In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Does God Love Me?

In moments of doubt, choose to believe the truth of God’s Word.

Psalm 145:7-9

Life can hit us with the most unexpected and undesirable circumstances. When that happens, we might wonder, Does God really care about me? Here are three truths to remember:

1. Scripture tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This means His very nature is characterized by compassion and concern. Love originated with God, and He is the greatest example of how to express it. Together with the reality that God is holy, this means our Father is perfect in His love—He’ll never make a mistake in the way He cares for us. 

2. God loves us because He calls us His children. “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” writes John in his gospel (John 1:12 NIV). Sadly, for some who’ve had a difficult upbringing, this may not be encouraging news. But God is the perfect parent, and He loves us perfectly.

3. God gave the supreme demonstration of His love at the cross. God’s Son came to earth as an expression of His Father’s infinite love and sacrificially did for us what no one else could do. 

After considering these three facts about God’s love, how could we not expect Him to take care of even the smallest details of our life? Look for ways He is expressing His love to you, and remember Jesus’s own words on the subject: “Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). 

Bible in One Year: John 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Opportunities to Shine

Bible in a Year:

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 5:13–16

In March 2020, while walking his dog in New York City’s Central Park, Whitney, a retired financial expert, saw trucks, stacks of tarps, and white tents, each bearing a cross and the name of a charity he’d never heard of before. When he discovered the group was building a field hospital for his fellow New Yorkers with COVID-19, he asked if he could help. For weeks, despite differing faiths and politics, he and his family pitched in wherever they could. Whitney stated, “Every single person I’ve met has been a genuinely nice person.” And he applauded the fact that no one was paying them to “help my city in our hour of deep, deep need.”

In response to the tremendous needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, unlikely partners in service were brought together, and believers in Jesus were given new opportunities to share Christ’s light with others. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His followers to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds” (Matthew 5:16). We shine Christ’s light by letting the Spirit guide us in loving, kind, and good words and actions (see Galatians 5:22–23). When we allow the light we’ve received from Jesus to shine clearly in our daily lives, we also “glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

This day and every day may we shine for Christ, as He helps us be salt and light in a world that desperately needs Him.

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

Where do you see an opportunity to share hope and light with others today? When has someone been light to you in a difficult time?

Jesus, help me to shine Your light in all I say and do.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Overcoming Temptation

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus Christ provides us with the perfect example of how to defeat temptation.

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke, “I can resist anything but temptation!” Unfortunately, that is all too often true in our lives. Learning how to successfully resist temptation is vitally important, for we sin only when we yield to temptation.

Christians throughout history have recognized the importance of resisting temptation. One early believer wrote, “Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit.” The desire to escape temptation has led many in the history of the church to attempt heroic but ultimately futile feats of ascetic self-denial. So desperate did one monk become that he threw himself into a thicket of thorn bushes! Unfortunately, that did not bring him the relief from temptation that he so desperately sought.

The way to successfully resist temptation was modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ when He was tempted. We must first understand our enemy’s plan of attack and, secondly, make use of our spiritual resources.

Satan made a three-pronged assault on Jesus—the same three ways he tempts us. First, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s goodness by commanding the stones to become bread (Matt. 4:3). That implies that God didn’t care enough about Jesus to provide for His physical needs. Second, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s love, suggesting that He test that love by leaping from the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4:5-6). Finally, he tempted Jesus to compromise God’s truth, promising Him the kingdom without the cross if Jesus would worship him (Matt. 4:8-9).

To each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus replied, “It is written” (Matt. 4:4710). He thereby showed us the resource for defeating temptation: the Word of God (cf. Eph. 6:17). Do you find yourself overcome by temptation? Then follow our Lord’s example and take up the sword of the Spirit today!

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would make you alert to Satan’s attacks.

For Further Study

Make a list of specific verses you can use to combat the specific temptations you face.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – God Rewards Our Work

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

— Revelation 22:12 (NIV)

Sometimes, we try our best in certain situations because of our love for the Lord, but things don’t seem to work out in our favor. When this happens, we can easily become discouraged. We may need to do the right thing for a long period of time before we see the right results, but as I always say, “Payday is coming.”

God never forgets our labor for Him. The Bible says, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV), and there is great reward for those who keep and obey His teachings (Psalm 19:11 NKJV).

Some of our rewards are realized here on earth, and some are set aside for us in heaven. We don’t know exactly what these rewards are, but we know that God is good and that everything He prepares for us is also good. I encourage you to look forward to your reward from God. Be steadfast, be strong in the Lord, and continue to do what is right. You will never regret it.

Prayer of the Day: Father, thank You for Your goodness in my life. I look forward to my reward, not because I deserve anything, but because You are faithful. Help me remain strong and never give up. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Out of the Waiting Room

Then [Ruth] came softly and uncovered [Boaz’s] feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!

Ruth 3:7-8

The Christian life is not lived in a comfort zone.

In Ruth 3 we find Ruth taking a great risk as she approached Boaz to request that he care for her as his wife. She, a single woman, went in the middle of the night to a barn filled with men after they had finished celebrating the completed harvest. Once Boaz fell asleep, she went to him under the cover of darkness and uncovered his feet. If she had made a mistake or had been discovered, there is no telling what these men would have done to her or what people might have said regarding her motives.

These events look strange to our 21st-century eyes, but Ruth’s unusual actions demonstrate a sincere trust in God’s care and protection. God had laid down in His law that Boaz could act as a kinsman-redeemer—a protector and provider—for Ruth. God had providentially led Ruth to Boaz’s field, where he had extended favor to her. Her story shows us again and again how God providentially rules over all unforseeable circumstances for His glory and the well-being of His people.

Like Ruth, we will sometimes face occasions in life when we cannot see much beyond our next step. Many of us are tempted to remain in the waiting room until all of the details are seemingly clear and known. We want to feel safe and in control. Yet if we insist on never moving until we do feel like that, our lives will speak little of spiritual progress and witness little of God’s miraculous work. The fear of going in the wrong direction leaves us going nowhere at all.

When we cannot see beyond our next step or when times of uncertainty come in life—and they will come!—we have to trust God and act on the basis of the truth of His word and trust in His Spirit’s guidance. Ruth’s plan was not fail-safe and certain, but she proceeded because she trusted God, who had proven His faithfulness to her time and time again.

Do you need to start thinking this way? Do you need to look above and beyond the borders of your comfort zone to that to which God may be calling you? If Ruth was motivated by trust and obedience, what are you motivated by? What is there about your life right at this moment that speaks of faith? There may be a decision to make, a place to go, a venture to undertake, or a conversation to have about which you don’t know all the implications, and all you can say is “I don’t have a clue how this is going to go, but it’s what God is calling me to do.” In these situations, God’s word calls you to use wisdom and then proceed in faith, step by step, trusting in the one who died for you and who promises to be “with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Entrust your life not to the safety of your comfort zone but to the guidance of His providential hand.


Ruth 3

Topics: Faith Faithfulness of God Providence of God

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Our Strength Comes from God

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

“Sarah, look back quick!” Eleven-year-old Eli grabbed his sister’s arm. “Look at the water,” he whispered. Sarah peeked out from behind her mother’s robe in time to see two great water walls crash down upon the Egyptians. Helmets and wheels flew into the foam.

Eli did not know which was scarier—rushing through the strong wind on the dry seabed or watching the waves now as they leaped and whirled in the first light. Earlier, trying to keep up with his father, he’d had the urge to run over and poke the Red Sea wall but thought it might suddenly break and pour over them.

Swallowing his screams, Eli moved closer to his father as they watched. “We will be safe on the other side,” Father had told him as they rushed along. But Father’s face had been like a rock, and his eyes had looked straight ahead.

Now Father gathered them close, turning them from the sight. “We are safe, just as Moses told us. Jehovah gave us strength to escape our enemies, and He will give us a refuge in our new home.”

You may never go through what Eli did, but there will be many times when you feel weak and afraid. Run away from the danger or fear, and run to God for help and strength. Eli did not have Psalm 46:1 (it hadn’t been written yet), but he did have God’s promise of safety and protection.

My response:

» Do I ever have a fear that I cannot tell to anyone?

» Do I sometimes think only adults can get help from God?

» Was there a recent time when I asked God for help and strength?

Denison Forum – “The farther away you are from the devil”: A Halloween meditation

 “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” —Psalm 119:97

At least 154 people were killed and 149 others were injured in a crowd surge at a packed Halloween festival Saturday night in Seoul, South Korea. In other weekend news, Somalia’s president said at least one hundred people were killed Saturday in two terrorist car bombings, though the death toll could rise. An overcrowded suspension bridge collapsed yesterday in India, killing at least 134 people.

And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul is recovering from surgery after being attacked early Friday morning by a hammer-wielding intruder at their San Francisco home. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and injuries to his hands and right arm, but he is expected to recover fully.

Oscar Wilde observed, “The real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning.” In a world encompassed with such daily suffering, it is not surprising that we would invent holidays like Halloween and station them throughout the year.

The typical US year has ten such holidays, beginning with New Year’s Day and ending with Christmas. The Catholic liturgical year celebrates the lives of various saints on more than 120 different days across the year.

Some of our holidays serve a diversionary purpose as they distract us from the challenges we face. Others serve a more edifying purpose as they focus on faith, country, and family. But here’s a fact you may not have considered regarding America’s holidays, both sacred and secular: not one of them is found in the Bible.

Halloween and other nonbiblical holidays

Nowhere does Scripture command us to set apart a specific day for observing Jesus’ birth or his resurrection, much less our other holidays. Thanksgiving comes closest, though the biblical command is to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), not just one day a year.

Many of our holidays are purely secular, as with Halloween, while church tradition has created others such as tomorrow’s All-Saints’ Day (“All Hallows’ Day”), for which today is the “eve” (“All Hallows’ Eve” or “Halloween”).

If you want your holidays to come directly from Scripture, you will need to follow the Jewish religious year. It includes Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost), Sukkot (Tabernacles), and the High Holidays: Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Each is required and described by the Torah. While the Jews have added others through tradition (such as Hanukkah), their calendar centers on biblical prescriptions.

Here’s my point: events and decisions in our lives fall into three categories—biblical, nonbiblical, and unbiblical.

Halloween is nonbiblical: God’s word does not command it, which would make it biblical, or forbid it, which would make it unbiblical. However, Scripture does teach us what would be biblical to do today, such as using the day for church outreach events, getting to know your neighbors so you can build relationships for the gospel, and spending fun time together as a family.

And it teaches us what would be unbiblical to do today, such as engaging in occult practices (Leviticus 19:31) or anything that would glorify Satan, “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).

When obedience was a pleasure

The same principle applies to much of life. For example, God’s word obviously does not directly address the digital technology by which I am creating and distributing today’s Daily Article. But it does encourage biblical uses of technology such as internet discipleship, and it warns us against unbiblical uses of technology such as pornography.

How can we be sure we are doing nonbiblical things in biblical ways and that we are avoiding unbiblical things at all costs? It would be wonderful if we could simply follow our instincts and do what comes naturally to us. But this is a privilege we left behind when we left Eden so long ago.

In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis observed: “Paradisal man always chose to follow God’s will. In following it he also gratified his own desire, both because all the actions demanded of him were, in fact, agreeable to his blameless inclination, and also because the service of God was itself his keenest pleasure, without which as their razor edge all joys would have been insipid to him.

“The question ‘Am I doing this for God’s sake or only because I happen to like it?’ did not then arise, since doing things for God’s sake was what he chiefly ‘happened to like.’ His God-ward will rode his happiness like a well-managed horse, whereas our will, when we are happy, is carried away in the happiness as in a ship racing down a swift stream. Pleasure was then an acceptable offering to God because offering was a pleasure.”

How can we return to such a blessed condition?

Acting into feeling

The psalmist declared to God, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). “Love” translates a Hebrew word meaning “to desire, to delight in, to breathe after.” The word translated “meditation” refers to one’s “occupation or thoughtful contemplation.” The two phrases reinforce each other: the more we are passionate about God’s word, the more time we will spend studying and applying it to our lives, and the more we study and apply God’s word, the more passion we will develop for it.

Counselors say we should “act into feeling” rather than “feeling into acting.” If you don’t feel love for your spouse, do what you would do if you did: go on a date, give them something you know they would enjoy, and so on. The more you do what love does, the more you may feel what love feels.

So, with today’s holiday and every other nonbiblical event or decision you encounter, spend time seeking scriptural truth and wisdom. Take note of what would be biblical and unbiblical to do. Pray for God’s Spirit to help you do the former and refuse the latter. Then do what you know you should do.

The more you live biblically, the more you will want to live biblically.

And you will obey Billy Graham’s admonition, wisdom that is especially appropriate on Halloween: “Stay close to Christ—because the closer you are to him, the farther away you are from the devil.”

Will you be closer to Christ today than you were yesterday?

Denison Forum

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – What Is the Spirit-Filled Life?

As we surrender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we are transformed.

Ephesians 5:18-21

God wants all of His children to be filled with the Spirit, but many of us aren’t sure what this means. While every believer is indwelt by God’s Spirit, the extent of His rule is determined by our obedience. 

Try thinking of it as a voluntary choice to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control—to be sensitive to His leadership and guidance, obedient to His promptings, and dependent upon His strength. Those who have surrendered to the Spirit’s leadership are continually being transformed into Christ’s likeness, but the degree of surrender determines the level of transformation. 

Even though good works and faithful service come from the Spirit, they’re not automatically signs that we are fully yielded to Him. Remember, the surrender we’re talking about involves character, not simply our actions. Serving in some manner can sometimes be easier than loving the unlovable or being patient with difficult people. But when the Spirit is in charge of our life, He is able to do through us what we can’t do ourselves. 

Each believer decides who rules his or her life. Even those who try to avoid the issue by making no choice at all unknowingly opt for self-rule. The fullness of the Spirit and godly character await those who choose God over self. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 17-19

Our Daily Bread — For the Sake of the Gospel

Bible in a Year:

In every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Titus 2:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Titus 2:1–10

The year was 1916 and Nelson had just graduated from medical school in his native Virginia. Later that year, he and his bride of six months arrived in China. At the age of twenty-two, he became a surgeon at Love and Mercy Hospital, the only hospital in an area of at least two million Chinese residents. Nelson, together with his family, lived in the area for twenty-four more years, running the hospital, performing surgeries, and sharing the gospel with thousands of people. From once being called “foreign devil” by those who distrusted foreigners, Nelson Bell later became known as “The Bell Who Is Lover of the Chinese People.” His daughter Ruth was to later marry the evangelist Billy Graham.

Although Nelson was a brilliant surgeon and Bible teacher, it wasn’t his skills that drew many to Jesus; it was his character and the way he lived out the gospel. In Paul’s letter to Titus, the young gentile leader who was taking care of the church in Crete, the apostle said that living like Christ is crucial because it can make the gospel “attractive” (Titus 2:10). Yet we don’t do this on our own strength. God’s grace helps us live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives” (v. 12), reflecting the truths of our faith (v. 1).

Many people around us still don’t know the good news of Christ, but they know us. May He help us reflect and reveal His message in attractive ways.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What can you learn from people whose life seems to draw others to the gospel? What things can you do (or stop doing) to make the gospel attractive to others?

Loving God, help me to be a good representative of the gospel. Help me to draw others to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Avoiding Spiritual Deception

“All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . reproof” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Scripture is the standard by which you must measure all teaching.

In November of 1978, United States Representative Leo Ryan of California visited the People’s Temple (a California- based cult) in Guyana. He went to investigate reports that some of the people were being held there against their will. The world was shocked to learn that the congressman and his party had been ambushed and killed.

Even more shocking was the grim discovery that followed a few days later. Authorities who entered the compound at Jonestown, Guyana were horrified to find the bodies of 780 cult members who had been shot or had committed suicide by drinking cyanide-laced punch. Their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones, was found lying near the altar—dead from a single bullet wound to the head.

For many, it was the first time they had witnessed the deadly effect of satanic teaching. Editorials and articles for months attempted to explain how such appalling deception and genocide could occur in this day and age. But as tragic as the Jonestown deaths were, most observers missed the greatest tragedy of all: the spiritual damnation that Jim Jones and all other false teachers lead their followers into.

Spiritual deception is a very serious issue to God. That’s why in Scripture He lays down the truth and reproves anything contrary to it. The Greek word translated “reproof” in 2 Timothy 3:16 means to rebuke or confront someone regarding misconduct or false teaching.

If you have a thorough grasp of Scripture, you have a standard by which to measure all teaching. Then you can easily recognize false doctrine and avoid spiritual deception. That’s what John had in mind when he said, “I have written to you, [spiritual] young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14).

False religions will always attempt to distort Scripture because they must eliminate God’s truth before they can justify their own lies. Beware of their subtleties, and be strong in God’s Word.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for protecting you from spiritual deception.
  • Pray for anyone you may know who has fallen victim to false teaching. Take every opportunity to impart God’s truth to them.

For Further Study

Read 2 Corinthians 11:1-413-15. How did Paul describe false teachers?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Seeking God Above Everything Else

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

— Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

If we seek to know things, we may never know God as we should, but if we seek to know Him, we can be assured that He will show us everything we need to know at exactly the right time.

Instead of trying to figure everything out, we can trust God to reveal His wisdom and understanding to us at the right times. We are encouraged in God’s Word to lean not on our own understanding but in all of our ways to trust God with our mind and heart. Go ahead and try it; you will start to enjoy life more than ever before.

Use the time you previously spent worrying, frustrated, and trying to figure everything out seeking to know God better. That is the best way you can spend your time; it comes with great rewards.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I trust you to help me stop having to understand everything that is taking place in my life, and simply wait on You to do what only You can do. Thank You, Lord Jesus, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Look Out!

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision.

Philippians 3:2-3

In all of the apostle Paul’s writings, there is perhaps no place where he made a more graphic statement than in this verse. Referring to the false teachers of his day as “dogs” was even more audacious and confrontational then than it is today. But Paul was not using this language merely for effect; he was gravely concerned because there were dangerous people moving around the Philippian church.

Cults and false teachers are almost always joyless, and these evil men in Philippi were no different. They were the opposite of what they claimed to be, insisting that the Old Testament ceremonial law was a necessary qualification for true Christianity. They addressed the Philippian believers, who had discovered joy in the Lord, by asking, in essence, Are you really a true Christian if you don’t pay careful attention to the external rite of circumcision? This warning from Paul to “look out” was meant to remind the young church that an “augmented” Christianity actually distorts the true gospel. Adding to the gospel always subtracts joy and even salvation from the gospel.

Therefore, when we read the word “dogs” in this verse we shouldn’t think of a friendly family pet. Paul was not referring to a golden retriever. Think of a scavenger, a diseased mongrel that roams around garbage cans and could harm you greatly with a bite. Paul was emphatic that these men, in insisting that people meet legal requirements to be qualified for grace, were equally dangerous. They were drawing attention away from Christ, diluting the sufficiency of His death, resurrection, and ascension.

Paul constantly warned of the tragic consequences of false teaching—and, because he loved the people of the Philippian church, describing them as his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1), he was opposed to anyone and anything that would reroute them from the only way to glory. He wanted them to remain vigilant.

We, too, could easily forget that the good news is not a message of “Do your best, and be good enough!” but rather “Your best is never enough—but Jesus is.”

Here’s the good news, though: by faith in Christ alone, we are the true “circumcision”—that is, those who have been set apart as the true people of God, not because we have had some flesh cut off but because Christ was cut off for us. In each generation, there are always those who wish to insist on the outward features of the faith and—implicitly or explicitly—make those observances necessary for salvation. But no external ritual or religious performance can save. Do not place your confidence in your flesh—in your church attendance, your daily Bible reading, your performance as a spouse or parent or worker or evangelist or anything else. Put it all in Christ. He, and He alone, is enough.


Galatians 2:11-21

Topics: False Teachers

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Us to Pray

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2).

Kayla and her mother and her little brother, John, were at a hotel. It was a tall hotel with an elevator. Their room was on the first floor so they did not ride in the elevator. Kayla was glad. She did not like how an elevator ride made her stomach feel.

Kayla and her family walked down the hall to the breakfast room. Kayla saw muffins and other food for the hotel guests.

“Yum! I want a muffin,” she said.

Mom gave Kayla a book. “Sit here with John on the red sofa so you can see me while I get our food. Don’t let your brother get away.”

Kayla and John sat on the red sofa, but John didn’t want to read the book. He stood up. Kayla stood up too. She held John’s hand, but John did not want her to hold his hand.

A tall man wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt came into the hotel.

“Daddy,” John said and he ran after the man.

Kayla ran after John. She knew the man wasn’t Daddy. They were going to the airport to meet Daddy.

The elevator door opened. John followed the man into the elevator. More people got into the elevator.

Kayla sighed. She got into the elevator too. The door shut. The elevator went up. Kayla tried not to think about her stomach.

“Excuse, me, please,” she said to the people. “I have to find my brother.”

She found John at the back of the elevator. He still did not want to hold her hand. So Kayla held on to the collar of his shirt. John giggled.

The elevator stopped. The man who looked like Daddy got off. The elevator went up and stopped again. More people got off. The elevator went up and stopped again.

Soon Kayla and John were the only people in the elevator. The elevator did not go up. The elevator did not go down. The door did not open. Nothing happened. John lay down on the floor.

Kayla wondered what she should do. She wanted to cry, but then she remembered Daniel in the Bible. Daniel trusted God. And he prayed when he was in trouble. We are in trouble, Kayla thought. I trust God too, so I will pray.

“Help me, God. Please show me what to do,” she prayed. But she didn’t close her eyes because she had to watch John.

Just then, John crawled to the front of the elevator. Kayla walked over to him. She saw buttons with numbers on the wall of the elevator. “Mom is on the first floor so I will push number one,” she decided.

Kayla pushed number one and the elevator went down, down, down.

Finally it stopped. The door opened.

Kayla grabbed John’s hand and pulled him out of the elevator.

Mom was so glad to see them. Kayla told her what happened.

“You were a brave girl to rescue John from the elevator,” Mom said. “I’m glad you followed Daniel’s example and prayed.”

Whenever we’re scared or we don’t know what to do, we can pray and ask God for help. He is always there for us.

My response:

» When I get into a difficult situation, do I pray and ask God for help? Or do I just try to solve things on my own?

» Is there anything going on in my life right now that I need to pray about and ask God for help with?

Denison Forum – Christian football coach Joe Kennedy to be reinstated: Three ways to fulfill our “one purpose”

 “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” —Acts 4:12

Coach Joseph Kennedy will be reinstated as a high school football coach after he was fired seven years ago for leading prayers on the field after games. This after the US Supreme Court sided with him last June. Critics alleged that he was forcing his faith on his students, which violates the cardinal virtues of our postmodern culture: tolerance and inclusion.

Such inclusion is on display now in the UK after Rishi Sunak became the first British prime minister of color and, as a Hindu, the first non-Christian. Britain now has a Christian king, a Hindu prime minister, a Muslim mayor of London, and a leader of the opposition who married into a Jewish family.

In other news, the Associated Press reports that a record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for office and notes that “some breakthrough victories are likely.” Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church USA will add a “nonbinary/genderqueer” category to official church statistics. If you disagree, many will say that you are homophobic and as dangerous to society as if you were a member of the KKK.

One more related story: Pew Research Center and the General Social Survey agree that the percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans is higher than ever before. Only 63 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, declining from 90 percent in 1972; 29 percent are religiously unaffiliated, up from 5 percent in 1972.

Does the growing number of people with no faith grieve you? If not, why not?

Imposing my polio vaccine on you

We have focused this week on the privilege and necessity of being bold and public with our faith. Let’s close by exploring the necessity of sharing our faith with our skeptical culture.

Almost half of Christian Millennials (47 percent) believe that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. This fact should not surprise us: postmodern relativism has indoctrinated generations of Americans with the claim that all truth claims are relative and subjective. If all truth is personal, what right (or responsibility) do I have to “impose” my personal beliefs on you?

Consider an analogy.

Polio is making a comeback in the US due to declining vaccination rates. After Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a vaccine against poliomyelitis in 1953, all children were inoculated against the disease, myself included. This is unfortunately no longer the case.

Now imagine that science found a cure for polio that does not require a vaccine. Why, then, would I impose on you the vaccine I received as a child? Alternately, imagine that there are scores of different vaccines available, each of them as effective as any other. Again, why would I impose my vaccine on you? If I tried to do so, how would you respond?

“No one comes to the Father except through me”

In a similar fashion, many Christians today discount or even dismiss the need for sharing their faith with unbelievers.

Some are universalists, believing that because God loves all of us, all of us will go to heaven. Others are “Christian universalists,” believing that Jesus died for everyone, so everyone will go to heaven whether they believe in him or not. You don’t need to know about Jonas Salk to benefit from his vaccine; you don’t need to have a personal faith in Jesus to benefit from his sacrifice, or so some say.

However, God’s word regarding the necessity of personal faith in Christ is clear. Jesus famously said of himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Peter said of his Lord, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The book of Revelation reports, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life [through faith in Christ], he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). And Jesus’ statement is definitive: “Whoever believes in [Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).

Three practical responses

Of course, postmodern skeptics will say that these biblical claims are “our” truth and that they are under no obligation to make them “their” truth. Let’s consider three practical responses.

One: Pray for God to do what you cannot.

You and I cannot convict a single sinner of a single sin or save a single soul. This is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Pray by name for the lost people you know, asking the Lord to draw them to himself.

Two: Look for ways to join God in answering your prayer.

God’s Spirit is at work today in lives he intends you to influence tomorrow. Ask his Spirit to prompt you when he wants you to meet a need in Jesus’ name (cf. 1 Peter 4:10). Ask him to give you the words you are to say when you are to say them (Luke 12:12). Then trust that he is using your ministry whether you can see immediate results or not.

Three: Begin today.

C. S. Lewis, in his 1939 sermon “Learning in War-Time,” encouraged Oxford University students during the Second World War: “Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

Fulfilling our “one purpose” in life

Oswald Chambers states: “The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus” (my emphasis). But he also reminds us that we must experience for ourselves what we would share with others: “The one great challenge is—Do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of his indwelling Spirit?”

Have you asked God’s Spirit to empower and use your life yet today?

Denison Forum

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Faith or Feelings?

Since God is faithful to equip us, we don’t have to fear difficulties in our path.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Trusting God is easy when life’s good or we’re feeling competent. But is that genuine faith or a form of self-reliance? The apostle Paul said, “Our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). If the Lord calls us to do something that seems impossible or unreasonable, He will equip us for it. However, if we let feelings of fear, inadequacy, or unworthiness cause us to doubt Him, we could miss the opportunity. 

Sometimes we’re afraid to venture into a new endeavor, because we’re listening to the wrong voices. The devil is always trying to deceive us and plant doubts in our mind so we won’t trust the Lord (John 8:44). He hates to see a believer put aside fear, choose to believe God, and move forward in obedience. 

A challenging assignment from the Lord is often a fork in the road. When God presents an opportunity to serve Him, we must decide if we’ll take His path even though we might feel unqualified. We’re called to live by faith, not fear. If you are standing at a crossroads, remember that your adequacy is not in yourself but in God, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Trust Him and take a step. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 14-16

Our Daily Bread — Sister to Brother

Bible in a Year:

Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5:1–2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Timothy 5:1–2

When a leader asked if I’d speak with her privately, I found Karen in the retreat center counseling room red-eyed and wet-cheeked. Forty-two years old, Karen longed to be married, and a man was currently showing interest in her. But this man was her boss—and he already had a wife.

With a brother who cruelly teased her and a father devoid of affection, Karen discovered early that she was susceptible to men’s advances. A renewal of faith had given her new boundaries to live by, but her longing remained, and this glimpse of a love she couldn’t have was a torment.

After talking, Karen and I bowed our heads. And in a raw and powerful prayer, Karen confessed her temptation, declared her boss off-limits, handed her longing to God, and left the room feeling lighter.

That day, I realized the brilliance of Paul’s advice to treat each other as brothers and sisters in the faith (1 Timothy 5:1–2). How we see people determines how we interact with them, and in a world quick to objectify and sexualize, viewing the opposite sex as family helps us treat them with care and propriety. Healthy brothers and sisters don’t abuse or seduce each other.

Having only known men who demeaned, used, or ignored her, Karen needed one she could talk with sister-to-brother. The beauty of the gospel is it provides just that—giving us new siblings to help us face life’s problems.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How can seeing others as your brothers and sisters help you treat them with “absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:2)? How do you think Paul’s advice helps both sexes to flourish?

Dear Father, help me to treat others with respect and purity.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Scripture is a manual of divine truth.

This month we’ve considered many benefits of Scripture. Second Timothy 3:16 lists four more that will be the focus of our studies as we draw this month to a close: teaching truth, reproving sin and error, correcting behavior, and training in righteousness. We’ve touched on each of those to some extent in our past studies, but they warrant additional discussion from this verse, which is Scripture’s most concise statement on its own power and purpose.

First, the Bible is profitable for teaching. The Greek word translated “teaching” refers more to content than to the process of teaching. Scripture is God’s manual of divine truth for patterning your thoughts and actions.

As a believer, you have the capacity to understand and respond to Scripture. That’s because the Holy Spirit indwells you and imparts spiritual discernment, wisdom, and understanding (1 John 2:27). You have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

But having the ability to understand spiritual truth doesn’t guarantee you’ll exercise that ability. God said to the Israelites through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (4:6). His truth was available to them, but they ignored it and lived in disobedience.

I’ve heard many people lament that they could have avoided much grief if only they had known the Bible more thoroughly—if only they had taken the time to learn what God expected of them in a particular situation. Perhaps you’ve felt that way. The best way to avoid making that mistake in the future is to faithfully, prayerfully, patiently, and thoroughly saturate your mind with biblical truth, then discipline yourself to live according to its principles. Now that’s the challenge of a lifetime, but it’s the only way to profit from biblical teaching and avoid unnecessary heartaches.

I pray you will be encouraged today as you study God’s Word and diligently apply it to your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use the circumstances you face today to draw you closer to Him and motivate you to dig deeper into His Word.

For Further Study

Read Exodus 24:1-8. What was the Israelites’ response to God’s Word? What is yours?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Take Time to Listen

In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].
— Psalm 5:3 (AMPC)
In order to hear the voice of God, it is necessary to find times just to be still. This is an important part of living in close fellowship with God. It is how you recognize God’s leading in your life. A busy, hurried, frantic, stressful lifestyle makes it very challenging to hear the Lord.
If you are hungry to perceive God’s voice, find a place to get quiet before Him. Get alone with Him and tell Him that you need Him and want Him to teach you how to receive His guidance and direction. Ask Him to tell you what He has for your life and what He wants you to do that day.
And then I encourage you to do this: Take time to listen.
Even if you don’t feel an immediate prompting in your spirit, God promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13). You will get a word from God. He will lead you by an inner knowing, by common sense, by wisdom, or by peace. And each time, however He leads you, His leading will always line up with His Word.
I have found that God doesn’t always speak to us right away or necessarily during our prayer time. He may end up speaking to you two days later while you are in the middle of doing something completely unrelated. Though it may not be in our timing, God will speak to us and let us know the way we should go.
Prayer of the Day: Lord Jesus, I need You! Teach me how to hear Your voice, receive Your guidance and direction. Show me what You want me to do today and help me as I listen for your voice. I love You, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Received by Jesus

 “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them.

Mark 10:14-16

In the 21st century, when we think about children, we tend to focus on their subjective qualities; they are cute and cuddly, and at times we mistakenly think they are perfect and the center of the universe. Such contemporary views of children actually hinder our ability to grasp what Jesus meant when he said, “Let the children come to me.”

It is the objective characteristics of children that are truly at the heart of Jesus’ illustration. Children do not vote. They do not have driver’s licenses. Adults don’t often ask them to make decisions regarding significant events in their own lives or in the lives of their families. In their infancy, they are entirely dependent on someone else. Put bluntly, little children are small and helpless, without much apparent outward claim or merit.

Isn’t it a wonder, then, that children are so warmly received by Jesus? But while it’s certainly wondrous, it shouldn’t surprise us when we consider how often God uses the meek and lowly in mighty ways. We cannot hope to enter heaven because of our own merit or self-worth. Instead, the kingdom of God belongs to people who are needy, lonely, and helpless, who have no claim or merit on their own—people just like children.

As we come to terms with what it means to be like a child, we start to see that our entrance into the kingdom can only come after we’ve accepted our own helpless, dependent state. We come to Christ not with hands full of our own abilities or achievements but with empty hands, ready to receive. And remarkably, the gospel tells us that we must look to God Himself, who took on flesh as a helpless babe. It’s only fitting, then, that entry into His kingdom would be enjoyed by those who follow His humble example.

Jesus’ embrace of the children in these verses both flattens our pride and picks us up in our weakness. Perhaps you regard your work as commendable or your position as noteworthy, and you find yourself desiring to be a benefactor and not a beneficiary. Or maybe you know that others think very little of you (or you think little of yourself), and you are surprised that God would want to give you anything, let alone be looking forward to spending eternity with you. No matter what your character or your circumstances are, come to Jesus each day in childlike trust, aware of your weakness and helplessness. This, and only this, is the way into His kingdom and the way to enjoy the blessing of closeness to Him.


Luke 11:1-13

Topics: Children Dependence on God Kingdom of God

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Shows Us How to Resist Temptation

“[Jesus] did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22).

Jesus was all alone in the wilderness. He had not eaten for forty days. He was tired and hungry.

Satan saw that Jesus was alone and hungry. Satan wanted to make Jesus sin just once. That way Jesus would not be perfect. Then He could not become the Savior for sinners.

“If You are the Son of God, make this stone into bread,” said Satan. Jesus had power to do this. But He would not do what Satan said to do to prove that He is God.

Instead Jesus said, “It is written that man shall not live by bread only, but by every word of God.” Jesus used God’s Word to answer Satan’s temptation.

Satan did not give up. He took Jesus to the top of the temple. “Fall down from this high place. You’ll show how God’s angels will protect You,” said Satan. This was true. But Jesus was not tricked by Satan’s temptation. He answered with God’s Word again.

Then Satan took Jesus up on a high mountain so they could see all the cities of the world. “I will give You all this if You will worship me,” tempted Satan.

“It is written, you should worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him,” answered Jesus. Jesus would not give in to Satan’s temptations to sin because Jesus is perfect.

Jesus gave us a perfect example of how to resist temptation by remembering God’s Word.

My response:

» Am I memorizing Bible verses so that I’ll know God’s Word by heart?

» When I’m tempted to sin, do I follow Jesus’ example by remembering God’s Word and choosing to obey it?