In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Stand Firm in Your Convictions

Like the Bible’s heroes of faith, we must stand firm on our spiritual convictions.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

A person of conviction feels certain that his beliefs are true. However, it’s often the case that the things people believe are based on the current conditions or situations of their life. Then, when circumstances change, their convictions do as well. In other words, it’s not uncommon to find someone go back and forth on issues that require a firm resolve. 

Contrast this wishy-washy approach with the mindset of the devoted followers of God described in Scripture. Despite many years of unfair treatment, Joseph didn’t waver in his commitment to the Lord (Gen. 39:1-9). Daniel was a righteous man who earned the trust of foreign kings in an idolatrous land by standing firm in his beliefs (Dan. 6:8-28). His friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego also refused to compromise their beliefs despite the threat of death. As a result, their resolve caused the king to recognize the Lord as the one true God (Dan. 3:13-30). 

The godly convictions of these biblical heroes withstood the changing winds of opinion and the persuasive arguments of opponents. Unshakeable trust in God and His Word is what grounded their beliefs. Today more than ever, we need men and women who stand firm against philosophies and ideas that threaten the church. Will you commit to be bold for the Lord?

Bible in One Year: Exodus 28-30

Our Daily Bread — Loving God

Bible in a Year:

We know and rely on the love God has for us.

1 John 4:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 John 4:10–21

The professor ended his online class in one of two ways each time. He’d say, “See you next time” or “Have a good weekend.” Some students would respond with “Thank you. You too!” But one day a student responded, “I love you.” Surprised, he replied, “I love you too!” That evening the classmates agreed to create an “I love you chain” for the next class time in appreciation for their professor who had to teach to a screen on his computer, not in-person teaching as he preferred. A few days later when he finished teaching, the professor said, “See you next time,” and one by one the students replied, “I love you.” They continued this practice for months. The teacher said this created a strong bond with his students, and he now feels they’re “family.”

In 1 John 4:10–21, we, as part of God’s family, find several reasons to say “I love you” to Him: He sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sin (v. 10). He gave us His Spirit to live in us (vv. 13, 15). His love is always reliable (v. 16), and we never need to fear judgment (v. 17). He enables us to love Him and others “because he first loved us” (v. 19).

The next time you gather with God’s people, take time to share your reasons for loving Him. Making an “I love you” chain for God will bring Him praise and bring you closer together.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

Why do you love God? How can you show others His love?

I’m grateful to know Your love and to be a part of Your family, Father. Show me ways to creatively express that love.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Understanding Your Calling

“I pray that . . . you may know what is the hope of [God’s] calling” (Eph. 1:18).

The hope of your calling is grounded in God’s promises and in Christ’s accomplishments.

In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul proclaims the blessings of our salvation. In verse 18 he prays that we will comprehend those great truths, which he summarizes in the phrase “the hope of His calling.”

“Calling” here refers to God’s effectual calling—the calling that redeems the soul. Scripture speaks of two kinds of calling: the gospel or general call and the effectual or specific call. The gospel call is given by men and is a universal call to repent and trust Christ for salvation (e.g., Matt. 28:19Acts 17:30-31). It goes out to all sinners but not all who hear it respond in faith.

The effectual call is given by God only to the elect. By it He speaks to the soul, grants saving faith, and ushers elect sinners into salvation (John 6:37-4465Acts 2:39). All who receive it respond in faith.

The hope that your effectual calling instills is grounded in God’s promises and Christ’s accomplishments (1 Pet. 1:3), and is characterized by confidently expecting yet patiently waiting for those promises to be fulfilled. It is your hope of final glorification and of sharing God’s glory when Christ returns (Col. 3:4). It is a source of strength and stability amid the trials of life (1 Pet. 3:14-15). Consequently it should fill you with joy (Rom. 5:2) and motivate you to godly living (1 John 3:3).

As you face this new day, do so with the confidence that you are one of God’s elect. He called you to Himself and will hold you there no matter what circumstances you face. Nothing can separate you from His love (Rom. 8:38-39)!

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the security of your salvation.
  • Ask Him to impress on your heart the blessings and responsibilities of your calling.
  • Live today in anticipation of Christ’s imminent return.

For Further Study

Joshua’s call to lead Israel was not a call to salvation, but it illustrates some important principles for spiritual leadership. You might not see yourself as a spiritual leader, but you are important to those who look to you as an example of Christian character.

Read Joshua 1:1-9 then answer these questions:

  • What were the circumstances of Joshua’s call (vv. 1-2)?
  • What promises did God make to him (vv. 3-6)?
  • What did God require of him (vv. 7-9)?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Adopting and Attitude of Gratitude

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

— Ephesians 5:20 (AMPC)

A thankful person is a happy person! If we want to increase our joy, all we really need to do is think more about what we have to be grateful for. Sadly, it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking about what we want, what we don’t have, or what other people have that we wish we had. But that doesn’t please God, and it steals our joy.

God’s Word teaches that we should be anxious for nothing, and to pray about everything, with thanksgiving (see Philippians 4:6). I doubt that God has any interest in giving us more if we are already complaining about what we have or don’t have. It seems to me that the more thankful and appreciative we are for what God has already done for us, the more He would be inclined to do. Think of five things today you have to be thankful for and voice your gratitude to God.

Prayer Starter: Father, I am sorry for the times I’ve complained about my life. I am blessed, and I ask You to help me remember how good You are to me at all times. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Obey Your Heavenly Father

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:31

When the believer is adopted into the Lord’s family, his relationship to old Adam and the law ceases at once; but then he is under a new rule and a new covenant. Believer, you are God’s child; it is your first duty to obey your heavenly Father.

A servile spirit you have nothing to do with: You are not a slave but a child. And now, inasmuch as you are a beloved child, you are bound to obey your Father’s faintest wish, the least intimation of His will. Does He bid you fulfill a sacred ordinance? It is at your peril that you neglect it, for you will be disobeying your Father.

Does He command you to seek the image of Jesus? Is it not your joy to do so? Does Jesus tell you, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”?1 Then not because the law commands, but because your Savior enjoins, you will labor to be perfect in holiness. Does He bid his saints to love one another? Do it, not because the law says, “Love your neighbor,” but because Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”2

And this is the commandment that He has given unto you, “that you love one another.” Are you told to distribute to the poor? Do it, not because charity is a burden that you dare not shirk, but because Jesus teaches, “Give to him that asks of you.” Does the Word say, “Love God with all your heart”? Look at the commandment and reply, “Ah, commandment, Christ has fulfilled you already. I have no need, therefore, to fulfill you for my salvation, but I rejoice to yield obedience to you because God is my Father now, and He has a claim upon me, which I would not dispute.”

May the Holy Ghost make your heart obedient to the constraining power of Christ’s love, that your prayer may be, “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!”3 Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, and not the apologist of sin.

1) Matthew 5:48
2) John 14:15
3) Psalm 119:32

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Light

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

Walking around the garage in complete darkness is a bad idea. If the room is pitch black, you’ll probably hurt yourself. You might bump into the car or trip over a baseball bat or a basketball. And you’ll probably stub your toe or hit your head. That could be painful!

But if you take a flashlight with you, everything will change. You’ll see where you’re going, and you won’t stub your toe or hit your head, because of the light you have with you.

What are some facts about light? Light makes things clear and easy to see. Light shows us where to go and keeps us from getting hurt. Light draws our attention to things. Can you think of some other facts about light?

The Bible says that God is light.

God makes things clear in His Word. God makes things easy to see with His will. God draws our attention to Himself. God is the perfect light. And this Light – God – belongs to you, if you are saved.

1 John 1:5 says, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

Next time you flip on the light-switch in your bedroom, remember this: it is just as important to see God and His light as it is to see the light in your room.

God is the perfect light.

My Response:
» What do I need God to help me see?
» How can I use God’s Word be a light in my life?

Denison Forum – The latest in Ukraine: “Let me use danger as material for courage”

Tensions soared yesterday between Russia and the West over concerns that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine. The US Defense Department announced that up to 8,500 American forces have been placed on “heightened alert” for potential deployment to eastern Europe. The State Department has ordered families of US Embassy personnel in Kyiv, Ukraine, to begin evacuating. The British Embassy in Ukraine will withdraw some staff members as well.

What is happening in Ukraine? Why? What difference can the Christian faith make in this conflict?

Russian demands and Western response

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly views Ukraine as part of Russia’s “sphere of influence” rather than an independent state. Consequently, Russia has amassed an estimated one hundred thousand troops near Ukraine’s border. It is demanding that NATO promise to never allow Ukraine to join its alliance and wants alliance troops currently stationed in former Soviet bloc countries to be curtailed. 

The Associated Press reports that since Russia’s demands are “nonstarters for NATO,” a deadlock has been created that “many fear can only end in war.” NATO is increasing its military presence in the region, with member countries sending warplanes and ships and promising to send more troops. The European Union has also committed to increased financial support for Ukraine.

For its part, Russia denies that it is planning an invasion and claims Western accusations are a cover for NATO’s own planned provocations. Though it has surrounded Ukraine with forces from the north, east, and south, Moscow is now citing the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of aggression.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last Friday and said the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals this week. Observers say this might delay any invasion for a few more days.

“They go from strength to strength”

Seventy-eight percent of adults in Ukraine identify as Orthodox Christians. (By contrast, only 63 percent of American adults identify as Christians.) This constitutes some thirty-five million Ukrainian Christians. 

If you were one of them today, what difference would your faith make? How would following Jesus differentiate you from those who do not follow your Lord? We could ask the same question of American Christians facing growing animosity against biblical morality and of believers facing persecution around the world.

We know that one day God “shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

But skeptics are likely to ask: What difference does our faith make in the meantime?

The Bible is filled with promises of God’s presence and provision for those who trust in him. For example, Psalm 91:3 states: “He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon said of this text, “No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler’s net.” The psalmist wrote: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion” (Psalm 84:5–7).

But these promises come with a condition.

“Good reason to be anxious about everything”

God’s word instructs us, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6a). Frederick Buechner writes that Paul “was evidently in prison at the time and with good reason to be anxious about everything.” However, the apostle continued: “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (v. 6b).

Buechner comments: “He does not deny that the worst things will happen finally to all of us, as indeed he must have had a strong suspicion they were soon to happen to him. He does not try to minimize them. He does not try to explain them away as God’s will or God’s judgment or God’s method of testing our spiritual fiber. He simply tells the Philippians that in spite of them—even in the thick of them—they are to keep in constant touch with the One who unimaginably transcends the worst things as he also unimaginably transcends the best.”

Buechner continues: “Come hell or high water, they are to keep on asking, keep on thanking, above all keep on making themselves known. He does not promise them that as a result they will be delivered from the worst things any more than Jesus himself was delivered from them. What he promises them instead is that ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

“The worst things will surely happen no matter what—that is to be understood—but beyond all our power to understand, he writes, we will have peace both in heart and in mind. We are as sure to be in trouble as the sparks fly upward, but we will also be ‘in Christ,’ as he puts it. Ultimately not even sorrow, loss, death can get at us there.”

“Let me use danger as material for courage”

Let us pray today for war to be averted in Ukraine and for peace to rule. Let us pray for wisdom for our leaders and for those with whom they are negotiating. Let us pray for protection for our soldiers, embassy personnel, and others who are potentially in harm’s way.

And let us pray for our Ukrainian sisters and brothers in Christ to turn their anxiety into intercession and to confront their fears with faith. When they do, they will “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16). Skeptics will see the powerful difference Jesus makes in those who trust him not just when their lives are easy but especially when they are not.

And let us join them by asking God to redeem our present challenges in ways that deepen our faith and glorify our Lord. The Scottish minister John Baillie prayed:

Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use anxiety as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use criticism as material for learning;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for self-control;
Let me use pain as material for endurance.

Why do you need to make his prayer your own today?