In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Our Teacher

Though we’ll always struggle with sin, we have the Holy Spirit within, guiding us according to God’s will.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Because human beings have a fallen nature and a finite mind, there are many facets of God’s greatness that we can’t fully grasp. In fact, the only way to understand divine truths is through the Holy Spirit, the all-knowing Teacher sent to live within believers. He interprets the things of God for us and helps us in many other ways. 

No one can come to Jesus Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of sin, makes us aware of our need for a Savior, and gives us the faith to believe in Jesus and thereby be saved. 

Once we have surrendered our life to the Lord, the Spirit begins the process of sanctification. This transformation into the image of Christ is a lifelong process of continual growth through the Word of God. 

All along the way, the Spirit faithfully empowers us to spread the good news of salvation. He does this by guiding our words, giving us courage, and opening hearts so that hearers can believe. 

Thank God today for His indwelling Holy Spirit, who is actively working to lead you on an exciting walk of faith. 

Bible in One Year: Leviticus 8-10

Our Daily Bread — Love Wherever We Go

Bible in a Year:

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Matthew 25:40

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 25:31–40

I sat on the pier during a vacation, reading my Bible and watching my husband fish. A young man approached us, suggesting we use different bait. He glanced at me as he fidgeted from one foot to another and said, “I’ve been in jail.” He pointed to my Bible and sighed, “Do you think God really cares about people like me?”

Opening to Matthew 25, I read aloud that Jesus talked about His followers visiting those in prison.

“It says that? About being in prison?” Tears brimmed his eyes when I shared how God considers kindness toward His children a personal act of love toward Himself (vv. 31–40).

“I wish my parents would forgive me too.” He lowered his head. “I’ll be right back.” He returned and handed me his tattered Bible. “Would you show me where to find those words?”

I nodded. My husband and I hugged him as we prayed for him and his parents. We exchanged contact information and have continued praying for him.

At one point or another, we’ll feel unloved, unwelcomed, in need, and even physically or emotionally imprisoned (vv. 35–36). We’ll need reminders of God’s loving compassion and forgiveness. We’ll also have opportunities to support others who struggle with these feelings. We can be a part of God’s redeeming plan as we spread His truth and love wherever we go.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you love God by showing love to others today? In what ways has He showed you love through others?

Father, thank You for loving me, forgiving me, and giving me opportunities to share Your truth as I love You by loving others.

Discover what real love is.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Joy and Godliness

“I rejoice and share my joy with you” (Phil. 2:17).

True joy is directly related to godly living.

Philippians is often called the epistle of joy—and rightly so because the believer’s joy is its major theme. Paul loved the Philippian Christians and they loved Him. When they learned that he had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel, they were deeply concerned.

Paul wrote to alleviate their fears and encourage their joy. Of his own circumstances he said, “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me” (Phil. 2:17- 18).

Often a Jewish animal sacrifice was accompanied by a libation or drink offering (e.g., Num. 15:1-10). The animal was the greater sacrifice; the libation the lesser. Drawing from that picture, Paul placed greater significance on the faith and spiritual well-being of his readers than on his own life. To suffer for Christ’s sake brought him joy, and he wanted the Philippians to understand that perspective and rejoice with him.

He also wanted them to understand that joy doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It’s directly related to godly living. Christ is its source; obedience is its sustenance. We see that in David’s cry of repentance: “Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12). Paul knew the joy of the Lord because he trusted Christ and obeyed His will.

The scarcity of joy and godliness in the world today makes it imperative that Christians manifest those characteristics. As we do, others will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).

This month we will highlight various aspects of joy and godliness from Philippians 1:1-11 and Colossians 1:9-12. I pray you will be eager to learn from God’s Word, and willingly obey what you learn, for therein is “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to use our daily studies to strengthen your joy and increase your godliness.
  • Seek to emulate Paul’s attitude of preferring others to yourself—a key element in joyful living.

For Further Study

Read the book of Philippians, noting each reference to joy.

  • What brought joy to Paul?
  • On what or whom do you rely for joy?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Come Close

..He will come close to you….

— James 4:8 (AMPC)

Not everyone is willing to pay the price required to be close to God. Not willing to simply take the time required or make the investments needed for spiritual growth. God doesn’t ask for all of our time. He certainly wants us to do things we don’t consider “spiritual.” He designed us with bodies, souls (minds, wills, and emotions), and spirits, and He expects us to take care of all these areas. Exercising our bodies and caring for our souls takes time and effort. Our emotions need to be ministered to; we need to have fun and be entertained, and we need to enjoy being with other people. Our minds need to grow and be renewed daily. In addition, we have a spiritual nature that needs attention. To stay balanced and healthy, we must take time to take care of our entire being.

I believe the whole issue of intimacy with God is a matter of time. We say we don’t have time to seek God, but the truth is that we take time to do the things that are most important to us. Even though we all have to fight distractions every day, if knowing God and hearing from Him is important to us then we will find time to do it. Don’t try to work God into your schedule, but instead work your schedule around time with Him.

Getting to know God is a long-term investment, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get instant results. Be determined to honor Him with your time and you will reap the benefits.

Prayer Starter: Lord, draw me closer to You every day. Heal my emotions and help me be healthier in every area of my life, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Speak of Jesus’ Wonderful Love

Your love to me was extraordinary.

2 Samuel 1:26

Come, dear readers, let each one of us speak for himself of the wonderful love, not of Jonathan, but of Jesus. We will not relate what we have been told, but the things that we have tasted and handled—of the love of Christ. Your love to me, O Jesus, was wonderful when I was a stranger wandering far from You, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Your love restrained me from committing the sin that is unto death and withheld me from self-destruction. Your love held back the axe when Justice said, “Cut it down! Why does it clutter the ground?”

Your love drew me into the wilderness, stripped me there, and made me feel the guilt of my sin and the burden of my iniquity. Your love spoke comfortably to me when I was deeply troubled—“Come to Me, and I will give you rest.” Oh, how matchless Your love when, in a moment, You washed my sins away and made my polluted soul, which was crimson with the blood of my nativity and black with the grime of my transgressions, to be white as the driven snow and pure as the finest wool.

How You commended Your love when You whispered in my ears, “I am yours, and you are Mine.” Those were kind words when you declared, “The Father Himself loves you.” And sweet were the moments when You commended to me the love of the Spirit.

My soul shall never forget those chambers of fellowship where You unveiled Yourself to me. Moses had his cleft in the rock, where he saw the train, the back parts, of his God. We, too, have had our clefts in the rock, where we have seen the full splendors of the Godhead in the person of Christ. Did David remember the tracks of the wild goat, the land of Jordan and the Hermonites? We, too, can remember spots dear to our memory, equal to these in blessedness. Precious Lord Jesus, give us a fresh taste of Your wondrous love with which to begin the month. Amen.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Before There Was Anything Else, There Was God

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)

One of Martin’s favorite school activities was Show and Tell Day. One time, he took his most valued treasure: a very old Indian stone. His dad had told him that Indians who lived in Florida long before the colonists settled in America had used the stone as a hammer. Every time Martin held the stone, he thought about how old the stone was.

What is the oldest thing that you have ever held or seen? Maybe you have an old baseball card, an ancient coin, or an antique piece of furniture. Can you think of anything or anyone even older than these things? The Bible verse that you read today tells you that before the mountains were formed and the earth was created, God existed.

In fact, the verse says that God is everlasting: He has always existed, and He will last forever. That is hard to imagine, isn’t it? God has always been and always will be. When you try to imagine how long eternity will be in the future, it almost hurts your brain. God will not only live eternally in the future, but He has lived eternally in the past. None of us can do that!

This eternal God knows all about you, and He has given you His Word (the Bible) in order for you to learn more about Him. Today, thank your God for being the Eternal God and continue to get to know Him by reading His Word!

God has always existed, and He will never die.

My Response:
» Have I thanked God that even though He is the great Creator of everything, He loves me?

Denison Forum – Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst posted cryptic message before her death by suicide

Cheslie Kryst was a Division I athlete. She earned a law degree and an MBA at Wake Forest University, then became a civil litigation attorney doing pro bono work to reduce sentences for inmates. She won the Miss USA pageant in 2019 and earned a spot in the top ten at the Miss Universe competition. She then became a correspondent for the entertainment news program Extra.

Last Sunday, according to police, she jumped from a Manhattan building and was pronounced dead at the scene. Yesterday, the medical examiner said she died by suicide. She was thirty years old.

Before she jumped, Cheslie posted a cryptic message on her Instagram page: “May this day bring you rest and peace.” However, in March 2021 she wrote a transparent and lengthy essay in which she said, “I discovered that the world’s most important question, especially when asked repeatedly and answered frankly, is: why?” She added: “Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to only find emptiness?”

“Do not work for the food that perishes”

I could not find information online about Cheslie Kryst’s faith or whether she suffered from depression. I do understand that many people who trust in Jesus suffer from this debilitating disease. And I also know from personal and pastoral experience that followers of Jesus sometimes die by suicide.

At the same time, it seems that Cheslie’s article spoke for people across our society today when she described finding only “emptiness” in her life.

According to new data from the General Social Survey, Americans are more unhappy than we’ve been in half a century. In 1972, people who said they were “very happy” outnumbered those who said they were “not too happy” by about three-to-one. In 2021, that all changed: now the latter outnumber the former by 5 percent.

One of the keys to finding fulfillment in a society that produces emptiness is to look to its one true source. Jesus urged us: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). This is a binary choice. He then identified this “food”: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (v. 35).

What Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his diary

Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote in his journal as if recording an unusual event, “I have been to church today, and am not depressed.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a member of the US Supreme Court for thirty years, once explained his career choice: “I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.”

If Jesus came to give us “life in all its fullness” (John 10:10 NCV), why are more Christians not more known for our joy?

As I noted in yesterday’s Daily Article, the Bible describes the “fruit of the Spirit” as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). It calls us to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16) so that we might experience and manifest his “fruit,” including his “joy.”

In describing ways we can do this, I wrote that we must “refuse all temptations to stray from him even if Christian leaders and churches do so” and added, “This is such an important point that we will devote tomorrow’s article to it.”

I believe that one of the reasons more Christians do not experience more of the joy of the Spirit lies here. As Yuval Levin notes in his brilliant book, A Time to Build, institutions that once molded the character of their members in line with their mission and values have now become platforms for personal advancement and status. Many political, business, educational, and media leaders leverage the institutions they serve to advance their personal “brands.”

Pastors and other religious leaders are not immune.

“For me it is good to be near God”

In a day filled with historic challenges and rising opposition to the Christian faith, as confidence in our governmental leaders continues to erode, we are looking for people we can trust. This is especially alluring with faith leaders since they are presumably people of high character who are committed to serving our Lord and his people.

In addition, such leaders typically have educational and life experience most do not. It is natural to turn to them to help us interpret and apply the Bible, seek and follow God’s direction for our lives, and otherwise navigate the whitewater rapids of our rapidly changing culture.

However, people—even faith leaders—cannot give us lasting joy. Neither can possessions or popularity. You and I were created by God for intimacy with God. He designed us in such a way that we can be ultimately satisfied with nothing less than such intimacy with him.

The psalmist testified, “For me it is good to be near God” (Psalm 73:28a). Consequently, he continued, “I have made the Lord Gᴏᴅ my refuge” (v. 28b). With the result “that I may tell of all your works” (v. 28c). Knowledge led to experience led to proclamation, not the reverse.

“God always has more to reveal to us”

Two results follow.

One: Decide which faith leaders to trust based on the degree to which they follow Jesus and lead you to him. Seek to discern whether they are “near God” in their personal lives and whether he is their “refuge” and the source of what they say and do.

Two: Depend on the Spirit to do what no human can. Meet daily with your Lord in worship and his word. Ask his Spirit to “fill” and control your mind and life (Ephesians 5:18). Focus less on the “milk” (digested food) available to you through others and more on the “meat” of meeting personally and directly with your Father (1 Corinthians 3:2).

Br. Curtis Almquist of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston writes: “God always has more to reveal to us, and this will be in harmony with what God has already revealed. Pay attention to life. The greatness, glory, and wonder of God’s essence is beyond description, because God is always more: more than we can describe, understand, and experience.”

Will you seek “more” of God today than ever before?

NOTE: If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here. If you know someone who is battling severe depression, you might consult this advice from experts on ways to help.