In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Influence of Our Convictions

Like Daniel, we can steadfastly follow God by clinging to His truth.

Daniel 1:1-21

Although our circles of influence vary in size, we all have the power to affect others—either for good or for bad. Whether at home, in the church, or in the world, our lives are on display. Many times we aren’t even aware of who is impacted by our words, attitudes, and actions. 

Daniel’s convictions, not his environment, determined his behavior. He believed in the absolute truth of the Scriptures and was determined not to defile himself in a pagan culture. His firm stance influenced everyone who came in contact with him—from lowly servants to kings of empires. 

Our world offers a multitude of ways to compromise on what we know is right, but if we’ll make up our minds ahead of time, we too can stand firm in our obedience to God. Although unbelievers may mock our values and lifestyle, their respect for us actually diminishes and our witness for Christ is damaged if we waver. 

Conviction about God’s truth is like an anchor. When the winds of opinion blow and the waves of temptation pound us, we can know with certainty the right way to respond. Your firm stand for what’s right can powerfully influence others. 

Bible in One Year: Numbers 6-7

Our Daily Bread — His Amazing Help

Bible in a Year:

[God] spreads the snow like wool.

Psalm 147:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 147:8–17

The sheriff marveled at the prayers, estimating “hundreds of thousands or maybe millions of prayers” were lifted to God for help as the East Troublesome Fire raged through the mountains of Colorado in the fall of 2020. Living up to its name, the blaze consumed 100,000 acres in twelve hours, roaring through tinder-dry forests, burning three hundred homes to the ground, and threatening entire towns in its path. Then came “the Godsend,” as one meteorologist called it. No, not rain. A timely snowfall. It fell across the fire zone, arriving early for that time of year—dropping up to a foot or more of wet snow—slowing the fire and, in some places, stopping it.

Such merciful help seemed too amazing to explain. Does God hear our prayers for snow? And rain too?  The Bible records His many answers, including after Elijah’s hope for rain (1 Kings 18:41–46). A servant of great faith, Elijah understood God’s sovereignty, including over the weather. As Psalm 147 says of God, “He supplies the earth with rain” (v. 8). “He spreads the snow like wool . . . . Who can withstand his icy blast?” (vv. 16–17).

Elijah could hear “the sound of a heavy rain” before clouds even formed (1 Kings 18:41). Is our faith in His power that strong? God invites our trust, no matter His answer. We can look to Him for His amazing help.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What amazing help have you seen God bring in a dire situation? How does His help encourage your faith?

Amazing God, I bow at Your feet, humbled by Your merciful help whenever it comes. Thank You for encouraging my faith with Your sovereign power throughout the earth.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – God Is Everywhere

“‘But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee’” (1 Kings 8:27).

God is in all places; He is not confined by space.

No matter how big the universe is, God is bigger. His being fills up all of infinity. He is omnipresent—everywhere present. God says, “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” (Jer. 23:24). Solomon said at the dedication of the temple, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27). There are no limits of time or space to His presence.

Some may object to the doctrine of omnipresence, saying, “Wouldn’t the sin in the world defile an omnipresent God?” No. God is in the hearts of sinners convicting them of sin. He is also in Hell where He “is able to destroy both soul and body” (Matt. 10:28). Though God’s essence is everywhere, He never mingles with impurity. In a similar way, Jesus lived among sinners and was “tempted in all things as we are, yet [He was] without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Isaiah exhorts people to “call upon [God] while He is near” (55:6); yet Proverbs 15:29 says, “The Lord is far from the wicked.” How can He be near some people and far from others when He is everywhere all the time? To answer this, we must distinguish between God’s essence and His relation to people. He is everywhere in His essence, but with specific individuals He is far or near relationally. When we become Christians, Christ dwells in us. God can fill us with His fullness (Eph. 3:19), and the Spirit who lives in us can also fill us (1:13; 5:18). But before God’s Spirit indwelt us relationally, His essence convicted us of sin and saved us.

The Old Testament tells us that God dwelt between the wings of the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. That location was a symbol of God’s presence. Today the church represents God’s presence on earth. In the Millennium, Christ’s rule on the throne of David in Jerusalem will represent God’s presence. In Heaven His presence will be represented by the throne of Revelation 4—5. Remember, though, that the symbol of God’s presence never restricts His essence.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God that He is omnipresent, and thank Him that He lives in you.

For Further Study

  • What does Psalm 139:7-18 teach about God’s omnipresence?
  • What was David’s response (vv. 17-18)?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Nothing Is Impossible with God

And the patriarchs [Jacob’s sons], boiling with envy and hatred and anger, sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt; but God was with him.

— Acts 7:9 (AMPC)

God doesn’t want us to ignore or deny our circumstances, but He does want us to deny their right to control us through negative thinking. Joseph was a young boy sold into slavery by his very own brothers, “but God was with him,” and eventually Joseph became second in command over all of Egypt. I believe that even though Joseph had difficult circumstances, he knew God was greater than them.

Learn to think and say, “I may have problems, but God is with me.” One might think, I lost my job, but God is faithful. Another may think, My husband left me with our two kids, but God is our Provider. I had to think, I was abused, but God has promised me double for my trouble. I didn’t get to go to college, but God promoted me anyway. The sick person can think, I have health problems, but God is my healer.

No matter what you don’t have, you do have God—and with Him, all things are possible.

Prayer Starter: Father, I don’t necessarily like my circumstances, but I know You are with me and I am asking You to cause me to succeed.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – I Have Redeemed You

I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Isaiah 44:22

Pay attention to THE INSTRUCTIVE PICTURE: Our sins are like a cloud. As clouds appear in many shapes and shades, so do our transgressions. As clouds obscure the light of the sun and darken the landscape below, so do our sins hide from us the light of Jehovah’s face and cause us to sit in the shadow of death. They are earthborn things and arise from the miry places of our lives; and when they collect and their measure is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Sadly, unlike clouds, our sins yield us no genial showers but rather threaten to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. How can it be fair weather when the dark clouds of sin remain within our souls?

Let our happy gaze ponder THE NOTABLE ACT of divine mercy—“blotted out.” God Himself appears upon the scene and in divine generosity, instead of manifesting His anger, reveals His grace. He at once and forever effectually removes the mischief, not by blowing away the cloud, but by blotting it out from existence once and for all. Against the justified man no sin remains; the great transaction of the cross has eternally removed his transgressions from him. On Calvary’s summit the great deed, by which the sin of all the chosen was forever put away, was completely and effectually performed.

Practically let us obey THE GRACIOUS COMMAND: “Return to me.” Why should pardoned sinners live at a distance from their God? If all of our sins have been forgiven, let no legal fear hold us back from the boldest access to our Lord. Let backslidings be bemoaned, but let us not persevere in them. Let us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, work strenuously to return to intimate communion with the Lord. O Lord, restore us now, tonight!

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Knows Our Needs

“Behold, the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6: 26)

Gwen’s bedroom window looks out on a little pond. A family of mallard ducks lives there all year long. So does a noisy flock of Canadian geese. Sometimes in the spring, there is a wood duck with feathers of so many colors that he looks like someone painted him as an art project. Gwen evens see a blue heron visiting the pond sometimes, wading into the water on its long legs and poking its beak into the tall grasses on the shore.

Gwen used to wonder if birds are able to think. What would they think about? She used her imagination…. “Hmm. I wonder if I’ll find my favorite kind of worm at this pond. I hope the other ducks haven’t eaten all the juiciest water bugs! Maybe I should have gone to some other pond. What if I waste so much energy looking for my meal that I’m too worn out to fly afterwards? What if I starve? Who’s going to take care of me?”

Then one day, Gwen read Matthew 6:26. It says that birds don’t have to plant seeds in fields or store up food in barns. God feeds them. They don’t have to worry about their own needs, because God is taking care of them.

God knows your needs, too. Are you worried about something? A move to a new city? A big test at school? A visit to the doctor or dentist? Something you need that costs a lot of money? God knows what you need in each situation. The same God who cares for the birds will take care of you. You matter to Him even more than they do. Trust Him.

God knows our needs and will take care of us.

My Response:
» Am I worrying about something? Or am I trusting God to take care of my needs?

Denison Forum – How 4 Super Bowl LVI players are making an eternal difference

As football fans and the culture at large gear up for the biggest sports event of the year as the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals face off in the Super Bowl this Sunday, I find myself in the unfortunate position of not really caring who wins. 

My Dallas Cowboys lost in heartbreaking—and rage-inducing—fashion a few weeks ago, but I’m still looking forward to the game and everything that surrounds it. That said, sports tend to be more fun when you have someone to root for.

With that in mind, I’ve enjoyed getting to know a bit more about the faith of several athletes who will be playing this weekend. 

Cooper Kupp

Cooper Kupp, for example, has become one of the most valuable wide receivers in the league and has consistently been the focal point of the Rams offense all season. He’s also among the most vocal and open Christians in the sport. 

Whether it’s reflecting on the lessons he learned while recovering from a torn ACL a few seasons ago or when he’s asked about his growing stardom in the league, Kupp consistently points people back to God as the reason for his success and the secret to staying grounded amidst his rise in prominence. 

For example, when asked earlier this season if he felt like the NFL fully appreciated his abilities, he simply paraphrased Proverbs 16:9telling the reporter “Today, the verse that was on my mind was, ‘The heart of man chooses his path but the Lord establishes his steps. It just gave me so much freedom to go out there and play free, give everything I had [and] know the results rested in him.” 

When discussing the violence inherent to the sport, he notes that “it’s the nature of the game. In the same way, it’s also sporadic and oftentimes out of your control. I couldn’t imagine stepping onto a football field and not having a full body-mind-spirit belief that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. My faith in God and His plan for me allows me to play freely without doubt or fear.”

Evan McPherson

However, Kupp is far from the only participant to have made the news recently as a result of his faith. The Cincinnati Bengals are playing for the championship in large part because rookie kicker Evan McPherson ended the last two weeks with game-winning field goals. After his kick that sent the Bengals to the AFC Championship game, he attended the press conference wearing a black shirt with “God is good” printed across the top. 

He also regularly quotes Scripture on social media and responded to being named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December by posting on Instagram: “Glory to God! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.” Paul’s instruction in that passage is to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” which seems to sum up McPherson’s approach to the game quite well. 

Sony Michel

And Rams running back Sony Michel would agree with him. He told reporters during a previous trip to the Super Bowl—ironically when he was playing against the Rams—that “without Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, there is none of this. We get all this glory, but the glory is not for us. It’s for Him. We do this for Him. That’s kind of my purpose. So really, none of this matters to me.”

Akeem Davis-Gaither

Bengals linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither hasn’t been a Christian for as long as the others listed above, but he speaks of his faith with a wisdom and perspective that would surely resonate with the others in this article. 

After being baptized last summer, Davis-Gaither posted that “after 23 years I am so proud to have given my life to Christ and Received the gift of new life! God has done wonderful things in my life, picked me up from my lows and humbled me at my highs. Every step of my life, God has blessed me in so many ways. I’m blessed that I’m able to share his love and let my life be a testimony of his unwavering love for us all.”

The impact of Christians in Super Bowl LVI

Regardless of whom you choose to cheer for this Sunday night—or even if you choose to ignore the game altogether—having Christians publicly stand for their faith while the world is watching should be an encouragement to all of us. 

It should also be a reminder to pray for those willing to take that step because doing so puts a target on their back that Satan would love nothing more than to exploit. None of these men are perfect, and they will surely make decisions from time to time that our Lord would not approve of. After all, they’re still just as fallen and human as the rest of us. 

So please take some time today to pray for each of these players by name. 

Pray that God would continue to use their courage and their witness in ways that expand the kingdom. 

Pray that God would protect them from temptation and help them to remain faithful to his will. 

And pray that God will use their example to spark the desire to be used in similar ways in your own life as well. 

We may never have the same reach or audience as professional football players on the sport’s biggest stage, but that’s not an excuse to take the opportunities that the Lord does give us any less seriously than if we did. 

What opportunities will God bring your way today? 

Will you be ready when he does?