing higher and higher with Jesus.
Do not live minimally. Live life to the maximum. Climb that mountain with confidence!

2 Corinthians 4:18 – “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Monday, February 05, 2007

Black History Month and Family

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.”
(Proverbs 12:14)

Black History Month is upon us. It is a time to reflect and celebrate the significant contributions that people of color have made toward the betterment of this nation known as America. This month, I celebrate family, that is, the value and importance of family in the midst of our deteriorating society. In this issue, I call out to men, and women, to celebrate family and its positive impact. Here is my story:
“Daddy, daddy, welcome home!” are the words that I hear almost everyday from my sons as I arrive home from a hard day’s work. “Glad to see you, Daddy!” they say with such joy and tenderness of heart. I cannot explain in words how proud that makes me feel. Nor can I write about the shear delight as I see their little faces twinkle as I enter the door each day. “How was your day, son?” I ask each of them. “Good, Daddy,” they utter back with such confidence. What a precious way to end my day!
As a Christian man, father, husband, author and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am on a mission to inspire, encourage, and challenge everyone within my sphere of influence. My mission in life is to reinforce why it is important to glorify God, the one who created us. God birthed us into this world for specific reasons: (a) To do His will and, at the same time, (b) To fulfill our purpose. Fatherhood falls in line with our purpose. Quite frankly, fatherhood, is in line with the purpose for all men, whether you actually father a child or not. Our lifestyles are the examples that the youth of this world observe to distinguish between right and wrong. Since they cannot see an invisible God, our role is to make God clear and visible through our lifestyles.
Father is a noun, and derives from the Greek word patēr, meaning “a nourisher, protector, and upholder.” This word, in its singular form, as written in The Holy Bible, is used 963 times! Other forms of this word include:
§ fathers – 522 times,
§ father’s - 146 times,
§ fathers’ – 10 times, and
§ fatherless – 41times.
Further, there are 254 references to the Heavenly Father (God Almighty) throughout the Scriptures.
The biblical definition of father is: A nourisher, a protector, and an upholder.
A Nourisher
This means to supply with what is necessary for life, health and growth, to cherish or keep alive, and to strengthen or promote.
A Protector
This means to defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, or insult, to cover, to shield, and to provide.
An Upholder
This means to support or defend, to lift upward, support, or raise, and to keep up or keep from sinking.
Abba is a biblical word for “‘Daddy.’” It is an ancient Aramaic word and considered a peculiar term for Father-God, used by Jesus Himself. All three New Testament references are specific to God and shows that God is a loving, approachable Father:
a. “And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).

Here, Jesus addresses God with the household term for Father. This was unheard of in Palestinian Judaism at that time. It points to Jesus’ unique relationship to God. So it is with the natural father. Because of the unique relationship that we have with the children that we have fathered, they should feel comfortable enough to approach us at any time, in any situation. Do you create an environment in which you children can approach you? Care for your children as God cares for us – His children.

b. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

Abba becomes the intimate name that is only used by believers, in terms of our relationship with our Heavenly Father-God. The Holy Spirit places the believer as a son in God’s family. Abba denotes the intimacy of the believer’s relation to God. When our children call us “‘Daddy,’” they are expressing a natural intimacy towards their natural father.
Biblically, there is no difference between the love that a father has towards his child, whether they become our children by natural birth or through adoption. We became children of God through the Spirit of adoption. Likewise, through the natural process of adoption, our children become ours. Either way, our ordained role as a father requires that we take proper stewardship over these precious little ones with unconditional love.

c. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

Again, every child of God was divinely given the Holy Spirit the moment we were adopted by God. Abba represents the term by which the father was called in the affectionate intimacy of the family. The Spirit gives us an awareness that God is our Father.

The Word of God is consistent throughout The Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Fathers are called to protect, nourish, and uphold. When we fulfill this role, our children will indeed feel comfortable in our presence, know that they can approach us, will not be ashamed to cry on our shoulders, and will ask of us their hearts’ desire, knowing that their father will respond with the truth. Be a father as God intended for you to be. God will surely smile upon you and the blessings upon your family will come through you as their conduit and as the head of your household. YOU ARE A FATHER. Love your ordained role and be fulfilled while doing it! What a precious word to hear: Daddy.

Excerpt: Blended Families: An Anthology © 2006 & Give God the Glory! The Godly Family Life, Chapter Four © 2005, both by Kevin Wayne Johnson

Monday, January 01, 2007

A New Year Prayer for You

Heavenly Father, I come to You
In the precious name of Jesus
To pray on behalf of my brothers and sisters
Who need You as another new year shines upon us.

Father, it is my prayer for 2007 that
My readers will prosper, be in good health, even as their souls prosper,
And be especially sensitive to Your voice
As Your encouraging Word fulfils and satisfies their hunger.

I ask today that Your Word and Your Will
Be prominent in the lives of every boy and girl,
So that they can be used by You in a way
That will make You clear and visible to this dying world.

We have been translated from the power of darkness
Into Your marvelous light.
Therefore, Father, keep us mindful through this new year
To do all things decent and in order in Your sight.

Thank you for the unlimited opportunities before us
That we have to raise and praise Your Holy Name,
And for grace and Your Son Jesus
So that we can effectively teach others to do the same.

I lift up this prayer Father, in the name of Jesus,
Whose I am and whom I serve, Amen.

©2007 by Kevin Wayne Johnson.

KWJ commentary: I love you all very much and thank you for your continued support of the Give God the Glory! series of books and devotionals. Keep me in your prayers in 2007 as the book series expands into the Walmart chain (Eastern region) this month and internationally through key relationships that come my way. Together, let’s continue to Give God the Glory!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Growth & Development of a Child

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
(Proverbs 22:6)
Proverbs 22:6 is a biblical prescription for rearing children. This verse reveals two key ingredients in the prescription: First, the command, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” and second, the promise, “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The command involves three parts:
The Concept of Training: “Train Up”
This does not denote corporal punishment but rather includes three ideas:
(1) Dedication – This is the consistent meaning of the word in its other Old Testament occurrences
i. Deuteronomy 20:5
ii. 1 Kings 8:63
iii. 2 Chronicles 7:5
Child training must begin with dedication of the child to God. Parents must realize that the child belongs exclusively to God and is given to the parent only as a stewardship.
(2) Instruction – This is the meaning of this word as it is used in the Jewish writings. The parents are to instruct or cause their children to learn everything essential in pleasing God.
(3) Motivation – This is the meaning of this word in Arabic, as it is used to describe the action of a midwife who stimulates the palate of the newborn babe so it will take nourishment. Parents are to create a taste or desire within the child so that he is internally motivated, rather than externally compelled, to do what God wants him to do.

The Recipient of Training: “A Child”
This is one of the seven Hebrew words translated by the English word child and would better be translated by our word dependent. As long as the child is dependent on his parents, he is to be the recipient of training, regardless of his age.

The Content of The Training: “In The Way That He Should Go”
The thought is that at each stage of his development the parents or guardians are to dedicate, instruct, and motivate the child to do what God evidently has best equipped the child to do for Him. This is graphically illustrated by Joshua when he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
If the command has been kept, the promise can be claimed. The promise includes the certainty of realization – “he will not depart from it.” If the commandment has not been kept, the promise will not be realized. Rearing children is not an overnight occurrence; it takes careful forethought and conscious obedience on the parts of the parents.

The Life of Jesus As A model
The growth, development, maturation and ultimate fulfillment of Jesus’ life is worthy of examination. In this society, unfortunately, it has been determined that a child is legally “ready” and responsible to handle the following activities at a predetermined age:
Age Limit
Drink alcohol
21 years
Drunkenness, dependency, irresponsibility
Drive a car
16 years, 9 months
Non-owner breeds unappreciation for usage of parent’s car
Have sex
Generally starts at 14 years
Unprepared for the unexpected outcomes, such as pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, guilt, attachment (love), and abandonment (often by boys toward girls)
Earn wages from a job
14 years
An understanding of financial stewardship
Cell phone usage
Generally starts as early as 11 years
Inability to manage calling plan and lack of steady funds to pay overage fees
Freshman in high school, or 14 years
Loud music leads to violence and ultimately leads to illicit sex
Bypass educational opportunities as presented
Graduation from high school (or before), or 17 years
The beginning of shattered dreams, hopes, and life-long aspirations

The Book of Luke interprets the life of Jesus in a manner worthy of emulating in today’s society. The life of Jesus, both as the son of man and the Son of God, is a testimony in and of itself. He lived in the earth for 33 ½ years and was on a specific assignment from His Father – to save and redeem mankind. Observe what He accomplished! His first twelve years was spent in training. Luke 2:42 reveals that Jesus, a Jewish male, became a full member of the religious community at age 13. By age 12, He underwent preparation for this. “And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.” After twelve years of their annual feast of the Passover in Jerusalem, Jesus stayed behind, without His parents’ knowledge (Luke 2:45). Following a three-day search for Him, his parents found Him in the temple, amongst the teachers and asking questions (2:46). Amazed at what their son had learned within twelve years, Jesus responds to his parents’ inquiry, thinking that He was lost, “How it is that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (2:49). Jesus’ reply was indicative of His readiness to begin training for His purpose on earth – To seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). For 18 years, he prepared to enter into His divine purpose. He was baptized by John (3:21), empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out His purpose (3:22), and received His official confirmation from our Heavenly Father to enter into His purpose through these words: “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (3:22).
Then, The Holy Bible reveals that Jesus was 30 years old when He began His three-and-a-half year ministry by teaching, training, and encouraging His hand-picked disciples about how to carry out the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Religion and Philosophy Book Month

If you have been following my bi-weekly e-newsletter for the past two years, you have come to know that in previous issues, I have frequently shared with you why I write. To me, writing is therapeutic, relaxing, thought-provoking, challenging, causes me to think, forces me to do my homework (that is, to know my subject), and makes me a better teacher and speaker. Well, this month is Religion & Philosophy Books Month, so allow me share the vision of the Give God the Glory! book series for the benefit of our new readers.
November is the month that we collectively transition into the fall and winter seasons. The cold air moves in, the days are shorter, daylight savings time becomes a reality, frost coats the ground in the morning, winter clothing dominates our closets at home and Christmas gifts/ornaments are on display throughout the stores and shopping malls. It is a time to focus on Christian literature as the world prepares to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a personal Lord and Savior to many of us, yet just a figure, amongst the other gods, to some.
That said, the Give God the Glory! book series is an extension of my personal ministry. The evangelistical outreach and focus is six-fold: (1) To strengthen the resolve for those of us who have an established relationship with our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ. Our growth and development is key to living the abundant life and to have knowledge of God’s Word, and His will for our lives, should be first and foremost, (2) To inspire and encourage the unbeliever to desire a relationship with Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life, (3) To clearly explain how to Give God the Glory! through our personal relationships with Jesus (book 1 released in 2001), on our jobs (books 2 & 3 released in 2003 and 2004), in our families (books 4, released on Father’s Day 2005, & 5 coming in the spring 2006), in our churches (books 6 & 7 coming in 2007), and during our recreation and/or relaxation time (books 8 & 9 coming in 2009), (4) Outreach to our Spanish/Latino brothers and sisters through the translated book series into Spanish, (5) Outreach to children, youth, and teens through the Give God the Glory! book series specific to those markets (2007 and beyond), and (6) Through the media as radio and television host of the Give God the Glory! talk show, featuring guests that openly acknowledge that their success in life is directly tied to their personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ (since 2004).
As Pastor Frederick K.C. Price always concludes his weekly Ever Increasing Faith Ministries television broadcast, I thank you all for your past, present, and future support of the Give God the Glory! book series. You are helping to make it happen!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pastor Appreciation Month - October

I often think about the 3 pastors who have been instrumental in my life since I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour on May 2, 1993. They are:
1. Episcopal Pastor John A. Cherry, From the Heart Church Ministries, Temple Hills, MD (1993 – 1997 & 2003 – 2005),
2. Pastor Patricia Webster, Shiloh Pentecostal Church, Inc., Christian Love Center, Somerville, NJ (1998 – 2003), and
3. Pastor Robert S. Davis, Jr. (Robbie), Celebration Church, Columbia, MD (2005 to present).
These ministries are/were impeccable, either through their preaching or lifestyles (or both).

This is the month dedicated to the appreciation of our beloved pastors. They work diligently on behalf of those with whom they have been entrusted, by God, to shepherd. I believe that all pastors have a strong desire in their hearts for members of their respective congregations to come to know the simplicity of God’s Word. To this end, carefully consider how you respond to these five questions:

1. Will you spread the good news of Jesus Christ to at least 10 people this year, and each year, for the rest of your life?

2. God is dependent upon each of us to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in the earth. Can He depend on you to do your part?

3. The Prayer of Salvation is simple and available to everyone. Will you encourage someone with prayer? (Romans 10:9; 13)

4. What will you do today to help those who have a desire to know God?

5. As Christ’s representative in the earth, are you an effective witness?
(1Corinthians 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:20)

The Book of Romans tells the gospel message - The Good News of Jesus Christ. It is a message about personal relationships[i] and practical exhortation: Jesus Christ is more than just facts to be believed - It is also a life to be lived. The message is for everybody. It was designed by God to be meaningful and applicable to every person on earth, without regard to where they live, who they are, or the culture (geographic boundaries) in which they were raised.
The Book of Romans is an epistle (letter) written by Paul the Apostle to the Romans approximately fifty-seven years after the death and ascension of Jesus Christ. It is considered Paul’s greatest work and is placed first among his thirteen epistles in the New Testament. Paul was born a Jew in the city of Tarsus, he was a Roman citizen, tentmaker, and a Pharisee, responsible for the persecution of Christians before his conversion on the road to Damascus. He became a faithful follower of Christ, a dedicated missionary, and a respected leader in the early church. Romans explores the significance of Christ’s sacrificial death, whereas the four Gospels (Matthew, Luke, Mark and John) represent the words and works of Jesus Christ. During the time of the writing, the city of Rome was the greatest city in the world with over one million inhabitants, yet the majority were slaves.
The key words throughout this book are righteousness, faith, law, all, and sin. Each appear at least sixty times. Jesus Christ is presented as the Second Adam whose righteousness and substitutionary death have provided for all who place their faith in Him.
Paul’s message concerning personal relationships is immediately captured in verse 7 of the first chapter - His message is written to those called saints (believers in Christ) in Rome. Paul, himself, establishes a personal relationship with the readers of his message in verses 9 through 13 through a series of key messages:

I. Making mention of them repeatedly, to God, in his prayers,
II. By the will of God, he is coming to the Romans to deliver a message,
III. Shares with the Romans some spiritual gift (the gifts and calling of God are without repentance - 11:29),
IV. Desires to be comforted together by the mutual faith that they share, and
V. Comes to them so that they will not be ignorant and to share some fruit even as he did amongst the Gentiles.

Paul admonishes the Romans throughout this book to recognize and live according to the righteousness of God. That is, how it is revealed and how to apply it to their lives. In Chapter 2, verse 10 reminds the Romans that “There is none righteous, no, not one.” In Chapter 3, Paul proves that all humankind has sinned. The key words used during his instruction are “coming short;” “unrighteousness;” “trespass;” “iniquity;” “transgression;” and “ungodliness.” Each of these descriptions, according to Paul, interferes with our ability to establish and maintain personal relationships with humankind. Chapter 12 is perhaps the operative chapter in Romans as it relates to establishing and maintaining personal relationships with mankind. Responsibilities toward God and toward society are specifically addressed.
As it relates to God, we are instructed not to be conformed to this world’s system, but to be transformed with the renewing of our mind and to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (verse 1 and 2). In other words, the least that we can do is to conform to the kingdom standards that are clearly established in Jesus’ trial discourse (Sermon on the Mount), Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7. Do not rely on the world’s system, but God’s kingdom standards. As it relates to society, Paul instructs us to be humble, remove all hidden agendas, promote honesty, live peaceably with all men, if possible, and to overcome evil with good.
So…show your pastor how much you appreciate his/her teaching through your actions toward others. Looking to Paul as a teacher of the Romans, look to your pastor this month, and every month, as your teacher of God’s Word. Spread the love of God everywhere that you travel. Be a doer of His Word, not a hearer only!

[i] See Purpose magazine, “Roman’s Gospel Message: The Good News of Jesus Christ”, by Jim Davis, Melanie Diggs, and John Matney, May 2000, p. 32.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - Five Years Later

My personal reflections while in NYC on 9/11/2001 as published in the Hillsborough Beacon newspaper on August 26, 2002:

One year ago, I witnessed an incredible sight on the morning of September 11, 2001.

My colleagues and I were approaching the Lincoln Tunnel on our daily commute into the Port Authority in New York City. The New Jersey Transit bus was loaded with 43 morning commuters, as usual. We prepared ourselves for arrival into midtown Manhattan at approximately 8:59am on that morning as we viewed the Manhattan skyline for the first time. A year later, I still have a vivid memory of how clear it was that day as we witnessed the thick dark gray smoke that was piercing from one of the World Trade Center towers.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at Bible study and Friday, September the 14, 2001, in observance of the National Day of Prayer, I joined my church family as we praised God for sparing lives as well as for peace for the families that lost loved ones. In the midst of that terrible event, God took away baseball, football, the Emmy’s, and all regularly scheduled programming, as a means to get our ATTENTION. He desires that we draw closer to Him. God loves us, for we are His children. His Word, The Holy Bible, is His will for our lives. But what lessons have we learned? What changes have we made in our lives? Does God still have our attention or have the events immediately following September 11th become a distant thought?

Last year, the entire Times Square area was filled with people looking up at the large television screens located at 3 Times Square, the ABC News desk, and along the 42nd Street corridor. That is where I first learned about the horrific events of that morning. I arrived at work at 3 Times Square and one-half of the buildings’ occupants, my fellow co-workers, were standing in front of our building looking at the news on the large screens. I e-mailed my Pastor and deacons at our church to urge them to join me in prayer for our country and for all New York City workers, especially those at the World Trade Center. I began to pray at my desk amidst the chaos, panic, chatter, and uncertainty. I remember several colleagues, including my boss, asking me questions while I prayed – and I still prayed. Within the next half hour, my colleagues and I watched in horror, from our 20th floor window, the second tower collapse in its entirety. A group of about thirty of us watched this in total disbelief, yet it was happening. As smoke, brick, mortar, and debris filled the air, there was nothing that we could do but think about the massive loss of life. Midtown Manhattan came to a halt on September 11th. Traffic was null and void. No yellow taxis were to be found. People were conscience but in a state of shock. There was uncertainty in the air. Today, Times Square is the envy of all major cities in the world. Tourists are everywhere, construction is flourishing, Toys R Us is a key attraction with an indoor ferris wheel, another McDonalds has moved into the heart of 42nd Street theater district, and there is a new mayor in town. Business is back as usual and thriving.

On Wednesday, September 11, 2002, and the weeks following, this country’s citizens, young and old alike, will be reminded through radio and television programming about the tragic events that took place one year ago. Most Americans do not recall that the United States Department of State acknowledged in their September 12, 2001 public announcement that they had been warned on May 11, 2001 “that American citizens may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremist groups…” Unfortunately, the warning was not taken seriously and I doubt that the announcement, if properly communicated, would have caused much concern. I encourage my fellow citizens to carefully observe the times in which we are living. Take heed to the warnings that we see and hear each day through print and television media. The economy is no longer robust as it was under the Clinton Administration, corporate executives are being openly punished and humiliated, as they should, for willful misconduct that negatively affects the lives of thousands of employees, multi-billion dollar corporations are filing for bankruptcy protection as a means to save face, personal bankruptcy is at an all time high, police officers are still being videotaped abusing their authority as witnessed in Englewood, California in July, the value of family has deteriorated to the extent of becoming less meaningful than one’s desire to please their employer, and the dotcom and telecommunications bubbles that once seemed impenetrable have burst.

As I study, meditate and pray about what God is speaking to me in His Word, I often refer to the Book of Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 12 – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Do not allow yourself, or your loved one’s, to lose focus of last year’s tragedy. It received worldwide attention as the global economy was shaken, but smaller and less publicized daily events can be just as devastating if you ignore the signs. For the word of God is quick – God can and will quickly change your heart and mind to put the concern of others before yourself (Acts 10:34-35). …and powerful – God is omnipotent, meaning that He is all power. All power comes from Him because He is our source (Psalm 24:1). …and sharper than any than twoedged sword – God’s Word cuts to the core of man’s being much like the surgeon’s scalpel that is used during surgery. The sharp blade makes a clean cut so that the surgeon can remove a diseased organ from the body. So it is with God; He cuts us with His Word to remove the old habits, lifestyle, and ways so that He can insert what is good and righteous (Romans 3:25). …piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit – His Word will penetrate to the core of mankind, even to the point to where the mind (soul) and the spirit (the inner man) meet and have communication (1 Thessalonians 5:23 and 3 John 2). …and of the joints and marrow – The joints represent how the body (and humankind) is connected together so that it can function as intended. The elbow is useless without a forearm and the shoulder blade cannot perform its intended function without an arm. The marrow is located inside the bone where blood is manufactured. Blood is what sustains life form. Without blood, there is no life (Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:11;14). …and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart – God is omnipresent, thus, He knows our thoughts before we can speak them. He knows the intent of your heart before we can act upon them (Psalm 44:21 and 139:1-2).

As we reflect upon September 11, 2001 and seek comfort in the midst of the changes that constantly bombard our lives, please remember this: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).” God loves you. Ask Him to come into your heart today.