Walk through the New Testament
Hi. A few years back I picked out a key verse to memorize from every chapter of the New Testament. I want to share the list with the Memverse family. On January 1st, 2012, I hope, Lord willing, to organize an active support group of people who want to memorize these 260 exciting verses in one year. Feel free to get a head start memorizing some now, or simply familiarize yourself with the verses waiting for the start of the support group. This blog consists of the daily email devotionals I send out based on these verses. I look forward to any feedback or thoughts you have as we interact with the daily Scripture and each other’s thoughts.
If you want to receive these daily devotionals in your email inbox, or if you want to send private feedback, you can email me at email@example.com.
New Testament One Year Challenge
Matthew 1:21; 2:11; 3:8; 4:19; 5:16; 6:24; 7:21; 8:3; 9:36; 10:28; 11:28; 12:12; 13:44; 14:30; 15:8; 16:26; 17:23; 18:35; 19:6; 20:34; 21:13; 22:29; 23:28; 24:24; 25:23; 26:41; 27:4; 28:19
Mark 1:35; 2:17; 3:11; 4:20; 5:34; 6:42; 7:7; 8:29; 9:24; 10:45; 11:24; 12:44; 13:11; 14:36; 15:39; 16:6
Luke 1:35; 2:11; 3:22; 4:18; 5:8; 6:46; 7:47; 8:14; 9:23; 10:2; 11:13; 12:33; 13:24; 14:33; 15:7; 16:15; 17:32; 18:7; 19:8; 20:21; 21:36; 22:32; 23:34; 24:26
John 1:12; 2:17; 3:30; 4:24; 5:39; 6:63; 7:38; 8:36; 9:25; 10:10; 11:25; 12:32; 13:35; 14:21; 15:7; 16:33; 17:26; 18:11; 19:15; 20:21; 21:17
Acts 1:8; 2:38; 3:6; 4:12; 5:20; 6:8; 7:53; 8:35; 9:16; 10:34; 11:18; 12:23; 13:2; 14:15; 15:8; 16:31; 17:31; 18:10; 19:15; 20:24; 21:13; 22:16; 23:11; 24:16; 25:11; 26:18; 27:23; 28:31
Romans 1:16; 2:4; 3:20; 4:20; 5:8; 6:23; 7:24; 8:28; 9:16; 10:9; 11:33; 12:2; 13:8; 14:8; 15:5; 16:19
1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:9; 3:13; 4:20; 5:12; 6:20; 7:9; 8:6; 9:27; 10:31: 11:1; 12:3; 13:13: 14:25; 15:10; 16:9
2 Corinthians 1:4; 2:14; 3:18; 4:5; 5:21; 6:14; 7:10; 8:9; 9:8; 10:4; 11:14; 12:9; 13:5
Galatians 1:9; 2:20; 3:3; 4:7; 5:13; 6:14;
Ephesians 1:7; 2:10; 3:20; 4:11; 5:33; 6:11;
Philippians 1:21; 2:13; 3:8; 4:19;
Colossians 1:15; 2:6; 3:13; 4:2;
1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:9; 3:13; 4:17; 5:18;
2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2:4; 3:3;
1 Timothy 1:15; 2:8; 3:2; 4:12; 5:17; 6:10;
2 Timothy 1:7; 2:15; 3:16; 4:7;
Titus 1:16; 2:14; 3:5
Hebrews 1:8; 2:18; 3:12; 4:12; 5:7; 6:10; 7:25; 8:12; 9:14; 10:23; 11:6; 12:1; 13:8
James 1:12; 2:19; 3:10; 4:7; 5:20;
1 Peter 1:15; 2:24; 3:15; 4:19; 5:6;
2 Peter 1:3; 2:9; 3:9
1 John 1:9; 2:17; 3:16; 4:19; 5:12
2 John 1:11;
3 John 1:4
Revelation 1:8; 2:4; 3:8; 4:11; 5:9; 6:9; 7:14; 8:13; 9:20; 10:6; 11:3; 12:11; 13:8; 14:11; 15:4; 16:15; 17:14; 18:4; 19:7; 20:15; 21:4; 22:17
New Testament One Year Challenge
90 responses to Walk through the New Testament
LUKE 1:35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Our Christian faith is based on miracles from the very beginning. Starting with God being eternal. Then He speaks creation into place. Then He forms man and breathes into us the breath of Life. Then Christ comes in the glorious Virgin Birth. Never let anyone shake your confidence in our history of miracles.
Recently, there was a documentary claiming they found the bones of Jesus, "proving" he never rose from the dead. I admit, the facts that Jesus was born of a virgin, was sinless throughout His life on earth, somehow took our sin on Himself on the cross, and rose again to gain victory over sin and death can be hard to prove. However, we can be sure no one will ever disprove them, and one day our faith will be ultimately rewarded when we stand before Jesus Christ and see Him face to face.
Lee, glad you found your way over to memverse. I look forward to hearing any insights you have on these verses as you memorize and meditate on them. Welcome to memverse.
That sounds like a fun thing to do in 2012. Will that be instead of doing something like 1 John?
Regarding the devotional:
And oh how they will receive their reward when they stand before the face of God at the Last Day!!!
Sounds cool! I'm very interested in doing this. :)
I might do this as well, but look at is as more of a long-term goal instead of trying to do it in a year's time. That way I can still add other passages of Scripture without driving my brain into overload. Even today, sometimes I have to take a short break from adding verses and just let it all sink in. Thanks for sharing!
LUKE 2:11 ~ Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
The eternal God who spoke creation into existence: The King of kings and Lord of lords, who is worthy of all praise was to visit planet earth. Was there a palace suitable for such a visit? What king or emperor would have the honor of being host?
The details of the arrival of Jesus boggle the mind. A baby, born in a stable, to poor parents, announced to shepherds, hated and hunted by a powerful king, grew up unknown in Nazareth. God became man in the most humble of circumstances. "He did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (MARK 10:45)
His humble arrival fooled many. However, He is Christ the Lord and offers salvation and a place in the family of God to all who receive Him! (See JOHN 1:12)
Our Lord-- Hated and hunted.â€¦at the beginning of his life, and at the end.
LUKE 3:22 ~ and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
We are not told much in Scripture about the first 30 years of Jesus' life on earth that brought Him to this point. We get several hints from this passage of the life Jesus lived before God the Father called and anointed Him for public service.
Jesus kept a close love relationship with His Father in heaven. He had a trusting obedience that pleased His Father. He was prepared for the Holy Spirit to work in His life. May we follow Jesus' example in these 3 areas and always remember God can and often will do more in and through our life in one week, then we could do for God in a lifetime using our own strength.
I disagree -- (EDIT->) Let's take it even more intensely--
"God can and DOES [not "often will"] do more in and through our life in one DAY [not "a week"], then we could do for God in a lifetime using our own strength."
How else do we take our every breath? How else does our heart continue breathing? How else does our mind recall thousands of memories to get us through our day? How else do our fingers continue to function, enabling us to type, or even grasp anything??
Because of God. OUR God.
LUKE 4:18 ~ The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
Indwelt by the Holy Spirit and anointed by God for service with eternal consequences. In a very real way, all Christians are called to follow in the footsteps of our Master and Savior.
Jesus Christ significantly touched the world around him during His three years of ministry. We all have different life vocations and ministry opportunities. The world is full of hurting and needy people. May the body of Christ today receive His calling, anointing, and empowering by the Holy Spirit to joyfully carry on the ministry and reach out with a supernatural love that Jesus started.
I'm with Dakota on this one. I added all the Matthew ones about a month ago and expect it is going to be a while before I know which is which! :)
I am not seeming to understand these blog posts. it seems as if River is disagreeing with himself on his comments. could you please explain this?
Marie, River helps me out by posting the daily devotionals of the New Testament One Year Challenge for me. Then from time to time he also adds colorful and sometimes challenging commentary to keep us all sharp and thinking through the Scripture.
River, thanks for your thoughts. In a very real way, God is always at work in everyoneâ€™s life and gets all credit for every breath we take and everything we do!! In this reality, it can be said that it is impossible to do anything â€œin our own strengthâ€. Your point is well taken and is very helpful to be reminded of as many of us who profess this to be true still live in denial of the fact and fail to praise or thank or desire to get to know our amazing, all-powerful, Creator and sustainer God .
However, I want to help clarify the point I was making. There is another reality at work where we can do things in our own strength (in the flesh) and even attempt to do â€œChristianâ€ things in our own strength (granted that God has given us) rather than relying on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and miss out on the authentic, abundant Life of God flowing through us.
The challenge of the devotional is to wholeheartedly pursue a closeness to God and a dependence on the Holy Spirit leading us and working through us, as He worked in and through the life of Jesus. The opposite of this is to waste this life being led astray from our divine calling and privilege to be the human instrument God chooses and uses to work through, and instead pursue other gods and endless distractions while still maintaining a reputation and deception of being a respected â€œChristianâ€ in our church culture.
Thank you for the clarification!
I think I knew what you were intimating, Phil. I just wanted to take it to a more extreme degree.
Phil, I LOVE this idea of memorizing one verse from each NT chapter. I'm curious to see if the ones I'd pick match the ones you've picked. Thanks for the encouragement :)
Janet, feel free to share your list. At some point I hope to make a 2nd list of NT verses for each chapter as well as finish devotionals for one verse of each OT chapter.
LUKE 5:8 ~ When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
Peter tells the obviously holy man to "Go away" as if Jesus might somehow be contaminated by Peter's sinfulness. Peter did not realize that Jesus' holiness was His very nature, not something He achieved by isolating himself from everything sinful. Jesus, the holy one, loves sinners. Peter also did not realize that though he now was a sinful man, Jesus had the power to change him from the inside out and make him a "fisher of men" (LUKE 5:10)
May our sin drive us to Jesus, the lover and pursuer of sinners. May the forgiveness and cleansing of our sin encourage us to love and pray for others to also find the one true holy man.
"Peter did not realize that Jesus' holiness was His very nature, not something He achieved by isolating himself from everything sinful. Jesus, the holy one, loves sinners."
"May our sin drive us to Jesus, the lover and pursuer of sinners. May the forgiveness and cleansing of our sin encourage us to love and pray for others to also find the one true holy man."
Excellent, Phil. Very searching.
LUKE 6:46 ~ "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"
In our church culture today it often seems like there is an over emphasis on making sure we say the right things. What could be better to say than "Jesus is Lord"? In Romans 10:9 we are told that our confession that Jesus is Lord is a big part of what salvation is all about. Since words are so powerful (see PROVERBS 18:21), how sad is it when the most important words become or seem trivial.
In today's verse, we have people call Jesus "Lord" and then even repeat it for emphasis, but not have the corresponding obedience that goes with calling Jesus "Lord" (Master). May we remember JOHN 14:15 which says "If you love me, you will obey my commands," and may we more and more discover the freedom and joy of living with Jesus as Lord.
Freedom and joy, indeed.
But we have to be careful that we don't become like those people (they have a name, but I don't know it) who believe that if you mumble or murmur different verses, then there is power in them to do almost anything. And indeed there is!! But the power is in Christ and in the Spirit and in the Father, not in speaking His Word superstitiously. I could say more, but I'm not familiar enough with the sect that has those beliefs.
Well, one more thing--we who know much of God's Word (especially those who have been saved for a long time, and those who don't remember ever being unsaved), do, after a while, tend to use God's Word as a charm or as a form, superstitiously. That is something to be guarded against, or else we will be participating in a form of superstition.
LUKE 7:47 ~ "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
The ability of Jesus to forgive all of our sins is still as radical today as it was when He walked on this earth. He who had no sin took all the sin of wretched sinners like you and me and placed it on Himself. He paid the penalty and instead gives us His righteousness. May this glorious truth never become trivial to us. Instead may we who have been forgiven much, love much each day and forever.
But what about those of us who have good Christian parents, who were raised to be good and who went to Christian school? Does this verse really say that if we have never done drugs, or murdered, or committed adultery, etc. that we are destined to only love Jesus a little?
No, this is not our automatic destiny, but it is a danger for us. We must have our eyes opened to see that it doesn't matter how much the church or our parents or society calls us a "good" person. Before a holy, perfect God, each of us are filthy, wretched, sinners with a sinful nature full of pride and against God. Then each of us can be thankful for the radical grace and forgiveness the all-loving God lavishes on us.
Isa. 64.6 ~ We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
LUKE 8:14 ~ The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
How big, powerful, and satisfying is our God? How sad and what a terrible testimony it is to hear the Good News of the Gospel, believe it, but then treat it as less desirable or reliable as the things of this world?
ROMANS 8:28 tells us that God works all things together for our good. If this is true and if God really is the all-powerful, all-loving God He claims to be, what is there to worry about? We can obey the command in PHILIPPIANS 4:6 to not be anxious about anything.
PSALM 84:11 promises that God will not withhold any good thing from those who are fully in Him. Can we trust Him, or do the world's riches and pleasures have power to satisfy our deepest desires in a way that God simply can't?
The Gospel is not a promise of heaven if we give mental assent to a list of facts. The Gospel = JESUS, someone who claims to be all-powerful and all-satisfying and wants to take over your life. Will we fully accept Him and discover more and more each day how those who truly know Christ will have all their deepest desires met in Him and need not worry about anything (See MATTHEW 6:25-34)
LUKE 9:23 ~ Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Deny myself? Take up my cross? Be a follower instead of going my own way? Jesus' call is radical and at first glance does not seem fun or exciting. I have a prideful, sinful nature that fights against the claims of Christ on my life.
O Lord, give me the eyes of faith to see that dying to my own nature and following the Spirit of the Living God is indeed the most free, exciting and rewarding life available as we get to know and glorify our Creator.
[Excellent choice, Phil! This is one of my favorite verses!]
LUKE 10:2 ~ He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Are you bored with life? Tired of the same old, same old? Find yourself in a rut? The "Lord of the harvest" is always looking for good workers. (Read MATTHEW 20:1-16) There is plenty of exciting work with eternal benefits (both for the workers and for those to whom they are sent) to be done. Why not pray and make yourself wholly available to God, asking Him to send you where He may? (See ISAIAH 6:1 - 8 where Isaiah said this prayer.)
It is so exciting to see so many young men devoting themselves to the memverse harvest field. It motivates me to want to share memverse with others all the more!! May there be much eternal fruit from people memorizing, meditating, and obeying Scripture as we get to know, praise, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
LUKE 11:13 ~ If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
God, who is pure love (as stated in 1 JOHN 4:16) makes the case that He is kinder and more generous than the kindest and most generous human father in the world. Could we actually get to know this to be true in our own personal experience? The Scriptural secret sounds so easy: Believe and ASK! "Everyone who asks receives", so ask! And if you don't receive right away, keep asking even to the point of seeming obnoxious. (Read LUKE 11:5-8) Always remember, we have a loving, wealthy, generous heavenly Father. He wants to step into our lives and transform us from the inside out, more and more, through the Holy Spirit. Let us acknowledge our desperate need of Him and ask!
LUKE 12:33 ~ Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
What a radical verse! I know very few who would even consider fully obeying this verse at face value. Even though the degree of application may be a personal matter with many factors, I believe the principle questions behind the verse need to be addressed by all believers.
Am I self-focused, or Christ/others-focused? Am I living for the temporal or the eternal? Am I more secure by trusting in temporal means to meet my needs, or by trusting the great I AM and investing temporal means in His eternal Kingdom? Am I free to honor God and bless others with my money as I listen to His leading, or am I enslaved to worldly worry and false promises? Do I even believe in a God, heaven, and eternity that is far bigger and more important than anything in my short life here on this little planet Earth?
[Very good, Phil.]
LUKE 13:24 ~ "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to."
The Bible is clear. It is a narrow door that leads to eternal Life in God. (See also MATTHEW 7:13-14) Many will try to reach God and not be able to. Many others will think they know God only to find out too late they have just been fooling themselves. (Read the context, LUKE 13:22-30, surrounding today's verse) I believe there are 3 basic errors that could keep us from the narrow door to Life.
1) Reject Christ. Every religion in the world is based on man's attempt to reach up to God. The Bible says these attempts are futile. Jesus Christ came down to us and freely offers salvation and eternal Life for those who accept Him.
2) Work for our salvation. Others would believe in Jesus and take His name as Christians, but still feel their salvation is based on good works, or winning the approval of the Church.
3) Reduce a life-transforming faith in Jesus that trusts Him to step into our lives and fully save us, down to a trivial mental assent that says, "I agree to believe in Jesus, therefore I get to go to heaven" It is helpful for this group to remember that the demons "believe" in Jesus. (JAMES 2:19)
The Gospel, though free and in many ways easy to accept as God opens our eyes and draws us to Himself, is never trivial. Jesus died to pay for the gift of eternal Life He offers us. He wants to take over our lives and transform us from the inside out. May we make "every effort" to fight off the lies and deceptions in this world, and fully accept Him.
LUKE 14:33 ~ In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
As with LUKE 12:33, to what degree and exactly how to apply this verse is something each person and family will have to work through. One thing is clear. The Gospel and the Christian Life is not an "add on". It's not, "The American Dream and a prosperous life is where it is at, and if you can have that and be well respected in the Church and score some points for the after life, then even better."
The Gospel is for those who die to their old life (See JOHN 12:24-26) and look to Jesus Christ to define and empower their new Life in Him. What old habits, false security/beliefs or temporal pleasures are we holding onto that are keeping us from fully being disciples of Jesus Christ? The Gospel call is not "Agree to believe a list of things" that may or may not impact your life; but rather "Come, follow me!" May we like the disciples of old discover Jesus Christ to be One worth following whatever the cost He asks of us.
LUKE 15:7 ~ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
What is the worst sin we can commit? Murder, sexual abuse, adultery, idolatry, betrayal, orgies, homosexuality, violent revenge, unforgiveness, unbelief, mutilation, unbridled greed, etc. These sins are serious and carry dangerous consequences that can damage and scar us and others we love for a lifetime.
Looking at today's verse, I wonder if the worst sin of all might be self-righteous pride, which most, if not every professing Christian struggles with from time to time. It seems like God is ready and even eager to forgive the broken sinner of even the most blatant of sins. Then all heaven rejoices!!
On the other hand, what if we never need to be broken? What if we are basically good people who just want a little religious experience to encourage us and make us feel ready for the after-life? Then we will be one of many who makes heaven cry and ends up deceived and in hell. (See MATTHEW 7:21-23)
O God, I pray that I will fully see my desperately sinful heart. (See JEREMIAH 17:9) I pray that I will not have to graphically violate your law and destroy myself and others before I can authentically fall on my knees before you and cry out for your mercy and forgiveness of one as vile as I. Thank you for your Scriptures that can convict all who have ears to hear. (See 2 CORINTHIANS 7:10)
Another great set of comments, Phil.
After much reflection in the last week, I have to come to the personal conviction that pride and self-love are the two greatest sins. If we were not guilty of those, then there is pretty much nothing else we could commit. Many of the Puritans called Pride the "mother-sin." And they spoke against inordinate self-love as well.â€¦ Of course we are supposed to love ourselves--look at the second greatest commandment! But it is when we love ourselves first and foremost that we sin. And, boy--that sin is everywhere!
Concomitant with those reflections, I have come to the personal conviction that love, faith, humility, and self-denial are the greatest graces, the mother-graces.â€¦ Of course love sums them all up--if we truly love God, then we will walk in the same way in which he walked (1Jn 2.5-6)--but the other three are the sub-mother-graces. In my opinion.â€¦
LUKE 16:15 ~ He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
No one can challenge the fact that today's church in the USA is worldly. The debate is if that is so bad, or just a product of the times, or maybe even a good thing. After all, the world today is advancing and enjoying an unprecedented prosperity and comfort our forefathers could only dream about. Surely, our loving God wants us to enjoy as much of this world as possible, while still honoring Him each Sunday.
Surely God is pleased with our large, state of the art churches; with our overflowing attendance; with our well researched, eloquent, precise sermons; with our enthusiastic, upbeat, modern worship music that mimics every possible style and genre the world comes up with; with our long-view financial plan that helps us save a lot of money now to guarantee that we can retire in style and have lots to give our children; with our hip youth groups that work hard to be as entertaining as the competition.
Or could today's verse actually be true? Could the security, peace, and pleasure that comes from this world's treasures actually be detestable in God's sight? The Bible is clear that God and the spiritual and eternal are thousands of times more important, satisfying, and reliable than the temporal, physical provision of this world. Could there be a day when we, the Church in the USA, actually believes and trusts our God more than money?
When unbelievers see us, are they impressed with how much of the world our new, improved, loving God gives us? Or are they shocked that we pursue Jesus as One greater than the treasures of this world? When Jesus was on earth, the religious leaders sneered at His demand of financial dependence and trust in Him. (See the context of today's verse in LUKE 16:13-14) How will we react?
[Very sadâ€¦and thought-provoking]
LUKE 17:32 ~ Remember Lot's wife!
One of the shortest verses in the Bible. Yet, it packs quite a punch. Can we blame her for looking back? She was being dramatically uprooted from all she knew. As she was running away, and hearing the destruction of her previous life, what would one little look back hurt? Or for the Israelites in the desert, what would it hurt to constantly dream about going back to Egypt, instead of focusing by faith on God's promises they were not yet seeing fulfilled?
For you and I, is it really that bad to go back to old habits and thought patterns? Jesus is very clear, "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it." (LUKE 17:33) The Gospel call is not, "Clean up your old life and try to fit a few good habits into your old daily routine. Live worldly with a few Jesus moments tossed in." Rather, the Gospel call is "Die to your old self." Bury your old self in baptism, and don't look back!! Trust your all-loving, all-powerful Father with the unknown in front of you and step by step keep walking by faith.
O God, facing the unknown, trusting a God I can't see, can be downright scary. Looking back and even living at least partially in my familiar former ways often seems more comforting and secure. Give me your grace, and when I am tempted, may I "remember Lot's wife."
LUKE 18:7 ~ And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
This is possibly the strangest parable in the Bible. God invites us to compare Him with a mean, cruel judge. Even a godless, heartless judge will sometimes give justice if he gets asked enough. God says, "Will you please treat me as someone at least as nice as a mean, cruel judge?" For those of us who have been taught to say, "God is the greatest, the most loving, the most understanding, etc", the language in this parable sounds crazy. However, check out the next verse, "Will I find faith on the earth?" (LUKE 18:8) In other words, of the millions of us who have been taught to say, "Yes God, you are thousands of times nicer than a mean, cruel judge." is anybody actually willing to trust in God and go to Him for justice?
Is God a just judge? Is He ruling this universe fairly? One question I hear all the time that seems to be a stumbling block for many is "If God is all - loving and all - powerful, why do so many bad things happen to good people?" I don't have all the answers to this, but I do know the worst injustice of all time, when the only purely "good" man (See LUKE 18:18-19) suffered immensely. This seemingly terrible, unjust event of the crucifixion was actually when God showed best how loving, powerful, just, and absolutely in-control He is.
GENESIS 18:25 ~ Will not the judge of all the earth do right?
LUKE 19:8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
There is no testimony to God's power quite as compelling and exciting as a life changed from the inside out by God's forgiveness and grace. The old Zacchaeus was empty and enslaved by a desire for money. That was before Jesus said, "I must stay at your house today." (verse 5) The new Zacchaeus was determined to let nothing get in the way of his pursuing and pleasing Jesus. His shocked neighbors knew something radical had changed their old greedy, cheating tax collector.
Jesus goes to great lengths to pursue sinners (Read LUKE 19:7, 9 and 10) because He knows what glory God gets when sinners repent and receive forgiveness and a new Life.
Have you received the life transforming forgiveness and grace Jesus gives? Does your checkbook and calendar of priorirties show it? Are you living in the fullness of the new Life in Christ? (See JOHN 10:10) Do you want to?
LUKE 20:21 So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Flattery sounds so nice to our ears. "Wow, I never knew that you recognized how wonderful I am." Often flattery comes in the form of lies that we want to hear. For example, "I think you are the best boss this company has ever had" is said to your face, while the exact opposite is being spread by the same person behind your back. In today's verse, the spies even share truth about Jesus in order to build up His pride and catch Him off guard.
The Bible clearly tells us that God opposes the proud (Read 1 PETER 5:5-7) O Lord, give us humble, discerning hearts that find our worth primarily in you and not in the opinions of others. May we recognize flattery for what it is as we have our eyes on you.
PROVERBS 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
LUKE 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
The context of this verse warns of the coming of the anti-Christ and the great tribulation and judgment. MATTHEW 24 tells us "The love of most will grow cold" and "many will turn away from the faith". Jesus says "Always be on the watch and pray. You don't know when that day is coming"
What is true for the whole world on a grand scale is also true for each of us individually. We have an enemy who never sleeps, but "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour". (1 PETER 5:8) Each of us has a heart that is deceitful with a natural tendency to grow cold. (JEREMIAH 17:9) Our death and judgment day could be anytime. Therefore, be on the watch and pray!!
LUKE 22:32 "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
Simon, in his own strength, did not have much to share or help others. However, Jesus changed him into Peter, the rock. With Jesus praying for Peter, it wasn't a question of "if you turn back to me" or "if you don't go too far in rejecting me". Jesus says, "WHEN you turn back, strengthen your brothers" In other words, "Use my strength I've shared with you to share with others I have put under your care, or into your life."
What a great assurance for Peter to remember as he was to enter his darkest hour. And what a great promise HEBREWS 7:25 is for us: "...Jesus (our high priest) always lives to intercede for us" Remember, ROMANS 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us.
LUKE 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the radical commands to "turn the other cheek", "Love your enemies", and "pray for those who persecute you." (Read MATTHEW 5:38-48) Many through the years have decided this teaching is too hard, and just is not practical in an evil world. In today's verse, we see Jesus putting all three into practice in a perfect demonstration of love and peaceful submission to His Father's will. (After hours of agonizing struggle in prayer.)
Countless martyrs throughout Christian history have followed in their savior's footsteps, "entrusting themselves to Him who judges justly" (1 PETER 2:23) and praying for the very ones who are persecuting them. May we seek out honest prayer that we too may demonstrate God's perfect love and our peaceful submission to our Father's will whatever He brings our way.
LUKE 24:26 "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
It was written clearly in their Scriptures (Read ISAIAH 53 and PSALM 22), how did they miss the fact that the Christ was prophesied to suffer? Well, is suffering something we like to talk and think about today? Have you recently witnessed with the line, "Accept Christ today and you will receive a life full of suffering!"?
Suffering permeates the Gospel message. God so loved that He gave (at great painful cost). Christ demonstrated His love for us by dying for us as we rejected Him. 1 PETER 2:21 tells us our calling in life is to suffer as Christ suffered. 2 TIMOTHY 3:12 promises us that everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted. Our culture teaches us to ignore suffering in others and to wisely orchestrate our lives to minimize the possibility that we might have the "God forbid" terrible experience of ever suffering. Our faith teaches us to embrace suffering. (see JAMES 1:2; 1 PETER 4:19; COLOSSIANS 1:24; ROMANS 5:3-5, etc)
May we join Paul who was shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, beaten, betrayed, hated, etc. (read 2 CORINTHIANS 6:4-10; & 11:23-29). In the midst of all this, how could he write, "Rejoice in the Lord always!" (PHILIPPIANS 4:4) The secret is found in 2 CORINTHIANS 4:17-18 "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
JOHN 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
We, who by nature are anti-God, and live our life in prideful rebellion against our Creator, can be forgiven, and then adopted as children of the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the universe. We can be heirs of God and co-heirs of Jesus Christ. How can we be ashamed of this Gospel, and not proclaim it with confidence to all we meet and know? How can we sign up for the Christian faith so flippantly and treat our new found standing in God as a small trivial part of our lives? What temporal accomplishment, toy, or concern can match the exuberance and security of being a child of God?
Although true faith in Jesus Christ is life-transforming and all consuming, let's not assume that something so wonderful has to be difficult. Today's verse says "Receive Him and believe in His name" That's it. No works or penance needed to prove our own worthiness. Christ did all the work. Our place is to rejoice (be thankful), basking in all we have in Christ, and trust, banking on our all-loving, all-powerful Father being sufficient for anything that could come our way.
JOHN 2:17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Not your everyday picture of Jesus in JOHN chapter 2 as He makes a whip and, in fierce anger, drives people from the temple courts. The explanation? Jesus was passionate about His Father's house, and He hated seeing it turned into a worldly money machine. I wonder how He would feel about today's multi-billion dollar marketing of Christianity.
What are you passionate about? Maybe this is a better question than "What do you believe?" Any god you can believe in without zeal is not much of a god. We need to trust God to show us appropriate ways to express our zeal and righteous anger over sin and worldliness in the church and more importantly in our own life. But first of all, in today's trivial gospel, we need to discover and get to know the GOD who is worthy of being passionate about.
JOHN 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."
John the Baptist was a great man. According to Jesus he was the greatest prophet who ever lived. (MATTHEW 11:11) John had quite a following, and he knew exactly where to point them. "Go follow Jesus! He's the Lamb of God (JOHN 1:36). He's the Son of God who perfectly shows how much God loves us. (JOHN 3:16) May we use whatever favor and influence God bestows on us to always point others to Jesus.
JOHN 4:24 "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
We often get so caught up in style and format of worship, as well as having our houses of worship be just right. Here in JOHN 4, Jesus reminds us that worship has to be in spirit and truth. The one who sees our inner motives and deepest thoughts lets us know our inward being praising God (read PSALM 103:1) is much more important than any outward factors. God is constantly seeking out these kind of worshipers. Do we have any higher calling, or greater privilege than to pour our lives into wholehearted worship of the living God!
I think it would be great to do something like a "260 New Testament verses project", even if it is 260 verses instead of 100.
Joshua, we will, Lord willing, start a new active group January 1st, 2012. You can see all 26o verses in the translation of your choice by going to http://www.scripture-memory-support.org/newtestament.html We hope you will join us.
JOHN 5:39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
They were right. The truth of Scripture leads to eternal Life. (See 2 TIMOTHY 3:15). However, as we see in JOHN 5:40 they somehow missed out on the Christ that all Scripture points to, and who alone is the Life of God. (JOHN 14:6)
O God, I pray that as we (not if we) passionately and regularly read, study, memorize, and talk about your Word, that each person who uses Scripture Memory Support will use Your written Word to find and worship Jesus, our living Word and Lord!
That will be great. It may or may not work for me because I am going to try to memorize Hebrews and Titus and maybe Romans in the non-Bible bee season. I will strongly consider it anyway. By the way, I like that website.
Joshua, Hebrews, Titus, and maybe Romans very ambitious! Praise God!! I wish you all the best and hope you will continue using memverse with your verses. Please keep us posted.
I would like to recommit to posting a devotional for a key verse of every chapter of the New Testament. I would love your feedback on any thoughts I share. I would also be curious what you would consider the key verse for any given chapter. I am starting a 2nd list of key verses for the New Testament as well as working on completing my list of key verses of the Old Testament for new devotionals that will, Lord willing, start on Jan 1st, 2012. If you would like to receive the current devotionals in your email or if you would like to respond privately to any of the devotionals, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the devotional for JOHN 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
The Holy Spirit is given to every believer as we begin a new Life in Christ. In EPHESIANS 1:13-14 we are told that this new God Life in the Spirit is just a deposit of the fullness of God we will one day experience. The Holy Spirit, who is Life, empowers our human lives to live Godly (see ACTS 1:8). We are told to live by the Spirit, and even to keep in step with the Spirit. (GALATIANS 5:16, 25) However, the Bible is very clear that each of us has a sinful nature that is at war with the Spirit of God in our lives. (GALATIANS 5:17)
We all know that life would be best for us if we live at least mostly by the Spirit and not by the sinful nature. However, today's verse is a direct insult to my inmost being. I can do nothing by the flesh? WHAT??! I can do a lot of things in the flesh without a reliance on the Holy Spirit. I can even look outwardly godly all on my own. God knows this, but He says "I will add up all you do without me, and it all totals up to zero (nothing)." Lord, may we believe you and pursue Your Word as a gateway to the Spirit Life.
Thank you for posting these again. I could go on and boast about what I have done in the flesh. I have been in a newspaper 6 times. I have been on TV once. I have made it to the Bible Bee Nationals. But last week, while I was at camp, the speaker drew a dot on an index card and showed it to us. He asked, "What is this?", and we all said, "A dot." But he said, "That is an index card. That dot in the middle of the paper fills up less than 1 percent of the index card." He went on to explain how when we look at our troubles, they are a dot on that index card compared to what else we have to be thankful for. But I was just thinking about how what could boast about is like a dot on that index card compared to what I have done to sin against a perfect God. I am very thankful for The Holy Spirit.
JOHN 7:38 "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
The heart of Christian living is not us "doing our best for Jesus". Rather, as we place our trust in Jesus, we open ourselves up for Him to work in and through us. As GALATIANS 2:20 says, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." His work in us is described as "streams of living water". May we trust Him and find Him to be refreshing and overflowing in our lives.
Along the same lines, to be a good testimony for Jesus is not us making sure we have it all together; setting up boundaries to keep bad and/or needy people far away and make sure no one can ever hurt us or cause us stress; putting our trust and finding our security and self-worth in the power of the Almighty Dollar; and impressing others with our successful life and happy face. Then, when people see how wonderful, stress-free, successful and happy our life is, they will ask us for our secret and we can tell them about Jesus.
A testimony that brings God (rather than us) glory is for people to see that in the midst of our suffering and weakness, a Living powerful God is at work encouraging and strengthening us. May the world see that we have found a God worthy of pouring our life out for and a spiritual Kingdom reality worth investing our life into. May they be touched and refreshed by the stream of Living Water that flows from within us and draws them to know and trust the Living God for themselves.
JOHN 8:36 "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Free! How can we be free when each of us has a powerful sinful nature which is anti-God and seems to hinder our desire to pursue God? How can we be free from the bondage of our past sins and harmful, addictive habits? Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself and died to pay the punishment for our sins. In exchange for our sinful life, Jesus offers us a new Godly Life of righteousness. (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21)
Jesus Christ rose from the dead to gain victory over sin and death! (See 1 CORINTHIANS 15:54-58) His power is available to us in our fight to live in the freedom He gives us. (See EPHESIANS 1:19-20) This morning may we acknowledge our sin, rejoice in the cross, and fully embrace the victory and freedom we have in our risen Lord, Jesus Christ!
JOHN 9:25 He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"
The man in JOHN chapter 9 had thoughts and theories about who Jesus was. However, when he gets challenged, he backs up and simply declares, "The one thing I am sure of. I was blind. Now I see. Jesus changed me!!" Never underestimate the power of a simple personal testimony. Has Jesus stepped into your life? If so, you have a story worth sharing. God may likely use your testimony to draw others to Himself.
Today, will you pray that God will open doors and bring people into your life He wants you to share with? Maybe we also need to pray for courage to share with the ones we already know God wants us to witness to. Remember the encouragement and guidance of 1 PETER 3:15 "But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
JOHN 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
JOHN chapter 10 is all about Jesus as our Good Shepherd. He saves and provides for us. (vs 9). He knows us and we, His sheep deeply know Him. (vs 4, 14-15); He lays down His life for us. (v11). He has come to give us New Eternal Life, and to give it to us to the utmost! (vs 10) And yet the world Satan influences (EPHESIANS 2:2) also promises us so much.
In our church culture it sometimes seems popular to think, "I want only a little of Jesus. I don't claim to be or even want to be a saint or super Christian. I just want enough of Jesus for somebody to tell me I can be 100% positive I am going to heaven, and enough for a few good feelings here on earth, but not too much of Jesus, where He takes over my life or anything like that. I have too much going for me already."
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked!(GALATIANS 6:7) There is no neutral ground. To resist Jesus' all-consuming influence in our life and just do our own thing is to be under the direct influence of our enemy who hates us and has come to steal, kill, and destroy all that our loving God made us to be.
JOHN 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;"
Complete victory over death. Jesus is Life! The One who rose from the dead, and breathes new Life into the spiritually dead, is the Resurrection! May all Christians live our days with absolutely no fear of death. Jesus is there waiting for us on the other side of death. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (See 2 Corinthians 5:8)
In JOHN 11, Martha wanted to believe all the claims Jesus made (vs 26-27). However, she didn't see how Jesus could possibly overcome the current situation. Her brother was dead. End of story. (vs 21-22, 39). How it must have saddened Jesus for His closest friends to believe so little in His active power. When dealing with the Resurrection and the Life, nothing is impossible. (LUKE 1:37)
JOHN 12:32 "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
This verse gets taken out of context a lot. It's easy to see why. "Lift Jesus up" is a great concept. Praise Him and hold Him up in high esteem, so that people can see Jesus in our lives. Growing up, we even sang a chorus based on JOHN 12:32 out of context. It was called "Lift Jesus Higher"
However, in context Jesus is talking about His coming death on a cross. When Jesus' body physically gets lifted up from the earth and dies, it is this unconditional love that God demonstrates (See ROMANS 5:6-8) by the cross that God uses to draw people to Himself. May we always point people to the cross in our preaching, witnessing, and sharing. Paul got the idea when He said, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (GALATIANS 6:14) and then, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 CORINTHIANS 1:18)
JOHN 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
God gives us a clear standard. Love. Jesus showed us sacrificial, unconditional love on the cross and commanded us to love one another as He loved us. (JOHN 13:34). One might think that in today's self-centered, "shelter ourselves from all possible bad" culture, those who have been transformed by Jesus' supernatural love would shine brightly in the darkness. There have been wonderful examples of Jesus' followers reaching out in love to a hurting world. The church is well known for helping those hit by natural disasters and other hardships.
However, in the day to day normal living do we follow Jesus 2nd greatest commandment to "Love our neighbor as ourselves"? Or are we held captive to our focus of me, my family, my security, my church, and my future? Love must reach beyond the comfort of our 4 church walls. (LUKE 10:25-37; MATTHEW 5:43-48) 1 JOHN 4:19 says, "We love because He first loved us." Lord, may we receive your love pouring into and through our lives, so that the world may know we are Christians by our love.
JOHN 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
"Does it really matter what we do with the Bible? As long as we learn the nice things we are supposed to say about the Bible, isn't that enough?" God gives us 3 ways we can use the Bible to honor Him.
First, believe that the Bible literally is the Word of God! Who is God? What is He like? What does He want of us? Does He tell us? Is the answer different than it was 50 years ago, as everyone makes the new improved Jesus in their own image and according to their liking? God says I have revealed myself in my Word!
Next, believe that God is worthy of us taking the time to get to know Him. What is He like? What does He want of us? Find out in His Word. To say the Bible is the very word of God, but not take the time to read it is quite an insult that declares how trivial the so called God of the universe is to our lives.
Finally, we honor God by obeying what He wants of us. This shows our love for God, and God in turn promises to make Himself known to those who love Him, which in turn helps us see and love God even more. What a wonderful snowball effect for those who live in the fullness of today's verse.
JOHN 15:7 "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you."
I was raised in Christian schooling to mindlessly say "I am 100% positive every word in the Bible is true." Since coming to a personal saving faith in Christ, I have grown to love the many outrageous promises in Scripture that no Christians seem to believe; and for good reason. The promises are impossible! Yet God dares us to believe these outrageous promises anyway, and more importantly, to radically trust and passionately pursue getting to know our God who makes such promises.
Today's verse is a prime example. You will give me whatever I wish??! God, I've got a pretty wild wish list. Are you sure you can do immeasurably more than all I can ask or even imagine? (EPHESIANS 3:20) The secret is to be in You and have the truth of Your Word in me? God, my nature is to be a selfish, prideful, temporal thinker who is always looking for instant gratification. You really think you can change me that much to make me want and ask for what you want to give me? Wow! What a Gospel!
Only one response fits a belief that JOHN 15:7 is actually true. "Lord, give me a hunger to have more and more of your Word in me, and let me fully die to my old self, that I may find my life wholly in you. I want to experience the reality of JOHN 15:7 in my life."
JOHN 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
God never promises us a "problem free" life where we may not see our need of God, or experience His help in our trouble. He promises us something much better. Trials and temptation will come our way. God uses these to test and strengthen our faith. (See JAMES 1:2-5.) Nothing can overcome us, because our Savior has already overcome the world. Secure in Christ and knowing the Creator and Ruler of the universe is on our side, and always working for our good, we can have true, supernatural peace in the midst of any storm. (See ROMANS 8:28-31)
JOHN 17:26 "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
Jesus Christ wants to completely take over my life with His supernatural love and His very Life through the Holy Spirit taking up residence in my life. The world also wants to occupy my time and affection with numerous "bells and whistles" and pats on the back. Today, will I pursue knowing God and letting Him have dominance in my heart and time investments, or will I chase after another temporal, trivial, trinket that promises to make me feel good?
The heart of Jesus' high priestly prayer in JOHN 17 is for unity of focus and devotion in the church, the body of Christ. This is a given when we are filled with the love of Jesus in our lives. Christ is not divided. The Jesus in me is perfectly united with the Jesus in you. The problem comes when professing Christians have their minds and hearts set on anything and everything, but Christ. My prideful, sinful nature that puts me first, likely will not fit well with your prideful, sinful nature. May we, the Church, be one, as we single-mindedly die to ourselves, and live for, in, and by Christ!
JOHN 18:11 Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
Peter was ready to die protecting Jesus, just as he had claimed a few hours before in JOHN 13:37. But how do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved? Jesus had already fought His battle earlier that night when He prayed with such anguish that His sweat was like drops of blood. (LUKE 22:42) Though every once of His flesh had resisted it, He finally resolved to submit to the Father's will and obediently take the cup the Father had given Him. (MATTHEW 26:42)
As we seek to follow God and please Him, let's remember that God's way is not our way (ISAIAH 55:8-9) and that "to obey is better than sacrifice" (1 SAMUEL 15:22). Let's follow Jesus' example as we desire to know and obey His will, rather than Peter's example of doing our best trying to help God.
JOHN 19:15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.
How precious is the prayer in PSALM 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Have you discovered that nothing anyone can say to us is as painful as what comes out of our own mouths?
The chief priests started out with a righteous claim against Jesus. "You, a mere man, claim to be God" (JOHN 10:33; see also MATTHEW 26:63-66) However, in today's verse, they expose their true heart, for "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (MATTHEW 12:34) They want to get rid of Jesus at any cost, even blasphemy against Almighty God as they declare Caesar their only King.
JOHN 20:21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
43 times in the book of JOHN, Jesus wanted us to know that He was sent. "My words, my actions, my goals are not my own. I have been sent, and I am just doing what I am told." (JOHN 5:30, 6:57, 12:49) Now Jesus sends us into the world with the same arrangement. Our words, our actions, our goals are not our own. We are representing Jesus and His desire in the world. We are His ambassadors (2 CORINTHIANS 5:20) and are commanded to do everything "in His name". (COLOSSIANS 3:17). For Jesus, the mission and message was worth living and dying for. The same was true of the 12 apostles (apostle means "one sent") May our world see us as wholeheartedly devoted, fully submitted, and clearly representing our Lord who saved us and now has sent us. What peace this gives us to simply follow orders of the all-powerful, all-loving God who already knows the future.
JOHN 21:17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
2 TIMOTHY 2:13 gives us the incredible promise "if we are faithless he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." Our security and standing in Christ is not based on our ability to remain strong and faithful. If we are an authentic believer in Christ, He has us securely in His hand, and no one can take us out. (JOHN 10:28) In today's verse, we have Peter, who had recently denied Jesus three times, now comforted and reinstated with a three-fold demonstration of Jesus' commitment to him.
One might ask, "If Jesus holds us securely for all of eternity regardless of what we do; (We could deny him, and still come out OK), then why go through all the struggle and agony of denying ourselves and living for Him here on earth? Why not get the best of both worlds? Live for myself for most of my years here on earth, then get right with God, and still get to go to heaven. In theory, this is possible. God's grace is that amazing. However, is it the best of both worlds?
At best we are setting our self up for a terrible, agonizing, repentance when we wake up to realize the fool we've been and all we have missed out on. (See ROMANS 6:21; LUKE 15:17-20; PHILIPPIANS 3:7-8) More likely our mindset and actions will demonstrate that we never authentically experienced forgiveness and a new Life in Christ, and we will discover too late what the fear of the Lord is all about. Those who treat God as a joke who can be manipulated to serve our sinful nature discover that the joke is on them. (GALATIANS 6:7-8)
You can have the best of both worlds!! The best of this world is to deeply know and wholeheartedly live for our Creator God; fighting the good fight of faith, as His ambassador, with His power, against everything Satan, the world system, and our own sinful nature can throw at us. Is there any greater thrill than to join Peter and be able to say to the One who knows us deeper than anyone, "Yes, Lord Jesus, I love you. YOU KNOW that I passionately love you."
We are jumping to ROMANS to give some food for thought to all who are memorizing ROMANS these days. We would love your thoughts, insights or interaction with the thoughts below.
ROMANS 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Paul declared, "I am not ashamed of the gospel" and he proved it. Although Paul had the world at his fingertips, he gave it up in a heartbeat, considering his former achievements and benefits as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus Christ! (PHILIPPIANS 3:7-10) The gospel was worth getting beat up over, and even dying for. (ACTS 21:13) The gospel could transform every life - from a lowly jailer (ACTS 16:31-34) to a proud king (ACTS 26:28-29) The gospel was worthy of Paul's wholehearted and single-minded devotion (ACTS 20:24; 2 TIMOTHY 4:7)
So what's so great about the gospel anyway? Today, we have millions who have accepted a weak, trivial gospel. Their basic life story is "Yes, I am a Christian. I have believed everything I was told to believe. I am thankful that some person guaranteed me 100% that I will go to heaven when I die. (who has that right in the light of JEREMIAH 17:9, and MATTHEW 7:13-23?) However, when it comes to living on this earth in today's advanced world, it is quite obvious that God and the gospel are not as powerful, or valuable, or to be trusted as much as money; they are not as interesting or exciting as TV, the internet, sports, and any number of other hobbies or pursuits; and they are not as beneficial to my social, emotional and physical well-being as psychology, exercize, and when needed some good mood-fixing pills." If this is your "gospel", then you should be ashamed of it!
In today's verse, Paul declares that the gospel has power. I see so many people struggling to trust this and other life transforming, God-size promises in Scripture when all the Christianity they knew in their homes growing up was a trivial, outward show, lip service with empty, powerless, Jesus language. I praise God for my "far from perfect" parents, who with all their faults and shortcomings, still daily lived out a gospel worthy or their time, their sacrifice, and their devotion in their pursuit of knowing, serving, and sharing their risen Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me ample motivation to deeply get to know this powerful gospel of Jesus Christ for myself.
ROMANS 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
What if every time we sinned, we got visibly punished by an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God? What a deterrent that would be! "If we were alone, or surrounded by witnesses; if people would find out or not find out would matter very little if Almighty God was guaranteed to act decisively every time. Why doesn't He? Sometimes, I almost wish He was more predictable that way. (Although at the time of the discipline I would be hurting if not struck dead in that case)
For some reason, God is patient with us even though He knows many will take his patience as a sign of weakness, incompetence, or even non-existence (See 2 PETER 3:3-15) "Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (GALATIANS 6:7) May God's patience and grace towards us never result in us taking a lighter look at sin and its consequences. Instead, may we marvel at our God who painstakingly goes to great depths to lead us to repentance and a deeper understanding and love of Him.
ROMANS 3:20 "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."
The law of God is something we don't hear much about these days. What does God want of us? Whole hearted devotion; perfect love for God and fellow man; (See MATTHEW 22:37-40) blameless integrity even in our inmost thoughts and motives (See MATTHEW 5:21-48).
I know I fail the test. I'm guessing I'm not the only one (See ROMANS 3:23) I can choose to ignore the law to try not to feel so bad at my dismal failure to keep it. Or I can keep God's law always before me and rejoice that seeing, acknowledging, and understanding my sinfulness can lead me to love God's grace all the more (See LUKE 7:47)
ROMANS 4:20 "Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,"
Abraham waited 25 years between the giving of the promise to the birth of Isaac. God's ways and God's timing are often different than ours. (See ISAIAH 55:8-9) Regardless of our current circumstances and whether it looks like God is at work in our life or not, may we never forget that God is always at work for our good (See ROMANS 8:28) and that He can and will do more in one instant, than we can accomplish in our entire lifetime in our own strength.
ROMANS 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
The greatest injustice in history served as a platform for God to proclaim His indescribable love for us. He who had no sin, and no business being condemned and punished so brutally, freely laid down His life for us. As ROMANS 5:7 tells us, this ultimate sacrifice would make some sense if we were obedient, noble, God-seeking and God-honoring creatures, deserving of mercy and grace. However, we, by nature and by deeds, are hostile, rebellious, sinful God haters; and yet He died for us!
1 JOHN 4:19 tells us, "We love because He first loved us." There is only one response to experiencing, receiving and resting in this deep, radical love poured out on us by the supreme being in the universe. Our response is to, as wholeheartedly as we can, devote ourselves to loving God back, and loving others through Him (see MATTHEW 22:37-40)
The world can be seen as those whose lives have been renewed and transformed by the all-consuming love of Christ, and those who have yet to accept His love into their hearts. My prayer for each of us is to humbly admit our sin, and bask in the forgiveness and grace found in our Savior's love.
Whatever you do, please do not join the deceived and confused masses in today's trivial gospel who say, "Yes, I know Jesus loves me. I have experienced that love and forgiveness when I invited Jesus into my heart.", and whose lack of response says "Who cares? I'm glad I'm going to heaven, but other than that, this God's love and Jesus dying on the cross stuff is not a big deal. It will have little or no impact on my daily life"
ROMANS 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Easy to understand, but hard to fully accept. We do not get away with sin. The result of sin is death every time. How can we escape this unfathomable curse of being under God's wrath? What great work can we do to earn a right standing with a perfect God? There is no work good enough to satisfy our holy God. However, He took our sin on Himself. He paid the price and died our death. Now He offers us new Life as a free gift in Him: a gift to be accepted and eternally thankful for. What a gospel!
ROMANS 7:24 'What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
Modern society tells us we are basically good. Anything that might seem bad in us can either be overlooked, covered-up, or simply blamed on our parents, or some event in our childhood. The Bible, on the other hand, tells us the truth. At our core is an anti-God, sinful nature deserving of eternal separation/death apart from our loving Creator. We need someone to rescue us. We cannot save ourselves. The soul under conviction, in agony, cries out, "Who could possibly save someone as wretched as I?" ROMANS 7:25 gives the glorious answer.
God, in Jesus, saves us from the eternal penalty of sin. During our time on earth, He increasingly saves us from the power of sin in our lives. And one day, He will completely free us from the very presence of sin.
ROMANS 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Do we need to know anything else? What if this verse was actually true? What if an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God was constantly at work for your good? Would you ever need to worry? The verse claims God is at work "in all things" What is included in that word "all"? Marriage break-up, loss of job, injury, abuse, addiction, injustice, etc. Is there really no possible life scenario outside of God's watchful, loving, protective eye? When it seems like God is absent in a situation just remember that when God appeared powerless to stop the greatest injustice in history, He was actually at work completing the greatest miracle of all time in the resurrection of the Christ.
ROMANS 9:16 "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."
This verse sharply stings our pride. "Surely I get some credit for my salvation, don't I?" The Scripture is clear. "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (ISAIAH 64:6). We were born spiritually dead. (EPHESIANS 2:1) We did not choose Christ. He chose us. (JOHN 15:16) and made us alive in Him. (EPHESIANS 2:5). With our natural minds and desires hostile to God, (See ROMANS 8:7) we deserve God's wrath, and to be separated from Him forever. What love we receive as God, in rich mercy, separates our sin "as far as the east is from the west" (See PSALM 103:12) and calls us His children. (See 1 JOHN 3:1)
ROMANS 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
The resurrection turned the worst injustice in history into the greatest triumph of good over evil as Jesus won the ultimate victory over sin and death. (See 1 CORINTHIANS 15:54-57) Believers throughout the world are not just trying in their own strength to live up to some religious teachings and be good. Rather, we are by faith to die to ourselves, and daily live in the power of the resurrection live inside of us.
The confession of every authentic Christian is "Jesus is Lord!" He is exalted in the heavens and every knee bows before Him. (See PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11) "He calls the shots. Each morning and at every turn I trust Him to lead and guide me and literally to live His life through me." (See GALATIANS 2:20)
Today's trivial gospel clearly tells us that Jesus does not have to be Lord in our life. "Of course we should let him be Lord and try to listen to Him. After all, he is God and knows what's best for us and all that... but that's not the heart of the gospel. Today, there are so many other options that can dictate how we live our lives. As long as we agree to believe and learn how to say a list of things, the list doesn't necessarily have to mean much to us. Always remember, you should try to read the Bible, pray, and go to church to find out what God wants, but we (and God) understand if other passions of the world capture your heart and dictate your day to day life.
Jesus speaks strongly against those whose confession on the lips has not penetrated to their heart to transform their life. "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain..." (MATTHEW 15:8-9) and "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?" (LUKE 6:46)
ROMANS 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!"
Do you know God? I assume everyone reading this knows some things about God, but do you know Him? How well do you know Him? What is He like? What does He like? What are His plans for your life, or for our country? Do you want a pursuit worthy of our life on earth, a pursuit to satisfy even the biggest dreamer? Dive into the depths of fully knowing God.
The vast creation, the cross, the Scriptures, our salvation, God's outrageous promises, Jesus, our minds so fearfully and wonderfully made, the inward witness of the Holy Spirit; everywhere we turn, we get an invitation and inspiration to know our Creator God better and better. God says, "I reward those who earnestly seek me!" (See HEBREWS 11:6) Why not be one of the few in our generation who rejects today's "trivial gospel", takes God at His Word, and literally gets to deeply know God!
ROMANS 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Is God's way best? Will God's will for my life bring me more joy than if I ignore God, seeking just my pleasure? Most of us know what we should say. We have been taught well by our religion. "Yes, God knows what's best for me. I should go to church, read the Bible and pray a lot." But how many of us who know the "right answers" about God still have serious difficulty trusting Him, both with long term security and identity, as well as with day by day purpose, enjoyment, and emotions.
Today's verse tells us to break out of the world's way, even though it is more comfortable, predictable, and geared to my nature. Instead, we are to submit ourselves to God for Him to transform us by capturing and renewing our mind.
Is God's way really best? "Yes, that's what I have been taught to say and I think you should believe it too." Many have that answer. How about this answer?
Is God's way best? "I don't know yet. Because of what God has already shown me, and what He is doing in my life, I'm trusting that His way is best. I have to admit it's scary at times, when I can't see where He's leading. I sure hope His way is best because I'm banking everything on it. God helping me, I'm testing out and discovering His way at every turn. My prayer is more and more throughout this life I will be able to say with confidence and conviction. YES! God's will is good, pleasing and perfect! I have put it to the test, and by God's power alone, I am still living it!
ROMANS 13:8 "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."
Your life is not your own. You were bought with a price. (1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20) What price did you go for? Thirty pieces of silver? Thousands of pieces of gold? No, someone paid much more than that! You were bought with the precious blood of Christ. (See 1 PETER 1:18-19) God owns you...twice! He made you and then bought you. You are His slave (2 CORINTHIANS 5:15; JAMES 1:1) How can you thank God for saving you from Satan's control on your life? We thank God by loving others. What we do for other people, especially the least among us, we do for Christ. (See MATTHEW 25:31-46)
What can keep us from joyfully honoring God by pouring our life out for others? (See 2 TIMOTHY 4:6) Already being in less honorable debt. This chapter speaks against withholding the honor or respect we know others (especially authorities) deserve. We can also be financially in debt due to irresponsible spending and/or borrowing. "The borrower is servant to the lender" (PROVERBS 22:7) If you are caught in this trap, make every effort in Christ to get financially debt-free. God has enough joyfully "paying Him back" in love in store for us. We don't need the noose of financial debt around our neck as well.
ROMANS 14:8 "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."
There is nothing complex about the Christian Life; just simple conviction that our Lord Jesus Christ is literally worth living and dying for. Even though it is easy to understand God's claims on our lives, it is another thing altogether to die to self, and submit ourselves to a life and death consumed by Jesus Christ.
Lord, may we supernaturally see our sinfulness, and our inability to do anything of value outside of you. May we also see your worthiness and all that you can do in and through us as we offer our bodies as living sacrifices to you to use for our joy and fulfillment and for your glory.
I will jump to 1 and 2 PETER to give the Finalists some thoughts to chew on as you prepare for Nashville. I would love to hear any thoughts, insights, or observations from all you scholars who spent a large part of this summer deeply studying 1 and 2 PETER.
1 PETER 1:15 "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;"
Who is this God we worship? Who have we declared Lord and promised to follow all of our days? Is he a new and improved, heavenly friend who is in touch with all the new trends in psychology? A personal god who understands us and what we want and wants to give us what we want? A feel good god who is very much like us, except for when we are in a bad mood? The Scripture declares, "God is holy". He is separate from us. He does not waver according to the latest trend or "what do we want our god to be like?" poll.
God's awe inspiring holiness is clearly seen in the Old Testament. The chief priest was the only one who could stand in God's presence, and that only once a year. He entered with fear and trembling trusting that he kept all the strict stipulations and procedures blamelessly for fear of being killed. Moses and Joshua alone went up the mountain to meet with this fearful God. God often killed or banished those (Sabbath breakers, ark touchers, immature priests, diseased Jews, etc) who would treat Him, His people or His laws as less than holy. In the Old Testament everyone knew that God was holy and worthy of our praise.
In the New Testament many wrongly think that God has changed. "These days he doesn't care that much how we worship or live our lives, as long as we don't get caught doing anything outwardly terrible that could discredit Christianity." It's true that much of God's laws and stipulations have changed, but not because He doesn't care as much.
Jesus Christ died on the cross to show us how much this eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing God does care about every aspect of our short life on earth, even though we are but a speck. The blood of Jesus is to empower His body on earth to be holy as God is holy. How are we doing? The church is more worldly than ever before. Often it even boasts about it's worldly success. Our divorce and remarriage rate matches the world who has not asked the God of the universe to supernaturally join them in "holy" matrimony. Our reward and compensation system matches or tries hard to match the outside world who doesn't even claim to believe in heaven. Our greed and self-centerness often even surpasses the outside world whose concern for the down-trodden puts us to shame.
Today, the Biblical God is holy! He calls us to know Him, to fear Him, and worship Him. He asks us to follow Him in holiness that the unbelieving world might be able to discern a difference between the Creator God and what is not God.
Amen, Brother Walker!
Our God is immutable, and unfazed by the fads of man.
Nadab & Abihu learned the hardest way when they tried to change God's manner of worship in the newly-established tabernacle. Eli paid the price for allowing his sons to profane the tabernacle in their Levitical duties. Jesus refused to see His Father's temple corrupted by greedy commerce.
But these are actually extraordinary examples, where God "zapped" and chastised assigned leaders for their distortion of His prescription for how to worship at His House. Most of the time, God shows throughout Scripture, particularly in the Old Testament, that, though He will not hold anyone guiltless who defames His name, He is longsuffering in His wrath towards such offenders. In spite of years and years of Israel's priests ignoring His ceremonial laws and worshiping Him with their lips, while defying Him in their hearts, He did not finally take His glory and leave the temple until the time of Ezekiel. His prophets tirelessly tried to call His people to repentance, to no avail.
As you inferred, just because many in the church today may corrupt the worship time He's prescribed for His most holy day with man-made, pragmatic schemes and entertainment shows to "trick" the lost into stepping foot into the building, while true sheep go unfed and shepherdless, doesn't mean He has changed in His perfect holiness, nor is He lax in His ultimate judgment on disobedience and profanity. But because we don't see people getting "zapped," the wrong conclusion is being drawn that it must be okay with Him to worship Him in new, "relevant" way, as well as live any way we'd like.
The FEAR of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. We must meet Him where He is when it comes to holiness and our worship of Him. Praise Him that He is patient with us as we, by the power of His Holy Spirit, strive to reach such heights in our sanctification! Fear and trembling to those who disregard His holiness, and erroneously think that He can be dragged down to worldly levels of such muddied waters!
Be holy as [He] is holy! It doesn't get any more straightforward than that.
Loved reading your thoughts, Wretched Man. It looks like you have been meditating as much on ROMANS 2 as on 1 PETER with what you wrote. I agree that it can be easy, but also deadly to mistake God not zapping us like he did those OT examples you gave.
Would love to hear from more Bible Bee 1 and 2 PETER scholars as you join me in reflecting on these verses you studied.
PS I will be at Nationals and would love to get together with anyone for a ROMANS 1-2, as well as a 1 and 2 PETER quote
1 PETER 2:24 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."
Will we ever get close to understanding the love that drove Jesus Christ to the cross? We sinned, spitting in the face of our Creator; He took the punishment. What power is available for all who accept His unspeakable gift! Dead to sin; healed by the great Physician and alive in His righteousness to be all that God created us to be! O God, forgive us for the times we trivialize the cross and trade the truth of your transforming, glorious, eternal reality for earthly trinkets or our own fears, insecurity, foolish pride, or willing deception.
1 PETER 3:15 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"
Who is Jesus Christ to you? Is He Lord, your master who calls all the shots? (See LUKE 6:46) If so, you are one of a few people on earth who are rightly related to your Creator. Since every person will have to stand before our Creator God with eternity on the line, you have a wonderful hope worth sharing with the lost world all around us. I pray that you will take the time to pray and ask God to open the doors and point you to those who would be open to the truth. Prepare, then share, and in all things prayer as you trust God to work in and through you to touch others.
1 PETER 4:19 "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."
Suffer according to God's will? So all suffering is not necessarily from the devil? or the result of living ungodly lives? In today USA churches, we often define Christian living as being free from suffering. Christians are taught to hoard enough money so as to be untouched by any possible calamity and we are taught to build boundaries to keep needy people who might cause stress or suffering out of our lives. As we live happy, stress free, successful lives this is proof to the worldly, self-absorbed, unbelievers of God's blessing on us, and a wonderful witness to convince them that they should become one of us.
However, Biblical Christianity, historical Christianity, and even much of Christianity outside the USA is very different. Christianity embraces suffering and triumphs in the midst of and through suffering. Instead of building boundaries to keep suffering people away, Biblically and historically, Christians and Churches have often been a refuge, reaching out and touching the suffering ones throughout the world. Job, Joseph, David, Jeremiah, Hosea, Stephen, Paul and the other apostles suffered intensely. (See ACTS 5:41 and 9:16) Throughout the world today, persecuted Christians are often the poorest of the poor, trusting a living God (rather than the Almighty Dollar) to daily sustain and deliver them. Of course, our chief sufferer is our Lord Jesus Christ who was "despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (ISAIAH 53:3). In PHILIPPIANS 3:10 we are encouraged to join Paul in sharing in Christ's sufferings and are even told to "consider it pure joy when trials come our way." (See JAMES 1:2)
May we be thankful for our Godly heritage of trusting God in the midst of suffering. May we thank our Father for our brothers and sisters around the world who are courageously living for Jesus in the midst of unspeakable suffering, and may we praise Him that our salvation and eternal destiny far outweighs any suffering we currently are going through or that God will call us to in the future. (2 CORINTHIANS 4:17-18)
1 PETER 5:6 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
In our head we know that people die. Our life on earth will soon be over. We look up in the stars and realize, "If the God of the Bible really made all this, he must be very amazing and powerful" (See PSALM 19:1) One would think that the easiest thing in the world for man to do would be to be humble before Almighty Creator God. That's where our sinful, deceived, wicked heart comes in. (See JEREMIAH 17:9) We have no business exalting ourselves, and yet we do. PSALM 14:1 declares, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God" With his mouth, the fool might say all kinds of nice, religious truths, but in his heart he says, "I will never humble myself before God. I will be my own God. I will call my own shots." Has it ever amazed you that God notices when we are rightly humble before Him? Humility should come naturally given the speck we are compared to Almighty Creator God. But God knows our heart, and to Him it is a big deal when someone is authentically humble before Him. Will you humble yourself before Him today as the branch that can do nothing without being connected to the vine? (See JOHN 15:5) Trust Him that in His time, He can and will exalt all who are rightly humble before Him!! (See also Micah 6:8)
I started this with you a few years ago on your site. I never got all the way through. Thanks for the list and I hope to start these over again. Thanks for reminding how I got stated memorizing.