In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Wait Patiently for the Lord

Psalm 40:1-5

Practicing patience is difficult because it often goes against our expectations and desires for immediate results. This is especially true when we are waiting on the Lord and His timetable doesn’t match our own. In such situations, it’s important to remember we can’t go wrong waiting for Him. Blessings will come in God’s good time when we refuse to run ahead of Him.

We ask the Lord for what we think we need, based on our limited information. But His understanding is infinite. At times God simply says no to our requests. In other cases, He may adjust our desire to match His. And sometimes He answers in a way that looks nothing like what we requested, but it will be exactly what we need. A submissive heart accepts the omnipotent Father’s gentle redirection, recognizing that He is always right.

Waiting patiently on the Lord strengthens our faith in Him: We learn to rest in His loving care and accept that whatever He gives us is best. It’s also a witness to others, who see His care and faithfulness to us and may choose to put their trust in Him as well.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 34-36

Our Daily Bread — Complete in Christ

Bible in a Year:

So you also are complete through your union with Christ.

Colossians 2:10 nlt

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Colossians 2:6–15

In a popular film, an actor plays a success-driven sports agent whose marriage begins to crumble. Attempting to win back his wife, Dorothy, he looks into her eyes and says, “You complete me.” It’s a heart-warming message that echoes a tale in Greek philosophy. According to that myth, each of us is a “half” that must find our “other half” to become whole.

The belief that a romantic partner “completes” us is now part of popular culture. But is it true? I talk to many married couples who still feel incomplete because they haven’t been able to have children and others who’ve had kids but feel something else is missing. Ultimately, no human can fully complete us.

The apostle Paul gives another solution. “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ” (Colossians 2:9–10 nlt). Jesus doesn’t just forgive us and liberate us, He also completes us by bringing the life of God into our lives (vv. 13–15).

Marriage is good, but it can’t make us whole. Only Jesus can do that. Instead of expecting a person, career, or anything else to complete us, let’s accept God’s invitation to let His fullness fill our lives more and more.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How have you sought spiritual fulfillment through people instead of God? How does Jesus’ completing you change your view of marriage and singleness?

Jesus, thank You for making me complete through Your death, resurrection, forgiveness, and restoration.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Extent of Satanic Opposition

“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

Satan opposes everything God does.

The believer’s conflict with the forces of darkness is rightly called spiritual warfare since Satan and his evil world system are hostile toward everything God does. By nature they are anti-God and anti-Christ.

Satan is the antithesis of every godly attribute. God is holy; Satan is evil. God is love; Satan is the embodiment of hatred. God redeems His children; Satan damns his. Jesus reveals grace and truth (John 1:17), but Satan “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

God gives life, whereas Satan breeds death (Heb. 2:14). God produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Satan produces immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and the like (vv. 19-21).

God uses trials to prove the genuineness of your faith and increase your joy and spiritual endurance (James 1:3). Satan uses temptation in an attempt to destroy your faith and silence your testimony. God grants freedom from the bondage of sin, while Satan wants to enslave you to sin for all eternity (2 Tim. 2:26).

Jesus is your advocate, pleading your cause before the Father (1 John 2:1). Satan is your accuser, blaming you incessantly for things God has already forgiven (Rev. 12:10).

As Satan opposes everything God does, he’ll also oppose God’s children. When he does, don’t be overly concerned or think of it as odd or unfair. Expect trials, be prepared, and rejoice because they show you’re a threat to Satan’s system and an asset to Christ’s kingdom.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the joy of knowing Christ and being free from sin’s bondage.
  • Ask Him to use you today in a powerful way for His glory.

For Further Study

Read Romans 14:17 and 1 John 2:16-17. What characterizes the kingdom of God? The evil world system of Satan?

Joyce Meyer – A Perfect Plan

But when He was in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast, many believed in His name [identified themselves with His party] after seeing His signs (wonders, miracles) which He was doing. But Jesus [for His part] did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all [men] and He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man [needed no evidence from anyone about men], for He Himself knew what was in human nature. [He could read men’s hearts].

— John 2:23-25 (AMPC)

How deeply can we trust others? How much of ourselves—our real, authentic selves— do we give to others, and how vulnerable are we to them? Do you let other people really know the true, flawed you? I suppose the answers to these questions are as varied as all the different situations. But considering the questions is definitely food for thought. Those of us who have been hurt by trusting too much tend to pull back when we get into certain situations.

I was once involved with a group of women whom I dearly loved, but eventually I realized our relationship wasn’t healthy for them or for me. I had become too dependent on them, even placing a trust in them that belongs only to God. 

All of us know we’re supposed to place our ultimate trust only in the Lord. But sometimes we encounter individuals or groups who mean so much to us that we give too much of ourselves, or we allow them authority in our lives that belongs only to the Lord. When this happens, our lives are out of balance. And when we get out of balance, we open a door for the devil. 

The words from John’s gospel serve as an appropriate warning to us. He was speaking of the relationship Jesus had with His own beloved disciples. Jesus knew how much and how little He could trust even those who were closest to Him. He understood human nature—something all of us have. 

Jesus knew that we, too, would need discernment about trusting others, so He sent His Holy Spirit to guide us and to let us know who we could trust. In 1 Corinthians 12:10, the apostle Paul referred to the spiritual gift called the discerning of spirits, and in verse 31, he urged us to earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts… One of these “great gifts” is discernment, and it helps us distinguish between good and bad, not just bad. 

True spiritual discernment motivates us to pray when a problem is identified. A genuine problem being discerned by a genuine gift will follow the scriptural plan for dealing with it, not fleshly ways that only exaggerate the problem. As we walk closely with God and ask for His guidance, the Spirit will provide it. 

Some people seem to have the “gift” of suspicion, and it comes out of an unrenewed mind. Discernment, on the other hand, is the fruit of a renewed spirit.

The book of Acts provides a good example of the discernment and trust issue. The Scriptures describe a couple named Ananias and Sapphira, who were members of the first church in Jerusalem. In those days, believers sold their possessions and shared them with others. This couple sold some land, kept part of the money, and brought the remainder to Peter. That was alright because it was their money. But only giving part of the money and then leading Peter to believe it was all they had earned from the sale of their property was not alright. 

But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart that you should lie to and attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit and should [in violation of your promise] withdraw secretly and appropriate to your own use part of the price from the sale of the land (Acts 5:3). Peter pointed out that it was their land and their money. Their sin was in giving only part of the money and claiming it was everything. You have not [simply] lied to men [playing false and showing yourself utterly deceitful] but to God (v. 4b). 

Both the husband and wife died for that deception. As terrible as that story is, it shows us clearly that the Holy Spirit knows our hearts. And it also shows us that the Spirit can show the intent of our hearts to faithful, committed servants such as Peter through discernment. God wants us to love and trust others, but we need discernment to guide us. There is a line where our trust and commitment must be reserved only for the Lord. When we give that trust to others, not only will we be disappointed for no human can live up to our expectations, but we disappoint God.

So don’t make that mistake. It is wise to use discernment in loving and trusting others. God places the right people in our lives who can be trusted. But we are never to put our trust in people or things over that which we put in Jesus! You will never go wrong by loving and trusting God completely.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I trust You, but I want to trust You even more. When I’m tempted to give the trust to others that only You deserve, please help me to be true to You. Help me, through Jesus Christ, to be sensitive to the leading of Your Holy Spirit, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Faith Is Creative!

And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.

Mark 2:4

Faith is full of creativity. The house was full, a crowd blocked the entry, but faith found a creative way of getting to the Lord and placing the paralytic before Him. If we cannot get sinners to Jesus by ordinary methods, we must use extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luke 5:19, that roof tiles had to be removed. That would create dust and cause a measure of danger to those below; but where the case is very urgent, we must be prepared to run some risks and shock some people. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore roof or no roof, faith ventured all so that the poor paralytic might have his sins forgiven. We need more daring creative faith among us! Dear reader, let us seek it this morning for ourselves and for our fellow-workers and try today to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory of the Lord.

The world is constantly creating and inventing; genius serves all the purposes of human desire: Can’t faith invent too and by some creative means reach the people who are strangers to the Gospel? It was the presence of Jesus that stirred this victorious courage in the four friends of the paralytic. Is the Lord still present among us? Have we seen His face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt His healing power in our own souls? If so, then through the door or the window or the roof let us overcome every hindrance in bringing others to Jesus.

When faith and love are truly set on winning souls, we will learn to be creative in our approach. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts. O Lord, make us quick to suggest and employ methods of reaching our friends and neighbors and of introducing them to You!

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Secures Your Steps

“He…set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” (Psalm 40:2)

Have you ever watched a young child learning how to walk? The child totters and staggers around around while proud parents offer squeals of praise to encourage their little one to take more steps. The cameras flash, video recorders roll, and phone calls are made. The parents quickly clear toys and furniture out of the way to keep the child from getting hurt. Usually the child will fall many times in this process, but eventually get up and try again. Parents are there when the child falls and can help the child get back up. Would good parents knock their child down, or poke or push to make the baby fall? Of course not!

You are not a baby any more, but you still have to learn to walk. Yes; you may already know how to walk on two feet, but there is another kind of “walk” we all need to work on, for the rest of our lives. In the New Testament, Paul compares the Christian’s life to walking. As you probably know by now, becoming more and more like Christ is not an easy walk. We get tempted to sin against God. We face hard things like losing loved ones or moving to a new city. Walking God’s way is hard.

But Christians have a heavenly Father who helps them learn to walk the Christian life. He is beside you with every step. Does that mean that you will never fall down? No! David says in Psalm 40 that he was having difficulties in the Christian walk. But just like a little child learning to walk, you have a wonderful Father beside you to help you up: God. David asked the Lord for help (and you can, too, if you are God’s child), and God responded by helping David. The way David described God’s help was as though He put David’s feet on a solid rock to keep him from slipping. If you are looking for help for the Christian walk, you cannot get anymore security and strength than the kind that God gives!

God is the kind of Father Who will strengthen our steps in the Christian walk.

My Response:
» How am I struggling in my Christian “walk”?
» Have I asked my heavenly Father to help strengthen my steps?

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Denison Forum – McDonald’s runs out of milkshakes: Why and how to trust our future to Jesus

Predictions about the future are making headlines today. For example, CNET tells us that “the next Apple event could be just around the corner.” However, if you read the article, you learn that “there hasn’t been any word, official or otherwise, on the exact date and time” for the event, much less what new technology the company will reveal.

With the NFL season set to kick off Thursday night, you can find predictions like these for every team in the league. (Don’t bother with this prognosticator, however: he says my Dallas Cowboys will finish 8–9 and miss the playoffs, so he’s clearly not to be trusted.)

Other stories in the news also demonstrate the clear unpredictability of the future. For instance, the pandemic caused a shortage of drivers in the UK, which led to a shortage of supplies to McDonald’s restaurants, which led to the headline, “McDonald’s runs out of milkshakes in England, Scotland, and Wales.” Who saw that coming a year ago?

An Apple II manual signed by Steve Jobs in 1980 recently sold at auction for $787,484. 3D-printed houses are gaining in popularity. Robots have been developed that can work cooperatively to move a couch in your home. Who would have predicted these stories a year ago?

An update on Tim Keller’s health

Some stories in the news illustrate not just the unpredictability of the future but give cause for great concern as we face it. For example, parents in California have sued to stop chants to Aztec gods in their children’s ethnic studies curriculum. What is next in our post-Christian, even anti-Christian, culture?

The Taliban are claiming victory over the last opposition forces in Afghanistan. Now that they are consolidating control of the country, what’s next for al-Qaeda? ISIS? Terrorism against America and the West?

At least eighty churches in Louisiana were damaged by Hurricane Ida; what will the next natural disaster bring? New COVID-19 infections are up 316 percent from last Labor Day; what will happen with future variants?

New York City pastor Tim Keller shared an update last Sunday on his battle with pancreatic cancer. On August 23, doctors discovered a cancerous lump underneath a previous surgical scar and have increased his chemotherapy to previous levels. Keller notes: “Pancreatic cancer is able to learn how to evade medication, so it is only God’s power that we look to for complete healing.”

He then asks: “Please do pray that I will be able to fulfill my teaching and other obligations, and that the neuropathy and other side effects will be minimal while the medication will be effective against the cancer, and that we will run the race God has set before us with joy.”

Please join me in praying as Dr. Keller asks today.

What Jesus knows that we don’t

Tim Keller is right, and not just about his pancreatic cancer: “It is only God’s power that we look to for complete healing.” In yesterday’s Daily Articlewe explored Jesus’ invitation to “take my yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:29a). We discovered that we should submit our lives and challenges to Jesus’ “yoke” and direction because he is “gentle and lowly in heart,” meaning that he always does the right thing with and through our lives (v. 29b). In addition, his yoke is “easy” (it fits perfectly), so that his “burden is light” (v. 30).

Today let’s add another reason to wear Jesus’ yoke: he can always be trusted to lead us into our best future.

Because Jesus is divinely omniscient, he knows the past more perfectly than any historian; he sees the present more fully than any reporter; and he comprehends the future more completely than any futurist.

Now let’s apply this fact to our personal lives.

Jesus knows your past better than you do, so he knows your education and experiences as well as your sins and failures. As a result, he can be trusted to utilize your life in ways that take the greatest advantage of your past experiences for his glory and our good.

Jesus also knows your present better than you do, so he knows your gifts, skills, and resources as well as your shortcomings and challenges. As a result, he can be trusted to utilize your life in ways that take the greatest advantage of your present opportunities for his glory and our good.

And Jesus knows your future better than you do, so he knows the people he is already preparing for your ministry. He knows the doors he is opening and closing, the opportunities tomorrow for which he is equipping you today. As a result, he can be trusted to utilize your life in ways that take the greatest advantage of your future service for his glory and our good.

A prayer I invite you to offer with me today

Joseph’s past visions and present circumstances prepared him to interpret Pharaoh’s visions and build a future no one foresaw but God. Moses’ past in Pharaoh’s household and present circumstances in the wilderness prepared him to lead Israel into a future no one could have predicted but our Lord. Peter’s past education in Judaism and present experiences as a successful businessman prepared him to lead the Christian movement into a future no one could have imagined but Jesus.

Now our Lord is ready to redeem your past and use your present to lead you into a future only he can foresee. Here’s the key: If you will wear Jesus’ yoke today, he will guide you today. If you will not, he cannot.

These words from Kate B. Wilkinson form a prayer I invite you to join me in offering to our Master:

May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By his love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through his power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May his beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only him.

Whose yoke are you wearing today?

Upwords; Max Lucado –Satan’s Tool Kit

SATAN’S TOOL KIT – September 7, 2021

​How do we explain our stubborn hearts and conniving ways? How do we explain Auschwitz, human trafficking, abuse? If I were the devil, I’d want you to feel attacked by an indefinable force. If I were the devil, I’d keep my name out of it. But God doesn’t let the devil get away with this. He tells us his name: splitter, a divider, a wedge driver.

Don’t fault the plunging economy or a raging dictator for your anxiety. They’re simply tools in Satan’s tool kit. We can’t understand God’s narrative without understanding Satan’s strategy. Scripture says, “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

God calls the devil by name and promises to defeat him. Be alert to the devil, and be assured his days are numbered.