In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Life’s Greatest Investment

Acts 9:10-18

What is the most worthwhile investment a person can make? It isn’t a retirement account, a lucrative career, or a fine house, though these are all good. There is no better way to invest time, energy, or resources than to help someone come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

When we first trusted in the Savior, God transferred us from the realm of darkness into the kingdom of His Son (Col. 1:13). As a result, we became an instrument in His hands, useful for reaching others for Christ. When others turn from sin and receive the Lord’s salvation, their eternal destiny is altered. Not only that, but Satan also receives a devastating blow—all his plans for those individuals are thwarted. And as each new believer begins to live in God’s will, there’s no telling how far the Lord will extend His kingdom through them.

Furthermore, whenever you tell someone about the Savior, you’re carrying out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). This gigantic task is accomplished one person at a time, as we each do our part to share the gospel.

God’s plan for enlarging His kingdom is so simple—one person telling another about Jesus. Just think about being in heaven and seeing someone you introduced to Jesus. Your joy will far exceed any discomfort you may have felt in sharing the gospel.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 3-4

Our Daily Bread — A Living Document

Bible in a Year:

Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 1:1–2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 1

In memorializing his grandfather’s work, Peter Croft wrote, “It is my deepest desire for the person who picks up their Bible, whatever version they use, to not only understand but experience the scriptures as living documents, just as relevant, dangerous, and exciting now as they were those thousands of years ago.” Peter’s grandfather was J.B. Phillips, a youth minister who undertook a new paraphrase of the Bible in English during World War II in order to make it come alive to students at his church.

Like Phillips’ students, we face barriers to reading and experiencing Scripture, and not necessarily because of our Bible translation. We may lack time, discipline, or the right tools for understanding. But Psalm 1 tells us that “Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the Lord” (vv. 1–2). Meditating on Scripture daily allows us to “prosper” in all seasons, no matter what hardship we’re facing.

How do you view your Bible? It’s still relevant with insight for living today, still dangerous in its call to believe and follow Jesus, still exciting in the intimate knowledge of God and humanity that it imparts. It’s like a stream of water (v. 3) that provides the sustenance we need daily. Today, let’s lean in—make time, get the right tools, and ask God to help us experience Scripture as a living document.

By:  Karen Pimpo

Reflect & Pray

What barriers do you face when reading the Bible? How can you make space to listen to God’s voice?

God, help me experience Scripture as a living document today.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Spirit and Prayer

“Be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).

Spending time with God in prayer is another crucial element in walking by the Spirit.

During my regular times in the Word, I often don’t know where Bible study ends and meditation begins, or where meditation turns into prayer. My devotions are definitely a seamless process in which I read Scripture, meditate on it, and pray that God would help me understand it. I’m sure that many of you have had the same experience. It ought to be like that for any believer who is faithful in spending time with the Lord daily.

Along with meditating on Scripture and focusing on God, prayer is an essential component of our strategy to walk by the Holy Spirit. An attitude of moment-by-moment prayer, patterned after 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (“Pray without ceasing”), will greatly help us walk in step with the Spirit.

“Pray without ceasing” obviously does not mean believers are to spend every waking moment in formal prayer. Paul’s command to the Thessalonians refers to recurring prayer, not a ceaseless uttering of words from a certain posture.

To pray as part of our spiritual walk means we bring every temptation before God and ask for His help. It means we thank Him for every good and beautiful experience. It means we ask the Lord to allow us to join the fight against evil. It means when we have an opportunity to witness, we pray that God would help us be faithful and that He would draw the person to Himself. And finally, this kind of prayer means we’ll turn to God as our Deliverer whenever we have trials.

Thus, walking by the Spirit is a lifestyle of continual prayer. All of our thoughts, actions, and circumstances become opportunities to commune with God. And if that is true, we obey Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

Suggestions for Prayer

Take a brief prayer list with you (on an index card) today, and try to pray through it several times during the day.

For Further Study

  • Matthew 6:1-8 leads into Jesus’ presentation of the Lord’s Prayer. What general attitude has no place in prayer?
  • List the specific things Christ warns against, along with those He commends in this passage.

Joyce Meyer – God’s Way Is Not Too Hard

When Pharaoh let the people go, God led them not by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God said, Lest the people change their purpose when they see war and return to Egypt.

— Exodus 13:17 (AMPC)

View Previous Devo | View NextSEPTEMBER 13, 2021

God led the Children of Israel on a longer, harder route in the wilderness because He knew they were not ready for the battles they would face in order to possess the Promised Land. He needed to do a work in their lives first, teaching them Who He was and that they could not depend on themselves.

You can be assured that anywhere God leads you, He is able to keep you. He never allows more to come against us than we can bear. We do not have to live in a constant struggle if we learn to lean on Him continually for the strength we need.

If you know God has asked you to do something, don’t back down because it gets hard. When things get hard, spend more time with Him, lean more on Him, and receive more grace from Him (see Hebrews 4:16). Grace is the power of God coming to you at no cost, to do through you what you cannot do by yourself.

God knows that the easy way is not always the best way for us. That’s why it is so important that we don’t lose heart, grow weary, and faint.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank you in advance for revealing your plan (for my life) to me and then giving me time to trust You to work the change in me to see it through. In Jesus’ name, amen!

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Grace from Above

As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

Psalm 84:6

This teaches us that the comfort obtained by one may often prove helpful to another, just as the springs would be enjoyed by the company who came after. When we read some book that is really helpful and encouraging, we recognize that the author has gone ahead of us and discovered these refreshing springs for us as well as for himself. Many books have been like wells drilled by a pilgrim for himself but have proved quite as useful to others. We notice this especially in the Psalms—for example, 42:11: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” Travelers have been delighted to see the footprint of man on a barren shore, and we love to see the marks of pilgrims while passing through the vale of tears.

The pilgrims dig the well, but, strangely, it fills from the top instead of the bottom. We use the means, but the blessing does not spring from the means. We dig a well, but heaven fills it with rain. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but safety is from the Lord. The means are connected with the end, but they do not produce it themselves. Consider here how the rain covers the ground with pools, so that they become useful as reservoirs. The endeavor is not wasted, but still it does not supersede divine help.

Grace may be compared to rain for its purity, for its refreshing and energizing influence, for its coming from above, and for the sovereignty with which it is given or withheld. May our readers have showers of blessing, and may the springs be filled with water! What are the means and ordinances without the smile of heaven! They are like clouds without rain and pools without water. God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The Lord Loves Cheerful Givers

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

It was Thursday morning, and Tonia and Ruben had gotten up early so they could go with Uncle Dirk to the market. They loved the Thursday markets because there were so many interesting things and all kinds of people to see. Each of them had saved a little money since last Thursday, and they jingled the coins in their hands as they walked with Uncle Dirk from the train station to the marketplace.

But today wasn’t just any Thursday. Today was their mother’s 40th birthday! They knew that even today – even on her own special day – she was at home doing things for them. Right about now, she was probably preparing their lunch – slicing up bread, setting out dishes, washing vegetables for some soup. That was just how their mother was. Always doing, doing, doing – but never doing things for herself. Just yesterday, she had fixed Ruben’s bicycle chain and added a bell to the handlebars. Last week, she had mended Tonia’s favorite scarf.

“Look here, Uncle Dirk!” cried Ruben. “Don’t you think Mother would love these soaps? There are all kinds of scents and colors to choose from! I’m sure I could find one she would love.”

“What about these bouquets of flowers?” Tonia asked, pointing toward a nearby cart that was loaded down with flowers. “She loves flowers – especially tulips and poppies!”

“We could give her this carved frame to put a picture of Father in.”

“We could buy her that embroidered tablecloth.”

“How about these skeins of yarn? Or, instead of yarn, maybe this sweater!”

“What did you think about those bracelets we saw a few booths back?”

“Wait, children!” Uncle Dirk was laughing. “I cannot keep track of all your ideas! You are so enthusiastic about choosing a wonderful gift for your mother!”

“That’s why it must be a wonderful gift!” said Ruben. “Because we have such a wonderful mother!”

“Well, she will be happy to know that her children have such a wonderful spirit,” said Uncle Dirk, still smiling. “You could never afford to buy her all of these gifts, but you are sure to please her with the cheerfulness of your gift-giving!”

When you have an opportunity to give to God and to others, do you have a spirit as eager and grateful as Ruben’s and Tonia’s? They loved their mother, and they wanted to pick out a special present for her, out of love to her. What if Ruben had said, “I want to use my money to buy new tires for my bicycle!”? Or, what if Tonia had said, “I am sure Mother would want us to save up our money for more important things than birthday presents!”? What would comments like that reveal about their attitudes toward their mother? Would their attitudes show their love for her?

What about your gift-giving spirit? When it comes time to take up an offering in a church worship service, many Christians get a little grumpy. They would rather keep as much of their money as they can for themselves. They tell themselves that saving money for “more important things” is best. And they just would rather not offer anything toward the offering. The Bible plainly teaches that we should be cheerful givers! And if we are having a hard time being cheerful, we can ask God for help. He is able to give us the grace we need to do anything that pleases Him!

If we are right with God, we will want to give cheerfully to Him and to others. We will feel grateful for all He has done for us. We will be enthusiastic about offering gifts that would please Him most. Ruben and Tonia were excited to choose a wonderful gift for their mother, because they believe her to be the most wonderful mother in the world. When we are excited to give to our Heavenly Father, we show that we love Him and honor Him – more than we love and honor ourselves! Be a cheerful gift-giver.

The Lord is pleased when we give with a cheerful spirit.

My Response:
» Are there times when I could be more cheerful about giving to God and others?
» What does my attitude about giving to God and others reveal about my attitude toward God and others?
» How can I show that I love and honor God and others more than I love and honor myself?

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Denison Forum – “I miss the America of 9/12”: Two steps to transforming purpose and unity

On this day twenty years ago, the church I pastored in Dallas held a community service in response to the 9/11 attacks. We invited ministers from across the denominational spectrum to lead in prayer, worship, and proclamation. Our sanctuary, which seats 2,200 people, was filled to overflowing.

There was something in us that knew we needed each other.

Many of the retrospectives I saw on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 made the same point. One person wrote: “I miss 9/12. I would never want another 9/11, but I miss the America of 9/12. Stores ran out of flags to sell because they were being flown everywhere. People were Americans before they were upper/lower class, Jewish/Christian, Republican/Democrat. . . . On 9/12, what mattered more to us was what united us, not divided us.”

In times of crisis, we discover that we cannot do life on our own. We were made for community. A coal taken out of the fire goes out.

What was true twenty years ago is just as true today.

“A gnawing sense of being unfulfilled”

We find unity when we admit that we are facing challenges greater than our individual capacities and respond by turning to a transforming power we trust and serve together.

Are we facing challenges greater than our capacities today?

People in New York City exposed to toxic pollutants from 9/11 are still getting sick. More than 111,000 people are enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, which gives free medical care to people whose health problems are potentially linked to the dust from the attacks.

More people will die of COVID-19 in the next two days than died on 9/11. Officials in India are racing to contain an outbreak of Nipah virus that is deadlier than COVID-19.

President Biden’s plan requiring vaccinations for up to one hundred million Americans is being embraced by many and opposed by many. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said recently that al-Qaeda may seek a comeback from within Afghanistan.

Some experts are predicting that the next major international terrorist assault on the US is likely to take the form of a cyberattack. New research warns that a solar storm could cause an “Internet apocalypse” that would keep much of society offline for weeks or months at a time.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting forty million adults in our country. In Making All Things New, Henri Nouwen spoke for many of us:

“Beneath our worrying lives . . . something else is going on. While our minds and hearts are filled with many things, we wonder how we can live up to the expectations imposed upon us by ourselves and others. We have a deep sense of unfulfillment. While busy with and worried about many things, we seldom feel truly satisfied, at peace, or at home. A gnawing sense of being unfulfilled underlies our filled lives.”

A chair in the center of the room

Does a transforming power exist we can trust and serve together?

The first-century Roman world was as divided and divisive as our culture is today. Relational walls between Jews and Gentiles, men and women, and slaves and masters dominated their society (cf. Galatians 3:28). The only source of true unity for early Christians was found in their shared commitment to Christ.

This is why we find Paul urging his fellow believers in Corinth: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). He made the same appeal in Philippi: “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2).

And in Colossae: “Put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14). And in Ephesus: “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). And in Rome: “Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16).

Peter made a similar appeal: “All of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8).

We find unity when we admit we cannot do life on our own and we turn to the Author of life together. Put a chair in the center of the room and its inhabitants along the walls. The closer they come to the chair, the closer they come to each other.

“Seeing the face of God”

I wish this 9/13 were more like the 9/13 I experienced twenty years ago. But wishing isn’t enough. We must admit that we are not sufficient to meet the challenges we face and seek the help of our Father and our faith family. When we do, we will be catalysts for the spiritual renewal our culture needs so desperately.

Twenty years ago, Jim Jenkins was a Navy chaplain serving with the Coast Guard as part of the Chaplains’ Emergency Response Team. He traveled to Ground Zero days after 9/11. Over the next two weeks, he ministered to rescue and recovery workers as they searched for bodies, comforted those at a makeshift morgue, and accompanied families as they watched remains of loved ones removed from the rubble.

Jenkins learned that he needed help beyond himself. As a result of the two weeks he spent at Ground Zero, he developed a precancerous condition in his sinuses and esophagus due to breathing in toxic chemicals. He was diagnosed with PTSD and has recurring nightmares to this day.

But he has also learned that the One he serves is sufficient for us all. Even in his darkest moments, he feels God’s hand comforting him: “Something happens when you pray, when you cry out to God with groanings too deep for words. Wherever we are, the Lord will meet us right in the midst of our brokenness.”

And Jenkins learned that when we share our hope with others, God uses us to draw them to himself. “I talked a lot about the promises of God and of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,” he reflected. “I really felt that, when I was ministering to people, they weren’t seeing my face. I believe they were seeing the face of God and experiencing his favor.”

Will you ask God to meet you in the midst of your brokenness?

With whom will you share his favor?

Upwords; Max Lucado –Dressed in a New Wardrobe

DRESSED IN A NEW WARDROBE – September 13, 2021

The Apostle Paul says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). When you make God’s story yours, he covers you in Christ. You wear him like a vest. Old labels no longer apply.

How about these new labels: Royal priest. Free from condemnation. Secure. God’s coworker. God’s temple. God’s workmanship. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe.

Psalm 103:12 reminds us not to mess with the old clothes any longer. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” When God sends your sins to the east and you to the west, you can be sure of this: he sees his Son and not your sin. In fact, Isaiah 43:25 says, “He remembers your sins no more!” How do you like that outfit?