In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Our Final Redemption

While life after salvation still has challenges, the Holy Spirit gives believers direction, peace, and joy.

Romans 8:12-25

Have you discovered that your expectations do not match the realities of your existence? We sometimes have the mistaken idea that God is going to make life easier after salvation. In some ways, this certainly is true: As believers, we have the Holy Spirit, who transforms us into Christ’s likeness, enabling us to handle struggles with peace, contentment, and even joy. But being a Christian does not spare us from troubles and hardships. (See John 16:33.)

As Paul explains, our present sufferings cannot be compared to the glories we will one day know. So for now, we “groan within ourselves” (Rom. 8:23) while awaiting Christ’s coming kingdom and the redemption of our bodies. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the price, redeemed us, and brought us into His kingdom. However, we are still in a fallen state—that’s why we continue to struggle with sin. Our full redemption will become reality upon Christ’s return, when our bodies will be resurrected into their glorified state.  

Do you groan within yourself for that day, knowing that the world is not your home—or have you allowed your affections and interests to be dominated by this earthly life?  

Bible in One Year: Exodus 36-38 

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Our Daily Bread — In God We Put Our Trust

Bible in a Year:

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Jeremiah 17:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Jeremiah 17:5–8

The baby wasn’t due for another six weeks, but the doctor had just diagnosed Whitney with cholestasis, a liver condition common in pregnancy. In a whirlwind of emotions, Whitney was taken to the hospital where she received treatment and was told her baby would be induced in twenty-four hours! In another part of the hospital, ventilators and other equipment needed for the onslaught of COVID-19 cases were being put into place. As a result, Whitney was sent home. She made the decision to trust God and His plans, and she delivered a healthy baby a few days later.

When Scripture takes root in us, it transforms the way we react in trying situations. Jeremiah lived in a time when most of society trusted in human alliances, and the worship of idols was prevalent. The prophet contrasts the person who “draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5) with the one who trusts in God. “Blessed is the one . . . whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that . . . does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green” (vv. 7–8).

As believers in Jesus, we’re called to live by faith as we look to Him for solutions. As He provides the strength, we can choose to fear or to trust Him. God says we’re blessed—fully satisfied—when we choose to place our trust in Him.

By:  Regie Keller

Reflect & Pray

When have you felt worried or afraid and then were reminded of God’s promise to bless those who trust Him? How has the realization that you can trust God in all circumstances brought you relief?

Dear God, thank You that I can trust You in all situations and come to You in prayer. You’re right there in the midst of my struggles, and You give me strength.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Striving According to God’s Power

“These are in accordance with the working of the strength of [God’s] might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead” (Eph. 1:19-20).

In Christ you have all the power you will ever need.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the great hope of believers. Because He lives, we will live also (John 14:19). Peter said we have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” (1 Pet. 1:3-4). We and what we have are protected by God’s power (v. 5).

In Ephesians 1:19-20 Paul draws two comparisons. The first is between the power God demonstrated in the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and the power He demonstrates on behalf of every believer. That power is described as God’s “working,” “strength,” and “might.” Together those synonyms emphasize the greatness of God’s power, which not only secures our salvation, but also enables us to live godly lives.

The second comparison is between our Lord’s resurrection and ascension, and ours. The grave couldn’t hold Him, nor can it hold us (1 Cor. 15:54-57). Satan himself couldn’t prevent Christ’s exaltation, nor can he prevent us from gaining our eternal inheritance.

In Christ you have all the power you will ever need. For evangelism you have the gospel itself, which “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). For difficult times you have the assurance that the surpassing greatness of God’s power is at work in you (2 Cor. 4:7). For holy living you have God Himself at work in you “both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

No matter how weak or ill-equipped you may at times feel, realize God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that [you] ask or think, according to the power that works within [you]” (Eph. 3:20). So keep striving according to that power (Col. 1:29), but do so with the confidence that ultimately God will accomplish His good in your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that He can and will accomplish His purposes in your life (Phil. 1:61 Thess. 5:24).
  • Pray for wisdom in how you might best serve Him today.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 145, noting every mention of God’s power David makes. Allow those examples to fill your heart with confidence and praise.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Practice Seeing the Positive

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

— Proverbs 17:22 (AMPC)

I encourage you to be a thankful, positive person. If you aren’t it’s just a matter of forming a new habit.

I was so negative at one time in my life that if I even tried to think two positive thoughts in succession my brain seemed to stop functioning. But now I am very positive and actually don’t enjoy being with people who are negative.

If you have not formed the habit of being positive and thankful yet, you can begin today! Put reminders around your house or in your car, little signs that say, “Be positive,” and “thank You, Jesus!” Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you if you are slipping into negativity. Ask your friends to help also. Set aside time during the day to focus on and be thankful for the good things God has blessed you with.

Positive, thankful thoughts don’t happen by accident; you can choose to practice them. And remember, practice makes perfect.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for helping me think positive thoughts. I am grateful that I am not a prisoner to negative thinking and that I can choose to be happy and filled with joy. In Jesus name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Glorify and Praise God

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2:20

What was the subject of their praise? They praised God for what they had heard—for the good tidings of great joy that a Savior was born unto them. Let us copy them; let us also raise a song of thanksgiving that we have heard of Jesus and His salvation.

They also praised God for what they had seen. There is the sweetest music—what we have experienced, what we have felt within, what we have made our own. It is not enough to hear about Jesus: Mere hearing may tune the harp, but the fingers of living faith must create the music. If you have seen Jesus with the God-giving sight of faith, suffer no cobwebs to linger among the harp-strings, but loud with the praise of sovereign grace, awake your psaltery and harp.

One point for which they praised God was the agreement between what they had heard and what they had seen. Observe the last sentence—“as it had been told them.” Have you not found the Gospel to be in yourselves just what the Bible said it would be? Jesus said He would give you rest—have you not enjoyed the sweetest peace in Him?

He said you would have joy and comfort and life through believing in Him—have you not received all these? Are not His ways ways of pleasantness, and His paths paths of peace? Surely you can say with the queen of Sheba, “The half was not told me.”1

I have found Christ more sweet than His servants ever said He was. I looked upon His likeness as they painted it, but it was a mere daub compared with Himself; for the King in His beauty outshines all imaginable loveliness. Surely what we have “seen” keeps pace with, no, far exceeds what we have “heard.” Let us, then, glorify and praise God for a Savior so precious and so satisfying.

1) 1 Kings 10:7

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 “Picks” Workers According to His Own Wisdom and Power

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

If you were picking players for a basketball team, you would probably not pick Evan. Evan is short, slow, and not very smart. He misses most of the shots he takes, and he sometimes actually just drops the basketball. Evan is usually the last person to be picked for any kinds of sports team – if he even gets picked at all.

The Bible tells us that God has chosen “foolish things” and “weak things” to accomplish His work. Evan is not very smart, and he is not very strong, but God has chosen Evan to be His child. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God has chosen you to shame those who are smart and strong in ways the world values.

God does great things through people who love Him. When He does those great things, He doesn’t want His people to say, “Look what I did because I am smart!” He wants them to say, “Look what God did.” God chooses people who are not necessarily smart or strong so that they will know that God is great, and they are not.

You may not be the smartest or strongest kid in the world, but that makes you the kind of material God can use. When unbelievers see the great things God does through us, they will be ashamed because they will see that even though we were foolish and weak, we were on the winning team the whole time.

God chose you not because you are great, but because He is.

My Response:
» Am I trying to tell God who is or isn’t worthy to serve Him?
» Am I fearful to obey a command from God because I think of myself as unworthy or unable to be of use to Him?
» Am I trying to do things for God in my own power, or am I letting God help me and use me in spite of my shortcomings?

Denison Forum – When sharks attack and storms threaten: What good is biblical faith in perilous times?

Shark attacks increased by 50 percent last year. A new Omicron variant has been reported in at least four states and on three other continents. The stock market continues to “swing wildly” in response to inflation, the surge in Omicron cases, supply chain woes, and fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

An earthquake struck Tonga yesterday, following the tsunami that devastated the region on January 15. The northeastern US faces heavy snow and blizzard conditions this weekend, bringing back memories for those of us in Dallas of the winter storm that decimated our city last February.

The midterm elections may be especially challenging for Democrats. However, the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is a setback for Republicans who hoped to take the White House in 2024 and then nominate his replacement.

Here’s what these stories have in common: they illustrate the degree to which you and I are susceptible to forces beyond our control.

How is the Christian faith relevant to such challenges? We claim that God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. However, he has not stopped the pandemic, ended aggression by nations against nations, or healed our partisan divides and animosity.

What good, then, is our faith in perilous times?

When we take our last breath here

Let’s begin with three biblical answers:

One: God shares our suffering. 

He promises that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). He is holding us in his hand right now (John 10:29), feeling everything we feel (Hebrews 4:15) and weeping as we weep (John 11:35).

Two: The worst that can happen to us leads to the best that can happen to us. 

Jesus was clear: “Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:26). When we close our eyes here, we open them in paradise. When we take our last breath here, we take our first breath there. We are home and we are well.

Three: God redeems all that he allows (cf. Romans 8:28). 

He grows us spiritually (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9–10), uses our witness powerfully (cf. Acts 4:13), and humbles us to become even more dependent and thus empowered by his Spirit (cf. Acts 4:29–31Ephesians 5:18).

However, there is a fourth answer to our question that we often overlook.

A claim only Christians can make

Jesus famously encouraged us, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Matthew 6:34). However, this assurance is preceded by numerous instructions showing us how we are to live in collective community:

  • Do not allow our anger to damage our relationships with others (5:21–26).
  • View others with respect rather than with lust (5:27–30).
  • Honor marriage and oaths (5:31–37).
  • Love our enemies and refuse to retaliate against them (5:38–41).
  • Give to the needy (6:1–4).
  • Pray in ways that focus on God and others (6:5–14).
  • Practice fasting to focus on God rather than ourselves (6:16–18).
  • Lay up treasure in heaven by serving God and prioritizing his mission over personal gain (6:19–33).

In other words, faithful courage in the face of perilous times is empowered by living in community with the family of God.

This principle makes sense in light of the fact that every Christian is inhabited by the Spirit of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16). This is a claim Christianity uniquely makes among all world religions. Muslims do not believe Muhammad lives in their bodies as his temple; Buddhists do not make a similar claim for Buddha or Jews for Jewish rabbis.

We are therefore the collective “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). As a result, we can respond collectively to the issues we face in ways no other group can. Some of us are a “foot,” while others are a “hand” (v. 15). Some are an “eye,” while others are an “ear” (v. 17). We can serve the common good together in ways no individual can alone.

And when we act in this way, our witness glorifies our Lord and advances his kingdom.

The path to peace and joy

In How to Reach the West Again, Timothy Keller perceptively diagnoses our cultural moment and challenges, then he encourages us to take practical steps to build communities that respond redemptively to our collective challenges and serve the common good.

He cites Michael Green’s estimate that “80 percent or more of evangelism in the early church was done not by ministers or evangelists, but by ordinary Christians explaining themselves to . . . their network of relatives and close associates.” As Keller notes, “People paid attention to the gospel because someone they knew well, worked with, and perhaps loved, spoke to them about it.”

He then urges us to “intentionally adopt ‘missional living’” in our daily lives and relationships. He adds the insight of Alan Noble in Disruptive Witness: people in our day are more open to considering Christianity when reading or watching stories and narratives that witness to Christian insights during times of stress, disappointment, difficulty, or suffering.

This is because no other worldview meets human needs as Christianity does. No other faith offers the hope an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Father can. No other movement is empowered by God living in its adherents as Christianity is.

Frederick Buechner noted: “Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

How much “peace and joy” will you experience today?

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