In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Getting Rid of Anger

Transformation is possible when we depend on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Ephesians 4:17-32

The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the character and conduct of believers. He urged Christians to live in a manner worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1) and to be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1). His letters to the churches all include an explanation of what it means to live a godly life.  

One important goal is to eliminate sinful habits and behaviors and instead take on those that are acceptable to God. The acts of the “flesh” are no longer to be a part of us. We now have a new nature and should conduct ourselves accordingly. 

So let’s look again at the Galatians 5 passages that we read a couple of days ago. In verses 19-21, Paul lists specific behaviors that have to cease, and among them are those fueled by anger—hostilities, strife, outbursts of anger, and dissensions.  These ungodly attitudes and actions are to be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If we’re full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, we won’t be hot-tempered. Instead of speaking rashly, we’ll interact with others with the wisdom of Christ. 

We all struggle with some form of ungodly behavior, but we don’t have to continue in it. Change is possible because Christ has broken sin’s power over us, and His Spirit works continually to transform us.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 7-9

Our Daily Bread — Where I Belong

Bible in a Year:

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 133

At the end of a meal to mark Passover, a traditional Jewish holiday that celebrates and remembers the greatness of God’s saving work, church members expressed their joy by dancing together in a circle. Barry stood back, watching with a huge smile. He remarked how much he loved these occasions, saying, “This is my family now. This is my community. I’ve found somewhere where I know I can love and be loved . . . where I belong.”

In his childhood, Barry suffered cruel emotional and physical abuse, robbing him of his joy. But his local church welcomed him and introduced him to Jesus. Finding their unity and joy infectious, he began following Christ and felt loved and accepted.

In Psalm 133, King David used powerful images to illustrate the far-reaching effects of the “good and pleasant” unity of God’s people. He said it’s like someone who is anointed with precious oil, the liquid running down over their collar (v. 2). This anointing was common in the ancient world, sometimes as a greeting when one entered a home. David also compared this unity to the dew that falls on the mountain bringing life and blessing (v. 3).

Oil releases a fragrance that fills a room and dew brings moisture to dry places. Unity too has good and pleasant effects such as welcoming those who are alone. Let’s seek to be united in Christ so that God can bring about good through us.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

When have you seen unity at work in your community? How could you reach out to someone you don’t know at your church?

Jesus, help me to show Your love, not only to those I find easy to accept but also to those I find challenging.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Developing Practical Righteousness

“Stand firm therefore . . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).

Practical righteousness is moment-by-moment obedience to God.

We’ve seen the importance of putting on the breastplate of righteousness as protection against Satan’s attempts to pervert your thinking and emotions. But Scripture speaks of three kinds of righteousness: self-righteousness, imputed righteousness, and practical righteousness. Which did Paul have in mind in Ephesians 6:14?

Paul wasn’t speaking of self-righteousness because that is what the breastplate of righteousness is designed to protect you from. Self-righteousness deceives a person into thinking, I can please God and reach heaven on my own merit. But Isaiah said, “All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isa. 64:6). Far from getting you to heaven, self- righteousness will condemn you to eternal hell because it rejects the merits of Christ’s atonement.

Similarly, Paul wasn’t speaking of imputed righteousness—the righteousness of Christ granted to every believer at the moment of salvation. It’s also called “positional righteousness” because it results from your position or standing in Christ. Second Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Christ, “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Every believer is clothed in the garment of Christ’s righteousness. You don’t put that on. It’s already yours in Christ.

Only practical righteousness remains—that which flows from obedience to God’s Word. Although in God’s eyes you are righteous in Christ, you must also pursue righteous behavior. In other words, your practice should match your position. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:13). John added that “the one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

As you learn to live in obedience to God’s Word, you’ll be protected by the breastplate of righteousness.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Spirit to help you search your heart and reveal any self-righteous attitudes that might be making you vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Confess them, then praise Christ for the true righteousness that is yours in Him.

For Further Study

Read Romans 3:10-23. What kind of righteousness did Paul pursue?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is compiled with in this one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

— Galatians 5:14 (AMPC)

God wants to speak to us about many things, but one of the important things He wants to speak to us about is our relationships with other people. God loves us; and He wants us to love ourselves in a healthy, balanced manner and let His love flow through us to other people. In your quest to hear from God, I urge you to pray that He will speak to you regularly concerning any wisdom He has for you in your relationships. Relationships are a large part of life and if they are not good, the quality of our lives deteriorates.

Just this morning I was praying for my husband and asked God what I might do for him. I had a thought to leave him a note that he would find on the kitchen counter when he came to eat breakfast. The note simply said, “Good morning, Dave…… I LOVE YOU!!!” I put a smiley face at the bottom and signed the note. I believe the idea to leave the note was God speaking to me and my obedience to do that little thing enhanced our relationship.

Start praying about all your relationships. Take them one by one and ask God what you can do to make them better. We usually think about what others need to do for us, but if we follow the law of love, we will be more concerned for them than we are for ourselves.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I want to show others the great love You show me. I need Your help to truly love others in a helpful way, and ask You for creative ways to show love, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Proximity to God

… For the people of Israel who are near to him.

Psalm 148:14

Distance and separation were marks of the old covenant. When God appeared even to His servant Moses, He said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet”;1 and when He revealed Himself on Mount Sinai to His own chosen and separated people, one of the first commands was, “You shall set limits for the people all around.”2 In the sacred worship of the tabernacle and the temple, the thought of distance was always prominent. The majority of the people did not even enter the outer court. Into the inner court none but the priests might dare to intrude, while into the innermost place, or the holy of holies, the high priest entered but only once in the year. It was as if the Lord in those early ages was teaching man that sin was so utterly loathsome to Him that He must treat men as lepers put outside the camp; and when He came closest to them, He still made them feel the extent of the separation between a holy God and an impure sinner.

When the Gospel came, we were placed on quite another footing. The word “Go” was replaced with “Come”; distance was replaced with nearness, and we who previously were far away were brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ. Incarnate Deity has no fire wall around it. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”3 is the joyful proclamation of God as He appears in human flesh. He no longer teaches the leper his leprosy by setting him at a distance, but by Himself suffering the penalty of the leper’s defilement.

What a state of safety and privilege is this proximity to God through Jesus! Do you know it by experience? If you know it, are you living in the power of it? This closeness is wonderful, and yet it is to be followed by a greater nearness still, when it shall be said, “The dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people.”4 Lord, haste the day!

1) Exodus 3:5
2) Exodus 19:12
3) Matthew 11:28
4) Revelation 21:3

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 the Greatest Hero

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

They call him the man of steel. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Superman is the ultimate strong and powerful superhero. As long as there’s none of that nasty green Kryptonite nearby to suck away his strength, Superman can do whatever it takes to rescue people in any kind of danger. And not only does he fly and have incredible strength, but he also seems to use his powers, not to make himself look good, but to help other people.

We love Superman because we know we need a hero: someone who knows when we need help, is powerful enough to be able to help us, and cares enough to want to help. In the comic books and on TV, Superman does all of those things. But he doesn’t do any of them perfectly. For example, he knows when people need help—but only because he hears about it from someone else. He is powerful enough to help people—but only in one place at a time. If a child were being kidnapped on one side of Metropolis at the exact same moment that a woman’s car was being stolen on the other side of the city, he would have to choose to help either the child or the woman. He couldn’t do both, even if he wanted to.

Superman is a good hero, but he is only a man—and not even a real man, just a pretend character in comic books and in movies. He is only a fictional imitation of the one Hero we all truly need: a God who knows everything, who can do anything He wants to, and who loves His children perfectly. That God is our refuge: we can run to Him for shelter when we’re facing something scary or painful. He is our strength: we can call on Him when we are weak. He is always near when we are in trouble: He doesn’t have to fly to where we are, because He’s already there. We can count on Him to be our ultimate Hero.

God, our refuge and strength, is better than any make-believe superhero.

My response:

» Do I turn to God for help when I am in trouble, or do I try to solve my problems by myself?

Denison Forum – Railroad unions and companies reach deal to avoid a strike: Why this is good news for you

The news broke this morning that freight rail companies and unions representing tens of thousands of workers have reached a tentative agreement to avoid a strike. Following all-night talks, the agreement now heads to union members for a ratification vote. While the vote is tallied, workers have agreed that they will not strike.

Why is this news important to you?

The Association of American Railroads trade group estimated that a strike would cost the American economy $2 billion a day. According to the Associated Press, railroads carry cars, coal, chemicals, grain, imported goods, and other products and raw materials throughout the country. A shutdown, even if brief, would delay critical shipments and ripple across the economy.

A railroad strike would cancel commuter trains, cause energy prices to rise, disrupt deliveries of produce, meat, and building supplies, and add to inflation.

I do not know a single person who works for a railroad. Before this morning’s news broke, I had no idea that a railroad strike could impact me personally. But problems we cannot see are no less real. Because we don’t know they exist, we don’t respond to them until they grow so large we must.

As a result, our unseen problems can be the most dangerous problems we face.

Therein lies my point today.

“No creature is hidden from his sight”

Yesterday we discussed the power of private character. Today let’s focus on the alternative: the peril of private sins.

This topic became urgent to me when I read a verse in the book of Ezekiel that arrested my attention. The Lord said of his sinful people: “I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols” (Ezekiel 6:9a). We cannot see the “heart” of another person or the images their eyes see, but God can: “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). His heart is “broken” by such “secret” sins.

In addition, what God sees in a sinner’s heart and mind will eventually be known to the sinner: “They will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations” (Ezekiel 6:9b). And to the rest of us: “Nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).

As a result, our response to sin should always be immediate and courageous: “Thus says the Lord Gᴏᴅ: ‘Clap your hands and stamp your foot and say, Alas, because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, for they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence” (Ezekiel 6:11).

Why Satan loves to use “secret” sins

Let’s take a moment to unmask Satan’s strategy behind “secret” sins.

Our enemy wants us to commit adultery, but if we refuse, he tempts us to view pornography with the justification that at least we are not committing adultery. If we will not view pornography, he tempts us with lustful thoughts with the justification that at least we are not viewing pornography. This is because he knows that, as Jesus warned us, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

If you are thinking that this paragraph does not apply to you, beware: Satan will then tempt you with other sins with the justification that at least you are not committing sexual sins.

Why does the devil love to use “secret” sins? Because he knows what they do to us: “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). And he knows that any sins, known by others or not, are enough to grieve and “quench” the Holy Spirit’s work in and through our lives in the world (Ephesians 4:301 Thessalonians 5:19).

Oswald Chambers warned: “Even the very smallest thing that we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion” and “can only be conquered through obedience.”

“Secret” sins and public religion

Paradoxically, Satan is pleased when we commit “secret” sins while maintaining public religiosity. When we persist in private sin while preaching sermons, leading Bible studies, attending worship services, or writing or reading articles like this one, we are tempted to believe that our “private” sins are not harming others or we could not be engaged in such religious activity.

However, because the Holy Spirit cannot fully use a person who persists in unconfessed sin (cf. Romans 8:6–8), our spiritual activities have little effect on the larger culture. Our salt “has lost its taste” and our light is “under a basket” (Matthew 5:1315). Neither can then fulfill their transforming purpose in the world.

The lure and prevalence of “secret” sin help explain the truth of A. W. Tozer’s observation: “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

How strong are your batteries?

You have perhaps had this experience: the power goes out at night, so you hunt for a flashlight. You find one in a drawer and turn it on, but the bulb barely glows in the dark. You replace the batteries, but the flashlight still doesn’t work. It turns out that the contacts between the flashlight and the batteries are corroded with disuse.

Only when you clean out the corrosion and replace the batteries can the flashlight dispel the darkness it was created to defeat.

When the batteries are weak, the darkness is strong. When the batteries are strong, the darkness is weak.

Is the spiritual darkness of our day growing weaker or stronger?

Denison Forum