Archive for Verse of the Day and Devotional

Verse of the Day and Devotional 12/5/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

…”The Lord says, ‘I am with you!'”  – Haggai 1:13 ERV

Devotion

Sometimes, you just can’t see it. Sometimes, you just can’t see what time it is. You may think that you do, but you really don’t. After all, in the final analysis, you’re not the one that determines what time it is. You’re not the one that determines, for example, whether it’s time to destroy or build, to throw weapons down or to pick them up. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Sometimes, therefore, you have to be told. Someone who knows has to tell you. Only then will you be able to coordinate your life with what time it is. Only then will you stop fighting against what time it is.

Who will tell you what time it is? The Lord will tell you. The Lord will tell you, or someone sent by the Lord. The Lord determines the times. He knows, therefore, what time it is. In their own day, the returning remnant of Judah didn’t know what time it was. For them, it was time to build the temple, but they didn’t see it. Indeed, they thought just the opposite. They were saying amongst themselves, “it is not yet the right time to build the Lord’s temple.” (Haggai 1:2) In effect, they were fighting against the time. In effect, they were fighting against the Lord.

The Lord didn’t leave them in that sorry state of spiritual blindness. They couldn’t see what time it was because they were more concerned with themselves and their interests than with the Lord’s interests. The Lord sent Haggai the prophet to tell them where they were going wrong and what they should do. He told them that the reason why things weren’t going as well for them as they would have liked was precisely because they didn’t know what time it was, because they refused to see what time it was. (Haggai 1:3-11)

Maybe, you need to know what time it is as well. Maybe, you need the Lord to open your eyes just as much as the people of Judah did back in the day. If so, then when He does tell you, in whatever way He tells you, you need to do the same thing they did. They accepted what time it was. They began to build the temple.

If you accept what time it is, then the Lord will say the same thing to you that He said to them as recorded in our verse for today. He will say, “I am with you!”

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 11/28/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

…”Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”  – Luke 6:21 ESV

Devotion

Our verse for today is one of the Beatitudes listed in Luke 6. The Beatitudes were spoken by Jesus as part of His Sermon on the Mount. The word “beatitude” refers to a state of being abundantly blessed and extremely happy. The Beatitudes are declarations of blessedness over those who embody what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Each of them begins with a pronouncement of “Blessed” over those who embody a particular virtue disciples should have and then follows with the reason why those who embody the virtue are blessed.

One of the virtues of being a disciple of Jesus is that they weep. In what way can weeping be a virtue? Weeping can be a virtue because of what disciples weep about.

First of all, disciples weep about the sin that is still left in their lives. True disciples of Jesus are sorry for their sins. They don’t ignore them or take them lightly. When they stumble, they may not be cast headlong (Psalm 37:4), but they weep nonetheless because of what they have done. That’s why disciples confess their sins. They confess them because they want to get things right with God again. They want to be forgiven of their sins and they want to be cleansed of all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Second, Disciples weep because of the trials, troubles, tribulations, and persecutions of life. Disciples are not indifferent to the struggles of life. They’re not Stoic philosophers trying to act as if they’re unaffected by it all. They weep because life this side of glory is full of pressures and afflictions that try the soul. They weep because they know it shouldn’t be this way and they work, as a result of their weeping, towards changing the way things are.

The good news is that those who weep shall laugh in the end. Weeping does not have the last word for disciples. Moreover, the laughter is not the frivolous laughter of the foolish, but the joyful laughter of the wise. The Apostle Paul said that he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (II Corinthians 6:10) And the Apostle John said that in the end the Lord will wipe away every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 21:4)

Today, there may be some weeping in your life, but, take heart, for “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 11/21/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

“I will give you every place where you set your foot as I promised Moses.”  – Joshua 1:3 NIV

Devotion

After Moses died, Joshua the son of Nun took over the leadership of the people of Israel. The Lord told him to lead the people across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. (Joshua 1:1-2) Then He spoke the words of our verse for today: “I will give you every place where you set your foot.” After spelling out the limits of the Promised Land, the limits of the place where Joshua could set his foot, the Lord also said that no one would be able to stand against him and that He would always be with him. All Joshua had to do was to be strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:4-6)

Like Joshua, you have tasks that the Lord wants you to accomplish in life. He has placed you in various leadership roles and He expects you to carry out the assignments He has given to you in those areas. In effect, He’s giving you every place where you set your foot in those areas. Like Joshua, He has also promised that He will back you up. No one will be able to stand against you and steal your authority away from you. He will always be with you to help you. All you need to do is to be strong and courageous.

Like Joshua, the Lord expects you to keep moving forward. If He’s giving you every place where you set your foot in the various areas of your calling and responsibility, then you have to move forward and set your foot in them. That is, you have to move forward in the various areas and take up the responsibility of bringing the Lord’s will to bear in them. Within the limits of your calling and authority, you have to move forward and establish what the Lord wants you to do. You’ve not been called to do whatever you want. You’ve been called to effectuate the will of the Lord.

Like Joshua, then, you can’t stop. Stopping is the failure to set your foot. Stopping is the failure to take on your callings and responsibilities. It is, clearly, tantamount to disobedience. You may not always move forward at a brisk place. You may not avoid every obstacle or set-back. But you must always keep moving forward taking territory for the Lord.

Set your foot!

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 11/14/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

“Now begin the work. And may the Lord be with you.”   – I Chronicles 22:16 ERV

Devotion

King David wanted to build a temple for the Lord. However, the Lord would not let him build it because of all the blood that was on his hands. (I Chronicles 22:8) The Lord decided that David’s son Solomon, a man of peace, would build it. As a result, David limited his contribution to gathering all the materials necessary for the temple. He said to Solomon, “Now, son, may the Lord be with you. May you be successful and build the Temple for the Lord your God, as he said you would . . . Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid.” (I Chronicles 22:11,13)

And that’s when David spoke the words of our verse for today, “Now begin the work. And may the Lord be with you.”

Like Solomon, the Lord has given you a project that you’re responsible for. Maybe, on the one hand, it’s not as big and important as Solomon’s project was. Maybe, on the other hand, it is big and important. Whatever the case may be, it’s your project and you’re responsible for it. Like Solomon, there have probably been people who came before you who wanted to do it, but never did. Maybe they got some things started, but they never finished the job. As a result, it’s your project for the most part and it’s your job to get it done.

The people around you are urging you in the same way David urged Solomon. They’re saying, “Now begin the work. And may the Lord be with you.”

It’s time, then, to get things started! It’s time to step out in faith. The Lord gave you the word about the project and you must obey His word. You really don’t have a choice in the matter. You’re a follower of Jesus and this is the way He wants to go. (Matthew 16:24) Don’t let reluctance to enter the unknown keep you from getting started. Don’t let reluctance to leave behind the known and the familiar keep you from it either. Be what David said Solomon should be: “Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid.”

Let the words of the Apostle Paul encourage you: “Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases him, and he gives you the power to do it.” (Philippians 2:13)

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 11/7/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

t is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.  – Psalm 18:32 NKJV

Devotion

The words of our verse for today are part of a song that David wrote on the day God delivered him from the hand of his enemies, including King Saul. It may appropriately be sung by every Christian, because God does for every Christian what He did for David.

As was the case for David, God armed you with strength. When the trials, tribulations, and persecutions of life came your way, you were able to handle them. More than once, you felt like you were going to run out of strength. More than once, you felt like you couldn’t take it any longer. However, you called out to God for help, you called out to Him for strength, and He gave it to you. Although those around you gave up, you kept going. Although they left everything to you, you were able to handle it. Everyone knew, including you, that it was God.

Even when Satan and his minions were buffeting you and striking blows against you, you were able to handle them. Satan thought he could step in when you were at your lowest point and administer the demonic coup de grace that would bowl you over and finish what you were trying to do once and for all. That’s what he thought, but he thought wrong. He underestimated your faith in God. He underestimated the strength you had from above. Although he knocked you to the ground, you got back up and continued what needed to be done. (Acts 14:19-20)

As was the case for David, God also made your way perfect. That is, He made your way successful. Despite the troubles of life that came your way, despite the satanic buffeting that knocked you down, you made all the right moves that led to a successful conclusion. David made it all the way to the throne of Israel and you made it all the way to where you needed to go. He reaped the rewards for sticking with God and you reaped the rewards as well.

As was the case for David, you made it past a major hurdle. There’s no going back now. You’ll never have to go through what you’ve gone through again. New troubles and new attacks may come along, but God will give you the strength and the savvy to handle them.

And then you can sing David’s song once again.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 10/31/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.  – Proverbs 23:17-18 ESV

Devotion

Sometimes, you wondered if it would ever pay off. Sometimes, that is, you wondered if being a Christian would ever make any kind of sense. After all, didn’t sinners seem to be doing just fine? Didn’t they seem to have everything under control despite their wanton and willful ways? It took a while, but you finally had to admit that your heart wasn’t right. Like the psalmist, you had to admit, “I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

You had to admit it because you finally came to your senses. Like the psalmist, you began to see that your envy was stupid and foolish, for it was sign that you had nearly lost your way: “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.” (Psalm 73:2) It was a sign because, when you finally stopped to think about it, sinners are in a bad way. The Lord makes sure of that-“Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors.” (Psalm 73:18-19)

You, on the other hand, are in a good way, a very good way. Your feet are on a solid rock. (Psalm 40:2). Although things don’t always go the way you would like them to go, although you have trials and troubles of various kinds, you have a future that’s better than good. You have a future in this life and the life to come that’s good beyond measure. As a result, sinners should envy you, instead of you envying sinners. They should stop for once and take note of the solid rock you’re standing on as compared to the slippery slope they’re standing on.

Even more, no one can take your future away from you. As our verse for today says, “your hope will not be cut off.” The sinner’s hope is just a slippery slide from utter ruin, but your hope is kept in the safest place possible. It is kept in heaven for you. (I Peter 1:4)

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Continuing in “the fear of the Lord all the day” makes some real sense.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 10/24/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  – Psalm 139:17 NLT

Devotion

Our Father in heaven is omniscient. He knows everything. It follows, as a result, that He knows everything about me. He knows everything about me because He keeps track of everything. That’s why the psalmist says, “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” (Psalm 121:8) The wicked don’t like this because the wicked are always making futile attempts to escape from the presence of the Lord. (Psalm 139:7) The last thing they want is someone, least of all the Lord, to see what they do, to see the wicked things they do.

I, on the other hand, like the Lord to keep track of me. Indeed, it would be alarming to me if I ever suspected that the Lord had failed in this regard. After all, His thoughts about me are always for my benefit. I am His masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus, so that I can do the good things he planned for me long ago. (Ephesians 3:10) Even when I do wrong His thoughts about me are for my benefit, for He takes the steps necessary to make sure that I get back on track doing the good things He planned for me. (Hebrews 12:5-13)

Moreover, the Lord keeps watch over me as I come and go not only in the here and now, but also forever. (Psalm 121:8) His thoughts about me, in other words, will lead me to the place I need to be in the next life. Even in the eons to come on the new heavens and earth, I will never escape from the thoughts of my Good Shepherd.

Can you see how precious His thoughts really are? Can you see that what’s precious for me is just as precious for you? Just as there will never be a time when the Lord is not thinking about me, so there will never be a time when He’s not thinking about you.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 10/17/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

“Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”  – Psalm 2:6 NKJV

Devotion

Although the King in our verse for today can be understood as referring to King David, it primarily refers beyond David to the Messiah, to Jesus Christ. It looks forward prophetically to the time when Jesus had already been set in place as King. The Lord God of heaven and earth had set Him at His right hand to rule and reign over all things. (Ephesians 1:20-21) And since it is none other than the Lord God who did this, no one can challenge the authority that Jesus has been given. No one can remove Him from His place or set themselves in His place.

Further, those of us who are Christians have also been set in place. We have been set in place next to Jesus: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6). From that place, we rule and reign with Jesus over the areas of life in which we have been given authority. (II Timothy 2:11-12) No one can unseat us from that place.

Not everyone likes this arrangement. Not everyone accepts Jesus as Lord and acknowledges His authority. Some rage against Him and devise vain plots against His will. They take counsel together in order to undermine His authority over them. (Psalm 2:1-3) Moreover, they do not limit themselves to rebellion against Jesus Himself. They also rebel against those who are seated with him in the heavenly places. They refuse to acknowledge their authority over them, they rage against them, and they devise vain plots to overthrow them.

Ultimately, all this raging and plotting will come to nothing. Indeed, the Lord God laughs at those who try to subvert His will. (Psalm 2:4) The Lord will bring His will to pass through those He has set in place, no matter how fierce the opposition.

In the final analysis, you do not have to worry about the rebels. The Lord has set you in place and no one can remove you. Indeed, you may legitimately ask yourself the question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 10/10/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”   – Psalm 122:1 NIV

Devotion

When they asked me to go with them to church, I didn’t object. I didn’t try to beg-off with a lame excuse about something or other that I had to do instead. There was a time in my life when I would have objected and begged-off. Indeed, there was a time when I would have said anything to get out of going to church. To me, at that time, church was strange, boring, and seemingly useless. If, somehow, they talked me into going anyway, then I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I thought church may be right for some people, but it wasn’t right for me.

Things changed when I came to know Jesus Christ. I came to know that there was no way that I could make things right between myself and the Lord God on my own. I came to know that I was a sinner in desperate need of the salvation that could only come from believing in Jesus and what He had done. What had He done? He was born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life, He paid the penalty for my sins by dying on the cross, He was raised back to life, and He ascended into heaven and was seated next to the Lord God. From there, He has been ruling and reigning ever since.

Now, then, instead of objecting and begging-off going to church, I whole-heartedly agree to go. I rejoice with those who invite me to go. For me, going to church is a joy, rather than a chore. It is my opportunity to publicly praise, worship, and thank the Lord for what He has done through Jesus Christ. It is also my opportunity to learn more about my faith and have it built up and strengthened. Isaiah said, ‘”Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.'” (Isaiah 2:3)

Why don’t you come with us? Why not come with us so that together we can praise, worship, and thank the Lord God for everything He has done? We will learn more about our faith and we will have it built up and strengthened as well.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 9/26/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me…  – Psalm 19:13 NIV

Devotion

There are willful sins, as mentioned in our verse for today, and there are hidden sins, as mentioned in the previous verse: “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12) David wants to be free from both kinds of sin.

Hidden sins, on the one hand, are not just the ones that are hidden from other people. They are also the ones that are hidden from the person who commits them. That’s why David asks, “But who can discern their own errors?” There are times when we hide our sinfulness, even from ourselves. David wants to be free from them and forgiven of them, even though he may not be fully aware of them. He doesn’t want to go through life with hidden sins dragging him down.

Willful sins, on the other hand, are sins that are deliberately and openly committed. They are sins that are committed primarily due to a shameless kind of pride and arrogance. The willful sinner has a foolish self-confidence and reliance on himself or herself that affords them permission to sin. The assumption they seem to have is that they are exceptions to the rule. The assumption is that they, or whatever endeavors they’re involved with, are important enough to justify the sin. In their minds, other people should be called to account for committing willful sins, but not them.

As said, David wants to be free from both kinds of sin. He doesn’t want sin of any kind to rule over him. Sin can actually do that. It can rule and dominate a person. It can turn people into slaves. Indeed, apart from Christ, the Apostle Paul tells us that we are all slaves to sin. (Romans 6:20) When we become Christians, however, we are set free from the slavery of sin. That’s why Paul can say, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Let us all, then, confess and renounce our hidden and willful sins and seek forgiveness for them. (I John 1:9) Let us all, along with the Apostle Paul, stand firm in our freedom from sin.

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