In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Requirements of Waiting

God’s at work even in what feels like a delay—and His plans are worth the wait.

Psalm 25:1-22

In today’s psalm, we see David praying for protection and guidance as he waits for God. We all know how difficult waiting is during times of illness, danger, trouble, or confusion. But God can use these situations to develop the virtues He desires in our lives.

Faith. The Lord’s ways are nothing like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). His purposes are higher and eternal, whereas our desires are usually immediate and earthly. Even when we don’t understand why God delays, we can trust in His character and faithfulness, knowing He’ll do what’s best. 

Humility. Since the Christian life is God-directed rather than self-directed, submission to whatever He ordains for us requires humility. For this reason, we must acknowledge that the Lord is our Master and we’re totally dependent on Him.

Patience. In Scripture, this word means “long-suffering” or “forbearance.” It’s spiritual fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in us as we wait and trust God to intervene at the right time (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Are you willing to remain in your current position until the Lord acts on your behalf? Waiting on God isn’t passive or idle. It takes a determined focus on His wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness no matter how challenging a situation may seem.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 15-18

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Divine Tenderness

Bible in a Year:

[Elijah] looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

1 Kings 19:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Kings 19:4–10, 15–18

I once heard a businessman describe his years in college as a time when he often felt “helpless and hopeless” from bouts of depression. Sadly, he never talked to a doctor about these feelings, but instead started making more drastic plans—ordering a book on suicide from his local library and setting a date to take his life.

God cares for the helpless and hopeless. We see this in His treatment of biblical characters during their own dark times. When Jonah wanted to die, God engaged him in tender conversation (Jonah 4:3–10). When Elijah asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4), God provided bread and water to refresh him (vv. 5–9), spoke gently to him (vv. 11–13), and helped him see he wasn’t as alone as he thought (v. 18). God approaches the downhearted with tender, practical help.

The library notified the student when his book on suicide was ready to collect. But in a mix-up, the note went to his parents’ address instead. When his mother called him, distraught, he realized the devastation his suicide would bring. Without that address mix-up, he says, he wouldn’t be here today.

I don’t believe that student was saved by luck or chance. Whether it’s bread and water when we need it, or a timely wrong address, when mysterious intervention saves our lives, we’ve encountered divine tenderness.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How has God come through for you in a time of desperation? Where else have you seen divine tenderness in action?

Loving God, I praise You for Your tender, practical care for the helpless and hopeless.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Speaking from a Pure Heart

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

Your speech reveals the condition of your heart.

In verse 22 James talked about the delusion of hearing the Word without obeying it. Here he talks about the deception of external religious activity without internal purity of heart.

That’s a common deception. Many people confuse love of religious activity with love for God. They may go through the mechanics of reading the Bible, attending church, praying, giving money, or singing songs, but in reality their hearts are far from God. That kind of deception can be very subtle. That’s why James disregards mere claims to Christianity and confronts our motives and obedience to the Word. Those are the acid tests!

James was selective in the word he used for “religious.” Rather than using the common Greek word that speaks of internal godliness, he chose a word that refers to external religious trappings, ceremonies, and rituals— things that are useless for true spirituality.

He focuses on the tongue as a test of true religion because the tongue is a window to the heart. As Jesus said, “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt. 12:34). Corrupt speech betrays an unregenerate heart; righteous speech demonstrates a transformed heart. It doesn’t matter how evangelical or biblical your theology is, if you can’t control your tongue, your religion is useless!

You can learn much about a person’s character if you listen long enough to what he says. In the same way, others learn much about you as they listen to what you say. Do your words reveal a pure heart? Remember Paul’s admonition to “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). Make that your goal each day so you can know the blessing and grace of disciplined speech!

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to guard your tongue from speaking anything that might dishonor Him. Be aware of everything you say.

For Further Study

Read James 3:1-12.

  • What warning does James give?
  • What analogies does he use for the tongue?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Let Anyone Stop You

…We speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].

— 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (AMP)

Have you ever noticed that some of the most difficult resistance can come from the people closest to you? Longtime friends, trusted colleagues, and even family members can be the first people to discourage you when you begin to tell them about the decisions you’re making for God.

These people aren’t necessarily bad, but they can be a bad influence in your life if you allow them to hold you back from God’s best. Sadly, if people aren’t ready to move forward themselves, they often try to hold us back in order to feel better about their own lack of initiative.

Don’t let others keep you from receiving the new things God has for you. Don’t let their accusation or rejection determine your decisions. Pray for them, love them, but don’t let them hold you back from God’s best.

Prayer Starter: Lord, whatever You have for me—a new plan for better health, a new mindset, a new attitude, a new relationship, a new boldness, a new career—please help me to move ahead with perseverance and determination. Help me keep going forward, no matter what, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Happy and Holy

Remove far from me falsehood and lying.

Proverbs 30:8

Do not forsake me, O Lord!

Psalm 38:21

Here we have two great lessons—what to deprecate and what to supplicate. The happiest state of a Christian is the holiest state. Just as there is the most heat nearest to the sun, so there is the most happiness closest to Christ. No Christian enjoys comfort when his eyes are fixed on falsehood—he finds no satisfaction unless his soul is quickened in the ways of God.

The world may find happiness elsewhere, but he cannot. I do not blame ungodly men for rushing to their pleasures. Why should I? Let them have their fill. That is all they have to enjoy. A converted wife who despaired of her husband was always very kind to him, for she said, “I fear that this is the only world in which he will be happy, and therefore I have made up my mind to make him as happy as I can in it.” Christians must seek their delights in a higher sphere than the tasteless trifles or sinful enjoyments of the world. Empty pursuits are dangerous to renewed souls.

We have heard of a philosopher who, while he looked up to the stars, fell into a pit; but how deeply do they fall who look down. Their fall is fatal. No Christian is safe when his soul is lazy, and his God is far from him. Every Christian is always safe as to the great matter of his standing in Christ, but he is not safe as regards his experience in holiness and communion with Jesus in this life.

Satan does not often attack a Christian who is living near to God. It is when the Christian departs from God, becomes spiritually starved, and tries to feed on lies that the devil discovers his moment of advantage. He may sometimes stand foot to foot with the child of God who is active in his Master’s service, but the battle is generally brief. He who slips as he goes down into the Valley of Humiliation will find that with every false step he invites the devil’s attack. O for grace to walk humbly with our God!

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 – God Will Provide a Way To Escape

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I’ll never forget an experience I had as a five-year-old. I was visiting kindergarten for the first time, and I got stuck in the restroom. I was able to unlock the door, but it just wouldn’t budge open. I pushed and pulled, but I couldn’t get it to move. Then I panicked. Had the teacher forgotten about me? Would anyone ever find me? I began to cry, and thankfully, the teacher came to my rescue. She told me to crawl under the door to get out. How silly of me! Why hadn’t I thought of that myself? Soon I was on the other side and finally felt relief!

Have you ever been trapped somewhere and had the feeling that you wouldn’t be able to get out? Have you ever been tempted to do something wrong and just didn’t feel like doing the right thing? Sometimes when being tempted to do wrong, you feel so alone and maybe you even think that the most important people in your lives have forgotten about you.

But God hasn’t! In 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul says that God is faithful and will not leave you helpless in times of temptation. God will always provide a way for you to escape temptation.

Sometimes God allows temptations to happen in your life in order to test your faith in Him. Your circumstances may seem tough, but God offers you encouragement for each test. First, you are not alone. Every Christian is tempted to do wrong. Second, God knows how strong your faith is and knows how much you can take. Third, God always provides a way for you to escape temptation. He provides parents, teachers, and friends to help you resist temptation. He also gives you His Word, to help you fight temptation (Ephesians 6:10-11). Remember when Jesus was tempted by the Devil? Each time the Devil tempted Him (Luke 4), Jesus responded with verses from Scripture.

As a five-year-old, I wasn’t able to see that I could just crawl under the door to escape. Sometimes you might think that there’s no way that you escape temptations. But God knows exactly how He can help you, and He has promised to provide a way!

God always provides a way for you to resist temptation.

My Response:
» When am I tempted to do wrong?
» Do I look to God for help when I’m tempted to do wrong?
» What verses can I memorize to help me when I’m tempted?

Denison Forum – Senators reach bipartisan framework for addressing gun violence

Democratic and Republican senators announced an agreement yesterday on a legislative framework aimed at reducing mass shootings in America. The bipartisan group said they were working to write legislation that would give more funding to school security and mental-health programs. It would also provide incentives for states to implement and maintain red-flag laws and would include juvenile records in background checks for people buying guns who are under twenty-one years of age.

In a vital sign of support, ten Republicans have signed on to the agreement; if all fifty Democrats in the Senate support the legislation, it would then reach the sixty votes needed to advance. According to the Wall Street Journal, the framework puts lawmakers on course to advance the most expansive bipartisan gun violence measure since the assault weapons ban in 1994, which lapsed a decade later.

Their announcement comes a day after rallies and marches across the US advocated for gun reform in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. The nationwide event was organized by March for Our Lives, a group founded by student survivors of the Parkland, Florida, shooting that killed seventeen people in 2018.

China will “fight to the very end” for Taiwan

Violence and the threat of violence is dominating our news again this morning.

China’s defense minister stated yesterday that his country would “fight to the very end” to stop Taiwan’s independence. His speech came just weeks after President Joe Biden said the US would respond “militarily” if China attacked Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that momentum in Ukraine is shifting in Russia’s favor, as Ukraine lacks the weaponry it needs and Western support for the war effort is fraying in the face of rising gas prices and escalating inflation. Russia’s immoral invasion is turning cities across the Donbas region into ghost towns. Residents are fleeing in droves, leaving behind empty streets. Many who remain have no money to live elsewhere and struggle to find water, food, gas, and power.

Even preparing for war can be deadly: five US Marines were killed during a training flight crash last week in the California desert. One of them was the son of former Los Angeles Dodgers player Steve Sax, who said of him, “He was my hero and the best man I know. There was no better person to defend our country.”

In an ironically tragic picture of our times, ministries devoted to saving the unborn are being firebombed, attacked, and vandalized. According to a US Conference of Bishops report, there have been at least 134 arson and vandalism attacks on churches in thirty-five states and the District of Columbia in the last two years.

The secret to changing the world

If the day’s news causes you to doubt whether there is anything you can do to make a difference, you’re right. You cannot convict Vladimir Putin, an arsonist, or anyone else of their sins or save their souls. Neither can I.

However, our Lord “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). Able translates the Greek dynamai, from which we get “dynamite.” Far more abundantly could be translated, “immeasurably more than.” The “power at work within us” is again dynamis.

A literal translation of Paul’s proclamation would therefore assure us that God “has the explosive power to do immeasurably more than anything we can ask and think according to the same explosive power that is already at work in us.” This “power at work within us” is the Holy Spirit.

When you trusted Christ as your Lord, his Spirit came to live in you as his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) with the very power that created the world (Genesis 1:1), “convict[s] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8), empowered Jesus’ ministry (Acts 10:38), “gives life” (John 6:63), and will “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). He will empower us and use us in ways beyond anything “that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

The secret to changing the world is admitting that we cannot change the world, then submitting to the only One who can.

Learning from the “Harp of the Holy Spirit”

St. Ephrem of Syria (AD 306–73) was a prolific poet, teacher, orator, and defender of the faith. He is especially known as one of the first to introduce song into the Church’s public worship as a means of instructing the faithful. He often took popular songs of heretical groups, used their melodies, and changed their words to embody orthodox doctrine. His many hymns earned him the title, “Harp of the Holy Spirit.”

What was the secret to such a remarkably effective ministry?

In Epistle to a Disciple, Ephrem wrote: “My beloved in the Lord, before every other thing set humility in thy mouth when thou art ready to make answer, for . . . thou knowest that by humility all the power of the Enemy is brought to naught. . . . My son, array thyself in humility, and thou shalt make the virtues of God be with thee. And if, my son, thou art in a state of humility, no passion whatsoever shall have power to draw nigh thee.”

Are you in “a state of humility” today?

NOTE: Long ago, Alfred North Whitehead asserted that great people plant trees they’ll never sit under. I use that quote often because it’s so true. Your ongoing support of our ministry sows seeds of biblical truth in the lives of believers across the globe. Please give today, knowing that your gift will be doubled by a generous matching grant of $35,000. Your giving makes a world of difference.

Denison Forum