In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Price of Prayerlessness

Through prayer, we give God the burdens we were never meant to carry.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Our heavenly Father invites us to come to Him with all our concerns. Even so, there are believers who do not bother communicating with the Lord, except in emergencies. Unfortunately, neglecting prayer is costly because it often results in weariness and discouragement. 

Certain situations take an emotional, physical, and spiritual toll on us—we refer to them as “burdens.” These low points can wear us out if we attempt to endure them alone. For one thing, we aren’t built for such loads, so trying to haul them around will deplete us. What’s more, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you” (NIV, emphasis added). There’s no point in both the Father and us carrying that weight, especially when He wants to handle it on our behalf. In God’s design, His strength supports us in our weakness, and He is in fact glorified by this arrangement (2 Corinthians 12:9).

As you pray, picture Jesus’ shoulders just above your own—with Him bearing your problems. Even if the burden doesn’t disappear, it will feel noticeably lighter when you hand it over to the Lord. Then, like David, you can say, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden” (Psalm 68:19). 

Bible in One Year: Judges 7-9

Our Daily Bread — No Formula Needed

Bible in a Year:

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 5:13–16

When Jen was young, her well-intentioned Sunday school teacher instructed the class in evangelism training, which included memorizing a series of verses and a formula for sharing the gospel. She and a friend nervously tried this out on another friend, fearful they’d forget an important verse or step. Jen doesn’t “remember if the evening ended in conversion [but guesses] it did not.” The approach seemed to be more about the formula than the person.

Now, years later, Jen and her husband are modeling for their own children a love for God and sharing their faith in a more inviting way. They understand the importance of teaching their children about God, the Bible, and a personal relationship with Jesus, but they’re doing so through a living, daily example of a love for God and the Scriptures. They’re demonstrating what it means to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and to reach out to others through kindness and hospitable words. Jen says, “We cannot impart words of life to others if we don’t possess them ourselves.” As she and her husband show kindness in their own lifestyle, they’re preparing their children “to invite others into their faith.”

We don’t need a formula to lead others to Jesus—what matters most is that a love for God compels and shines through us. As we live in and share His love, God draws others to know Him too.

By: Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

How have you shared the good news with another? What was the result? What are some other ways you could share about Jesus?

Dear God, I want others to experience the loving relationship I have with You. Help me in my walk and talk to draw others to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Threats to Humility: Riches and Wealth

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

Our possessions and positions in life are from God; we can’t take credit for them.

Many today take pride in their economic status. They boast about their riches and trust their money, thinking they must be great for acquiring all they have. But remember what Moses said to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land: “You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut. 8:1718). Everything you have, God gave to you. Don’t parade your possessions as if you obtained them through your self-created abilities.

A related area is pride in one’s class, which involves looking down on those in “lower” levels of society. Such people don’t want lower-class people in their neighborhoods and certainly wouldn’t invite them to dinner. If you are guilty of this sort of pride, keep in mind that God loves poor people. Jesus Himself was poor in this world and spent most of His time ministering to the poor.

Sometimes in moving up the social ladder, people may demand a certain kind of treatment. They expect the best of everything and get offended when they don’t receive it. One of the things Jesus criticized the scribes and Pharisees for was this: “They love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:6-7). Resist the temptation to seek worldly honor, glamour, and privileges.

Advertisers today continually entice us to draw attention to ourselves by what we wear. But undue attention to appearance can make people haughty, boastful, and indulgent, trying to show themselves as better than others. God hates that sin (Isa. 3:16-26).

John said, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. . . . The world is passing away, and also its lusts” (1 John 2:1517). Don’t let the world tell you what you should seek or value. Remember instead that “the one who does the will of God abides forever” (v. 17).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to give you contentment with your present status and to help you reach out to those not so blessed.

For Further Study

Read Luke 14:8-101 Timothy 2:9-10; and James 2:2-8 and see if you are guilty of materialism or social pride.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Set a Goal

I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 3:14 (AMP)

Setting daily goals helps you see certain dreams come true. That’s because dreams are realized one step at a time, one decision at a time, one goal at a time.

Goals are essential if you want to be successful in life. It is pointless and even frustrating to have a big dream for your future, or even a small plan for the day, without setting goals on how you expect to see those things come true.

When you have a goal and move with a purpose, good things will happen for you. You may not know how everything is going to work out. You may not have all the answers for the day ahead. But if you set a goal (or two, or three), you’ll be amazed at how helpful it can be in improving your outlook for the day ahead.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a full-time employee, a student, a business owner, or a volunteer, goal setting can help you feel more enthusiastic and joyful about your day ahead.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for loving me. I want to feel more enthusiastic and joyful about my day ahead. Please help me make realistic goals today that I can meet, with Your help, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Work with Your Whole Heart

. . . he did with all his heart, and prospered.

2 Chronicles 31:21

This is no unusual occurrence; it is the general rule of the moral universe that the prosperous are those who do their work with all their hearts, while others are almost certain to fail when they go about their business halfheartedly. God does not give harvests to lazy men except harvests of thistles, nor is He pleased to send wealth to those who will not dig in the field to find its hidden treasure.

It is universally confessed that if a man would prosper, he must be diligent in business. It is the same in the matter of faith as it is in other things. If you would prosper in your work for Jesus, let it be heart work, and let it be done with all your heart. Put as much force, energy, heartiness, and earnestness into faith as ever you do into business, for it deserves far more. The Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses, but He does not encourage our laziness; He loves active believers.

Who are the most useful men in the Christian church? The men who do what they undertake for God with all their hearts. Who are the most successful Sunday school teachers? The most talented? No. The most zealous; those whose hearts are on fire—they are the ones who see their Lord riding forth prosperously in the majesty of His salvation. Wholeheartedness shows itself in perseverance; there may be failure at first, but the earnest worker will say, “It is the Lord’s work, and it must be done; my Lord has called me to do it, and in His strength I will accomplish it.”

Christian, are you serving your Master with all your heart? Remember the earnestness of Jesus! Think what heart-work was His! He could say, “Zeal for Your house has consumed me.” When He sweat great drops of blood, it was no light burden He had to carry upon those blessed shoulders; and when He poured out His heart, it was no weak effort He was making for the salvation of His people. Was Jesus in earnest, and we are lukewarm?

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 Stories Teach Us What To Do

“But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

Tyrell and Tia couldn’t wait to get to Sunday School. Last week, the teacher, Mrs. Naginflagin, had told them that each person in the class could get up in front of the class and tell his or her favorite Bible story. So, all week long, Tyrell and Tia had been getting ready to tell their favorite Bible story.

Tyrell’s favorite Bible story was David and Goliath. Tyrell wasn’t very tall; in fact he was the shortest in his class–even the girls were taller than him! He liked the story of a small boy taking down a big giant.

Tia’s favorite story was about the birth of Moses. She loved the fact that Moses’ mother gave up her baby so that his life would be saved. She liked seeing how God made it possible for Moses’ mother to get Moses back, in a way. She got to raise her own son because Pharaoh’s daughter found him floating in the basket and wanted one of his own people to help her care for him.

Sunday morning finally came. As Tyrell and Tia took their seats, they looked around wondering what was everyone else’s favorite story would be. “Good morning, class,” said Mrs. Naginflagin. “Today, each of you will get to tell the rest of the class your favorite Bible story. Who wants to go first?”

Immediately Tyrell’s hand shot up into the air. Mrs. Naginflagin invited him to walk to the front of the room, and he began to tell the class the story of David and Goliath. And Tyrell got excited! He went into all the great details of the story, even bringing up other classmates to help act out the awesome fight scene (of course, Tyrell was “David” and the biggest boy on the class had to be “Goliath”). It made Tyrell feel good when his “stone” (it was really a crumpled up piece of paper) hit the “giant” in the forehead and knocked him to the ground.

One by one, each kid in the class told his or her favorite story. When it was all done, Mrs. Naginflagin began to teach the Sunday School lesson. She began with a question. “What do you think God wants you to do because of the story you just told?” Tyrell and Tia had never thought about that before; they just liked the stories.

Mrs. Naginflagin told them to turn to James 1:22–“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Mrs. Naginflagin began to teach the class a very important lesson. She said that God’s Word does not have these stories in it only because they are “cool stories.” God’s stories are wonderful stories, but they are more than that! These stories are actual events–they really did happen! And God included them in the Bible so that we would learn about Him from them, and so that we would know how we should act.

Tyrell and Tia had never really thought of God’s stories that way before. Now as they remembered their favorite stories, they paid attention. They thought about how God might want them to act based on the truths they learned about Him from the stories. Tyrell leaned that God can give strength to fight His battles, even when the chances of winning seem impossible, and no matter how hard it seems. And Tia learned from what happened with Moses’ mom that she should rely on God for protection and blessing, even when everything seems hopeless. Both of them saw good reasons in their favorite stories for trusting God and obeying God.

God gave us His stories to teach us about Himself, and we should act on what we learn from them.

My Response:
» What is my favorite Bible story?
» Have I ever thought about what my favorite Bible story teaches me about God?
» Have I changed my behavior based on what God has taught me about Himself from His Word?

Denison Forum – Pregnant Ukrainian woman wounded by Russian bombs has died: How much death and destruction will be enough for Putin?

If Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has a face, it is the wounded pregnant woman who was taken on a stretcher from a maternity hospital bombed by Russia last week. Now the Associated Press is reporting that the mother and her baby have died.

Is Putin suffering from dementia? 

How much Ukrainian death and destruction will be enough for Putin? 

Does he want only to remove President Zelensky and install a puppet regime loyal to Moscow similar to the one in Belarus? 

He has already arrested the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol and replaced him with a new “acting mayor” who is urging residents to adjust to “the new reality” and end their resistance to Russian occupation. 

Does he want to control the entire country, making it part of a new Russian Empire as it was part of the old USSR? 

In justifying his invasion of Ukraine, he claimed that the very idea of Ukrainian statehood was a fiction and argued that “modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia.” 

Are his motives more personal? 

It has been widely noted that Peter the Great (1672–1725), the giant tsar (historians estimate he stood at least six-foot-eight) who is credited with transforming Russia into a feared world power, is Putin’s personal hero. For more on Putin’s military ambitions and personal background, please see Ryan Denison’s excellent new paper, “The inevitability of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: How Putin’s history reveals his destiny.

Some experts are even wondering if Putin is suffering from dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or “roid rage” from potential cancer treatment that involves heavy steroid use. 

But there is another factor we must consider in seeking to understand Vladimir Putin’s motives for invading Ukraine and threatening the West so perilously. 

Putin’s “spiritual destiny” 

Yesterday we discussed a March 12 article by cultural commentator David French on the threat posed by Russian “tactical nuclear weapons.” Today, we’ll turn to another article by French, this one published on March 13.  

French refers to research by former National Security Agency analyst John Schindler describing an ideological “fusion” between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the FSB, Russia’s intelligence service. According to Schindler, Putin does not seek Russian greatness only out of a sense of secular national chauvinism, but also out of religious mission rooted in the ROC. 

Schindler notes that Patriarch Kirill, head of the ROC, considers the “main threat” to Russia to be “the loss of faith” in Western Christianity. ROC spokesmen constantly denounce feminism and LGBTQ activism as Satanic creations of the West that aim to destroy faith, family, and the nation. 

As a result, the ROC believes it has a “spiritual security” mission to defend Russia from Western spiritual influences in partnership with Moscow’s intelligence agencies. French cites Giles Fraser’s article on the British website UnHerd, which states that “Putin regards his spiritual destiny as the rebuilding of Christendom, based in Moscow.” 

Is Moscow the “New Rome”? 

Kyiv is centrally important to this narrative. 

The Russian news agency TASS quotes ROC Archbishop Kirill: “For us Kiev [the Russian spelling of Kyiv] is what Jerusalem is for many. Russian Orthodoxy began there, so under no circumstances can we abandon this historical and spiritual relationship.” The 2019 creation of a new Orthodox Church of Ukraine separated from the ROC further inflamed tensions as the ROC viewed this action as a direct attack on its “canonical territory.” 

We should add this historical note. The Roman Catholic Church is obviously based in Rome. In AD 324, the Roman Emperor Constantine declared the city of Byzantium the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it Constantinople and calling it the “New Rome.” When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 (and was renamed Istanbul), many in Russia began claiming that Moscow became the “third Rome” and the spiritual heir of Jerusalem. 

French concludes: “Putin has fused Russian identity with the ROC, sees his nation and his church as a bulwark against western decadence, and is now not just attempting to seize his church’s ‘Jerusalem’ but potentially forcibly reuniting his church after a schism it rejects.” 

The peril of transactional religion 

When Christianity is used to advance secular aims, it ceases to be true Christianity. This is true whether these aims are Russian or American, your agendas or mine. 

Transactional religion was dominant in the Greco-Roman world; if a worshiper sacrificed on a god’s altar, the god could be persuaded to do what the worshiper wanted. We do the same when we go to church on Sunday so God will bless us on Monday or give money to the church so God will bless us financially. 

However, Jesus was clear: 

  • “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). 
  • We are to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” to our Lord (Romans 12:1). 
  • The King of kings and Lord of lords does not exist as a means to our ends. Rather, we exist to glorify him: “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11). 

This mandate should be our daily aim: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

Abraham Lincoln’s “greatest concern” 

Joe Carter noted in First Things that during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was purportedly asked if God was on his side. 

He replied, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” 

One day, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lᴏʀᴅ as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). 

How will you hasten that day today?

Denison Forum