In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Strong Foundation

Circumstances cannot shake a strong foundation of faith.

Psalm 62:1-12

In a tumultuous world, where can stability be found? We can’t count on political leaders, financial institutions, healthcare providers, or any other human institution to keep us safe and secure. There is only one sure foundation, and that is the Lord our God. 

David, who wrote today’s psalm, lived with many dangers and trials. But he knew that with God as his stronghold, he would not be deeply shaken by earthly events. And that is true for anyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He’s characterized by love, justice, and faithfulness in His interactions with us. We can have great confidence because our God is self-existent and unchangeable. He knows all things, has all power, and is present everywhere. 

Is your faith grounded on these truths about your Rock? Do you believe God is completely dependable in His dealings with you? Can you trust that He loves you during hard times when you’re still waiting for prayers to be answered? Do you accept that His guidance is based on His unlimited knowledge and love for you, even when you don’t understand or like His choices for your life? This is what constitutes a strong foundation of faith.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 21-23

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Uncommon Courage

Bible in a Year:

Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.

Daniel 2:24

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Daniel 2:24–30

In 1478, Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of Florence, Italy, escaped an attack on his life. His countrymen sparked a war when they tried to retaliate against the attack on their leader. As the situation worsened, the cruel King Ferrante I of Naples became Lorenzo’s enemy, but a courageous act by Lorenzo changed everything. He visited the king unarmed and alone. This bravery, paired with his charm and brilliance, won Ferrante’s admiration and ended the war. 

Daniel also helped a king experience a change of heart. No one in Babylon could describe or interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream. This made him so angry that he decided to execute all his advisors—including Daniel and his friends. But Daniel asked to visit the king who wanted him dead (Daniel 2:24).

Standing before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel gave God all the credit for revealing the mystery of the dream (v. 28). When the prophet described and deciphered it, Nebuchadnezzar honored the “God of gods and the Lord of kings” (v. 47). Daniel’s uncommon courage, which was born of his faith in God, helped him, his friends, and the other advisors avoid death that day.

In our lives, there are times when bravery and boldness are needed to communicate important messages. May God guide our words and give us the wisdom to know what to say and the ability to say it well.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How has someone’s bravery made a difference in your life? How can you rest in God’s power to act courageously for Him?

Dear Jesus, thank You for the courage You showed during Your life on earth. Fill me with Your wisdom and power when I face tense situations.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Overcoming Pessimism (Philip)

The twelve apostles included “Philip” (Matt. 10:3).

Pessimism will blind you to the sufficiency of God’s resources.

It’s been said that an optimist sees a glass half full; a pessimist sees it half empty. An optimist sees opportunities; a pessimist sees obstacles. In one sense Philip was an optimist. He recognized Jesus as the Messiah and immediately saw an opportunity to share his discovery with Nathanael. In another sense, Philip was a pessimist because on occasions he failed to see what Christ could accomplish despite the apparent obstacles.

On one such occasion Jesus had just finished teaching and healing a crowd of thousands of people. Night was falling and the people were beginning to get hungry. Apparently Philip was responsible for the food, so Jesus asked him, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Philip said, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little” (v. 7). In other words, “We don’t have enough resources in our whole savings account to buy enough food for a group this size!” Philip’s calculating, pragmatic, pessimistic mind could reach only one conclusion: this is an utter impossibility.

Jesus knew all along how He was going to solve the problem, but He wanted to test Philip’s faith (v. 6). Philip should have passed the test because he had already seen Jesus create wine from water at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). Despite Philip’s failure, Jesus didn’t give up on him. Instead, from five barley loaves and two fish He created enough food to feed the entire crowd, thus replacing Philip’s pessimism with a reaffirmation of divine sufficiency.

There’s a little of Philip in each of us. We’ve experienced God’s saving power and have seen Him answer prayer, yet there are times when we let pessimism rob us of the joy of seeing Him work through obstacles in our lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Keep your eyes on Christ and trust in His sufficiency. He will never fail you!

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Ephesians 3:20-21. Recite it often as a hymn of praise and an affirmation of your faith in God.

For Further Study

Read Numbers 13 and 14.

  • What kind of report did the pessimistic spies bring back from the Promised Land?
  • How did the people react to their report?
  • How did God react to their report?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Believing God

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

— James 2:23 (NIV)

Believing God is very important. I am not talking about simply believing that God exists but believing everything He says and being obedient to what He asks you to do. Abraham was even obedient when God asked him to sacrifice his son (see Genesis 22:2). Later, the Bible refers to him as God’s friend. In addition, the writer of Hebrews understood that believing is the key to entering the type of rest God offers us (see Hebrews 4:2–3, 9).

Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha because their brother, Lazarus, had died (see John 11:1–44). He had already been dead and in his tomb for four days, but Jesus commanded them to roll away the stone anyway. Martha expressed her unbelief by saying it was too late to do anything, and Jesus told her if she would only believe she would see the glory of God (see John 11:40).

God asks us to believe, and as we do, we will see His glory, enter His rest, and be called His friend. Abraham’s belief was credited to him as righteousness, and our belief in Jesus makes us the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV).

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for calling me Your friend. Help me to move beyond simply believing in You, to believing everything You say and do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – God’s Chosen Servants

You are my servant, I have chosen you.

Isaiah 41:9

If we have received the grace of God in our hearts, its practical effect has been to make us God’s servants. We may be unfaithful servants, we certainly are unprofitable ones, but yet, blessed be His name, we are His servants, wearing His uniform, eating at His table, and obeying His commands. We were once the servants of sin, but He who made us free has now taken us into His family and taught us obedience to His will. We do not serve our Master perfectly, but we would if we could. As we hear God’s voice saying unto us, “You are My servant,” we can answer with David, “I am your servant. . . . You have loosed my bonds.”1

But the Lord calls us not only His servants, but His chosen ones—“I have chosen you.” We have not chosen Him first, but He has chosen us. If we are now God’s servants, it wasn’t always so; the change must be ascribed to sovereign grace. The eye of sovereignty singled us out, and the voice of unchanging grace declared, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”2 Long before time began or space was created, God had written upon His heart the names of His elect people, had predestinated them to be conformed unto the image of His Son, and ordained them heirs of all the fullness of His love, His grace, and His glory.

What comfort is here! Having loved us for so long, will the Lord then reject us? He knew how stiff-necked we would be, He understood that our hearts were evil, and yet He made the choice. Our Savior is no fickle lover. He does not feel enchanted for a while with some gleams of beauty from His church’s eye and then afterwards reject her because of her unfaithfulness. No, He married her in old eternity; and He hates divorce! The eternal choice is a bond upon our gratitude and upon His faithfulness, which neither can disown.

1) Psalm 116:16
2) Jeremiah 31:3

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – My God Knows Me

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. . . For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalm 139:1, 4)

How many words do you speak in a day? Have you ever counted? Probably not! But did you know that God knows how many words you spoke today? Not only that, but He knows what words you spoke and exactly what you were thinking when you said them! He knows if your words were kind or unkind, loving or unloving, respectful or disrespectful. He knows if you just talked about yourself all day or if you thought to ask about someone else’s life.

Psalm 139 says that God knows everything about you! It even says that He knows every time you sit down and every time you get back up. He knows everything you say, everything you do, and even everything you think…both good and bad. No one else knows that much about you, not even your Mom or Dad or your best friend.

This psalm also says that God is always with you. You cannot run away or hide from God like you can from other people.

So, if God knows everything about you, and He is always with you, what does that mean? It means that you must remember to obey Him. Ask God to help you remember to speak only good and kind words, and ask Him to help you do and think right things.

If you are a Christian, it should comfort you to know that God is always with you and that He knows all about you. You should be glad when His voice talks to your heart when you do wrong. Always listen to His voice and obey right away. There is nothing that will make you ultimately happier than pleasing Him.

God knows you better and loves you more than anyone else in the whole world.

My Response:
» Do I remember throughout the day that God is listening to my words and knowing my thoughts? https://equipu.kids4truth.com

Denison Forum – Congress to hold UFO hearing today: What God may have intended with the question of alien life

A US House of Representatives subcommittee will meet today for the first open congressional hearing on UFOs since 1970. The hearing is in response to a report delivered to Congress last June by the intelligence community and the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force.

That Task Force has since been reconstituted as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, which exists to “detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in Special Use Airspace and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security.”

If you read all that and came away thinking that there are probably better ways our government could be spending their time and resources, well, you’re not alone.

Even the chairman of the House subcommittee holding the hearing, André Carson, confessed “I’ve gotten some chuckles” from others about the meeting. He went on to add, though, that “it’s something I’m passionate about and I think I can take the heat. This may be the very thing that brings Democrats and Republicans together, at least for an hour or two.”

He also argued, on a more serious note, that the hearing was important because “this is an area of high public interest” and “any undue secrecy can serve as an obstacle to solving the mystery, or it could prevent us from finding solutions to potential vulnerabilities.”

Regardless of what you may believe personally about aliens and UFOs, Rep. Carson is right that it’s an area of high public interest.

But if it’s not an area of personal interest to you, why should you still care?

What does the Bible say about alien life?

Let’s start with a basic, but necessary, point of clarification.

If your faith in God feels threatened or shaken by the prospect of life existing outside of our planet, then you should first consider wrestling with why that’s the case.

Nothing in the Bible expressly denies the existence of extraterrestrial life. Neither does anything in the Bible require us to believe it’s out there. Why? Because the Bible is far more concerned with your life and my life here on Earth—and, more specifically, how to live that life in relationship with God—than it is that speculative question.

Satan would love it if we became divided over or obsessed with an issue that, most likely, just doesn’t matter instead of focusing on the things that do.

That said, I do think it’s telling that so many in our culture are fascinated by this subject.

A poll taken last year around the time that the initial report was released found that roughly two-thirds of Americans believe that it’s more likely than not for intelligent life to exist on other planets. One of the most commonly cited reasons is that the universe is just so big that the odds of us being alone seem improbably low.

And that conclusion makes sense, from a certain point of view.

After all, the part of the universe we can see is an estimated 93 billion light-years across and still expanding. Beyond its sheer size, the universe is also filled with countless stars, planets, galaxies, and other cosmological phenomena.

When you couple that information with the fact that there are really only two accepted theories for how life started on Earth—either it evolved naturally or was created—it becomes easy to see why people on either side of that divide would believe there’s simply too much out there for us to be alone.

But what if, rather than starting with what we can observe, we instead start with what God has revealed in the Bible?

Why did God create such an expansive universe?

If, as Genesis 1 describes, God created everything that exists by merely speaking it into existence, then the size of that existence really shouldn’t matter. Whether it was one planet or a million, one sun or a million, it’s not like it was a struggle for him. Nothing in Scripture indicates that he would feel compelled to create life on other planets simply because he created other planets. It’s not like they’re going to waste by just orbiting around in the universe unoccupied.

The argument that intelligent life exists on other planets because the universe is too big for us to be alone is predicated on a mindset that—if the Bible is correct—simply is not necessary to hold.

Rather, what if the reason God created an ever-expanding universe filled with stars, planets, and mysteries we still haven’t even begun to grasp is to point us back to him?

What if that sense we get of feeling like an infinitesimal speck when we look up at the night sky was meant to remind us of our need for the one who holds all that we can see and more in the palm of his hand (Isaiah 40:12)?

And what if our universe was a gift that God intended to remind us of just how much he loves us and how special we are to him?

People have looked to the stars and have been drawn to the divine in most every culture across human history. That is not a coincidence.

So, as our national attention once again shifts to the expanse of space, ask God to help you use that focus to point people back to him and to remind them of his love.

After all, that’s why it’s there.

Denison Forum