Verse of the Day – Ruth 1:16

Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” — Ruth 1:16

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

This beautiful statement of loyalty makes its way into thousands of weddings each year. Incredibly, this wasn’t originally a pledge of a bride or groom. Instead, it was the pledge of Ruth to her mother-in-law — some would call her an ex-mother-in-law since Ruth’s husband, Naomi’s son, had died, but Ruth never treats Naomi as an “ex” of any kind. God loves loyalty and bestows his blessing and favor when we are loyal to others. In an era where people are thrown away as readily as paper plates and napkins, let’s remember that loyalty is a quality that God not only loves, but it is also a quality that he defines for us in Jesus. So let’s see loyalty to friends, to family, and to other followers of Jesus as a crucial commitment.

My Prayer…

Almighty and faithful God, thank you for your loyalty to your covenant promises to Israel. Thank you for not giving up on your people or your promises despite the fickleness and unfaithfulness of your people. Bless us today as we seek to be a loyal and honorable people, your true children in a turbulent and treacherous world. May the light of faithfulness that is seen through us beckon others to find stability and hope in your grace and in 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.

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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.

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Desiring Growth

The axolotl (pronounced ACK suh LAH tuhl) is a biological enigma. Instead of maturing into adult form, this endangered Mexican salamander retains tadpole-like characteristics throughout its life. Writers and philosophers have used the axolotl as a symbol of someone who fears growth.

In Hebrews 5 we learn about Christians who were avoiding healthy growth, remaining content with spiritual “milk” intended for new believers. Perhaps because of fear of persecution, they weren’t growing in the kind of faithfulness to Christ that would enable them to be strong enough to suffer with Him for the sake of others (vv. 7-10). Instead they were in danger of sliding backward from the Christlike attitudes they had already shown (6:9-11). They weren’t ready for a solid diet of self-sacrifice (5:14). So the author wrote, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand” (v. 11).

Axolotls follow the natural pattern set for them by their Creator. But followers of Christ are designed to grow into spiritual maturity. As we do, we discover that growing up in Him involves more than our own peace and joy. Growth in His likeness honors God as we unselfishly encourage others.

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Verse of the Day – Titus 1:15

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. — Titus 1:15

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Rust stains, grass stains, blood stains, chocolate stains — ARGH! Those stains are real nightmares in the laundry room. They don’t just leave a stain on the surface of the fabric, but they also leave a residue that infiltrates the fibers of our clothes. Evil is that way. We must not kid ourselves. Evil corrupts and leaves a residue that corrupts everything it touches, including the hearts of otherwise decent people. That’s why we are urged to stay far away from evil and avoid its very appearance. That’s also why Jesus died: to not only overcome the Evil One, but to also clean away the stain and its residue.

My Prayer…

Father, guard my path and give me good Christian friends who will help guard my life from evil. In addition, dear Father, please help me as I seek to share the cleansing and liberating power of Christ with those around me who are caught in evil’s destructive and deceptive grasp. 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.

Heartlight is proud to promote Compassion International.

© 1998-2016, 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.

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What’s in the Bank?

In the winter of 2009, a large passenger plane made an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River. The pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who landed the plane safely with no casualties, was later asked about those moments in the air when he was faced with a life-or-death decision. “One way of looking at this,” he said, “might be that for 42 years I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on [that day] the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

Most of us will at some time face a crisis. Perhaps it will be a job termination or the results of a medical test, or the loss of a precious family member or friend. It is in those times that we must dig down deep into the reserves of our spiritual bank account.

And what might we find there? If we have enjoyed a deepening relationship with God, we’ve been making regular “deposits” of faith. We have experienced His grace (2 Cor. 8:9; Eph. 2:4-7). We trust the promise of Scripture that God is just and faithful (Deut. 32:4; 2 Thess. 3:3).

God’s love and grace are available when His children need to make a “withdrawal” (Ps. 9:10; Heb. 4:16).

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Verse of the Day – Ephesians 1:14

[You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,] who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory. — Ephesians 1:14

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God is true to his word. He keeps his promises. But, that was not enough for him. He gave us a down payment, a deposit, so we could be sure of our inheritance and look forward to the full realization of our salvation. He gave us the Holy Spirit. When God buys us out of slavery to our mortal bodies and redeems us into our eternal home with bodies that will not grow old or decay, we won’t need the deposit; we will have the full inheritance. But until then, until we go to him, isn’t it amazing that he makes his home within us!

My Prayer…

Transcendent and yet ever-near God, thank you for not making me wait to experience your presence. Thank you for giving me “a foretaste of glory divine.” Thank you for sending your blessed and promised Spirit to live in me and remind me where my home truly is. Until the day I see you face-to-face, I want to honor your presence in my mortal body by living a life that is pure, holy, and a blessing to others. 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.

Heartlight is proud to promote Compassion International.

© 1998-2016, 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.

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Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is hard—to family and friends, to a favorite and familiar place, to an occupation or livelihood.

In Luke 9:57-62 our Lord describes the cost of being His disciple. A would-be follower says to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus responds, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (vv. 61-62). Is He asking His followers to say goodbye to everything and every relationship considered precious?

In the Chinese language there is no direct equivalent of the English word goodbye. The two Chinese characters used to translate this word really mean “see you again.” Becoming a disciple of Christ may sometimes mean others will reject us, but it does not mean we say goodbye to people in the sense that we are to forget all our past relationships. Saying goodbye means that God wants us to follow Him on His terms—wholeheartedly. Then we will see people again from the right perspective.

God wants the best for us, but we must allow Him to take priority over everything else.

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