Today’s Verse: Hosea 2:19-20

I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.

— Hosea 2:19-20

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God longed for Israel to be faithful to him. Despite their unfaithfulness in the past, God offered his people forgiveness and hope, again and again, so they could be restored to a relationship with him. Now God reaches out to his New Covenant people, Jesus’ church, and offers this promise because of Jesus’ Passion and resurrection. Since the Lord was willing to pay such an incredibly high price to betroth us (2 Corinthians 11:2-3) to himself, forever, in love, righteousness, and justice, we MUST respond with appreciation and obedience so we can celebrate the lavish wedding feast of Jesus and his bride (Revelation 19:97-8). Let’s acknowledge the Lord and live faithfully anticipating this glorious day!

My Prayer…

Dear Heavenly Father, God of compassion, forgive us, your people — both under the previous covenant and now under the New Covenant through Jesus. Forgive us for our unfaithfulness. Open our eyes to your gracious and steadfast love. Help us as we seek to respond with obedience to your love, faithfulness, righteousness, and love-based justice. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Genesis 2:18

Today's Verse: Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

— Genesis 2:18

Thoughts on Today's Verse...

Two powerful principles are presented here. First, God looks out for us and blesses us with what we need most. Second, God made most of us for a relationship with him and a husband or wife — someone of the opposite gender to be our complement. Yes, Matthew 19:10-11 and 1 Corinthians 7:32-38 both emphasize that some are gifted to be single, and these folks should seek to live a single life fully and faithfully honoring God. Most, however, were made to be complete by sharing our lives with another. Marriage and a godly spouse are gifts from God and are designed into the fabric of our humanity. Let's live like they are!

My Prayer...

Holy God, we want to thank you for looking out for our needs. So many times, we ask you for what we want, not what we need. Thank you for doing what is best for us, not just what we desire! Now, dear Father, help us treat the significant people in our lives as gifts from you. And for those of us who are married, we ask for your help to live faithfully with our spouse, honor them, and bring them companionship, pleasure, and partnership. For those of us who are single, we ask that we can live joyously and faithfully and as a blessing to those you bring into our lives. In the name of Jesus, your ultimate gift, I pray. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Isaiah 2:17-18

The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear.

— Isaiah 2:17-18

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Sometimes, when we are “too big for our britches,” we find ourselves humbled by a natural disaster, world war, incurable disease, economic depression, or widespread social disorder. Our arrogance functions as a predictor of our own impending fall. Is there a general principle of our universe at work here? (“Pride goes before a fall.”) Is this the active discipline of God at work? (“God disciplines those he loves.”) I guess the answer is “Yes!” to both questions. God and his world remind us that there is so much about our lives we can’t control. This passage goes beyond the general principles and promises an ultimate day when human arrogance will be eliminated and all false gods disappear. On that day, God’s children will rejoice and be glad! Until then, let’s walk humbly with our God and anticipate the day Jesus returns, arrogance is brought down, and pride is exchanged for humility. O, what a glorious day that will be!

My Prayer…

Dear Father in heaven, please humble me gently. I don’t want to lose my awareness of your abiding presence by becoming too full of myself. Neither do I want to bring disaster upon myself or those I love because of my arrogance. Please give me an undivided heart, dear Father, a heart devoted to you out of appreciation for your grace, mercy, and love. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Malachi 2:16

“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, …”So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.”

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

My heart breaks for those who hear these words of this verse and feel a shattering in their souls because of what they have endured. God hates the pain, damage, loss, sorrow, and physical damage you carry. We mourn with those who had to leave their marriage to find spiritual, emotional, and physical protection. In our throw-away world, God hates when people are abandoned and when we break our lives through our unrighteous behaviors. We want our spirits to be holy. We don’t want our hearts corrupted by selfishness and resentment. We choose NOT to break faith by treating those closest to us with contempt, neglect, or abuse. When people are broken by what causes divorce and the consequences of it, let’s find them, include them, and bring them home to God’s family for healing. Let’s especially be sensitive and supportive of children caught between divorcing parents. Let’s remember that God hates divorce and what causes it, but he does not say, “I hate the divorced.” All sin is forgivable when we genuinely repent and reorient our lives to God (1 John 1:5-102:1-2).

My Prayer…

Almighty God, please make our words strong, our commitments lasting, and our lives faithful to our promises to you and each other. Bless those whose hearts have been shattered by spouses who have treated them unfairly, abusively, and unfaithfully. Thank you for the beautiful examples of many who have had strong marriages. Thank you for those who have stumbled but come back to you, confessed their sins, and gone on to build godly relationships and marriages. Please bless me and my house with a legacy of faithfulness that lasts generations after us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Philippians 2:14-15

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

— Philippians 2:14-15

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

We shouldn’t be surprised that unbelievers around us have different values than we do. After all, a star isn’t surprised that it shines in the great expanse of darkness surrounding it. You see, a star and a disciple of Jesus share a primary purpose: shining light into the darkness, no matter how great that darkness! So, when it’s hard to shine, let’s remember we are stars in profound darkness; without us, all anyone can see is the darkness! Once we realize we are made to shine in the darkness, our need to complain can be curtailed, and reasons to argue are lost in the face of such a great need for us to be stars that shine!

My Prayer…

Holy and righteous Lord, I can only anticipate the day I see your glory and stand in your presence. Please give me the courage and integrity to be a light to those around me, overwhelmed by the darkness. In Jesus’ name, I pray to have this redemptive influence, to your glory. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Habakkuk 2:14

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

— Habakkuk 2:14
Habakkuk sees the worthlessness of what most people live to achieve and work to own. He says right before our verse, “Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing” (Habakkuk 2:13). But God promises us — his children — that our lives can matter more than fruitless labor and perishable acquisitions. We can live for him and to experience him and his glory. God will one day make his presence fully known to those who love him (1 John 3:1-3). What a glorious day when this promise is fully realized! Let’s make every effort and commit ourselves to making our glorious God known to every nation, tribe, language, and people (Revelation 7:9-12) so they can share in this flood of grace God has promised his children!

My Prayer…

Almighty God, please lead me to someone who needs to know your salvation. Please bless your servants worldwide as they share your message with others. Please give them success and hasten the day this glorious promise is fully realized. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Joel 2:13

[The Lord declares,] “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

— Joel 2:13

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

One of the most amazing things about our God, the Lord God, is that he is so gracious and compassionate. This is true even when we’ve “blown it big time.” He longs to forgive and cleanse when we sin, not condemn and punish us. His grace rushes to greet our genuine heartbreak and heart change with forgiveness, cleansing, and redemption. But God is not about playing religious games or practicing empty religious rituals that are not heartfelt. Our repentance must come from a heart genuinely committed to turn back to the Lord and live for him!

My Prayer…

Dear Father, when I sin, please help me see my sin as you see it. I want my heart to break over my sin when I’ve rebelled against you. I don’t want to ever become callused or cold to your graciousness. I always want to appreciate the high cost you paid to redeem, forgive, and cleanse me with your grace in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Jeremiah 2:12-13

“Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Where do you turn to have the thirst of your soul slaked? I firmly believe that many addictive habits and sins are the result of pursuing things to satisfy this thirst in our soul by some means other than seeking God. He is the only source of true and lasting refreshment, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Let’s pursue God, knowing that only he can satisfy the desires of our souls. All other things we pursue in God’s place leave us parched and empty of the water our souls need!

My Prayer…

Thank you, O God, for caring that my soul thirsts with soul-level thirst. Thank you for providing your Living Water through the Holy Spirit to satisfy this longing deep within my soul. Help me see the deceptiveness of every false source of satisfaction so that I can find my thirst properly and fully satisfied in you. In Jesus’ name, I ask this. Amen.

Today’s Verse: Proverbs 2:11

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

— Proverbs 2:11

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

I have made my greatest mistakes when I made decisions, commitments, and plans in haste — when I didn’t allow unrushed time to consider what I should decide, do, or say. While discretion and understanding are partially acquired through learning and experience, they are also a gift from God. This gift doesn’t come on demand, especially when we rush God for his answers to us. Discretion comes from patiently seeking, trusting, and waiting on the Lord‘s guidance through the Holy Spirit and from a heart saturated in longing to live for him with holy character, regardless of the rewards or costs.


Forgive me, Father. I know I am sometimes more of a “character” rather than a person of holy character. Forgive my selfish desire to play to the crowd. I confess that I sometimes try to be witty and accepted rather than being a person of discretion, understanding, and integrity. Please help me, dear Lord, to see through the temptations of haste and acceptance by the crowd and find your path to integrity. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.