In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Is It a Need or a Desire?

God promises to meet the needs of faithful believers, and He even fulfills some desires that align with His will—but we must not confuse the two.

1 Timothy 6

There are many passages in the Bible that speak about God meeting the needs of His people, but we must be careful to interpret them correctly. It’s important to understand the difference between needs and desires. A need is something essential, according to God’s will for our life. But a desire is something we want for ourselves or others, and it’s often based on the expectation of enjoyment, ease, or comfort. 

There is nothing wrong with a desire, as long as it is within the will of God. After all, our heavenly Father “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). But He never promises to grant all our desires. Therefore, not receiving what we want is no indicator that God is unfaithful! He does, however, promise to meet all our needs.

At the end of the day, two things are required to navigate times of need—contentment in every circumstance and dependence on Jesus Christ for strength (Phil. 4:12-13). Begin each day by asking the Lord to provide whatever He deems necessary; then ask for your desires. Let the Lord determine what is best in both categories, and be content with His choices for you. 

Bible in One Year: Acts 8-9

Our Daily Bread — God’s Amazing Creation

Bible in a Year:

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Job 38:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Job 38:1, 4–18

What began as a simple spring nature walk turned into something special as my wife and I trekked along our hometown’s Grand River. We noticed some familiar “friends” on a log in the rippling water—five or six large turtles basking in the sun. Sue and I smiled at the amazing sight of these reptiles, which we hadn’t seen for many months. We were delighted that they were back, and we celebrated a moment of joy in God’s magnificent creation.

God took Job on quite a nature walk (see Job 38). The troubled man needed an answer from his Creator about his situation (v. 1). And what he saw on his journey with God through His creation provided the encouragement he needed.

Imagine Job’s amazement as God reminded him of His grand design of the world. Job got a firsthand explanation of the natural world: “Who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (vv. 6–7). He got a geography lesson regarding God’s imposed limitations of the seas (v. 11).

The Creator continued to inform Job about the light He created, snow He produces, and rain He provides to make things grow (vv. 19–28). Job even heard about the constellations from the One who flung them into space (vv. 31–32).

Finally, Job responded, “I know that you can do all things” (42:2). As we experience the natural world, may we stand in awe of our wise and wonderful Creator.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

How can nature bring you closer to God? How does it remind you of His great creative power and love?

Dear God, thank You for creating such a magnificent, diverse, fascinating world. Help me to appreciate Your workmanship and realize that You’re in control.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Seeking God’s Reward

“He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

All who come to God in faith will receive the reward of eternal life.

We’ve seen that without faith it’s impossible to please God. And the first step in faith is believing that God exists. In addition, we must also believe that He answers our prayers—more specifically, that He redeems those who come to Him in faith.

Scripture repeatedly tells us that God not only can be found, but also desires to be found. David said to his son Solomon, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9). The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jesus said, “Everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened” (Luke 11:10).

At first glance those verses may seem to contradict Paul’s teaching that “there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside” (Rom. 3:11-12), and Jesus’ statement that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). But really they’re two sides of the same theological coin.

On one side you see man believing God and receiving Christ for salvation. On the other you see God enabling man to do so. Prior to salvation, a person is spiritually dead and utterly incapable of responding to the gospel. God must grant him or her saving faith. That’s why the Bible contains statements like, “To you it has been granted for Christ’s sake . . . to believe in Him” (Phil. 1:29); “As many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48); and “The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14).

God is the Great Rewarder, extending His love and grace to all who call upon Him. “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed” (Rom. 10:11).

Suggestions for Prayer

If you’ve been praying for someone’s salvation, don’t become discouraged. Only God can grant saving faith, but He gives us the privilege of participating in His redemptive work through faithful prayer and evangelism (Rom 10:1).

For Further Study

Memorize Ephesians 2:8-9.

Joyce Meyer – Angels All Around Us

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service].

— Psalm 91:11 (AMPC)

Recently, while I was going down some steps, I missed the last step and fell. Although I could have seriously hurt myself, I was able to balance myself so that I dropped to the floor on one knee while holding a laundry basket in one hand and carrying a jar in the other. Did I balance myself or did I have divine help? I thought right away after the fall, I believe an angel caught me and prevented me from injury. I felt that God reminded me of the divine helpers (angels) that are with us at all times.

I admit that I don’t think about angels very often, but I believe I should be more aware of the biblical truth that they are with us all the time, defending and protecting us. We tend to not pay much attention to the things we can’t see with the natural eye, but we can learn to see more with the eye of faith. God is always with us, and He gives His angels to us as a special blessing. Perhaps they could help us more if we truly believed in their presence.

Angels ministered to Jesus when He was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. When Daniel was in the lions’ den, angels were sent to shut their mouths so they could not harm him. Actually, God’s Word is filled with many examples of angels giving assistance, so I encourage you to believe they are with you today and to let that thought comfort you.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for giving me angels to assist and defend me at all times. I want to be more aware of their presence in my life and more thankful for how often they keep me safe.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Benefit of Trials

The tested genuineness of your faith.

1 Peter 1:7

Untested faith may be true faith, but it is sure to be small faith, and it is likely to remain little as long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: Tempests are her trainers, and bolts of lightning are her illuminators.

When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship does not move to its harbor; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too.

Let the winds rush and howl, and let the waters lift themselves, though the vessel may rock and her deck may be washed with waves and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway toward her desired haven.

No flowers are as lovely a blue as those that grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam as brightly as those that glisten in the midnight sky; no water tastes as sweet as that which springs up in the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity.

Tested faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness if you had not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength if you had not been supported in the flood.

Faith increases in quality, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.

Do not let this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: The full portion will be measured out to you in due course.

Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence you have now attained: Walk according to that rule, and you will still have more and more of the blessing of God, until your faith will remove mountains and conquer impossibilities.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Doesn’t Make Junk

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

If you create something (whether it’s a picture or a paper airplane, a clay sculpture, or even a new cookie recipe), you have used your mind and your imagination, as well as your hands and tools and supplies. You can truly enjoy creating something – especially if it’s something that matters to you, and if you do a good job. It may never turn out as well as you had hoped back when you started; but after you are done, your project shows others something about you, the creator. It reflects your style.

When God finished making the world, it was perfectly good. (Genesis 1:31 – “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”) When we look at the world, we see God’s style, His creativity. We see colors and sounds and beauty. We see what He provides for us: food and water, rain and light. We experience a world of systems that work properly, whether it is the four seasons (always in the same order), or day following night, or gravity. We see animals and plants that are so unusual and fantastic that a human being could never have imagined them. Our own bodies are amazing systems that no computer could ever equal. Nothing that we as creatures could ever make would ever be as complicated and wonderful as God’s handiwork, because He is the Master Creator.

Once Adam and Eve sinned, God’s Creation could no longer be perfect. It was still good, but it had a curse on it. You may have seen this in yourself: You get sick, or things go wrong in your body, or you would like to change a part of yourself that does not seem right. God will take care of all these problems one day. If you are His child, you will be part of a new heaven and a new earth, with a new body that works perfectly at all times. But in the meantime, you are still “fearfully and wonderfully made.” For that reason, you can praise God, for it was He Who made us; not the other way around! (See Psalm 100:3.)

As one pastor used to say, “God doesn’t make junk.” Use your body and your creativity to praise God.

God has a perfect purpose for creating each of us, and we should use the gifts He gave us for His glory.

My Response:
» Is there something about myself or my abilities that makes me unhappy?
» Did God make me the way I am for a reason?
» How can I use what God has given me to give honor back to Him as my Creator?

Denison Forum – Texas governor seeks to ban “pornographic” books in public school libraries

Gov. Greg Abbott is directing Texas education officials to investigate whether pornography is available in the state’s public schools and to notify law enforcement if such material is found to be accessible. In a letter to Education Commissioner Mike Morath, he noted, “The presence of pornography in schools is not only inappropriate, but it is also against the law.”

In previous correspondence, the governor cited two books removed from libraries in the cities of Keller and Leander. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Keller removed Gender Queer: a Memoir by Maia Kobabe after complaints of the book’s drawings and Leander removed In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, which describes sexual acts.”

Machado wrote a New York Times editorial defending her work. She describes her book as a memoir of “domestic violence or verbal, psychological, and emotional abuse in queer relationships.” In her mind, the book helps prepare students to “understand the world they’ll encounter, or even the lives they’re already living.” She dismisses allegations that her depiction of lesbian relationships is “grooming” students by normalizing such relationships.

However, normalizing unbiblical sexual activity has been an intentional and strategic initiative by LGBTQ advocates for decades. It gained early momentum through television shows such as Will & Grace and is now so ubiquitous as to be “normal” and thus successful.

For instance, 30 percent of American millennials now identify as LGBTQ, according to a recent study by George Barna. He notes that social and news media coverage makes it “safe and cool” for young Americans to identify in this way whether or not it represents their actual sexual orientation.

Elementary school takes students to a gay bar

I could fill the next twenty Daily Articles with examples of normalizing unbiblical morality, such as the elementary school that recently took students to a gay bar and Cecily Strong’s clown skit on Saturday Night Live advocating for abortion after describing hers.

However, my focus today is on how effective such normalization has been not just in the culture but also in the church.

For example, Barna’s survey found that just under 30 percent of Christian millennials also say they identify as LGBTQ. In addition, according to the Washington Post, 47 percent of younger evangelical Christians (born after 1964) now favor gay marriage. This is up from 16 percent in 2006 and compares with 26 percent of older evangelicals (born between 1928 and 1964), a figure which is up from 10 percent in 2006.

Such Christians are simply cohering with the norms of our day: 85 percent of unaffiliated Americans endorse same-sex marriage, as do 67 percent of Catholics, 68 percent of white mainline Protestants, and 44 percent of Black Protestants.

The two stages of judgment

We focused earlier this week on the biblical facts that a holy God must judge sin and that a loving Father must do all he can to lead his children from that which harms them to that which is best for them. Hosea 5 depicts the two ways our Lord judges sin for the sake of his character and our future.

The first stage is permissive. When his people persist in their sin but “go to seek the Lᴏʀᴅ,” he warns: “They will not find him; he has withdrawn from them” (v. 6). We find this stage at work in Romans 1, where God responded to those who “exchanged the truth about God for a lie” when he “gave them up to dishonorable passions” (vv. 25–26). The text adds: “Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (v. 28).

The second stage is active: “I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue” (Hosea 5:14). These warnings came to pass when Ephraim (Israel) was exiled by Assyria in 722 BC and Judah by Babylon in 586 BC.

God’s purpose in such punishment, however, was redemptive: “I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me” (v. 15).

Does the first stage describe America today? If we do not repent and seek our holy God, will the second?

Some uncomfortable questions

How should you and I respond?

As I noted yesterday, God’s people are to be watchmen on the wall, warning those inside the city of impending danger (Ezekiel 3:17–21). We are the body of Christ, the visible manifestation of his continuing ministry in our world (1 Corinthians 12:27).

However, a speaker cannot expect her audience to believe a message she does not model. An obese fitness instructor or a tone-deaf singing coach will struggle to find employment.

Has the normalization of sin found you? Let me ask you some uncomfortable questions that I must answer for myself as well:

  • Do you wince when a movie makes extramarital sex an expected part of its plot or when adultery is a punch line on a TV show?
  • Do you grieve for those who champion and even joke about abortion or march in Pride parades?
  • If your children or grandchildren were watching the shows or movies you watch, would you still watch them?
  • Are you truly burdened for the spiritual condition of your neighbors, colleagues, and unsaved family members?

“An arm that always fights for us”

Br. Luke Ditewig of the Society of St. John the Evangelist writes: “Kingdom life is one of participation. To not act is just as bad as to overtly do something wrong. What we do or don’t do matters. God gives gifts—we are to receive and use them” (my emphasis).

The good news is that as we work, God works. If we will pray for boldness to stand courageously and compassionately for biblical morality, our Lord will always answer our prayers (cf. Acts 4:29–31). If we will ask the Spirit to help us use our influence to lead others to truth and transformation in Christ, he will empower and employ us in ways we may not fully understand on this side of eternity (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Charles Spurgeon noted, “There beats a heart in heaven that always loves us, a tongue that always pleads for us, an arm that always fights for us.”

Scottish minister John Baillie prayed: “Lord, do not let me rest content with an ideal of humanity that is less than what was shown to us in Jesus. Give me the mind of Christ. May I not rest until I am like him in all his fullness.”

Is this your prayer today?