Handwriting on the Heart

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. — Deuteronomy 17:18-20

One of the most fascinating requirements for Israel’s king was that of making a personal copy of the law. Can you imagine a head of state of any modern nation spending time in their office making handwritten copies of legislation? We would expect many other important governmental activities to take precedence over the chore of copying the law.

In Israel, however, no responsibility was more important than allowing God’s Word to permeate the king’s mind and heart. His commitment to God and obedience to God’s law were essential to his effectiveness as a leader.

In a technological age that requires instant communication to keep up with fast-paced business, we have grown accustomed to skimming, speed-reading and glancing over summaries. We rarely take time to allow written words to sink deep into our hearts. Often we bring these fast-paced habits to our Bible study as well, missing much of what God wants to say to us.

Something happens when we slow down long enough to copy God’s Word, literally word for word, onto a page or journal. We discover features about familiar stories that we’ve never noticed before. Phrases we’ve taken for granted suddenly stir questions or break open with new meaning. Images we’ve skimmed over in the past beckon us to reflect upon them. Truths we’ve avoided can no longer be neglected.

The act of copying the law brought specific benefits to the king and the people he served. He learned to fear and obey the Lord and received instruction on how to live humbly as God’s servant. As he copied the law, the king was repeatedly reminded of the blessings of following God and the dreadful consequences of turning away. When the king copied the law, the greatest blessing of all came to those who came after him, for the king could then pass on to them the legacy of God’s grace.


Finding Peace When Feeling Anxious

The apostle Paul certainly had plenty of reasons to feel anxious. Sitting in a Roman prison, he didn’t know if he would be released or put to death. Writing to the believers in Philippi, however, he urged them, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6).

Anxiety and its companion, worry, do their best to immobilize believers. People are anxious about the future; they are anxious about events that haven’t happened but could happen. Anxiety causes physical problems. Anxiety makes people fearful and distressed.

So, what can believers do about their anxiety? Paul gave the answer: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” When we give our anxiety to God, he replaces it with his peace “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). God’s peace is beyond comprehension because it makes no sense — the circumstances seem to require anxiety, but instead we feel God’s peace. When we feel anxiety rising, we should turn to God in prayer. He will give us the peace he promised.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
— Psalm 121

God is Bigger

Depression. Fear. Loss. Injustice. Violence. Addiction. Bullying. Insecurity. Joblessness. Anxiety.

Cultural tragedies and personal challenges are vast and can quickly trigger feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. While the sources of stress and worry may change over time, the need for hope and peace does not. As Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33“In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

God is bigger than anything that comes our way, and he promises to be with us through the peace he gives. In John 14:27, Jesus tells his disciples he will send the Holy Spirit when he returns to the Father, and he encourages us today with this: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” These words still encourage us today.

This call to not be troubled or afraid is timely and timeless — in this life we will always need relief from our anxiety and fear. As you read the Bible, consider highlighting verses on hope and peace to begin building a lifelong reference for help in anxious times built on the bedrock of God’s Word.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:7

This article is drawn from introductory content in the NIV Find Peace New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs.


NIV Find Peace New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs

Feeling anxious, uncertain, or worried? This New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs includes highlighted Bible passages about hope and comfort in God, so you can quickly find reassurance and relief directly from Scripture. Learn More

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Let God’s Truth Impact Your Action

What happens when people act in direct opposition to what they know is right? This activity happens in all spheres of life —

• A person who’s trying hard to lose weight consistently binges on pizza and ice cream and disappointment ensues…
• An individual commits a crime, victims suffer and the perpetrator risks jail time…
• A husband or wife chooses to engage in an extramarital affair, the marriage is damaged—sometimes beyond repair—and children suffer the consequences…
• A CEO decides to overlook or even encourage accounting inconsistencies, corporations fail, high-level indictments follow and investors lose their savings.

What do all of these scenarios have in common? Every one of these accounts, as well as countless other failure-filled stories, can trace its origin to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:1-15, we see a glimpse of the first failure to follow a direct command from God and the devastating results of that failure. We see the repercussions of this disobedience reflected in the daily news—and, if we’re honest, reflected in our own darkened hearts.

At first, Adam and Eve were sure of God’s instructions. There was no doubt. They knew exactly what God wanted because they received their marching orders straight from the Creator himself.

Still, a simple challenge (“Did God really say . . . ?”) from the serpent shook Eve’s confidence to the core. Once she questioned what she knew to be true, she became vulnerable to Satan’s temptation. When she and Adam then acted in violation of God’s direct command, sin invaded what had been an unimaginably perfect paradise.

Spiritually speaking, what are you sure of beyond the shadow of a doubt? What do you know to be true? Where does your certainty come from?

These are important questions to answer because you face tests every day that can undermine your biblical marching orders. People may accuse you of being narrow-minded: “How can you say Jesus is the only way to God?” Some may appeal to your sense of freedom: “Doesn’t God want you to have any fun?” Still others might attack the source of your trust: “The Bible is full of inconsistencies, and you’re choosing to base your life on this book?”

How prepared are you for the assaults that will come your way? Do you have a tight grip on God’s truth? Think about this today: How will God’s truth impact your actions—from the time you set foot on the floor in the morning to the minute you go to bed tonight?

Deeper Reflection

1. What are your core faith beliefs—the spiritual truths you are sure of? Take a minute and write down three or four statements that sum up these truths.

2. When was the last time someone challenged your faith? How did you respond to the challenge? What would you do differently next time?

Devotional from the NIV Men’s Devotional Bible.


NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Written by men, for men, the NIV Men’s Devotional Bible helps you apply God’s Word to your everyday life. The standard in men’s devotional Bibles, it includes a full year of devotions along with application statements, questions for reflections, and more. Learn More

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Sanctification (1)


This is the will of God, your sanctification…  1 Thessalonians 4:3

The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Sanctification requires our coming to the place of death, but many of us spend so much time there that we become morbid. There is always a tremendous battle before sanctification is realized— something within us pushing with resentment against the demands of Christ. When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts immediately. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate…his own life…he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

In the process of sanctification, the Spirit of God will strip me down until there is nothing left but myself, and that is the place of death. Am I willing to be myself and nothing more? Am I willing to have no friends, no father, no brother, and no self-interest— simply to be ready for death? That is the condition required for sanctification. No wonder Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us falter. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ on this point. We say, “But this is so strict. Surely He does not require that of me.” Our Lord is strict, and He does require that of us.

Am I willing to reduce myself down to simply “me”? Am I determined enough to strip myself of all that my friends think of me, and all that I think of myself? Am I willing and determined to hand over my simple naked self to God? Once I am, He will immediately sanctify me completely, and my life will be free from being determined and persistent toward anything except God (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

When I pray, “Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,” He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts in me— it is Himself in me (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Psalms 31-32; Acts 23:16-35