Posts Tagged ‘Noah Webster’

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1


What is this thing Christians call revival? Since I am a big fan of Christ-follower, Noah Webster and his 1828 reviveDictionary, I’ll defer to his definition. In a general sense, Webster says revival is a return, recall, or recovery from unfavorable circumstances, such as death, languor, neglect, oblivion, obscurity or depression.  Towards the spiritual plane he adds that it is a renewed and more active attention to religion; an awakening of men to their spiritual concerns.

I love it!

But please, don’t be turned off by his use of the ‘R’ word (religion). In its most comprehensive sense, religion, as it pertains to Christianity, is nothing more than a belief in the being and perfections of God, the revelation of his will to man, the believer’s obligation to obedience,  the reality of reward and punishment, and man’s accountability to God. Religious folks seek godliness, reverence to God, and practice the moral duties that He has prescribed. The Christian religion is comprised of our God-given doctrines and principles; that is, the essential and communal components of our faith. There are many religions, but only one of them is true: the Way of Christ Jesus. If you still cringe when you hear the word, you probably have suffered much by what men have added to it. Strip away the work of these and embrace your religion!

Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Lets turn our focus back to revival!

Consider Christ’s gift to you; your redemption, rebirth, salvation, and holy purpose. Is there any sense of feebleness, dullness, heaviness, exhaustion, weakness, listlessness, softness, or melancholy in your walk with Christ? Has the given-gift become corroded as a forgotten or misplaced tool? Have you become too lazy, too weak, or too discouraged to pick it up? Then take up the Lord’s offer to revive you! Simply receive revival with sincerity, purpose, and resolve. Jesus truthfully said that His yoke (His teachings and instructions) is easy and His burden (carrying out His directives on a daily basis) is light. I for one believe that promise! Do you?

Revival can commence when by faith you take Jesus at His word.

Where do I start?

Revival begins with relationship, so let us pray. Confess to the Lord where you have fallen short and listen to His wise counsel. Pray with an open Bible at least once a day. Meditate (chew on) His word, asking how specific passages have application to your affinity with Christ Jesus. Take a Psalm or a Proverb, and make it personal; insert your spirit into God’s word.

(I am) Blessed (when I walk) not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of the scornful; But (when my) delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law (I will) meditate day and night. (As a result, I) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever (I do) shall prosper. (You God have reminded that) the ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalm 1)

Talking to God and listening to God is an empty, worthless, ineffectual exercise, if you’re not disposed to do listenwhat He says. If you are constrained to submission and not vain repetitions, congratulations! You are revived!  Remember, the doctrine of Christ is easy and the burden is light! Hold onto that promise with both hands and be doers of His word, not hearers only. When times get tough (hard and heavy), know for certain that it is not your spirit, but your flesh that toils and labors. Rejoice! For the Lord is trimming away the fat! Make way! Make haste! Rejoice, for the Lord is changing you for the better! Revival at this juncture is a decision you make. By faith, humble yourself, pray, seek, and receive that which the Lord wants to do with you and through you.

Consider 2 Chronicles 2:14:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

 Are you His?

This passage is as much a call to revival as it is a call to worship. Redemption and healing for the land comes not when the pagan repents, but when the church does! The alarm clock has sounded Christian and you have but 3 choices: get up, linger, or rollover and go back to bed. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may these words encourage you to arise!

May revival be our resolution until the last beat of our hearts.

For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant…You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. Job 14:7-9, 15

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You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Exodus 20:7

The story has been told of the tribesman who ventured into the city for the first time. Of all the trappings, he was most captivated by the city lights. He was determined to bring this miraculous thing back to his people and went about obtaining a light bulb, a socket, and a light switch. Returning to his village he climbed the highest tree and hung the light. His fellow tribesmen inquired, “What are you doing?” but all he said was,

Wait until dark and you shall see!”

As word spread and as the sun set, the entire village gathered around the tree eagerly waiting for this thing to be seen. As darkness covered the people, the tribesman held the switch high above his head. When the crowd gasped, he flicked the switch.

We Know What Happened


Nothing happened because the light bulb was not connected to a source of power. The light bulb the man brought back to his village was in fact a light bulb, but it was a light bulb in name only. Because it was not plugged-in, it was worthless for the purpose for which it was designed and worthy only of the village trash heap.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

What’s Your Name?

The text from John 15 is very clear; if we are not plugged into the source of power in Christ Jesus, we are Christians in name only. Remember, we too were made for a specific purpose. I believe that when the Law came down off the mountain, this is what the Father meant when He said to not take the Lord’s name in vain.

Consider the definition of the word vain from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

  1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance
  2. Fruitless; ineffectual. All attempts, all efforts were vain.
  3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments.
  4. Unreal
  5. Showy; ostentatious.
  6. Unsatisfying. The pleasures of life are vain.
  7. False; deceitful; not genuine; spurious.

If we call ourselves by His name, then the action implies a desire to be connected to the power associated with the name, hence emptiness becomes profusion, pride turns to humility, and falsehood yields to truth. Conversely, taking Christ’s name in vain is to akin to denying the Son in order to maintain depravity. Frankly, I could make the case that those guilty of this are also lying adulterers, after all, the church is the bride of Christ.
What would you call a wife who takes her husbands name, but continues to carry on in a worldly fashion as if not married at all?

This is what Jesus says,

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22-23

It doesn’t have to be that way. Confess the sin for what it is, turn away from it and turn towards Jesus, and start walking in His ways and not your own. You’re married…start acting like it.

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These things command and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:11-12
Be an Example

Despite that fact that Philippians 2:14 tells me to, Do all things without complaining,’ I still occasionally find myself silently grumbling in church. Each Sunday it seems, I am able to find something not quite right with the music, the sermon, the fellowship, or some other aspect of the worship. I’m sad to say that there have even been times that the thought of pasturing my own church (to do church properly of course) has crossed my fleshly mind.

But what if others within the church I attend emulated my ‘not-always-so-great‘ example? Are the words of my mouth, my behavior, my love, my spirit, faith, and purity, consistent models worthy of imitation? Thankfully I keep most of my negative thoughts to myself (and confess them to the Lord), but what if I regularly voiced them? What would the church look like?

We all know the answer, which is why Paul admonishes Timothy to not go that direction. Paul is implying that grumbling is a part of our sinful nature and it is something that we, through Christ Jesus, have the power to overcome, and therefore counsels Timothy (and the church) how to proceed.

Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress (thy profiting, KJV) may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:13-15


The Apostle Paul instructs us that there is a methodology towards the pure conduct he previously addressed in verse 12. Simply put, it begins with our need to be in the Word of God. This is the primary way that the Father has chosen to speak to us. If we’re not partaking of His instruction every single day, there exists the likelihood we will react amiss when things do not go as smoothly as we desire (and thus be a bad example).

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105


According to Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary, exhortation is the act of ‘inciting (people) to laudable (praiseworthy) deeds.’ In contrast, if the incitement causes folks to do what is not good or commendable, it is not exhortation. Exhortation (in the Christian sense) is an encouraging, compelling, and inspired work of God.

“Exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13


It’s critical for Christians to stick to the contextual teachings of the Bible. It’s far to easy a thing to take a verse or two out of context and errantly use them to build a case for or against a particular issue. The wisest course of action is to receive the full council God provides, remembering that He does not change or contradict Himself.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8


God has given each believer gifts, so it stands to reason we are to properly utilize them. Gifts are in a sense the tools that the Father Himself has put in our hands to do the work He has predestined us to do. If we are neglecting to use the things that He has provided, it typically means (that in our flesh) we’ve picked up something ungodly. Not only is that an act of futility, it’s a sinful act of disrespect to God.

If you’re uncertain as to what your gifting is, then draw upon the grace, the faith, and the Holy Spirit you’ve been given trusting that soon these other things will be revealed.

“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. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:7-11


As it pertains to reading the Word of God, exhorting other believers, adhering to proper doctrine, and utilizing the gifts God has provided, Paul wants us to think deeply and soberly, attending carefully to them all. The word meditate here also means to put into practice. The idea (according to 1 Timothy 4:15) is that others will take notice of our profiting and progression in God’s will and endeavor to emulate the behavior, not for their glory, but for His.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5

  1. What do these verses tell us about God?
  2. Are you a good example?
  3. Do you consistently practice Paul’s methodology?

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Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

When you read the above verse, what single word or phrase leaps off the page? Is it ‘Thanks be to God,’ or, ‘leads in triumph,’ or simply, ‘Christ,’ or ‘fragrance?’ For me, the word that makes this verse commanding, energizing the rest of the passage is the word ‘always.’

I like Noah Webster’s definition from his 1828 dictionary. In it he defines the word as: ‘Perpetually; throughout all time; as, God is always the same.’ Isn’t that just perfect? If we haven’t already realized it, we should be thankful to God always because He always leads us in triumph of Christ. That should give the enthusiastic and committed born-again believer a great deal of peace, especially in light of the next two verses from the same chapter.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

See the big picture lest you become discouraged. While it is true that we are the fragrance of Christ to some, to others we are the aroma of death. ‘Aroma of death?’ Where is the triumph in that; the previous verse proclaims that God always leads us in triumph.

This is the place where we must shift our focus; we must take our eyes off others and turn them back to Jesus. The triumph is not the transformed sinner; the triumph in this scenario is the Christian who is submitted to do His will. My friends, we are God’s enduring triumph! God’s triumphant when we are obedient; what happens beyond that is not reckoned into this equation. This is tremendously freeing!

So when we share a testimony or bear witness to Christ Jesus, the burden (we lay on ourselves) has been lifted. The victory was claimed by God when we simply obeyed. We can now freely share our faith having the weight-of-consequence removed from our shoulders. While it is true that to some we will always stink, to God we will always smell magnificent. Praise be to God!

Quoting the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul declares in Romans 10:15, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!’ For good reason the passage does not read, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that win converts.’ We’re called to make disciples for certain, but no where in the Bible does God lay a guilt trip on us regarding success in that endeavor. Whatever the result we are always led in triumph! Don’t for get that.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Let’s Play JEOPARDY!

Please read the following definition taken from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary aloud and determine the word that is being defined. All responses must be phrased in the form of a question. : )

“In its most comprehensive sense, it includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of His will to man, in man’s obligation to obey His commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to His will or commands, is  _______.”

If you said, “What is religion?” you are correct.

But it’s Not About Religion…It’s a Relationship!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Through the years so many of us have been wounded and scarred by those operating outside the realm of religious circles and because of those experiences, whether real or imagined, we have redefined the word [religion] and summarily disposed of it. Friends, I consider that a wretched shame and once again, I’d like to address the matter.

Let’s unwrap Webster’s definition and see if the word has any redemptive value. First he says that religion in its most comprehensive (complete) sense consists of a belief (faith) in the being and perfections of God. Stop right there. Webster is fundamentally saying that religion is that which we believe to be true about God. So far, I am not offended by the ‘R’ word.

Webster continues that religion is God’s revelation (disclosure of His promises, purposes, procedures, etc) to us and that His followers are obliged (required and committed) to obey His commands. Okay, I can see that we’re now entering troubled waters; nobody wants to or enjoys being told what to do. At this occasion I would tender that there are many people who reject divine compliance because they cling to a degree of immorality and therefore have dismissed the ‘R’ word based on the admission of this tenet. Here’s the reality: if we, without restraint and enthusiastically, consider ourselves to be followers of Christ Jesus, we are in fact devoted to obedience. This does not mean we are declaring perfection towards the attribute, but rather submission to the ideal. If you agree so far, you are religious!

Not to Worry

Furthermore embraced within religion there is (according to Webster’s definition), a state of reward and punishment, man’s accountableness to God; true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. Again, if we are committed to our relationship with Jesus; if we are sincere, then these components of our faith do not trouble us. In His straightforwardness our Father has made devotion a black and white, either/or proposition, not because He desires to impose heavy restrictions upon us, but rather because we’re likened to dumb sheep who require the simplest of instructions. Personally, this dumb sheep finds the ‘One way’ doctrine extremely comforting.

So in this vein of simplicity (and concerning the receipt of reward and punishment), which do you prefer? As it pertains to accountability, would you rather answer to man or God (who will judge most righteously)? In the observance of moral duty, which is preferable to you: holiness or hollow-ness? My friends, it is as Webster says, “that the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.” Do you agree?

RELIGION (from the Latin) religio, (which means) to bind anew

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Religion: I know…it’s just a word. Folks, I am not hung up on semantics. If it were just about words I would have tossed this one aside a long time ago, but it’s more than that. The rationale behind abandoning this or any word varies I suppose, but I submit to you that behind many of these reasons lie unresolved (or perhaps unrealized) sorrows of the heart. In those situations I fear it is easier to change a name then resolve a problem and that I believe is the bigger issue. So I ask, “Is it really the word, or is it something else?”

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks…The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it…Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. Luke 6:45, Jeremiah 17:9, Psalms 44:21

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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