Tuesday, January 24, 2017

favorite bible verses

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YouVersion is a bible app that has been called "the world's most popular Bible program for mobile phones". It was started by a church from Oklahoma in 2008 and soon went regional, national, and then world-wide, and now features 1450 Bible versions in over 1000 languages.

There was an article recently in Christianity Today about the most popular Bible verse in the world according to YouVersion.

The verse is Romans 8:28 - "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”

That's not too surprising. It's a very well known and important verse. Romans chapter 8 is one of the most powerful and profound chapters in the whole Bible.

The surprising thing to me is some of the other favorite Bible verses from around the world. Romans 8:28 was the overall favorite Bible verse in 2016, but when you look at individual nations and their favorite verses, it becomes very interesting indeed.  

For example, the nations of Israel and Afghanistan had the very same favorite Bible verse - along with France, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Cyprus. What's the Bible verse? Zechariah 14:9 - “The Lord will be king over the whole earth; on that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.”

I don't have to tell you that Zechariah 14:9 doesn’t typically show up on the lists of favorite Bible verses. But last year, these words from the Old Testament prophet Zechariah showed up as the top verse on YouVersion with the most highlights, bookmarks, and shares in two countries with little else in common - Israel and Afghanistan.

What does this mean? It means that even though Israel and Afghanistan are very different countries with very distinct cultures, their people are basically the same. They have the same wants, needs, hopes, dreams, and desires. And the people who are reading the Bible in both of these nations are longing for God to return as King, to come down from heaven to earth, to rule and reign with justice and righteousness, to come down and bring everything back to the way it was supposed to be.

How about you? What's your favorite Bible verse? If you don't have one yet, Zechariah 14:9 might be a good place to start.

“The Lord will be king over the whole earth; on that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.”


Thursday, January 12, 2017

what a difference a day makes

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Too often in our world, the nice day before turns into the terrible day after. The day before cancer, before the heart attack, before the bad car accident. What a difference a day makes.

There was a day before these events. A day with no thought of pain or death. A day of work, school, chores, dinner, and bills. A day spent with family and friends. A day with no thoughts of eternity or heaven. No thoughts of meeting your maker or meeting your doom. The assumption that tomorrow would be pretty much just like today. Not a second thought about any unexpected turn of events.

We all live in those days before. We are living them right now. There was a day before Pearl Harbor Day. There was a day before 9-11. We are living out those days right now. The sobering fact is that sometimes tomorrow doesn't always give us a second chance. There may be a different tomorrow on our schedule entirely. We just don’t know it today.

So who are you going to be today, tomorrow, in this new year, before you're compelled to be someone else? Who are you going to be - and what are you going to do? What are you living for? And what are you prepared to die for? How will you show forth who you are and what you believe? Your life is an accumulation of what you believe to be true each and every day.

Imagine that there is a world bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. However, it debits what is left over at the end of the day. Every evening, it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every penny, of course!

The truth is that each one of us has such a bank in our lives. But instead of money it gives us time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest for good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the day’s deposits; the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow." You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get the most from it. The clock is running, it is your future. Make the most of today.

It's a brand new day. 2017 is a whole new year. So as you bask in the glow of Christmas and Epiphany, here are a few things to consider in your new life this new year ...

Strive to live your life each day this new year as if the Gospel is really true.
Commit to fully living out your new life in Christ each and every day.
Lay down your sin and take up the good news of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.
Let go of old grudges and any nagging guilt. Live your life determined to be useful and joyful.
Live each day in a such a way that, should all things change tomorrow, you will give witness to the unshakeable and unchangeable truth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

After all, the whole reason Jesus came on that first Christmas was to give you a new life. He was born of a virgin so that He could grow up to be a man and stand in your place, to do what you couldn't do for yourself, to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death for you on the cross, to pay the penalty for your sins, and on the third day rise again, so that all who believe in Him may be raised to new life as well. Oh, what a difference a day makes!

He comes to make all things new - and that includes me and you. Every morning that God in His grace chooses to give you, tell yourself that this is a special day. This is the day the Lord has made - I will rejoice and be glad in it. This is a special day, because it is one of the last days, one of the days of God's new creation, one of the days of God's salvation in Christ.

The Lord is at hand - His coming is near - the night is nearly over - the day is almost here.
And on that day, all those who are in Christ will surely say - what a difference a day makes!

ht - internet monk