In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Blessed to Bless Others

God meets our needs so that we can pass His blessings on to others.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

God’s blessings to us are not meant to end with us. His desire is that they flow to others. This principle applies in all areas of life, including finances. Did you know that our heavenly Father has plans for your money? 

The Lord graciously provides for our needs and even our wants. But He also wants us to use our money to achieve His plans. And one of His goals is that we share our resources with others. 

Just look at His extravagant promise in verse 8 of today’s passage: “And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” Sharing blessings with others will never lead to deprivation. In fact, the Lord promises to increase the harvest of our righteousness and enrich us in everything in response to our generosity. We can never outgive God. 

A hoarded blessing won’t ever be enjoyed as richly as a shared one. Using your gift to meet someone else’s need glorifies God by demonstrating His grace at work in your life. Don’t let His generous provisions end with you. Pass them on and discover the joy of a never-ending cycle of blessings. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24

Our Daily Bread — God’s Embassy

Bible in a Year:

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.

Luke 14:13–14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Luke 14:7–14

Ludmilla, a widow aged eighty-two, has declared her home in the Czech Republic an “Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven,” saying, “My home is an extension of Christ’s kingdom.” She welcomes strangers and friends who are hurting and in need with loving hospitality, sometimes providing food and a place to sleep—always with a compassionate and prayerful spirit. Relying on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help her care for her visitors, she delights in the ways God answers their prayers.

Ludmilla serves Jesus through opening her home and heart, in contrast to the prominent religious leader at whose home Jesus ate one Sabbath. Jesus told this teacher of the law that he should welcome “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to his home—and not those who could repay him (Luke 14:13). While Jesus’ remarks imply that the Pharisee hosted Jesus out of pride (v. 12), Ludmilla, so many years later, invites people to her home so she can be “an instrument of God’s love and His wisdom.”

Serving others with humility is one way we can be “representatives of the kingdom of heaven,” as Ludmilla says. Whether or not we can provide a bed for strangers, we can put the needs of others before our own in different and creative ways. How will we extend God’s kingdom in our part of the world today?

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How do you think the Pharisee reacted when Jesus told him to act differently? How do you like to make people feel welcome?

Jesus, thank You for looking out for those in need. Help me to be more like You, that I would care for others, showing them Your love.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Applying the Disciples’ Prayer

“Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (Matt. 6:13).

The Disciples’ Prayer is a pattern to follow for life.

The implications of the Disciples’ Prayer are profound and far-reaching. An unknown author put it this way:

I cannot say “our” if I live only for myself in a spiritual, watertight compartment. I cannot say “Father” if I do not endeavor each day to act like His child. I cannot say “who art in heaven” if I am laying up no treasure there.

I cannot say “hallowed be Thy name” if I am not striving for holiness. I cannot say “Thy kingdom come” if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful day. I cannot say “Thy will be done” if I am disobedient to His Word. I cannot say “in earth as it is in heaven” if I will not serve Him here and now.

I cannot say “give us . . . our daily bread” if I am dishonest or an “under the counter” shopper. I cannot say “forgive us our debts” if I harbor a grudge against anyone. I cannot say “lead us not into temptation” if I deliberately place myself in its path. I cannot say “deliver us from evil” if I do not put on the whole armor of God.

I cannot say “thine is the kingdom” if I do not give to the King the loyalty due Him as a faithful subject. I cannot attribute to Him “the power” if I fear what men may do. I cannot ascribe to Him “the glory” if I am seeking honor only for myself. I cannot say “forever” if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by the things of time.

As you learn to apply to your own life the principles in this marvelous prayer, I pray that God’s kingdom will be your focus, His glory your goal, and His power your strength. Only then will our Lord’s doxology be the continual song of your heart: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (v. 13).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use what you’ve learned from the Disciples’ Prayer to transform your prayers.

For Further Study

Read John 17, noting the priorities Jesus stressed in prayer.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – An Attitude of Submission

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

— Proverbs 28:9 (NIV)

Today’s verse says a startling thing about our prayers when we are not properly related to authority or if we are rebellious—that they are detestable to God.

We simply cannot grow up or mature without correction. If we are rebellious toward office policy, company rules, government guidelines, traffic laws, or toward any other form of authority, then we have more serious attitude problems than we might think. Being rebellious is not something to be proud of; it is something we need to be diligent to eliminate from our attitudes and behaviors! Why? Because if we refuse to submit to earthly authority, then we will not submit to God’s authority. That is called disobedience and it will keep our prayers from being effective.

God placed me in someone else’s ministry for several years before He allowed me to start my own ministry. In the other ministry, I had to learn how to come under authority. That was not easy for me, because I’m a pretty strong person. I did not always agree with the decisions that were made and I did not always feel I was treated fairly, but one of the lessons God taught me is that we are not ready to be in authority until we know how to come under authority. I also learned that God will promote us at the right time if we keep a good, godly attitude during challenging times.

You might want a pay raise or a promotion at work, yet you regularly gossip and say critical things about your boss. This is a form of rebellion, and it can hinder your progress. Have a submissive attitude and you will see more answers to prayer and hear God’s voice more clearly.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for correction, as I know we grow during those times. Help me to have a good attitude going forward.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Chase Away Sinful Thoughts

Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night.

2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we grow tired of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts that defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied?

Be gone, you birds of evil wing! Leave the sacrifice alone! She bore the heat of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Consider how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah endure while we quit at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts with unusual courage, and will we not be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake? Her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched.

What ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless; our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect His honor our occupation, to abide by His cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have frightened Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross we are sitting, there is nothing revolting but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Savior.

Jesus, we will watch with You still, and may You graciously unveil Yourself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth but in a royal pavilion.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Love Is His Choice

“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers….” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8a)

Question: Why does God love us?
Answer: Because He loves us.

Does that sound like the correct answer to the question? Do you think your teacher would count that answer right if you wrote it on a test? The truth is, that is the right answer to the question, according to Deuteronomy 7. God told His special people, the nation of Israel, that He loved them simply because He had chosen to love them.

God has also chosen to love us, even if we are not Jews. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world–everyone. Romans 5:8, which was written both to Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), says that God displayed His love for us while we were still sinners. How did God display His love? He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place.

Why should God love us? The answer to that question does not really have anything to do with us. God did not love us because we were attractive or because we were loveable. He did not love us because there was anything we could do for Him. He chose to love us, knowing we were helpless, lost sinners. There was nothing we could give Him in return. He chose to love us because He is God, and it is His nature to love. Out of His great love, He gave His Son’s precious blood to redeem us. Once we are His children, we can be sure that nothing will ever separate us from His love. His love is unchanging, everlasting, a love that never fails.

Where would we be today if it were not for the wonderful love of God? If God had not loved us, there would be no hope of salvation. Isn’t that a reason to thank Him every day of our lives for His gracious choice to love us?

God’s love for us was His choice because His nature is Love.

My Response:
» Have I accepted the gift of God’s love–salvation in Jesus Christ?
» Do I thank God for His wonderful love?
» Do I try to share that love with others?

Denison Forum – Calls escalate for Clarence Thomas to resign from Supreme Court over wife’s texts

Virginia (Ginni) Thomas is the wife of longtime Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. According to the Washington Post, twenty-nine text messages obtained by the Post and CBS News show that she “repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

In response, some Democrats are calling on Justice Thomas to recuse himself on cases related to the January 6 Capitol riots. Some are even calling for Justice Thomas to step down from the court or be impeached.

As we will see today, this controversy is relevant far beyond Justice Thomas, his wife, and their critics.

A defense of Justice Thomas

Former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy states that the statute governing judicial disqualification, Section 455 (of Title 28, US Code), involves “financial or legal stakes in the matter, or some connection to the matter as an attorney.” According to McCarthy, “Ginni Thomas’s conservative political activism—up to and including the text messages to Mark Meadows about the 2020 election—does not activate those triggers.”

He adds, “If it did, many judges appointed by Democrats would have been disqualified from cases over which they’ve presided despite the political and legal activism of their spouses.” His statement links to a Newsweek article detailing numerous examples of such activism.

To reinforce his argument, McCarthy states that “Supreme Court justices are not even subject to disqualification over their own activities that bear directly on cases.” He notes the example of Justice Elena Kagan, nominated by President Obama, who served as Mr. Obama’s solicitor general when the administration was formulating its legal strategy to defend the Affordable Care Act. When the Act came before the Supreme Court, she did not recuse herself from the case and in fact provided the critical vote to uphold it.

McCarthy therefore concludes: “The smearing of Justice Thomas is transparently partisan politics, nothing more.”

Using a senator’s words against him

Whether you agree with McCarthy or not is not my point. Rather, I want to focus on the method he used to make his case.

If you accuse me of wrongdoing and I can show that you have done what you now accuse me of doing, I can win our rhetorical battle. Unsurprisingly, politicians do the same.

For example, earlier this year, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to change the Senate’s filibuster rules. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton then used Sen. Schumer’s previous statements in support of the filibuster against him. 

My point is not to castigate our public officials. I am grateful to those who are willing to serve in a day when they face more criticism—fair and unfair—than at any time in my lifetime. My purpose today is actually the opposite: rather than criticizing political leaders, I want to point a finger at myself. And perhaps at you.

“She gave me fruit of the tree”

One very simple way to avoid responsibility for our sins is to point to the sins of others. This story begins early: when the Lord called Adam to account for his sin in the Garden of Eden, Adam responded, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Eve in turn blamed the serpent (v. 13).

Satan is delighted by the degenerating moral condition of our culture. And he is also delighted when Christians point to the sins of others to justify their own.

Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine is obviously one of the most horrifically sinful acts by a political leader in recent times. But his sin does not justify my hatred of my brother. Even though the world would say the two have no comparison, Jesus disagrees (Matthew 5:21–22). It is the same with adultery and lust (vv. 27–30), proving the point that the sins of others do not excuse my sins or yours.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance”

I had a fascinating conversation recently with a millennial Christian leader. He believes that the single greatest reason many of his generation are dropping out of church is the ongoing moral crisis within the church.

I’m convinced that he’s right.

We can complain that critics are holding us to a different standard than they require for themselves, and we’re right. But they’re right to do so. We claim that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16) and that his “fruit” in our lives includes “goodness,” “faithfulness,” and “self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).

If Muslims or Buddhists, Republicans or Democrats made the same claim, would we not hold them to it?

God’s word declares, “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17). To this end, let’s remember Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

The text explains how: “Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil” (vv. 24–27).

How cockroaches survive

Scientists tell us that cockroaches survived the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs by hiding in tiny soil crevices that protected them from heat and by being omnivorous scavengers who will eat what others will not.

Sin does the same: it hides from the heat and light of God’s truth and will “eat” anything we “feed” it.

If we would make a transformative impact on our culture, Christ must first make such an impact on us. Daily submission to him is vital to the sanctification that empowers our lives and witness. Oswald Chambers observed: “Abandon to God is of more value than personal holiness. . . . When we are abandoned to God, he works through us all the time.”

How abandoned to God would he say you are today?

Denison Forum

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Expressions of Praise

Singing at church isn’t the only way God is glorified—our whole life can bring Him honor.

Psalm 34:1-3

Glorifying God isn’t limited to church. In fact, praise ought to permeate every area of our life. But how is that done?

One obvious way that we praise the Lord is with our voices. True worship flows from the mouths of believers who are focused on God’s attributes. They desire to honor Him because of who He is, what He’s done, and what He has promised for the future. Genuine worship allows the Lord to fill our hearts and minds with His presence anywhere. 

Our God is also praised when we serve Him. We were created for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to His name. Therefore, nothing should limit our willingness to work for the King, particularly when we have a chance to share Him with others. Christ is honored when His followers speak boldly about His grace and His work—believers’ testimonies are a remarkable and honoring form of praise that magnifies God’s name. 

Jesus Christ is worth more than any treasure this world offers. Loving Him and understanding what He has done for us should be all the motivation we need to praise Him with our life—no matter where we are. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 19-21

Our Daily Bread — God Cleans the Stains

Bible in a Year:

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 1:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 1:10–18

What if our clothes were more functional, having the ability to clean themselves after we dropped ketchup or mustard or spilled a drink on them? Well, according to the BBC, engineers in China have developed a special “coating which causes cotton to clean itself of stains and odors when exposed to ultraviolet lights.” Can you imagine the implications of having self-cleaning clothes?

A self-cleaning coating might work for stained clothes, but only God can clean a stained soul. In ancient Judah, God was angry with His people because they had “turned their backs on” Him, given themselves to corruption and evil, and were worshiping false gods (Isaiah 1:2–4). But to make matters worse, they tried to clean themselves by offering sacrifices, burning incense, saying many prayers, and gathering together in solemn assemblies. Yet their hypocritical and sinful hearts remained (vv. 12–13). The remedy was for them to come to their senses and with a repentant heart bring the stains on their souls to a holy and loving God. His grace would cleanse them and make them spiritually “white as snow” (v. 18).

When we sin, there’s no self-cleaning solution. With a humble and repentant heart, we must acknowledge our sins and place them under the cleansing light of God’s holiness. We must turn from them and return to Him. And He, the only One who cleans the stains of the soul, will offer us complete forgiveness and renewed fellowship.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

When the Holy Spirit reveals your sins to you, what’s your response? How does John describe the process of bringing your sin to God and repenting of it (see 1 John 1:9)?  

Father, forgive me for ignoring or trying to get rid of my own sin. I know only You can clean the stains of my soul. I acknowledge and repent of my self-sufficiency and turn to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Avoiding Temptations

“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

Don’t let your trials turn into temptations.

When we hear the English word temptation, we usually think of a solicitation to evil. But “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 translates a Greek word that can refer either to a trial that God permits to refine your spiritual character (James 1:2-4), or a temptation that Satan or your flesh brings to incite you to sin (Matt. 4:1James 1:13- 15). Both are valid translations.

I believe “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 refers to trials. Even though we know God uses trials for our good, it’s still good to pray that He won’t allow us to be caught in a trial that becomes an irresistible temptation. That can happen if we’re spiritually weak or ill-prepared to deal with a situation.

God will never test you beyond what you’re able to endure (1 Cor. 10:13), but resisting temptation requires spiritual discipline and divine resources. Praying for God to deliver you from trials that might overcome you is a safeguard against leaning on your own strength and neglecting His power.

God tested Joseph by allowing him to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by an adulterous woman, and unjustly imprisoned by a jealous husband. But Joseph knew that God’s hand was on his life. That’s why he could say to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to . . . preserve many people” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph was ready for the test and passed it beautifully!

Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). God wanted to test Him to prove His virtue, but Satan wanted to tempt Him to destroy His virtue. Jesus, too, was victorious.

When you experience trials, don’t let them turn into temptations. Recognize God’s purposes and seek His strength. Learn from the example of those who have successfully endured the same trials. Be assured that God is in control and is using each trial to mold your character and teach you greater dependence on Him.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the trials He brings your way.
  • Ask Him to help you see your trials as means by which He strengthens you and glorifies Himself.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 119:11Matthew 26:41Ephesians 6:10-18, and James 4:7. What do those verses teach you about dealing with temptation?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Higher You Go the Clearer You See

From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and weak; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [a rock that is too high to reach without Your help].

— Psalm 61:2 (AMP)

When hikers get lost and they’re trying to figure out exactly where they are, they look to go higher. A higher vantage point gives them a better perspective.

The same is true for us. Sometimes it’s hard to see where we’re going because we have limited vision. We can become confused by our problems and unsure where to go next because we don’t have the right perspective. In order to get God’s perspective, spend your quiet time with Him going higher.

Hike past ingratitude; climb above doubt and discouragement. If you choose higher expectations and higher hopes, you’ll begin to get a new perspective—a godly perspective. And when that happens, you’re going to be able to see God’s plan for your life clearer than you ever have before.

Prayer Starter: Lord, with Your help, I will not focus on my problems. Instead, I choose to climb higher and rise above them.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Look To the Cross

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!

Lamentations 3:40

The wife who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long protracted separation from him is a semi-death to her spirit. And so it is with souls who love the Savior much; they need to see His face; they cannot bear that He should be away, thus depriving them of communion with Him. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving children who fear to offend their tender father and are only happy in his smile.

Beloved, it was so once this way with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father’s feet, crying, “Let me know why you contend against me.” Is that still the case? Or are you content to follow Jesus from a distance? Can you contemplate broken communion with Christ without being alarmed? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to Him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is your heart at rest?

Let me affectionately warn you, for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Savior’s face. Let us work to feel what an evil thing this is—little love to our own dying Savior, little joy in His company, little time with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty and defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood—this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith and the tenderness of our heart.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – We Cannot Hide From God

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

There is no place we can go to hide from God.

When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah disobeyed and “rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” He boarded a ship headed for Tarshish, but God saw him even there. You probably know the rest of the story. God sent a mighty storm. Knowing that the storm was meant for him, Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard. He was swallowed by a huge fish, and was carried in the fish’s stomach for three days. He repented of his sin, prayed to God, and God answered his prayers, causing the fish to spit Jonah out onto the land.

God sees our disobedience.

Sometimes when we do wrong, we try to hide it from our friends, our parents, and even God. But it doesn’t work. God sees us no matter where we go. He always knows what we are doing and what we are thinking. Jonah couldn’t leave God’s presence by going to Tarshish. God is everywhere.

God also sees our troubles.

Sometimes when we are hurting, we think no one else understands; but God always does. When you feel lonely, you aren’t really alone. You can pray to God and ask him for help no matter where you are. There is no place you can go that he won’t hear you. Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the fish, and God answered his prayers.

The next time you want to disobey, and you think no one is around, remember that God is. He can always see you. And the next time you feel lonely, or think there is trouble in your life that no one else understands, ask for God’s help.

The Bible teaches that there is nowhere we can go that the Lord is not there. That means we can never hide from Him, but it also means He is always there when we need Him. Call on Him. No matter where you are or what kind of trouble you are in, He can always hear you.

God is already everywhere we could go. We cannot escape from His presence, and we can count on Him to be close by at all times.

My Response:
» Have I been forgetting that God is omnipresent (everywhere at once)?
» How should remembering that God is everywhere keep me from doing wicked things?
» How should remembering that God is everywhere keep me from worry or fear?

Denison Forum – The “Don’t Say Gay” bill and a rising threat to our children

Will Smith has apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him at last Sunday night’s Academy Awards after the comedian made a comment about Smith’s wife. The Academy announced a formal investigation and condemned Smith’s actions. (For more on our response as Christians, read Mark Legg’s “Should we forgive Will Smith?”)

The story dominated social media, eclipsing even the war in Ukraine. However, another story from the Oscars has received less coverage: the hosts took numerous opportunities to castigate Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

The legislation has been dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by its critics and the mainstream press. Wanda Sykes slammed the bill in her opening monologue; she and fellow hosts Amy Schumer and Regina Hall repeated the word gay multiple times as the crowd applauded.

Florida’s governor nonetheless signed the bill into law the next day. So, let’s discuss what the legislation does and doesn’t do, identify the larger cultural narrative this controversy represents, and conclude with two biblical principles that apply to us all.

What does the bill actually say?

Ironically, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill never uses the word gay and does not prohibit its use. Rather, the measure bars classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade (from about ages five to nine) in Florida public schools. The law takes effect on July 1 and allows parents to sue school districts they believe to be in violation. 

Republicans argue that parents should discuss these subjects with children. Democrats claim that the law demonizes LGBTQ people by excluding them from classroom lessons.

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters when he signed the bill, “We will continue to recognize that in the state of Florida, parents have a fundamental role in the education, healthcare, and wellbeing of their children.” He added, “I don’t care what the big corporations say, here I stand. I’m not backing down.”

“Big corporations” have indeed said much about the law. For example, a Walt Disney Company spokesperson claimed that the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law” and added, “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.”

Why LGBTQ activists are focusing on children

My purpose in today’s Daily Article is not to provide a comprehensive discussion of the legislation. Rather, as a cultural philosopher, I want to focus on the worldview issues it represents since they are relevant to each of us, whether we live in Florida and have young children or not.

Nathanael Blake is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of a perceptive article on our subject in Public Discourse. He notes that many in our culture now believe the LGBTQ activist narrative that humans are “born this way.” Blake explains the argument: “Each of us is born with an immutable sexual orientation and gender identity,” which would mean that some children are born LGBTQ. As a result, they should learn about their sexual orientation and gender identity as soon as possible so they can discover their authentic sexual selves, or so the argument runs.

In this view, teachers of elementary-age children are on the front lines helping their students “discover” and embrace their sexual identities. Parents and the rest of us should be affirming of such “discoveries” as well. Anyone who rejects LGBTQ ideology is by definition suspect and dangerous to children. This ideology can even lead to “non-affirming” parents losing custody of their children.

Blake reminds us that the search for a “gay gene” ended in failure three years ago. Nonetheless, he warns that LGBTQ activists are “pressuring our culture, curricula, and even churches to affirm the ostensibly intrinsic rainbow identities of children.”

Practical responses for parents

In response to this rising threat to our children, two biblical conclusions are vital.

One: It is urgent that you and I understand, embrace, proclaim, and defend biblical sexual morality in all its holistic relevance and beauty.

God’s word clearly teaches that:

For more, see my How to Defend Biblical Marriage.

Two: Parents are responsible for every dimension of their children’s lives.

One way I am asking God to redeem the frightening rise of LGBTQ activism with children is by using it to empower godly parents to become engaged in the entirety of their children’s experiences. They cannot “subcontract” their children’s education to schools, trust their private use of technology, or assume their friends share their biblical values.

God calls parents to teach his word “diligently to your children . . . when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Every part of their lives and yours should be informed and lived biblically.

Is your “train” running on God’s “track”?

Here’s the bottom line: Children need the spiritual and cultural protection of their families and churches more today than ever before in American history.

Pastor Paul Powell explained, “As a train was made to run on a track, so we were made to run on God’s law. A train runs most effectively when it stays on the track.”

Accordingly, the greatest gift we can give our children (and everyone we know) is to help them love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). When they know and live by his word, they live their best and most blessed lives.

Is your “train” running on God’s “track” today?

Is your family’s?

If not, why not?

Denison Forum

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Praising the Lamb of God

The more we get to know God, the more we will praise Him and crave His presence.

Revelation 5

John’s revelation of heaven’s throne room is a picture of true praise. He describes the place exploding with worship and adoration of Jesus. Those present—the elders and “myriads of myriads” of angels (Rev. 5:11)—are motivated to sing their love of Christ because they know who He is. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He is the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5), the only one worthy to judge the earth and bring forth its renewal. 

What motivates believers to lift hands and voice in worship—shouldn’t the reason be to praise the Savior for who He is? To do that, we must take the time to know as much as we can about Him. That happens through regular Bible study and prayer that is less self-focused. 

Once we glimpse a side of Christ’s character that’s bigger and more amazing than we realized, there will be a yearning to know more. We hunger and thirst for God because only He can truly satisfy (Matthew 5:6). 

Praise is part of a cycle: Learn more of God’s character, love Him more deeply, worship and serve Him better, and receive spiritual fulfillment. Amazingly, even as we are satisfied, we crave more of His presence in our life. And so we dig into His Word and continually gain in the Lord. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 17-18

Our Daily Bread — Past the Boundaries of Knowing

Bible in a Year:

We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Corinthians 4:7–18

It was a hard day when my husband found out that, like so many others, he too would soon be furloughed from employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We believed that God would meet our basic needs, but the uncertainty of how that would happen was still terrifying.

As I processed my jumbled emotions, I found myself revisiting a favorite poem by sixteenth-century reformer John of the Cross. Entitled “I Went In, I Knew Not Where,” the poem depicts the wonder to be found in a journey of surrender, when, going “past the boundaries of knowing,” we learn to “discern the Divine in all its guises.” And so that’s what my husband and I tried to do during this season: to turn our focus from what we could control and understand to the unexpected, mysterious, and beautiful ways God can be found all around us.

The apostle Paul invited believers to a journey from the seen to the unseen, from outward to inward realities, and from temporary struggles to the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Paul didn’t urge this because he lacked compassion for their struggles. He knew it would be through letting go of what they could understand that they could experience the comfort, joy, and hope they so desperately needed (vv. 10, 15–16). They could know the wonder of Christ’s life making all things new.

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When have you experienced God’s glory in ways you couldn’t understand? In what areas of your life might you experience God beyond the “boundaries of knowing”?

Loving God, there’s so much heartbreak and uncertainty in our world. Help me to learn to follow You past what I can understand to the wonder of Your life breathing new life all around me.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Seeking God’s Protection

“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

Have a healthy sense of self-distrust.

At the moment of your salvation, judicial forgiveness covered all of your sins—past, present, and future. Parental forgiveness restores the joy and sweet fellowship broken by any subsequent sins. But concurrent with the joy of being forgiven is the desire to be protected from any future sins. That’s the desire expressed in Matthew 6:13: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

That petition seems simple enough at first glance, but it raises some important questions. According to James 1:13, God doesn’t tempt anyone to commit sin, so why ask Him to protect us from something He apparently wouldn’t lead us into in the first place?

Some say the word “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 means “trials.” But trials strengthen us and prove the genuineness of our faith. We are to rejoice in them, not avoid them (James 1:2-4).

The solution to this paradox has to do with the nature of the petition. It is not so much a technical theological statement as it is an emotional plea from one who hates sin and wants to be protected from it. Chrysostom, the early church father, said it is a natural appeal of human weakness as it faces danger (Homily 19.10).

I don’t know about you, but I have a healthy sense of self-distrust. That’s why I carefully guard what I think, say, watch, read, and listen to. If I sense spiritual danger I run into the presence of God and say, “Lord, I will be overwhelmed by this situation unless You come to my aid.” That’s the spirit of Matthew 6:13.

We live in a fallen world that throws temptation after temptation our way. Therefore it’s only natural and proper for us as Christians to continually confess our sins, receive the Father’s forgiveness, and plead with Him to deliver us from the possibility of sinning against Him in the future.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord that He loves you and ministers through you despite your human weaknesses.
  • Ask Him to protect you today from any situation that might cause you to sin.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:13-16.

  • To what degree will God allow you to be tempted?
  • What is a common source of temptation?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Healing in His Wings

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

— Malachi 4:2 (AMPC)

Around our world, horrible crimes and unspeakable acts happen every day to women and children who are powerless to stop them. Every act affects the life of a precious person, created in God’s image. Many women are hurt, wounded little girls trapped inside adult bodies, afraid to come out for fear of being hurt more.

I understand the feelings of these women. As I often shared, I was sexually abused by my father for many years. I also suffered abuse at the hands of other men throughout the first 25 years of my life. I developed a hardened attitude toward all men and adopted a harsh, hard manner.

But I want everyone to know that, through God’s Word and the help of the Holy Spirit, I was healed in my spirit, emotions, mind, will, and personality. It was a process that unfolded over several years, and I have enough firsthand experience to highly recommend God’s ways of restoration and healing rather than the world’s ways. It is much better to let God heal you than to spend your life being bitter about the past.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I rejoice today that you did not leave me to heal myself. I worship You alone, and I receive from You all the healing and grace that I need for this day, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Delay of Unanswered Prayers

I called him, but he gave no answer.

Song of Songs 5:6

Prayer sometimes lingers, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King comes with the blessings that she seeks. The Lord, when He has given great faith, has been known to test it by long delays. He has allowed His servants’ voices to echo in their ears as if the heavens were brass. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “You have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.”1

In this manner true saints have continued to wait patiently without a reply, not because their prayers were not strong, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is a Sovereign and who gives according to His own pleasure. If it pleases Him to test our patience, shall He not do as He wishes with His children? Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form.

But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials. God’s postdated checks will be punctually honored; we must not allow Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers—they are not blown away by the wind; they are treasured in the King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven in which every prayer is recorded.

Struggling believer, your Lord has as it were a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of your sacred grief are put away, and a book in which your holy groanings are numbered. By-and-by your case shall prevail. Can you not be content to wait a little? Will the Lord’s time not be better than yours? By-and-by He will comfortably appear, to your soul’s joy, and will cause you to put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.

1) Lamentations 3:44

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Can Turn Evil for Good

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

If you have ever read through Genesis, chapters 38-50 or so, you will probably remember the story of Joseph pretty well. Can you imagine how you might feel if your brothers and sisters decided one day to sell you off to some strangers passing through town? I would guess that there have been times that your brothers or sisters have done some things to you that were not nice. They may have even tried to hurt you in some way, but they have probably never tried to sell you. Joseph’s brothers did. (See Genesis 37:1-28.)

Joseph’s brothers hated him because he was the favorite son of their father Jacob. Joseph’s brothers hated him so much and wanted to get rid of him. They decided to sell Joseph as a slave to slave traders who were passing through on their way to the country of Egypt.

What a terrible thing to do! Or at least it seems terrible! But God is sovereign, which means He is in control of everything. He can take any bad situation and turn it into something good. God had a bigger plan for Joseph and his brothers. God used the evil intentions of Joseph’s brothers to save their family from starving in a famine many years later. Even though Joseph’s brothers wanted to do evil things to Joseph, God used their evil actions to accomplish something good.

God let them do what they wanted to do with Joseph, but He had very good reasons. He was in control the whole time, and He never forgot Joseph. In His Providence, God used evil-hearted men like tools, or like hands and feet, to help Him provide for His people. That does not make the brothers any less wrong for doing what they did, but it does show what a great and good God we have. He can turn even the worst situations around and work good things for His people. (See Genesis 45:1-15.)

Do you have something in your life that seems like it is going to end up really bad? Remember, God can take any bad situation and turn it to good. There is nothing that can stop God from doing what is good. Trust God that He will take your bad situation and change it to what is best for His glory and for your ultimate good.

God is great and good enough to change even the worst trials into what is best for His glory and for His people’s good.

My Response:
» Have I been feeling forsaken (left on my own) by God?
» Do I need to ask God for the faith to believe that He is bigger than my situation, that He cares about what is happening, that He is in control of everything, and that He has not forgotten me?
» How can I encourage other believers who are mistreated or who have been going through really terrible things?