Our Daily Bread — Real Hospitality

Bible in a Year:

Offer hospitality to one another . . . use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:9–10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 24:12–20

Kumain ka na ba?” (Have you eaten?)

This is what you’ll always hear as a visitor in many homes in the Philippines, where I’m from. It’s the Filipino way of expressing care and kindness for our guests. And regardless of your reply, your host will always prepare something for you to eat. Filipinos believe that true kindness isn’t just saying the standard greeting but also going beyond words to show real hospitality.

Rebekah too, knew all about being kind. Her daily chores included drawing water from the well outside town and carrying the heavy jar of water home. When Abraham’s servant, who was very thirsty from his journey, asked for a little water from her jar, she didn’t hesitate to give him a drink (Genesis 24:17–18).

But then Rebekah did even more. When she saw that the visitor’s camels were thirsty, she quickly offered to go back to draw more water for them (vv. 19–20).  She didn’t hesitate to help, even if it meant making an extra trip (or more) to the well and back with a heavy jar.

Life is tough for many people, and often a small gesture of practical kindness can encourage them and lift their spirits. Being a channel of God’s love doesn’t always mean delivering a powerful sermon or planting a church. Sometimes, it can simply be giving someone a drink of water.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

Who do you know who might need some encouragement? What act of practical kindness can you offer to encourage them?

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to the needs of people around me. Give me the wisdom to know how to show kindness and care to them.

Learn more about the stories in Genesis with Our Daily Bread University’s online course.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Maintaining Spiritual Sensitivity

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

Sin is a serious issue with God. He never winks at it or takes it lightly.

Satan desires to desensitize Christians to the heinousness of sin. He wants you to stop mourning over sin and start enjoying it. Impossible? Many who once thought so have fallen prey to its power. It usually doesn’t happen all at once. In fact, the process can be slow and subtle— almost imperceptible. But the results are always tragic.

How can you remain alert to the dangers of sin and protect yourself from compromise? First, be aware of your sin. David said, “My sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3). Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5). Peter said to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Those men shared a common awareness of their own sinfulness and it drove them to God for forgiveness and cleansing.

Second, remember the significance of the cross. If you allow a pattern of sin to develop in your life, you’ve forgotten the enormous price Christ paid to free you from its bondage.

Third, realize the effect sin has on others. The psalmist said, “My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Thy law” (Ps. 119:136). Jesus mourned over Jerusalem, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37). Your heart should ache for those enslaved to sin.

Finally, eliminate anything that hinders your sensitivity to sin, such as deliberately sinning, rejecting God’s forgiveness, being proud, presuming on God’s grace, or taking sin lightly. Such things will quickly dull your spiritual senses and give Satan the opportunity to lead you into greater sin.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that He brings comfort and happiness to those who mourn over their sin.
  • Ask Him to guard your heart from anything that will diminish your sensitivity to the awfulness of sin.

For Further Study

Read 1 Samuel 15.

  • What was Saul’s sin?
  • Did he mourn over his sin? Explain.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – Stop Getting and Start Receiving

And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him.

— 1 John 3:22 (AMPC)

We often ask people if they “got” something, particularly when we speak of spiritual matters. “Did you ‘get’ a breakthrough?” we want to know, or “Did you ‘get’ your blessing?” Is the idea of “getting” from God biblical? The Bible teaches us about receiving, not about getting. The difference between getting and receiving is significant. To “get” means “to obtain by struggle and effort.”

When everything in your life requires effort, life becomes frustrating and exhausting—and that’s not the kind of abundant life Jesus came to give us. No, God wants us to live with a holy ease, a grace that keeps us from striving and struggling through life. That doesn’t mean everything will be easy, but it means even difficult things can be done with a sense of God’s presence and help.

“Getting” puts the burden on us to have to figure out things, to manipulate circumstances, and to try to force situations to work out a certain way. Receiving, on the other hand, means we simply take in what is being offered freely. We don’t strive; we simply relax and enjoy what comes to us.

God wants to give us so much more than we can imagine. He is waiting to pour out blessings in our lives, and we need to know how to receive—both from Him and from others. Sometimes God works miraculously to meet our needs, but He frequently works through other people. If we pray for help, then we must let God choose how and through whom He will send it. We should not be embarrassed to be needy, because we are all needy in some way or another. God did not intend for us to be so independent we would never need help.

Prayer Starter: Lord God, please help me to stop struggling to get what I want, and start receiving the blessings You have for me, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Brokenness of Heart

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

Psalm 51:14

In this solemn confession, it is helpful to observe that David plainly names his sin. He does not call it manslaughter or speak of it as an imprudence by which an unfortunate accident occurred to a worthy man, but he calls it by its true name, “bloodguiltiness.” He did not actually kill the husband of Bathsheba; but still it was planned in David’s heart that Uriah should die, and David was before the Lord responsible for his murder. Learn in confession to be honest with God. Do not give fair names to foul sins; call them what you will, they will smell no sweeter. What God sees them to be, that you should work to feel them to be; and with an honest, open heart acknowledge their real character. Observe that David was evidently oppressed with the heinousness of his sin. It is easy to use words, but it is difficult to feel their meaning. The fifty-first Psalm is the photograph of a contrite spirit. Let us seek to display the same brokenness of heart; because no matter how excellent our words may be, if our heart is not conscious of the hell-deservingness of sin, we cannot expect to find forgiveness.

Our text has in it an earnest prayer—it is addressed to the God of salvation. It is His prerogative to forgive; it is His very name and office to save those who seek His face. Better still, the text calls Him the God of my salvation. We bless His name, in that while we are still going to Him through Jesus’ blood, we may rejoice in the God of our salvation.

The psalmist ends with a commendable vow: If God will deliver him he will sing—actually, he will “sing aloud.” Who can mute their praise in light of such a mercy as this! But note the subject of the song —“your righteousness.” We must sing of the finished work of a precious Savior; and the one who knows this forgiving love the best will sing the loudest of us all.

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Tells Us To Wait on Him

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Adele’s pet dog Molly is so smart. Molly seems to be aware of everything that goes on. She hears everything! Adele has to spell words out when she talks about F-O-O-D or a S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L, so Molly will not understand her. But it is very hard to trick Molly, even when you spell words out! She is so smart, it is easy to think of her as a human being rather than a dog. And Adele loves Molly dearly, but Molly does have one fault. There is one thing that Molly has never learned. For the past eight years she doesn’t quite understand what is meant by the word “wait”!

Adele knows that she has probably not helped Molly learn the meaning of “wait!” because Adele is always quick to get Molly whatever she acts like she wants. Molly stares at Adele for a long time if she wants some food. If Adele sits on the couch, Molly will sit right in front of her and stare and stare. Not just for a short time. It is an actual staring contest, as far as Molly is concerned! And Adele gets “out-stared” every single time. Exasperated, Adele finally gets up and goes to get Molly’s food. Molly has no concept of “wait,” and she has found a way to get what she wants when she wants it!

All of us have had to “wait” for something. It may be for dinner, a school bus, or a friend. It may be waiting to get over a cold, or waiting to go visit some special place or favorite family members. Waiting is not an easy thing to do–not for a dog, and not for us! It requires patience and understanding. Most of all, it requires trust.

In our world today we expect to get what we want when we want it. But God has instructed believers about waiting and about what (or Whom) we should be waiting for. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” This verse tells us Whom we should look to for what we need: We should wait on the Lord. At least Adele’s dog knows whom she ought to wait on in order to get her food. It would do Molly no good to sit and stare at the mailman, or at a tree trunk. Molly waits (if only briefly!) on Adele, because Adele is, in Molly’s world, the best source for F-O-O-D. When a Christian needs something, that Christian should go to the God of the Bible for it.

Psalm 27:14 also shows us how we can endure the waiting, by strengthening our hearts and taking courage. Similarly, Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” The only patience Molly shows is the ability to stare for as long as it takes to get what she wants. Dogs and human beings are not born with patience. They have to learn it. Christians can learn patience, by God’s grace, and they can trust that the Lord’s timing is the best possible timing.

God wants believers to show their trust by waiting patiently on Him.

My Response:
» Am I in a situation right now where I am having to wait on God?
» Is my typical response to wait patiently, or is it just to figure out ways I can hurry things up?
» Are God’s perfect will and God’s perfect timing worth even the longest wait?

Denison Forum – Lunar dust collected by Neil Armstrong up for auction

My great aunts Daisy and Clella were convinced Americans never went to the moon. They died many years ago believing that the television coverage of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969 was staged, probably on sand dunes in Arizona. When I asked them about moon rocks I had seen in a museum, they replied, “How do you know they were from the moon?”

I am guessing they would not have been candidates for an unusual auction next week: the Bonhams Space History sale will offer lunar dust collected by Armstrong from the Apollo 11 mission. You can own your own (tiny) souvenir from the moon for a mere $800,000 to $1,200,000.

I have no way to estimate the physical comparison of this dust to the moon from which it came. But I can tell you that our moon is 27 percent the size of our planet and yet our planet is so small that 1.3 million Earths can fit inside our sun. While our sun contains 99.86 percent of the mass in our solar system, it is just one of 200 billion stars in our galaxy. Astrophysicists estimate that our galaxy is just one of between one hundred billion and two hundred billion galaxies in the universe.

And the God who made all of that measures it in the palm of his hand (Isaiah 40:12).

Could aliens see us as “bacteria”?

Scientists recently designed a radio message to be beamed into deep space and reveal Earth’s location. They hope it will be received and understood by an intelligent alien civilization.

This despite Stephen Hawking’s warning in 2015 that aliens could be vastly more powerful than us and “may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.” As a result, he advised that if we receive a signal from another planet, “We should be wary of answering back.”

Our planet has in fact received a message from beyond ourselves. More than a signal, it is an entire book written by the God of the universe. Since he is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, living by his revealed truth is by definition the most loving, wise, and empowering way to live (cf. Hebrews 4:122 Timothy 3:16–17).

By contrast, ignoring or rejecting his word comes at our peril, always.

The scientific benefits of gratitude

When humans reject the sanctity of all humans, atrocities such as the slaughter of civilians in Ukraine result along with the authoritarian quest to expand one’s empire that is a perennial feature of human history.

In a secularized culture that has replaced biblical sexuality with the claim that any consenting behavior is therefore moral, David French demonstrates persuasively that such “morality” is “profoundly harmful” and cites several secular writers who are “giving voice to deep pain” in our culture.

When we reject biblical guidance for marriage and family, we should be grieved but not shocked by a CDC report documenting increased drug and alcohol use, reported abuse, and feelings of mental distress among America’s teenagers. “These data echo a cry for help,” according to a CDC official.

New Yorker article reports that between 1950 and 1988, the proportion of teenagers aged between fifteen and nineteen who died by suicide quadrupled. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of children aged ten to fourteen who died in the same way more than doubled. And research shows that boys without fathers fare worse than boys with fathers on more than seventy different metrics, including the likelihood to commit mass shootings.

By contrast, John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander demonstrate that the biblical value of gratitude can bring “a range of benefits” such as “better sleep, improved interpersonal relationships, better stress and hormonal regulation, and even reduced physical pains.” And the rhythms of spirituality have been shown to correlate significantly with better mental health.

“I have to give glory to God”

In Psalm 18, David testified, “I love you, O Lᴏʀᴅ, my strength” (v. 1). Here’s why: “The Lᴏʀᴅ is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (v. 2). Count how many times David uses “my” to refer to his Lord.

Could the depth of his intimacy with God explain the divine omnipotence he experienced?

If we do not believe in an omnipotent God, we will not position ourselves by faith to experience his omnipotence. Then our lack of faith becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy on the path to a heightened secularism that eventually rejects his relevance and even his existence.

However, the converse is true as well. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said her team’s recent national championship victory was “divinely ordered” and told an ESPN reporter, “I have to give glory to God, glory to God.” Before Jalen Wilson led Kansas to the men’s title, he tweeted, “Thank you God, without your blessings I wouldn’t have any of this.”

I don’t mean to suggest that faith in an omnipotent God guarantees success in life. On the contrary, I mean to suggest that success in life is cause for praise for those with such faith.

“We already have a home”

Henri Nouwen described our Father’s omniscient and omnipotent love for us this way: “You are loved long before other people can love you or you can love others. You are accepted long before you can accept others or receive their acceptance. You are safe long before you can offer or receive safety.”

He notes that such love means “we already have a home” with God. When we grasp this truth, “we may at last have the strength to unmask the illusions created by our fears and continue to return again and again and again.”

When last did you return home?

When next will you?

Denison Forum