In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Trust God in Troubling Times

 

Psalm 46

If you listen to the news, no doubt you’ve heard scary stories of political upheaval, global threats, and natural or man-made catastrophes. Although people around you may be fearful and stressed, there is no reason a child of God should feel this way. For Christians, the Lord is a refuge and very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

While today’s passage describes a variety of disasters, the writer’s intention was certainly not to cause fear. Rather, these words are a reminder of our Father’s supremacy over everything that happens, His protection of His people, and the ultimate victory that results in His kingdom’s rule on earth. In light of this, we are told to let go of worry and efforts to protect ourselves—and instead trust Him. Our comfort and security are found not in frantically running around, trying to make sure we are safe, but in knowing God. Whatever trouble we experience, He is sufficient to help us through it.

The key to courageously facing the future is confidence in the Lord. He’s your shelter, strength, and help in trouble. To increase your trust in Him, read through the psalms, looking for words and phrases that affirm His protection, steadfastness, and care.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 9-11

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Never Alone

 

Bible in a Year:

Two are better than one . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Ecclesiastes 4:8–12

“It can be an affliction more harrowing than homelessness, hunger or disease,” wrote Maggie Fergusson in The Economist’s 1843 magazine. Her subject? Loneliness. Fergusson chronicled the increasing rates of loneliness, irrespective of one’s social or economic status, using heart-wrenching examples of what it feels like to be lonely.

The hurt of feeling alone isn’t new to our day. Indeed, the pain of isolation echoes off the pages of the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Often attributed to King Solomon, the book captures the sorrow of those who seem to lack any meaningful relationships (4:7–8). The speaker lamented that it’s possible to acquire significant wealth and yet experience no value from it because there’s no one to share it with.

But the speaker also recognized the beauty of companionship, writing that friends help you accomplish more than you could achieve on your own (v. 9); companions help in times of need (v. 10); partners bring comfort (v. 11); and friends can provide protection in difficult situations (v. 12).

Loneliness is a significant struggle—God created us to offer and receive the benefits of friendship and community. If you’re feeling alone, pray that God would help you form meaningful connections with others. In the meantime, find encouragement in the reality that the believer is never truly alone because Jesus’ Spirit is always with us (Matthew 28:20).

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How might you reach out to someone who’s lonely? How have you experienced the blessing of God’s Spirit with you when you’ve felt alone?

Heavenly Father, when I feel lonely, give me courage to reach out to others with an offer of friendship. 

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Understanding God’s Will

 

“We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9).

Godly living results from being controlled by the principles of God’s Word.

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians (Phil. 1:9-11) is closely paralleled by his prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:9-12). Both epistles were written from the same Roman prison at about the same time in Paul’s life. Both prayers focus on godly living, but each approaches it from a slightly different perspective.

The Philippians were gracious people who needed to exercise greater knowledge and discernment in their love. The Colossians also were gracious but their devotion to Christ was being challenged by heretics who taught that Christ is insufficient for salvation and godly living. True spirituality, the false teachers said, is found in Christ plus human philosophy, religious legalism, mysticism, or asceticism. Paul encouraged the Colossian believers and refuted the false teachers by showing the utter sufficiency of Christ.

At the outset of his prayer Paul stressed the importance of being controlled by the knowledge of God’s will (which is revealed in His Word). That’s the meaning of the Greek word translated “filled” in verse 9. “Knowledge” translates a word that speaks of a deep, penetrating knowledge that results in behavioral change. “Spiritual wisdom and understanding” refers to knowledge that cannot be known through human reasoning or philosophy. It is imparted by the Holy Spirit Himself.

In effect Paul was saying, “I pray that you will be continually controlled by the life-transforming knowledge of God’s will, which the Holy Spirit imparts as you prayerfully study and meditate on God’s Word.”

Scripture supplies the principles you need to live a godly life. The Spirit gives you the power to do so. Many false teachers will try to divert you from the simplicity of devotion to Christ by offering you philosophy, psychology, and a myriad of other hopeless alternatives. Don’t be victimized. In Christ you have everything you need!

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His all-sufficient Son and for the resources that are yours in Him.
  • Ask for wisdom to apply those resources to every situation you face today.

For Further Study

Read Colossians 1:15—2:23.

  • What was Christ’s role in creation?
  • What was Paul’s goal as a minister?

What warnings and commands did Paul give?

 

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Joyce Meyer – In the “Deep End”

 

Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—to the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity).

— Jude 24-25 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Confident Woman – by Joyce Meyer

Just like a toddler in the middle of a swimming pool can feel in over their head, at various points in our lives, all of us feel like we’re getting out of our depth. But the reality is that, without God, we’re always in over our heads.

We all face some problems that just seem too big: a job is lost, someone dies, there’s strife in our family or close relationships, or a bad report comes from the doctor. When these things happen, our temptation is to panic because we feel like we’ve lost control. But think about it—just like the child in the pool, the truth is we’ve never been in control when it comes to life’s most overwhelming moments. We’ve always been held up by the grace of God, our Father, and that won’t change. God is never out of His depth or caught off guard, so we can know that we’re just as safe in life’s “deep end” moments as we were in the kiddie pool.

No matter what we’re going through, God’s promised us to fight for us, so we can trust Him to hold us up, even when the waves get high (see Deuteronomy 20:4; Psalm 34:19).

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I’m safe in Your arms, even when I feel like I’m in over my head. Please help me remember that You’re always holding me by Your grace, so I can let go of fear. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Showers of Blessing

 

I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

 Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign mercy—“I will send down the showers in their season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy? For who can say, “I will send down showers” except God? There is only one voice that can speak to the clouds and bid them send the rain. “Who sends down the rain upon the earth? Who scatters the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?” So grace is the gift of God and is not to be created by man.

It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? Just as absolutely needful is the divine blessing; you work in vain until God then bestows the shower and sends salvation down.

Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send down the showers.” It does not say, “I will send down drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! We need plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace.

Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in their season.” What is your season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As your days, so shall your strength be.”1

And here is a varied blessing. “I will give you showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.

1) Deuteronomy 33:25

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Created You According to His Plan

 

Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

God created you just as He wanted you, with a loving purpose in mind.

When I was in elementary school, I didn’t like the way my voice sounded. Sometimes at school we would have to read aloud and record our voices. I always hated having my recorded voice played back to me. Surely that couldn’t be the way I really talked! I had such a quiet, babyish voice. How embarrassing!

What about you? Is there anything about yourself that you wish you could change—but can’t? Let’s think for a minute about Who made you the way you are.

Psalm 139 says that God formed you and wove you together in your mother’s womb. Before anyone else even saw you, God knew all about you! He planned you; you were completely His idea. Before you were even born, God skillfully formed you exactly the way He wanted you to be.

There are some things about ourselves that we can change. But many things we can’t. Have you accepted the fact that the way you look, the way you talk, your personality, or your health are all part of God’s plan for your life? God made you exactly as you are, because He has a loving purpose in mind for you. His Word says that His creation of you is a reason for you to praise Him! Have you ever done that?

God created you just as He wanted you, with a loving purpose in mind.

Do I complain about the way God created me? Have I ever thanked Him for making me with such wisdom and skill?

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Denison Forum – Tiger Woods is recovering from surgery: The uniqueness of Christian hope and three responses when Christians fail

 

Tiger Woods is awake and recovering from surgery, according to a statement posted this morning on his official Twitter account. The golf legend was involved in a serious car accident yesterday near Los Angeles, where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He was trapped but conscious when emergency responders reached the scene.

According to Golf Digest, Woods suffered fractures in his right leg as well as damage to his ankle. His right leg was stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Surgeons used screws and pins to stabilize the bones in his foot and ankle.

Jack Nicklaus spoke for golf fans everywhere when he responded, “We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.”

Magneto hydrodynamic explosive munitions 

Woods’ accident yesterday was one of the six million car accidents that occur in the US each year. While Tiger Woods is one of the most famous athletes in history, he is as susceptible to the laws of physics as anyone else.

Technology changes our circumstances but not our character. Soldiers in the biblical era fought with slingshots, swords, and arrows (1 Samuel 17:40Matthew 26:521 Samuel 31:3); we fight today with camouflaged tanks and magneto hydrodynamic explosive munitions. But no matter how it is fought, as Gen. Sherman said in the Civil War, “War is hell.”

As I noted yesterday, Christianity offers the hope of moral transformation for those who follow Jesus and submit to the Spirit. To this I would add that Christianity offers a unique hope of such transformation.

The natural cannot change the natural. Humans cannot change human nature. The prophet was right: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Look across our history: Are we not still dealing with the same mistakes, failures, and problems as our ancestors?

 

Why I cannot pay your debt 

This is why natural transformation requires supernatural agency. In theological terms, someone must pay the penalty for our sins before a holy God can forgive them. Since Jesus is the only sinless person who ever lived, he is the only person who does not owe the debt of sin and thus the only person who can pay the debt we owe (Romans 6:23).

If I have $100 in my pocket, I cannot pay your $100 debt and mine at the same time. Only if I owe no debt can I pay your debt.

This is what Jesus uniquely did for us (Romans 5:8). With all due respect, no other religious leader ever claimed to be sinless or to atone for the sins of others. Jesus did what Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, and every other religious leader could not. This makes the salvation he offers unique (John 14:6).

In addition, his Spirit inhabits those who trust him as Lord. The Holy Spirit lives in us as his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). He makes us a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and begins the process of internal sanctification that makes us more like Jesus (1 Peter 1:2Romans 8:29). This, again, is a promise no other religion or worldview makes or can make.

Three biblical responses 

However, when we claim that Christianity changes Christians, we must answer this question: Why do so many Christians act in such sinful ways? Reports of horrific sexual abuse surfaced after Ravi Zacharias’ death last May. World-renowned pastor Bill Hybels took early retirement after allegations of sexual abuse were made against him. Doesn’t this contradict the truth they proclaimed?

Let’s close with three biblical responses:

One: Separate the message from the messenger. 

When doctors fail us, we don’t reject medicine. When lawyers act corruptly, we don’t reject the law. Christianity never promised that Christians would be perfect. Our hope is not in the preacher but in the One being preached. We are saved not by Bill Hybels or Ravi Zacharias but by Jesus (Acts 4:12).

Two: Hold each other to the standards of Christ. 

Our message changes the messenger if the messenger is willing to be changed. God respects the freedom he gives us so much that he will not force us into repentance and godliness. But if we cooperate with him, his Spirit will make us the kind of people our Father intends us to be (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Three: Balance grace and consequences. 

We do not want to be the army that buries its wounded, but we also do not want to offer what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace” that ignores accountability and the consequences of sin. If I drive a nail into a piece of wood, you could remove the nail but the hole remains. Sinners can be forgiven, but they must seek restitution (Matthew 5:24Luke 19:8). (I plan to say more about confession and the consequences of sin in tomorrow’s Daily Article.)

 

What Satan put into our heads 

How does today’s conversation relate to you? Do you need to seek forgiveness from God and/or from someone your sin has harmed? Do you need to offer forgiveness to someone who has harmed you? Do you need to renew your commitment to seek the holiness our Father requires and empowers? Do you need to share the unique hope of the gospel with someone today?

  1. S. Lewis observed in Mere Christianity: “What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Who or what is the source of your happiness today?

 

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Upwords; Max Lucado –He Always Remains Faithful

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Did you know that the smith in silversmith comes from the old English word smite? Silversmiths are accomplished smiters. So is God. A silversmith buffets the metal until he is finished with it. Some silversmiths, I’m told, keep polishing until they can see their face in the tool. When will God stop with you? When he sees his reflection in you. “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me” (Psalm 138:8).

The pounding you feel does not suggest God’s distance but proves his nearness. Trust his sovereignty. Hasn’t he earned your trust? Has he ever spoken a word that proved to be false? Given a promise that proved to be a lie? Look up reliability in heaven’s dictionary and read its one-word definition: God. “If we are faithless he always remains faithful. He cannot deny his own nature” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Read more Begin Again

 

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

 

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