In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Trusting God’s Promises

Since God always keeps His word, misunderstanding is the only explanation for a divine promise that seemed to fail.

2 Peter 1:2-4

Have you ever become discouraged because the Lord didn’t keep a promise the way you expected? If so, the problem was not God’s faithfulness to His Word but your understanding of Scripture. 

First, not all promises in the Bible apply to us. Some of them are limited to a certain situation, person, or time. For instance, when God told Abraham and Sarah they would have a son (Gen. 17:15-16), this was His commitment specifically to them, not to anyone else. 

Second, it’s important to realize some promises are conditional. Consider the Bible verse that says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). This isn’t an open-ended guarantee that God will give you whatever you want. There’s a qualification: delighting in the Lord and desiring what He wants.

Even though some of God’s promises have restrictions, there are many in the New Testament that apply to all believers: God promises to work all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28), to be with us forever (Heb. 13:5), and to give us an eternal inheritance in heaven (1 Pet. 1:3-5). We can claim these with full assurance because Scripture explicitly tells us they’re God’s will.

Bible in One Year: John 10-11

Our Daily Bread — Rainy Days

Bible in a Year:

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Proverbs 11:23–26

When small businesses in Tennessee were abruptly shuttered in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, shop owners worried about how to care for their employees, how to pay their rent, and how to simply survive the crisis. In response to their concerns, the pastor of a church near Nashville started an initiative to supply cash to struggling business owners.

“We don’t feel like we can sit on a rainy-day fund when somebody else is going through a rainy day,” the pastor explained, as he encouraged other churches in the area to join the effort.

A rainy-day fund is money that’s put aside in case normal income is decreased for a time while regular operations need to continue. While it’s natural for us to look out for ourselves first, Scripture encourages us to always look beyond our own needs, to find ways to serve others, and to practice generosity. Proverbs 11 reminds us, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more,” “a generous person will prosper,” and “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (vv. 24–25).

Is the sun shining extra bright in your life today? Look around to see if there’s torrential rain in someone else’s world. The blessings God has graciously given you are multiplied when you freely share them with others. Being generous and open-handed is a wonderful way to give hope to others and to remind hurting people that God loves them.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

When has someone been open-handed with their time or resources with you? How could you do the same for someone in need today?

Gracious God, help me to be tenderhearted toward the needs of others and show me how I can share Your love and generosity with them.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Being Wise in Adversity

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Wisdom teaches us how to handle adversity.

In his wonderful commentary on the book of James, Robert Johnstone wrote the following about meekness:

That “the meek” should “inherit the earth”—that they bear wrongs, and exemplify the love which “seeketh not her own”—to a world that believes in high-handedness and self-assertion, and pushing the weakest to the wall, a statement like this of the Lord from Heaven cannot but appear an utter paradox. The man of the world desires to be counted anything but “meek” or “poor in spirit,” and would deem such a description of him equivalent to a charge of unmanliness.

Ah, brethren, this is because we have taken in Satan’s conception of manliness instead of God’s. One man has been shown us by God, in whom His ideal of man was embodied; and He, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: He for those who nailed Him to the tree prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” The world’s spirit of wrath, then, must be folly; whilst than a spirit of meekness like His, in the midst of controversy, oppositions, trials of whatever kind, there can be no surer evidence that “Jesus is made of God to His people wisdom” (The Epistle of James [Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1978], 272-273).

Johnstone recognized more than a hundred years ago what we need to know today—that the wisdom of man is arrogant, conceited, and self-serving, whereas the wisdom of God is humble, meek, and non-retaliatory.

The contrast between false wisdom and true wisdom is crystal-clear. Be sure you handle adversity in a Christlike way, knowing that every detail of your life is under God’s sovereign control.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord for His example of how to respond to adversity (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24).

For Further Study

Read Philippians 2:1-11, applying Christ’s example to your life (vv. 1-5).

Joyce Meyer – Turning Fear into Faith and Courage

The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].

— Psalm 37:23 (AMPC)

God has a good plan for our lives, but sometimes obstacles get in the way that keep us from taking the steps He’s leading us to take. If there is an area of your life where you are facing fear or anxiety, decide to give it to God and receive His grace to enable you to have faith in that area so you can keep moving forward.

Read, study, and meditate on God’s Word about being free from fear and secure in Him. His Word will renew your mind, and fear will turn to faith and courage. Take the steps of faith that God leads you to take even though you might still feel some fear, and as you go forward you will begin to sense more and more freedom.

For example, if you would love to apply for a position that would be a promotion in your company, but you’ve felt too fearful to do so, step out and try it. Even if you don’t get the position, you will have been successful in stepping out in faith, and that is the most important thing. Remember that God is always with you, and as you follow His lead, He delights in your way and busies Himself with your every step!

Prayer Starter: Dear Lord, help me to look to You when I feel fearful and afraid, and You will turn my fear into faith. Help me to step out and do Your will today and every day, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Made Perfect in Weakness

 ‘For my power is made perfect in weakness.’

2 Corinthians 12:9

Aprimary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches out to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I will overcome—my own ability and my self-confidence will be enough for victory,” defeat is staring him in the face.

God will not enable the man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by such means has reckoned wrongly, for “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”1

Those who go out to fight, boasting of their ability, will return with their banners trailing in the dust and their armor stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way and in His strength, or He will never accept their service.

Whatever a man does, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casts away; He will only reap corn the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.

God will empty out all that you have before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out your granaries before He will fill them with the finest of wheat.

The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength that He Himself imparts.

Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and you are being humbled to prepare you for being lifted up.

When I am weak then am I strong,
Grace is my shield and Christ my song.

1) Zechariah 4:6

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is There

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in [the grave], behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10 )

God is there, wherever you are. There is nowhere you could go where God would not be with you. Whether you are in a foreign country, on a boat in the middle of the sea, or in an empty old house all alone – God is there.

Maybe you feel lonely or upset and need comfort. God is there. No matter where you are, God is always with you – to guide you, to comfort you, to befriend you. He cares for you. He will lead you and hold you and carry you through difficult situations.

Maybe you are trying to hide from God. Are you committing secret sins that you think no one knows about? God is there. He sees everything you do. He even understands your thoughts. You could never get yourself out of God’s presence, even if you wanted to. God’s eyes are always upon you.

You cannot see God with your eyes, but He is there – guiding, protecting, keeping you, and watching everything you do. What a comfort to think that, even if you were to flee (run away) to the farthest part of the world, God is there.

God is always there, no matter where I go.

My Response:
» Am I forgetting that God is with me today?
» Are there ways I can show that I believe God is there, wherever I might be?

Denison Forum – “The most important leadership skill” and God’s invitation to join his “holy work”

Nicholas Kristof is leaving his longtime post at the New York Times to run for governor of Oregon. I could construct a significant list of issues about which I disagree with the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. However, I commend him for his reasoning in making this move:

“I love journalism, but I also love my home state. I keep thinking of Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: ‘It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,’ he said. ‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.’”

Noting that one-quarter of the students who rode the bus with him in elementary and high school “are dead from drugs, alcohol, and suicide—deaths of despair,” he writes: “I’m bucking the journalistic impulse to stay on the sidelines because my heart aches at what classmates have endured, and it feels like the right moment to move from covering problems to trying to fix them.”

He concludes: “I hope to convince some of you that public service in government can be a path to show responsibility for communities we love, for a country that can do better. Even if that means leaving a job I love.”

Yesterday we noted that one person inspired by Christ can change the world. Today we’ll focus on one powerful way to do this.

Why empathy is so vital

Today’s Daily Article was inspired by this headline in Forbes: “Empathy is the Most Important Leadership Skill According to Research.”

Tracy Brower’s article notes that empathy is especially important these days because “people are experiencing multiple kinds of stress, and data suggests it is affected by the pandemic—and the ways our lives and our work have been turned upside down.” Some examples:

  • A global study found 42 percent of people experienced a decline in mental health. Specifically, 67 percent are experiencing increases in stress; 57 percent have increased anxiety; 54 percent are emotionally exhausted; 53 percent are sad; and 50 percent are irritable.
  • Another study reported that our sleep is compromised when we feel stressed at work.
  • A third study found workplace incivility is rising, with extensive effects that include reduced performance and collaboration, deteriorating customer experiences, and increased turnover.

By contrast, when leaders are empathetic, their employees are much more likely to be innovative, engaged in their work, retained by their companies, feel included in their workplace, and navigate the demands of work and life successfully.

The article encourages leaders to consider the thoughts of others through cognitive empathy (“If I were in his/her position, what would I be thinking right now?”) and emotional empathy. (“Being in his/her position would make me feel _______.”) They should also inquire directly about the challenges their employees are facing, then listen to their responses.

A friend’s wise advice

Nicholas Kristof writes that he is running for governor of Oregon out of empathetic concern for his home state and its people. It would seem appropriate for me to encourage Christians to follow his example by serving everyone we can with empathy for their needs and struggles.

God’s word does, in fact, teach that when we serve the hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, and imprisoned, we are serving Jesus (Matthew 25:35–40). Our Lord exhorted us: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35, my emphasis). And Peter adds: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).

However, this call to empathetic service is more nuanced than it might first appear. Peter continues: “Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies” (v. 11). In other words, we are to serve within our gifts and abilities by the strength God gives those who answer his call.

It is also true that our service should be directed by our Lord, not by the needs around us. Paul’s Macedonian vision led him west instead of east (Acts 16:6–10), but this made the needs of the region he left no less real. Oswald Chambers noted: “Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of his Father, not to the needs of people—the saving of people was the natural outcome of his obedience to the Father.”

A wise friend once told me, “Their need does not constitute your call.”

“On purpose for a purpose”

Before we can serve where God intends us to serve, we must know where God intends us to serve. We can trust his omniscience and perfect will (a fact I discussed in a recent personal blog about Baylor’s football victory over the University of Texas). In fact, the older we get, the more urgently we need to seek and follow our Father’s leading (a fact I discussed in my latest personal blog).

In You Were Made for This Moment, Max Lucado focuses on the dramatic scene in Esther 4 where Mordecai encourages Esther to intercede with the king on behalf of her Jewish people. She explains, “If any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live” (v. 11).

Mordecai replies, “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (v. 14). In response, Esther agrees to go to the king “though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (v. 16).

Lucado then writes: “What took Esther from ‘If I go, I’ll perish’ to ‘If I perish, I perish’? It had to be Mordecai’s straightforward message: ‘You were placed here on purpose for a purpose.’

“So were you, my friend. What if you, like Esther, have an opportunity to act in a way that will bless your people more than you can imagine? This is your moment.”

He continues: “The question is not ‘Will God prevail?’ The question is ‘Will you be part of the team?’ Heaven will offer each one of us the privilege of participating in the holy work. When your invitation comes, may you find the same courage Esther found and make the same decision Mordecai made. Relief will come. May God help you and me to be a part of it.”

Like Esther, you have come to the kingdom “for such a time as this.”

What “holy work” is God inviting you to join today?