In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Nagging Sense of Dissatisfaction

If your soul feels depleted, make unhurried time with Jesus a priority.

Isaiah 55:1-3

Have you ever found yourself simply standing in front of the refrigerator, not looking for anything specific but wanting to fill a longing? At other times, our craving involves something other than food, such as a career, possessions, or relationships. Our souls are continually trying to find satisfaction, but nothing in this world will fill the void.

Since we were created for relationship with God, He placed deep within us a yearning for Him. Though we may not recognize it as such, everyone knows this feeling of dissatisfaction and whenever we attempt to find fulfillment with worldly substitutes, disappointment and disillusionment are bound to follow.

We can choose to fill our empty souls from one of two menus. Satan’s is long and full of enticing options that seem to promise fulfillment and pleasure, perhaps by means of riches, renown, or acceptance. His choices look as if they will bring contentment, but it’s pure deception. God’s menu, on the other hand, is quite small—it offers just one option: Jesus. He is the only one who can truly fill the void.

Have you found the satisfaction you seek, or is there always a vague sense of discontent in your soul? When you spend focused, unhurried time with Jesus, He will satisfy you as nothing else can.

Bible in One Year: Song of Solomon 5-8

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — God Sees You

Bible in a Year:

You are the God who sees me.

Genesis 16:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 16:7–16

Early mornings can be painful for my friend Alma, a single mom of two. She says, “When everything is quiet, worries surface. As I do household chores, I think about our financial concerns and the kids’ health and studies.”

When her husband abandoned her, Alma bore the responsibility of raising her children on her own. “It’s difficult,” she says, “but I know God sees me and my family. He gives me the strength to work two jobs, provides for our needs, and lets my kids experience His guidance each day.”

Hagar, an Egyptian maidservant, understood what it meant to be seen by God. After she got pregnant by Abram, she began to despise Sarai (Genesis 16:4), who in turn mistreated her, causing Hagar to flee to the desert. Hagar found herself alone, facing a future that seemed bleak and hopeless for her and her unborn child.

But it was in the desert that “the angel of the Lord” (v. 7) met her and said, “The Lord has heard of your misery” (v. 11). The angel of God gave Hagar guidance on what to do, and He assured her of what the future would hold. From her we learn one of the names of God—El Roi, “the God who sees me” (v. 13).

Like Hagar, you may be on a difficult journey—feeling lost and alone. But remember that even in the wasteland, God sees you. Reach out to Him and trust Him to guide you through.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

How could knowing God as El Roi—the God who sees—change your view of your current circumstances? How can you respond to Him?

Dear God, thank You that I’ll never have to journey through life alone. I know that You see me and will always be with me.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Remembering Your Inheritance

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:3-4).

Victory over present circumstances comes when you focus on your eternal inheritance and praise God for it.

One amazing privilege you have as a Christian is to be the beneficiary of a rich and exciting spiritual inheritance. Jesus gave us a glimpse of its magnitude when He said, “The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'” (Matt. 25:34). The kingdom itself is part of your inheritance!

This inheritance is shared by every child of God. Hebrews 9:15 says that Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that . . . those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Jesus commissioned Paul to preach to the Gentiles “so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in [Him]” (Acts 26:18).

No one can fully understand “all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Consequently, at times you might forget that you’re a child of the King and begin to act like this world is all you have to live for. God may even have to discipline you from time to time to correct your behavior. But someday you will be all God created you to be and will know the full glory of your inheritance. In the meantime, be diligent to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth” (Col. 3:2). Focus on your inheritance and praise God for it. That will help you see beyond your present circumstances to the glory that awaits you when Jesus calls you home.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the rich inheritance that is yours in Christ.

For Further Study

Read 1 Peter chapter 1.

  • What spiritual privileges did Peter mention?
  • What commands did he give?
  • Is there any connection between those privileges and commands? Explain.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Choose Your Thoughts

…But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.

— 1 Corinthians 2:16 (AMPC)

One of my favorite things to say is, “Where the mind goes, the man follows,” because the way you think determines the way you live.

If you think you’re going to be defeated, then you’re going to have an attitude that leads to defeat. But if you choose to think about God’s promises, you’re going to have a faith-filled, expectant attitude.

Yesterday, you may have let your mind focus on the negative— what you can’t do, how badly you’ve messed up, all the things that could go wrong—but today you can submit your mind to the Word of God. You can actually choose the thoughts you are going to dwell on.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can change your thoughts today. You can choose a better, more positive, more fulfilling life.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for helping me think positive thoughts. I am grateful that I am not a prisoner to negative thinking and that I can choose happy, and joy-filled thoughts, which will lead to a more fulfilling life, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Rejoice

Why do I go mourning?

Psalm 42:9

Can you answer this, believer? Can you find any reason why you are so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told you that the night would never end in day? Who told you that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be nothing left but long stretches of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told you that the winter of your discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice and hail to deeper snow and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Don’t you know that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter?

Be full of hope! Hope forever! For God does not fail you. Do you not know that God loves you in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God’s love is as true to you now as it was in your brightest moments.

No father chastens always. The Lord hates the rod as much as you do; He only cares to use it for that reason that would make you willing to receive it—namely, it brings about your lasting good. You will yet climb Jacob’s ladder with the angels and behold Him who sits at the top of it—your covenant God. You will yet, amidst the splendors of eternity, forget the trials of time or only remember them to bless the God who led you through them and works your lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation.

Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Make the wilderness blossom like the rose! Cause the desert to ring with your exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then, forever with the Lord, your bliss shall never wane.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe and you shalt see,
That Christ is all in all to thee.

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 – Faith Pleases God

“But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]” (Hebrews 11:6).

Remember the Old Testament stories about Noah building an ark, baby Moses floating in a basket, and Daniel surviving the lions’ den? Did you know that those people are also in the New Testament? The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often called the “faith” chapter. It reminds us of people such as Noah, Moses, and Daniel to show us what faith is and how faith pleases God.

Faith caused Noah to obediently build an ark even though he had never seen rain. Faith caused the midwives to hide Moses when all the other Hebrew baby boys were being murdered by the Egyptians. Faith caused Daniel to continue praying to God even though he knew that doing so meant being thrown into a den of hungry lions. We know the ending of those stories. We know that God saved Noah and his family, rescued baby Moses, and kept Daniel safe. But, Noah, Moses’ parents, and Daniel could not see the end of their stories. They did not know how their faith would affect them, but they did know that faith pleased God—and that was all that mattered!

Obedience to God requires faith, and faith pleases God. Living by faith does not mean you get what you want, nor does it keep you from being teased or persecuted. But faith does please God, and that is the only thing that should matter. You will not know the outcome of your faith in God at the time you are obeying and trusting Him, but you know that your faith pleases God regardless of how it affects you.

Revelation 4:11 tells us that God created all things and that all things were created for His pleasure. As a person who was created by God, you must please Him. That is impossible to do without faith. And it is impossible to live by faith that pleases God unless you first have faith in God for your salvation.

Faith pleases God, and it proves that someone believes in God and seeks after Him (Ephesians 2:8–10).

My response:
» Have I trusted God to save me?
» Am I afraid to trust God if I cannot see how things will turn out? Or do I trust Him no matter what?
» How can I demonstrate faith in God today?

Denison Forum – US House passes bill protecting same-sex marriage

The US House of Representatives passed a bill this week protecting the right to same-sex marriage. It prohibits anyone from denying the validity of a marriage based on the race or sex of the couple. The fate of the legislation is uncertain in the US Senate.

Those who drafted the bill were politically astute to link interracial marriage with gay marriage since people like me who object to the latter on biblical and moral grounds support the former on the same grounds.

I have written often that racism is sin and that God views us all as members of the same human “race” (cf. Galatians 3:28). Consequently, interracial marriage is absolutely acceptable from ethical and Scriptural perspectives (cf. Numbers 12:1). By contrast, I have also written that God defines marriage as the lifelong covenant of one man and one woman, making same-sex marriage indefensible on the same grounds.

Should adultery be illegal?

The “culture wars” can be difficult to win in large part because they can be so complex. Adultery is immoral (Exodus 20:14), for instance, but should it be made illegal? Elective abortions are grievously wrong, but what legal consequences (if any) should women who choose them face? Does allowing a terminally ill patient to die make us complicit in their death? When do genetic advances to diagnose and treat disease cross the line into eugenics?

The good news is that we have an omniscient Father whose Spirit will guide us into “all the truth” (John 16:13) and empower us to make a transformative difference where he calls and equips us to serve (1 Peter 4:10).

In addition, our Creator is still active in his creation. He is no deistic clockmaker watching the world he made “run down.” To the contrary, he “knows everything” that is happening in our lives and our world (1 John 3:20) and holds us all accountable for what we have done and left undone (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10).

His word is clear: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Judgment in two phases

This week, we have explored reasons to trust God’s will in uncertain times. Today let’s choose to live biblically by remembering this urgent truth: “the Lᴏʀᴅ is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18).

As I have written, God’s judgment comes in two phases: permissive and proactive. His permissive judgment is a consequence of unrepented sin when he is forced to withdraw his hand of provision lest he bless that which harms his children and violates his word. I believe this is where our culture is today.

As David French notes in a recent article, “culture wars end with consequences.” He surveys a growing number of articles published by elite media and from within secular feminism decrying the consequences of ubiquitous pornography and transactional sex. French wisely concludes, “You can fight reality, but reality always wins.”

If we still refuse to repent, God must then respond proactively with judgments such as we see in the exodus from Egypt and in the book of Revelation. I do not believe we are there, yet. But we are clearly experiencing grave challenges, from a pandemic which shows no signs of slowing to deep political divisions and rancor, grave economic challenges, and rising geopolitical threats.

When we are not experiencing God’s best, we should always ask why.

Five reasons to seek God’s pardon

In a day of sin and judgment, God called his people: “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her” (Jeremiah 5:1). The people needed God’s “pardon” for five reasons:

  1. False religion: “Though they say, ‘As the Lᴏʀᴅ lives,’ yet they swear falsely” (v. 2).
  2. Immoral religion: Jeremiah turned to those who “know the way of the Lᴏʀᴅ, the justice of their God” (v. 5a), but “they all alike had broken the yoke; they had burst the bonds” (v. 5b).
  3. Sexual sin: the Lord “fed them to the full,” but “they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores” (v. 7).
  4. Callousness toward people in need: “They judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy” (v. 28).
  5. False religious leaders: “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so” (vv. 30–31).

How relevant are these issues to our day?

Religion is a deceptive substitute for a true relationship with God in any church or culture. When religious people and clergy engage in sexual abuse and other personal immorality, they grieve their Lord and defame their faith. Sexual sin and callousness toward the needy are both epidemic in our society. And ministers who sanction homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage, bless abortion clinics, and refuse to advocate for the poor and marginalized “prophesy falsely.”

A personal question

I believe God is still looking for “one who does justice and seeks truth” (Jeremiah 5:1). The prophet declared, “The eyes of the Lᴏʀᴅ run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

God is a loving Father who wants only the best for his children. It is not a heretical prosperity gospel to assume an abundance mentality with our Lord, to know that he loves us and wants to bless us.

This does not guarantee health and wealth—his blessing may not be material but spiritual and may come in spite of material hardships (cf. John 16:332 Corinthians 12:10). However, as I noted earlier, if we are not experiencing God’s best, we should always ask why.

So, I’ll close with a personal question: Are you experiencing God’s best today?

NOTE: For more on having an “abundance mentality” with God, please see my latest personal blog, “Doughnuts that taste like ice cream.”

Denison Forum

Four Simple Words to Save America

Four Simple Words to Save America

In – God – We – Trust

“100-year-old veteran breaks down crying: ‘This is not the country we fought for.'” Fox13, 7/1/22

“City of Orlando fireworks promo says folks ‘probably don’t want to celebrate’ hate-filled US: ‘We can’t blame them.'” —BizPacReview, 7/3/22

“From Portland to San Francisco, How ‘Open-Air Drug Markets’ Turned Liberal Dreams into Residents’ Nightmare … Widespread Addiction and Homelessness Across the Cities.” —6/17/22

The wreckage of an America broken is strewn street to street.

So many of us feel it, beyond unease, far beyond disquiet, a sense of doom and horror. Something important is very wrong.  A keystone has crumbled or gone missing.  The country is unmoored.

Every terrible headline conveys with it foreboding: a warning that a kind of curtain is descending across the nation.  It’s an insatiable, sadistic force, relentless and repulsive, sucking life out of the air.

The awful thing sweeping our land is a predatory menace fed by dark hearts whose bounty is captive souls.  It is disordered, brutal, thieving, violent.  Where it rules — and it aims to rule us from sea to sea — there is no justice, but injustice; no law, but abuse.  There are only oppression, addiction, cruelty, and death.

It has an ancient name: wickedness.

Deadly sins are given joyless parades and pharmacology, whose lies bring despair and unreason.  Heartsickness.  Corruption in high places and low spreads with it an icy fear that whispers, “The worst is yet to come.”

I am not telling you anything you don’t already know.  Those of us chilled at the encroaching ill wind ask each other how we fight it.  What should we do?  Although there are millions of us, our desire to somehow battle the diabolical has not yet found its political response.  The current knot of savagery and hatreds, this tangle of tribalism and lawlessness as old as humankind, cannot be straightened through electoral means.  Instead, as most of us have rightly said, America’s problem is spiritual.

True as that is, there has not emerged a unified spiritual response, either.

As a child of the 1950s, I was raised in what seems in retrospect to have been a spiritual nation.  Or at least a faith-friendly one.  Religion was, well, intersectional in America in those days.  Talk of God was nonsectarian and nonpartisan.  It was also commonplace and unremarkable — the connective tissue of civic culture in the wake of World War II.  But my first year of public school was the last year we prayed together there, as we kindergartners folded our hands before our milk and cookies and said: “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for this food.”  The sweetness of the memory catches in my throat.

Then law changed, and with it began the long recession of public God appreciation, which went out like a tide over many decades, at first slowly and then at super speed.  Now you’re fired for praying alone on an empty field as a high school coach.  You’re viciously pilloried for offering “thoughts and prayers” in condolence.

But this is not yet another gloomy review of our dire condition.  Because there abides in the living recall of my generation — and among the widely scattered remnants of the traditional America that yet survives — one of the greatest spiritual weapons we can wield: our national motto.

I was not yet two years old when both Houses of Congress passed a joint resolution declaring “IN GOD WE TRUST” the official motto of the United States.  There was no debate, nor a single dissenting vote.  By law, it remains America’s watchword to this day, Public Law 84-851, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956.

Few remember, but the Senate officially reaffirmed the motto in 2006, as did the House just eleven years ago — with nine dissenting Democrats.  Some of them, including Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), still sit in the House chamber that displays the motto in huge gold letters high on the wall behind the speaker’s chair.  The declaration IN GOD WE TRUST is literally written in stone.

Despite Democrat objections, the 2011 Congressional reaffirmation goes even farther than the original 1956 text, this time also “supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”  You can find the stark four words of the motto in bronze atop cast-metal depictions of the Great Seal on plaques scattered among federal offices, including the U.S. Capitol, the Longworth House Office building, and the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Virtually our entire government, elected and unelected, daily passes by these declarations of trust in God.

The words go mostly unnoticed.  It is law that they appear on all U.S. currency, but as fewer and fewer Americans handle cash, the tangible national reminder of Whom we trust is vanishing.  Our motto does not grace digital commerce.  God is not the “Master” referenced on MasterCard, nor does His name appear on any other plastic to which we entrust our accounts.  Crypto-currencies like bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, tether are untethered to the federal “In God We Trust” requirement.

Coincidentally, we drifted from our anchor as our money went godless, so to speak.  If our national motto was remembered at all, it was reduced to a trivia question.  I’d wager less than 30 percent of Americans know we have a national motto, beyond the old one-liner “In God we trust, all others pay cash.”  After all, is there a duller term than “national motto”?  The eyes glaze over.

So the four simple words have been dormant, awaiting renewal, their power shrouded for a time.  Until now.  These words are lightning, ready to be let loose.

Because here is the truth.  America’s explicit trust in the living God is the scarlet cord that runs from before the Revolution through the Civil War, both World Wars, through the Cold War and beyond.  To examine this record is to open the forgotten history of America, a narrative inconvenience deliberately suppressed.  Here is a tiny sample of the long and complex lineage of our motto, unbroken from the Founders to you:

•1753: “Remember that God is our only sure trust.”—Mary Washington to her son George as the young soldier left home; he ever after credited Providence for America’s miraculous military victories and national formation.

•1814: Blessed with victory and peace may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto — “In God is our trust.” 
—Francis Scott Key, last verse of “The Star Spangled Banner,” inspiration for our national motto.

•1861: “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense.  The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.” —Salmon P. Chase, secretary of the Treasury, as the motto was shortened to four words for U.S. coinage

•1955: “At the base of our freedom is our faith in God and the desire of Americans to live by His will and His guidance. As long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.”—Rep. Charles Bennett (D-Fla.), who fought to put “In God We Trust” on all U.S. paper currency.

•1955: “Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life.  Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism.  Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.”—President Dwight Eisenhower.

•1956: “The national motto of the United States is hereby declared to be ‘In God We Trust.'”

And so it remains.

In their long march through American institutions, our enemies have stomped many of our traditions and societal structures.  But here’s the thing.  Our trust is not in institutions or traditions or structures.  Our trust is not in government or presidents.  The profound truth lives in a national proclamation that was formulated as a retort from the beginning.  The wording is unusual; it implies a “No.”  No, it is not in coins we trust, not in currency.  No, it is not in horses, not in arms, not in people nor in any human design.  “No,” it cautions, “not those.  In God we trust.”

Listen, Americans, to the message from the Americans before us.  Four plain words form the perfect answer to our desperate plea for our nation: “What should we do?”

“In God we trust.”

Yes, here’s what we do: we deploy our national motto, unfurl it as our banner.  It’s time to reactivate our Superpower.  Trust in God is where the battle is transformed.  Our opponents cannot take this ground — they cannot even fight here.  (They’ve already surrendered: as a New York Times columnist put it, “In This Time of War, I Propose We Give Up God.”  Fine.  You lose.)

My sister and I have started using the four simple words as a greeting, a call-and-response that echoes across the years, across the miles, every time we speak, “In God we trust!”  It is a joy and a delight to say and to hear.  It is so delicious to remind each other who we are as Americans, and Whom we trust.  I can attest to the power the words radiate, every time.  They instantly encourage.  Giving God the trust due Him stirs the heart.

These are not magic words, but they are majestic ones.  The motto is not an incantation; it’s an invitation to all who want to join with the “we”; let those who trust in God say so.  There are millions of us who have tested God’s unshaken Name and proved it sure.  To declare together “In God We Trust!” right in the ugly face of the wicked Spirit of the Age is more than glorious dissent.  It is an unstoppable advancing force.

People who pronounce America dead forget the source of our power.  You want to watch the old republic emerge from its chrysalis?  Trust God, together with your countrymen who know that God is our hope and freedom.  There may well be a smaller number of believers now than there were when I was a child.  But with God, even a few are a majority — who can be against us?

Will you be viciously pilloried if you go around saying the national motto?  Yes.  Especially if more and more of us do.  To our enemies, it’s intolerable.  But here’s the reality.  There’s not a blessed thing they can do about it.  You are completely free to utter our national motto in public or private, in the streets and from the mountains and yes in any government building or meeting or school.  What liberation!  Say it!  Write it!  In GOD we trust!

I declare myself a happy IGWT warrior, and I intend to go all swashbuckler with it.  The motto has the protection of law, but there’s no requirement of any kind.  It’s an offer.  Come join us!  In God we trust, and you can, too.  It costs nothing.  Say it!  Write it!  And every time you do, you will find it straightens the shoulders, warms the heart, and fortifies the soul.  When we say it together, it becomes a prayer to our God who alone can save America.

By Diana Allocco

Ms. Allocco was managing editor of The Limbaugh Letter for its entire 29-year run.  Before that, she was senior staff editor at Reader’s Digest.

Source: Four Simple Words to Save America – American Thinker