In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Power of Consistency

When we commit to the Lord, He can use us for His kingdom.

Daniel 6:1-28

We live in a noncommittal world where the ability to persevere through adversity is a rare character trait. For instance, if a job is difficult or boring, it’s all too common for people to quit and find another one. Or when a marriage becomes stressful and unhappy, it often seems easier to give up or start over with a new mate. 

Sadly, this lack of commitment is evident even among believers. Many of us struggle to maintain a consistent quiet time with the Lord. Exhaustion, busyness, and misplaced priorities cause us to let that time slide. 

Daniel was a man of steadfast loyalty. Even the threat of death didn’t interfere with his practice of praying three times a day. Jealous satraps and commissioners saw this consistent devotion to God as an opportunity to set a trap. But the king’s words show he believed it would be the key to Daniel’s deliverance: “Your God whom you continually serve will Himself rescue you” (Dan. 6:16). 

The biblical descriptions of Daniel are impressive: He influenced nations and powerful leaders. But have you considered that the Lord was able to use him greatly because of his unwavering obedience and worship? If you likewise commit yourself to God, just imagine what He can do through your life.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 8-10

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Our Daily Bread — The Voice of the Father

Bible in a Year:

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 3:13–17

My friend’s father died recently. When he got sick, his condition deteriorated quickly, and in a matter of days he was gone. My friend and his dad always had a strong relationship, but there were still so many questions to be asked, answers to be sought, and conversations to be had. So many unsaid things, and now his father is gone. My friend is a trained counselor: he knows the ups and downs of grief and how to help others navigate those troubled waters. Still, he told me, “Some days I just need to hear Dad’s voice, that reassurance of his love. It always meant the world to me.”

A pivotal event at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry was His baptism at the hands of John. Although John tried to resist, Jesus insisted that moment was necessary so He might identify with humankind: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). John did as Jesus asked. And then something happened that proclaimed Jesus’ identity to John the Baptist and the crowd, and it must have also deeply touched Jesus’ heart. The Father’s voice reassured His Son: “This is my Son, whom I love” (v. 17).

That same voice in our hearts reassures believers of His great love for us (1 John 3:1).

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When have you heard the Father’s voice speak reassuring words to you? How can you reach out to others today and encourage them with that same reassurance?

Father, thank You so much for Your reassuring voice telling me whose I am and how much I’m loved.

Learn more about the life of Christ.

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Grace to You; John MacArthur – God Is Always with Us

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

Understanding God’s omnipresence should encourage us in times of distress and keep us from sinning.

It is a great comfort as a Christian to know that God is always present in me both essentially and relationally. No matter what the trial, He is there. Sometimes He might seem far away, but He’s really no further away than He’s ever been. His promise to us is, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

God is always with us to support our service to Him. When God called Moses to proclaim His message and lead Israel out of slavery, Moses protested because of his lack of speaking abilities (Ex. 4:10). But God said, “I . . . will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say” (v. 12). Jesus commands us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). If you doubt you have the power to witness, remember that you have the same resource as any evangelist—the presence and power of God!

God’s continual presence is also a shield against sin. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Nothing will ever tempt us without His giving us the strength to resist.

The omnipresence of God should also motivate us to holiness. Most of us prefer to sin with no one else watching. But when we sin—whether in thought, word, or action—we sin in the presence of God. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). “His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves” (Job 34:21-22). Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want God to see, because He’ll see it anyway!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the comfort He brings to you through His continual presence.

For Further Study

Hebrews 13:5 is a quote from Deuteronomy 31:6. Read Deuteronomy 31:1-8. What was the basis for Moses’ admonition to “be strong and courageous”?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Step Out and Take a Chance

But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.

— Matthew 19:26 (AMPC)

Many people I meet want to start at point A in their Christian life, blink their eyes twice, and be at point Z. Many of them are frustrated about not knowing what their gifts are or what God has called them to do with their life. Some of them are so afraid of failing and making mistakes that it keeps them from stepping out.

We all have undeveloped potential, but we will never see it manifested until we believe that we can do whatever God says we can do in His Word. Unless we step out in faith, believing that with God nothing is impossible, He cannot do the work in us that He wants to do to develop our potential. It takes our cooperation and willingness through faith, determination, obedience, and hard work to develop what He has put in us.

Nobody can be determined for us, but we can be determined for ourselves. If we are not determined, the devil will steal from us everything we have. I encourage you to give your potential some form by doing something with it. You will never find what you are capable of doing if you never try anything. Don’t be afraid to step out into what you believe God is leading you to do. When you step out, you will find you are capable of great things.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me to be bold and brave and to be everything You want me to be.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Return to Your First Love

You have abandoned the love you had at first.

Revelation 2:4

We will always remember that best and brightest of hours when we first saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the gift of grace, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was springtime in the soul; the winter was past; the mutterings of Sinai’s thunders were hushed; the flashings of its lightnings were no more perceived; God was beheld as reconciled; the law threatened no vengeance, and justice demanded no punishment.

Then the flowers appeared in our heart. Hope, love, peace, and patience sprang from the ground; the hyacinth of repentance, the snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the daffodil of early love—all decked the garden of the soul.

The time of the singing of birds had arrived, and we rejoiced with thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God, and our resolve was, “Lord, I am Yours, Yours alone. All I am, and all I have, I devote to You. You have bought me with Your blood—let me spend myself and be spent in Your service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to You.”

How well have we kept this resolve? Our first love burned with a holy flame of devotion to Jesus—is it the same now? Is it possible that Jesus may say to us, “I have something against you, because you have left your first love”? Sadly we have done little for our Master’s glory. Our winter has lasted all too long. We are as cold as ice when we should feel a summer’s glow and bloom with sacred flowers. We give God pennies when He deserves much more, deserves our heart’s blood to be coined in the service of His church and of His truth. But shall we continue in this way? O Lord, after You have blessed us so richly, shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to Your good cause and work? Quicken us that we may return to our first love and do our first works! Send us a joyful spring, O Sun of Righteousness.

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 Hates Sin

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

What are some things that you hate? Brussels sprouts? Folding laundry? Cleaning your bedroom? We all have things we don’t like to see or do, but did you know that the Bible says that there are certain things God hates?

God hates sin. Proverbs 6 says that God hates a proud look. Whenever you look at someone in a way that shows you think you are better than he is, you are giving a proud look. God also hates a lying tongue. Have you ever told a lie or misled someone? God hates that type of sin. God despises it when we plan wicked things in our minds. Have you ever done that? God hates it when His children are quick to run to mischief. God also hates it when we say or do things that cause our friends to fight. Have you ever started an argument between friends? God hates that.

God doesn’t hate people, but He hates the sins they commit. Unfortunately, sometimes we think the sins we commit “aren’t that bad.” You might think, “I’m not so bad. It’s not like I murdered anyone!” But did you notice that Proverbs 6:16-9 puts the sins of a lying tongue and a proud look in the same list with the sin of murder? In God’s eyes, all sin is serious.

Are you committing sins that God hates? Have you been thinking that it’s “no big deal?” Now that you understand how God thinks about those sins, confess them to the Lord and ask Him to keep you from committing sin.

All sin is a big deal to God.

My Response:
» Are there sins that I need to confess to the Lord and take more seriously in the future?

Denison Forum – The cause of Bob Saget’s death and the appeal of the Super Bowl

Actor and comedian Bob Saget died from accidental head trauma, a Florida medical examiner declared yesterday. “His injuries were most likely incurred from an unwitnessed fall,” according to Dr. Joshua Stephany, who added that no illicit drugs or toxins were found in his system. Mr. Saget was found in his Orlando hotel room by hotel security on January 9 and pronounced dead at the scene.

We also learned yesterday that Prince Charles has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II and Spain’s King Felipe VI announced this week that they also tested positive for the virus.

This news is relevant to Sunday’s Super Bowl in ways that might not be obvious but are deeply significant for our lives today.

Why do we care?

Front row seats at the big game can be yours for $62,095 each. You could buy a thirty-second ad for $6.5 to $7 million. You could star in one of these commercials, but apparently you have to be a superstar celebrity first.

Or you can be one of the one hundred million people who are expected to watch the game in the US. According to the Athletic, only two non-Super Bowl programs—the February 1983 MASH finale and the 1978 Leon Spinks–Muhammad Ali rematch—rank among the all-time top thirty US broadcasts for audience size.

On one level, this is merely a football game. Nothing that happens Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles will resolve the crisis in Ukraine, the truck blockade at the US–Canadian border, or the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On another level, it is an opportunity for football immortality for the winners.

America is a celebrity-driven culture in ways that have only been exacerbated by pandemic quarantines, the explosion of social media, and the proliferation of streaming entertainment. Mr. Saget’s death was tragic, but only one of the 7,708 deaths that occur on average each day in the US. The monarchs who tested positive for COVID-19 are three of the more than 2.5 million confirmed cases each day.

We care about athletes who win championships, celebrities who fall ill or die, actors who are nominated for Oscars, and singers who win music awards because many of us live vicariously through them.

Why is this?

How to “live peaceably with all”

This week, I’ve been discussing the significance and implications of Christians’ status as the “children of God.” We have noted that we are loved passionately and unconditionally by our Father and thus called and privileged to love our fellow Christians and those outside the faith as our Father loves us.

Let’s close with this fact: When we truly believe that we are who God says we are, we find peace the world can neither give nor take and significance that lasts forever.

Many of us fixate on athletes and celebrities because our secularized culture has conditioned us to measure success by popularity, performance, and possessions. But all three are fleeting. Just ask any former celebrity, retired athlete, or now-bankrupt former billionaire. Then consider the presidents and kings, athletes and tycoons who now own the same six feet of dirt that will be yours and mine one day (if the Lord tarries).

Now decide that you want to define yourself as God defines you. Decide that your status and identity as the child of God is the foundational fact about you. Decide that there is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or less than he already does. Decide that you therefore need nothing the world can give or take, that you are a child of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Now you are free to love others whether they love you or not. You are free to serve Jesus whether the world rewards you or punishes you for your service.

You can “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (Romans 12:14). You can “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (v. 15). You can “live in harmony with one another” and “associate with the lowly” (v. 16). You can “repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (v. 17). And, “If possible, so far as it depends on you,” you can “live peaceably with all” (v. 18).

Imagine a world where everyone did this. Or a country, a state, a city, a community, or a family. Or a single Christian.

Why not you? Why not today?

Galaxies in the eye of a needle

Philip Yancey writes: “Scientists now believe that if you had unlimited vision, you could hold a sewing needle at arm’s length toward the night sky and see ten thousand galaxies in the eye of the needle. Move it an inch to the left and you’d find ten thousand more. Same to the right, or no matter where else you moved it. There are approximately a trillion galaxies out there, each encompassing an average of one hundred to two hundred billion stars.”

If Jesus is your Lord, you are the child of the God who made all of that.

Now, what’s your problem?

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