Archive for Verse of the Day and Devotional

Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/26/2022

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Verse of the Day May 26th, 2022

Scripture

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT

Devotion

The times we live in are the times between Jesus Christ’s first and second coming. Although the power of the devil has been broken in principal through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of God, the enemy still wields considerable power here on earth. Indeed, the Bible can still refer to the devil as “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30). This does not mean that he has all power over the world, for “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1), but it does mean that he is the mighty prince of a spiritual regime of “evil rulers and authorities” at work within God’s world.

The devil is not some sort of impersonal evil force. The devil is a created spiritual being with the power of reason and thought. He is a thinker. He does not confront us without thinking about it. He has strategies designed for our destruction. Although Paul tells us that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,” he uses flesh-and-blood enemies to effectuate his purposes in the world. We must always realize, therefore, that there is a devious spiritual strategist behind the struggles we face with other people—and even with our own selves, for we can be our own worst enemy.

In order to fight effectively against the devil and his cohorts, Paul tells us that we must be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” We must not, therefore, try to confront the devil in our own power. It is because he thoughtfully uses his considerable power that we must not fight him on our own. We must use the armor of God listed in this chapter: the “belt of truth,” “God’s righteousness,” the “peace that comes from the Good News,” the “shield of faith,” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17). Each of these in its own way helps us in the fight.

Today, ask the Lord to help you make intelligent use of His armor as needed against the strategies of the enemy.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/19/2022

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Verse of the Day May 19th, 2022

Scripture

Before the world began, the Word was there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1 ERV

Devotion

The first paragraph of John’s Gospel will never be easy for me to comprehend, I must confess. Today’s verse speaks about a reality so tremendously big that I will never be able to wrap my head around it. It echoes the beginning of Genesis, the beginning of all we know. In the empty darkness, God spoke.

I once heard a story about a Jewish rabbi who wept each time he read the first verses of Genesis. Why? He said, “The Eternal One could have chosen to remain silent. However, He chose to speak.” We serve a God who speaks. Moreover, we serve a God whose Word called everything we know into existence. How could I ever fathom that?

John teaches us that the Word, that was there in the beginning, was Christ. Christ, both Son of God and Son of Man. The very power that created the universe, got concentrated in a human body. That incredible creative force walked and talked just like we do. Thus, it opened the way for us to become a new creation. Christ’s birth as a humble baby was the condition for us to be born-again.

Nicodemus, an important teacher of Israel, couldn’t understand it. I don’t understand it, either. Yet, I believe it! I believe I am a new creation, not fit for this world anymore, but being prepared for eternal life. I know so, because God also chose to give His Word to us. That creative power dwells on the pages of the Bible. It is grace and love in its purest form. It contains the words of eternal life.

Today, take time to ponder that miracle. Stand in awe as you meditate on the living Word who came to save us. Never take that for granted!

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/12/2022

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Verse of the Day May 12th, 2022

Scripture

God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – Colossians 3:12 ERV

Devotion

We did not choose God. God chose us. The Bible says that “Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us” (Romans 5:8). Therefore, we have nothing to brag about. We did not become the people of God because of something virtuous or special about us. We were still sinners, yet God loved us and saved us through Jesus Christ. Given this, the life we live in Christ should have certain characteristics.

First, we should be merciful. God showed us mercy and saved us while we were still sinners. It would be deeply wrong to receive God’s mercy and then treat other people unmercifully. Jesus told the story of the evil servant who received mercy from his king and then refused to give mercy to another servant. When the king heard about this, it did not go well for him (Matthew 18:21-35).

We should be kind. God showed us kindness and made us His holy people. He had every right to reject us and condemn us, but He showed us kindness instead. As a result, we should reflect the kindness of our kind God.

We should be humble. The Apostle Paul said that God “chose what the world thinks is not important—what the world hates and thinks is nothing. He chose these to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can stand before him and boast about anything” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29). For the Christian, pride is simply out of the question.

We should be gentle. God was gentle with us. He could have been harsh with us. He could have punished us, but He didn’t. We should, therefore, be gentle in our dealings with other people.

Finally, we should be patient. Psalm 103:8 says that “The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love.” Just as God was and is patient with us, so should we be patient with those around us.

In a world full of unmerciful, unkind, proud, harsh, and impatient people, let us always reflect the loving nature of our gracious God.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/5/2022

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Verse of the Day May 5th, 2022

Scripture

And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. – Isaiah 37:31 ESV

Devotion

What am I taking root in right now? Have you thought about that question recently? Where am I putting my roots and what fruit do I hope to produce?

The book of Isaiah contains a prophecy about the returning exiles taking root once again and bearing fruit. They were uprooted from their land and led into captivity, yet the Lord gives a promise through the prophet Isaiah that a remnant of people will once again take root and bear fruit. God is faithful and always seeks to establish a people rooted in His love to bear fruit for His glory.

Has the Lord allowed you to be uprooted from your normal daily life because of the global pandemic, natural disasters, or social/political unrest? It is so easy to allow these events to drive us to the constant media that is available at our fingertips. However, the fruit of being constantly connected to news sources tends to be anxiety, despair, or confusion. It is also easy to take root in isolating from everything and everyone which could lead to the fruits of depression, loneliness, and hopelessness.

Root systems can develop quickly. The weed that appears in garden seems to pop up overnight. A gardener needs to stay on top of the garden pulling weeds frequently before they take deeper root and choke out the good fruit. John 15 says that Jesus is the true vine and God is the gardener who cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit. He watches over us and cares for us diligently.Since He is such a faithful and merciful Father, this may be a great time to invite Him to search our hearts and reveal some of the roots we may not be able to see. Psalm 139:23-24 offers a great prayer to invite God to examine our heart:

God, examine me and know my mind.
Test me and know all my worries.
Make sure that I am not going the wrong way.
Lead me on the path that has always been right.

God desires that we take root in Him. John 15 also says that He chose us and appointed us to bear fruit—real fruit that will last. Now is the time to get rooted in Christ, rooted in the Word of God, and rooted in His body, the Church. As the Lord reveals areas of our heart that may have a faulty root system, confess and renounce them. Then seek prayer and support to lay new roots in Him. Allow those roots to sink deeply into His truth, love, and mercy through worship, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. This will help us to be rooted and grounded in His love, producing the fruit of the Spirit for a world in need.

By Scott Stevens, Bible League International staff, Illinois, U.S.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/28/2022

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Verse of the Day

April 28th, 2022

Scripture

Simon Peter replied. “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life.” – John 6:68 NLT

Devotion

Peter was a pillar of the early church. Strong, bold, zealous, devoted, courageous, generous, a gifted leader, loyal, and full of warmth of heart. He was also rash, impulsive, at times disrespectful, and selfish. George H. Morrison says of Peter, “One recognizes the slumbering greatness of him, but one also feels the boundless possibilities of evil. But Jesus handles him and plays upon him as a master musician might play on his loved instrument, till the chords are wakened into such a glorious music that the centuries are ringing with it still.”

Peter’s life with Christ and his faith gives hope to all. It can be summed up in John 6:68. The scene follows the feeding of the 5,000, such a great a miracle the people practically demanded Jesus set up His kingdom right then and there. But the Lord’s time had not come yet. Instead, He taught on a suffering Messiah rather than a conquering Messiah and the discourse on the “bread of life” which was truth the people were not willing to receive. So the crowd of some 10-15,000 (including women and children) turned away from Christ. Jesus turned to Peter, James, Andrew, Phillip, and the rest of the disciples and asks, “Will you go away as well?” In our verse for today, Peter’s soaring testimony of faith cries out, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life.”

Hope and comfort in this life are not found in places or world kingdoms and ways, but in the One who gave us the Word of eternal life. It is easy to say one follows Christ when times are good, when there is plenty of fish and bread and merriment. However, real faith is on display when one runs to Christ when the going is tough.

When we lose a job or struggle to make ends meet. When a marriage is falling apart, or we are in despair over a prodigal child. When facing unexpected illness or death of a loved one. To whom shall you go? To whom shall we go when the Word of God challenges our hearts as we struggle with pride or self? To whom shall we go when persecution and spiritual warfare is unrelenting?

The only answer is Jesus. Only Jesus has the true words that provide hope and comfort that God designed us to receive. Peter’s profound yet simple declaration reminds us that nothing in the world has the true answers. Nothing of the world can help us in our divine process of faith. Nothing in this world provides the answers to eternity. Jesus is the Word who was with God from the beginning of it all. He is God, and all things were created through Him. In Him is life, and the Word became life and dwelt among us (John 1:1-4, 14). Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Only Jesus is the true answer.

Peter is one who is so fabulous in his faith as well as his flaws. He would make many missteps in his walk with the Lord, including denying Jesus three times before the rooster crowed (John 18:25-27). Peter ran away in shame in that moment, but he never turned his heart away from Jesus. And the Word of eternal life was always there for Peter. The angel at the tomb said to the women, “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee” (Mark 16:7). Paul tells us it was Peter whom Jesus first appeared to after the resurrection. And in John 21, our Lord’s words restored Peter and his ministry as a fisher of souls.

Jesus was Peter’s Savior, his mentor, and his friend. Peter’s faith forged and tempered by the eternal words of love and grace he would faithfully share to his end. Church tradition tells us Peter was forced to watch his wife be crucified but shouting, Church tradition tells us Peter was forced to watch his wife be crucified. Historians say he shouted as she died, encouraging her to remember the Lord. When it came time for his death, church tradition says Peter asked his persecutors to crucify him upside down, as he didn’t feel worthy to die as did his Lord.

To whom shall you go friend? Peter represents the hope and comfort we all can have in Jesus Christ, no matter our circumstance. Run to the loving arms of Jesus who alone has words of eternal life and you shall have victory! He and He alone is the Shepard and Overseer of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

By Pastor David Massie, Bible League International Staff, California, U.S.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/21/2022

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Verse of the Day

April 21st, 2022

Scripture

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14:38 NKJV

Devotion

Our verse for today is part of what Jesus said to Simon Peter and the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was to be crucified. Jesus knew what was going to happen later in the evening. He knew that Peter and the disciples would be tempted by fear to abandon Him and to deny Him. In order to help them, Jesus told them what they should do. They should “Watch and pray.”

Jesus knew that the spirits of the disciples were willing. He knew that in their heart of hearts they were willing to stay with Him and pray with Him in His time of need. However, He also knew that the flesh of the disciples was weak. He knew that as bodily beings they were given to sleep and drowsiness at that late hour. He knew there would be a struggle between the sincere intentions of the spirit and the weakness of the flesh.

It is interesting to note that Jesus Himself won the battle between spirit and flesh. He had stayed awake and prayed. And when the temptation came later that night and the next day to abandon His mission on earth, He succeeded in pressing through to the end. The disciples, on the other hand, lost the battle between spirit and flesh. They fell asleep and did not pray. And when the temptation came to abandon Jesus, they did abandon Him. Peter even denied Him three times.

What does it mean to watch and pray? The word translated as “watch” refers to the alertness required of a guard at night. Jesus was telling the disciples to watch for any attacks of the enemy. If the disciples did not remain spiritually alert and if they did not pray for help just as Jesus prayed, then they would be vulnerable to the temptations the enemy would use to attack them.

Jesus’ admonition to watch and pray is a word for all Christians for all time. The enemy is still out there attacking us with every weapon he has at his disposal. Watch and pray, like Jesus said. Stay alert, stand guard, and keep watch for the attacks of the enemy. And pray for the help of the Lord to withstand them and to overcome them.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/14/2022

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Verse of the Day

April 14th, 2022

Scripture

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
 

Devotion

In the church at Corinth there were some who were challenging the authority of the Apostle Paul and the message he had preached to them. Our verses for today form part of his response to the challenge. In verse 3, he acknowledges that he is human, but he will not wage war against the challenge with mere human, worldly weapons. That is, he will not use anything that is sinful, devious, and underhanded in the war. He has something more righteous and more potent at hand.

He will wage war with God’s mighty weapons. What are God’s weapons? He does not say specifically. Given the nature of the opposition, however, one weapon is clearly intended—the Word of God. Paul regarded the Word of God as the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Paul will wage war with the truth of the Word of God.

The fact that the Word of God is the primary weapon Paul has in mind here is clear from the fact that the opposition consists of “strongholds of human reasoning” and “false arguments.” The challengers, in other words, were trying to undermine Paul and his message with mere human reasons and arguments rather than with the Word of God. Understandably enough, the best weapon to use in such circumstances is the Word of God itself.

Since the weapons of the challengers were not biblically based, they were keeping people, including themselves, from the true knowledge of God. Since they were not biblically based, they were “proud obstacles” to the true knowledge of God. They were formed on the basis of human willfulness and pride, rather than on the basis of a humble submission to God’s Word.

The kind of thing that happened in Paul’s day happens now. People challenge the teachings of those committed to the Word of God with mere human reasoning and false arguments.

Like Paul, we must be ready to take up our primary weapon against such incursions. We must be ready to wield the sword of the Spirit.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/7/2022

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Verse of the Day

April 7th, 2022

Scripture

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. – Psalm 111:10 ESV

Devotion

Our verse of the day appears in four places in the Bible; three times in Proverbs and once in Psalms. Psalms 111 was written by David; we know that David followed our verse of the day as a principle in life. He understood this from his experience, and we can assume that he taught his children the same. David was crowned king, but he had to wait for that title. Saul threatened his life on many occasions, and he had to make wise decisions to survive. David ruled with wisdom and he instructed his son Solomon to love and fear God.

Solomon learned that wisdom from the Lord is far greater than wealth and riches. When given the chance to ask for anything, Solomon, a young man enthroned as a king, requested wisdom from God. In response to his humble wish, God said to Solomon: “God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).

Solomon ruled the nation with that wisdom. He says three times in Proverbs that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. An example of Solomon’s wisdom is his judgment in the dispute over who was the actual mother of an infant child. Solomon offered to split the living child in half, understanding that the true mother would choose to give the child to another woman instead of seeing him killed (1 Kings 3:16-28). The Queen of Sheba travelled 1,200 miles to confirm the stories of his wisdom and dignity. Every question that she raised was solved by King Solomon (1 Chronicles 9:1-5).

We also need God’s wisdom to live in this world. Wisdom will not come naturally to us; rather we have to ask the Giver for the wisdom. Paul says: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

God’s wisdom is available for ordinary Christians like you and me. Many think that we cannot gain that wisdom from God. But the Word promises us “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-30). If we are in Him, we have His wisdom and we can grow in that wisdom.

By Subish Johnson, Bible League International partner, India

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 3/31/2022

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Verse of the Day

March 31st, 2022

Scripture

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – 1 John 5:4-5 NIV

Devotion

What does the word “world” mean in the Bible? Sometimes it just refers to the earthly portion of God’s good creation. This is the sense Paul used when he referred to the “creation of the world” in Ephesians 1:4. In our verses for today, however, the word has a definite negative connotation. It refers to the earthly portion of God’s good creation in so far as it has been taken over by Satan and infected with sin. “World” in the first sense of the term is not something that needs to be overcome. It is simply the place of our habitation as human beings and it is good. “World” in the second sense, in contrast, needs to be overcome.

It is the second sense of the word Jesus used when He said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus is not saying that he had overcome the earthly portion of God’s good creation, but that He had overcome the power of sin and the devil at work in the earthly part of God’s good creation. The reason Jesus came to earth was not to destroy the earth, but to destroy “the devil’s work” in the earth (1 John 3:8). The whole point of Jesus’ mission is to purge the earth of evil so that God may dwell with His people on earth (Revelation 21).

It is through our faith in Jesus Christ’s overcoming of the world that we overcome the world. Because of our faith, we have already overcome the world. We are already new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are already the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have already overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). And we continue to overcome whenever we resist, counteract, and destroy the works of the devil in our lives. In fact, whenever we resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:7).

In Christ, you are an overcomer. Indeed, you are “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37).

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 3/24/2022

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Verse of the Day

March 24th, 2022

Scripture

At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to the Lord. He brought some of the food that he grew from the ground, but Abel brought some animals from his flock. He chose some of his best sheep and brought the best parts from them. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift. But he did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this, and he became very angry. – Genesis 4:3-5 ERV
 

Devotion

Our verse of the days says that God accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his offering. What does this mean? Does God prefer animal offerings rather than offerings that came from plants or fruits? Was God being unfair to Cain?

In the big cities of Indonesia, you can find many street beggars. Sometimes, they approach you to ask for money, and if you feel led you can give them some. This can be called a donation, which is different than an offering. A donation is giving some type of help, whether money, food, or things people need. We usually donate to people who are having a rough time, to people who need our help.

I think an offering is different. An offering is something you give to a person that you consider higher than you. You give out of respect and even submission. The amount might be the same, but the mentality is different.

Cain brought some of the food he grew. I believe that this is the issue. He was giving to God half-heartedly. He didn’t give to God with a right heart and attitude. What about Abel? While Abel also brought some animals from his flock, he chose the best sheep and brought the best parts from them.

Our verse of the day also say that God accepted Abel and then his gift. The Lord accepted the person first. He accepted the attitude, the heart of the person, then the gift.

Cain was rejected not because of his gift, but because of his heart. God knows our hearts and He wants us to be wholeheartedly for Him. He doesn’t want us to be half-heartedly living for Him. He wants all of us.

By Thony Ronaldo, Bible League International partner, Indonesia

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