Verse of the Day – John 4:24

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Without the Spirit, we are not children of God. Without the Spirit, the cleansing power of Jesus’ sacrifice would not be fully implemented in us. Without the Spirit, we cannot worship God in the ways he wants because God is Spirit. Our worship must be “Spirit to Spirit” and done in a way that pleases God and that is according to his will.

My Prayer…

Holy and Almighty God, I want to be one of your worshipers. I want to worship you “Spirit to Spirit.” I want to honor you by worshiping you according to your will. In all of my life and all of my praise, I want you to be honored. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.


© 1998-2019, Heartlight, Inc. Verseoftheday.com is part of the Heartlight Network. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. | Privacy Policy

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Spiritually Exhausted?

“Emotionally, we’ve sometimes worked a full day in one hour,” Zack Eswine writes in his book The Imperfect Pastor. Although he was referring specifically to the burdens pastors frequently carry, this is true for any of us. Weighty emotions and responsibilities can leave us physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. And all we want to do is sleep.

In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah found himself in a situation where he was depleted in every way. We read that Queen Jezebel threatened to put him to death (vv. 1–2) after she discovered he had the prophets of Baal killed (see 1 Kings 18:16–40). Elijah was so afraid he ran away and prayed he would die (19:3–4).

In his distress, he lay down. An angel touched him twice and told him to “get up and eat” (vv. 5, 7). After the second time, Elijah was strengthened by the food God provided, and he “traveled forty days and forty nights” until he came to a cave (vv. 8–9). There, the Lord appeared to him and recommissioned him (see vv. 9–18)—and he was spiritually refreshed.

Sometimes we too need to be refreshed in the Lord. This may come in the form of a conversation with another believer, a worship song, or time in prayer and God’s Word.

Feeling exhausted? Give your burdens to the Lord today and be refreshed!

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Verse of the Day – Matthew 6:1

Be careful not to do your “acts of righteousness” before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:1

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Why do we do the things we do? What is the motivation for our behavior? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing religious things so we will look good to others. This is true even when culture reacts negatively to our faith. Those around us who know about our faith and the Christians around us become the target of our behavior. While we do want to have the right kind of influence on everyone around us, we must never make our decisions about spiritual service on the basis of being seen by others to be honored because of it. Our goal must be to honor God and bless others!

My Prayer…

Almighty God, please purify my heart of any false motivation and help me serve others based on their need and my desire to honor you in helping them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.


© 1998-2019, Heartlight, Inc. Verseoftheday.com is part of the Heartlight Network. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. | Privacy Policy

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Created for Relationship

There’s a growing “rent-a-family” industry in many countries to meet the needs of lonely people. Some use the service to maintain appearances, so that at a social event they can appear to have a happy family. Some hire actors to impersonate estranged relatives, so that they can feel, if briefly, a familial connection they long for.

This trend reflects a basic truth: Humans are created for relationship. In the creation story found in Genesis, God looks at each thing He has made and sees that it is “very good” (1:31). But when God considers Adam, He says, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (2:18). The human needed another human.

The Bible doesn’t just tell us about our need for connection. It also tells us where to find relationships: among Jesus’s followers. Jesus, at His death, told His friend John to consider Jesus’s mother as his own. They would be family to each other even after Jesus was gone (John 19:26–27). And Paul instructed believers to treat others like parents and siblings (1 Timothy 5:1–2). The psalmist tells us that part of God’s redemptive work in the world is to put “the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6), and the church is one of the ways God designed to do this.

Thanks be to God, who has made us for relationship and given us His people to be our family!

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Verse of the Day – Matthew 9:13

But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Matthew 9:13

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God is merciful. Yes, we do remember those blazing occasions when he was fed up and furious with the unrighteousness and rebellion of his people. But, we remember them precisely because they were so striking and because they did not occur that frequently in the hundreds of years he led the Israelites. God has shown us his heart. God showed it to Nineveh despite Jonah. God revealed his heart in Jesus’ compassion to people. God has demonstrated his mercy and love with you and me by calling us, sinners, to his side and to bring us salvation. He will not leave us unchanged and content with our sin. Yes, he does call us to repentance. But, the very fact that the Almighty God, ruler of heaven and earth would pause and invite us near and give us a chance to know his grace is almost too good to be true. That same God calls us to share that same mercy to others.

My Prayer…

Thank you, Almighty God, for being tender as well as powerful, forgiving as well as righteous, and merciful as well as holy. Please mature me in these sets of character defining traits. I don’t want to be self-righteous, but righteous. I don’t want to be a bully, but compassionately strong. I don’t want to be sanctimonious, but true and merciful. Please fill me with your Spirit and gently confront me in those areas that need growth and change. May others see in me a reflection of you. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.


© 1998-2019, Heartlight, Inc. Verseoftheday.com is part of the Heartlight Network. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. | Privacy Policy

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A Sad Story

Painfully, the evil that has long been swept under the rug—sexual abuse of many women by men who had power over them—has come to light. Enduring vile headline after headline, my heart sank when I heard proof of abuse by two men I admired. The church has our own sordid scandals. These days are a reckoning.

King David faced his own reckoning. Samuel tells us that one afternoon, David “saw a woman bathing” (2 Samuel 11:2). And David wanted her. Though Bathsheba was the wife of one his loyal soldiers (Uriah), David took her anyway. When Bathsheba told David she was pregnant, he panicked. And in a despicable act of treachery, David arranged for Joab to have Uriah die on the battlefield.

There was no hiding David’s abuse of power against Bathsheba and Uriah. Here it is in full color, Samuel ensuring we see this wretchedness. We must deal with our evil.

Also, we must hear such stories because they caution us against the abuse of power in our times. This was David, “a man after God’s [own] heart” (Acts 13:22), but also a man who needed to be held accountable for his actions. May we also prayerfully hold leaders accountable for how they use or abuse power.

By God’s grace, redemption is possible. If we read further, we encounter David’s profound contrition (2 Samuel 12:13). Thankfully, hard hearts can still turn from death to life.

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Verse of the Day – Proverbs 11:25

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God is a giving and generous God. He longs for his children to be like him in this grace. Our place on earth is not to be hoarders or collectors of blessing, forgiveness, wealth, and opportunity. No, following the lead of our Eternal Father, we are to be conduits of blessing, forgiveness, wealth, and opportunity. As we are generous like God, we trust that he will in turn make sure we are blessed and refreshed in the ways that will draw us more and more into his character and more able to help others in the future.

My Prayer…

Holy God, I thank you for all the great examples of generosity that have graced my life. Whether rich or poor, these conduits of your grace have taught me that I, too, can be more like you in this way. Bless my heart with trust and faith as I seek to be more generous with others in my grace, forgiveness, finances, encouragement, and time. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.


© 1998-2019, Heartlight, Inc. Verseoftheday.com is part of the Heartlight Network. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. | Privacy Policy

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Lincoln’s Pockets

The night Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater, his pockets contained the following: two spectacles, a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a handkerchief, a leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate bill, and eight newspaper clippings, including several that praised him and his policies.

I wonder what the Confederate money was doing in the President’s pocket, but I have little doubt about the glowing news stories. Everyone needs encouragement, even a great leader like Lincoln! Can you see him, in the moments before the fateful play, perhaps reading them to his wife?

Who do you know who needs encouragement? Everyone! Look around you. There isn’t one person in your line of vision who is as confident as they seem. We’re all one failure, snide comment, or bad hair day from self-doubt.

What if we all obeyed God’s command to “please our neighbors for their good, to build them up”? (v. 2). What if we determined only to speak “gracious words” that are “sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”? (Proverbs 16:24). What if we wrote these words down, so friends could reread and savor them? Then we’d all have notes in our pockets (or on our phones!). And we’d be more like Jesus, who “did not please himself” but lived for others (Romans 15:3).

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Verse of the Day – 2 Timothy 1:16

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.

2 Timothy 1:16

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

A friend in Christ that will faithfully serve others is a wonderful gift of refreshment. Yet as humans, we are tempted to be fickle friends — there for a bit of time while they need us, but often tiring over the long haul of extended recovery from illness, grief, or the consequences of previous sin or addiction. Is there someone you know who is still chained in some way to the past? Is the Lord calling upon you to bless this person today? What about blessing them as Onesiphorus blessed Paul — often and without being ashamed!

My Prayer…

Almighty and tender Shepherd, please give me eyes to see your precious ones around me who need the encouragement of your grace that can only be experienced through the touch of a caring brother or sister in Christ. Please help me through the power of your Holy Spirit to be a more steadfast and faithful source of refreshment to these people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.


© 1998-2019, Heartlight, Inc. Verseoftheday.com is part of the Heartlight Network. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. | Privacy Policy

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The Illusion of Control

Ellen Langer’s 1975 study titled The Illusion of Control examined the level of influence we exert over life’s events. She found that we overestimate our degree of control in most situations. The study also demonstrated how reality nearly always shatters our illusion of control.

Langer’s conclusions are supported by experiments carried out by others since the study was published. However, James had identified the phenomenon long before she named it. In James 4, the apostle wrote, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:13–14).

Then James provides a cure for the delusion, pointing to the One who is in absolute control: “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (v. 15). In these few verses, James summarized both a key failing of the human condition and its antidote.

May we, like James, understand that our fate does not rest in our own hands. And may we rejoice because God holds all things in His capable hands. We can trust His plans!

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