In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – How God Views Unbelievers

God is loving and merciful, but it is a harsh truth that the spiritually dead will experience His wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-5

God’s Word is always true, but sometimes it comes across as confrontational when it exposes our erroneous thinking. One truth that’s often considered challenging is the way God describes the desperate state of those who are without Christ. They are …

  • Dead in their offenses and sins. Spiritual death came to all people as a result of Adam’s sin, leaving the human race under God’s condemnation (Eph. 2:1).  
  • Unable to grasp spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). Their minds are darkened, and they cannot understand the things of God. 
  • Outside of God’s family. Spiritually, there are only two families in the world: the family of God and the family of Satan (John 8:44).
  • Under God’s wrath. Unbelievers, even the ones who are kind and loving, are under judgment because of their unforgiven sins (Eph. 2:3). 

Those without Christ are in grave danger and don’t realize it. They need to hear the bad news before they can see their need for a Savior. So find a way to carefully give them these hard truths, and explain how they can be rescued: Through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ on their behalf, they can escape God’s wrath and condemnation.  

Bible in One Year: Titus 1-3, Philemon 1

Our Daily Bread — What Are You?

Bible in a Year:

In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Galatians 3:26

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Galatians 3:26–4:7

When I walked into the ice cream shop with my five-year-old biracial son, the man behind the counter glanced at me and stared at my child. “What are you?”

His question and harsh tone triggered the all-too-familiar anger and heartache I’d experienced growing up as a Mexican-American who didn’t fit stereotypes. Pulling Xavier closer, I turned toward my Black husband as he entered the store. With eyes narrowed, the store clerk completed our order in silence.

I prayed silently for the man as my son listed the flavors of ice cream he wanted to try. Repenting of my bitterness, I asked God to give me a spirit of forgiveness. With my light-but-not-white complexion, I’d been the target of similar glares accompanying that same question over the years. I’d struggled with insecurities and feelings of worthlessness until I began learning how to embrace my identity as God’s beloved daughter.

The apostle Paul declares that believers in Jesus are “all children of God through faith,” equally valued and beautifully diverse. We’re intimately connected and intentionally designed to work together (Galatians 3:26–29). When God sent His Son to redeem us, we became family through His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins (4:4–7). As God’s image-bearers, our worth cannot be determined by the opinions, expectations, or biases of others.

What are we? We’re children of God.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

When have you doubted your value as a person due to the opinions, expectations, or biases of others? How does knowing all God’s children are His image-bearers help you love those who are different from you?

Father God, please help me to see myself and others through Your eyes. Help me love with Your heart as I come into contact with people who are different from me.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Seeing the Majesty of Christ

“When [Christ] had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

God has exalted Christ above everyone and everything.

Christ in His majestic glory is “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2). That’s why it is His right to have the title deed to the earth, spoken of in Revelation 5:1-7. There He opens that deed and takes possession of what is rightfully His as heir of all things.

Hebrews 1 further describes Christ as “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature. . . . When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’? And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’” (vv. 3-6; compare v. 13). Because Christ is the unique Son of God, the angels are called to worship Him.

The Father said of the exalted Christ, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions” (vv. 8-9). Christ is the eternal, righteous God. He is also the Creator who lives forever and remains the same (vv. 10-12).

If you see Christ in His majesty the way the writer of Hebrews did, you’ll want to make the words of Charles Wesley’s hymn “Rejoice—The Lord Is King!” your own:

Jesus the Savior reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Suggestions for Prayer

Both angels and the redeemed worship the exalted Christ. Use Psalm 103 as the basis of your prayer of worship.

For Further Study

Hebrews 1:10 shows Christ to be the Creator. Based on this and Psalm 148, what honor is He owed?

Joyce Meyer – Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and mountaineers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

— Matthew 5:9 (AMPC)

Pursuing peace means making an effort. We cannot maintain peace simply by our own fleshly efforts; we need God’s help, and we need grace, which is His power assisting us and enabling us to do what needs to be done. 

The efforts we make must be in Christ. Too often we just try to do what is right without asking for God’s help, and that type of fleshly effort never produces good fruit. The Bible calls this a “work of the flesh.” It is man’s effort trying to do God’s job. 

What I am saying is, be sure you lean on God and ask for His help. 

When you succeed, give Him the credit, the honor, and the glory because success is impossible without Him.

Jesus said, Apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing (John 15:5). It takes most of us a long time to believe this Scripture enough to stop trying to do things on our own, without leaning on God. We try and fail, try and fail; it happens over and over until we finally wear ourselves out and realize that God Himself is our strength, our success, and our victory. He doesn’t just give us strength—He is our strength. He does not just give us the victory—He is our victory. Yes, we make efforts to keep peace, but we dare not make efforts without depending on God’s power to flow through us; failure is certain if we do. 

The Lord blesses peacemakers, those who work for and make peace. Peacemakers are committed to peace—they crave peace, pursue peace, and go after it. They don’t just hope or wish for it, they don’t just pray for it. They aggressively pursue it in the power of God. Make a commitment to pursue peace from this day forward. 

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I trust you to make me a peacemaker—one who works for and pursues peace with You, myself, and others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Call of Christian Faith

Come to me.

Matthew 11:28

The call of the Christian faith is the gentle word, “Come.” The Jewish law spoke harshly: “Go, pay attention to your steps as to the path in which you will walk. Break the commandments, and you will perish; keep them, and you will live.” The law was a dispensation of terror that drove men before it as with a scourge; the Gospel draws with cords of love. Jesus is the Good Shepherd going before His sheep, bidding them follow Him, and leading them forward with the sweet word, “Come.” The law repels; the Gospel attracts. The law shows the distance that exists between God and man; the Gospel bridges that awful chasm and brings the sinner across it.

From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are welcomed into heaven, the language of Christ to you will be, “Come to me.” As a mother extends her hand to her tiny child and woos it to walk by saying, “Come,” even so does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way and clear your path, and you will hear His life-giving voice calling you to follow Him all through your life; in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He will usher you into the heavenly world will be, “Come, you who are blessed of my Father.”1

This is not only Christ’s call to you, but if you are a believer, this is your call to Christ—“Come! Come!” You will be longing for His return; you will be saying, “Come quickly; even so come, Lord Jesus.” You will desire nearer and closer fellowship with Him. As His voice to you is “Come,” your response to Him will be, “Come, Lord, and stay with me. Come and occupy the throne of my heart; reign there without a rival, and consecrate me entirely to Your service.”

1) Matthew 25:34

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Promises Never Fail

“There hath not failed one word of all his good promise.” (1 Kings 8:56b)

Kayla was sitting in the living room staring out the window when her grandfather came in.

“Why such a long face?” he asked. “It’s a beautiful day outside!”

Kayla frowned. “Yesterday, Dad promised to take me to the zoo today – but this morning he said he had to go to work instead. He broke his promise to me!”

Kayla’s grandfather took a Bible off of the coffee table and sat down on the couch next to her. “I’m sorry you’re disappointed. Your dad didn’t mean to fail you, but he had to go to work. We all get let down by other human beings. But there is One Who will never break a promise.”

Kayla sat up and listened closely. She couldn’t think of anyone who had never broken a promise! Her grandfather opened the Bible to 1 Kings 8. Then he told her about the temple that King Solomon built. When the temple was finished, Solomon prayed to God and thanked Him for keeping the promises He had made to His children.

“It was Solomon’s testimony,” Kayla’s grandfather told her. “He was talking about God when he said, ‘There hath not failed one word of all his good promise.'”

“What kinds of promises did God keep?” Kayla asked.

Her grandfather told her about God’s promise to Abraham – the promise that, even though he was an old man, he would have a son. And that through his son, Abraham’s family would grow to a number more than the number of stars in the sky. He also told her God’s promise to Moses that He would deliver Israel from Egypt and give them the promised land.

“The Bible is full of many more promises just as incredible!” her grandfather said. As he read the Bible to her, Kayla felt more and more amazed that all those promises could have come true.

“But what about you, Grandpa? Are you sure God kept all those promises? Are you sure He will keep promises to you?”

Her grandfather smiled and nodded. “My favorite of all the promises is the promise of eternal life for those who trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.” He turned in his Bible to the book of Hebrews, and pointed to chapter 10, verse 23 – “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).” Kayla’s grandfather leaned over and gave her a big hug. “We never have to doubt God’s promises. We can trust Him that He will never let us down.”

God will keep all of His promises.

My Response:
» When I read promises in the Bible do I believe God will keep them?
» Is there a promise I am afraid that God won’t keep?

Denison Forum – Mom meets 911 operator who helped her deliver baby in her car

Elizabeth Elyce Fatoma’s middle name is a story worth knowing.

Her mother was driving herself to the hospital to deliver her but found she was going into labor in her car. Her 911 call was answered by dispatcher Elyce Rivera, who talked her through the delivery of a healthy baby girl. Fatoma then named her baby in honor of the operator. The two women met for the first time Tuesday on the Today show.

Carl Sandberg was right: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

“LA Schools Hold LGBT Club For 4-Year-Olds”

Children are a “heritage from the Lᴏʀᴅ” (Psalm 127:3) of whom Jesus said, “To such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). I am grateful every day to be a father of two amazing sons and the grandfather of four perfect (at least in my opinion!) grandchildren.

That’s why these headlines grieve my heart today:

We are living in a day when “tolerance” has been weaponized, and our children are its victims.

In The Intolerance of Tolerance, biblical scholar D. A. Carson identifies a “subtle” shift in the way our society defines tolerance. He writes: “This shift from ‘accepting the existence of different views’ to ‘acceptance of different views,’ from recognizing other people’s rights to have different beliefs or practices to accepting the differing views of other people, is subtle in form, but massive in substance.”

Sliding “from the old tolerance to the new”

Carson explains: “To accept that a different or opposing position exists and deserves the right to exist is one thing; to accept the position itself means that one is no longer opposing it. The new tolerance suggests that actually accepting another’s position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own.”

With this result: “We move from allowing the free expression of contrary opinions to the acceptance of all opinions; we move from permitting the articulation of beliefs and claims with which we do not agree to asserting that all beliefs and claims are equally valid. Thus we slide from the old tolerance to the new.”

In the “old tolerance,” various religions were free to believe that their beliefs were uniquely true and to share them with others. In the “new tolerance,” no beliefs are more valid than others, and sharing them is imposing our views on others.

Carson notes that Voltaire exemplified the “old tolerance” with his famous maxim: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I would add that the “new tolerance” illogically counters: “I consider what you say to be intolerant, so I will not tolerate your saying it.”

Percentage of self-identified Christians falls 12 points

I am addressing this theme today in light of a story from the Pew Research Center that is dominating headlines: “About Three-in-Ten US Adults Are Now Religiously Unaffiliated.” The subhead adds: “Self-identified Christians make up 63 percent of the US population in 2021, down from 75 percent a decade ago.”

The study also reports that fewer than half of US adults (45 percent) say they pray on a daily basis, down from 58 percent in 2007 and 55 percent in 2014. Roughly one-third of US adults (32 percent) now say they seldom or never pray, up from 18 percent in 2007.

This despite Harvard University research documenting that regular worship attendance corresponds to a 47 percent lower risk of divorce, 33 percent lower risk of mortality, and 29 percent lower risk of depression. Gallup is reporting that Americans’ mental health declined 9 percent from 2019 to 2020, with only one exception: those who attend religious services weekly, whose mental health improved 4 percent in that time. Another study showed that highly religious individuals and evangelicals in America suffered less distress last year than other groups.

Why would the tolerance of unbiblical morality and the intolerance of biblical morality be skyrocketing when the latter has such positive, proven outcomes? Why would more people than ever claim no religious affiliation when such affiliation brings such significant benefits?

“The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”

The answer is both simple and profound: Our secular society has exchanged Christ for Christianity. It has traded a personal, transformational, very real experience with the very real Jesus for a religion about him.

The Bible calls us to “know” Jesus (John 17:3); the Greek word means to know personally through experience. Paul testified, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8), a personal encounter that changed his life and changed history as a result (cf. Acts 9:1–31).

However, rather than knowing Christ in a concrete but deeply intimate way, many think the Christian faith is about rules and regulations, clergy and church buildings, doctrines and traditions. Such a religion was always destined to falter, because Christianity without the living Christ is a car without fuel, a laptop computer without batteries, an airplane without wings. As a house built on sand, it will always fall in the storm (Matthew 7:24–27).

Here’s my point today: If you and I want our culture to value biblical morality, we must demonstrate personally the liberating power of biblical morality through a transforming, daily encounter with the person of Jesus. If we want more people to identify as Christians, we must exhibit the real and living Christ in us. If we want more Americans to pray, we must show them what happens when we connect personally and powerfully with Christ in prayer.

I recently found this hymn and invite you to join me in praying its words as our daily commitment:

Lord God and Maker of all things,
Creation is upheld by you.
While all must change and know decay,
You are unchanging, always new.

You are man’s solace and his shield,
His Rock on which to build.
You are the spirit’s tranquil home,
In you alone is hope fulfilled.

To God the Father and God the Son
And Holy Spirit render praise:
Blest Trinity, from age to age
The strength of all our living days.

Who or what is your “strength” today?