In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Was Jesus Christ Really God?

John 1:1-18

Some people say they’re Christians but don’t acknowledge the divinity of Christ. They think He was simply a good teacher, healer, philosopher, or social reformer. I want to be crystal clear on this matter: You can believe all of these wonderful things about Jesus and even laud Him as a prophet sent by almighty God. But if you do not accept that Jesus Christ is God the Son and that He died for your sins, then you do not actually know Him.

It’s true Jesus was fully human, but the wonderful, supernatural mystery is that He was also fully divine. And believing this is absolutely essential to the understanding of how we are saved.

Now, you may have heard people falsely argue that Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Yet time and again in the Gospels, Jesus places Himself on equal footing with the Father (John 10:30John 14:6-14). In fact, if Jesus was not truly God’s Son, then as C. S. Lewis observed, He was either a lunatic or the world’s most detestable liar. Don’t spend one more day believing Jesus is anything less than the Son of God. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 4-5

Our Daily Bread — Fearless Love

Bible in a Year:

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

1 John 3:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 John 3:1, 11–18

There are some images so powerful they can never be forgotten. That was my experience when I viewed a famous photograph of the late Princess Diana of Wales. At first glance, the captured scene looks mundane: smiling warmly, the princess is shaking the hand of an unidentified man. But it’s the photograph’s story that makes it remarkable.

On April 19, 1987, when Princess Diana visited London Middlesex Hospital, the United Kingdom was engulfed in a wave of panic as it confronted the AIDS epidemic. Not knowing how the disease—which often killed with terrifying speed—was spread, the public at times treated AIDS victims like social pariahs.

So it was a stunning moment when Diana, with ungloved hands and a genuine smile, calmly shook an AIDS patient’s hand that day. That image of respect and kindness would move the world to treat victims of the disease with similar mercy and compassion.

The picture reminds me of something I often forget: freely and generously offering the love of Jesus to others is worth it. John reminded early believers in Christ that to let love wither or hide in the face of our fear is really to live “in death” (1 John 3:14). And to love freely and unafraid, filled and empowered with the Spirit’s self-giving love, is to experience resurrection life in all its fullness (vv. 14, 16). 

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When are you most prone to let fear stifle your love for others? How can you grow in experiencing and sharing the Spirit’s boundless love within those fearful places?

God of love, You are love, and to live in love is to live in You. I long to live with that kind of fearless, joyous love. Fill me with Your Spirit, and carry me ever deeper into Your love, until fear dissolves and Your love flows freely through me.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Handling Possessions Properly

“‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth’” (Matthew 6:19).

A true believer is not to hoard earthly possessions.

You may remember this old adage: “The miser says coins are flat that they may rest in stacks; the spendthrift says they are round that they may roll.” In Matthew 6:9 Jesus is specifically talking about the miser. The Greek verb translated “lay up” is thesaurizete, from which we get the word thesaurus—a treasury of words. Jesus is using a play on words by saying, “Do not treasure up treasures for yourselves.” The context of the passage shows that He is referring to stockpiling or hoarding.

The Greek also conveys the idea of stacking or placing something horizontally, as one stacks coins. When something is stacked, it is not being used—it is in a passive condition. Conversely, whenever the Greek has the idea of a vertical sense, it speaks of an active use—being invested for some worthwhile purpose or goal. Jesus is here referring to wealth that is being placed in stacks—simply being stored for safekeeping; it is stored that way to make a show of wealth or to create an environment of lazy indulgence (cf.
Luke 12:16-21).

It’s clear from this passage, as well as from many others in Scripture, that Jesus is not advocating poverty as a means to spirituality. He only once told a person to “sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Matt. 19:21). In that particular case, the young man’s wealth was a barrier between him and the lordship of Christ. It was a test to see if he was fully committed to turning over the control of his life to Christ. His response proved he was not (v. 22).

Unlike the rich young man, you are a follower of Christ and are to be fully committed to Him, no matter what it may cost you. If you have that kind of commitment, you will seek God’s kingdom first instead of hoarding earthly possessions (cf. Matt. 6:33).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to help you live unselfishly, not hoarding earthly possessions.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 3:9, 13-15; 8:10, 19; 16:16. What virtues are better than temporal riches?

Joyce Meyer – Stop and Smell the Roses

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest…

— Matthew 11:28 (AMPC)

Much of the world is in a hurry, always rushing; yet very few people even know where they are going in life. People rush to get to yet another event that has no real meaning for them, or that they really don’t even want to attend. We hurry so much we finally come to the place where we cannot slow down.

I can remember the days when I worked so hard and hurried so much that even if I took a vacation, it was almost over by the time I geared down enough to actually rest. Constantly hurrying definitely inhibited me from having peace in my life, and it still can if I do not stay alert to its pressure. Life is too precious to rush through it.

I find at times that a day has gone by in a blur; at the conclusion of it, I know I was very busy all day yet cannot really remember enjoying much, if any, of it. I have committed to learn to do things in God’s rhythm, not the world’s pace.

Jesus was never in a hurry when He was here on earth, and God is absolutely not in a hurry now. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven…(AMPC). We should let each thing in our lives have its season and realize we can enjoy that season without rushing into the next one.

Our pace of living affects the quality of our lives. When we eat too fast, we don’t properly digest our food; when we rush through life, we don’t properly digest it, either. God has given life to us as a gift, and what a pitiful shame to do nothing but rush through each day and never, as they say, “stop and smell the roses.” Each thing we do in life has a sweet fragrance, and we should learn to take it in and enjoy the aroma.

Are you in a hurry? If you want to be at peace with yourself and enjoy life, you must stop rushing all the time. Trust God to give you the grace, the energy, and the time to do everything you need to do at a pace that allows you to enjoy the journey.

Prayer Starter: Father God, help me to slow down and enjoy everything You have placed around me. Please give me the grace and the time do get the things done that are really important and enjoy every season of my life. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The City of God

The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it.

Revelation 21:23

Further on, in the better world, the residents are not dependent upon creature comforts. They do not need new clothes; their white robes never wear out, nor do they become soiled or tattered. They don’t need medicine to heal diseases, for no one will ever say, “I am sick.” They do not need sleep to restore their strength—they do not rest by day or night as they praise God in His temple. They do not need social relationships to grant comfort, and whatever happiness they may derive from association with their fellows is not essential to their bliss, for the presence of Jesus is enough for their largest desires. They do not need teachers there; they doubtless commune with one another concerning the things of God, but they do not need to be instructed; they will all be taught of the Lord.

We receive donations at the King’s gate, but they feast at the table itself. Here we lean upon the friendly arm, but there they lean upon the Beloved and upon Him alone. Here we need the help of our companions, but there they find all they need in Christ Jesus. Here we look to the food that perishes and to the clothing that decays before the moth, but there they find everything in God. We use the bucket to fetch water from the well, but there they drink from the fountainhead and put their lips down to the living water. Now the angels bring us blessings, but then we will not need messengers from heaven. They do not need angels there to bring their love-notes from God because they see Him face to face. What a blessed time it will be when having moved beyond every secondary cause we rest upon the bare arm of God! What a glorious hour when God, and not His creatures—the Lord, and not His works—will be our daily joy! Our souls will then have attained the perfection of bliss.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Deserves Your Best

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair.” (John 12:3)

Imagine what would happen if your family were to invite the President of the United States over for dinner tonight. What would you do? Would you leave the house messy? Would your mom make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Would you set the table with paper plates and plastic forks? Of course not! You would clean your house until it was spotless. Your mom would cook her best meal and set the table with her finest dishes. You would give your best to the President of the United States.

Now imagine that Jesus were coming to your house for dinner. What would you do? In the Bible, Mary of Bethany knew what she would do. She bought a bottle of ointment, or perfume, just for Jesus. This ointment, called spikenard, had probably been imported all the way from India, and it was so expensive that, to afford it, a normal worker would have to save all of his money for a whole year!

Mary took the ointment to the room where Jesus sat. She opened the jar and poured it on His feet. Then, right in front of everyone, she began wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair. Some people thought she was crazy for spending that much money on Jesus, but Mary did not care. She knew how special Jesus was, and she wanted to give her best because He deserved it.

Jesus still deserves your best. You cannot pour expensive perfume on His feet today, but you can give to Him in many other ways. He deserves your time, so you can read the Bible and pray to Him. He deserves your money, so you can give some of your allowance in the offering at church. He deserves your best attitude, so you can joyfully obey Him. Sometimes, you may even find ways to make special sacrifices beyond your normal devotions and offerings and obedience. You, like Mary, can still give your best to God.

God deserves the best that you can give Him.

My Response:
» Am I giving my best to God today?
» What can I do to show Him how much I love Him?

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Denison Forum – Gonzo cross-dresses and woman sues McDonald’s for their commercials

The Disney children’s series Muppet Babies chronicles the lives of the legendary Muppets during their toddler years. In a recent episode, Gonzo decided to cross-dress, going to a royal ball dressed as a girl. When he explained his decision later to his friends, one of them assured him, “You’re our friend, and we love you any way you are.”

In other news, a Russian woman is reportedly suing McDonald’s after claiming that seeing one of its cheeseburger commercials made her break her fast for Lent. She accused the fast-food chain of breaking consumer protection laws and insulting her religious feelings.

Right now, you might be thinking, “Surely there are more important stories in the news to discuss than these.” And you’re right.

For example, on this day in 1974, Richard M. Nixon became the first president in American history to resign. In other political news, Melissa DeRosa, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide, resigned from her role last night, a week after a state attorney general report found the governor had sexually harassed eleven women.

Why, then, did I begin today’s Daily Article as I did? Because I have been in ministry long enough to learn something about human nature: we are most interested in that which most affects us.

If we were discussing the resignation of the current president rather than an event that occurred nearly fifty years ago, that would obviously be different. If this Daily Article were written only for those in New York State, the order of news discussed would have changed.

The axiom on which “the whole philosophy of Hell rests”

In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis explains that “the whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses.”

Socrates (470–399 BC) taught us that the way to wisdom is to “know yourself.” Not “know God” or “know God’s word,” not “know your community” or “know your family.” From his day to ours, Western culture has focused on the individual as the centerpiece of reality.

The “philosophy of Hell” takes advantage of this existentialist worldview in two ways.

For non-Christians, the constant drumbeat of secular culture is that you don’t need Christ. Personal authenticity is the path to flourishing, we’re told. Whether the subject is abortion or euthanasia, sexual orientation or gender identity, the message is the same: your body is yours to do with as you wish. So long as you’re not harming others (an assertion tragically overlooked by abortion advocates), you’re free to do what makes you happy.

Why, then, would anyone want to hear a message that insists we are sinners in need of salvation and calls us to repentance, contrition, and submission to God? Why dress up to go sing hymns and hear sermons at church? Since hell appears nowhere on our list of top fears, why not live and let live?

Or so our enemy would have us believe, right up to the day when it is too late to believe.

Satan’s strategy for Christians

For Christians, however, the devil’s strategy is somewhat different. If he cannot persuade us to reject Jesus, he’ll entice us to serve our Savior on our terms. It’s still all about us, it’s just that the “all” includes God, at least as a means to our end.

Go to church to “get something out of it.” Start your day with prayer and Bible study so God will bless you day. Give money to God so God will bless your money. This is how the “philosophy of Hell” wants us to serve Jesus to serve ourselves.

By contrast, the New Testament repeatedly and adamantly insists that the true Christian life is one Christ lives through us. We are his body (1 Corinthians 12:27), the temple of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). The “riches of the glory” of the gospel mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This is why we are to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), to begin every day by yielding that day to the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Jesus literally wants to continue his earthly ministry through you and me. We are the visible extensions of his abiding presence in our world (Matthew 28:20).

Christians being empowered, led, and used by Christ is obviously the last thing the enemy wants. That’s why he works so hard to convince us that it’s all about us when it’s actually all about Jesus.

A brother willing to die for his sister

Why should we submit our lives to Christ that he might continue his ministry through us? Let’s close with two answers.

One: Jesus can do more in the world than we can. Every person you know needs a Great Physician, a Good Shepherd, an omnipotent Lord and King. When he works through us, everyone we serve benefits, in this life and the next.

Two: Jesus can do more with our lives than we can. He knows us better than we know ourselves and knows the very best way our lives can fulfill their eternal purpose with true significance. Submitting to Jesus doesn’t make us robots—it makes us partners with God. In an incarnationally mysterious yet very real way, he makes us more than we could otherwise be while using us for greater purposes than we could ever serve without him.

Here’s how you can know you can trust him with your life: he gave his life for you (Romans 5:8).

Last year, a then-six-year-old named Bridger Walker saw a German Shepherd charging at his younger sister, so he stood between her and the dog. He saved her but suffered extensive injuries to his face and head. A year later, Bridger is still recovering. He has a simple explanation for his bravery: “If someone had to die, I thought it should be me.”

Jesus died so you could live eternally. He would do it all over again, just for you.

How will you respond to such love today?

Upwords; Max Lucado – Trust God to Multiply

TRUST GOD TO MULTIPLY – August 9, 2021

If you see your troubles as opportunities to trust God and his ability to multiply what you give him, then even the smallest incidents take on significance. Turn and look at the One standing next to you. Count first on Christ – he can help you do the impossible. You simply need to give him what you have, and watch him work.

“Jesus took the loaves” (John 6:11). When Jesus fed the five thousand hungry people he didn’t have to use the loaves. He made manna fall for the Israelites; he could have done it again. Instead, he chose to use the single basket of the small boy.

What’s in your basket? God can take a small thing and do a big thing. If God can turn a basket into a buffet, don’t you think he can do something with your five loaves and two fishes of faith?