Charles Stanley – The Spiritual Discipline of Fasting

Acts 13:1-3

Fasting has two important components. One is abstention, which eliminates distractions. The other is undivided attention on God, which allows connection with Him on a deeper level.

Daniel was living under captivity in Babylon when he read God’s promise to free the Israelites after a certain period of time. He earnestly sought the Lord by means of prayer and fasting (Dan. 9:2-3). Then through the angel Gabriel, God gave the young man greater understanding of what He had previously pledged.

Scripture contains other examples as well. When King Jehoshaphat learned that a powerful army was on the offensive, he called for all of Judah to come together and fast (2 Chron. 20:1-4). God gave encouragement and strength for the future. Fasting was also part of the early church’s preparation for choosing its first missionaries, during which the Holy Spirit directed that Barnabas and Saul be commissioned for the work (Acts 13:2).

Fasting does not bring us a quicker answer from God or persuade Him to follow our plan. Instead, it prepares us to see our situation through His eyes and to act on what we learn. At times I have sought the Lord to get His assessment of how I am doing. This discipline has helped me gain His perspective on my life and work.

Fasting involves a strong desire to hear from God, a period of time to connect with Him, and a willingness to abstain from food or some activity. If the idea intimidates you, remember its purpose is preparation so we might draw closer to God and receive His encouragement and direction.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 32-33

Our Daily Bread — Graded with Grace

Read: Romans 5:6-15

Bible in a Year: Psalms 148-150; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.—Romans 5:8

My son’s blue eyes sparkled with excitement as he showed me a paper he had brought home from school. It was a math test, marked with a red star and a grade of 100 percent. As we looked at the exam, he said he had three questions left to answer when the teacher said time was up. Puzzled, I asked how he could have received a perfect score. He replied, “My teacher gave me grace. She let me finish the test although I had run out of time.”

As my son and I discussed the meaning of grace, I pointed out that God has given us more than we deserve through Christ. We deserve death because of our sin (Rom. 3:23). Yet, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8). We were unworthy, yet Jesus—sinless and holy—gave up His life so we could escape the penalty for our sin and one day live forever in heaven.

Eternal life is a gift from God. It’s not something we earn by working for it. We are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear God, Your undeserved favor has made it possible for us to be saved from our sin. You have shown us amazing grace. Thank You for

the gift You gave. Use me to tell others about You and what You have done.

Grace and mercy are unearned blessings.

INSIGHT: A key word in Romans 5 is through. It is used seventeen times in this brief chapter. In today’s passage, we read that through Christ we have been saved from wrath (v. 9), been reconciled to God (vv. 10-11), and have reason to boast in God (v. 11). Christ is the mediator of our salvation (1 Tim. 2:5).

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Of Gratitude and Grief

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit with some friends who live in Colorado. We spent a couple of days hiking in the beautiful San Isabel National Forest. Within this section of the Rocky Mountains are five major mountain ranges that rise from 5800 to over 14,400 feet and have the most mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. The difference in elevation affords one multiple views from different perspectives.

Starting at the tree line populated by various conifers, aspens, and cottonwoods, we climbed to the more barren alpine terrain dotted with scrub brush, alpine wildflowers, and wildlife. Reaching the ridgeline, the vistas of the valleys and trails below took on ever-new perspectives. Climbing higher gave a broader panorama, obviously, but each step taken presented ever-changing views. From my perspective, I thought I had seen everything on the trail, and yet new aspects of the horizon continually became visible.

Like hiking, life often has a way of shifting one’s perspective. While on the hike, I received a text message from a concerned relative. “Was I anywhere near the shootings?” the text read. I hadn’t learned yet about the horrible massacre that had occurred just hours earlier in an Aurora, Colorado theater where 12 people were killed and 58 were seriously injured. From striking beauty and the grandeur of mountain vistas to images of suburban sidewalks spattered with blood, our perspective shifted once again. Now the awe producing vistas of our hike were juxtaposed against the horror and terror of what should have been any other night at the movies in suburbia. While we had been enjoying the landscapes, others were fighting for their lives. While we laughed at marmots at play, others wept over their lost loved ones. While our feet trod lightly without a care in the world, others bore the weight of worry and fear that their loved ones, too, were among those killed. And this grievous juxtaposition of opposites occurs over and over again in contexts all around the world.

How quickly our perspectives changed. Just as our view of the landscape looked differently as we made our way along the trail, so too changed our perspective of our precarious place in the world and the brevity of life. Despite the serene beauty around us, our perspective shifted to dark and deadly forces not two hours away from where we stood. Gratitude gave way to grief over what was lost.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Of Gratitude and Grief

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Reality of the Promise

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

The unity of the church is the best proof that the Holy Spirit has come.

Many people today look for some kind of evidence of reality—science and technology, New Age thought, Eastern religions, various brands of experience-oriented Christianity, or “seeker friendly” mega-church enterprises. But as I have said and written countless times before, Scripture alone points us toward a genuine, secure spiritual reality.

The fulfilled promise of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring is one of the truest indicators of authentic spiritual activity. And 1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us how to recognize that He is truly ministering in our midst. In this verse Paul gives us a near perfect commentary on what occurred so spectacularly at Pentecost and has gone on less visibly ever since—the Spirit placed all believers into the Body of Christ, and all believers now have the same Holy Spirit.

The process of gathering believers into the church is a combined ministry of the Lord Jesus and the Spirit. In using the phrase “by one Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit was Christ’s agent in making us children of God. That means we don’t need to look to other mystical signs and experiences to verify the Spirit’s activity in ourselves or others. Jesus wants us simply to understand His words in John 7:37-39, “‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.”

Whenever we see people being saved and then maturing in Christ, we can be certain that the promised Spirit is at work. The reality of the promise is thus a constant reminder of the faithfulness and consistency of a sovereign God who is working to provide us with life’s greatest sense of comfort, joy, and spiritual assurance.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that your local church would maintain the unity of the Spirit and thereby testify to outsiders of His working.

For Further Study

Make a list from Ephesians 3:14-21 of the privileges and benefits believers should know if they are experiencing Christian unity.

Wisdom Hunters – Why You Can Be Set Free from Being Performance Driven

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Are you a performance-driven Christian? Deep down, do you believe you have to work to earn God’s love or His favor? If so, there is good news! As a daughter or a son of Christ, you have been set free from the pressure and burden to perform. Here’s why.

I once heard someone say, “The only way to think about anything is the way Jesus thinks about it.” I instantly thought that the only way that Jesus thinks about me and everything concerning me, is within the context of the cross. It’s always within context of the unbreakable covenant of grace that He made with me and all who belong to Him. If you have accepted Christ, how He thinks about you and responds to you isn’t motivated by your good behavior. It’s motivated by His love and righteousness. He never thinks of you as a child who can be easily thrown away based on your performance. When God thinks about you, He thinks about you within the context of adoption, because that’s what the cross did for you. . . it made you forever His. You are His Son. You are His daughter.

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

When you are living in the Lord’s love, and your heart is filled with the reality of the depth of sacrifice He made for you by dying on the cross, you will be motivated to do good works—not because you can earn His favor or love—but in response to the favor and love you have already received.  You’ll be motivated out of gratitude and joy to serve Him. In this there is such freedom! Trying to earn favor through works is death. But doing good works from a place of gratitude is life and joy! You will be able to tell when you start to live like an orphan, rather than a son or daughter, because you will begin to strive and panic. You will feel enslaved as if you aren’t doing enough for the Lord. But life with Christ and a knowledge of His love is liberating! If you feel you must work to earn the Lord’s love, He wants you to know the joy that comes from serving Him with the right motives. That happens when you are convinced that His love is unchanging.

If you are performance-driven, your natural response may be to make a plan or do something to get free from the trap of performance and striving. Maybe you want to read a book or try harder. But you can’t be set free from being performance driven by performing! You can’t work your way out of it. You can only be set free from being performance driven by being delivered. You must be rescued by Love. Jesus Christ will do for you what you can’t do for yourself. This is His grace. Call out to Him today and ask Him to help you.  He will answer.

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18).

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your gift of grace and your unchanging love. Praise you that I don’t have to work to earn your love or favor. You have already given me both. Amen.

Application: Ask the Lord to reveal to you if you are performance driven, then ask Him to reveal His perspective to you, thanking Him for His unconditional love.

Related Readings: John 15:11; John 15:5; Romans 14:17

By Shana Schutte

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – God’s Itinerary

And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:16b

Recommended Reading

Genesis 22:8-14

If a vacationer can afford it, concierge-type travel services can plan and provide for every day—actually, every hour—of an itinerary. From the moment you are picked up at your door until the moment you return, your trip has been planned and executed in detail. For some, eliminating the serendipitous, unplanned moments from a trip removes all the fun. For others, security and not worrying about details is worth the price.

Life as a child of God provides that kind of security. Psalm 139:16 says that God has written down all the days created for us before a single day has come to pass. And Philippians 4:19 says that “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That covers the big picture and the details of our trip to heaven. God has arranged the itinerary—the order of our days—and has planned to meet all our needs along the way. So what is there to fear about the future?

Do you know what the future holds? Do you have everything today that you will need in the future? “No” to both questions. But God has already answered “Yes” to both in His Word. We must have faith and courage.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

Corrie ten Boom


Ezekiel 39 – 40

Joyce Meyer – A Very Valuable Possession

“But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the gifts God gives us because He loves us is free will. If we did not have free will, then we would have no responsibility, either. We could wander through the days like robots waiting for the next thing to happen to us. But God did give us free will, and this puts tremendous responsibil¬ity on us. it also opens up to us possibilities of total joy and fulfillment.

God will give you all the tools you need on earth to fulfill the great plans He has for your life. But it’s up to you to take up those tools and use them effectively. We are partners with God. We never have to do anything without His help, but He also expects us to make a willful choice to do our part.

Many are called to do great things, but not everyone is willing to take the responsibility for what they are called to do. God helps us, but He does not do everything for us. My brother died at age fifty-eight in an abandoned building in Los Angeles because he wasn’t willing to take responsibility for his past mistakes and do the work involved in seeing his life restored. As long as someone else did everything for him he was fine, but as soon as he had to make right choices on his own, he always drifted back to living for the moment instead of making hard choices that would produce good results in the future.

I wanted to help my brother, but he would not help himself. God wants to help us, but we must do the part He gives us to do. We have free will, and we can make right and good choices just as easily as we can make bad ones. The choice is ours either way.

Love Yourself Today: “Thank You, Lord, for the gift of free will. Help me to exercise wisdom as I make my choices.”

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – But I Don’t Feel Like Praising God

Today’s Truth

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Friend to Friend

I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “I know God promises to never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Can you relate?

When trials come and life seems hard, we plead with God to deliver us from the problem when many times His plan is to deliver us in the problem.

Praise does not depend on an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends on an understanding of who God really is and wants to be in our life, and on our willingness to put our faith in Him.

As humans, we will never fully understand God – this side of heaven. God is holy and without blemish. God is all-powerful and omniscient. He is Creator of the universe and yet lives in you and me at our invitation. He is the only true, living God!

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – But I Don’t Feel Like Praising God

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Happy Are the Mourners

“Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

During my days of agnosticism and early inquiry into the Christian faith, I was not aware of my sin. I had come to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died on the cross for the sins of man but somehow it had not dawned on me that I was that bad. My life-style was not much different from that of the average church member. And, though my life was far from exemplary, in my own estimation I was a pretty decent fellow. As a matter of fact, I had some problems with all the talk about the cross and the shedding of blood. It seemed offensive to my aesthetic nature.

I was willing to believe that Jesus was the greatest influence, the greatest teacher, the greatest leader, the greatest example that man had ever known. And if He had to die on the cross to make a point, I did not think it was important enough to be made an issue. In fact, the thing that was really important to me was the fact that according to the Bible and the historical evidence, Jesus lived a very wonderful life dedicated to helping others. Then one day – I shall never forget the time and place, though I have forgotten the exact passage – as I read the Bible I was suddenly gripped with the necessity of Christ dying on the cross for my sins. I finally realized that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin, that I had fallen short of the glory of God and that I deserved death. I realized that there is nothing in me that merited His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His cleansing. I found myself on my knees in tears, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and, for the first time in my life, understood the true meaning of the cross and the reason He shed His blood for me.

Soon after I was elected to the board of deacons of my church and was called upon to serve communion. I shall never forget that experience. I found myself weeping as I served the wafers representing His broken body and the grape juice representing His blood that was shed for the sins of all men, for my sins, because now his death on the cross meant everything to me. A hymn, which had once been offensive to me, now became one of my favorites: “what can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” I believe that this is what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.”

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 31:10-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not ignore my sins but will mourn over them by confessing, repenting, and, through the discipline of spiritual breathing, walking constantly in the light as a model of the supernatural life.

Ray Stedman – According to Light

Read: Romans 2:12-29

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. Romans 2:12-16

Here we are dealing with the question of what to do about the people who have not heard the gospel. What about those who live where the Bible is unknown, or those who are in a different religion where there is no reference to the facts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? In this passage Paul says that their problem is that they defile their consciences. These people will be judged by their own standards. God judges men, not according to what they do not know, but according to what they do know.

In Chapter 2, verses 9-10, Paul also says the judgment of God is according to light. God is not going to summon all mankind and tell them they are going to be judged on the basis of the Ten Commandments. But people will be judged according to light. That means that God will say to that individual, What did you think was right and wrong? When the individual answers, God’s question then is, Did you do the right, and not the wrong? By that standard everyone fails. Paul makes that clear: All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law. The fact that such men never heard the Ten Commandments, or anything else that is in the Bible, does not mean they are going to be acceptable in God’s sight. They will perish, not because they did not hear, but because what they did know was right, they did not do.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – According to Light

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – God’s Breath Returning

Read: Romans 8:26-30

The Spirit himself intercedes for us. (v. 26)

Herbert’s second line, “God’s breath in man returning to his birth,” links his poem to a hymn of Charles Wesley’s, written a hundred years later: “O thou who camest from above / The pure celestial fire to impart / Kindle a flame of sacred love / On the mean altar of my heart; / There let it for thy glory burn, / With inextinguishable blaze, / And, trembling, to its source return / In humble prayer and fervent praise.”

The poem speaks of “God’s breath” returning to his “birth,” or source. So we should ask ourselves not what, but who, is returning. Who is the Breath, or as we might say, the Wind? Who is Wesley’s Fire? We know very well: these are divinely given titles of God the Holy Spirit. Here he is at work interceding “for the saints” (v. 27). We should not picture the Spirit starting from our end and giving the prayers that we have dreamed up a kind of divine boost to get them to heaven. The Scripture is quite explicit: “we do not know” even what to pray for, let alone how to pray for it; our prayers have to come from him before he will take them back to the Father for us. He will emphasize one thing and play down another. He will highlight for us the what, rather than the how or the when. He will remind us that all the answers are already there at the back of the Book!

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – God’s Breath Returning

Greg Laurie – Delays of Love

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. —Isaiah 43:2

Have you ever been going through a hard time and wondered where God was? I can tell you where He was: He was right there with you. Not only that, He will be with you tomorrow and the day after. And He will be with you on the day you leave this earth for Heaven.

In Isaiah 43 God says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (verses 2–3).

The psalmist David wrote, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (Psalm 23:4). He is with you. He will be with you. You don’t have to fear evil. God will be with you on your good days and on your bad days. He will be with you at the death of a saint and at the birth of a baby.

You don’t have to be afraid. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Also, the Bible tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Sometimes when we pray, it may seem as though God is late in answering. Sometimes when God comes through for us, it is later than we expected. God is never late. His delays are delays of love. God’s silence even can be a silence of love. He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him. He will enter into that pain with us. He will answer in the way He chooses. Call on Him.

Kids 4 Truth International – Jesus Wants Us To Make Disciples

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)

Lena’s mom was sitting at the kitchen table with twelve cardboard tubes laid in a row in front of her. She was cutting out pieces of felt and gluing them around the tubes. “What are you doing, Mom?” Lena asked.

“I’m making disciples,” said Mom. She laughed. “I really am! I’m teaching my Sunday school class about the twelve disciples. These little cardboard figures represent the twelve men Jesus chose to be His special followers. Would you like to help me glue their faces on?”

As Lena and Mom worked on the cardboard disciples, Mom told Lena about a verse in Matthew that says Christians are to “teach” all nations. “Do you know what the word teach means in that verse? It means to make disciples!”

“Like this?” Lena finished gluing Peter’s yarn beard in place and held him up.

“No, not the way we’re making disciples. The verse means that Christians are to teach other people how to be followers of Jesus – just like these twelve disciples were His followers.”

Lena thought about that for a few moments. “How can we help people be Jesus’ followers?” she asked. “Does that just mean telling people how to be saved?”

“That’s only the beginning of it,” said Mom. “After people get saved, they need other Christians to encourage them and help them grow. Helping somebody might mean praying with him about his problems, taking him to church, answering his questions, or telling him what a verse in the Bible means.”

“That sounds like a lot of work,” said Lena.

Mom carefully drew a smiling face on one of the disciples she was making. Then she looked up at Lena with a smile of her own. “It’s not always easy,” she said. “But Jesus promises to be with us always – and all the power in the universe is His. Isn’t it worth putting in a little extra time and effort to serve a Master like Him?”

Jesus wants believers to make disciples of other people.

My Response:

» Do I know anyone who needs encouragement to follow Jesus?

» How can I help that person?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Praying Against Temptation

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:13

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.”

Jesus taught us to pray, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).

Here we see two requests: that we not be led into temptation, and that we be delivered from the evil one. Because we know from James 1:13 that God does not tempt anyone, the first part must be understood as a request that God will not providentially bring us into the way of temptation. It is the prayer of the believer who sees his or her weaknesses and prays to not even encounter those temptations.

Of course, if we’re praying not to be led into temptation, we should take steps ourselves to see that we do not walk into the way of temptation. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from every form of evil.” He exhorted the Corinthian church, “Flee from sexual immorality” and he told Timothy, “Flee youthful passions” (1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:22). Flee, of course, denotes a stronger response than abstain, but both are necessary. We can abstain from certain temptations by not turning on the television or picking up certain magazines. But sometimes a temptation presents itself, and then we must flee. This is all part of watching.

The second request Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:13 is “deliver us from evil,” or, in some translations, “from the evil one”—meaning, of course, Satan. We need to pray defensively against the attacks of Satan. Christ did defeat him on the cross (Colossians 2:15), and we must by faith lay hold of that victory as we pray that we will be delivered from his attacks. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Life That Counts

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15-16

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” – John 6:27

I was watching a television program about one of the battles in the South Pacific during World War II. I had been in that particular battle and fought alongside the men shown in the film. As I watched, it brought to mind an official document I’d read several years before. This document analyzed the battle from the moment we hit the beach until the island was secured. When I got to the last paragraph, I read something that made me ill. In fact, I became so shaky I got out of my chair and sat down on the floor.

The government’s conclusion was that the battle had accomplished nothing of strategic importance. It had been a mistake. I could see in my mind those hundreds of slain Marines, as well as hundreds of young Japanese soldiers, who had died in vain in a battle that didn’t really matter.

Right then, the Lord brought a verse to my mind: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

It may seem to you today that you’re banging your head against a brick wall, that nothing is going right in the Sunday school or women’s ministry or men’s brotherhood. But let me encourage you to stay at it. When you put in your eight hours on the job, having worked as unto the Lord, it is not in vain. When you reach out to your friends and family with the gospel, even if they refuse to listen, it is not in vain. Why? Because the Bible says that whatever you are doing for Christ matters.


Lord, I rejoice that because of my relationship with You, even the most insignificant task has meaning and purpose. Amen.

To Ponder

Our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

BreakPoint –  What Does a Christian Vision for Education Look Like?

Christian Overman, who directs the Seattle-based Worldview Matters and is a commissioned Colson Fellow, believes—and I largely agree—that we’ve lost the culture because we’ve lost our schools—including, in some cases, important distinctives that make Christian schools, well, Christian. “The shaping of nations begins in the minds of children,” Chris says. “Nation-shaping ideas acquired in elementary and secondary schools are not immediately felt on a national level because it takes time for little acorns to grow into giant oaks. But grow they will.”

In a new, thought-provoking e-book, “The Lost Purpose for Learning,” Chris articulates clearly what has gone awry and offers a systemic, intentional, and repeatable solution for Christian school teachers and headmasters, Sunday school workers, and other church personnel who interact with students between the ages of 4 and 18. Come to to get a free copy of “The Lost Purpose for Learning” to read and to share. It’s simply “must-reading” for Christians involved in education.

As Christian notes, in the years before the federal government took over teaching our children, education was largely a Christian endeavor—not just in the sense that it was run by Christians, but in that it was founded on Christian assumptions about God, life, the world, and humanity. And the primary assumption was that Christ is Lord of all—not just of so-called “religious” subjects, but of everything, including biology, math, even physics.

When the government took over, some Christians, such as A.A. Hodge, warned that the schools would become indoctrination centers for atheism. Well, that’s not exactly what happened, Chris says. Instead, education became “secular” and officially neutral. God went from being the center of knowledge to the periphery. Education professionals taught their subjects not as if God doesn’t exist—at least not overtly—but as if He doesn’t matter. It’s not atheism but, as one author has called it, “practical atheism,” which included something even more insidious—dualism.

“A dualist,” Chris says, “is one who… doesn’t make any significant connection between God’s Word and what goes on in the Monday through Friday workplace because … ‘faith’ is a personal, private matter, while the workplace is public, and therefore ‘secular.’”

Continue reading BreakPoint –  What Does a Christian Vision for Education Look Like?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – MORDECAI THE JEW

Read ESTHER 2:5–7

The phrase “damsel in distress” describes many female characters in fairy tales. They need to be rescued, preferably by a handsome prince. But when Disney created their updated movie version of the story of Rapunzel, they wanted a different heroine. In Tangled, a tough, independent feminine character could take care of herself.

In today’s passage, we meet an unusual, brave, quick-thinking heroine named Esther, along with Mordecai, her cousin and adopted father. Mordecai and Esther lived in Susa when the decree came from the king’s palace to bring every beautiful, eligible young woman for consideration to be his next queen.

Mordecai was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin, and he is depicted in Scripture as a man of courage. His family had been carried into exile by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (v. 6). In addition to his beautiful cousin, Mordecai himself would play an important role in the rescue of God’s people.

Finally, we learn that our heroine had two names. Her name Hadassah comes from the Hebrew word for “myrtle tree,” known for its beautiful sweet smell. The prophet Isaiah uses the myrtle tree to describe life and abundance instead of drought and death, because the myrtle has deep roots that can find water (see Isa. 55:18). God chose Hadassah for her heart and inner beauty that would stand firm in the face of challenges.

Her second name, Esther, is derived from the Persian word for “star.” This radiant young woman was prized by King Xerxes and the Persian court for her physical beauty, but God had chosen her to shine a light in the darkness of that court in order to provide deliverance for His people.


Esther, the star, points ahead to Jesus Christ, the “star who will come out of Jacob; the scepter will rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17) in order to deliver His people forever from the darkness of sin. Her faithfulness foreshadowed His perfect obedience. We can shine the light of the gospel in the darkness around us when we tell others about Jesus.


“We knew our father may not be alive for our future wedding, so we decided to capture the poignant moment before it was lost forever.” This is how Becca Duncan explains the decision she and her twin sister Sarah made to have wedding photos made with their father, even though neither is engaged. Their dad is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, so they staged their wedding pictures with him while they can.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that basketball great Charles Barkley traveled to Craig Sager’s bedside as the broadcaster recovers from a third bone marrow transplant. Sager is battling aggressive leukemia, and Barkley wanted to show his support. This despite Barkley’s recent hip surgery and his doctor’s warning that he should not yet travel. Sager’s wife had a cold and couldn’t be with him in the hospital, so Barkley flew to Phoenix to take her place.

I often encourage Christians to use our influence for the greatest public good. As our culture becomes increasingly hostile to biblical truth and faith, our courageous public witness becomes increasingly vital. We can learn from the Duncan twins and Charles Barkley—their public actions called attention to dread diseases and gave us compassionate examples to follow.

But there’s another side to the story: those who serve far from the limelight are as important as those who make the news. Heroes who are unsung on earth are applauded in heaven.

In 1 Samuel 9, an unnamed servant led Saul to Samuel, who anointed him the first king of Israel (vv. 5–6). Gideon’s three hundred heroes are unnamed in Scripture, but their actions preserved the nation (Judges 7:6–8).

Paul’s unnamed nephew prevented a plot to murder the apostle (Acts 23:16–22). Without his bravery, Paul would have been killed before writing the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and 2 Timothy.