Charles Stanley – Can You Trust Your Conscience?

1 Timothy 1:5-7

“Let your conscience be your guide.” This bit of folk wisdom seems to make sense because our conscience is designed to help us discern right from wrong. However, people cannot always trust their internal radar to steer them correctly; this is the case particularly with unbelievers, who don’t have the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and offer guidance for wise decisions. And while Christians do have God’s indwelling Spirit, they should be careful not to harbor sin, as that can interfere with the way their morality sensors function.

For a conscience to be trustworthy, it must be programmed with scriptural teaching. Believers build a stable and sensitive spiritual radar system by applying God’s truth to their life. They are committed to thinking and acting in ways that honor and please the Lord. Then, when sinful thoughts or choices come across that radar, it will deliver a sharp warning.

Those with a reliable conscience will have a strong desire to obey God. Instead of settling for what feels right or looks good, they seek the Lord’s will. In other words, they do not rely solely on their conscience but incorporate all of the Holy Spirit’s tools—including Scripture and prayer—into their daily activities. Moreover, when their spiritual radar sounds the alarm, they are quick to draw back and reject unwise choices.

A conscience isn’t designed to be our guide; it is a tool of the Guide. The Holy Spirit not only convicts us of sin, but He also brings to mind godly principles and leads us on a righteous path. He uses a variety of tools to conform us to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29).

Bible in a Year: Psalms 139-144

Our Daily Bread — Strengthening the Heart

Read: 1 Timothy 4:6–11 | Bible in a Year: Job 32–33; Acts 14

It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Hebrews 13:9

The neighborhood fitness center where I have worked out for years closed down last month, and I had to join a new gym. The former place was a warm, friendly facility, patronized by those who liked to socialize while they worked out. We hardly ever broke a sweat. The new gym is a hard-core facility filled with serious men and women, earnestly invested in building better bodies. I watch these people strain and toil. Their bodies look strong, but I wonder if their hearts are being strengthened with grace.

The heart is a muscle—the muscle that keeps the other muscles going. It’s good to build and tone our other muscles, but the essential thing is doing whatever keeps the heart strong.

God’s training is designed to grow us in faith.

So it is with our spiritual heart. We strengthen and tone the heart through the Word of truth by receiving its message of God’s goodness and grace. Keeping our spiritual heart strong and fit must be our first priority, the one thing we do above all others.

Paul would agree: “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:7–8 esv).

May I feed on Your goodness every day, Lord, so my heart will grow stronger through the Spirit.

God’s training is designed to grow us in faith.


The Greek word translated godliness in verse 8 is eusebeia. It is a noun that means both right action and right belief. In today’s passage Paul is telling Timothy that both believing and doing right (godliness) have value for all aspects of our lives.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unlikely and Selected

There are some stories that move us whether we hear them at five or fifty-five. The 1965 release of the first Peanuts movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, was instantly loved by adults and children alike. But it almost did not make it past the television executives who hated it. The movie was criticized for everything from being too contemporary in music, to being too religious in tone. But audiences everywhere confidently disagreed. Having aired every year since its debut in 1965, it is now the longest-running cartoon special in history.

One of my predictably favorite scenes finds Charlie Brown on a hunt for the perfect “great big, shiny, aluminum tree—maybe even a pink one” as instructed by Lucy for their Christmas pageant. At the tree lot, Charlie Brown walks through row after row of flashing, shiny spectacles of color, trying his best to choose well and please his friends. But then he sees a small, natural tree, nearly overshadowed by the flash and glitter of the rest. It is pitiful and loosing needles, but it is the only real tree on the lot. In a moment of confidence, Charlie Brown chooses the unlikely sapling over all the others (and is thus the target of laughter and mockery by all).

Even as children, we seem to know intuitively that there is something remarkable—perhaps something even sacred—about being selected, long before we understand the implications of choice at all. That someone saw anything worth choosing in this sickly little tree is a turn in the plot that quiets us. Charlie Brown claims the unlikely, pathetic tree as his own, and there is a part of us that feels claimed too.

The Christian story of God among the world is filled with the language of claiming and calling, gathering and choosing. Yet, stripped of the story and its characters, these words often offend us. We speak of the injustice of a God who claims anyone, who shows signs of favoritism, or calls anyone particularly. We forget what we felt deeply as children—namely, that being claimed among a group of the prettiest and the smartest and the fastest is not about deserving it at all.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unlikely and Selected

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Love of God

“The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:5-8).

Salvation ushers believers into a love relationship with God that lasts throughout eternity.

The eighteenth-century hymn writer William Cowper wrote in “There Is a Fountain”:

E’er since by faith I saw the stream

Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme

Perhaps the most overwhelming concept in all Christianity is that God loved us so much “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And more than that, God even graciously imparts His love to us—He pours it “out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). Paul here reveals that in Christ we are given subjective evidence of salvation. God Himself implants that evidence deep within us. As a result, we love the One who first loved us (1 John 4:7-10).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Love of God

Wisdom Hunters – Spiritually Cured and Secured

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  1 Timothy 1:15

Jesus came to save sinners—sinners like all of us. Just as we all need water, air and food—we all need a Savior to forgive our sin. The gospel of Christ grows greater in value—the more we view the hideous nature of our sin. The darker we see our soul stained by sin, the more urgent our desire to be cleansed by the grace of God. Sin taken lightly, merely gives lip service for the need of a Savior—but sin taken seriously, has a desperate desire to seek Christ’s forgiveness. Eternal security and sin’s cure comes from my admission of spiritual illness—only Jesus can save me.

Paul gives us one of his five trustworthy sayings—Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. The truth of the gospel deserves full acceptance: the cross of Christ followed by the resurrection of Christ. Without Jesus rising from the grave the gospel is eviscerated of its power to forgive sin, transform lives, affirm Christ’s teachings and validate His miracles. The gospel is good news, because of the bad news of mankind’s separation from God. A person either fully embraces the gospel of Jesus or rejects Jesus—there is no middle ground. Like a healthy marriage, committed Christians embrace and celebrate their love relationship with Jesus.

“The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace” (Colossians 1:5-6).

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Know Love, No Fear

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

Recommended Reading

Romans 8:15-16

Every verse of Scripture was written for a specific purpose and application. Yet so many verses have a broader application as well. Take the apostle John’s oft-quoted words in 1 John 4:18, “Perfect love casts out fear.” John’s immediate subject was God’s judgment. His point was that those who are secure in God’s perfect love have no reason to fear His judgment. So God’s love casts out the fear we may have about our sins. God’s love in Christ has paid for those sins. The heart that is full of God’s love has no room for fear of God’s judgment.

How else might this truth apply? Think of all the times we are tempted to fear: We fear the future—but God’s love surrounds us and our future. We fear loving someone who has hurt us—but God’s love gives us assurance of His blessing on our obedience. We fear finding our “place” in life—but God’s love assures us we are created and called according to His purposes. The more we rest in the knowledge of God’s love, the less fear we will experience in any area of life.

If you are experiencing fear of any kind, ask God to show you how His love can take that fear away.

The chains of love are stronger than the chains of fear.

William Gurnall


Proverbs 21 – 23

Joyce Meyer – Clean Up

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. —Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

Have you ever gone on a cleaning rampage to straighten up your home or office? Did you enjoy pitching junk, straightening objects, and organizing materials so that you could find them when you need them?

You may need to get on a Holy Ghost rampage and do the same thing with your life. Say, “I’ve had enough bondage. I’ve had enough negative thoughts. I’ve had enough of the lies of the devil. I am not going to have any more bad days. I am not going to be discouraged, depressed, or despondent. I am going to enjoy my life!”

Jesus is ready to help you live life to the fullest!

From the book Starting Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – Choices Determine Destinies

Today’s Truth

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.

Matthew 25:21

Friend to Friend

One day Jesus told a parable to a group of listeners. We’ve come to know it as the Parable of the Talents, but it is really more the Parable of the Three Choices. Jesus was explaining what the kingdom of heaven would be like in common terms.

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Matthew 25:14-18)

When the master returned home, he was well please with the two servants who had invested and doubled their talents, but he was furious with the one who hid his one talent in the ground.

‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents’ (Matt. 25:26).

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Keeps His Promises

“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who for a thousand generations keeps His promises and constantly loves those who love Him and who obey His commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Torn between the desire to surrender his life to the Lord and the desire to be his own person, Tom gave vent to his frustration.

“I want to be a good Christian,” he said, “but I’m afraid of God and what He might do to change my plans. You see, I have great plans for my life and I don’t want to end up wasting it.

“For example, I don’t want to marry someone with whom I would be miserable or risk my opportunities for a successful business career.”

I asked Tom, as I have often asked others, “Do you really believe that God loves you?”

“Yes,” he replied – and that is the general response. Then I reminded him that Jesus Christ so loved him that He was willing to die on the cross for his sins.

“Do you believe that He died for you?”

“Yes,” Tom agreed, and that also is the general reply.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Keeps His Promises

Ray Stedman – A Sharp Disagreement

Read: Acts 15:22-41

Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing. Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Acts 15:36-39a

Here is a quarrel between Barnabas and Paul which has fascinated many. They could not agree whether or not to take young John Mark with them again. Barnabas was his cousin and wanted to give the young man another chance. But Paul did not want to take the chance because the work was both important and dangerous, and he did not think it wise to take someone they could not count on.

So we read the sad note: there arose a sharp disagreement between them. Many have said, Which of these men was right? There have been a lot of disagreements over that, so that many people have had sharp disagreement over whether Paul or Barnabas was right! But that is really not the point. Both of these men were right. One was looking at the work and the other at the person. As Paul looked at the work he was perfectly right to say, We don’t want somebody who is apt to cop out on us. That is exactly what he said. And he probably quoted the words of Jesus, No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62) That is right. Christian service is demanding, and those who undertake it should be prepared to go through with it and stick with it to the end, for God’s cause is injured by those who quit in the middle.

On the other hand, Barnabas, though I am sure he would have agreed as to the importance of the work, was looking at the young man. He knew Mark was gifted. Sure, he had failed, but who doesn’t? Who of us does not need a second chance, does not need to have a forgiving spirit exercised toward us, and the opportunity to try again? So Barnabas was willing to give Mark a second chance.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – A Sharp Disagreement

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Making the Old New

Read: 1 John 2:7-11

I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning . . . [yet] it is a new commandment. (vv. 7-8)

In our society, it seems that people always want what’s new—a new car, a new house, new clothes—you name it. New is best, or so it seems.

Sometimes it definitely is! A friend had an old car that experienced one problem after another. Worn out and unreliable the car was no longer safe to drive. We all breathed a sigh of relief when he bought a newer model. But in many cases we get rid of things too soon. Second hand stores have sprung up everywhere because the “old” things people get rid of still have some life to them. So new can be good, but old can be good too.

John had something similar in mind when he said that what he was writing was both old and new at the same time. What he was talking about was the command to love. That command had been around for a long time: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). But this old command had been given new life by Jesus. Through the life of the Savior, the meaning of love was expanded to include all people—not just fellow Jews. And besides that, the love Jesus displayed was absolute and inexhaustible. Arrest him, mock him, beat him, and crucify him, and his response was still, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”


Lord, please help us to love like Jesus. Amen.

Author: John Koedyker

Greg Laurie – Frenemies with the World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. —1 John 2:15

The word frenemy is a relatively new term in the English language. A frenemy is neither an actual friend nor an outright enemy. Thus, he or she is a frenemy. My concern is that some Christians have become frenemies with the world.

By “world” I mean a mentality, a system, a way of thinking. The Bible defines the world this way: “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—that is the world.

I think sometimes Christians get confused about this. They think anything that is enjoyable is worldly. But the Bible says that God has given us all things to richly enjoy (see 1 Timothy 6:17). It’s great to enjoy things that are wholesome and uplifting. This is not what the Bible is referring to when it speaks of the world.

The Message says it this way: “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father.”

Little temptations can seem almost harmless, like cute little kittens. But little kittens ultimately turn into cats. And a little temptation can become a full-scale sin. As Christians, we have three enemies we contend with every day: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world with its allure is the external foe. The flesh with its evil desires is the internal foe. And Satan with his enticements is the infernal foe.


Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Abundantly Good

“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.” (Psalm 145:7a)

When we say that something is “good,” what do we mean?

When something is “good,” it does what it is supposed to do. Imagine that you are playing soccer, dribbling the ball down the field. You fake around one defender and then another. Now, the goalie is the only player left between you and the goal. You dribble to the right and then kick the ball high and to the left corner of the goal. It flies past the diving goalie’s outstretched hands. That was a “good” shot: it did what it was supposed to do.

Psalm 145:7a says, “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.” When David says that God is abundantly good, what does he mean? He means that God will always do what He is supposed to do. God never makes a mistake or a bad decision. Everything that He does is best for Him and for His creation – even when it doesn’t seem to us that things are good. We are too limited to be able to say whether something is truly good or bad, but we can trust that the God always does good.

God is not just good; his goodness is great, or abundant. When Steph was a kid, she used to save up her money to buy small bags of M&M’s. She would go home and lie on her bed and read a book while eating them one at a time, trying to make them last for a looooong time. But they always ran out way too soon! When something is “abundant,” it means that there is more than enough of it. Abundant M&M’s would be a bag that never ran out. That is how God’s goodness is to all people: it will never run out!

God is always good, and His goodness is abundant.

My Response:

» The verse says, “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.” When was the last time I got excited and told someone how good God is to me? Who can I tell today about God’s goodness to me

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Sin for Sin

Today’s Scripture: Romans 8:13

“If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

We’ll never reach the place where we don’t have to contend against the flesh. But the life of a Christian should be characterized by an earnest desire and sincere effort to put to death (mortify) the sins of the body.

Although mortification is our responsibility, it can be done only through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). John Owen wrote, “all other ways of discipline are in vain. All other helps leave us helpless. Mortification is accomplished only ‘through the Spirit’ . . . no other power can accomplish it.”

Although the Scriptures emphasize both human discipline and dependence on the Holy Spirit, we tend to emphasize one to the neglect of the other. To some, it seems more spiritual to “just turn it all over to God” and trust him to do the mortifying. Any mention of our responsibility is dismissed as being only “a work of the flesh.”

To other people who stress discipline, it seems more responsible to “just do it.” But mortification attempted only by human willpower always ends in self-righteousness or frustration. The more naturally disciplined person tends toward self-righteousness and wonders why everyone else can’t be as successful in mortification as he or she is. But all that person has done is exchanged one sin for another. The problem of impure thoughts, for example, is exchanged for pride and self-righteousness. Another person who tries to mortify some particular sin by his or her own willpower fails and becomes frustrated and guilty. So pride or frustration is always the result of attempts to mortify sin that are carried on apart from utter dependence on the Spirit. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Lost Sheep

Today’s Scripture: Amos 1-2

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. – Matthew 9:36

How do we get a burden for the lost? We must be in contact with people who need Christ; we must feel their anguish and spiritual need. But we must also pray that God will burden our hearts for these people.

A few years ago, we were living in a condominium where the walls were so thin I could hear the alarm clock of the people next to us. And sadly, those people were in constant conflict. I think their dog was the only thing holding them together.

And it made me mad. I told Virginia I was about ready to go over there and tell them to shut up. Virginia said, “Well, it’s sure evident that they need the Lord.” You see, we were both exposed to people who needed Christ. But I got mad at them while Virginia prayed for them.

One of the most important elements in being an effective witness for Christ is to have a burden for people who don’t know Him. We see it in Amos 1-2, and even in the prophet’s name, which in Hebrew is related to a verb meaning “to bear a load, to be burdened.”

It takes exposure plus the compassion of Christ to produce a burden for the lost. Christian, where are you in this process today? Are you getting mad at the lost or getting burdened for them? May God give each of us a burden, like Amos, to share His word with the people around us who so desperately need Him.


Lord, give me eyes of compassion to see the lost as You see them. Amen.

To Ponder

A burdened heart is the beginning of a burning witness.

BreakPoint – Remembering Elie Wiesel

The world lost its conscience over the Fourth of July weekend. Elie Wiesel, the holocaust survivor who spent the sixty-seven years after the fall of the Third Reich striving to make sure that history wouldn’t repeat itself, died in his Manhattan home at the age of 87.

I was privileged to meet Wiesel once. We spoke about Bonhoeffer, with whom he was, of course, very familiar.

Wiesel was born in 1928 in the Romanian town of Sighet. For most of World War II, the town was administered by Hungary. When Wiesel was 15, the Third Reich occupied Hungary and began the extermination of the last substantial Jewish population under its direct control. In just eight weeks, 424,000 out of an estimated 800,000 Jews living in Hungary were deported to Auschwitz, ninety percent of whom were exterminated upon arrival.

Elie Wiesel, along with his parents and his youngest sister, were among the deportees. While his mother and sister were killed immediately upon arrival, Wiesel and his father were put to work. Just before Auschwitz fell to the Soviets later that year, he and his father were sent to Buchenwald, another notorious concentration camp.

Wiesel’s father died only a few weeks before Buchenwald was liberated by Patton’s Third Army in April, 1945. He and his two sisters, who had emigrated to North America prior to the war, were all that was left of his family. By the standards of what is called the “Shoah” in Hebrew, they were more fortunate than most.

Of course, in the face of monstrous evil, “fortunate” is a relative term. Very relative.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Remembering Elie Wiesel

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE TOWER OF BABEL


Through Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, many are finding it easier and easier to make themselves known to friends and strangers alike. And with the rise of gated communities and TSA checkpoints at airports, people are desperately seeking to find safety in an uncertain world. Notoriety and security: two things many people seek in life.

The ancient world was no exception. Recall that after the Flood, Noah and his sons were told to multiply and fill the earth. Earlier, Genesis 10 described the partial fulfillment of that command through the genealogies of Noah’s sons. This record shows how the ancient nations came about through the descendants of Japheth, Ham, and Shem. Would these increasing numbers of humanity remain faithful to God?

Unfortunately, as Genesis 11 tells us, they would not. The descendants of Noah settled in one place and then attempted to build a city with a great tower that reached the heavens. Their two-fold reason: “So that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (11:4). They sought for themselves notoriety in the world, and security from the uncertainty of migration. Rather than being content with God’s provision in the world, this post-Flood humanity, like Adam and Eve, attempted to take control of their own lives.

As a result, God put a stop to their designs by confusing their language and scattering them throughout the earth. It would appear that this new generation of mankind would be just as resistant to God’s commands as they were before the Flood. Nevertheless, God did not give up on humanity, for the genealogy at the end of Genesis 11 introduces for us a flicker of hope in a man God would use for His own purposes: Abram.


How many of us have followed the way of Babel in trying to make a name for ourselves through the way we use social media? For today, decide not to post any photos or updates on these sites, and turn instead to prayer and Scripture memorization. Let the words of 1 Peter 2:9 become the day’s theme, thanking God that your worth depends on belonging to Him.

Denison Forum – The FBI and Hillary Clinton: my analysis

I was reading about the spaceship orbiting Jupiter yesterday morning when something decidedly more down-to-earth hit my Twitter feed: the FBI director had just announced that he would not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information when she was secretary of state.

I knew this would dominate the news cycle, so I wrote a white paper for our website: The Clinton email scandal: what you need to know. There I survey the history of the controversy, issues raised by the debate, practical questions, and ways Christians should respond. For today’s Cultural Commentary, I’d like to focus on a theme I didn’t address in the white paper.

When you heard the news, what was your immediate response? If you’re a Clinton advocate, you probably saw the announcement as vindicating your support. No criminal charges were recommended, so her campaign believes that the matter is now resolved.

If you’re a Clinton critic, you probably saw the announcement as vindicating your opposition. The FBI director strongly criticized Mrs. Clinton and her colleagues for being “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Two sides, reacting to the same report, are defending two completely different positions. Such is the state of our political culture today.

According to a recent survey, ninety-two percent of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, while ninety-four percent of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican. The percentage in each party with a highly negative view of the other party has more than doubled since 1994.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The FBI and Hillary Clinton: my analysis