Charles Stanley – The Role of Our Conscience

1 Timothy 1:18-19

The Lord gives every person a conscience, which is like a radar system meant to send warnings when a behavior or decision might be harmful. This makes it possible for people to distinguish between what is morally right and morally wrong, especially as it applies to their own life. We ignore the conscience at our own peril.

In a believer, the conscience is a tool of the Holy Spirit; He programs it with principles from God’s Word and sharpens it to respond quickly. Even so, our radar’s sole purpose is to send a signal. What happens next is up to us. Either we ignore the warning, or we stop to hear what the Spirit has to say about the situation. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s will or reminds us of His principles so we can make a wise decision about the warning bell ringing in our conscience.

Paul’s letter to Timothy mentions people who’d rejected God’s leadership and guidance in their lives—they had paid no attention to the alarm of their conscience (1 Tim. 1:19), and the result was shipwrecked faith. When something appears on the radar that speaks of disobedience to God, we have to reject that action. Otherwise, the detection device becomes impaired and won’t work right. If we keep ignoring the alarm, it will eventually go silent.

We all know people who have “run aground” in life. A shipwrecked faith is inevitable when believers ignore their conscience and rationalize or defend disobedience. It’s far better to turn yourself over to the great captain of your soul, Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit will guide you correctly.

Bible in a Year: Psalms 132-138

Our Daily Bread — Coming Alongside

Read: Exodus 17:8–16 | Bible in a Year: Job 30–31; Acts 13:26–52

Aaron and Hur held [Moses’s] hands up—one on one side, one on the other. Exodus 17:12

Her thirty classmates and their parents watched as Mi’Asya nervously walked to the podium to speak at her fifth grade graduation ceremony. When the principal adjusted the microphone to Mi’Asya’s height, she turned her back to the microphone and the audience. The crowd whispered words of encouragement: “Come on, honey, you can do it.” But she didn’t budge. Then a classmate walked to the front and stood by her side. With the principal on one side of Mi’Asya and her friend on the other, the three read her speech together. What a beautiful example of support!

Moses needed help and support in the middle of a battle with the Amalekites (Ex. 17:10–16). “As long as Moses held up his hands [with the staff of God in his hands], the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning” (v. 11). When Aaron and Hur saw what was happening, they stood beside Moses, “one on one side, one on the other,” and supported his arms when he grew tired. With their support, victory came by sunset.

We all need the support of one another on our shared journey of faith.

We all need the support of one another. As brothers and sisters in the family of God, we have so many opportunities to encourage one another on our shared journey of faith. And God is right here in our midst giving us His grace to do that.

Who could you help today? Or do you need support yourself? Who could you ask?

Share with us at

Hope can be ignited by a spark of encouragement.


Today’s reading starts with what may seem to be two insignificant details: “The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.” The Amalekites were distant cousins—the descendants of Abraham and Isaac through Esau (Gen. 25:23; 36:12, 16). And Rephidim was the place where the Israelites grumbled against Moses and regretted their decision to leave Egypt (Ex. 17:1–7). This circumstance—between slavery and inheritance—forced the Israelites to face their doubts and questions. Is God with us? Can God deliver us? As the battle raged, it became apparent that they were victorious when Moses held high the staff of God—the object representing God’s power and presence. God had not abandoned them and He was able to give them victory.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Why Can’t Skeptics Hear My Arguments? 

Though we often note the radical disparity between secularism and Christianity, that doesn’t stop many of us from tacitly assuming that our secular interlocutors will at least recognize the plausibility of our rational arguments for the faith. But they frequently don’t. Why? Is it because they’re less rational than they fancy themselves to be? Are they just stubborn? Is it because they don’t want there to be a god?

Though each of these questions might shed some light on the situation, I don’t think they go to the heart of the matter. Furthermore, I think they often serve as a pretext for dismissing our secular friend’s outlook, and patting ourselves on the back for having given it our best shot. (Sadly, I’m speaking from experience here.) I think a better question is: What am I missing? Why am I not being heard?

Consider the historical evidence for Jesus’s resurrection. Despite its illustrious track record with skeptics, many non-believers simply dismiss it out of hand. Why? It turns out that there’s a brilliant thinker behind the scenes, and we need to make his acquaintance.

The Scottish philosopher David Hume devoted an entire section of his seminal essay, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, to the subject of miracles. Unabashed in his ambitions, Hume’s stated aim was to provide an “everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion,” and to mount an argument against miracles that would prove “useful as long as the world endures.”[1]

Since the world is still enduring, it may prove useful for us to re-examine Hume’s thesis regarding miracles: “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.”[2] Let’s temporarily bracket the question of whether this sentence is accurate or fair, and pause to admire its rhetorical finesse. Who would want to defend anything that constitutes a “violation of the laws of nature”? Who would want to argue against scientific evidence? What kind of person makes a habit of attacking the testimony of “unalterable experience”? More significantly, what sane person would want to trespass beyond the bounds of reason?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Why Can’t Skeptics Hear My Arguments? 

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Hope of Glory

“We exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:2-5).

God promises all believers that one day they will receive Christ’s glory.

The security that every believer desires in his or her salvation is founded on the very fact that God is the author of salvation—every aspect of it is solely His work, and thus it cannot be lost. The final piece of God’s great work is the ultimate glorification of every Christian: “Whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30).

This third link in the chain that eternally binds believers to Christ completes the three aspects of salvation. Paul already established that salvation is anchored in the past because Christ made peace with God. It is anchored in the present because Christ continually intercedes for every believer and establishes our standing in grace. Here Paul proclaims that salvation is also anchored in the future because God promises His children that one day they will be clothed with the glory of His Son.

The Greek word for “exult” in Romans 5:2 refers to jubilation and rejoicing. Every believer ought to rejoice in the future rather than fearing it, because Jesus Christ secured the hope that his ultimate destiny is to share in the very glory of God. Christ is the guarantee of our hope because He Himself is our hope (1 Tim. 1:1).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Hope of Glory

Wisdom Hunters – Are You in An In-Between Place?

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:8

One afternoon many years ago as I walked through the front doors of my favorite grocery store in Colorado Springs, my heart was heavy. I feel so alone, I thought. My friend, Judi, had died unexpectedly days before from a brain aneurysm and my friend, Gene, had died the month before. When I reached the checkout, I made small talk with the woman in front of me. “This weather is really great, huh?” I scanned the beautiful Rocky Mountains out the large picture windows. “Yes, it’s awesome. I moved here last year, and I love it.” She smiled and rolled away her cart. I found a seat where I could quietly eat my lunch. Loneliness engulfed me.

As I stood to put away my plate, the woman from the checkout approached me. “You were really nice to talk to me, but the Lord wants me to tell you something.” She gently placed her hands on my shoulders and turned me to face her. “He wants you to know that you are not alone and that He hears you.” Tears of relief and gratitude rolled down my cheeks. What a gracious and kind Lord we have! He was giving me His love through a stranger. She went on. “I believe He also wants you to know He is going to put your feet on a new foundation. I don’t know what that means, but be open to change.” We hugged, I cried some more, and she walked away.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7)!

As I drove home, I pondered these things in my heart. It seemed God was confirming what I had been sensing for several months. God is going to do something new.  If change meant emotional and spiritual relief, I was ready because I was in an in-between place brought on the deaths of my friends and other life changes. As it turned out, within a matter of months, I had moved away from Colorado Springs and within a year, I met my husband. How faithful the Lord is!

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Are You in An In-Between Place?

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Double Blessings

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

2 Corinthians 9:6

Recommended Reading

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

When it comes to stewardship, our giving to God is like a farmer sowing seed in a field. If we sow abundantly we reap abundantly; if we sow sparingly we reap sparingly. But can that principle be applied to other areas of life besides financial stewardship?

Paul suggests it can. Before he wrote the words of 2 Corinthians 9:6 to the Corinthians he wrote to the Galatians: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). The context of that verse was not finances but the moral life: Sow to the flesh and reap destruction; sow to the Spirit and reap life. In other words, sowing and reaping is a general principle of God’s economy that applies to all areas of life. Take love and compassion, for example. If we sow compassion toward others, we will reap compassion from God and others. Being a compassionate person (or a kind, loving, generous, patient person) is a path to a double blessing for the receiver as well as the giver.

If you need compassion today, sow compassion toward others. Bless them and yourself!

Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.

Francis Schaeffer


Proverbs 18 – 20

Joyce Meyer – Focus Forward

Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. —Philippians 3:12-14

If you have been miserable because of the things that have happened in your past, I encourage you to do as I did and set your focus in a new direction. Determine to be what God wants you to be, to have what God wants you to have, and to receive what Jesus died to give you.

When you feel discouraged, say, “I am not going to live in bondage anymore. I cannot do anything about what I have done in the past, but I can do something about my future. I am going to enjoy my life and have what Jesus died for me to have. I am going to let go of the past and go on pursuing God from this day forth!”

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – The Picture of Repentance

Today’s Truth

He (God) is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven

Ephesians 1:7

Friend to Friend

It had been a rough afternoon for Hudson, our four-year-old grandson. Dan and I were keeping him and his brother Justus for a few days while our daughter and son-in-law were out of town. I know. It’s a rough job, but somebody has to do it.

I had spent a week getting ready for their visit. The checklist was complete!

The refrigerator, pantry, and snack drawer were filled with their favorite foods.

The toys were assembled and ready for action.

The bed in our guestroom was piled high with extra pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals waiting to be hugged.

Favorite books were stacked beside their bed for naps and bedtime imaginations.

Now all we needed were the boys! When we went to pick them up, they squealed and jumped into our arms. At this point, I’m not sure who was more excited. But it didn’t matter. The adventure had begun!

We had a total blast!

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – The Picture of Repentance

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rescue from Temptation

“So also the Lord can rescue you and me from the temptations that surround us, and continue to punish the ungodly until the day of final judgement comes” (2 Peter 2:9).

Charles G. Finney was one of America’s most outstanding evangelists. One day while he was still a young lawyer, he sat in his village law office in the state of New York. It was early in the day, and the Lord began to deal with him.

“Finney,” an inner voice asked, “what are you going to do when you finish your course?”
“Put out a shingle and practice law.”
“Then what?” the voice persisted.
“Get rich.”
“Then what?”
“Then what?”
“Then what?”
This time the words came tremblingly, “The judgement.”

Young Finney ran for the woods half a mile away. As he prayed, he vowed that he would not leave until he had made his peace with God. After a long struggle, he discovered that he could not resist God’s call, and he came out of the woods that evening with the high purpose of living the remainder of his life to the glory of God, enjoying Him forever.

Like that great preacher and evangelist you and I can be rescued from the temptations of the world so that we will not resist any clear call from God.

Bible Reading: II Peter 2:10-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: When the world tries to squeeze me into its mold, I’ll not resist the clear call from our Lord Jesus Christ to follow Him.

Ray Stedman – Betraying the Gospel

Read: Acts 15:1-21

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. Acts 15:1

In the fifteenth chapter of Acts is the story of a betrayal of the gospel. Here we learn of the clear emergence of what we can only call false Christianity. You will never understand Christianity until you understand that there are always present, in any so-called Christian gathering, manifestations and representatives of both true and false Christianity. Unfortunately, false Christianity is believed by millions who think they have understood the true, and have rejected the false. Therefore their minds are closed to the truth when it comes. Here we see the first emergence of that kind of false Christianity which is unthinkingly accepted by millions of people today.

It all began with the introduction of a very plausible and attractive heresy which came disguised as Christianity. Luke says that certain Jewish brethren, who ostensibly were Christians, came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. They came among the Gentile believers there, who had just come out of raw paganism, who had been idolaters, had been devotees of the licentious and sexually immoral practices of the pagan temples. These Gentiles had been hopeless in their outlook toward the future beyond this life and were sunken in despair and darkness, but then God had saved them. They were now rejoicing in Christ.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Betraying the Gospel

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Knowing God

Read: 1 John 2:3-6

By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (vv. 3-4)

As we noted yesterday, knowing God means knowing what he has done for us in Jesus Christ. It means knowing that Jesus has died for our sins and the sins of the whole world. Through the sacrifice of his own life on the cross, Jesus has opened a way for us to have peace with God through the forgiveness of our sins. That is the great truth John wants all people to know.

But the Christian faith also has an ethical aspect to it. Knowing God means that we also “obey his commands.” Some would call it “faith in action” or “walking our talk.” No matter what you call it, the apostle James is correct when he says, “Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26). What we do and how we live shows the genuineness of our faith.

Our good deeds do not add anything to what God has done for us in Christ. Obedience to the commands of Christ is not a means to grace but a response to it. We “walk as Jesus did” out of gratitude to God for what he has done for us and also to witness to those around us the joy and fulfillment we can have when we truly know God.


Gracious God, may all that we do and say point to you.

Author: John Koedyker

Greg Laurie – The Reward in Resisting

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.—James 1:12

I heard about a pastor who was making a hospital visit and parked his car in a no-parking zone because he couldn’t find a parking space. He circled around multiple times, but finally he had to stop so he could go and see the person who had requested him. He decided to write a note and place it under his windshield wiper in case a police officer came along. The note said, “I have circled the block ten times. I have an appointment to keep.” Then, thinking of a Scripture verse, the pastor wrote, “Forgive us our trespasses.”

When he returned, he was surprised to find a ticket under the windshield wiper. At the bottom of the ticket, a note read, “I have circled this block for ten years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job.” The note ended with a Scripture quotation as well: “Lead us not into temptation.”

Everyone gets tempted, including ministers. No one enjoys being tempted. In fact, we probably would prefer that temptation didn’t exist at all. But the Bible says there is actually a blessing in getting through temptation. James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

This verse tells us that temptation can be endured: “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.” There is no such thing as a temptation that is too hard to resist. God will allow only what you can handle (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).

It is hard to be tempted, but when you resist and get through it, that is a great victory. In fact, there is a reward waiting. There is a blessedness when you have come through times of temptation.

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Forever Merciful

“O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

The line for the roller coaster was very long and the sun was very hot, as all the guys in Jack’s family leaned against the railing. Their goal was to reach the sheltered area, get out of the hot sun, and eventually ride “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.” But the line was going so slowly. Standing in the hot sun and listening to whining children, people were getting annoyed.

On top of that, there was a recorded voice that kept saying the same thing over and over again. “Howdy partners,” said the man in a western drawl, and he went on to talk about the ride. His announcement always ended with, “We hope you enjoy riding on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!” Jack decided he had heard that recorded message over 50 times while they inched forward to the ride. After about the 20th time, he and his dad and brother started reciting it with him, always ending with, “We hope you enjoy riding on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!” Soon all the people around them were chiming in, “on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!” Well, it worked. The park workers got the message and sped things up some. Jack breathed a big sigh of relief when he finally got his turn on the roller coaster!

In Psalm 136, the Lord has something very important that He wants you to learn about Him. It is so important that He repeats “for His mercy endures forever” 26 times! Why do you think this idea so important?

Mercy means that someone does not receive the punishment he deserves. You might be thinking, “But I haven’t done anything to deserve a punishment.” The Bible says that you have. In fact, all men deserve to be punished forever in hell (Romans 6:23). That is why this phrase is so important! Without God’s mercy, all people would have to spend eternity paying for their sins. But “His mercy endures forever.” That means that God not only holds back your deserved punishment in this life, but, if you have accepted His gift of eternal life, you can enjoy God’s mercy forever even though you don’t deserve one minute of it! It will last for as long as God lasts, and God never changes. “His mercy endures forever!”

God wants you to be grateful for His enduring mercy.

My Response:

» Have I accepted God’s saving mercy to me? If so, have I thanked Him for saving me? Is there anyone that I need to show mercy to as well?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Encouragement to Prayer

Today’s Scripture: Romans 11:36

“For from him and through him and to him are all things.”

The realization that faith is the gift of God should encourage us to pray with confidence for others’ salvation. It means that no one, however hardened he or she may be, is beyond the regenerating, life-creating work of the Holy Spirit.

I think of some for whose salvation I pray regularly. One wants nothing to do with God. Another is happily indifferent, seeing no need of a savior because he’s a good, moral person. Others would be highly insulted to be told they need a savior because, after all, they’re both moral and religious.

What hope is there for these people? It lies only in the sovereign, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit. I pray regularly that he’ll work in their hearts through the Gospel message to create the faith they must have to believe in Christ.

Awareness that faith is the gift of God should also arouse a sense of profound gratitude and worship in our hearts. We could not even take advantage of God’s gracious gift of salvation apart from his prior working in our hearts. But God gave us life when we were dead, gave us sight when we were blind, and gave us the faith to trust in Christ for our salvation. If we spent the rest of our lives doing nothing but saying thank-you to God, we could still never sufficiently express our gratitude for his gift of salvation, including the gift of faith by which we receive it.

Do you want to grow in your own worship of God? That growth will be directly related to your understanding of the Gospel in all its fullness, including the fact that the faith by which you believed was a gift from God.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Your Spiritual Children

Today’s Scripture: Joel 1-3

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9

Have you ever stopped to think what would happen if people stopped having children? I don’t mean a few people in some parts of the world, I mean everyone, everywhere. There would certainly be less joy, laughter, and unselfishness. But the ultimate result, within less than a century, would be the extinction of the human race. And the same is true of the church of Jesus Christ. If we fail to have spiritual children, to lead others to Christ and help them grow, then the Christian church is only one generation away from extinction.

During the days of the prophet Joel, a great plague of locusts came on the people of Israel as a judgment from God. It was not meant to destroy them but to bring them back to God. Here is the command Joel gave the people after the plague: “Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation” (1:2-3).

Our responsibility toward God is twofold: We are to obey Him today and to teach His truth to the next generation. I’m talking about spiritual great-great-grandchildren. And we don’t have to wait seventy or eighty years to see it happen. From the prophet Joel to the apostle Paul, from the Old Testament to the New, we are commanded to be spiritually fruitful. We are to be God’s witnesses, to raise up new generations of men and women who will love and follow Him.


Lord, I want to be spiritually fruitful and multiply Your children. Guide me as I share the good news of eternal life with another person today. Amen.

To Ponder

When we lead just one person to Christ, we’ve had a part in leading untold future numbers to salvation.

BreakPoint – How China’s One-Child Policy Destroyed its Economy

It’s widely believed that China will supplant the United States as the leading power in the world by no later than the mid-21st century. Not only will China’s Gross Domestic Product exceed that of the United States, it may climb two or even three times as high.

But an increasing number of experts have begun to doubt that China’s GDP will ever even match ours. And the dream of restoring “the global centrality that Chinese consider their birthright” will remain just that, a dream.

There’s a reason for the doubt: There are simply not enough Chinese.

The idea would strike most people as ridiculous. They’d say China has too many people, not too few. With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, Chin is home to one-fifth of all the people on planet Earth.

But that huge number obscures the country’s looming demographic crisis. That crisis is the subject of an article in the June Atlantic Monthly entitled “China’s Twilight Years.” In it, Howard W. French, the author of two books on China, tells readers that “In the years ahead . . . [China] will transition from having a relatively youthful population, and an abundant workforce, to a population with far fewer people in their productive prime.”

Today, China has slightly less than five workers for every retiree, a ratio French calls “highly desirable.” However, by 2040, the ratio is estimated to be 1.6-to-1. Folks, that is a staggering change.

The demographic downturn is already having an impact in some unexpected places. Last year, China announced it was reducing its armed forces by 300,000 men. While the official spin was that it was part of its “peaceful intentions,” the more “compelling explanation” was demographic: “With the number of working-age Chinese men already declining . . . labor is in short supply.”

As French puts it, “The consequences [of this demographic downturn] for China’s finances are profound.”  The downturn is already becoming a “drag on economic growth,” and what it portends for China’s future is really scary: by 2050, the number of Chinese over 65 is projected to rise to nearly 330 million from 100 million in 2005.

Continue reading BreakPoint – How China’s One-Child Policy Destroyed its Economy

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE COVENANT WITH NOAH


In 1776, the signers of the Declaration of Independence formed a new government around a set of fundamental beliefs: the existence of God, a set of God-given laws of Nature, and certain “self-evident” truths and “inalienable rights” belonging to all.

Our Founding Fathers did not cite Genesis 9, but they could have, for in our reading today God granted humanity both the responsibility of governing the world and protecting the value of human life made in the image of God. Just as God had commanded Adam and Eve, who were made in God’s image, to increase and rule over the earth, after the Flood God commanded Noah and his family to increase, rule, and protect human life made in His image.

But God’s word to Noah was not just about human authority and responsibility. God also issued His own responsibilities and promises in the form of a covenant. In fact, God’s covenant was so important that He mentioned it eight times in nine verses. What did that covenant entail?

First, it was God’s promise to never again destroy the earth with a flood. Second, the sign of the covenant was the “bow” set in the sky. Judgment was over and God’s “weapon” of punishment was put to rest. Third, God’s covenant was not temporary, but an “everlasting” promise for all generations (vv. 12, 16). Despite the sin of Ham to follow (vv. 18–27), and its consequent curses, God would not recant His promises. Finally, this covenant was not just between God and humanity. It included all of creation. God established His covenant with “every living creature” and “all the life of the earth” (vv. 10, 12, 15–17). He called it a covenant “between me and the earth” (v. 13). Nothing was outside the scope of God’s promised love.


How often do we think about God’s creation as part of His covenant? Find time today to take a walk in the woods or a local park. As you stroll, be attentive to the sights, sounds, and scents of the natural world around you. With all your senses, take in God’s created world in a new way, recognizing that all of this is part of God’s covenantal love.


Let’s start with the good news: The Independence Day weekend ended without a terror attack in the U.S. There was a day when such an announcement would not be news at all. But we live in a different world than we have ever seen before.

Over the weekend, suicide attackers launched three strikes in Saudi Arabia. Families are searching for loved ones after a suicide bomb truck killed more than 200 in Baghdad. As Ramadan closes today, recent jihadist attacks have killed scores of people in Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, and Bangladesh. Closer to home, Americans were charged or indicted last week in three Islamic terror cases.

CIA Director John Brennan spoke recently to the Council on Foreign Relations. He told the Council that he had never witnessed a time with “such a daunting array of challenges to our nation’s security.”

The director cited uncertainty in Europe following Brexit, escalating terror threats, and global instability that has displaced sixty-five million people (the highest figure ever recorded). Cybersecurity and risks from evolving biotechnology rounded out his list of threats we face.

While the challenges of our day are unprecedented, the fact that we face challenges is not. On this day in 1776, America’s future was uncertain, to say the least. We had declared our independence from the world’s greatest superpower and now faced the British Empire’s wrath. Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, twelve fought in battle, five were captured and imprisoned, seventeen lost property to British raids, and five lost their fortunes. All risked their lives for the sake of their country and the cause of freedom.