In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Put on the Lord Jesus


Romans 13:11-14

Modern culture encourages doing whatever comes naturally, but that approach leads only to self-centered, sinful living. In contrast, we as believers are told to make no provision for our natural or fleshly desires. This means we don’t place ourselves in the path of temptation or consider going back to the old sinful longings, attitudes, and habits that were ours before we knew the Lord.

When I was a young Christian, I heard talk about sanctification and “doing away with sin.” I mistakenly thought that when I was older, I’d have some kind of spiritual experience that would rid my life of wrong desires and thoughts. But that’s not how sanctification works. Instead, it’s a lifelong process in which God’s Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image.

Even after three years in Jesus’ company, the disciples couldn’t live the Christian life on their own. They had to wait for the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gave them strength, guidance, and wisdom. That has not changed—it remains true that apart from Christ’s Spirit, we cannot overcome fleshly desires and live in obedience to God’s will.  But when we rely on Him instead of ourselves, He produces godly desires within us, empowers obedience, and transforms our character into Christ’s likeness.

Bible in One Year: Joshua 20-22

Our Daily Bread — Out of Our Poverty


Bible in a Year:

They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.

Mark 12:44

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Mark 12:38–44

Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates made history when they launched the Giving Pledge, promising to donate half of their money. As of 2018, this meant giving away 92 billion dollars. The pledge made psychologist Paul Piff curious to study giving patterns. Through a research test, he discovered that the poor were inclined to give 44 percent more of what they had than wealthy people. Those who’ve felt their own poverty are often moved to greater generosity.

Jesus knew this. Visiting the temple, He watched the crowds drop gifts into the treasury (Mark 12:41). The rich tossed in wads of cash, but a poor widow pulled out her last two copper coins, worth maybe a penny, and placed them into the basket. I picture Jesus standing up, delighted and astounded. Immediately, He gathered His disciples, making sure they didn’t miss this dazzling act. “This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others,” Jesus exclaimed (v. 43). The disciples looked at each other, bewildered, hoping someone could explain what Jesus was talking about. So, He made it plain: those bringing huge gifts “gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything” (v. 44).

We may have little to give, but Jesus invites us to give out of our poverty. Though it may seem meager to others, we give what we have, and God finds great joy in our lavish gifts.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What does it mean for you to give out of your poverty? How can you give “everything” for Jesus today?

God, I don’t feel like I have much to offer. My gifts feel puny and worthless. But I’m here. All of me. Will You receive me in my poverty?

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Understanding Who We Are


“Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

The first step to humility is understanding our sinfulness.

I’ll never forget a meeting I had at my house with some seminary students. One student asked me, very seriously, “John, how did you finally overcome pride?” I said jokingly, “Well, it was two years ago when I finally licked it, and it’s never been a problem since then. It’s so wonderful to be constantly humble.” Of course, I have not completely overcome pride; it’s a battle I face every day. Satan makes sure we always struggle with it.

Overcoming pride in even one area is difficult, but Ephesians 4:2 requires “all humility.” Having some humility isn’t enough. We must have total, complete humility in every relationship, every attitude, and every act.

So we all have a lot of work to do. But where do we start? How can we become humble?

Humility begins with self-awareness. We need to look at ourselves honestly. We can mask who we really are and convince ourselves that we’re something wonderful. But we are sinners and need to confess our sins daily before God (cf. 1 John 1:9). Even Paul called himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) and realized he had not yet reached the goal of Christlikeness (Phil. 3:12-14). Whenever you’re tempted to be proud, remember you haven’t arrived yet spiritually.

And don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Paul said, “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). If we’re to be honest with ourselves and with God, we need to evaluate ourselves by an outside standard—God’s standard. Humility starts when we take off the rose-colored glasses of self-love so we can see ourselves as unworthy sinners. We must recognize our faults and confess our sins daily.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Confess any known sins to God, and ask for help in overcoming them.
  • Ask God to keep you from comparing yourself to others instead of to His perfect standard.

For Further Study

  • Many consider Paul to be the greatest Christian who ever lived, but he viewed himself very differently. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. How did he see himself?

As he saw his sinfulness, what was his response to God?

Joyce Meyer – No Looking Back


Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

— Luke 9:62 (ESV)

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

Part of the beauty of what happens when God heals your soul is that He offers you a fresh start—a whole new beginning. But embracing the new life He has for you will be very difficult if you’re still holding on to the past. Think of it like this: If you’re walking through the grocery store with your hands full of oranges and someone tries to give you several apples to carry, you can’t hold them. In order to take the apples, you have to put down the oranges. In the same way, you have to let go of the past to pick up the new beginning God offers you.

Part of freeing yourself from the load of your past means refusing to look back and not replaying certain scenarios in your mind. Refusing to look back means resisting regret, turning away from past relationships that aren’t good for you, and letting go of mistakes and feelings like guilt and shame. Paul writes in Philippians 3:13 that he forgets what lies behind and strains “forward to what lies ahead.” It’s interesting that Paul says he strains forward. This tells us that moving ahead requires effort, which isn’t always easy. Letting go of the past can be hard to do, but it’s much better than remaining stuck in it.

When God asks us to let go of the past and look toward a better future, He also gives us the grace to do it. We need to be very careful about thinking or saying that what He asks of us is too hard. Nothing is too difficult for Him (see Jeremiah 32:17), and His Spirit in us empowers us to do everything He’s called us to do (see 1 Corinthians 3:16).

In Genesis 19, a man named Lot and his family lived in a city so filled with sin and perversion that God destroyed it completely. But before He did, God sent angels to warn Lot ahead of time, telling him to get out of the city with his wife and daughters. When the angels took them by the hand and led them away, they said, Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop . . .(Genesis 19:17 ESV). But Lot’s wife looked back anyway—and turned into a pillar of salt (see Genesis 19:26). Her decision to look back not only kept her from escaping, but robbed her of the better life she could have had—it cost her everything.

I want to encourage you to keep looking ahead and keep moving forward, so you can enjoy the beautiful life God has waiting for you!

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me where I’m stuck in the past, and give me the grace to let go of any unhealthy ties I may be holding onto. Thank You for the gift of a new beginning. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Sinful beyond Measure


. . . Sin . . . Sinful beyond measure.

 Romans 7:13

Beware of thinking lightly of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear of offending God. But sadly very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world: The sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in later life, too pliable, too easily yielding.

It is sadly true that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous that the sin that once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a small matter; and this is followed by an unholy presumption: “We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright for the most part. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for most of our conversation, it has been consistent.” So we toy with sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names.

Christian, beware of thinking lightly of sin. Take heed in case you fall little by little. Sin a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doesn’t the tiny coral insect build a rock that wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual drippings wear away stones? Sin a little thing? It put a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head and pierced His heart! It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. If you could weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would run from it as from a serpent and abhor the slightest appearance of evil.

Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Savior, and you will see it to be “sinful beyond measure.”

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Our Stronghold


“Blessed be the LORD my strength…my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust.” (Psalm 144:1-2)

There is a place in Israel near the Dead Sea called Masada (muh-SAH-duh). It looks like a mountain with a flat, square top. Masada was once a huge getaway palace for Herod the Great. In the first century after the time of Christ, Jewish people used it as a fortress. Men, women, and children lived there for three years, hiding from the Romans who had attacked and destroyed their cities. “The Romans cannot get to us here,” they thought. “We are safe in Masada.”

But they were not safe. The Roman army built a siege ramp all the way up the side of the mountain. Day after day, the Jews saw the Romans working on the ramp, and they knew that they had only a little time.

When the Romans finally stormed up the siege ramp to take the fortress, they found all of the Jewish people dead. The Jews had decided to kill themselves rather than lose their freedom. Their Masada had not protected them after all.

The word “Masada” comes from a Hebrew word that is often translated “fortress,” “defence,” or “stronghold.” This word is used in the Psalms to describe God. God is a stronghold for people who put their trust in Him. Because believers belong to God, they have a natural enemy, Satan, who is the enemy of God. Satan would like us to turn away from God and live in sin, doubt, and defeat.

But when Satan and his forces attack our minds and hearts, God is a safe fortress where we can hide. When we believe God’s Word and depend on His help to obey it, He will keep us from sin. God is stronger than Masada. He will never fail or be taken by the enemy. Satan can never defeat us when we make God our stronghold.

God is a stronghold for us when Satan tempts us to sin.

My Response:
» Am I abiding in God as my stronghold?
» Is there something or someone less than God that I’ve been trusting to take care of me?
» Am I struggling with something right now that I could ask God to help me with?

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Denison Forum – Marking a COVID-19 “turning point” in history: Hope on a hard day and promises that empower


You may not remember the name of Sandra Lindsay, but future generations will. The intensive care nurse received America’s first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine last December 14 in Queens, New York. As Smithsonian Magazine reports, this event “marked a turning point in fighting the pandemic that has killed more than 535,000 Americans. And it made history.”

Now that history will be preserved for generations to come. The first (now empty) tiny Pfizer-BioNTech vial has been acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It will be displayed along with Lindsay’s vaccination card, her scrubs, and her hospital ID.

This announcement comes as we mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic today.

Nearly a fourth of Americans have lost a friend or family member 

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a “pandemic.” On that day, confirmed worldwide coronavirus cases stood at 125,000, with reported deaths at fewer than five thousand. A poll conducted at the time found that 44 percent of Americans considered the threat of the virus to be “exaggerated.” Nearly everyone (88 percent) predicted that fewer than ten thousand Americans would ultimately die from the disease.

This morning, Johns Hopkins confirms that more than 118 million people have been infected, more than 29 million of them in the US. More than 2.6 million people have died, including more than 529,000 Americans.

And nearly a quarter of all Americans (23 percent) say a close friend or family member has died of the disease.

Of America’s 19,502 towns and cities, only thirty-seven have a population exceeding the number of Americans who have died of COVID-19. On a tragic anniversary unlike any other in our nation’s history, where can we turn for hope in heartache and strength in suffering?

Hope for those who have died 

God’s word offers hope beyond human comprehension for those who have died in Christ.

At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus assured his dead friend’s grieving sister, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25–26).

When a Christian dies, they don’t. When they take their last breath here, they take their first breath there. They close their eyes in this fallen world and open them in God’s perfect paradise. They are well and they are home.

This is because, “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). Now and forever.


Hope for those who are hurting 

While millions have died of this horrible disease, many millions more are grieving their deaths. In addition, a third of COVID-19 survivors have “long-haul” symptoms. Fever, cognitive confusion, debilitating exhaustion and fatigue, difficulty sleeping, heart rhythm abnormalities, breathing issues, and other symptoms can arise, sometimes weeks or months after the initial diagnosis. Some “long-haul” patients are still struggling with such symptoms months later.

In addition, economic trauma persists for millions who have lost their jobs or otherwise experienced financial setbacks because of the pandemic. The negative effects of school closures are expected to be “profound and generational.” “Pandemic trauma” is afflicting millions of Americans. Survivor’s guilt is a growing issue for many. And more than thirty million frontline workers continue to risk their lives to serve us with sacrificial courage.

To all who suffer, God promises his presence and empathy (cf. John 11:35). Jesus feels all we feel and suffers as we suffer. Theologian Jürgen Moltmann famously described our Savior as the “crucified God.”

In addition, to “those who love God” he promises that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). We can know that “the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18) and that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).


“The Lord delivered me out of deep waters” 

Tomorrow we’ll focus on some ways God is redeeming this tragic pandemic. For today, let’s claim the promise that he is.

If you have suffered loss due to COVID-19, I invite you to claim the promises we’ve discussed. If you have not, I encourage you to share them with those who have. It may be that claiming these promises will lead to a different kind of anniversary—one that marks not our crisis but our transforming encounter with God’s grace.

Yesterday was one such day for the author of “Amazing Grace.”

I will never forget visiting John Newton’s grave in England and reading the epitaph he wrote: “John Newton, clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.”

Newton was converted to Christianity during a huge storm at sea and later testified: “That 10th of March is a day much to be remembered by me; and I have never allowed it to pass unnoticed since the year 1748. For on that day the Lord came from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.”

Are you in “deep waters” today?

If not, how will you help someone who is?

Upwords; Max Lucado –Your Name Is Written on God’s Hand


Listen to Today’s Devotion

When I see a flock of sheep I see exactly that—a flock. A rabble of wool, all alike. But not so with the shepherd. To him every sheep is different. Every face is special Every sheep has a name. And that includes you. The shepherd knows you. He knows your name, and he will never forget it.

He says in Isaiah 49:16, “I have written your name on my hand.” Your name is on God’s hand, your name is on God’s lips. Perhaps you’ve never seen your name honored or heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name. But he does! Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Your name! You just keep listening. Be sure to hear when God whispers your name.

Read more When God Whispers Your Name


For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.