It’s Up to God

Nate and Sherilyn enjoyed their stop at an omakase restaurant while visiting New York City. Omakase is a Japanese word that translates, “I will leave it up to you,” which means customers at such restaurants let the chef choose their meal. Even though it was their first time to try this type of cuisine and it sounded risky, they loved the food the chef chose and prepared for them.

That idea could carry over to our attitude toward God with our prayer requests: “I will leave it up to You.” The disciples saw that Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places” to pray (Luke 5:16), so they asked Him one day to teach them how to pray. He told them to ask for their daily needs, forgiveness, and the way out of temptation. Part of His response also suggested an attitude of surrender: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

We can pour out our needs to God because He wants to hear what’s on our hearts— and He delights to give. But being human and finite, we don’t always know what’s best, so it only makes sense to ask with a humble spirit, in submission to Him. We can leave the answer to Him, confident that He’s trustworthy and will choose to prepare what’s good for us. 

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Verse of the Day – Isaiah 44:3

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 44:3

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Growing up in West Texas in part of my early years, I certainly know what “thirsty land” truly is. The black dirt shrinks, leaving deep cracks in the ground. All the grass turns yellow, then brown, and then dies. A wisp of breeze stirs swirls of dust over the barren land. When the downpour finally comes, the “thirsty land” swallows voluminous amounts of water as the rain runs off the wet surface and finds its way into the deep cracks of the drought. The ground swells, the grass comes back to life, and life is replenished. In a barren spiritual wasteland, God’s Holy Spirit pours out his blessing, brings times of refreshment, and replenishes our thirsty hearts.

My Prayer…

Generous and loving Father, thank you for so many blessings you have poured into my life. Most of all, dear Father, thank you for the blessing of your presence, your strength, your grace, and your refreshment given to me through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I thank you. 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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Lava in Paradise

All is quiet, save for slowly stretching tentacles of hissing lava nipping at the edges of the tropical foliage. Residents, fearful for their homes, stand grim-faced yet amazed. Most days they call this “paradise.” On this day, however, the fiery fissures in Hawaii’s Puna district reminded everyone that God forged these islands via untamable volcanic power.

The ancient Israelites encountered an untamable power too. When King David recaptured the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:1–4), a celebration broke out (v. 5)—until a man died suddenly when he grabbed hold of the ark to steady it (vv. 6–7).

This may tempt us to think of God as being as capricious as a volcano, just as likely to create as He is to destroy. However, it helps to remember that God had given Israel specific instructions for how to handle the things set apart for worshiping Him (see Numbers 4). Israel had the privilege of drawing near to God, but His presence was too overwhelming for them to approach Him carelessly.

Hebrews 12 recalls a mountain “burning with fire,” where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. That mountain terrified everyone (vv. 18–21). But the writer contrasts that scene with this: “You have come to . . . Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (vv. 22–24). Jesus—God’s very Son—made the way for us to draw near to His untamable yet loving Father.

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Verse of the Day – Job 37:5

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

Job 37:5

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

How does God help us know his will? Clearly God has given us the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Scriptures. What about more subtle and less defined ways? Most of us have had a “cluster of divine coincidences” (several events in close proximity to prayer): a friend calls/writes at just the right time; we read an article or hear a sermon that has a comment or two directed at just the area of our concern or confusion; several songs in worship convict us in the area on which we are seeking the Lord’s guidance; or we simply feel a pull on our conscience that helps us discern right from wrong in a difficult situation. God really means it when he says that if we will pray for wisdom without doubting he’ll give it to us, and that if we are truly seeking him we will find him. His voice does thunder in marvelous ways!

My Prayer…

Holy God, please help me discern your will about several important matters in my life. I don’t want to make my decisions based on my limited human wisdom. Please lead me by your Spirit in the direction you want me to go and use me to bring you glory and praise. Thank you for caring about my life enough to show me your way more clearly. 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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Enduring Prayers

“Prayers are deathless.” These are the attention-grabbing words of E. M. Bounds (1835–1913), whose classic writings on prayer have inspired people for generations. His comments about the power and enduring nature of our prayers continue with these words: “The lips that uttered them may be closed to death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; they outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”

Have you ever wondered if your prayers—particularly those birthed out of difficulty, pain, and suffering—ever make it to God? Bounds’s insightful words remind us of the significance of our prayers and so does Revelation 8:1–5. The setting is heaven (v. 1), the throne room of God and the control center of the universe. Angelic attendants stand in God’s presence (v. 2) and one angel, like the priests of old, offers Him incense along with the prayers of “all God’s people” (v. 3). How eye-opening and encouraging to have this picture of the prayers offered on earth rising to God in heaven (v. 4). When we think that our prayers may have been lost in transit or forgotten, what we see here comforts us and compels us to persist in our praying, for our prayers are precious to God!

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Verse of the Day – Proverbs 10:7

The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.

Proverbs 10:7

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Each of us is creating a legacy. The influence of our lives will leave an imprint on all those the Lord has brought into our lives for us to touch. This proverb reminds us that our legacy will live far beyond us. If our lives are righteous, that legacy will be an ongoing blessing as stories of our lives are passed on to future generations. On the other hand, if our lives have been given over to wickedness, we will leave behind the lingering stench of something useful gone sour and something lasting given over to rot.

My Prayer…

O mighty God, may my life be a sweet blessing to my children and my children’s children — whether those children are physical or spiritual. May my influence bring you glory and also bring others to know you and your grace. Forgive me when I fail to see the length of the shadow my influence casts and help me to see those you have purposely sent my way to touch with your grace. 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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That Was Awesome!

It was the seventh-grader’s first cross-country meet, but she didn’t want to run. Although she’d been preparing for the event, she was afraid of doing poorly. Still, she started the race with everyone else. Later, one by one the other runners finished the two-mile course and crossed the finish line—everyone except the reluctant runner. Finally, her mom, who was watching eagerly to see her daughter finish, saw a lone figure in the distance. The mother went to the finish line, preparing to comfort a distraught competitor. Instead, when the young runner saw her mom, she exclaimed, “That was awesome!”

What can be awesome about finishing last? Finishing!

The girl had tried something difficult and had accomplished it! Scripture honors hard work and diligence, a concept often learned through sports or music or other things that require perseverance and effort.

Proverbs 12:24 says, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” And later we read, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (14:23). These wise principles—not promises—can help us serve God well.

God’s plan for us always included work. Even before the fall, Adam was to “work [the Garden] and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). And any effort we make should be done “with all [our] heart” (Colossians 3:23). As believers in Jesus, let’s work in the strength He gives us—and leave the results to Him.

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