In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Patience in the Wait

Though we, like Job, may go through hardships, God never ceases being merciful and good.

James 5:10-11

We may think our theology and attitude about the Lord are revealed by what we claim to believe. But when our prayers go unanswered and circumstances remain unchanged, the way we wait speaks volumes about our true beliefs.

Job was a God-fearing man who endured the loss of his children, health, and possessions. Yet he remained faithful to the Lord throughout his ordeal, despite a desperate need to know why he was so afflicted. In the midst of his suffering, Job cried out, “Oh, that my request might come to pass, and that God would grant my hope!” (Job 6:8). Every day was filled with unrelenting pain, but his consolation and joy were that he had “not denied the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:10). 

The world around us judges God as unfair, indifferent, or malicious, but this should never be the case with us. When the Lord remains silent during our times of adversity or confusion, we should go to His Word to discover what it says about His character and ways. Even when our feelings seem overwhelming and our faith starts to falter, we can stand firm on the facts of Scripture. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 4-5

Our Daily Bread — Live to Serve

Bible in a Year:

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Peter 4:8–11

After ten-year-old Chelsea received an elaborate art set, she discovered that God used art to help her feel better when she was sad. When she found out that some kids didn’t have art supplies readily available, she wanted to help them. So when it was time for her birthday party, she asked her friends not to bring her gifts. Instead, she invited them to donate art supplies and help fill boxes for children in need.

Later, with her family’s help, she started Chelsea’s Charity. She began asking more people to help her fill boxes so she could help more kids. She has even taught art tips to groups who have received her boxes. After a local newscaster interviewed Chelsea, people started donating supplies from all over the country. As Chelsea’s Charity continues sending art supplies internationally, this young girl is demonstrating how God can use us when we’re willing to live to serve others.

Chelsea’s compassion and willingness to share reflects the heart of a faithful steward. The apostle Peter encourages all believers in Jesus to be faithful stewards as they “love each other deeply” by sharing the resources and talents God has given them (1 Peter 4:8–11).

Our small acts of love can inspire others to join us in giving. God can even rally supporters to serve alongside us. As we rely on Him, we can live to serve and give Him the glory He deserves.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you rely on God to help you serve others today? In what way has God been nudging you to serve Him that seems too big for you to handle alone?

Faithful Father, please give me all I need to serve You by loving others with my words and actions today.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Fearing God

“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (Ps. 19:9).

Fearing God leads to reverential attitudes and actions.

In the Old Testament, to fear God was to view Him with reverential awe and bow to His sovereign authority. In Psalm 34 David wrote, “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, and loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (vv. 11- 14). His son Solomon added, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. . . . Fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (Prov. 1:73:7).

The concept of fearing God isn’t limited to the Old Testament. Paul said, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), “Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1) and, “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21).

Our fear of God compels us to worship Him and conform our lives to His will. If you fear Him, pleasing Him will be your greatest delight and displeasing Him, your greatest disappointment.

In Psalm 19:9 David uses “fear” as a synonym for God’s Word, implying that Scripture is God’s manual on how to worship Him. “Clean” (v. 9) is a comprehensive term that speaks of the absence of sin, corruption, filthiness, defilement, imperfection, and error. The message Scripture conveys is always “flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times” (Ps. 12:6, NIV).

Because it is so perfect, Scripture endures forever (Ps. 19:9). That’s why Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mark 13:31). It never needs to be updated to accommodate contemporary thinking. It stands forever as authoritative and unyielding. Those who judge it, slander it, or ignore it are in grave peril. Far better to fear God and bow to His revealed will.

Suggestions for Prayer

Read Psalm 33 as a prayer of praise to the Lord.

For Further Study

Memorize Proverbs 3:5-7 as a reminder always to seek God’s will and approval.

Joyce Meyer – You Are Not Alone

Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

— Joshua 1:9 (AMPC)

The Lord wants to remind you today that you are never alone. At times you may feel lonely, or as if no one cares about you, but that is not true. God is never more than one thought away. You can be instantly in His presence by simply remembering and believing His promise to be with you everywhere you go.

Take the time to develop the habit of simply reminding yourself that God is with you in all that you do. The more you think about this, the more of a reality it will become to you. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time, and surely, He is with each of us. You are not alone—not now, not ever. God is not only with you, but He loves you unconditionally, and He will guide you throughout your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for being with me. Help me recognize Your presence as a reality in my life. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Body of Divinity in Miniature

I will love them freely.

Hosea 14:4

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. Whoever grasps its meaning is a theologian, and whoever is able to dive into its fullness is a learned professor! It is a summary of the glorious message of salvation that was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer.

The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing out to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are.

The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.”

Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then He would not love us freely; at least, this would be a hindrance and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands: “I will love them freely.”

We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.”

“I will love them freely.”

“But I do not feel my need of Christ as I ought to.”

“I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.”

“But I do not feel that softening of spirit that I should desire.”

Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever. So we without any fitness may rest upon the promise of God that was made to us in Christ Jesus when He said, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned.”1 It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price!

“I will love them freely.” These words invite apostates to return: Indeed, the text was specially written for such—“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely.”

Apostate, surely the generosity of the promise will immediately break your heart, and you will return and seek your injured Father’s face.

1) John 3:18

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Christ Is Our Advocate

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

Johanna was not happy. She and her sister Donna had gotten in an argument, and Dad had walked into the living room to find them standing on either end of the couch, yelling at one another. Both Johanna and Donna had been sent to their rooms to think about what they had been fighting over, and why they thought it was “so worth fighting for.”

But Johanna already knew it wasn’t worth the kind of meanness she had let loose on Donna. It had just started out as a tiny disagreement – about whose doll would get to wear a favorite outfit for that day. But this was not the first time Donna’s attitude had gotten on Johanna’s nerves, so Johanna had decided to tell Donna what she really thought of her – and her doll. She never intended to end up on one side of the couch, throwing pillows at Donna and yelling mean things at her. But that’s what had happened.

She already regretted it, even before Dad finally came in to punish her. If only it could be easier to remember that she loved Donna – right during that very moment when Donna was getting on her nerves! But those annoying moments seemed like the hardest times to remember love. Johanna could only think about herself when she started to get angry like that.

She picked up her Bible and looked at the verse she had just studied that morning. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” Well, I already blew that today, thought Johanna.

But she kept on reading. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Wow! she thought, shaking her head. She had looked “advocate” up in the dictionary just that morning, and she had learned that an advocate is someone who stands up in court to explain someone’s case and defend that person. An advocate is a spokesperson, someone who speaks in behalf of someone else. It is someone who is strong and guiltless who represents someone who is weak and guilty.

Johanna thought about that idea long and hard. It was amazing to think that Someone strong and perfect like Jesus was representing someone weak and sinful like her. Now she understood why the first part of the verse came before the second part. The thought of Jesus “fighting for” her was something to be thankful for – and something worth fighting for! Slowly it dawned on Johanna: Because of what Jesus Christ had done and was still doing for her, she needed to fight against sin. Her real battles should not be with Donna or anyone else, but with her own sinful nature. Johanna knew that to please her Advocate, she needed to fight harder against the temptation to sin in the first place.

Jesus Christ stands before God as our righteous Defender.

My Response:
» Am I constantly sinning and just relying on Jesus’ righteousness to cover for me?
» Do I think my own selfish desires are worth fighting for?
» Am I willing to focus my time and energy on fighting against my own sin?

Denison Forum – Facebook’s name change and Donald Trump’s new social media platform

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

Facebook is changing its company name next week to focus on building the “metaverse.” What is the metaverse, you ask?

The term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where it referred to a 3D world inhabited by avatars of real people. BBC reports that the metaverse “could be to [virtual reality] what the modern smartphone is to the first clunky mobile phones of the 1980s.” The article explains, “Instead of being on a computer, in the metaverse you might use a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments. . . . this virtual world could be used for practically anything—work, play, concerts, cinema trips—or just hanging out.”

Facebook is making a huge investment in the metaverse, announcing its plan to hire ten thousand people in Europe to build it. You can already use technology to stage “watch” and “listen” parties with nearly every streaming and gaming company. This is apparently the next step.

Donald Trump is launching “TRUTH Social”

In other digital news, former President Trump has announced plans to launch his own social media platform early next year. He’s calling it TRUTH Social and considers it part of his efforts to fight back against “the Big Tech companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”

Meanwhile, PayPal is reportedly in late stage talks to acquire Pinterest at a cost of $45 billion. And the Wall Street Journal reports that a ransomware gang masqueraded as a real company to recruit tech talent.

Digital news makes the news daily. There is much you can do online, with more coming. But a cell phone cannot hug a grieving spouse. A laptop cannot open Christmas presents from your grandparents. A tablet cannot substitute for a parent at a recital or baseball game.

In a new poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans who use social media platforms believe life was better without them. While Pascal was right to observe that there is a “God-shaped emptiness” in our souls, there is a “people-shaped emptiness” in us as well. The first time God ever said something was “not good,” he made this declaration: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

Real people need real people. And that’s the good news we’ll discuss today.

“The key to a fulfilled life”

Oscar Thompson’s Concentric Circles of Concern: From Self to Others Through Life-Style Evangelism is a classic in the field. Dr. Thompson, a longtime pastor and evangelism professor, identifies seven relational “circles” in our lives: self, family, relatives, friends, neighbors-associates, acquaintances, and “Person X” whom we’ve not yet met.

He notes: “The key to a fulfilled life is relationships. Things do not satisfy; relationships do.” His book encourages us to first “get right with God, self, and others,” since we cannot give what we do not have or lead people where we are unwilling to go. When “you do get things right in your own life with God,” he writes, “he will begin to engineer humanly impossible circumstances to bring more people into your concentric circles to have their needs met.” As a result, “You become fulfilled as you see the fruit of God’s Spirit impacting the lives of those around you.”

Dr. Thompson adds: “When you make Christ Lord of your life, you forever surrender the right to choose whom you will love.” It is that love for others that fuels all we do to serve our Lord (cf. Matthew 22:37–40).

Next, we are to survey our relationships, work with God through prayer, build relationship bridges to them, show God’s love by meeting needs, make disciples and help them grow, and then help new Christians make disciples.

Dr. Thompson is right: the people in your spheres of influence “are there for you to love—to meet their needs—so the Father can draw them to his Son Jesus.” He notes that we need to start where we are, since “you will not have a ministry in the future if you do not have it now. . . . So, remember that your ministry is not out there somewhere in the future; it is now!”

Why Luka Doncic is already an MVP

As the NBA season begins this week, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is the clear favorite to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) when the season ends. But he is already the MVP for patients at Children’s Health in Dallas and Plano, arranging for a bag of surprises to be delivered to eighty patients Tuesday. They included a pair of Jordan sneakers; a Jordan drawstring, bag, hoodie, and socks; as well as a letter from Luka and a signed photo.

You will probably never compete in the NBA and may never attain the celebrity of a basketball superstar. But God has entrusted someone’s needs to your care today. He has prepared someone for you to share your compassion and faith with them. He has prepared you for that relationship as well.

So, ask him to put that person on your mind and heart right now with Samuel’s prayer, “Speak, Lᴏʀᴅ, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9 NLT). Then say to God with Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Yesterday morning, I was walking in our neighborhood before dawn under a beautiful harvest moon. The moon reflected the sun’s rays so powerfully, they cast my shadow ahead of me as I walked. However, before long I came under a streetlight; its brilliance far outshone the moon.

Obviously, a streetlight cannot compare with the moon for luminosity. But it was so much closer to me than the moon that its light illuminated the entire block where I was walking. 

You and I are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) as we reflect Jesus, the “light of the world” (John 8:12). We are like the moon reflecting the rays from our Source. We therefore need to be aligned with Jesus and we need to be close to those who need his light in their darkness.

Who will walk under your “streetlight” today?

NOTE: The Ten Commandments are the ancient “rules of the game” from God that tell us how to live if we want to live well. I unpack each of these rules in my tenth volume of Biblical Insight to Tough Questions, where I seek to answer questions about how to handle our ambitions, religion, stress, parents, enemies, sex, possessions, lies, and lusts. Please request your copy of this new resource* today.

*You can also pre-order the entire 10-volume set of Biblical Insight to Tough Questions, where I unapologetically answer dozens of our culture’s toughest questions with Scripture.