In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Take the Gospel to the World

Only God can save people; our responsibility is to share His message with the world.

Matthew 28:16-20

When a teacher gives an assignment, responsible students take it seriously. They do what’s required, give their best effort, and complete the work in a timely manner. 

Before ascending to heaven, Jesus gave us a commandment—an assignment really—but many Christians are half-hearted about completing the task. Christ told His followers to share the good news about salvation and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey His commands. Some believers dedicate themselves to this work, but others are either too busy or too timid to commit in this way. 

The scope of this assignment is global—to all nations. But that doesn’t mean everyone should move to another country. Some believers are called by God to go far from home, but others are called to minister right where they are. The mission field is all around us—in our homes, workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods. 

As Christ’s followers, we have the Holy Spirit residing within us, which means we have His power to fulfill this command. We can’t save anyone, but it’s our responsibility to tell people about the God who can. How will they believe unless they hear (Romans 10:14)?

Bible in One Year: Joshua 7-9

Our Daily Bread — Willing to Wait

Bible in a Year:

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

James 5:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

James 5:7–12

Waiting can be a culprit in stealing our peace. According to computer scientist Ramesh Sitaraman, few things “inspire universal frustration and ire” in internet users as waiting for a sluggish web browser to load. His research says that we’re willing to wait an average of two seconds for an online video to load. After five seconds, the abandonment rate is about twenty-five percent, and after ten seconds, half of the users desert their efforts. We’re certainly an impatient bunch! 

James encouraged believers in Jesus to not abandon Him while they were waiting for His second coming. Christ’s return would motivate them to stand firm in the face of suffering and to love and honor one another (James 5:7–10). James used the example of the farmer to make his point. Like the farmer, who waited patiently for “autumn and spring rains” (v. 7) and for the land to yield its valuable crop, James encouraged believers to be patient under oppression until Jesus returned. And when He returned, He would right every wrong and bring shalom, peace. 

Sometimes, we’re tempted to forsake Jesus while we wait for Him. But as we wait, let’s “keep watch” (Matthew 24:42), remain faithful (25:14–30), and live out His character and ways (Colossians 3:12). Though we don’t know when Jesus will return, let’s wait patiently for Him, as long as it takes.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

What’s hardest about waiting for Jesus’ return? How’s His return an incentive for living out His character and ways?

Jesus, I’ll wait for You. Though the world is dark and filled with pain, suffering, injustice, and uncertainty, I’ll wait for You. Though I don’t know the day or the time, I’ll wait for You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Denying Yourself

“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed” (Dan. 9:4).

God will not respond to self-righteous prayers.

In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable to people who were trusting in their own self-righteousness. He said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

“But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (vv. 10-14).

Apart from God’s mercy we cannot enter into God’s presence. The tax-gatherer knew that and pled for forgiveness. The Pharisee missed the point and went away without forgiveness.

Like the tax-gatherer, Daniel approached God with an attitude of confession and self-denial. He could have reminded God of his years of faithful service while in Babylon, but that didn’t enter his mind. He knew that in himself there was nothing to commend him to God. His only thought was for mercy for himself and his people, that God’s purposes could be realized through them.

As a Christian, you have the wonderful privilege of boldly entering into God’s presence “with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). That privilege is rooted in God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice and leaves no room for presumption or self-righteousness. Always guard your attitude in prayer so that you don’t unwittingly slip into a Pharisaic mentality.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Psalm 117:1-118:1 and recite it often as a hymn of praise to the Lord.

For Further Study

Jesus had much to say about the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees of His day. Read Matthew 23, noting His scathing denunciations of their hypocritical attitudes and practices.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Do Something Great with Your Life

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.

— Deuteronomy 30:19 (AMPC)

I have often pondered why some people do great things with their lives while others do little or nothing at all. I know that the outcome of our lives is dependent not only upon God, but also upon something in us. Each of us must decide whether or not we will reach down deep inside and find the courage to press past fear, mistakes, mistreatment at the hands of others, seeming injustices, and all the challenges life presents. This is not something anyone else can do for us; we must do it ourselves.

I encourage you to take responsibility for your life and its outcome. Be grateful for God’s blessings of the past and believe for even more in the future.

What will you do with what God has given you? God gives everyone equal opportunity—you can choose life or death (see Deuteronomy 30:19). It is your choice, and I believe you will make the right one!

Prayer Starter: Father, I am thankful for the opportunity to do great things for You. I pray that You will help me make the most of each new day and make the choices You would have me make.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Abide upon the Rock of Ages

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

Psalm 118:8

No doubt the reader has been tempted to rely upon the things that are seen instead of resting alone upon the invisible God. Christians often look to man for help and advice, and so spoil the noble simplicity of their reliance upon God.

Does this evening’s passage meet the eye of a child of God who is filled with anxiety? Then let us reason with you. You trust in Jesus, and only in Jesus, for your salvation; then why are you troubled? “Because of my great care.” Is it not written, “Cast your burden upon the Lord”? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”1

Can you trust God for your physical needs? “Ah! I wish I could.” If you cannot trust God with the physical, how dare you trust Him with the spiritual? Can you trust Him for your soul’s redemption, and yet not rely upon Him for a few lesser mercies? Is God not enough for your need, or is His all-sufficiency too narrow for your wants? Do you need another to watch for you when you have Him who sees every secret thing? Is His heart faint? Is His arm weary? If so, seek another God; but if He is infinite, omnipotent, faithful, true, and all-wise, why do you run around seeking another confidence? Why do you scour the earth to find another foundation when this is strong enough to bear all the weight that you can ever build on it?

Christian, do not mix your wine with water; do not tarnish the gold of faith with the dross of human confidence. Wait only upon God, and let your expectation be from Him. Do not covet Jonah’s gourd but rest in Jonah’s God. Let the sandy, shaky foundations be the choice of fools; but you, like one who sees the approaching storm, build for yourself an abiding place upon the Rock of Ages.

1) Philippians 4:6

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Created Languages

“Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” ( Genesis 11:9)

Wouldn’t it be easier if everyone spoke the same language? Then we could all understand one another! Missionaries wouldn’t have to learn a foreign language when they left for the mission field, businessmen wouldn’t have to use interpreters when they had a business meeting overseas, and we could travel the world and be able to talk to anyone we wanted!

That may sound like a great plan to us, but God had even better plans. It was God Who created languages, and He did it for a purpose. For hundreds of years after God first created the world, everyone spoke the same language, and everyone could understand everyone else. The people became very wicked, though, and did what was right in their own eyes instead of loving and obeying God. To judge them, God sent a great flood to destroy the whole world. After God rescued Noah and his family from the flood, God gave them a command. They were supposed to multiply (grow the family) and spread out all over the world. In other words, they were supposed to scatter around and fill up the world with their children and grandchildren. Earth would be filled again with people who would know and worship the one true God.

Over the next years, Noah’s family did grow, but they did not move to different parts of the earth like God had commanded. In fact, instead of worshipping God the way He wanted them to worship Him (by obeying his commands, for example), they decided it would be a better idea to worship God by building a tower so high it would reach Him up in heaven. Have you ever heard of “The Tower of Babel”? The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Noah’s family started building this tower and a city of worship around it.

God was angry at their plans to worship Him however they pleased while disobeying His other commands. They had not scattered around and replenished (re-filled) the different parts of the world. They had not taught their children and grandchildren the right things about God and how He expected to be worshipped.

In the middle of this huge construction project, God brought judgment down on it. He decided to mix up the languages. Can you imagine? Maybe you are on a ladder, working on the tower. You ask your second cousin to pass the hammer and some nails over…and he acts confused. He is not joking, either. He really has no clue what you are saying! He tries to answer you, but his words sound really funny to you, and you don’t know what he means. Now, you have known this guy all your life! He is related to you! And suddenly neither of you can understand what the other is saying?

It did not take long for the people to realize something very different was happening, and that God must have been the One doing it. God confused the languages of the people to help them stop doing things their own way and to help them fulfill his command to go out and replenish all the world. As people walked aimlessly around, trying to find someone who could understand them, they naturally divided into smaller groups according to language. These groups gradually split off from the others and moved to different parts of the world. They finally scattered and became the different nations of people we have today.

Wow! Did you know that God had such a specific purpose in creating languages? God has a purpose for everything He does, even in confusing a bunch of disobedient people thousands of years ago. A God Who can create languages is a powerful God! God’s plans are always designed to work things out for His glory and for His people’s best good. If only we would follow His plans instead of doing things our own way!

God is the sovereign Creator, and He can carry out what He wants done, even if people try to do the opposite.

My Response: » Am I disobeying what God has shown me He wants me to do? » Am I tempted to honor God my own way rather than how He wants to be honored? » Do I need to do a better job remembering that God has a specific purpose in everything He does?

Denison Forum – “We will fight to the last breath”: Why one man’s courage is empowering his nation

There are an estimated 115,000 weddings per day around the world, but one that occurred yesterday is making global headlines this morning. Here’s why: the bride wore fatigues, the groom wore a helmet, and the wedding party carried rifles and RPGs. Their wedding took place next to a military checkpoint in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Kyiv’s mayor attended the ceremony and noted that a week ago, the couple were “normal people” with no plans to carry weapons. Now “they want to defend our city together.” 

This courageous couple is simply following their president’s example. 

Andriy Yermak is head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine. He recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he stated, “I am writing this appeal from a bunker in the capital, with President Volodymyr Zelensky by my side. For a week, Russian bombs have fallen overhead. Despite the constant barrage of Russian fire, we stand firm and united in our resolve to defeat the invaders. We will fight to the last breath to protect our country.” 

Rep. John Garamendi, a senior member of the House of Representatives armed services committee, spoke with Mr. Zelensky on Saturday and said later, “He knows that he is at the top of the kill list, and he knows that his life is in jeopardy, but he has pushed that aside to lead this nation.” Rep. Garamendi called him “an incredible man of courage and leadership.” 

“The face of Ukrainian resilience” 

An article in the New Yorker by David Remnick is headlined, “Volodymyr Zelensky leads the defense of Ukraine with his voice.” Remnick describes Mr. Zelensky as having “assumed the role of Winston Churchill.” 

Michael Blake, a political philosopher at the University of Washington, notes that “whatever happens in the coming weeks,” the president “will go down as the face of Ukrainian resilience during the Russian invasion of his country.” He contrasts Mr. Zelensky’s everyman story with Vladimir Putin’s carefully cultivated “strongman” persona. In his opinion, Mr. Zelensky’s appeal resides largely in “the most central lesson of democratic politics—that our leaders are no better, morally speaking, than those they lead.” 

In a Western secular sense, Dr. Blake is absolutely correct. America’s founding document, for example, rejects the monarchy of our mother country for the assertion that “all men are created equal.” There’s a reason our presidential candidates appear at state fairs and town hall gatherings across the country. 

When they succeed, we feel that we have all succeeded. If someone can do something, Americans think we can do it. This Western focus on the individual stands in contrast to the stratified cultural classes of Europe, the class-centric ideology of Marxism, the caste system that still exists in many ways in India, and the tsarist and emperor-driven historical narratives of Russia and China. 

Mr. Zelensky is especially emblematic of this anyone-can-be-someone ethos. I wrote a biography of him for our website last Friday in which I chronicled his unlikely rise from improvisational comedy, television, and movie roles to president of his nation. 

“Struggling with all his energy” 

Offering the world a transformational example they can follow is a biblical model as well, but with an important caveat. 

Paul encouraged the Philippians, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9, my emphasis). It was not enough for the apostle to have taught them what they should practice—he showed them by his personal example that they could do so. 

But here’s what makes the biblical leadership-by-example ethos different from the secular modeling Dr. Blake and others are celebrating with regard to Volodymyr Zelensky’s courageous leadership: Christians know that the most powerful source of character and courage does not lie within us. 

Paul testified, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:29, my emphasis). He embraced his Father’s assurance, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9) and could therefore state, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). 

As we work, God works. As God works, we work. 

“The founder and perfecter of our faith” 

The writer of Hebrews 12 captured this balance perfectly. 

First, he reminded us that “we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” and encouraged us to emulate them: “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (v. 1). 

Second, he showed us the power to run our race: “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (v. 2). 

When we remember what others have done in the power of Christ, we are encouraged to emulate them by making their Source ours and finding in Jesus the strength and hope we need. Then others will follow our example by trusting our Lord as theirs. 

“The thing that tells in the long run” 

As we intercede for Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Yermak, and other courageous Ukrainians, let’s pray not only for their courage, protection, and perseverance. Let’s also pray for God to redeem their suffering by leading them to Jesus and the source of strength they need most. 

Then let’s pray the same for ourselves. I often warn myself and others that self-sufficiency is spiritual suicide. Our greatest need as Christians is to be empowered and transformed every day by Christ (Romans 8:29Ephesians 5:18). 

Oswald Chambers was right: “The thing that tells in the long run for God and for men is the steady persevering work in the unseen, and the only way to keep the life uncrushed is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the Risen Christ.” 

Are your eyes open to him today?

Denison Forum