In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God planned for His children to rely on each other, which includes both providing and receiving help.

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

Deep, honest relationships require time and effort. But as human beings, we all have physical, mental, and emotional limits that we can’t ignore. Even Jesus, who was all-powerful, took time to step away from the crowds and His disciples to recharge by connecting with the Father (Luke 5:16).

When we can’t give as much to our relationships as we hoped, it might be our turn to receive. Moses is a great example of this. When he held up the staff of God, Israel prevailed over Amalek, but as his arms grew tired and he lowered them, Amalek gained around. So “Aaron and Hur supported [Moses’] hands, one on one side and one on the other. So his hands were steady until the sun set. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (Exodus 17:12-13).

Moses’ story reminds us that sometimes the best thing we can do is let our family and friends help. God designed us to lean on one another, after all (1 Corinthians 12:18-26).

Think About It

• Do you know when to invest in your relationships and when to step back? Take a moment to ask the Lord for wisdom to navigate this gave and take.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 4-6

Our Daily Bread — Leave the Light On

Bible in a Year:

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 5:13–16

A hotel chain’s commercial featured one little building standing amidst a dark night. Nothing else was around. The only light in the scene came from a small lamp near the door on the porch of the building. The bulb cast enough illumination for a visitor to walk up the steps and enter the building. The commercial ended with the phrase, “We’ll leave the light on for you.”

 A porch light is akin to a welcome sign, reminding weary travelers that there’s a comfortable place still open where they can stop and rest. The light invites those passing by to come on in and escape from the dark, weary journey.

Jesus says the lives of those who believe in Him should resemble that of a welcoming light. He told His followers, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). As believers, we’re to illuminate a dark world.

As He directs and empowers us, “[others] may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (v. 16). And as we leave our lights on, they will feel welcomed to come to us to learn more about the one true Light of the World—Jesus (John 8:12).  In a weary and dark world, His light always remains on.

Have you left your light on? As Jesus shines through you today, others may see and begin radiating His light too.

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

In what ways can you shine your light for Jesus today? What can prevent you from shining for Him?

Jesus, help me to shine brightly so that others may be drawn to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Rejecting the World

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The world is opposed to everything God stands for.

Loving the world begins with thinking that God doesn’t know what’s best for you and is trying to cheat you out of something you deserve. That thought soon blossoms into a willingness to disregard God’s warnings altogether and take whatever Satan has to offer.

Love of the world started in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day. Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” What made them think the fruit was good for food or able to make them wise? God didn’t tell them that. In fact, He warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie and Adam followed suit.

Satan continues to propagate his lies but you needn’t fall prey to them if you love God and remember that the world is opposed to everything He stands for. It is spiritually dead; void of the Spirit (John 14:17); morally defiled; and dominated by pride, greed, and evil desires. It produces wrong opinions, selfish aims, sinful pleasures, demoralizing influences, corrupt politics, empty honors, and fickle love.

You can’t love the world and God at the same time because love knows no rivals. It gives its object first place. If you love God, He will have first place in your life. If you love the world, the love of the Father isn’t in you (1 John 2:15).

Galatians 1:3-5 explains that Jesus “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore.” Christ died to deliver us from Satan’s evil system. What greater motivation could there be to reject the world and live to God’s glory?

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for greater wisdom and grace to resist the world’s influences.

For Further Study

According to Ephesians 6:10-18, how can you as a believer protect yourself against Satan’s evil system?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Letting Go of the Past

Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old.

— Isaiah 43:18 (AMPC)

God offers us a new life, a new nature, and a new beginning. God seems to love new things, and His Word encourages us in many places to let go of the past. Perhaps you didn’t get a good start in life, but you can have a great finish! God has a plan for your future, and it is a good one. Let go of what is behind you and press toward the good things that are ahead.

One of the best ways to let go is to stop thinking about the past and stop talking about it. The more we think and talk about a thing, the more impossible it is to forget it and move on. Whether your past was wonderful or tragic, it is over, and what you have left is today and the rest of your life! Give yourself fully and completely to the life God is offering you now. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so make it a good day.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for a new beginning. Help me let go of the past and embrace the future with enthusiasm.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Walking in Light

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light …

1 John 1:7

“As he is in the light”! Can we ever attain to this? Will we ever be able to walk as clearly in the light as He is whom we call “Our Father,” of whom it is written, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (verse 5)? Certainly this is the model that is set before us, for the Savior Himself said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”;1 and although we may feel that we can never rival the perfection of God, yet we are to seek after it and not be satisfied until we attain to it. The youthful artist as he grasps his newly sharpened pencil can hardly hope to equal Raphael or Michelangelo; but still, if he did not have a noble ideal before his mind, he would only attain to something very mean and ordinary.

But what is meant by the expression that the Christian is to walk in light as God is in the light? We conceive it to convey likeness but not degree. We are as truly in the light, we are as heartily in the light, we are as sincerely in the light, as honestly in the light, although we cannot be there in the same measure. I cannot dwell in the sun—it is too bright a place for my residence, but I can walk in the light of the sun; and so, though I cannot attain to that perfection of purity and truth that belongs to the Lord of hosts by nature as the infinitely good, yet I can set the Lord always before me and strive, by the help of the indwelling Spirit, to conform to His image.

The famous old commentator John Trapp says, “We may be in the light as God is in the light for quality, but not for equality.” We are to have the same light and are as truly to have it and walk in it as God does, though as for equality with God in His holiness and purity, that must be left until we cross the Jordan and enter into the perfection of the Most High. Notice how the blessings of sacred fellowship and perfect cleansing are bound up with walking in the light.

1) Matthew 5:48

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 Righteous

“Thy righteousness is like the great mountains” (Psalm 36:6a).

At the age of ten, I saw mountains in real life for the first time. The Rocky Mountains in Colorado were the tallest, largest, and most impressive natural wonder I had ever seen. They were huge! Even though I was small and weak compared to the immense and firm mountains, they were approachable and accessible. I could see, touch, and walk on them.

According to Psalm 36:6, mountains are a picture of God’s righteousness. Mountains and God’s righteousness are constant. When night, a cloudy sky, or fog obscure the mountains, they are still there. God’s righteousness never goes away either; God is always righteous. God always has and always will do the right thing. Another similarity between mountains and God’s righteousness is greatness. Mountains extend to great heights and across vast areas. God’s righteousness has no limits. And, like mountains, God’s righteousness can be seen and experienced. Just as the awe-inspiring and breath-taking mountains are available to you and me, so is God’s righteousness.

The fact that God gives His righteousness to those who believe is even more stunning than the tallest mountain in the world. I do not deserve God’s righteousness; I deserve punishment, eternal torment, and separation from God, because I am a sinner. But God made sinless Jesus bear my sin and your sin on the cross so we could be made righteous. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Those who believe that Jesus paid the penalty for their sins are saved and can be used by God to do right things that honor Him when they obey and follow Him. The book of Romans calls these people “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13). This righteousness comes from God and is for His glory. It does not come from ourselves, nor is it for the purpose of making us look good. We need God’s righteousness, because none of us are righteous without Him (Romans 3:10).

The next time you see mountains, either in pictures or in person, remember that God’s righteousness is like mountains.

God is righteous. We must proclaim His righteousness and praise Him for His righteousness.

My response:

» Do I thank, praise, and worship God because of His righteousness?

» How can I be used as an instrument of righteousness for God today?

Denison Forum – Student raises funds to help him adopt baby he found in trash can

Tennis superstar Serena Williams announced earlier this month that she would retire sometime after the US Open, so her first-round victory last night captured headlines. However, a tennis event last week deserves attention as well: the US Open held a “Tennis Plays for Peace” exhibition to raise funds for Ukraine relief. Tennis luminaries such as Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe, and Coco Gauff participated. The event raised $1.2 million.

In other recent news, a firefighter playing in a semi-pro basketball game used his knowledge of CPR to save a referee who had collapsed from a heart attack. A stranger searched for days using a metal detector until he found a woman’s engagement ring lost in the ocean. A British mother who lost her teenage son to cardiac arrest has installed twenty defibrillators in their town.

And a university student has raised more than $159,000 in donations as of this morning to help him adopt a baby he found abandoned in a trash can while visiting his family in Haiti.

Measuring God by the evidence

When people act in benevolent ways, we feel better about human nature. When people act in hurtful ways, we feel worse about human nature. This is especially true when religious leaders make the news for the wrong reasons, as with Matt Chandler’s leave of absence from his Dallas area megachurch, an announcement that is still echoing in my community and across the evangelical world.

We tend to measure not just the people of God but God himself by the evidence. When he answers our prayers and otherwise acts in gracious ways toward us, we respond with worship and thanksgiving. But when he does not answer our prayers in the way we ask and acts in other ways we do not understand, we are prone to question his power, his love, and even his existence.

The skeptic Sam Harris claimed that the existence of a suffering child anywhere in the universe negates belief in an all-knowing, all-loving God. You and I would not go that far. We continue to pray and try to have faith. But when God seems silent or distant or even asleep in our crisis, it can be hard to keep trusting him.

So, let’s consider a time when God actually did fall asleep in a storm.

Facing a mega seismos

In Matthew 8, Jesus “gave orders to go over to the other side” of the Sea of Galilee (v. 18), then he “got into the boat, [and] his disciples followed him” (v. 23). Suddenly there “arose a great storm on the sea” (v. 24a); the Greek calls it a mega seismos, a “massive shaking.” The boat was being “swamped by the waves”—so much water was getting inside the boat that it could soon sink.

Where was Jesus in this crisis? “He was asleep” (v. 24b). So his disciples “went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing’” (v. 25). These veteran fishermen knew their very lives were in jeopardy and cried to Christ for help.

His response seems surprising: “He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’” (v. 26a). What did they do wrong? They were in the storm because they had followed Jesus at his command. He had taught them in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). Their prayer was not superficial but heartfelt, sincere, and passionate.

The rest of the story gives us our answer: “Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?’” (vv. 26b–27).

“You rule the raging of the sea”

The healing miracles Jesus’ disciples had seen him perform had been performed by others. However, prior to this event, no man had ever calmed a storm with only his words. Furthermore, the Jews considered calming storms to be the providence of God alone: “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them” (Psalm 89:9; cf. Psalm 46:1–3Psalm 107:29).

So the disciples went to Jesus for what help he could give, hoping he might be able to do something but nonetheless “afraid” he could not (v. 26). And when he answered their prayer, they marveled at “what sort of man is this” (v. 27, my emphasis).

They did not yet know what we know. They did not know that he would be raised from the dead and ascend back to heaven. At this point, they apparently saw Jesus as other Jews saw the Messiah: an anointed person used greatly by God but nonetheless a man, not God.

In their Jewish monotheism, “the Lᴏʀᴅ is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). God could not be in heaven and on earth. Jesus could not be man and God. So, when he did what only God could do, “they marveled” at him.

They needed to learn what we need to remember: Jesus is God, and God is always enough.

“Who can drain a fountain?”

The storms of life can cause us to question the sufficiency of the God who allows them, but when we understand his providence the least is when we need his power the most.

When the crisis comes, we can turn from God because we do not understand his will, or we can trust that he knows what we do not (Isaiah 55:9) and will always act consistently with his perfect holiness (Revelation 4:8) and perfect love (1 John 4:8).

Then, the more we experience his power, the more we are transformed by gratitude for his grace. As A. W. Tozer paraphrased St. Bernard of Clairvaux: “The blacker the iniquity, the deeper the fall, the sweeter is the mercy of God who pardoned all.”

So trust the Savior who loved you enough to die for you, who is holding you in his hand right now (John 10:28) and praying for you at this very moment (Romans 8:34). And believe that this God is enough.

Charles Spurgeon wrote: “The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust his fulness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriads of spirits have drawn their supplies from him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of his resources.”

He added: “A fish can more easily drink the oceans dry than we can ever exhaust the love of God in heaven. Drink away, little fish, you’ll never drink it all dry!”

What storm are you fighting today?

Denison Forum