In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God’s Principle of Sowing and Reaping

Ask the Lord to give you the courage and wisdom needed to share the gospel with those He sends your way.

Galatians 6:7-10

Today’s passage contains an important scriptural truth: Our actions and words have consequences. Or put another way, we get back what we put in. And this is especially obvious in our relationships.

Earlier in Galatians, Paul explained that there’s a battle between a believer’s new nature, which is ruled by the Spirit, and the “flesh,” which is ruled by the sin patterns that linger in us. Then he listed some of the deeds of the flesh, many of which are relational: strife, jealousy, anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy (Galatians 5:20-21). In contrast, Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Which one of these lists more accurately reflects how you treat others? Admittedly, there are some people who are difficult to love, yet sowing the fruit of the Spirit in those relationships will reap a forgiving heart, godly character, and faithful obedience in us. But sowing to the flesh has a corrupting influence in our life. Before you interact with anyone, ask yourself what kind of harvest you’d like. You’ll never go wrong by letting the Spirit guide you.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 3-4

Our Daily Bread — Whale of a Story

Bible in a Year:

The Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah 2:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Jonah 2:1–10

Michael was diving for lobster when a humpback whale caught him in its mouth. He pushed back in the darkness as the whale’s muscles squeezed against him. He thought he was done. But whales don’t prefer lobstermen, and thirty seconds later the whale spit Michael into the air. Amazingly, Michael had no broken bones—only extensive bruises and one whale of a story.

He wasn’t the first. Jonah was swallowed by “a huge fish” (Jonah 1:17), and he stayed in its belly for three days before being vomited onto land (1:17; 2:10). Unlike Michael, who was caught by accident, Jonah was swallowed because he hated Israel’s enemies and didn’t want them to repent. When God told Jonah to preach in Nineveh, he caught a boat going the other way. So God sent a whale-sized fish to get his attention.

I appreciate why Jonah hated the Assyrians. They’d harassed Israel in the past, and within fifty years they’d carry the northern tribes into captivity where they’d vanish forever. Jonah was understandably offended that Assyria might be forgiven.

But Jonah was more loyal to the people of God than to the God of all people. God loved Israel’s enemies and wanted to save them. He loves our enemies and wants to save them. With the wind of the Spirit at our backs, let’s sail toward them with the good news of Jesus.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Who do you know that needs to follow Jesus? How might you increase your love for them?

Jesus, please show me how to love my enemies as You love them.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Pursuing Truthfulness

“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth” (Eph. 6:14).

Truthfulness is the best defense against Satan’s lies.

The first piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:14 is the belt of truth. Roman soldiers of his day wore a tunic, which was a large square piece of material with holes for the head and arms. A belt kept the tunic from flying loosely and getting in the way in the midst of battle.

The phrase “having girded your loins” was commonly used for gathering up the loose material of one’s tunic or robe when preparing for battle or travel. It speaks of preparedness, as in Exodus 12:11, where God tells the children of Israel to gird their loins for their exodus from Egypt. Jesus used it in a figurative sense in Luke 12:35, where He warns us to gird our loins or “be dressed in readiness” for His second coming. Peter said we’re to gird our minds for action (1 Pet. 1:13).

The Greek word translated “truth” in Ephesians 6:14 can refer either to the content of that which is true or to an attitude of truthfulness. Both are implied in the verse. In Ephesians 4 Paul combines both aspects in warning us not to be “tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (vv. 14-15). Instead, we are to embrace sound doctrine and always speak the truth in love.

The way to defend yourself against the cunning deceptions of Satan is to gird yourself with a thorough knowledge of God’s Word and a firm commitment to obedience. Yet many Christians remain vulnerable because they’re unwilling to do that.

Just as Paul exhorted the Philippians to excel in knowledge and discernment and to remain sincere and blameless until in Christ’s presence (Phil. 1:9-10), so you must also do the same. Never be content with your present level of spirituality. Keep learning and growing. Demonstrate an attitude of truthfulness that reveals your commitment to God’s Word and your readiness for battle.

Suggestions for Prayer

Is your life characterized by truthfulness? If not, you’re a ready target for Satan’s schemes. Confess it to the Lord and ask Him to cleanse your heart and give you a love for His truth. Begin today to apply His Word to your life.

For Further Study

Read verses 1-4 and 13-15 of 2 Corinthians 11, noting the tactics of Satan and his servants.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Importance of Treating Others Well

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption….

— Ephesians 4:30 (AMPC)

I take a verse such as Ephesians 4:30 very seriously—I certainly do not want to “grieve the Holy Spirit” and I know you don’t either. But how do we avoid doing it? Reading the verses surrounding verse 30 makes it clear that one thing that grieves the Holy Spirit is when people mistreat one another. Consider that:

1. In verse 29 we are encouraged to edify others with the words of our mouth.

2. Verse 31 exhorts us not to be bitter, angry, or contentious and to beware of slander, spite, and ill will.

3. In verse 32 we are told to be kind to one another, forgiving readily and freely.

When we realize it grieves the Holy Spirit when we are sharp or hateful with someone, or when we stay angry with someone, we will look to change.

I encourage you to ask God to help you see others the way He sees them. Ask Him to give you the kindness and patience you need to deal gently and lovingly with the people in your life, especially those who are unkind or difficult to be around. God will be pleased when He sees you have a heart attitude that wants to love and bless others.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, please help me to walk in love with every person I come into contact with today. I want to be a blessing to everyone around me today, and every day, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – This Man

This man receives sinners.

Luke 15:2

Observe the condescension of this fact. Jesus, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, who towers above all other men—this Man receives sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receives sinners. It requires an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us would be willing to reach the lost is nothing wonderful—they are, after all, our own race; but that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon Himself the form of a servant and bear the sin of many and be willing to receive the worst of sinners—this is marvelous.

“This man receives sinners”; not in order for them to remain sinners, but He receives them in order that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and enable them to serve Him, show forth His praise, and have communion with Him. Into His heart’s love He receives sinners; He takes them from the refuse pile and wears them as jewels in His crown; He snatches them like branches from the fire and preserves them as costly monuments to His mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight as the sinners for whom He died.

When Jesus receives sinners, He does not have an outdoor reception, no public square where He charitably entertains them in the way men treat passing beggars, but He opens the golden gates of His royal heart and receives the sinner right into Himself. He admits the humble penitent into personal union and makes him a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is certain. Even this evening, He is still receiving sinners: It is our prayer that sinners will receive Him.

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 Light

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

Have you ever toured a cave? The large ones that have big tours keep a lighting system going so visitors can see the beauty of the rock formations. Then to show how deep under the earth’s surface everyone is, the lights are turned off. Pitch black darkness. No one can see a thing. The darkness is so thick it almost takes a person’s breath away. Suddenly the lights are turned back on and people are able to see again.

Light gives us the ability to see. When light reflects, or bounces off, an object, it bounces into our eyes, and we are able to see that object. Light travels at approximately 186,282 miles per second. When light passes through a prism, the colors split into a rainbow. When a candle is lit or a flashlight shines in a dark room, the light pushes out the darkness.

First John 1:5 makes it clear that God is light. When He shines in our lives, it reflects out for others to see. His light transforms us and we show His glory. God’s light allows us to see truth.

The light of God pushes out the darkness of sin. There is no room for darkness when light shines. There is no room for sin when God shines in us. By filling our lives and our minds with God’s Word, we push out the darkness of sin.

Living in the Light (God) leaves no room for darkness (sin).

My response:

» Am I filling my mind with the word of God?

» Am I thinking about the truth of Who God is?

Denison Forum – Are drag queens “what America is all about”?

The Emmy Awards were held last night. Among the honorees: Zendaya won best lead actress in a drama series for HBO’s Euphoria, which is so sexualized and graphic that even Common Sense Media’s review is forced to use descriptions I will not repeat here. The same goes for their review of HBO’s The White Lotus, which won for outstanding limited series. I could go on.

When a political leader claims that drag queens are “what America is all about,” transgender characters are increasingly featured in video games and on television, and a Texas teacher tells students to refer to pedophiles as “minor-attracted persons,” it is clear that our moral compass is not just broken but nonexistent.

Australia’s Margaret Court, winner of twenty-four Grand Slam singles titles, made news during the recent US Open when she disclosed that she has become a persona non grata in the tennis world because of her Christian beliefs. She opposed same-sex marriage when it was proposed in her country, and the backlash has been severe ever since.

For example, LGBTQ lobbyists are calling for Melbourne Park’s Margaret Court Arena to be renamed. She replies, “They got everything they wanted in marriage, and everything else. So I think, ‘Why, when you should be so happy you’ve got that, are you still taking it out on people if they haven’t got the same beliefs?’ That’s what I don’t understand.”

Closer to home, LGBTQ activists are currently lobbying US senators to support the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would expand same-sex marriage protections with no religious liberty protections. And a Justice Department official recently labeled the religious liberty legal group Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group.”

Drag queens as worship leaders

In Ezekiel 5, the Lord says of Jerusalem, “She has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her” (v. 6). Her “wickedness” was “more than the nations,” not because it was objectively worse but because she knew better.

Scripture warns, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). The more we know, the more we are responsible for what we know.

Satan has added an additional layer of deception in our day.

Not only do many Americans reject the moral truth of Scripture, but they claim the mantle of Christian faith in so doing. From praying for God to bless clinics that perform late-term abortions, to citing Christian “compassion” in support of euthanasia, to enlisting drag queens as worship leaders, to claiming that abortion does not contradict the Christian faith, many so-called “people of faith” have been busy undermining the faith.

When I am a Cowboys fan

Such deception is even more powerful when the ones doing the deceiving are themselves deceived.

This is possible and even popular because, in our postmodern society, we think we are Christians if we say we are. This makes sense in cultural context: I am a Democrat or a Republican if I say I am, regardless of how or whether I vote. I am a Cowboys or Steelers fan if I say I am. In our culture, I am “non-binary” or transgender if I say I am. We think the same way with Christianity.

But relational reality is different. I could not claim to be married to Janet until she agreed to marry me. I could not claim to be a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary until the seminary conferred such status on me. I could not claim to be the pastor of the churches I served until they called me to be their pastor.

In the same way, we are Christians only if Christ says we are. And he says we are Christians only if we have made him our Savior and Lord and thus have “become children of God” (John 1:12). Our religious claims are true only if they are biblical. Our lives are pleasing to God only when we do what he says pleases him.

“Save others by snatching them out of the fire”

Jude warned his readers that “certain people have crept in unnoticed . . . who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality” (v. 4). As a result, he called his fellow believers to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3).

To “contend” (epagonizomai in the Greek) is to “make a strenuous effort on behalf of.” This command applies to every dimension of our lives, every day of our lives.

This “strenuous effort” begins at home. You and I need to measure everything we think, feel, say, and do by the authority of God’s word (Hebrews 4:12) under the leading of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The first step in the wrong direction can lead to all the rest. An airplane one degree off line will miss its destination.

The more our culture rejects biblical truth, the more passionately we must embrace it.

And this “strenuous effort” extends to everyone we influence. The stakes could not be higher: we “save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23) when we lead them from the deceiver to the Savior.

“You can give me the power to do good”

If you and I renew our commitment today to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,” our Father will help us.

John Baillie testified to God, “The good that I want to do, I fail to do, but you can give me the power to do good.” Thus he prayed: “Dear Father, take this day’s life into your keeping. Guide all my thoughts and feelings. Direct all my energies. Instruct my mind. Sustain my will. Take my hands and give me the skill to serve you. Take my feet and make them quick to do whatever you ask. Take my eyes and keep them fixed on your everlasting beauty. Take my mouth and give me the words to tell others of your love.

“Make this day a day of obedience, a day of spiritual joy and peace. Make this day’s work a little part of the work of the kingdom of my Lord Jesus, in whose name these prayers are said.”


Denison Forum