In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Caring for Your Conscience

1 Timothy 1:3-7

Yesterday we looked at how powerful our conscience can be, but even this divinely bestowed moral compass can be swayed by our thoughts, experiences, and background. What matters most is the amount of truth that informs it.

Since Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), trusting Him is the first step toward developing a good conscience. When He comes into our life, He gives us a new heart and mind, which can understand and apply truth. Things we once considered acceptable, we now recognize as sinful.

We also have the truth of God’s Word. As we let Scripture fill our mind, our “monitoring system” is sharpened. Then we filter thoughts and actions through the grid of God’s standard for right and wrong.

In addition, we have been given the Holy Spirit, who works with our conscience to assist us in discriminating between righteousness and sin. He also interprets Scripture for us and prompts us to apply it accurately to our life.

Thankfully, the Lord has given us everything we need to develop a good conscience, which is essential for living a godly life.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 7-9

Our Daily Bread — God’s Molded Instruments

Bible in a Year:

We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 64:5–9

Considered one of the greatest video games ever made, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. It’s also popularized the ocarina, a tiny, ancient, potato-shaped musical instrument made of clay.

The ocarina doesn’t look like much of a musical instrument. However, when it’s played—by blowing into its mouthpiece and covering various holes around its misshapen body—it produces a strikingly serene and hauntingly hopeful sound. 

The ocarina’s maker took a lump of clay, applied pressure and heat to it, and transformed it into an amazing musical instrument. I see a picture of God and us here. Isaiah 64:68–9 tells us: “All of us have become like one who is unclean. . . . Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter. . . . Do not be angry beyond measure.” The prophet was saying: God, You’re in charge. We’re all sinful. Shape us into beautiful instruments for You.

That’s exactly what God does! In His mercy, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sin, and now He’s shaping and transforming us as we walk in step with His Spirit every day. Just as the ocarina maker’s breath flows through the instrument to produce beautiful music, God works through us—His molded instruments—to accomplish His beautiful will: to be more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29).

By:  Ruth Wan

Reflect & Pray

How can knowing that you’re a recipient of God’s mercy affect what you think, say, and do today? How can you submit yourself to His transformation?

Father, thank You for saving me and transforming me so that I’ll become more like Your Son, Jesus. Teach me to submit to Your Spirit’s work of transforming me.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Bearing Burdens

 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Those who walk by the Spirit will lovingly bear one another’s burdens.

The Lord Jesus presents love for God and love for our neighbor as the great summary of the entire Law (Matt. 22:37-40).

It only makes sense, then, that love will characterize the life of any Christian who is walking by the Spirit. Love will also be an integral part of any Spirit-assisted ministry to others. Paul tells us in today’s verse that when we help other believers hold up their particular burdens, we are obeying “the law of Christ” or the law of love, which James calls “the royal law” (James 2:8).

But what exactly does Galatians 6:2 mean when it commands us to “bear one another’s burdens”? Commentator William Hendriksen gives us this general but helpful observation: “This does not merely mean ‘Tolerate each other,’ or ‘Put up with each other.’ It means: ‘Jointly shoulder each member’s burdens.’”

The actual word burden calls to mind a variety of possible sins, difficulties, and responsibilities; but Paul was using the Greek term that refers to an extremely heavy and unbearable load. It’s a load that one person alone can’t carry, which underscores again that Christians need each other. The Holy Spirit wants each member of the church involved in a ministry of mutual support.

The essence of burden-bearing is spiritual accountability and responsibility. One of the most practical ways we can bear someone else’s burden is to talk and pray regularly with him or her about spiritual issues and measure that person’s progress in overcoming a certain sin or temptation.

Bearing the burdens of another believer is a wonderful, reciprocal learning process in which both individuals can benefit from God’s truth and understand more about His will for their lives (see Gal. 6:6). As we become more sensitive and obedient to Him, the Holy Spirit orchestrates this ministry and gives us the privilege of instructing and upholding others as we continue to walk in Him day by day.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that His Spirit is powerful enough to help us bear the heaviest burdens of fellow believers.

For Further Study

Read the Epistle to Philemon.

  • What things did Paul probably do to bear Onesimus’s burdens?
  • How was the entire letter a form of burden-bearing by Paul for Philemon?

Joyce Meyer – Setting Boundaries

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

— Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)

It is wrong for anyone to try to control us, but it is equally wrong for us to allow it. We must stand up for ourselves and be determined to please God rather than other people. My mother allowed my father to control her out of fear, and everyone in the family paid the price for her refusal to stand up for herself and us. Fear is a real thing, but it has no power over us except what we give it. Author and psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud says that we get what we tolerate.

The best thing is never to start a relationship by letting yourself be controlled and manipulated. But if you are already in that situation, it is not too late to stand up for yourself. It will be more difficult to do than it would have been had you established boundaries from the beginning of the relationship, but it can still be done. Let the person who is controlling you know that you realize you have been allowing them to control you and that you will no longer let it continue. They may react in an angry and even a violent manner, but in the end, they will respect you for it.

It is God’s will for us to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in order to do that, we will find that we must often say no to the demands of people. People who will only stay in relationship with you if they are allowed to control you don’t really love you. They are simply using you to help them get what they want. You deserve better than that and are far too valuable to let anyone abuse or misuse you.

If you have a history of not speaking up or just “going along to get along,” taking the first step toward freedom will be the most difficult. Satan is delighted to rob you of your God-ordained destiny, and he can easily do it through the fear of other people. The apostle Paul said that had he been trying to be popular with people, he would not have become an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Gal. 1:10). Think seriously about that for a moment, and then take a look at your own life and make sure you are not missing God’s will by being overly concerned about keeping people happy.

We should want to please and make people happy, but not if the price of doing so is disobeying God. The Word of God tells us to follow peace and I want to strongly recommend that you begin doing that. Anyone who truly cares about you will want you to follow God even if it means you can’t give them what they want. God is always with you to help you do what you need to do.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me live to please You, rather than the people in my life, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Bad News?

He is not afraid of bad news.

Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by bad news, rebel against God; they murmur and maintain that God has dealt harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: “Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”1 For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity.

How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but when you act as if there were no one to help, will your doubting and despondency magnify the Most High? Then take courage and, relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”2

1) Exodus 14:13
2) John 14:27

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Love

 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

Have you seen people wearing T-shirts with the logos and mascots of their favorite sports teams? We say they are “showing spirit” for their team, but what does that kind of “spirit” mean? It means they are enthusiastic about that team – they really, really like that team. That’s how we show other people what we love – we “wear signs,” in a way. You might see coffee-lovers walking around with travel mugs full of coffee. You might see horse-lovers walking around with cowboy hats. You might see a soccer-lover with a soccerball at all times, practicing his dribbling whenever he gets a free moment. The things we carry or wear, say or do, are signs that show people what things are important to us.

A T-shirt or a cowboy hat can be a mark of enthusiasm for a certain team or lifestyle. A coffee mug can be a clue that the person carrying it loves to have coffee along at all times. You can tell a man and woman are married to each other because they wear wedding rings as a sign of their love and loyalty to one another. A ring “marks” someone as married. A ring is a mark of love for a husband or for a wife.

Do you know what God is marked by? One thing God is marked by is His love. He is known for it. Everything He does and says shows His love. God IS love!

Did you know that love should be a mark of anyone who believes in God? That’s true. 1 John 4:7-8 shows us truth about God, and the truth is that love comes from God, and that love should be a sign of someone who knows God. If you love God and know God, then your love for others should be a sign to people that you love God and know God.

Do you ever see someone walking around “wearing” or “carrying” love for God and other people? If so, God is the Source of that kind of love. Think of all the things God has done to show His love for you. Hatefulness and lying and gossip and arguing and pride are not from God, and He is not marked by those things. He is marked by His love. He IS love! And we should be marked by love, too, if we truly know Him. Our love for God and others should be a sign to people that we love Him and know Him.

God is love, and those who know Him should be marked by love.

My Response:
» What loving things has God done for me and in my life?
» When people watch me, can they guess some of the things that are important to me?
» What needs to change in my heart so I can be marked as someone who knows and loves God?

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Denison Forum – New US space weapon and an impending space prison

In late August, the Pentagon discussed declassifying a space weapon. As Commander-in-chief, President Biden will have to give the go-ahead to declassify the information. If he chooses to reveal the specifics of this space weapon, global knowledge of its existence could act as a deterrent to any hostile development of space weapons.

Though no one except for a handful of officials with the highest level of clearance knows what the secret space weapon is, speculation abounds. Some think it could refer to a satellite-to-satellite laser or a satellite-to-ground weapon, though these seem unlikely. 

The most popular guess is that US military satellites already possess the capability to block enemy satellites’ communications. In other words, the “space weapon” may refer to our capability to effectively disable other satellites without destroying them. A mysterious space plane called X-37B also exists, which apparently deployed small satellites in 2020. These satellites may pertain to the Pentagon’s upcoming declassification. 

Such a secret space weapon won’t be the sci-fi spaceship with green lasers that the child in us may desperately want, but it does open an interesting discussion about something we rarely think about: satellites. 

How we depend on satellites

Though the moon is also technically a satellite (it orbits the earth), as is the earth (it orbits the sun), we generally think of artificial satellites when we use the term satellite. Over four thousand operational, artificial satellites orbit the earth.

In our everyday lives, what depends on satellites

  • GPS (including services like Google Maps)
  • Weather forecasting 
  • Satellite TV 
  • Internet service in rural areas 

As someone who tends to get lost in their own living room, I’m grateful for GPS. Naturally, satellites progress scientific research, such as in astronomy, physics, and even geology. A satellite can help pinpoint valuable mineral deposits and even enable companies to identify oil deposits. 

Consider the profound impact of the International Space Station. The ISS unites nations around science in a unique way. It became a unifying, global project after the Cold War and space race. President Ronald Reagan instructed NASA to create the station in 1984, and its $150 billion construction has required collaboration between multiple nations. Currently, the International Space Station crew includes three Americans, two Russians, one Japanese, and one Frenchman. 

The wonders of space are marvelous and provide countless opportunities for advancement, but the nature of space travel itself threatens those opportunities. 

Will space debris create a prison?

The Department of Defense’s global Space Surveillance Network sensors help track dangerous objects floating in orbit and relay that information to private space programs and NASA. Even with these high-tech sensors, several satellites are destroyed every year. If they don’t fall into the atmosphere, such destroyed satellites become orbiting space debris.  

Because of this, many predict that earth’s orbit will become a prison of space junk that satellites won’t be able to avoid. For instance, when a traditional rocket enters space, it releases fuel tanks that then become orbiting space trash. 

One article examines the threat of space debris: “Debris in low Earth orbit travels 30 times faster than a commercial jet aircraft. At these speeds, pieces of debris larger than 1 cm (half an inch) can severely damage or destroy a satellite, and it is not possible to shield effectively against debris of this size.” NASA even reported that “flecks of paint” can cause serious damage to satellites

The more we travel to space, the more junk accumulates. Avoiding space junk becomes more difficult, and the more likely it is that this chain reaction will create the dreaded prison. If one satellite gets destroyed in orbit by space debris, it can become thousands of tiny pieces of space debris, which leads to another satellite’s destruction, potentially leading to a chain reaction that would make space travel nearly impossible for the near future. This phenomenon is called the “Kessler Syndrome.”

NASA and others have brainstormed ways to overcome this problem. This informational video suggests space magnets, lasers, or nets to start clearing away the debris. 

Though thousands of satellites fly over our heads, we normally don’t give them a second thought. 

Do you think of God like a satellite? 

I am often guilty of thinking about God like a satellite. 

Satellites are impersonal objects floating through space that we vaguely depend on. We know they’re looking down, but we don’t think much about them, and we leave contemplating them up to the “experts.”

If we don’t guard our minds against a shallow connection to our Father, this attitude reflects how we treat God day-to-day. We know he looks down on us, but we leave God up to pastors and may rarely personally engage with his presence. 

In The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning reflects on the passionate love of Christ.He discovered that in the 1800s, Christians often used the identifying phrase “seized by the power of a great affection.” The fact that while we were sinners Christ loved us is a radical reality (Romans 5:8). 

The phrase “seized by the power of a great affection” communicates how deeply Christ’s love takes hold of us as we decide to follow him. 

We shouldn’t think of God as an impersonal being in the sky who sometimes gives us something we want because we’re good Christians. God is both relational and faithful in his sovereignty, drawing us with his affections. 

God is personal and involved, and he orchestrates things for our good (Romans 8:28). Sometimes our good includes discipline (Hebrews 12:11), and often that good will be impossible to see, but, as Dr. Denison profoundly writes: “God redeems all he allows.” 

He is both an impartial judge and a merciful savior. 

We can trust him. Even the most marvelous human invention of the space station will eventually fall out of orbit or become a $150 billion shell of metal hurling around the earth. While humans may fail, and so may our most incredible inventions, God certainly will not. 

Join me in striving to trust God’s sovereignty and renewing our minds to draw closer to Christ in a personal, daily way.

Upwords; Max Lucado – His Power Becomes Our Power

HIS POWER BECOMES OUR POWER – September 15, 2021

We look at other believers and ask, “Why is her life so fruitful and mine so barren? Why is his life so powerful and mine so weak?Aren’t we saved by the same Christ? The answer may be found in the first chapter of the book of Acts, where Jesus told Peter and the other followers, “Wait here to receive the promise from the Father. John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

During Jesus’ earthly ministry Jesus lived near the disciples. The Holy Spirit, however, would live in the disciples. Jesus taught. The Spirit teaches through us. Jesus comforted. The Spirit comforts through us. The Holy Spirit is a year-round resident in the hearts of God’s children. As God’s story becomes our story, his power becomes our power.