In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Lord of Lords

Jesus is Lord over our infinite universe, and He is also Lord over our heart.

Philippians 2:5-11

What does it mean when we say that Jesus is Lord? We hear the word Lord so frequently that it sometimes loses its power and magnitude, but this is far more than a mere title Scripture gives to Jesus. 

Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that God bestowed on His Son “the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow” and “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This means the name given to Jesus is none other than Lord. You see, Lord is not something Jesus does; it’s who Jesus is: Our Savior is, and will always be, the sovereign ruler of everything in heaven and on earth.

Therefore, when we express that Jesus is Lord, our life should reflect His authority over us. Is there anything you attempt to hide from Christ? Have you refused to do something that He has called you to do? Scripture says that someday everyone will recognize Christ as Lord (Phil. 2:11). So we should invite Him into the dark areas of our life and allow Him to conform us to His image. A good place to begin is with the simple yet profound confession “Jesus is Lord.” 

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Gratitude on Earth Day

Bible in a Year:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 2:4–10, 15

Earth Day is an annual event observed on April 22. In recent years, more than one billion people in about two hundred countries have taken part in educational and service activities. Each year, Earth Day is a reminder of the importance of caring for our amazing planet. But the mandate to care for the environment is far older than this annual event—it goes all the way back to creation.

In Genesis, we learn that God created the entire universe and formed the earth as a place for humans to dwell. Not only did He fashion the mountain peaks and lush plains, God also created the garden of Eden, a beautiful place providing food, shelter, and beauty for its inhabitants (Genesis 2:8–9).

After breathing life into His most important creation, humans, God placed them in this garden (vv. 8, 22) and gave them the responsibility “to work it and take care of it” (v. 15). After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, caring for God’s creation became more difficult (3:17–19), but to this day God Himself cares for our planet and its creatures (Psalm 65:9–13) and asks us to do the same (Proverbs 12:10).

Whether we live in crowded cities or rural areas, we all have ways we can care for the areas God has entrusted to us. And as we tend the earth, may it be an act of gratitude to Him for this beautiful planet.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

What part of creation takes your breath away? How might you care for the part of the earth God has entrusted to you?

Creator God, You’ve entrusted to us a marvelous planet that sustains and astonishes me. Please help me to respond to Your gift by caring for it as a way to express thankfulness for Your provision.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Risking True Peace

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

True peace exists only where truth reigns.

People often define peace as the absence of conflict, but God sees it differently. The absence of conflict is merely a truce, which might end overt hostilities but doesn’t resolve the underlying issues. A truce simply introduces a cold war, which often drives the conflict underground, where it smolders until erupting in physical or emotional disaster.

James 3:17 says, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable.” Godly wisdom, purity, and peace go hand- in-hand. Peace is wisdom in action and is never established at the expense of righteousness. It brings righteousness to bear on the situation, seeking to eliminate the source of conflict and create right relationships. Feuding parties will know true peace only when they are willing to admit that their bitterness and hatred is wrong and humbly seek God’s grace to make things right.

Some people equate peacemaking with evading issues, but true peace can be very confrontive. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” That may seem to contradict Matthew 5:9, but it doesn’t: Jesus knew that sinful people have to be confronted with the truth before they can experience peace. That can be a painful and difficult process because people usually have a hostile reaction to the gospel before they finally embrace it. Even believers will sometimes react negatively when confronted with God’s truth.

Being a biblical peacemaker has its price. You can expect to upset unbelievers who openly oppose God’s Word as well as believers who compromise its truth for the sake of maintaining “peace” among people of differing doctrinal persuasions. Some will call you narrow-minded and divisive for dealing with controversial issues. Some will misunderstand your motives or even attack you personally. But that’s been the path of every true peacemaker— including our Lord Himself. Take heart and be faithful. Your efforts to bring peace show that you are a child of God.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God for the boldness never to compromise His truth.
  • Pray for those you know who are suffering for the sake of the gospel.

For Further Study

Read Luke 12:51-53, noting how the gospel can bring division even among families.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – True Spiritual Growth

But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah)….

— 2 Peter 3:18 (AMPC)

When we receive Christ as our Savior, our spirit is saved, and we are born again. Our spirit is made holy, and God comes to dwell in us. The Word of God, when it is received and becomes rooted in our hearts, has the power to change us from the inside out. As we study God’s Word and meditate on His promises, spiritual growth happens.

Spiritual maturity doesn’t develop from mere church attendance, giving large sums of money, or serving on a committee—it develops from learning and applying the Word of God in your everyday life.

While it is good to attend church, give, and serve, it is your personal relationship with God and following the Holy Spirit that brings about maturity. True spiritual growth comes when you apply God’s Word in every situation and step beyond your comfort zone and trust Him in all things, especially the ones you cannot control.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for Your Word and for walking with me as I grow in my faith and my relationship with You. I love You, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Sleepless Guardian

You will not fear the terror of the night.

Psalm 91:5

What is this “terror”? It may be the cry of fire or the noise of thieves or intrigued appearances or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow; we may anticipate facing ills and difficulties during the night as well as in the glare of the noonday sun. This should not alarm us, for whatever the terror may be, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he be?

Let us put this more closely—why should we? God our Father is here, and will be with us all through the lonely hours. He is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without His direction, for even hell itself is under His control. Darkness is not dark to Him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around His people—and who can break through such a barrier?

Unbelievers may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them. But we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these by His rich mercy. If we give way to foolish fear, we will dishonor our testimony and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, in case we should grieve the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, you dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions—God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor held back His tender mercies. It may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love does not change.

Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away. No, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father in a way that hypocrites cannot do.

Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from Thee;
You are He, who, never weary,
Watchest where Your people be.

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 Strong Arm

“For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.” (Psalm 44:3)

Do you like to have strong friends? Strong friends can really come in handy. A strong friend can help you lift something heavy. A strong friend can hit the ball really far for your team. A strong friend can stand-up for you if a bully is mean to you.

In Psalm 44, the Hebrew songwriter remembers when the Lord God brought the Hebrews into the Promised Land. The songwriter says in Psalm 44:3 that the Hebrews were not able to win the battles by themselves, but God’s strong right arm won the battles for them.

Does God literally have an arm? No, not really. We know that God is a spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have arms or legs that we can actually see. The songwriter is using a word picture to say that the Lord God of Israel is very strong. Think about it. When you see someone who is very strong, what do notice first? Their arms. Sometimes kids want to show off their muscles. Do you flex your leg to show off your muscles? No! You would probably flex your arms to show how strong you are. When the songwriter says that God’s “arm” saved the Hebrews, he is using a word picture to express that God was stronger than all of Israel’s enemies.

And God is stronger than your enemies, too. The devil is one of our enemies, because he wants us to disobey God. But God is stronger than the devil! Sometimes other people want you to disobey God, and God wants to help you be strong so that you will obey Him. Every person who is trusting in Jesus for salvation is sometimes still tempted to disobey God. God is stronger than any temptation a child of God might face. Just as God defeated the Hebrews’ enemies a long time ago, He wants to defeat our spiritual enemies today. And He can, because God is very strong!

God is stronger than anyone or anything.

My Response:
» Have I been relying on my own strength to help me face a problem?
» What are some “battles” I’m fighting right now that I should give over to God to fight for me?
» How can I show others my faith that my God is stronger than anyone or anything?

Denison Forum – Pennsylvania school board rejects After School Satan Club

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Let’s begin this Friday article with some good news: a twelve-year-old wood craftsman recently launched a raffle for one of his handmade bowls—etched with a blue and yellow ring, the colors of Ukraine’s flag—to raise money for Ukrainian children. As of last Friday, he had raised more than $109,000 for Save the Children’s Ukraine relief effort.

Some more good news: a city in Tennessee rejected an atheist group’s demand to remove crosses that had been in place since the 1950s. A Pennsylvania school board voted down a parent’s request to launch an After School Satan Club. A United Methodist Church high court rejected an attempt to allow the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals. And churches in Poland continue to generate headlines over their sacrificial support for Ukrainian refugees.

“A shield to those who take refuge in him”

Yesterday we discussed Yuval Levin’s profound article, “How to Curb the Culture War,” noting that God is calling us to be not culture warriors but cultural missionaries. What does this mean in practical terms?

Our first step is to embrace the sovereignty of our King.

As we have seen today, there is always good news in the news. God’s Spirit is alive and at work in our culture. Early Christians lived in a world far more immoral and opposed to their faith than our culture, yet by Acts 17:6 they had “turned the world upside down.” (In fact, our latest book, titled How to Bless God by Blessing Others, looks to those early Christians as a blueprint for how we can respond to our culture today.)

It is always too soon to give up on God.

Your Father has both a geographical and a chronological calling on your life. It is by his providence that you are living where you are and when you are. He would not have commissioned you to this place and time if he could not use you in this place and time.

God’s word to Joshua as he faced the Canaanites is his word to us as we face our anti-Christian culture: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Scripture promises that our Lord is “a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5). We are called to “cast your burden on the Lᴏʀᴅ, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

What “burden” do you need to give your Father today?

“What boundless love for men!”

I spent the summer of 1979 serving as a missionary in East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It was a joyous experience in many ways, but persistent loneliness and occasional physical danger were challenging.

However, my pastor gave me a devotional book before I left in which he inscribed these words: “The will of God never leads where the grace of God cannot sustain.” I found his wisdom to be both true and empowering. When I became especially discouraged, I did what countless missionaries have done across twenty centuries: I remembered the grace of God which I had received and was now called to share.

Cyril of Jerusalem was bishop of Jerusalem in the mid-fourth century. In his “Catechetical Lectures,” he comments on Paul’s statement in Romans 6: “We were buried therefore with [Jesus] by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (v. 4).

Cyril notes: “It was not we who actually died, were buried, and rose again. We only did these things symbolically, but we have been saved in actual fact. It is Christ who was crucified, who was buried, and who rose again, and all this has been attributed to us. We share in his suffering symbolically and gain salvation in reality.

“What boundless love for men! Christ’s undefiled hands were pierced by the nails; he suffered the pain. I experienced no pain, no anguish, yet by the share that I have in the sufferings he freely grants me salvation.”

What was your last sin he forgave? Your last prayer he answered? Your last need he met?

How will you pay forward the love you have experienced from him?

“Then shall your light rise in the darkness”

Vance Pitman was a megachurch pastor who resigned his position to help plant churches across the western US. He told an interviewer, “Too many church planters show up in cities thinking like pastors of churches rather than as missionaries, thinking about how to engage a city with the gospel. How do you begin to build relational bridges? How do you build opportunities to serve the city and build those relationships that allow for cultivating gospel impact in a city?

“Before I moved to Las Vegas, I didn’t think about my city. I thought about the church that I pastored and if the church that I pastored was doing good then I was doing good. But when God put me in a place like Las Vegas, I began to think about a city and to realize the real kingdom success in that city is not just more people going to church.”

How, then, do we engage our cities with the gospel?

Pitman explains: “It can be as simple as what some would call servant evangelism, where you look for needs in a community that you can meet and you begin to meet those tangible needs, not with an ulterior motive of sharing Christ but with an ultimate motive of sharing Christ. I’m not meeting that need so I can share the gospel with you—I’m meeting that need because God desires that need in our community to be met. But as I meet that need, I look for opportunities to let you know who Jesus is in my life.”

Scripture promises: “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).

How will you serve the “hungry” and the “afflicted” today?

“I don’t love the Vietnamese anymore”

I once heard a veteran missionary to Vietnam describe an especially difficult day. The weather was particularly hot and oppressive and the people he sought to serve were resistant. He came home to discover that thieves had stolen every piece of furniture he owned except his couch, which was too large to fit through the door.

He collapsed on that couch and cried out to God, “I don’t love the Vietnamese anymore. You have to send me somewhere else. I just don’t love these people.” Around 2:00 the next morning, he said, the Lord spoke to him: “You’re not here because you love the Vietnamese. You’re here because I love the Vietnamese.”

That was the reminder he needed to continue in his calling.

Who are your “Vietnamese” today?

Denison Forum