In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – No Condemnation

Romans 7:15-25Romans 8:1

We can all relate to Paul’s dilemma in today’s passage. These verses describe the internal struggle we have with sin, even after salvation. When we give in to temptation, we’re often plagued by feelings of condemnation and may wonder if God has abandoned us. That’s why Romans 8:1 is such a comforting “Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

When the Savior went to the cross on our behalf, He lifted the guilt and penalty for sin from our shoulders and made us righteous. Our sins are wiped clean, and we are chosen and loved by God. Condemnation is reserved for those who reject the Lord, not for those who have been reconciled to God by the Savior (John 3:36).

If you experience feelings of rebuke, they are not from the Lord but from the devil who accuses us. To realign our thinking with the Father’s, we need to fill our mind with the truth of Scripture and remember that He never condemns those who belong to Him. Satan whispers lies, but God’s Word always speaks truth. So rely on it and thank the Lord for loving and saving you.

Bible in One Year: Matthew 27-28

Our Daily Bread — The Greatest Teacher

Bible in a Year:

Who was it that taught [the Lord] knowledge?

Isaiah 40:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 40:12–14

“I don’t get it!” My daughter slapped her pencil down on the desk. She was working on a math assignment, and I’d just begun my “job” as a homeschooling mom/teacher. We were in trouble. I couldn’t recall what I’d learned thirty-five years ago about changing decimals into fractions. I couldn’t teach her something I didn’t already know, so we watched an online teacher explain the skill.

As human beings, we’ll struggle at times with things we don’t know or understand. But not God; He’s the all-knowing One—the omniscient One. Isaiah wrote, “Who can . . . instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13–14). The answer? No one!

Humans have intelligence because God created us in His own image. Still, our intelligence is just an inkling of His. Our knowledge is limited, but God knows everything from eternity past to eternity future (Psalm 147:5). Our knowledge is increasing today with the aid of technology, but we still get things wrong. Jesus, however, knows all things “immediately, simultaneously, exhaustively and truly,” as one theologian put it.

No matter how much humans advance in knowledge, we’ll never surpass Christ’s all-knowing status. We’ll always need Him to bless our understanding and to teach us what’s good and true.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

In what types of situations are you thankful for God’s omniscience? How does knowing that Jesus understands everything encourage you?

Jesus, I praise You as the One who knows everything. Teach me what You want me to learn, and help me to love You with all my mind.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Modern-Day Revelations

“Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, emphasis added).

Scripture contains everything you need to know for godly living.

For many years I’ve watched with deep concern as a significant number of Christians have drifted from a thoughtful, biblical, God- centered theology to one that is increasingly mystical, non- biblical, and man-centered. One of the most disturbing indicators of this trend is the proliferation of extrabiblical revelations that certain people are claiming to receive directly from God.

Such claims are alarming because they dilute the uniqueness and centrality of the Bible and cause people to lean on man’s word rather than God’s. They imply that Scripture is insufficient for Christian living and that we need additional revelation to fill the gap.

But God’s Word contains everything you need to know for spiritual life and godly living. It is inspired and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness so that you may be fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). What more is necessary?

When the apostle John died, apostolic revelation came to an end. But that written legacy remains as the standard by which we are to test every teacher and teaching that claims to be from God (1 Thess. 5:211 John 4:1). If a teaching doesn’t conform to Scripture, it must be rejected. If it does conform, it isn’t a new revelation. In either case, additional revelation is unnecessary.

God went to great lengths to record and preserve His revelation, and He jealously guards it from corruption of any kind. From Moses, the first known recipient of divine revelation, to the apostle John, the final recipient, His charge remained the same: “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2; cf., Rev. 22:18-19).

Don’t be swayed by supposed new revelations. Devote yourself to what has already been revealed.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to guard your heart from confusion and help you to keep your attention firmly fixed on His Word.

For Further Study

According to 2 Timothy 4:1-4, why must we preach and uphold God’s Word?

Joyce Meyer – Choosing the Peaceful Path

By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.

— Luke 21:19 (AMPC)

You need to learn not to let your mind and emotions get the best of you, especially when it involves things over which you have no control.

Suppose you are on your way to an important interview and get caught in a traffic jam. How do you react? Is it worth getting all upset and throwing some kind of fit? Wouldn’t it be much better for you and everyone else if you just remained calm, even if you were late for the interview? If you have done your best God will do the rest.

Refuse to get wild when things don’t go as you planned. Refuse to allow your mind, will, and emotions to rule your spirit. In your patience you will learn to possess your soul.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for loving me. Because of You, I no longer need to get upset over things I can’t do anything about. Help me to stay calm. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Ponder the Things of God

I will meditate on your precepts.

Psalm 119:15

There are times when solitude is better than company, and silence is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were alone more often, waiting on God and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for service in His kingdom. We ought to ponder the things of God, because that is how we get the real nutriment out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: In order to have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully on the bunches or else the juice will not flow; and the grapes must be properly tread or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth if we desire the wine of consolation from them.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process that really supplies the muscle and the nerve and the sinew and the bone is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening for a while to this and then to that and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning all require inward digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies mainly in meditating upon it.

Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make only slow advances in the Christian life? Because they neglect their closets and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they want the corn, but they will not go out into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs on the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it.

Deliver us, O Lord, from such folly, and may this be our resolve this morning: “I will meditate on your precepts.”

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Justifies

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10-11)

Highlights magazine has a sort of comic strip storyline with two characters, brothers named “Goofus” and “Gallant.” In the story, Goofus and Gallant are always faced with choices about things – things like helping their mother, obeying a “No Swimming” sign, or what to do on a test when they do not know the correct answer.

Somehow, Gallant always chooses to do the noble, wise, and good thing. He helps his mom with a sweet attitude. He does not go swimming in the wrong zones. And he would never cheat on a test.

But Goofus always manages to get himself in trouble. How? Well, he always chooses the easy, fun, and foolish way out of any situation. If he has an opportunity to cheat on his test, he probably will think, “It’s just for this one time” or maybe “I already know the right answer; I just forget!” If he sees a “No Swimming” sign, he will tell himself that the sign is for little kids, or for really bad swimmers, or just against swimming at certain times of the day. Goofus is quick to think of reasons why what he wants to choose is also what he should choose. Then he goes swimming, against the sign, and gets hurt, or he cheats on his test and gets suspended from school.

When we are tempted to think like Goofus does about sin, it is called “rationalizing” or “justifying” ourselves. We want our decisions to be rational (to make sense), and we want them to be just (right and good). But we also want what we want! So we fool ourselves into thinking that sin is reasonable and makes sense. We talk ourselves into calling sin something other than “sin.” We want a way to make our wrong decisions be right!

We cannot justify (make right) our own sin or anyone else’s sinfulness, because we ourselves are sinful. But Jesus Christ was not sinful. He never sinned. Do you know Jesus is able to justify those of us who want to be right with God? Even if we were to behave like Gallant all the time – always obeying mothers and signs and rules! – we still could never get rid of our sinfulness. We could never “earn” the right to be called just (right or good). But realize this: Jesus did earn the right to make us just, when He took upon Himself the iniquities (sins) of many. He bore our sins, and that was the only way we could ever be justified (made right or good) before God.

Jesus Christ is the only One righteous enough to make sinners right with God.

My Response:
» Do I try to rationalize my sin? Do I ever try to justify my sinful choices?
» How does God view any one of my sins?
» Who can make me right with God, even though I’m a sinner?

Denison Forum – Why you won’t vote for George Clooney

During the 2016 presidential campaign, George Clooney stated emphatically, “There’s not going to be a President Donald Trump.” Now, apparently, there will not be a President George Clooney.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andre Marr, the sixty-year-old actor stated that, while he’s engaged in politics, he hopes to reduce his workload rather than increase it by running for office. When asked if he had such political intentions, he said quickly, “No, because I would actually like to have a nice life.”

He has a point. In recent days, activists supporting the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill have accosted Sen. Krysten Sinema at an airport and on her way to the bathroom. Over the weekend, they announced their plan to follow her at yesterday’s Boston Marathon as well. Sen. Joe Manchin was recently at the houseboat where he lives while in Washington, DC, when a group of kayakers confronted him on the same issue.

When asked about the way Sen. Sinema had been treated, President Joe Biden replied, “The only people it doesn’t happen to are the people who have Secret Service standing around them. So, it’s part of the process.”

Tim Keller on celebrity pastors

Public service comes at a cost. Conversely, when we are filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), we are motivated to serve. When we love our Lord, we must love our neighbor (Matthew 22:34–40). When God is working in us, he will work through us.

Yesterday we discussed the temptation of “private” sins that seem to have no public consequences but keep us from being used and rewarded fully by God. Today, let’s accent the positive: private godliness positions us to be used by God in ways we cannot imagine beforehand.

Well-known pastor and author Tim Keller acknowledged to Christian Post that he is viewed as a “celebrity pastor in some circles.” However, he also understands that if he misuses his platform, “a lot of Christians can be put to shame” because of him.

He added: “Therefore, if God gives me a bigger ‘platform,’ then I actually have a responsibility not to disappoint people. Not just to look like a great person; I actually have to be holy; I have to actually mortify my sin. I have to have a prayer life. I have to do the stuff that every Christian needs to do. I don’t have to be better than other Christians. I just need to be what God wants a Christian to be.”

While public ministry requires private godliness, the converse is also true: private godliness empowers and enables public ministry. In seeking such godliness, let’s consider a simple but paradoxical fact.

A clown shortage and a war hero

Northern Ireland is experiencing a clown shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a problem in circuses and other places where clowns are needed. Being a clown is anonymous business—the more a crowd can identify the person behind the costume, the less effective a clown that person will be.

In other news, Private First Class Desmond T. Doss of Lynchburg, Virginia, was presented the Medal of Honor on this day in 1945. He was cited for outstanding bravery as a medical corpsman, the first conscientious objector in American history to receive the nation’s highest military honor.

He served during the bloody battle of Okinawa, saving the lives of dozens of his fellow soldiers at grave risk to his own. When Mel Gibson brought his incredible story to movie theaters with Hacksaw Ridge, I was invited to a private screening followed by a time of discussion with Mr. Gibson. I asked him why he felt compelled to make the film; he explained that he felt PFC Doss’ story was one the world needed to know.

He was right. As the movie makes clear, PFC Doss served with no thought of personal advancement. He simply saw his fellow soldiers in danger and did what he could. He could have had no possible idea that six decades later, his story would make global news.

“I am not but I know I Am”

The more we seek personally to glorify God, the more publicly he can use us. This is because God cannot share his throne lest he commit idolatry. If he seeks to glorify anyone above himself, he leads us into worship of the creature rather than the Creator. As Israel’s idolatrous history illustrates, this sin only leads into further sin.

By contrast, when we say of Jesus what John said of him, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30), the Father uses us to draw more people to his Son than we could ever lead to him in our ability for our glory. When we say with Louie Giglio, “I am not but I know I Am,” we know the great I Aᴍ (Exodus 3:14) in ways that will lead others to know him as well.

God’s word states paradoxically, “The reward for humility and fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). Scripture promises, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). Solomon noted, “Humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33).

The more we seek public recognition, the less God will lead us to experience it. The more we seek to honor our Lord and glorify our Savior in all we do, the more God can trust us with public ministry that will lead even more people to him.

How to “build a tall house of virtues”

Tim Keller is just one of many “celebrity pastors” in our day of global journalism and social media exposure. You could name many others. But I’m sure Rev. Keller would agree that celebrity is not enough.

As the moral decline of our culture illustrates, we need fewer personalities and more servants. Being famous is no substitute for being faithful. As we noted yesterday, we cannot save a single soul or change a single life. Only the Spirit can accomplish spiritual transformation.

So, let’s take a moment to ask ourselves why we do what we do for God. Why did I write this Daily Article? If you attended worship last Sunday, or taught a Bible study, or led worship, or preached a sermon, why did you do so? Think of your last act of service as a Christian—why did you do what you did?

If we do not seek intentionally to honor Jesus in all we do, we will honor ourselves instead. Our default position as fallen people is to be on the throne of our own hearts, seeking our own glory. The “will to power” (Nietzsche) that began in Genesis 3 continues to tempt us today. But if we ask the Spirit to help us know our motives and seek to glorify God in everything we do, he will answer our prayer.

St. Augustine noted, “If you plan to build a tall house of virtues, you must first lay deep foundations of humility.”

How deep are your foundations today?