In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Our Protector

Though hardship in life is inevitable, God is our protector and refuge, and He is with us through it all.

Psalm 62:5-8

Have you noticed all the instability in our world today? There is much to fear if we have only ourselves or others to rely on in these troubling times. But God is our Protector, and when we run to Him, we can have peace in the midst of uncertainty. If He is our Rock, then we won’t be shaken by the events in this world or even those in our own life.

The Lord is able to safeguard us in treacherous times. No matter where trouble originates—with others, external circumstances, or our own actions—we can find ourselves in danger and afraid. Thankfully, we have a loving God who leads us to safety.

Now that doesn’t mean the Lord will rescue us from all trouble, but He will walk with us through every painful circumstance. As we pour out our heart to God and let His Word bring comfort, He will renew our mind, calm our fears, and strengthen our trust in Him.

Do you take refuge in God when circumstances are frightening, or do you watch the news or browse the web looking for hope and reassurance? The world cannot provide the help you seek. Only when the Lord is your stronghold will you remain unshaken.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 23-28

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Investing in Others

Bible in a Year:

Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves.

Luke 16:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Luke 16:1–12

When a corporation offered one thousand frequent-flier miles for every ten purchases of one of their foods, one man realized their cheapest product was individual cups of chocolate pudding. He bought more than twelve thousand. For $3,000, he received gold status and a lifetime supply of air miles for himself and his family. He also donated the pudding to charity, which netted him an $800 tax write-off. Genius!

Jesus told a controversial parable about a cunning manager who, as he was being fired, reduced what debtors owed his master. The man knew he could rely on their help later for the favor he was doing them now. Jesus wasn’t praising the manager’s unethical business practice, but He knew we could learn from his ingenuity. Jesus said we should shrewdly “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). As “the pudding guy” turned twenty-five cent desserts into flights, so we may use our “worldly wealth” to gain “true riches” (v. 11).

What are these riches? Jesus said, “Give to the poor” and you will “provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (12:33). Our investment doesn’t earn our salvation, but it does affirm it, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 34).

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

How have you recently helped meet someone’s physical needs? Why is your charity an investment?

Loving God, help me to invest in the poor, for Jesus’ sake and Yours.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Integrity Walks in Humility

“Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe, and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you will not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?’” (Daniel 3:13-15).

God humbles the proud but gives grace to the humble.

When King Nebuchadnezzar asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” he showed the extent to which a person can be blinded by sinful pride and arrogance. It is sheer folly to pit one’s power against God’s, but that’s precisely what he did.

Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude reflects that of Satan himself, who boasted that he would ascend into Heaven and make himself like the Most High God (Isa. 14:13-14). God is quick to correct such foolish notions. Later in his life Nebuchadnezzar learned that “everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished” (Prov. 16:5). After being severely chastened by God, the king came to his senses and proclaimed, “I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Dan. 4:37).

Although they may not be as openly defiant as Nebuchadnezzar was, everyone who willfully disobeys God’s Word is following his example by exalting their own will over God’s and challenging His authority in their lives.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to keep you humble and to forgive any subtle pride you may be harboring in your heart.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 31:23-24 and James 4:13-16.

  • How does the psalmist encourage the humble?
  • What is James’s caution to those who live as if they are not accountable to God?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Come Close

Come close to God and He will come close to you….

— James 4:8 (AMPC)

Not everyone is willing to pay the price required to be close to God. Not willing to simply take the time required or make the investments needed for spiritual growth. God doesn’t ask for all our time. He certainly wants us to do things we don’t consider “spiritual.” He designed us with bodies, souls (minds, wills, and emotions), and spirits, and He expects us to take care of all these areas. Exercising our bodies and caring for our souls takes time and effort. Our emotions need to be ministered to; we need to have fun and be entertained, and we need to enjoy being with other people. Our minds need to grow and be renewed daily. In addition, we have a spiritual nature that needs attention. To stay balanced and healthy, we must take time to take care of our entire being.

I believe the whole issue of intimacy with God is a matter of time. We say we don’t have time to seek God, but the truth is that we take time to do the things that are most important to us. Even though we all have to fight distractions every day, if knowing God and hearing from Him is important to us then we will find time to do it. Don’t try to work God into your schedule, but instead work your schedule around time with Him.

Getting to know God is a long-term investment, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get instant results. Be determined to honor Him with your time and you will reap the benefits.

Prayer Starter: Father, I want to get more intimate with You. Help me to keep the distractions to a minimum and help me to make spending time with You my first priority. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – He Sets an Open Door

… Who opens and no one will shut.

Revelation 3:7

Jesus is the keeper of the gates of paradise, and before every believing soul He sets an open door, which no man or devil will be able to close. What joy it will be to find that faith in Him is the golden key to the everlasting doors. My soul, do you carry this key close to you, or are you trusting in some dishonest locksmith who will fail you in the end?

Pay attention to a parable of the preacher, and remember it. The great King has made a banquet, and He has proclaimed to all the world that no one will enter except those who bring with them the fairest flower that blooms. The spirits of men advance to the gate by thousands, and each one brings the flower that he esteems the queen of the garden; but in crowds they are driven from the royal presence and do not enter into the festive halls. Some are carrying the poisonous plant of superstition, others the flaunting poppies of empty religion, and some the hemlock of self-righteousness; but these are not precious to the King, and so those carrying them are shut out of the pearly gates.

My soul, have you gathered the rose of Sharon? Do you wear the lily of the valley on your lapel constantly? If so, when you arrive at the gates of heaven you will know its value, for you only have to show this choicest of flowers, and the Porter will open and without a moment’s delay, for to that rose the Porter always opens. You will find your way with the rose of Sharon in your hand up to the throne of God Himself, for heaven itself possesses nothing that excels its radiant beauty, and of all the flowers that bloom in paradise, none of them can rival the lily of the valley. My soul, get Calvary’s blood-red rose into your hand by faith, by love wear it, by communion preserve it, by daily watchfulness make it your all in all, and you will be blessed beyond all bliss, happy beyond a dream. Jesus, be mine forever, my God, my heaven, my all.

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 Created Everything

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

When you look at a building, you know that there had to be a builder. The evidence of his work is right in front of you. When you look at a painting, you know that there had to be an artist. When you look at a pizza, you know that there was a pizza-maker!

What if I told you that the building built itself, that the painting painted itself, and that I had an empty fridge, but somehow pepperoni and cheese and flour just appeared and became a pizza? You would probably laugh just thinking about it. Many people, however, think that the universe did just that; it just “came together” on its own. They don’t believe that there was a Designer or Creator. Are they right? God says in Genesis that God created all things. He created the sun, moon, and stars; He created the animals and plants; He created us!

Let’s look for a moment at our Universe. Did you know that there are 70,000-million-million-million (that’s 7 with 22 zeros behind it) stars in the universe? Did you know that there are 206 bones in our body (and 6 of them are in your ear!)? Wow!

Those are only two facts that demonstrate how amazing our universe is. It is so complicated that even the most brilliant scientists do not understand how everything works together. What does that show you and I? Paul says in Romans 1:20 that since the beginning of the world, God’s invisible attributes – specifically His power and “God-ness” – have been clear to anyone with eyes because God’s creation proves that He’s powerful and that He’s God. If we simply look around us, we can clearly see that there must be a Creator and Designer of the world.

God says that He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). He has told us that He created everything. Let us praise Him for His wonderful design and creation!

God tells me in His Word that He is the Creator of all things.

My Response:
» Do I believe that God created everything?
» Do I praise God for creating everything?

Denison Forum – New hymnal and Bible study celebrate LGBTQ ideology

You might think that “Queerly Beloved” and “Quirky, Queer and Wonderful” are the titles of Pride month TV shows. They’re actually two of the hymns in Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community.

Alongside a “queer hymnal,” we now have the “Queering the Bible” project. A ministry tied to the Presbyterian Church (USA) has launched a sixteen-part study which looks at the gospel of Mark as a way of “learning about how we experience God as queer folk, and how we experience Scripture as queer people.”

If you believe that God creates us in his image as male and female (Genesis 1:27) and defines marriage as the covenant of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:21–24Matthew 19:4–6), how would you respond to Christians who endorse and celebrate LGBTQ ideology?

As I reported yesterday, at least thirteen companies have announced plans to help employees travel across state lines to obtain abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Companies across the country are celebrating Pride Month by participating in parades, affixing rainbow logos to email and other correspondence, and contributing to LGBTQ causes.

If you work for a company that has chosen to help fund abortions or celebrates unbiblical sexual morality, how should you respond?

These are not speculative questions. As our culture moves further and further from biblical morality, Christians are coming under increasing attack for our biblical beliefs. And believers who work in the secular marketplace are facing increasing pressure to capitulate or resign.

Let’s consider three biblical responses.

One: Know what you believe

Scripture calls us to “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Whether the issue is abortion, sexual morality, or another ethical challenge, it is vital that we know what we believe and why we believe it.

For example, if you believe abortion is morally wrong, how would you defend your position? If you believe marriage is between a man and a woman, how would you respond to those who disagree? If they are unwilling to consider biblical truth, how else would you persuade them?

It is incumbent on all American Christians these days to know and be able to defend basic biblical truth claims. Apologist William Lane Craig: “Many Christians do not share their faith with unbelievers simply out of fear. They’re afraid that the non-Christian will ask them a question or raise an objection that they can’t answer. And so they choose to remain silent and thus hide their light under a bushel in disobedience to Christ’s command.

“Apologetics training is a tremendous boost to evangelism, for nothing inspires confidence and boldness more than knowing that one has good reasons for what one believes and good answers to the typical questions and objections that the unbeliever may raise. Sound training in apologetics is one of the keys to fearless evangelism.”

(Three of my articles on defending life are herehere, and here. For help defending biblical marriage, go here. For ways to explain and defend the essential facts of the Christian faith, go here.)

Two: Know your “red lines”

In Jeremiah 29, the Lord calls his people to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile” (v. 7). In Romans 13, we are told to “be subject to the governing authorities” (v. 1). However, when the apostles were commanded by the authorities to stop preaching the gospel, they responded, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

Some issues are “hills to die on,” but others are not. If you work in a secular environment, you will undoubtedly face challenges to your faith that are not worth resigning and thus ending your influence with your colleagues. You may, however, face other issues that are so grave they demand that you take a stand even at the risk of your employment.

It is best to decide such “red lines” ahead of time.

For example, I spoke recently with an executive at a secular hospital system. His hospital does not do elective abortions at this point, but he has decided that if their policy changes, he will resign. By contrast, he has decided to stay even though the hospital celebrates Pride Month in ways that make him uncomfortable, choosing to remain where his faith can prayerfully impact those he influences.

Pray for the guidance of the Spirit as you “discern what is the will of God” in this respect (Romans 12:2).

Three: Speak and act redemptively

Earlier we noted Peter’s call for us to be ready always to “make a defense” of our faith. The apostle continued: “yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:15b–16).

As I say so often, we are not called to be culture warriors but cultural missionaries. The other side is not the enemy. We are called to speak and act redemptively, reflecting the light of Christ in the darkness of our day (Matthew 5:14–16) so that others are drawn to our Lord and find in him the joy and peace their souls long to know.

St. Chromatius (died about AD 407) was one of the most celebrated theologians of his day and a ministry partner with St. Ambrose and St. Jerome. Responding to Jesus’ call for us to be the “light of the world,” he wrote: “Since he is the Sun of Justice, he fittingly calls his disciples the light of the world. The reason for this is that through them, as through shining rays, he has poured out the light of the knowledge of himself upon the entire world. For by manifesting the light of truth, they have dispelled the darkness of error from the hearts of men.”

He then warned, “If we fail to live in the light, we shall, to our condemnation and that of others, be veiling over and obscuring by our infidelity the light men so desperately need. . . . Therefore, we must not hide this lamp of law and faith. Rather, we must set it up in the Church, as on a lamp stand, for the salvation of many, so that we may enjoy the light of truth itself and all believers may be enlightened.”

How will you display the “light of truth” today?

Denison Forum