Charles Stanley – God Is Our Keeper

Psalm 121:3-8

We learned yesterday that God is our protector. David’s song in Psalm 121 also portrays the Lord as our keeper.

  • “He who keeps you will not slumber” (Ps. 121:3). Many young children are fearful in the dark. If they awaken when everyone else is sleeping, little ones often feel alone and scared. Adults also experience fear, but thankfully, our Caretaker needs no sleep. He is always alert and attentive to our cries, even when our feelings may tell us otherwise.
  • “The Lord is your keeper … He will keep your soul” (Ps. 121:5, Ps. 121:7). When parents have to leave their children, they put a trusted person in charge. We often say that this individual is “keeping” the kids. The babysitter is expected to protect and provide for the children. How much more invested and capable is our heavenly Father! Besides preserving us physically and spiritually, He restrains us from any wrong thoughts, harmful words, and inappropriate actions. His Holy Spirit gives warnings to keep us from evil, and He also provides guidance so we’ll grow in a godly direction.
  • “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever” (Ps. 121:8). God is sovereign. He is with us always—protecting, pointing the way, and teaching. He accompanies and leads, even in the small tasks that seem insignificant.

When we grow up, many of us feel sadness and a little fear as we leave the safety of our parents’ home. But we never leave the precious love and watchful eye of our heavenly Father. God is our keeper, and He cares for us better than any earthly mom or dad ever could.

Bible in a Year: Psalms 103-106

Our Daily Bread — Called by Name

Read: John 10:1–11 | Bible in a Year: Job 17–19; Acts 10:1–23

He calls his own sheep by name. John 10:3

When I first meet a new group of students in the college composition class I teach, I already know their names. I take the time to familiarize myself with their names and photos on my student roster, so when they walk into my classroom I can say, “Hello, Jessica,” or “Welcome, Trevor.” I do this because I know how meaningful it is when someone knows and calls us by name.

Yet to truly know someone, we need to know more than that person’s name. In John 10, we can sense the warmth and care Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has for us when we read that He “calls his own sheep by name” (v. 3). He knows even more than our name. He knows our thoughts, longings, fears, wrongs, and deepest needs. Because He knows our deepest needs, He has given us our very life—our eternal life—at the cost of His own. As He says in verse 11, He “lays down his life for the sheep.”

Give thanks to Jesus! He knows your name and your needs.

Continue reading Our Daily Bread — Called by Name

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Starting With a Question

Starting with a question seems like a good idea to most people: it helps to bring a sharper focus, it’s conversational, it reveals gaps in knowledge, and it’s quite natural.(1) Kids seem to use questions instinctively to find out about the world. Of course, there are lazy questions and there are thoughtful questions. The difference is hard to explain, but anyone who has ever heard or asked a great question, asked at the right time, will immediately know why good, careful, thoughtful questions are always worth asking.

When it comes to questions about faith, Christians have often pointed to the example of God asking Adam and Eve, ‘Where are you?’ (Genesis 3:9), and the way in which Jesus interacts with people in the New Testament. Here are just a few of the questions of Jesus:

What are you looking for? What do you want me to do for you? Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me? If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Do you want to be well? Do you see this woman? What good is it to gain the whole world but forfeit your soul? Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Who is greater, the one seated at the table, or the one who serves? Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? Which of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God? Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I command? Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For which of these good works are you trying to stone me? Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? Would you like some breakfast? Have you come to believe because you have seen me? I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? Do you love me?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Starting With a Question

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Integrity Brings True Success

“So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius [even] in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Daniel 6:28).

True success is more a matter of character than of circumstances.

By anyone’s standards Daniel was a remarkably successful man. After entering Babylon as one of King Nebuchadnezzar’s young Hebrew hostages, he quickly distinguished himself as a person of unusual character, wisdom, and devotion to his God. Within a few years Nebuchadnezzar had made him ruler over the province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men. Many years later Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, promoted him to third ruler in his kingdom, and later King Darius made him prime minister over the entire Medo-Persian Empire.

As successful as Daniel was, being successful in the world’s eyes was never his goal. He wanted only to be faithful to God. And because he was faithful, God honored and exalted him in Babylon. But God’s plans for Daniel extended far beyond Babylon. Daniel’s presence in Babylon opened the door for the Hebrew people to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-3), and it also paved the way for the Magi’s visit to Bethlehem centuries later (Matt. 2:1-12). Those wise men heard of the Jewish Messiah through Daniel’s prophecies (Daniel 9).

God used Daniel in marvelous ways, but Daniel was just one part of a much bigger picture. Similarly, God will use you and every faithful believer in marvelous ways as He continues to paint the picture of His redemptive grace. As He does, He may exalt you in ways unimaginable, or He may use you in humble ways. In either case, you are truly successful if you remain faithful to Him and use every opportunity to its fullest for His glory.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Integrity Brings True Success

Wisdom Hunters – What to do When You Can’t Find God 

If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him. Job 23:8-9

In Job 23 we find some of the most honest and transparent words in the entire Bible. Rather than a song of praise celebrating the nearness of God, this is the lament of a broken man who is struggling to find God in the midst of his pain. Job simply cannot pretend all is well. He can’t find the strength to put on a happy face. He cries out from a place of desperation, sorrow, and fear. Yet in the two verses that follow, Job teaches us two profound truths about following God even when it is hard and he feels distant: we are never abandoned and we must seek to live faithfully even in the midst of our trials.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold” (Job 23:10).

Even when Job can’t sense God’s nearness, he rests in the confidence that he is never abandoned or forgotten. Though we may struggle at times to sense God’s direction and presence, he never struggles to find us or care for us. It is in him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and this is true whether we sense it or not.

Our emotions can be tricky and misleading. They want to tell us things that feel right, but may not actually be true! When you are struggling in your faith, tell yourself things that you know to be true, even if you don’t feel like doing it. Remind yourself that God is with you (Isaiah 41:10), that he will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), and that he loves you, even to the point of death (Romans 5:8).

“My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside” (Job 23:11).

The Christian life is often spoken of as a journey of faith. At times this journey brings great joy and delight, yet at times we are crippled with grief, sorrow, and doubt. In these moments Job reminds us that even when life is hard and painful we must continue on the journey!

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – What to do When You Can’t Find God 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – A Sleepless Night

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:20, ESV

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Despite the twenty mattresses, she could not forget the single pea causing her discomfort. It kept her awake throughout the night. She barely noticed the luxury of her surroundings. The Princess and the Pea fairy tale reminds us that even very small things can steal our attention.

In our world of social media, pictures, and email, it sometimes feels as though we are being bombarded with peas. They try to demand our attention and tempt us to compare our lives to others. When we build a wish list based on what others have or who they are, it leads to discontent. We feel stuck in our own lives, longing to live the life of another.

Comparison leads to overlooking and wastefulness. We squander our time and gifts by treating them with disdain. Jesus came to free us from the poison of comparison. As we release our concerns and worries to Christ, we create space to receive His gifts. Gratitude can fortify our souls and root us in the reality of what is. What will you thank Him for today?

The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him will see many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long.

Warren W. Wiersbe


Proverbs 1 – 3

Joyce Meyer – God’s Righteous Friend

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by his goodness].—2 Corinthians 5:21

I cannot think of anything more awesome than being a friend of God. There is nothing I would rather hear God say than, “Joyce Meyer is My friend.” I do not want Him to say, “Joyce Meyer—knows all the prayer principles; she can quote dozens of Bible verses; she sounds very eloquent when she prays; but she really doesn’t know Me at all and we are not really friends.” I want to know that God thinks of me as His friend, and I believe you long for Him to think of you that way, too. Through Jesus Christ, we have a right to be comfortable with God, to hear His voice, and to go boldly to the throne of grace to get the help we need in plenty of time to meet our needs and the needs of others (see Hebrews 4:16).

One of the best things you can ever do is to develop your friendship with God. Jesus has made you righteous through the blood He shed at the cross, so there is no reason you cannot approach God as boldly and as naturally as you would your best friend on Earth. Remember, friendship with God takes an investment of time and energy to develop. But also remember that as your friendship deepens, your ability to hear God’s voice increases. A growing, vibrant, increasingly intimate friendship with God will naturally lead to increasingly effective communication with Him.

From the book Hearing from God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – Learn How to Sit Down

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

Luke 10:40-42

Friend to Friend

I had a list of things to get done. Yes, my back was killing me. I was tired, but that list kept me hurrying around the house like the proverbial Energizer Bunny. When my husband walked in from work, I gave him a quick hug and resumed my almost frantic pace.

“What are you doing, honey?” Dan asked. With one of my famous sighs, I responded, “I just need to get a few things done.” “How is your back?” Dan persisted. With growing irritation, I answered, “It hurts!” Dan watched me for a few minutes and then calmly stated, “You don’t know how to sit down, do you?” My first response was irritation, which quickly escalated into anger – until I heard the unmistakable prompting of the Holy Spirit affirming the truth Dan had spoken. I needed to learn how to stop and sit down – and rest. But that list held me captive to unrealistic expectations in a ridiculous effort to prove my worth through what I did. It is an ongoing battle in my life. And I am not alone

We all struggle with balance and the stress that struggle creates. When we refuse to balance the demands of work, home, family, friends, and personal growth, stress happens. What we really need is a holy balance only God can bring. The story of Mary and Martha, two very different women, offers valuable truths about balance.

A balanced life is focused on right things. Focus is always found at the feet of Jesus. Mary lived out this truth. In fact, Mary, more than any other person in the New Testament, is associated with sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Learn How to Sit Down

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inspiration of God

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV).

Recently, it was my privilege to be chairman of a national congress on the Bible, which was held in San Diego, California. Thousands of Christian leaders came from across the nation and from other countries. More than fifty leading scholars addressed the various plenary and seminar sessions.

We were there to affirm our confidence that the Word of God is holy, inspired and without error. God’s Word is unlike any other book ever written. It is full of power and transforms the lives of all who read and obey its commandments. Many scholars read it without understanding, while others with little or no formal education comprehend its truths and are transformed in the process because they walk with God in humility and in the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit.

The story is told of a famous actor who attended a party one evening. A minister, who was also present, asked him if he would be kind enough to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor, a famous and eloquent star of stage and screen, agreed on one condition – that the minister, a man in his eighties who had served God faithfully and humbly for half a century, would also recite the psalm.

The minister agreed, and the actor began. The words came like beautiful music, and everyone was enthralled at his beautiful presentation of the 23rd Psalm. A standing ovation greeted him at the finish.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inspiration of God

Ray Stedman – What To Pray For

Read: Colossians 1:9-14

…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work… Col. 1:10

As Paul continues this prayer for the Colossians, he mentions activities that believers can deliberately choose to do. This is very instructive not only for how to pray for others, but also for how to live our own lives. First, Paul prays that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. When you understand what God has made you to be, that you are his child, cherished by him, your guilt and sin taken care of, and that God is your loving Father who protects you, guides and guards you, and when you see him in all his majesty and beauty then you will become concerned about whether your behavior reflects his beauty, and what others will think of your God when they are watching you. That is a life worthy of the Lord. In others of his letters the apostle urges Christians to walk worthy of their calling. We are to be concerned about our impact upon others, how our lives are impacting theirs, and what our actions make them think about our God.

The second activity that Paul prays for is that they might seek to please him in every way. The chief aim of every believer ought to be that he is pleasing to God; that he seeks to live in a way that delights God. What quality of life is pleasing to God? The Scripture probably puts it most effectively in a negative way. In the book of Hebrews we are told, Without faith it is impossible to please God! Faith is what pleases him. Every time Jesus approved or commended people it was because of their faith. You have great faith, he said to the woman who pled with him to heal her flow of blood. Your faith is great, he said to a centurion who asked him to heal his servant. Whenever our Lord commends people for anything it is because they believe him and act on what he says. They don’t conform to the customs of people around. Rather, they swim against the stream of life and stand firmly upon what he says, trusting him. That is what pleases God.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – What To Pray For

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Detour Ahead

Read: Psalm 37:1-17, 34

Trust in him, and he will act. (v. 34)

My wife and I, with our young children in the back seat, were taking a car tour of the Gettysburg battlefield listening to a provided audio. It described the sights. Audio: “On your right, you are seeing a southern soldier on his horse.” Number 1 Child: “Daddy. That looks like a cannon.” Audio: “On your left, you’ll see soldiers, with rifles raised.” Child Number 2: “That’s a barn!’’ My frustration is growing. Everyone is now offering their solutions and directions. It’s getting hot in the car. I uttered something un-preacher-like.

Silence. Then volleys of laughter erupted from the back seat. I make a U-turn, seeing another family car doing the same, as confused as we were. That helped. We went back to the starting point and realized we had made one left turn, one turn too soon. We started over. Soon the described scenes were in sync with what we were viewing! The self-inflicted detour was over!

We hate to see the sign: DETOUR AHEAD. Yet detours in life can teach us humility and perseverance. Consider: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (v. 5); “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you . . .” (v. 34). Detours are able to increase our hope and courage.

Foolishly we resent or rebel against painful experiences of life while knowing the strong hand of God guides our journey and will bring us home at last.


Lord, forgive our foolish ways, especially when we create our own detours in life.

Author: Chic Broersma

Greg Laurie – Lightweights

“For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone–gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!” —Daniel 5:23

When I step onto a scale, I never like what I see. I always weigh more than I want to. In fact, I can’t think of a time recently when I weighed less than I thought I did. On our scales, we typically want to weigh less. But God’s scales are different. On God’s scales, we want to weigh more, because His scales are about the weight of a life, the depth of a life, and the substance of a life.

Daniel 5 tells the story of Belshazzar, the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar, who went out of his way to blaspheme and insult the true and living God. As he and his friends were partying away, they suddenly saw a hand writing on the plaster of the palace wall. It was a message from God himself.

Belshazzar called for the prophet Daniel to interpret the writing, and Daniel told him, “This is what these words mean: Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up. Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (verses 26–28).

Daniel was saying to Belshazzar, “You have been put on God’s divine scales, and buddy, you’re a lightweight. There is nothing of substance in your life. And now your number is up.”

That night, the Medo-Persian forces were amassing outside under the leadership of Cyrus, and Belshazzar was killed.

God has given us warnings in the Scriptures just like He gave to Belshazzar. There is a last night for every person. There will be a last meal . . . a last statement . . . a last breath . . . and then eternity.

Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Works Are Wonderful

“One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.” (Psalm 145:4-5)

Maria’s father had surprised her by taking her to visit an aquarium. Maria could hardly believe all the wonderful things she saw there. In one tank were some white fish called “flounder” that could disguise themselves. They would lie flat on the sandy bottom of the tank, blending perfectly with the white sand so that all you could see was their eyes. In another tank were some sea creatures called “cone jellies.” They floated gracefully through the water, and each one had a little light glowing inside of it. Some fish had beautiful bright colors. Some had funny long snouts. And some had feathery-looking fins that swished about them like a lady’s ruffly skirt.

“Dad,” said Maria, “How did God think up so many different kinds of fish to make?”

“It would be hard for us to think up all those fish, wouldn’t it?” said Dad. “But not for our great Creator. He never runs out of ideas for making new things.”

“Some of these fish live way down in the ocean where no one ever sees them,” said Maria.

“You’re right. Why do you think God put them there?”

Maria shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. Why?”

Dad leaned closer to a tank to watch an angelfish swimming through a little tunnel of coral. “He says in His Word that all things are created for His pleasure–and that all His works praise Him. So at least one reason He put those fish deep in the ocean is just for His own enjoyment and glory.”

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Works Are Wonderful

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Growing in Christlikeness

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 10:14

“He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

Sanctification is the radical change God brings about in the heart of a person who trusts Jesus Christ as savior. It’s the passing from spiritual death to spiritual life, the beginning of a new creation in Christ, and the writing of God’s law in our hearts. It means a new relationship to the law of God and a new attitude toward it. And all this is from God, a gift of his grace just as surely as is the gift of justification.

God doesn’t bring us into his kingdom, then leave us on our own to grow. He continues to work in our lives to conform us more and more to the likeness of his Son. As Paul said, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). This continuing work of God is called “progressive sanctification.” It differs from initial sanctification in two respects. Initial sanctification occurs instantly at the moment of salvation when we’re delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). Progressive sanctification continues over time until we go to be with the Lord.

Initial sanctification is entirely the work of God the Holy Spirit who imparts to us the very life of Christ. Progressive sanctification is also the work of the Holy Spirit, but it involves a response on our part so that we as believers are actively involved in the process.

The progressive nature of sanctification is implied throughout the New Testament epistles in all those instances where we are exhorted to grow, to change, to put off the deeds of the old man and put on Godlike character. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Just Do It

Today’s Scripture: Luke 13-16

In Joppa there was a disciple named [Dorcas], who was always doing good and helping the poor. – Acts 9:36

One of the first things we seem to learn in life is to make excuses for not doing what we should. It reminds me of the three people the Lord talked about in Luke 14:16-20.

A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.” Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.” Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.”

One lame excuse after another. What good businessman would buy land he had not seen? Who would test oxen after buying them instead of before?

Now, Christian, let me ask you, what have you been putting off for one excuse or another? Have you decided to be more diligent in memorizing the Word of God, but you keep putting it off? Have you vowed to witness to your neighbors and invite them to church? Have you talked about establishing the practice of morning prayer and Bible reading? It’s so easy to get sidetracked with other things and never finish what we set out to do. And whenever we talk about it, we always have a new excuse why we haven’t done it yet.

The truth here is, when God issues the invitation, there is no good excuse for refusing to accept. Whatever God is calling you to do, do it.


Lord, I want to start a schedule of spending more time with You. Help me to take the first step today. Amen.

To Ponder

What spiritual discipline have you been telling the Lord you would get back to soon, but you haven’t yet found the time?

BreakPoint –  Why the Growth of Islam Should Matter to Christians

We told you recently on BreakPoint that despite appearances in our corner of the world, religion is not going extinct. Quite the contrary. Predictions by the likes of Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud that faith would vanish have turned out spectacularly wrong.

Yes, in the West (particularly Europe) religion is on the decline. But on a global scale, secularism is the worldview that’s losing steam. As Giles Fraser wrote recently in The Guardian, “The secularization hypothesis is a European myth, a piece of myopic parochialism that shows how narrow our worldview [is]… Religion is the future.”

But which religion?

Recent events have brought radical Islam back into the spotlight. But the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing religion is much bigger than the jihadists of Al-Qaeda or ISIS. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, comprising several major sects. And though terrorism puts an exclamation mark on Islam, you could write a whole book about the millions of Muslims who are more concerned with living out their faith than engaging in violent jihad.

And like Christianity, Islam is growing. Fast. A study last year by Pew Research concluded that by 2050, Islam will swell to 2.76 billion adherents, or one third of the world’s population! Christianity, meanwhile, is expected to hold on to its title as the world’s largest religion, tipping the scales at just under 3 billion professing adherents.

“This means that by 2050,” writes Daniel Burke at CNN, “more than 6 out of 10 people on Earth will be Christian or Muslim…[and] Looking even farther into the future, Islam’s population could surpass Christianity by 2100.”

Simply put, the conflicts and headlines of today are likely only the foreshocks of a profoundly religious century in which two civilizations, ways of life, and worldviews will clash. Secularism and its claims may loom large now. But make no mistake: The story of the 21st century will be defined by two Abrahamic religions, not by irreligion.

One of the takeaways from this is that even though Islam has only been on most Americans’ radar since 9/11, it’s not going anywhere. It will, for the foreseeable future, vie with Christianity for the hearts and minds of humanity.

So it’s utterly crucial that we understand Islam, not just on an academic level, but first-hand, from practicing or formerly practicing Muslims. And we can start by asking the right questions. Why is that faith growing? Where did it come from? What do its different branches believe? And what does the Quran say about Jesus, and how does it differ from what the New Testament says about Him?

One of the best resources on these questions is Nabeel Qureshi with Ravi Zacharias Ministries. My cohost, John Stonestreet, has interviewed Nabeel several times on-air about his conversion from Islam to Christianity. And his books, like “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” “No God But One,” and “Answering Jihad,” offer insights on all of these questions, specifically for Christians.

Qureshi has also responded to the Orlando attack, urging followers of Christ to take the threat of violent jihad seriously, but to treat our Muslim neighbors with love, not suspicion.

“I am not advocating a whimsical or baseless love, which would never stand in the face of Jihad,” he writes, “…[but] a love grounded in truth and self-sacrifice, reflecting the person and heart of Jesus Christ.”

Folks, amid the clash of civilizations and worldviews, this is the kind of attitude we, our children, and our children’s children will need to cultivate. Jesus, after all, commanded us to “make disciples of all nations.” And as this century progresses, more and more of those nations will be Muslim.

by Eric Metaxas

Publication date: June 30, 2016

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SPIRITUAL PARENTING

Read 2 Timothy 2:1–10

New parents who bring their first child home from the hospital often feel overwhelmed. The nurses are gone. We can no longer ask them to take the child away so we can rest. The responsibility is on our shoulders now. But mercifully we are not as clueless as we might think. In a way, our whole lives have prepared us for this moment. From watching others, we’ve absorbed more parenting skills and knowledge than we knew.

The responsibility of spiritual parenting operates the same way. It is a skill learned through modeling. We will train others the way that we ourselves have been trained. Some of this training is conveyed by means of church services, classes, and Bible studies. One responsibility of church leadership is to pass on biblical truth to the rising generation (see 1 Tim. 3:2). But spiritual parenting is also informal. We might say it is caught rather than taught.

Both dimensions are essential. Formal teaching puts into words those truths that are essential to the faith and which guide our behavior. As the Westminster Confession puts it, everything that is necessary for God’s glory, man’s salvation, faith and life is either expressly set down or may be deduced from Scripture. Spiritual parenting expresses those same truths by how we live (see 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 3:10). The primary way we learn from this kind of modeling is through imitation (Heb. 13:7), which is unsurprising—imitation is the way all children learn!

Sharing the gospel is the first step to spiritual parenting. After that comes instruction and modeling. Study the Bible so that you will know what to say. Study yourself so that you will mirror what you say in the way that you live.


The key word in spiritual parenting is watch. Watch yourself—because someone is watching you. And ultimately, we should be watching Christ as the true pattern for faith and obedience. Ask God to grant you the grace to be a wise and godly spiritual parent to those who are watching you.


“It was like hell,” said an eyewitness to the Istanbul airport attacks. “It looked like a disaster movie,” said another.

As you watch the continuing covering of the tragedy in Turkey, what do you feel? Grief for those who are in shock and mourning? Anger at the deluded murderers who slaughtered innocent people in the service of an ideology that is a lie from hell? I share your pain and outrage.

But there’s an unstated realization in the back of our minds as well: we know we could be next. If terrorists could kill Muslims in Turkey and Americans in Boston and San Bernardino and Orlando, they can strike anywhere. This is something new and insidious for us.

I recently saw Free State of Jones, a film portraying an uprising against Confederate hostilities in Mississippi. I had not realized the degree to which innocent civilians were brutalized during the Civil War, many by troops on their side of the conflict. During World War II, artillery was stationed along the West Coast to combat a possible Japanese invasion, but few Americans worried that foreign soldiers would attack them as they went about their daily lives.

Now for the first time, we live in the knowledge that the next airport bombing or workplace terrorism attack could find us. How should we respond to this reality?

Some choose fiction. They deny the reality of their mortality and refuse to think about death and the beyond. A recent poll asked unchurched Americans how often they thought about whether they would go to heaven when they die. Only eighteen percent said they consider their eternal destination daily or even weekly. But denying mortality, like denying you have cancer, doesn’t make its reality less real.

I was listening to sports talk radio this week and heard a conversation regarding the death of NFL coach Buddy Ryan. His twin sons Rex and Rob are coaching on the same NFL team for the first time, but he didn’t live long enough to see their first game. One radio commentator stated, “Wherever he is, he’s watching them.”


Charles Stanley – God Is Our Protector

Psalm 121:1-3

In Psalm 121, David describes the safety that he found in the Lord. Over the next two days, let’s look closely at several verses to better understand our security.

  • “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2). When this was written, robbers dwelled in the mountains, waiting for innocent travelers to become their unsuspecting victims. Needless to say, journeying through these hilly roads must have caused anxiety. David’s work as a shepherd took him into dangerous areas, where not only thieves but also wild animals posed a threat.

Our lives can be like mountainous territory. Do you look into the future and wonder what dangers lurk? The Lord is our helper; He is the only one able to protect us. Friends and relatives can offer limited assistance, but God knows everything and has all the power necessary to rescue us.

  • “He will not allow your foot to slip” (Ps. 121:3). God has provided everything we need in order to avoid sin. The Holy Spirit directs and empowers us; the Word lights our path so we do not slip. Yet at times, we choose to sin. Almighty God could stop us from disobeying, but He doesn’t interfere with our free will. Instead, He upholds us, enabling us to walk in His way.

These opening verses of the psalm focus on the Lord’s ability to protect us in treacherous times. Whether trouble originates with others, external circumstances, or our own sin, we can find ourselves in danger and afraid. Thankfully, we have a loving God who leads us to safety.

Bible in a Year: Psalms 95-102

Our Daily Bread — Our Way of Life

Read: Ephesians 2:1–10 | Bible in a Year: Job 14–16; Acts 9:22–43

We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 nrsv

I was struck by a phrase I heard quoted from a contemporary Bible translation. When I Googled the phrase “our way of life” to locate the passage, many of the results focused on things people felt were threatening their expected way of living. Prominent among the perceived threats were climate change, terrorism, and government policies.

What really is our way of life as followers of Jesus? I wondered. Is it what makes us comfortable, secure, and happy, or is it something more?

God has called us to pursue a life that reaches out to others and honors Him.

Paul reminded the Christians in Ephesus of the remarkable way God had transformed their lives. “God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5 nrsv). The result is that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” (v. 10 nrsv).

Doing good works, helping others, giving, loving, and serving in Jesus’s name—these are to be our way of life. They are not optional activities for believers, but the very reason God has given us life in Christ.

In a changing world, God has called and empowered us to pursue a life that reaches out to others and honors Him.

Father, thank You for the incredible riches of Your love and mercy. You rescued us from our dead way of living and made us alive with Christ.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16


Paul makes an instructive distinction in Ephesians 2:1. He tells his readers that they were dead in their transgressions and sins. By using the past tense he establishes a new normal for those who follow Christ. They are no longer spiritually dead, but are alive in Christ. Paul makes a subtle distinction between transgression, the disobedience of known and established standards, and sin, missing the mark of God’s holiness. He points out that when followers of Christ fall short of God’s perfect and holy standard, whether they know it or not, they are living lives that are no longer natural to the new life given to them. The resurrection of Christ has brought our dead hearts to life.