In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Landmine of Fear

Though some apprehension is healthy, fear shouldn’t be a way of life for the Christian.

Isaiah 41:8-10

Since our world has many dangers, we have legitimate reasons to be afraid. But Christians shouldn’t live in trepidation as a way of life, because God’s awesome promises allow us to be at peace in every circumstance. 

For our protection, God has instilled some natural apprehensions in us, like a fear of snakes or deep water. He also gave us a warning system so that we could react quickly to danger. For instance, if a car speeds toward us, an instantaneous reaction of alarm could save our life. 

But a constant, all-consuming dread is unhealthy. Most of our fears relate to dangers that might occur, threatening the welfare of loved ones, financial stability, or future security. Our attention is then centered on these concerns rather than on the One who promises to hold us in His hand (Isa. 41:10). As anxiety grows, trust in the Lord weakens, and we become consumed with worry. 

Instead of going down this route, ground yourself in Scripture, and don’t allow apprehension to blind you to God’s promises. Believe what He has said in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, and ask “the Lord of peace” to “continually grant you peace in every circumstance.”

Bible in One Year: Genesis 24-25

Our Daily Bread — Genuine Hope

Bible in a Year:

He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

1 Peter 1:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Peter 1:3–9

In the early 1960s, the US was filled with anticipation of a bright future. Youthful President John F. Kennedy had introduced the New Frontier, the Peace Corps, and the task of reaching the moon. A thriving economy caused many people to expect the future to simply “let the good times roll.” Then the war in Vietnam escalated, national unrest unfolded, Kennedy was assassinated, and the accepted norms of that previously optimistic society were dismantled. Optimism simply wasn’t enough, and in its wake, disillusionment prevailed.  

Then, in 1967, theologian Jürgen Moltmann’s A Theology of Hope pointed to a clearer vision. This path wasn’t the way of optimism but the way of hope. The two aren’t the same thing. Moltmann affirmed that optimism is based on the circumstances of the moment, but hope is rooted in God’s faithfulness—regardless of our situation.

What’s the source of this hope? Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Our faithful God has conquered death through His Son, Jesus! The reality of this greatest of all victories lifts us beyond mere optimism to a strong, robust hope—every day and in every circumstance.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

Whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, what situations cause concern in you? Why is hope better than either optimism or pessimism?

God, this world is distressing and confusing, and many voices want to drive me to a perspective that feels void of hope. Help me to root my heart in the promise and power of the resurrection of Jesus, who holds the future.

Read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Avoiding a Spiritual Identity Crisis

God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

A true sense of identity comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child.

Many people in our society are on a seemingly endless and often frantic quest for personal identity and self-worth. Identity crises are common at almost every age level. Superficial love and fractured relationships are but symptoms of our failure to resolve the fundamental issues of who we are, why we exist, and where we’re going. Sadly, most people will live and die without ever understanding God’s purpose for their lives.

That is tragic, yet understandable. God created man to bear His image and enjoy His fellowship forever. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they violated that purpose and plunged the human race into sin. That created within man a spiritual void and an identity crisis of unimaginable proportions.

Throughout the ages ungodly people have tried to fill that void with a myriad of substitutes but ultimately all is lost to death and despair.

Despite that bleak picture, a true sense of identity is available to every Christian. It comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child. Before the world began, God set his love upon you and according to His plan Christ died for you (1 Pet. 1:20). That’s why you responded in faith to the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13). Also, that’s why you can never lose your salvation. The same God who drew you to Himself will hold you there securely (John 10:29).

Don’t allow sin, Satan, or circumstances to rob your sense of identity in Christ. Make it the focus of everything you do. Remember who you are: God’s child; why you are here: to serve and glorify Him; and where you are going: to spend eternity in His presence.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for choosing you to be His child and for drawing you to Himself in saving faith.
  • Praise Him for His promise never to let you go.

For Further Study

Read John 6:35-4410:27-30Romans 8:31-39.

  • According to Jesus, how many believers will lose their salvation? What was his reasoning?
  • What did Paul base his certainty on?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Strength to Meet Your Goals

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

— Matthew 6:34 (AMP)

The best way to face challenges is to deal with them one day at a time. Looking too far down the road only tends to overwhelm us. Trusting God requires that we believe He gives us our “daily bread”—that is, we receive what we need as we need it and usually not before.

Sometimes challenges can seem impossible and overwhelming, but God is always with us. We just need to be courageous and receive the strength He gives us. Remember that God will give you the grace to do what you need to do today, so it’s important to focus on living in the moment rather than worrying about tomorrow.

Whatever you need to do—getting out of debt, solving a marriage problem, organizing your home, completing a project—you can do it with God’s help, one day at a time.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for helping me through this day. Thank You for making me equal to any task and for the strength I need to do whatever I need to do, amen!

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Lord’s Exclusive Portion

My sister, my bride.

Song of Songs 4:12

Observe the sweet titles with which the heavenly Solomon with intense affection addresses His bride, the church. “My sister, one near to Me by ties of nature, partaker of the same sympathies. My bride, nearest and dearest, united to Me by the tenderest bands of love; My sweet companion, part of My own self. My sister, by My Incarnation, which makes Me bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh; my bride, by heavenly betrothal, in which I have married you to Myself in righteousness.

My sister, whom I knew of old, and over whom I watched from her earliest infancy; My bride, taken from among the daughters, embraced by arms of love and joined to me forever.” See how true it is that our royal Kinsman is not ashamed of us, for He dwells with manifest delight upon this twofold relationship. We have the word “my” twice in our version; as if Christ dwelt with rapture on His possession of His Church.

His delights were with the sons of men because those sons of men were His own chosen ones. He, the Shepherd, sought the sheep because they were His sheep; He has gone about “to seek and to save that which was lost,” because that which was lost was His long before it was lost to itself or lost to Him.

The church is the exclusive portion of her Lord; none else may claim a partnership or pretend to share her love. Jesus, Your church delights to have it so! Let every believing soul drink solace out of these wells. Soul, Christ is near to you in ties of relationship. Christ is dear to you in bonds of marriage union, and you are dear to Him; behold, He grasps both of your hands with both His own, saying, “My sister, my bride.” Consider how the Lord gets such a double hold of you that He neither can nor will ever let you go. Be not, O beloved, slow to return the hallowed flame of His love.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Loads Us with Benefits

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” (Psalm 68:19)

In Amy’s family, when someone is grumpy or complaining, another family member will suggest playing “the thankfulness game.” When playing this simple game, each family member takes turns naming one thing he or she is thankful for. Amy’s family always starts with the big things: “I’m thankful for my salvation,” for example, or “I’m thankful to have parents.” The only rule of the game is that everyone has to say something new; no one is allowed to name something someone else has already said.

After Amy and her family think they’ve run out of new ideas, they start thinking of silly things. They say things like this: “I’m thankful I don’t have fleas,” or “I’m thankful for toothpaste.” By the end of the game, not only is Amy’s family laughing, but everyone is thinking about the enormous number of ways God has loaded them with blessings – from the smallest things in life (things they take for granted), to the greatest blessing of salvation through Jesus Christ. God is a generous God. He doesn’t give His children just a few pleasures in life. He loads them with benefits every day.

So when you’re feeling grumpy or full of complaints, take out a piece of paper and start writing a list of one hundred things you’re thankful for. It won’t be long before you realize that God has loaded you with benefits.

God loads His children with benefits.

My Response:
» Do I have a complaining spirit or do I realize that God has loaded me with benefits?

Denison Forum – Was President Trump to blame for January 6? A prayer that points to the transforming hope we need

“For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election. He tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob reached the Capitol.” This is how President Biden explained the January 6 riots in a speech marking their one-year anniversary yesterday.

Many agree, identifying what they call a “coup plot” comprising a “deliberate effort to overthrow our democracy.” Others disagree, stating that there was not a “concerted, planned attempt to overthrow the government, let [alone] a terrorist insurrection.”

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans say the January 6 attack has gotten too much attention; only 23 percent of Democrats agree. While 87 percent of Democrats say the attack was extremely or very violent, only 39 percent of Republicans agree.

Descriptions and assignments of culpability matter as we seek to understand past tragedies lest we repeat them in the future. But I have seen no political explanations that focus on the real heart of the issue.

The Book of Common Prayer includes this intercession:

To my humble supplication,
Lord, give ear and acceptation.
Save thy servant, that hath none
help nor hope but Thee alone.

Why is this prayer so vital to transforming hope in the new year?

Father gunned down while carrying daughter’s birthday cake

The percentage of Americans who say they are more fearful about the coming year has risen from 36 percent in 2021 to 54 percent in 2022. A quick check of the news shows us why.

  • A one-month-old baby was orphaned after his parents, both sheriff’s deputies, died by suicide within days of each other.
  • A father in Texas was gunned down at Chuck E. Cheese as he carried his daughter’s birthday cake.
  • Eight children and two mothers are among the dead at a Philadelphia house fire Wednesday.
  • COVID-19 cases are topping one million daily in the US.
  • An “adored” Catholic priest was killed in a car crash Monday, one day after his fifty-third birthday.

In the face of our obvious fragility and mortality, we might expect even secular Americans to admit our need for help and hope beyond ourselves. We obviously cannot prevent death or enable our own survival beyond it. But our scientific and medical advances have improved life expectancy and inoculated us from the reality of death to a degree unsurpassed in human history.

Nor can we remedy the sin problem at the heart of all our relational and political divisions. But, once again, we have found an alternative approach.

Vladimir Putin asked two questions with regard to political violence: “Who? Whom?” What matters is who performs the action and upon whom it is performed, he claimed. When we are the who, we see our actions against the whom as justified, from January 6 rioters in Washington to street violence after George Floyd’s murder.

However, as theologian Terence Sweeney notes, “The whom you attack is a who in reality. Just as you are a self, so too are they a self.”

Three empowering daily steps

In an 1816 letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams wrote: “Power always thinks it has a great soul, and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God service, when it is violating all his laws.”

The solution to our mortal frailty and to our political animosity is the same: admitting to God that we “hath none help nor hope but Thee alone.” I encourage you to join me in these practical and empowering steps each day across this year:

One: Invite the Holy Spirit to empower and control your life.

Ephesians 5:18 commands us to “be filled with the Spirit.” As my latest video explains, this is a daily act of confession and surrender that positions us to experience God’s best.

When we do, we can trust our Lord with the day before us. Charles Spurgeon asked: “If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul and not for your body?” He added: “He has never refused to bear your burdens; he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! Have done with fretful care and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.”

Two: Walk in the power and peace of the Spirit.

Max Lucado was right: “The Holy Spirit is central to the life of the Christian. Everything from Acts to Revelation is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit. . . . After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit became the primary agent of the Trinity on earth. He will complete what was begun by the Father and the Son. ‘Keep in step with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:25). He directs and leads: you must obey and follow.”

In my latest personal blog, I explain how we can experience the Spirit’s peace amid our hurried lives, his purpose amid our challenges, his calm amid our distractions. Claim God’s promise: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Three: Pray for courage and then serve with courage.

When facing growing animosity, the early Christians ask God to “grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29). As a result, “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (v. 31).

In My Daily Pursuit, A. W. Tozer wrote: “Because God has been reduced in the minds of people, they do not have that boundless confidence in his character that used to be prominent among Christians. Confidence is necessary to respect. You cannot respect a man in whom you have no confidence. Extend that respect upward to God and if you cannot respect God, you cannot worship him. You cannot have confidence in him, because where there is no respect there can be no worship. Worship rises and falls in the church depending upon whether the idea of God is low or high; so we must begin with God where everything begins.

“God needs no rescuing, but we do, and we must rescue our concepts from their fallen and frightfully inadequate condition so that boundless confidence in him can reign once again.”

How much “boundless confidence” do you have in God today?