In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Healthy Body

The Spirit of God dwells within us, and He is reflected in what we think, say, and do.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We tend to separate our spiritual life from our physical life, but that’s not what God intended. He who carefully crafted each of us places high value on our physical being (Psalm 139:13). The human form is a masterpiece, which our Creator has entrusted to our care. And as with any other resource, He expects us to be wise stewards.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians addresses some of the unsavory issues their city was known for. People in the church had been engaging in offensive practices, including sexual misconduct and gluttony (1 Corinthians 5:11 Corinthians 11:21). They incorrectly regarded this behavior as separate from their spiritual lives, as if they could do whatever they pleased with their bodies and still be considered “good Christians.”

But the body and the spirit are one. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul declares, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” The apostle reminds us that God’s Holy Spirit has come to indwell every believer. If you have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then His Spirit lives in you, and your body has become a walking testimony. What does your physical being say about your walk with Christ?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 50-54

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Trustworthy Love

Bible in a Year:

Love does no harm.

Romans 13:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Romans 12:9–21

Why can’t I stop thinking about it? My emotions were a tangled mess of sadness, guilt, anger, and confusion.

Years ago, I’d made the painful decision to cut ties with someone close to me, after attempts to address deeply hurtful behavior were merely met with dismissal and denial. Today, after hearing she was in town visiting, my thoughts had spiraled into hashing and rehashing the past.

As I struggled to calm my thoughts, I heard a song playing on the radio. The song expressed not just the anguish of betrayal, but also a profound longing for change and healing in the person who’d caused harm. Tears filled my eyes as I soaked in the haunting ballad giving voice to my own deepest longings.

“Love must be sincere,” the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9, a reminder that not all that passes for love is genuine. Yet our heart’s deepest longing is to know real love—love that isn’t self-serving or manipulative, but compassionate and self-giving. Love that’s not a fear-driven need for control but a joyful commitment to each other’s well-being (vv. 10–13).

And that’s the good news, the gospel. Because of Jesus, we can finally know and share a love we can trust—a love that will never cause us harm (13:10). To live in His love is to be free.

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced or seen a difference between sincere and self-serving love? How can a community of faith help us learn to love others wholeheartedly?

Loving God, help me to learn the difference between real and counterfeit love and to share Christ’s love with those around me.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Integrity Is a Powerful Witness

“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!’ Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them” (Daniel 3:26-27).

A righteous life attracts people to God.

When Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16; compare v. 14), He was teaching that what we believe as Christians must be evident in the way we live. When it is, others will be drawn to God and honor Him.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were powerful witnesses for God because they lived according to their convictions. Nebuchadnezzar had done everything he could to intimidate them into compromise, and when that failed he called for their death. But God’s protection of them was so thorough that the intense flames didn’t even singe their hair or scorch their clothing. In fact, they emerged from the furnace without so much as the smell of smoke on them.

So powerful was the integrity of these young men and the hand of God upon their lives that within just a few short verses Nebuchadnezzar went from defying God to exulting Him as “the Most High God.” That phrase doesn’t mean he had abandoned his traditional worship of many gods (apparently that comes in Daniel 4), but he was placing the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego at the top of the list.

So it is when your life impacts others for Christ. They may not yet fully believe, but God uses your faithfulness as a foundation for His future work in their lives.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to use you to witness to someone today.

For Further Study

We have seen the impact of a consistently godly life, but according to Romans 2:17-24, what is the impact of a hypocritical life?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Secure Enough to Say “No”

Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).

— Galatians 1:10 (AMPC)

Have you ever felt that you could not be everything that everybody wanted you to be? Have you ever known deep down inside that you really needed to say “no” to a lot of people—but the fear of displeasing them had your mouth saying, “I’ll try,” while your heart was screaming, “I can’t do it!”?

Sometimes, insecure people say “yes,” when they really mean “no.” Those who succeed at being themselves don’t allow others to control them. They are led by a bold heart that knows God loves them, not by the fear of displeasing others or being rejected by them.

We should not get angry at people because they place demands on us, because in reality it is our responsibility to order our lives. Thankfully, we can be secure in Christ and bold enough to say “no” to people when we know it is the right thing to do.

Prayer Starter: When I am in a situation, Father, where I am tempted to overcommit to something or someone even though I don’t have a peace about it, help me to be secure enough to say “no.” I thank You that my security is found in You, not in pleasing others.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Immediately

And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Mark 1:18

When they heard the call of Jesus, Simon and Andrew obeyed at once without hesitation. If we did likewise and punctually with resolute zeal put into practice what we hear immediately, then our attendance at the means of grace and our reading of good books could not fail to enrich us spiritually. He will not lose his loaf who has taken care to eat it immediately; neither can he be deprived of the benefit of the doctrine who has already acted upon it. Most readers and hearers become moved to decide to take action; but sadly, the proposal is a blossom that has not flowered, and as a result no fruit comes from it; they wait, they waver, and then they forget, until, like the ponds on frosty nights, when the sun shines by day, they are only thawed in time to be frozen again.

That fatal tomorrow is blood-red with the murder of good resolutions; it is the slaughterhouse of the innocents. We are very concerned that our little book of “Evening Readings” should not be fruitless, and therefore we pray that readers may not be readers only, but doers of the Word. The practice of truth is the fruit of profitable reading.

Should the reader be impressed with any duty while perusing these pages, let him be quick to fulfill it before the holy glow has departed from his soul, and let him leave his nets and all that he has rather than be found rebellious to the Master’s call. Do not give place to the devil by delay! Act while opportunity and desire are working in happy partnership. Do not be caught in your own nets, but break the meshes of worldliness, and go where glory calls you. Happy is the writer who will meet with readers resolved to carry out his teachings: His harvest will be a hundredfold, and his Master will have great honor. We can only pray that this might be our reward from these brief meditations and hurried hints. Grant it, O Lord, to Your servant!

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 the Son Is Better

“God, who…spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds….Being made so much better than the angels.” (Hebrews 1:1-2, 4a)

When I was in school I had a friend who was really smart. Every time we finished taking a test, I asked him how he did. I remember the extremely rare times when I did better than he did. I was so happy! I think all of us have a desire to be better than someone else.

Did you know that the Bible tells us that Jesus is better than anyone else who has lived? The first chapter of Hebrews tells us that He is better than prophets and angels.

First, Jesus is better than the prophets. God used men called prophets to tell the world what He wanted them to know (vv.1-3). These prophets were important people who did amazing things. For example, Elijah asked God for fire to come down from heaven, and God sent it. And Daniel was thrown into a den of lions, but God didn’t let the lions hurt him. A third prophet, Elisha, made a river split into two so he could walk across on dry land.

But the only way these prophets could do these things was because God worked through them. The first part of Hebrews 1 teaches us that Jesus is better than the prophets. Why? First, because Jesus is the Creator of everything, including those prophets! Second, because He upholds everything, He is the one who made it possible for the prophets to do their work. Third, the prophets were sinners, so they could not save anyone from his sins. But Jesus never sinned. In fact, He cleansed our sins (v. 3).

Not only is Jesus better than the prophets, but second, He is better than the angels. We know that God uses angels for special jobs. An angel warned Lot and his family that judgment was coming to their city. It was an angel who told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. It was an angel who told Jesus’ disciples that He had risen from the dead.

But for all of the supernatural power that angels have, Jesus is still better than they are. God hasn’t called any of the angels His Son – only Jesus has that honor (v. 5). In fact, God told the angels to worship Jesus when Jesus came to earth to be born as a baby (v. 6). Angels have their place, but they are under Jesus the King (vv. 7-9). Angels are to care for those who will be saved, but Jesus is the one who provides the salvation (v. 14).

If a prophet or even an angel were to die for you, it would do nothing to save you from your sins. But since Jesus is God, His death provides a way for you to be saved from your sins. That power makes Him far better than prophets and angels.

Jesus is better than anyone else, including prophets and angels.

My Response:
» Do I recognize Jesus for all He is worth?

The Denison Forum Daily Article – “Lightyear” star calls critics of film’s same-sex kiss “idiots” who will “die off like dinosaurs”

Chris Evans plays the title character in Disney’s new film, Lightyear, that released in theaters Friday. As you probably know, the movie has generated controversy by featuring two women in a lesbian relationship and a kiss between the two. When asked about those who have raised concerns, Evans said, “The real truth is those people are idiots.”

He explained that the “human story” is “one of constant social awakening and growth” and claimed that people who oppose such “growth” will “die off like dinosaurs.” According to Evans, “the goal is to pay them no mind” and to “march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.” (For more on the film, please see Mark Legg’s article, “’Lightyear’ features same-sex kiss: Should kids see Disney’s latest film?”)

Our post-Christian culture is certainly attempting to follow Evans’s advice and is especially focusing on indoctrinating our kids. Disney has launched an LGBTQ clothing line for children. CNN is promoting a “guide to LGBTQ summer reading for kids and teens.” Earlier this month, a group of four Colorado elementary schools staged an after-school celebration of Pride Month including a drag queen story hour.

Our rejection of biblical morality is a symptom of our broader rejection of biblical truth. Gallup announced Friday that belief in God in the US has fallen to 81 percent, a new low. Abortions are increasing in America, reversing a thirty-year decline. And attacks on religious liberty continue: a Jewish school in New York has been ordered by a state judge to recognize an LGBTQ student club despite its religious objections.

Why Juneteenth is a spiritual holiday

A fifteen-year-old boy was killed and three adults were shot when gunfire erupted last night at a music festival in Washington, DC. An ethnic attack in Ethiopia left more than two hundred dead. The FBI is investigating a series of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches. A New York Times editorial writer explicitly describes her difficulties with childbirth as an argument for abortion over adoption.

It may seem that our world is too broken to repair. But yesterday’s Juneteenth celebrations remind us that it is always too soon to give up on God and his work among us.

Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, with news that the Civil War was over and slavery in the US was abolished. Juneteenth Freedom Day (combining “June” and “nineteenth”) has become the oldest known celebration observing the end of the enslavement of humans in the US. In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. In June 2021, President Biden signed a bill making it a federal holiday.

Reflecting on the theological significance of Juneteenth, teaching pastor Rasool Berry writes in Christianity Today, “It is always good for Christians to celebrate freedom. The end of the evil institution of slavery in our midst is valuable and valid no matter how messy and incomplete it is. There’s a renewal possible with a celebration such as Juneteenth—it’s a reminder of where we’ve been and hopefully where we’re going.”

He reminds us of Paul’s admonition to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) and states, “Juneteenth provides a unique national moment to do both.”

Beware a self-fulfilling prophecy

Slavery grieves the heart of the God who made every human in his image (Genesis 1:27) and loves each of us as if there were only one of us (quoting St. Augustine). And yet he used humans to liberate humans. He used Abraham Lincoln to emancipate the slaves in 1863 and the US government to enforce that emancipation across the nation. He used Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and legions of brave Christians to lead the fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues today.

If we give up on God and on our nation, we will obviously be unavailable to either. Then our spiritual and cultural pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, being change agents in a broken world requires more than a willingness to be used by God—it requires loving those we are called to serve. Paul grieved so deeply for his fellow Jews who rejected their Messiah that he could wish himself “accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3).

His compassion came from the One who “had compassion” on those he served (Matthew 14:14), the Shepherd who would leave the ninety-nine sheep to find the one who was lost (Luke 15:3–7), the Savior who would call a hated tax-collector by name and stay in his home so that salvation could come to his house (Luke 19:1–10).

Such love is a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) manifested in every Christian who is “filled” and controlled by him (Ephesians 5:18).

“Allow your heart to be a marketplace of humanity”

If our response to Chris Evans’s ridiculing of biblical Christians was anything less than loving grief for his soul, we need to be “filled” with the Spirit. If we could read about the falling rate of belief in God and the rising rate of abortion without pain in our spirit for our nation, we need to be “filled” with the Spirit.

Henri Nouwen observed: “One of the greatest human spiritual tasks is to embrace all of humanity, to allow your heart to be a marketplace of humanity, to allow your interior life to reflect the pains and joys of people not only from Africa and Ireland and Yugoslavia and Russia but also from people who lived in the fourteenth century and will live many centuries forward. Somehow, if you discover that your little life is part of the journey of humanity and that you have the privilege to be part of that, your interior life shifts. You lose a lot of fear and something really happens to you. Enormous joy can come into your life. It can give you a strong sense of solidarity with the human race, with the human condition. It is good to be human.”

To experience such loving “solidarity with the human race,” we need the help of God’s Spirit. English theologian Edwin Hatch’s prayer should therefore be our daily intercession:

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou would do. 

Would you make his words your heart’s cry to God right now?

(For more on experiencing the love of God in the power of the Spirit, please see my latest personal blog, “Is this the end of the English bulldog?”)

Denison Forum