Daily Devotions, News and Information

Charles Stanley – God’s Call to Repentance


Luke 15:11-24

In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger brother asked for his inheritance early so he might live as he chose. Once the father gave him his share, the young man made many unwise choices that led to hunger and destitution. What happened next illustrates the principles of godly repentance.

After squandering all of his money, the wayward son found work feeding pigs, a bottom-of-the-barrel kind of job. One day he came to his senses and recognized his terrible plight. His repentance began with an awareness of his wrong choices and the fact that his bad situation was due to them.

Knowing that his difficulties came from unrighteous behavior, the prodigal grieved over his mistakes and acknowledged his sin (Luke 15:18). He declared he was no longer worthy to be his father’s son. Godly sorrow and confession led the young man to leave that place and go home. His repentance was made complete when he turned away from his old ways and returned to his father. The Lord likewise calls us to repent and return to Him.

What a welcome the prodigal son received! Upon seeing him, the father was filled with compassion and ran to embrace him. Forgiveness and acceptance were extended to the son. Both are blessings that God freely offers to whoever asks Him.

The prodigal son did not clean himself up before returning home. He simply left his old life, turned toward home, and trusted in his father’s mercy. The heavenly Father calls us to repent and offers us forgiveness when we turn away from our self-centered ways and move toward godliness (1 John 1:9).

Bible in One Year: Luke 14-16


Our Daily Bread — Stage by Stage

Read: Numbers 33:1-15, 36-37

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 12-14; 2 Timothy 1

At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey.—Numbers 33:2

Numbers 33 is a chapter in the Bible we might pass by without reflection. It appears to be nothing more than a long list of places tracing Israel’s pilgrimage from Rameses in Egypt to their arrival in the plains of Moab. But it must be important because it’s the only section in Numbers that follows with the words: “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded . . .” (v. 2).

Why keep a record of this? Could it be that this list provides a framework upon which the Israelites emerging from the wilderness could retrace that forty-year journey in their thoughts and recall God’s faithfulness at each location?

I envision an Israelite father, sitting near a campfire, reminiscing with his son: “I will never forget Rephidim! I was dying of thirst, nothing but sand and sage for hundreds of miles. Then God directed Moses to take his staff and strike a rock—actually a hard slab of flint. I thought, What a futile gesture; he’ll never get anything out of that stone. But to my amazement water gushed out of that rock! A generous flow that satisfied the thirst of the thousands of Israelites. I’ll never forget that day!” (see Ps. 114:8; Num. 20:8-13; 33:14).

So why not give it a try? Reflect on your life—stage by stage—and remember all the ways God has shown you His faithful, covenant love. —David Roper

Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Johnson Oatman Jr.

For reflection on the faithfulness of God, listen to this Discover the Word program: discovertheword.org/faithfulness.

God’s faithfulness extends to all generations.

INSIGHT: Stage by stage God leads His dear children along. Sometimes (as in Israel’s case), God’s leading in our lives may seem quite mystifying; we may feel we are traveling in circles. Nevertheless, when we trust in the Lord, He will direct us (Prov. 3:5-6). God is faithful to all who put their trust in Him.  Jim Townsend



Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Poverty of Words

I remember the time when my son had to go through a very simple surgery when he was five years old. He was not able to breathe properly, so the doctors had to remove some extra tissue surrounding his nostril and nasal passages. During the hours and days after his surgery, my once-a-chatterbox son had become completely quiet. Because of the fear of being hurt if he spoke, he quit using words for his way of communication. It was overwhelming to see my boy struggling to express himself in that condition.

As I assisted my son get back to talking, I could not help but think of how unexpectedly Zechariah lost his speech after he questioned the angel who brought him such good news about a long-waited child in his old age.(1) In Zechariah’s case, the temporary loss of words was something of an acknowledgement of the promised child he doubted, a child who would prepare the way for the Messiah. Though he knew why he was made silent, I am sure he felt restless until he held his son in his arms and was finally able to describe his emotions properly.

There are spiritual retreat centers in various locations around the world, which offer “Silent Weeks” to those who are over-exhausted from excessive communication. During these weeks, individuals are banned from verbal communication in order to quiet themselves internally. The goal is simply to bring back the core purpose of real interaction: tending to what is being said in reality.

When the words are taken from us either because of the inability to speak or the lack of verbal direction, we become strangely poor, almost incomplete. There are two sides of this poverty: one is internal, losing the comfort of one’s capability to express oneself fully. The other is external, as one finds no real guidance to turn to for wisdom. In my opinion, the latter has eternal ramifications if not satisfied in a timely manner.

Similar to these weeks, biblical history claims there was a time when God stopped talking. Between the periods from the prophet Malachi until the first written words of Matthew’s gospel, we do not read any account of God communicating to his people through words. Humankind experienced a poverty of words, a lack of communication and intervention from the creator. It was a long pause before the grand entrance of God into this silence, fully revealing God’s essence by identifying who God is, as the ultimate Word, Jesus Christ.


John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Law Arouses Sin

“But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead” (Romans 7:8).

When confronted with God’s holy law, sinful men are motivated not to obey it, but to break it.

It is a perverse fact of fallen human nature that the surest way to get people to do things is to tell them not to do them. When people see a sign reading “Keep off the grass!” or “Don’t pick the flowers!” their first impulse is often to trample the grass and take some flowers.

The same is true in the spiritual realm. God’s law reveals what is right and what is wrong—and sinful men choose to do what is wrong. In his classic allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan vividly depicts the seemingly paradoxical truth that the law does not restrain sin but stirs it up. In the house of Interpreter, Christian was shown a large, dust-filled room. A man with a broom, representing the law, appeared and began to sweep. The resulting dust cloud nearly choked Christian. Bunyan’s point was that just as sweeping a dusty room does not remove the dust but only stirs it up, so the law does not restrain sin but merely aggravates it.

Does that mean the law is evil? Certainly not. “The Law is holy” (Rom. 7:12) since it derives from a holy God. And it does sinners good by exposing their sin and revealing to them their need for a Savior. The law, then, is not the culprit—sin is.


Wisdom Hunters – Before You Even Ask 

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:7-8

I believe the Lord teaches us profound truths about life and faith through our children, especially when they are young. If you are a parent or have spent any time around children, you know this to be true. At times, without even knowing it, in a single sentence they can speak a deeper truth about God than an entire sermon or book on the same topic!

In my own life, my children have taught me a great deal about how to approach God in prayer. Prayer for them is never a display of the sincerity of their piety or the depths of their Biblical knowledge. Prayer is instead the simple request from the heart of a child, offered to a heavenly Father that they believe hears them, loves them, and desires a relationship with them. They also remind me of the profound truth of Jesus’s words in Matthew 6: God knows the needs and desires of our hearts before we ever speak a single word.

The Lord knows us and loves us more than we even know and love ourselves. The concerns, burdens, bruises, and hurts that we carry with us are already known by a God who deeply desires to wash our wounds and heal us from the inside out. Your connection to God in prayer is never based upon the eloquence or length of your prayers but upon the fact that God is a loving Father who has called you his son or his daughter.

Prayer is never a transactional agreement but is always an exchange of love where we encounter the goodness and faithfulness of God and we in turn respond with a renewed, childlike faith.


Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Everyone Has a Plan

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Recommended Reading

Jeremiah 29:1-11

Boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” It’s amazing how easily our plans are derailed. If you’ve ever planned a trip, a church event, a family gathering, or the launch of a business plan, you know to expect the unexpected. Sometimes life punches us in the mouth.

Our Almighty God has a plan for our lives, and His plans are never derailed. In Jeremiah 29, the prophet Jeremiah warned his people of coming judgment and impending invasion. The nation of Judah was about to be punched in the mouth. But God’s plans were undeterred, and Jeremiah reassured them of their eventual return and restoration to the land. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you… plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

It’s important to plan and prepare for life. But if your plans have suffered a setback, don’t let discouragement overtake your mind. Your heavenly Father loves you, He knows all about it, and His plans will unfold with grace and mercy, in His timing, and for His glory.

Sometimes our plans don’t work out because God has better ones.



Luke 13 – 15



Joyce Meyer – A Heart of Obedience

But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed- Romans 6:17

Paul wrote that the believers in Rome were obedient with all their heart. This was important because it is possible to have halfhearted obedience—to be reluctantly obedient in behavior, but not be joyfully obedient with all your heart.

Obeying what God says is not just a matter of putting on a show, but a matter of having the right attitude. When you really want to please the Lord, you can’t wait to follow His direction and instructions for your life.

I want to encourage you to come up higher in your obedience. Be quick to obey, radical and joyful in your obedience. Don’t be the kind of person God has to deal with for weeks just to get you to do the simplest little thing. Gladly do what God asks of you.

Obedience is more than a spiritual obligation—it is a spiritual opportunity! Your obedience to God will ultimately be rewarded. Obedience sows the seed necessary to bring another blessing into your life. You can never outgive God; He will always reward your seeds of obedience.

A heart of obedience results in the blessing of God on your life.

From the book Closer to God Each Day by Joyce Meyer



Girlfriends in God – Put It In Re-verse

Today’s Truth

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

Psalm 34:5

Friend to Friend

If you’ve been around Christian believers for any length of time then you have probably heard people talking about their “life verse.” Having a life verse isn’t a Biblical mandate and it doesn’t make anyone sprout wings of holiness, but it’s a thing. A thing that often redirects us to God’s Word. Which is always good.

Back in the day of Joshua, the people of Israel were led through the Jordan River when the Lord made a miraculous way. After they reached the other side safely, God told the leaders to go back into the water and gather 12 large stones, one to represent each tribe, and to place them by the water’s edge. The stones became a visual reminder of the deliverance that they’d experienced at the hands of God.

Life verses are a remembrance stone of sorts. They are usually a verse that reminds people of Biblical promises or of a special time in their lives when they experienced the powerful presence of God. Sometimes a life verse is a scripture that reminds us not to worry, like Philippians 4:6 – or verses that reminds us of God’s inseparable love, like Romans 8:37-39.

I have more than one life verse {overachiever alert.} One is Psalm 105:4, because it instructs my heart of what is most important. “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” Love it. I need to remind my heart of which direction it should face.


Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Will Rejoice

“You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22).

Once you and I truly experience the joy of the Lord, no one can rob us of that joy!

That does not mean that we will never experience disappointment, sorrow or grief; but it does mean that deep down underneath it all is the joy that comes as a gift from God, the fruit of the Spirit. And that is the kind of joy that no one can take away.

Underneath the tears, the heartache, lies the calm, sweet peace that God gives tothose who walk in faith and obedience. And that is a part of the joy that He promises.

Jesus’ promise to see His disciples again, of course, refers to after the resurrection. “You will be so firmly persuaded that I have risen,” He says to them, “and that I am the Messiah, that neither the threats nor the persecutions of men will ever be able to shake your faith, or produce doubt or unbelief and thus take away your joy.”

Jesus’ prediction, as we know, was remarkably fulfilled, for after He revealed Himself to them following the resurrection, not one of the apostles ever doubted for a moment that He has risen from the dead. No trial or persecution was able to shake their faith – so that their joy remained.

You and I have certainties of faith that are unshakable, and thus they produce joy – joy that will remain forever and ever.

Bible Reading: John 16:20-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will remember to praise and thank God for the unshakable joy that He alone gives.



Ray Stedman – Of First Importance

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

There are three elements of the gospel. First, Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. Isn’t it amazing that he does not mention a word about the whole life of Jesus? That is rather startling, but that is where the gospel begins. He does not even say, Christ died. Ask people today what the gospel is and this is often what they will say, Well, Jesus lived and died. No, that is not the gospel. Everyone believes that Jesus died. Go to any of the modern presentations of the life of Jesus and you will find they all end at the death of Jesus. But there is no good news in that. The good news is Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures . The scriptures tell us that his death accomplished something for us. It changed us, it delivered us, it set us free. That death had great significance in the mind and heart and eyes of God, and that is the good news. As Peter puts it in his words, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, (1 Peter 2:24 RSV). Or, to use the words of Isaiah, He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed, (Isaiah 53:5 KJV).

The second element of the gospel is that Jesus not only died for our sins according to the scriptures but he was also buried. Why does Paul include the burial of Jesus? Is it not enough that Jesus died and rose again? The reason for it is that when his disciples came and took the body of Jesus down from the cross, it marked their acceptance of the fact of his death. Did you ever realize how hard it was for them to accept the fact that he died? They did not want to believe it when he himself told them that was what he was going to do. When it happened they went away stunned and unbelieving. But somewhere along the line some realist among them faced up to it and said, We have got to go get his body, and bury him. Joseph of Arimathea came forward and offered a tomb, and with loving hands they took his body down from the tree. They wrapped it in grave clothes, bound it tightly. They embalmed him with spices, and then they placed him in a tomb where he lay for three days and three nights. There is no question that the disciples believed that he was dead. They could never have entertained any idea that he had merely fainted on the cross, or entered into a coma, for they themselves had performed the burial service. That is why Paul adds that here. It marked the acceptance of the disciples that Jesus was truly dead.


Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Beginning of New Life in Christ

READ: Romans 10:9-15

Savior, thank you for those who have shared the good news with me. Help me to respond to it in a way that brings new life for myself and many others. Amen.

Starting over is possible because of God’s grace. God’s grace enables us to begin a new life in Jesus Christ. We may not get our job back or our marriage restored. However, we can gain a restored relationship with God.

God makes that possible through the gift of Jesus Christ, the one who came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). This salvation is available through repentance and faith. We must tell God we are sorry for our sin and place our trust in Jesus to forgive us.

If we confess and believe, the Bible doesn’t say we might be saved or we could be saved. It says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

Have you confessed your sin to God and asked him to forgive you? Have you trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior? Empowered by the Holy Spirit, are you striving to live in a way that shows him to be the Lord of your life?

Through Christ, the lost are found, those dead in sin are granted eternal life, and the perishing are saved. This is the new beginning everyone needs! Have you experienced the beginning of new life in Christ? Are you sharing the good news with others who desperately need to hear it?


Savior, thank you for those who have shared the good news with me. Help me to respond to it in a way that brings new life for myself and many others. Amen.


Greg Laurie – A Warped Concept of God

“And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.” —Matthew 25:25

I think somewhere in our minds as believers, we expect serving the Lord or using what God has given us to be drudgery . . . hard . . . difficult . . . unpleasant . . . no fun.

In the parable of the talents, that is what the third servant thought. He had a warped concept of his master. He said to him, “I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours” (Matthew 25:24–25).

So essentially the master said, “All right. You say that I am a hard man, harvesting crops that don’t belong to me. If that is so, then why didn’t you invest my money?”

You see, this man’s concept of his master was wrong. He thought his master was something he was not. In the same way, some people have a warped concept of God. They are afraid to say to Him, “Here is my life, Lord. Here is my future. Here are my resources. Here is my time. It is now dedicated to Your glory.”

They would never say that because they think God would make their lives miserable. That was the problem with this third servant. He had a false concept of his master.

Many of us are afraid of God, but that fear is not a godly reverence for Him. We are afraid of what He will do to us, afraid that He will ruin our lives. It’s time for us to realize that the greatest joy in life is serving the Lord. It is not drudgery; it’s joy. It is life as it’s meant to be lived.



Kids 4 Truth International – The LORD Is a Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Do you know what a “first responder” is? There are teams of men and women who are trained to be able to come help in an emergency situation. They are supposed to be always ready in case an emergency happens nearby them. They practice, and they stay alert so that they can be the first people on the scene if there is a car accident or another kind of crisis where somebody might be seriously hurt. First responders are trained to give medical help to people right after an accident, so that they are taken care of until they can be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

We can be very thankful for first responders. Paramedics, firefighters, EMTs, and all kinds of people are trained to act in an emergency, when people need help most desperately. If you call 9-1-1, someone will respond to your call for help. They will come right away. They will come as soon as they possibly can. And they will come faster than any other help can get there.

But you know what? They are not already there. Do you realize that God is always already there? The Bible says He is “our refuge and strength,” a “very present help” when we are in times of trouble. To be a “present help” is to be right there already. Even the fastest first responders cannot reach you in an emergency faster than God can. We don’t even have to dial 9-1-1 in order to cry out to God in an emergency. He is already there, because He is always present with us.

What a comfort it is to know that God is always with us! Even when we have to wait for other people to come help, or if we just feel alone and need someone with us – God is already there. Are you living like you believe that God is a “very present help in trouble”?

Because He is always with us, God is already there when we need Him.

My Response:

» Do I feel worried or lonely when my friends and family are not around me?

» Do I forget that I can trust God to be there for me when I need Him?

» How can I show in my own “first responses” that I am trusting the LORD more than anyone or anything else?



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Bookends

Today’s Scripture: 2 Peter 3:18

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ”

As we consider various means by which Christians grow, think of each one of them as a book you’re putting on the shelf of your life. In order to keep those books in place, you need two bookends.

The first bookend we need is the righteousness of Christ. The most important question any person can ask is: how can I, a sinful person, be accepted by an infinitely holy and righteous God? Paul told us that it’s by trusting in the righteousness of Christ. Paul counted all his impressive religious credentials as rubbish in order that he might “gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ —the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:8-9, NIV). Paul found his acceptance with God not in his own imperfect obedience, as impressive as it was, but by trusting in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, which God credits to all who trust in him as savior. This is what faith is —trusting in Jesus Christ alone as one’s savior.

The second bookend we must set in place is the power of Christ. Just as our acceptance with God must come through the righteousness of Christ, so our power to live the Christian life must come from Christ as well. As Jesus indicated in John 15:5, we have no ability within ourselves to grow. All of the ability must come from him.

The common element in these two bookends is the word dependence. We’re dependent upon the righteousness of Christ for our acceptance with God, and upon the power of Christ for our ability to pursue spiritual growth.



The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – God, Have You Forgotten Me?

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 45-47

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. – 1 Corinthians 2:12

Thirteen years passed from the time Joseph was sold into slavery until he entered Pharaoh’s service–years of injustice, disappointment, and obscurity. It must have been a great day for Joseph when the mystery finally was solved, and he understood the leading of God in his life and in the lives of his family.

Through a series of almost unbelievable circumstances, God had worked out a plan to save the lives of Joseph’s father and brothers and their household. They now were settled safely in Egypt, with plenty of food to eat and plenty of work to do. But the thing to remember is Joseph’s statement to his brothers: “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:7-8).

Throughout the years of loneliness and all the months in an Egyptian prison, throughout all the difficulties that could have caused his faith to fail and his spirit to become bitter, Joseph saw the hand of God. In his mind there was nothing for which man could take either the credit or the blame.

Remember the account of the apostle Paul and Silas being beaten and cast into prison at Philippi? Acts 16:25 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.” Why weren’t they complaining, griping, demanding their legal rights? Somehow, like Joseph many centuries before, they were able to detect the merciful hand of God in it all.


Lord, I praise You for Your hand on my life. Amen.

To Ponder

Failure to look up to God, whether your circumstances are good or bad, can mean the difference between victory and defeat.



BreakPoint –  Not Buying ‘Death with Dignity’: African Americans and Assisted Suicide

On October 18th, the nation’s capital took the first step towards physician-assisted suicide. The District of Columbia City Council voted to place the measure on its November agenda.

The so-called Death With Dignity Act would permit a person with a terminal diagnosis of six or fewer months as confirmed by two doctors to obtain a lethal dose of drugs, which they would administer to themselves.

This terrible idea still faces some formidable obstacles. Chief among them are the misgivings of Washington’s large African-American community. As the Washington Post recently reported, “In national surveys, African Americans have consistently stood against assisted suicide.”

According to a 2013 Pew survey, while only 42 percent of American whites opposed physician-assisted suicide, 65 percent of African Americans and Latinos did.

By way of underscoring the gap between the races on this issue, since Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide in 1997, only one African-American has availed himself of its provisions. That’s one out of 991 people.

The obvious question is: Why?

One readily apparent reason is religion. One African American woman quoted in the piece, who is fighting cancer herself, spoke for many District residents when she told the Post that “We believe in God. That’s not even a question. I’m fighting for my life, and my God is going to show me how.”

But there’s another reason: a distrust of the medical system. As Patricia King of Georgetown Law School put it, “Historically, African Americans have not had a lot of control over their bodies, and I don’t think offering them assisted suicide is going to make them feel more autonomous.”


Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE JUDGMENT ON FALSE TEACHERS

Read 2 PETER 2:17-22

Setan’s life seemed to be turning around. She had been sold by her family to a brothel owner in Phnom Penh when she was 12 years old, with the hope that she would earn money for her family. But two years later the police raided the brothel and declared that she was free. A local couple offered to take in several of the young girls and provide them with schooling. But this salvation was actually a ruse: the couple intended to force the girls into yet another prostitution ring.

Such stories should horrify and anger us. Abuse of vulnerable children is a grievous sin, and even worse is the promise of freeing children from bondage only to enslave them again (see Matt. 18:6). This should help us understand Peter’s feeling about the false teachers who are ensnaring new believers, young children in the faith, and leading them away from the truth of freedom in Christ.

Scripture certainly doesn’t mince words about the sin of these deceivers and the judgment that awaits them. They promise life and freedom but deliver death and slavery (vv. 17, 19). They tell believers that following Jesus doesn’t mean giving up your sinful habits and desires—in fact, they claim that their pride and lust and greed are perfectly acceptable to God (v. 18). Doesn’t God want you to be happy? they hiss, an echo of the first deception perpetrated by Satan in the Garden of Eden (see Gen. 3:1–5).

Judgment will come: “Blackest darkness is reserved for them” (v. 18). What makes their embrace and propagation of heresy even more tragic is that these false teachers have heard the gospel (vv. 20–21). They have rejected the marriage supper of the Lamb in order to feast on vomit (v. 22; see Rev. 19:19).


If you are a new follower of Jesus, make every effort to grow in your faith: read Scripture, attend a Bible study, find a spiritual mentor, or take a course through Moody Distance Learning (moody.edu/distance-learning). If you’re an established believer, make every effort to support the spiritual growth of others!



Donald Trump was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. Yesterday a man dressed as a construction worker attacked it with a sledgehammer and an ax.

Doesn’t this feel like a metaphor for the politics of our day?

Joe Biden recently suggested that he’d like to fight Trump, a challenge the Republican nominee said he’d relish. Meanwhile, Trump is telling voters that Hillary Clinton’s Syria plan “will lead to World War Three.” Clinton is claiming that Trump represents “an unprecedented attack on our democracy.” And on it goes.

Why are our politics so combative? One answer is that successful politicians know what their constituents want. We live in a day consumed with conflict. Terrorism threatens our homeland; violence in our cities is escalating; chronic anxiety continues to rise. We want leaders who feel our pain and give voice to our fears. Those running for office know this. As a result, our politics are belligerent because our politicians reflect the conflicts our people feel.

In one sense, this is good news. The Founders knew firsthand the danger of monarchy without representation. As a result, they sought to establish a participatory democracy where leaders reflect the sentiments and desires of those they serve. Abraham Lincoln’s dream of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” was not his alone but the hope and goal of those who forged our great nation.

In another sense, however, our system of democracy can worsen the challenges it is intended to solve. Like throwing water on a grease fire, our voter-driven political process can turn a spark into a bonfire.

Here’s why: The Founders did not imagine a class of professional politicians whose only income would come from their elected office. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison all had financial sources outside their political income. Following Washington’s example, they imposed a two-term limit on themselves and viewed their service as a duty rather than a career.


Charles Stanley – Genuine Repentance


2 Corinthians 7:8-10

Because we desire to be more like Jesus, we make resolutions, ask Him to help us, and try to behave differently. Yet despite our best efforts to do things God’s way, we slide back into old habits. Frustrated, we may ask Him, “Why can’t I change?”

Overcoming sinful attitudes and behaviors starts with genuine repentance.

Conviction. The Holy Spirit will reveal the areas in which we’ve sinned and convict us of wrongdoing. Through Scripture, He’ll show us God’s standard and what needs to change. Repentance begins with understanding where we have gone astray.

Contrition. The next step—grieving over our iniquity—is followed by confession to the Lord. It’s simply human nature to sense regret when we are caught in misbehavior, deal with the consequences of poor choices, or feel ashamed that people know about our sin. In contrast, genuine sorrow arises from the knowledge that we’ve sinned against God. True contrition will lead us to humble confession.

Commitment. Real repentance is complete when we wholeheartedly pledge to turn from our old ways and move toward righteousness. God knows we won’t live perfectly, but He looks for a surrendered heart that diligently seeks to obey Him.

Paul used strong language when telling us to turn from iniquity: “Put to death … whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Col. 3:5 NIV). What sin are you struggling to overcome? Have you genuinely repented, committing to turn from it permanently? Let the Holy Spirit empower you to change.

Bible in One Year: Luke 12-13



Our Daily Bread — Mending Hearts

Read: Matthew 5:1-16

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 9-11; 1 Timothy 6

You are the light of the world.—Matthew 5:14

Not long ago I went to a seamstress to have some clothing altered. As I entered her shop I was encouraged by what I saw on the walls. One sign read, “We can mend your clothes but only God can mend your heart.” Near it was a painting of Mary Magdalene weeping in anguish as the risen Christ was about to reveal Himself to her. Another sign asked, “Need prayer? Let us pray with you.”

The owner told me that she had run this small business for fifteen years. “We’ve been surprised how the Lord has worked here through the statements of faith we have posted in different places. A while back someone trusted Christ as their Savior right here. It is amazing to watch God work.” I told her I too was a Christian and commended her for telling others about Christ in her workplace.

Not all of us are able to be so bold in our workplace, but we can find many creative and practical ways of showing others unexpected love, patience, and kindness wherever we are. Since leaving that shop, I’ve been thinking about how many ways there are to live out our Lord’s statement: “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). —Dennis Fisher

Dear Father, use me to be a light today to the world around me. I love You and want others to know and love You too.

How can you be a light in your world? Read Truth With Love: Sharing the Story of Jesus by Ajith Fernando at discoveryseries.org/hp141.

God pours His love into our hearts to flow out to others’ lives.

INSIGHT: Today’s reading deals with the Beatitudes in our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. Those who recognize their own spiritual bankruptcy will be helped as they “seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). The gift of God’s grace in our lives manifests itself in doing good to others, which brings glory to God (5:16). We are blessed by God so we can bless others. —Dennis Fisher



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