In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – How to Truly Forgive

The Lord doesn’t want us enslaved by resentment, so He helps us forgive our wrongdoers.

March 23, 2022

Ephesians 4:25-32

Did you know it’s possible to extend forgiveness to another person and yet still cling to resentment? We might say everything is okay, but our unpardoning spirit remains—and it will linger until we emotionally release the other person from the wrong he or she did. Thankfully, there’s a way to truly move on: 

• First, assume responsibility for your unforgiving spirit, and choose a change of heart toward the other person. The healing process begins with repentance.

•  Then, release your hold over the debt you feel is owed. 

•  Recognize the other person’s violation has exposed an area of weakness in you—namely, your resentment and desire for vengeance. 

•  Finally, remember how often God forgives you. 

The Lord is grieved to see His children cling to an unforgiving spirit, because emotional debt imprisons us. We become paralyzed by our own distrust, resentment, and insecurity, which only build walls that shut out family and friends. In contrast, God’s goal for us is freedom from bitterness. He wants to see us reconcile with our offender and even show tenderhearted, loving acceptance. We have a calling from God to forgive. Though that can be difficult, it is possible because Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). 

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 1-3

Our Daily Bread — God’s Good Glue

Bible in a Year:

God made . . . all the creatures that move along the ground.

Genesis 1:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 1:20–25

Scientists from Penn State University recently engineered a new kind of glue that’s both extremely strong and also removable. Their design is inspired by a snail whose slime hardens in dry conditions and loosens again when wet. The reversible nature of the snail’s slime allows it to move freely in more humid conditions—safer for the snail—while keeping it securely planted in its environment when movement would be hazardous.

The researchers’ approach of mimicking an adhesive found in nature calls to mind scientist Johannes Kepler’s description of his discoveries. He said he was “merely thinking God’s thoughts after him.” The Bible tells us that God created the earth and all that’s in it: the vegetation on the land (Genesis 1:12); the “creatures of the sea” and “every winged bird” (v. 21); “the creatures that move along the ground” (v. 25); and “mankind in his own image” (v. 27). When humankind discovers or identifies a special attribute of a plant or animal, we’re simply following in God’s creative footsteps, having our eyes opened to the way He designed them.

At the end of each day in the creation account, God surveyed the fruit of His work and described it as “good.” As we learn and discover more about God’s creation, may we too recognize His magnificent work, care for it well, and proclaim how very good it is!

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How do you see God’s handiwork in the creation around you? How can you respond in praise to Him?

Creator God, thank You for the unique and perfect way You created the world and all that’s in it. Your works are wondrous!

Learn more about possessing a Christian worldview.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Jesus’ Humble Identification with Sinners

“. . . Emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Except for sin, Jesus experienced the everyday things of a normal man; but He was often not appreciated as the God-man.

Jesus could understand what people around Him were dealing with because He lived under the same conditions. He can also identify with us today. It is true that He never married, never went to college, and never used a computer or a VCR. But He still has perfect knowledge about such things, and more. The point is, Christ knows firsthand about our basic physical and emotional needs because He actually lived and worked in a world affected by the Fall.

But there was one element of our world Jesus did not partake in: sin. The conclusion of Hebrews 4:15 says He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Even though Jesus never sinned, He knows the struggles and temptations we face daily. Otherwise, He could not be the sympathetic High Priest that the first part of verse 15 mentions.

Although Jesus was a man who identified profoundly with those He came to serve, people around Him did not naturally see the most important thing about Him. Philippians 2:8 views Jesus from the perspective of those people. It says His human appearance was so authentic that most of them didn’t know that He was also God. Many of them simply could not accept that a man like Jesus could also be higher than them: “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42).

Christ’s close identification with mankind elicited a tragic response for people such as those in John 6. But for us, His humility is a great model and a heart-felt reassurance that He was perfectly man and perfectly God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that you can freely approach Him in prayer through Jesus, who can identify so closely with all our struggles as human beings.

For Further Study

Read John 11:1-45, which describes the death and resurrection of Lazarus. How did Jesus demonstrate His humanity and deity to the disciples and other eyewitnesses?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Success Starts with Your Thoughts

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

— 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT)

Nobody is successful in any venture just by wishing they would be. Successful people make a plan and talk to themselves about that plan constantly. You can think things on purpose, and if you make what you think about match what you actually want to do, your feelings may not like it, but they will go along.

I slept great last night, and when I woke up at 5:00 a.m., I didn’t feel like getting up. It was so cozy under the fluffy cover, and I felt like staying right there. But I had a plan. I had decided how many hours I would write today, and in order to do that I had to get up. I thought, I am going to get up now, and I got up!

Do you make an effort to choose your thoughts, or do you just meditate on whatever falls into your head, even if it is in total disagreement with what you have said you want out of life? When your thoughts are going in a wrong direction, do you capture them and submit them to Christ as the Bible instructs (see 2 Cor. 10:5)?

I want to encourage you today—the good news is you can change. As I have said for years, we are in a war and the mind is the battlefield. We either win or lose our battles based on winning or losing the war in our minds. Learn to think according to the Word of God, and your emotions will start lining up with your thoughts.

If you have had years of experiencing wrong thinking and letting your emotions lead you as I did, making the change may not be easy, and it will definitely require a commitment of study, time, and effort. But the results will be worth it. Don’t say, “I am just an emotional person, and I can’t help the way I feel.” Take control. You can do it!

Keep your thoughts in line with the plan God has for your life—a plan to prosper you, and not to harm you (see Jer. 29:11). Take control of your thoughts by trusting them to Him.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help me take control of my thoughts and trust You completely, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – If These Were Silent…

I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.

Luke 19:40

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if He who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to declare in praise of Him who created them by the word of His power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall we not speak well of Him who made us new and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham?

The old rocks could tell of chaos and order and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; are we not also able to talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that He did for His church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry and made them fit for the temple. And aren’t we also able to tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of His Word, that He might build us into His temple? If the stones should cry out, they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them into a beautiful palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time a great stone has been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify, stones of help and pillars of remembrance.

The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ Himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: We will silence their noise as we break into sacred song and bless the majesty of the Most High; we will spend all our days glorifying Him whom Jacob calls the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

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 Glorified in Life or Death

“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

John and Betty Stam were missionaries to China in the 1930s. China was a dangerous place to be. The Communist army did not want foreign people in the country, and they did not like Christians. One day the Communists captured the Chinese city where the Stams lived. They took John, Betty, and their baby girl, Helen, captive.

That night, John, Betty, and Helen were locked in a room together. Sometime during the night, Betty found a way to leave baby Helen some things she would need if they were separated. She tucked a clean nightdress, diapers, and two five-dollar-bills into the blankets where Helen slept.

The next morning, John and Betty Stam were led outside the city and killed by Communists. They became martyrs, people who lose their lives because of their faith in Christ. Baby Helen was left alone in that little room. But God had not forgotten the baby. A whole day and night passed. The next day, Christian friends of the Stams found Helen after she had been left alone for thirty hours! The money that her mother had hidden in her blankets was enough to provide for these Chinese Christians to carry her to safety.

God’s plan for John and Betty Stam was to glorify Himself through their death. The Stams went to be with Him. They joined the great chorus of praise around His throne. Through all eternity, they will keep praising Him. Many people have been awakened to the needs on the mission field by hearing their story. Thousands have carried God’s Word to the dark places of the earth because of the Stams’ sacrifice.

But God’s plan for Helen was to glorify Himself through keeping her alive. People all over the world heard about Helen’s rescue and praised God for His care for that helpless little baby.

God might lead you to a dangerous place someday in your service for Him. Are you willing to trust Him and follow Him so that He might be glorified—whether in your life or your death?

God chooses life or death for His children that He might receive glory.

My Response:
» Am I afraid to follow God? Can I trust that His choice—life or death—is best for me?
» Do I want His glory more than I want anything else?

Denison Forum – Why George W. Bush and Bill Clinton went to church together

“America stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their freedom and their future.” This statement was posted by former President George W. Bush on his Instagram page along with a video of himself and former President Bill Clinton laying flowers at Saints Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago. Mr. Clinton also tweeted a video of their ceremony and said, “America stands united with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom and against oppression.”

In related news, a Ukrainian official accused Russia of bombing 135 hospitals and shelters since the invasion began on February 24. She tweeted, “Inhumanity of Russian troops has no limits” and claimed, “Russia is a war criminal.” 

These two stories have this in common: they both presuppose the sanctity of every human life. Former American presidents stand in solidarity with unnamed Ukrainian citizens. Attacks on hospitals and shelters are rightly viewed as attacks on humanity. 

Is our moral compass pointed in the wrong direction? 

NASA has now confirmed more than five thousand worlds beyond our solar system. However, so far as scientists know, our planet uniquely hosts life created in the image of our Creator (Genesis 1:27). Corporate CEOs can face discouragement amid these “unprecedented times” just like the rest of us. 

A new survey reports that 72 percent of Americans say the nation’s moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction, a finding that suggests there is a “right” direction and that we can and should find and follow it. And a Wall Street Journal reporter responded to the fact that “all my millennial friends are rethinking their lives” by choosing to embark on a “reassessment” for the sake of his “mental and spiritual health.” His observation assumes that such health is possible and desirable. 

This week, we’ve been discussing proactive ways we can respond to the crises and challenges in the daily news and our daily lives. On Monday, we honored and sought to emulate Christians in Poland who are ministering sacrificially to Ukrainian refugees. Yesterday, we sought to answer our Father’s invitation to deeper intimacy with him that empowers our compassion and our courage. 

Today, let’s take another step into the significance of service that touches hurts and transforms hearts. I once heard a pastor state that every Christian needs a personal Acts 1:8 strategy, a plan to use their influence where they live, across their larger region, and around the world. 

How can you and I fulfill such a strategy effectively? 

Worship leads to sanctification leads to service 

In Exodus 31, God told Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship” (vv. 1–3). The text then describes the ways Bezalel would serve in building the tabernacle (vv. 4–5). 

He would not labor alone: God “appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach” and has “given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you” (v. 6). 

To fulfill this calling, these servants of God are called to a counterintuitive commitment: “And the Lᴏʀᴅ said to Moses, ‘You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lᴏʀᴅ, sanctify you“‘” (vv. 12–13, my emphases). 

Before Bezalel, Oholiab, and their team could begin building the tabernacle, they were called to worship the Lord of the tabernacle. Before I can preach sermons or write articles for God, I must meet with God. When I do, I can share a word not just about him but from him. 

When relevance becomes a problem 

Here’s our problem: if we do not see God as he truly is, we will not worship and serve him as he truly deserves. 

The evangelical church in my lifetime has made a dramatic shift in how we relate to the culture. There was a day when most people went to church (or said they did). Many Americans grew up with a basic understanding of the Christian faith. Churches therefore did not feel the need to appeal to the secular culture in ways that were intentionally accessible to secular people. 

As the culture began shifting to a post-Christian culture in the 1960s, many pastors and leaders sought to change their methods of ministry to reach the unreached. Some megachurch buildings came to resemble shopping malls. Hymns led by choirs and organs became choruses led by bands and contemporary instruments. Sermons focused more on practical advice regarding marriage, money, self-esteem, and other felt needs. The goal was to demonstrate cultural relevance in everything we did. 

I agree completely that we need to take Christ to the lost. Jesus called us to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19); fishermen go where the fish are to be found and use methods appropriate to the fish they are trying to catch. 

However, in an effort to make the church more accessible to the culture, there is the risk of unintentionally diluting the biblical call to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). 

When last were you awed by God? 

“Something immeasurably superior to yourself” 

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis noted: “In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that—and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison—you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. 

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” 

Which way are you looking today?

Denison Forum