In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Blessed to Bless Others

God meets our needs so that we can pass His blessings on to others.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

God’s blessings to us are not meant to end with us. His desire is that they flow to others. This principle applies in all areas of life, including finances. Did you know that our heavenly Father has plans for your money? 

The Lord graciously provides for our needs and even our wants. But He also wants us to use our money to achieve His plans. And one of His goals is that we share our resources with others. 

Just look at His extravagant promise in verse 8 of today’s passage: “And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” Sharing blessings with others will never lead to deprivation. In fact, the Lord promises to increase the harvest of our righteousness and enrich us in everything in response to our generosity. We can never outgive God. 

A hoarded blessing won’t ever be enjoyed as richly as a shared one. Using your gift to meet someone else’s need glorifies God by demonstrating His grace at work in your life. Don’t let His generous provisions end with you. Pass them on and discover the joy of a never-ending cycle of blessings. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24

Our Daily Bread — God’s Embassy

Bible in a Year:

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.

Luke 14:13–14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Luke 14:7–14

Ludmilla, a widow aged eighty-two, has declared her home in the Czech Republic an “Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven,” saying, “My home is an extension of Christ’s kingdom.” She welcomes strangers and friends who are hurting and in need with loving hospitality, sometimes providing food and a place to sleep—always with a compassionate and prayerful spirit. Relying on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help her care for her visitors, she delights in the ways God answers their prayers.

Ludmilla serves Jesus through opening her home and heart, in contrast to the prominent religious leader at whose home Jesus ate one Sabbath. Jesus told this teacher of the law that he should welcome “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to his home—and not those who could repay him (Luke 14:13). While Jesus’ remarks imply that the Pharisee hosted Jesus out of pride (v. 12), Ludmilla, so many years later, invites people to her home so she can be “an instrument of God’s love and His wisdom.”

Serving others with humility is one way we can be “representatives of the kingdom of heaven,” as Ludmilla says. Whether or not we can provide a bed for strangers, we can put the needs of others before our own in different and creative ways. How will we extend God’s kingdom in our part of the world today?

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How do you think the Pharisee reacted when Jesus told him to act differently? How do you like to make people feel welcome?

Jesus, thank You for looking out for those in need. Help me to be more like You, that I would care for others, showing them Your love.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Applying the Disciples’ Prayer

“Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (Matt. 6:13).

The Disciples’ Prayer is a pattern to follow for life.

The implications of the Disciples’ Prayer are profound and far-reaching. An unknown author put it this way:

I cannot say “our” if I live only for myself in a spiritual, watertight compartment. I cannot say “Father” if I do not endeavor each day to act like His child. I cannot say “who art in heaven” if I am laying up no treasure there.

I cannot say “hallowed be Thy name” if I am not striving for holiness. I cannot say “Thy kingdom come” if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful day. I cannot say “Thy will be done” if I am disobedient to His Word. I cannot say “in earth as it is in heaven” if I will not serve Him here and now.

I cannot say “give us . . . our daily bread” if I am dishonest or an “under the counter” shopper. I cannot say “forgive us our debts” if I harbor a grudge against anyone. I cannot say “lead us not into temptation” if I deliberately place myself in its path. I cannot say “deliver us from evil” if I do not put on the whole armor of God.

I cannot say “thine is the kingdom” if I do not give to the King the loyalty due Him as a faithful subject. I cannot attribute to Him “the power” if I fear what men may do. I cannot ascribe to Him “the glory” if I am seeking honor only for myself. I cannot say “forever” if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by the things of time.

As you learn to apply to your own life the principles in this marvelous prayer, I pray that God’s kingdom will be your focus, His glory your goal, and His power your strength. Only then will our Lord’s doxology be the continual song of your heart: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (v. 13).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use what you’ve learned from the Disciples’ Prayer to transform your prayers.

For Further Study

Read John 17, noting the priorities Jesus stressed in prayer.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – An Attitude of Submission

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

— Proverbs 28:9 (NIV)

Today’s verse says a startling thing about our prayers when we are not properly related to authority or if we are rebellious—that they are detestable to God.

We simply cannot grow up or mature without correction. If we are rebellious toward office policy, company rules, government guidelines, traffic laws, or toward any other form of authority, then we have more serious attitude problems than we might think. Being rebellious is not something to be proud of; it is something we need to be diligent to eliminate from our attitudes and behaviors! Why? Because if we refuse to submit to earthly authority, then we will not submit to God’s authority. That is called disobedience and it will keep our prayers from being effective.

God placed me in someone else’s ministry for several years before He allowed me to start my own ministry. In the other ministry, I had to learn how to come under authority. That was not easy for me, because I’m a pretty strong person. I did not always agree with the decisions that were made and I did not always feel I was treated fairly, but one of the lessons God taught me is that we are not ready to be in authority until we know how to come under authority. I also learned that God will promote us at the right time if we keep a good, godly attitude during challenging times.

You might want a pay raise or a promotion at work, yet you regularly gossip and say critical things about your boss. This is a form of rebellion, and it can hinder your progress. Have a submissive attitude and you will see more answers to prayer and hear God’s voice more clearly.

Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You for correction, as I know we grow during those times. Help me to have a good attitude going forward.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Chase Away Sinful Thoughts

Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night.

2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we grow tired of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts that defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied?

Be gone, you birds of evil wing! Leave the sacrifice alone! She bore the heat of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Consider how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah endure while we quit at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts with unusual courage, and will we not be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake? Her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched.

What ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless; our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect His honor our occupation, to abide by His cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have frightened Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross we are sitting, there is nothing revolting but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Savior.

Jesus, we will watch with You still, and may You graciously unveil Yourself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth but in a royal pavilion.

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 Love Is His Choice

“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers….” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8a)

Question: Why does God love us?
Answer: Because He loves us.

Does that sound like the correct answer to the question? Do you think your teacher would count that answer right if you wrote it on a test? The truth is, that is the right answer to the question, according to Deuteronomy 7. God told His special people, the nation of Israel, that He loved them simply because He had chosen to love them.

God has also chosen to love us, even if we are not Jews. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world–everyone. Romans 5:8, which was written both to Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), says that God displayed His love for us while we were still sinners. How did God display His love? He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place.

Why should God love us? The answer to that question does not really have anything to do with us. God did not love us because we were attractive or because we were loveable. He did not love us because there was anything we could do for Him. He chose to love us, knowing we were helpless, lost sinners. There was nothing we could give Him in return. He chose to love us because He is God, and it is His nature to love. Out of His great love, He gave His Son’s precious blood to redeem us. Once we are His children, we can be sure that nothing will ever separate us from His love. His love is unchanging, everlasting, a love that never fails.

Where would we be today if it were not for the wonderful love of God? If God had not loved us, there would be no hope of salvation. Isn’t that a reason to thank Him every day of our lives for His gracious choice to love us?

God’s love for us was His choice because His nature is Love.

My Response:
» Have I accepted the gift of God’s love–salvation in Jesus Christ?
» Do I thank God for His wonderful love?
» Do I try to share that love with others?

Denison Forum – Calls escalate for Clarence Thomas to resign from Supreme Court over wife’s texts

Virginia (Ginni) Thomas is the wife of longtime Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. According to the Washington Post, twenty-nine text messages obtained by the Post and CBS News show that she “repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

In response, some Democrats are calling on Justice Thomas to recuse himself on cases related to the January 6 Capitol riots. Some are even calling for Justice Thomas to step down from the court or be impeached.

As we will see today, this controversy is relevant far beyond Justice Thomas, his wife, and their critics.

A defense of Justice Thomas

Former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy states that the statute governing judicial disqualification, Section 455 (of Title 28, US Code), involves “financial or legal stakes in the matter, or some connection to the matter as an attorney.” According to McCarthy, “Ginni Thomas’s conservative political activism—up to and including the text messages to Mark Meadows about the 2020 election—does not activate those triggers.”

He adds, “If it did, many judges appointed by Democrats would have been disqualified from cases over which they’ve presided despite the political and legal activism of their spouses.” His statement links to a Newsweek article detailing numerous examples of such activism.

To reinforce his argument, McCarthy states that “Supreme Court justices are not even subject to disqualification over their own activities that bear directly on cases.” He notes the example of Justice Elena Kagan, nominated by President Obama, who served as Mr. Obama’s solicitor general when the administration was formulating its legal strategy to defend the Affordable Care Act. When the Act came before the Supreme Court, she did not recuse herself from the case and in fact provided the critical vote to uphold it.

McCarthy therefore concludes: “The smearing of Justice Thomas is transparently partisan politics, nothing more.”

Using a senator’s words against him

Whether you agree with McCarthy or not is not my point. Rather, I want to focus on the method he used to make his case.

If you accuse me of wrongdoing and I can show that you have done what you now accuse me of doing, I can win our rhetorical battle. Unsurprisingly, politicians do the same.

For example, earlier this year, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to change the Senate’s filibuster rules. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton then used Sen. Schumer’s previous statements in support of the filibuster against him. 

My point is not to castigate our public officials. I am grateful to those who are willing to serve in a day when they face more criticism—fair and unfair—than at any time in my lifetime. My purpose today is actually the opposite: rather than criticizing political leaders, I want to point a finger at myself. And perhaps at you.

“She gave me fruit of the tree”

One very simple way to avoid responsibility for our sins is to point to the sins of others. This story begins early: when the Lord called Adam to account for his sin in the Garden of Eden, Adam responded, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Eve in turn blamed the serpent (v. 13).

Satan is delighted by the degenerating moral condition of our culture. And he is also delighted when Christians point to the sins of others to justify their own.

Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine is obviously one of the most horrifically sinful acts by a political leader in recent times. But his sin does not justify my hatred of my brother. Even though the world would say the two have no comparison, Jesus disagrees (Matthew 5:21–22). It is the same with adultery and lust (vv. 27–30), proving the point that the sins of others do not excuse my sins or yours.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance”

I had a fascinating conversation recently with a millennial Christian leader. He believes that the single greatest reason many of his generation are dropping out of church is the ongoing moral crisis within the church.

I’m convinced that he’s right.

We can complain that critics are holding us to a different standard than they require for themselves, and we’re right. But they’re right to do so. We claim that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16) and that his “fruit” in our lives includes “goodness,” “faithfulness,” and “self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).

If Muslims or Buddhists, Republicans or Democrats made the same claim, would we not hold them to it?

God’s word declares, “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17). To this end, let’s remember Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

The text explains how: “Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil” (vv. 24–27).

How cockroaches survive

Scientists tell us that cockroaches survived the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs by hiding in tiny soil crevices that protected them from heat and by being omnivorous scavengers who will eat what others will not.

Sin does the same: it hides from the heat and light of God’s truth and will “eat” anything we “feed” it.

If we would make a transformative impact on our culture, Christ must first make such an impact on us. Daily submission to him is vital to the sanctification that empowers our lives and witness. Oswald Chambers observed: “Abandon to God is of more value than personal holiness. . . . When we are abandoned to God, he works through us all the time.”

How abandoned to God would he say you are today?

Denison Forum