Archive for Verse of the Day and Devotional

Verse of the Day and Devotion 9/19/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  – Ephesians 4:19 NIV

Devotion

In his instructions to the Ephesian Church, the Apostle Paul says, “I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do.” (Ephesians 4:17) What was wrong with the Gentile way of life in Paul’s mind? He says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:18)

As a result of this hardening, Paul goes on to say in our verse for today, they have lost all “sensitivity” and they have given themselves over to “sensuality.”

What does this mean?

First of all, they have lost all sensitivity. They have lost, that is, all sensitivity to anything outside of their own selfish wants and desires. They have lost, for example, all sensitivity to the Lord God and what He wants from them and expects of them. Paul says elsewhere, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

They have also lost all sensitivity to the people around them, to the creatures below them, and even to their own true selves. Due to their hardened hearts, they have lost all sensitivity to the way things should go in all of the relationships they have in life.

Secondly, they have given themselves over to sensuality. They have given themselves over, that is, to the selfish indulgence of their sinful selves. Insensitive to everything and everyone around them, even to their own true selves, all that is left is to cater to their selfish desires. This is more than sexual lust. It includes, as Paul says, “every kind of impurity,” even greed.

Although we used to live like the Gentiles live before we became Christians, Paul says that we should live that way no longer. We should give up our sensual instincts and become more sensitive. We should give up every sensual desire to indulge the sinful self that may still be lurking within us and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we should become sensitive to those around us, especially to the Lord God.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/29/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.  – Luke 8:47 NKJV

Devotion

I had a medical problem for quite a while. Like the woman in our verse for today, I tried a number of conventional medical treatments. (Luke 8:43) They took a lot of time, they took a lot of money, but nothing seemed to work. Although I believe the Lord can work through conventional methods and conventional doctors, although I have been helped by such methods and doctors in the past, for this problem they didn’t help at all. It was a frustrating time in my life. I began to think that my problem was something I would just have to live with.

Later, I heard about alternative treatments for my problem. I began to allow some hope back into my life. However, like the conventional methods, they took a lot of time, they took a lot of money, but nothing seemed to work. Although I believe the Lord can work through alternative methods and doctors as well, they didn’t work for me in this case. Needless to say, this was also a frustrating time in my life. I began to think, like the Apostle Paul, that the Lord wanted to make His strength perfect through my weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9)

One Sunday morning, a man from my church was praying a general prayer for the sick at the beginning of our church service. The man was known to have gifts of healing. (I Corinthians 12:9) I thought to myself that I would ask him to pray for me personally after the service. However, in his general prayer he prayed for people with my problem. “Now,” I thought to myself, “I don’t have to ask him to pray for me personally, since he just prayed for me in his general prayer. After all, why bother him needlessly?”

And then it happened. Like the woman in our verse for today, I was healed immediately. My problem was gone, never to return. All it took was a little faith. All it took was a mustard seed worth of faith. (Matthew 17:20) It couldn’t have been less dramatic. I didn’t even have to touch Him, or be touched by Him.

It just took a little faith.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/22/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

Anyone who sins breaks God’s law. Yes, sinning is the same as living against God’s law.  – I John 3:4 ERV

Devotion

According to our verse for today, there is such a thing as God’s law, God’s divine law. The Lord God is the King who rules and reigns over all things and, as one would expect from a King, He has established certain moral laws that govern the conduct of humankind. For example, as Jesus pointed out, there is the law that we should “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind”‘ and there is the law that we should ‘”Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37) The Bible tells us about many other moral laws as well.

According to our verse for today, to sin is to break God’s law. If there was no law, or if a law no longer applied, then there could be no sin. God’s law defines what it means to sin. No human, in other words, may define what it means to sin. Indeed, any attempt to redefine what it means to sin is itself a sin. This is God’s world, not our world, and He has the right to establish what is sin and what is not sin. Humans do not have that right. Thus, if someone fails to comply with God’s divine law, then that someone is guilty of sin against God.

As the Bible teaches, “All have sinned and are not good enough.” (Romans 3:23) Although God has made provision for this unhappy state of affairs, although He has graciously made provision through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to save us from the consequences of our sin, the law still holds. Just because Jesus saves us from our sin does not mean that the law no longer applies and that we are free to sin. Indeed, if you check the context of our verse for today, that seems to be the point the Apostle John is trying to make in bringing up the subject.

No one, of course, can keep from sinning through human effort alone. That’s why David, after he had fallen into the grievous sins of adultery and murder, cried out to God, “Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey you.” (Psalm 51:12)

If you’re struggling with sin today, then may God make your spirit strong and ready to obey Him as well.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 8/15/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.  – I Corinthians 16:17-18 NKJV

Devotion

In the main area of life to which you have been called you were going along as you should have been going along. You were going along as planned. The things that you were supposed to be doing you were doing. Everything was good. Everything was moving in the right direction. True, there were some things that needed to be done that weren’t being done, but those were things outside of your particular gifting. As far as you were concerned, they could wait. Wait for what? You weren’t quite sure about that, but you weren’t going to let it worry you.

As it turned out, you didn’t have to worry about it, because the Lord saw to the problem for you. He sent you what you needed. He sent you the people that could take on what needed to be taken on. Like Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus in our verses for today, what was lacking on your part they supplied. They had the gifts that you lacked. They had the experience that you lacked as well. They started what needed to be started and it was a blessing to your cause. Things would be different. Things would be better than before. Indeed, they would be better than ever.

Even further, it was more that just a supplying of what was lacking. It was also a refreshing of your spirit, and the spirits of your fellow workers, at the same time. The people the Lord sent had special gifts, spiritual gifts, that seemed to fire up the gifts of everyone else. The whole effort was refreshed and renewed. You thought the things that weren’t getting done could wait. Now, in retrospect, you’re wondering how you ever got along without them. Your service in the Kingdom of God has been taken to a whole new level.

Don’t forget, therefore, to do what the Apostle Paul says you should do. Don’t forget to acknowledge those that have come to help you. Don’t forget to acknowledge their special gifts and their service. And don’t allow jealousy and envy of what they have, and of what they brought to the whole effort, to keep you from doing the right thing.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/8/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

All this is from God…  – II Corinthians 5:18 ESV

Devotion

What does “All this” in our verse for today refer to specifically? The previous verse has the answer: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (II Corinthians 5:17) The “All this,” in other words, is the new creation that you have become in Christ Jesus. If you are a Christian, then the old has gone. That is, the old you, the spiritually sinful you, is gone. The new you, the spiritually righteous you, is here. It may not always look like it, but it is from God and, therefore, it is a reality.

This means that you have to look at Christians, including yourself, from a different point of view. As the Apostle Paul put it, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” What he means by this is that we should no longer regard Christians as being worldly in nature and character. It’s because Christians, including yourself, are new creations in Christ Jesus. As said before, it may not always look like it, but from God’s point of view it is a reality. As a result, you should never condemn Christians, including yourself. (Romans 8:1)

Today, you may have good reason to question whether this is true. You may find it hard to believe that someone like you, someone that still struggles with the old sin nature, can be a new creation. What you need to realize, however, is that the Bible is well aware of the struggles that you have with it. (see, for example, Galatians 5:17) Although it was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), it still tries to rise from the dead and cause trouble from time to time. Despite this, the Bible regards you as a new creation.

The Bible regards you this way because God is no longer counting your sins against you. As Paul goes on to say, God “reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (II Corinthians 5:18-19) God made Christ Jesus “to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:21)

Do not listen, then, to any condemnation Satan is sending your way. Do not lose heart! God has made you a new creation and that is that!

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 8/1/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…  – I Timothy 6:18 ESV

Devotion

You’ve been blessed financially. Although you might protest, most people would say that you’re rich. After all, you have everything you need. Indeed, you have more than enough. Instead of living hand to mouth, you store up the excess. Instead of scraping the funds together to pay the bills, you hire someone to pay them for you.

So, given your wealth, what do you do from the biblical point of view? The Apostle Paul has the answer:

First, you make an attitude adjustment. In the previous verse Paul says, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (I Timothy 6:17) In other words, don’t be so proud to think that your riches will always be there for you. In and of themselves, riches are uncertain. All it takes is an unexpected stock market crash, a housing collapse, a downturn in the economy, etc., and you’re in trouble. Trust in riches is a poor substitute for trust in God.

Second, you do what our verse for today says you should do:

You do good. That is, you do good with the financial resources you have. Instead of acting like the rich fool who said to himself, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19), you get to work making wise investments that create new products and services, companies, and jobs. You do good by putting your wealth to work in ways that will bless people, including yourself.

You also do good works. You use your wealth to finance endeavors in the not-for-profit world. There are churches that need to be built, missionary endeavors that need to be supplied, Christian schools and colleges that need operating funds, and the list goes on. You make yourself a partner of these worthy endeavors.

And you also share what you have, especially with your fellow believers. Elsewhere Paul says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)

It takes money to expand and enhance the Kingdom of God. You have the money. Start, then, to make the kind of investments that will reward you for all eternity.” (I Timothy 6:19)

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 7/25/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

You are all people who belong to the light. You belong to the day. We don’t belong to the night or to darkness.  – I Thessalonians 5:5 ERV

Devotion

There are two kinds of people. The first kind are those who belong to the night and to darkness. The second kind are those who belong to the day and to light.

What’s the difference between the two?

Those who belong to the night and to darkness are, figuratively, drunk and asleep. It’s because, says the Apostle Paul, “People who sleep, sleep at night. People who drink too much, drink at night.” (I Thessalonians 5:7) Applying Paul’s figures, this means that such people are in no condition to see what’s coming. What’s coming? Jesus is coming. The return of Jesus Christ to earth is coming. Those who belong to the first kind of people are so caught up in the darkness of their sin that they have no clue about Jesus’ return. Thus, they will be surprised by His return like those who are surprised by a thief in the night. (I Thessalonians 5:2)

Those who belong to the day and to light, on the other hand, are, figuratively, awake and sober. It’s because people who stay awake and sober do so in the day. Applying the figures, they’re prepared for the return of Jesus. Thus, Paul can say, “But you, brothers and sisters, are not living in darkness. And so that day will not surprise you like a thief.” (I Thessalonians 5:4) Since they belong to the day, they stay awake, keep control of themselves, and look forward to the return of Jesus. Indeed, they keep an eye out for Him and take note of the signs of His coming.

The first kind of people are, of course, non-Christians and the second kind are Christians. The reason why Christians belong to the day and to light is that they have received light. They have received the light of Jesus Christ by faith. The Apostle John puts it this way: “In Him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it.” (John 1:4-5) Having received the light of Jesus Christ, they can see what’s going on in the world. They can see what’s coming in the world.

Apart from Christ, on the other hand, you’re in the dark. Apart from Christ, you belong to the night and to darkness.

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 7/18/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

“But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!” – II Chronicles 6:18 ESV

Devotion

If one were to try and compare the Lord God with His creation, as difficult as that is, then perhaps the most feasible analogy is that the creation is like the contents inside a box and the Lord is like the owner of the box. As the owner, He’s outside the box because He’s the source of the box and its contents. He’s the Creator of His creation.

To continue with the analogy, inside the box would be the earth, the starry heavens, and even the spiritual heaven, angels included. All of it would be inside the box because all of it was created by Him. (Genesis 1:1) He, in contrast, was not created by anyone or anything. He just is, eternal and complete in Himself, not dependent upon anything.

That’s why Solomon wonders how it could be that the Lord God would dwell with man on the earth. Specifically, he wonders how it could be that the Lord would dwell in the temple he had built for Him. The Lord Himself, of course, wanted the temple to be built (I Chronicles 17:1-15), but Solomon still wonders how it could be, given that nothing can contain Him.

The same goes for the starry heavens. Vast as they are, they cannot contain the Lord God. Even the spiritual heaven, what Solomon calls the “highest heaven,” cannot contain Him. Although His manifest presence is located there, although the angels and the departed saints are with Him there, He cannot be contained there. The Lord God, one might say, cannot be “boxed in” anywhere, not even in the highest heaven above.

Nevertheless, this great God, this incomprehensible God, deigns to dwell inside of His creation. He does this by revealing Himself in creaturely terms that can be experienced. He does this by revealing Himself in a number of different ways. Included among them is His revelation of Himself as seated on a throne in the highest heaven, ruling and reigning from there. (e.g., Isaiah 6:1; Psalm 47:8) He also did it by revealing Himself in the Holy of Holies of the temple Solomon built. In our own day, one way He does it is by revealing Himself in the hearts of the men and women that love Him. (John 14:23)

Although this great God cannot be contained, He loves His creatures enough to dwell with them and to make Himself known to them.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 7/11/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  – Luke 24:36 NIV

Devotion

It was the Sunday evening of the day of the resurrection. Understandably enough, the disciples of Jesus were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. (John 20:19) Understandably enough, they were afraid that the leaders might do the same thing to them that they did to Jesus. The two disciples that had been walking on the road to Emmaus had just told the rest of the disciples about their encounter with Jesus. (Luke 24:33-35) At that precise moment, Jesus Himself stood among them and said the words in our verse for today: “Peace be with you.”

Like the disciples hiding out behind locked doors, you are a disciple of Jesus. Like them, you have made the decision to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24) In effect, you have stuck your neck out a long way. After all, not everyone is happy about your decision. In point of fact, some people are downright angry about it. They think you’re a religious fanatic. As far as they’re concerned, your exclusive claims about Jesus being “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) are wild exaggerations and intolerant in the extreme. As a result, they think you’re a danger to the rest of society.

Like the disciples, you’re afraid of what the angry people might do. Maybe it hasn’t gotten to the point yet where you feel the need to meet behind locked doors with fellow disciples, but you’re concerned just the same. You’re worried about what you should do next. You’re anxious about the potential consequences of what you do next. You’re going over the scenarios in your mind, one after the other. At one point, you even considered just backing away from the calling the Lord placed on your heart.

It’s when it gets like this that Jesus shows up. Maybe He doesn’t appear bodily, as He did for the early disciples, but He’s there every bit as much. And He’s saying the same thing to you that He said to them: “Peace be with you.”

He’s saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 7/4/2019

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Verse of the Day and Devotion

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  – II Timothy 2:1 NKJV

Devotion

The trials, troubles, tribulations, and persecutions that we encounter in life can be many. They can also be severe. The Apostle Paul, for example, wrote his letter to Timothy from prison. Even worse, he wrote when many of those that should have supported him at that point in his life turned away from him instead. Indeed, he said that all “those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” (II Timothy 1:15) If it weren’t for people like Onesiphorus, who “was not ashamed of my chain,” he would have been totally abandoned. (II Timothy 1:16)

Given what can happen to us in the sinful and evil world that we live in, it’s important to be strong. Even though the trials and troubles can get to us, even though they can wear us down, we can’t give up and we can’t give in. Although we may be tired and worn out, we can’t just throw up our hands and let things like shame dictate our course of action. Knowing the temptations to give up, Paul felt the need to exhort Timothy to “not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” (II Timothy 1:8)

Although it’s important to be strong, the strength in question is key. In our verse for today, Paul did not urge Timothy to be strong in and of himself. He urged him to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” The last thing that’s needed when the trials and tribulations of life come along is an attempt to deal with them in the power of one’s own strength. It’s because that kind of strength isn’t good enough. It isn’t strong enough. Eventually it wears out. Eventually, it ceases to support what needs to be supported. People can surrender to things like shame when they rely on that kind of strength.

If we do what Paul told Timothy to do, if we rely on the grace of Christ Jesus instead of our own strength, then we can be what we need to be under even the most trying of circumstances. We can be what Paul told Timothy to be: “a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (II Timothy 2:3)

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