Daily Verse – Psalm 35:7

You Version

Commit to Yahweh your way.

Commit – gōl – yourself in Psalm 22, your way here in Psalm 37, and your works in Proverbs 16:3.

These are the only three occurrences of gōl in the O.T.

All three seem appropriate.

Commit to God, yourself, the way you are in life, and the works which you do.

All of these seem appropriate to creative types.

Obviously, the Psalmist includes everyone in this verse but often it is in creative types of people that you, they way you are in life, and your creative works, are most often in synchronicity.

We should always strive, out of our commitment to God, to work with the gifts we are given and reflect back to the giver of those gifts.

Our way should be one of engagement, action, encouragement, reflection.

Commit to God your way of being, seeing, and acting.

Daily Verse – Psalm 23:1

YouVersion

Yahweh is my shepherd.

ra’ah – shepherd – is only used in this verse in the entire O.T.

To tend a flock, to pasture it, to keep companion with it, to keep with it.

The Lord is with us, as a companion, looking out for us, keeping up with us.

Because of this we ‘shall not want’ – chaser – again this word is only used in this verse.

To have a lack, to fail, to lessen or be lesser, to be made lower, or to decrease.

We may feel those things if we judge by the world’s standards, but not by God’s standards.

It is not surprising that Jesus took this image as a central theme in his ministry.

The Lord is our shepherd. He is all we need.

In the midst of everything that is happening in the world, be conscious of the Shepherd with us.

Daily Verse – Hosea 6:6

You Version

For I desire – chaphets – I delight in.

Nine occurrences in the O.T., all translated ‘desire’ but with a clear meaning to be something was pleasing or not.

Mercy – checed – goodness or kindness. Perhaps a good deed or favour.

We should all delight in kindness and favourable acts towards people.

At this time the Law allowed the Jews to offer animal sacrifices to cover or stand in place of their sins.

This is not what God wants.

He wants us to act towards our fellow people. When we show checed then we follow Christ.

How many times did Jesus heal or forgive sins, when the people of the Law told him he couldn’t?

Look back through the gospels because here we find the knowledge of God.

Daily Verse – Psalm 46:10

YouVersion

Be still and know that I am God.

Try it right now.

One minute – sit and be still. No thoughts. Breathing calmly. Close your eyes, but no napping.

If you managed that, well done!

Most people freak out and think of all the things they have to do or should be doing or want to do.

Our society thrives on being busy.

Often times it even tries to fool you by referring to it as being engaged, active, purposeful.

Being in control of your schedule, your day, your work, your free time, is great, but it is always worth while stepping back and checking to see if you are really still in control.

On anxious days, worry and panic easily pervade our thoughts and actions.

God tells us, no matter what our circumstances to be still.

The Hebrew word for ‘still’ is harpū, and this verse is the only place it occurs – how’s that for emphatic?

Cease. Stop what you are doing or thinking.

And know that I am God.

Ūdeū – be sure, acknowledge, take knowledge, investigate, perceive, learn, know.

The word occurs 9 times in the O.T.

Be still and know.

Take time out and be aware that God is with you.

No matter what the circumstances, God is God.

The Daily Verse – Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Do you feel like you walk with God?

Do you act justly and love mercy?

The Prophet Micah was declaring the Word of the Lord, sometime between 750 and 686BC, and amongst his prophecies he predicted the fall of Samaria, which was Israel’s capital.

In this verse, the He is God and the O mortal is just another way of referring to men/women. The latter phrase emphasises the limited life span of humans compared to God who is eternal.

The question is then set what does the Lord require of you?

Over the years many individuals and religious leaders have answered this question.

One of Jesus’ primary conflicts with the Pharisees was by holding them to account for the rules they set upon the people but didn’t hold to themselves.

Jesus phrased his answer to this question out of the first two Commandments of Moses – You shall love the Lord your God above all others and your neighbour as yourself.

This was the sum of the Law.

Micah in verse 8 phrases his answer in a very similar way – act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

The Hebrew word mercy is ‘hesed’, which can also be translated as loving-kindness or grace.

God emphasises action and reminds the people what one of our privileges, maybe even one of mankind’s purposes was, as God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

If you deal with others justly, prize mercy or forgiveness, then you will walk. . .with God but in a manner which doesn’t prize that fact over the heads of others.

I’m not sure any of us would openly admit to being ‘good’. We would probably hedge our bets and say we try to be.

This verse in Micah tells us that God has shown us what is ‘good’ and we certainly have the perfect example of that in Jesus.

This might not be what you might think, however.

Jesus argued with people. He turned people away. He told some that they were condemned by their own words and actions.

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that we go out and argue with people and point out their faults, but we shouldn’t either be trapped into thinking being a Christian means being passive and lacking strength.

Micah also tells us that God wants something from us – and it is quite simple, rather than a lot of the trappings of religion we maybe used to.

We are to act honestly and with integrity in our speech and actions, within our families and with the others we come into contact with.

We are to have a heart for loving-kindness to those around us.

We are to walk humbly, to not think of ourselves in any great way, or that we are better than others, because we walk with God.

Like Adam and Eve, like Noah, like Abraham, like Moses, and like Jesus, we walk with God. In His company and in His care, all the time we walk.

Walk with God – it is an action. We need to move forward. Take steps. Journey with Grace, Justness, and in Humbleness.

The Daily Verse – Proverbs 8:34

“ Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.” -MSG

Proverbs 8:34

Are you ready for God each morning?

Do you listen and look for God?

The Hebrew word translated as ‘proverb’ occurs in Numbers (23:7,18) as ‘message’ and Ezekiel (17:2) as ‘parable’.

The book of Proverbs is generally referred to as the book of wisdom, and this wisdom generally take the form of short statements which are easily to remembered by the reader.

Many of the proverbs show a result of actions taken and often are written as command.

Others are given in metaphors, and others use direct comparisons.

The sequence which Proverbs 8 falls into is generally regarded as a Father’s invitation to make wisdom, and the pursuit of it, central to your everyday life.

It asserts that wisdom is for everyone – blessed the man, blessed the woman.

As in many other places in the Bible, the reader is encouraged to listen to God and be alert and responsive.

Just as we rise and begin work, so does God – as I start my day’s work.

You may have said this yourself, but I am sure you will have heard this phrase said if not, ‘I’m not really a morning person’?

This verse in Proverbs 8 sets the beginning of each day as the most important time of the day to be with God.

A lot of modern living advice encourages you to leave your mobile phone in another room when you go to be, so it isn’t a distraction as you go to sleep, or the first thing you grab when you wake up.

Personally, I use my mobile for an alarm and I use YouVersion Bible app, and a couple of meditation prayer apps, like Presence and Pray as You Go.

So when the alarm goes I switch onto God’s word or pray first thing – I also then check the news and have been know to doze back off during prayer – which are the less intended consequences of having everything on my Mobile.

God tells us, through Solomon, that we should be awake and ready, but more importantly alert and responsive.

We need to wake up and be ready for me – be ready for God.

Often morning rituals are to prepare us for the day ahead.

God tells us our morning ritual should be about focusing ourselves on Him.

We should listen for Him – He may be with us as a voice, or as music, or in the chatter of the birds, or the blowing of the wind.

Get awake and ready, to hear God’s voice.

Be alert and responsive – pay attention and act upon that which we hear from God.

As God starts His day’s work.

This phrasing is reminiscent of the beginning of Genesis, but importantly it reminds us that God didn’t stop when he got to the Sabbath day.

God still works everyday, just as we work each day.

We need to be ready to listen and be reactive, acting upon God’s words and signs for our lives and the lives of others we come into contact with.

The Daily Verse – Joshua 1:9

‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ – NIVUK

Joshua 1:9

When did you last feel afraid or discouraged?

Do you feel that God is with you wherever you go?

Moses has died and the people of Israel stand on the edge of the Promised Land.

For forty years they followed a leader whose face literally shone with light from the presence of God.

Now Joshua was chosen to bring the forty years of wandering in the desert due to the people’s indiscretions.

In these first nine verses, Joshua is told by God, three times to be strong and courageous.

He also tells Joshua twice that He will be with him wherever he goes and always.

Notice how God places words in opposition in this verse:

  • strong and not afraid
  • courageous and not discouraged

The opposite of afraid is not to be unafraid, but to be strong.

The opposite of discouraged in to have courage but to be courageous.

Both of the opposites God provides Joshua with are active words – be strong and active against your feelings of being afraid. To be courageous is an act where being discouraged prevents you from action.

In the face of uncertainty and unfavourable conditions God reminds Joshua to take action because God will be with him wherever he goes – another active word.

I am sure that all of us can call to mind examples of when we have been afraid or discouraged, and some of these occasions maybe very recent.

We face many challenges in life and many situations where it is easy to worry and lack the confidence to move forward.

Some of us may also feel that we have been wandering for many years and we have not been able to settle.

We probably also compare ourselves to others who have gained many accomplishments in life.

In this verse in Joshua God reminds him that as He was with Moses, he will also be with him.

It is easy when reading the Old Testament to see interactions like this between God and His chosen people and view them as being then and not now.

It is the same God interacting with us, however.

Through Jesus we are now part of God’s chosen people, but rather than communicating with us through chosen leaders, God communicates with us individually through the Holy Spirit.

Just as God told Joshua to be active – be strong and courageous – in the face of his fear and belief that he couldn’t succeed, He tells us the same.

Our belief in God doesn’t always mean that we won’t face challenges but it should alter the way we react to them.

Take confidence in yourself just as God has confidence in you.

Step forward in Faith and meet the challenges through prayer and fellowship, and remember that wherever we go – an action – God will be with you!

The Daily Verse

‘What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”’ The Message

Romans 4:3

Make a list of all the things God is doing for you at the moment.

Make a list of all the things you have asked God to do for you, but you are trying to beat him to completing them.

The Apostle Paul most likely sent this letter from Corinth.

He was writing to the Christians in Rome who were from both the Jewish and Gentile population.

Jew were Jews, and Gentiles were everyone else, by Jewish definition.

The problem was that both groups had baggage as far as their beliefs were concerned.

Those who were Jewish had spent their whole lives adhering to the Laws of Moses, which governed every aspect of their days.

The Gentiles probably had a much looser lifestyle but which could have been constrained in just as many different ways according to their following of other gods.

Paul is helping to set the record straight, as far as belief in God and Jesus was concerned.

This verse could equally apply to both groups, however.

The mention of Abraham possibly indicates that the Jewish group needed to listen more carefully.

Abraham believed God when He spoke to him without having proof.

He had faith.

The Jews believed that their adherence to the rules set them right with God.

Paul reminds them that Faith beats Law.

The first part of this verse is so important.

Abraham entered into what God was doing for him . . .

We have to be like Abraham and enter in – believe – in what God is doing for us.

We may need strength, or healing, or encouragement, and we ask in prayer for those things.

Now we enter in to a state of mind, or being, where we trust God is acting for us.

We may choose to pray further for this help, but there is nothing wrong with that – it isn’t doubt!

In prayer we let go of our anxieties and worries, which is good.

For God this is the turning point.

Abraham trusted God to set him right and his actions then reflected this.

Abraham did not try to be right on his own.

Possibly often we try and make our own path, forgetting about God.

There are occasions in the story of Abraham where he didn’t always get it right, but far more where he did, because he believed what God told him.

Have faith. Believe in God acting for you.

Then speak and act as though that action will happen.

Sometimes we may get diverted because we get bothered by the time line.

Abraham was told that he would be the father of many nations and that his children would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Abraham had to wait until the birth and death of Jesus for that to happen.

Hopefully you won’t have to wait as Abraham long!