In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Life of Integrity

Psalm 15

In today’s Psalm, David describes a life of integrity—it is marked by truthfulness, righteousness, and honesty. To develop and maintain this God-pleasing lifestyle, we must …

• Formulate beliefs based on Scripture. Our need for a Savior, Christ’s death on our behalf, salvation by faith alone, and the Father’s gift of eternal life are foundational truths upon which to build our life. As we align our thinking with God’s Word, our identity and priorities should flow from these tenets.

• Submit to Christ’s lordship. Jesus commands us to deny ourselves and follow Him (Mark 8:34). Wholehearted commitment to Him helps us choose righteousness over temptations.

• Build relationships with godly individuals. The influence of mature Christians strengthens our dedication and obedience to the Lord.

• Acknowledge our mistakes. Everyone misses the mark at times. We are to confess any known sin to God (1 John 1:9) and turn away from the wrong behavior. We must also ask for forgiveness from anyone we have wronged.

God understands our struggle to resist temptation and choose righteousness, and He has sent His Holy Spirit to help us live with integrity. Ask Him today to help you embody the values in Psalm 15.

Bible in One Year: Micah 1-4


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Whatevers

Bible in a Year:

Brothers and sisters, whatever . . . is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Philippians 4:1–9

Every Friday evening, the national news my family views concludes the broadcast by highlighting an uplifting story. In contrast to the rest of the news, it’s always a breath of fresh air. A recent “good” Friday story focused on a reporter who had suffered from COVID-19, fully recovered, and then decided to donate plasma to possibly help others in their fight against the virus. At the time, the jury was still out on how effective antibodies would be. But when many of us felt helpless and even in light of the discomfort of donating plasma (via needle), she felt it “was a small price to pay for the potential payoff.”

After that Friday broadcast, my family and I felt encouraged—dare I say hope-filled. That’s the power of the “whatevers” Paul described in Philippians 4: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (v. 8). Did Paul have in mind plasma donation? Of course not. But did he have in mind sacrificial actions on behalf of someone in need—in other words, Christlike behavior? I’ve no doubt the answer is yes.

But that hopeful news wouldn’t have had its full effect if it hadn’t been broadcast. It’s our privilege as witnesses to God’s goodness to look and listen for the “whatevers” all around us and then share that good news with others that they may be encouraged.  

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

What’s a “whatever” story that’s encouraged you lately? Who might want or need to hear your story?

Father, I know that behind whatever is excellent and praiseworthy is You. I love You.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Learning from Christ’s Example

“Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).

To wield the sword of the Spirit is to apply specific Biblical principles to specific situations.

Jesus gave us the perfect example of skillful and precise use of the sword of the Spirit. Following His baptism, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread'” (Matt. 4:1-3).

Satan was challenging Christ’s trust in His heavenly Father’s power and provisions. God had just announced that Jesus was His Son (Matt. 3:17). Would He now abandon Jesus to starve in the wilderness? Satan urged Jesus to take matters into His own hands and supply for His own needs. After all, Satan implied, doesn’t the Son of God deserve better than this?

Jesus might have acted on His own authority or demanded that God give Him what He deserved. Instead, He demonstrated His trust in God and rebuked Satan for his evil intents: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'” (v. 4). That’s a specific verse applied to a specific situation. Jesus responded the same way to Satan’s other temptations (vv. 7, 10).

Scripture gives many general principles for Christian living, but the sword of the Spirit is a precise weapon. We must learn to apply the appropriate biblical principles to any given situation. That’s what the psalmist meant when he wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. . . . Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:9, 11).

Do you know where to go in the Bible to defend yourself against sorrow, discouragement, apathy, lust, or pride? If not, you’re attempting to do spiritual battle unarmed.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His precious Word and the study resources that are available to Bible students today.
  • Renew your commitment to daily systematic Bible study.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 119:97-105. Is that your attitude toward Scripture?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – The Path to True Success

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

— Proverbs 16:3 (AMPC)

View Previous DevoSEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Our ultimate success and value in life is not found in climbing what the world calls the ladder of success. Our success is not in a job promotion, a bigger house, a better-looking car, or elite social circles.

True success is knowing God and the power of His resurrection. It’s knowing that He loves you unconditionally and that you are made acceptable in Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, Who died for you, to pay for your sins.

Real success is allowing God to help you be the best you can be, but never having to be better than someone else to prove that you are valuable.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I know you more and the power of Your resurrection! Thank You for loving me unconditionally. In Your name I pray, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Consider What Your Actions Say

For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, ‘The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.’

Ezra 8:22

Aconvoy on many accounts would have been desirable for the pilgrim band, but Ezra was ashamed to ask for one. He feared that the heathen king might think his professions of faith in God were mere hypocrisy or might imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve His own worshipers. He could not bring his mind to depend on human instruments in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, and yet guarded by Him who is the sword and shield of His people.

It is to be feared that few believers sense this holy jealousy for God; even those who in some measure walk by faith occasionally spoil the sparkle of their life by seeking help from man. It is a most blessed thing to have no props and no buttresses, but to stand upright on the Rock of Ages, upheld by the Lord alone. Would any believers seek government funds for their church if they remembered that the Lord is dishonored by their asking for Caesar’s help? As if the Lord could not supply the needs of His own cause! Would we run so quickly to friends and relatives for assistance if we remembered that the Lord is glorified by our obvious reliance on His solitary arm? My soul, wait only on God.

“But,” says one, “are means never to be used?” Certainly they are. But our fault seldom lies in their neglect: Far more frequently it springs from foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God. Few run too far in neglecting the arm of man; but many sin greatly in making too much of it.

So learn, dear reader, to glorify the Lord by leaving means untried, if by using them you would dishonor the name of the Lord.

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Waiting on God Is No Vain Thing

“The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

Jim Elliot was a missionary in Ecuador, South America – over fifty years ago. Even as a young man, Jim had decided in his heart to follow God’s leading. He did not want to make a plan unless he was sure his plan was what God wanted. He was careful not to “run ahead” of God. Instead, he waited on God to make things plain. In a letter to the girl who would one day become his wife, Jim wrote about how he was waiting on God to lead and protect and provide for them. He signed his letter to her this way:

Waiting on Him for Whom

it is no vain thing to wait,

Jim

What does it mean to say “it is no vain thing to wait” for God? The word “vain” means “worthless,” “without purpose,” “hopeless,” or “empty.”

“Waiting on Him for Whom it is no vain thing to wait.” Jim’s words were another way of saying what God Himself says in Lamentations 3:25. It is not a worthless or purposeless or empty thing to wait on the Lord. Why not? Because the LORD is good to all those who wait for Him.

You and your family might be waiting on God today for something. Maybe you are waiting for provision (things you need). Maybe you are waiting for protection (safety or a rescue from something painful). Maybe you are waiting on God for direction (leadership and wisdom).

Whatever it is you think you need or want from God…can you wait for it? Can you wait for Him? Like Jim Elliot was learning when he wrote that letter over fifty years ago, you can never go wrong if you are waiting on God. By waiting on God, you show that you trust His perfect timing and His goodness. You can show you believe the truth of Lamentations 3:25 when you hold out for God’s direction and protection and provision.

When you wait to know what God wants you to do, when you wait for Him to rescue or protect you, and when you wait for Him to provide what He thinks you need, you will agree – God’s timing is perfect, and His goodness is worth waiting for.

God’s goodness and God’s timing are always worth the wait.

My Response:
» Am I tempted to “run ahead” of God instead of waiting for Him?
» What are some ways God has protected, directed, or provided for my family and my church?
» How can I show that I trust that God really is good?

Read in browser »

Denison Forum – Gabby Petito and the search for perfect justice

NOTE: Thank you to Denison Forum staff writer Mark Legg for writing today’s Daily Article. Mark has written twenty articles for Denison Forum and has provided research for many others.

True crime shows seem to have an undeniable draw. Netflix’s show Tiger King was watched by 64 million households over the first month of its release, and Tiger King 2 was just announced. True crime podcasts often land in the top twenty in ratings. Sometimes, the public will become caught up in a high-profile case as it plays out, perhaps most infamously in the O. J. Simpson trial.

The disappearance and death of twenty-two-year-old Gabby Petito has similarly captured the nation’s attention. The story was swept up by social media and national news sites alike, fueled primarily by TikTok.

Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, gathered a social media following with their minimalist van life and adventures across the country. But their purportedly pristine life covered up increasing tension between the couple, reports of Laundrie’s temper flaring, and Petito’s eventual disappearance.

The investigation is ongoing, but what do we know for sure?

A timeline for the disappearance of Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie set out on a several-month-long cross-country trip in their van at the beginning of July. Petito documented the “van life” with her fiancé on social media, appearing to experience beatific bliss camping together. In August, they uploaded their first YouTube video to document the trip. Nothing seemed amiss.

In late August, the couple traveled to Grand Teton National Park. Suddenly, Petito stopped posting to social media, and her parents were unable to reach her. They received one last suspicious text from her phone on August 30 which read “No service in Yosemite.”

On September 1, Brian Laundrie returned to his house in Florida in their van without Petito. Laundrie refused to give Peitito’s whereabouts or even talk about what happened.

On September 11, Petito’s family reported her as missing. Laundrie’s lawyer told police that he advised Laundrie not to speak with authorities, and Laundrie “plead the Fifth.”

On September 15, the police described Laundrie as a person of interest.

On September 17, Laundrie’s parents told police they had not seen him since September 14, when he supposedly went hiking.

The FBI found Petito’s body on September 19.

On September 22, they publicly ruled her death a homicide.

As of this writing, the police haven’t found Laundrie. As of Thursday evening, the FBI placed a warrant out for his arrest because he used Petito’s debit card, though they are still investigating his involvement in her homicide. Laundrie’s large head start makes the manhunt incredibly difficult. Though they are searching in the swamps of a Florida national park, many suspect that this is a false lead.

The good and bad of social media and “web sleuthing”

Underneath the facts lurks the involvement of social media, both apparently for ill and as a tool for good.

Gabby Petito and her fiancé’s lives were public, but social media hid their domestic disputes that arose in the days leading to her death. The police released bodycam footage of when they stopped the couple on August 12 because of a 911 call that reported Laundrie hitting Petito. They stayed in separate places for the night, per the recommendation of the officers, but the next day the couple reunited and continued their road trip. This presents a tragic reminder showing how social media can whitewash people’s broken lives.

The difference between previous crimes that garnered nationwide attention is that, with TikTok, this case unfolded in almost real time to millions of people and allowed them to “investigate” themselves. The involvement of interested but ordinary people trying to uncover crimes is called “web sleuthing.” With so much attention, video clips and eyewitness testimonies were discovered that aided the investigation, narrowing their search for Petito. These testimonies may become critical evidence in an upcoming trial.

Due to the Laundrie family’s perceived reluctance to cooperate with the police, a protest gathered outside their house on September 17, demanding that he and the family speak up. At that point, unbeknownst to the crowd, Laundrie had already gone on the run.

As of September 22, #GabbyPetito received more than 794 million views on TikTok. The family used the platform to garner support and raise awareness of her case, but many are criticizing the sensationalizing effect of TikTok.

So, while amateur investigators on social media and the public’s attention did aid the investigation, it also led to confusion and, in the opinion of some, it made a tragedy into a public spectacle. Countless theories cropped up in the days where Gabby was still missing. Some were conspiratorial, some were reasonable, but everyone seemed to have an opinion.

Now the Petito family seeks justice and mourns the loss of the young woman. Undoubtedly, the court case will draw similar national attention when it comes to trial.

Imperfect justice and “missing white woman syndrome”

Some are using this case to bring another issue of justice and human imperfection into focus. On most news sites covering the Petito case, they are drawing attention to a trend in public attention called “missing white woman syndrome.”

This observation claims that missing persons cases usually gain nationwide attention only if the subject is a woman and white. One study at least tentatively supports this conclusion, and anecdotal evidence seems to confirm this correlation. (For more, read what the Bible says about racism and look through the resources we’ve compiled on the subject.)

I have two simple observations: most news sites reported on the “missing white woman syndrome,” and most of those same news sites extensively reported on the Gabby Petito case anyway.

Gabby Petito’s bright life was cut short through homicide. Turning her death into a political point seems inconsiderate at best. How do we honor her family while still redressing the racialized tendency of the public eye?

It all becomes a tangled mess. I certainly have no answers, but thankfully someone does.

Perfect justice for Gabby Petito

Governments must carry out justice. That is part of their purpose according to Scripture (1 Peter 2:13–14). However, human institutions will always fail to mete out perfect justice. The power and knowledge of human institutions will remain limited, yet they are not in the case of God.

May God reveal tainted hearts and eyes to us; only he alone knows true justice untainted by prejudice.

Convicting each of us, Christ teaches that anger itself reveals a heart of murder. Sin, though varying in its severity, is common to all people. Christ both deals out justice and, praise God, forgives us our own sins and our own anger, which infects our hearts and which Christ says is akin to murder (Matthew 5:21–23). In our own relationships, we should pray for healing from malice and “not let the sun go down on our anger” (Ephesians 4:26).

Though officials will likely find Laundrie—and hopefully justice will prevail—ultimate justice will be dealt from God’s perfect throne of judgment.

Pray for the Petito family and that they will find justice and peace. Empathize and mourn with them. Join me in praying that they will be blessed and comforted (Matthew 5:4).

Then, consider others in your lives who are mourning and mourn alongside them. Though we cannot directly show love to the Petito family, tragedy will strike at friends and family close to us.

When it does, let us draw near to them with compassion.

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –An Eternal Body

AN ETERNAL BODY – September 24, 2021

As you discover your place in God’s plan, you make this wonderful discovery: you will graduate from this life into heaven. Jesus’ plan is to “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10). “All things” includes your body. God will reunite your body with your soul and create something unlike anything you have seen—an eternal body.

You will finally be healthy. You never have been. Even on the days you felt fine, you weren’t. You were a sitting duck for disease, infections, airborne bacteria, and microbes. And what about your worst days? Don’t you hate disease? So does Christ.

When Christ appears, Scripture tells us, “we shall be like him.” You’ll have a spiritual body, with all members cooperating toward one end. So we’re not giving up. As God’s story becomes our story the best is yet to be.

MaxLucado.com