In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Responses to Christ

Our job is to share Christ, but we are not responsible for the result.

Isaiah 6:1-13

The Lord is often ignored, reviled, belittled, and denied, but one day every eye will see Christ clothed in majesty and power. John 12:41 says that Isaiah was given a vision of Christ’s glory, and today’s reading records the prophet’s response. On seeing the Lord seated upon a throne in all His splendor, Isaiah recognized the depths of his own sinful condition and cried out, “Woe to me, for I am ruined!” (Isa. 6:5). 

Peter had a similar reaction to Christ. When Jesus miraculously filled the fishing nets to overflowing, Peter fell down before Him, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). But the religious leaders of the time responded in a very different way. When they heard Jesus’ preaching and saw His miraculous signs, they became angry and attributed His power to Satan (Luke 11:15). 

As believers, we are Christ’s ambassadors in the world, and there are varied responses to our presence. Some welcome the message we bring, while others react with reluctance or even outright hostility. In fact, Jesus warned us this would be the case (John 15:18), but we should never let negative reactions discourage us from faithfully sharing the gospel or living righteously.  

Bible in One Year: Matthew 5-7

Our Daily Bread — Our Heart’s True Home

Bible in a Year:

My whole being longs for you.

Psalm 63:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 63

“Bobbie the Wonder Dog” was a collie mix separated from his family while they were on a summer vacation together more than 2,200 miles from home. The family searched everywhere for their beloved pet but returned heartbroken without him.

Six months later, toward the end of winter, a scraggly but determined Bobbie showed up at their door in Silverton, Oregon. Bobbie somehow made the long and dangerous trek, crossing rivers, desert, and snow-covered mountains to find his way home to those he loved.

Bobbie’s quest inspired books, movies, and a mural in his hometown. His devotion strikes a chord within, perhaps because God has placed an even deeper longing in our hearts. Ancient theologian Augustine described it this way: “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” This same longing was desperately yet eloquently expressed by David in a prayer as he hid from his pursuers in Judah’s wilderness: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

David praised God because His “love is better than life” (v. 3). Nothing compares with knowing Him! Through Jesus, God has sought us out and made the way for us to come home to His perfect love—regardless of how distant we once were. As we turn to Him, we find our heart’s true home.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

What do you look forward to most about one day seeing Jesus? In what ways will you seek Him today?

Jesus, thank You for making the way for me to come to You through Your life, death on the cross, and resurrection.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Why Study the Bible?

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

The Holy Spirit protects you from false doctrine, but that doesn’t eliminate the need for diligent Bible study.

For the next few days we’ll consider several benefits of Bible study. Today we’ll address the broader question of why Bible study is necessary at all.

Perhaps you know believers who think Bible study is unnecessary. Bible reading, they say, is sufficient because we have the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things. Often they cite 1 John 2:27 in support of their view: “As for you, the anointing [the Holy Spirit] which you received from [God] abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

That passage, however, isn’t implying that Bible study or Bible teachers aren’t necessary. On the contrary, John was exhorting his readers to abide in what they’d already learned (v. 24) and shun only those teachers who deny Christ and try to deceive believers.

The Holy Spirit is the believer’s resident lie detector, granting discernment to shield him or her from false doctrine. Although a Christian may be temporarily confused by false teachers, ultimately he can never drift into apostasy or deny Christ. If anyone does depart from the faith, his departure is proof that he was never a true believer in the first place (v. 19).

The Spirit protects you from error, but you must fulfill your responsibility as a student of the Word. Even a man of Timothy’s spiritual stature needed to study the Word diligently and handle it accurately (2 Tim. 2:15).

I pray that the psalmist’s attitude toward Scripture will be yours as well: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His precious Word.
  • Ask Him to give you a deeper love for its truths.

For Further Study

Read Titus 1:7-16 and 2 Timothy 2:2.

  • What skills must an overseer have regarding God’s Word?
  • Why are those skills necessary?
  • Do those skills apply to church leaders only? Explain.
  • Are you skilled in handling God’s Word?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Our Responsibility—God’s Responsibility

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.

— Matthew 6:34 (AMPC)

Every believer has the responsibility to live right—to be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. Motivated by the reverential fear of the Lord, we can learn to live carefully and begin to make a difference in the world we live in. You and I need to be careful about what we allow into our spirits and how we live our lives. Proverbs 4:23 says to guard our heart with all diligence because out of it flows the issues of life. I believe we should have a careful attitude about how we live—not a casual or a careless one. We need to be careful about what we watch, what we listen to, what we think about, and who our friends are.

I’m not saying we need to live according to the strict and demanding dictates of man. Some would say we must not wear makeup or that we must wear colorless clothing from our necks to our ankles. That is nothing more than legalistic bondage to a bunch of rules and regulations. I had a very legalistic relationship with God for years and was miserable, so the last thing I want to do is teach legalism. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t compromise. We should recognize our responsibility as Christians to live our lives in such a way that unbelievers will be attracted to God by our behavior.

James 4:17 (AMPC) says, …any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin. In other words, if we are convicted that something is wrong, then we must not do it—even if we see a hundred other people doing it and getting by with it. They may seem to be getting by with it, but sooner or later, we will all reap what we sow.

We know that worry and anxiety are not characteristics of a godly Christian. Yet still, many Christians worry. You can choose to worry, or you can reject worry and choose to live with joy and peace. Most people don’t want to hear that message, and they seem to find an odd comfort in thinking that worrying is beyond their control. It is not. Worry is a sin against God.

As long as I’ve been in the church, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone make that statement. But it is sin. It is calling God a liar. It is saying that God is not sufficiently able to take care of you and provide for your needs.

Faith says, “God can do it.” Worry says, “God isn’t able to help me.”

When you worry, you not only call God a liar, but you have also allowed the devil to fill your mind with anxious thoughts. The more you focus on the problems, the larger they become. You start to fret and may even end up in despair.

Think of the words of the great apostle: I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency] (Philippians 4:13 AMPC). Or think of the words from the psalmist: Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5 AMPC).

Jesus told His disciples not to be anxious and, as quoted above, not to worry about tomorrow. But He did more than teach those words; He lived them out: And Jesus replied to him, Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have lodging places, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20 AMPC). That wasn’t a complaint but a simple fact of life. Jesus trusted His Father’s provision for Him even when He didn’t know where He would sleep or what He would eat.

Jesus taught that we are not to worry about anything in life. He wasn’t speaking about planning and thinking ahead. He was saying that some people never act because fear holds them back. They can always tell you 10 things that can go wrong with every plan. Jesus wants us to live a stress-free life. If you are worrying about what might happen, you’re hindering God from working in your life.

I heard about a couple whose daughter was diagnosed with a serious illness that wasn’t covered by insurance. The parents were struggling to pay all the medical bills. Not knowing what else to do, they both went into their bedroom for a lengthy time of prayer. Afterward the husband said, “It was really quite simple. I am God’s servant. My responsibility is to serve my Master. His responsibility is to take care of me.”

The next day, the doctors told them that their daughter was eligible to be part of an experimental surgery and all expenses would be paid. The wife smiled and said, “God is responsible, isn’t He?” What a testimony to their faith and trust in God who always remains faithful and responsible and in all things. God is no respecter of persons. What He does for one, He will do for another (see Romans 2:11). I encourage you to stop worrying and start trusting in Him.

Prayer of the Day: Lord God, I know that worry is a sin against You. In the name of Jesus, help me overcome all anxieties and worry and enable me to trust You to provide for every need I have, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Shaky Rock

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

John 21:15

Jesus’ appearance on the beach in John 21 occurred after His resurrection and therefore after His crucifixion and all the events surrounding it—including Peter’s cowardly denial of even knowing Christ. We can safely assume that Peter felt shame at his failure of loyalty and faith. We can just imagine him confiding to the other disciples, I had my chance, and I blew it. I betrayed Him. Here I am, the one who thought he would play the hero, standing as a testimony of the worst cowardice. So, as Jesus spoke to him, surely Peter wondered, What will He say? What part do I have in His people now?

Jesus didn’t write off Peter’s failure; He acknowledged it. After their meal together, Jesus addressed Peter by his old name, Simon, which means “listen.” At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus had changed Simon’s name to Peter, which means “rock” (John 1:42). This change symbolized a shift that would occur in Simon Peter’s character and calling: he was shaky, but he would become firm like a rock. There on the shore, however, Jesus wanted to remind Peter of his shakiness. Before Peter could become steady, he needed to understand that his behavior had displayed neither a firm faith nor any measurable boldness rooted in Christ’s love.

Like Peter, you and I will sometimes feel sidelined by our failures, our backsliding, our unbelief. We will feel the ache of a dislocated faith; we will need the Master Surgeon to reach out and put our love back in place, sometimes painfully but always restoratively. Notice that it is indeed Peter’s heart, his love and devotion, that Jesus is most concerned about. Other qualities are desirable and necessary, yes, but it is our love for Christ that is indispensable. Where is our love? Is it built on shaky sand or on a firm rock?

Yet even as Christ puts our love back in alignment, He entrusts us with kingdom work. Jesus still chose to use Peter to build His church. How surprising that Jesus entrusted His “lambs” to the disciple who (with the exception of Judas) had most let him down and in whom was the greatest gap between profession and action. But how encouraging for us that Jesus would do so: for if He was willing to use someone like Peter, He will be willing to use someone like me and you. Jesus still chose to give Peter great responsibility, but that responsibility was meant to test Peter as well. The test of love for Jesus is whether a life displays obedience and action. The book of Acts shows how Peter, with the enabling of God’s Spirit, responded to the test.

The story of Peter, the shaky rock, stands as a reminder to us that God is a God of grace and second chances. Our weaknesses reveal our need for a strength that is not our own, a measure of might that is found only in our great Rock of Ages. Therefore, knowing that such strength is available to us from the Savior who died for us and commissions us in His service, you can walk into your day and do His bidding out of love for Him.


Acts 5:17-42

Topics: Faith Grace of God Restoration

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Us to Speak Kindly to One Another

“But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

At times, you will say something that you wish you hadn’t. There is a saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This isn’t true. Physically, sticks and stones can hurt you if someone throws them at you, but you will probably recover from the injury. Emotionally, when someone says hurtful words, recovery isn’t as easy. You may be able to forgive—this is what God wants you to do—but forgetting is almost impossible. No matter how old you get, at times you will remember how you felt when someone hurt you with their words or by their actions.

We are taught in James 3 how our tongues can harm others. (We use our tongues to speak, so “tongues” here means “words.”) Sometimes you may intentionally want to say something against another person because you are angry and you want to get even. This is a time when you must decide to be a godly example and say nothing.

Today make sure that what you say does not harm someone. You are the only one who has control over your tongue.

My response:

» Do I ask God to help me control my tongue?

» How can I use my tongue to build others up instead up tearing them down?

» When someone says something hurtful to me, do I pray for the person and for myself so that I don’t say something hurtful in return?

Denison Forum – Why Hurricane Ian caught so many in Florida off guard

Trust seems to be a scarce commodity these days.

For example, the would-be winners of almost $29,000 at an Ohio fishing tournament were disqualified recently after it was discovered that their fish were stuffed with lead weights and fish fillets.

On a much more somber note: as of this morning, the death toll from Hurricane Ian has risen to at least 103. Part of the problem is that the storm was predicted until the last thirty-six hours to strike Florida further north than where it landed. As a result, many in the Ft. Myers region were unprepared for the violence of the hurricane when it hit their area.

The main American forecast model insisted for days that the storm would strike the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend areas as a Category 2 storm. The European model, which uses faster supercomputers, consistently signaled a more southernly and stronger storm track for Florida. (Its prediction ended up being far closer to the actual outcome.) The National Hurricane Center then split the difference, leading to a predicted landfall north of where the storm came ashore.

In other news, an Indonesian police chief and nine elite officers were removed from their posts after at least 125 people (including thirty-two children) were killed in a soccer stadium crush. And the polls were wrong once again, this time in Brazil, where the incumbent president received more votes than had been predicted and is now in a runoff with his leading challenger.

Each day’s news provides more proof that we are fallen people living in a fallen world. Why, then, is it hard to convince secular people that they need more than secular society can provide?

Moving the Overton window

If lost people understood that they needed Christ, they would turn to him. The fact that they do not shows that they do not believe they need any more “spirituality” than they already have. Thus, as we noted yesterday, they must want what we know they need.

We might think that disasters like Hurricane Ian would turn many toward God since such tragedies clearly show us our finitude and frailty. They force us to confront the mortality we are otherwise so good at ignoring. And they prove that we need to be ready today for what might come tomorrow.

However, for many, natural disasters are invitations to question the love, power, or even the existence of God. And they align with a cultural narrative that reinforces self-reliance. As the Stoic Epictetus said, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” His words could be the mantra of our day.

Consequently, the spiritual Overton window (the range of what is socially acceptable) has moved the cultural center to the left. The younger you are, the further to the left you have moved.

If I do not believe I have cancer

Now, for the first time in American history, a majority of Americans reject biblical truth on a wide range of moral issues. For many, “morality” is defined as “doing whatever you want to do that doesn’t harm someone else.” This is a logic trap: for me to disagree causes you harm and thus crosses this line.

Why is this definition of morality so appealing?

Consider an example: the LGBTQ population is at most 5.6 percent of American society. But if we decide that the Scriptures and/or Christian tradition are wrong on LGBTQ issues that do not affect 95 percent of us personally, we can then decide that they are wrong on other issues that do.

Once we determine that Christianity is wrong about homosexuality, we can decide that it is wrong about abortion. Or premarital sex, or cohabitation, or pornography, or euthanasia, or a host of other decisions.

This relativistic view of morality rejects the only solution for our problem: “You know that [Christ] appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). If I do not believe I have cancer, I will not consult an oncologist, much less consent to the chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery she prescribes.

How can we respond biblically to such deception? How can we speak the truth in love when such truth is so unpopular?

One: Pray with passion

Because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). This is a spiritual conflict that must be fought with spiritual weapons. Thus, praying fervently for spiritual awakening and moral renewal is priority one for Christians.

Two: Guard your heart

We must be the change we want others to adopt. Here’s where to start: David testified, “I will ponder the way that is blameless” (Psalm 101:2). To become “blameless,” make this commitment: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (v. 3, my emphasis).

If we do, we must deal with it immediately. Like cancer, denying sin permits it to metastasize: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Ask the Spirit to show you anything you need to confess, then confess what comes to your thoughts and claim God’s forgiving grace (v. 9).

Three: Seek the power of God

Are you living and working in supernatural power? God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). In these critical days, we dare not limit his power by our faith. Settle for nothing less than his best.

God will never ask you to do something he will not enable you to do. “He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14) and thus empowers our frailty with his omnipotence and our finitude with his omniscience. You can do “nothing” without Christ (John 15:5) but “all things” with him (Philippians 4:13).

Theologian R. C. Sproul observed, “The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.”

Do you?

Denison Forum