Our Daily Bread — Sing Again

Bible in a Year:

Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel!

Zephaniah 3:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Zephaniah 3:14–20

Australia’s regent honeyeater bird is in trouble—it’s losing its song. Though once an abundant species, just three hundred birds now remain; and with so few others to learn from, the males are forgetting their unique song and failing to attract mates.

Thankfully, conservationists plan to rescue the honeyeaters by singing to them. Or, more precisely, play them recordings of other honeyeaters singing so they can relearn their heart song. As the males pick up the tune and attract females again, it’s hoped the species will flourish once more.

The prophet Zephaniah addressed a people in trouble. With so much corruption among them, he announced that God’s judgment was coming (Zephaniah 3:1–8). When this later came to pass through capture and exile, the people too lost their song (Psalm 137:4). But Zephaniah foresaw a time beyond judgment when God would come to this decimated people, forgive their sins, and sing to them: “He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). As a result, the heart song of the people would be restored (v. 14).

Whether through our own disobedience or the trials of life, we too can lose our heart song of joy. But a Voice is singing over us songs of forgiveness and love. Let’s listen to His melody and sing along.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

When do you find it hardest to retain your joy in God? What song, poem, or prayer can you give to God in response to His rejoicing over You?

Loving God, it’s amazing to imagine that You would sing songs of joy over me. I praise You and sing my own song of praise to You.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Are You Avoiding Persecution?

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matt. 5:10).

If you don’t experience persecution, people probably don’t know you’re a Christian.

I heard of a man who was fearful because he was starting a new job with a group of unbelievers whom he thought might give him a bad time if they found out he was a Christian. After his first day at work his wife asked him how he got along with them. “We got along just fine,” he said. “They never found out I’m a Christian.”

Silence is one way to avoid persecution. Some other ways are to approve of the world’s standards, laugh at its jokes, enjoy its entertainment, and smile when it mocks God. If you never confront sin or tell people Jesus is the only way to heaven, or if your behavior is so worldly no one can distinguish you from unbelievers, you will probably be accepted and won’t feel the heat of persecution. But beware!

Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you. . . . Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory” (Luke 6:269:26). The last thing anyone should want is for Christ to pronounce a curse on them or be ashamed of them. That’s an enormous price to pay for popularity!

If you take a stand for Christ and manifest Beatitude attitudes, you will be in direct opposition to Satan and the evil world system. Eventually you will experience some form of persecution. That has been true from the very beginning of human history, when Abel was murdered by his brother Cain because Cain couldn’t tolerate his righteousness.

You should never fear persecution. God will grant you grace and will never test you beyond what He enables you to endure (1 Cor. 10:13). Nor should you ever compromise biblical truth to avoid persecution. In Philippians 1:29 Paul says that persecution is as much a gift of God as salvation itself. Both identify you as a true believer!

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize 1 Peter 2:20-21. Ask God to continually grant you the grace to follow Christ’s example when difficulties come your way.

For Further Study

Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, noting the severe persecution Paul endured for Christ’s sake.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Laugh on Purpose

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.

— Psalm 51:12 (AMP)

One of the most valuable things I have learned in my life is that I don’t have to wait to feel like doing something before I can do it…and neither do you. You can actually create opportunities for laughter.

• Plan to laugh…and then do it. Take a few minutes away from the busyness of the day and focus on something funny that a friend said or something enjoyable you’re looking forward to.

• Hang around funny and encouraging people. Spend time with people who are lighthearted and encouraging. Their humor and their positive nature are infectious.

• Change your perspective. You can be joyful if you begin each day with a think session. Think about some happy, joyful things on purpose.

Learn to enjoy yourself rather than being so intense about your imperfections. I can promise it will add laughter to your life.

David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” We can pray the same thing. If you feel life has sapped you of your joy and taken away your laughter, ask God for His help and take every opportunity you can to laugh.

Prayer Starter: Lord, restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Please help me to seek out and take every opportunity to laugh, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Long Live the King!

The Lord is king forever and ever.

Psalm 10:16

Jesus Christ is not a tyrant claiming divine right, but He is really and truly the Lord’s anointed! “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”1 God has given to Him all power and all authority.

As the Son of man, He is now head over all things in His church, and He reigns over heaven and earth and hell with the keys of life and death at His belt. Certain princes have been glad to call themselves kings by the popular will, and certainly our Lord Jesus Christ is such in His church. If it could be put to the vote whether He should be King in the church, every believing heart would crown Him. We ought to crown Him more gloriously than we do! We would regard no expense too great if we could glorify Christ. Suffering would be pleasure, and loss would be gain, if through that we could surround His brow with brighter crowns and make Him more glorious in the eyes of men and angels. Yes, He shall reign. Long live the King! All hail to You, King Jesus! Go on, you virgin souls who love your Lord. Bow at His feet; cover His path with the lilies of your love and the roses of your gratitude: “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.”

Our Lord Jesus is King in Zion by right of conquest: He has taken the hearts of His people by storm and has defeated their enemies who held them in cruel bondage. In the Red Sea of His own blood, our Redeemer has drowned the Pharaoh of our sins: Shall He not be Lord and King? He has delivered us from sin’s dominion and from the heavy curse of the law: Shall not the Liberator be crowned? We are His portion, whom He has taken out of the hand of the enemy with His sword and with His bow: Who will snatch His conquest from His hand? All hail, King Jesus! We gladly own Your gentle sway! Rule in our hearts forever, You lovely Prince of Peace.

1) Colossians 1:19

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 the Good Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ” (Psalm 23:1-3)

450 Sheep Jump to their deaths in Istanbul, Turkey — “‘First, one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff,’ Turkish news media reported. In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and their falls more cushioned.”

Wow. What a story! It is amazing to think that these sheep would be so dumb that they would jump off a cliff to their deaths. Before you say too many mean things about the sheep, though, remember what Isaiah 53:6 says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

What a humiliating thought it is to remember that we are spiritually what those sheep were physically. It sure makes perfect sense that we would need a good, guiding shepherd. Remember this: We are the sheep, and God is the good Shepherd.

Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The shepherds of the cliff-jumping sheep in the news story had left their flocks in order to take a breakfast break. In other words, they were busy feeding themselves instead of watching over the sheep that were in their care. Is God that kind of shepherd? No, He laid down His life for His sheep. The Lord Who is our Shepherd never leaves or forsakes His sheep.

We may stumble and fall as we travel from pasture to pasture, but our Shepherd is always there to help us up clean us up and lead us along. Maybe you have sung the hymn that goes like this: “In shady, green pastures so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along.” A shepherd protects and provides for his sheep. A good shepherd leads sheep to where the grass is green and where the clear water is flowing. He makes sure they are well taken care of.

God is our Shepherd and supplies the spiritual “food” that satisfies and nourishes our souls. Are you being satisfied with the spiritual food of the God’s Word? Are you being led by the good Shepherd? Stay away from spiritual “cliffs”! Do not destroy yourself by straying and wandering from the care and guidance of the good Shepherd. Rebellion against God’s shepherding leads to spiritual death and defeat. Remember: We are the sheep. God is the good Shepherd. Cling near the Shepherd’s side. Spend time listening to His voice, and follow His leadership. If you do, you will be protected and safe. You will be provided for and satisfied. And you will enjoy the fellowship that is only possible in the presence of the Lord.

God is the good Shepherd. His sheep know His voice and follow Him.

My Response: » Am I tempted sometimes to go do my “own thing” even if it goes against God’s leading? » How should trusting in God’s direction and provision help me fight against temptations to sin against Him? » What can I do to help other “sheep” who are heading off on their own self-destructive way?

Denison Forum – Is Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter good news for free speech?

Elon Musk has been called “America’s most powerful man.” The world’s richest person, he runs Tesla, the world’s most valuable car company, as well as a rocket maker, a tunnel-digging firm, and a brain-tech company. Now he has purchased Twitter for $44 billion.

After the announcement, Musk said, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey called Musk’s takeover and privatization of the social media platform the “right path” for the company, tweeting, “Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive’ is the right one.”

But is this the good news for free speech and for conservatives that it is being called?

Writing for National Review, Dan McLaughlin notes that with his purchase of Twitter, “Elon Musk is a hero to conservatives.” Then he warns us, “But here’s the important thing: he was once a hero to liberals and progressives, he wasn’t always a hero to conservatives, he’s not anything resembling a consistent conservative, and the day will come sooner or later that we are forcibly reminded that he is not one of us.”

In other words, Elon Musk is not “the light of the world.” That job has already been taken.

The only flashlight in a dark room

This week, we’ve discussed ways to be the change we need to see by defeating our “besetting” sins and living in the victorious power of Christ. This issue is vital not only for our souls but also for the future of our democracy.

Jesus called his followers “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). The definite article shows that we are the only light of the entire “world.” If I have the only flashlight in a dark room, the darkness is my fault. But when I display my light, it defeats the darkness every time (cf. John 1:5).

As a result, the morality our democracy needs depends on Christians following Christ so passionately and obediently that others want to follow Christ. Such a moral transformation cannot be catalyzed by secular leaders, no matter how wealthy and powerful they are, or by secular institutions, no matter how pervasive and influential they might be.

“Religion and morality are indispensable supports”

In a brilliant analysis of our cultural moment, writer and attorney David French makes this point by reference to a historic document I often cite. John Adams, our second president, wrote a letter in 1798 to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts (his home state). In it he makes the famous observation, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

It is Adams’ reasoning behind this assertion, however, that French wants us to consider: “We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge, or Gallantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net.”

This is why the US Constitution is adequate only for a “moral and religious People” and cannot govern any other.

The Constitution and the American legal system built upon it can help to restrict and punish immorality, but they cannot prevent it. If someone wants to slander you or steal from you, they can likely do so. At best, our system will help you seek redress and punish them for their crimes, but it cannot change the character that enabled such immorality.

Adams was not alone in his opinion. George Washington noted in his Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” He added, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

“The something I ought to do, I can do”

French concludes: “When our crisis is one of hatred, anxiety, and despair, don’t look to politics to heal our hearts. Our government can’t contend with ‘human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion.’ Our social fabric is fraying. The social compact is crumbling. Our government is imperfect, but if this republic fractures, its people will be to blame.”

The bottom line is that our democracy needs Christians to act like Christ, to demonstrate the “fruit” of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) and to declare and defend biblical truth in love (1 Peter 3:15–16Ephesians 4:15). We must not allow the urgency and enormity of the challenge to paralyze us into inaction: we are not responsible for what we cannot do, only for what we can.

In the famous words of Edward Everett Hale, “I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.”

Here’s the key: to represent Jesus in public, we must worship Jesus in private. To be much for him, we must be much with him. To reflect his light to our dark world, our “mirror” must focus on him. The closer we are to Jesus, the more powerfully we can draw others to Jesus.

Theologian N. T. Wright was right: “You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.”

Who or what is the “object of your worship” today?

Denison Forum