Verse of the Day – James 2:26

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:26

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

By this definition, a whole lot of people claiming to be believers are really spiritual corpses. For faith to be real, it must express itself in service. Faith not only moves mountains; it moves believers to act in ways that honor God and bless others, demonstrating their thankfulness for God’s incredible grace.

My Prayer…

Holy and Faithful Father, please forgive me for the times I’ve been lazy in my spiritual walk. Help me see the many opportunities for service you give to me each day, and then empower me to act in those opportunities in ways that bless others. In Jesus’ holy 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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Thoughts of Joy

In What We Keep, a collection of interviews by Bill Shapiro, each person tells of a single item that holds such importance and joy that he or she would never part with it.

This caused me to reflect on the possessions that mean the most to me and bring me joy. One is a simple forty-year-old recipe card in my mom’s handwriting. Another is one of my grandma’s pink teacups. Other people may value treasured memories—a compliment that encouraged them, a grandchild’s giggle, or a special insight they gleaned from Scripture.

What we often keep stashed away in our hearts, though, are things that have brought us great unhappiness. Anxiety—hidden, but easily retrieved. Anger—below the surface, but ready to strike. Resentment—silently corroding the core of our thoughts.

The apostle Paul addressed a more positive way to “think” in a letter to the church at Philippi. He encouraged the people of the church to always rejoice, to be gentle, and to bring everything to God in prayer (Philippians 4:4–9).

Paul’s uplifting words on what to think about helps us see that it’s possible to push out dark thoughts and allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (v. 7). It’s when the thoughts that fill up our minds are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy (v. 8), that we keep His peace in our hearts.

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Verse of the Day – John 2:24-25

Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

John 2:24-25

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

If we’ve spent a bunch of time reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John in the New Testament), we probably have already come to the conclusion stated in our verses. So, if we want to know how to better live as a person, the place to start is Jesus. We need to follow his example and follow his teachings. It is not an easy path, but it is an authentic and transformational journey. As we learn that we can trust him because he knows us, we see our lives take on a greater depth and richer meaning.

My Prayer…

Thank you, Father, for sending your Son to show me how to live and to teach me your truth. In the name of your precious Son, 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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Rich Toward God

Growing up during the Great Depression, my parents knew deep hardship as children. As a result, they were thrifty adults—hard-working and grateful money stewards. At the same time, they were never greedy. They gave time, talent, and treasury to their church, charity groups, and the needy. Indeed, they handled their money wisely and gave cheerfully.

As believers in Jesus, my parents took to heart the apostle Paul’s warning: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

Paul gave this advice in a letter to Timothy, the young pastor of the city of Ephesus, a wealthy city where riches tempted rich and poor alike.

“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,” Paul warned. “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v. 10).

What, then, is the antidote to greed? Being rich toward God, said Jesus (see Luke 12:13–21). By pursuing, appreciating, and loving our heavenly Father above all, He remains our chief delight. As the psalmist wrote, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

Rejoicing in Him daily relieves us of coveting, leaving us contented. May the Lord redeem our heart’s desires, making us rich toward God!

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Verse of the Day – Genesis 2:24

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

We are different! God makes us male and female so we can be complements of each other. Each is made in God’s image. God’s intention is that a husband and wife find their primary human relationship with the other. They still honor their parents, but their home is with each other. Their two lives become one. In this context of lifetime security, they share in the intimate knowledge of each other sexually — becoming “one flesh.” This relationship is to be enjoyed (Proverbs 5), protected (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8), and celebrated (Song of Solomon) for life (Matthew 19:6).

My Prayer…

Holy and Almighty Father, please bless me with strength to live with integrity and purity in today’s sexually charged world. Please use your Spirit and your Word to instruct, correct, and convict me as I seek to discover your truth for my relationships and celebrate your will for my sexuality. 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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Liberated by Jesus

“I lived with my mother so long that she moved out!” Those were the words of KC whose life before sobriety and surrender to Jesus was not pretty. He candidly admits supporting his drug habit by stealing—even from loved ones. That life is behind him now and he rehearses this by noting the years, months, and days he’s been clean. When KC and I regularly sit down to study God’s Word together, l’m looking at a changed man.

Mark 5:15 speaks of a former demon possessed individual who had also been changed. Prior to his healing, helpless, hopeless, homeless, and desperate are words that fit the man (v. 9). But all of that changed after Jesus liberated him (v. 13). But, as with KC, his life before Jesus was far from normal. The internal turmoil in his life that was expressed externally is not unlike what people experience today. Some hurting people dwell in abandoned buildings, vehicles, or other places; some live in their own homes but are emotionally alone. Invisible chains shackle hearts and minds to the point that they distance themselves from others.

In Jesus, we have the One who can be trusted with our pain and shame of the past and present. And, as with Legion and KC, He waits with open arms of mercy (v. 19) for all who run to Him today.

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Verse of the Day – Acts 2:23

“[Jesus] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

Acts 2:23

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

When we think of the Cross, two words we must never associate with it are the words “tragic accident.” Peter makes very clear that two separate streams of power converged at the cross. Evil had its way and brought the Son of God to the Cross. God had his plan and he allowed the cross to happen to redeem us. The Cross was no accident. What hell had intended as our ultimate defeat, God used to bring us redemption and triumph. The best and worst of all things collided. Of course the Cross wasn’t the ultimate answer in this battle; the empty tomb and the resurrected Lord are. We are the victorious recipients of this grace, paid at such an agonizing cost, administered in such a cruel manner by our greatest adversary, and secured by Jesus’ triumph over the grave.

My Prayer…

Holy God, thank you for having a plan in place that insures that my sins can be forgiven and my future with you is secured. Thank you for paying the price for that plan to work. Thank you for triumphing over the wickedness of hell and the work of evil people. I love you so much for all you are and all you have done for me. 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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Pierced Love

She’d called. She’d texted. Now Carla stood outside her brother’s gated entry, unable to rouse him to answer. Burdened with depression and fighting addiction, her brother had hidden himself away in his home, walled off from help. In a desperate attempt to penetrate his isolation, Carla gathered several of his favorite foods along with encouraging Scriptures and lowered the bundle over the fence.

But as the package left her grip, it snagged on one of the gate spikes, tearing an opening and sending its contents onto the gravel below. Her well-intended, love-filled offering spilled out in seeming waste. Would her brother even notice her gift? Would it accomplish the mission of hope she’d intended? She can only hope and pray as she waits for his healing.

God so loved the world that—in essence—He lowered His one and only Son over the wall of our sin, bringing gifts of love and healing into our weary and withdrawn world (John 3:16). The prophet Isaiah predicted the cost of this act of love in Isaiah 53:5. This very Son would be “pierced for our transgressions, . . . crushed for our iniquities.” His wounds would bring the hope of ultimate healing. He took on Himself “the iniquity of us all” (v. 6).

Pierced by spikes for our sin and need, God’s gift of Jesus enters our days today with fresh power and perspective. What does His gift mean to you?

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Verse of the Day – Isaiah 2:22

Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?

Isaiah 2:22

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God will humble the arrogant. He has a day designated to do this. But, until that day dawns, God’s Kingdom people must live knowing that even the apparently powerful but ungodly will be brought to ruin. We shouldn’t trust in human power; it can evaporate like dew in the morning sunshine. Human power is limited by death. When the breath of a tyrant is gone, so is his power. Once the life of an evil person is over, all that is left is the evil. Our trust must be in Yahweh Sabbaoth, the Lord God of heaven’s armies. Anything else is a dim, small, and distorted reflection of the real thing.

My Prayer…

Abba Father, forgive me for those times that I have relied on my own savvy, my own wits, and my own insight to life. Forgive me for not trusting in your deliverance and for relying on underhanded ways and improper partners. Please cleanse me and create in me a pure heart and an unquenchable passion for you. 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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Ancient Promises

In 1979, Dr. Gabriel Barkay and his team discovered two silver scrolls in a burial ground outside the Old City of Jerusalem. In 2004, after twenty-five years of careful research, scholars confirmed that the scrolls were the oldest biblical text in existence, having been buried in 600 bc. What I find particularly moving is what the scrolls contain—the priestly blessing that God wanted spoken over His people: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you” (Numbers 6:24–25).

In giving this benediction, God instructed Moses to tell Aaron and his sons how to bless the people on His behalf. The leaders were to memorize the words in the form God gave so they would speak to them just as God desired. Note how these words emphasize that God is the one who blesses, for three times they say, “the Lord.” And six times He says, “you,” reflecting just how much God wants His people to receive His love and favor.

Ponder for a moment that the oldest existing fragments of the Bible tell of God’s desire to bless. What a reminder of God’s boundless love and how He wants to be in a relationship with us. If you feel far from God today, hold tightly to the promise in these ancient words. May the Lord bless you; may the Lord keep you.

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