In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – When We Say Yes to God

Luke 5:1-7

Teaching people to swim begins with a simple lesson—they must put their face in the water. That first little step helps a person get comfortable in the water and is critical for all swimming skills. In the same way, following God begins with a small act of obedience. It may seem insignificant or unrelated to the task at hand, but that’s where God wants us to start.

When Jesus asked to borrow a fishing boat, it must have seemed like just an ordinary request. Peter had no idea it would open the door to ministry and a remarkable adventure with the Lord. Saying yes to God in the small things is essential to discovering His purpose for us, and what’s more, our obedience will also often cause others to benefit. Peter’s compliance with Jesus’ next small request—to let down his nets one more time—resulted in two boatloads of fish, which was more than enough for all those with him.

Obedience to God may appear unreasonable at times—like a carpenter asking a professional fisherman to try once more, even though he had been fishing without success all night. But obeying the Lord can lead to divinely ordained opportunities and blessings for us and others. How do you respond to God’s requests? Does the word “yes” come quickly?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 60-66

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — God Is There

Bible in a Year:

If God will be with me and watch over me . . . then the Lord will be my God.

Genesis 28:20–21

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 28:10–15, 20–22

Aubrey bought a fleece-lined coat for her aging father, but he died before he could wear it. So she tucked a note of encouragement with a $20 bill into the pocket and donated the jacket to charity.

Ninety miles away, unable to endure his family’s dysfunction any longer, nineteen-year-old Kelly left his house without grabbing a coat. He knew of only one place to turn—the home of his grandmother who prayed for him. Hours later he stepped off a bus and into his grandma’s arms. Shielding him from the winter wind, she said, “We’ve got to get you a coat!” At the mission store, Kelly tried on a coat he liked. Slipping his hands into the pockets he found an envelope—with a $20 bill and Aubrey’s note.

Jacob fled his dysfunctional family in fear for his life (Genesis 27:41–45). When he stopped for the night, God revealed Himself to Jacob in a dream. “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go,” God told him (28:15). Jacob vowed, “If God will . . . give me food to eat and clothes to wear . . . , then the Lord will be my God” (vv. 20–21).

Jacob made a rudimentary altar and named the spot “God’s house” (v. 22). Kelly takes Aubrey’s note and that $20 wherever he goes. Each serves as a reminder that no matter where we run, God is there.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

When you’ve had to “run,” whether literally or metaphorically, where did you go and to whom did you turn? How can you remind yourself of God’s presence in your life?

Father, You’re the One I can always run to. Help me turn to You first.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Siding with God’s Enemies

“Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?” (James 2:6-7).

You can’t accomplish God’s purposes by siding with His enemies.

Favoritism has a way of blinding its victims to reality. James wrote of Christians who were trying to impress a rich man so they could benefit from his wealth and social status (vv. 2-3). The rich man represented the enemies of Christ, yet they gave him preferential treatment anyway. The poor man represented those whom God chose to be rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom, yet they treated him badly and dishonored him (v. 6). That’s not only inconsistent, it’s foolish! You can’t accomplish God’s purposes by siding with His enemies.

Some ungodly rich people tyrannized Christians by withholding their wages and even putting some to death (James 5:4-6). They forcibly dragged Christians to court to exploit them by some injustice or inequity. They blasphemed the fair name of Christ. The phrase “by which you have been called” (v. 7) speaks of a personal relationship. Typically new converts made a public proclamation of their faith in Christ at their baptism. From then on they were called “Christians,” meaning, “Christ’s own,” “Christ’s ones,” or “belonging to Christ.” So when people slandered Christians, they were slandering Christ Himself!

That anyone could overlook those evils and show favoritism to the enemies of Christ shows the subtle and devastating power of partiality. Today, the circumstances may be different, but the principles are the same. So for the sake of Christ and His people, remember the three reasons James gives for not showing partiality: You and your brothers and sisters in Christ are one with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the glory of God revealed (v. 1); God has chosen the poor to eternal riches (v. 5); and God has called you by His name (v. 7). If you desire to be like Christ, you cannot be partial. Be fair and impartial in all your interactions with others.

Suggestions for Prayer

Is there a personal or business relationship in which you are showing favoritism to gain some advantage for yourself? If so, confess it to the Lord and correct it right away.

For Further Study

Read Romans 15:5-7.

  • How should Christians treat one another?
  • What impact will we have if we obey Paul’s admonition?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Meditating on Good Things

 …my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches.

— Psalm 63:5-6 (AMPC)

Transcendental Meditation. Yoga. New Age. We hear these terms all the time, and they cause many Christians to avoid any reference to meditation. They’re afraid of the occult or pagan worship. What they don’t realize is how often the Bible urges us to meditate.

We can explain biblical meditation in a number of ways, but the one I find most helpful is to think of it as expressed in the Bible. If we read the verses above (and there are many others), we see three significant things about meditation in the Word.

First, the Scriptures refer to more than a quick reading or pausing for a few brief, reflecting thoughts. The Bible presents meditation as serious pondering. Whenever the Bible refers to meditation, it speaks to serious, committed followers. It’s not referring to quick, pick-me-up Bible verses. I’m not opposed to those, but this is a call to deeper, more serious concentration.

Second, the biblical contexts show meditation as ongoing and habitual. “It is my meditation all the day,” says the verse above. In Joshua 1:8, God told Joshua to meditate on the law day and night. We get the impression that the people who spoke of meditating did so seriously and threw their minds fully into the action. Psalm 1:2 says that the godly person meditates on God’s law day and night.

Third, meditation has a reward. It’s not just to meditate or go through a religious ritual. In most of the biblical passages where the term occurs, the writer goes on to point out the results. Again in Joshua 1:8: “… For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success” (AMPC).

Psalm chapter 1 describes the godly person who meditates day and night on God’s law (or Word) and says, “… and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]” (v. 3) (AMPC).

Despite what I’ve pointed out, we don’t talk or teach much about meditation today. It’s hard work! It demands time. Meditation also demands undivided attention.

If you want to win the battle for the mind, meditation is a powerful weapon for you to use. You must focus on portions of God’s Word. You must read them, perhaps repeat them aloud, and keep them before you. Some people repeat a verse again and again until the meaning fills their mind and becomes part of their thinking. The idea is that you won’t put the Word of God in practice physically until you first practice it mentally.

Meditation is a life principle because it ministers life to you, and your behavior ministers life to others through you.

I could go on and on about the subject of meditating on God’s Word, because it seems there is no end to what God can show me out of one verse of Scripture. The Word of God is a treasure chest of powerful, life-giving secrets that God wants to reveal to us. I believe these truths are manifested to those who meditate on, ponder, study, think about, practice mentally, and mutter the Word of God. The Lord reveals Himself to us when we diligently meditate on His Word. Throughout the day, as you go about your daily affairs, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of certain scriptures on which you can meditate.

You’ll be amazed at how much power will be released into your life from this practice. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the more you will be able to draw readily upon its strength in times of trouble.

This is how we can stay filled with the Holy Spirit—stay with the Lord through meditation and through singing and praising. As we spend time in His presence and ponder His Word, we grow, we encourage others, and we win the battles against the enemy of our minds.

Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit of God, help me to spend time every day meditating on the treasures of Your Word. I thank You for showing me that as I fill my mind with pure and holy thoughts, I will become a stronger and better disciple.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Christ the Builder

It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor.

Zechariah 6:13

Christ Himself is the builder of His spiritual temple, and He has built it on the mountains of His unchangeable affection, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon’s temple, so in this: The materials need to be prepared. There are the cedars of Lebanon, but they are not framed for the building; they are not cut down and shaped and made into those planks of cedar whose fragrant beauty will make glad the courts of the Lord’s house in paradise. There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, which must be hewn out and squared.

All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared and polished and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, except when they are used by Him to fulfill His purpose. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashions our hearts correctly.

As in the building of Solomon’s temple, where “neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard”1 because it all arrived perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy, so is it with the temple that Jesus builds; the preparation is all done on earth. When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no maturing us with suffering.

No, we must be made ready here—and all that Christ will do He will do now; and when He has done it, we will be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to live as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.

Beneath His eye and care,
The edifice shall rise,
Majestic, strong, and fair,
And shine above the skies.

1) 1 Kings 6:7

C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The Pure in Heart Will See God

 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

When I was in fourth grade, my family took a trip to Washington, D.C. Before we left, some of my friends at school said, “Maybe you’ll get to see the President!” I wasn’t too sure we would see President Reagan, but I was very excited about the possibility.

One day while we were sightseeing near the White House, we noticed a crowd gathering by the White House fence. Some people had cameras. “What’s going on?” we asked someone in the crowd.

“The President’s helicopter will be landing here soon. We’re all hoping to see him!”

My family joined the waiting crowd. My dad was able to get me right up by the fence where I could see. Sure enough, we soon heard the helicopter coming. It landed right on the White House lawn, and President Reagan got out—on the opposite side from where we were standing. A groan went up from the crowd. We could not see very much of him at all. In fact, from our side of the helicopter, we could see only his feet. Although I was a little disappointed, it was fun to go home and tell my friends that we had seen the President’s feet in Washington, D.C.!

It’s exciting to see a famous person. People will form lines and wait for hours just to get one glimpse of a person they admire. But have you ever thought that someday, all those who have had their hearts cleansed by Jesus Christ will see God? What could possibly compare with the wonder of that? What would it be like to see Him? 1 Timothy 6:16 tells us that God dwells in light so bright that no one can even come near it. People who saw Jesus on this earth saw God in human form, but not in all of the glorious splendor that surrounds Him in heaven. Moses saw a brief glimpse of God’s glory, and even that was enough to make his face shine for days and days.

Jesus gave one condition for seeing God: being pure in heart. Only those who are pure in heart will see Him. And there is only one way to have a pure heart. Jesus Himself must purify it for you with His blood that cleanses from all sin (I John 1:7).

The pure in heart will one day see God in all of His glory.

My Response:
» Has my heart been purified by Jesus Christ?
» Is He daily keeping my heart pure as I confess my sins to Him?

Denison Forum – Supreme Court sides with athletes over the NCAA: What might this ruling tell us about future religious liberty cases?

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a ruling that challenged the NCAA’s approach to student athletes, stating that the existing rules violate antitrust laws by placing limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide.

Yesterday’s decision does not mean that schools can begin outright paying players, giving them luxury cars, or doling out many of the other frivolities and benefits that have gotten universities in trouble in the past. 

In writing the concurring opinion, Justice Kavanaugh was clear that “the NCAA’s remaining compensation rules also raise serious questions under the antitrust laws.” Kavanaugh went on to add that “the NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.”

Despite the legalities and logic behind the court’s ruling, however, there are still many who lament their decision as the first step down a path that will fundamentally alter the sports and entertainment they hold so dear. 

But the presence of such concerns, in conjunction with the court’s unanimous decision, offers a helpful insight into how the Supreme Court is supposed to work that could prove important as we look to issues of religious liberty in the years ahead. 

How much does the culture influence the Supreme Court?

When it does its job well, the Supreme Court is supposed to decide cases on the basis of law rather than public opinion. And while religious liberty is clearly a more nebulous concept to many on the court than blatant violations of antitrust laws, it is still encouraging to be reminded that cultural whims do not have the final word on these issues.

At the same time, it’s worth noting that these shifts in NCAA rulings did not occur until they gained momentum with the populace at large. While the law of the land is meant to be above public opinion, the justices are still human. Moreover, because the cases they see have to work their way up through the less-insulated lower courts first, which cases arrive before the Supreme Court is often dictated to some degree by which issues are most important to the masses. 

Twenty years ago, it’s unlikely that challenges to the NCAA’s compensation of student athletes could have gotten the necessary momentum to make it all the way before the country’s most powerful court. But here we stand. 

Recent challenges to religious liberty have often followed a similar course. 

How will the Supreme Court decide religious liberty cases?

Many of the recent cases pertaining to LGBTQ rights, for example, are based on new interpretations of laws that date back much farther than the current outrage. It was only when they began to generate greater public support that they worked their way up through the legal system.

As such, while there is some room for encouragement in remembering that the justices who will ultimately pass judgment on these issues can, and should, be willing to do so in the face of powerful opposition, we should not take for granted that they always will. Moreover, they can only pass judgment on the laws brought before them, meaning what happens further upstream will always dictate, to some extent, the areas of the culture over which they will yield the most influence. 

That’s why the primary lesson we should take from this story is that it is, and always will be, foolish to place our hopes in the hands of other fallen people or the institutions they create. 

And that’s fine. 

In the roughly two thousand years since the time of Christ, God’s people have worked with varying degrees of help or opposition from their government. And while help is usually preferable, it’s not necessary. 

The advancement of his kingdom is not dependent upon friendly courts or laws that align with Scripture. It’s dependent on the faithfulness and obedience of his people. 

That should be good news. 

Is it for you? 

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –As Christ Forgave You

AS CHRIST FORGAVE YOU – June 22, 2021

The Scripture says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

It was the eve of the Crucifixion and Jesus’ final meal with his followers. He stood up, he hung his cloak on a hook, and he wrapped a towel around his waist, and he poured water into a basin. He washed feet. Jesus used some of his precious final moments in this silent sacrament of humility.

The disciples pledged to stay with their Master. But later that night, when the soldiers marched in, the disciples ran out. And when they looked at their feet in shame, they realized Jesus forgave his betrayers before they betrayed him. Hasn’t he done the same for us? We each have a basin. We’ve each been wounded. But before we knew we needed grace, we were offered it. This is how happiness happens.

https://maxlucado.us2

OUR DAILY BREAD — HE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU

Bible in a Year:

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Proverbs 21:31

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Proverbs 21:21–31

The wounded horse was named Drummer Boy, one of 112 mounts carrying British soldiers into battle during the famed Charge of the Light Brigade. The animal showed such bravery and stamina that his assigned commander, Lieutenant Colonel de Salis, decided his horse deserved a medal as much as his valiant men. This was done even though their military action against enemy forces failed. Yet the cavalry’s valor, matched by the courage of their horses, established the clash as one of Britain’s greatest military moments, still celebrated today.

The confrontation, however, shows the wisdom of an ancient Bible proverb: “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). Scripture affirms this principle clearly. “For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4). Indeed, even against the sting of death, wrote the apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56–57).

Knowing this, our task still is to be prepared for life’s tough tests. To build a ministry, we study, work, and pray. To create beautiful art, we master a skill. To conquer a mountain, we secure our tools and build our strength. Then prepared, we’re more than conquerors through Christ’s strong love.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What battles or challenges are you preparing for now? If your victory rests in God, why should you prepare for this life test?

Heavenly Father, as I approach life’s great tests, inspire me to prepare my heart so that You get the victory.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – God’s Choice of the Poor

“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man” (James 2:5-6).

Showing favoritism to the rich is inconsistent with God’s choice of the poor.

Wealth and poverty are not necessarily spiritual issues. Many wealthy people are godly Christians and many poor people are unbelievers. But generally speaking, God has chosen poor people to populate His kingdom. Jesus said, “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easer for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:23-24). That’s because rich people tend to be bound to this world and have a false sense of security. Many of them not only reject Christ, but also persecute believers (cf. James 2:6-7).

Regardless of your financial status, if you love God, you are rich in faith and an heir of His kingdom (James 2:5). That means you’re saved and will inherit the fullness of your salvation and the richness of God’s eternal blessing. That’s a marvelous truth!

Don’t let riches cloud your good judgment. God expects Christians to honor and care for their poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. You can’t do that if you’re showing partiality to the rich.

Suggestions for Prayer

If God has blessed you with more resources than you need, be grateful and ready always to share with those in need (1 Tim. 6:19). If you struggle to get by, thank Him for what He does provide and for teaching you greater dependence on Him.

For Further Study

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19.

  • What is God’s standard of contentment?
  • What pitfalls await those who desire wealth?
  • What constitutes true riches?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Living a Holy Life by Following Peace

Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities.

— 2 Peter 3:11 (AMPC)

This is a special day because it is one in which we have an opportunity to grow in holy behavior. We grow in holiness as we fellowship with God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not as we work hard to follow religious rules and regulations. Spiritual disciplines are important, but we should avoid letting them become laws. For example, it is good to read and study God’s Word as often as possible, but there is no law that says if you miss a day that God is mad at you or disappointed in you.

The way to grow in holiness is simple—just be committed to following peace. If you have peace about your thoughts, words, and behaviors, then continue in them, but if you sense an uncomfortable feeling in your spirit, or a lack of peace, it may well be a nudge from the Holy Spirit that your action isn’t what it should be. The more you follow God’s lead, the happier you will be. When God gives us another day to live, it is a valuable gift, and one that should be used for His glory and honor.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that today I can grow in holiness. I ask You to help me sense what You approve of and what You do not approve of, and to live accordingly. Amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – A Picture of Beauty

You are the most handsome of the sons of men.

Psalm 45:2

The entire person of Christ is like one diamond, and His life in every dimension leaves one lasting impression. He is altogether complete, not only in His various parts, but as a gracious all-glorious whole. His character is not a mass of bright colors mixed confusedly, nor a heap of precious stones laid carelessly on top of each other; He is a picture of beauty and a breastplate of glory. In Him, all the things of good repute are in their proper places and assist in adorning each other. Not one feature in His glorious person attracts attention at the expense of others; but He is perfectly and altogether lovely.

Oh, Jesus, Your power, Your grace, Your justice, Your tenderness, Your truth, Your majesty, and Your immutability combine to make a man, or rather a God-man, whom neither heaven nor earth has ever seen elsewhere. Your infancy, Your eternity, Your sufferings, Your triumphs, Your death, and Your immortality are all woven into one gorgeous tapestry, without seams or tears. You are music without discord; You are all things, and yet not diverse. As all the colors blend into one resplendent rainbow, so all the glories of heaven and earth meet in You and unite so perfectly that there is no one like You in all things; indeed, if all the virtues of the most excellent were bound in one bundle, they could not rival You, mirror of all perfection. You have been anointed with the holy oil, which Your God has reserved for You alone; and as for Your fragrance, it is the holy perfume that cannot be matched even with the chemist’s skill; each spice is fragrant, but the compound is divine.

Oh, sacred symmetry! oh, rare connection

Of many perfects, to make one perfection!

Oh, heavenly music, where all parts do meet

In one sweet strain, to make one perfect sweet!

C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Good

 “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

As a kid I always loved going over to visit my “cousins.” They weren’t really my cousins, but since our families spent so much time together, we called each other cousins. It was fun to be at David’s house because his dad was a police officer and had really cool things to show us…such as real handcuffs! And what made David’s house even more fun was that he had a big swimming pool in his backyard.

Without fail, every time I was ready to go down the street and play at David’s house, my mom would tell me something that you have probably heard before: “Be good!” Why would Mom have to tell me to be good? She told me because she knew that my being good was a choice I had to make.

But no one has to tell God to “be good,” because He just is good. He can’t choose to do wrong.

God’s goodness is seen in His creation. Right after God finished creating the world, He looked at it and saw that He had done something good. Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” God never has to do anything over; everything was good the first time He created it.

God’s goodness is seen in His involvement in our lives. Have you ever read the story of Joseph in the Bible? Joseph’s brothers hated him, so they sold him to a group of people who were going to use Joseph as a slave. But God was being good to Joseph the whole time that all of this was going on.

Eventually God put Joseph in a very high position in a foreign country. Joseph used his high position in the land to prepare for a seven-year famine. Back in his home country, Joseph’s family ran out of food and had to go to the land where Joseph lived so that they could get more food.

When Joseph’s brothers came to him for food, what was his response? He forgave them and gave them as much as they needed. Why did Joseph do that and not try to get even with his brothers for selling him to be a slave? He didn’t try to get even because he understood God’s goodness. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Joseph understood that God allowed all those things to happen to him so he would be in a position to help thousands of people during the famine. God is always working in your life, and it is good!

God’s goodness is seen in His gifts. Have you ever wanted to get the perfect gift for someone? Maybe at Christmas time you go up and down the aisles of the store looking for that perfect gift for Mom or Dad. When they open the gift, you are holding your breath with excitement, hoping that they just absolutely love the gift that you picked out.

God is constantly giving us gifts, which the Bible describes as “good gifts.” James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

God doesn’t have to be told to be good, because He is good. And according to Psalm 52:1, His goodness endures forever!

God is always good, and He is only good.

My Response:
» Since God is always good, do I remember that I can totally trust Him to be good in my life?

Denison Forum – Photo of father sleeping on hospital floor goes viral: The path from sincerity to spiritual transformation

Joe Duncan came home from working a twelve-hour shift as a cement technician to learn that his daughter was having difficulty breathing. His wife, Sara, wanted to take her to the hospital, but Joe had to return to a morning shift a few hours later. She encouraged him to stay home and rest, but he insisted on making the one-hour drive with his family to the hospital.

Their daughter received treatment and was cleared to go home after two hours. Sara found Joe napping on the hospital floor using the car seat as a pillow. She took his picture and wrote, “I was looking at him thinking how thankful I am for him and how I wouldn’t want to do this life without him.” Her post went viral.

Father’s Day gave us all an opportunity to thank our fathers and to thank our Father for our fathers. Being there, showing up, and doing life with our families is the foundation of fatherhood.

Sincerity is not enough

Here’s the problem with this wonderful story, however: being there is essential, but it’s not enough. Sincerity is not enough.

The Bible tells us that parents are to teach God’s word “diligently to your children . . . when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7; cf. Ephesians 6:4Proverbs 22:6).

God’s word also tells men how to be good husbands: “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19; cf. Ephesians 5:25); “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28).

Sincerity is essential, but it is not enough. However, our secular culture disagrees.

Boris Johnson says he is a “very, very bad Christian”

US Catholic bishops announced on Friday that they had voted to prepare a document laying out conditions under which Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, including President Biden, may be denied Communion. Watching the media’s largely negative response, it is clear that many consider Mr. Biden’s apparent religious sincerity to be sufficient, regardless of his positions on official Catholic doctrine.

In other political news, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently married fiancée Carrie Symonds at Westminster Cathedral in London. The fact that they were married in a religious rather than secular ceremony interested the media, since the prime minister has been less than forthcoming about his personal religious views. He did, however, tell an interviewer for The Atlantic, “Christianity is a superb ethical system and I would count myself as a kind of very, very bad Christian. No disrespect to any other religions, but Christianity makes a lot of sense to me.”

In our culture, sincerity is enough. If the prime minister sincerely believes he is a Christian (albeit a “very, very bad” one), he must be a Christian. Just as I can be a fan of the Texas Rangers or Dallas Cowboys by declaring myself one, I can be a Christian by declaring myself one. Sincerity has replaced truth in our culture.

Why won’t this work?

The death of the president’s dog

One answer is logical: Our postmodern, relativistic culture rejects the existence of absolute truth, which is an absolute truth claim. In a brilliant new article I hope you’ll read, philosopher R. J. Snell observes, “One cannot deny our ability to know the truth without making truth claims and by that very act affirming the possibility and necessity of truth.”

Another is practical: I can sincerely deny that Boris Johnson exists, but my sincere opinion doesn’t change his reality. I can ignore the fact of death, but death won’t ignore me. Even the president of the United States is just as mortal as his beloved dog Champ, whose passing was marked with grief by the Biden family Saturday.

Iran’s new president is obviously sincere about his commitment to Shiite Islam. However, he has been accused of systematically sending as many as three thousand people to slaughter on orders of his religious leader, the former Ayatollah Khomeini. We can be sincere but sincerely and tragically wrong.

“Go back to your beginnings with God”

However, if our sincere faith is faith in the one true God, everything changes. Consider three biblical facts.

One: It’s not too late to come to Jesus.

The New England Aquarium honored a woman’s thirty-eight-year-old ticket that had been in her great-aunt’s wallet. Jesus is even more gracious: he will welcome your faith whether you are young (Matthew 19:14), old (Luke 2:25–38), or even at the end of your life (Luke 23:42–43).

Two: It’s not too soon to come to Jesus.

A new medical device is giving surgeons “x-ray vision” by fusing digitally enhanced images into the microscope of a surgical device. Jesus is even more omniscient (Luke 6:8) and will lead all who will follow into his providential and perfect will (Matthew 11:28–30).

Three: The best way to serve others is to help them follow Jesus.

A father’s best gift to his children is leading them to their Father. If we sincerely love others, we will want them to love our Lord. However, we cannot give what we do not have or lead others where we will not go.

To this end, let’s close by focusing our grateful sincerity on our loving Savior.

Billy Graham’s personal pastor, Don Wilton, told of a time he asked the famed evangelist, “Please tell me what I need to know as I try to serve the Lord.” He writes that Dr. Graham “looked at me for the longest time, and then he began to talk.” Dr. Graham advised him, “Go back to your beginnings with God. God will never be able to use you unless you are totally surrendered to him. A surrendered man never forgets where he came from as a sinner separated from Christ.

“From a heart of gratitude will flow loving the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind. From the act of surrender will come the love you have for your wife and children. From that same heart will flow the love with which you love your people and preach the Word.”

Would Jesus say you are surrendered to him today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –Step Toward Forgiveness

STEP TOWARD FORGIVENESS – June 21, 2021

Resentment sucks satisfaction from the soul. Bitterness consumes it. Revenge has a monstrous appetite. One act of retaliation is never enough. Grudges send us on a downward spiral.

Some people perceive the path of forgiveness to be impossibly steep, so let’s be realistic. Forgiveness does not pardon the offense, excuse the misdeed, or ignore it. Forgiveness is not even necessarily reconciliation. The phrase “forgive and forget” sets an unreachable standard. Painful memories are not like old clothing, easily shed. Forgiveness is simply the act of changing your attitude toward the offender. It’s moving from a desire to harm toward an openness to be at peace. A step in the direction of forgiveness is a decisive step toward happiness.

https://maxlucado.us2

14 signs America is being overthrown from within

14 signs America is being overthrown from within

 

As a superpower and symbol of freedom, the United States has a list of foreign enemies eager to see America’s demise. In today’s nuclear age, the threat of mutual destruction is not an option; however, what if America’s demise could be achieved without firing a single shot by enemy infiltration and penetration from within? The following indicators are currently underway.

Open borders

An open southern border is a sieve for illegal foreign nationals from around the globe whose unlawful entry decimate our homogeny and erase our sovereignty. Americans are forced to compete for lower wages with those working under the table. Without voter ID verification, illegals have the capacity to interfere with our elections, and our right to self-governance is impeded.

Marxism in education

One of the first items to be introduced in totalitarian takeovers is the introduction of Marxism. Class warfare, a tactic employed by Marxist to divide and conquer, is ineffective in a free, classless society; thus, racial warfare disguised as Critical Race Theory and Equity in education is an effective alternative. The Biden regime has removed the pro-American 1776 Commission introduced by President Trump in favor of a Black Lives Matter Marxist 1619 Project. Instead of an emphasis on American ideals and love of country, our youth are in the midst of a Marxist indoctrination project with emphasis on tribalism, skin color and non-binary gender studies.

Censorship

Totalitarianism cannot succeed without censorship. The rise of Big Tech has led to control over the flow of information by Big Tech barons. Their ability to control content has manifested itself in election interference and misinformation. Thousands of Wuhan coronavirus deaths could have been prevented had the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin been made public. Big Tech, the press and the mainstream media did not permit dissent from official government dogma and engaged in the proliferation of misinformation. As we now know today, the virus did not originate in a wet market, mask and social distancing are ineffective, and hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment. The disease resulting from the Wuhan virus was rebranded as “COVID-19,” and any referral to the Chinese Wuhan virus as anything but COVID was immediately censored.

Chaos, race riots and divisiveness

For a nation to disintegrate, conditions must be ripe with chaos and civil unrest. Beginning in the spring of last year, Americans witnessed Black Lives Matter and Antifa race riots in blue urban areas. Thousands marched, looted, burned, maimed and killed in the name of Black Lives Matter, a domestic Marxist terrorist paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party. With little or no push back from law enforcement, these riots continue to this day whenever a perceived injustice occurs.

Lawlessness

Discrimination in federal and local law enforcement is upheld. From sanctuary cities for illegals endorsed by blue city mayors to unenforced city ordinances, laws are no longer uniformly applied. In California, there are thousands of permitted homeless encampments where drugs, litter, human waste and the mentally ill can be found. It is no longer safe to walk the streets in major urban areas beset by a pathology indicative of a society in decay.

Defunding the police

One of the earmarks of a civilized society is law and order, and a police force in place to uphold it. The introduction to the “defund the police” movement by Black Lives Matter has taken root in blue urban areas. Their mission is to erase all local law enforcement under the pretense and false narrative of “police brutality.” Such a move has already led to the death of more than 264 officers across this country last year. Currently, there is a shortage of applications at police academies, and many police officers are retiring early; thus, there is a severe shortage of officers to enforce the laws.

Emptying prisons and jails

In California and New York City, blue governors, mayors and progressive district attorneys are emptying the prisons. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has lowered and eliminated bail for many misdemeanors and felonies. One can walk out of a Walmart or Rite Aid with stolen goods and not be prosecuted if the goods are valued at less than $950. With a zero-dollar bail policy in California and New York, there has been a significant increase in crime. Thugs there brazenly roam the streets in search of victims.

The advancement of policies favoring red China, Iran and Russia

By closing our Alaska pipeline and interfering in energy production as soon as Biden took office, we lost our energy independence created under the Trump administration. America is now dependent on foreign oil while enriching the coffers of the Iranian mullahs and Russia at the cost of thousands of lost American jobs. Where President Trump lowered regulations hampering American companies, Biden introduced Obama’s old regulations sending American companies and jobs overseas once again.

Elimination of the middle class

Capitalism in the United States gave rise to the largest middle class in the history of the world. Unlike Third World dictatorships marked by corruption and oligarchies, the United States, with its emphasis on individualism, unrestrained by government, gave rise to entrepreneurship and innovation. With its emphasis on equity and class envy, Marxism needs to rid society of a middle class. Wherever Marxism/communism has been introduced, two classes remain, the 1% elite oligarchy and the 99% poverty stricken. Roughly 200,00 small business establishments were forced to permanently close by federal and state edicts while corporate America remained free to operate.

The politicization and weaponization of the FBI, CIA, DOJ, and State Department

A nation must rely on its various intelligence agencies and a Justice Department to protect the nation from enemies from within and without. As of this year, the Biden administration’s Justice Department has arrested over 400 Trump supporters who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6. They are regarded as domestic terrorists guilty of the worst attack on our country since Pearl Harbor, and they are held in solitary confinement for trespassing. Their imprisonment is reminiscent of political prisoners found in lawless dictatorships around the globe, while Antifa and BLM continue to riot, burn and kill as they roam our streets. Furthermore, in a move filled with symbolism, our State Department has announced the Marxist Black Lives Matter flag will fly along the American flag at our embassies throughout the world.

A corporate oligarchy funding Marxism

As of last year, Wall Street contributed nearly $100 million dollars to Black Lives Matter, a seditious organization founded by “trained Marxists” for the purpose of overthrowing our constitutional republic in favor of Marxism. The support for communism from our corporate elites is most telling and foreboding.

A society marked by cultural Marxism

The emphasis on equity and social justice can be found in leading magazines, books, Hollywood, music, teachers unions, in our universities and at sports events. Cultural Marxism surrounds us, and those who are not with the program are ridiculed, shamed, ostracized and sometimes punished.

Political prisoners

President Trump is currently under investigation for tax fraud by the attorney general of New York, regardless of the previous lack of evidence found during the Mueller probe.

Reports the New York Post: “On multiple occasions before and after her election, Letitia James accused the president of money-laundering, offering zero evidence. She promised to ‘definitely sue him,’ and since her election, she has made good on that promise. While she has admitted in court that she does not have any evidence of wrongdoing, she has never retracted her public assertions of criminal activity. She has spent much of her time in office on anti-Trump fishing expeditions.”

Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, Gen. Michael Flynn and Lin Wood, among others, are Trump supporters and influencers targeted with malicious lawsuits and prosecution. Under American Marxism, they have become America’s political prisoners! There is sufficient evidence for Hillary Clinton, Joe and Hunter Biden, Susan Rice, James Comey, John Brennen and Barack Obama to have been indicted for sharing classified information, bribery, money laundering, spying on a sitting president and lying to Congress, but unlike Stone and Giuliani, none of them has had their homes raided in the early morning dawn by federal agents with guns drawn.

The penetration and politization of america’s military

The introduction of Wokeness in the military, with its emphasis on political correctness, first took root during the Obama years. Instead of an emphasis on maximizing the lethality and readiness of forces, members of the military are now asked to prepare an “Environmental Roadmap” and to consider the needs of breastfeeding mothers when making operational plans. Additionally, the Department of Defense is now required to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community. While China is gearing up its military to be more masculine, our American military is becoming more feminine.

The indicators listed above are in play as Americans find themselves caught in a Marxist revolution where America’s founding principles and ideals are being erased. As previous generations have laid down their lives and fortunes, so too today, American patriots are instrumental in a behind-the-scenes quest for liberty. Beginning with a full audit of Arizona’s last election in an effort to ensure election integrity, to red state governors’ refusal to follow illegal federal edicts, to parental uprisings against Marxist school boards across this country, the pushback has begun. Today’s freedom fighters may not be wearing a uniform, but they are fighting within the confines of the law to reclaim America’s founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, given the previous hesitancy of our courts and agencies we once relied upon to become involved, the rumbling and advocacy of guerrilla warfare is beginning to be heard. Our history is not one of pacifism. Lest the Marxists/communists believe otherwise, when all else fails, many Americans may once again rise up in defense of liberty.


By Shari Goodman

Shari Goodman is a Los Angeles based educator, activist and public speaker. She has written for American Thinker, the Los Angeles Times, WND and other publications.

Source: 14 signs America is being overthrown from within