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 – Isaiah 12:2

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord , the Lord himself, is my strength and my defence ; he has become my salvation.’ NIVUK

The first part of this verse is sufficient for us in a world filled with so much uncertainty at the moment.

Trust and be not afraid.

Why?

Because the Lord, the Lord himself – emphasised by repeating the name – is my strength and my defence.

A poweful ally to be sure but in the original Greek, the Psalmist does not say that the Lord is his defence.

The phrasing occurs here and in two other places, Exodus and Psalms, as my strength and my song.

‘Strength’ is the word oz and carries the meaning of power, might, and boldness.

‘Song’ is the word zimrath and is, by implication, a praise song.

We trust God and He becomes our strength and song.

Singing is recognized to have a positive effect upon the human body.

The British Academy of Sound Therapy tells us that singing alters ourhormones and transmitters boosting our mood state and even our immune system.

Lyrics increase Dopamine and lower stress.

Rhythm increases our oxygen flow.

And the breathing which is required to allow us to sing reinforces the first two.

Isaiah was clearly onto something all of those years ago.

Trust in God because he is our strength and by singing to Him we lower the impact of any of our fears.

Daily Verse – Matthew 7:24

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 NIV

There are two principle teachings of Jesus about ‘hearing’ his/the word – the sower and the seed and this contrast between two builders.

Everyone who hears – the Greek akouei which occurs in this single instance in Matthew’s Gospel – is to give an audience to, or make a point of listening to. It also relates to understanding and being reported.

Jesus taught throughout his ministry that his words and actions were not just to be treated as an academic teaching but to be acted upon. All throughout his ministy the parallels are drawn between the words of the religious leaders and the actions of Jesus and his disciples.

Here, again, the distinction is clear.

Those ‘who do’ – put them into practicepoiei meaning to make or do – are like a builder who build his house on the rock.

It is hard not to think here of Peter – Petros – and the word used here is the femine form – as the rock upon which the church would be built.

Jesus must be emphasising further the ‘action’ he expects from us all but also the disciple’s example of someone who didn’t always get it right, as we may not do.

Hearing Jesus’ words requires us to take action and in doing so we are on a sure foundation despite the storms of life which are inevitable.

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 – 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.