In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Is God in Every Circumstance?

Genesis 50:15-21

As we grow in our Christian faith, we move from the milk of elementary truths to the meatier issues of Scripture that challenge our heart and our thinking. One of those deeper concepts is the question of whether God is involved in every circumstance. Spiritually, it gives us a lot to “chew on” because the answer goes against our natural reasoning.

For example, Joseph was treated cruelly by his brothers, suffering enslavement and imprisonment in Egypt because of their hatred. We tend to wonder, How could a good God have been involved in that painful circumstance? Yet He worked it all for good, eventually moving Joseph to a position of power as Pharaoh’s right-hand man. (See Genesis 37-39). 

When we ponder Scripture’s deeper teachings, it’s important to start with the truths about the Lord’s character, power, and promises. These form a foundation that can help us understand His role in both the triumphs and tragedies of life.

Although we can’t always grasp what God is doing in our circumstances, we can rely on His promise to work all things together for good to those who belong to Him (Rom. 8:28). It’s important to remember that nothing touches us without passing though His loving, sovereign hands.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 8-9

Our Daily Bread — Extending Mercy

Bible in a Year:

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.

Luke 17:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Luke 17:1–5

Reflecting on how she forgave Manasseh, the man who killed her husband and some of her children in the Rwandan genocide, Beata said, “My forgiving is based on what Jesus did. He took the punishment for every evil act throughout all time. His cross is the place we find victory—the only place!” Manasseh had written to Beata from prison more than once, begging her—and God—for forgiveness as he detailed the regular nightmares that plagued him. At first she could extend no mercy, saying she hated him for killing her family. But then “Jesus intruded into her thoughts,” and with God’s help, some two years later, she forgave him.

In this, Beata followed Jesus’ instruction to His disciples to forgive those who repent. He said that even if they “sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them” (Luke 17:4). But to forgive can be extremely difficult, as we see by the disciples’ reaction: “Increase our faith!” (v. 5).

Beata’s faith increased as she wrestled in prayer over her inability to forgive. If, like her, we’re struggling to forgive, we can ask God through His Holy Spirit to help us to do so. As our faith increases, He helps us to forgive.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

If someone who wronged you later repented, how did you react? How could God help you to forgive in these situations?

Jesus, thank You for releasing me from the consequences of my sin through Your death on the cross. I give You the glory!

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Being Considerate of Others’ Needs

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’” (John 19:26).

No matter what trials we have, it is still possible to be concerned for others’ needs.

As the time for Jesus’ death grew closer, His mother’s well-being was on His heart and mind. His concern is consistent with what we have already seen in our brief study of some of Jesus’ last words on the cross—our Lord was faithful in ministry no matter what the cost.

Here the object of Jesus’ focus shifted to a small group of five friends at the foot of His cross. And out of this sympathetic band, which included the disciple John, Salome (John’s mother), Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, Christ’s attention drew especially toward His mother.

Mary, the mother of our Lord, was perhaps the neediest person of any in that cluster that stood beneath the cross. She was most likely a widow by this time; otherwise, Jesus would not have shown so much special concern for her future welfare. Mary was also seeing and feeling the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy that her soul would be pierced because of Jesus (Luke 2:34-35). Drawn to the place of her son’s execution by loving concern and sorrow, Mary stood with the others but undoubtedly felt very alone as she suffered quietly.

At that moment Jesus graciously intervened and reminded Mary that she needed to regard Him not primarily as her son but as her Savior. When Jesus called Mary “Woman,” He was using a title of respect. His intent was simply to commit Mary into John’s care.

At Calvary, Christ experienced the agony of the cross, the weight of the world’s sin, and the wrath of God the Father. Yet through all His ordeal, which is beyond our comprehension, Jesus took some moments to show compassion to others who were hurting. That’s a pattern we are to follow. We should never be so overwhelmed with our own pain and trials—and certainly not life’s routine, daily cares, and burdens—that we lose sight of others’ needs.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for Jesus’ incredible example of compassion in the midst of the most adverse circumstances.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 27:46; John 19:28; John 19:30; and Luke 23:46.

  • What additional traits do these reveal about Jesus?
  • Look for at least one example you can apply to your life.

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Overreact

When Pharaoh let the people go, God led them not by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God said, Lest the people change their purpose when they see war and return to Egypt.

— Exodus 13:17 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud – by Joyce Meyer

No matter how carefully you plan your progress in any area of your life, you will have setbacks. That’s part of the journey. Successful people are able to press through difficulty and delay and get right back on track without wasting time, feeling bad about themselves, or losing momentum.

Having a bad day does not mean you have to have a bad life. Don’t be like the Israelites in today’s scripture who wanted to return to Egypt every time they had a bad day while traveling toward the Promised Land. You are being freed from the bondage of Egypt and heading toward the Promised Land, where God’s purposes and promises will become realities in your life, but you will have days in the desert. When that happens, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Be nurturing and supportive of yourself, as you would of anyone else you love. Remind yourself that ten steps forward and one step backward still gets you where you’re going. Celebrate your successes, even small ones, and it will help you press past your setbacks.

Consider writing down your victories as you have them. Keep a journal of your journey and record all your little successes and include the lessons you’re learning along the way and the good experiences you’re having. When you have a discouraging day or one when you feel you’ve done everything wrong, read your journal. You may be amazed at how far you’ve come!

Don’t overreact to setbacks along your journey. Remind yourself often of the progress you’ve made.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I thank you for all the great things You’ve done in my life. Keep me ever mindful of all my victories and successes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Precious Blood!

. . . The precious blood of Christ.

 1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands and feet and side all distilling crimson streams of “precious blood.” It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him.

Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it cleanses from all sin. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”1 Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer; no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood that makes us clean, removing the stains of our iniquity and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved despite the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

The blood of Christ is also “precious” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember, it is God’s seeing the blood that is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “precious” also in its sanctifying influence.

The same blood that justifies by taking away sin also quickens the new nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to obey the commands of God. There is no greater motive for holiness than that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “precious,” unspeakably precious, is this blood because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.”2 How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus fights with a weapon that cannot know defeat.

The blood of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence; death ceases to be death: Heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!

1) Isaiah 1:18
2) Revelation 12:11

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Corrects His Children

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:7)

It was August, and the Ellisons’ air conditioner had broken down. Mrs. Ellison called the repairman, who tested the unit and took it apart. To his surprise, he found large quantities of sand in the outdoor fan. Mrs. Ellison asked her children if they knew how the sand had gotten in. Sadly, they admitted that they and their neighbor friends had made a game of throwing sand into the fan and running away before it could blow back into their faces.

Mrs. Ellison reminded them of the rule they had broken: sand was not supposed to be thrown or removed from the sandbox. Because of the children’s disobedience, the family would spend hundreds of dollars to replace the broken fan. The Ellison children would do extra cleanup in the yard as punishment, and a trip to Six Flags would be cancelled so that the money could go toward a new air conditioner. The Ellison children learned to take better care of property and to obey authority.

Mrs. Ellison also asked the neighbor children not to throw sand into the new fan. She explained about the damage, but she did not punish them. They went to their own yards and threw dirt and sand into their air conditioning fans. Soon other families were calling the same repairman and buying new air conditioners.

Why didn’t Mrs. Ellison discipline the neighbor children? They had knowingly broken the rules along with her children. But they were not her children, so she did not punish them.

Like an earthly parent, our Heavenly Father corrects His children. When He chastens us and teaches us not to sin, it is a sign of His love for us and of our place in His family. Although we do not enjoy chastening while it is happening, we should be thankful that He cares for us and wants to help us become more holy, more like Him.

“Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law.” (Psalm 94:12)

God’s chastening reminds us that He is our loving Father.

My Response:
» Am I truly God’s child? Does He chasten me?
» Do I accept His correction gratefully, recognizing it as a proof of His love?

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Denison Forum – Mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis: Five promises we can claim and pray

Eight people were shot and killed and several others injured Thursday night in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Genae Cook told a media briefing that the scene was an active shooter situation when officers arrived just after 11 p.m. local time.

Police reported that the alleged shooter “has taken his own life.” Multiple victims were transported to various hospitals in the area. One person was in critical condition, according to police. 

“This is a sight that no one should see,” Cook told the media briefing. The identity and motive of the shooter have not been released as of this hour, nor have the names of the victims been publicly released. 

Every day could be our last day 

At the moment of this writing, 46,500 people have died so far today. By the time you read these words, the number will have continued to escalate. Death is a present reality every day we live. For example: 

  • On this day in 2017, a college senior killed thirty-two people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
  • On this day in 2014, the South Korean ferry Sewol capsized and sank, killing 304 people, most of whom were high schoolers.
  • On this day in 2011, a Taliban sleeper agent detonated a vest of explosives hidden under his uniform, killing six American soldiers, four Afghan soldiers, and an interpreter.
  • On this day in 1947, a ship carrying ammonium nitrate blew up in the harbor in Texas City, Texas. A nearby ship carrying ammonium nitrate and sulfur caught fire and exploded the following day. The blasts and fires killed nearly six hundred people.
  • On this day in 1945, a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed and sank the MV Goya, which Germany was using to transport civilian refugees and wounded soldiers. It is estimated that up to seven thousand people died.

These calamities from the past remind us that every day could be our last day. Tragedies such as the FedEx shooting especially affect us because they strike close to home. While we do not know the motive of the shooter at this time, we do know that what happened at the FedEx building could happen nearly anywhere to nearly anyone. Including you and me. 

What I do not know today 

Does God’s word offer us help and hope as we respond to another mass shooting and as we face our own mortality?  

The Bible explains crimes such as the FedEx shooting as the tragically sinful misuse of human freedom that began in the Garden of Eden and continues today. It promises God’s presence and empathy with all who suffer as a result of such sin or any other calamity in this fallen world. It calls God’s people to be his instruments of intercession, compassion, and ministry for those affected by such tragedy. 

However, it does not tell us why innocent people are so often the victims of sin or calamity that is not their fault. I don’t know why my father died from heart disease at the age of fifty-five or why my oldest son had to suffer from cancer. 

A FedEx employee told reporters after the shooting, “Thank God for being here because I thought I was going to get shot.” What of those who were? 

I do not know why the innocent victims of this tragedy had to suffer and die. I do not know why some survived and others did not. But there is much that I do know that is relevant to us today. 

Five promises we can claim today 

I read daily from Daily Light for Every Day, a compilation of biblical readings by Anne Graham Lotz. Anne writes: “Without fail, the verses selected for a particular day’s reading seem to speak specifically to that day’s needs. In fact, God has spoken to me more often through the verses in Daily Light than through any other book, except the Bible.”  

After reading this morning of the tragedy in Indianapolis, I read verses in her volume for today that teach these life principles: 

One: We can speak to God honestly about our fear, confusion, and doubts. 

David told the Lord, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold: I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Psalm 69:2). We can name our pain and tell God about it. 

Two: We can know that God hears us when we call. 

David testified: “I had said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.’ But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help” (Psalm 31:22). God hears us when we do not hear him. 

Three: We can fight fear with faith. 

The writer of Lamentations said, “Water closed over my head; I said, ‘I am lost.’ I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’” (Lamentations 3:54–57). He offers us the same assurance today. 

Four: When we struggle to find hope in the present, we can remember God’s faithfulness in the past. 

The psalmist asked, “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’” (Psalm 77:7–9). Then he responded: “I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (vv. 10–11). 

How has God been faithful to us in the past? Since he does not change (Malachi 3:6), we can claim his faithfulness today. 

Five: We can trust God for a better future in the midst of present tragedy. 

David testified, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13). Since we are the child of God and nothing can take us from his omnipotent hand (John 10:29), we can claim David’s promise today. 

“Weep with those who weep” 

I invite you to make these promises yours wherever you need the assurance of God’s love and grace in your life today. Then please join me in praying for the victims of the FedEx shooting and their families. Pray that God’s Spirit working through God’s people will make these promises real and relevant for them. Pray for them to have the faith to believe that God is redeeming this tragedy in ways we may see and ways we may not on this side of eternity (1 Corinthians 13:12). 

God’s word calls us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). The Savior who “always lives to make intercession” for us (Hebrews 7:25) is grieving right now (John 11:35). 

Let’s join him on our knees.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Grow in Your Salvation

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Are a bride and groom ever more married than they are the first day? The vows are made, the certificate signed—could they be any more married than that? Imagine fifty years later. They finish each other’s sentences, order each other’s food. They even start looking alike, a thought which troubles my wife Denalyn deeply. Wouldn’t they be more married on their 50th anniversary than on their wedding day?

Marriage is both a done deal and a daily development. The same is true of our walk with God. Can you be more saved than you were the first day of your salvation? No, but can a person grow in salvation? Absolutely. Like marriage, it’s a done deal and a daily development. Be secure in your salvation. And, at the same time, grow in your salvation.