In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Strength in Waiting

Waiting on God is always valuable, and He promises to equip us in the meantime.

Isaiah 40:12-31

Our Creator has no need for anyone to direct or counsel Him (Isa. 40:13). Yet so often we want to tell Him exactly what to do and how to answer our prayers. Then we’re disappointed when He ignores all our advice. Like Israel, we might say, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God” (Isa. 40:27). But we, not God, are the ones who lack understanding.

Sometimes we grow weary in the trials of life. However, God’s ways are always right, and He promises to give strength to those who wait for Him (Isa. 40:31). Isaiah uses the imagery of an eagle with wind beneath his wings to illustrate how God lifts and carries us through times when we don’t clearly discern the way.

In difficult situations, we often don’t know which way to turn. But God wants us to wait patiently and depend on Him for the strength we need to endure. When the time is right, He’ll answer our prayers, guide our path, and give us relief. Until then, we acknowledge that His understanding is inscrutable and He never chooses a wrong path for us—even when it’s slow going.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 19-22

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Pride and Deception

Bible in a Year:

The pride of your heart has deceived you.

Obadiah 1:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Obadiah 1:1-4

Loving God, thank You for Your gentle, nudging correction. With my shoulders slumped, I murmured those difficult words. I’ve been so arrogant, thinking I could do it all on my own. For months, I’d been enjoying successful work projects, and the accolades lulled me into trusting my capabilities and rejecting God’s leading. It took a challenging project for me to realize I wasn’t as smart as I thought. My proud heart had deceived me into believing I didn’t need God’s help.

The powerful kingdom of Edom received discipline from God for its pride. Edom was located amid mountainous terrain, making her seemingly invulnerable to enemies (Obadiah 1:3). Edom was also a wealthy nation, situated at the center of strategic trade routes and rich in copper, a highly valued commodity in the ancient world. It was full of good things yet also full of pride. Its citizens believed their kingdom was invincible, even as they oppressed God’s people (vv. 10–14). But God used the prophet Obadiah to tell them of His judgment. Nations would rise up against Edom, and the once-powerful kingdom would be defenseless and humiliated (vv. 1–2).

Pride deceives us into thinking we can live life on our terms, without God. It makes us feel invulnerable to authority, correction, and weakness. But God calls us to humble ourselves before Him (1 Peter 5:6). As we turn from our pride and choose repentance, God will guide us toward total trust in Him.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What happens when blessings in your life become sources of pride? How can pride deceive you?

Father, protect me from pride. Please give me a humble heart.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Integrity Endures Criticism

 “For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. . . . ‘There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up’” (Daniel 3:8-12).

Expect spiritual opposition.

Have you noticed that whenever you take a public stand for righteousness you feel the reaction of the world more strongly? Even something as noble as doing your work with integrity and diligence can bring ridicule, rejection, or even open hostility. But that shouldn’t surprise you.
Jesus said, “‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). The apostle Paul warns that “indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were well-acquainted with spiritual opposition, and in today’s passage they are targets of envious Chaldeans who want to see them put to death. The accusations brought against them were not entirely true because they had not disregarded the king. On the contrary, they were model citizens and exemplary leaders. They had attended the king’s ceremony and fulfilled all their other civil duties insofar as those duties did not violate their responsibility to God.

Their accusers weren’t motivated by loyalty to the king or by their personal allegiance to his religious views. They were jealous and resentful because they hated having Jewish captives ruling over them (see Dan. 2:49).

Sometimes Christians today will do their work excellently and be promoted over their peers, only to incur the displeasure of jealous workmates who criticize or bring false and discrediting accusations against them. If ever you are in that situation, you need to be especially diligent to do your work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23), to guard your own attitude, and to let the Lord be your defender.

Suggestions for Prayer

In obedience to the Lord, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

For Further Study

Read Daniel 6.

  • What parallels do you see between Daniel’s situation and our current passage?
  • How did God prove Himself faithful in each?

From Strength for Today 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 – Lie Low Before the Throne

To us, O Lord, belongs open shame … Because we have sinned against you.

Daniel 9:8

Adeep sense and clear view of sin, its dreadfulness, and the punishment that it deserves should make us lie low before the throne. We have sinned as Christians. It is sad that it should be so. We have been favored, and yet we have been ungrateful; privileged beyond most, but we have not brought forth fruit in proportion. Who is there, although he may have been engaged in the Christian warfare for years, who will not blush when he looks back upon the past? As for our days before we were born again, may they be forgiven and forgotten; but since then, though we have not sinned as before, yet we have sinned against light and against love—light that has really penetrated our minds, and love in which we have rejoiced.

The sin of a pardoned soul is an atrocity! An unpardoned sinner sins cheaply compared with the sin of one of God’s elect, who has had communion with Christ and leaned upon Him for his comfort. Look at David! Many will talk of his sin, but I ask you to look at his repentance and hear his broken bones as each one of them moans out its mournful confession! Consider his tears as they fall upon the ground, and the deep sighs with which he accompanies the softened music of his harp!

We have strayed: Let us, therefore, seek the spirit of penitence. Look again at Peter! We often speak of how he denied Christ. Remember, it is written, “He wept bitterly.” Do we have no denials of our Lord to be lamented with tears? These sins of ours, before and after conversion, would consign us to the place of inextinguishable fire if it were not for God’s sovereign mercy, which snatched us like sticks from the fire.

My soul, bow down under a sense of your natural sinfulness, and worship your God. Admire the grace that saves you—the mercy that spares you—the love that pardons you!

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 Is Sending a King

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.” (Psalm 72:18)

Do you ever wish you could be a king or queen? It seems like kings and queens have everything! They have whatever food they want. They have servants to do their every bidding. People have to bow down to them out of respect. They tell their military leaders when to go to war. They can give away their money or jewels to whomever they want. It seems like being a king or queen would be the best thing in all the world.

David was a king, but he knew that his subjects, the people of Israel, deserved a better king than he was. So he prayed for a great king to rule perfectly over Israel. He wrote this prayer down in Psalm 72.

God is going to send a righteous king (vv.1-3, 7). Because God’s king will treat all people fairly, whether they are rich or poor, there will be peace for a very long time. When God’s king rules, there will be peace all over the world. God’s king will rule “from sea to sea and….unto the ends of the earth” (v. 8). Kings from all over the world, including places such as Spain and Saudi Arabia, will come to him with gifts because of how great he is.

God is going to send a king who will protect the “poor and needy” from evil. He will “redeem their soul from deceit and violence.” This king will care for his people so much that he will protect them not only from physical danger but also from spiritual harm.

God is going to send a king who will rule forever! Sometimes people in history have been glad when a king died, because he was not a good king. But the king that God will send will be blessed – that means honored – by all nations because of how wonderful he is.

So David blesses the Lord God because He will do the wondrous thing of sending this great king. David did not know who the king would be, but you and I do. Jesus is the king! When the wise men came looking for Jesus, they asked where the King of the Jews would be born. At the triumphal entry the people called Jesus a king. When Jesus spoke to Pilate at His trial, He told Pilate about His kingdom. Jesus is the king for whom David prayed.

God has sent a King for you to honor – and that King is coming again!

My Response:
» King Jesus came once to redeem sinners, and He is coming again to be King of All. Are you praying for Him to come as David prayed? Are you expecting Him to come as David expected Him?

Denison Forum – What will happen when the Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade?

On this day in 1940, the first prisoners arrived at Auschwitz; more than one million Holocaust victims eventually died there. Every time I visit Israel, I grieve again for the six million Jews—a quarter of whom were children—murdered by the Nazis.

Closer to home, there were more mass shootings in the US last weekend, leaving at least ten people dead and forty-two injured in ten cities. Such tragedies are horrifically devastating; one is too many.

However, during that same three-day period, more than 5,400 babies were aborted in the US. (I calculated this number based on the CDC’s total of US abortions in 2019, the last year on record, divided by 365 days and multiplied by three.) Since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, more than sixty-three million babies have been aborted in the US, ten times the number of Jewish Holocaust victims.

Could the ruling that enabled these deaths be overturned today?

On May 1, a draft Supreme Court opinion was leaked that would overturn Roe v. Wade and return the question of abortion to the states. It was not final, so we will not know the Court’s actual ruling until it is released. The Court typically releases its opinions on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and on the third Monday of each sitting. Since the Court recesses this year on June 26, their ruling on Roe will be released within days, perhaps today.

What will happen if the Court overturns Roe? Let’s discuss three relevant questions and then turn to a holistic biblical response.

Where will abortion be legal?

According to the Guttmacher Institute (GI), twenty-six states have laws indicating that they intend to ban abortions. Thirteen have enacted “trigger laws” that would ban abortion altogether if Roe is reversed. Of these thirteen, four also have pre-Roe bans that could be enforced if the ruling is overturned. Five other states that have not enacted “trigger laws” also have such pre-Roe bans.

In addition, seventeen states have passed other bans or extreme limits on abortion that could be enforced without Roe; four of them are not included in the “trigger bans” and /or pre-Roe law groups. And GI classifies four additional states as “likely” to ban abortion based on the state’s history and political atmosphere.

On the other side, sixteen states plus the District of Columbia protect the right to abortion through state law. By my count, they total more than 118 million in population. Other states are likely to pass similar laws soon. Some states such as Maryland are increasing their capacity to conduct abortions.

What about “out of state” abortions?

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed into law a series of abortion bills yesterday that protect providers as well as patients coming from out of state seeking to access abortion. Connecticut and Washington have passed laws that would shield resident abortion providers from facing penalties under abortion laws in other states. Bills progressing through the Illinois and Connecticut legislatures would protect patients traveling from out of state and providers who care for them.

Meanwhile, a law proposed in Missouri would make it illegal to help someone get an abortion even in a different state.

After the Supreme Court draft leak, at least thirteen companies (Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Citigroup, Yelp, Match, Bumble, Levi Strauss, Lyft, Uber, and Mastercard)  announced plans to pay for abortion travel across state lines.

What about pharmaceutical abortions?

The FDA announced last year that it would continue its pandemic-era policy to allow medication abortion, also known as the “abortion pill,” to be prescribed via telemedicine. Medication abortion now accounts for the majority of US abortion. In response, a Texas law bans abortion-inducing drugs seven weeks into pregnancy.

If the Court overturns Roe, it is plausible that states which ban abortion will seek to ban pharmaceutical abortions as well. However, there is no clear precedent for a state to ban a medication the FDA has approved.

Rejecting three lies that empower abortion

As you can see, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade today or in the next two weeks, the battle over abortion will shift from the federal level to the states and even local communities. Those of us who believe life is sacred from conception to natural death will be on the front lines. We will need to do all we can for the sake of the unborn, their biological parents and families, and our larger culture.

Abortion has been legal in the US for nearly fifty years because our society has embraced three lies:

  • Radical personal autonomy (“My body, my choice”) tempts us to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5).
  • Utilitarian ethics values people based on what they do (the unborn and the infirm are thus especially at risk) rather than who they are as bearers of the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
  • The privatization of religion separates biblical truth from daily life, rejecting the biblical call to holistic faith (Romans 12:1–2) and reducing God to a hobby.

To win the abortion battle, you and I must first reject these lies in our personal lives. We must refuse the temptation to make God a means to our ends, value every person as Jesus does, and make him our king and Lord every day.

Then we can pray for the unborn to be saved and cherished, use our influence wherever we can, and support ministries that serve the cause of life with truth and love (Ephesians 4:15).

Pope Benedict XVI was right: “The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right—it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society.”

How will you help heal this wound today?

Denison Forum