In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Guarding Against Doubt

 

Hebrews 7:23-28

Do you doubt your salvation? Today’s passage says quite plainly that Jesus is “able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him,” since He’s always interceding for them in heaven (Heb. 7:25). Knowing this, let’s take a moment to understand what leads us to doubt—and then let’s counter each of those falsehoods with truth from God’s Word.

Sin makes us feel estranged from God, but His Word says that if we confess our sins, He will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Legalism says salvation is maintained by obedience to manmade rules. Salvation, however, isn’t begun or sustained by works (Gal. 3:1-5).

Feelings can make us question whether we are saved, but they aren’t a reliable gauge of truth. Regardless of any doubts we sense in our heart, Scripture promises that Jesus will complete the good work He began in us (Phil. 1:6).

Satan is an accuser, who constantly reminds us of our sin and shame. But Paul assures us that no one can bring a charge against God’s elect (Rom. 8:33-34).

Don’t let negative influences undermine your confidence in Christ’s ability to save and keep you forever. When doubts come, cling to these truths and boldly proclaim what the Bible says.

Bible in One Year: Joshua 16-19

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Practice These Things

 

Bible in a Year:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.

Philippians 4:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Philippians 4:1–9

As I helped my son with his math homework, it became apparent he was less than enthusiastic about doing multiple problems related to the same concept. “I’ve got it, Dad!” he insisted, hoping I would let him out of doing all of his assignment. I then gently explained to him that a concept is just a concept until we learn how to work it out in practice.

Paul wrote about practice to his friends in Philippi. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9). He mentions five things: reconciliation—as he urged Euodia and Syntyche to do (vv. 2–3); joy—as he reminded his readers to cultivate (v. 4); gentleness—as he urged them to employ in their relation to the world (v. 5); prayer—as he had modeled for them in person and in writing (vv. 6–7); and focus—as he had shown even in prison (v. 8). Reconciliation, joy, gentleness, prayer, and focus—things we’re called to live out as believers in Jesus. Like any habit, these virtues must be practiced in order to be cultivated.

But the good news of the gospel, as Paul had already told the Philippians, is that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (2:13). We’re never practicing in our own power. God will provide what we need (4:19).

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What things do you need to practice as you seek to imitate Jesus? How can you practice in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus, give me the grace to practice Your ways by the power of the Holy Spirit. Empower me to live my life in a way that bears the fruit of the Spirit.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Relying on God’s Character

 

“Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments. . . . righteousness belongs to Thee. . . . To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” (Dan. 9:4, 7, 9).

God’s attributes authenticate your prayers.

Prior to the Babylonian Captivity God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors. Their gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver them from distress (Isa. 46:6-7).

In marked contrast, our God loves us and delivers us from evil. When we confess our sins and intercede for others, He hears and responds. In Isaiah 45:21-22 He says, “There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

In his prayer Daniel mentions several attributes of God that have a direct bearing on answered prayer. In verse 4 he calls Him “the great and awesome God.” That speaks of His power and majesty. You can pray with confidence because God is powerful enough to change your circumstances when it serves His purposes.

God’s faithfulness is reflected in the phrase “who keeps His covenant” (v. 4). He always keeps His promises. He made a covenant with Israel that if they repented He would forgive them (Deut. 30:1-3). He promised never to forsake them (Deut. 31:6; cf. Heb. 13:5).

God’s love is seen in His acts of mercy toward those who love Him (v. 4). His justice and holiness are inherent in the phrase “righteousness belongs to Thee” (v. 7). God’s actions are always loving and righteous. He never makes a mistake (Gen. 18:25).

Verse 9 mentions two final attributes: compassion and forgiveness. Compassion is a synonym for mercy. Forgiveness means He pardons your wrongdoings by canceling the penalty sin has charged to your account. He reconciles you to Himself in sweet communion.

What a gracious God we serve! Rejoice in His love and lean on His promises. He will never fail you.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His attributes of power, majesty, faithfulness, love, holiness, compassion, and forgiveness.

For Further Study

Read Isaiah 44 which contains a stern warning for Israel to avoid the idolatry of Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity.

  • What promises did God make to Israel?
  • How did God characterize idolaters?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Whose Perspective Is It?

 

But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

— 2 Corinthians 11:3 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Confident Woman – by Joyce Meyer

When encouraged to think positively, people often retort, “That’s not reality.” But did you know that positive thinking can change your current reality? God is positive, and that’s His reality. It is the way He is, the way He thinks, and the way He encourages us to live. He says that we can believe the best of every person (see 1 Corinthians 13:7), and that all the things we go through (good and bad) can work out for good if we love Him and want His will in our lives (see Romans 8:28).

It’s been said that 90 percent of what we worry about never actually happens, so I wonder: Why do people assume that being negative is more realistic than being positive? It’s a matter of whether we’ll choose to look at things from God’s perspective or the enemy’s. Are you doing your own thinking, choosing your thoughts carefully, or are you passively accepting whatever happens to come to your mind? Where are your thoughts coming from? Do they agree with Scripture? If not, they didn’t come from God.

Thinking negatively makes you miserable, so I want to encourage you to exchange any negative mindsets for the life-giving truth of God’s Word. Seeing life from His perspective will help bring the kind of joy you’ve been waiting for.

Prayer Starter: Father, please make Your Word come alive to me so I can start to see my life from Your perspective. Thank You for bringing my thoughts to line up with Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Benefit of Affliction

 

I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’

 Psalm 30:6

Give a man wealth; let his ships bring home continually rich treasure; let the winds and waves appear to be his servants to carry his vessels across the bosom of the mighty deep; let his fields produce abundantly; let the weather be kind to his crops; let uninterrupted success attend him; let him stand among men as a successful merchant; let him enjoy continued health; allow him with braced nerve and brilliant eye to march through the world and live happily; give him the buoyant spirit; let him have a song perpetually on his lips; let his eye be ever sparkling with joy—and the inevitable consequence of such an easy life to any man, even though he may be the best Christian who ever breathed, will be presumption. Even David said, “I shall never be moved”; and we are not better than David, nor half so good.

Brother, beware of the smooth places of the way; if you are treading them, or if the way be rough, thank God for it. If God should always rock us in the cradle of prosperity, if we were always enjoying good fortune, and there were no clouds in the sky, and no bitter drops in the wine of this life, we would become intoxicated with pleasure, and we would dream that we were standing—and stand we should, but it would be upon a pinnacle; like the man asleep upon the mast, each moment we would be in jeopardy.

We bless God, then, for our afflictions; we thank Him for our changes; we extol His name for losses of property; for we feel that if He had not chastened us in this way, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial.

Afflictions, though they seem severe,
In mercy oft are sent.

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Forgives Only the Broken and Contrite Heart

 

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18)

Sometimes Dylan told lies. If his parents caught him, they would punish him. They would also encourage him to pray and ask God to forgive him. At first, Dylan really meant what he was praying – sometimes he would pray for God’s forgiveness even when his parents didn’t know about the lie and weren’t making him pray.

Soon, Dylan found himself praying to God all the time, but not for forgiveness! He would pray that his parents wouldn’t find out about what he had done or said. Dylan was more afraid of being punished than he was of being unforgiven. Soon he started to wonder whether God would listen to his prayers at all.

Dylan did not understand very much about Who God is and what God expects of His children. God does not forgive us if we are not truly repentant. He does not forgive us if we are asking for the wrong reason and our hearts are set on sinning again.

Over time, Dylan had let himself start viewing God as someone who does whatever we ask Him to do. But repentance, forgiveness, and salvation all come from the Lord. We cannot just sin, pray about it, and expect that to fix everything. God tells us in His Word that if we regard (or know about and hold onto) sin in our hearts, He will not even listen to our prayers.

Instead, Dylan ought to look at the sin in his heart and think about it like God thinks about it – as something very evil, hurtful, and displeasing to God and others. Instead of planning to tell lies again, Dylan should pray for help to resist the temptation to tell lies again. He should also be willing to take whatever punishment is coming to him for lies he has already told. Asking forgiveness doesn’t get us out of being punished.

God will not even hear our prayers if we are looking at sin as something we don’t mind keeping around in our lives. But there’s good news for people like Dylan – and us. Psalm 51:17 says this: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” God does hear the prayers of a broken and contrite (or repentant, humble) heart. If we come to Him with repentance and humility, thinking about our sins the way He does, then He has promised to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God will hear you and forgive you only if you ask with a repentant spirit.

My Response:
» When I ask forgiveness for a certain sin, am I determined to avoid that sin in the future, or do I still want to keep it around in my life?
» When I come to God, is it proudly, with my own interests in mind? Or do I come to Him with a humble heart, thinking about my sin the way He thinks about it?

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Denison Forum -My response to the Harry and Meghan interview: Three biblical principles and a remarkable legacy in the making

 

I was not one of the twenty-eight million people who watched Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Here’s been my problem in the days after the interview aired Sunday night: there were actually multiple interviews, or so it would seem.

One version sees Meghan as a brave woman willing to fight for her marriage, her mental health, and her children against the prejudice and opposition of some in the royal family. Another version sees her as a vindictive outsider who did not get what she wanted and is trying to “take down” the royal family.

Some view Harry as the oppressed son of a distant father, but others view him as a troublemaking rebel seeking attention in all the wrong ways. Some viewers saw the couple as courageous trailblazers making a new way forward for royalty in the twenty-first century. But others saw them as capitalizing on Harry’s inherited platform and fortune.

It all depends on which reports you believe.

We can do this with nearly any story in the news.

  • Is the growing immigration problem on our southern border the fault of the former administration, the present administration, neither, or both?
  • Will President Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan make things better or worse for Americans?
  • Should Governors Cuomo and/or Newsom be impeached?
  • Did Dak Prescott win his contract battle with the Dallas Cowboys, or did the team?

Depending on the network you watch or the social media you consume, all are options.

My purpose is not to berate the media for its bias. Rather, it is to explain why we are where we are and to offer three biblical ways to find the truth we need in the chaos we face.

Who was “the most trusted man in America”? 

Columnist Jonah Goldberg notes that well into the nineteenth century, “people—particularly non-affluent, non-city-dwelling folk—got their news monthly or even seasonally. And the interval has been shrinking ever since. Even taking into account radio, TV, and cable news, most people in the pre-internet age got their fill of journalism in the morning and then got a brief update at the end of the day with the nightly news, or maybe the evening edition of a newspaper.”

I am old enough to remember those days well. The morning paper brought the morning’s news. The evening paper (if there was one) brought the evening news. More likely, people watched the network news for thirty minutes (usually at 5:30 p.m. CT; I grew up in Texas) and then the local news for thirty minutes (usually at 6:00 p.m.). If they really cared about what was going on, they might stay up for the 10:00 p.m. local news as well.

We had three networks and thus three news options. Walter Cronkite at CBS was our favorite, known as the “most trusted man in America” because of his objectivity. “And that’s the way it is” was his nightly sign-off. We believed him.

Then came the internet.

 

Now most of us get our breaking news via Twitter, Facebook, other social media, or notifications from news outlets. By the time we get around to reading, watching, or listening to the news, we mostly know what has happened. But news stations have to fill column inches, screens, and air time in order to sell ads and otherwise make a profit. Many are now doing so 24/7/365.

As a result, “news” is more opinion on the news than reporting of it. Many news programs are more entertainment than information. Analytics drive ads which drive profits, and digital media are more sophisticated than ever in tracking them. They know the time we spend on an article on our computers, our viewing habits on television, our listening habits on radio, and all the other ways we consume their content. They tailor what we see/hear/read to our preferences so they can get us to consume more content, see/hear/respond to more ads, and thus make them more profits.

We can like this, hate it, or ignore it, but it’s the way it is and the way it will be for the foreseeable future.

Three biblical responses 

What does any of this have to do with my mission as a cultural apologist to equip evangelical Christians to respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues we face? How does today’s article relate in practical ways to you? Let’s consider three biblical imperatives for our day.

One: Practice biblical discernment. 

God’s word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” as much today as when it was first inspired (Psalm 119:105). This is because neither human nor divine nature change. What was true is still true. Thus, we need to view everything we experience through the prism of biblical revelation. Look for what God says about the issues you face, for that’s the truth you need.

Two: Seek the constant guidance of the Spirit. 

Jesus promised that the Spirit “will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). He has a word for us for every moment and circumstance of our lives. Not just the “spiritual,” but the “secular.” Not just for Sunday, but for Monday. Ask him to show you the truth you need and know that he will always lead those who will follow.

Three: Aspire to be redemptive rather than reactive. 

The God who “sent redemption to his people” (Psalm 111:9) is constantly at work redeeming the bad for good and the present for eternity. Look for ways to respond rather than react to the events of our world, seeking ways to lead people to Jesus and his transforming grace (John 3:30).

 

“No regrets. Pure joy.” 

Luis Palau is one of the most joyful, winsome Christians I have ever met. I have been privileged to work with him in a variety of contexts and have always found him a model of Spirit-led discernment and redemptive grace.

These days, the world-renowned evangelist is battling lung cancer. Shortly after the announcement that he had been placed in hospice care, his son Andrew left his side to lead a major evangelistic event in Florida.

This might seem uncaring, except that the son was doing precisely what his eighty-six-year-old father asked him to do: “Go, Andrew. We’ve said all we need to say. No regrets. Pure joy. Now don’t let me get in the way of you preaching the Good News!”

If Luis had gone to heaven while Andrew was showing others how they can go to heaven, nothing would have made him happier. That’s because, as he told his son, he has “no regrets.”

Can you say the same? If not, why not?

 

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Upwords; Max Lucado –Grace Delivered Us from Fear

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God’s grace delivered us from fear, but how quickly we return. Grace told us we didn’t have to spend our lives looking over our shoulders, but look at us glancing backward. Look at us with guilt on our consciences.

 

Why are we so quick to revert back to our old ways? Or as Paul candidly wrote, “What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death?” (Romans 7:24). Simply stated: we are helpless to battle sin alone. Aren’t we glad Paul answered his own question? “I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).

 

The same one who saved us first is there to save us still. Such is the message of grace. You are saved, not because of what you do, but because of what Christ did! And you are special because of whose you are.

 

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