In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Expressions of Praise

Singing at church isn’t the only way God is glorified—our whole life can bring Him honor.

Psalm 34:1-3

Glorifying God isn’t limited to church. In fact, praise ought to permeate every area of our life. But how is that done?

One obvious way that we praise the Lord is with our voices. True worship flows from the mouths of believers who are focused on God’s attributes. They desire to honor Him because of who He is, what He’s done, and what He has promised for the future. Genuine worship allows the Lord to fill our hearts and minds with His presence anywhere. 

Our God is also praised when we serve Him. We were created for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to His name. Therefore, nothing should limit our willingness to work for the King, particularly when we have a chance to share Him with others. Christ is honored when His followers speak boldly about His grace and His work—believers’ testimonies are a remarkable and honoring form of praise that magnifies God’s name. 

Jesus Christ is worth more than any treasure this world offers. Loving Him and understanding what He has done for us should be all the motivation we need to praise Him with our life—no matter where we are. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 19-21

Our Daily Bread — God Cleans the Stains

Bible in a Year:

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 1:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 1:10–18

What if our clothes were more functional, having the ability to clean themselves after we dropped ketchup or mustard or spilled a drink on them? Well, according to the BBC, engineers in China have developed a special “coating which causes cotton to clean itself of stains and odors when exposed to ultraviolet lights.” Can you imagine the implications of having self-cleaning clothes?

A self-cleaning coating might work for stained clothes, but only God can clean a stained soul. In ancient Judah, God was angry with His people because they had “turned their backs on” Him, given themselves to corruption and evil, and were worshiping false gods (Isaiah 1:2–4). But to make matters worse, they tried to clean themselves by offering sacrifices, burning incense, saying many prayers, and gathering together in solemn assemblies. Yet their hypocritical and sinful hearts remained (vv. 12–13). The remedy was for them to come to their senses and with a repentant heart bring the stains on their souls to a holy and loving God. His grace would cleanse them and make them spiritually “white as snow” (v. 18).

When we sin, there’s no self-cleaning solution. With a humble and repentant heart, we must acknowledge our sins and place them under the cleansing light of God’s holiness. We must turn from them and return to Him. And He, the only One who cleans the stains of the soul, will offer us complete forgiveness and renewed fellowship.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

When the Holy Spirit reveals your sins to you, what’s your response? How does John describe the process of bringing your sin to God and repenting of it (see 1 John 1:9)?  

Father, forgive me for ignoring or trying to get rid of my own sin. I know only You can clean the stains of my soul. I acknowledge and repent of my self-sufficiency and turn to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Avoiding Temptations

“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

Don’t let your trials turn into temptations.

When we hear the English word temptation, we usually think of a solicitation to evil. But “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 translates a Greek word that can refer either to a trial that God permits to refine your spiritual character (James 1:2-4), or a temptation that Satan or your flesh brings to incite you to sin (Matt. 4:1James 1:13- 15). Both are valid translations.

I believe “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 refers to trials. Even though we know God uses trials for our good, it’s still good to pray that He won’t allow us to be caught in a trial that becomes an irresistible temptation. That can happen if we’re spiritually weak or ill-prepared to deal with a situation.

God will never test you beyond what you’re able to endure (1 Cor. 10:13), but resisting temptation requires spiritual discipline and divine resources. Praying for God to deliver you from trials that might overcome you is a safeguard against leaning on your own strength and neglecting His power.

God tested Joseph by allowing him to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by an adulterous woman, and unjustly imprisoned by a jealous husband. But Joseph knew that God’s hand was on his life. That’s why he could say to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to . . . preserve many people” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph was ready for the test and passed it beautifully!

Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). God wanted to test Him to prove His virtue, but Satan wanted to tempt Him to destroy His virtue. Jesus, too, was victorious.

When you experience trials, don’t let them turn into temptations. Recognize God’s purposes and seek His strength. Learn from the example of those who have successfully endured the same trials. Be assured that God is in control and is using each trial to mold your character and teach you greater dependence on Him.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the trials He brings your way.
  • Ask Him to help you see your trials as means by which He strengthens you and glorifies Himself.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 119:11Matthew 26:41Ephesians 6:10-18, and James 4:7. What do those verses teach you about dealing with temptation?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Higher You Go the Clearer You See

From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and weak; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [a rock that is too high to reach without Your help].

— Psalm 61:2 (AMP)

When hikers get lost and they’re trying to figure out exactly where they are, they look to go higher. A higher vantage point gives them a better perspective.

The same is true for us. Sometimes it’s hard to see where we’re going because we have limited vision. We can become confused by our problems and unsure where to go next because we don’t have the right perspective. In order to get God’s perspective, spend your quiet time with Him going higher.

Hike past ingratitude; climb above doubt and discouragement. If you choose higher expectations and higher hopes, you’ll begin to get a new perspective—a godly perspective. And when that happens, you’re going to be able to see God’s plan for your life clearer than you ever have before.

Prayer Starter: Lord, with Your help, I will not focus on my problems. Instead, I choose to climb higher and rise above them.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Look To the Cross

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!

Lamentations 3:40

The wife who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long protracted separation from him is a semi-death to her spirit. And so it is with souls who love the Savior much; they need to see His face; they cannot bear that He should be away, thus depriving them of communion with Him. A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving children who fear to offend their tender father and are only happy in his smile.

Beloved, it was so once this way with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father’s feet, crying, “Let me know why you contend against me.” Is that still the case? Or are you content to follow Jesus from a distance? Can you contemplate broken communion with Christ without being alarmed? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to Him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is your heart at rest?

Let me affectionately warn you, for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Savior’s face. Let us work to feel what an evil thing this is—little love to our own dying Savior, little joy in His company, little time with the Beloved! Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can you get your spirit quickened. No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty and defilement of our natural condition. Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood—this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith and the tenderness of our heart.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – We Cannot Hide From God

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

There is no place we can go to hide from God.

When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah disobeyed and “rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” He boarded a ship headed for Tarshish, but God saw him even there. You probably know the rest of the story. God sent a mighty storm. Knowing that the storm was meant for him, Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard. He was swallowed by a huge fish, and was carried in the fish’s stomach for three days. He repented of his sin, prayed to God, and God answered his prayers, causing the fish to spit Jonah out onto the land.

God sees our disobedience.

Sometimes when we do wrong, we try to hide it from our friends, our parents, and even God. But it doesn’t work. God sees us no matter where we go. He always knows what we are doing and what we are thinking. Jonah couldn’t leave God’s presence by going to Tarshish. God is everywhere.

God also sees our troubles.

Sometimes when we are hurting, we think no one else understands; but God always does. When you feel lonely, you aren’t really alone. You can pray to God and ask him for help no matter where you are. There is no place you can go that he won’t hear you. Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the fish, and God answered his prayers.

The next time you want to disobey, and you think no one is around, remember that God is. He can always see you. And the next time you feel lonely, or think there is trouble in your life that no one else understands, ask for God’s help.

The Bible teaches that there is nowhere we can go that the Lord is not there. That means we can never hide from Him, but it also means He is always there when we need Him. Call on Him. No matter where you are or what kind of trouble you are in, He can always hear you.

God is already everywhere we could go. We cannot escape from His presence, and we can count on Him to be close by at all times.

My Response:
» Have I been forgetting that God is omnipresent (everywhere at once)?
» How should remembering that God is everywhere keep me from doing wicked things?
» How should remembering that God is everywhere keep me from worry or fear?

Denison Forum – The “Don’t Say Gay” bill and a rising threat to our children

Will Smith has apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him at last Sunday night’s Academy Awards after the comedian made a comment about Smith’s wife. The Academy announced a formal investigation and condemned Smith’s actions. (For more on our response as Christians, read Mark Legg’s “Should we forgive Will Smith?”)

The story dominated social media, eclipsing even the war in Ukraine. However, another story from the Oscars has received less coverage: the hosts took numerous opportunities to castigate Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

The legislation has been dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by its critics and the mainstream press. Wanda Sykes slammed the bill in her opening monologue; she and fellow hosts Amy Schumer and Regina Hall repeated the word gay multiple times as the crowd applauded.

Florida’s governor nonetheless signed the bill into law the next day. So, let’s discuss what the legislation does and doesn’t do, identify the larger cultural narrative this controversy represents, and conclude with two biblical principles that apply to us all.

What does the bill actually say?

Ironically, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill never uses the word gay and does not prohibit its use. Rather, the measure bars classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade (from about ages five to nine) in Florida public schools. The law takes effect on July 1 and allows parents to sue school districts they believe to be in violation. 

Republicans argue that parents should discuss these subjects with children. Democrats claim that the law demonizes LGBTQ people by excluding them from classroom lessons.

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters when he signed the bill, “We will continue to recognize that in the state of Florida, parents have a fundamental role in the education, healthcare, and wellbeing of their children.” He added, “I don’t care what the big corporations say, here I stand. I’m not backing down.”

“Big corporations” have indeed said much about the law. For example, a Walt Disney Company spokesperson claimed that the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law” and added, “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.”

Why LGBTQ activists are focusing on children

My purpose in today’s Daily Article is not to provide a comprehensive discussion of the legislation. Rather, as a cultural philosopher, I want to focus on the worldview issues it represents since they are relevant to each of us, whether we live in Florida and have young children or not.

Nathanael Blake is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of a perceptive article on our subject in Public Discourse. He notes that many in our culture now believe the LGBTQ activist narrative that humans are “born this way.” Blake explains the argument: “Each of us is born with an immutable sexual orientation and gender identity,” which would mean that some children are born LGBTQ. As a result, they should learn about their sexual orientation and gender identity as soon as possible so they can discover their authentic sexual selves, or so the argument runs.

In this view, teachers of elementary-age children are on the front lines helping their students “discover” and embrace their sexual identities. Parents and the rest of us should be affirming of such “discoveries” as well. Anyone who rejects LGBTQ ideology is by definition suspect and dangerous to children. This ideology can even lead to “non-affirming” parents losing custody of their children.

Blake reminds us that the search for a “gay gene” ended in failure three years ago. Nonetheless, he warns that LGBTQ activists are “pressuring our culture, curricula, and even churches to affirm the ostensibly intrinsic rainbow identities of children.”

Practical responses for parents

In response to this rising threat to our children, two biblical conclusions are vital.

One: It is urgent that you and I understand, embrace, proclaim, and defend biblical sexual morality in all its holistic relevance and beauty.

God’s word clearly teaches that:

For more, see my How to Defend Biblical Marriage.

Two: Parents are responsible for every dimension of their children’s lives.

One way I am asking God to redeem the frightening rise of LGBTQ activism with children is by using it to empower godly parents to become engaged in the entirety of their children’s experiences. They cannot “subcontract” their children’s education to schools, trust their private use of technology, or assume their friends share their biblical values.

God calls parents to teach his word “diligently to your children . . . when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Every part of their lives and yours should be informed and lived biblically.

Is your “train” running on God’s “track”?

Here’s the bottom line: Children need the spiritual and cultural protection of their families and churches more today than ever before in American history.

Pastor Paul Powell explained, “As a train was made to run on a track, so we were made to run on God’s law. A train runs most effectively when it stays on the track.”

Accordingly, the greatest gift we can give our children (and everyone we know) is to help them love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). When they know and live by his word, they live their best and most blessed lives.

Is your “train” running on God’s “track” today?

Is your family’s?

If not, why not?

Denison Forum