In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Fear in Adversity

When we’re struggling and afraid, the best thing we can do is put our trust in the One whose sovereignty rules over all.

Psalm 56:1-13

It’s impossible to live in this world without ever facing doubt, confusion, or apprehension. The Word of God doesn’t dismiss these concerns. Instead, it tells us what to do when we’re afraid. The best response is to admit your fears to the Lord and trust Him to work out the situation according to His will and timing.  

Many people want to hold anyone but God responsible for their adversity—that’s because they can’t reconcile why a good God would allow their situation. What they fail to realize is that the Lord is sovereign over everything, including the events of each believer’s life. And even hardships have a purpose in His plan. They can be tools for strengthening our faith and maturing us spiritually. When we choose to trust the Lord with our fears and uncertainties, we’re promised a better outcome than anything we could have fashioned ourselves (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If you’re going through difficulty, remember that God has “taken account of [your] miseries,” and even in these circumstances, He is for you (Ps. 56:8-9). Yield to Him, and let Him accomplish His purposes through your trials. When you trust in God, you have no reason to be afraid.  

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 16-18

Our Daily Bread — He Knows

Bible in a Year:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Psalm 139:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 139:1–5

Lea was about to start a job as a nurse in Taiwan. She’d be able to better provide for her family, more than she could in Manila, where job opportunities were limited. On the night before her departure, she gave instructions to her sister, who’d be taking care of her five-year-old daughter. “She’ll take her vitamins if you also give her a spoonful of peanut butter,” Lea explained, “And, remember, she’s shy. She’ll play with her cousins eventually. And she’s afraid of the dark . . .”

While looking out the plane window the next day, Lea prayed: Lord, no one knows my daughter like I do. I can’t be with her, but You can.

We know the people we love, and we notice all the details about them because they’re precious to us. When we can’t be with them due to various circumstances, we’re often anxious that since no one knows them as well as we do they’ll be more vulnerable to harm.

In Psalm 139, David reminds us that God knows us more than anyone does. In the same way, He knows our loved ones intimately (vv. 1–4). He’s their Creator (vv. 13–15), so He understands their needs. He knows what will happen each day of their lives (v. 16), and He’s with them and will never leave them (vv. 5, 7–10).

When you’re anxious for others, entrust them to God for He knows them best and loves them the most.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

Who can you entrust to God’s care? How can you show your trust in Him in this area?

Father in heaven, though I can’t always be with those I love, I entrust them to Your loving care, remembering that You know them the best and love them the most.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Gaining Spiritual Stability (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

Jesus can make an impulsive and vacillating Christian as stable as a rock.

The first disciple Matthew’s gospel names is “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2). He was a fisherman by trade but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men. John 1:40-42 records their first encounter: “One of the two who heard John [the Baptist] speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and . . . brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which translated means Peter).”

“Peter” means “stone.” “Cephas” is its Aramaic equivalent. By nature Simon tended to be impulsive and vacillating. Apparently Jesus named him Peter as a reminder of his future role in the church, which would require spiritual strength and stability. Whenever Peter acted like a man of strength, Jesus called him by his new name. When he sinned, Jesus called him by his old name (e.g., John 21:15-17). In the gospel of John, Peter is called “Simon Peter” seventeen times. Perhaps John knew Peter so well he realized he was always drifting somewhere between sinful Simon and spiritual Peter.

For the next few days we will see how Jesus worked with Peter to transform him into a true spiritual rock. It was an amazing transformation, but not unlike what He desires to do in every believer’s life.

You might not have the same personality as Peter, but the Lord wants you to be a spiritual rock just the same. Peter himself wrote, “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). That occurs as you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Make that your continual aim.

Suggestions for Prayer

List the areas of your Christian walk that are inconsistent or vacillating. Make them a matter of earnest prayer, asking God for wisdom and grace as you begin to strengthen them.

For Further Study

First Peter was written to Christians in danger of severe persecution. Read that epistle, noting the keys to spiritual stability that Peter gives.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Trusting God

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.

— Psalm 71:5 (AMPC)

Trusting God allows us to enter His rest, and rest is a place of peace where we are able to enjoy our lives while being confident God is fighting our battles.

God cares for us; He will solve our problems and meet our needs, and thankfully, we can stop thinking and worrying about them. I realize this is easier said than done, but there is no time like the present to begin learning a new way to live—a way of living that is without worry, anxiety, and fear.

This is the time to begin believing and saying, “I trust God completely; there is no need to worry! I will not give in to fear or anxiety. God is the source of my confidence.” The more you think about this truth, the more you will find yourself choosing trust over worry.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You that I don’t have to worry! I trust You to take care of me and to always be with me, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Tested and Battered

All the days of my service I would wait.

Job 14:14

Ashort stay on earth will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so enjoyable as work; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to danger. The bitter cups of earth will give a relish to the new wine that sparkles in the golden bowls of heaven. Our battered armor and scarred countenances will render more glorious our victory above, when we are welcomed to the seats of those who have overcome the world.

We would not have full fellowship with Christ if we did not sojourn for a while below, for He was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share His kingdom. Fellowship with Christ is so honorable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it.

Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we still have a part to play shining as light in the dark wilderness of sin.

Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God’s glory. A tested saint, like a well-cut diamond, glitters much in the King’s crown. Nothing reflects so much honor on a workman as a protracted and severe trial of his work and his triumphant endurance of the ordeal without giving in or giving up. We are God’s workmanship, and He will be glorified by our afflictions. It is for the honor of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy. Let each man surrender his own longings to the glory of Jesus and declare: “If my lying in the dust would elevate my Lord by so much as an inch, let me still lie among the pots of earth. If to live on earth forever would make my Lord more glorious, it should be my heaven to be shut out of heaven.”

Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it, but wait with patience until the gates of pearl shall open.

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 Most High

“Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” (Job 40:9)

In the Bible, God is sometimes called “the most high God.” What does this mean? Does it mean that God is high up in the sky, or that He lives above and beyond all of us down here on Earth? Well, we know from the Bible that God is everywhere. But the words “most high” refer to God’s preeminence, which means He is the greatest of all, the highest of all. God is everywhere, so He is “high” above us in that sense. But in a spiritual sense, He is higher and far above anyone or anything else. God is preeminent. He is the most high God.

But where is God in our thoughts? How do we think about Him? How important is He is our lives? Is He preeminent over all other loves and interests? Does the way we spend our time and money and energy show whether we believe God really is the most high God?

Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Nebuchadnezzar was the king ruling over these three young men. King Nebuchadnezzar thought so highly of himself (he had so much pride) that he had an image/idol of himself set up for his people to worship in his honor. Nebuchadnezzar considered himself a god, and he expected everyone to worship him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, however, served only the most high God. In fact, because they were true to God by not refusing to worship anyone or anything else, a whole kingdom learned about the most high God.

When their king grew angry with the three men, God saved them from dying in the fiery furnace that was their punishment. When God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar finally realized that God is the most high. Nebuchadnezzar figured it out that he himself was not most high. When he called the three men to come out of the furnace, the king even used a phrase that shows he understood finally. He called, “Ye servants of the most high God, come forth” (Daniel 5:18).

Maybe you do not have an idol you worship like Nebuchadnezzar did, but do you ever have a problem thinking too highly of yourself? How about the pride you take in a collection or hobby that you have? Do you start to treat something else or someone else as more important than God?

God is and always will be “the most high God.” No matter where we put God in our priorities or how often we think of Him, it does not change that He is the most high God. We can trust Him. We can serve Him and obey Him and never be ashamed. Psalms 57:2 says, “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”

Thank the most high God today that He is all you need to be completely satisfied. You need no other gods. Lift Him up high!

God is and always will be the most high God.

My Response:
» Do I acknowledge (think of, live before) God as “the most high”?
» How can my life be a testimony to the most high God in front of the leaders and people of my community?

Denison Forum – Two gifts every child needs to give and every mother needs to receive

Mother’s Day is coming at an unprecedented time for American society.

For the last two years, most mothers were forced to stay inside on this special day due to the pandemic. As a result, Mother’s Day spending is expected to total $31.7 billion this year, up 13 percent from last year. The average consumer will spend 25 percent more compared to the pre-pandemic level of 2019. Approximately 84 percent of US adults are expected to celebrate the holiday.

We should do everything we can do to honor and encourage our mothers. Has there been a time in our lifetime when Americans needed mothers who live and parent biblically more than today?

A “Mother’s Day Strike” to support abortion?

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court leak shocked the nation with reverberations that are continuing today. In one of the most ironic and contradictory announcements I can remember, some pro-abortion activists are calling for a “Mother’s Day Strike” to protest the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. They want people to cease working, shopping, attending school, and other activities.

While Americans are thanking our mothers for giving us life, they will be protesting for the right to end life. Their decision to use Mother’s Day for their cause reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s statement, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Here’s another sign of our times: President Biden announced yesterday that Karine Jean-Pierre will replace Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary when Psaki steps down on May 13. This is one of the most visible positions in our government. The press secretary’s briefings make the news almost every time they occur.

The president’s announcement was especially noteworthy for this reason: She will be the first Black woman and the first openly gay woman to hold the position.

Two gifts that change our lives

Here’s the good news for mothers and their children (that’s all of us): we have a Father who loves us unconditionally and whose word shows us how to encourage our mothers in empowering and transforming ways.

Ephesians 6 begins: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land’” (vv. 1–3). The text addresses all “children” of all ages and identifies two gifts every mother needs.

The first is to “obey” our mothers—the Greek word is a present active imperative calling us to seek and follow their guidance every day. The second is to “honor” them—the Greek word means to treat them with deference, respect, and kindness. It is also a present active imperative calling us to find ways to honor them every day.

Why are these gifts so important?

When we give them to our mothers, “it may go well with you,” referring to the quality of our lives, and “you may live long in the land,” referring to the quantity of our lives. These are not unconditional guarantees (the righteous Abel died at the hands of his unrighteous brother Cain, for example), but abiding principles. When we obey and honor godly mothers, our society is blessed. Our lives are blessed. And our mothers are blessed.

(There is much more to say about this remarkable text, so I invite you to read my sermon for this Sunday expanding on this biblical passage and its life-changing practical principles.)

Mental health resources I encourage you to consider

Whether you are a mother or a mother’s child, these two gifts can be life-giving. In addition, our ministry has sought in recent days to respond practically to the stress and anxiety of these days. As I noted on Monday, mental health challenges are very real and very pervasive in our society.

Consequently, I invite you to visit these resources on our Denison Forum website:

Rebecca Walls leads Unite, one of the most effective community engagement ministries I know. She has just published an article titled, “How to equip yourself to help others fighting anxiety and depression.” She shows us how to join a live, online overview that explains the basics of relational emotional healing and how to browse a site that helps people find the help they need.

Chris Legg, a pastor and licensed professional counselor, wrote an article titled “Struggling with mental illness? Consider these 7 ideas.” He identifies practical steps for those wrestling with mental illness and discusses ways the church can help.

Chris earlier wrote an article titled “3 reasons why churches fail at mental health.” He discusses the “perfection” trap, the “not-here” trap, and the “Bible is sufficient for everything” trap.

His son, Mark Legg, serves as our Associate Editor and wrote an article titled “Why are teens sadder, lonelier, and more depressed than ever before?” He notes the horrific escalation of sadness and loneliness among American teenagers, warns of mistaken answers, outlines four reasons for increasing persistent sadness, and offers parents some very practical ways to help children find their identity in Christ.

Dr. Lane Ogden, a licensed professional counselor and longtime friend, wrote an expansive article on what the Bible says about mental health. He explains how our minds work and how our thoughts and feelings interact, cites biblical verses on mental health, and identifies practical ways to increase healthy thinking.

I also wrote an article titled “Mental health for pastors: Three ways Jesus practiced self-care.” I focused on social distancing, gratitude in hard times, and the priority of physical health for mental health.

The model for the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic gifts ever given to our nation. Whom did the French sculptor Bartholdi fashion her after? He never formally answered the question, but as the Statue of Liberty tour website states, “There seems to really be only one person whom the Statue of Liberty most closely resembles.” A portrait of his mother, Charlotte Bartholdi, when placed next to the statue, shows that they are almost identical.

Bartholdi found a way to honor his mother every day.

How will you follow his example?

Denison Forum