In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Bringing Our Needs to the Father

If we pray like Jesus, we’ll prioritize God’s desires over our own.

Matthew 6:9-15

The first half of the Lord’s prayer focuses on God, but in the second part, Jesus addresses our need for daily provision, forgiveness, and protection. Notice His words remain centered on the Father, who provides all three. 

Give us this day our daily bread. The Lord is the source of everything we need—physical, material, emotional, and spiritual (Phil. 4:19).  By asking Him to provide our basic necessities, we’re acknowledging our complete dependence upon Him and trusting in His sufficient provision for each day. 

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. This part of the prayer is meant to ensure that everything is right not only between us and our Father but also between us and other people. Since God forgave our sins, it is His will that we also forgive others. 

Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Our prayer is for the Lord to protect us from falling into temptation, and we instead honor Him by living righteously.

This entire prayer is focused on our heavenly Father. It teaches us to worship, submit, and depend fully on Him for needs of any kind. 

Bible in One Year: Genesis 36-38 

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Our Daily Bread — Escape or Peace?

Bible in a Year:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

John 16:25–33

“ESCAPE.” The billboard shouts the benefits of having a hot tub installed. It gets my attention—and gets me thinking. My wife and I have talked about getting a hot tub . . . someday. It’d be like a vacation in our backyard! Except for the cleaning. And the electric bill. And . . . suddenly, the hoped-for escape starts to sound like something I might need escape from.

Still, that word entices so effectively because it promises something we want: Relief. Comfort. Security. Escape. It’s something our culture tempts and teases us with in many ways. Now, there’s nothing wrong with resting or a getaway to someplace beautiful. But there’s a difference between escaping life’s hardships and trusting God with them.  

In John 16, Jesus tells His disciples that the next chapter of their lives will test their faith. “In this world you will have trouble,” He summarizes at the end. And then He adds this promise, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33). Jesus didn’t want His disciples to cave in to despair. Instead, He invited them to trust Him, to know the rest He provides: “I have told you these things,” he said, “so that in me you may have peace” (v. 33).

Jesus doesn’t promise us a pain-free life. But He does promise that as we trust and rest in Him, we can experience a peace that’s deeper and more satisfying than any escape the world tries to sell us.

By:  Adam Holz

Reflect & Pray

How have you seen invitations to escape in the world around you recently? How well do you think they might deliver on those promises?

Father, help me to trust You so that I may find peace and rest in You.

Read Finding Peace in a Troubled World .

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Having Love for One Another

“Let love of the brethren continue” (Hebrews 13:1).

Christianity’s primary moral standard is love, especially for fellow believers.

Love of other believers is a natural outflow of the Christian life and should be a normal part of fellowship within the church. You can no doubt remember how after you were first saved it became very natural and exciting to love other Christians and to want to be around them. However, such an attitude is extremely difficult to maintain. This love, which is a gift from God’s Spirit, must be nurtured or it will not grow—it may actually shrivel. That’s why the apostle Peter urges us, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:22-23).

Paul teaches us the same concept of nurturing and practicing love for one another when he writes: “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for any one to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more” (1 Thess. 4:9-10). Paul also gives us the basic definition of brotherly love: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10). Simply stated, brotherly love is caring for fellow Christians more than we care for ourselves. And such love presupposes that we will have an attitude of humility (Phil. 2:3-4).

So today’s verse from Hebrews merely supports what Paul and Peter said elsewhere. The writer’s admonition that we should let brotherly love continue tells us that this kind of love already exists. Our challenge today and each day is not to discover love for one another, but to allow it to continue and to increase.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you rekindle the love that used to be strong for a Christian friend, but perhaps isn’t now.

For Further Study

Read 1 Samuel 18—20.

  • What was so special about the love and friendship between David and Jonathan?
  • What was the end result of that relationship (see especially 20:8-17)?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Try Some Shrug Therapy

Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools.

— Ecclesiastes 7:9 (AMPC)

There are some things you can control in life—who your friends are, what you eat, and when you go to bed, for example. There are other things you can’t control, such as what other people say or the flat tire you got last night. The way you respond to things you can’t control helps determine your stress level and your quality of life and health. I have two suggestions about dealing with things you can’t control. First, if you can’t control them, don’t take responsibility for them. And sec¬ond, I like to say, “Do your best, pray, and let God do the rest!”

People who regularly get upset over small things suffer in many ways. People who shrug them off do much better. Shrugging off cer¬tain things doesn’t mean you are indifferent; it simply means you’ve accepted the fact that you can’t do anything to change them at that time. The flat tire has already happened. Calling someone to come fix it makes sense, throwing a tantrum and kicking the tire does not. We need to deal appropriately with each stressor as it arises so that we don’t end up exploding in frustration over the unavoidable bumps on the road of life.

God works in mysterious ways. You never know when He may use some inconvenience or frustration for your good. He is in control, and if you trust Him to work things out, you’ll be able to ride the ups and downs of life with peace, joy, and strength.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help shrug off the things I cannot change, and always look to you in every situation. I refuse to live in frustration, amen!

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Redeemer’s Never-Ceasing Intercession

I have prayed for you.

Luke 22:32

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter—“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but”1—what? “But go and pray for yourself”?

That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does He say, “But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved.” That would be a great blessing. No, it is, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”2

We little know what we owe to our Savior’s prayers. When we reach the hilltops of heaven and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God has led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief that Satan was doing upon earth.

How we shall thank Him because He never held His peace but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands and carried our names upon His breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Consider, He does not say, “Satan hath desired to have you.” He checks Satan even in his very desire and nips it in the bud. He does not say, “But I have desired to pray for you.” No, but “I have prayed for you—I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made.” O Jesus, what a comfort it is that You have pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; You have unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.

1) Luke 22:31
2) Luke 22:32

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Omnipresent

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

“Pretend I’m there and behave accordingly!”

Those were the words of a note Annie received in sixth grade. Her mom had gone on a long trip and had left that note to remind her that – even though she was gone – she expected Annie to act the same way she would have if her mom were still there.

Pretending her mom was watching her made Annie act differently. Sbe did her homework. She practiced the piano. She obeyed her teacher. She cleaned her room. She knew if Mom found out that she did wrong, she was in big trouble.

Did you know that God is always watching? He doesn’t go on vacation, and He never sleeps. He is in the United States of America, and He is in Africa, and He is in church, and He is in your bedroom – all at the same time. God is omnipresent – everywhere at one time. His eyes are everywhere, seeing the good and seeing the bad.

David, one of the many men God used to write down His words, said in Psalm 139: 7, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” In other words – is there any place where we can hide from God? David’s answer: no.

A child of God cannot hide from Him. God is watching us when we are scared. He protects us when we are in trouble. He holds our hand when we need help. He hears us when we cry. He is happy when we rejoice. He also knows when we sin, and He loves us too much to let us get away with it.

Know that God is there – and behave accordingly!

God is everywhere, seeing everything.

My Response:
» Will I behave differently today if I remember that God is always watching?

Denison Forum – Space heater fire in the Bronx kills 17 people, including 8 children

On average, 7,708 Americans die each day. Most of them are known primarily to their families, friends, coworkers, and so on. But when a space heater sparks a fire in the Bronx that kills seventeen people, including eight children, the nation grieves, as we should. When a cliff collapses on tourist boats in Brazil, killing ten people, the world watches the video in shock. 

When a beloved actor like Sidney Poitier dies, his passing makes international headlines. It was the same with television actor Bob Saget, who died Sunday, and with Betty White after she died a few days ago. 

Other deaths make the news less for who they were than for how they happened. A father in Virginia tried to walk home in a snowstorm last week; his body was discovered three days later. The body of a skier missing since Christmas was found last weekend. A Los Angeles Taco Bell worker was fatally shot last Saturday during an argument over a fake $20 bill. 

Why aren’t Americans afraid of death? 

As the news constantly reminds us, any of us could die at any time. And yet, if you ask Americans to name their top fears, their personal death ranks surprisingly low. More than half of us either are “not very afraid” (27 percent) or “not at all afraid” (25 percent) of death. Only 11 percent of us are “very afraid” of death, while 31 percent are “somewhat afraid” to die and 7 percent “don’t know.” 

We are more afraid of the way we might die than the fact of our death. In a list of our “top ten fears,” “mass shootings” comes in at #3, followed by “terrorism” at #5 and “becoming terminally ill” at #7. Each points to how we might die rather than the fact of death itself. 

Why are we mortals not more afraid of our mortality? 

The answer is tragically not that we are prepared to meet God. Only 35 percent of American adults believe salvation comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And yet, 54 percent believe they will go to heaven, many of them because they think they have earned their place in paradise through their good works. 

What of the rest? 

  • 15 percent say they don’t know what will happen after they die.
  • 13 percent say there is no life after death.
  • 8 percent expect to be reincarnated.
  • 8 percent believe they will go to a place of purification prior to entering heaven.
  • Just 2 percent believe they will go to hell.

“I don’t believe in the queen of England” 

I remember a day when an intense fear of hell was commonplace. Even though our family never attended church before I heard the gospel at the age of fifteen, I have strong memories of fearing what would happen to me if I died. Evangelists and pastors could present the “plan of salvation” in the knowledge that most who heard them wanted to know and then follow that “plan.” 

However, one of the many ways Satan is using the postmodern denial of objective truth is to convince millions that their opinion of the afterlife determines the afterlife they will experience. A man once confidently told me “I don’t believe in hell” as if that changed the existence of hell. 

We would not make this assumption in any other dimension of reality. Imagine your response if I assured you that the queen of England does not exist because I don’t believe in her existence. On the contrary, we know that denying reality typically harms us far more than it helps us, as when a doctor tells us we have cancer or the meteorologist warns of severe weather. 

But “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). This is because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). 

Unlike those who are directionally lost and stop for directions, most who are spiritually lost don’t know they are lost. If Satan has his way, they will persist in this condition until it is too late. 

Four empowering prayers 

What can we do to help them? 

I doubt your first response is to inform them that they are lost and destined for hell. If a Muslim told you that you would go to hell unless you converted to Islam, would this make you more or less interested in his faith? While lost people definitely need to know their peril and need for salvation, four preceding steps can make this news much more effective. 

1. Ask God to make our lives consistent with our message (cf. Romans 12:1–2). 

People are far more likely to believe our faith is relevant to them when it is obviously relevant to us. 

2. Ask our Father to give us his love for the lost. 

We will risk anything for those we love. When we love others as Jesus loves us (cf. John 13:34–35), our words will be empowered and inspired by compassion and grace. While no one wants to be told they are wrong and we are right, everyone wants to be loved. 

3. Ask the Spirit to lead us to those he has prepared for our witness. 

He is actively cultivating the minds and hearts of the lost to hear the good news of God’s grace. He is thus preparing someone specifically for your compassionate witness today. 

4. Ask the Spirit to inspire your words and actions. 

He knows just what this person needs to hear and see from you. If you submit to the Spirit each day (Ephesians 5:18), even when facing skeptics and critics, your words will be God’s words because “it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20). 

If we will make these four requests of our Lord every day, our lives and our witness will be transformed. We will know Jesus and make him known with passion and compassion out of the overflow of his Spirit in our hearts. 

The late Senate chaplain Richard Halverson noted, “New Testament Christians did not witness because they had to but because they could not help it.” 

Will you join them today?

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