In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Responding to God’s Discipline

God’s discipline is another example of His great love for us.

Hebrews 12:4-13

Do you remember how much you dreaded your parents’ discipline when you were a child? They were doing it for your sake so you’d learn that sin and disobedience have negative consequences. Their goal was to train you to be responsible and good. 

Our heavenly Father also disciplines His children, but His purposes are even higher. He does it to train us in holiness so we’ll reflect His likeness. Divine discipline is corrective; the Lord uses difficult trials and painful circumstances to turn us away from unholy practices and to teach us the way of godliness.

So when experiencing God’s discipline, we should understand that we’ve sinned and take His correction seriously. Instead of fighting the process, we’d be wise to cooperate by strengthening our area of weakness so we don’t fall again. At the same time, we should keep our eyes fixed on the promised harvest of righteousness and peace.  

If your troubles are a result of your own ungodly actions, confess them immediately and turn back to the Father in repentance and obedience. Not every hardship is a result of sin, but God will use all of our adversity to build faith and develop Christlike character. 

Bible in One Year: Matthew 22-24

Our Daily Bread — Happy Thanksgiving

Bible in a Year:

In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Philippians 4:4–7

A study by psychologist Robert Emmons divided volunteers into three groups that each made weekly entries in journals. One group wrote five things they were grateful for. One described five daily hassles. And a control group listed five events that had impacted them in a small way. The results of the study revealed that those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives overall, were more optimistic about the future, and reported fewer health problems.

Giving thanks has a way of changing the way we look at life. Thanksgiving can even make us happier.

The Bible has long extolled the benefits of giving thanks to God, as doing so reminds us of His character. The Psalms repeatedly call God’s people to give Him thanks because “the Lord is good and his love endures forever” (Psalm 100:5) and to thank Him for His unfailing love and wonderful deeds (107:8, 15, 21, 31).

As the apostle Paul closed his letter to the Philippians—the letter itself a kind of thank-you note to a church that had supported him—he linked thankful prayers with the peace of God “which transcends all understanding” (4:7). When we focus on God and His goodness, we find that we can pray without anxiety, in every situation, with thanksgiving. Giving thanks brings us a peace that uniquely guards our hearts and minds and changes the way we look at life. A heart full of gratitude nurtures a spirit of joy.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What threatens your sense of gratitude? How is God calling you to a “happy thanksgiving” as you bring your needs before Him?

Father in heaven, where I see problems, grant me a spirit of gratitude and grateful praise.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Searching for Truth

“Thy law is truth. . . . And all Thy commandments are truth. . . . The sum of Thy word is truth” (Ps. 119:142151160).

Scripture is the source of divine truth.

It amazes me how people can spend so much time searching for truth but ignore the Bible. In his poem Miriam, John Greenleaf Whittier reflected on the same conundrum:

We search the world for truth. We cull
The good, the pure, the beautiful,
From graven stone and written scroll,
From all old flower-fields of the soul;
And, weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from the quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.

God never intended for truth to be mysterious or unattainable. His Word is a repository of truth, containing every principle we need for life and thought.

But knowing truth begins with knowing God, who is its author. First John 5:20 says, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

The psalmist proclaimed, “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth and uprightness” (Ps. 111:7-8).

As Christians, we are those who walk in truth. That’s how Jesus described us when He prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Similarly John said, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4). In contrast, unbelievers “suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” thus making themselves targets for the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18).

To love God is to love truth; to love truth is to love the Word. May you walk in the truth of God’s Word today and every day.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the privilege of knowing Him and being able to walk in His truth.

For Further Study

How does Jesus describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:1715:26, and 16:13?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Your Heart Desires

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. 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. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday.

— Psalm 37:4-6 AMPC)

If you have been under a lot of stress lately, I encourage you to take an honest inventory of not only what you are doing, but why you are doing it. If fear is the reason you’re involved, eliminate some stress by getting your priorities straight. Your priority is not to keep everyone else in your life happy by doing all the things they expect; it is to live a life that is pleasing to God and one that you can enjoy.

Too many people are not living their dreams because they are living their fears. In other words, instead of doing things out of their heart, they do them because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t: “Someone will get angry! I will get left out! People will talk about me!” It is time that you started being the person you really want to be. It is time to reach for your dreams.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I will delight myself in You today. You know the desires of my heart, and I entrust my dreams to You. Help me to be the person You created me to be and the one I really want to be, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Upheld by Prayer

The people of Israel have forsaken your covenant … I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.

1 Kings 19:14

Acertain pastors’ conference once hosted a seminar that dealt with despair and depression in ministry. In a way that was either phenomenally encouraging or horribly depressing, it was the best-attended seminar of the whole conference, a standing-room-only event. Pastors, some accompanied by their wives, were looking for hope and answers regarding what to do when facing severe discouragement in ministry.

The prophet Elijah would have known how the most afflicted minister in that room was feeling. He experienced hopelessness in his own ministry. He once stood alone in front of 450 armed men—prophets of the false god Baal, who were totally opposed to him—and experienced God coming down in mighty power and vanquishing his enemies. Yet immediately after this, he received a threatening message from Queen Jezebel and ran away to the desert. He spent a dejected night in a cave, convinced he was the only one left who was zealous for God. And in this most dejected state, God met with Elijah and encouraged him, not least with the promise that “I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18).

Your faith and your growth in Christlikeness are of great encouragement to your pastor. The apostle Paul, on hearing that the young congregation in Thessalonica was still standing firm in their faith, wrote that “now we live” and described “all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God” (1 Thessalonians 3:8-9).

God’s servants in all areas of ministry are not immune to discouragement. The path of Christian service is full of highs and lows; there are delightful days and disastrous days. When we’re disheartened, it can seem difficult to keep going—but God uses His people to uphold pastors and ministry leaders by their faith and growth, and by their prayers. When C.H. Spurgeon showed people around the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, he would take them downstairs to show them the “boiler room.” There was no boiler there; instead, there were seats. Here, several hundred people would gather every Sunday morning to pray for Spurgeon while he preached. He knew that his ministry’s effectiveness depended on those who prayed and on the God who answered their prayers.

If you are in ministry (whether paid or not) and are feeling disheartened, consider this: you have impacted lives for eternity. Look back over the past couple of years and among the difficulties you will be able to see evidences of God’s work through you. Let that encourage you! And whoever you are, how long has it been since you last wrote a note of encouragement or prayed for those serving in ministry around you? It is vitally important that you do so. Even if these leaders continue to preach and teach the same messages and minister in the exact way they always have, it will be to far greater effect when we simply pray for them in faith. All of us have the responsibility—indeed, the privilege—of doing so.


1 Thessalonians 2:17-20, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Topics: Biblical Figures Ministry Prayer Service

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Eternal

“The everlasting God the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not” (Isaiah 40:28).

“Hey, Tim—will you look at that moon?” James poked his friend’s sleeping bag.

“Hmmm . . . hey—I was just falling asleep!” Tim rolled over on his back.

“Sorry—it takes me a while to fall asleep when I’m in the backyard like this. So how long do you think the moon has been there?”

“Well, it has been there for the ten and one-half years that I have been alive.” Tim yawned.

“Be serious, Tim. My Sunday School teacher said God created the world about six thousand to ten thousand years ago. So, if the moon was created on the third day, then it could be close to ten thousand years old.”

“That is a long time to be hanging around in one place,” Tim replied.

“But Tim, that is not long at all to God—He has been around forever.” James folded his pillow to get comfortable.

“How could someone do that? That would mean he was never born and would never die.”

“Exactly, Tim. But God is not just anyone; He is the eternal God.”

“Wow—I think I would get tired or bored living that long. He must be really old. Does He have white hair?” Tim leaned on one elbow and looked toward James in the darkness.

“Well, no one has ever seen God, but I know He does not look like us, and He does not live by time like we do. He doesn’t use any calendars or clocks.” James tried to explain.

“Hey—how does He know when to do things? Does He ever forget?”

“Shh! You’re going to wake up my parents. I am glad you are coming to church with me tomorrow. We can talk to my teacher about it. But if we are going to be ready in the morning, we should go to sleep now.” James yawned.

“Okay, but I hope I can remember all my questions. Now I’m the one who is wide awake!”

Our God is eternal. He lives forever.

My response:

» Have I ever just sat and thought about how long forever is?

» Do I use opportunities to talk to my unsaved friends about God?

» Do I feel secure because I know that God is everlasting?

Denison Forum – Why “sleep tourism” and “hang-xiety” are windows into our culture

Two terms that were new to me were in the weekend news. Each is a window into our cultural soul.

The first is “sleep tourism,” which is trending since sleep deprivation is such a problem for so many Americans. For example, hotels in New York City and London now feature rooms with sleep-enhancing amenities and soundproofing. One hotel offers a sleep-inducing meditation recording, a pillow menu with options that cater to guests who prefer to sleep on their side or back, the option of a weighted blanket, a special bedtime tea, and a scented pillow mist.

And no wonder: In a recent study, 40 percent of participants reported a reduction in their sleep quality since the start of the pandemic.

The second is “hang-xiety,” which the New York Times describes as “the emotional plunge [people] feel after drinking that doesn’t quite constitute a proper hangover.” The article notes that one effect of drinking alcohol is sleep disruption due to elevated blood sugar and excess glutamate.

So, it turns out, the second term exacerbates the first.

Amazon accused of selling suicide kits to teenagers

Human technology is advancing by the day, but human nature is not.

After an explosion Saturday on a bridge linking Russia with Crimea, Russia apparently sought revenge by striking major Ukrainian cities this morning. A series of blasts rocked Kyiv, with some strikes landing in the heart of the Ukrainian capital’s downtown during rush hour. At least five people were killed and at least a dozen were injured, according to the Kyiv police department.

The previous day, a Russian missile attack struck an apartment building, according to Ukrainian officials. At least thirteen people were killed and eighty-seven others were injured. According to the Associated Press, Ukrainian officials further allege that the Russian invasion of their nation is “being accompanied by the destruction and pillaging of historical sites and treasures on an industrial scale.” And North Korea fired two ballistic missiles yesterday, the latest in a recent barrage of weapons tests.

Closer to home, a parents’ lawsuit accuses Amazon of selling suicide kits to teenagers. The lawsuit is being brought by the families of two teenagers who bought a deadly chemical on the company’s website and later used it to take their own lives. And the mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is apologizing after he was arrested Saturday evening for allegedly driving while intoxicated and causing an accident.

However, one more news story illustrates the hope we can claim today: A bargain hunter went to an estate sale in Maine, where he found a framed document with elaborate Latin script on sale for seventy-five dollars. He bought it, then discovered it was used about seven hundred years ago in Roman Catholic worship and could be worth as much as ten thousand dollars.

What no Jew had done before

The best single piece of advice I’ve ever received is one I’ve shared often: My high school youth minister told me, “Always remember the source of your personal worth.” You possess a value far transcending what our secularized culture may have assigned to you. In fact, your true worth is beyond all human estimation.

Let’s discover your worth by remembering a familiar story with an astounding element.

When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, Matthew reports: “Immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (3:16). This was visual evidence of Jesus’ calling to be Messiah (Isaiah 42:1), an office which was familiar to the Jews and a deliverer for whom they had prayed for centuries.

But then something happened that was truly unprecedented: “And behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:17). God has a “Son”! This was a radical thought to the Jews, whose focus on the oneness and singularity of God was central to their faith (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4).

If God has a Son, this Son must be as divine as his Father. And so he was and is.

The Jewish people thought of God as the “Father” of the nation, but none had ever dared claim him as their personal father. Not only did the Son of God frequently make this assertion, he also called him “Abba,” Aramaic for “Daddy” (cf. Mark 14:36). As German theologian Joachim Jeremias noted in The Prayers of Jesus, “There is not a single example of the use of Abba . . . as an address to God in the whole of Jewish literature.”

Not, that is, until Jesus.

Claiming the truth about yourself

Here’s my point: Because Jesus is the Son of God, you can be the child of God: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1; cf. John 1:122 Corinthians 6:18Galatians 3:26). In the moment you make Christ your Savior and Lord, you are “born again” into a new family—the family of God (John 3:3).

What does this mean in practical terms?

You can love and serve people whether they love and serve you or not because you are already loved absolutely and unconditionally by your Father. And you can pay any price in this world to glorify God because this world is no longer your home and your inheritance with your eternal family is secure (John 14:1–3).

In Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, Henri Nouwen makes this point better than I can: “The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.’”

Will you remember today the source of your personal worth?

NOTE: Has America left God? Or is he being patient with us? I answer that question and more in the updated edition of How Does God See America? And as we’re heading into another politically charged voting cycle, we’re also including an ebook edition of Respectfully, I Disagree for your donation of $50 or more. Please request the “Let’s be civil” book bundle today.

Denison Forum