In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Becoming a Patient Person

Acts 25

Continuing our discussion on patience, we can learn a lot about the topic from the story of Paul’s trial. Instead of letting his accusers stir him up, the apostle patiently went through the legal process. He refrained from attacking the opposition or decrying the injustice of the charges. And eventually Paul’s peaceful manner won favor with the governor and earned him a hearing for the gospel (Acts 25:24-25).

We need the Lord’s help to grow in patience like Paul. This will involve our …

• Thoughts. We should try to shift our attention away from circumstances and onto our heavenly Father. His Spirit will help us gain the right perspective.

• Emotions. When we notice negative feelings, it’s good to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our reactions. Then we can request that He empower us to respond in a godly manner.

• Speech. Pray for self-control over your tongue. A timely word can defuse a situation (Prov. 15:18).

The Lord will answer our prayers and provide what we need, just as He did for Paul when the apostle faced Festus and King Agrippa. Despite the injustice of those situations, Paul remained unprovoked. Imagine what God will do through you as you grow in the virtue of patience.

Bible in One Year:  Jeremiah 51-52

Our Daily Bread — God’s Provision

Bible in a Year:

See how the flowers of the field grow. . . . Will he not much more clothe you?

Matthew 6:2830

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 1:11–13, 29–30

We trekked deeper and deeper into the forest, venturing farther and farther away from the village at Yunnan Province, China. After an hour or so, we heard the deafening roar of the water. Quickening our steps, we soon reached a clearing and were greeted by a beautiful view of a curtain of white water cascading over the gray rocks. Spectacular!

Our hiking companions, who lived in the village we had left an hour earlier, decided that we should have a picnic. Great idea, but where was the food? We hadn’t brought any. My friends disappeared into the surrounding forest and returned with an assortment of fruits and vegetables and even some fish. The shuixiangcai looked strange with its small purple flowers, but tasted heavenly!

I was reminded that creation declares God’s extravagant provision. We can see proof of His generosity in “all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit” (Genesis 1:12 nlt). God has made and given us for food “every seed-bearing plant . . . and every tree that has fruit with seed in it” (v. 29).

Do you sometimes find it hard to trust God to meet your needs? Why not take a walk in nature? Let what you see remind you of Jesus’ assuring words: “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need [all these things]” (Matthew 6:31–32).

By:  Poh Fang Chia

Reflect & Pray

How has God provided for you in the past? How can you continue to lean on His provision in the present?

Loving Father, You’re a generous provider. Help me to trust You to meet my needs.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Sin of Worry

“‘Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on’” (Matthew 6:25).

To worry about the future is to sin against God.

Someone has said, “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future.” Worry does ruin the present, but even more important for the believer is to recognize that worry is sin. Let’s look at why that is so.

Worry means you are striking out at God. Someone might say, “Worry is a small, trivial sin.” But that’s not true. More important than what worry does to you is what it does to God. When you worry, you are saying in effect, “God, I just don’t think I can trust You.” Worry strikes a blow at God’s integrity and love for you.

Worry means you are disbelieving Scripture. You can say, “I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of every word,” and then just live your life worrying. You are saying you believe the Bible, but then worry about God fulfilling what He says in it.

Worry means you are being mastered by circumstances. Let the truths of God’s Word, not your circumstances, control your thinking. By worrying, you make the circumstances and trials of life a bigger issue than your salvation. If you believe God can save you from eternal Hell, also believe He can help you in this world as He has promised.

Worry means you are distrusting God. If you worry, you’re not trusting your Heavenly Father. And if you’re not trusting Him, perhaps it’s because you don’t know Him well enough. Study God’s Word to find out who He really is and how He has been faithful to supply the needs of His people in the past. Doing so will help give you confidence for the future. Allow His Word to indwell you richly so that you aren’t making yourself vulnerable to Satan’s temptations to worry.

Suggestions for Prayer

Review the four points given above, and confess any sin to God.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7. What antidote to worry do both verses give?

Joyce Meyer – Balancing Work and Rest

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

— 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 (AMPC)

We have all been given twenty-four hours in each day. It is important how we use that time—how we regulate the different areas of our lives to keep them in proper perspective. If we have too much work and not enough rest, we get out of balance. We become workaholics and end up weary and worn-out.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of accomplishments and work. I don’t like a lot of wasted time or useless activities. But because of my nature, it is easy for me to get out of balance in the area of work. I have to regularly determine that I will not only work but also rest. It must be a priority for me to be healthy and close to God.

But it is also possible to have too much rest and not enough work. Solomon says that through …idleness of the hands the house leaks (Ecclesiastes 10:18 AMPC). In other words, people who don’t work enough end up in trouble. Their finances, spiritual life, possessions, bodies, and everything else suffer because they don’t do the work necessary to keep things in order.

Ask God to help you have a healthy and proper balance of work and rest. Take time to accomplish the tasks before you but be sure to seize your opportunities to be at peace and enjoy rest. Both are important. Balance is the key!

Prayer Starter: God, please show me how to bring balance to my life between work and rest, one step at a time. Amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Christ’s Victory

He who opens the breach goes up before them.

Micah 2:13

Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things are not as they would have been if He had never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up now, you faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ traveled the road, but He has defeated your enemies. Do you dread sin? He has nailed it to His cross. Do you fear death? He has been the death of Death. Are you afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of His children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment that renders us invulnerable to fire.

The sword that has been forged against us is already blunt; the instruments of war that the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. God has taken away in the person of Christ all the power that anything can have to hurt us. Well then, the army may march safely on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are already conquered. What will you do but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is share the plunder. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight will be with a defeated foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength will not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all measure

Proclaim aloud the Savior’s fame,
Who bears the Breaker’s wond’rous name;
Sweet name; and it becomes him well,
Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The LORD Is a Man of War

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” (Exodus 15:1-3)

When Moses and the children of Israel sang this song of praise, they had just been rescued by a miracle. The Egyptian military had followed them when they left Egypt, and the Israelites knew they were in trouble. The LORD opened up the Red Sea for them so that they could cross it on dry land. Once all of His people were safe on the other side, the LORD let the water come crashing down on top of the Egyptian soldiers who were chasing them.

These Egyptian soldiers did not understand or care Who God was, and it cost them their lives. They did not understand or care that God protects His glory, and God protects His people. If they had believed the truth about God, they never would have chased His people down in the first place.

When you see it all capitalized in the Bible, the name “LORD” means “Jehovah” (juh-HO-vuh). It is a name full of meaning, and it is what God answered Moses when Moses asked what to call Him. It means “I AM.” In other words: God was, is, and always will be Who He says He was, is, and always will be. It is not for humans to change Him or to think of Him in other ways, or as less than He is. He is the King of the universe. He is not just a human being. He is all-powerful, everywhere at once, and all-knowing. Nobody alive compares to God. If people really understood and believed Who God is, they would not be surprised to read the Israelites’ song. They would not be surprised to learn that the LORD is a “man of war.”

The LORD is a warrior. He is willing and able to fight for the glory of His name and to fight for the good of His people. He is mighty. He is unstoppable. He is unbeatable. Clearly, the Egyptian soldiers did not know Whom they were up against. Or if they knew it, they did not really believe it.

That God is a warrior does not mean that He is only a warrior. Defending His name and defending His people are noble reasons for Him to fight. There are other sides to God. Many verses teach about God’s compassion, His love, His wisdom, His longsuffering, His generosity. Being a “man of war” is only a part of Who God says He was, is, and always will be.

The Israelites’ praise song reminds us that our God is strong and sovereign, unable to be conquered. It reminds us that our God is willing and able to show rebellious enemies Who is really in control. It reminds us that God is bigger than any problem or enemy we could ever face. He will take care of us and He will see to it that His name is magnified as it should be.

The LORD is willing and able to conquer the enemies of His glory and His people.

My Response:
» Do I act like an Egyptian sometimes, forgetting or refusing to believe that God was, is, and always will be Who He says He was, is, and always will be?
» Am I trusting and obeying the sovereign and all-powerful God of the Bible?

The post The LORD Is a Man of War appeared first on EquipU Online Library.

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Denison Forum – A revival of ancient air conditioning offers a lesson in working with the Holy Spirit

If you’re from the south (or have ever visited during the summer), you’ve probably asked yourself how people survived in a time before air conditioning. 

Turns out, people didn’t wait until the first air conditioner was invented in the early 1900s to decide that question needed an answer. Evidence suggests that humans have been finding ways to beat the heat for the better part of three thousand years. 

The ancient Egyptians appear to be the first to find a solid solution, though they mostly relied on harnessing the wind rather than creating their own. As is often the case, later generations would continue to improve upon the technology, and you can still see some of the best efforts today in places like the Iranian city of Yazd. There, the ancient Persians perfected structures, called bâdgirs, that sat high atop their buildings and funneled the passing winds down to the rooms below. 

And while the structures have largely fallen out of favor in recent centuries, given that the wind was often accompanied by dirt and pests, they’ve started to make a comeback in recent decades. 

In the UK, for example, roughly seven thousand versions of the wind catchers were installed on buildings constructed between 1979 and 1994, including the Royal Chelsea Hospital in London and various supermarkets in Manchester. Closer to home, the visitor center at Zion National Park in southern Utah also employs a wind catcher to help regulate the summer heat. Scientists have recorded a temperature difference of roughly 29 degrees Fahrenheit between inside and outside of the building. And that’s with people regularly passing through. 

While not every location will allow the wind catchers to work well, the fact that conventional air conditioning currently accounts for roughly a fifth of all electricity consumption worldwide means that we’re likely to see more wind catchers dotting the skies in the coming years. 

Are you working with or against the Spirit? 

Wind is a powerful force, and learning how to work with it rather than against it has often proven to make a profound difference in the degree to which a culture prospers. 

The same is true, from a spiritual point of view, for us as well. 

There’s a reason that Scripture frequently references the Holy Spirit as akin to a gust of wind. In fact, early believers used the same Greek word (pneuma) for spirit and wind because the latter concept so aptly describes the former. 

As Christians, learning to work with the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in our lives instead of against it is one of the most important factors in our maturation as believers. And the key to working with the Spirit is embracing the kind of lifestyle God can bless. 

In Galatians 5, Paul famously writes that the fruit of the spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). However, to experience that fruit in our lives, we must first heed the instruction that comes a few verses earlier: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16–18). 

Just as the ancient cultures relied upon working with the wind to harness its power and improve their lives thousands of years ago, we too must learn to work with the Spirit by living in accordance with God’s desires as revealed throughout Scripture and through his daily guidance if we want to experience his power and fruit in our lives today. 

So take a moment to step back and ask God to help you use this Spirit-focused perspective to evaluate your walk with him. Does it feel like that relationship is pushing against the wind or moving with it? 

But note that the latter does not necessarily mean everything has gone smoothly or that your days have been problem-free. In fact, it’s often when the tough times arise that we can gain the greatest clarity into the state of our spiritual life. 

The degree to which it seems like we are able to face our problems without being robbed of the fruit described above is perhaps the best way to gauge whether we are working with or against the Spirit’s presence in our lives. 

Which best describes your relationship with him today?

Upwords; Max Lucado –God Is Always Near

GOD IS ALWAYS NEAR – August 24, 2021

What a world Jesus left. The God of the universe was born into the poverty of a peasant girl and spent his first night in the feed trough of a cow. John 1:14 says,”The Word became flesh and lived among us.” The God of the universe left the glory of heaven and moved into the neighborhood. Our neighborhood! Who could have imagined he would do such a thing?

When God came to earth, he ensured our salvation, he ensured grace, he ensured hope, and he ensured something else—that we would never be lonely again. Perhaps you feel lonely today. Perhaps you’ve felt lonely for weeks or even months. We cannot avoid loneliness. It is common to every human experience. But in Christ, God is always near. God loves to be with the ones he loves.