In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Speaking Words of Grace

As believers, we should develop the habit of speaking words that uplift and edify others.

Colossians 4:2-6

At the end of his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul highlighted some essentials of the Christian life—devotion to prayer, an attitude of gratefulness, and wise dealings with unbelievers. And our words should always be a reflection of our Savior. 

Paul understood the power of gracious words. They’re not only pleasing to God but also beneficial to those who hear. In contrast, James describes the damage an uncontrolled tongue can cause. He likened it to sparks that set a forest on fire or a restless evil that can poison (James 3:5James 3:8). Sadly, we see this truth displayed in social media, workplaces, families, and even churches.

What portrait of Christ do your words paint for others? Is your conversation seasoned with grace, or do you speak thoughtlessly, harshly, or rashly? Are you quick to criticize and judge others, or do you respond with compassion for those trapped in sin? 

As representatives of Jesus, we must learn to speak words of grace. We do this by cultivating humility, courtesy, and kindness toward those without Christ, while at the same time offering them the gospel, which can set them free from sin and hell. 

Bible in One Year: Matthew 8-10

Our Daily Bread — Grieving and Grateful

Bible in a Year:

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

Job 1:21

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Job 1:13–22

After my mom died, one of her fellow cancer patients approached me. “Your mom was so kind to me,” she said, sobbing. “I’m sorry she died  . . . instead of me.”

“My mom loved you,” I said. “We prayed God would let you see your boys grow up.” Holding her hands, I wept with her and asked God to help her grieve peacefully. I also thanked Him for her remission that allowed her to continue loving her husband and two growing children.

The Bible reveals the complexity of grief when Job lost almost everything, including all his children. Job grieved and “fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20). With a heartbreaking and hopeful act of surrender and expression of gratitude, he declared, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (v. 21). While Job would struggle mightily later through his grieving and God’s rebuilding of his life, in this moment he accepted and even rejoiced in His authority over the good and bad situations.

God understands the many ways we process and struggle with emotions. He invites us to grieve with honesty and vulnerability. Even when sorrow seems endless and unbearable, God affirms that He hasn’t and won’t change. With this promise, He comforts us and empowers us to be grateful for His presence.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

When have you experienced gratitude toward God while grieving a great loss? How has He revealed His presence when you felt alone or misunderstood in your grief?

Compassionate God, thank You for knowing me and carrying me through every step of my grieving process.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Longing for the Word

“Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).

Scripture is our source of spiritual growth.

A newborn baby was abandoned in a pile of trash in a city alley. The mother had obviously left it there to die. The infant was near death when someone heard its faint cry and summoned medical help. The child survived, but not until it had received the attention and nourishment it needed.

That situation has a spiritual parallel, which Peter used to illustrate the believer’s dependence on God’s Word. If a baby is deprived of nourishment, it will soon die. Similarly, if a Christian doesn’t feed on the Word, he or she will languish spiritually and become ineffective for the Lord. On the positive side, a believer should long for God’s Word as intently as a newborn baby longs for its mother’s milk.

Scripture draws on the parent/child metaphor in other ways, referring to Christians as being born again (John 3:71 Pet. 1:3), children of God (Rom. 8:161 John 3:1), and adopted sons (Rom. 8:14Eph. 1:5). Just as it is natural for biological children to grow and mature, Christians also have the capacity for spiritual growth. In fact, we’re commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

The Word of God is the mainstay of your spiritual diet. It’s your primary source of nourishment. Paul said, “As you . . . have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed” (Col. 2:6-7). “Your faith” in that context refers to the content of Christianity—the doctrines of Scripture. As your knowledge and application of biblical principles increases, you will become more and more grounded in truth and steadfast in Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer

If you’ve lost your appetite for God’s Word, it may be because of sin (1 Pet. 2:1). If so, ask God to cleanse your heart and give you a renewed longing for His truth. Then commit yourself to daily time in the Word.

For Further Study

Read Acts 20:32 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13, noting the effect Scripture has on believers.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Stay in Agreement

…Know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him; appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] you will find Him….

— 1 Chronicles 28:9 (AMPC)

God’s Word reveals a wonderful plan for your life. It shows how God sees you, and what He has for you through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts and words in agreement with God’s Word.

Say, “Everything I lay my hand to prospers and succeeds. I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. I am blessed going in and going out. The blessings of God chase me down and overtake me. God is on my side. I am blessed to be a blessing to everyone I meet today.”

Prayer of the Day: Lord, thank You for Your good plan for my life. I receive Your blessings that chase me down and overtake me! I love you, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Spirit-Filled Boldness

But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.

Judges 7:10-11

It is always easier to hang back in fear than to move forward in faith: easier, but never better.

Gideon knew a lot about fear and the hesitation it birthed. He hesitated when God’s angel called him to lead Israel (Judges 6:13, 15). He hesitated when Israel’s enemies gathered to oppose him (v 36-40). And, it seems, he hesitated again the night before the battle in which God had promised victory (7:9-10). And into this fear and hesitancy, God spoke. Notice God’s grace and patience with Gideon as He says, “But if you are afraid…” and encourages him to take his servant down to the camp with him. This is a sensitive way to address Gideon’s fear. It recognizes that, humanly speaking, there was great reason to be afraid! He was about to go into battle against an opponent whose soldiers outnumbered his by tens of thousands. God didn’t rebuke him for his fear; instead, He gave him a reason to be confident.

Like Gideon, we need such kind words from our Lord. We are often slow to remember that we can cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). We can lay down all of our burdens and fears at His feet. We’re permitted to come to Him and say that we don’t know what to do. And His response is always filled with grace and sensitivity towards us.

What makes this story even more beautiful is Gideon’s response to God’s gentle suggestion. During his discreet visit to the enemy camp, he overhears two men discussing a dream, which one soldier interprets as meaning that they will fall under “the sword of Gideon” because “God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp” (Judges 7:14). When Gideon hears that and realizes that God has indeed gone before him to do what is impossible for him to do alone, what does he do? “He worshiped” (v 15). There’s such wealth contained in that response. Facing impossible odds but assured of God’s promise, this fearful, fragile, unlikely leader poured out his heart in praise, and then utilized his God-given courage to rally his troops. His boldness came from a private, secret moment between him and the Lord.

There’s a difference between personality-driven schemes for manipulating people and genuine, Spirit-filled boldness. One is produced on a purely human plane and is apt to crumble; the other can be discovered only as we humble ourselves before God, acknowledge our inadequacy, and remember His sufficiency. That is a firm place on which to take our stand. The antidote to fear isn’t to think more highly of yourself, as so many claim. It’s to think more highly of God. It’s to trust in God’s enablement, which can grant you a holy, humble boldness beyond compare.

What are you fearful of right now? In what way are you tempted to hang back even though God is calling you to walk forward in obedience? Bring your fears to God. Ask Him to show you His ability to do what you cannot. Then trust Him, worship Him, and obey Him.


Joshua 1:1-11

Topics: Faith Fear Humility Promises of God

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The Lord Loves Cheerful Givers

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:7–8).

It was Thursday morning, and Tonia and Ruben had gotten up early so they could go with Uncle Dirk to the market. They loved the Thursday markets because there were so many interesting things and all kinds of people to see. Each of them had saved a little money since last Thursday, and they jingled the coins in their hands as they walked with Uncle Dirk from the train station to the marketplace.

But today wasn’t just Thursday. Today was their mother’s 40th birthday! They knew that even today—even on her own special day—she was at home doing things for them. Right about now, she was probably preparing their lunch: slicing bread, setting out dishes, washing vegetables for some soup. That was just how their mother was. Always doing, doing, doing, but never doing things for herself. Just yesterday, she had fixed Ruben’s bicycle chain and added a bell to the handlebars. Last week, she had mended Tonia’s favorite scarf.

“Look here, Uncle Dirk!” cried Ruben. “Don’t you think Mother would love these soaps? There are all kinds of scents and colors to choose from! I’m sure I could find one she would love.”

“What about these flowers?” Tonia asked, pointing toward a nearby cart loaded with flowers. “She loves flowers ; especially tulips and poppies!”

“We could give her this carved frame to put a picture of Father in.”

“We could buy her that embroidered tablecloth.”

“How about these skeins of yarn? Or, instead of yarn, maybe this sweater!”

“What did you think about those bracelets we saw a few booths back?”

“Wait, children!” Uncle Dirk was laughing. “I can’t keep track of all your ideas! You are so enthusiastic about choosing a wonderful gift for your mother!”

“That’s why it must be a wonderful gift!” said Ruben. “Because we have such a wonderful mother!”

“Well, she will be happy to know that her children have such a wonderful spirit,” said Uncle Dirk, still smiling. “You could never afford to buy her all of these gifts, but you are sure to please her with the cheerfulness of your gift-giving!”

When you have an opportunity to give to God and to others, do you have a spirit as eager and grateful as Ruben’s and Tonia’s? They loved their mother, and they wanted to pick out a special present for her to show their love for her.

What about your gift-giving spirit? When it comes time to take up an offering in a church worship service, some people get a little grumpy. They would rather keep as much of their money as they can for themselves. They tell themselves that saving money for “more important things” is best. The Bible plainly teaches that we should be cheerful givers! And if we are having a hard time being cheerful, we can ask God for help. He is able to give us the grace we need to do anything that pleases Him.

If we are right with God, we will want to give cheerfully to Him. We will feel grateful for all He has done for us. We will be enthusiastic about offering gifts that would please Him most. Ruben and Tonia were excited to choose a wonderful gift for their mother, because they thought of her as the most wonderful mother in the world. When we are excited to give to our Heavenly Father, we show that we love Him and honor Him more than we love and honor ourselves.

The Lord is pleased when we give with a cheerful spirit.

My response:

» Could I be more cheerful about giving to God and others?

» What does my attitude about giving to God and others say about my attitude toward them?

Denison Forum – The deaths of Loretta Lynn and Steve Jobs: “Have the courage to follow your heart”

Legendary country singer and songwriter Loretta Lynn passed away yesterday at the age of ninety. The Washington Post calls her “a trailblazer for other female country performers” and notes that she was the first woman to win the Country Music Association’s award for entertainer of the year.

Speaking of historic deaths, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away on this day in 2011. In a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, he offered this now-famous advice: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” He added: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

By following his “heart and intuition,” Jobs reinvented the music industry with the iPod and iTunes (Apple Music now has over one hundred million songs), reinvented personal communications with the iPhone, changed the way we consume media with the iPad, made computers accessible to non-technical people with Macintosh, changed the way software and hardware are sold, and built Apple from nothing into what is today the world’s most valuable company with a market cap of $2.347 trillion.

“You should have a target on your back”

I thought about the courage of Steve Jobs and Loretta Lynn in light of an article by evangelical cultural commentator Dr. Michael Brown titled “If you’re a Christian, you should have a target on your back.” He offers specific examples:

  • “If you speak up for the unborn, you will be targeted.
  • “If you uphold marriage and family as God intended, you will be targeted.
  • “If you claim salvation is only through Jesus, you will be targeted.
  • “If you resist LGBT activism in the schools, you will be targeted.
  • “If you preach the word of God with brokenness and humility but without compromise or dilution, you will be targeted.”

He cites Paul’s assertion: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12) and states, “If we’re not being persecuted, resisted, or targeted on some level for our godly living and preaching in Jesus, then something is wrong.”

Jesus warned his followers, “Because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).

Does the world hate you today?

This week, we’ve explored both secular and biblical responses to the antagonistic secularism of our day. Today, let’s seek the courage to employ both in service to our Lord and our culture.

One: Pray for sacrificial courage.

It is not easy to be vilified for believing what Christians have believed for twenty centuries, but that’s where we are today. No one likes being called intolerant and bigoted.

But we can claim the fact that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). And we can pray now for the courage we will need today.

Two: Choose courage for the sake of those who need biblical truth.

The gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). As a result, when we share our faith, we are not imposing our values on others—we are giving them the greatest gift they will ever receive. Conversely, if we cower before their opposition, we dishonor our Lord and harm the very people we are called to serve.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (AD 540–604) observed: “Pastors who lack foresight hesitate to say openly what is right because they fear losing the favor of men. . . . [They] are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears.” He added, “The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware.”

Three: Love people whether they love our Lord or not.

John warned us: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). We are called to stand for biblical truth because we love those with whom we share it. The more they reject it, the more they need it.

The sicker the patient, the more urgent the physician.

Cornel West observed: “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people.” As Erma Bombeck noted, loving our children enough to let them hate us is “the hardest part of all.”

“The world cannot hate us”

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is considered the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. They will spend it fasting from food and water as they face their wrongdoings and seek forgiveness.

We can join them by taking time for our own introspection and confession. Are there areas of your life where you are compromising with the standards of the world? Where you are less than courageous in your public faith? Where you are hiding your light (Matthew 5:15) rather than shining as a light in the world by “holding fast to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16)?

Let’s pray today for the courage of our convictions. And let’s trust God to answer our prayers as we choose to stand boldly for our Lord.

Missionary and martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his biography, “The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!”

Will you be dangerous today?

Denison Forum