In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Saying Yes (When We Want to Say No)

When we choose to trust God instead of our feelings, blessings follow.

Jonah 3:1-10Jonah 4:1-11

The book of Jonah doesn’t end the way we might expect. From the belly of a fish, Jonah recommitted himself to the Lord’s purpose. But later, he admitted he didn’t want the job—and the Lord chastised his selfishness. You see, Jonah was sent to the Ninevites, who were a threat to the Jewish people. The reluctant prophet was afraid that if these enemies repented, his merciful God would not destroy them. Jonah confessed he wanted to see the Ninevites wiped out: “Therefore in order to forestall [their salvation] I fled to Tarshish” (Jonah 4:2 NASB 1995).

Sometimes we resist God’s will because we dislike the probable outcome of obedience. Or like Jonah, we focus on our own desires and comfort and lose sight of what’s really important. But our feelings about what might happen are not a reason to resist God’s plan. If the Lord calls us to act, He will take care of the results. Our job is to obey.

What selfish desire is keeping you from obeying the Lord? Maybe you are too angry with your spouse to work on your marriage or too hurt to welcome back a repentant friend. But Christians are not to be ruled by feelings. Obedience is what’s required, and its blessings may surprise you.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 46-48

Our Daily Bread –Transmitting Truth

Bible in a Year:

Teach [God’s ways and instructions] to your children and to their children after them.

Deuteronomy 4:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Deuteronomy 4:9–14

Without the ability to see their grandchildren in person due to risk of infection, many grandparents sought new ways of connecting during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent survey showed that many grandparents adopted texting and social media as a means to maintain their precious bond with their grandchildren. Some even worshiped with their extended families by video call.

One of the most wonderful ways parents and grandparents can influence their children is by passing down the truths of Scripture. In Deuteronomy 4, Moses charged God’s people to “not forget the things” they’d seen about God “or let them fade from [their] heart[s]” (v. 9). He went on to say that sharing these things with their children and their children’s children would enable them to learn to “revere” Him (v. 10) and to live according to His truth in the land He was giving them.

The relationships God gives us with our families and friends are certainly meant to be enjoyed. By God’s design, they’re also intended to be a conduit to convey His wisdom from one generation to another, “training [them] in righteousness” and equipping them for “every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). When we share God’s truth and work in our lives with the next generation—whether by text, call, video, or in-person conversation—we equip them to see and enjoy His work in their own lives.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

Who has “transmitted” God’s truth to you? With whom can you share His truth—through a text, a note, or an in-person conversation?

Thank You, God, for the legacy of faith You’ve passed on to me. Please help me to lovingly impart that legacy to others.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Rejoicing in Righteousness

“[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness” (1 Cor. 13:6).

Love never justifies sin.

To most Christians, the idea of rejoicing over unrighteousness is repulsive because it suggests enjoying deliberate, wanton sin. We’ve seen sin’s tragic effects on mankind and know how it offends God, so how could we ever rejoice in such a thing? But rejoicing in unrighteousness includes any attempt to justify sin in your own life or the lives of others, so it can be a very subtle thing.

There are many ways to rejoice in unrighteousness. One is to exchange right for wrong. That’s what the prophet Isaiah condemned when saying, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). In our society, for example, virtues such as virginity and fidelity in marriage are branded as old-fashioned and prudish, while promiscuity and adultery are heralded as contemporary and liberating. Social pressures can cause undiscerning or weak Christians to yield to confused and godless moral standards.

Another way to rejoice in unrighteousness is to be undiscerning about what you expose yourself to. The humanistic philosophies and blatant immorality of our society can quickly dull your moral and spiritual senses. Therefore you must carefully evaluate what you read, view, and listen to. Do they denigrate God and exalt violence, crime, immorality, slander, and the like? If so, and you find them entertaining, you are rejoicing in sin.

Some believers actually do rejoice over the sins of others. That’s what Jonah did when he refused to preach at Nineveh for fear the people would repent and God would forgive them. He preferred to see them continue in sin rather than reconcile with God. That attitude is not so far removed from today as we’d like to think. I’ve known professing Christians who wanted out of their marriages so badly that they hoped their spouses would commit adultery so they would feel justified in getting a divorce. What a convoluted perspective!

True love cannot rejoice in sin, but glories whenever righteousness prevails. If you love God, the things that please Him will please you, and the things that offend Him will offend you. Let that always be your standard.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for the grace to live a life that pleases Him.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 18:15-20, carefully noting the procedure for confronting a sinning Christian.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Prayer: A Two-Way Conversation

The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.

— John 10:27 (AMP)

Prayer is meant to be a conversation. When you’re praying, make sure to listen to what God tells you either through His Word or as a direct revelation to your heart (which will always line up with the Word of God).

Communication is a two-way street. It doesn’t consist of one person doing all the talking while the other does all the listening. You may have to develop an ability to listen, but God has some very awesome things to say if we learn to hear Him.

God has invited us into a relationship of fellowship with Him. It is to be an intimate relationship in which we share absolutely everything. God is not someone we visit for one hour on Sunday morning and ignore the rest of the week unless we have an emergency. He is someone we live with. He is our home, and we can be comfortable with Him.

Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for speaking to me and listening when I pray. I want to recognize Your voice and to hear You speak all throughout the day, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Unsearchable Riches

The unsearchable riches of Christ.

Ephesians 3:8

My Master has riches beyond the calculation of arithmetic, the measurement of reason, the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words. They are unsearchable! You may look and study and ponder, but Jesus is a greater Savior than you think Him to be even when your thoughts are at their best. My Lord is more ready to pardon than you are to sin, more able to forgive than you are to transgress.

My Master is more willing to supply your needs than you are to confess them. Do not tolerate small thoughts of the Lord Jesus. When you put the crown on His head, you will only crown Him with silver when He deserves gold. My Master has riches of happiness to bestow upon you now. He can make you to lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters. There is no music like His music that He, the Shepherd, plays for His sheep as they lie down at His feet. There is no love like His; neither earth nor heaven can match it. To know Christ and to be found in Him is real life and true joy. My Master does not treat His servants meanly; He gives to them the way a king gives to a king. He gives them two heavens—a heaven below in serving Him here, and a heaven above in delighting in Him forever.

His unsearchable riches will be known best in eternity. On the way to heaven He will give you all you need. He will defend you and provide for you en route, but it will be at the end of your journey when you will hear the songs of triumph, the shouts of salvation, and you will have a face-to-face view of the glorious and beloved One. “The unsearchable riches of Christ”! This is the tune for the minstrels of earth and the song for the musicians of heaven. Lord, teach us more and more of Jesus, and we will declare the good news to others.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Heart Condition

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Walk into a supermarket anywhere, and you might see shoppers diligently reading the ingredients on food labels and carefully selecting low-sugar, low-fat, high-fiber products. Americans have been warned to care for their physical hearts by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

The physical heart is the vital source at the center of our being. The spiritual heart, on the other hand, is the innermost part of the mind. Out of it flow the issues of life—joy, sadness, love, hate, and many other emotions, as well as words, thoughts, and actions.

“Keep” in Proverbs 4:23 means to “keep control of and to keep possession of, to look after.” If we don’t “keep” our spiritual hearts, we can have thoughts, words, emotions, and actions that are not pure or helpful to us. We can focus on something so much that it reaches our innermost minds (our hearts), and we find ourselves not sending out good words, good emotions, or good actions. When we take in and listen to God and His Word, we are building a storehouse of good things, which will come out of us.

Philippians 4:7–8 tell us, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

When we daily read some of God’s Word, it wonderfully guards and leads our hearts into the spiritual health of a clean heart and right spirit, as David asked for in Psalm 51:10.

My response:

» Have I learned some of God’s Word today to guard my heart against sin?

» Will I choose to read some of my Bible each day from now on?

Denison Forum – Former CIA director calls GOP the most “dangerous” political force in the world

The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency recently claimed that the modern-day Republican Party is the most “dangerous” political force he has ever seen. With Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s ambitions for global dominance, Iran’s growing power in the Middle East, and North Korea’s nuclear threats, this is quite a statement.

In similar news, Vanity Fair published an article titled “Republicans appear to be realizing all their candidates are dangerous weirdos.” And Democratic strategist James Carville is condemning the media for covering “both sides” equally when some Democrats are “just silly” but Republicans are “evil.”

By contrast, Republican House candidate Sarah Palin told a cheering audience, “It’s no longer Democrat versus Republican. This is all about control versus freedom. It’s good versus evil. It’s a spiritual battle.” A national conservative commentator said of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “I just think she’s an evil woman. A woman who is consumed with power. . . . it just makes me disgusted.”

More than 40 percent of Democrats see Republicans not as political opponents but as enemies; close to 60 percent of Republicans view Democrats in the same way. And Pew Research Center reports that 72 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats say members of the other party are more immoral, dishonest, and close-minded than other Americans.

We are seeing a level of political divisiveness and hatred today that challenges our confidence in democracy itself. One researcher warned that Americans are “losing faith in elections, institutions, and the ability of democracy to survive.”

More than at any time in my lifetime, it is urgent that Christians be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

“Our Christian political ethic is upside down”

Christian cultural commentator David French published an article yesterday in which he wrote: “The longer I live the more convinced I am that our Christian political ethic is upside down. On a bipartisan basis, the church has formed its members to be adamant about policies that are difficult and contingent and flexible about virtues that are clear and mandatory” (his emphases).

Dr. Tim Keller agrees. In a typically perceptive analysis, he stated: “One of the many reasons for the decline of church-going and religion in the US is that increasingly Christians are seen as highly partisan foot-soldiers for political movements. This is both divisive within the church and discrediting out in the world. Many Christians publicly disown and attack other believers who share the same beliefs in Christ but who are voting for the ‘wrong’ candidates. They seem to feel a more common bond with people of the same politics than of the same faith.

“When the church as a whole is no longer seen as speaking to questions that transcend politics, and when it is no longer united by a common faith that transcends politics, then the world sees strong evidence that Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx were right, that religion is really just a cover for people wanting to get their way in the world.”

Here’s a virtue that is “clear and mandatory,” to cite French: Paul instructed Titus to “remind” Christians “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:12, my emphases).

Why should we extend such grace? “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (v. 3).

What changed? “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (vv. 4–5). As a result, Christians are to “devote themselves to good works” (v. 8) and to “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (v. 9).

This is such an urgent issue that Paul advised Titus, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (vv. 10–11).

We know the real enemy

Does this mean that Christians should not stand boldly for biblical truth and morality? Absolutely not. Early Christians were condemned and martyred by the authorities of their day precisely because they would not stop preaching the gospel and speaking truth to power.

But it does mean that we must refuse to condemn those with whom we disagree. This fact is vital in a democracy—if people who disagree cannot work together, ultimately they cannot live together and the future of their nation is imperiled. We can coexist with people who are “wrong,” but living with people who are “evil” is another matter.

As those who have been transformed by grace, you and I can—and, in fact, must—take the lead here. We know that the real enemy is Satan, the one who “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). And we know the One who is the only true hope of the world (Acts 4:12).

As “sons of God,” we are called by Jesus to be “peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). We are forbidden by Scripture to say about someone what we would not say to them (cf. Matthew 18:15). We are likewise forbidden to slander (1 Peter 2:1), lie (Exodus 20:16), or gossip (Proverbs 16:28).

Rather, we are to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–2). We can and should hold them accountable (Luke 17:3), but in a spirit of encouragement rather than condemnation (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We can and should participate in our political process, but as salt and light rather than as divisive partisans.

Ronald Reagan’s example

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels once worked for President Ronald Reagan. When asked what impacted him from those days, he said, “He would encourage us to remember that we have only opponents, not enemies. He learned how to turn the other cheek and never lost sight of the fact that we are all in this together—as Americans.

“He would never stoop to the level of personalizing things, even if his opponents were doing it to him. It’s really important never to demonize groups or people in political life, and he led by example in this regard.”

Let’s do the same today, to the glory of God.

Denison Forum