In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Holiness of God

God is perfectly just and merciful.

Revelation 4:1-11

The scene in today’s passage gives us a glimpse of a holy God who is worthy of mankind’s worship. He’s perfectly pure in His thoughts, motives, choices, and actions, and His holiness is also revealed in His separateness from all evil and transgression. Since God cannot tolerate or ignore sin, every wrong must be punished—with the penalty paid either by the offender or by an adequate substitute. And Jesus Christ is the fully sufficient substitute who paid what every one of us owed. What’s more, He’s the only one who can reconcile sinful mankind to God. 

The Son of God took on human flesh and lived a sinless life. Then, as 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV) tells us, Jesus “bore our sins in his body on the cross” to pay the penalty of divine wrath. His resurrection is the proof that the sacrifice was acceptable to His heavenly Father. All who trust in Christ as their substitute are reconciled to God, but those who reject the Savior must themselves bear God’s wrath for their sin.

If we’ll acknowledge our unworthiness, confess our sins, and trust in Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf, our sins will be forgiven. The Judge of all humanity declares us not guilty. What’s more, He also credits us with Christ’s righteousness. And someday we’ll join the saints in heaven praising our gracious, holy God. 

Bible in One Year: Matthew 1-4

Our Daily Bread — Mirror Test

Bible in a Year:

Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it . . . will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

James 1:22–27

“Who’s in the mirror?” the psychologists conducting the self-recognition test asked children. At eighteen months or younger, children don’t usually associate themselves with the image in the mirror. But as kids grow, they can understand they’re looking at themselves. Self-recognition is an important mark of healthy growth and maturation.

It’s also important to the growth of believers in Jesus. James outlines a mirror recognition test. The mirror is “the word of truth” from God (James 1:18). When we read the Scriptures, what do we see? Do we recognize ourselves when they describe love and humility? Do we see our own actions when we read what God commands us to do? When we look into our hearts and test our actions, Scripture can help us recognize if our actions are in line with what God desires for us or if we need to seek repentance and make a change.

James cautions us not to just read Scripture and turn away “and so deceive [ourselves]” (v. 22), forgetting what we’ve taken in. The Bible provides us with the map to live wisely according to God’s plans. As we read it, meditate on it, and digest it, we can ask Him to give us the eyes to see into our heart and the strength to make necessary changes.

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

What do you see when you look into the mirror of Scripture? What changes do you need to make?

Dear God, please help me use Scripture as a mirror into my life, my motives, and my actions.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Ministry of the Word

“My Word . . . shall not return to Me . . . without accomplishing what I desire” (Isa. 55:11).

“Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3).

God’s Word is both productive and nourishing.

The Bible contains many precious promises, two of which relate specifically to itself. First, the prophet Isaiah said that the Word is productive: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I send it” (Isa. 55:10-11).

As you administer the Word, it may encourage a fellow Christian, bring a sinner to repentance, or even confirm an unbeliever in his sin. Whatever the response, be assured that the Word always accomplishes its intended purpose.

The Word is like a messenger that runs to do God’s work: “He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly. He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes. He casts forth His ice as fragments; who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow. He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel” (Ps. 147:15-19). Just as God sends the natural elements to accomplish His purposes, He also sends His Word.

The Word is also nourishing. Moses wrote, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). God’s Word feeds believers, causing spiritual growth.

How should you respond to such a powerful and productive Word? Trust it, so you can live each day in confidence. Proclaim it, so others will come to know its author. Obey it, so it can continue its transforming work in you, making you more like Christ each day.

Suggestions for Prayer

God’s promises are intended to bring you great joy and encouragement. List seven promises that are especially meaningful to you. Use one each day for one week as a focal point for prayer and praise.

For Further Study

What promises does Jesus make in John 14:1-14?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Higher Obedience

The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

— Isaiah 1:11 (NIV)

In today’s scripture, God says that His people have obeyed Him with their actions, while indicating that what He really wants is obedience from the heart. True obedience to God is not about legalistically obeying His teachings, but about obeying with a good attitude and pure motives, out of love for Him.

The enemy tries to trap people in legalism, telling them that they must obey God in order for Him to accept them. This is a lie! God loves and accepts us unconditionally, all the time, no matter what. We don’t have to do anything to earn His love, but we do have a chance to obey Him as a way of responding to His great love.

We should obey God all the time, whether we want to do it or not, and we are better off when we obey with a good attitude. I want to encourage you today to come up higher in your obedience and to make sure your heart is right toward God in everything you do. Ask Him to give you pure motives, an open heart to hear His voice and know what He would have you do, prompt obedience rooted in love, and the desire to honor Him in your life. A lifestyle of pure-hearted obedience to God always brings blessings.

Prayer of the Day: Father, help me to obey You not only with my actions but in my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Devoted to the Word of God

 “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering.

Acts 6:4-5

While the Spirit-filled events of Pentecost and the resulting ministry were extraordinary, the apostles and their followers did not begin saying afterward, Well, now the Spirit of God teaches me; therefore, I don’t need to listen to anybody else. Instead, when filled with the Holy Spirit, they were all ears for the authoritative preaching and teaching of God’s word. This teaches us an important lesson: the Spirit of God always leads the people of God to devote themselves to the word of God.

This is why the book of Acts is full of the centrality of preaching. The apostles recognized that God’s supreme instrument for renewing His people in the image of His Son was and is through His word, as His Spirit works through it. Here in Acts 6 we see an example of the priority and protection the apostles gave to those called and equipped to teach. The apostles recognized the sobering importance of being entrusted as servants to bring before the people the very words of God Himself.

The Old Testament books refer to the “oracles” of the prophets; this word can also be translated as “burden” (see, for instance, Isaiah 13:1, KJV). It describes a weight upon the heart and mind that comes about because of the awesome responsibility of speaking God’s truth to people. Back in the nineteenth century C.H. Spurgeon acknowledged this burden by declaring his pulpit to be more influential than the throne of the king of England, for he brought a message from the throne of God to that pulpit and delivered the truth of Christian doctrine.

We must pray for and protect those called to teach the truths of Scripture, whether to a congregation, or to little children, or in any other context. It is no small thing to stand regularly between a holy God and His people, declaring His word. It is a heavy burden as well as a wonderful privilege.

In addition to praying for our teachers and preachers, we must also be humble and eager to sit and learn under the authoritative teaching of God’s word. Such an example of devotion was set by the early church in their dedication to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). Contemporary devotion ought to look the same; we must be committed to teaching that is based on the New Testament truths revealed to the apostles and built upon the foundations of Old Testament doctrine. We must not be spending all our time snacking on the fast food of box sets that soak up our time, TV networks that confirm what we already think, and books or video games that offer escape from the real world. Instead, we need to feast on the word of God. Let that be your spiritual food and you will find each day that the Spirit of God leads you deeper into the truths and the joys within it.


Psalm 119:81-96

Topics: God’s Word Preaching

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Holy

 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14–16).

Are you a picky eater? You know what I mean. You have to inspect anything new or different just looking for something wrong. OH, NO! IS THAT A SPECK OF GREEN OR BLACK? And there had better not be any onions in this meal! That is a picky eater.

God is picky too. He can be because He is holy. That means that nothing in Him or about Him is wrong, dirty, out of place, or bad. He is the One Who sets the standard, or measurement, for holiness. When the Israelites sacrificed a lamb, it had to be as perfect as possible. No spots, no blemishes, no sicknesses of any kind. Only the best is good enough for a holy God.

First Peter 1:14–16 command Christians to be holy, as God is holy. How is that possible? It is not. We are sinners. Our sin disqualifies us from holiness. How then can we obey this impossible command? God is holy. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in you. The Holy Spirit is God. You have God living in you. He makes you holy.

Think of it this way. You are a child of God. God is the King of Kings. That makes you the child of a king. You had nothing to do with it. You were born into this royal family. You need to act like a king’s child. It starts with your thinking. Learn how God in His holiness thinks. Then think the same way. Your actions will follow your thinking.

God is holy.

My response:

» When I think about God, do I stop to consider how holy He is?

» Do my actions show that I care about pleasing my holy God?

Denison Forum – New California law blocks parents who oppose “gender-affirming” therapies for their children

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are visiting Puerto Rico today and Florida on Wednesday to view areas devastated by Hurricane Ian. There have been eighty-seven confirmed deaths from the storm as of this morning, but the number is expected to rise.

Meanwhile, a cultural storm is brewing that is devastating not just a part of our country but our entire society.

The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade one hundred days ago yesterday, which was a historic victory for life. However, of all the massive consequences so far, one is especially foundational: the “culture wars” are coming home. States and local communities are taking ownership of morality issues on unprecedented levels and in unprecedented ways.

Let’s consider some examples.

What California’s law does to parents

Last Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 107, which David French explains this way: “A child can cross state lines to obtain ‘gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care’ and obtain immediate protection from efforts from parents to bring their child home.” In short, if your child goes to California for sex-change surgery, there is nothing you can do to stop them once they get to the state. The order even blocks parents from receiving information about their child’s treatment.

This is just one of the ways many in our secularized culture are seeking to dismantle the family and overturn traditional morality.

A Wisconsin school board is going forward with sex ed curriculum that teaches lessons on gender identity to elementary school students. A New Jersey law forces schools to teach LGBTQ history. The New Jersey Department of Education has imposed sex education standards requiring school districts to teach middle school students about sexual activities I will not describe here.

One author even has a book titled Abolish the Family.

This trend is extending into Christian denominations as well. The United Methodist Church and many of its local congregations are more affirming of LGBTQ ideology than ever, though many local congregations remain committed to biblical orthodoxy. The same is true for the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and numerous other mainline denominations. Even some Baptist churches are embracing LGBTQ ideology over biblical sexuality.

If you stand for biblical morality, expect to face the opprobrium of society as a result. As one example, the Supreme Court’s approval has sunk to historic lows after its abortion ruling.

How should followers of Jesus respond most redemptively?

“The Next Pandemic: Anxiety Over Life Itself”

Secular people are unlikely to be persuaded by biblical arguments. I assume that a Muslim could not persuade you to adopt Islam based on verses from the Qur’an.

So, following Paul’s example in employing Greek logic and quoting Greek philosophers to persuade Greek philosophers (Acts 17:22–31), we need to understand those we seek to persuade. Let’s begin with the reasoning used by secularists who oppose biblical morality.

For advocates of California’s new law protecting children who seek “gender-affirming” therapies from intervention by their parents, any parents who oppose such therapies are abusing their children. Abortion proponents believe the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe victimized women by denying them “reproductive freedom.”

More Americans than ever before believe that people who oppose same-sex marriage are just as discriminatory as people who oppose interracial marriage. It is conventional wisdom today that LGBTQ rights are just as valid and vital as any other minority rights.

Now, let’s use secular evidence to show our secular friends that secular morality is not working. For example:

  • One consequence of the “sexual freedom” movement is a horrific upsurge in sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis.
  • In response to federal recommendations that all adult Americans ages nineteen to sixty-four be screened for anxiety, the Wall Street Journal headlines “The Next Pandemic: Anxiety Over Life Itself.”
  • A 2021 poll found that just 49 percent of Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic about the state of the world, a low point since the survey began in 2009.

How the world will know you follow Jesus

I plan to discuss several biblical responses in tomorrow’s Daily Article. For today, let’s close with this fact: to persuade people that they need what we have, they must want what we have.

Advertisers work hard to convince people who don’t need a new car that we want a new car. Otherwise, we’ll be content with what we drive. The same is true of our souls. If people see Christ in us, the “God-shaped emptiness” in their souls will be drawn to our Lord.

So, how can we live in such a way that others see Christ in us?

John, Jesus’ beloved disciple and best friend, counseled us: “Whoever says he abides in [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). This is both biblical and logical. If I abide in Christ (John 15:5) and his Spirit thus controls my life (Ephesians 5:18), the Spirit of God will make me more like the Son of God (Romans 8:29).

Therefore, I can determine the degree to which I follow Jesus by the degree to which I imitate Jesus. So can the world.

Are you confident that the people who meet you today will see Christ in you?

If not, why not?

Denison Forum