In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Our Top Priority

Unless we determine to put God first, we can easily lose days, weeks, or years to lesser things.

Luke 10:38-42

Which sister in today’s story best describes you? Are you distracted and stressed, or eager to learn from the Lord? During Jesus’ visit, Martha let serving Him become more important than listening to Him. Even though the sisters were both expressing their love and care for Jesus through their actions, Mary chose the better way.

Sometimes in the busyness of life, we lose sight of how important it is to refresh our soul with God’s presence. Although the Lord doesn’t want us to neglect our responsibilities, we need to spend part of each day praying, reading, and meditating on Scripture.  

Our relationship with the Lord should have first place above all else in life. Our mind and spirit need daily renewing with God’s Word so that our thoughts, attitudes, affections, and actions will flow from the application of spiritual truths. But as we’ve all probably discovered, this is not easy. Our own selfish nature clamors for supremacy, and the world with all its pursuits, pleasures, and temptations encourages us to indulge ourselves. 

Nothing should supersede your relationship with Christ. Like Mary, make time to listen and learn from Jesus through His Word. 

Bible in One Year: Matthew 27-28

Our Daily Bread — Life Expectancy

Bible in a Year:

A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by.

Psalm 90:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 90:1–14

In 1990, French researchers had a computer problem: a data error when processing the age of Jeanne Calment. She was 115 years old, an age outside the parameters of the software program. The programmers had assumed no one could possibly live that long! In fact, Jeanne lived until the age of 122.

The psalmist writes, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures” (Psalm 90:10). This is a figurative way of saying that whatever age we live to, even to the age of Jeanne Calment, our lives on earth are indeed limited. Our lifetimes are in the sovereign hands of a loving God (v. 5). In the spiritual realm, however, we’re reminded of what “God time” really is: “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by” (v. 4).

And in the person of Jesus Christ “life expectancy” has been given a whole new meaning: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). “Has” is in the present tense: right now, in our current physical moment of trouble and tears, our future is blessed, and our lifespan is limitless.

In this we rejoice and with the psalmist pray, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

By:  Kenneth Petersen

Reflect & Pray

What worries do you have about your life and its limits? How are you comforted by the presence of Jesus?

Loving God, sometimes this life is hard, but—even so—I sing for joy in Your provision for me. Satisfy me today with Your unfailing love.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Modern-Day Revelations

“Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, emphasis added).

Scripture contains everything you need to know for godly living.

For many years I’ve watched with deep concern as a significant number of Christians have drifted from a thoughtful, biblical, God- centered theology to one that is increasingly mystical, non- biblical, and man-centered. One of the most disturbing indicators of this trend is the proliferation of extrabiblical revelations that certain people are claiming to receive directly from God.

Such claims are alarming because they dilute the uniqueness and centrality of the Bible and cause people to lean on man’s word rather than God’s. They imply that Scripture is insufficient for Christian living and that we need additional revelation to fill the gap.

But God’s Word contains everything you need to know for spiritual life and godly living. It is inspired and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness so that you may be fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). What more is necessary?

When the apostle John died, apostolic revelation came to an end. But that written legacy remains as the standard by which we are to test every teacher and teaching that claims to be from God (1 Thess. 5:211 John 4:1). If a teaching doesn’t conform to Scripture, it must be rejected. If it does conform, it isn’t a new revelation. In either case, additional revelation is unnecessary.

God went to great lengths to record and preserve His revelation, and He jealously guards it from corruption of any kind. From Moses, the first known recipient of divine revelation, to the apostle John, the final recipient, His charge remained the same: “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2; cf., Rev. 22:18-19).

Don’t be swayed by supposed new revelations. Devote yourself to what has already been revealed.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to guard your heart from confusion and help you to keep your attention firmly fixed on His Word.

For Further Study

According to 2 Timothy 4:1-4, why must we preach and uphold God’s Word?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Take Care of Yourself in Relationships

…You shall love your neighbor as yourself….

— Mark 12:31 (ESV)

Sometimes the wounds of the soul result from bad choices people around us have made. As God heals your soul, you may notice that certain relationships in your life are changing. You may sense a need for space in a relationship with someone you feel very close to. Or you may have done a lot of things with one person for a long time, but now you are beginning to want to broaden your circle of friends. You may have been someone’s “go to” person in every situation, but you are starting to feel he or she is asking too much from you. Different relationships change in different ways, and when God changes you (which is what happens when your soul is healed and strengthened), do not be surprised if some of your relationships need to change, too.

Many people in the world today need help. If we love them, we want to help them and we are often willing to spend time, effort, and money to do whatever we can do for them. The Bible clearly teaches us to love and serve one another (see John 13:34; Rom. 13:8; Gal. 5:13). But sometimes we can help people too much, to the point the relationship becomes codependent, which is very unhealthy.

When people are codependent, it means they allow someone else’s problems or bad choices to control them. They don’t know how their day will go because they wait to see how the other person is, and what he or she needs. If we allow ourselves to be in a codependent relationship, we are enabling another person’s bad or unhealthy behavior. We are not truly loving that person or allowing him or her to grow and mature. We are also failing to love ourselves.

When a scribe asked Jesus what was the greatest of all the commandments, Jesus said, The most important is…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:28–30 ESV). Then He went on to say that the second most important commandment is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31 ESV). Clearly, God wants us to love ourselves—not to be selfish or self-centered, but to love ourselves in healthy ways, just as we love others in healthy ways. He has called us to help people and even to do so when we have to sacrifice something for ourselves, but He has not called us to allow other people’s choices to control or manipulate us.

Whenever you see a Bible verse that talks about loving others, apply it also to loving yourself. That will help you be a good friend or family member, while also helping you take care of yourself in relationships.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I am committed to loving other people, while also loving myself in the way You love me. Please help me to walk in love in every aspect of my life, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Made for Good Works

Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

Titus 3:14

You are not here by chance but by God’s choosing. You did not invent yourself, nor did you have any part in your own creation. You were intricately knit together in the womb (Psalm 139:13). The hand of God formed you to be the person that you are; He created you at the exact moment that He desired, and He has placed you at this point in history so that you, in Christ, by grace, through faith, might do good deeds—good deeds which He has planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).

In other words, you have received grace upon grace that you might do good.

While the concept of “doing good” may not be our first thought when we consider the impact on ourselves of God’s transforming grace, it was virtually number one on the apostle Paul’s list. In his letter to Titus, he writes that God, in Jesus, “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14, emphasis added). This emphasis appears several times throughout the letter, culminating in Paul’s closing exhortation: “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works.”

Paul’s particular zeal for good works was and is completely countercultural, both in his day and in our own. We live in a world that is full of enticements to pursue self-centered lives of leisure. How, then, are we to imitate Paul and excel in good deeds?

First, we need to be clear that our pursuit of good deeds does not earn God’s favor. We do not do good to be saved but because we’re saved. Without grace as its foundation, the call to virtuous living is pure externalism and will either exhaust us or puff us up. Second, we need to remember that our pursuit of good deeds does bring God pleasure; we live “not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). So, we are to be marked by God-honoring, Christ-exalting goodness as a living testimony to our great salvation.

Our ability to do good is also, Paul says, a learned behavior. We are called to “learn to devote” ourselves to goodness. Our actions shouldn’t just be the result of an emotional surge or come about only when we feel like it. Instead, we are to endeavor on a daily basis to do the kingdom work that God has planned for each one of us, and do it intentionally and habitually. And we are to look at those further on in their faith who live this kind of life and seek to learn from them.

In Christ, all of your days and all of your deeds may be good for someone and for something. Learn to begin each day asking for His help to do good to others as a response to His grace to you, trusting that He will graciously enable you to give evidence of your beliefs by your actions.


James 1:27-27, James 2:1-13

Topics: Ministry Service Work

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Gives Us Strength

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Have you ever watched an eagle fly? If you have, you’ve probably gazed in awe as the eagle spread its powerful wings and gracefully soared higher and higher in the sky above. The World Book Encyclopedia lists these fascinating facts about an eagle’s wings: A golden eagle has wings that span, or spread, about seven feet across. The shape of the feathers allows the eagle to stiffly spread out its wings. As the air flows easily over the surface of the wings, the eagle can glide for great distances. With help from the wind, the eagle can carry prey that weighs as much as the eagle itself weighs!

Isaiah 40:31 is talking about more than just physical, or bodily, strength. Difficult situations sometimes occur. For example, do you have a family member that’s suffering from an illness? Are things difficult for you at school? Are you struggling with a problem, and you don’t see how you’re going to get through it? God promises in Isaiah 40:31 that we can turn to Him for the spiritual strength we need to face any situation. That means if we trust and depend on Him, He will make us strong to face the problem. In fact, He promises us that we can “mount up with wings as eagles.”

God wants us to depend on Him for the strength we need to face difficult situations.

My response:

» When I have a problem, is the first thing I do to pray and ask God to help me?

Denison Forum – Is a recession inevitable? The courage to astonish our culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called courage “the power of the mind to overcome fear.” Courage by definition requires adversity. Where there are no challenges, there is no need for courage.

Seen in this light, we have many opportunities for courage in today’s news.

We could focus on the economy: The Dow Jones closed yesterday up thirty-six points but down nearly twenty percent for the year. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is predicting that the US economy will fall into a recession in the next six to nine months. The World Bank is warning of the threat of a global recession next year. There’s even bad news in the good news: Online holiday discounts could reach record highs, but inflation will cut into spending.

We could talk about geopolitics: North Korea confirmed that its recent barrage of missile launches was the simulated use of nuclear weapons to “hit and wipe out” potential South Korean and US targets. As Russia continued missile strikes against Ukrainian civilians, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed his plea for increased military assistance yesterday at an emergency meeting of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations.

This comes after pro-Russian hackers attacked the websites of several major airports in the US this week, another reminder that cybersecurity threats are an urgent security issue for our nation and the world.

And yesterday was National Coming Out Day, which was launched in 1988 as part of a strategy to normalize LGBTQ activity so it could be legalized, opponents could be stigmatized, and opposition could ultimately be criminalized.

Teacher fired for raising concerns over a book

As we noted yesterday, this strategy is working well in Australia, where a CEO was forced to resign after one day because of his membership in a church that affirms biblical sexuality. Closer to home, a substitute teacher in Georgia was fired from her job after she expressed her concern as a parent over the content of a book in the school library.

The book depicts same-sex couples taking their children to school and two lesbian mothers, one of whom is pregnant. The mother spoke with her six-year-old son’s teacher and asked that he not be part of the story time where the book was to be read. The teacher said that would not be a problem.

The next day, she expressed her concerns over the book with the school’s principal, explaining that she and her husband would like to be the ones to talk with their children about issues such as same-sex marriage, rather than the school. She made clear that she was not asking for the book to be removed, only that her children not be exposed to its content. The principal agreed.

Soon thereafter, the teacher learned that she would no longer be allowed to teach in the school district, as the principal was concerned about her bias “against same-sex couples.” Even though she explained that she expressed her concerns as a mother, not as an employee of the school district, her employment was terminated.

“The stronger the emphasis, the fewer the Christians”

We have focused this week on positive factors inherent in our status as the children of God. Today we need to consider the other side: Those who oppose our Father will oppose his children. Anyone who rejects God’s word will reject those who embrace God’s word.

Jesus warned us: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Scripture is clear: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, my emphasis).

The cost of following Jesus has always made it hard for the masses to follow Jesus.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard observed: “The imitation of Christ is really the point at which the human race shrinks. The main difficulty lies here; here is where it is really decided whether or not one is willing to accept Christianity. If there is emphasis on this point, the stronger the emphasis, the fewer the Christians. If there is scaling down at this point (so that Christianity becomes, intellectually, a doctrine), more people enter into Christianity.

“If it is abolished completely (so that Christianity becomes, existentially, as easy as mythology and poetry and imitation an exaggeration, a ludicrous exaggeration), then Christianity spreads to such a degree that Christendom and the world are almost indistinguishable; or all become Christians; Christianity has complete conquered—that is, it is abolished!”

“By the power of the Spirit of God”

The good news is that the Holy Spirit who resides in every true child of God will give us the courage and perseverance we need to imitate Jesus as a true disciple of our Lord. He will empower us to be witnesses for our Lord where we live and around the world (Acts 1:8). We will be able to say with Paul, “by the power of the Spirit of God . . . I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19).

In fact, if we are not living “abundantly” (John 10:10) as “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37), we should ask why.

Oswald Chambers warned us: “We can remain powerless forever . . . by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on his power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature. We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve him without knowing him.”

Asked negatively: Is something keeping you from experiencing his supernatural power? A temptation or sin with which you are struggling? A person you need to forgive or someone from whom you need to seek forgiveness? A difficult next step of obedience?

Asked positively: Are you serving Jesus “with all his energy that he powerfully works” in you (Colossians 1:29)? As a result, are you sharing your faith confidently and courageously? Do others know that you know Jesus?

When the Sanhedrin “saw the boldness of Peter and John . . . they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Let’s astonish our lost culture today, to the glory of God.

Denison Forum