Archive for Verse of the Day and Devotional

Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/20/19

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.  – II Timothy 2:21 NLT

Devotion

According to the Apostle Paul’s imagery, people can be compared to household utensils, of which there are two basic kinds: “In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use.” (II Timothy 2:20) In the verse that follows, our verse for today, Paul exhorts Timothy to be one of the special utensils that’s fit for honorable use, that’s fit for every good work the Master, Jesus Christ, has for him.

Since keeping oneself pure is key for being a special utensil, how does one do it?

The first thing that needs to be said about this is that the Apostle Paul is not advising Timothy, and all the rest of us by extension, to somehow achieve purity in the power of our own strength and effort. Understanding his advice in that way, in point of fact, goes against the central teaching of his whole life and ministry-that we are saved by grace through faith, not works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Instead, Paul means to say that Timothy, and all the rest of us, should “be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 2:1)

The second thing that needs to be said about this is that by “purity” Paul has at least two things in mind. More specifically, “purity” refers to keeping clear of people like Hymenaeus and Philetus, who taught false doctrines and led many people astray. (II Timothy 2:17-18) More generally, “purity” refers to keeping clear of anything evil, because “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” (II Timothy 2:19)

To sum it up: If, by the strength of God’s grace through Christ, we believe and teach the right things and live the right way, then we will be special utensils that are clean and pure. We will have put ourselves in a position to be used by the Master for good and honorable work in the areas of His Kingdom where He wants us to serve.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 6/13/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

“But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”  – Daniel 12:13 ESV

Devotion

You don’t get to decide what position and place you have in the Kingdom of God. This applies not only in the future Kingdom to come, but also in the Kingdom as it is presently in place. Although you may certainly ask the Lord for the fullness of His purpose for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13), although you may certainly ask Him for the spiritual gifts necessary for the fullness of His purpose for you (I Corinthians 14:1), you must humbly accept the plan the Lord has for you. You must endure and overcome in everything He has decided to ask of you. In the final analysis, you’re a follower, not a leader. (Matthew 16:24)

This means that selfishness and selfish ambition have no place in the Kingdom of God. Two of Jesus’ disciples, the brothers James and John, tried to gain authority over and above the other disciples. They realized that Jesus was going to be the King seated at God’s right hand in the Kingdom (Mark 16:19) and they wanted the seats of authority next to him for themselves. So, they went behind the backs of the others and asked Jesus, ‘”Let us share the great honor you will have as king. Let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left.”‘ (Mark 10:37)

Jesus, however, told them the way it is in the Kingdom: ‘”. . . but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.””‘ (Mark 10:40) That’s essentially the same thing that Daniel was told by an angel as recorded in our verse for today: “And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.” Like James and John, Daniel has a position and place in the Kingdom of God. Like James and John, it was decided for him what his allotment would be.

And that’s the way it is for you as well. You have an allotted place in the Kingdom of God. After all, the Kingdom is a Kingdom, not a democracy.

Do, then, what Daniel was told to do: “go your way till the end.” In other words, don’t strive and struggle to get the upper hand over people. Instead, go your way within the allotted place the Lord is opening up before you.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 6/6/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

Christ must rule until God puts all enemies under his control.  – I Corinthians 15:25 ERV

Devotion

The Lord God rules and reigns over His Kingdom. Jesus Christ, so the Bible tells us, is presently seated at His right side. (Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19) From this position of authority, Jesus rules and reigns as well. Indeed, He rules, reigns, and directs the war against all the enemies within the Kingdom. The Lord God says to Him, “If you ask, I will give you the nations. Everyone on earth will be yours. You will rule over them with great power. You will scatter your enemies like broken pieces of pottery.” (Psalm 2:8-9)

The war against the Kingdom’s enemies has been going on ever since Jesus ascended into Heaven and was seated at the Lord God’s right side. Who are the enemies specifically? The enemies are all those who are under the direction and control of Satan and his minions (Ephesians 6:12) and who rebel against the rule and reign of the Lord God and Jesus as a result. ‘”Why are the nations so angry? Why are the people making such foolish plans? Their kings and leaders join together to fight against the Lord and his chosen king. They say, “Let’s rebel against them. Let’s break free from them.”‘ (Psalm 2:1-3)

How long will this war go on? It will go on, as our verse for today says, until all the enemies are under Jesus’ control. Day by day, more and more, Jesus is taking control of the enemies. True, there have been set backs in the nearly two thousand years since He began to rule and reign. Nevertheless, the general trajectory of His fighting and warring has been victorious. The Church of Jesus Christ has been spreading over all the world and Satan’s rebellious regime of darkness has been beaten back. True, Satan will mount one last major rebellion against the Kingdom and the Church, but he will fail. He will fail, never to rise again. (Revelation 20:7-10)

If you are a Christian, then you are a participant in putting all the enemies of the Kingdom under Jesus Christ’s control. You are, like the well-known song says, a “Christian soldier.” Most of the time, of course, the battles are not actual military battles. Most of the time, the battles are relatively peaceful transitions away from the control that the regime of darkness has been illegally exercising in the various areas of the Kingdom.

However, even if the transitions are peaceful, you are a soldier and you must be ready to fight at any time.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/30/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.  – Psalm 44:3 NIV

Devotion

You’ve made it to where you should be in life. The journey was long and hard, but you’ve made it just the same. Instead of struggle and frustration, there is success and fulfillment. However, don’t make any mistake about it. You did not make it as far as you have by the excellence of your tools, technology, and weapons. True, without them you would not have made it. True, you had everything you needed. Nevertheless, you had something much more important than that going for you. You had something that can’t be easily quantified or explained going for you.

Neither did you make it by the excellence of your personal qualities and virtues. True, you finally got your act together and focused your strength and energy in the right direction. True, you finally set aside the fads and foibles of your sinful self and put on your new self that had what it takes to get the job done. (Ephesians 4:22-24) Nevertheless, that’s not what put you over the top. Indeed, any attempt to take personal credit for your success would miss the whole point. Any attempt to say that you were the reason for what happened would jeopardize the whole thing.

What was the true source of your success?

It was, of course, the Lord. The Lord saw to it that you had everything you needed. He got you the tools, the technology, and, yes, even the weapons when you needed them. He was the one that oversaw your personal development and turned you into someone worth something, someone to be taken seriously. That’s why it would be the height of self-centered hubris to say anything different. You can go there if you want, but going there would be one of the most foolish things you could ever do. Going there would be an afront to the love that the Lord has for you.

After all, it was His love for you that made it happen. He loved you and made the light of His face to shine upon you. (Numbers 6:24-26) Instead of turning His face away from you, instead of writing you off as a lost cause, He turned to you and lifted you out of the pit you were in. (Psalm 40:1-2)

Don’t ever forget it! Don’t let your success go to your head.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 5/23/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

So that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.”  – Psalm 58:11 NKJV

Devotion

Our verse for today assumes something about the world that we live in. It assumes that there is a moral order to the world. Over and above the affairs of human beings there is a moral order established by God. Furthermore, He governs everything that we say and do according to that order. The world, to put it another way, does not exist in isolated independence. It is not only a world dependent upon God for its very existence, but it is also a world governed by Him in every respect. Nothing is left to chance. Fate has no say in what happens. The Lord governs the affairs of human beings.

This means, among other things, that God judges what happens on earth. The wicked can’t just do whatever they want to do, however sinful and evil, and expect to get away with it. They can’t rob, cheat, steal, murder, betray, etc. and expect no consequences for their actions. It’s not up to them. Their fate doesn’t depend upon their skillfulness and savvy in the avoidance of a just comeuppance. Sooner or later, God will see to it that the moral order is satisfied. Sooner or later, justice and fairness will be meted out by the one that has established the moral order.

It also means that there is a reward for the righteous. The moral order of God is not just a standard by which to judge the wicked. It is also a standard by which to reward the righteous. True, no one in this dispensation lives in sinless perfection. Nevertheless, the righteous, that is, those in right-standing before God, are rewarded by Him for their righteousness. It pays, in other words, to be on the good side of God. Sooner or later, the righteous will reap the benefits of their good deeds. Sooner or later, the favor and advantage they receive from God will be clear for all to see.

Don’t deceive yourself into thinking anything different. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that there is no moral order and that there is no judgement or reward. Instead, accept what the Apostle Paul says:

“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” (I Timothy 4:8)

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 5/16/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  – Psalm 32:11 NKJV

Devotion

Maybe you don’t feel very happy about things at the present time. Maybe the trials, troubles, tribulations, and persecutions of life have gotten to you and brought you down. If so, then consider this: There is at least one thing that you can be happy about. Indeed, there is at least one thing that can make you glad and make you rejoice. It’s the Lord. Despite what’s bringing you down, despite what’s making you unhappy, you still have a relationship to Him. You can be glad and you can rejoice because you’re on the good side of God.

You’re on the good side because you’re righteous. That is, you’re in right-standing with Him. You’re willing to come before Him and confess your sins and receive His forgiveness. (Psalm 32:5) You’re willing to serve Him. Instead of acting like an unbroken horse, instead of acting like a stubborn mule, you’re willing to do the things He wants you to do. The Lord won’t have to harness you with bit and bridle and force you to go where He wants you to go. (Psalm 32:9)

Despite any unhappiness you may be experiencing, then, there is cause for great rejoicing. In point of fact, there is cause for shouts of joy! You’ve been accepted by the Lord God Himself. You have hope for the future. You have hope for the here and now and for the life to come. Instead of keeping this cause for joy inside of you, instead of merely holding it in your heart of hearts, there is reason to shout it out loud. There is reason to shout it out loud in song: “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.” (Psalm 96:1)

After all, it’s the kind of thing those in right-standing with the Lord do. It’s the kind of thing the upright in heart are more than willing to do. You don’t hold back your confession. You don’t hold back your service and obedience. Your shouts for joy, as a result, should not be held back either.Instead, you should release them into the public domain. You should release them where others can see and hear what your relationship to the Lord means to you.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 5/9/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  – Psalm 112:7 NIV

Devotion

I trust in the Lord. I believe that He exists and that He’s the Creator of all things. It was He that brought every created thing into existence. He’s also the providential Sustainer of every created thing. Every one of His creatures depends upon Him for its continuing existence. If He were to withdraw His sustaining hand, then they would cease to exist. He Himself, on the other hand, depends on nothing for His existence. He always has been, is, and always will be. (Revelation 22:13) I trust Him because of this, I trust Him because of who He is and what He can do. For with Him, “all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

My heart, as a result, is steadfast. It’s like I’m standing on a rock that cannot be moved. The rain may come down, the streams may rise, and the winds may blow, but I stand steadfast on the rock nevertheless. (Matthew 7:24-25) I’m not like “a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) I don’t waver here, there, and everywhere. After all, why would I? My trust is in the rock that stands firm no matter what comes about. Instead of wavering, then, I sing: “My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.” (Psalm 57:7)

Even bad news can’t shake me from off the rock and bring me down. It can’t make me surrender to the fear that is always warring against my soul. With David I say, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” (Psalm 27:3) With the sons of Korah I say that I will not fear, “though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:2) In faith I say, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise-in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)

I have no fear because I know that everything will work out for me, even when things happen that I wish would not happen. (Romans 8:28) I have no fear because I know that He will preserve me even under those circumstances. (Psalm 138:7)

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/2/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”  – Psalm 50:15 NKJV

Devotion

You thought that everything you were trying to accomplish was in dire jeopardy. You thought that no one, least of all you, could make it past what you were facing without a serious problem. At the very least, so you thought, it would be a side-track that would be difficult to negotiate. At the most, so you feared, it would be a barrier that would stop your forward momentum for a very long time. True, people face problems all the time, but the problem you were facing wasn’t’ an all-the-time kind. It was more like a once-in-a-lifetime kind.

As it turned out, however, the problem was really an opportunity in disguise. It truly was a problem, but it was a problem that led you to an opportunity in the next phase of what you were working towards. Instead of side-tracking you or blocking you, it rid you of everything that was irrelevant and inconsequential to your goals and initiatives. You found out that you didn’t need what you thought you needed. Even more, you found out that you were better off without all of it. Could it be that the problem was actually a good thing? Could it be that it was actually necessary? (see Romans 8:28)

It’s not that the problem could not have done what you feared it could have done. It most certainly could have. What, however, kept that from happening? It was that you did what our verse for today says that you should do. You called upon the Lord when the day of trouble came. Instead of facing the problem on your own, you called out to the Lord God and brought Him into the equation. It was a smart move. After all, “with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) As a result, He turned your problem into an opportunity for further growth and development.

What shall you do when the God for whom nothing is impossible comes through for you and delivers you from all your problems? You shall do what our verse for today says you shall do. You shall glorify Him. No one needs to remind you. No one needs to encourage you. You do it automatically.

It’s because you know from whence your help has come. (Psalm 121:1) It’s because you know it could not have happened without Him.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/25/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

When they had pasture, they were filled; They were filled and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me.  – Hosea 13:6 NKJV

Devotion

You were stuck in your personal version of Egypt, your personal version of sin and slavery. Like the ancient Israelites, you were oppressed and you were full of sorrow. It looked like you would never get out of there. Like the Israelites, however, you remembered the Lord and you cried out to Him. (Exodus 3:7) You asked Him for help and deliverance. He responded to your cry and rescued you from that horrid place. Indeed He rescued you, as far as you were concerned, in miraculous fashion. Although He didn’t have to part the Red Sea, his rescue was no less astonishing.

Then the Lord led you out into your personal version of the Wilderness. Like the Israelites, you were tried and you were tested. The Lord was preparing you for the battles you would have to fight in order to take possession of the Promised Land. (Exodus 13:17) Like the Israelites, in the Wilderness you remembered the Lord and you cried out to Him. You asked Him for the help you needed to endure the trials and to pass the tests. Although there were, as there were for the Israelites, many ups and downs to the journey, the Lord came through for you and helped you to make it.

Now you’re sitting pretty in your personal version of the Promised Land. You remembered the Lord and He helped you to conquer and take possession of it. It was hard, but you were successful. Figuratively speaking, you have what our verse for today says the Israelites had: “they had pasture, they were filled.” You have, in other words, everything you need. The only question now is whether or not you’re going to do what the Israelites did next.

What did they do next? They forgot the Lord: “They were filled and their heart was exalted.” They forgot how dependent they were on the Lord and how He helped them. They began to think they didn’t need His help. They even began to think that they gained the position they were enjoying on their own. As a result, the Lord allowed the Babylonians to conquer and deport them.

What’s the point? The point is, don’t do what they did! Don’t let the good times cause you to forget the Lord. You don’t want a personal version of Babylon in your future.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 4/18/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body.  – Romans 12:4-5 NLT

Devotion

In our verse for today, “Christ’s body” is used by the Apostle Paul as a metaphor for the church. We know this because he clearly identifies the two terms in a number of places. (e.g., Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:24) The word “church” is a translation of the Greek word “ecclesia,” which means “called out assembly of people.” In other words, the church, the body of Christ, is an assembly of people that have been called out of something.

From what have they been called out? The Apostle Peter says they have been called out of darkness and into the light of Christ. (I Peter 2:9) Similarly, Paul says they have been called out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13) The members of the church, one might say, have been called out of the wicked way of life governed by Satan and into the righteous way of life governed by Jesus Christ.

How extensive is Satan’s dark reign from which the church has been called? Satan’s darkness has affected every area of life. There is no area of life that has not been twisted and perverted to one degree or another by Satan’s evil influence.

How extensive, then, is Christ’s reign of light to which the church has been called? The light of Christ has an effect on every area of life as well. There is no area of life that is not being restored and renewed to one degree or another by Jesus Christ’s reign of light.

In this transition from dark to light, therefore, the church has a role to play in every area of life. Each member of the church has a special function, or several functions, to help with the transition. These special functions are not limited to the religious professions. The church is more than just a religious institution. Since Jesus Christ’s Kingdom of Light affects every area of life, he has need of members in every area. In marriage, family, school, university, media, business, politics, government, etc., he needs members with the special functions necessary to banish the darkness and introduce the light.

Wherever you see light, no matter what area of life, there the church, Christ’s body, is at work.

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