In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – If you long for radical renewal in your life, commit to know God’s Word.

Philippians 3:7-16

Paul’s priority was to know Christ. The apostle spoke of counting all things as loss in comparison to His relationship with the Lord, and he was given spiritual blessings that surpassed anything the world had to offer. 

When we seek Christ through His Word, we too can expect the following spiritual blessings:  

  • A Quiet Spirit. As we read and meditate on God’s Word, He restores our souls (Psalm 19:7). Then, instead of having stress and worry, we’ll experience peace of mind.  
  • A Stronger Faith. Studying Scripture enlarges our view of God and gives us insight into His desires, ways, and will. The bigger the Lord becomes to us, the more we will trust Him in every circumstance.  
  • A Purified Heart. God’s Word reveals our sins so we can repent and receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). 
  • A Renewed Mind. When we read Scripture and apply its principles, our mind will be renewed to think biblically about God, ourselves, and the world.  

Because Christ was the pursuit of his life, Paul knew joy amidst trials and received the strength to face turmoil and difficulty. These blessings are ours as well when knowing Jesus is our highest goal. 

Bible in One Year: Mark 1-2

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Will You Still Love Me?

Bible in a Year:

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Romans 5:6–11

Ten-year-old Lyn-Lyn had finally been adopted, but she was afraid. In the orphanage where she’d grown up, she was punished over the slightest mistake. Lyn-Lyn asked her adoptive mom, who was a friend of mine: “Mommy, do you love me?” When my friend replied yes, Lyn-Lyn asked, “If I make a mistake, will you still love me?”

Although unspoken, some of us might ask that same question when we feel we’ve disappointed God: “Will You still love me?” We know that as long as we live in this world, we’ll fail and sin at times. And we wonder, Do my mistakes affect God’s love for me?

John 3:16 assures us of God’s love. He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on our behalf so that if we believe in Him, we’ll receive eternal life. But what if we fail Him even after we place our trust in Him? That’s when we need to remember that “Christ died for us” even when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). If He could love us at our worst, how can we doubt His love today when we’re His children?

When we sin, our Father lovingly corrects and disciplines us. That’s not rejection (8:1); that’s love (Hebrews 12:6). Let’s live as God’s beloved children, resting in the blessed assurance that His love for us is steadfast and everlasting.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

How does understanding God’s love for you strengthen you to obey Him? How does it impact your view of sin?

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your steadfast and unchanging love.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – From the Mouth of God

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

God’s Word is inspired.

Second Timothy 3:16 speaks of the inspiration of Scripture. “Inspired” is the translation of a Greek word that literally means “God-breathed.” Every word of Scripture is from the mouth of God.

Theologians speak of inspiration as the mysterious process by which God worked through the authors of Scripture to produce inerrant and divinely authoritative writings. Inspiration is a mystery because Scripture doesn’t explain specifically how it occurred. The only glimpse we have is this from 2 Peter: “Know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (vv. 20-21).

“Interpretation” speaks of origin. Scripture didn’t originate on the human level, but with the Holy Spirit, who moved upon the authors to write it (v. 21). “Moved” is the translation of a nautical term that describes the effects of wind upon a ship as it blows against its sails and moves it through the water. Similarly, the Spirit moved on the biblical writers to produce the Word of God in the language of men.

The human authors of Scripture knew they were writing God’s Word, and did so with confidence and authority. Often they cited or alluded to one another as authoritative agents of divine revelation (e.g., 2 Pet. 3:15-17).

On a personal level, inspiration guarantees that what Scripture says, God says. It’s His counsel to you, so you can study and obey it with full assurance that it is true and will never lead you astray.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise the Lord for His inspired Word.
  • Reaffirm your commitment to live according to its principles today.

For Further Study

Often the New Testament affirms the inspiration of the Old Testament by attributing Old Testament quotations to God Himself. For example, compare these Old Testament passages with their New Testament counterparts: Genesis 2:24 with Matthew 19:4-5Psalm 2:1 with Acts 4:24-25Isaiah 55:3 with Acts 13:34Psalm 16:10 with Acts 13:35Psalm 95:7 with Hebrews 3:7.

  • How might you respond to someone who says that the Bible is merely the words of devout religious men?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – The Reward of Sharing Love

By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

— John 13:35 (AMPC)

One of the best ways to share Jesus with the world is to simply show love to others. Jesus Himself taught on love and walked in love because that is what the world needs. The world needs to know that God is love and He loves each person unconditionally (see 1 John 4:8).

The Word of God teaches that God wants us to be committed to developing the character of Jesus Christ in our own lives and then go out as Christ’s ambassadors to the world (see 2 Corinthians 5:20).

To be His ambassadors, it is crucial that we have our minds renewed to what love really is. Love is not merely a feeling we have; it is a decision to treat people the way Jesus would treat them.

When we truly commit to walking in love, it usually causes a huge shift in our lifestyle. Many of our ways—our thoughts, our conversation, our habits—need to change. Love is tangible; it is evident to everyone who comes in contact with it.

Loving others does not come easily or without personal sacrifice. Each time we choose to love someone, it will cost us something—time, money, or effort. But the reward of loving others is far greater than the cost ever is.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I know that loving others is not always easy, but I want to walk in love and love everyone I meet, with Your help, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Desiring a Better Country

Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years … And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but … God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”

Genesis 50:22, Genesis 50:24-25

Roughly 60 years of Joseph’s later life are summarized by the phrase “Joseph remained in Egypt.” Presumably, these were quieter times than the recorded drama of his early days. But 60 whole years are surely not pointless. Considering these years in the life of Joseph causes us to reflect: What are we living for? What are we planning to do with the time God has given us?

It’s far too easy to spend our lives chasing earthbound horizons such as career success, financial stability, or comfortable luxuries. The myth is seductive: that life is about slaving at your job as long as you can in order to line the nest in which you plan to settle down—that the purpose of life is to prepare for retirement. Just at the point when believers are often in a position—financially, emotionally, socially—to free up an incredible amount of time to serve God’s kingdom, they start to talk hibernation.

As followers of Jesus, we must not live as though this world is all there is. Yet some of us can’t say with integrity, “There is more than just this life,” because everything we are doing with our time, talents, and money seems to be saying, “This is it! That’s why I’m working 60 hours a week. That’s why I don’t come home or take a vacation. That’s why I missed church again last Sunday. That’s why I don’t make time and take risks to serve and to share the gospel with my neighbors. Because this is it.”

It’s one thing to have a vibrant and unwavering faith when we’re in the middle of a battle; it’s a whole new challenge to live a life of steady obedience through daily routine. For a life to be well spent—especially as it relates to our resources and legacy—we must consider not just what we want in life but what we ought to do with life. We need a vision of the heavenly horizon.

Joseph had a purpose for his life and for those final, quieter years. His vision was set beyond the borders of Egypt. He wasn’t focused on himself; he was responsible for ensuring that his children and his children’s children did not settle down too comfortably in Egypt but instead remained unsettled enough so that they might truly settle one day in the promised land. God had given him peace, prestige, and prosperity in Egypt—everything that so many of us chase today. Yet he was always looking beyond Egypt. He knew this was not where he, or any of God’s people, truly belonged. He was not yet home. We too must live in such a way that we help our loved ones and our own hearts to “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16). Whatever you have or do not have today, you are not yet home. There is more, and better, than this. Be sure that your time, talents, and money reflect that knowledge.

GOING DEEPER

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Topics: Christian Life Materialism

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Gives Wisdom

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

“Jason, you will be finishing fourth grade in a few months. Your mother and I are thinking of letting you play an instrument. If you’d like, you may choose the instrument you want to play, but that means you will also have to choose to give up either soccer or basketball,” Jason’s dad was saying.

“Wow, Dad, I’ve always wanted to play trumpet. I can’t wait to play trumpet!” Jason tapped his fingers up in the air in front of him, playing a mock trumpet. But then he thought of having to give up one of his favorite sports. “Give up soccer or basketball? I don’t know which one I could give up.” Jason spoke out loud.

“Well, son,” said his father patting him on the back, “you have some time to think about it. Meanwhile, can you think of someone in the Bible who had to make a tough decision a long time ago? He was a king in the Old Testament.”

“Is it King David?” Jason asked.

“No. I’m thinking about his son, King Solomon. Let’s read 1 Kings 3:16–28,” Jason’s dad said.

After they finished reading the passage, Jason said, “Wow! King Solomon was smart, Dad! I’m not that smart. I wouldn’t have known who that baby’s mom was.”

“Well, most of us are not that smart, Jason.” Dad said. “Remember what the last part of the last verse says: ‘They saw that the wisdom of God was in him [Solomon], to do judgment [justice].’ The people in Solomon’s kingdom understood that it was God Who had given Solomon his great wisdom.”

“God can give you wisdom, too, Jason. Let’s read James 1:5. God says He will give you wisdom if you ask for it. You know son, Solomon asked God for wisdom in the early part of his reign. It’s right here in 1 Kings 3:5–9.”

“God came to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he wanted. Solomon said in 1 Kings 3:9, ‘Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?’ Just like God said He would in the book of James, God gave Solomon wisdom when he asked for it. God gave it freely, generously and abundantly.”

God will give you wisdom when you ask.

» Have I ever asked God for wisdom?

» Do I ask God for wisdom when I have to decide something?

» Do I realize I need God’s wisdom to make good decisions between right and wrong?

Denison Forum – Tulsi Gabbard’s announcement and the death of “American Idol” runner-up Willie Spence at 23

Former Hawaii Representative and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is leaving the Democratic Party, which she denounced as an “elitist cabal of warmongers.” Her announcement reminds us of Ronald Reagan’s famous statement, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

As the leader of a nonpartisan ministry, my intention today is not to criticize the Democratic Party. To the contrary, politicians leaving the Republican Party would make the same point I wish to emphasize: in the eyes of the world, we are what we do. George Eliot was right: “Just as we define our actions, our actions define us.”

What politicians and political parties do over time defines them far more effectively than platforms adopted at conventions or speeches made at rallies. The same principle applies to the rest of us, as Michael J. Fox noted: “Our challenges don’t define us, our actions do.”

This fact was reinforced for me when I saw the tragic news that American Idol Season 19 runner-up Willie Spence died Tuesday in a car accident at the age of twenty-three. Just hours before the fatal crash, he posted a video of himself singing a worship song.

When I read the story, this question came to mind: Would you do what you are about to do if you knew it would be the last thing you would do?

Do Christians only care about stopping abortions?

You may have seen ads created by the “He Gets Us” campaign, a $100 million effort to bridge the gap between the story of Jesus and the public perception of his followers. The campaign is based on market research showing that while many Americans like Jesus, they are skeptical of his followers.

The research split Americans into four categories: non-Christians (16 percent of the sample), people who are “spiritually open” (20 percent), “Jesus followers” (34 percent), and “engaged Christians” (30 percent). It revealed a large gap between the first three groups and the last.

For example, more than two-thirds of those in the first three categories agreed when asked: “Followers of Jesus say one thing, but do not follow those things in practice.” Only 5 percent of the “engaged Christians” agreed. Most in the first three categories also agreed that Christians only care about stopping abortions rather than caring for moms and their children; only 6 percent of the “engaged Christians” agreed.

Mayor helps family escape before train hits vehicle

We have focused this week on our status as the children of God and its implications for our lives and faith. Today, let’s consider this fact: people judge our Father by his children. When we are loving, kind, and compassionate, they are more likely to think the same of our Lord. When we are hateful and condemning, they are likely to see our Lord in the same way.

God’s word is clear: “Whoever says he abides in [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). Jesus taught us: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).

This is because we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). As a result, we are instructed, “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Paul warned of those who “profess to know God, but they deny him by their works” (Titus 1:16). Conversely, Scripture admonishes us, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

Let’s consider an example.

Eddie Daniels is the mayor of Vienna, Georgia, a town of four thousand residents. He was on his way to work Saturday morning when he saw an SUV stalled on railroad tracks with a train fast approaching.

“I couldn’t let those babies sit there and get slaughtered by a train,” he told reporters later. He helped the mom out of the vehicle, then rescued a three-year-old and a one-year-old from the back seat. He was helping a six-year-old when the train hit the vehicle.

He managed to get the child out, but Daniels has a broken ankle and eight stitches in his head as a result. “I’m out here just doing God’s work,” he said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do. And they told me I was a hero. I said I don’t feel like a hero, just feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, what the people elected me to do.”

Would you predict he’ll be elected again?

“You are my hiding place”

The British explorer Freya Stark observed, “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” She was right, not only about us but about those we influence as well.

As the children of God, our every word and action reflect on our Father for good or for ill. Jesus told his followers, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8); some of us are effective witnesses, some of us are not, but each of us is called to the stand every day.

A postmodern culture that measures truth by relevance will measure the truth of our faith by the relevance of our lives. So I’ll ask again, for God’s glory and the advancement of his kingdom: Would you do what you are about to do if you knew it would be the last thing you would do?

I suspect Willie Spence’s answer on Tuesday would have been yes. Here are the lyrics he sang for the world before he left it for his home in heaven:

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid.

I will trust in You
I will trust in You
Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord
I will trust in You.

What song will you sing for God’s glory today?

Denison Forum