In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Our Dependence Upon God

2 Kings 19:10-20

Unlike King Hezekiah, you are probably not facing an invading army. But if you’re like most of us, your life is nonetheless full of obstacles, problems, and everyday needs that threaten your sense of peace and security. What do you do about that? Do you rely on your own strength and ingenuity to find a way through, or do you call out to God for help? 

One of the purposes of prayer is to make us aware of our own dependence upon the Lord. No concern is too small to bring to Him, and nothing is too big for Him to handle. In fact, we are told to worry about nothing and to pray about everything (Phil. 4:6). The outcome of prayerful dependence is inexplicable peace, even in the midst of unchanged circumstances (Phil. 4:7).

Sometimes we forget that we are creatures who are completely dependent on the Creator for our next breath. Prayer is a privilege God has given His children—it lets us humbly lay our cares before our Father, trusting Him to direct our path and provide for our needs. We have nothing to lose—except our pride and self-sufficiency, along with the resultant fear and anxiety.

Bible in One Year: Habakkuk 1-3

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Unlimited

Bible in a Year:

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.

Isaiah 40:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 40:21–28

There I am, sitting in the shopping mall food court, my body tense and my stomach knotted over looming work deadlines. As I unwrap my burger and take a bite, people rush around me, fretting over their own tasks. How limited we all are, I think to myself, limited in time, energy, and capacity.

I consider writing a new to-do list and prioritizing the urgent tasks, but as I pull out a pen another thought enters my mind: a thought of One who is infinite and unlimited, who effortlessly accomplishes all that He desires.

This God, Isaiah says, can measure the oceans in the hollow of His hand and collect the dust of the earth in a basket (Isaiah 40:12). He names the stars of the heavens and directs their path (v. 26), knows the rulers of the world and oversees their careers (v. 23), considers islands mere specks of dust and the nations like drops in the sea (v. 15). “To whom will you compare me?” He asks (v. 25). “The Lord is the everlasting God,” Isaiah replies. “He will not grow tired or weary” (v. 28).

Stress and strain are never good for us, but on this day they deliver a powerful lesson. The unlimited God is not like me. He accomplishes everything He wishes. I finish my burger, and then pause once more. And silently worship.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How will you draw on God’s unlimited strength today? (vv. 29–31). In the midst of your tasks and deadlines, how will you pause to worship the infinite One?

Loving God, You’re the unlimited One who’ll accomplish all You’ve promised.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Satan Opposes God’s Word

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

Despite Satanic opposition, God’s Word will accomplish its work in His people.

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed: “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up. . . . But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop” (vv. 3-8).

Jesus went on to explain that the seed is the truth of God’s Word. Satan and his demonic forces can snatch it away from those who hear it yet don’t understand what it means. They can bring affliction and persecution against those who have an emotional commitment only, thereby causing them to lose heart and fall away. In some cases they choke out the Word with worry and the deceitfulness of riches (vv. 19-22).

But truly repentant sinners receive and nurture the gospel truth, just as prepared soil receives and nurtures seed. They hear it, understand it, receive it, and produce spiritual fruit (v. 23).

Proclaiming the gospel is an important aspect of taking the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). As you do, others are saved and join God’s army. But be warned: Satan never gives up territory without a fight. Some of the people you witness to will forget what you tell them. Others will refuse to turn from worldly influences. Still others may respond emotionally, but without a genuine commitment to serving Christ and forsaking sin.

Those spiritual battles should compel you to bathe your evangelism in prayer and undergird it with a clear gospel presentation. If people understand precisely what it means to receive Christ, and if their hearts are prepared by the Holy Spirit, they’ll not be so easily victimized by satanic opposition.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to share Christ with someone today, or to encourage a struggling believer.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8.

  • What was Paul’s concern for the Thessalonian believers?
  • What did he do to eliminate his concern?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – A Faithful Servant

So then, let us [apostles] be looked upon as ministering servants of Christ and stewards (trustees) of the mysteries (the secret purposes) of God. Moreover, it is [essentially] required of stewards that a man should be found faithful [proving himself worthy of trust].

— 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (AMPC)

A faithful person knows what God has put in their heart, and even though they may feel like quitting, they don’t give up. They don’t get out of a relationship because it isn’t easy anymore. They don’t leave a church because there is some “new” thing across town, or a job because it gets too challenging.

One of the most important lessons you can learn is to be faithful with something until God lets you know you are finished with it. Sometimes God will call you out of one place and put you into another one—but God doesn’t change the plan very frequently. A faithful person is committed to doing whatever God tells them to do—no matter what!

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to stay faithful to what You have called me to do. Help me to break free of anything that is holding me back from doing Your will, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Are You Happy Today?

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord.

Deuteronomy 33:29

The person who declares that Christianity makes men miserable is himself an utter stranger to it. It would be strange indeed if it made us wretched; consider to what a position it exalts us!

It makes us sons of God. Do you suppose that God will give all the happiness to His enemies and reserve all the mourning for His own family? Will His foes have laughter and joy, while His home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Will the sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in happiness, while we go mourning as if we were penniless beggars? No; we will rejoice in the Lord always and glory in our inheritance, for we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”1 The rod of discipline must rest upon us in our measure, but it works for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the help of the divine Comforter, we, a “people saved by the LORD,” will rejoice in the God of our salvation.

We are married to Christ; and will our great Bridegroom permit His spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit to Him: We are His members, and though for a while we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet even now we are blessed with heavenly blessings in Him.

We have the promise of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Inheritors of joy forever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrise. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side of the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts and urge us onward.

It is truly said of us, “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD.”

1) Romans 8:15

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 – The LORD Helps Those Who Trust in Him

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)

“You lost Mom’s what?!” Ray could not believe his ears. Was his little sister just playing some kind of trick on him?

Susie’s face did not seem like she was joking. She was crying. “I lost Mom’s rings!” she cried out. “After she washed the dishes this afternoon, I saw them where she had put them on the windowsill. When she went to the grocery store, I just got this silly idea. I decided I wanted to try them on my finger, you know, just to try them on. But my finger was too small, and they slipped right off and –!” Susie covered her mouth as though she could not say what horrible things must have happened next.

Ray shook his head as he looked down into the drain. These rings mean a lot to Mom, he thought. There was only one thing to do: Call Mr. Silsbee. Mr. Silsbee was the church janitor, and he was a plumber. He had a funny, scruffy beard, and he always wore the same faded blue denim ball cap. Everyone knew that he was the best plumber in town. If anyone could get Mom’s rings out of that sink safely, it would be Mr. Silsbee. And the way Ray figured it, if Mr. Silsbee could not get the rings out – nobody could!

Mom was still out at the grocery store, so Ray called Dad to explain and to ask permission to call Mr. Silsbee. Dad seemed pretty concerned. “Yes – we need to get him to take a look right away. In fact, I’ll call Mr. Silsbee. You just stay there nearby and make sure no one uses the sink.”

Less than an hour later, Ray and Susie found themselves staring in awe at Mom’s rings – safe and sound – glittering and gleaming on the windowsill! Dad had come home,and Mr. Silsbee had come with him. They had taken the sink apart and got the rings out of a curve in the drainpipe. Susie was not crying anymore. She was smiling from ear to ear, and Ray’s smile was just as big. No wonder Mom looked surprised when she came around the kitchen corner and saw two men and two kids staring at her rings on the windowsill!

Why do you think Ray wanted to call Mr. Silsbee for help? Ray believed that this was an emergency, important situation. Ray also believed that, because Mom’s rings were so important to her, Mr. Silsbee was the best man for the job.

Have you ever found yourself facing an important situation and knowing that you needed help from Someone super-human? God is supernatural, and He is far above human beings in His thinking, in His morality, in His power, and in everthying else. Because of that, we can rely on Him when we need His help. We can call on Him. Psalm 28 talks about how how faithful God is to those who trust Him. He helps people who call on His name for help. That everyday help (everday, but also supernatural) is the kind of help that the psalmist (probably King David) is talking about when he describes His God as “my strength and my shield.”

God has revealed Himself in the Bible to be the kind of God Who is able to answer His people’s most difficult needs, and as the kind of God Who delights in answering their needs. If we meditate (think often) about what God has done for us, and Who He really is, we will probably begin to respond more and more like the psalmist responded in verse 7: praising and rejoicing in such a great God.

God has shown Himself to be the most trustworthy “strength and shield” for believers.

My Response:
» When I face a tough situation, do I try to fix it on my own?
» Does my heart really trust in the LORD?
» What are some ways I can show that I believe God is Who He says He is?


Read in browser »

Denison Forum – One woman turns a two-day yard sale into a year’s worth of kindness

NOTE: I want to thank Shane Bennett, Ryan Denison, and Mark Legg for their outstanding work in writing the Daily Article last week while I was traveling with my wife. I am honored to share this ministry with them and excited to return to writing this week.

We might not expect a typical garage sale to make the Washington Post. But what happened recently in Arlington, Virginia, was anything but typical.

Susan Thompson-Gaines recently staged her third annual “Kindness Yard Sale” outside her home. The two-day event was a “kindness” sale in two ways. One: You could pay whatever you chose for any item; if you wanted to hand over $5 for twenty dresses or $10 for a bike, she simply thanked you. Two: She will spend the money not on herself but to help others.

After last year’s sale, she and her husband threw a virtual beach party for a group of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, kept an outdoor pantry filled with food, and added coffee pods to a teacher’s lounge. They also helped 111 neighborhood children write letters to Santa; Thompson-Gaines then wrote each child a personalized letter from Santa and gave them a wrapped present under a tree adorned with ornaments from people across the neighborhood.

This year’s sale raised more than $11,000. People across the next year will be helped by her remarkable kindness as a result.

My recent travels in Vermont

What Susan Thompson-Gaines does with her “Kindness Yard Sale” is both extraordinary and ordinary. She touches hundreds if not thousands of lives with her unusual generosity, but her yard sale is something nearly anyone with a yard could do. It requires no advanced degrees, special skills, political influence, or financial wealth.

She typifies the best of humanity. And that’s my paradoxical point today.

I am writing after spending last week with Janet in Vermont. We had always wanted to see this beautiful state in the fall, and our experiences exceeded our expectations. The mountains are majestic, the changing leaves are magical, the small towns (many are called “villages”) are quaint and picturesque, and the people are hardworking and welcoming.

And yet, surrounded by such reminders of God’s creative genius and grace, the vast majority are apparently oblivious to his presence and power. World Population Review ranks Vermont as the third-least religious state in the US, one percentage point ahead of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. According to Baptist leaders, 97 percent of the state’s population is unreached with the gospel.

The people we met appear to be doing the best they can to be the best they can. So far as many seem to know, that’s the best anyone can do.

But that’s not good enough.

Funeral services for Gabby Petito

Funeral services were held yesterday afternoon for Gabby Petito as the manhunt for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, continues this morning. (For more on this tragic story, see Mark Legg’s excellent article, “Gabby Petito and the search for perfect justice.”)

In other news, investigators arrived last night at the scene of Sunday’s deadly Amtrak derailment in Montana that killed three people and left seven hospitalized. A mother and her two-year-old son died Saturday after falling from the upper deck at Petco Park before the San Diego Padres’ baseball game. The day before, a school bus driver was fatally stabbed in front of students after picking them up from a Washington state elementary school; more information is expected to be released today.

A study published today by Oxford University shows that the life expectancy of American men decreased by two years during the pandemic. A recent salmonella outbreak has more than doubled in infections in over a week. And the US in 2020 experienced the biggest rise in murder since the start of national record-keeping in 1960, according to previews of a report to be issued later today by the FBI.

Here’s what these stories obviously have in common: they illustrate our undeniable mortality. Whether we hold kindness yard sales or commit homicides, the Greek playwright Euripides (died 406 BC) was right: “Death is a debt all mortals must pay, and no man knows for certain whether he will still be living on the morrow” (Alcestis 1:783–4).

Meeting a man who is spiritual but not religious

One reason Christians know everyone needs Christ is that we know everyone needs a Savior. We remember what Jesus said of himself: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18). And we know that “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life [through saving faith in Christ], he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

However, most of the unreached people in Vermont, Texas, or anywhere else in our secular culture apparently do not know or believe these biblical facts. If they believe in heaven at all, they believe that their good works are good enough to earn their place in it.

Last week, Janet and I were on a history tour where our speaker confidently told our group that he is “spiritual” and highly committed to living with integrity but has no personal religious commitment. He was apparently untroubled by any concern that he would spend eternity separated from God in hell as a result.

How can we help such people see their need for Jesus?

“They had been with Jesus”

We’ll continue this conversation tomorrow. For today, let’s close with this fact: all people are created by God with a “Christ-shaped emptiness” (paraphrasing Pascal), whether they know it or not. When lost people meet Christians in whose lives Christ is active, empowering, gracious, and compelling, what they are missing draws them to the only One who can satisfy the deep hunger of their souls.

When the religious authorities “saw the boldness of Peter and John . . . they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Will the people you meet today say the same of you?

http://www.denisonforum.org/