In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Delight Yourself in the Lord

Are you enjoying your relationship with the Lord?

Isaiah 61:10-11

The word delight means “to gain great pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness.” Isn’t that the kind of relationship you want with the Lord—one in which both you and He enjoy each other’s presence? Well, God also wants that kind of connection, and our part in helping it develop is through commitment, trust, and patience. 

First, a believer must commit his or her ways to God. This means we invite Him to examine our desires and plans and alter whatever does not fit His purpose or plan for our life. 

Second, a believer must trust God. Who is more worthy of our faith than the Father, who gave Jesus Christ to save undeserving sinners? The One who would not spare His only Son will certainly provide all that His children need (Romans 8:32). 

Third, a believer must rest in God. When we fret, we’re neither committing ourselves to the Lord nor trusting in Him. Waiting on God is rarely easy, but He alone knows when circumstances and timing are aligned with His will. 

Enjoying our relationship with the Lord requires effort, but it is a labor of love—because we were made to find joy in God’s presence. The greatest pleasure we can experience is to walk hand in hand with our Father.

Bible in One Year: Nahum 1-3

Our Daily Bread — The Miracle of Salvation

Bible in a Year:

Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

John 11:40

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

John 11:38–44

Blogger Kevin Lynn’s life seemed to be falling apart. In a recent article he recounted, “I actually put a gun to my head . . . . It took for God to supernaturally step into my room and my life. And at that moment, I really found what I know is God now.” God intervened and prevented Lynn from taking his life. He filled him with conviction and gave him an overwhelming reminder of His loving presence. Instead of hiding this powerful encounter, Lynn shared his experience with the world, creating a YouTube ministry where he shares his own transformation story as well as the stories of others.

When Jesus’ follower and friend Lazarus died, many assumed that Jesus was too late (John 11:32). Lazarus had been in his tomb for four days before Christ arrived, but He turned this moment of anguish into a miracle when He raised him from the dead (v. 38). “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (v. 40).

Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life, He offers us new life through Him. By sacrificing His life on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and offers us forgiveness when we accept His gift of grace. We’re freed from the bondage of our sins, renewed by His everlasting love, and given the opportunity to change the course of our lives.

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the miraculous ways that God has turned your life around? How might you use your testimony to bring others closer to Him?

Heavenly Father, sometimes I take for granted how You’ve transformed my life. Thank You for never giving up on me.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Satan Opposes God’s Word

“Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).

Despite Satanic opposition, God’s Word will accomplish its work in His people.

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed: “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up. . . . But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop” (vv. 3-8).

Jesus went on to explain that the seed is the truth of God’s Word. Satan and his demonic forces can snatch it away from those who hear it yet don’t understand what it means. They can bring affliction and persecution against those who have an emotional commitment only, thereby causing them to lose heart and fall away. In some cases they choke out the Word with worry and the deceitfulness of riches (vv. 19-22).

But truly repentant sinners receive and nurture the gospel truth, just as prepared soil receives and nurtures seed. They hear it, understand it, receive it, and produce spiritual fruit (v. 23).

Proclaiming the gospel is an important aspect of taking the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). As you do, others are saved and join God’s army. But be warned: Satan never gives up territory without a fight. Some of the people you witness to will forget what you tell them. Others will refuse to turn from worldly influences. Still others may respond emotionally, but without a genuine commitment to serving Christ and forsaking sin.

Those spiritual battles should compel you to bathe your evangelism in prayer and undergird it with a clear gospel presentation. If people understand precisely what it means to receive Christ, and if their hearts are prepared by the Holy Spirit, they’ll not be so easily victimized by satanic opposition.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to share Christ with someone today, or to encourage a struggling believer.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8.

  • What was Paul’s concern for the Thessalonian believers?
  • What did he do to eliminate his concern?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Jesus Is the Best Kind of Helper

Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered and, [His completed experience] making Him perfectly [equipped], He became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him.

— Hebrews 5:8-9 (AMPC)

Have you ever tried to figure out how to make a gadget or an electronic device work properly? That kind of thing comes easily to people who know a lot about technology. But it can be very frustrating to people like me, who aren’t technologically savvy and who just want the device to work! I have learned that if I accidentally hit the wrong button on my phone and start having trouble with it, all I need to do is look for a young person to help me. Though I am older, and I have much more life experience than a sixth grader who can fix my phone, that child has something I do not have: specific experience with today’s technology. I may know a lot in some areas, but I can’t fix my phone; I need help, and the best kind of helper is one with experience.

Jesus has all the experience required to help us along our healing journey. Hebrews 5:8–9 speaks volumes to me not only about Him but also about my life and yours. Jesus needed certain experience in order to truly understand our pain and become our High Priest who can help us heal. My experience with Jesus’ healing power makes me a good person to boldly tell others He will heal their wounded souls just as He has healed mine, and your experience will do the same for you.

Jesus suffered greatly and gained experience as a result. His experience equipped Him to fulfill what God wanted Him to do. Hebrews 4:15 says He is able to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses (AMPC) because He has already gone through the things we suffer. I hope you will think about this verse often and allow it to give you hope and confidence that what you are going through will enable you to help others.

I encourage you today, even at this moment, to offer your experience to God for His use if you have never done that. No matter how confusing, painful, or difficult it may be, He can use it to provide the experience you need to help someone else. I vividly remember praying one day, “God, I am a broken mess, but I’m Yours if You can use me.” He did. He chose to use me in specific ways to help others, and I believe there is a specific way He wants to use you, too. Nothing we give to God is ever wasted, so give Him your pain today and see how He will use your experience.

Prayer of the Day: Thank You for using the painful experiences in my life to help me grow. Heal my heart, help me flourish in you with renewed hope and confidence, that I might help others, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Speck and the Log

How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,” when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

Luke 6:42

Irecall a time when, sitting at a desk in an exam, I turned the paper over and immediately began to look around to see if everybody else felt as bad about the first question as I did. Then I was startled by the teacher’s exhortation: “Never mind looking at others. Just concentrate on yourself!”

Jesus makes a similar point in these verses, using a striking metaphor to instruct His listeners to deal with their own sin before they attempt to point out the sins of others. The word Jesus uses for “speck” often describes very small bits and pieces of straw or wood. In contrast, the word for “log” refers to a load-bearing beam in a house or structure. If I have a log in my eye, it clearly requires my attention more than a speck in someone else’s does.

As fallen creatures, we’re prone to think it’s our responsibility to deal with everybody else’s spiritual condition before dealing with our own. Yet Christ hasn’t called us to be preoccupied primarily and initially with the specks of others. No, He says we must be diligent in examining ourselves in light of Scripture and the standard that He has set.

Jesus’ instruction poses a great challenge. Sometimes we may point out the faults of others under the guise of caring about their spiritual condition. But if we have not first been honest about and ruthless with our own sins, that is hypocrisy! We often fall prey to the mistaken notion that if I can find your flaw and deal with you, then I won’t have to deal with my own issues. It’s far more pleasant to tell someone else about their dreadful condition than it is to face our own.

If we truly want to help others, then we must first be prepared to face the dreadfulness of our own hearts—to acknowledge with Robert Murray M’Cheyne that “the seeds of all sins are in my heart.”[1] When we understand and believe that, then when we go to approach others we will stand on the low ground of genuine love and humility rather than the high ground of presumption. Between those two perspectives there’s all the difference in the world.


Jude 1:20-25

Topics: Christian Life Hypocrisy Judgmentalism


1 Quoted in Andrew Bonar, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Banner of Truth, 1995), p 153.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Opens Hearts

And a certain woman named Lydia . . . heard us: whose heart the Lord opened” (Acts 16:14).

When Paul received a call from God to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel, he and his missionary companions immediately set sail. One of the first major cities they came to was Philippi. They found a group of women meeting beside a river, so they sat down with them to tell them the good news about the true God.

One of these women was Lydia. She lived in the city of Thyatira and made her living by selling purple cloth. The Bible tells us that Lydia “worshiped God.” She was interested in the Jewish God and tried to worship Him in her own way, but she had not yet become a believer in Christ. Acts 16:14 says that Lydia heard Paul’s preaching because the Lord had opened her heart. Lydia’s heart was not hard and cold, nor was it doubtful and questioning. She had a heart that was open and ready to receive God’s Word because of a work that He had done inside of her. After hearing Paul’s preaching, she and her entire household were willing to show the world publicly, through baptism, that they were believers in Christ.

Is there someone you would like to share the gospel with? Pray for that person, asking God to open his heart. Maybe you have a neighbor that you have tried several times to witness to, but she has never been willing to listen. Ask God to open her heart. Perhaps you have a family member that is not saved, but you feel a little fearful to talk to him about the Lord. God can open his heart too!

God wants us to share the gospel with the unsaved people around us, but salvation is His work, not ours. The story of Lydia reminds us that God is the one who makes people ready and willing to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. Each time you hand someone a gospel tract, write a letter to someone explaining how to be saved, or talk to an unsaved person about Jesus, remember to ask for help from the God, Who opens hearts.

In salvation, God does a special work of opening hearts and making people ready to accept Jesus Christ.

My response:

» Am I making an effort to tell unsaved people the good news of Jesus Christ?

» When I do that, am I depending on the power of God to open their hearts?

Denison Forum – The latest on Ukraine: Putin’s threat of nuclear escalation “could be a reality”

Tropical Storm Ian is expected to become Hurricane Ian today and is moving toward Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for the entire state. After the devastation left by Hurricane Fiona in the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada, it is wise to be prepared today for the crisis that may come tomorrow.

Case in point: as Russian President Vladimir Putin presses forward on annexing occupied regions of Ukraine, experts are warning that the threat of nuclear weapons is rising if Putin feels “cornered.” Putin confirmed this threat himself when he stated in a national address that he would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons to protect what he claims to be Russian territory, which in his view will soon include areas that are part of the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in an interview yesterday that this threat “could be a reality.” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the US will “respond decisively” if Putin moves to use such weapons.

Putin is likely to be feeling more “cornered” today than ever before. Russian police have arrested hundreds of people protesting Putin’s “partial mobilization” order conscripting three hundred thousand reservists into active duty. Many are fleeing the country, suspecting that this is just the first wave of call-ups. In addition, the Associated Press reports that “the tide of international opinion appears to be decisively shifting against Russia.”

Why, in the face of such opposition at home and abroad, is Putin continuing on this path? Is his threat of nuclear weapons real or is it a bluff? The answer is relevant not just for world peace but for our culture and for our souls.

Two illuminating articles

Dr. Marlene Laruelle is an international affairs professor at George Washington University and author of the book Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines, and Political Battlefields. In a recent New York Times guest essay, she explains the crisis in Russia in terms I’ve not seen elsewhere.

We have been hearing about Russians protesting the war from the beginning. But Dr. Laruelle says there is a “party of war” made up of the security agencies, the Defense Ministry, and outspoken media and political figures that has been “mounting a sustained critique of the Kremlin’s handling of the war” for a very different reason. In short, “they want a much more aggressive war effort.” Recent military reversals have played into their hands.

In her view, their loud and growing insistence that Putin increase the war effort is behind his announced mobilization, forced annexation, and threat of nuclear escalation. If he loses their support, his regime, which is founded on his tsarist metanarrative of rebuilding “Mother Russia,” may founder as well.

With regard to this metanarrative, we should consider a warning from Dr. Stephen Kotkin, a history scholar at Princeton and Stanford and author of a recent Foreign Affairs article, “The Cold War Never Ended.” Dr. Kotkin writes: “Many Russians view their country as a providential power, with a distinct civilization and a special mission in the world, but Russia’s capabilities do not match its aspirations, and so its rulers resort, time and again, to a hyperconcentration of power in the state in a coercive effort to close the yawning gap with the West.

“But the drive for a strong state does not work, invariably devolving into personalist rule. The combination of weakness and grandeur, in turn, drives the autocrat to exacerbate the very problem that facilitated his appearance.”

In Dr. Kotkin’s view, this “Cold War” metanarrative will persist “until Russian rulers make the strategic choice to abandon the impossible quest to become a great-power equal of the West and choose instead to live alongside it and focus on Russia’s internal development.” However, if Dr. Laruelle is right, abandoning such a quest could cost Putin his position and even more.

The importance of perspective

I had seen Putin’s previous references to nuclear weapons as a bluff intended to remind the world that Russia is in fact a nuclear power. In light of these articles, however, such confidence may be misplaced. If Putin truly believes that his regime and his future are at stake, it’s hard to be sure he would not do whatever he believes it takes to protect them.

Laruelle and Kotkin illustrate the crucial importance of perspective: seeking to understand not just actions but motives and working to discern the worldview we do not see that forges the world we do.

This quest for discernment is vital not just for geopolitics but for Christian engagement with our lost culture. If we don’t understand why lost people do what lost people do, we will not effectively persuade them to follow Christ. They will dismiss us as judgmental and even dangerous to their secularized society.

Two transforming words

The good news is that Jesus knows our hearts (John 2:25) and thoughts (Matthew 9:4). His Spirit is working right now to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). He will “guide you into all the truth” (v. 13) to the glory of Jesus (v. 14).

So, know this: God will lead you to change hearts and history if you are willing to be led.

No one is beyond the reach of Christian intercession, witness, and compassion. You can engage others with confidence, knowing that the Spirit is preparing today the people he wants you to influence tomorrow. And you can pray with confidence, knowing that Jesus is interceding for you (Romans 8:34) as the Spirit intercedes within you (Romans 8:26) right now.

Let’s join them. Ask the Spirit to lead you as you pray for:

  • Vladimir Putin to repent of his nuclear threat and murderous aggression in Ukraine.
  • Christian leaders in Russia to be salt and light with their leaders and in their culture.
  • God’s wisdom for world leaders as they confront the threat of nuclear escalation.
  • Protection for Ukraine’s leaders, soldiers, and people.
  • God to redeem this crisis by bringing spiritual awakening to Russia and Ukraine.

Samuel’s prayer was the key to his transformative life: “Speak, Lᴏʀᴅ. I am your servant and I am listening” (1 Samuel 3:10 NCV). From his example, I am learning to pray two transforming words in every circumstance, opportunity, and challenge: Speak, Lord. And I am learning that God does in fact speak to our minds, our hearts, and our circumstances if we are willing to listen.

Would you say these two words to God from your heart right now?

Denison Forum