Charles Stanley – The Age of Accountability


Deuteronomy 11:18-20

I recall an interesting conversation I once had with a young first-time mom while she allowed me to hold her infant son. I commented, “It’s hard to believe that they are born with a sinful nature.” She protested, and I thought it best not to argue with her. But I would have liked to call her a couple of years later when the boy was a toddler to see if she thought any differently!

At one point or another, all of us have felt a tug to do something that we knew was wrong. As adults and believers, we’ve learned that giving in to temptation is a sin against God. But small children do exactly as their nature dictates. Mother says, “Don’t touch,” but they reach out anyway. Little ones do not yet see the wisdom of following a parent’s rules. Boys and girls must be taught to recognize the difference between good and evil before they can make the wise choice to do right.

In the early years, a child is in a state of innocence. He is neither righteous nor saved, but he is safe from God’s wrath—if he dies, he goes to heaven. We saw in yesterday’s devotion that this state of innocence is referenced in Scripture (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isa. 7:16), confirming that there is a period of time when children are not morally accountable for their conduct.

The age when a child comes to understand moral responsibility is different for each one. As children grow, they develop the spiritual capacity to pursue righteousness or knowingly give in to evil. The years of innocence are the time for parents to impart sound biblical training and lessons on obedience so that when they’re older, they “will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 23-27

Our Daily Bread — Bees and Snakes


Read: Matthew 7:7–11 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 46–48; Acts 28

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Some problems have Daddy’s name written all over them. For instance, my kids recently discovered bees had moved into a crack in our concrete front porch. So, armed with bug spray, I went out to do battle.

I got stung. Five times.

I don’t like being stung by insects. But better me than my kids or wife. Taking care of my family’s well-being is at the top of my job description after all. My children recognized a need, and they asked me to address it. They trusted me to protect them from something they feared.

In Matthew 7, Jesus teaches that we too should bring our needs to God (v. 7), trusting Him with our requests. To illustrate, Jesus gives a case study in character: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (vv. 9–10). For loving parents, the answer is obvious. But Jesus answers anyway, challenging us not to lose faith in our Father’s generous goodness: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (v. 11).

I can’t imagine loving my kids more. But Jesus assures us that even the best earthly father’s love is eclipsed by God’s love for us.

Father, thank You for loving us so much more than even the best father here ever could. Help us to do as Jesus said with everything that’s on our hearts; to ask, seek, and knock in our relationship with You. 

We can rely on our Father for everything we need.

By Adam Holz


The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) focuses on the attitudes and actions that are to characterize “citizens” who live under God’s rule. Yet an even more intimate relationship comes into play in the sermon. A common thread that runs through the chapters is a “family focus” or, more specifically, a “Father focus.” In Matthew 5:9 Jesus declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (emphasis added). And when followers of Christ display heaven’s light by the way they live, the “Father in heaven” gets the credit (v. 16). Showing love for one’s enemies also demonstrates kinship with our heavenly Father (vv. 43–48).

Those who engage in holy habits (6:4, 6, 18), including prayer, do so with the knowledge that the primary audience is their Father in heaven. The King who rules over all is “our Father” and cares enough to hear our prayers for all our needs. Thus, we can confidently address Him, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (v. 9).

When you pray this week, reflect on the fact that you are praying to the One Scripture calls our heavenly Father.

Arthur Jackson

Streams in the Desert for Kids – In the Storms


Matthew 14:24

This wasn’t the first storm the disciples had been in. Jesus had stopped the wind and the waves before with just his word. But this time Jesus wasn’t with them. The disciples were struggling alone.

And then Jesus came. Walking on water he said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

He says the same thing to us today when we are struggling during emotional storms of life. Jesus isn’t our security against the storms, commanding every cloud to go away. He is our security in them. It is when we are struggling that his comfort is the sweetest.

When Jesus climbed in the boat, the wind died down. He came alongside his disciples and they worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Dear Lord, Thank you for your sweet comfort in hard times. Thank you for the security of Jesus. Come close. Amen


Joyce Meyer – Think About Something Good


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. — Philippians 4:8

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

One day I remember praying, God, I can’t go on fighting my thoughts all day, every day. As soon as I capture these wrong thoughts, they come back. What am I supposed to do?” As you fight the battle in your mind, you may find yourself praying the same prayer, so I want to share with you the simple answer God gave me. He said all I needed to do was to think about something else!

When you think about something good, there is no room for wrong thoughts to get into your mind. Concentrating on trying to not think wrong thoughts can actually increase them, but simply filling your mind with good things leaves no room for bad things to get in.

The Bible says that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (see Gal. 5:16), and this simply means that if we concentrate on the things God desires, then we will not have room in our lives for what Satan desires.

This was a life-changing revelation for me. I realized I couldn’t wait for something good to just fall into my mind. I had to choose my thoughts on purpose. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 30:19 that God sets before us life and death, blessings and curses. If you and I do not choose thoughts that lead to life, the enemy will make the choice for us—and he will choose thoughts that lead to death. But when we choose thoughts that lead to life, our lives will be blessed.

Take time to roll good thoughts over and over in your mind and this will help you form the habit of thinking good things. You must believe you can do something or you won’t even try. So, I repeat: “You can choose your own thoughts!” You can “overcome (master) evil with good” (see Romans 12:21 AMPC).

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me to guard my thoughts today. Help me to think on things that will honor You and breathe life into my moods, attitudes and actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Will He Be Ashamed?


“And anyone who is ashamed of Me and My message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of My Father, with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

Dr. Charles Malik, once president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and I – along with others – were invited to a very prestigious meeting in Washington, D.C. Present were some of the most distinguished leaders in our nation and from other countries.

In the course of his remarks, Dr. Malik emphasized his conviction that there were no human solutions to the problems that face mankind. Only Jesus Christ could help us as individuals and as nations.

As a young businessman, I was tremendously impressed to think that one of the world’s leading scholars and statesmen would speak so boldly and courageously of his faith in Christ. Following the meeting, I introduced myself to him and expressed to him my appreciation for his courage in speaking out so boldly for Christ.

I had heard others – politicians, statesmen, scholars – speak of faith in God and the Bible and the church in general terms. But few, in those days, ever spoke of their faith in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. I shall never forget his response.

“I am sobered by the words of my Lord,” he said, quoting today’s verse, Mark 8:38.

Perhaps you are one who loudly acclaims, “No, I could never be ashamed of my wonderful Lord.” But the familiar axiom is true: actions speak louder than words. If we are truly unashamed of our Savior, we will look for every opportunity to share the good news of His great love.

Bible Reading:Psalm 31:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not be ashamed of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but will trust the indwelling Holy Spirit to witness through me

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Avoiding Hell

Read: Mark 9:42-48

It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell. (v. 47)

It is often said that Jesus talked far more about hell than he did heaven. Some very prominent Christian leaders have actually made statements to that effect. The problem is that it’s not true. The number of times Jesus spoke about heaven far exceed the number of times he spoke about hell. Actually, he mentioned heaven about three times as often as he did hell. No wonder we call his message “good news.”

Still, Jesus did not shy away from talking about hell. Not only did he acknowledge its existence, he warned people about it. Obviously from our text today, Jesus took hell seriously. Sadly, our world today does not. The word is used flippantly and without thought. Even in churches, the subject is rarely touched upon by preachers. It is perceived as “too negative.” Yet, if we are to be true followers of Jesus, we must acknowledge it.

From the Bible’s descriptions of hell, obviously we should want to avoid it at all costs. It is a place of awful pain, torment, and evil. So how do we avoid it? Jesus has the answer to that, too: “Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). So, “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). —John Koedyker

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for saving us from sin, death, and hell, and opening the gates of heaven to us when we trust in Jesus. Amen