In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Hard Way or the Easy Way

Studying and obeying the Bible can help us avoid painful correction.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

No one likes the pain of discipline, but parents know it’s necessary. In a family, there may be one child who learns lessons the hard way—through disobedience and the resulting penalty—while another child observes, learns, and does what’s necessary to avoid painful discipline. 

The same is true for us as believers—we can be trained by our heavenly Father the hard way or the easy way. Because we aren’t perfect, it’s impossible to avoid all discipline, but we can lessen it. By diligently studying the Scriptures, we learn what pleases and displeases God. 

The Word teaches us who God is and how He wants us to live. It also rebukes us when we sin and shows us how to correct course. Then it explains how to live in a manner worthy of the Lord. Being part of a sound biblical church is also a safeguard. We need godly people to counsel us and hold us accountable. 

You needn’t fear God’s discipline. Though His correction may hurt, it brings great spiritual benefit. So whenever you sin, be quick to humble yourself, admit your wrongdoing, and turn back to the Lord with a heart of obedience. 

Bible in One Year: Matthew 25-26

Our Daily Bread — Your Part, God’s Part

Bible in a Year:

Go . . . to the land I will show you. . . . So Abram went.

Genesis 12:14





Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 12:1–9

When my friend Janice was asked to manage her department at work after just a few years, she felt overwhelmed. Praying over it, she felt God was prompting her to accept the appointment—but still, she feared she couldn’t cope with the responsibility. “How can I lead with so little experience?” she asked God. “Why put me here if I’m going to be a failure?”

Later, Janice was reading about God’s call of Abram in Genesis 12 and noted that his part was to “go . . . to the land [God] will show you. . . . So Abram went” (vv. 1, 4). This was a radical move, because nobody uprooted like this in the ancient world. But God was asking him to trust Him by leaving everything he knew behind, and He would do the rest. Identity? You’ll be a great nation. Provision? I’ll bless you. Reputation? A great name. Purpose? You’ll be a blessing to all peoples on earth. He made some big mistakes along the way, but “by faith Abraham . . . obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

This realization took a big burden off Janice’s heart. “I don’t have to worry about ‘succeeding’ at my job,” she told me later. “I just have to focus on trusting God to enable me to do the work.” As God provides the faith we need, may we trust Him with all our lives.

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

What worries do you have about your responsibilities? How is God asking you to trust Him in your present circumstances?

Dear God, I want to surrender to You my fears and worries about succeeding in my roles and responsibilities. Please help me to do my part as You do Yours.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Dead to Sin

“How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2).

In Christ, believers are dead to sin.

As a pastor, I frequently encounter people who profess to be believers, yet are living in all kinds of vile sins. The incongruity of people claiming to be believers while living in constant, unrepentant sin was not lost on the apostle Paul. In Romans 6:1 he asked the rhetorical question, “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” In verse 2 he answered his own question by exclaiming “May it never be!”—the strongest, most emphatic negation in the Greek language. It expressed Paul’s horror and outrage at the thought that a true Christian could remain in a constant state of sinfulness. For a person to claim to be a Christian while continuing in habitual sin is absurd and impossible.

Paul goes on in verse 2 to explain why believers cannot continue to live in sin, asking, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” His point is that believers, at salvation, died to sin. Therefore, they cannot live in a constant state of sinfulness, because it is impossible to be both dead and alive at the same time. Those who continue in unrepentant sin thereby give evidence that they are spiritually dead, no matter what they may claim.

Unbelievers are “dead in [their] trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (v. 2). Believers, on the other hand, have been “delivered . . . from the domain of darkness, and transferred . . . to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).

Christians no longer live in the realm of sin, though they still commit sins.

Having a proper understanding of the believer’s relationship to sin is foundational to progressing in holiness. Take comfort today in the reality that sin, though still dangerous, is a defeated foe.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God who, because of His mercy and love, made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:4-5).
  • Ask Him to help you walk worthy of that high calling (Eph. 4:1).

For Further Study

Read the following passages: John 8:312 Cor. 13:5James 2:14-26. Is every profession of faith in Jesus Christ genuine? Explain.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Choose to Please God

Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).

— Galatians 1:10 (AMPC)

The apostle Paul said that in his ministry he had to choose between pleasing men and pleasing God. That is a choice you also must make.

If your goal is to build a name for yourself and win favor with people, it will cause you to live in fear of man rather than in fear of God.

For years I tried to build my own reputation among believers by striving to win the favor of men. But through bitter experience I learned I was submitting to a sort of slavery to people. God helped me realize I could only be truly free in Him.

If you are trying to build your reputation with people, it’s time to give up all your own human efforts and simply trust God.

Prayer of the Day: Father, help me get my priorities straight and to line up the things I’m doing in a way that is pleasing to You, rather than trying to keep people happy and fixed, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Joy in Our Trials

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

For a long time, I have imagined that I see everybody with a wheelbarrow. I have a wheelbarrow too. We push them around, and inside are our trials, temptations, fears, failures, disappointments, heartaches, and longings. These are the things that wake us and then keep us awake at three o’clock in the morning.

Living in this world places demands upon us, confronts us with challenges, and buffets us in ways that are painful and sorrowful. When we face these difficulties, often we are told to deny them, conceal them, shoo them away, or live above them. All the while, we’re tempted to resent our trials and grow more and more bitter.

The biblical perspective on hardship differs greatly from all of these options. James said that it is possible to know pure, complete joy in our trials. How can this possibly be? Receiving joy in trials seems to be an absolute contradiction. Most of 21st-century Western life is lived in such a way as to keep trials at bay. It seems obvious that the way to joy is to avoid trials.

James, however, tells us that the way in which we can “count it all joy” is not by moving ourselves into a citadel where troubles are absent but through having our attitudes to those troubles transformed. In saying “for you know,” he is reminding us that we have to bring our feelings under the rule of what we know to be true. And what do we know? That faith by itself does not develop perseverance. True faith is proven and strengthened when it is tested. The things we seek to avoid are the very things that make us.

We have to be honest about the trials we face. We are not yet in heaven, and so our faith is still being tested. It’s not revealed in some blissful, otherworldly experience but in the rough and tumble of everyday life. And the testing of true faith will always produce steadfastness. It will make us more like Jesus. It will make us more able to comfort others. Therefore, we can trust that through all our difficulties God will continue to fashion in us a faith that is perfect and complete. It is as we hold on to that promise that we are able to “count it all joy” as a trial looms ahead or we realize we are deep in one already. We are able to think, “I would not have chosen this path, but the Lord has, and He is going to use it to show me more of Himself and to make me more like Him.”

What is in your wheelbarrow today? They are things you would not have chosen. But what would change if you saw them as opportunities for your faith to be tested, strengthened, and perfected? That is the path to deeper, unconquerable joy.


Romans 5:1-11

Topics: Faith Joy Suffering Trials

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – How You Can See God

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:8 how we can see God. What does He say we need to be in order to see God? That’s right, we need to be pure in heart! But what does it mean to be pure in heart? What does it mean to be pure?

Being pure means not having anything that isn’t supposed to be there. If you have a glass of pure water, that means nothing except water is in the glass – no dirt, no bugs, no poison or anything else but water. If the water has something else in it, the water is not pure.

For a person to be pure means he has nothing in him that isn’t supposed to be there. He is just as God made him to be. In other words, there is no sin in him. He is not sinning on purpose. He is trying to be free from sin – in what he does and in what he thinks and desires. That is what it means to be “pure in heart.”

What is the promise to those who are pure in heart? “They shall see God.” Wow! What a promise! What could be more amazing than seeing God? Nothing! That is what every Christian wants. We want to see God, Who created us.

We who are saved by Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, will one day see Him in Heaven. Those who have turned away from their sins and asked Jesus to save them are made pure by His Holy Spirit, Who lives in them. They want to be godly and not sin. They want to do right and are really sorry when they sin, which means doing wrong. So, the pure in heart really will see God.

Do you want to see God? Have you been made pure in heart by asking Jesus to save you from your sins? If so, you will see God!

My response:

» Do I want to do right?

» Do I fill my mind with God and His Word so I can live in a pure way instead of constantly sinning and displeasing God?

Denison Forum – CEO forced to resign after one day because of his church membership

This is a story from Australia, but it has direct implications for Americans and anywhere else people embrace biblical truth and morality.

Andrew Thorburn was chief executive of the Australian Football League club Essendon only a day before reports emerged that he was also the lay board chairman of an Anglican church called City on a Hill. In 2013, the church published an article urging people with “same-sex attraction” to seek help from senior Christians to “survive these temptations.” A 2013 sermon also stated that while we “look back [with] sadness and disgust over concentration camps, future generations will look back with sadness at the legal murder of hundreds of thousands [of] human beings every day through medicine and in the name of freedom.”

Daniel Andrews, premier of the Australian state of Victoria, told reporters, “Those views are absolutely appalling. I don’t support those views, that kind of intolerance, that kind of hatred, bigotry. It is just wrong.” Essendon President Dave Barham quickly issued a statement: “We acted immediately to clarify the publicly espoused views on the organization’s official website, which are in direct contradiction to our values as a club.”

Thorburn resigned his position as a result, stating, “Today it became clear to me that my personal Christian faith is not tolerated or permitted in the public square, at least by some and perhaps by many. I was being required to compromise beyond a level that my conscience allowed.”

Dr. Albert Mohler is right: “This story tells us a very great deal about the velocity of social and moral change and the challenges that will face Christians, if not immediately, then very quickly.” If we want job security, he suggests that we join a church that celebrates LGBTQ ideology and all other progressive agendas. But if we do, we will find ourselves in direct contradiction to the word of God.

He concludes: “This is how the issue in our world is now shaping up, and it will be a huge test of Christian faithfulness. Your church may cost you your job, but your job may demand your soul.”

“He must labor to make us lovable”

When our faith is tested, whether by public opposition or by private temptation, how do we pass the test?

Yesterday we celebrated the fact that when we place our faith in the Son of God, he makes us the children of God (cf. John 1:12). As a result, we are free to love and serve others whether they love and serve us or not, secure in the fact that we are loved absolutely and unconditionally by the God of the universe.

Today, let’s take our status as God’s children a step further.

C.S. Lewis notes in The Problem of Pain: “We were not made primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest ‘well pleased.’” However, “to ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because he is what he is, his love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because he already loves us he must labor to make us lovable.”

Lewis adds: “What we would here and now call our ‘happiness’ is not the end God chiefly has in view, but when we are such as he can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.”

Here’s how the process works. In the moment of our salvation, we are spiritually “born again” (John 3:3). We exchange the sinful nature we inherited from the “first Adam” (Romans 5:12–14) for the spiritual nature we receive from the “second Adam,” our Savior and Lord (1 Corinthians 15:45Romans 8:29).

In that moment, the Holy Spirit who comes to live in us when we trust in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16) begins working to transform us into people God can “love without impediment.”

“Rebels who must lay down our arms”

However, you and I have a choice to make.

We can strive in our own strength to stand publicly for Christ against the rising tide of secular animosity and to defeat the private temptations brought against us by Satan. Or we can yield our lives completely to the will and power of the Holy Spirit, trusting him to make of us what we could never make of ourselves.

Returning to C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain: “We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved; we are, as Newman said, rebels who must lay down our arms.” Lewis admits that this is hard for us: “To render back the will which we have so long claimed for our own, is in itself, wherever and however it is done, a grievous pain, . . . to surrender a self-will inflamed and swollen with years of usurpation is a kind of death.”

This is why Paul described himself as being “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) and called us to present our lives to God as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). It is why Jesus declared, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, my emphasis).

“The resources to do what God requires”

What is already true in Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, and many parts of the Muslim world is becoming true in the secularized West as well: to follow Christ faithfully, we need courage and perseverance beyond ourselves. Consequently, we need to begin every day by submitting that day to the lordship of Christ in the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). And we need to practice consistently and passionately the various spiritual disciplines—prayer, Bible study, worship, solitude, fasting, and so on—to position ourselves to be transformed daily by the One we worship.

I have warned for many years that “self-sufficiency is spiritual suicide.” Never has that fact been more true for American Christians than today.

Erwin Lutzer was right: “You become stronger only when you become weaker. When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.”

Will you make this transforming discovery today?

Denison Forum