In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Benefits of Choosing Wisdom

The more we seek divine wisdom, the more we develop godly discernment.

Proverbs 2

The world often evaluates decisions in terms of pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks. What happens if we apply that same thinking to spiritual matters: What are the benefits of following God’s wisdom? Or, in other words, Why should we seek to obey the instructions given in Scripture? 

First of all, in seeking God’s wisdom, we acquire a deeper understanding and knowledge of Him (Prov. 2:4-6). Our perception of life changes when we know the Lord intimately. He gives us the ability to see ourselves, others, and situations from His perspective. And as biblical principles permeate our mind, they shape our response to life’s challenges. 

Second, God promises to guide and guard us when we walk wisely (Prov. 2:7-9). Nothing outside His will can penetrate the shield of protection around those who seek to obey Him. When we let His wisdom enter our heart, discretion prevents us from engaging in foolish or sinful relationships that would draw us away from Him (Prov. 2:11-20). 

Godly understanding doesn’t become ours simply because we want it. Such benefits must be sought out. If you receive the words of Scripture and let them fill your heart and mind, the Lord will reveal Himself to you and give you His discernment. 

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 18-19

Our Daily Bread — Really Alive

Bible in a Year:

There will be no more death.

Revelation 21:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Revelation 21:1–7

Since it was the week after Easter, our five-year-old son, Wyatt, had heard plenty of resurrection talk. He always had questions—usually real stumpers. I was driving, and he was buckled into his seat behind me. Wyatt peered out the window, deep in thought. “Daddy,” he said, pausing and preparing to ask me a tough one. “When Jesus brings us back to life, are we going to be really alive—or just alive in our heads?”

This is the question so many of us carry, whether or not we have the courage to speak it aloud. Is God really going to heal us? Is He really going to raise us from the dead? Is He really going to keep all His promises?

The apostle John describes our certain future as “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). In that holy city, “God himself will be with [us] and be [our] God” (v. 3). Because of Christ’s victory, we’re promised a future where there’s no more tears, no evil arrayed against God and His people. In this good future, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (v. 4).

In other words, in the future God promises, we’ll be really alive. We’ll be so alive that our life now will seem a mere shadow.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where do you experience death in your life? If God promises that death is doomed and we’re going to really live, how does this renew your hope?

God, You said death will meet its end and You promise me genuine life. Thank You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Cushion of Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

God’s peace cushions the soul during difficult times.

I remember reading about what is called “the cushion of the sea.” The ocean surface is often greatly agitated, but as you descend, the water becomes increasingly calm. At its greatest depths the ocean is virtually still. Oceanographers dredging ocean bottoms have found animal and plant remains that appear to have been undisturbed for hundreds of years.

Similarly, Christians can experience a cushion of peace in their souls regardless of their troubled surroundings. That’s because they belong to God, who is the source of peace; serve Christ, who is the Prince of Peace; and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who is the agent of peace. Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, [and] peace.” When you become a Christian, God grants you the gift of peace.

God is not only the source of perfect peace, but also its purest example. Everything He does is marked by peace. First Corinthians 14:33 says He is not a God of confusion but of peace. In Judges 6:24 He is called Jehovah-shalom, which means, “the Lord is peace.” The Trinity is characterized by a total absence of conflict: perfect oneness, perfect righteousness, and absolute harmony. It is impossible for God to be at odds with Himself!

God wants everyone to know that kind of peace. He created the world with peace and sent His Son to offer peace. Someday Christ will return to establish His kingdom and reign in peace for eternity.

In the meantime turmoil exists for all who don’t know Christ. They have no cushion for their souls. You, however, have peace with God through the death of Christ Jesus, and as you obey Him, His peace will continually reign in your heart. Don’t ever let sin rob you of that blessed cushion. Only as you experience peace within yourself can you share it with others.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the cushion of peace He has provided amid difficult circumstances.
  • Ask God to use you as an instrument of His peace today.

For Further Study

Read Isaiah 57:15-21, noting how God encourages the repentant and warns the wicked in relation to peace.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – God Meets You Where You Are

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God….

— Romans 14:22 (NIV)

I try to eat reasonably healthy meals, and I have studied nutrition and its effects on the body. Consequently, I have strong opinions about how we should take care of ourselves. I do eat sweets, but only small amounts, and I am usually concerned when I see anyone regularly consuming large amounts of sweets and other foods that I know to be unhealthy.

I have tried to inform people when I see them eating poorly, and they have not received my advice well, to say the least. I even had one person say, “If we are going to spend time together, I don’t want you telling me what to eat all the time and making me feel guilty when I eat something you don’t approve of.”

The person went on to say, “I know I don’t eat right, but I am just not at the place yet in my life where I am ready to do anything about it. I have lots of things wrong with me that I feel are more urgent than my appetite. So, I am concentrating on what I feel God is dealing with me about, and I have no time to also pay attention to what you are dealing with me about.”

We all tend to put our convictions on others; we think if they are priorities for us, they must be priorities for everyone.

Romans 14 shares examples of how people were in a quandary about whether or not they should eat meat that had been offered to idols. Some thought it would be a sin, and others said the idols were nothing any way and therefore could not harm the meat. Some could not eat because of their weak faith, and others ate because of their strong faith. Paul told them to each be convinced in their own hearts, and not try to force their personal convictions on others.

God seems to meet each of us right where we are in our faith. He begins with us at that point and helps us grow gradually and continually. Be led by the Holy Spirit yourself, and let others do the same thing.

Prayer Starter: God, please help me to accept where I am right now, as You do, and I trust You to take me to a new level of living that is right for me and not for someone else, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – God’s Right Hand

… Who is at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:34

He who was once despised and rejected by men now occupies the honorable position of a beloved and honored Son. The right hand of God is the place of majesty and favor. Our Lord Jesus is His people’s representative. When He died for them, they had rest; when He rose again for them, they had liberty; when He sat down at His Father’s right hand, they had favor and honor and dignity. The raising and elevation of Christ is the elevation, the acceptance, and the glorifying of all His people, for He is their head and representative. This sitting at the right hand of God, then, is to be viewed as the reception of the Representative and therefore the acceptance of our souls.

Believer, this is why you are free from condemnation. “Who is he that condemneth?” [KJV]. Who will condemn those men who are in Jesus at the right hand of God?

The right hand is the place of power. Christ at the right hand of God has all the power in heaven and on earth. Who will fight against the people who have such power vested in their Captain? My soul, what can destroy you if Omnipotence is your helper? If the protection of the Almighty covers you, what sword can harm you?

Be sure of this: If Jesus is your all-prevailing King and has trampled your enemies beneath His feet, if sin, death, and hell are all defeated by Him, and you are represented in Him, there exists no possibility of your being destroyed.

Jesu’s tremendous name
Puts all our foes to flight:
Jesus, the meek, the angry Lamb,
A Lion is in fight.

By all hell’s host withstood;
We all hell’s host o’erthrow;
And conquering them, through Jesus’ blood
We still to conquer go.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Meets the Needs of His Children

“For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” (Luke 12:30)

Have you ever sat near a window and watched a wild bird for a while? Does a bird have to worry about picking up a job at a fast food restaurant so that it can make money to pay for medical bills? Does the bird ever go out and plow a field, plant seed, and water the ground? Does a bird ever harvest corn and store it in big barns to eat later? Have you ever watched birds do all that? Probably not! It is more likely that you watched a bird flying around a feeder, pecking at a tree trunk, or splashing in a birdbath. Birds do not seem to have a care in the world!

It would be even more ridiculous to imagine a flower, laboring in a cotton field, spinning wool, weaving, or sewing clothes for itself. A flower does not need to work in order to be “clothed” beautifully. God has created a flower so it has everything that it needs to be just as beautiful as He planned. Jesus said that a simple wildflower is even more beautifully clothed than King Solomon was in the richest of his kingly robes.

You know, if God can feed the birds and make the flowers beautiful, it is all the more certain that He will take care of us. (Matthew 6:25-34) God, who is our heavenly father, knows everything that we need: mainly, food, water and clothing. He tells us not to worry about those things because He will provide those things for us. Matthew 6:25 tells us not to worry about food and clothes, because food and clothes are not what life is about. Life is about God and His kingdom! (Matthew 6:32) So, do not worry about those things that God has promised to provide. Let God take care of your needs; and you focus on seeking after the things of God.

Next time you see a flower or a bird, remember, if God takes care of their needs, He will definitely take care of you.

God is more aware of our needs than we are, and He will take care of us.

My Response: » Am I worrying over things that I cannot control? » How can I show that I am trusting God to provide?

Denison Forum – Florida lawmakers vote to end Disney’s tax privilege

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law. The measure, pejoratively called the “Don’t Say Gay” law by its critics, bars classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade in Florida public schools.

The Walt Disney Company responded by stating that the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law.” The company wants the law “to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.”

In response, Gov. DeSantis asked Florida lawmakers to consider the “termination” of self-governing privileges Disney World has held in the Orlando area for fifty-five years. These privileges exempt the resort from certain regulations and fees, saving Disney tens of millions of dollars a year. Yesterday, the Republican-led Senate complied; the Florida House is also expected to vote in favor of the legislation.

When fighting a “culture war,” should we be passivists or activists?

The answer is yes.

How Billy Graham responded to critics

Paul advised us, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). When Jesus was brought before Pilate and accused by the religious authorities, “he gave no answer” (Matthew 27:12), a response that “greatly amazed” the governor (v. 14).

On the other hand, Paul called the secular government “the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). When the Jewish authorities threatened his life, he leveraged his Roman citizenship by appealing to Caesar (Acts 25:11).

As these examples make clear, we should respond to our cultural opponents in ways that are appropriate to the circumstances of the moment.

There are times when engaging in a cultural battle only lowers us to the level of our critics, gives them a hearing on our platform, and elevates their exposure to a larger audience. I once heard a former chair of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association board describe the way Dr. Graham responded to personal criticism: he ignored it. Rather than dignify it with an answer, he remained focused on his calling and trusted his critics to the Lord.

There are other times when defending biblical truth through cultural and legal means is essential. We are to be ready to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). I am grateful for Christian legislators and attorneys defending our religious freedoms as they come increasingly under attack.

Here is what is not negotiable: we must always respond “with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (vv. 15–16). This is essential for their sake but for ours as well: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him” (Leviticus 19:17, my emphasis).

A “brew of culture-war animosities”

To this end, I want to recommend an essential article by cultural commentator Yuval Levin titled, “How to Curb the Culture War.” Levin argues for “meaningfully distinct spheres of human action, and of boundaries on cultural and political conflict that might make a healthier common life possible.”

He notes that “our lives are unified wholes, and our moral commitments must not be compartmentalized into insignificance.” However, he adds that “those boundaries also cannot be eradicated, or else the bile of bitter partisanship will flood into the broader culture and dissolve our capacity to live with others in a vast and diverse nation.”

Because Americans are ignoring such boundaries, “Everywhere you look, people seem to be dragging culture-war differences into spaces where they don’t belong, and in ways that make it awfully hard for us to trust each other, to live together, and to do our common work.” The result is a “brew of culture-war animosities that increasingly dominates many arenas of American life,” a “mix of entertainment and politics that combines the worst of both.”

In response, Levin proposes “a restoration of some boundaries between distinct domains of life” whereby we recognize “the humanity of our neighbors, seeing that expertise in one arena does not imply authority in another, and grasping that setting bounds on the reach of our cultural combat is not just a pragmatic concession to civility but also a broader path to the fullest truth about the human person.”

“The best way to destroy an enemy”

I would view Levin’s proposal through a biblical lens this way:

One: We each have a kingdom assignment and God-given resources for fulfilling it (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12–27). We should therefore “stay in our lane” rather than claiming to have the definitive last word on every issue we face. We should also respect the “lane” assigned to others and the gifts by which they fulfill their calling.

Two: Some cultural positions are worth defending at all costs, but many are distractions from the “main thing” (cf. Romans 14:13–23). We can win cultural debates and lose eternal souls. Whatever the context or the conflict, we are to “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (v. 19).

Three: Those who oppose us are not our enemies but fellow humans for whom Jesus died. The true enemy “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Rather than seeking to be cultural warriors, we should seek to be cultural missionaries.

Tomorrow, we’ll identify practical ways to do this. For today, let’s decide that we want to, seeking ways to pay forward the grace we have received.

Theologian F. F. Bruce was right: “The best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into a friend.”

Will you make a new friend today?

Denison Forum