In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Overcoming Worry

God doesn’t want us to be consumed with worry, and He enables us to overcome it.

Matthew 6:25-34

What do you worry about most? Is it your health, family, or maybe finances? Though we believe that our heavenly Father cares for us and His promises are dependable, many of us continue to worry. 

We all have responsibilities that demand our attention, but anxiety can act like a corrosive poison that eats away at our trust in God. So, then, what can we do about it?

To start with, we need to grow in both our knowledge of God and obedience to Him. As we become increasingly familiar with Scripture and our Father’s true nature, we’ll be more fully convinced that He cares for every detail of our life. Then, when we make decisions based on this knowledge and obey, our trust in Him will strengthen.

Whenever anxiety starts to creep in, remember who your heavenly Father is and what He has promised. Fill your mind with verses about His character, power, and love. Recite His promises and turn your worries over to Him. Since He’s told you not to be anxious, ignoring this command is actually a form of disobedience. But if you ask Him for help, He will enable you to reject worry and live in peace. 

Bible in One Year: Joshua 13-15

Our Daily Bread — All Creatures Great and Small

Bible in a Year:

You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

Psalm 36:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 36:5–10

Michelle Grant trained a baby beaver named Timber to return to the wild. When she took him for swims in a pond, he’d come back to her kayak to snuggle and rub noses. One morning Timber didn’t return. Michelle scoured the pond for six hours before giving up. Weeks later she found a beaver skull. Assuming it was Timber, she began to cry.

My soul ached for Michelle and Timber. I told myself, “Snap out of it. He’s just a large, aquatic rodent.” But the truth is, I cared—and so does God. His love reaches high to the heavens and down to the smallest creature, part of the creation He calls us to steward well (Genesis 1:28). He preserves “both people and animals” (Psalm 36:6), providing “food for the cattle and for the young ravens” (147:9).

One day Michelle was kayaking in a neighbor’s pond and—surprise—there was Timber! He’d found a beaver family and was helping them raise two kits. He surfaced beside Michelle’s kayak. She smiled, “You look well. You have a beautiful family.” He cooed, splashed his tail, and swam to his new mom.

I love happy endings, especially my own! Jesus promised that as His Father feeds the birds, so He will supply whatever we need (Matthew 6:25–26). Not one sparrow falls “to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (10:29–31).

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What care do you need to give to your heavenly Father? What need of others might He want you to meet?

Father, I lift up my cares and worries to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Praying for Others

“We have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances. . . . We have not listened to Thy servants the prophets. . . . Open shame belongs to us, O Lord . . . because we have sinned against Thee. . . . Indeed all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned aside, not obeying Thy voice. . . . Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us” (Dan. 9:5-16).

Others should be the primary focus of your prayers.

In verses 5-16 Daniel identifies with his people and intercedes on their behalf. That’s a common practice in Scripture. For example, Moses interceded for the Israelites after they sinned by worshiping the golden calf (Ex. 32:11- 13).

All Paul’s recorded prayers are intercessions. In Ephesians 6:18 he instructs us to “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 he says, “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Similarly, the Lord’s prayers are replete with intercessions. Even when hanging in agony on the cross, He prayed for His persecutors: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

When God placed us into the Body of Christ, He made us dependent on one another. When one member suffers, all suffer with it. When one is honored, all rejoice with it (1 Cor. 12:26). That’s why Jesus instructed us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts. . . . And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:11-13emphasis added).

Let your prayers reflect a corporate and selfless mentality that embraces the needs of others.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the people who have prayed for you over the years. Be aware of those for whom you should be praying.
  • Sometimes the demands of prayer can seem overwhelming because there’s so much to pray for, but be faithful, knowing that your prayers are a delight to the Lord (Prov. 15:8).

For Further Study

Read John 17, noting how Jesus interceded for His disciples.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – To the Lord our God belong mercy and loving-kindness and forgiveness….

— Daniel 9:9 (AMPC)

There are many instances in the Old Testament of God’s anger when His people, the Israelites, would complain, disobey, and worship idols and false gods. But the amazing thing is how quickly God completely forgave them—He restored all of His benefits to them as soon as they turned back to Him.

Perhaps today you feel that God is angry with you. He is not! God is ready and willing to forgive your sins. He understands your weaknesses. He knows that we all, at times, succumb to temptations and wrong behavior, but He is a compassionate, loving Father who has provided for our forgiveness in Christ. All we need to do is ask and receive!

The very fact that we cannot do everything right is why God sent Jesus to pay the price for our redemption. God is not angry with you. Choose to accept and walk in His forgiveness today!

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank you for forgiving me and help me accept and walk in Your forgiveness today.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Abide in Me

Abide in me.

John 15:4

Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be the woodworm of sadness or the smothering impact of earthly treasure, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take bitterness from the one and excess from the other. Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is a matter of secondary importance whether you live on the mountain of honor or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, you are covered with the wings of God, and underneath you are the everlasting arms.

Let nothing keep you from that hallowed communion that is the unique privilege of a life hidden in Christ. Do not be content with the occasional meeting, but always seek to retain His company, for only in His presence will you find either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be for us a friend who calls us now and then, but one with whom we are in constant touch.

You have a difficult road before you: Make sure, pilgrim, that you do not go without your guide. You have to pass through the fiery furnace; do not enter unless, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you have the Son of God to be your companion. You have to storm the walls of your corrupt heart: Do not attempt it until, like Joshua, you have seen the Captain of the Lord’s host, with His sword drawn in His hand. When you meet with many temptations, do not rest upon the arm of flesh. In every case, in every condition, you will need Jesus, but most of all when the iron gates of death shall open to you.

Keep close to the Captain of your salvation, lean upon His strength, ask Him to refresh you by His Spirit, and you will stand before Him at the end, without spot or blemish and at peace. Seeing you have lived with Him, and lived in Him here, you will abide with Him forever.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Big

“It is he [God] that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers.” (Isaiah 40:22a

When was the last time you were outside playing and you spotted a grasshopper or a cricket? Grasshoppers are a little bigger than crickets, but they are still so small that we can actually pick them up and hold them right in the palms of our hands.

Did you know that the Bible compares us to grasshoppers?

Isaiah 40:22 describes the inhabitants of the world (those who live in the world) “as grasshoppers” because they are so small compared to God.

This verse is using a metaphor (a word picture) to help us imagine the really big differences between us and God. Sometimes we get caught up with the things that happen in our lives, and our problems or things that make us happy seem really big. We start to forget that God is bigger than our problems and that God is better than anything or anyone else.

But this verse helps to remind us of what is real in the “big picture.” If we could back up from our lives and zoom out, out, out, like we were in a jet plane, or even a space station, and looking back down at Earth, we would be reminded that God’s universe is very big, and that we are very tiny compared to it. There are over six billion other people on Earth, each with his own set of talents and wishes and temptations and trials.

God can see the “big picture.” When He looks down on us, it is almost like we are a bunch of little grasshoppers hopping and buzzing around, doing our own business, thinking of our own small little lives. He knows each of us individually. He sees us and thinks about us, even when we let other things crowd Him out of our minds and we forget to think of Him.

Isaiah 40:22 reminds us that God is greater than we are! Just imagine yourself as a jumpy little grasshopper that God could cup in the palm of His hand.

Jesus said in John 10:29, “My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

“Them” in that verse is the people who have trusted Jesus as their Savior. No one is able to take them out of God’s hand! What a wonderful, protective, loving, and mighty God is the God of the Bible! He is greater than any trial or temptation that comes into our lives. He is stronger than wars or hurricanes or death. He is better than any other god we might be tempted to worship. He is mightier than any enemy who might try to scare us.

The next time you see a grasshopper or cricket, let it remind you of the “big picture”: If you have asked Jesus to be your Saviour, God holds you in His hand like that. He is a whole lot bigger than you are! God will hold you gently in His hand, and He will never let you go. He loves you too much.

God is truly greater than all of us.

My Response:
» Do I forget the “big picture” sometimes and imagine that God is only a small part of my life?
» How can I show that I believe God is bigger than my problems?

» How can I show that I believe God is better than the things that steal my attention away from Him?

Denison Forum – How a young Christian killed in Ukraine “still speaks” to our future

Anatoly was a twenty-six-year-old member of Irpin Bible Church, northwest of Kyiv, Ukraine. Note that he “was.”

An IT professional in a local company, he also served in his church’s media ministry. When the Russian invasion began on February 24, Anatoly evacuated his wife and other family members to safety. Then he courageously returned last Friday to join his church’s skeleton crew.

As a young mother and her two children fled Russian shelling, Anatoly volunteered to carry her suitcase across Irpin’s collapsed bridge. All four died when a Russian bombshell landed in the middle of their would-be humanitarian corridor.

As with Abel of old, “through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). 

What is he saying to us?

Boy dropped from burning apartment building

Anatoly is just one of the hundreds if not thousands of Ukrainians killed so far in Vladimir Putin’s illegal and immoral invasion of their country. Why, then, did I want to tell his story this morning? Why did you choose to read it?

Here’s some good news: A three-year-old boy was dropped from the window of a burning apartment building in New Jersey Monday morning and caught by first responders. And some tragic news: a New Jersey man was swept out to sea while swimming off a beach in Hawaii last Saturday. And some more tragic news: an eleven-year-old girl died after falling under a moving school bus in Colorado last Thursday.

How did these stories make you feel?

I told each of them to make the same point: there is something in us that rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep (Romans 12:15). This is part of our identity as beings made in the image of a God (Genesis 1:27) who loves each of us as if there were only one of us (St. Augustine). Each person is therefore someone of infinite worth to our Creator, not a means to the ends of a nation or its rulers.

This fact is vital to understanding the larger significance of the war in Ukraine for America’s future and American Christians today.

The future of our cultural freedom

US intelligence officials testified at a congressional hearing Tuesday that Putin is likely to escalate the conflict in Ukraine with no concern for civilian casualties, viewing his invasion as a “war he cannot afford to lose.”

Yesterday, we began discussing the fact that Russia’s invasion represents a “new Cold War” pitting the autocratic regimes of Russia and China against the individual freedom ethic espoused by Democratic nations of the West. Putin’s invasion is just one example of the degree to which he sees democracy as impeding his tsarist vision for Russia.

In response, I noted that America’s founders clearly linked freedom with morality and morality with religion.

They were right. 

As the Bible notes, we are all “pinched off from a piece of clay” (Job 33:6). As a result, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is therefore crucial that Christians embody and share with others the good news of God’s transforming grace (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Said bluntly, the future of our cultural freedom depends on the degree to which we embrace our spiritual freedom in Christ (cf. Galatians 5:1John 8:31–32). In a day when American society is more opposed to Christian truth and morality than ever before, this fact is more crucial than ever before.

What percent of Americans elected our president?

The more secular our democracy becomes, the weaker our democracy becomes.

Princeton University scholar Allen C. Guelzo, in reviewing political scientist Jan-Werner Müller’s book Democracy Rules, cites Müller’s argument that “democracy has a deep philosophical affinity with relativism.” This is because our democracy rests on the two pillars of freedom (of speech, assembly, and association) and equality (of all citizens as equal political participants).

As a result, we make decisions based on popular voting, not objective truths, and trust that a free media will hold our leaders and institutions accountable.

But what happens when fewer and fewer of us participate in our democracy? (Kevin D. Williamson notes that Joe Biden was elected president by only 24.6 percent of all Americans.) 

What happens when the Americans who do vote are increasingly uninformed about the issues we face? And what happens when the people and the media they trust increasingly insist on tolerance over truth and seek personal and partisan advancement over the common good?

In The Republic, Plato warned that democracy is inherently flawed: freedom is supreme, but laws are not obeyed and chaos results. Leaders pander to the wants of the people whose support they require. A few people take advantage and accumulate great wealth. To restore order and put down the rich, the people then vote a tyrant into power and democracy ends.

Is this our future?

A difference that will echo in eternity

The last world war united Americans in defense of freedom and democracy with a sacrificial ethic and resolve of character that enabled us to defeat the greatest enemies our nation had ever faced. I am praying that the “new Cold War” will unite us once again in the same cause and evoke from us the same character.

And I am praying that America’s Christians will lead the way by surrendering daily to Christ as our King (Matthew 6:33Ephesians 5:18) and then advancing his kingdom through our gracious witness, godly influence, and sacrificial faith (Ephesians 4:15).

In this day of global social media and connectivity, a single courageous Christian like Anatoly can make global headlines and a global impact. As with Isaiah of old, a single committed believer can use his or her influence to make a difference that will echo in eternity.

In answering his Lord’s call, the prophet cried, “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). 

What will you say to your Lord today?

NOTE: One very practical way we can be the presence of Christ to those suffering in this conflict is to care for refugees as Jesus cares for us. For more, please see our website article, “As 2 million Ukrainian refugees flee, how will you welcome the refugee next door?

Denison Forum