Charles Stanley – God Alone Deserves Worship


James 4:4-8

For us, jealousy isn’t attractive, but for God, it’s a holy attribute. God is unhappy when we worship anyone besides Him. Only He deserves our praise.

When reading in the Old Testament, we may not understand why people would bow before idols—surely they didn’t think that these objects were living and powerful. But we make a similar mistake, placing too high a value on money, relationships, power, and the like. Though not bad in themselves, such things can become the focus of our worship. That’s why the Father is jealous for our heart.

There are two reasons God won’t tolerate our misplaced devotion. First, He deserves the glory. And second, there is nothing better for us than His love. Praising Him above all else is actually in our own best interest. Therefore, when our heart doesn’t belong solely to Christ, He will use discipline and reminders so we will prioritize Him.

This week, notice where you spend your time and money and what dominates your thoughts. Even if your pursuits seem good on the surface, pray about what might be an idol in your life. Confess any misplaced affection, and ask the Lord for help in making Him the object of your devotion.


Bible in One Year: Micah 1-4

Our Daily Bread — Never Too Sinful


Bible in a Year:

You are a forgiving God . . . abounding in love.

Nehemiah 9:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Nehemiah 9:17, 27–31

“If I touched a Bible, it would catch fire in my hands,” said my community college English professor. My heart sank. The novel we’d been reading that morning referenced a Bible verse, and when I pulled out my Bible to look it up, she noticed and commented. My professor seemed to think she was too sinful to be forgiven. Yet I wasn’t bold enough to tell her about God’s love—and that the Bible tells us we can always seek God’s forgiveness.

There’s an example of repentance and forgiveness in Nehemiah. The Israelites had been exiled because of their sin, but now they were allowed to return to Jerusalem. When they’d “settled in,” Ezra the scribe read the law to them (Nehemiah 7:73–8:3). They confessed their sins, remembering that despite their sin God “did not desert” or “abandon them” (9:17, 19). He “heard them” when they cried out; and in compassion and mercy, He was patient with them (vv. 27–31).

In a similar way, God is patient with us. He won’t abandon us if we choose to confess our sin and turn to Him. I wish I could go back and tell my professor that, no matter her past, Jesus loves her and wants her to be part of His family. He feels the same way about you and me. We can approach Him seeking forgiveness—and He will give it!

By:  Julie Schwab

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Defining Atheism


A popular tendency among some atheists these days is to define atheism, not as the positive thesis that God does not exist, but as the neutral claim that an atheist is one who simply lacks belief in God. If we could scan the mind of the atheist and catalogue all the beliefs the atheist holds, we would not find a belief of the form, “God exists.” Those who insist on defining atheism in this manner want to avoid the implications of having to defend the claim that God does not exist. They demand justification for faith in God while insisting that they bear no rational burdens in the debate since they are not making any positive claims on the question of God’s existence.

This strategy is mistaken on several levels. To begin with, there is no logical connection between a lack of belief about God in someone’s mind and the conclusion that God does not exist. At best, this definition leads us to agnosticism, roughly the view that we do not know whether or not God exists. For example, there are millions of people on this planet who hold no belief about the Los Angeles Lakers. But it would be quite a stretch to conclude from that empirical fact that the Lakers therefore do not exist.


Additionally, atheism thus defined is a psychological condition, not a cognitive thesis. Conduct a quick search on the Internet, and you will even find atheists who claim that babies are atheists because they lack belief in God. But, as some philosophers have pointed out, that is not a flattering state of affairs for the atheist, for, strictly speaking, a cow, by that definition, is also an atheist. For someone who is intent on merely giving a report about the state of his or her mind, pity, or an equivalent emotion, is the appropriate response, not a reasoned exchange. But nobody who has reflected long and hard about the issues and is prepared to argue vehemently about them should be let off the hook that easily.

In any case, such a definition of atheism goes against the intuitions held by almost everyone who has not been initiated into this way of thinking. In spite of the myriads of nuances one can give to one’s preferred version of denying God’s existence, the traditional view has been that there are ultimately only three attitudes one can take with regard to a particular proposition. Take the proposition, “God exists”. One could (1) affirm the proposition, which is theism, (2) Deny the proposition, which is atheism, or (3) withhold judgment with regard to the proposition, which is agnosticism. Those who affirm the proposition have to give reasons why they think it is true. Those who deny it have to give reasons why they think it is false. Only those who withhold judgment have the right to sit on the fence on the issue. Thus J. J. C. Smart states matter-of-factly, “‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.”(1)

Nor will an attempt to defend this new definition on the basis of the etymology of the word “atheist” work. The word “atheist” is from the Greek word “Theos” which means “God”, and the “a” is the negation. The “a” is taken to mean “without”, and hence “atheism” simply means “without belief in God”. But this will not do. Even if we grant that the “a” means “without”, we will still not arrive at the conclusion that atheism means “without belief in God”. What is negated in the word “atheism” is not “belief” but “God”. Atheism still means “without God”, not “without belief”. There is no concept of “belief” in the etymology of the word – the word simply means the universe is without God, which is another way of saying that God does not exist.

Semantic quibbles aside, there are deeper problems with this position. The same atheists who decry the irrationality of believing in God still insist on shoehorning theistic ideas into their ontology. Most of them continue to defend the meaning and purpose of life, the validity of objective morality and the assurance that humanity is marching on towards progress and would move thus faster were it not for the shackles of religion. Such cosmic optimism would be unrecognizable to the most prominent atheists of yesteryear, not to mention the many in our day who say as much. It is recognized as a remnant of a biblical tradition that still has some of its grip on the western psyche.

Speaking about the belief that every human life needs to be protected, Richard Rorty wrote, “This Jewish and Christian element in our tradition is gratefully invoked by free-loading atheists like myself.”(2) But if God does not exist, theists live on false hope, and the freeloaders fair no better. Sever the cord between God and those elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the honest among us fly into oblivion with shrills of despair to which only a Nietzsche or a Jean Paul Sartre can do full justice; for the validity of such positive attitudes about life is directly propositional to the plausibility of the existence of a caring God who directs the affairs of humanity.

J.M. Njoroge is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Nairobi, Kenya.


(1) J. J. C. Smart, “Atheism and Agnosticism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

(2) Richard Rorty, “Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism,” in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 80, No. 10, Part 1: (Oct., 1983), pp. 583-589.

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Joyce Meyer – Let Your Tears Flow


As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. — Nehemiah 1:4 (ESV)

Adapted from the resource Healing the Soul of a Woman – by Joyce Meyer

Nehemiah was not afraid of emotion, or reluctant to show it. Notice that he “wept and mourned.” Some of us flat-out refuse to show any of our emotions, which is not healthy. Pent‑up feelings are harmful if not dealt with, and need to be released in healthy ways. If we don’t release our emotions at appropriate times, as Nehemiah did when he heard the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed, our emotions will eat away at us on the inside.

Stuffing or suppressing our feelings can also cause physical problems like trouble sleeping, or even digestive issues. Maybe you know someone who went to the doctor because they felt so bad and were convinced something was wrong with them, only to find out—after all kinds of medical tests—that the doctor found nothing and simply said their symptoms were related to stress or anxiety.

Our emotions will always manifest in some way, so it’s best to deal with them before they deal with us. God created us with tear glands and the ability to cry, which must mean there will be times in life when we, like Nehemiah, need to cry. In the Old Testament, Hannah wept and even stopped eating because she was brokenhearted over not having a child (see 1 Samuel 1:7). When David and the men with him discovered the Amalekites had burned the city of Ziklag and taken everyone in it (including their own wives and children) captive, they “raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep” (1 Samuel 30:4). David also wept when his son became deathly ill (see 2 Samuel 12:21–22). Even Jesus wept over the death of His friend Lazarus (see John 11:35).

Tears are certainly part of the process of healing in our soul. God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah: “Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the LORD” (Lamentations 2:19). This proves to us that God wants us to bring our pain to Him. We can tell Him everything, holding nothing back. He knows it all anyway, but getting it out in the open is incredibly helpful to us.

Though it is important to express our deep feelings through tears at times, God didn’t create us to stay in a season of weeping forever. There is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). God’s Word promises us that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV). Whatever you’re going through right now, ask God to help you deal with it in a healthy way. Cry when you need to, and know that this season of sadness will come to an end. As you walk with God, He will heal your heart and lead you into new seasons with joy.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me express and deal with my emotions in a healthy way. If there’s anything I’ve been putting off dealing with, please show me and give me the strength to deal with it. Thank You for being there for me, for listening, and for healing me from the inside out. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Key to Real Joy


“Remember what Christ taught and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, and come with Him into the presence of God the Father to give Him your thanks” (Colossians 3:16,17).

As I travel and speak throughout the world, I meet many individuals who are caught up in the emotionalism of a religious experience which they attribute to the Holy Spirit. They live from experience to experience, with little knowledge of what the Bible teaches. As a result, they seldom grow past the baby stage. They are seeking and talking about their experiences with the Holy Spirit instead of the Lord Jesus, forgetting that the Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ.

At the other extreme, I find that most Christians seldom mention the Holy Spirit. The supernatural life is a life of balance.

Notice the close parallel between Ephesians 5:18-20 and Colossians 3:16-17. The Spirit-filled person and the one whose mind and heart are saturated with the person and the Word of Jesus Christ will be joyful and thankful, and he will do all as a testimony of love to Him who is our Lord and Savior.

We can no more live a joyful, abundant, fruitful, victorious, supernatural life apart from the Word of God than we can do so apart from the Spirit of God. They are like the two wings of an airplane; a plane cannot fly with only one wing. Neither can we live balanced, victorious lives if we do not invest time in reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on God’s Word, while at the same time depending on the Holy Spirit, who inspired its writing centuries ago, to illuminate its truth to our minds and hearts.

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 10:31-33

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today – and every day – I will claim the Holy Spirit’s power to enable me to read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s holy, inspired Word with comprehension. I will claim by faith the help of the Holy Spirit to live in accordance with the teaching of God’s revealed truth. With His help, I will live a balanced, Spirit-controlled, supernatural life.

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devos – Don’t Get Lost!


By Kids4Truth Clubs on 09/24/20


“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Have you ever been lost? I have. When I was a young boy, about eight- or nine-years-old, my brother and I were walking home from school. Instead of walking down the streets we knew, we followed a creek for a while, thinking it would take us toward home. But it didn’t. It went another direction. When we realized we were lost, I got a little scared. We finally asked a man where the street we lived on was, and he told us. As we followed his guidance, we got back to familiar territory and home!

What my brother and I did is what Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to do. We leaned on our own understanding. We thought we knew what we were doing, but we didn’t. This is how most people are for most of their lives. They think they know what they are doing, and instead of getting their guidance from the Lord, they go their own direction. And they get lost—every time! Why is that? It is because no one has the ability in himself to go the right direction, to do the right thing. The prophet Jeremiah even admitted this fact to God when he said, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

If we don’t have the ability in ourselves to go the right way or do the right thing, how can we get it? We must believe, obey, and honor the Lord, and He will make sure we go the right direction and do the right thing. That is what Proverbs 3:6 tells us. The Lord has already given us the guidance we need. We just have to find out what it is and do it.

God’s guidance will always take us in the right direction. It will always take us home—to Him.

My response:

» Do I ask God for guidance or lean on my own understanding—on what seems right to me?

» When I sin, do I confess it to God and turn back to Him, or do I try to fix it myself (leaning on my own understanding)?

» Do I learn God’s Word, obey it, and use it to guide me?

The post Don’t Get Lost! appeared first on EquipU Online Library.

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Denison Forum – If “Love Island” is our future: The legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the urgency of moral purpose


My wife and I watched NCIS Tuesday night. When the show ended, Love Island began. We watched the first minute and were so shocked we turned the television off.

CBS describes the show this way: “Love Island is the sizzling summer series based on the international smash hit and cultural phenomenon. The matchmaking begins as a group of single ‘Islanders’ come together in a stunning villa in Las Vegas, ready to embark on a summer of dating, romance, and ultimately, relationships.”

Note the order: dating, followed by romance, which then leads to relationships. Not the reverse.

The description continues: “Every few days the Islanders pair up and those who are not coupled are at risk of being dumped from the island.” When the swimsuit-clad contestants began to “pair up” in the part of the show we saw, it was obvious what came next.

Here’s my point: CBS airs this highly sexualized show at 8:00 p.m. (CT), early enough for my grandchildren to watch.

An army of law clerks 

An army of more than a hundred former law clerks for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg met her casket at the Supreme Court yesterday. They accompanied it up the steps to the Great Hall for the private ceremony and public viewing that followed.

One of Justice Ginsburg’s greatest legacies is the degree to which she influenced the generations following her. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “Few generations of lawyers—particularly women—have looked to her as a role model as much as the students entering the profession today.”

Her iconic cultural status and tireless work on behalf of women’s equality changed the legal profession. One recent graduate credits the composition of her law-school class—nearly equal numbers of men and women—largely to Justice Ginsburg’s pioneering path.

One of the mantras of our relativistic culture is that we have no right to “force our values” on others. Ruth Bader Ginsburg clearly did not ascribe to this philosophy with respect to the values she championed. Whether we agree or disagree with those values—and many of us do both—we can learn from her culture-changing example.

In fact, we must.

“Optimism by another name” 

According to historian Maurizio Valsania, pessimists have been forecasting the demise of America since our founding. For example, in the 1800 election, one newspaper predicted these results if Thomas Jefferson were to be elected: “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will openly be taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”

In a day when France and Great Britain were the global superpowers, our infant nation’s future was perilous. From then to now, voices predicting doom have seldom been in short supply.

However, as Valsania notes (following the work of political scientist Francis G. Wilson), there are two types of pessimism in America: absolute and conditional. Absolute pessimism “is the belief that the nation is a big lie, a fraud, a trick that cunning white males have been playing on women, native populations, African Americans, working classes, immigrants. As such, this nation deserves to be cursed, canceled, sunk, forgotten.”

By contrast, conditional pessimists “deliver a prophecy of disaster because they want to provide a new hopeful solution. They speak to Americans’ sense of pride, exhort them, incite them, mobilize them, increase the level of commitment to a common cause and enact a ritual whose upshot should be a deeper awareness.”

Valsania calls this type of pessimism “optimism by another name.”

“God has no grandchildren” 

It is incumbent upon Christians to follow the example of Justice Ginsburg by investing in the coming generations. In our case, the stakes are even higher, since Christianity is always one generation from extinction.

As evangelist Reinhard Bonnke noted, “God has no grandchildren. He has only children.” Scripture agrees: “To all who did receive [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Note the little word with global implications, “all.”

However, we should engage our broken culture with the kind of conditional pessimism that warns of God’s judgment against sin while offering his grace to sinners. We should be famous for hope, not hate; for generosity, not guilt.

Of all people, we who have experienced the crucified love of Jesus should be especially passionate about offering such love to all.

Identifying our enemy and trusting our refuge 

Love Island and all it represents should call us to brokenhearted intercession, not self-righteous condemnation. Those who made the series and those who watch it are not the enemy—they are deceived by the enemy (2 Corinthians 4:4). And there, but for the grace of God, go we.

When we are discouraged by the sinfulness around us, this testimony can be ours: “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:19). And we can say with the psalmist, “The Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge” (v. 22).

Then we can pray for God to use us to lead others to make him their refuge as well.

I read John Baillie’s classic A Diary of Private Prayer each morning and evening. His prayer for this morning includes this petition: “Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today to nurture the fruits of the Spirit rather than the fruits of sin.”

Let’s make his prayer ours today.