Daily Verse – Father of Me.

‘This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name . . .”‘

Matthew 6:9

I have a confession.

This verse shouldn’t be the Daily Verse.

Matthew 6:19 should be.

When searching for the verse on the Interlinear version I use, I typed in 6:9 instead.

Rather than not storing up treasures on earth, Jesus teaches us how to pray.

The Lord’s Prayer as it is commonly known is obviously a staple prayer of the Christian faith, but I have been surprised by how many non-christians also know it by heart.

The Interlinear translation runs, ‘Father of us who [is] in the heavens . . .’

Father is straight forward, in Greek it is patér – father, parent – but of us is egó – I or me.

We are used to taking ‘Our Father’ to inidcate the Father of all of us, but Jesus’ prayer is actually father of me, or my father.

Jesus’ prayer is not a formulaic and remote prayer to an unseen deity, but a deeply personal prayer which begins with us speaking out ‘My Father’ who is in the heavens.

This prayer establishes our close and individual connection to our Heavenly Father.

Daily Verse – In the House!

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalms 23:6 NIVUK

Psalm 23 is familiar to most people, believers or not.

The view of God as a shepherd is an image which Jesus repeats and expands upon in the Gospels. Isaiah also depicts the coming Messiah in this imagery, contrary to most Jewish people’s ideal of the warrior king.

The Psalmist affirms surelyak – at least, certainly, nevertheless – God’s goodnesstowb – best, bountiful, favour – will followradaph (the only occurrence in the OT) – to chase, follow after, pursue – him/us.

I have purposefully left out the ‘love’ from the verse quoted at the top of the page, as in the Hebrew version it is written as mercycheced – merciful kindness, loving-kindness, mercy or pity.

The Psalmist trusts and has faith in the ‘Good Shepherd’ for the protection and gifts God provides but there is something that he will give in return – I will dwellyashab (this again is the only occurrence of this word) – make to abide, continue, make to dwell – in the house (it could be translated also as family) of the Lord.

The word translated as forever is also a little misleading. Rather than meaning ‘all the days in the future’ the Hebrew word yom means always or continually, implying daily or today and each day.

For what the Shepherd provides we are to continue in the family of God each and every day.

We ensure we remain in the House!

Daily Verse – Good Life and Deeds.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3:13 NIVUK

If we were in a classroom and I asked for a show of hands of who considered themselves wise and knowledgable, I am not sure how many would raise them.

Sure, most of us would probably think we should be raising our hands, and a few would be confident and do it.

For those that did raise their hands my follow up question would be to prove it. At this point the rest of you who breathe a sigh of relief that you kept your hands down and didn’t fall into the trap.

In this verse James, Jesus’ brother, poses the same question, but before any hands go up he tells you how you can prove it.

Who is wisesophos – literally wise in its most general application – and understandingepistémón – this is the only occurrence in the NT – intelligent or filled with knowledge – among you?

The proof of your wisdom and intelligence is in how you show it – deiknumi – again this is the only occurrence of this word in the NT – to show literally or figuratively.

James is clear that you show you wisdom and intelligence, not through debates or winning quizzes, by impressing others with your encyclopaedic knowledge on any topic they care to mention, but through living a ‘good life’ and your ‘deeds’.

A goodkalos – valuable or virtuous, fair, honest, worthy – lifeanastrophé – conduct or behaviour.

By deeds done – ergon – an act, doing work or labour.

James declares if you have knowledge and understanding then there will be a physical ‘something’ which comes from that wisdom and knowledge and everyone can see it.

He had seen this in action through his brother.

At the age of twelve, Jesus had astonished the teachers in the Temple at his knowledge of the Torah. He continued to amaze and challenge those teachers and the Temple authorities during his ministry years.

Jesus was clear – knowledge and wisdom in the Torah was worthless if it was not displayed in actions.

It was taught that God was filled with mercy and compassion. Jesus proved it by ministering to the needs of the people through healing, feeding, emotional support, and allowing them to understand God better.

So use your wisdom and understanding living a good life with deeds done.

Daily Verse – Peace of Mind

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3 NIVUK

In today’s world it can be difficult to gain peace of mind.

In fact it is a new industry, with coaches, books and podcasts, magazines and countless YouTube videos, telling you how to quieten your thoughts and take refuge from the daily grind.

Isaiah appears to have been ahead of the curve.

Over two and a half thousand years ago the Prophet was telling it like it is.

Trust in God and He will keep you in perfect peace.

To get the peace you need to have a mindyetser – the thoughts and imagination being framed in a particular way – to be steadfastsamak – (only occ. 2 times in OT) to lean on, to lay on, to establish yourself on, to put yourself on, to rest on.

Think in the manner of God and you will have peaceshalom – peace in every sense, favour, friendship, be happy, because you trustbatach – you are bold and confident in, secure and sure in, to have confidence and hope in, God.

Peace of mind comes from keeping your thoughts as close to God as you can. In response He will bring you peace, and in that you can have perfect trust.

Chasing around in the world will not give us peace, being close to God, through reading the scriptures, spending time in prayer, being closer to his creation, however, will bring us the peace we definitely need.

Daily Verse – Three Things on Your To-Do List.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12 NIVUK

We are used to productivity gurus and time-management geniuses giving us the number one rule – have one main thing on your list, have five things, have as many as you can think of but only to the top two, etc. etc.

In this verse, the Apostle Paul puts three things on our to-do list.

Hope. Patience. Prayer.

The same three things every day.

Hope – elpis – to anticipate, to be expectant, to have confidence.

Patience – hupomenó (this is the only occurence) – to endure, to remain, to have fortitude, to persevere.

Prayer – proseuché – to pray, to worship, to be earnest in prayer.

Paul is always quite clever in the way he gives us the ‘big focus’ of our faith but also adds in qualifiers almost without notice.

Not only are we to have Hope, Patience, and Prayer, as central to our days, but we also have rejoicing, affliction, and constancy.

We are to rejoice in our hope – chairó – be glad, cheerful, calmly happy.

We are to be patient in affliction – thlipsis – trouble, burden, under pressure.

We are to be faithful in prayer – proskartereó – to continue, be diligent, to adhere to.

Paul’s to-do list isn’t one to be ticked off and consigned to the ‘completed’ archive or filing cabinet of diaries, it remains our priority everyday. We may not tick the items off everyday, but we still have the chance to do it the following day.

So rejoice in the hope of our lives with God.

Be patient in difficult and troublesome times.

Be faithful in our Prayers to God and he will lead us in both hope and difficulty.

Daily Verse – Under to be Up!

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:6 NIVUK

Action and Timing.

The secret sauce for many things.

Our society definitely has an action-based mantra.

Production is easier in many respects than it has ever been, even within the creative sector.

Keep striving and you will rise to the top, or keep standing on top of enough other people and you will get to the top, sometimes it is difficult to work out.

There is plenty of ‘action’ – spend five minutes on your social media and you will lose count.

Timing is the interesting part.

Of course, through many of the means of producing ‘action’ there is an expectant timing of ‘now!’.

The first computer I owned I had to program myself before it did anything – today we are impatient if anythng takes more than a second to access.

The Apostle Peter gives us advice in respect of timing – in due time – kairos – an appointed time, or a set and proper time.

This verse is a reminder that everything happens in God’s time and not ours.

Being lifted up – hupsoó – this is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament – is to be elevated above others.

What ‘action’ do we need to perform before God lifts us up in ‘due time’?

We need to tapeinoó – to be humble, to not see ourselves as above or better than, but come to God in recognition of we are what we are and recognise that we will rise up due to his hand and strength.

We place ourselves under God in order that he may lift us up!

Daily Verse – Overcome.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21 NIVUK

Short. Simple.

Overcomeniko – the only occurence of this word is here and it means to not be conquered or prevailed against.

We are not to be conquered by kakos – anything bad or harmful.

This could be an external situation or even an internal situation.

We are to stand against any situation, any thought, any action, which is bad and could do us harm.

We are not to be conquered or prevailed against.

How are we to do accomplish that?

By taking action ourselves.

We are not to be passive in our difficulties and troubles, but we are to counter or prevail against this ‘evil’ with ‘good’.

This second instance of ‘overcome’ is present only twice in the New Testament and is linked to the first instance in the verse.

Nika – essentially carries the same meaning of conquering or prevailing over – in this case we prevail against evil with good – agathos – actions and thoughts which benefit rather than harm.

We overcome negative situations by countering them with positive words and actions.

Try it next time you are in a difficult place or frustrated that something isn’t working out for you.

We cannot be passive. We must take action.

We can overcome.

Daily Verse – Struggle.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12 NIVUK

In this verse the Apostle Paul is teaching, and reminding, believers that our world and lives are more complicated than we think.

Before becoming believers we were purely physical beings and existed in a world of physical situations and challenges.

Now, as believers, we have had the spiritual connection, which Adam and Eve originally possessed, put back into place through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

This spiritual ‘refit’ brings us to a new life but a life which also has it’s own unique set of circumstances.

When I read through this verse this morning I got stuck on the ‘struggle’.

The Greek word used is palé and occurs only in this verse in the whole of the New Testament.

Translated mostly as ‘struggle’ it derives from the word ‘pallo’ which means wrestling or to wrestle.

Often our struggles are very much like a wrestling match. We are in the grip of an issue or problem and we are trying to pull away or overpower the ‘thing’.

I am reminded again of the story of Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord, mentioned in yesterday’s Daily Verse.

Jacob saw and understood our lives/world is much more complicated than we often care to consider.

We can struggle creatively as well.

Creativity is a mental and physical experience.

Even creatives who are not believers will refer to their practice as often being a spiritual process.

Recognising and making connection with the spiritual can still mean we struggle or wrestle – with doubts, with processes, with realising that physical form of the mental idea.

If we wrestle like Jacob we will become stronger in our spiritual lives and creative practices.

Daily Verse – Nothing Returns Empty.

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 NIVUK

The word of the Lord never returns empty.

I’ve always thought of this verse and the return of the doves to Noah’s Ark in the same way. The doves returned with the olive branch indicating that the flood was receding and dry land was present again.

Likewise God’s words return with a sign of something better or changed.

God’s word always impacts us and others.

Isaiah speaks out loud God’s message – God’s word will not return empty – rê·qām – in vain, without cause, or void.

It will accomplish – tsalach – cause, effect, be profitable, be good – what God pleases and it will accomplish – asah – advance or become – the purpose for which He sent it.

Our words go out, but do we think about how they might return?

It is obvious from many sources that many people don’t think about what they say, or only focus on what it achieves for themselves.

We should always be careful and considered in what we say – a lesson I am often reminded I need to still learn!

Creatively, it is similar. We should consider what our creative output says to others and expect a return sign.

Words and actions.

Nothing returns empty.

Daily Verse – Every Thing

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3 NIVUK

We are given everything we need . . . let’s stop right here and start on the shopping list of all our wants and desires!

Western society has embraced an attitude of ‘I want it all and I want it now’ philosophy, and you can even here this message being preached from pulpits.

The Apostle Peter thankfully qualifies this ‘everything’ for us as what we need for a godly life.

The Greek word translated as everything is pas – every and all manner. In terms of time it has an attached meaning of daily, calling immediately to mind the Lord’s Prayer where we are to pray for ‘our daily bread’- the here and now of our food needs.

Godly life – is eusebeia and zóé – godliness/holiness/piety and life in a literal and figurative sense.

Roll up your ‘desire’ list and through it into the rubbish bin.

Be assured, however, that we will be given everything we need to follow Christ and God in a manner after the Gospel message.

Everything we need comes from our knowledge of him.

The word for ‘knowledge’ – epignósis – only occurs here and in Ephesians 4:13 and is better translated as acknowledgement, or recognition.

Our acknowledgement of him – God – allows us to enjoy his divine power which provides us with everything we need to continue to learn, grow, and impact others, to the best we can.

This passage doesn’t necessarily mean we have everything in advance, but we will have what we need at just the right moment for us.

As we grow in the Lord, we are given every thing to continue in that growth.