Archive for Verse of the Day and Devotional

Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/25/2022

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Verse of the Day

August 25th, 2022

Scripture

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15 NIV
 

Devotion

I struggle with wanting to be understood. Don’t we all? Don’t we all wish we could find that person who just gets us? I think most of us dream of finding someone who empathizes with our struggles and validates our emotions. We look for that moment of vulnerability where we pour out our deepest emotions and have someone say, “I get it! I feel the exact same way!”

But we’re never going to find the person who understands every moment, every situation, every emotion we go through. No one lives the same experiences with the same viewpoint as us. And because of that, life can feel pretty lonely.

Thankfully, Jesus gets it. Jesus gets us.

God chose to send His Son to live a human life, to be born as we are, to grow as we do, and to experience this broken world as we do. The choice to send Jesus as a baby was a choice to give us an ally, an advocate, someone who can speak on our behalf because he understands our issues. He gave us a Savior who can empathize with us.

Jesus felt betrayal when Judas sold him out. He felt physical pain when they crucified Him. He felt sadness when Lazarus died. He felt anger when He flipped the tables in the temple. He felt temptation when the enemy tried to trick him. He felt the desperation of painful obedience when He cried out in the garden.

He felt it all. And now He meets us there to be with us in the midst of our emotions. There’s nothing more comforting than an understanding ear, and we have that in our Savior.

This year has been lonely and difficult for all of us. I pray that you’ve found comfort in the Lord, in our understanding Savior. As we move into 2021, continue to confide in Him. Continue to rest in Him. Continue to trust in Him. He hears you, He understands, and He wants to meet you right where you are.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/18/2022

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Verse of the Day

August 18th, 2022

Scripture

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Devotion

What should a Christian do always? What should a Christian do without ceasing? What should a Christian do in every circumstance? Our verses for today give us three items the Apostle Paul believes should be constants of the Christian life.

First of all, we should rejoice always. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Christians have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and have joy as part of the package. It is incumbent upon us to allow this joy to manifest in our lives even when we don’t feel like it. It is significant that this injunction was written by an apostle that had suffered so much. Despite any negative circumstances, Christians have a lot to be joyful about. There should always be an atmosphere of joy surrounding us.

Second, we should pray without ceasing. This does not mean we should give up every activity other than prayer, but that we should maintain a close personal relationship to God. The lines of communication to the Father in heaven should always remain open and we should feel free to share the thoughts, cares, concerns, and desires of our heart with God at any time. God wants us to maintain our relationship to Him. What He doesn’t want is for us to go our own way apart from Him.

Finally, we should give thanks in all circumstances. The person who is willing to give thanks in all circumstances is the person who takes Romans 8:28 seriously: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” There are plenty of examples in the Bible of people whose trials, troubles, and tribulations were the very means by which God could use them in mighty ways. Joseph’s imprisonment in Egypt, for example, was the vehicle for his elevation to being second only to Pharaoh. One cannot give thanks in all circumstances unless they truly believe that God is working for the good in all things.

These three items are not mere suggestions. They are the very will of God for us. Let us be full of joy and thanksgiving, and let us pray without ceasing.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/11/2022

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Verse of the Day

August 11th, 2022

Scripture

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? – Mark 8:36 NIV

Devotion

When you add it all up, what really pays off in life in the long run?

There are those in life, on the one hand, that think the only thing that really pays is to do everything you can to save your life, enhance your life, and gain as much of anything and everything as you can. Life only pays if you’re living the high life at the top of the heap. For them, anything that requires personal sacrifice, anything that endangers life, anything that does not pay off in the here and now is to be avoided at all costs.

There are those in life, on the other hand, that think the only thing that really pays is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. They do whatever it takes to be a disciple even if it means losing their lives, living life at a lower level, or not having as much of anything and everything your heart desires. Life only pays if you’re living the life God has called you to live. For them, anything that requires personal sacrifice, anything that endangers life, anything that does not pay off in the here and now is acceptable if it means the kingdom of God is advanced and enhanced.

The trouble with living the high life, however, is that it really doesn’t pay off in the long run; it really is short-sighted. You may gain the whole world, but lose your own soul. You will have sacrificed eternity for the temporary rewards of the here and now.

The benefit of being a disciple, on the other hand, is that it really does pay off in the long run; it really is far-sighted. You may lose the world, but you will preserve your own soul. You may sacrifice fame and fortune in the here and now, but you will have gained everything for all eternity.

If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then take the long view of life befitting you. Ask yourself if what you are doing is advancing and enhancing the kingdom of God, or if it is nothing more than a pitiful attempt to save and enhance your own life.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 7/28/2022

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Verse of the DayJuly 28th, 2022

Scripture

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. – Psalm 34:19 NLT

Devotion

In this world we have and will have troubles. King David says even the righteous person faces many troubles. And he would know, for he was a righteous man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), and he faced many of them. Although we face troubles of all kinds, we may take comfort in the conviction that the Lord rescues us from them all.

How does God rescue us from them all?

First of all, God may rescue us by totally delivering us from our troubles in the here and now. The Bible is full of examples of the people of God being rescued from their troubles. Although Abraham and Sarah could not have children, God gave them a child in their old age (Genesis 21:1-7). When the Israelites were stuck between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, God parted the sea and let them cross on dry land (Exodus 14). When the Apostle Peter was in prison, the Lord sent an angel to free him (Acts 12:1-19).

Secondly, there is a sense in which God rescues us from our troubles by turning them from something that was meant by Satan to destroy us into something that actually benefits us. The Apostle Paul says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). God uses the troubles of Satan to make us more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). With those in Christ, trouble loses its significance as a destructive force, for “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Finally, God ultimately rescues us from our troubles in the next life. Sometimes the sick die, sometimes the lives of the persecuted are sacrificed, and sometimes, like the Apostle Paul, we live with a “thorn in the flesh” for all of our lives (2 Corinthians 12:7). If our faith does not see its breakthrough in this life, however, it will see it in the next life (Revelation 21:4).

Satan is the trouble-maker. His evil and illegitimate regime functions like a parasite within God’s very good earthly creation. That’s why we see troubles of many kinds.

Take heart, however, for the Lord comes to our rescue each time.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 7/14/2022

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Verse of the DayJuly 14th, 2022

Scripture

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

Devotion

At the end of Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul proclaimed to the church at Corinth the glory of their final destiny. He proclaimed to them that the “corruptible must put on incorruption” and the “mortal must put on immortality.” He proclaimed to them that when this happens “Death is swallowed up in victory.” And all of this is because we have the ultimate “victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:53-57).

Given the glory of our ultimate victory through Christ, Paul exhorted the church in our verse for today to do three things:

First of all, they should remain steadfast and immovable. It was part of Paul’s practice in all the churches to warn them that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), and that “after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). Despite all of this, the church should stand fast in the faith.

Second, the church should always abound in the work of the Lord. The persecution and the savage wolves will be sent by Satan for the very purpose of stopping this work. Nevertheless, the church should stay steadfast and immovable and abound in every work. That is, they should not just do some work, they should do an overabundance of work. The church should do all they can to advance and enhance the Kingdom of God.

Finally, the church should know that their labor will not be in vain. Despite the persecution and the savage wolves, the work of the church will go forth and be successful. Jesus’ prophecy that the church will be His witness “to the ends of the earth” will come true (Acts 1:8). Further, if the church will remain steadfast and immovable and abound in the work of the Lord, they will reap Jesus’ promise of “a hundredfold now in this time” and His promise of “everlasting life” (Mark 10:30).

There may be persecutions and savage wolves that have pushed you to the point of giving up your work. Remain steadfast and immovable, for that work is not done in vain.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 7/7/2022

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Verse of the DayJuly 7th, 2022

Scripture

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 NLT

Devotion

Our verses today form what has come to be known as the Great Commission, the virtual marching orders for the church. There are three orders: make disciples, baptize them, and teach them.

The reason the disciples are to do these three things is that Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Why is this relevant? Because Jesus has been given all authority, it follows that there is nothing that can prevent the church from fulfilling His orders. Jesus is in control “far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else” (Ephesians 1:21). Although the church may yet face opposition to its task, it will not be stopped from fulfilling the commission.

Given Christ’s authority, the disciples are to go forth and make new disciples from all nations. They do this by leading people to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In effect, they go forth and make new members of the Church, new citizens of the Kingdom of God.

The disciples are also to baptize these new disciples. Baptism is significant because it is a symbol that represents the disciples dying and rising with Christ and having their sins washed away. Baptism signifies the disciple’s having passed from citizenship in the kingdom of darkness to citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

The disciples are also to teach the new disciples to obey all the commands Jesus gave them. In its broadest sense, teaching the commands of Jesus means teaching the whole Bible, because Jesus’ commands presuppose previous biblical revelation and form the foundation of the biblical revelation that was yet to come. It means to teach the new disciples everything they need to know to be effective citizens in the Kingdom of God.

As a member of the Church, as a citizen of the Kingdom, you are participating in some way, shape, or form in fulfilling the Great Commission—and Jesus is with you.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/30/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 30th, 2022

Scripture

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3 NKJV

Devotion

We live in a culture that places a lot of importance on holding rational beliefs based strictly on evidence. In his famous 1877 essay “The Ethics of Belief,” W.K. Clifford states that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” Clifford’s essay is directed against all those who place value on faith and religious belief apart from evidence.

Our verse for today was Jesus Christ’s response to His disciples’ question as to who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. His view is that unless one has the faith of a little child, one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. And He goes on to say that “whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). From Jesus’ point of view, when one is confronted with the truth of the Gospel and God’s Word, one should accept it in faith as a little child, without any attempts to determine if there is sufficient evidence to accept it. After all, one should never question God’s veracity.

How should the Christian who takes Jesus at His word respond to someone like Clifford? Perhaps the first thing that should be said is that Clifford himself does not escape taking a position of faith. His faith, however, is not in God’s Word, but in the word of human reason. His belief that only rational beliefs based on evidence should be accepted cannot itself be a rational belief based on evidence. It is a belief born of faith—child-like faith in the ability of human reason to show us the way in the world.

Everyone, then, even W.K. Clifford, has child-like faith. It’s just a question of what that faith is placed in. A decision must be made. Upon whom will you place your faith? Upon whom will you entrust your present and future well-being? Will you have faith in the word of fallible and limited human beings and their human reasoning? Or will you have faith in the Word of the infallible and unlimited God of heaven and earth?

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/23/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 23rd, 2022

Scripture

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.'” – 1 Kings 17:13-14 ESV

Devotion

Our verses for today are part of the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath told in 1 Kings 17. The story is instructive in a number of ways, but perhaps its most important lesson is what it has to say about giving. When the Spirit of God is at work in the world, it pays to support that work.

Elijah was in the midst of his struggle with King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Because of their sins and the sins of the people, Elijah had prophesied that there would be a drought. During the drought, the Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath because He had “commanded a widow there to feed you.” The widow told Elijah that she was about to prepare her last meal and then die, so he assured her with the words of our verses for today.

From the perspective of the world, the widow had it backwards. Instead of supporting Elijah, she should have kept everything for herself and her son. From the perspective of the world, it was outrageous for Elijah to even ask for food from a poor widow. He even had the audacity to ask her to feed him first.

From the Lord God’s perspective, however, giving to the work He is working in the world is the key to survival in desperate times. Indeed, it is the key to prosperity. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

The story of the widow of Zarephath is a story about priorities. What should come first are not our concerns, but the Lord’s concerns. Take to heart what happened to the widow—and then keep an eye out for the opportunities to bless the work of the Lord that come your way.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/16/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 16th, 2022

Scripture

God said, “You can do it because I will be with you. This will be the proof that I am sending you: After you lead the people out of Egypt, you will come and worship me on this mountain.“ – Exodus 3:12 ERV

Devotion

Do you ever struggle to understand why God put you where you are today? If you find yourself feeling this way, you are not alone.

So often we feel inadequate in our roles. It’s hard to see why God has placed us in these spots, especially when we feel others seem a better fit. We get down on ourselves, make excuses as to why we’re not the right person for the job, and lose sight of God’s design for us.

When we have these feelings, we are in good company. In Exodus, Moses didn’t feel like the right man for the job God called him to do. But just as God was with Moses, He is always by our side speaking truth into our doubts and showing us that with His help, we are more than capable.

The day God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Moses was certain he wasn’t the man God wanted or needed to help save the Israelites from the oppression of the Egyptians. In five instances in Exodus 3:11-14 and Exodus 4:1-17, we see him persistently tell God, “I’m not good enough…there must be someone else.“ But each time Moses speaks a doubt or an excuse or outright pleads with God to pick someone else, the Lord reassures him that he is more than able with God.

God knew Moses’ doubts, questions, and fears. And instead of allowing Moses to use them as an excuse, the Lord used them to show His power to work through Moses. Even with Moses’ lack of confidence and anxiety, God saw his potential. In the end, the 80-year-old man who pleaded with God to send anyone else went on to speak boldly against Pharaoh and to lead God’s chosen people out of slavery towards the Promised Land.

Today, you may feel inadequate. You might be saying, “Lord, please choose someone else. I can’t do it.“ But you are more than capable in God’s hands. He will take on your fears and doubts. He will use you in your current role to make a difference in small and big ways.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/9/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 9th, 2022

Scripture

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 ESV

Devotion

Dear friend, if you have a Bible, you are blessed. Open and read it. According to our verse today, God’s Word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It was written by God using human authors to convey His holiness, love, and truth throughout the generations. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He responded, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Satan has tried to destroy God’s Word, but the Word of God endures forever (Isaiah 40:8). One such example is in the life and death of great theologian William Tyndale. On October 6, 1536, Tyndale was hung on a stake, strangled, and burned alive. His crime for such a horrific death was translating the Bible into English. It’s reported that when the translators of the King James Version produced their Bible in 1611, they relied heavily on Tyndale’s wording. It is humbling to recall these faithful saints who were martyred for the cause of Christ. God is faithful to preserve His Word to reach a lost and dying world.

The Bible is radical and transformational. We encounter history, poetry, wisdom, law, sin, grace, salvation, redemption, sanctification, prophecy, and more. We discover a Creator who pursues His creation all the way to a cross. We meet a Savior who suffered, beyond human understanding, as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. We are assured of a Redeemer who is coming back for His bride, the Church. We also see the judgement of God for those not under the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Reading devotionals, books, and listening to sermons can be wonderful tools to help us grow in our faith journey, but they can never replace the truth and intimacy found in the Word of God. We will be spiritually weak and lack discernment apart from God’s Word.

God speaks to us in numerous ways including nature, circumstances, and people, but His voice is most clearly revealed through His Holy Word. We can easily be deceived when we are not studying the Scriptures for ourselves. It is essential that we do not take Scripture out of context, but read the text, chapter, and book to gain understanding. We need the full counsel of God to shine His light in our heart as we meditate on His words. The Bible empowers us with truth and hope to stand against the deceptions of this present darkness and live a godly life.

God’s Word has the power to shred our pride as it exposes our thoughts and motivations of our heart. The conviction of God’s Word leads to comfort and hope when we turn to Him. The Holy Spirit directs us in wisdom and understanding as we humbly obey. The Bible is not always easy to digest, but it is always truthful, and always eternally best for those who believe. The Bible is God’s revelation to know Him and to walk in His ways.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). Why not read Psalm 119 right now? I shall do the same. Praise God for His Word!

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