In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Moments That Sustain Us

In the middle of hardship, we can find hope by meditating on the Lord’s character.

Psalm 145

When difficulties arise, what becomes your main focus—the problem, its impact on you, or its effect on others? When trouble occurred in David’s life, he meditated on the Lord’s sufficiency and His good, pleasing, and perfect will. That focus is evident not only in today’s psalm but in others as well: throughout his life, David poured out his troubles to the Lord and also continually turned his attention back to the Father. The result was strength and hope for his soul. 

Because David had a trusting relationship with God, he dealt with trials by anticipating divine help. For example, his impending fight with Goliath brought to mind God’s past and present delivering power (1 Samuel 17:37). In facing King Saul’s murderous threats and advances, David relied on the Lord’s protection as his refuge and fortress (Psalm 18:2). And when grieving over the loss of loved ones, he let God’s presence and comfort fill his heart and mind (1 Samuel 30:3-6). 

As was the case with David, our circumstances can also serve as valuable prompts for meditation. God has given us His Word, a wonderful resource where His character, works, and purposes are clearly displayed. When your next difficulty comes, use it as a reminder to meditate on some attribute of the Lord—and draw the strength and hope to sustain you.

Bible in One Year: Judges 4-6 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Justice and Jesus

Bible in a Year:

What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Micah 6:1–8

Caesar Augustus (63 bc–ad 14), the first emperor of Rome, wanted to be known as a law-and-order ruler. Even though he built his empire on the back of slave labor, military conquest, and financial bribery, he restored a measure of legal due process and gave his citizens Iustitia, a goddess our justice system today refers to as Lady Justice. He also called for a census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for the birth of a long-awaited ruler whose greatness would reach to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:2–4).   

What neither Augustus nor the rest of the world could have anticipated is how a far greater King would live and die to show what real justice looks like. Centuries earlier, in the prophet Micah’s day, the people of God had once again lapsed into a culture of lies, violence, and “ill-gotten treasures” (6:10–12). God’s dearly loved nation had lost sight of Him. He longed for them to show their world what it meant to do right by each other and walk humbly with Him (v. 8). 

It took a Servant King to personify the kind of justice that hurting, forgotten, and helpless people long for. It took the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy in Jesus to see right relationships established between God and people, and person-to-person. This would come not in the outward enforcement of Caesar-like law-and-order, but in the freedom of the mercy, goodness, and spirit of our servant King Jesus.

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

What does it mean to you to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God? How do you see this lived out in the life of Jesus?

Father, in the name of Jesus, please help me do right by others and everyone You bring into my life.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Threats to Humility: Strength and Boasting

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

Satan will tempt us to be proud of our abilities and accomplishments, but we must remember that every good thing we have is from God.

We’ve just studied three steps to humility. Let’s look at the issue from another angle: What kinds of pride threaten to destroy our humility? Where will we struggle to be humble? There are several areas in which Satan will attack us.

The first area I call ability pride. We’re often tempted to be proud of our strong points, not our weak ones. I’ve never been tempted to boast of my fantastic mathematical ability because I have none. But I am tempted to be proud of my preaching because it is my spiritual gift. Thankfully, the Lord helps me deal with such thoughts. It might come in the form of a letter saying, “I was in your church Sunday, and I violently disagree with everything you said.” Or someone might tell me, “We came to hear you for the first time, but we like our pastor better.” Times like those help me keep the proper perspective.

The key to overcoming ability pride is remembering that every gift you have is from God. All the credit belongs to Him. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

Another temptation is verbal pride, or bragging. There is a tendency in human nature to tell people what good we have done or plan to do. People get into a conversation, and soon they’re trying to top each other with their accomplishments. In contrast, Hannah asserts, “Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge; and with Him actions are weighed” (1 Sam. 2:3). God knows the truth about what you have done. Proverbs 27:2 instructs, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.”

As a test, try to get through an entire week without talking about what you’ve done. Perhaps for a starter, try to last an afternoon. When people don’t talk about themselves, the absence of boasting tells volumes about their character.

Suggestions for Prayer

Repent of any pride in your own abilities or accomplishments.

For Further Study

  • The apostle Paul had tremendous advantages and abilities but refused to boast about them. Read Philippians 3:4-11. What were Paul’s accomplishments?
  • How did he consider them?
  • What was most important to him?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Christ Is Our Confidence

For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances.

— Philippians 3:3 (AMPC)

God is merciful toward us and wants to bless and prosper us. He sees our heart attitude and our faith in Jesus. When we have confidence in God and His love and kindness, we can progress to living confidently and enjoying the life He wants for us. Note that I said confidence in God, not in ourselves. Usually, people think of confidence as self-confidence, such as TV self-help gurus or athletes promote when urging us to “Believe in yourself!”

I beg to differ. I want to make it clear, right from the start, that our confidence must be in Christ alone, not in ourselves, not in other people, not in the world or its systems. The Bible states that we are sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency (see Philippians 4:13), so we might also say that we are confident through Christ’s confidence. Or another way to say it would be, “We have self-confidence only because He lives in us, and it is His confidence that we draw on.”

Prayer Starter: Lord, I know that far too often I put my confidence in my own abilities, or other people, or the place I work to provide for my needs. I fix my eyes upon You. You alone are worthy of being my confidence, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Be On Your Guard

I will guard my ways.

Psalm 39:1

Fellow-pilgrim, do not say in your heart, “I will go here and there, and I will not sin,” for you are never so out of danger of sinning as to boast of security. The road is very muddy; it will be hard to pick your path so as not to soil your garments. This is a dirty world, and you will need to stay alert if you are to keep your hands clean. There is a robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels; there is a temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy; and if you ever reach heaven, it will be a miracle of divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your Father’s power.

Be on your guard. When a man carries fireworks in his hand, he should be careful that he does not go near a candle; and you too must take care that you do not succumb to temptation. Even your everyday activities are sharp-edged tools; you must mind how you handle them.

There is nothing in this world to foster a Christian’s piety, but everything to destroy it. How concerned you should be to look up to God, that He may keep you! Your prayer should be, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe.” Having prayed, you must also watch, guarding every thought, word, and action, with holy jealousy. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily; but if called to exposure, if you are called to go where the darts are flying, never venture forth without your shield; for if once the devil finds you without your armor, he will rejoice that his hour of triumph is come and will soon make you fall down wounded by his arrows. Although you cannot be killed, you may be wounded.

Be sober-minded; be watchful—danger may befall you at a time when everything seems to be secure. Therefore, pay attention, stay alert, watch and pray. No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways, so they shall always please the Lord.

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The Father Loves You

“For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (John 16:27)

When God made Israel into a nation and blessed them, He also gave them some instructions (what we now call the Law). Unfortunately, the people of Israel often disobeyed the Law. In fact, they disobeyed much more often than they obeyed.

As Israel went on disobeying, God sent prophets to them, warning them that He would judge their sins if they didn’t come back to Him. But Israel kept ignoring Him. So eventually He kept His promise and sent cruel armies against His people to destroy their cities and drag them away from their homes to foreign countries.

But God was merciful, and He allowed many of His people to return home. That happened a few hundred years before Jesus was born. When the Jews returned home, they realized that God was serious about sin – that He really meant business.

But many Jews began thinking that God was merely an angry God, without much love.

When Jesus came, He showed compassion to people. He was often stern – He had to be so that people would know that He took sin very seriously. But He also forgave people who turned from their sins, and He was patient with people who kept messing up.

Because Jesus was so kind and good, His disciples knew that He loved them very much. However, they still viewed God the Father as a bit too distant – a bit too stern – for them to ask Him for things. So they would just ask Jesus.

But then Jesus told them something that probably amazed them. Just before He went to the Cross, He said, You don’t have to ask Me for things anymore. You can go to the Father directly, because the Father Himself loves you.

Jesus also said that the only reason we can go directly to the Father is that He (Jesus) died for us and made a Way. In fact, Jesus said that He is the Way to the Father. Because Jesus is the Way, we pray to the Father “in Jesus’ name.” But we don’t have to pray to Jesus, asking Him for things. He wants us to pray to the Father. Jesus wants us to know that the Father loves us, just as the Father loves His Only Son.

If you believe in Jesus – if your confidence is in Him – then the Father loves you. And so you can pray directly to the Father, in Jesus’ name.

Not only does Jesus love you, but the Father loves you, too.

My Response:
» Do I pray to Jesus instead of to the Father because Jesus seems nicer? Do I need to start praying directly to the Father?
» Do I pray in Jesus’ name? Do I need to start praying in Jesus’ name to remind myself that Jesus is the Way to the Father?

Denison Forum – Would Putin use “tactical nuclear weapons” to win this war?

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady made global headlines when he retired after his team lost the Super Bowl last month. However, he announced on Twitter last night, “These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands.” As a result, he stated, “I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business.”

In more normal times, this announcement might be the subject of today’s Daily Article. Or we could focus on former President Barack Obama’s report yesterday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Or we could discuss the opening of baseball’s spring training, the NCAA basketball playoffs, or a variety of other cultural stories. We might even note that today is “Pi” Day (3.14) with $3.14 sales on pizza. 

But these are not normal times. 

In fact, they may soon become dangerous on a level we have never seen. 

Why “this is a uniquely perilous moment” 

David French is a military veteran, an attorney, and one of the most perceptive cultural commentators I know. His March 12 article in the Atlantic, “This Is a Uniquely Perilous Moment,” is subtitled: “Smaller-scale tactical nuclear weapons could bring the great powers into a brutal, deadly, and unprecedented conflict.” 

He describes “tactical nuclear weapons” as “low-yield, short-range weapons that are designed for use against military targets such as enemy airfields or columns of enemy forces.” He explains that “tactical nukes can be mounted in simple gravity bombs, on rockets, or even in artillery shells.” 

According to a 2021 Congressional Research Service report, Russia possesses close to two thousand of these weapons. By contrast, the US stores roughly one hundred nuclear weapons in Europe. 

Here’s where this news becomes even more concerning: French notes that “there is considerable evidence that use of those tactical nuclear weapons is part of contemporary Russian-military planning.” He cites reports that Russia has adopted a military strategy known as “escalate to de-escalate” or “escalate to terminate.” 

Putin could use low-yield nuclear weapons to destroy key air bases throughout Europe, attack an aircraft-carrier task force, or destroy specific army bases. As French warns, Putin’s tactical weapons “make him the first opponent that NATO allies have faced since the end of the Cold War who has the raw military capability to destroy a substantial portion of NATO forces in the field.” 

Could this be what Putin meant when he warned on February 24 that countries who interfere with his invasion of Ukraine would face “consequences you have never seen”? 

“The most dangerous confrontation of all” 

The New York Times is reporting this morning that Russia has asked China for military equipment and support for its invasion of Ukraine. The longer Ukrainian forces withstand Russia’s invasion, the more desperate Putin may become. 

If he were to use tactical nuclear weapons to defeat Ukraine, given NATO’s limited tactical nuclear arsenal, would we escalate our response? French asks, “Would we risk Washington and New York to dislodge Putin from Ukraine?” 

If Putin thinks we would not, would this embolden him to use his tactical nuclear arsenal against Ukraine? 

Here’s another scenario. Russian missiles struck a military base near the border with Poland, killing at least thirty-five people. The Associated Press reports that “the attack so near a NATO member-country raised the possibility that the alliance could be drawn into the fight.” Also, Poland’s president said yesterday that the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia would “be a game changer in the whole thing.” 

If NATO forces entered the conflict and Putin responded with tactical nuclear strikes, what would come next? Again, would the US risk our cities to defend NATO forces? 

French concludes: “It’s one thing to confront a potential nuclear conflict when both sides know they’ll lose. Mutual assured destruction kept the peace even during the darkest days of the Cold War. It’s another thing entirely to confront a potential nuclear conflict when one side believes it can win. That’s the most dangerous confrontation of all, and we may be close to that now.” 

The paradoxical best way to live every day 

Dr. Lane Ogden’s outstanding paper, How to manage fear in a time of crisis, was written at my request and published on our website earlier this morning. 

Dr. Ogden is a brilliant psychologist and the person I recommend whenever someone in the Dallas area asks me to direct them to a counseling professional. His paper offers biblical reflections and practical steps you and I can take today in responding to the fears we face. His paper is so timely because the threats we face are so significant.  

In such times, the Christian faith offers a unique perspective that can empower our courage and attract others to our Lord. 

Unlike our secular friends, we know that this world is not our home: “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). We also know that “if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8). 

As a result, we can face the perils of our broken world by trusting Jesus’ promise, “Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:26). 

Paradoxically, the best way to live every day is to be prepared to die every day. To live with our sins confessed, our relationships healthy, and our lives fully yielded to our Lord and Master is not only the best way to die—it is the best way to live. 

The Puritan Thomas Watson warned, “Let them fear death who do not fear sin.” 

Which do you fear today?

Denison Forum