In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Impact of Knowing God

An intimate relationship with God transforms every area of life.

1 John 2:1-17

Are you seeking to know and understand the Lord? Even though He’s beyond human comprehension in many ways, God has revealed much of Himself in His Word. And as we search for Him in Scripture, we’ll grow in our understanding of His nature. But this isn’t merely an academic pursuit. Knowing God practically impacts every area of life. 

For one thing, knowledge of God influences our prayers. Instead of asking for whatever we want, we’ll seek to ask according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). And we won’t limit our requests in size or scope because we’ll realize that nothing is impossible with God.  

The way we view the Lord also affects how we think, behave, and relate to other people. Knowing Him intimately transforms our natural tendency toward doubt and sin. Then we desire to walk obediently before Him, with a pure heart. Instead of loving the world, we seek to please Him by loving His people unselfishly and resisting sinful lusts.  

Paul thought knowing the Lord was so important that he made it the primary pursuit of his life (Philippians 3:8-10). Could that be said of you? Self-reformation soon fails, but knowledge of God renews you from the inside out.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 34-36

Our Daily Bread — Finding Refuge

Bible in a Year:

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm.

Isaiah 25:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 25:1–9

My wife and I once stayed in a lovely old seaside hotel with large sash windows and thick stone walls. One afternoon, a storm ripped through the region, churning up the sea and pounding our windows like angry fists on a door. Yet we were at peace. Those walls were so strong, and the hotel’s foundations so solid! While storms raged outside, our room was a refuge.

Refuge is an important theme in Scripture, starting with God Himself. “You have been a refuge for the poor,” Isaiah says of God, “a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm” (Isaiah 25:4). In addition, refuge is something God’s people were and are to provide, whether through Israel’s ancient cities of refuge (Numbers 35:6) or by offering hospitality to “foreigners” in need (Deuteronomy 10:19). These same principles can guide us today when humanitarian crises hit our world. In such times, we pray that the God of refuge would use us, His people, to help the vulnerable find safety.

The storm that hit our hotel was gone the following morning, leaving us with a calm sea and a warm sun that made the seagulls glow. It’s an image I hold on to as I think of those facing natural disasters or fleeing “ruthless” regimes (Isaiah 25:4): that the God of refuge would empower us to help them find safety now and a brighter tomorrow.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

When have you taken “refuge” in God or found it through His people? How can you play a part in helping those facing a crisis today?

God of refuge, please empower me, Your child, to help the needy find refuge and hope.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Extent of Satanic Opposition

“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

Satan opposes everything God does.

The believer’s conflict with the forces of darkness is rightly called spiritual warfare since Satan and his evil world system are hostile toward everything God does. By nature they are anti-God and anti-Christ.

Satan is the antithesis of every godly attribute. God is holy; Satan is evil. God is love; Satan is the embodiment of hatred. God redeems His children; Satan damns his. Jesus reveals grace and truth (John 1:17), but Satan “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

God gives life, whereas Satan breeds death (Heb. 2:14). God produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Satan produces immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and the like (vv. 19-21).

God uses trials to prove the genuineness of your faith and increase your joy and spiritual endurance (James 1:3). Satan uses temptation in an attempt to destroy your faith and silence your testimony. God grants freedom from the bondage of sin, while Satan wants to enslave you to sin for all eternity (2 Tim. 2:26).

Jesus is your advocate, pleading your cause before the Father (1 John 2:1). Satan is your accuser, blaming you incessantly for things God has already forgiven (Rev. 12:10).

As Satan opposes everything God does, he’ll also oppose God’s children. When he does, don’t be overly concerned or think of it as odd or unfair. Expect trials, be prepared, and rejoice because they show you’re a threat to Satan’s system and an asset to Christ’s kingdom.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the joy of knowing Christ and being free from sin’s bondage.
  • Ask Him to use you today in a powerful way for His glory.

For Further Study

Read Romans 14:17 and 1 John 2:16-17. What characterizes the kingdom of God? The evil world system of Satan?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Submit Yourself to God

My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.

— Psalm 62:5 (AMPC)

James 4:7–8 (AMPC) gives the best advice on how to wage spiritual warfare: Be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you.

When you humble yourself in the presence of the Lord, He will exalt you and lift you and make your life significant (see verses 9–10). God will show you how to resist the devil. Spend time in God’s presence and do whatever He tells you to do!

Prayer of the Day: Lord, please help me to stand strong in every situation, good or bad, knowing You are right there with me through it all, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Rough Seas

They are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet.

Jeremiah 49:23

We are unaware of what sorrow may be upon the sea at this moment. We are safe in our quiet room, but far away out to sea the hurricane may be cruelly seeking the lives of men. Imagine the bitter winds howling through the rigging, the timbers heaving as the waves beat like battering rams upon the boat! God help you, poor drenched and wearied ones! I am praying to the great Lord of sea and land, that He will make the storm calm and bring you to your desired haven! I ought not simply to pray; I should try to help those brave men who risk their lives so constantly. Have I ever done anything for them? What can I do? How often does the boisterous sea swallow up the sailor!

Thousands have died where pearls lie deep. There is sorrow on the sea, which is echoed in the sad lament of widows and orphans. The salt of the sea is in the eyes of many mothers and wives. Relentless billows, you have devoured the love of women and the strength of households. What a resurrection there will be from the caverns of the deep when the sea gives up her dead!

Until then there will be sorrow on the sea. As if in sympathy with the woes of earth, the sea is always fretting along a thousand shores, wailing with a sorrowful cry, booming with a hollow crash of unrest, raving with uproarious discontent, chafing with hoarse rage, or jangling with the voices of ten thousand murmuring pebbles. The roar of the sea may be glorious to a rejoicing spirit, but to the son of sorrow, the wide, wide ocean is even more forlorn than the wide, wide world. This is not our comfort, and the restless billows tell us so. There is a land where there is no more sea—our faces are firmly set toward it; we are going to the place of which the Lord has spoken. Until then we cast our sorrows on the Lord who walked upon the sea of old and who makes a way for His people through the depths.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Will Is Faithfulness

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Bethany’s eighth birthday had been wonderful. Her parents had given her a shiny new purple bicycle with purple and white streamers on the handlebars. It was exactly what she wanted! She knew it cost a lot of money. She had dreamed about that bicycle, admired it in the store, and hinted about it to her parents for several weeks. And now it was hers! She had spent the last hour outside riding it up and down their street. Finally, Mom called her in for bed.

As Bethany passed the kitchen on her way to bed, she saw the leftover chocolate cake sitting on the counter. “Mom, can I please have one more piece of birthday cake before bed?” Bethany asked.

“No, honey, it’s too late at night,” said Mom. ‘I’m afraid it will upset your stomach. You can have some tomorrow.”

Let’s pause the story right here. What do you think Bethany will do? She has several choices. She could burst into tears and tell Mom that she’s mean and never lets her have anything good. She could march off to her room pouting and slam the door. Or she could run to her mother, give her a hug, and thank her again for the bike.

Of course, it’s obvious to us that the last choice is the best one. Mom has already given Bethany a wonderful, expensive gift. She has only denied Bethany one small thing that wouldn’t be good for her anyway. How ungrateful Bethany would be if she forgot all about the bike and complained about that one small piece of cake that Mom said no to.

If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior, God has provided you with the most wonderful, most expensive gift there is. Salvation is bought for us at the cost of Christ’s blood. It is the greatest of all gifts. God never says no to those who come to Him humbly seeking this great gift.

But sometimes God says no to the lesser things we want. He says no because He knows the thing we want would not be good for us. The best way to respond to God when this happens is to thank Him. Remember all that He has already given to you in Christ. Trust Him to give you only the best things in His perfect time and way.

God wants us to respond with thankfulness in every situation.

My Response:

» Have I thanked God today for His gift of salvation?

» How do I respond to God when He says no to me?

Denison Forum – Disney’s FXX Network airs new animated series “Little Demon”

The Walt Disney Company, through its FXX Network, is releasing an animated sitcom series called Little Demon, which a film industry website describes this way: “After being impregnated by the Devil, a reluctant mother and her Antichrist daughter attempt to live an ordinary life in Delaware.” According to One Million Moms (OMM), the show carries graphic violence and nudity and “makes light of hell and the dangers of the demonic realm.”

OMM adds that the series “is introducing viewers, including children who might stumble across the series, to a world of demons, witches, and sorcery. Along with the demonic content of the series, the minds of younger viewers will also be inundated with secular worldviews that reflect the current culture.”

When Tom Cruise shoots down a jet

One of the reasons I pay attention to popular culture is that, for a cultural offering to be popular, it must by definition have an audience. It therefore reflects and represents the values and worldview of a significant segment of our society.

For example, we learn something important about the hopes and fears of society by learning that the most popular movies of 2022 so far are Top Gun: Maverick, where Americans defeat Iranians; Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, featuring superheroes, sorcerers, and sorceresses;  and Jurassic World Dominion, where humans and dinosaurs defeat genetically engineered locusts.

Aristotle believed that art performs a cathartic function: what we see enacted on the stage (or screen) expresses and purges our fears, regrets, and pain. When Tom Cruise shoots down an Iranian fighter jet, we all win.

However, art does more than reflect our feelings and beliefs—it also forms them. Values legitimized by celebrities all too easily become our values. If actors and actresses we admire endorse LGBTQ ideology, who are we to judge or disagree? If they come out personally as gay or “transition” their gender, their admirers applaud.

Don’t think for a minute that the creators of Little Demon are simply making art they hope makes money. Like those behind much of the LGBTQ advocacy of our days, they are advancing ideology they want us to embrace.

Satan is “equally pleased by both errors”

There’s yet another agenda at work here as well: behind every temptation stands the tempter. Behind every lie stands the one Jesus called the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

Humans don’t have to know they are being used by Satan to be used by Satan. Typically they do not: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis observed: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

We are committing both errors at the same time today. Some, like the creators of Little Demon, are advancing and advocating for demonic realities on a truly dangerous level. Others are secular materialists who would see the television series as a harmless way to make money through entertainment.

Satan is “equally pleased by both errors.”

Why the first step into the occult is so dangerous

The occult is horrifically popular today: the TikTok hashtag #WitchTok has 20.5 billion views, while psychic services is an industry worth $2.2 billion in the US. By contrast, the Bible emphatically rejects astrology and horoscopes (Jeremiah 10:2), mediums and fortune-tellers (Leviticus 19:31Micah 5:12), seances (Deuteronomy 18:10–12), and worship of Satan in any form (Matthew 4:10).

The reason is simple: the first step into the occult opens the door to all that lies behind it.

Three urgent consequences follow.

One: Parents and grandparents must not allow children (or anyone else) to watch Little Demon or anything like it. If you would not allow cancer in their bodies, you must not allow spiritual cancer in their souls.

Two: Since “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), anyone who does not belong to Christ ultimately belongs to “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). This is why we must share the gospel with the lost and pray for them, since the Holy Spirit is the only power who can break the chains of Satan and liberate souls bound for hell.

Three: We must also guard ourselves since “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He cannot possess Christians, but he can oppress us with sins that become chronic and even addictive. Our response is clear: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Note the order.

If, however, you are struggling with recurring sins, confess them immediately to your Father (1 John 1:9) and seek the help of trusted Christians as God leads you. And know this: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

The Puritan Thomas Brooks was right: “Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honor, and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure, and pays with pain; he promises profit, and pays with loss; he promises life, and pays with death. But God pays as he promises; all his payments are made in pure gold.”

Whose promises will you believe today?

Denison Forum