In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Fulfillment for the Empty Life

Others are drawn to Christ when we live what we believe.

John 4:3-18

Anyone can experience feelings of emptiness, regardless of age, marital status, or socioeconomic background. And in an era of social media, emptiness is becoming more prevalent than ever. Despite our connecting with larger numbers of people, life can seem more meaningless than it did previously.   

The Samaritan woman at the well symbolizes millions throughout history who have tried their best to satisfy a yearning for love and completion. But the sense of emptiness cannot be permanently satisfied until a person comes to Christ. We were created to honor and glorify Him, and no other pursuit can bring a sense of long-term pleasure and purpose. 

When Jesus offered the Samaritan woman “living water” that would quench her thirst forever, it’s not surprising she wanted it (John 4:15). The salvation Christ offers includes more than the elimination of guilt. We also receive the riches of His love and a purpose that reaches into eternity.  

If you’ve received Jesus as your Savior, you never have to feel empty again. His love surpasses all understanding, and as you grow in the knowledge of its vastness, you’ll be “filled to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

Bible in One Year: Daniel 1-2

Our Daily Bread — Trust in His Name

Bible in a Year:

Those who know your name trust in you.

Psalm 9:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 9:7–12

As a child, there was a time I dreaded going to school. Some girls were bullying me by subjecting me to cruel pranks. So during recess, I’d take refuge in the library, where I read a series of Christian storybooks. I remember the first time I read the name “Jesus.” Somehow, I knew that this was the name of someone who loved me. In the months that followed, whenever I’d enter school fearful of the torment that lay ahead, I’d pray, “Jesus, protect me.” I’d feel stronger and calmer, knowing He was watching over me. In time, the girls simply grew tired of bullying me and stopped.

Many years have passed, and trusting His name continues to sustain me through difficult times. Trusting His name is believing that what He says about His character is true, allowing me to rest in Him.

David too knew the security of trusting in God’s name. When he wrote Psalm 9, he’d already experienced God as the all-powerful ruler who is just and faithful (vv. 7–8, 10, 16). David thus showed his trust in God’s name by going into battle against his enemies, trusting not in his weapons or military skill, but in God ultimately coming through for him as “a refuge for the oppressed” (v. 9).

As a little girl, I called on His name and experienced how He lived up to it. May we always trust His name—Jesus—the name of the One that loves us.  

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What challenges have been troubling you? How does meditating on Jesus’ name build your trust in Him?  

Heavenly Father, teach me who You are, so that I never have reason to doubt You in any circumstance I face.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Resisting the Devil

“Take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:13).

Spiritual warfare isn’t as much a frontal attack on Satan’s domain as it is the ability to resist his advances.

Spiritual warfare has become a popular topic in recent years. Books, tapes, and seminars on the subject abound, but there is still much confusion. Some say we must rebuke and bind Satan to thwart his power and influence. Others say we must expel demonic spirits through “deliverance ministries.” Still others encourage us to band together to aggressively assault the strongholds of supposed territorial demons.

But spiritual warfare isn’t an outright frontal attack on the forces of darkness. Scripture says, “Submit . . . to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7); “Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). The idea that Christians have the authority to rebuke or bind Satan is foreign to Scripture. Even Michael the archangel treated him with more respect than that (Jude 9).

Spiritual victory involves submitting to God, pursuing His will, keeping your spiritual armor on, being on the alert for Satan’s attacks, and then standing firm and resisting him “in the evil day” (Eph. 6:13).

“Evil day” is a general reference to the sin that exists in this world. As the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), Satan will continue to produce evil until he and his forces are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15). Then the evil day will give way to an eternal age of righteousness.

Countless people have pastored churches, taught Sunday School classes, led Bible studies, sung in choirs, and been involved in every conceivable area of ministry only to one day abandon their ministries and embrace the world. Somehow they stopped resisting the devil and lost the courage to stand firm.

How about you? Is your commitment strong? Are you willing to stand firm for the Lord today?

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for the grace to boldly resist whatever might challenge your faith today.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 9:23-27.

  • What was Paul’s great fear?
  • What measures did he take to insure spiritual victory?
  • Are you taking the same measures?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Your Healing Benefits Others

As for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

— 2 Chronicles 15:7 (NIV)

Anytime a person is wounded in their soul, that woundedness affects other people. It can have an impact on your social life, especially if your pain has caused you not to trust people or not to want to enter into healthy relationships. If you are a wife or a mother, one of the consequences of the hurt from your past is that it can negatively influence your relationships with your husband and your children, unless you let God heal you. It is sad to think about the fact that the pain one person has suffered can ultimately cause pain to others, but that’s the truth. However, there is a greater truth in these situations: your healing can also affect the people around you, and it will have a positive impact on them.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of our relationships with other people. Every area of our lives includes relationships of some sort, whether they are on-the-surface acquaintances, deep friendships, or family relationships. All we have to offer to the people around us is what’s inside us. If our hearts are filled with pain, anger, fear, rejection, or other negative qualities, that’s what we give the people in our lives. If we are filled with peace, love, joy, hope, and other positive attributes, then we can share those good things with them.

I encourage you today to think about your relationships. Is there a steady stream of good things flowing from you to your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers? Or do people feel they have to be on guard when they are around you because they have learned they will not hear anything from you that will encourage them or lift them up? Do you talk about yourself and your problems excessively, or do you express an interest in how other people are doing? When you hear about something good that has happened for someone else, can you sincerely rejoice with that person, or do you find yourself jealous inside? Every bit of negativity I have mentioned in this paragraph can be eliminated as your soul is healed. God wants to bring you into a great place of healing and wholeness not only for yourself, but so you can be a blessing to the people you care about.

The journey to healing is not always smooth and easy. It will require you to take an honest look at some painful places in your life and allow the Lord to touch and heal them. In those difficult moments, I encourage you to press on and not to give up, remembering that your healing can have a positive impact on lots of people. I did not like to think about how my past woundedness had hurt other people before my soul was healed, but I rejoice now because God is using the healing He has done in my heart to help others. Stay on your healing journey and watch how He will use you!

Prayer of the Day: Lord, thank You for healing me from the inside out. I know that my healing not only helps me, it also benefits the people around me, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Big with Mercy

I will sing of steadfast love and justice.

Psalm 101:1

Faith is triumphant in trial. When reason has her feet fastened in the stocks of the inner prison, faith makes the dungeon walls ring with her happy notes as she cries, “I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.” Faith pulls the dark mask from the face of trouble and discovers the angel beneath. Faith looks up at the cloud and sees that

“It is big with mercy and will break
In blessings on her head.”

There is a subject for song even in the judgments of God toward us. For, first, the trial is not as difficult as it might have been; next, the trouble is not as severe as we deserved; and our affliction is not as crushing as the burden that others have to carry. Faith sees that in her deepest sorrow there is no punishment. There is not a drop of God’s wrath in it; it is all sent in love. Faith finds love gleaming like a jewel on the breast of an angry God. Faith wears her grief “like a badge of honor” and sings of the sweet result of her sorrows, because they work for her spiritual good. Faith says, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”1 So faith rides out in victory, trampling down earthly wisdom and carnal knowledge, and singing songs of triumph where the battle rages.

All I meet I find assists me
In my path to heavenly joy:
Where, though trials now attend me,
Trials never more annoy.

Blest there with a weight of glory,
Still the path I’ll not forget,
But, exulting, cry, it led me
To my blessed Savior’s seat.

1) 2 Corinthians 4:17

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Us to Be Kind

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

We had seen her getting off the bus. Some kids laughed and pointed at her. Most just stared. Her brother and sister had walked on either side of her as if to protect her. Now she stood at the front of my classroom. Our teacher smiled, put her hands on the girl’s shoulders, told us her name, and welcomed her.

It took courage for the new girl to come to school, and it took more courage for her to stand in front of us. She was a little person—someone with a condition called “dwarfism” which causes them to be much smaller and shorter than others. Except in the movieswe had never seen a little person before. Over the years that girl taught my classmates and me a lot about acceptance and humility.

God made everyone, and He loves what He made. Not everyone looks the same. We do not all think the same. It is easy to make fun of and talk about someone who is different from us. But God wants us to use all our words to help others.

God wants us to be kind. He wants our words to be kind too.

My response:

» Are my words kind?

» Do I point or stare at people who are different from me, or do I make them feel welcome and accepted?

Denison Forum – Scotland honors the queen and a “Tribute in Light” in NYC: A 9/11 promise of transforming hope

I wish I had been in New York City last night to see the “Tribute in Light” in person. Each September 11, two beams, comprised of eighty-eight seven-thousand-watt xenon lightbulbs, are released into the sky to echo the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers. Just seeing the video of the tribute was deeply moving for me.

All of us old enough to remember 9/11 will never forget it: the shock when the first airplane flew into the North Tower, the horror when the second plane struck the South Tower, the buildings spewing smoke into the sky, the people fleeing their burning floors by jumping to their deaths, the attack on the Pentagon, the collapse of the South Tower, the crash in Pennsylvania, the collapse of the North Tower. Less than three hours after the first plane to be hijacked left the Boston airport, the iconic Twin Towers lay in ruins in Lower Manhattan.

A few years earlier, I stood at the base of the World Trade Center. From the ground, I could not see the top of the two towers. That such colossal buildings could be destroyed so quickly is still staggering to me. Each year’s anniversary is another reminder of our finitude, frailty, and mortality.

Another headline in today’s news is a similar reminder: Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrived in Scotland’s capital of Edinburgh yesterday after a six-hour procession from her beloved Balmoral Castle. King Charles III and his Queen Consort Camilla are traveling today to join another procession taking the queen’s coffin to St. Giles Cathedral, where it will remain for twenty-four hours so the Scottish public can pay their respects. It will be flown to London on Tuesday.

Charles became king in the moment of his mother’s death, though his coronation could still be months away. In these two facts we find a life principle of transforming hope today.

“Did you think I was immortal?”

America is separated from the rest of the world by oceans on the east and west, deserts to the south, and forests and lakes to the north. Except for an abortive attempt by Japanese soldiers to take the Aleutian islands off Alaska in 1942, foreign enemies have not attacked Americans on our soil since the War of 1812.

9/11 changed that calculus forever. As every traveler enduring TSA airport screening knows, our enemies can use American airplanes to kill Americans. Not to mention cyber, chemical, biological, and radiological threats. We can also die of diseases we did not know existed. And, as the pandemic continues to prove, a virus two thousand times smaller than a dust mite can kill more than a million Americans.

If the queen of England, with all her vast resources, is not immune to the frailty of life, no one is. If towers reaching 110 stories tall and built to withstand hurricane-force winds could be felled by airplane hijackers, no occupant in any building is truly safe.

The queen’s namesake, Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603), reportedly said from her deathbed, “All my possessions for a moment of time.” France’s Louis XIV (1638–1715) was the only monarch to rule longer than Queen Elizabeth II. However, his last words were said to his grieving attendants: “Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?”

“We die to be raised up”

It is understandable to fear any journey into an experience we cannot see beforehand: stepping into a pitch-black room, attending a new school, working for a new manager. The greater the consequences of our decision, the more fearful we naturally become. Staying at a new hotel provokes far less apprehension than starting a new job.

Death feels so permanent to us. Except for Lazarus and Jesus, no one has come back to our world from the other side. It is therefore the greatest and most fearful unknown.

But St. Athanasius was right: “We no longer die to be condemned, we die to be raised up and await the resurrection of all, which God will bring about at a time of his choosing.”

Here’s why: “One has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14–15).

A transforming personal anniversary

If you have made Jesus your Lord, your “old man” died in the moment that you trusted in Christ (Romans 6:5) and you were “born again” (John 3:3) as a child of God (John 1:12). Now you already “have eternal life” (John 3:16). Note the present tense.

The forty-ninth anniversary of my salvation experience was last Friday. For forty-nine years, I have possessed eternal life. Now, as the child of God, when my body dies (if the Lord tarries), I will in that moment be united with Christ in paradise (Luke 23:43). When I close my eyes here, I will open them there. When I take my last breath here, I will take my first breath there. I will step from death into life and from time into eternity.

So will you if Jesus is your Lord.

My mother “died” of cancer in 2008. Some might say, “She lost her battle with cancer.” Actually, the cancer died and she is more alive today than she was then.

We often say that someone “passed away.” Actually, the world passes away. And we are with our Father and with “a great multitude that no one could number” forever (Revelation 7:9).

You are uncrowned royalty

All of this is illustrated by King Charles III’s ascension to the throne last Thursday. In the moment of his mother’s death, he became king. Nothing changed externally—he had the same appearance, with the same height and weight and the same personal characteristics that were his the day before. But in that moment, his status changed. Though he is yet uncrowned, he will be known forever as the king he was born to be.

In precisely the same way, the moment you trusted Christ as Lord you were born again into his royal family (1 Peter 2:9). You can now serve him faithfully and fearlessly, knowing that the worst that can happen to you leads to the best that can happen to you. You can use your momentary days for eternal significance and live for God’s glory rather than your own, secure in the knowledge that you will share his glory when you worship at his throne.

You are uncrowned royalty today, but if you are faithful to your King, you will receive one day “the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Isaac Watts (1674–1748) testified:

I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.

What “shall employ” your “nobler powers” today?

Denison Forum