In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Source of Peace

Jesus died in our place to provide the peace we need.

Romans 5:1-2

Most of us want peace in our heart, our relationships, and the world. But the most important area of peace is with God. Without it, we’re doomed. When Adam and Eve sinned, a barrier was erected between humanity and the Creator. The harmony that had previously existed between God and man was destroyed, and only God could restore it. 

The cost of reconciliation was the horrific death of God’s Son as He hung on the cross, bearing the weight of mankind’s sin. That day Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for our transgressions. At the moment of His death, the massive temple veil dividing the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom, signifying that reconciliation had been accomplished. Now peace with God was possible. 

Though an instrument of brutality and death, the cross will stand forever as a symbol of peace. But peace with God is given only to those who through faith receive Jesus as their Savior (John 1:12-13). What greater peace could there be than the certainty of perfect harmony with God? Have you received this gift?

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 29-31

Our Daily Bread — Lego Lessons

Bible in a Year:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.

James 1:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

James 1:2–12

Approximately ten Lego pieces are sold for every person on earth each year—more than seventy-five billion of the little plastic bricks. But if it wasn’t for the perseverance of Danish toymaker Ole Kirk Christiansen, there wouldn’t be any Legos to snap together.

Christiansen toiled away in Billund, Denmark, for decades before creating Leg Godt, which means “play well.” His workshop was destroyed by fire twice. He endured bankruptcy and a world war that caused a shortage of materials. Finally, in the late 1940s, he landed on the idea for self-locking plastic bricks. By the time Ole Kirk died in 1958, Legos was on the verge of becoming a household word.

Persevering in the challenges of work and life can be difficult. That’s also true in our spiritual life as we strive to grow to be more like Jesus. Trouble hits us, and we need God’s strength to persevere. James wrote: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial” (James 1:12). Sometimes the trials we face are setbacks in relationships or finances or health. Sometimes they’re temptations that slow us down in our goal of honoring God with our lives.

But God promises wisdom for such times (v. 5), and He asks us to trust Him as He provides what we need (v. 6). Through it all, when we allow Him to help us persevere in honoring Him with our lives, we find true blessing (v. 12).

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What trials are you facing these days? How can God help you live wholeheartedly for Him?

Dear Jesus, I know about perseverance from studying Your life. May Your example be my guide when trials come my way.

For further study, read How to Read the Bible: The General Epistles.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Overcoming Satanic Opposition

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might . . . . For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:1012).

Spiritual warfare can be intense, but God’s grace enables you to prevail against Satan’s attacks.

Through the ages Satan has accused, besieged, and battered believers in an effort to prevent them from living to the glory of God. He attempts to snatch the gospel message from a person’s heart even before salvation occurs (Matt. 13:19). He bombards believers with false doctrine, trying to confuse and distract them from biblical truth (Eph. 4:14).

Martin Luther reported that his conflict with Satan became so intense that at one point it was as if he could see him. In anger over Satan’s incessant attacks, Luther picked up his inkwell and threw it at him. It hit the wall with a resounding crash, splattering ink throughout the room. The stains remained for many years, reminding all who saw them of how vivid spiritual conflict can be.

You may not have experienced anything like the intensity of Martin Luther’s conflict, but spiritual warfare is just as real for you as it was for him. You are in mortal combat with Satan and his evil forces. That’s why Paul said, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

“Struggle” in that verse speaks of life-and-death, hand-to-hand combat—the kind Jesus Himself experienced while on earth. He met opposition and persecution at every turn. The same was true of Paul and the other apostles as they dealt with Jewish religionists, heathens, sorcerers, and demon-possessed people who tried in vain to thwart their missionary efforts.

Satan’s onslaughts may seem overwhelming at times, but don’t be discouraged. See them for what they are: a defeated foe’s last-ditch efforts to inflict damage on the conquering army. The Lord will strengthen and protect you, just as He has protected all believers before you.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for being your protector and the source of spiritual victory.

For Further Study

Read Acts 4:1-22.

  • What kind of opposition did Peter and John face?
  • How did they respond to the Jewish Council’s order not to preach the gospel?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Speak Life

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].

— Proverbs 18:21 (AMPC)

If we ride to work with somebody and gossip about our boss and talk about how we hate our job and what a stupid place it is, we will have a bad day. The Bible says, A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil] (Proverbs 18:20 AMPC).

Clearly, we will have to eat our words, so we need to talk about the right things to be happy. If we murmur and gossip, we will eat the fruit of death. But if we speak life, we will eat the fruit of the Spirit (see Matthew 12:37). Choose to eat good fruit today.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness and help me to quickly forgive others, just as You forgive me, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Obedience or Knowledge?

Have you entered into the springs of the sea?

Job 38:16

Some things in nature remain a mystery even to the most intelligent and enterprising investigators. Human knowledge has boundaries beyond which it cannot pass. Universal knowledge is for God alone. If this is true in the things that are seen and temporal, I can be certain that it is even more so in spiritual and eternal matters. Why, then, have I been torturing my brain with speculations about divine sovereignty and human responsibility? These deep and dark truths I am no more able to comprehend than to discover the source from which the ocean draws her watery supplies.

Why am I so curious to know the reason for my Lord’s providences, the motive of His actions, the design of His visitations? Will I ever be able to clasp the sun in my fist or hold the universe in my palm? Yet these are as a drop in a bucket compared with the Lord my God. Do not let me strive to understand the infinite, but spend my strength in love. What I cannot gain by intellect I can possess by affection, and that should be enough for me. I cannot penetrate the heart of the sea, but I can enjoy the healthy breezes that sweep across it, and I can sail over its blue waves with propitious winds.

If I could enter the springs of the sea, the feat would serve no useful purpose either to myself or to others; it would not save the sinking ship or restore the drowned sailor to his weeping wife and children. Neither would my solving deep mysteries avail me a single whit. The simplest act of obedience to Him is better than the profoundest knowledge. My Lord, I leave the infinite to You and ask You to put far from me a love for the tree of knowledge that would keep me from the tree of life.

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 All Powerful

“Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (Genesis 18:14).

One day the class somehow started a discussion on who was strongest. The fourth graders thought the best way to determine strength was by arm wrestling. An informal round robin tournament began. Of course, this test didn’t really show who was the strongest, because arm wrestling only tests the upper body strength.

We usually measure strength by determining someone’s physical power. Or sometimes we measure strength by a person’s personality or wealth. As strong as you may think you are, there is always someone who is stronger (or has a better personality or more money and things). It may be the kid two grades above you. It may be the kid that just moved into town.

When God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son, it seemed impossible. Who ever heard of a ninety-year-old woman having a baby! God reminded them that nothing was too hard for Him. God has so much power that He can make the impossible possible. The Bible is full of examples when God alone did the impossible, examples like parting a sea, making a donkey talk, rescuing people from a fiery furnace, saving people from their sins, and creating the universe. Nothing is too hard for God.

God is limited only by what He chooses.

My response:

» Am I limiting God? Do I think something can’t be possible?

» Do I take the Bible seriously when it describes God as all-powerful? If so, how does that impact the way I pray and the amount of trust I put in God?

Denison Forum – Police hunt suspects after killing spree in Canada: A Labor Day contrast between human finitude and divine omnipotence

Canadian police are searching this morning for two men suspected of stabbing at least ten people to death in a rampage that has shocked the nation. At least fifteen others were injured in the killing spree.

In other news, a suspect has been charged in connection with the disappearance of a Memphis teacher investigators believe was abducted while jogging Friday morning. She has not been found at this writing.

And a government administrator admitted yesterday that there is no timeline for when residents of Jackson, Mississippi, will have access to drinkable water. It has now been a week since pumps at the main water treatment failed, leading to the emergency distribution of bottled water and tanker trucks for 180,000 people.

Artemis I postponed again

In contrast to the fallenness and finitude of humans, the Bible says of our Creator: “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:4–5).

On this Labor Day, the contrast between his omnipotence and our limitations is illustrated powerfully by our latest astronomical endeavor: Artemis I was postponed again Saturday due to a fuel leak. Assuming it launches later this year, the flight test will be an uncrewed mission around the moon that will travel an estimated 1.3 million miles.

Let’s put that achievement into perspective: the distance from the earth to the moon is 238,900 miles. The distance from the sun to Neptune, the outer planet in our solar system, is 2.78 billion miles, which is 11,636 times further than the distance from the earth to the moon.

The distance from our sun to our nearest star (Alpha Centauri) is nearly 25 trillion miles. The distance to the edge of our Milky Way galaxy is 600,000 trillion miles. There are as many as two hundred billion galaxies in the known universe, each of them containing an estimated one hundred billion stars.

And God made all of that.

“Draw near to the throne of grace”

After proclaiming the enormity of God’s creation, the psalmist brings his omnipotence home to us: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man” (Psalm 147:10). In other words, he is not impressed with our finite, fallen capacities.

Instead, “the Lᴏʀᴅ takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (v. 11).

To “hope in his steadfast love” is to depend intentionally and unconditionally on the grace and mercy of our Lord: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

It’s been said that grace is getting what you do not deserve; mercy is not getting what you do deserve. Both are vital to human flourishing in this life and in eternity.

But both come with caveats made ironic by Labor Day.

“Jesus heals all who come, and casts none out”

The caveat to experiencing grace is that we must admit that we need what only God can do, that our labors are insufficient to earn what God can only give.

In Mark 1, we find a leper imploring Jesus for healing. “I will; be clean,” our Lord responded (v. 41). With this result: “And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (v. 42). Commenting on this miracle, Charles Spurgeon wrote: “The sinner is in a plight more miserable than the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus . . . and there need be no doubt as to the result of the application. Jesus heals all who come, and casts none out.”

Spurgeon also observed that Jesus touched the diseased man and so “made an interchange with the leper, for while he cleansed him, he contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement. Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in himself he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

He added: “That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean.”

The only caveat is that we lepers must admit we cannot heal our leprosy and then bring our disease to the only One who can.

“My wretchedness is no match for thy mercy”

The caveat to experiencing grace—getting what we do not deserve—is that we must admit we can do nothing to earn God’s grace. The caveat to experiencing mercy—not getting what we do deserve—is that we must admit what we have done that requires his mercy.

Henri Nouwen observed that the human cry for mercy “is possible only when we are willing to confess that somehow, somewhere, we ourselves have something to do with our losses. Crying for mercy is a recognition that blaming God, the world, or others for our losses does not do full justice to the truth of who we are. At the moment we are willing to take responsibility, even for the pain we didn’t cause directly, blaming is converted into an acknowledgment of our own role in human brokenness.

“The prayer for God’s mercy comes from a heart that knows that this human brokenness is not a fatal condition of which we have become the sad victims, but the bitter fruit of the human choice to say no to love.”

The good news is that “the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11, my emphasis). As A. W. Tozer noted, mercy “is something God is, not something God has.” No circumstance can change his character.

Tozer therefore rejoiced to pray, “My sin and wretchedness is no match for thy mercy.”

“Everyone has a need only God can meet”

On this Labor Day, you can trust in your labor or you can admit your need for God’s grace and mercy. But you cannot do both.

I saw a church sign recently that said, “Everyone has a need only God can meet.”

What is yours?

What will you do with it today?

Denison Forum