In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Judge and the Judgment

All people will give Jesus an account of their life, but those who trust in His name won’t be condemned.

John 5:22-24

Anyone who’s been in a courtroom knows the atmosphere of authority and fear that surrounds the judge as he or she takes a seat. One day, everyone will face the ultimate Judge—the Lord Jesus Christ. When we approach Him, we’ll be standing before the One who is perfectly righteous and just. He is impartial and will make decisions with all wisdom and complete knowledge. His standard for justice is truth, not opinion.

Jesus, who’s been given this job by His heavenly Father, is perfect for the position: He can sympathize with our weaknesses and understands our temptations because He, too, has suffered and been tempted—yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). 

Scripture teaches that while believers won’t be condemned on the day of judgment, they will each stand before Christ to give an account of their life (Romans 14:10-12). His purpose isn’t to punish but to evaluate and reward their good works.  

What comfort we have in knowing that our Judge is also our Savior, who loved us enough to die for us. Christ is for us, not against us. May this realization motivate us to love and live for the One who has delivered us from the fear of punishment (1 John 4:16-18). 

Bible in One Year: Joshua 20-22

Our Daily Bread — Tackling Indecision

Bible in a Year:

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Proverbs 3:5–8

We live in a world that offers a wide range of choices—from paper towels to life insurance. In 2004, psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote a book titled The Paradox of Choice in which he argued that while freedom of choice is important to our well-being, too many choices can lead to overload and indecision. While the stakes are certainly lower when deciding on which paper towel to buy, indecision can become debilitating when making major decisions that impact the course of our lives. So how can we overcome indecision and move forward confidently in living for Jesus?

As believers in Christ, seeking God’s wisdom helps us as we face difficult decisions. When we’re deciding on anything in life, large or small, the Scriptures instruct us to “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart and lean not on [our] own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). When we rely on our own judgment, we can become confused and worry about missing an important detail or making the wrong choice. When we look to God for the answers, however, He’ll “make [our] paths straight” (v. 6). He’ll give us clarity and peace as we make decisions in our day-to-day lives.

God doesn’t want us to be paralyzed or overwhelmed by the weight of our decisions. We can find peace in the wisdom and direction He provides when we bring our concerns to Him in prayer.

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

What major decisions have you been considering lately? How will you seek God’s wisdom in prayer, the Scriptures, and the godly counsel of other believers?

Heavenly Father, I know You hold the answers to all the choices I face. As I seek Your wisdom, please give me clarity and the strength to boldly move forward with You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Understanding Who We Are

“Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

The first step to humility is understanding our sinfulness.

I’ll never forget a meeting I had at my house with some seminary students. One student asked me, very seriously, “John, how did you finally overcome pride?” I said jokingly, “Well, it was two years ago when I finally licked it, and it’s never been a problem since then. It’s so wonderful to be constantly humble.” Of course, I have not completely overcome pride; it’s a battle I face every day. Satan makes sure we always struggle with it.

Overcoming pride in even one area is difficult, but Ephesians 4:2 requires “all humility.” Having some humility isn’t enough. We must have total, complete humility in every relationship, every attitude, and every act.

So we all have a lot of work to do. But where do we start? How can we become humble?

Humility begins with self-awareness. We need to look at ourselves honestly. We can mask who we really are and convince ourselves that we’re something wonderful. But we are sinners and need to confess our sins daily before God (cf. 1 John 1:9). Even Paul called himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) and realized he had not yet reached the goal of Christlikeness (Phil. 3:12-14). Whenever you’re tempted to be proud, remember you haven’t arrived yet spiritually.

And don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Paul said, “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). If we’re to be honest with ourselves and with God, we need to evaluate ourselves by an outside standard—God’s standard. Humility starts when we take off the rose-colored glasses of self-love so we can see ourselves as unworthy sinners. We must recognize our faults and confess our sins daily.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Confess any known sins to God, and ask for help in overcoming them.
  • Ask God to keep you from comparing yourself to others instead of to His perfect standard.

For Further Study

  • Many consider Paul to be the greatest Christian who ever lived, but he viewed himself very differently. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. How did he see himself?
  • As he saw his sinfulness, what was his response to God?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Forgiving Others and Forgiving Yourself

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

— Ephesians 4:32 (AMPC)

I once heard that medical studies indicate 75 percent of physical sickness is caused by emotional problems. And one of the greatest emotional problems people experience is guilt. They are refusing to relax and enjoy life because, after all, they feel they don’t deserve to have a good time. So, they live in a perpetual strain of regret and remorse. This kind of stress often makes people sick.

Two of the things that cause us to get all knotted up inside are meditating on all the negative things done to us by others, and the sinful and wrong things we have done. We have a hard time getting over what others have done to us, and we find it difficult to forget the mistakes we have made.

In my own life I had a choice to remain bitter, full of hatred and self-pity, resenting the people who had hurt me, or I could choose to follow God’s path of forgiveness. This is the same choice you have today. I pray that you will forgive others and receive God’s forgiveness for yourself. You will be healthier and happier if you do!

Prayer Starter: Lord, I know that Your way is forgiveness, so please help me to forgive others, forgive myself, and receive Your forgiveness once and for all.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Sought Out

You shall be called Sought Out.

Isaiah 62:12

The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly in that we were not only sought, but sought out. Men seek for a thing that is lost upon the floor of the house, but in such a case there is only seeking, not seeking out. The loss is more perplexing and the search more persevering when a thing is sought out. We were mingled with the mire: We were as when some precious piece of gold falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a maze; we wandered here and there, and when mercy came after us with the Gospel, it did not find us at the first coming—it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost and had wandered into such a strange country that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd could track our devious roamings.

Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No darkness could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us; we were found and brought home. Glory be to infinite love—God the Holy Spirit restored us!

If the lives of some of God’s people could be written, they would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways that God used in their case to find His own. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures; they shall be called, “Sought Out!” That any should be sought out is matchless grace, but that we should be sought out is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it but God’s own sovereign love and can only lift up our heart in wonder and praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of “Sought Out.”

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 Our Stronghold

“Blessed be the LORD my strength…my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust.” (Psalm 144:1-2)

There is a place in Israel near the Dead Sea called Masada (muh-SAH-duh). It looks like a mountain with a flat, square top. Masada was once a huge getaway palace for Herod the Great. In the first century after the time of Christ, Jewish people used it as a fortress. Men, women, and children lived there for three years, hiding from the Romans who had attacked and destroyed their cities. “The Romans cannot get to us here,” they thought. “We are safe in Masada.”

But they were not safe. The Roman army built a siege ramp all the way up the side of the mountain. Day after day, the Jews saw the Romans working on the ramp, and they knew that they had only a little time.

When the Romans finally stormed up the siege ramp to take the fortress, they found all of the Jewish people dead. The Jews had decided to kill themselves rather than lose their freedom. Their Masada had not protected them after all.

The word “Masada” comes from a Hebrew word that is often translated “fortress,” “defense,” or “stronghold.” This word is used in the Psalms to describe God. God is a stronghold for people who put their trust in Him. Because believers belong to God, they have a natural enemy, Satan, who is the enemy of God. Satan would like us to turn away from God and live in sin, doubt, and defeat.

But when Satan and his forces attack our minds and hearts, God is a safe fortress where we can hide. When we believe God’s Word and depend on His help to obey it, He will keep us from sin. God is stronger than Masada. He will never fail or be taken by the enemy. Satan can never defeat us when we make God our stronghold.

God is a stronghold for us when Satan tempts us to sin.

My Response:
» Am I abiding in God as my stronghold?
» Is there something or someone less than God that I’ve been trusting to take care of me?
» Am I struggling with something right now that I could ask God to help me with?

Denison Forum – Eleven-year-old escapes Ukraine by himself: “Primeval conditions in besieged cities” and a light that “cannot be hidden”

Hassan is an eleven-year-old Ukrainian boy. When Russia invaded his country, his mother, a widow, was unable to travel because she had to stay with her sick mother. So she sent her son out of the country on a train by himself with only a plastic bag, a passport, and a telephone number written on his hand.

He traveled roughly 620 miles to Slovakia to meet relatives. After he arrived safely, she said, “I am very grateful that they saved the life of my child.” 

Vladimir Putin clearly considers expanding the Russian Empire worth the lives of thousands of Hassans. 

A story as old as humanity 

The first fact we discover about humans in God’s word is that we are each made in the image and likeness of God. After we learn that “God created man in his own image,” we are even told, “male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Clearly, every male and every female is equally valuable in the eyes of his or her Maker (cf. Acts 10:34Galatians 3:28). 

From then until now, nearly every sin we commit against each other is a violation of this fact. Cain considered Abel’s life worth less than his own. Joseph’s brothers felt the same about him. From Egypt’s enslavement of the Hebrews to the Western world’s enslavement of Africans, sex traffickers enslaving their victims today, and nearly every other kind of crime in the day’s news, we see all around us the horrific consequences of rejecting Genesis 1:27

In this sense, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a contemporary example of a tragic story as old as humanity. His Communist upbringing and KGB career taught him the Communist worldview with its depreciation of the individual as a means to the end of the state. 

“Primeval conditions in besieged cities” 

The New York Times reports this morning that the war has taken “a decidedly darker turn, with hundreds of thousands of people now living in primeval conditions in besieged cities as Russian forces try to batter the country into submission.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an overnight address, “We are doing everything to save our people in the cities that the enemy just wants to destroy.” 

Writing for The Times of Israel, Rachel Sharansky Danziger notes, “Vladimir Putin’s invasion is very eloquent and very loud in this regard. It says: Might Makes Right. It says: human lives are cheap. It says: liberties and free speech must give way to the good of the state, and the good of the state lies in its glory, not in its people’s safety and welfare.” 

Then she asks, “Are we willing to accept a world shaped on these terms?” 

China’s horrific treatment of the Uyghurs and Kim Jong Un’s imprisonment and torture of those viewed as threats to his dictatorship are other examples. The long history of anti-Semitism is yet another illustration of humanity’s sinful “will to power” and willingness to subjugate other races and peoples to the advancement of our own. 

“A rule which is not tyranny” 

There is another side to this story. America’s founding on the biblical fact that “all men are created equal,” while fueling our pioneer spirit and entrepreneurial culture, must be balanced with the biblical fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Otherwise, the equality of human lives leads to the equality of human ideas. There can be no right and wrong, only what is right for me and wrong for you. 

As D. A. Carson notes in The Intolerance of Tolerance, tolerance then becomes not the right to be wrong but the insistence that there is no such thing as “wrong.” The result is the destruction of institutions foundational to human flourishing. 

From the equal rights of the unborn to the definition and sanctity of marriage, the healthy expression of sexuality within biblical marriage, the dignity and value of the elderly and infirm, and the urgency of justice for all races and ethnicities, every dimension of human experience is damaged when objective truth is replaced by relativistic tolerance. 

In The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis noted that “the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means . . . the power of some men to make other men what they please.” By contrast, “A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery.” 

A light that “cannot be hidden” 

Such a “rule” and “obedience” is captured in the biblical call to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” to God (Romans 12:1). As a “living sacrifice,” every dimension of our lives is to be yielded every moment of every day to our Master and King. 

Here we find one of the reasons why a “compartmentalized” life is so hazardous to the life of faith. When Jesus is a sermon subject and a person of history but not an intimate, present reality in our day-to-day lives, we miss the joy and the power he infuses in every soul that is truly united with him. 

Conversely, when Jesus is king of every part of our lives every day, we experience the “abundant life” he came to bring (John 10:10) and become the light that “cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14) and “overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). 

So, like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, we can reject Genesis 1:27 by viewing other people as a means to the advancement of the state. Similarly, we can reject Genesis 1:27 by viewing other people as a means to our personal advancement and agendas. Alternately, we can embrace Genesis 1:27 as mandating the relativistic equality of all ideas and values and thus replacing truth with tolerance. 

Or we can decide today to become a “living sacrifice” to our Lord and King. 

“Let there be peace on earth” 

Imagine a world in which every Christian made that choice every day. Imagine the impact on every person we influence. Imagine the difference if Christians around the world led the nations of the world to value every person as God does. 

beloved hymn so relevant to our war-torn world begins, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” 

Would you make these words your prayer today, to the glory of God?

Denison Forum