In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley –An Example of Service

Philippians 2:5-18

When Jesus came to earth as the Jewish Messiah, He wasn’t what His nation expected. They were looking for a powerful king who’d liberate them from the Romans. While He could have banished the Roman presence from the region, that was not the mission His Father gave Him. Rather, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). 

Jesus left the glories of heaven and humbled Himself to take on the status of a bondservant—which was at the time a permanent, unpaid slave and the ultimate demonstration of servitude. The Son of God came into the world, willing to do whatever His Father commanded. And that included dying on a cross for undeserving sinners like you and me.

A servant isn’t independent or self-centered but is instead focused on doing whatever his or her master says. That’s our calling as we follow in Christ’s footsteps of selfless service. Are you willing to accept this humble position? The culture may think you’re weak and foolish, but by serving others without grumbling, you prove yourself to be a child of God and a powerful light in a dark world.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 58-62

Our Daily Bread — Rise Again

Bible in a Year:

Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.

Proverbs 24:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Proverbs 24:15–18

Olympic runner Ryan Hall is the US record-holder for the half marathon. He completed the event distance of 13.1 miles (21 kilometers) in a remarkable time of fifty-nine minutes and forty-three seconds, making him the first US athlete to run the race in under one hour. While Hall has celebrated record-setting victories, he’s also known the disappointment of not being able to finish a race. 

Having tasted both success and failure, Hall credits his faith in Jesus for sustaining him. One of his favorite Bible verses is an encouraging reminder from the book of Proverbs that “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (24:16). This proverb reminds us that the righteous, those who trust in and have a right relationship with God, will still experience difficulties and hardships. However, as they continue to seek Him even in the midst of difficulty, God is faithful to give them the strength to rise again. 

Have you recently experienced a devastating disappointment or failure and feel like you’ll never recover? Scripture encourages us not to rely on our strength but to continue to put our confidence in God and His promises. As we trust Him, God’s Spirit gives us strength for every difficulty we encounter in this life, from the seemingly mundane to significant struggles (2 Corinthians 12:9).

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How has God strengthened you after a difficult disappointment? How does that give you encouragement for the struggles you face today?

Heavenly Father, thank You that in every trial and disappointment You’re always close, offering comfort and strength to help me rise again.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Loving Money Obscures Life’s Simplicity

“And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

God wants believers’ lives to be simplified, free from the burdens of material cares.

Today’s verse declares how Christians ought to be free from material distractions. The apostle Paul asserts that life’s basic needs should be adequate to satisfy believers. He does not say it is wrong to own nice things, especially if God providentially allows you to have them. What is wrong is to have a selfish craving for money because you are discontent. The highest goal of the Christian life is to love God and glorify Him forever, not to pile up material goods. Even if you have wealth, the Lord wants you to use and manage it from a motivation that puts God first.

The problem you and I continually face is that our fast-paced, complex, technological societies place materialism first. Objects and things come before people; entertainment options replace conversations with members of our family. All this has so often caused us to lose the simple joys of life’s relationships, which are the essence of Christian fellowship.

To keep those simple but essential joys primary, I’d invite you to apply the following principles. I’ve found them helpful in keeping my own life simplified and free from materialism.

First, evaluate every purchase as to how it would make your ministry more effective.

Second, since God owes you nothing, everything you receive from Him should make you thankful.

Third, learn to distinguish wants from needs, and thereby increase the amount of money you have available for the Lord.

Fourth, discipline yourself to spend less than you earn and save the rest for worthwhile causes and needs that arise. Do not amass credit card debt.

Lastly, learn to give sacrificially to God’s kingdom.

If you implement these and other sound principles of Christian stewardship, you’ll experience much joy and realize anew that the simple life means accepting what God provides and avoiding covetousness.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would motivate you to be faithful in the five principles of good stewardship listed in the lesson. If you have not been following any of them, ask the Lord to help you start today.

For Further Study

  • Matthew 6:24-33 is one of Jesus’ clearest statements on living the simple life. Is His discussion comprehensive? How so?
  • Write down two or three ways in which you can seek His kingdom first.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Know Your Enemies

Watchman, what time of the night?

Isaiah 21:11

What enemies are around? Errors abound, and new ones appear every hour: Against what heresy am I to be on my guard? Sins creep from their lurking places when the darkness reigns; I need to climb the watchtower and give myself to prayer. Our heavenly Protector anticipated all the attacks that are about to be made upon us, and when the evil designed for us is still in the desire of Satan, He prays for us that our faith will not fail when we are sifted as wheat. Continue then, gracious Watchman, to warn us of our foes, and for Zion’s sake do not remain silent.

“Watchman, what time of the night?” What weather is coming for the Church? Are the clouds rolling in, or is it all clear and fair overhead? We must care for the Church of God with sincere and thoughtful love; and now that empty religion and irreligion both threaten, let us observe the signs of the times and prepare for conflict.

“Watchman, what time of the night?” What stars are visible? What precious promises are relevant to our circumstances? You sound the alarm and also give us the consolation. Christ, like the North Star, is always fixed in His place, and all the stars are secure in the right hand of their Lord.

But, watchman, when comes the morning? The Bridegroom delays. Are there no signs of His appearing as the Sun of Righteousness? Hasn’t the morning star arisen as the pledge of day? When will the day dawn and the shadows flee away? O Jesus, if You don’t come in person to Your waiting Church today, still come in Spirit to my sighing heart, and make it sing for joy.

Now all the earth is bright and glad
With the fresh morn;
But all my heart is cold, and dark and sad:
Sun of the soul, let me behold Thy dawn!
Come, Jesus, Lord,
O quickly come, according to Thy word.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Knew How To Handle Temptation

“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil.” (Luke 4:1, 2a)

Are you ever tempted to do something that you know is wrong? Maybe when you get home from school you see the super-chewy, ooey-gooey, fudge brownies that your mom has just finished baking. You ask if you might have a brownie, but to your utter dismay, your mom responds with, “Only if your homework is done; do you have any?” Now you know that you have just a little bit of math homework. But your “need” for that brownie is so great that you think to yourself, “I’ll say ‘no’ right now and just do the math homework later on tonight before I go to bed.” When you think that way, you have been tempted to do something that you know is wrong.

How should we handle temptation? When we’re right in the middle of being tempted to do wrong, that is no time to try to figure out a way to handle it. We need to decide before the temptation how we are going to handle it. One reason Jesus went through the temptations in the wilderness (listed in Luke 4) is to show us how to handle temptation. Let’s take a look at this passage and see what it says about Jesus and temptations.

After Jesus was baptized, He went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days (fasting means that He prayed to the Father instead of eating). At the end of those forty days, Satan came to tempt Him. Our passage lists three temptations that Jesus went through during this time. Each time, Jesus responded by quoting something God had said in the Bible. This is very important. God has given us His Word so we can live in a way that pleases Him. If we are going to handle temptation correctly, we must know what God’s Word says.

Remember the cookie-and-homework-temptation-to-lie situation? A couple of verses that would be good to memorize for a temptation like that would be these:

“Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.” (Leviticus 19:11)

“Honor your father and mother.” (Ephesians 6:2a)

Each time Jesus was tempted, He remembered something that God had said in Scripture. Think of what you are tempted to do. Can you think of any Bible verses that would help you if you had them memorized? If you can’t, ask your dad, your mom, or pastor, or teacher to help you find some verses to help you when you are tempted to do something wrong.

Each one of us is tempted to sin. But Jesus showed us the way we can go through a temptation and not sin. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and handle temptation the way God wants us to!

Jesus is our Example for resisting temptation through the power of God’s Word.

My Response:
» What are specific things I’m tempted to do?
» What does God say about these particular sins? (Perhaps make a list of the sins and then write out the reference from the Bible that talks about what God thinks of each sin.)

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Denison Forum – Olympic athlete Daniel Jervis praises God after he loses

Unlike most Olympic athletes making headlines these days, Daniel Jervis did not win a medal in the Tokyo games. In fact, he came in fifth in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle. After the event, however, he said something that is worthy of global attention.

He began: “I want to thank my village of Resolven. I want to thank my church, Sardis Baptist Church, [and] Ammanford Church in Ammanford, who have been really supportive of me. Everyone back home has been praying for me.” Then he added: “The thing I’m most proud of in my life is that I’m a Christian, and obviously God was with me tonight, and I’m just really grateful to be representing him.”

It is fairly common to see competitors win and then thank God for their success. However, skeptics can dismiss such faith, no matter how sincere it is, as the natural result of success. They often claim, as Satan said of Job to God, “You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face” (Job 1:10–11).

For this reason, it can be especially powerful when believers glorify God before they achieve success. For example, South African Olympic swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker posted on Instagram a prayer for God’s will to be done “no matter what the outcome,” days before she won a gold medal and set a new world record in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke.

And it can be even more powerful when we honor God when we lose.

“I’m planning my future, not my legacy”

This fact is on my mind in light of an interview Jane Marczewski gave to CNN’s Chris Cuomo Wednesday. The singer known as Nightbirde has been much in the news after her stunning performance on America’s Got Talent, her disclosure that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her recent announcement that she will not be able to continue on AGT because of her cancer battle.

When Cuomo asked how she was doing, she was honest: “Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve been curled up in a ball like a cocktail shrimp, having an A-plus pity party for myself, because it’s just been a bad, bad month. It’s been really, pretty devastating.”

She described having to leave AGT: “I’m not a quitter. So it was really, really hard for me to say that I couldn’t finish the show. I got shocking news less than a week ago about cancer regrowth that has taken over my lungs and liver. So my liver right now is mostly cancer. More cancer than liver in there right now.”

Then she added: “But like I said, I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Some people would call that blind denial. I prefer to call it rebellious hope. And I’m not stopping anytime soon.”

She then asked Cuomo, “Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up? Don’t you want to see what happens? And that’s what I keep saying to myself and that’s what I say to everyone watching tonight. Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up?”

Just as she impressed the acerbic Simon Cowell on AGT, she similarly impressed Cuomo, who asked whether or not she has “always been like this.” She replied, “I don’t know. I think when you’re faced with so many blows to the gut in a row, like I have over the past several years, you find out what you’re made of in a sense, and you’re given the opportunity to choose what you want to become. So no, I don’t think I was always this way.”

“Therefore we will not fear”

Psalm 46 begins: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1). This is not a wish for the future but a fact in the present.

A “refuge” is a place where we go to be sheltered. However, we must choose to go there. A shelter is no help to us unless we use it. If we think we can withstand the storms and crises of life on our own, we will not humble ourselves enough to admit that we need God’s help and then to seek that help.

So, when the crisis comes, run to God. The Hebrew word for refuge is literally “a place to which we flee.” Don’t walk to him—run. Run to his help, his power, his love, his grace. And seek the “strength” he offers, knowing that his power can be yours if you will ask for it from him.

If you do, through the incontrovertible lens of your Father’s omnipotence and love, you will be able to testify with the psalmist, “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (vv. 2–3, my emphasis).

Sometimes God calms the storms, and sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child. A troubled saint said, “I prayed for less wind in my sails, and God gave me more sails for the wind.”

“He must win the battle”

Martin Luther turned Psalm 46 into one of the best-loved hymns in Christian history, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. In that hymn he wrote these words, “Did we in our own strength confide, / our striving would be losing; / Were not the right man on our side, / the Man of God’s own choosing. / Dost ask who that may be? / Christ Jesus, it is He; / Lord Sabaoth, His Name, / from age to age the same, / And He must win the battle.”

Note the word must. If our Father is truly omnipotent, no power can defeat him. If he is truly omniscient, no need can escape his knowledge. If he is truly all-loving, he will only ever do what is best for his children.

The next time you lose a race, remember Daniel Jervis’ example and look for a way to thank and honor your Lord for his love and grace. Remember Jane Marczewski’s question: “Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up?”

And remember this fact: it is always too soon to give up on God.

Upwords; Max Lucado –All These People

ALL THESE PEOPLE – August 6, 2021

Andrew said to Jesus, “There is a boy here with five loaves of barley bread and two fish. Oh, but what are these things when there are all these people?” (John 6:9).

What is your version of “all these people”? It might be something as pedestrian as “all this homework” or “all these long days.” The disciples counted the hungry people, the money in their bag, and the amount of bread and fish. They did not, however, count on Christ. And he was standing right there! The idea of soliciting his help did not dawn on them. Even so, Jesus went straight to work.

The impossible challenge of feeding “all these people” became the unforgettable miracle of all these people fed. What we cannot do, Christ does. And he will help you.