In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – On the Bottom Looking Up

Trusting in God’s power and grace makes it possible to break the cycle of despair.

1 Samuel 30:1-20

Most of us know how it feels to be at rock bottom. Despair is a horrible condition because it continually feeds on discouragement, hopelessness, and failure. And the longer one dwells on these things, the greater despair grows. The only way out is to break free from this vicious cycle of darkness. We do this by . . .

• Repenting of anything that has caused us to doubt the Lord. If we’re in despair, then something has overshadowed God in our life, and that barrier must be removed—the sooner, the better. 

• Recalling the Lord’s omnipotence. Since He had the power to save you from sin, He certainly also has the ability to overcome your despair. 

• Remembering that nothing in our life happens by chance. God works all things according to His sovereign plan, for the good of those who love Him, and for His glory (Rom. 8:28). 

Despair stands in conflict with the abundant life the Lord has promised. If you’re feeling down and out, ask Him to lift you back up today. You’ll never automatically fall out of despair. But with God’s help, you can change your mindset and see your situation through the lens of His Word.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 16-18

Our Daily Bread — Give While You Live

Bible in a Year:

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me.

John 9:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

John 9:1–12

A successful businessman spent the last few decades of his life doing all he could to give away his fortune. A multibillionaire, he donated cash to a variety of causes such as bringing peace to Northern Ireland and modernizing Vietnam’s health care system; and not long before he died, he spent $350 million to turn New York City’s Roosevelt Island into a technology hub. The man said, “I believe strongly in giving while living. I see little reason to delay giving. . . . Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than to give while you’re dead.” Give while you live—what an amazing attitude to have.

In John’s account of the man born blind, Jesus’ disciples were trying to determine “who sinned” (9:2). Jesus briefly addressed their question by saying, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned . . . but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me” (vv. 3–4). Though our work is very different from Jesus’ miracles, no matter how we give of ourselves, we’re to do so with a ready and loving spirit. Whether through our time, resources, or actions, our goal is that the works of God might be displayed.

For God so loved the world that He gave. In turn, let’s give while we live.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When it comes to giving, what’s one thing you’ve been delaying? What would it mean for you to give while you live?

Giving God, please show me places where I can give today.

Read Celebrating God’s Generosity.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Biblical Patience

“Walk . . . with patience” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Patient Christians endure negative circumstances, cope with difficult people, and accept God’s plan for everything.

In our instant, microwave, drive-through, “I want it now” culture, patience is hard to come by. We get upset if we have to wait too long in the supermarket line or get stuck behind the guy driving ten miles per hour under the speed limit.

But today’s Scripture tells us that our lives need to be marked by patience. The Greek word translated “patience” literally means “long-tempered.” A patient person doesn’t have a short fuse or lose his temper.

There are three aspects to biblical patience. First, patience never gives in to negative circumstances, no matter how difficult. God told Abraham He would make him into a great nation and give Canaan to his descendants (Gen. 12:27). When God made this promise, Abraham and Sarah had no children. They had to wait far past their childbearing years before God gave them a son. But Hebrews 6:15 says, “Having patiently waited, [Abraham] obtained the promise.” “He did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). He trusted God and patiently waited for Him to fulfill His promise.

A second aspect of patience is coping with difficult people. Paul tells us to “be patient with all men” (1 Thess. 5:14). This is applied gentleness—a spirit that refuses to retaliate. Our normal reaction is to be defensive when provoked. But a patient person bears insult, persecution, unfair treatment, slander, and hatred. You can’t start a fight with a patient person. He defends God, not himself, knowing that He will repay all wrongs at the right time.

Third, patience accepts God’s plan for everything. It doesn’t question God. A patient person says, “Lord, if this is what You have planned for me, that’s all right.” Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Since God is in control, we can be patient, waiting for Him to work out His will.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you recognize when you’re apt to be impatient. When those times come, pray for strength to endure them.

For Further Study

  • James 5:10 says the prophets were examples of suffering and patience. Read what two prophets had to endure in Isaiah 6:9-12 and Jeremiah 1:5-19.
  • How might they be examples to you as you seek to be faithful in the face of life’s tests?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Healing for the Brokenhearted

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

— Psalm 147:3 (AMPC)

Those who are brokenhearted are broken in their personality. They are unable to function properly because of their wounds. They have been deeply hurt and are unable to move beyond their past pain.

It is important that we don’t merely park at the point of our pain and remain there for the rest of our lives. God is the author of new beginnings, and whether we are wounded due our own sin, or because of the sin of others who have harmed us, we are the only ones who can decide whether to move on or stay parked. Take your life out of park and start moving forward toward the great future God has arranged for you.

The apostle Paul is a great example of someone who kept shaking off the past and pressing forward. He moved past his own sin, past the persecution he received from others as his reward for simply trying to help them, past unfair imprisonment, beatings, abandonment, and many other painful things. He also moved past his own imperfections in his daily walk with God and said that letting go of what was behind was his determined purpose in life.

When we are hurting, moving forward isn’t always easy because our mind and emotions are telling us to just give up. Although change isn’t easy and is often painful, we have only two choices— to endure the pain of change or to endure the pain of never changing. It is easy to see which choice makes the most sense. If there will be pain either way, why not choose the pain of progress?

To keep going forward in the midst of personal pain takes a lot of courage. You may not even want to get out of bed in the morning, let alone be active and do what life requires that day, but if you live by wise choices rather than by your feelings, you can do it.

I vividly remember my father repeatedly telling me, “You will never amount to anything,” but with God’s help, I overcame his negative words. If those who should have affirmed you tore you down with their words, you too can overcome their words by seeing what God says about you and meditating on His words instead. God says many wonderful things about you, things such as: You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). You are loved unconditionally (Jer. 31:3) and accepted (John 6:37). You are precious and honored in His sight (Isa. 43:4). His Word includes many similar truths that will build you up and renew your mind so you can think about yourself and your life the way God wants you to.

Don’t settle for less than the best life that God wants to give you. Perhaps you are facing a time of testing in your life right now, and the temptation to quit and give up is strong. Know this: You have what it takes to go through it and experience victory on the other side.

It’s not too late! I’m sure the devil has told you the lie that it is too late for you. However, it is never too late for God to heal and restore anyone who truly wants Him to.

Prayer Starter: Father, in the Name of Jesus, I declare that I will overcome every accusation of the enemy by the Blood of Jesus and the Word of my testimony. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Weakness in Triumph

And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, ‘You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst . . . ?’

Judges 15:18

Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any that the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst quenched is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! But when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that particular difficulty to be more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered.

It is very usual for God’s people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water! Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes “limping because of his hip!” 1 Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds.

Samson boasted right loudly when he said, “I have slain a thousand men.” His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling His people.

Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, “I am this day weak, though anointed king.” You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson’s thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor allow your enemy to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tested and tired pilgrim, cheer your heart with Samson’s words, and rest assured that God will deliver you before long.

1) Genesis 32:31

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Sees Everything

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

Seven-year-old Natalie had just won a special prize at school: a spy kit. “It’s got glasses with mirrors in them,” she said. “I can see things in front of me and behind me at the same time!” Natalie’s spy glasses allowed her to do something humans normally can’t do: see more than one place at a time.

Unlike humans, God can always see everything in every place, all at the same time. He can see you sitting at your computer, and at the same time He can see another child lying down to sleep on the other side of the world. He sees you when you’re doing things that please Him, even if no one else notices. He also sees you when you’re doing wrong. He can even look inside your heart and know the reasons for what you do.

You can never be out of God’s sight. Does that thought make you feel scared or comforted? A heart that is right with God never wants to hide from Him.

God sees everything, in every place, all the time.

My Response:
» Is God pleased with what I do when no one else is watching?

Denison Forum – Major League Baseball star fills in as PE teacher

Harrison Bader, a Gold Glove Award-winning centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, learned that Meramec Elementary School in Clayton, Missouri, was dealing with staff shortages and needed some help, so he volunteered to cover a Physical Education class. However, he told reporters later, “Being a substitute science or math teacher, even at that level, would be above my pay grade.”

In other news, drivers on a Tennessee highway recently encountered a cast-iron skillet said to be the world’s largest. It was being hauled on the back of a flatbed truck to the Lodge Cast Iron store, which is building a Lodge Cast Iron MuseumUPI is also reporting on a 225.13-pound ball of human hair that has broken the Guinness World Record. (Click on the link to see the picture at your own risk . . .)

Then there is this bit of good news / bad news in the news: scientists say the sun will one day explode and kill us all, but not for another five billion years. However, some scientists also say our planet’s oceans will be vaporized by energy from the sun a mere billion years from now. Other experts disagree, claiming that our planet could host life for at least another 1.75 billion years.

So far I’ve not helped you solve any practical problems you might be facing today, but I enjoyed sharing news I found interesting in the hope that you agree. My friends know that I am just as ready to talk about a good book I read or a movie I enjoyed. And don’t get me started on my grandkids . . .

“Pleasure has no relish unless we share it”

A study by the University of Pennsylvania tracked the circulation of almost seven thousand articles from the New York Times over a three-month period. They found that positive articles were shared more often than negative ones. Another study reported that “we share our positive daily experiences 70 percent of the time.”

Virginia Wolff was right: “Pleasure has no relish unless we share it.” Albert Schweitzer agreed: “Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.”

This week, we’ve focused on ways to respond redemptively to a culture that is “falling apart at the seams,” according to New York Times columnist David Brooks. We have noted the importance of humility in sharing God’s word with our lost friends and family members, and we have focused both on the urgency of compassion and the compassion of urgency in doing so.

Let’s close our series by centering on the well-known fact that the Christian “gospel” is literally “good news” (from the Old English god spel, translating the Greek euangelion, meaning “good news”). But let’s add this less-known fact: the Old English spel means not only “news” but also “story.” The gospel is a “good story” that has changed our personal story. Now we have the privilege of sharing that story with others so it can become their story as well.

“I have the most amazing job on the planet”

In John 4, Jesus met a woman who came to Jacob’s well to draw water. However, as he told her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again” (v. 13). Then he offered her the opportunity to experience “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (v. 14). Given the choice, she understandably wanted the latter (v. 15).

It’s our job and privilege to give everyone we know the same choice.

Don Mansfield became Albania’s national director for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in 1991. The country had been officially atheistic for decades and had been entirely closed to missionaries until the borders opened that year. When he made his first visit to the country, three young men approached him, asking questions: “Where do you come from?” “What do you do?”

Mansfield told them, “I have the most amazing job on the planet. I get to tell people how they can know Jesus Christ.”

The leader turned to look at his friends. “Wasn’t it five minutes ago, we were talking, and we said, ‘We have got to find someone to tell us about Jesus?’” he asked them. Turning to Mansfield, he said, “Will you tell me about Jesus?”

Your truth will become their truth

Christians living in our postmodern, relativistic society are often warned that sharing their faith is the intolerant “imposing” of their values on others. Since being branded “intolerant” is the cardinal sin in our culture, it’s tempting to keep our salt in the saltshaker and our light under a basket (Matthew 5:13–16).

In addition, many Christians are unsure whether they know enough to be able to explain and defend their faith with skeptics. They know the basics of salvation but fear being embarrassed by questions they might not be able to answer.

The answer is to return to the “gospel” as a “good story.”

In a culture that measures truth by relevance, your experience with Jesus will be relevant to others to the degree that it is relevant to you. If you met Jesus this morning in his word and worship, surrendering your day to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and asking that his “fruit” be manifested in your life, your prayer will be answered. Others will see the difference Christ makes in your life and will be drawn to that difference for themselves.

Your truth will then become their truth as they experience the truth.

The compelling question

Knowing Jesus and then making him known has never been more vital for the future of American Christianity than it is today.

My dear friend Kerby Anderson’s outstanding call for us to “equip the next generation with biblical truth” makes the compelling case that young people today know less about the Bible than previous generations. They are more likely to believe that other religious beliefs lead to heaven and are less likely to share their faith as a result. 

By contrast, the more we truly experience Jesus, the more we will want to share him with others. The more the gospel becomes our “good story,” the more our lives and our words will tell that story.

So, here’s the question: When last did Jesus change your life?

NOTE: There are just four days left to reserve your seat at the virtual book launch Q&A celebrating the release of my latest and most pivotal book, The Coming Tsunami. During the Q&A we’ll look at Critical Race Theory, one of the four major “earthquakes” I talk about in The Coming Tsunami that are seismically shifting our world. So I hope you’ll join us for the Q&A. Please pre-order your copy of The Coming Tsunami to reserve your seat. Thank you.

P.S. Amazon has dropped the pre-order price to $22.50. Amazon also offers a pre-order price guarantee, meaning that you’ll pay the lowest pre-order price offered before the book releases (even if you’ve already pre-ordered). If you pre-order through Amazon, be sure to visit afterward to register for the Q&A event.