In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Faith on Trial

Are you facing a crisis of belief? You can trust God to keep His Word.

Genesis 22:1-18

Abraham began walking with the Lord many years before he was asked to offer Isaac on the altar. His first step had been to leave his home and relatives and travel to the land that God would show him (Genesis 12:1). But now he was being told to give up Isaac, who was the son of promise: Through Isaac, the Lord had promised to bring forth a great nation and bless the entire world.  

Abraham’s obedience in this crucial test was based on his faith in God. He believed that the Lord would keep His promise to give him descendants through Isaac, even if it required raising the boy from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). That’s why Abraham confidently declared to his servants that he and his son would return to them after worshipping (Gen. 22:5). He knew the Lord was faithful.

If you’re going through a time of testing, God is seeking to increase your trust in Him. He wants to prove to you that He’s faithful to fulfill His promises. This challenge is designed to help you grow in faith, obedience, and spiritual maturity. The testing may be painful, but the Lord will wrap you in His love and carry you to victory.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 10-12

Our Daily Bread — Hallelujah!

Bible in a Year:

He will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Revelation 11:15–18

Astonishingly, it took Handel only twenty-four days to write the orchestral music for the Messiah oratorio—today perhaps the world’s most famous musical composition, one performed thousands of times every year around the world. The magnificent work reaches its climax nearly two hours after it begins with the most famous part of the oratorio, the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

As the trumpets and timpani announce the beginning of the chorus, voices layer on top of each other as the choir sings the words of Revelation 11:15: “And he shall reign for ever and ever.” It’s a triumphant declaration of the hope of eternity in heaven with Jesus.

Many of the words in Messiah come from the book of Revelation, the apostle John’s account of a vision he had near the end of his life describing events culminating with the return of Christ. In Revelation, John returned again and again to the theme of the return of the resurrected Jesus to earth—when there would be great rejoicing with the sound of choirs (19:1–8). The world will rejoice because Jesus will have defeated the powers of darkness and death and established a kingdom of peace.

One day, all the people of heaven will sing together in a magnificent choir proclaiming the majesty of Jesus and the blessing of His forever reign (7:9). Until then, we live, work, pray, and wait in hope.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How does the return of Jesus to reign over the earth provide you with hope now? What songs encourage you with reminders of the majesty of Jesus?

Come quickly, Jesus, to establish Your reign over the earth.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – A Righteousness That Glorifies God

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

A righteous life testifies to God’s transforming power and brings Him glory.

We’ve seen the importance of donning the breastplate of righteousness, but Scripture also discusses the consequences of failing to do so. These consequences serve as warnings to anyone who is prone to neglect righteousness.

If you’re not committed to righteousness, you not only make yourself spiritually vulnerable, but also forfeit some of God’s wonderful blessings. David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (Ps. 51:13). His sin had robbed him of his joy and assurance. That’s true of us as well because joy is directly proportional to obedience. If you’re pursuing greater righteousness, you’ll know greater joy.

You might also forfeit some of your heavenly reward. John said, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (1 John 8). I believe that New Testament rewards are various capacities for service in heaven. The greater your reward, the greater your capacity to serve God. Somehow your current righteousness and faithfulness to God affect what you will do for all eternity. Don’t allow sin and negligence to diminish your reward!

Without righteousness you will also suffer loss of opportunity to glorify God. When thinking or behaving unrighteously, you violate your reason for existence, which is to glorify God in everything (1 Cor. 10:31). Instead of exalting Him, you bring reproach on His name. Instead of causing others to see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16), you breed confusion and mockery.

Peter says to us, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that . . . they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:11). When unbelievers scrutinize your life, what do they see? Does your righteousness testify of God’s saving and sanctifying grace?

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to give you an increased hunger and thirst for righteousness as you seek to live to His glory today.

For Further Study

Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:21 as a reminder of God’s marvelous grace to you.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – You Are Loved

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

— Romans 5:8 (NIV)

God reminded me today of His unconditional love!

It is very important to begin each day knowing that you are loved! God loves you unconditionally, and His love is more valuable and important than anyone else’s. He doesn’t love us because we deserve it, but simply because He wants to. As you receive God’s love freely, it will give you confidence and enable you to live life without fear. God’s perfect love casts out all fear and dread (see 1 John 4:18).

Perhaps you have known the pain of not being chosen. You were not picked for class president or asked to attend the party that everyone was going to. When we are left out it hurts, but the good news for you today is that God has chosen you! You are special to Him and His love for you will never end.

Prayer of the Day: Thank You, Father, for loving me. I receive Your love by faith today and ask that it will strengthen me.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – More Rebellious than the Sea

Am I the sea, or a sea monster, that you set a guard over me?

Job 7:12

This was a strange question for Job to ask the Lord. He felt himself to be too insignificant to be so strictly watched and chastened, and he hoped that he was not so unruly as to need to be restrained. The inquiry was natural from one surrounded by such miseries, but after all, it is capable of a very humbling answer.

It is true that man is not the sea, but he is even more troublesome and unruly. The sea obediently respects its boundary, and it does not overleap the limit, even though it is just a belt of sand. Mighty as it is, it hears the divine “thus far,” and when raging with tempest it still respects the word. Self-willed man, however, defies heaven and oppresses earth, and there is no end to his rebellious rage. The sea, obedient to the moon, ebbs and flows with ceaseless regularity and so renders an active as well as a passive obedience; but man, restless beyond his sphere, sleeps within the lines of duty, lazy where he should be active. He neither comes nor goes at the divine command but sullenly prefers to do what he should not and to leave undone what is required of him. Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble, and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell and pebble, feel the power of law and yield or move at once.

If only our nature were but one thousandth as much conformed to the will of God! We call the sea fickle and false, but how constant it is! Since our fathers’ days, and even before, the sea is where it was, beating on the same cliffs to the same tune. We know where to find it; it never hides, and its ceaseless pounding never fades; but where is man, fickle man? Can the wise man guess by what folly he will next be seduced from his obedience? We need more watching than the billowy sea and are far more rebellious. Lord, rule us for Your own glory. Amen.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Hears Us

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).

Have your parents ever told you, “You have selective hearing”? That means you hear only what you want to hear. For example, your mom asks you to stop playing with your Lego set and go clean your room. Then, thirty minutes later, she finds you still playing with your Legos. You tell her, “Oh . . . sorry, Mom. I didn’t hear you.” But a few minutes later you just happen to overhear her talking on the phone to your best friend’s mom about plans for a sleepover, and you instantly go to her and start asking for details.

Parents, too, can have selective hearing. Some dads may seem more interested in the sports page than the teenage son who his telling him of his day’s activities, until the son lists wrecking his mom’s car among the day’s events.

Though we consider it a weakness for a child or parent to have “selective hearing,” when God chooses to have selective hearing with us, it’s a good thing. God tells us what He will hear and what He won’t hear. Because God has told us exactly how He wants us to pray, the Bible says we can have more confidence that He will hear us. He wants us to pray “according to His will.”

The word will refers to what God desires or to anything that pleases Him. First John 5:14 is telling us that if we ask for anything that pleases God, He will hear us. And the next verse goes on to assure us that He will answer our requests: “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

You might ask, So how do I know what pleases God? Well, that’s what His Word is all about! If you know God through His Word, if you know of specific things that please Him—for example, obedience to parents (Ephesians 6:1); kindness to others (Ephesians 4:32); diligence in your work (Ecclesiastes 9:10)—then you already know how to pray “according to His will.” All you have to do is apply what you know about what pleases God to your specific circumstances, and pray from that perspective. Then God promises He will hear and answer your prayer!

God promises to hear us when we pray according to His will.

My response:

» Am I praying for what I know would please God as I pray about my circumstances?

Denison Forum – Second-largest school district in the US a victim of cyberattack

It is estimated that global cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, an amount larger than every economy in the world except the US and China.

For example, Los Angeles Unified, the second-largest school district in the US with more than 640,000 students enrolled, was hit with a ransomware attack a few days ago. Such attacks on schools and universities are on the rise.

Cybersecurity threats are also escalating against the US water industry, the US healthcare system, and industrial infrastructure, including electricity grids, oil and gas facilities, and manufacturing plants. Uber Technologies said yesterday that it was investigating a cybersecurity incident that forced the company to shut down several internal communications and engineering systems.

The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against three Iranian individuals alleged to have launched cyberattacks against the US and global critical infrastructure. The individuals are still at large and believed to be in Iran. The State Department is offering a $10 million reward for information on the three men. The Treasury Department has also announced sanctions against ten individuals and two groups affiliated with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, alleging that they have carried out ransomware and other cyberattacks since at least 2020.

You and I cannot see a cyberattack, only its effects. Therein lies my point today.

What our daily mantra should be

As I noted yesterday, “secret” sins are one of Satan’s most effective strategies for hindering the advance of God’s kingdom through God’s people. Sins known only to God nonetheless grieve the Spirit who alone can empower us to do eternal good.

Human words cannot transform human hearts. The Spirit alone possesses the power to bring us to repentance and faith (John 16:8) and to make fallen people into God’s new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is only the Spirit working through us that can do anything of eternal significance.

Consequently, our daily mantra should be, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lᴏʀᴅ of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

However, Satan knows this fact as well and counters the work of God’s Spirit through God’s people by leveraging three cultural factors:

  • We are consumers who have been taught by brilliant marketers that the world exists to meet our needs.
  • We are fallen people plagued by the “will to power” to be our own god (Genesis 3:5).
  • Unlike the Catholic concept of penance for sins in this lifetime and purgatory for them in the afterlife, evangelical Christians focus on the immediacy of God’s forgiveness and grace when we confess our sins to him (1 John 1:9).

Satan plays to all three factors with “secret” sins we think we can choose to commit and then confess without consequences. No one but God knows, we say to ourselves, and he forgets all he forgives (Isaiah 43:25). But we should remember that Satan is at war with a God he cannot attack directly (Revelation 12:9), so he attacks his children to hurt their Father (1 Peter 5:8). The best way to hurt me is to hurt my kids or my grandkids.

As a result, Satan’s evil character will not allow him to offer us a temptation that does not produce greater evil than the good it promises. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Three facts about “secret” sins

Here are three facts about “secret sins” we should remember:

One: “Secret” sins lead to debilitating “secret” guilt.

When God forgives the sins we confess, Satan then afflicts us with guilt for committing the very sins he tempted us to commit. Guilt is also how we punish ourselves for failures God has forgiven and forgotten. It can be debilitating in our lives, leading to a second factor:

Two: “Secret” sins cause us to feel we are unusable by God.

When we are engaged in “secret” sins, even after we confess them, Satan whispers to us that we are hypocrites if we share our faith with others when we are not fully living up to it ourselves. This is one of the main reasons more Christians do not share the gospel more publicly and persistently. It affects our willingness to serve the kingdom in other ways and steals our joy when we do.

Three: “Secret” sins, even when confessed, cost us reward in heaven.

The Bible promises, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). Every time we fail the test we forfeit such a crown. God forgives the sins we confess, but the rewards we would have gained for refusing to commit them are lost forever.

What’s the solution?

Satan knows the sins we can resist in our strength and doesn’t waste his time with them. So, we can know that every temptation we face is one we cannot defeat without God’s help. However, part of Satan’s tempting strategy is to entice us to fight temptation in our ability. He drags us into the quicksand an inch at a time until we are in too far to escape.

What is the answer, then, to “secret” sins?

Developing the reflex of responding to temptation immediately by taking it to God in prayer. Such a reflex positions us to be “filled” and empowered by the Spirit in ways we would not have experienced otherwise (Ephesians 5:18). It draws us closer to our holy Father and makes us more usable in his kingdom.

As the Renaissance scholar Erasmus noted, Satan hates nothing so much as for his evil to be used for good.

Here’s the bottom line: Yielding to temptation makes us weaker. Refusing temptation makes us stronger.

Will you be stronger when this day is done than you were when it began?

Denison Forum