Our Daily Bread — A Heart for Service

Bible in a Year:

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God.

2 Corinthians 9:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Corinthians 9:12–13

A ministry in Carlsbad, New Mexico, supports their community by offering more than 24,000 pounds of free food each month to local residents. The leader of the ministry shared, “People can come here, and we will accept them and meet them right where they are. Our goal is . . . to meet their practical needs to get to their spiritual needs.” As believers in Christ, God desires for us to use what we’ve been given to bless others, drawing our communities closer to Him. How can we develop a heart for service that brings glory to God?

We develop a heart for service by asking God to show us how to use the gifts He’s given us to benefit others (1 Peter 4:10). In this way, we offer “many expressions of thanks to God” for the abundance He’s blessed us with (2 Corinthians 9:12).

Serving others was an important part of Jesus’ ministry. When He healed the sick and fed the hungry, many were introduced to God’s goodness and love. By caring for our communities, we’re following His model of discipleship. God’s wisdom reminds us that when we demonstrate God’s love through our actions, “others will praise God” (v. 13). Service isn’t about self-gratification but about showing others the extent of God’s love and the miraculous ways He works through those who are called by His name.

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

What’s motivated your service to the community? How might you be more intentional about using your gifts to bring glory to God?

Heavenly Father, I desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Please give me a heart for service. May it be an act of praise and gratitude to You.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Chosen to be Sent

“Having summoned His twelve disciples, [Jesus] gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles were these” (Matt. 10:1-2).

Every disciple must also be a discipler.

Have you ever met someone who constantly absorbs what the church has to offer, yet never seems to plug into a ministry where he can give to others? I’ve met many people like that. Some have attended church for many years, and have even taken evangelism and other special training classes. But they never quite feel qualified to minister to others or even to share their testimony. Eventually that has a crippling effect on their spiritual lives and on the life of the church in general.

When Jesus called the disciples to Himself, He did so to train them for ministry. We see that in Matthew 10:1-2. The Greek word translated “disciples” means “learners.” “Apostles” translates a Greek word meaning “to dispatch away from” or “send.” In classical Greek it refers to a naval expedition dispatched to serve a foreign city or country. Disciples are learners; apostles are emissaries. Jesus called untrained disciples, but dispatched trained apostles. That’s the normal training process.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says, “Go . . . and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Paul said to Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

As wonderful and important as it is to learn of Christ, you must never be content to be a disciple only. You must also be a discipler!

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Matthew 28:18-20. If you aren’t currently discipling someone, ask the Lord for an opportunity to do so.

For Further Study

An important part of discipleship is spending time with Christ. One way to do that is to read through the gospels on a regular basis. You might want to obtain a harmony of the gospels to help in your study. Tell a friend of your plan so he or she can encourage you and hold you accountable.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Loving One Another

Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now. Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother [in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

— 1 John 2:9–11 (AMPC)

Hate is an extremely strong and harsh word. Any discussion among believers about hating other Christians would lead most of them to say, “I don’t believe I have ever hated anyone.” If we think about these words of John, however, perhaps he didn’t mean hate as we think of it—feeling great hostility or animosity toward someone. Perhaps our form of hatred today is more like indifference. We don’t really dislike people, but we don’t care enough to help them when they have troubles and problems.

“Most of the loving I see today in the church is based on convenience,” someone told me recently. He went on to say that we will reach out to others as long as it’s convenient or doesn’t demand too much time or effort.

This opens a wide door of opportunity for Satan to separate us from those who most need our love. Jesus commanded us to love each other. In John 13:34–35, He said that people would recognize us as His disciples by our expressions of love toward one another. Perhaps one reason they don’t say that about many of today’s Christians is because too often we’re unwilling to go out of our way to meet the needs of others.

Love is an action verb. If you love others, you do things for them. To hate (in the biblical sense) is to do nothing or to turn away. To make it worse, you judge and criticize others and think, If they really loved God, they wouldn’t be in such a predicament.

You need to see that if you practice God’s “love walk,” you not only grow yourself, but you enable others to grow. The devil can’t do you much harm if you truly walk in loving relationship with others.

In my book Battlefield of the Mind, I shared the story of how I was extremely sick during my fourth pregnancy. When I prayed for healing, God reminded me that I had criticized another woman in our church who was always tired and sick during her pregnancy. Now, here I was in the same circumstances. I realized how wrong I had been and repented. But it took more than repenting—it also became a time of learning for me. God forced me to realize how often I had judged or criticized others because they didn’t measure up to the standards I thought they ought to live by.

All of us make mistakes. All of us have weaknesses. God didn’t call us to point out those weaknesses to the person (or worse, to someone else), but He did call us to care—to show Christ’s love in any way we can. The Bible tells us to be tenderhearted, understanding, and forgiving. That’s how we can win over satanic attacks. Paul says it this way: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:30–32 AMPC).

God used these verses to help me see that being Jesus’ disciple means being kind to others, tenderhearted, and forgiving. I also realized it meant overlooking their weaknesses and shortcomings. If we truly love others as Christ loves us, it isn’t difficult at all.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I want to love others, and I want to be kind and caring. I also know that I fail at times. In Your name, I ask You to forgive me, and enable me to forgive others who hurt me or don’t live up to my standards, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Our Royal Nature

You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable.

1 Peter 1:23

Peter earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other “earnestly from a pure heart” (verse 22), and he did so not on the basis of the law or human nature or philosophy, but from that high and divine nature that God has implanted in His people. In the same way that a sensible tutor of princes might seek to foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behavior, finding arguments in their position and pedigree, so, looking upon God’s people as heirs of glory, princes of royal blood, descendants of the King of kings, earth’s truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter said to them in essence, “See that you love one another because of your noble birth, being born of imperishable seed, because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things, and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade and even its existence shall cease.”

We would do well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature and lived up to it. What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity. The king’s royalty often lies only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth as a man is above the beast that perishes. Surely he shall conduct himself in all his dealings as one who is different from the crowd, chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, part of God’s “peculiar people.”1

Such trophies of God’s grace cannot grovel in the dust like some, nor live in the fashion of the world’s citizens. Let the dignity of your nature and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to hold fast to holiness and to avoid the very appearance of evil.

1) Titus 2:14, KJV

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 Loyal to His People

“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:26)

Do you know what it means to be loyal? Stella’s grandpa kept a white pony named Ginger on his farm. Whenever Stella visited Grandpa, she loved to ride Ginger around the pasture. Sometimes Stella would sit on the fence for an hour at a time talking to Ginger. When she would have to leave Ginger and go back home to the city, the pony stayed in her thoughts. Stella often drew pictures of Ginger or wrote about her in stories.

Now the truth is, Ginger was a very stubborn pony, and she was even a little bit mean at times. But if anyone ever said anything bad about her, Stella always stood up for her. She thought of Ginger as her horse. When Grandpa finally had to sell Ginger away to another farm, Stella went out to the empty pasture and found some long white hairs from her tail stuck in the fence. For years afterward, she kept that horsehair in a special little box. Her love for Ginger was loyal.

Did Ginger deserve to be loved like that? No, probably not. And neither do we. But God’s love for His people is just as loyal as that–in fact, it is even more loyal than any human love could be, because God is God. When you read the Old Testament, you can see God showing loyal love to His people, the Israelites, over and over again. He faithfully led them. He defended them against their enemies. He shared the deep thoughts and plans of His heart with them. He revealed Himself to them with wonderful miracles. He did not overlook their sin. When they broke their covenants with Him and went after idols, He always punished them. But even the punishments were signs of His loyalty. He never gave up on His people. He never “let them go.” He always drew them back. When they humbled themselves and sought Him, He mercifully restored them again to a right relationship with Him. And best of all, He sent them a Redeemer–His own dear Son, Jesus Christ.

The Hebrew word for God’s loyal love is hesed. You will often see this word in our English translations as lovingkindness or mercy. God acts the same toward His redeemed people today as He did toward His people Israel in the Old Testament days. He will never give up on His people, nor will He ever give up a good work that He has begun. He loves us with a loyal, steadfast love.

God’s love for His people is loyal and steadfast.

My Response:
» Am I loyal in my love for God?
» How can I demonstrate (show) loyalty like God’s in my relationships with my friends and family members?

Denison Forum – The latest on the Supreme Court leak and “the one and only pro-life argument”

The leak of a Supreme Court draft Monday evening is dominating the news again this morning.

Amy Howe, the Supreme Court analyst at SCOTUSblog, tweeted, “It’s impossible to overstate the earthquake this will cause inside the Court, in terms of the destruction of trust among the Justices and staff. This leak is the gravest, most unforgivable sin.” Criminal law professor Orin Kerr called the leak “the most egregious violation of confidentiality for a staff member or employee of the court that you can imagine.”

Barricades were erected around the Supreme Court building after the leak in anticipation of public reactions. This turned out to be a wise move, as demonstrators on both sides rallied Monday night and into Tuesday morning. Signs included “[expletive deleted] SCOTUS” and “Sam Alito Retire [expletive deleted].”

One activist wrote, “Seriously, shout out to whoever the hero was within the Supreme Court who said ‘[expletive deleted] Let’s burn the place down.’” Others issued similar calls for violence against the court.

After the Kavanaugh confirmation in 2018, hundreds of protesters tried to break down the Supreme Court’s bronze doors, scaled the building and its statues, and threw tomatoes and water bottles at the cars of justices who had attended his swearing-in. We are left to wonder what the reaction will be if the draft document does in fact mirror the court’s ruling this summer, or if it does not.

What prompted the leak?

Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement yesterday confirming the authenticity of the draft opinion leaked to POLITICO and announcing an investigation into the document’s disclosure, which he described as a “singular and egregious breach” of the court’s trust. According to Axios, “This is the first time in modern history that a ruling has leaked before the court issued it publicly.”

It is being reported that Roberts did not want to overturn Roe v. Wade, resulting in a five-to-four majority for such a ruling. However, draft opinions are far from final since justices often change their minds during the writing process. For example, in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the 1992 Supreme Court was reportedly ready to reverse Roe but ended up affirming it after further negotiation.

Some therefore believe that the leak was intended to “incite violence and bully justices into changing their votes.” On the other side of the coin, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat writes this morning that the leak “might suggest that a leaker on the conservative side hopes to freeze a wavering justice—Kavanaugh being the obvious candidate—into their initial vote.”

Legal experts are discussing the degree of illegality involved in the leak. Some Democrats are calling for Congress to pass a federal law codifying Roe v. Wade, seeking federal legislation that would override laws in states that restrict abortion. Some are demanding that the Senate eliminate the filibuster rule to pass such a bill.

Democrats and Republicans are both claiming that the ruling will help energize their supporters in the midterm elections. And some are calling for the Court to issue its ruling now rather than in late June or early July, arguing that the leak “was meant to corrupt the process.”

Meanwhile, Amazon promised to reimburse employees who travel to obtain abortions; Yelp announced that it would do the same. And as more states restrict abortion, an estimated fifty doctors are traveling across state lines to perform abortions in places with limited abortion access.

A brilliant case for life

How should Christians respond to this furor?

Writing for Public Discourse, law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen outlines what he calls “the one and only pro-life argument.” He makes a brilliant case that the issue comes down simply to this question: whether the unborn child is or is not a living human being. If it is, there can be no moral justification for killing it save in self-defense (saving the life of the mother).

He makes his point by asking whether any moral argument justifies killing “a born, living child.” He compiles all the “good” arguments for abortion: “poverty, economic or social stress, lost or delayed opportunities, single motherhood, male abandonment, sexual autonomy, conscientious but unsuccessful use of contraception, the child’s disability, rape or incest, the emotional or psychological distress of parenthood.” Then he asks whether any of these would “justify what we would otherwise recognize as the simple murder of a living newborn, infant, or toddler.”

Paulsen then compiles all the “bad” motives for forbidding abortion: “hypocrisy, callousness, intentional subjugation of women, discrimination, a desire to impose unwelcome religious beliefs upon others.” And he asks whether they would “render the deliberate killing of born, living human children right.”

His point is clear and compelling: if the unborn child is a living human being, he or she deserves the same protections of the state as any other living human being. In fact, Paulsen notes, “If the unborn child is factually a human life, then saving such lives from the violence of others is a compelling interest if ever there was one. Indeed, it is a moral obligation and imperative.”

Our most urgent imperative

Paulsen is right: as controversy over the leaked Supreme Court document swirls and the political ramifications of overturning Roe v. Wade dominate the cultural debate, the personhood of an unborn child should be our most urgent imperative. That’s why in my website article, “Abortion and the Mercy of God,” I offer an in-depth scientific, medical, and biblical argument that life begins at conception.

For today, let’s focus on this fact: we are in this to advocate for living human beings. We believe that David’s prayer is true of every human from the moment of conception:

You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . .

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13–1416).

Would you take a moment to thank God for forming you in your mother’s womb?

Would you thank God that your mother chose to give you life?

Would you ask God what you can do today to help someone else choose life?

NOTE: For a discussion of the moral arguments for and against abortion and biblical responses, I encourage you to listen to a new episode of The Denison Forum Podcast I recorded yesterday with Dr. Mark Turman. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Denison Forum