In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God’s Purposes for Fasting

Nehemiah 1

“Why should I fast?” It’s a question many Christians ask, and one the Bible answers. In Scripture, fasting is often associated with seeking God for a specific purpose. Daniel fasted in order to plead for Israel’s release from Babylonian captivity, which God had promised (Dan. 9:1-3). Nehemiah fasted for a similar reason when he heard of the desperate state of the Jews who had returned to the land after captivity (Neh. 1:4). 

When we look closer at these two fasts, we notice that both men identified and confessed their nation’s sins. And that is often what happens during this spiritual discipline. We may be seeking God for a certain reason, but in the process, we begin to see ourselves from His perspective and become acutely aware of ungodly thought patterns, attitudes, habits, and misplaced priorities.

The Lord sometimes uses fasting to do “housecleaning” in His children’s lives, and that is a good thing. Sin can hinder our prayers, stunt our spiritual growth, and keep us from a deeper understanding of scriptural truths. As we eliminate distractions during our fast, God is able to show us what needs to be cleaned up so we can become more like Christ.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 139-144

Our Daily Bread — Not Fatherless

Bible in a Year:

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 6:5–13

John Sowers in his book Fatherless Generation writes that “No generation has seen as much voluntary father absence as this one with 25 million kids growing up in single-parent homes.” In my own experience, if I’d bumped into my father on the street, I wouldn’t have known him. My parents were divorced when I was very young, and all the photos of my dad were burned. So for years I felt fatherless. Then at age thirteen, I heard the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13) and said to myself, You may not have an earthly father, but now you have God as your heavenly Father.

In Matthew 6:9 we’re taught to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Previously verse 7 says not to “keep on babbling” when praying, and we may wonder how these verses are connected. I realized that because God remembers, we don’t need to repeat. He truly understands, so we don’t need to explain. He has a compassionate heart, so we don’t need to be uncertain of His goodness. And because He knows the end from the beginning, we know His timing is perfect.

Because God is our Father, we don’t need to use “many words” (v. 7) to move Him. Through prayer, we’re talking with a Father who loves and cares for us and made us His children through Jesus.

By:  Albert Lee

Reflect & Pray

When have you tried to “move God” in prayer by using many words? How does having a relationship with Him as your Father help you to trust Him?

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for making me Your child and for being a Father that welcomes me into Your presence through prayer.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Access to God

“You . . . are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).

Christ’s death provided access to the Father for all believers.

Throughout history, false gods have been portrayed as remote, indifferent, and apathetic to human needs and generally unapproachable by the common masses. Out of fear, a man might attempt to appease his idols but he has no desire or capacity to draw near to them.

Even those in Old Testament times who worshiped the true God had limited access to Him. The average Jewish person could commune with God through prayer, but was forbidden to approach Him physically. Only the high priest was allowed to enter into God’s presence in the Holy of Holies—but only once a year on the Day of Atonement. Even then he had to go through a ceremonial washing and offer a sacrifice for his own sin. If he failed to prepare himself properly, he could forfeit his life.

Anyone daring to usurp the office of a priest was also in danger of severe punishment by God: King Azariah (also called Uzziah) was afflicted with leprosy, King Saul’s lineage was cursed, and Korah and his rebellious followers were destroyed when the ground opened and swallowed them.

However, we as Christians enjoy unlimited access to the Father through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”

As a member of God’s royal priesthood, you can approach Him with confidence, knowing He loves and welcomes you into His presence just as He welcomes His own Son. Take full advantage of that access by communing with Him in prayer and offering each day as a spiritual sacrifice to Him.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise Jesus for shedding His precious blood so you can have access to the Father.
  • Praise the Father for being a personal and approachable God.

For Further Study

Read Exodus 19.

  • What did God tell Moses?
  • What were the people to prepare themselves for?
  • Was God approachable to the people?

Joyce Meyer – Keep Moving Forward

 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

— Isaiah 26:3 (AMPC)

Galatians 6:10 says, “Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith.” Second Corinthians 10:5 speaks of casting down imaginations and every high and lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. In other words, keep (set) your mind on God’s promises and on what is relevant to His plan for your life.

We must keep moving forward and not be stuck in our situation by negative thinking. Don’t let your mind be taken captive by the enemy. Instead, “lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.” Decide to be a blessing to everyone you meet today. Forgive anyone who has hurt you and leave unresolved circumstances in God’s hands. Don’t use today to relive yesterday. Say, “I am moving forward today, in Jesus’ name.”

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, thank You for helping me take any negative thoughts captive. Help me be a blessing wherever I go, and to every person I meet. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Protecting His Own

Whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.

Proverbs 1:33

Divine love is clearly observable when it shines in the face of judgments. Fair is that single star that smiles through the gaps in the thunderclouds; bright is the oasis that blooms in the wilderness of sand; so fair and so bright is love in the midst of wrath. When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine; but while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones should be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet shall there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God shall still preserve for him a place of sustenance. Not only so, the Lord also had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave; and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab’s table too by His faithful, God-fearing steward, Obadiah.1

Let us from this draw the inference that come what may, God’s people are safe. Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be torn apart, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Be confident then, when you hear of wars and rumors of wars. Let no agitation distress you; don’t be unsettled by fear of evil. Whatever happens on the earth, the believer is sheltered beneath the broad wings of Jehovah and shall be secure. Take your stand upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and boldly face the darkest future, for there is nothing in it harmful for you. Your sole concern should be to display to the world the blessedness of taking heed to the voice of wisdom.

1) 1 Kings 18:1-16

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Abundantly Good

 “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.” (Psalm 145:7a)

When we say that something is “good,” what do we mean?

When something is “good,” it does what it is supposed to do. Imagine that you are playing soccer, dribbling the ball down the field. You fake around one defender and then another. Now, the goalie is the only player left between you and the goal. You dribble to the right and then kick the ball high and to the left corner of the goal. It flies past the diving goalie’s outstretched hands. That was a “good” shot: it did what it was supposed to do.

Psalm 145:7a says, “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.” When David says that God is abundantly good, what does he mean? He means that God will always do what He is supposed to do. God never makes a mistake or a bad decision. Everything that He does is best for Him and for His creation – even when it doesn’t seem to us that things are good. We are too limited to be able to say whether something is truly good or bad, but we can trust that the God always does good.

God is not just good; his goodness is great, or abundant. When Steph was a kid, she used to save up her money to buy small bags of M&M’s. She would go home and lie on her bed and read a book while eating them one at a time, trying to make them last for a looooong time. But they always ran out way too soon! When something is “abundant,” it means that there is more than enough of it. Abundant M&M’s would be a bag that never ran out. That is how God’s goodness is to all people: it will never run out!

God is always good, and His goodness is abundant.

My Response:
» The verse says, “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.” When was the last time I got excited and told someone how good God is to me? Who can I tell today about God’s goodness to me?

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Denison Forum – Congresswoman rebukes America on July 4, evokes strong response: “Maybe the best reason to love the United States”

My grandfather fought for America in World War I. He was so proud of his country and the flag he defended that he installed a flagpole in the front yard of every home he owned. Every day that I knew him, he raised the American flag at sunrise and lowered it at sunset. I still remember the pride I felt as a child on the day he first allowed me to join him for this ceremony.

However, the New York Times tells us that “what was once a unifying symbol—there is a star on it for each state, after all—is now alienating to some.” The article asserts that many now identify the flag with former President Trump and his supporters. Negative response to its claims and tone has been swift and strong. 

Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Missouri) also caused an uproar when she tweeted, “When they say that the 4th of July is about American freedom, remember this: the freedom they’re referring to is for white people. This land is stolen land and Black people still aren’t free.” Others were quick to note that she is free enough to be elected to Congress. 

We can be upset with those who criticize our nation, its founding, its progress, and its flag. But we should also note this fact: unlike much of the world, we live in a nation where we are so free that we are free to criticize our nation, our leaders, and each other. 

As E. J. Dionne Jr. writes in the Washington Post, “Maybe the best reason to love the United States is that it’s a place where people are free not to love it.” 

“The legacy of dignity and worth” 

What is the source of such freedom? 

Preaching at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 4, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described with his usual eloquence the injustice so many African Americans still faced in America. He called for justice, fair pay, and equality for all Americans. 

But he did so on the basis of America’s founding creed, quoting the Declaration of Independence’s stirring proclamation, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” He then claimed that this declaration “ultimately distinguishes our nation and our form of government from any totalitarian system in the world.” Dr. King explained: 

“It says that each of us has certain basic rights that are neither derived from or conferred by the state. In order to discover where they came from, it is necessary to move back behind the dim mist of eternity. They are God-given, gifts from his hands. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent, and unequivocal language the dignity and worth of human personality. 

“The American dream reminds us, and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day, that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.” 

“The true ground of democracy” 

Dr. King was right, of course. Because we are each created by God in his image (Genesis 1:26), we each possess “dignity and worth.” The equality promised in the Declaration of Independence finds its source in this theological truth. 

However, there’s another side to this affirmation. 

In his 1945 essay “Membership” (published in Weight of Glory), C. S. Lewis stated: “I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. 

“On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows. That I believe to be the true ground of democracy.” 

“Corruption and darkness will reign” 

It is because we are each fallen, broken, sinful people that we cannot be trusted with unaccountable power. It is because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” that we need God (Romans 3:23). 

The Constitution grants us freedom of religion because we need it. We need the God we are free to worship and trust. We need the biblical truth we are free to proclaim. We are so immoral that we need the morality taught by God’s word and empowered by his Spirit. 

This is why Daniel Webster warned us so prophetically, “If the power of the gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.” 

And it is why “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). 

Tomorrow, I intend to explore why our culture no longer fears God, why we should, and how we can. For today, let’s close with this observation by Oswald Chambers: “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” 

Do you fear God today?

Upwords; Max Lucado –Entrust It to God

ENTRUST IT TO GOD – July 6, 2021

If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul. Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read. Awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.

Yet to read his words, you’d think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)

Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that he is in control, and that he is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world, but you can entrust it to God.