In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Justice and Mercy of the Cross

Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin, we are able to experience all the goodness of God.

Romans 3:23-27

If the heavenly Father is good and loving, why would He allow His Son to be crucified? From our perspective, there is nothing loving in this scene.

To grasp what happened at the cross, we must first understand that the Lord is righteous and just. He does what is right and never contradicts His Word. On the other hand, mankind is sinful and deserving of punishment. God couldn’t simply forgive us, because He would then cease to be just—and justice requires a penalty for sin. Either the Lord had to condemn us all to suffer His wrath, or He needed a plan that would satisfy His justice and allow His mercy.

Before the foundation of the world, the Lord had such a plan in place (Revelation 13:8). Jesus came to earth to be our sin bearer, and the Father placed our guilt and punishment on Him. Because the Savior’s payment satisfied justice, sinful man could be declared righteous.

When we trust in Christ and acknowledge that His payment was made on our behalf, we are forgiven of our sins and blessed with salvation. God’s perfect Son was the only One who qualified to be our substitute, and Jesus did it all willingly. Through an act that appeared cruel and hateful, God’s goodness and love was revealed to the world.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 49-50

Our Daily Bread — The Course of a Lifetime

Bible in a Year:

Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest.

2 Chronicles 24:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Chronicles 24:2, 13–16

“There are different questions a young artist can ask,” says singer-songwriter Linford Detweiler of eclectic folk duo Over the Rhine. “One is, ‘What must I do to be famous?’ ” Detweiler warns that such a goal “swings the door open to all manner of destructive forces from both within and without.” He and his wife have instead chosen a less flashy musical road in which they “continue to grow over the course of an entire lifetime.”

The name Jehoiada isn’t readily recognized, yet it’s synonymous with a lifetime of dedication to God. He served as priest during the reign of King Joash, who for the most part ruled well—thanks to Jehoiada.

When Joash was just seven years old, Jehoiada had been the catalyst in installing him as rightful king (2 Kings 11:1–16). But this was no power grab. At Joash’s coronation, Jehoiada “made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord’s people” (v. 17). He kept his word, implementing badly needed reforms. “As long as Jehoiada lived, burnt offerings were presented continually in the temple of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 24:14). For his dedication, Jehoiada “was buried with the kings in the City of David” (v. 16).

Eugene Peterson calls such a God-focused life “a long obedience in the same direction.” Ironically, it’s such obedience that stands out in a world bent on fame, power, and self-fulfillment.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe the direction of your life to this point? What changes might you want to ask God to help you make?

For further study, see Leadership Basics

Dear God, help me pursue You and Your wisdom for my life instead of the fleeting things I’ve been seeking.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Letting the Fog Lift

“‘Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on’” (Matthew 6:25).

God’s Word commands us not to worry.

A story I once read reminded me that worry is like fog. According to the article, dense fog covering seven city blocks a hundred feet deep is composed of less than one glass of water—divided into sixty billion droplets. In the right form, a few gallons of water can cripple a large city. Similarly, the object of a person’s worry is usually quite small compared to the way it can cripple his thinking or harm his life. Someone has said, “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.”

All of us have to admit that worry is a part of life. The Bible commands us, however, not to worry. To break that command is sin. Worry is the equivalent of saying, “God, I know You mean well by what You say, but I’m just not sure You can pull it off.” Worry is the sin of distrusting the promises and providence of God; yet we do it all the time.

We don’t worry about anything as much as we worry about the basics of life. In that regard we are similar to the people whom Jesus addressed in Matthew 6:25-34. They were worried about having sufficient food and clothing. I suppose if they were to try and legitimize their worry, they would say, “After all, we’re not worrying about extravagant things. We’re just worrying about our next meal, a glass of water, and something to wear.” But there is no reason for a believer to worry about the basics of life since Jesus says He will provide for him. You are neither to hoard material possessions as a hedge against the future (vv. 19-24) nor be anxious about your basic needs (vv. 25-34). Instead of letting the fog of worry roll in, it’s time to let it lift.

Suggestions for Prayer

“Rejoice in the Lord always. . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:46).

For Further Study

What counsel does 1 Peter 5:7 give?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Start Your Day Right

Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

— Psalm 5:3 (NLT)

Many times, the way your day starts is the way it is going to go all day. This is why the devil tries so hard to get us in a bad frame of mind early in the day. Have you found the enemy trying to make you mad, using something—anything—to get your mind full of sour thoughts before the day has really started? He tries to get you upset about traffic or the possibility of a long line at the bank or the doctor’s office before you have even left your house!

But you can make your mind up early in the morning to enjoy each aspect of your day, whether everything goes the way you planned or not. The mind is the battlefield. Start choosing right thoughts early in the morning, and you will begin to walk in victory.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I want to hear your voice first thing every morning. I trust You to guide me with right thoughts and I expect to enjoy my day, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Dwell in Your Hearts

… So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Ephesians 3:17

It is desirable beyond measure that we, as believers, should keep the person of Jesus constantly before us, to stir up our love for Him and to grow in our knowledge of Him. I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus’ college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to get a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of Him, welling up with His love and even running over; so the apostle prays “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” Look at how close he wants Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in your heart. “That Christ may dwell”; not that He may call upon you sometimes, as a casual visitor may stay overnight, but that He may dwell; that Jesus may become the Lord and permanent resident of your inmost being, never to leave again.

Observe the words: that He may dwell in your heart, the best room in the house! Not in your thoughts alone, but in your affections; not merely in the mind’s meditations, but in the heart’s emotions. We should long to love Christ in an enduring way—not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame, fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar that never went out.

This cannot be accomplished except by faith. Faith must be strong or love will not be fervent; the root of the flower must be healthy or we cannot expect the blossom to be glorious. Faith is the plant’s root, and love is the plant’s blossom. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart’s love unless you have a firm hold of Him by your heart’s faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love Him. If love is cold, be sure that faith is faltering.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Peace

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

The storm was strong. Thunder shook the house. The electricity had gone out. Strong winds blew on everything. Dark skies had an eerie effect. The cat snuggled under the bed, wide eyed. But just as suddenly as it began, the storm ended. We went outside to see the damage. My first thought was how peaceful it was now that the storm had passed. Clearing skies and calm breezes left a clean smell in the air. The yard was a mess, but everything was washed clear of the dust.

There are times when nothing seems to go right. Things that are out of your control are, well, out of your control. However, God is in control the entire time. Even during the storm, God has it all in His control. When Jesus and the disciples were in a boat and the sea became stormy, Jesus slept. You can’t get any more at peace than that.

What worries you? What scares you? God has you in the palm of His very large hand. Isaiah 26:3 tells us that peace comes as we trust God. Peace and trust are the two sides of the same coin. Turn your thoughts toward God, and peace is the result. In that peace everything is clearer and cleaner. Just like after a storm.

Peace comes as we trust God.

My response:

» What is going on in my life that is like a storm: completely out of my control and scary or dangerous?

» Do I remember that God is in control of this “storm” in my life?

» Do I keep my thoughts on God?

» If not, why not?

Denison Forum – Dr. Fauci announces his retirement, response is what you’d expect

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci announced yesterday that he will step down in December as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden.

President Biden praised Dr. Fauci’s “unwavering” commitment to his work as well as his “unparalleled spirit, energy, and scientific integrity.” He added: “Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved.”

Conversely, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Az., tweeted: “Dr. Fauci is conveniently resigning from his position in December before House Republicans have an opportunity to hold him accountable for destroying our country over these past three years.” Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Banks added, “Republicans must remain committed to holding Fauci accountable even after he steps down to make sure no one in his position ever abuses the public trust again.”

Criticism of America’s political leaders goes back to our first contested election in 1800, but condemning their followers is something different. I don’t live in the same neighborhood as my president or governor, but I do live in the same neighborhood as some of their supporters. When we begin rejecting not just our leaders but each other on political, moral, or ideological grounds, our ability to flourish or even function as the “United” States of America is imperiled.

“Civility and decency are secondary values”

Yesterday I made the claim that civility is vital to a healthy democracy and an attribute that should especially be evident among Christians. I want to expand on that claim today by giving attention to those who disagree.

As I note in my book The Coming Tsunami, a growing tide of secularists consider religion not just outdated and irrelevant but dangerous to society. During hearings on the so-called Equality Act, for example, some senators compared those opposing the Act on religious grounds to the Ku Klux Klan’s burning crosses and the Confederacy’s biblical justifications for slavery.

On the other side, Sohrab Ahmari wrote in First Things: “Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values. They regulate compliance with an established order and orthodoxy. We should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral.”

This approach to the culture wars is clearly winning hearts and minds: A majority of second-year college students said they would not date someone who supported a different presidential candidate than they did in 2020. Almost half said they would not room with someone who voted differently; nearly two-thirds said they would not marry someone who backed a different political candidate two years ago.

How did we get here?

Cultural issues are more binary and more divisive than ever before in my lifetime. Is abortion the death of a child, or is it the healthcare right of a woman? Is same-sex marriage (and LGBTQ advocacy) an imposition of unbiblical morality on religious freedom, or is it the civil rights cause of our day?

In a democracy, we settle our differences through elections and elected officials. However, abortion and same-sex marriage were settled by unelected Supreme Court justices, then the former was overturned by unelected Supreme Court justices. In addition, many see those on the other side as deeply immoral and thus undeserving of representation by the media and the protection of our governance.

Commercial media amplifies our differences for audience share; social media amplifies them through personal megaphones. We curate our news into echo chambers that reinforce our biases. Our mobile society and workforce allow us to live and work with those who share our opinions while avoiding those who do not.

And the increasing secularism of our culture makes our culture wars especially urgent. George Clooney speaks for many: “I don’t believe in heaven and hell. I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life—the only thing I know to exist—to be wasted.”

What we know that others don’t

What makes Christians different? Or at least, what should make us different?

Here’s what we know that secularists don’t:

  • We are each made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27), so we should treat every person we encounter with dignity and respect.
  • We are all fallen (Romans 3:23), so we should treat each other with humility and grace.
  • Jesus loves each of us unconditionally (Romans 5:8) and commands that we do the same (Matthew 22:39). Only by responding to hate with love can we replace the cycle of retribution with the gift of grace.

Each of these principles is vital for empowering a democracy in which those who disagree fervently on major issues can nonetheless live and work together for the common good.

In addition, Christians know the path to moral transformation lies not through politics or human governance but through the work of God’s Spirit:

Each of these principles is vital for empowering Christians to be salt and light in a decaying, ever-darkening culture.

Justin Martyr (AD 100–165) assured the Roman emperor, “We are your helpers and allies in promoting peace.”

Now it’s our turn.

Denison Forum