Charles Stanley – Our Faithful Father

2 Timothy 2:11-13

All of us experience times when our circumstances seem unbearable, prayers appear to go unanswered, and the Lord feels distant. When that happens, we may wonder if He is the same as we once believed Him to be. During such times of helplessness, faith falters for some people yet grows stronger for others. What causes these opposite responses to suffering?

The key is simply one’s understanding of and trust in God’s faithfulness. This term means that the Lord never changes—He always does what is right, remains true to His promises, and is 100 percent reliable. In other words, we can trust our almighty God, regardless of our situation or attitude.

Our understanding of God relates to this concept. Do we trust Him enough to obey, even when obedience seems foolish? Are we so confident He hears and answers prayer that we consistently bring requests before His throne, even when we don’t see an immediate response? Are we daily sacrificing our selfish desires and patterns of living because we believe His promise of eternity, joy, and peace? An answer of “no” may indicate a deficient understanding of God’s character. That’s why reading the Bible is so important—through Scripture’s countless illustrations of our Father’s attributes, we learn who He is and increasingly trust Him.

Thankfully, God’s faithfulness does not depend on our circumstances, our feelings, or even our own faithfulness. He is true to His Word and true to Himself. How would your life look different if you had complete confidence that God was trustworthy and unchanging?

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 9-12

Our Daily Bread — Marking Time

Read: Psalm 25:1–15 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 23–25; Acts 21:18–40

Let no one who waits on You be ashamed. Psalm 25:3 nkjv

The military command, “Mark Time, March” means to march in place without moving forward.  It is an active pause in forward motion while remaining mentally prepared and expectantly waiting the next command.

In everyday language, the term marking time has come to mean “motion without progress, not getting anywhere, not doing anything important while you wait.” It conveys a feeling of idle, meaningless waiting.

Waiting on God is active trust in Him.

In contrast, the word wait in the Bible often means “to look eagerly for, to hope, and to expect.” The psalmist, when facing great difficulties, wrote: “O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed” (Ps. 25:2–3 nkjv).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Lion and Lamb

One cannot help but be deeply disheartened and disturbed by the recent barrage of violent headlines: two men pulled over at traffic stops and brutally shot, police officers targeted and killed, terrorist attacks around the world, rancor and fighting among ourselves over politics, economics, or petty offenses. As one event piles onto another, I wonder aloud over the apparent love of violence by human beings. With all the heartache and despair left in the wake of these kinds of tragedies, why won’t people tire of violence?

Unfortunately, violent events are no longer a shock or a surprise. In fact, they are often as familiar to us and our world as our exercise routines. Yet, perhaps the familiar reminder of violence brings to our attention that something is very wrong in this world. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that evil is not just out there, apart from us, but dwells all too closely within our own hearts. The ancient prophet Jeremiah understood this dark reality of human nature: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

While I wish Jeremiah’s indictment was for everyone else out there—murderous assassins or political rivals—I know too well my own heart’s violence. It comes naturally to be quick to make a judgement, to grow irritated at minor offenses, or to feel the rage that emerges when my way, my plans, my agenda is thwarted. How often I wish I could take back all of the careless words spoken in anger against my loved ones? When might I tire of violence?

Jesus, like Jeremiah before him, understood humanity’s violent tendencies. He understood that violence is not something ‘out there’ but something within us. He told his disciples, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come… and they defile a person” (Mark 7:20-23). Jesus didn’t say these words from the cross of violence that took his life, but he very well could have. Indeed, his offering of himself and his death on a cross is the very embodiment of his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount:

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Lion and Lamb

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Discernment Between Truth and Error

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

God’s children are able to discern false doctrine.

A sure mark of every false religious system is doctrinal error, particularly about the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Those systems deny that He is Savior and Lord, God in human flesh, the only way to the Father (John 14:6) because salvation comes only through Him (Acts 4:12).

A sure mark, then, of all true children of God is that they believe the truth about Jesus Christ and do not deviate into doctrinal error. Although they may be temporarily duped by false teaching, they will not be permanently deceived by it. The apostle John wrote, “[False teachers] are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Discernment Between Truth and Error

Wisdom Hunters – Are You Asking God for Something You Already Have?

By Shana Schutte

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

A couple months ago, my husband and I went on vacation. But before we headed for the airport, he had a few loose ends to tie up for work, and I needed to purchase a pair of flip flops. So, just a of couple hours before our flight was scheduled to depart, we drove to Kinkos where he had a few copies made. I dropped him off and then beelined it across the shopping center parking lot to the sporting goods store. My plan was to hurry inside, snag a pair of flip flops I had seen just a couple weeks before, then zip back over to pick up my husband. We figured we would finish our respective errands just in time to reconnect, then we could rush to catch our flight.

When I got inside the store, I headed straight to the back of the building where I had seen the flip flops. Bummer! All sold out! I sat on the floor and tried on another brand. Nope. These won’t work. Too scratchy between the toes. I hurried around to the end of the next aisle to try on a pair of water shoes. I sat on the floor once again to try them on. Great! These will work! I almost ran toward the checkout. My husband is probably waiting for me. I paid, then moved quickly toward the sliding glass doors.

That’s when I realized I had lost my car keys. Oh no! Well, maybe I left them in the car. Nope, the car was locked and they weren’t inside. I ran back to the store and hurried toward the aisles where I had tried on the shoes. I searched the floor where I had been seated. No keys. I hope I don’t make us late for our flight! I checked inside my purse. No keys. I checked my pant pockets. No keys. Then I felt the front of my sweatshirt. A-ha! Yay! They were in the front pocket right where I had left them for safe keeping. As I ran toward the front door, I thought, sometimes we are looking for something we already have.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Are You Asking God for Something You Already Have?

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – How to Be Secure

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

Recommended Reading

Hebrews 13:1-9

Ours is a culture of insecurity. The Greek-god perfection of the buffed-up bodies of celebrities makes the rest of us feel chubby and out of shape. The economy leaves us frightened about the future. Upcoming elections are up in the air. Physicians warn of impending pandemics. And every time our children turn the key to their automobile, we worry about their safety. Some people never feel safe in their own homes or neighborhoods, and others don’t feel secure in their relationships.

Trying times can make us feel insecure, but our security isn’t found in our culture but in our Savior. We have a Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t change, and His tender mercies are new every morning. His promises cannot fail. His truth is immutable and His love is inexhaustible.

Proverbs 1:33 says, “Whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” The writer of Psalm 59:9 said, “I will watch for You, for You keep me strong. God, You are my security!” (The Voice) Give your insecurities to God and lean on His everlasting arms, “safe and secure from all alarms.”

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, / Leaning on the everlasting arms?

Elisha Hoffman, in the hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”


Isaiah 15 – 19

Joyce Meyer – Quick to Forgive

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].—1 Colossians 3:13

The world is filled with pain and hurting people; and my experience has been that hurting people hurt others. The devil works overtime among God’s people to bring offense, strife, and disharmony, but we can be thankful that God gives us a tool to disappoint and defeat the devil: We can be quick to forgive.

Forgiveness closes the door to Satan’s attack so that he cannot gain a foothold that might eventually become a stronghold. It can prevent or end strife in our relationships with others. No wonder Scripture tells us over and over that we are to forgive those who hurt or offend us. Jesus made forgiveness a lifestyle, and He taught us to do the same. This is essential to living a joy-filled life.

Prayer of Thanks Father, I am so thankful for the forgiveness You have given me through Jesus and for the grace to be able to forgive others. Regardless of what others have done to hurt or offend me, today I choose to forgive those who have caused me pain. Thank You for helping me to live out that forgiveness each new day.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – Where Would I Be Without My Mountains?

Today’s Truth

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Friend to Friend

Dan and I have been all over the United States and the world … but we had never been to Montana. So when I booked a speaking engagement there, we decided to take a few days following the event for a mini-vacation.

We fell in love with Montana! The event was amazing! The leadership, preparation, and prayer that had gone into the planning of the conference blessed me in a huge way. I knew before the doors opened that God was all over it. And I was so right! God’s presence was powerful as 12 women surrendered their lives to Him and dozens of others made fresh commitments that would forever change their lives! So I was already flying high as Dan and I left Billings, Montana and made our way to Yellowstone National Park.

The drive was beautiful … but flat. We saw hills and what some might call mountains in the distance. But like I said, Dan and I have been all over the world – to Latin America, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Colombia … to name a few places with some pretty impressive mountains. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed the scenic drive to Gardner where we would be staying.

After checking into our hotel, we still had a few hours of daylight left and decided to check out as much of Yellowstone as we could. Dan had studied maps, guides, and information on the Internet … and he had a plan.

At the park entrance we were greeted by a friendly park ranger who answered the few remaining questions Dan had. The ranger then warned us to be careful on certain mountain roads that still had icy spots. Hmmm … that sounded promising! Like there were real mountains ahead.

We. Wanted. Mountains.

And mountains we got!

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Where Would I Be Without My Mountains?

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Things for Our Good

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans” (Romans 8:28).

I waited and prayed in the chapel at the Loma Linda Hospital. My beloved wife, Vonette, had been in major surgery for four hours. Three weeks before, while I was in Brazil, she had gone to our doctor for a physical examination and he had informed her that she had a large growth that could be malignant.

Though he wanted to operate at once, the doctor agreed at Vonette’s insistence to wait until I returned from a tour of several Latin American countries. Vonette called to give me the doctor’s report while I was in Rio de Janerio. Naturally I wanted to return home at once. However, she assured me that she would be all right and encouraged me not to interrupt the meetings since they had the potential of ultimately helping to train hundreds of thousands of Christians to help reach millions for our Lord throughout all of Latin America (which they have subsequently done through a great Here’s Life movement in each of these countries).

We prayed together over the telephone, praising God for His faithfulness to us in the past. As an expression of our faith and an act of obedience to His holy, inspired Word, we thanked Him for this opportunity to trust Him, even though at the moment it seemed very difficult. Then as we praised and gave thanks to the Lord, His supernatural peace flooded our hearts. God always honors faith and obedience.

During the following weeks we continued to praise and thank God as we both continued to speak and witness for Him personally and at many meetings, recognizing that we are His servants, and that the Master is responsible for the welfare of His servants.

After the surgery the doctors assured us that the operation was a success and that there was no malignancy. We continue to thank and praise the Lord for His goodness to us. We know that, if we love God, all things really do work out together for our good regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the outcome. Why did God allow us to go through this experience? In order that we would be reminded of His faithfulness and learn to love, trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:29-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since I love God and am fitting into His plans, I will, by faith, count all things as working together for my good today and will thank God and praise Him in obedience to His command. I will encourage others to do the same, to trust and obey God as an expression of the supernatural life.

Ray Stedman – Freedom in Christ

Read: Acts 21:17-26

And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. Acts 21:20-21

Many have misread this and concluded that Paul set aside Moses and the Law, that he did reject circumcision as of no value. That charge was false. Paul never taught a Jew to abandon Moses, or not to circumcise his children. What he strongly taught was that the Gentiles should not be made subject to these Jewish provisions. He would not allow them to come under the Jewish Law and insisted that they did not have to follow any of these Jewish provisions. But he did not set aside the ritual for the Jews.

Rather, he pointed out to them that this was all symbolic, and that it was all pointing toward Christ. The very rituals they were performing and the sacrifices they were offering were all telling them of Jesus. Jesus’ coming had fulfilled, and filled out, the picture that the Old Testament sacrifices had drawn. Thus, in the very process of carrying them out, the Jews were simply retelling themselves of the coming of the Lord Jesus.

These observances were very much like the Lord’s table is for us today. When we take communion, we are dealing with symbols. There is a sense in which those symbols are telling again the story of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Doing this does not make us any better, but it reminds us. This was the function of these Jewish rituals. They were reminders of what the Lord Jesus had come to do. All through the book of Acts we see Jewish Christians going into the temple and offering sacrifices, just as the Lord himself had done. There is no suggestion that they should have stopped, or that it was wrong for them to do this. Until God took the sacrifices away they were permitted this means of expression. The sacrifices ended when the temple was finally destroyed in A.D. 70, when the words of Jesus were fulfilled and Roman armies came and laid siege to the city (Matthew 24:6ff). The city was taken and the Jews were carried away captive, exactly as the Lord Jesus said. But that was several years still in the future from this point in history.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Freedom in Christ

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Faithful and Just To Forgive

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The puppy looked up at them with big sad eyes and let out something between a yelp and a yawn. When he opened his mouth, a well-chewed science book fell out and thudded on the floor.

“Aw, who couldn’t forgive a face like that!” Lizzy leaned down and rubbed his ears.

Jacob bent over and grabbed his puppy’s collar.

“That’s it, Charlie. You’re sleeping outside tonight!”

Lizzy used a sock to wipe the puppy-slobber off Jacob’s science book, while he wrestled Charlie out the back door and into his doghouse.

“Don’t be so hard on him, Jacob,” she said when he came stomping back into the kitchen. “Charlie’s just doing what puppies do. They chew things and make messes. You’ve heard people joke about telling the teacher ‘the dog ate my homework.’ It’s just his nature.”

Jacob got a glass down from the cabinet. “My teacher isn’t going to believe me when I say that my dog ‘ate my science book’!” He slammed the cabinet door shut and threw open the refrigerator. “I’m sure she will just nod and smile and say, ‘Oh, that’s just fine, Jacob. You know that’s just what puppies do.'”

As it turned out, Miss Albert was surprisingly understanding when he told her what had happened to his science book. She did not say “that’s just what puppies do,” but she did nod and smile knowingly. Jacob wondered if Miss Albert might have had a puppy sometime in her life.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Faithful and Just To Forgive

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Mighty, Tenderhearted Father

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 3:26

“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

For some the very word father brings up images of harshness, cruelty, abuse, unfaithfulness, or perhaps just plain indifference. I remember the words of one student: “If God is like my father, I want nothing to do with God.” Happily, God is not like his father. God “is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8, NIV).

Whether we have a father whom we respect and cherish or one who is worthy to be despised, we should never form our view of God from any human pattern. Rather, we should go to the Bible to get a true picture of our heavenly Father.

Note the contrasting views of God in Psalm 147:3-4: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (NIV). The same God who by his mighty power creates and sustains the stars in their courses is at the same time the tenderhearted God who heals the broken and binds up their wounds. The Psalms are replete with such fatherly images of God.

As we think of this relationship to God as our heavenly Father, we must always bear one important truth in mind. We have this relationship only through Jesus Christ. It’s only because of our union with Christ that we are God’s children and he is our Father. That’s why Paul wrote, “In him [that is, through our union with Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12, NIV; see also Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 10:19-22).

Our status as children of God is one more glorious aspect of our inexhaustible treasure in “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – In Christ Alone

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 40-45

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” – Matthew 7:22-23

As I have talked with people over the years, I’ve noticed a great deal of confusion over the assurance of salvation. There are multiplied thousands of people who have never received Christ as their Savior and Lord, yet they feel confident they will go to heaven–if there is a heaven. They have a false assurance that everything is right between themselves and God.

In Jeremiah 43, we are told that a group of Jews had left the land of Judah and gone to live in Egypt in direct disobedience of God’s command. They thought that in Egypt they would be safe from all the calamity of their homeland. They burned incense and worshiped a deity called the Queen of Heaven, whom they believed would bring them health and prosperity. When the prophet Jeremiah warned them, we find their reply in Jeremiah 44:16-17: “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! …We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her.” The people were convinced that everything would be all right, even after God’s prophet told them otherwise.

Today there are millions of people who have a false assurance about their eternal destiny. Some trust in the fact that they are church members or that they’ve been baptized or confirmed. Some trust in their good works or a moving experience they once had on a weekend retreat. But the Bible urges us to place our confidence in Jesus Christ alone.


Lord, You are my only source of strength, and my certainty of eternal life. Amen.

To Ponder

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6).

BreakPoint –  Should You Allow Your Kids to Play Pokémon Go?

In 1985, social critic named Neal Postman, in the introduction to his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” compared two famous dystopian visions: “1984” by George Orwell and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. He noted that though many people thought their visions similar, Huxley and Orwell had very different theories about how people would lose their freedoms.

Orwell thought it would be Big Brother—the all-watching, all-powerful state. Now certainly, in the age of the NSA and TSA, it sounds like he may have been on to something.

But Postman thought Huxley was the one who got it right. Here’s how he put it:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, because there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture… As Huxley remarked in“Brave New World Revisited,” the civil libertarians and rationalists ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.

In “1984,” people are controlled by inflicting pain. In“Brave New World,” they were controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared what we love will ruin us.

“My book,” Postman then concluded, “is about the possibility that Huxley was right, not Orwell.” And perhaps nothing has so vindicated Postman’s take on American culture like Pokemon Go, a game in which users capture, battle, and train mythical creatures. Already it has more users than Tindr and even Twitter!

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Should You Allow Your Kids to Play Pokémon Go?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JACOB’S BLESSINGS

Read GENESIS 30:25–31:55

One classic feature of comic books is that the superhero always has an arch enemy, a nemesis who presents a constant challenge. Time and again the plots of such stories are driven by the tension and suspense produced by these two characters vying for the upper hand.

If Jacob is the main protagonist in today’s reading, Laban was his nemesis, and they each struggled to gain the advantage over the other. Jacob complained of ongoing mistreatment by Laban. He had changed Jacob’s wages multiple times and profited greatly at Jacob’s expense. After their agreement about speckled flocks, Laban immedi- ately tried to cheat Jacob at the outset (30:35–36). When Jacob tried to leave secretly, Laban quickly caught up to him and demanded a treaty. Clearly, neither man trusted the other. The treaty simply determined boundaries for keeping away from each other.

By the end of our reading, Jacob had gained the upper hand. He not only escaped a conniving uncle but he also departed with an abundance of children and wealth. Scripture tells us that Jacob “grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and female and male servants, and camels and donkeys” (30:43). But don’t miss the clear reason for Jacob’s blessing. Even Jacob recognized that it was God’s hand behind it all. When speaking with his wives, he explicitly identified God’s protection and blessing: “God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me” (31:9). When speaking with Laban, Jacob recognized that without God’s help, he would be empty-handed.

The God who had met Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28) had kept His promise of presence and protection. Now that same God was calling Jacob back to the Promised Land. We begin to see Jacob’s growing faith by his intent to obey.


Jacob’s life is the reminder that every blessing we have comes from God. Consider your life today and identify the many blessings you experience, whether health, employment, family, or provisions. Place that list before the Lord and give Him thanks for these good gifts which He has bestowed upon you, asking for wisdom to use those gifts as a blessing to others.


Pokémon GO is the most popular mobile game in American history. The app instructs players to use their mobile devices to catch Pokémon characters in the real world. It has sent multitudes of people into streets, parks, and malls looking for such creatures. More than twenty-one million people play the game every day in the US. (For more, see Ryan Denison’s Is Pokémon Go-ing to Church?)

I’m old enough to remember when Blockbuster stores rented video games and VHS tapes. Now Blockbuster stores and VHS tapes are no more. We could never have imagined then the technology we take for granted today.

One reason for the popularity of Pokémon GO is that it provides a distraction from a world that grows more frightening by the day. Security is tighter than ever for the Republican Convention in Cleveland. (For Nick Pitts’s reports from the convention, please go to our Facebook page.) According to this morning’s New York Times, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the seventeen-year-old Afghan who attacked passengers on a German train before he was killed by police. After the shootings in Baton Rouge and Dallas, police officers across the country are patrolling in pairs.

A psychologist noted in The New York Times, “With the frequency of shootings and terror attacks there is a sense of anxiety that’s building in people, a sense of vulnerability and powerlessness.”

In the face of such crises, it’s hard to take the long view. What happens today seems more important than what happened yesterday or will happen tomorrow. The current challenge seems to be more of a challenge than anything we’ve faced before or will face again. But that’s seldom true.

From 1960 to 1993, violent crime in America increased by 560 percent. It has since dropped to half that level. We are understandably worried about Islamic terrorism. But I grew up in a time when we lived every day with the very real possibility of nuclear war.

Continue reading Denison Forum – POKÉMON GO AND THE CRISES OF OUR DAY