In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – How to Conquer Your Fears

 

Psalm 27:1-3

I’ve walked with the Lord for more than seven decades now. I have read the Bible from cover to cover, preached thousands of sermons, and written pages and pages of study material. But let me tell you: In spite of all that, sometimes I still get scared.

When fear begins to sink in, I pray harder, study longer, and read my Bible more closely. I decided long ago that I would not let apprehension stop me from doing what God calls me to do. However, before I can take a stand against fear, I have to admit it is there. That’s the key to conquering feelings of anxiety.

I imagine you, on occasion, may feel frightened too­—whether of failure, ridicule, loneliness, or something else entirely. There is no shame in admitting you’re afraid. In the Psalms, in fact, King David makes this confession several times! (See Psalm 34:4Psalm 55:4-5.) His confessions are often wrapped in prayer, acknowledging the Lord’s power over his fears and his enemies. And these are examples we can follow.

That same power is available to you today. God wants to cast out the fear and doubt in your life. Are you willing to go before Him today and say, “Lord, I’m afraid of … ”?

Bible in One Year: Judges 18-19

 

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Purple Shawl

 

Bible in a Year:

I urge you . . . to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

Romans 15:30

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 15:23–33

While serving as my mom’s live-in caregiver at a cancer center hundreds of miles away from my home, I asked people to pray for us. As the months passed, isolation and loneliness sapped my strength. How could I care for my mom if I gave in to my physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion?

One day, a friend sent me an unexpected care package. Jodi had crocheted a purple prayer shawl, a warm reminder that we had people praying for us daily. Whenever I wrapped the soft yarn around my shoulders, I felt God hugging me with the prayers of His people. Years later, He still uses that purple shawl to comfort me and strengthen my resolve.

The apostle Paul affirmed the importance and spirit-refreshing power of praying for others. Through his passionate request for prayerful support and encouragement during his travels, Paul demonstrated how those who pray for others become partners in ministry (Romans 15:30). Offering specific requests, the apostle not only showed his dependence on the support of fellow believers but his trust that God powerfully answers prayer (vv. 31–33).

We’ll all experience days when we feel alone. But Paul shows us how to ask for prayer as we pray for others. When we’re wrapped in the intercessory prayers of God’s people, we can experience God’s strength and comfort no matter where life takes us.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

Who has God used to encourage you through intercessory prayer? Who can you pray for today?

Loving God, thank You for the gift of intercessory prayers and for assuring me that You hear me and care for me wherever I go.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Looking Out for Others’ Interests First

 

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

The Lord wants us to have a general but sincere concern for the ministry interests of fellow Christians.

We live in a world that is preoccupied with special interests. On the national and international levels, interest groups push for public acceptance of their particular agendas. Likewise, on the local level most people care only about their own personal interests. They’re concerned about their jobs, their families, their hobbies, and perhaps their favorite sports team. In addition to those, if you’re a Christian, you will be concerned about your local church. But even there you can become focused only on your area of ministry.

In today’s verse, the apostle Paul cautions us, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests.” He is warning first of all that we shouldn’t see our personal activities and ministries as our only goals in life. When we become narrowly preoccupied with our own things, it can cause conflicts and other problems with people we know. Instead, God wants us to have a serious, caring involvement in some of the goals others are concerned about. And one way that will happen is if we take our eyes off ourselves and our often excessive concern for self-esteem in everything we do.

You may wonder exactly what Paul meant by the broad term “interests.” It is a nonspecific word that has several meanings and implications. It includes legitimate goals and responsibilities you have as a Christian, but it also extends to the same kinds of concerns others in your church and family will have. Their needs, tasks, gifts, character qualities, and ministries should be considered equal in importance to yours.

Paul, by the Holy Spirit, is calling us to pursue a high standard of Christian living, but the standard is worth pursuing. The more we understand the importance of fellow believers and that they need our prayer and concern, the less our fellowships will be plagued by unscriptural competitiveness and pride of personal interest.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to help you order your priorities today, so that you’ll have time for involvement in the concerns of a Christian friend or relative.

For Further Study

Read Luke 10:38-42.

  • What was Martha’s attitude regarding the interests of her sister?
  • What do Jesus’ words to Martha say about where our ultimate interest should lie?

 

 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Relax! God Is Working

 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

— Matthew 11:28 (AMPC)

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

Being relaxed feels wonderful. Being nervous, tense, and worried—as you know—are not so wonderful. Jesus said if we’re weary and overburdened, we should go to Him and He’ll give us rest, relaxation, and ease for our souls (see Matthew 11:28–29 AMPC). He wants to teach us a better way to live, which is different from the way most of the world lives.

It would be putting it mildly to say that I was an uptight woman for the first half of my life. I simply did not know how to relax, and it was due to me not being willing to completely trust God. I trusted God for things, but not in things; I kept trying to be the one in control. Even though God was in the driver’s seat of my life, I kept one hand on the wheel just in case He took a wrong turn. Relaxation is impossible without trust!

If you know you can’t fix the problem you have, then why not relax while God is working on it? It might sound easy, but it took many years for me to learn to do this. I know from experience that the ability to relax and go with the flow in life is directly dependent on how fully we’re trusting God. When things don’t go our way, we can know that getting our way in that situation wasn’t what we needed. And since God knew that, He gave us what was best in the long run instead of what we wanted in the moment.

If you’ve been waiting a lot longer for something than you’d expected or hoped to, you can stay frustrated about it, or you can remind yourself, “God’s timing is perfect—He’s never late. I know He’s ordering my steps, and eventually they’ll turn out better than if I’d tried to do it all myself.” When it comes to things that are out of our control, we can either let it ruin our day, or relax and enjoy life while God’s working. It may take you many years to learn to fully trust Him, but each day will be better and better as you trust more and learn to relax.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me let go of the reins in situations that I can’t change and trust You to do what needs to be done. Thank You for working and doing what I can’t do, and for giving me the grace to start to relax and enjoy life more. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –How to Obtain Blessings

 

. . . Strong in his faith.

 Romans 4:20

Christian, take good care of your faith, for faith is the only way in which you can obtain blessings. If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne unless it is the earnest prayer of the man who believes. Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory. Let that angel be withdrawn, we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers. Faith is the telegraphic wire that links earth and heaven—on which God’s messages of love fly so fast that before we call He answers, and while we are still speaking He hears us. But if that telegraphic wire of faith is snapped, how can we receive the promise? Am I in trouble? I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy? My soul leans on God by faith. But take faith away—in vain I call to God.

There is no road between my soul and heaven. In the deepest wintertime faith is a road on which the horses of prayer may travel—ay, and all the better for the biting frost; but blockade the road and how can we communicate with the Great King? Faith links me with divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of God. Faith engages on my side the omnipotence of Jehovah. Faith ensures every attribute of God in my defense. It helps me defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march in triumph over my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything from the Lord? The one who wavers—who is like a wave of the sea—should not expect to receive anything from God!

So, then, Christian, pay attention to your faith; for with it you can win all things, however poor you are, but without it you can obtain nothing. “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.”1

1) Mark 9:23

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Honest with Us about Sin

 

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Have you ever been told: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”? If you have, it was probably your parents stopping you from saying something mean to your brother or sister!

Sometimes the things God says to us in His Word do not seem very nice. In fact, sometimes God says very honest and serious words that can be hard to hear. Have you ever wondered why sometimes it seems like God says mean things about people in His Word? Here are some of God’s words to us about ourselves:

“The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
“There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:3)

These are very hard things to hear, but God says them. People often say, “The truth hurts.” But sometimes the truth is the best possible thing for you.

What if you had a dentist appointment, but the dentist who examined your teeth would not tell you what he was seeing? Imagine that he looks into your mouth and says, “Hmmm.” You would not want to be left in the dark if he sees something wrong. You might say, “What is it? What’s wrong?”

Now, what if the dentist sees that you have a very bad cavity. He would know that your cavity needs to be fixed before it causes you lots of pain and trouble. But what if he were afraid to upset you with the bad news, so he just says: “Well, everything looks great! I’ve never seen someone with such great teeth! See you next year at your checkup!”

Later on, if your teeth started hurting, you probably would not be very happy with your dentist! In fact, you would probably go find another one! After all, your dentist was the expert. He was the one who was supposed to examine your teeth and help you. He was not honest with you when you most needed him to be honest with you. And now you have a terrible toothache!

Sometimes we need to hear things that are not very easy or pleasant to take. But we still need to hear them! We never have to worry about God not being honest with us. In His Word, He tells us exactly the bad news that we need to hear. The bad news is that we are all sinners and the wages of our sin is death. Our sin separates us from God! Now that does not sound very nice, but it is the truth!

We can be thankful, though, that God does not just leave us with the “bad news.” He tells us the bad news so we can realize that we need the Good News (the Gospel). He has the solution to our problem! Look at the last part of Romans 6:23–“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And God also tells us in I John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Even though the truth can be hard to hear, it is the best thing possible. Your dentist might tell you that you need a root canal or a couple of your teeth pulled out. But afterwards, you would not get a toothache! After the bad news, we are able to enjoy the good news. We can be glad that God is honest with us about the bad news so that we can understand and trust in the Gospel.

God tells us the truth, even when it hurts.

My Response:
» Since God has been honest with me about my sin, what do I need to do about it?
» Am I willing to trust and obey whatever God says, even if it is not what I wanted to hear?

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Denison Forum – Georgia alleged shooter was active in a Southern Baptist church: Three responses to the sins of Christians

 

Delaina Ashley Yaun and her husband were on a date last Tuesday and decided to get a massage. They went for the first time to Young’s Asian Massage Parlor near Woodstock, a town north of Atlanta. When a gunman attacked the parlor, Delaina and three others were murdered.

“I’m lost, I’m confused, I’m hurt. I’m numb,” her mother later told reporters.

Two other Atlanta-area massage parlors were also attacked; eight people died in all. Authorities charged Robert Aaron Long in the worst mass killing in the US in almost two years.

This story is tragic on so many levels. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent and died amid a rising tide of anti-Asian incidents across the country. The suspect told investigators that he targeted the businesses because he blamed them for “providing an outlet for his addiction to sex.”

Here’s the part of the story that I’m being asked about: according to his youth pastor, the suspect was active in a Southern Baptist congregation. Brett Cottrell, who led the youth ministry at Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Georgia, from 2008 to 2017, told the Washington Post that Long stacked chairs and cleaned floors at the church as a teenager. Cottrell added that Long’s father was considered an important lay leader in the church; the family attended services on Sunday mornings and evenings, as well as meetings on Wednesday nights and mission trips.

Cottrell considered Long a “typical teenager” growing up in the Atlanta suburbs. He stated that Long was part of a high school group that met for Bible study once a week before school and helped a backyard Bible club with games and songs for kids.

According to authorities, Long’s parents identified their son from surveillance images of the first shooting on Tuesday and alerted the sheriff’s office. “They’re very distraught. And they were very helpful in this apprehension,” the sheriff said. Authorities added that without their help, the carnage could have been even worse.

 

Man killed in church service this week 

A man was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon inside Emerald City Bible Fellowship Church in Seattle while participating in a church gathering. We have become tragically accustomed to the frequency of such shootings in recent years and often ask why bad things happen to God’s people.

But when church members are the shooters rather than the victims, we are forced to face a different kind of question: What difference does Christianity make when those who claim to be Christians act in horrific ways?

Clergy abuse scandals have rocked the Catholic church for years. However, Catholics are not alone in this: according to a 2019 report, seven hundred people were sexually abused in Southern Baptist churches over twenty years. The Ravi Zacharias scandal continues to make headlines. We could list other evangelical leaders accused of sexual misconduct in recent years.

The Bible promises: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God’s word says of believers: “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Why, then, do Christians fail morally, sometimes in horrific ways?

Three biblical responses 

It may seem that, like a medicine that promises to make us well but makes us sick, our faith does not do what it claims to do. If Christians are not more like Christ than anyone else, why follow Christ?

A biblical response is that our faith never promises that Christians will be made perfect in this life. Sanctification requires cooperation, which is why we are to “put to death what is earthly in you” (Colossians 3:5). Even Paul the Apostle admitted, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19). Conversion starts the process of sanctification, but that process is not completed in this world (Philippians 1:6).

Others will say that people who claim to follow Jesus but sin in horrific ways are not true Christians. That may well be true for specific individuals, but the Bible teaches, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). If Jesus was tempted, we will be tempted (Hebrews 4:15). If Peter could fail, we can fail (Galatians 2:11–14).

This reality leads to a third fact: Becoming a Christian does not remove our free will. We were created to love our Lord and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39), but love requires a choice. God therefore gives us freedom to choose and honors our freedom. (For more on divine sovereignty and human freedom, please see my website article on luck and providence.)

When Christians sin, the fault is not with Christ but with us. The Holy Spirit will give us the strength to defeat temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we must seek his help daily (Ephesians 5:18).

 

Three practical responses 

Let’s close with these practical responses to the tragedy in Georgia:

One: Pray for the families of the victims, asking God to grant them his “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:6–7) and to raise up Christians who will minister to them with his compassion and grace (1 Corinthians 12:27). Then volunteer to help the hurting people you meet today in the spirit of Jesus (Mark 10:45).

Two: Ask God to reveal any areas where you need to repent of sin today, remembering that “sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). The best time to repent of sin is now.

Three: Submit your day to the Holy Spirit, asking him to manifest his “fruit” in your life (Galatians 5:22–23) and to “sanctify you completely” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Leave no area outside his control and power.

The Scottish theologian John Baillie offered a morning prayer to God that I invite you to pray with me: “By your grace, O God, I will go nowhere today where you cannot come, nor seek anyone’s presence that would rob me of yours. By your grace I will let no thought enter my heart that might hinder my closeness with you, nor let any word come from my mouth that is not meant for your ear. So shall my courage be firm and my heart be at peace.”

Will your “courage be firm” and your “heart be at peace” today?

NOTE: I’m excited to let you know that we’ve just re-released my foundational book, Blessed: Eight Ways Christians Change Culture, with the inclusion of the new, bonus Blessed Small Group Study Guide. This resource focuses our attention on the Beatitudes, and the goal of exploring these timeless principles is simple: to align our lives with their truth so fully that they define our character—and empower our influence as culture-changing ChristiansSo please request the special Blessed resource when you give today. It’s my gift to thank you for your generosity to help more Christians discern the news differently.

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –The Price Is Too High

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

In the days when I was a missionary in Brazil I once went to visit one of our church leaders. We hadn’t seen him for several Sundays. Friends told me he had inherited three hundred dollars, and he was constructing, by hand, a one-room house. When he gave me a tour of the project, it took about twenty seconds. I told him we’d missed him, that the church needed him back. He grew quiet and turned and looked at his house. His eyes were moist. “You’re right, Max,” he confessed. “I guess I got just too greedy.”

 

“Greedy?” I wanted to say, “You’re building a hut in a swamp and you call it greed?” But he was right. Greed is relative. Greed is not defined by what something costs; it is measured by what it costs you. If anything costs you your family, or your faith, the price is too high.

 

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