Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Verse of the Day 12/11

Verse of the Day 12/11

Revelation 1:8   "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty."    Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

I read today's verse in the read through the New Testament plan that I'm following.  It was fitting that my Old Testament reading has been in the book of Genesis.  Today's verse reminded me of how God spoke to the patriarchs, He spoke with Abraham, He wrestled with Jacob and spoke to Joseph in dreams. 

We are in the Advent season now where we are preparing our hearts to celebrate Jesus coming to earth over 2000 years ago.  We will be singing the song "Joy to the World" which has the line "let every heart prepare Him room".  That should be in our minds every day of this Advent season.

Today's verse also reminds us that Jesus will come again, He is the One to come and when He does He will bring His children home with Him.  Even more reason to celebrate and for our hearts to prepare Him room.

Marvelous message we bring,
Glorious carol we sing,
Wonderful word of the King,
Jesus is coming again!

Coming again, Coming again,
May be morning, may be noon,
May be evening and may be soon!

Coming again, Coming again;
O what a wonderful day it will be -
Jesus is coming again!
Forest and flower exclaim,
Mountain and meadow the same,
All earth and heaven proclaim,
Jesus is coming again!

--   In Christ,  Mike    Folllow the Verse of the Day blog at http://mikesvotd.blogspot.com  Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,  in accordance with the riches of God's grace.  NIV    

Revelation 1:5-8 The Message (MSG)

His Eyes Pouring Fire-Blaze

4-7 I, John, am writing this to the seven churches in Asia province: All the best to you from The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive, and from the Seven Spirits assembled before his throne, and from Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.

Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us,
    who blood-washed our sins from our lives,
Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father,
    forever—and yes, he's on his way!
Riding the clouds, he'll be seen by every eye,
    those who mocked and killed him will see him,
People from all nations and all times
    will tear their clothes in lament.
    Oh, Yes.

The Master declares, "I'm A to Z. I'm The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I'm the Sovereign-Strong."

Friday, December 7, 2018

Verse of the Day 12/7

Verse of the Day 12/7

Psalm 90:12   So teach us to number our days

    that we may get a heart of wisdom.    English Standard Version (ESV)

A health scare, a near miss of an accident or perhaps surviving a serious accident are all things that can cause us to stop and take notice.  Perhaps you've had moments in your life where you've seen your life flash before you.  It is likely that you came away from those events with a new or different perspective, realizing that you can't take this life for granted and to focus on the things that are really important.

The world is moving at a fast pace and it is easy to let the world pass you by or keep you in a blur.  The passage below from Psalm 90 begins with talking about the span of our years and how quickly they pass and we will "fly away".  We are going somewhere and it is important to realize that.  The HCSB version below, says that we are to number our days "carefully.  It involves planning, making sure to take care of the big things first; otherwise the trivial will consume the day.

A.W. Tozer writes, "In the year just gone the world has been writing history, not with ink only but with blood and tears; not in the quiet of the study but in violence, terror and death in city streets and along the borders of nations; and other and milder but more significant history has been written by incredible feats of power in sending man-made objects out to circle the moon and the sun....".  Those words were written in the middle of last century when space travel was just beginning.  The pace, the strife, the violence are still around and will always be there.  As we head towards the end of the year and look forward to the new one, Lord willing, let us do our best to avoid being caught up in it all, but to take the time necessary to number our days "carefully".  Spending time with God and in His Word and in prayer should lead us to reserve time with our families and for the things that are most important, things that will prepare us for the day when we do "fly away".
Some bright morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away
When the shadows of this life have gone
I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly
I'll fly away
Oh, how glad and happy when we meet
I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I'll fly away
Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I'll fly away.
I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

Read the passage below.  May this be our prayer today.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us;
establish for us the work of our hands—
establish the work of our hands!  Psalm 90:17 HCSB

--   In Christ,  Mike    Folllow the Verse of the Day blog at http://mikesvotd.blogspot.com  Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,  in accordance with the riches of God's grace.  NIV    

Psalm 90:10-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

10 Our lives last[a] seventy years
or, if we are strong, eighty years.
Even the best of them are[b] struggle and sorrow;
indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Your anger?
Your wrath matches the fear that is due You.
12 Teach us to number our days carefully
so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.[c]

13 Lord—how long?
Turn and have compassion on Your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love
so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us,
for as many years as we have seen adversity.
16 Let Your work be seen by Your servants,
and Your splendor by their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us;
establish for us the work of our hands—
establish the work of our hands!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Verse of the Day 12/6

Verse of the Day 12/6

Isaiah 30:21  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  I English Standard Version (ESV)

I mentioned yesterday that I'm reading Spurgeon's "Beauty for Ashes: Sermons on Isaiah".  Today's verse is the subject of the next sermon in the book.  I've always liked the old hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and one of the key statements is "prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love'.  It is in our  nature to wander.  Our minds drift off when we're in the classroom or at work. Our steps in life can also wander off the right path at times and this is the subject of today's verse.  We don't find our way back, God, through His Spirit and His Word, calls us.

In his sermon, Spurgeon writes, "How does God find men when he declares that they shall hear a word behind them? First, he finds them with their backs turned to him. This is clear enough, if you remember that the word is to be heard 'behind' them. The sinner has gone away from God, and God calls after him from behind.  He has turned his back upon his true Friend, his best Friend, his only capable Friend, but that Friend does not therefore change his temper and resent the insult; nay, he is provoked to a love more pleading and persuasive than ever, and calls to him to come into the right way."

The thoughts go back to Psalm 23 where in verse 6 David writes that  God's "goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life" (HCSB).  In His faithfulness God pursues the wanderer (us) and when we have wandered, His voice, His Word calls out to us and calls us back to a right relationship to Him.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I've come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Oh, that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Clothed then in the blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy wondrous grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Take my ransomed soul away
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

If you've wandered He is calling you back.  If you've come back, praise God for it, for grace and for the peace that passes understanding.

--   In Christ,  Mike    Folllow the Verse of the Day blog at http://mikesvotd.blogspot.com  Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,  in accordance with the riches of God's grace.  NIV    

Isaiah 30:19-22 The Message (MSG)

19-22 Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you'll find it's grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he'll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he'll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road. Walk down this road." You'll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You'll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, "Good riddance!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Verse of the Day 12/5

Verse of the Day 12/5

Isaiah 26:3  You keep him in perfect peace

    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.    English Standard Version (ESV)

Today's verse has been one of the most often posted verses in these devotions over the years because they ring so true through lives challenges.  We are to be "see throughers" and to be able to do so we have to learn to trust, to have God's peace in trying circumstances.

Yesterday I was reading in Spurgeon's "Beauty for Ashes: Sermons on Isaiah" and I just happened to be reading in this chapter yesterday (do you think?).  The verse, the passage and Spurgeon's sermon were things that I needed to hear yesterday.  Spurgeon writes:

"Let us commit ourselves, and all that we are, and all that we have, and all that we have to do, and all that we have to suffer, to the guardian care of our loving God, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us. Here we are in God, and here we mean to abide. We are not regretting the grace of yesterday, nor sighing for the grace of to-morrow. We stay where we are—at home with God. Our anchor is down, and we do not mean to draw it up again. "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.""

I like that statement "we are stay where we are- at home with God", it is at home with God that we can find peace.  We don't have to go anywhere, although we can be anywhere and be at home with God.  When we are at home with God we can experience the grace of God every day.

As I was reading this the old hymn "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" came to mind, I love the way the music, the notes, the words lift you and it does so because the matchless grace of Jesus reaches us.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free;
O the Wonderful Grace of Jesus reaches me!
Wonderful the matchless Grace of Jesus,
the matchless Grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
the rolling sea;
Wonderful Grace, all sufficient for me, for even 
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All sufficient Grace for even me.
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
sing it!
Greater far than all my sin and shame
my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious name of Jesus,

Whatever you are facing today, cast your cares on Him, may God give you His peace through His matchless grace.

--   In Christ,  Mike    Folllow the Verse of the Day blog at http://mikesvotd.blogspot.com  Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,  in accordance with the riches of God's grace.  NIV    

Isaiah 26:1-6 The Message (MSG)

Stretch the Borders of Life

26 1-6 At that time, this song
    will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
    built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
    so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
    you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
    because they keep at it and don't quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
    because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Those who lived high and mighty
    he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
    as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
    build their lives on the reclaimed land.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Verse of the Day 11/30

Verse of the Day 11/30
Isaiah 43:25 "I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins. English Standard Version (ESV)
Yesterday we considered how God spoke to Jacob in a dream and told him, "I am with you and will keep you wherever you go". In today's verse God speaks through the prophet Isaiah saying, "I am He who blots out your transgressions" and "I will not remember your sins".
Praise God that we serve God who forgives and forgets. As humans we may forgive but it another thing to forget. If we have a hard time believing that in the following verse he says "lets argue together". Similar to what was said in Isaiah 1:18 where God said, "come let's reason together". Let's have a conversation about this.
Sin will be a constant battle while we live here in this world. The devil would have us give up and walk away from God. Jesus "nail scarred hands show how far Jesus would go to bring us back. His reasoning wins.
I start the day, the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
And time and time again
Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way
Jesus, can you show me just how far the east is from the west?
Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been
Rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other (East to West – Casting Crowns)
When you are going through troubled waters, feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of drowning, there too remember that God is with you. Read the verses from Isaiah 43 below. How do they speak to you today?
With echoes of mercy and whispers of love. 
Isaiah 43 English Standard Version (ESV)
Israel's Only Savior
43 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
25 "I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.
26 Put me in remembrance; let us argue together;
set forth your case, that you may be proved right.

Follow the verse of the day at mikesvotd.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Verse of the Day 11/28

Verse of the Day 11/28

2 Peter 3:18    But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.   Amen.    Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

In the benediction to this letter that we know of as 2 Peter, Peter calls for his readers, including us, to "grow in the grace and knowledge " of Jesus Christ.  This type of growth does not occur overnight, it is something that happens day by day, month by month and year by year as we walk this pilgrim way.

John Newton, author of perhaps the most beloved and known hymns of all time, "Amazing Grace", writes: 

"Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom--but like an oak, which increases slowly--but indeed surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems to be dead--it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means of grace; and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus--and all shall be well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd and Guardian of your souls!"

Mushrooms don't last, but oaks that spring up today and grow, will be around for generations.

I try to read a psalm every day which means that I'll read through the psalms at least twice a year.  There are favorite chapters and one of those came up today.  I've memorized verse 5 from the New King James Version.  It goes along well with today's verse, growth over a lifetime with a hear "set on pilgrimage".  That word pilgrimage always makes me think of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress".

Psalm 84:5  Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,

Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.   New King James Version (NKJV)

Count yourself blessed if you are on the pilgrim path.  There will be ups and downs but the course is upward, to Him be the glory.

I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."
  Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan's tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
  Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan's darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I'll pray till rest I've found,
"Lord, lead me on to higher ground."

--   In Christ,  Mike    Folllow the Verse of the Day blog at http://mikesvotd.blogspot.com  Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,  in accordance with the riches of God's grace.  NIV    

2 Peter 3:14-18 The Message (MSG)

14-16 So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. Interpret our Master's patient restraint for what it is: salvation. Our good brother Paul, who was given much wisdom in these matters, refers to this in all his letters, and has written you essentially the same thing. Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don't know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it.

17-18 But you, friends, are well-warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers. Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes!