In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Obedience Through Meditation

Meditation helps us not only to know God’s Word but also to obey it.

Psalm 119:9-16

Some Christians try to live within God’s will while opening their Bibles only at church. This practice is akin to playing basketball without knowing the rules—it results in a lot of errors and frustration. In order to obey the Lord, you first have to know what He has said.

I once skipped reading God’s Word for a week as a sort of experiment. Over the course of just seven short days, my thinking seemed clouded, my attitude suffered, and I could feel my heart growing cool toward the Lord. That week confirmed Bibles aren’t just for Sundays. Scripture is always necessary because it shines a light on God’s true nature and teaches us His principles and commands. Knowing Him and His ways equips us to make decisions that are pleasing to Him. 

Only after reading passages from the Bible can we begin to meditate on those scriptures and let them change us. By keeping our focus on the heavenly Father and His Word, daily meditation helps us transform biblical knowledge into active obedience. As we ponder a passage, the Spirit will use it to teach the right way to live, correct our course when we go astray, and train us to obey biblical commands. And He will not only reveal how to apply truth to our life but will also give us His power to do so. 

Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 4-6

Our Daily Bread — A Good Work

Bible in a Year:

1 Samuel 1–3Luke 8:26–56

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 139:13–24

As a teenager, Charles Spurgeon wrestled with God. He’d grown up going to church, but what was preached seemed bland and meaningless. It was a struggle for him to believe in God, and Charles, in his own words, “rebelled and revolted.” One night a fierce snowstorm forced the sixteen-year-old Spurgeon to seek shelter in a tiny Methodist church. The pastor’s sermon seemed directed at him personally. In that moment, God won the wrestling match, and Charles gave his heart to Jesus.

Spurgeon later wrote, “Long before I began with Christ, He began with me.” In fact, our life with God doesn’t begin with the moment of salvation. The psalmist notes that God “created [our] inmost being,” knitting us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). The apostle Paul writes, “Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace” (Galatians 1:15 nlt). And God doesn’t stop working with us when we’re saved: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

We’re all works-in-progress in the hands of a loving God. He leads us through our rebellious wrestling and into His warm embrace. But His purpose with us then is only beginning. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13 nlt). Rest assured, we’re His good work regardless of how old we are or what stage of life we’re in.

By:  Kenneth Petersen

Reflect & Pray

How’s God working in your life at this very moment? What’s He doing with you for His purposes?

Loving God, I’m overwhelmed to think of Your loving care for me from the moment of my birth. Thank You. Help me to respond to Your ongoing work in my life.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Dealing with Sorrow

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).

Human sorrow is a natural and healthy emotion, but beware of mourning over unfulfilled sinful desires.

Most people in our society have an amusement-park mentality. They spend much of their time and money on entertainment, wanting to enjoy life and avoid problems whenever possible. To them, Matthew 5:4 is a paradox. How can someone who mourns be happy? The answer lies in the difference between godly sorrow and human sorrow. Godly sorrow is sorrow over sin; human sorrow is sorrow over some tragic or disappointing turn of events (2 Cor. 7:8-11).

In Matthew 5:4 Jesus is referring to godly sorrow, which is our topic for tomorrow. But we all face human sorrow, so I want to discuss it briefly today.

Human sorrow is a natural emotion. Our Lord Himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). Many things can cause it: we might mourn out of love, disappointment, loneliness, or physical illness. There is nothing wrong with that kind of mourning. It is a God- given relief valve for the pain and sorrow in this fallen world, and promotes the healing process.

Scripture gives many examples of human sorrow. Abraham wept when his wife, Sarah, died (Gen. 23:2). Through tears Jeremiah preached God’s message of judgment (Jer. 9:1). Paul expressed his concern for the church with his tears (Acts 20:31). Those are natural, healthy expressions of human sorrow.

However, sorrow can also be caused by evil desires or a lack of trust in God. King Ahab mourned to the point of sulking and not eating when he couldn’t have another man’s property (1 Kings 21:4). Some Christians mourn excessively when they lose a loved one. Forsaking the comfort of the Spirit, they focus only on their own grief. Extreme or prolonged manifestations of sorrow are sinful and must be confessed rather than comforted.

God is gracious to His children amid times of human sorrow. Ultimately He will do away with mourning and pain forever (Rev. 21:4). Rejoice in that promise and be comforted by His wonderful grace!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the ministry of the Spirit, who is the great Comforter or Helper (John 14:16-17). When sorrow occurs, lean on the Spirit, feed your soul on God’s Word, and commune with Him in prayer.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 55. How did David express his desire to escape his difficult situation? What was his final resolve?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Stay in Agreement

…Know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him; appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] you will find Him….

— 1 Chronicles 28:9 (AMPC)

God’s Word reveals a wonderful plan for your life. It shows how God sees you, and what He has for you through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts and words in agreement with God’s Word.

Say, “Everything I lay my hand to prospers and succeeds. I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. I am blessed going in and going out. The blessings of God chase me down and overtake me. God is on my side. I am blessed to be a blessing to everyone I meet today.”

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for the way You and Your Word guide and direct me as I go through my day and thank You for the wonderful plan You have for my life.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Genuine Salt of Humility

Humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 15:33

Humiliation of soul always brings a positive blessing with it. If we empty our hearts of self, God will fill them with His love. If we desire close communion with Christ, we should remember the word of the Lord: “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”1

Stoop if you want to climb to heaven. Is it not said of Jesus, “He who descended is the one who also ascended”?2 So must you. You must grow downwards, that you may grow upwards; for the sweetest fellowship with heaven will be enjoyed by humble souls and by them alone. God will deny no blessing to a thoroughly humbled spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,”3 with all its riches and treasures. All of God’s resources will be made available to the soul that is humble enough to be able to receive them without growing proud because of it.

God blesses each of us up to the level and extent of what it is safe for Him to do. If you do not get a blessing, it is because it is not safe for you to have one. If our heavenly Father were to let your unhumbled spirit win a victory in His holy war, you would snatch the crown for yourself, and in the next battle you would fall a victim. He keeps you low for your own safety!

When a man is sincerely humble and never tries to take the credit or the praise, there is scarcely any limit to what God will do for him. Humility makes us ready to be blessed by the God of all grace and equips us to deal efficiently with our fellows. True humility is a flower that will adorn any garden. This is a sauce that will season every dish of life and improve it in every case. Whether in prayer or praise, whether in work or suffering, the genuine salt of humility cannot be used in excess.

1) Isaiah 66:2
2) Ephesians 4:10
3) Matthew 5:3

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Will Use Anything To Glorify Himself

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:2-3; *read John 9:1-12*)

Have you ever seen a beautiful diamond? Diamonds come in all shapes and sizes. Every little girl dreams about that day when her “Prince Charming” will ride up on a white horse and presents her with a huge, sparkling diamond ring. And no little boy ever dreams he might end up being that Prince Charming!

Diamonds are beautiful. When sunlight comes through a diamond and makes a rainbow of colors, it is something to see! But do you know what diamonds are made from? The beautiful diamond that you see on your mom’s ring comes from carbon. Ok, so what is “carbon”? Carbon is the same thing that coal is made of. Coal!?! That’s right! Genuine, solid, black, ugly coal.

So, what makes the difference whether coal or diamonds come out of carbon? The answer is pressure and heat. Basically, the more the pressure and heat that get put into the carbon, it will produce a better and better quality diamond. Less pressure and less heat on carbon causes it to produce coal, which is far less valuable than diamonds.

The way diamonds are made can be a reminder to us of how God often chooses to work when He refines believers. In John 9, we read about a man who was born blind. The disciples asked Jesus if this was a result of this man’s own sin, or perhaps the sins of his parents, or what? Jesus’ response is very interest. He said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”

Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson in the passage: God will use anything to glorify Himself. What does that mean? It means that God will use all situations and circumstances to bring honor to His name. This man was born blind, not because of anything he did, but so that one day Jesus would pass by, spit on the ground, make clay, put it on the blind man’s eyes and give him sight. The man was born blind so that he could be a part of an exhibit of Jesus’ supernatural, miraculous, powerful, and gracious glory.

Just think about it! God used the “pressure” and “heat” of a very hard situation (this man’s lifetime of blindness) to turn this man into a dazzling testimony of God’s ultimate strength and lovingkindness!

The next time something happens to you that you do not like or that you feel you cannot bear, stop and ask yourself how God could be honored in your situation. Your response to hard things could be one way God gets glorified. If you trust Him to take care of you through a hard time, your faith and submission to Him is an honor to Him. And if you wait to see what He is trying to do in the lives of other people through your hard situation, or how He might change your heart to make you better through this trial, then you are honoring Him. He will glorify Himself through showing Himself as a powerful and gracious God. Trust Him that He knows what He is doing and that He will do whatever it takes, for the sake of His own glory and His people’s best good.

God will do what it takes to accomplish what will glorify Himself and bless His people.

My Response:
» Am I in a situation right now that is confusing and hard for me to bear?
» How might my response to God’s control bring Him glory in this situation?
» What might God be showing me and others about Himself through a painful thing that He has brought into my life?

Denison Forum – “A brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in decades”

Graphic images from Bucha, Ukraine, are shocking the world. According to CNN, they show the bodies of at least twenty dead men in the street, some of whom had their arms bound behind their back. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “This is genocide.” President Biden called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes.

NATO’s chief described the reports as “horrific” and said they represent “a brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in Europe in decades.” He also noted that the International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into potential war crimes in Ukraine so that “those responsible are held accountable.”

The fact that you and I are following this war so closely is part of what makes it “our first true world war,” in the opinion of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Anyone with a smartphone—and that’s nearly half the planet’s population, according to Friedman—can watch what is happening in Ukraine and express their opinions globally through social media.

Friedman also reports that Ukraine’s government has raised more than $70 million worth of cryptocurrency after appealing on social media for donations and that cyberwarriors are attacking Russia’s government, news, and corporate websites. He calls this conflict “World War Wired.”

America’s states are becoming “radically different”

Americans are joining the world in uniting against Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine at the same time we are witnessing a deepening chasm of division at home.

The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked yesterday, with all eleven Democrats supporting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court and all eleven Republicans opposed. And a wave of legislation is making American states “not only a little different but radically different,” according to a UCLA law professor.

For example, when Idaho proposed a new ban on abortions, nearby Oregon approved $15 million to help cover the abortion expenses of out-of-state patients. When the governor of Texas ordered state agencies to investigate parents for child abuse if they provide certain medical treatments to their transgender children, lawmakers in California proposed a law making their state a refuge for transgender youths and their families.

Only two states—Minnesota and Virginia—have legislative chambers split between political parties. As more state governments are controlled by single parties, partisanship is deepening. If the Supreme Court rolls back federal abortion rights, we are likely to see a sharp escalation in political battles over abortion on the state level and between states.

Arabs and Jews working together in Israel

A common crisis can be a powerful force for unity and community.

According to President Biden, NATO has “never been more united” in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As extremist violence in Israel has escalated recently, Arabs and Jews are working together in unprecedented ways to forge a common future.

Ranchers from as far away as Wyoming gathered in South Dakota to pray for rain in the face of ongoing drought and its devastating consequences. Christianity Today reports that “pastors and churches across Ukraine are working to bring people the bread they need to feed their bodies and the bread they need for their souls.”

Poland and Romania have launched programs to help Ukrainian refugees integrate by providing housing, jobs, schooling, and personal kindness. Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, “members of faith communities have been leading the charge to welcome the displaced” in America.

Why Jesus is praying for you right now

You may know that “Christ Jesus . . . is interceding for us” right now (Romans 8:34; cf. Hebrews 7:25). But do you know the subject of Jesus’ prayers for us?

The night before he was crucified, our Savior prayed “for those who will believe in me through [his disciples’] word” (John 17:20). That’s you and me. To this end: “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (v. 21).

Until we are as “one” as the Father and the Son, I believe the Son will continue praying to the Father for our unity “so that the world may believe” that the Father sent the Son. And I believe he wants us to join him in such intercession.

In a fragmented and war-torn world, our unity can be a compelling witness. Our community empowered by compassion can change the world one hurting soul at a time. And our unified intercession can empower our unified ministry in supernatural ways.

Baylor students pray for revival

The first Christians prayed together for God to grant them boldness to continue speaking his word (Acts 4:29). As a result, “when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (v. 31).

Paul asked the Thessalonians to “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). And he asked the Ephesians to pray for him “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).

Are you praying for your fellow Christians to be so empowered? Are you asking your fellow Christians to pray the same for you?

Thousands of Baylor University students, joined by friends from other schools up to one hundred miles away, gathered recently at their football stadium for seventy-two hours to pray for revival and spiritual renewal. Their forty-foot by eighty-foot prayer tent was filled at times by standing-room-only crowds.

According to Charles Ramsey, director of campus ministries and associate chaplain at Baylor, “There were times when it was like a high-level festival of celebration. Other times, it was absolutely silent in the tent as students read Scripture and quietly prayed.”

How will you join them today?

Denison Forum