In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Following God’s Schedule

Because God knows all things, we can trust that His timing and His plans are best.

Romans 11:33-36

People enjoy feeling in control of their own schedule, and it can be frustrating when things don’t go according to plan. Yet whoever truly desires to walk in obedience to God must cooperate with His time frame. 

Consider how you pray about situations in your life. Without realizing it, you may be demanding that the Lord follow the schedule you’ve constructed based on your very limited human wisdom. Yet if we believe God is who He says He is, how can surrendering to His way not be to our benefit? 

Unlike us, the Lord has complete knowledge about our world and the details of every individual life—past, present, and future. He understands every motive, whereas we can’t accurately judge even our own intentions. God also acts out of love for His people, and He’s sufficient to meet every need at just the right time.  

Submitting to God’s timetable requires faith and courage. Believe in the goodness of His heart and His plans, and determine to wait until He moves you forward. Then, as you follow His schedule, you will experience the joy of seeing a display of His great glory. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 3-5

Our Daily Bread — “And It Was Night”

Bible in a Year:

As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

John 13:30

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

John 13:21–32

Elie Wiesel’s book Night starkly confronts us with the horrors of the Holocaust. Based on his own experiences in Nazi death camps, Wiesel’s account flips the biblical story of the Exodus. While Moses and the Israelites escaped slavery at the first Passover (Exodus 12), Wiesel tells of the Nazis arresting Jewish leaders following Passover.

Lest we criticize Wiesel and his dark irony, consider that the Bible contains a similar plot twist. On the night of Passover, Jesus, expected to free God’s people from suffering, instead permits Himself to be arrested by those who would kill Him.

John ushers us into the holy scene before Jesus’ arrest. “Troubled in spirit” over what awaited Him, at the Last Supper Jesus predicted His betrayal (John 13:21). Then, in an act we can scarcely comprehend, Christ served His betrayer bread. The account reads: “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night” (v. 30). History’s greatest injustice was underway, yet Jesus declared, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him” (v. 31). In a few hours, the disciples would experience panic, defeat, and dejection. But Jesus saw God’s plan unfolding as it should.

When it seems as though the darkness is winning, we can recall that God faced His dark night and defeated it. He walks with us. It won’t always be night.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

When have you experienced panic, loss of hope, and despair? How would you describe how you felt after you came through that dark experience?

Thank You, Jesus, for keeping Your Father’s plan in view when You went through the steps to the cross. Thank You for conquering death for us.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Forgiving Others

As Jesus forgave others (including us), we should extend forgiveness to those who wrong us.

Jesus had a forgiving heart right up to the end, even after He had experienced a lifetime of mankind’s worst treatment. He came down to a world He had created, but that world rebuffed Him. Its inhabitants’ eyes were blinded by sin, and they could not see any beauty in Jesus. Almost immediately after His humble birth in a stable, King Herod sought to have Him killed (Matt. 2:1316-18). And the Jewish leaders on various occasions contested Christ’s teachings and looked for opportunities to seize Him and kill Him. The cross was just the culmination of a lifetime of persecution against Jesus.

Jesus’ death by crucifixion was one of the most humiliating, painful forms of execution the world has ever known. From a human perspective, we would have expected Him to plead with God the Father for mercy or to be enraged at God and denounce Him for allowing Him to be crucified. If we had written the original script for Jesus’ crucifixion scene, we probably would have had Him screaming threats of retaliation at His killers. But our Savior did none of those things. Instead, He asked His Father to forgive His enemies.

The Lord Jesus prayed for the most important need His executioners would ever have. They would never be able to enter the presence of a holy God if their sins were not forgiven. Christ was concerned that His opponents, who were ignorantly putting Him to death, have an opportunity to be forgiven rather than endure God’s vengeance.

Such an attitude of love and mercy should also be ours. We, unlike Jesus, are sinners ourselves who need constant forgiveness. Therefore, when we are wronged, our primary concern ought to be that God would forgive the one who has sinned against us. An excellent model of this attitude is Stephen, who prayed as he was being stoned to death, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60). He followed Christ’s own example of love and forgiveness, and so should we.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that you may have a more consistently forgiving attitude toward others who wrong or offend you.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 18:21-35.

  • What is implied in Jesus’ figurative expression “seventy times seven” (v. 22) regarding forgiving others?
  • Ultimately, how much does it matter that we maintain a forgiving attitude (vv. 32-35)?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Forgive Quickly

Be kind and helpful to one another, tenderhearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

— Ephesians 4:32 (AMP)

Learning to forgive quickly and completely is one of the most important keys to maintaining joy in our lives. Because God has forgiven us, He expects us to forgive others for their injustices against us.

Just as we can receive forgiveness from God and confidently trust that He is not angry with us, we can forgive others and not be angry with them. Anger and unforgiveness will quickly dilute your joy. It is impossible to be bitter and better at the same time.

Learning to be forgiving and merciful toward the faults of others is a sign of growing spiritual maturity—it is being obedient to God’s Word. When we obey God, especially when it is difficult to do so, He will always reward us with peace and joy.

Prayer Starter: Lord, please help to let go of bitterness or unforgiveness toward anyone that has hurt me, either intentionally or unintentionally. You are my Vindicator, and I am so thankful for that, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – It Is Well …

Isaiah 3:10

It is well with the righteous ALWAYS.

If it had said, “Tell the righteous that it is well with them in their prosperity,” we would be thankful for so great a blessing, for prosperity is an hour of peril. It is a gift from heaven to be safe from its snares. If it had read, “It is well with them when under persecution,” we would be thankful for such a comforting assurance, for persecution is hard to bear; but when no time is mentioned, all time is included.

God’s shalls must always be understood in their largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until a new day dawns, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it will be well with the righteous. It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed—he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed—he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed—he dwells in God; he is well married—his soul is knit in bonds of marriage to Christ; he is well provided for—for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed—for heaven is his inheritance. It is well with the righteous—well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance.

O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we may laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith that enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict Him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with you, righteous one; then, beloved, if you cannot see it, let God’s Word assure you; believe it on divine authority with more confidence than if your eyes and your feelings told it to you. Those God blesses are blessed indeed, and what His lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.

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 Magnified When We Use Our Mouths for Him

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11)

What does it mean to speak “as the oracles of God”? Some Bible translations use the word “utterances.” Basically this verse is talking about what ought to be true of our speech whenever something comes out of our mouths. You may not be a preacher standing in a pulpit. You may not be a teacher standing at a chalkboard. But did you know that every believer has, in a sense, a duty to be a “mouthpiece” of God?

These days, God does not give us new revelation outside of the Bible. He has already spoken to us through His written Word, and through His Son, the Living Word. So, if we are true believers, our words ought to be affected by His already-given Word. Our words should reflect the impact that God’s Word has had on our lives. Our words should be in keeping with what God would want us to say. And our words should not go against His Word.

When you talk to a cashier or a bagger at the grocery store, did you know that what you say ought to reflect God’s Word? When you speak to your family members, your speech ought to be honoring to God. Whenever you use the brain that God gave you to think of things to say, and whenever you use the mouth that God gave you to say those things, remember that your speech should line up with the will of God. God makes speaking possible, and He gives you opportunities to speak. Your words should line up with God’s Word. Your words should not contradict (go against) His Word.

Think about the last time you spoke with anyone. Were you a “mouthpiece” for God’s words to come through you and encourage or help that person? Or did you use your mouth to talk however you wanted to about whatever you wanted to? The best way to use your tongue is as a tool to do God’s will. When someone hears you speak, do they hear “a word in season”? Do they hear speech that is “full of grace and truth”? When people think about having a conversation with you, do they think, “Oh, no–do I really have to listen to Kim complain all about her classes again?” Or do they think things like “I can’t wait to see Jared again and hear how things went this summer at that Christian camp he always goes to.”

An old preacher used to say, “A Christian is the only ‘Bible’ some people will ever read.” What kind of things are others “reading” about your God and His people when you open up your mouth? When you have a chance to speak to someone, honor God with your speech: Talk to that person as God Himself would have you talk to that person.

God has given us our tongues to be used as tools for His glory.

My Response:
» How might others describe my usual talking habits?
» Am I using my brain and my tongue to honor God with my speech?
» How can I change the way I talk so that I am less of a “mouthpiece” for myself and more like a “mouthpiece” for God?

Denison Forum – Why a Texas megachurch is relocating hundreds of Ukrainian refugees

Gateway Church is a multisite megachurch based in Texas. They are in the news today because they have helped around four hundred Ukrainian refugees relocate and are in the process of helping to relocate hundreds more. According to the church’s spokesman, Gateway has been able to do this because of relationships with several congregations in Ukraine that predate the outbreak of war.

By contrast, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe released a 108-page document accusing Russia of illegally targeting hospitals, schools, residential buildings, and water facilities. The United Nations reports that 1.4 million Ukrainians are without running water and 4.6 million are at risk of losing their water supply. Experts are warning that the US and Europe “must be ready for Russian biological or chemical attacks.” On Tuesday, President Biden accused Vladimir Putin of perpetrating genocide against the Ukrainian people.

What explains the divergent ways Gateway Church and Vladimir Putin view Ukrainians?

The answer might surprise you.

“When men and women no longer revere God”

Wallace B. Henley is a former pastor, White House, and congressional aide. In an article published yesterday on Christian Post, he reports that a TV interviewer asked him, “Why do you think the Russians are committing atrocities in the Ukraine?

He writes: “‘Abortion,’ I answered so quickly it surprised even me.”

Here’s the connection: whether it’s Russian soldiers massacring innocent Ukrainians or Americans murdering innocent unborn babies, both are objectifying humans as a means to their ends. He is right: “Without the sense of God’s transcendence, the concept of sin is lost as well.” The result is “the loss of the secularized individual human spirit and the soul of the society of the belief in and sense of God’s transcendence and the human accountability that goes with it.”

Henley concludes: “When men and women no longer revere God, they lose reverence and respect for the life he has created in the womb as well as the lives of innocents rushing to shelters amidst a fiery war.

“The tragedies in Ukraine should appall us all, but not surprise us at all.”

“He made him to be sin who knew no sin”

On this day in Holy Week, Jesus pled three times with his Father for this “cup” to “pass” from him” (cf. Matthew 26:36–44). I believe our Savior was focused less on the physical torture he would face, as unspeakably horrific as it was, than on the spiritual agony he would experience.

On the cross, the Father placed the sins of all of humanity on his sinless Son’s soul. In that moment, for the only moment in all of eternity, the two were separated as the Son cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Paul explained the transaction this way: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). On this Maundy Thursday night, the Father said no to his Son so he could say yes to you and me.

Here’s the problem: we know this to be so. We’ve heard all our Christian lives that God loved us so much he sent his Son to die for us (John 3:16). As a result, we can miss the necessity of that sacrificial love for our souls today. That’s because we all too easily overlook the depth of our sins today.

A profound Yad Vashem quote

You and I don’t have to commit atrocities against Ukrainians or abort unborn babies in America to participate in a culture that objectifies others to their loss and our gain. Every relational sin we commit, from theft to deceit, gossip, slander, lust, and so on, is a variation on the same theme.

But it’s not just sins of commission that sent Jesus to the cross—it’s sins of omission as well.

When our Israel study group recently toured Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, I stopped before a statement by the German writer Kurt Tucholsky that moves me every time I read it: “A country is not just what it does—it is also what it tolerates.”

I live in a country that has murdered ten times more unborn babies than the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis. We tolerate pornography and endorse all manner of sexual immorality. Racism is still endemic in parts of our society. Drug and alcohol abuse are epidemics. I could go on.

Maundy Thursday urgently calls us to remember this simple fact: it was my sins that put Jesus on the cross. And yours.

How to “abandon every false way of obtaining love”

We have focused this week on the work of the Holy Spirit during Holy Week. Let’s close today’s reflection with the fact that the Spirit not only convicts us of the sins for which Jesus died (John 16:8), but he also participates in our forgiveness and restoration “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

Now we as Christians have a choice. We can embrace the security of our salvation but overlook our present sins of commission and omission. Or we can make time on this Maundy Thursday to submit to the Spirit, asking him to identify our unconfessed sins and then repenting of them with genuine contrition.

If we wisely choose the latter, we will experience the transforming grace of God in ways that will make this a true Holy Week for our souls. Henri Nouwen explained the nature of such faith with his usual depth of wisdom:

“The word faith is often understood as accepting something you can’t understand. People often say, ‘Such and such can’t be explained, you simply have to believe it.’ However, when Jesus talks about faith, he means first of all to trust unreservedly that you are loved, so that you can abandon every false way of obtaining love. . . .

“When Jesus says to the people he has healed, ‘Your faith has healed you,’ he is saying that they have found new life because they have surrendered in complete trust to the love of God revealed in him.”

Will you experience this “new life” today?

Denison Forum