The Daily Verse – John 15:18

“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.” – AMP

‭‭John‬ ‭15:16‬ ‭‬‬

What does it feel like to know that you have been chosen?

Do you think it is possible to ‘bear fruit’ even in difficult circumstances?

In this verse, Jesus is talking to his disciples.

He tells them that he has chosen them.

Elsewhere Jesus prays for these same disciples, declaring to God that he hasn’t lost one of them.

Just as the disciples were chosen, so are we.

Jesus’ final sacrifice of himself gave everyone in the world access to the God of the Jewish people.

Remember when God spoke to Moses he said He was, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ – Exodus‬ ‭3:6

‬But to Abraham, God had promised ‘through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’ Genesis‬ ‭22:18‬ ‭

Jesus continues reminding the disciples that as well as choosing them he had appointed them as Apostles.

They had parables explained to them and saw miracles at first hand.

He tells them that they were placed and purposefully planted.

A gardener plants with with the combination of the right soil and right mix of sunlight and shade for each plant.

Why?

So they might be fruitful. Not just fruitful, but to continually bear fruit.

To this end Jesus leaves them with yet another gift, which will out do all of the others they had received so far – they could approach God in prayer and ask Him for their needs in the name of Jesus.

God would respond as if it was Jesus himself asking.

It is powerful to think that we have been chosen – especially when so many of us probably don’t fell that way most of the time.

God – Jesus – must have got the wrong ‘John or Jane Smith’ when the letter came through the door.

Surely he can’t mean us?

As the disciples were chosen, so were we.

As they had a purpose, so do we.

We have been planted purposefully.

This will again also surprise many of us, as perhaps the current place and position of our lives may seem anything but purposeful.

If we start to view our current circumstances as part of our ‘planting’ we can meaningfully pray for our purpose at this time.

As gardeners know, a plant may get moved around the garden, so don’t despair if the thought of being where you are fills you with dread.

Jesus tells us that we will bear fruit and to continue to bear fruit.

This fruit will be a blessing to ourselves as well as others.

Galatians 5 tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”

If we can exhibit these fruit, God can work through us in our circumstances.

By blessing others we also bless ourselves.

On top of this we have an extra gift.

Jesus tells us that if we ask (pray) for anything we need to God, it will be as if Jesus himself had asked for it.

Remember a ‘need’ probably isn’t a BMW or a holiday in Monaco.

An immediate need will be for ourselves or for others to do the work of God.

You are chosen.

You are planted.

God listens and responds to you.

The Daily Verse – Psalm 46:10

‘He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ ‘

Psalms 46:10 – NIVUK

When – if ever – are you still?

Do you fully acknowledge that God is truly above everything?

This psalm begins with these lines:

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’

This is a strong and positive affirmation of God’s place in our lives. God is our refuge, He is the source of our strength, and He is constantly with us in the difficult times.

The psalm continues to give us examples of Gods power and presence in our lives.

Yet by the penultimate verse (v.10) we are being told to be still and know that He is God.

We are to recognise and know God and reaffirm that He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth.

God will become central to all people and all nations as He was to the Jewish people.

How are often are you genuinely still?

Not just sitting for a couple of minutes but still thinking about the hundred and one things which need to be accomplished in the day.

Not still, ‘resting your eyelids’ kind of still.

The kind of still where you take a large breath and exhale, letting the here and now fade, and focus on God.

Psalm 46 tells us to stop what we are doing and thinking.

Take time out.

Know that He is God.

Focus on God.

Realise that He isn’t some far off ‘thing’.

Realise that he is the God who will once again take control of the nations and the earth.

He is our refuge – the place where we take shelter from the storms of life.

He is our strength – He gives us everything we need to make it through the day.

He is always with us.

Sometimes we lose sight of that fact and God reminds us in this verse that we need to stop and be still, and bring God from the sidelines and back as the central element in our lives.

If we do this, when we emerge from this stillness we will take that knowledge of God’s presence and strength with us back into our day.

Many people are more open to some form of stillness or meditation these days, but this is usually promoted as a first thing in the morning routine.

Psalm 46 doesn’t give us a time to be still.

God tell us to stop and be reassured of His presence and strength whenever we need too.

When are thoughts are running wild and our day could definitely be going better, then this is the time to bring Psalm 46:10 to mind.

The Daily Verse – Psalm 31:5

‘Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.’ – NIVUK

Psalms 31:5

Do you feel at times you need to be delivered from your thoughts or the situation you are in?

Do you see God as being faithful to you as you try to be to him?

In this Psalm King David declares that God is his refuge and asks that He comes quickly to his rescue.

He continues throughout the Psalm to state that he trusts in God, despite the terrible people around him trying to trap him.

David tells us how his strength fails and his bones are like broken pottery.

Now let us jump ahead to Luke 23:46:

‘Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.’

Jesus has been hanging on the cross and finally calls out these words and passes away.

Remember that Jesus had called out earlier,

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The first words of Psalm 22.

So also here in Luke, Jesus deliberately speaks the words of Psalm 31 as a declaration and a teaching to those nearby who could understand.

The Psalms teach us many things about the Messiah, and Jesus was still, even on the cross and near death, teaching that God was faithful to His people.

The end of Psalm 31 reads,

‘Love the Lord , all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him . . . Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.’

We often say, ‘would you like a hand’ or ‘can I lend a hand’, but how many times have we actually asked for God’s hand?

How often do we reach spiritually for the hands of God, like a small child would when the need support or comfort when afraid?

The imagery here in Psalm 31 is of a very present and personable presence.

For David, God is there in physical presence and he places himself into his hands. He asks God to deliver him and fully expects the end result as he declares God faithful.

When we have troubled or dark thoughts, when we are in difficult circumstances, do we respond with the same confidence as David?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no, possibly?

David was confident, just as Jesus was, all those years later. He could confidently declare into your hands Father I commit my spirit.

Likewise we can confidently declare, as we reach out to God’s hands, that he will deliver us from our circumstances.

God is faithful towards us, even knowing that sometimes we stumble and fall. He reaches out to us to ‘lend a hand’.

The Daily Verse – Psalm 27:4

‘One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord And to meditate in His temple.’ – Amplified Version

Psalms 27:4

What do you seek from the Lord?

How often do you think of God each day?

Undoubtedly King David was in a privileged position, he was King after all.

He would be forgiven, I suppose, if he was thinking about extending a wing or two, dealing with threats against his people, and the like.

Yet David tells us that the one thing he has asked the Lord for and the thing that he was seeking – actively trying to make a reality – was to dwell in the House of the Lord.

He could have meant the tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant rested, or he could even have been thinking of the plans for the temple his son, Solomon, would build.

The Amplified Version suggests that he was talking about being in the presence of God, whether it be a tent, a temple, or the desert.

It was for more that this David was seeking, however.

He wanted to be in God’s presence al the days of my life. Each and every day close to God.

Gazing upon the true image of God – only Adam, Eve, and Moses, had done this according to the Old Testament – and to meditate upon that presence.

David wanted to be in God’s presence and to contemplate what he saw in God for all of his remaining days.

Our world maybe a lot of confusing and amazing things, and trying to live our lives the best way we can is often a hard thing to do.

Despite being a king, David had his own difficulties too; he made mistakes, from his choice in women and having his own son trying to kill him.

His one persistent prayer, however, was to be in the presence of God. To spend time with Him. To gaze upon the Creator of the World.

Not just once.

Everyday.

Is this our prayer, or hope, or longing?

How much time each day do we spend in God’s presence, reading the Bible, praying, or simply carrying on a conversation?

When we read His Word, look at the natural world, create art and music, dance and write, I believe we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.

Brother Lawrence found God in the middle of the washing up. He teaches us that our God is in everything and that’s where we should converse with Him.

Washing up. Gardening. Shopping. Working. Any creative endeavour. Laughing. Sharing food.

Ask the Lord, as David did, to be in His presence all the days of your life, seek Him, and meditate with Him.

The Daily Verse – Psalm 5:3

‘In the morning, Lord , you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. ‘ – NIVUK

Psalms 5:3

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Does Prayer or reading the Bible feature in your morning routine?

King David may be referring here to private prayer, a spoken formal prayer, or even the morning sacrifice in the Temple.

But he emphasises the timing – in the morning – twice in the same sentence.

The start of the day and the Lord is being reminded that David is already starting the dialogue – you hear my voice.

It is also an affirmation that God is listening.

David lays his requests before God.

There is no further definition of what those requests are.

There is no judgement posed by defining the specifics of what he requests – neither should you judge yourself on what you pray for.

Then David waits expectantly.

He knows the reply will come.

Morning routine is a hot topic.

I’m sure if you run a web/video/podcast search, it will result in more to read/watch/ listen to than you will have mornings in your life time to occupy.

There is an abundance of top executives, leaders, sports people, and creatives, who all swear by their morning routines as a pathway to their success.

King David already had it locked-down all the way back in the Psalms.

Our morning routines will probably fall somewhere in between the two following happenings: early, organised/compartmentalised, drinking water, eating breakfast, perhaps exercise, maybe meditation; or, hitting the snooze button, oversleeping, rushing around, drinking anything as long as it has the maximum amount of caffeine in it, with promises of breakfast as you run out of the house.

King David’s morning routine is simple.

He wakes up and he talks to God.

How do you think your life would be different if the first person you spoke to when you awoke was God?

Make your requests.

Tell God what you hope the day will bring. Share your worries and concerns. Remember others.

The Bible app YouVersion allows you to set up a ‘verse of the day’ message to come through to your mobile at a specific time. So, alarm sounds, you grab your phone, switch it off, a verse from the Bible is there waiting for you.

Talk to God. Listen to his Word as you make your morning coffee/tea. Pray.

Try it even for a week and see what a difference it makes.