Verse of the Day – Luke 5:31-32

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Luke 5:31-32

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Jesus’ religious adversaries frequently criticized him for deliberately associating with people who were suspect in their eyes. Jesus, however, had a reason for this behavior. He wasn’t associating with sinners to be popular, weird, bizarre, or hip. The Lord associated with all kinds of people because he loved all kinds of people! He came to redeem the enslaved, find the lost, mend the broken, and reclaim the sinner. Can we, as Jesus’ bodily presence today, strive for anything less than this and still call ourselves Jesus’ Church?


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My Prayer…

Forgive me, Father, when I opt for security in my acquaintances and I avoid potentially messy entanglements in my relationships. Please open my eyes to see the lost, the lonely, the forgotten, and the needy all around me. Please use me to lead them to your grace and to help them find their family with your people. 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.


© 1998-2020, 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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Easy Does It

My father and I used to fell trees and cut them to size with a two-man crosscut saw. Being young and energetic, I tried to force the saw into the cut. “Easy does it,” my father would say. “Let the saw do the work.”

I think of Paul’s words in Philippians: “It is God who works in you” (2:13). Easy does it. Let Him do the work of changing us.

C. S. Lewis said that growth is much more than reading what Christ said and carrying it out. He explained, “A real Person, Christ, . . . is doing things to you . . . gradually turning you permanently into . . . a new little Christ, a being which . . . shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”

God is at that process today. Sit at the feet of Jesus and take in what He has to say. Pray. “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 20–21), reminding yourself all day long that you are His. Rest in the assurance that He is gradually changing you.

“But shouldn’t we hunger and thirst for righteousness?” you ask. Picture a small child trying to get a gift high on a shelf, his eyes glittering with desire. His father, sensing that desire, brings the gift down to him.

The work is God’s; the joy is ours. Easy does it. We shall get there some day.

 

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Verse of the Day – Acts 5:30

The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead — whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.

Acts 5:30

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Peter is making clear that his faith in Jesus didn’t just begin with Jesus. It began with the Patriarchs, the great Jewish fathers. The God who blessed them also raised Jesus from the dead, even though Jesus had been executed in the most heinous and degrading way possible for a faithful Jew — he was nailed to a cross, something that was both illegal and a sign of being cursed under Jewish Law. He raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him and made him our Savior and our Lord. Praise God!

My Prayer…

Thank you, dear Father, for showing your power over evil, sin, hate, jealousy, and death. In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I offer my praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

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


© 1998-2020, 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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Do Whatever

In a recent film, a self-proclaimed “genius” rants to the camera about the world’s “horror, corruption, ignorance, and poverty,” declaring life to be godless and absurd. While such thinking isn’t unusual in many modern film scripts, what’s interesting is where it leads. In the end, the lead character turns to the audience and implores us to do whatever it takes to find a little happiness. For him, this includes leaving traditional morality behind.

But will “do whatever” work? Facing his own despair at life’s horrors, the Old Testament writer of Ecclesiastes gave it a try long ago, searching for happiness through pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 10), grand work projects (vv. 4–6), riches (vv. 7–9), and philosophical inquiry (vv. 12–16). And his assessment? “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (v. 17). None of these things is immune to death, disaster, or injustice (5:13–17).

Only one thing brings the writer of Ecclesiastes back from despair. Despite life’s trials, we can find fulfillment when God is part of our living and working: “for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (2:24–25). Life will at times feel meaningless, but “remember your Creator” (12:1). Don’t exhaust yourself trying to figure life out, but “fear God and obey his commandments” (v. 13).

Without God as our center, life’s pleasures and sorrows lead only to disillusionment.

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Verse of the Day – Acts 5:29

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”

Acts 5:29

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Against a stern warning from the ruling council in Jerusalem, called the Sanhedrin, Peter and the other apostles proclaimed Jesus as Lord. They knew that Jesus had triumphed over the attempts of his enemies to extinguish him and his ministry. The apostles blatantly disobeyed the orders of the very same people who had Jesus crucified. By any standard, that is faithful courage. How are you doing in the “standing up for Jesus” battle?

My Prayer…

Lord God Almighty, please empower me by your Spirit to be courageous. I do not want to ever back down from my convictions nor ever renounce my faith in Jesus, in whose 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.


© 1998-2020, 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 Maker of the Moon

After astronauts set the Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, more than half a billion people heard Neil Armstrong’s voice transmitted from 240,000 miles away from Earth. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” he said as he became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon. Other space travelers followed, including the commander of the last Apollo mission, Gene Cernan. “There I was, and there you are, the Earth—dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt . . . it was just too beautiful to happen by accident,” Cernan said, “There has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me.” Even from their unique view in deep space, these men understood their smallness in comparison to the vastness of the universe.

The prophet Jeremiah also considered the immensity of God as Creator and Sustainer of the earth and beyond. The Maker of all promised to reveal Himself intimately as He offered His people love, forgiveness, and hope (Jeremiah 31:33–34). Jeremiah affirms God’s enormity as He who “appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night” (v. 35). Our Creator and Lord Almighty will reign above all as He works to redeem all of His people (vv. 36–37).

We’ll never finish exploring the immeasurable vastness of the heavens and depths of the earth’s foundations. But we can stand in awe at the complexity of the universe and trust the maker of the moon—and everything else.

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Verse of the Day – Matthew 5:28

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:28

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Living in a sexually supercharged world and facing the prevalence of pornography on the Internet and in today’s media, how are you doing with this issue?

My Prayer…

Loving Father, give me the strength to resist sexual temptation, the wisdom to stay away from it, and character to triumph over it. In the mighty 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.


© 1998-2020, 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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Good Measure

At a gas station one day, Staci encountered a woman who had left home without her bank card. Stranded with her baby, she was asking passersby for help. Although unemployed at the time, Staci spent $15 to put gas in the stranger’s tank. Days later, Staci came home to find a gift basket of children’s toys and other presents waiting on her porch. Friends of the stranger had reciprocated Staci’s kindness and converted her $15 blessing into a memorable Christmas for her family.

This heartwarming story illustrates the point Jesus made when he said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

It can be tempting to hear this and focus on what we get out of giving, but doing so would miss the point. Jesus preceded that statement with this one: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (v. 35).

We don’t give to get things; we give because God delights in our generosity. Our love for others reflects His loving heart toward us.

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Verse of the Day – Luke 5:27

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:27

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

After capturing the hearts of the crowd, Jesus now calls another disciple, Levi (Matthew). Two things are significant about this calling. First, Jesus called someone no other religious leader would have chosen, a tax collector and Roman sympathizer — to any Jew of Jesus’ era, Matthew would have seemed very much like a traitor to his heritage and to his faith. Second, the tax collector followed, leaving behind his livelihood and his fortune. This is a powerful reminder that there is no one we should write off as unreachable with the Gospel and as unusable by our Lord.

My Prayer…

Father of all nations, help me recognize the people you place in my path today who are ready to know more about Jesus. Give me the wisdom and the awareness to know when and how to speak with them about my Savior. 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.


© 1998-2020, 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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Why Me?

The Book of Odds says that one in a million people are struck by lightning. One in 25,000 experience a medical condition called “broken heart syndrome” in the face of overwhelming shock or loss. In page after page the odds of experiencing specific problems pile up without answering: What if we’re the one?

Job defied all odds. God said of him, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Yet Job was chosen to suffer a series of losses that defied all odds. Of all people on earth, Job had reason to beg for an answer. It’s all there for us to read in chapter after chapter of his desperate struggle to understand, “Why me?”

Job’s story gives us a way of responding to the mystery of unexplained pain and evil. By describing the suffering and confusion of one of God’s best examples of goodness and mercy (29:1–25), we gain an alternative to the inflexible rule of sowing and reaping (4:7–8). By providing a backstory of satanic mayhem (Job 1) and an afterword (42:7–17) from the God who would one day allow His Son to bear our sins, the story of Job gives us reason to live by faith rather than sight.

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