In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – What Is the Church?

Colossians 1:15-20

Most people think of the church as a building, but that’s not the biblical definition. It isn’t merely a meeting place for social interaction, scriptural instruction, and service projects. Rather, the church is composed of all those who have been redeemed by Christ. He is the head of church, and believers are called His body.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He was referring to the entire body of Christ, which is composed of all believers worldwide from every generation. The church began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and filled Jesus’ followers, and it will continue until the rapture of the church, when believers in Christ will be caught up to meet Him in the sky (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Until then, our job as Christ’s body is to follow our Head. We’re not the ones in charge; He is. The Lord builds His church, but He uses us to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey all His commands (Matt. 28:19-20). We don’t come up with our own plans; we simply follow His.

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5

Our Daily Bread — A Beginner’s Guide to Life

Bible in a Year:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Romans 6:16–23

After my mother’s sudden death, I was motivated to start blogging. I wanted to write posts that would inspire people to use their minutes on earth to create significant life moments. So I turned to a beginner’s guide to blogging. I learned what platform to use, how to choose titles, and how to craft compelling posts. And in 2016, my first blog post was born.

Paul wrote a “beginner’s guide” that explains how to obtain eternal life. In Romans 6:16–18, he contrasts the fact that we’re all born in rebellion to God (sinners) with the truth that Jesus can help us be “set free from [our] sin” (v. 18). Paul then describes the difference between being a slave to sin and a slave to God and His life-giving ways (vv. 19–20). He continues by stating that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (v. 23). Death means being separated from God forever. This is the devastating outcome we face when we reject Christ. But God has offered us a gift in Jesus—new life. It’s the kind of life that begins on earth and continues forever in heaven with Him.

Paul’s beginner’s guide to eternal life leaves us with two choices—choosing sin, which leads to death, or choosing Jesus’ gift, which leads to eternal life. May you receive His gift of life, and if you’ve already accepted Christ, may you share this gift with others today!

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe what it means to receive the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ? What’s the difference between being a slave to sin and a slave to God and His life-giving ways?

Jesus, thank You for loving me and forgiving me. You paid a debt I couldn’t pay and gave me a gift I couldn’t buy.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Rallying Around the Word

“Every word of God is tested [pure, flawless]” (Prov. 30:5).

God’s Word is without error.

Inerrancy is a term that conveys the belief that the original writings of Scripture are wholly true in everything they teach— whether doctrine, history, science, geography, geology, or any other discipline or knowledge. It also applies to accurate copies of those original writings.

Inerrancy is an unpopular concept with some people because they believe it isn’t really important. But consider the implications. No Christian would deny that our relationship to Jesus Christ is of utmost importance. How can we know Him except as He is presented in the Bible? He is our Lord and we must obey His commandments (Heb. 5:9). How can we know what He commands if we doubt His Word?

Others reject inerrancy because they think it’s divisive. But inerrancy should be a rallying point for evangelicals, not a dividing point. What unifying factor do we have if we can’t agree on the truth of divine revelation?

Still others withhold judgment on the issue, thinking it’s a technical matter that is best decided by biblical scholars. On the contrary, it is the most basic of all matters. It’s nothing less than asking, “Is there a sure Word from God?”

Inerrancy isn’t simply a matter of theological debate. It’s a matter of God’s character. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2Heb. 6:18); therefore His Word is true. Jeremiah 10:10 says that the Lord is the true God or the God of truth. The apostle John said, “God is true” (John 3:33). And Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the only true God (John 17:3). Christ came so we might “know him that is true . . . the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

Don’t be shaken by those who attack the integrity of Scripture. As you have opportunity, study any problem passages so you’ll know first-hand what the issues and proposed solutions are. And remember, Scripture was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). He cannot err.

Suggestions for Prayer

If Psalm 119:12-16 reflects the intent of your heart, read it to the Lord as a prayer of praise and commitment.

For Further Study

According to Matthew 22:29 and John 17:17, what was Jesus’ view of Scripture?

Joyce Meyer – Quiet Inner Confidence

And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.

— Isaiah 32:17 (AMPC)

Through the years, many people tried to hold me back from God’s call on my life. There were those who did not understand what I was doing and why I was doing it, so they judged me falsely. At times their criticism and judgment made me want to “sit down” and forget about my vision from God.

But I had a big God standing up on the inside of me, and “sitting down” was not an option to me. He caused me to stand up on the inside and be determined to go forward no matter what others thought, said, or did. It was not always easy, but I learned from my experience that being frustrated and unfulfilled due to being out of the will of God is more difficult than pressing through all the opposition.

Standing up on the inside does not mean being rebellious or having an aggressive attitude toward those who don’t understand us. It means having a quiet inner confidence that takes us through to the finish line. It is knowing inside that despite what is happening on the outside, everything is going to be all right because God is on the scene, and when He is present nothing is impossible.

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your presence in my life changes everything about me. Help me to stand up alongside You for all that You want me to do and say and be, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –What Is Spiritual Knowledge?

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Philippians 3:8

Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account.

It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know Him not as in the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices (Prophet, Priest and King)—His attributes—His works—His shame—His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”1

It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind will be full to the brim—I will feel that I have that which my spirit longs for. This is the bread that satisfies all hunger.

At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I will want to know. The higher I climb, the loftier will be the summits that invite my eager footsteps. I shall want more as I get more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more.

To conclude, this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating that sometimes it will completely lift me above all trials and doubts and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man . . . born of a woman . . . few of days and full of trouble,” for it will throw about me the immortality of the ever-living Savior and cover me with the golden cloak of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’ feet, and learn of Him all this day.

1) Ephesians 3:18-19

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Making Room for God

“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2)

Allie was exhausted! She had spent all morning scrubbing the moldy walls and pipes in a smelly bathroom. She had spent all afternoon scraping paint off some door frames. And she had spent all evening washing paintbrushes and running errands for the adults who were putting up wallpaper on the walls.

Allie’s family was on a work trip to help some people in Mississippi whose house had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Her dad had a painting business, and her mom was a counselor, so Allie got to go down to Mississippi and be a part of the work crew, too. They were working on the house of an older lady named Miss Ruby. Miss Ruby was probably ready to retire, but she still worked a full-time job at a store in town so that she could pay the bills.

As she cleaned up the tools and threw away scraps of wallpaper, Allie was humming some of her favorite songs about the Lord. She wondered to herself if Miss Ruby knew about God, or – if so – what Miss Ruby thought about Him. She also couldn’t help but wonder what Miss Ruby would think when she walked through that door after her work tonight and saw all the progress the crew had made on her home! It looked brand new to Allie. Everything was white and neat and nothing like the moldy mess it had been when they first came. It made Allie happy to think of doing something that would make Miss Ruby so happy. She couldn’t wait for her to come home!

Have you ever helped to get somebody’s bedroom ready? Maybe you have even helped to fix up someone’s whole house, like Allie and her family did. That is the kind of idea in Exodus 15:2, that we prepare a habitation (a home, dwelling place) for God. The LORD is the Giver of salvation. He is strength for His people. He is what His people want to sing about. And He is the One we should exalt.

Do you keep an important place for God in your life? God should not become some sort of “guest” in your life, with only a small, temporary room to stay in. God should have the very best, and He should have it for a long stay, permanently. Don’t just squeeze God into your life on top of everything else you want to keep important. God should be the most important Person in your life.

Are you constantly thinking about God? Do you keep ready to talk about Him? Are you trusting and obeying Him? Are you exalting Him? Is the LORD your strength and song? Does the thought of Him keep you going when you are exhausted? Just like Allie had served Miss Ruby all day and could not wait to see her face when she walked in after work, we should be thinking about our Savior all day, worshipping Him even with how we act and the things we say – as though we expect Him to come into His “home” and spend time with us every day.

God should feel “at home” in our lives.

My Response:
» Who is my strength, song, and salvation?
» Who deserves my praise and worship?
» Am I “making room for” God in my life?

Denison Forum – A bisexual Superman and William Shatner’s return from space

When I was a kid, Superman was my favorite comic book hero. I never imagined I’d see a picture published by DC Comics in which he kisses another man, but that was then and this is now: Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is officially bisexual. Monday’s announcement of the news was timed to coincide with “National Coming Out Day.”

Dean Cain, who starred as Superman on television in the 1990s, pointed out that this is nothing new: Robin was already bisexual, the new Captain America is gay, and his “Supergirl” daughter in his TV series was gay.

Of course, targeting children and youth with the message of LGBTQ normalization is nothing new, either. Last June, the Walt Disney Company unveiled the Rainbow Disney Collection featuring T-shirts, Mickey Mouse ears, mugs, and even baby apparel adorned with rainbows. Three years ago, Cartoon Network featured a same-sex wedding proposal on the animated series Steven Universe.

Earlier this year, the Nickelodeon series Blue’s Clues and You! unveiled a song teaching children the alphabet while promoting LGBTQ advocacy. The series also released a Pride parade video narrated by an animated version of drag performer and activist Nina West. Kellogg’s introduced LGBTQ-themed cereal for Pride Month; the children’s cartoon Rugrats now features a lesbian single mom.

And a new California law requires retailers to have “gender neutral” toy sections. A critic warned that the legislation will “impose a de-gendered ideology and viewpoint on retailers.”

Ninety rattlesnakes beneath a house

Some problems have obvious solutions. For example, when nearly ninety rattlesnakes set up a den beneath a California woman’s home, she called a reptile rescue team to remove them.

Other problems are more intractable. For instance, capybaras are swarming a wealthy gated community in Argentina. They are the world’s largest rodent, reaching 140 pounds in size. They are destroying lawns, attacking pets, and colliding with people. No one is quite sure what to do.

Several asteroids larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza will approach our planet in coming months; fortunately, none are on a collision course with us. However, a meteor may have exploded over New Hampshire last Sunday, causing a prolonged boom that shook homes. And a small plane crashed into a San Diego neighborhood, killing two people and demolishing a home newlyweds had just finished remodeling.

When we face intractable problems, we can ignore them, worry about them, or try to solve them ourselves. Or, as with the California woman whose home was infested by snakes, we can seek help from those who can do what we cannot.

Yesterday we discussed Satan’s temptation strategies and the importance of seeking God’s power over our Enemy each day. Today, let’s focus on a very practical way to do so.

Kicker defeats Alabama, glorifies God

Seth Small kicked the game-winning field goal for Texas A&M last Saturday in their upset win over No. 1 Alabama. However, he told reporters after the game that this did not top his list of best moments: “It was probably the third-best moment of my life, right after I accepted Jesus into my heart as my true Lord and Savior, and then after getting married to my wife this summer.”

Before his kick, Seth said, “I was just repeating Psalm 23:1 to myself all night, which is ‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.’ That kind of comforted me.”

According to Gallup senior scientist Frank Newport, 55 percent of Americans say they trust themselves, while only 37 percent trust the legislative branch. Author and speaker Jordan Peterson is enormously popular in large part because he calls us to take accountability for our lives, friends, families, and community through what one reviewer calls “heroic responsibility and self-sacrifice.”

By contrast, when the greatest example of “heroic responsibility and self-sacrifice” in history faced his wilderness temptations, he responded to each by quoting God’s word (Matthew 4:1–10). When Peter faced skeptics of the Pentecost miracle, he quoted the prophet Joel to the crowd (Acts 2:14–21). When he faced critics of his ministry with Cornelius, he quoted what the Lord had revealed to him about the Gentiles (Acts 11:1–18).

God has a word for you every time you face temptation and trials. This is why memorizing Scripture is so important, as this discipline gives the Spirit tools he can use in our minds and hearts. And it is why turning to God as soon as we face difficulty is so vital. His Spirit will empower us, lead us, and use us to the degree that we are willing to be empowered, led, and used.

“Heroic responsibility and self-sacrifice” may well be required in defeating our spiritual enemy, but their ultimate source is in the One who said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

What William Shatner got wrong

Those of us who believe in biblical morality are becoming more countercultural with each year that passes. From comic books to toys to TV, movies, and social media, unbiblical messages surround us all day, every day.

The good news is that we can look up for the strength to look around. We can choose the vertical in confronting the horizontal. We can find in heaven the resources we need to live authentically and victoriously on earth.

In this sense, William Shatner got it exactly wrong yesterday. After making history as the oldest person ever to go into space, the ninety-year-old actor was ecstatic upon his Blue Origin flight’s return to earth, telling Jeff Bezos: “Everybody in the world needs to do this. . . . I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just, it’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.”

Shatner was especially impressed with the atmosphere through which he traveled: “This air which is keeping us alive. It’s thinner than your skin. It’s a sliver. It’s immeasurably small.” Speaking of the sky into which he traveled, he said, “Fifty miles and . . . you’re in death.” Then, referring to our fallen planet that “lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4), he said, “This is life.”

Where will you point to for life today?