In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Wisdom for the Trials of Life

James taught that trials are inevitable, but through Christ, we can be ready to handle them with rejoicing.

October 26, 2021

James 1:2-8

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, He’s so lucky or Her life is so easy? In reality, no one has a problem-free existence. Scripture describes life’s trials as universal—we all face times of trouble. 

James 1:2 is a small verse, but it contains tremendous insight about our trials. First, it is significant that James uses the word “when.” Undergoing trials is a matter of when rather than if

Second, James says we’ll “encounter” misfortune, implying that difficulties will arise unexpectedly. There may be no time to prepare for these dilemmas. 

Third, he uses the adjective “various” to denote the ever-changing, often surprising ways adversities appear. James has a specific message he wants to convey: “Get ready. Trouble is coming, so you must be prepared to handle it effectively.” 

“Effective” may not be a word you’d use to describe your response to trials. Too often, we hope for hardship to pass us by quickly. However, that would rob us of the opportunity for growth that each trial contains. 

Read today’s passage again slowly. Pray as you read, asking God to show you how to endure—and how to actually rejoice in your trials. He has a plan for your moment of hardship. Ask Him today what it may be and then trust He will accomplish His purpose in it. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 12-13

Our Daily Bread — Set Apart

Bible in a Year:

Paul was . . . set apart for the gospel of God.

Romans 1:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Romans 1:1–6

The three-wheeled taxis of Sri Lanka, known as “tuk tuks,” are a convenient and delightful mode of transport for many. Lorraine, a resident of the capital of Colombo, also realized that they’re a mission field. Hopping onto a tuk tuk one day, she found the friendly driver more than happy to engage in conversation about religion. The next time, she told herself, she would talk to the driver about the good news.

The book of Romans starts with Paul declaring himself as “set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). The Greek word for “gospel” is evangelion, which means “good news.” Paul was essentially saying that his main purpose was to tell God’s good news.

What is this good news? Romans 1:3 says that the gospel of God is “regarding his Son.” The good news is Jesus! It’s God who wants to tell the world that Jesus came to save us from sin and death, and He’s chosen us to be His mode of communication. What a humbling fact!

Sharing the good news is a privilege all believers in Jesus have been given. We’ve “received grace” to call others to this faith (vv. 5–6). God has set us apart to carry the exciting news of the gospel to those around us, whether on tuk tuks or wherever we are. May we, like Lorraine, look for opportunities in our daily life to tell others the good news that is Jesus.

By:  Asiri Fernando ( ゲスト寄稿者 )

Reflect & Pray

What barriers do you experience in sharing your faith? What talents or interests can you use to present the good news?

Jesus, thank You for making me Your mouthpiece for Your good news. May Your Spirit give me the courage and love to share about You today.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Passing on a Godly Heritage

“From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Planting and nurturing the seed of God’s Word in a child’s mind can produce an abundant spiritual harvest.

Not long ago I met with a group of Christian leaders to consider several candidates for a significant ministry position. During our meeting it dawned on me that each candidate’s father was a prominent pastor. Each candidate had grown up in a family that daily taught and exemplified biblical truth.

That illustrates the enormous impact a Christian heritage can have on a person—whether he pursues the pastorate or not. And by no means is it fathers only who influence their children toward righteousness. Quite the contrary: A godly mother usually has far more opportunity to do so.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had four sons—all of whom followed his example by becoming ministers. It’s reported that at a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” “That’s easy,” the son replied, “Mother!”

Timothy knew the benefits of a spiritual heritage like that. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois (2 Tim. 1:5) taught him the sacred writings, which give the wisdom that leads to salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). Even as a child, Timothy was being equipped for the ministry God would later call him to. The spiritual training he received as a child—and the reservoir of biblical knowledge he accumulated in those early years—were crucial elements in his adult ministry.

If you are a parent, the most precious gift you can give your child is a godly upbringing that will serve as the foundation for his or her future ministries.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for those who have instructed you in the Word and encouraged you in righteousness.
  • If you are a parent, pray that your children will exceed you in the faith.
  • Be faithful to pray for the young people around you and set a godly example for them to follow.

For Further Study

Read 1 Samuel 1:1—2:10. What characteristics of a godly mother did Hannah display?

Joyce Meyer – The Exchange of Righteousness

He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].

— 2 Corinthians 5:21 (AMP)

Part of being a Christian is being able to exchange all you have for all Jesus has. You can exchange sin for forgiveness, fear for faith, uncertainty for confidence, lack for abundance, anxiety for peace, sadness for joy, despair for hope, failures for a fresh start, weakness for strength, and you can make all kinds of other wonderful exchanges because you belong to God. According to Romans 8:17, believers are “co-heirs with Christ” of all that God gives to Him (NIV). We can have everything He offers us, under one condition: that we give up everything old in order to have the new things He has for us.

I like to say that Jesus invites us to an exchanged life. On any given day with Him, we can make the exchanges I have mentioned in this devotion. But we don’t get the new until we release the old.

One of the great exchanges of the Christian life is exchanging our inability to do everything right for the righteousness of God. Isaiah writes that our old righteousness is like filthy rags or a polluted garment (Isaiah 64:6), but Jesus’ righteousness is perfect. Because of His sacrifice, 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that we can exchange our imperfect righteousness for His perfect righteousness.

Have you ever gone through life with a vague sense that something just isn’t right about you? You may not be able to articulate it, but you feel it. If you feel that way, I can relate. Because of the abuse that happened during my childhood, I felt for many years that something was wrong with me, but I could never say with certainty what it was. I just knew that for my father to abuse me the way he did, something had to be wrong with me. Imagine how thrilled I was when I learned that Jesus makes everything about me right before God through my faith in Him!

The impression that something is wrong about you is a lie from the enemy. The truth is that because of God’s lovingkindness, He sees you as right with Him. He accepts you just as you are, holds nothing against you, and helps you become what He wants you to be. You no longer have to carry the burdens of guilt, shame, condemnation, or the feeling that something just isn’t right about you. This doesn’t mean that every old sense of something being wrong will instantly go away. But it does mean that as you study and meditate on this truth, and as it becomes more and more established in your heart, you will become more and more confident in the fact that your relationship with Jesus has made you completely right with God.

Prayer Starter: Thank you, Lord, for exchanging all my junk for Your righteousness and truth In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Giving Generously

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.

Haggai 1:9

Grudging souls limit their contributions to the ministry and missionary operations and call such saving good economy; little do they dream that in doing so they are impoverishing themselves. Their excuse is that they must care for their own families, and they forget that to neglect the house of God is a sure way to bring ruin upon their own houses. Our God has a method in providence by which He can cause our endeavors to succeed beyond our expectation, or He can defeat our plans to our confusion and dismay; by a turn of His hand He can steer our vessel in a profitable channel or run it aground in poverty and bankruptcy. It is the teaching of Scripture that the Lord enriches the generous and leaves the miserly to discover that withholding leads to poverty.

In a very wide sphere of observation, I have noticed that the most generous Christians of my acquaintance have always been the happiest, and almost invariably the most prosperous. I have seen the generous giver rise to financial levels of which he never dreamed; and I have as often seen the mean, ungenerous soul descend to poverty by the very stinginess by which he thought to rise. Men trust good stewards with larger and larger sums, and so it frequently is with the Lord; He gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels. Where wealth is not bestowed, the Lord makes a little much by the contentment that the sanctified heart feels in his portion from which a tithe has been dedicated to the Lord.

Selfishness looks first at home, but godliness seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; yet in the long run selfishness is loss, and godliness is great gain. It requires faith to act toward our God with an open hand, but surely He deserves it from us; and all that we can do is a very poor acknowledgment of our amazing indebtedness to His goodness.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The LORD’s Word Is Tried and True

 “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18:30-31,46)

Have you ever gone to the store with your parents and seen little tables where the store workers are giving away free samples? If a store is just beginning to sell a special new dipping sauce, for example, they might have a big bowl of chips out, and they might invite anyone to grab a chip and dip it in the sauce. Or maybe a bakery has a new cookie recipe, so they want everyone to know how good their new cookie is going to taste! Everyone is welcome to stop by the table and try a cookie (or at least a bite). If you go to an ice cream shop, and you cannot decide what flavor of ice cream you want, a worker might dip a little spoon into a flavor you aren’t sure about, pull out the spoon with a bite of ice cream on it, and hand it to you. Then you can see (taste!) for yourself whether you really like that flavor enough to get a whole scoop of it.

What did the psalmist mean when he wrote that God’s Word is “tried”? Does that mean some people have tried it out and decided they liked it? Well, in a way that’s true. The Word has been tried, or tested, and proven to be true. It truly is the Word of God. God Himself says so, the Word itself says so, and many people have come to believe by faith that God’s Word is what He says it is.

But God’s Word does not need the approval of human beings. Even if everyone read the whole Bible through – and even if every human being alive were to decide that the Bible was just another storybook – the Bible would not be any less true, and it would not stop being God’s Word. Truth is always true, no matter what people think of it.

“All those that trust in” God do find that He is a buckler (a strong shield) for them. They do “taste and see that the LORD is good.” They do come to realize that the Word of the LORD is tried, and that it stands up to any tests. The Word of the LORD is faithful, and that cannot change. Human beings are not always faithful and not always good judges. But God’s way is perfect, and His Word is tried and true. Why? Because God Himself is faithful and true. He never changes, and His Word is the same.

God’s Word is as faithful as He is.

My Response:
» Do I study the Bible so that I can know truths He wants me to know about Himself?
» Do I take the LORD’s Word over what others say?
» How can I show in my daily actions that I believe in the power and trustworthiness of God’s Word?

Denison Forum – Alec Baldwin taunted after deadly accident

 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Alec Baldwin was reportedly “inconsolable for hours” after allegedly discharging a prop gun in the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. “Everyone knows this was an accident, but he’s absolutely devastated,” a source told People magazine.

Nonetheless, some have responded to this tragedy in ways that personally disparage Baldwin. I will not repeat these taunts and jibes here.

I understand that Baldwin has offended many with his political satire and attacks on leaders with whom he disagreed. Nonetheless, it is discouraging to see the level to which our public discourse has sunk—and especially discouraging when Christians participate in such vitriol.

“The nation is coming apart”

Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren writes in her latest New York Times op-ed: “The nation is coming apart. The world is in turmoil.” She explains: “A recent poll by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics showed that 75 percent of Biden voters and 78 percent of Trump voters believe that their political opponents ‘have become a clear and present danger to the American way of life.’ A majority of Trump voters (52 percent) and a large minority of Biden voters (41 percent) support splitting the country into two along blue/red lines.”

Digital media executive Brett Meiselas tweeted, “If you’re attacking Alec Baldwin for this horrible tragedy, you are a bad person. Full stop. This is profoundly traumatic for everyone involved. I cannot even begin to imagine the guilt, sadness, and devastation everyone involved is currently feeling.”

A better response to tragedy is being modeled by Christians praying around the clock for the Haitian missionary hostages, a story I reported yesterday. (For updates on the missionaries from the organization sponsoring them, click here.)

As I was praying for these missionaries, Alec Baldwin, the families affected by the shooting on his movie set, and others suffering in the news, I was reminded of a single verse in Scripture with profound implications. I consider it a Spirit-inspired template we should each follow today.

A verse that changes everything

Acts 12 finds Peter imprisoned by King Herod, the grandson of Herod the Great. The apostle has been turned over to four squads of four guards each (v. 4), likely in the fortress Antonia (cf. Acts 21:31–23:32).

In response, “Earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church” (v. 5). In his classic work, The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power, R. A. Torrey identifies their four-fold strategy.

One: Pray together.

The “church” was praying for the apostle, at least five thousand families (Acts 4:4) scattered across the region (Acts 8:1). They were claiming Jesus’ promise that God answers collective prayer (Matthew 18:19–20). Not because we should not pray in solitude, a discipline Jesus often modeled (cf. Mark 1:35Matthew 14:23). Nor because praying together talks God into what he would not have done otherwise. Rather, collective prayer encourages us, holds us accountable to each other, and magnifies our passion and faith.

Two: Pray passionately.

Luke records that “earnest prayer” was “made” by the church for Peter. The Greek is in the continuous tense; they were still praying in the morning when Peter escaped and came to them (Acts 12:12). Jesus set the example in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Such passion does not earn God’s favor. Rather, it positions us to be molded by his Spirit into the character of Christ (Romans 8:29) and empowers us often to become the answer we seek (cf. Matthew 9:3810:1).

Three: Pray specifically.

Luke notes that they prayed “for him.” By contrast, we sometimes pray so generically that even if God could answer us, we wouldn’t know he did. I often hear people ask God to “be with us” when he already promised he would be (Matthew 28:20). We ask him to “bless” someone without stating their specific needs and asking for his specific answers. Good golfers don’t aim at the fairway—they aim at a tree on the fairway. Effective intercessors are specific and focused in how they pray and how they ask God to answer them.

Four: Pray to God.

It seems redundant that Luke was inspired to write, “earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church” (my emphasis). But we are all tempted to pray more to impress others than to intercede before the Lord. We can pray about God more than to him. Or we can enter his presence intentionally and consciously, kneeling before the throne of the God of the universe. Our true power is not in our prayer but in the One to whom we pray.

How to “turn the world upside down”

The results in Acts 12 were miraculous: an angel freed Peter from his chains, led him past sleeping guards, and opened the iron gate of the prison (vv. 6–10). However, I need to add: even when we pray collectively, passionately, and specifically to God, he does not always answer in ways we wish. According to very early tradition, Peter was eventually crucified upside down in fulfillment of Jesus’ warning that he would die as a martyr (John 21:18–19). The other disciples died as martyrs or suffered imprisonment.

But praying as the first Christians prayed positions us to be transformed and empowered by the One to whom we pray (cf. Acts 4:31). It positions us to receive God’s best, whatever that may be (cf. Romans 12:2Isaiah 55:8–9). And it serves as a powerful testimony to our skeptical secular culture that the One to whom we pray is real and relevant.

The first Christians “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) and sparked the mightiest spiritual movement the world has ever seen. God’s nature does not change. Anything he has ever done he can still do today.

I am therefore convinced that the key to fulfilling our “salt” and “light” calling in our culture (Matthew 5:13–16) is doing what these early Christians did. If we were praying as they prayed, we would experience what they experienced. If we do not, we will not (James 4:2).

Twenty-seven soldiers

Some years ago, a group of missionaries were camping at night on a hillside. Robber bands were common in the area. The missionaries were carrying money and feared attack. After praying together, they finally went to sleep.

Months later, the leader of one of the robber bands was brought to the mission hospital for treatment. While there, he asked the missionaries if they still had the soldiers who guarded them that night. “We intended to rob you,” he admitted, “but were afraid of the twenty-seven soldiers.”

When the story got back to the church supporting these missionaries, someone remembered, “We had a prayer meeting that night, and there were twenty-seven of us present.”

Why do you need to pray collectively, passionately, and specifically to God today?