In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Joy of Friendship

Intentional efforts to seek and maintain friendships can bring great reward.

Proverbs 18:24

How many true friends do you have? At first, a lot of names may come to mind, but the longer you consider the question, the more likely it is that the number will dwindle. The reality is that we do not have many genuine friends—in other words, the ones who remain loyal no matter what circumstances arise. 

Most people long for intimate friendships. In fact, God created us to need relationships with one another. Without them, we can easily suffer from loneliness and depression. Yet healthy friendships don’t just happen. They require intentional effort. 

For Christians, the goal is to choose godly friends who share our faith and seek to walk obediently with the Lord. Our closest companions need to be people we can depend upon for good advice, support, and encouragement. Another important component is mutual commitment. As today’s verse says, we need “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This dependable, intimate closeness is what the Lord wants for us, but it’s a rare treasure. If you have such friends, express to them your appreciation and admiration. And thank God for giving you such a valuable gift. 

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5

Our Daily Bread — Baby Boy

Bible in a Year:

[God] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you.

Deuteronomy 10:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Deuteronomy 10:14–22

For more than a year, his legal name was “Baby Boy.” Discovered by a security guard who heard his cries, Baby Boy had been abandoned—hours old and wrapped only in a bag—in a hospital parking lot.

Soon after his discovery, Social Services called the people who would one day become his forever family. The couple took him in and called him Grayson (not his real name). Finally, the adoption was complete, and Grayson’s name became official. Today you can meet a delightful child who mispronounces his r’s as he earnestly engages you in conversation. You’d never guess he’d once been found abandoned in a bag.

Late in his life, Moses reviewed God’s character and what He’d done for the people of Israel. “The Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them,” Moses told them (Deuteronomy 10:15). This love had a broad scope. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing,” Moses said (v. 18). “He is the one you praise; he is your God” (v. 21).

Whether it’s through adoption or simply through love and service, we’re all called to reflect God’s love. That loving couple became the hands and feet God used to extend His love to someone who might have gone unnoticed and unclaimed. We can serve as His hands and feet too.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How have you sensed God extending His love to you in ways large and small? What small thing might you do today to reflect that love?

Heavenly Father, have mercy on the fatherless. Help me to be Your hands and feet today.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Rallying Around the Word

“Every word of God is tested [pure, flawless]” (Prov. 30:5).

God’s Word is without error.

Inerrancy is a term that conveys the belief that the original writings of Scripture are wholly true in everything they teach— whether doctrine, history, science, geography, geology, or any other discipline or knowledge. It also applies to accurate copies of those original writings.

Inerrancy is an unpopular concept with some people because they believe it isn’t really important. But consider the implications. No Christian would deny that our relationship to Jesus Christ is of utmost importance. How can we know Him except as He is presented in the Bible? He is our Lord and we must obey His commandments (Heb. 5:9). How can we know what He commands if we doubt His Word?

Others reject inerrancy because they think it’s divisive. But inerrancy should be a rallying point for evangelicals, not a dividing point. What unifying factor do we have if we can’t agree on the truth of divine revelation?

Still others withhold judgment on the issue, thinking it’s a technical matter that is best decided by biblical scholars. On the contrary, it is the most basic of all matters. It’s nothing less than asking, “Is there a sure Word from God?”

Inerrancy isn’t simply a matter of theological debate. It’s a matter of God’s character. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2Heb. 6:18); therefore His Word is true. Jeremiah 10:10 says that the Lord is the true God or the God of truth. The apostle John said, “God is true” (John 3:33). And Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the only true God (John 17:3). Christ came so we might “know him that is true . . . the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

Don’t be shaken by those who attack the integrity of Scripture. As you have opportunity, study any problem passages so you’ll know first-hand what the issues and proposed solutions are. And remember, Scripture was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). He cannot err.

Suggestions for Prayer

If Psalm 119:12-16 reflects the intent of your heart, read it to the Lord as a prayer of praise and commitment.

For Further Study

According to Matthew 22:29 and John 17:17, what was Jesus’ view of Scripture?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Steadfast and Diligent

…In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world. [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

— John 16:33 (AMP)

Many people live lives far short of God’s best because they expect things to always be convenient or easy. But this false expectation will always cheat us out of the rewards God has for us simply because we want to avoid difficulty.

Jesus never promised things would be easy, but He did promise us victory, because He has overcome the world. If we don’t get weary of doing what is right, we will reap great benefits.

God is a loving Father, and He wants to bless you in so many ways. Sometimes you may go through difficulties first, but there are always blessings on the other side. Remember, you can always rely on His strength to see you through, because He has overcome the world.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, please give me to keep going and not to give up. Help me overcome every challenge that comes my way, and give me Your strength to persevere, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Unjust Suffering

Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-13

Any true believer will eventually face unjust suffering. If we are genuinely following Christ, there will be seasons when we find ourselves on the receiving end of accusation, slander, or maligning. It may happen in our home, workplace, or school; it may even happen within a church.

These trials are a real challenge. When we objectively lay out the facts before us, we think, “You know what? He had no right to say that! She had no right to think that! They had no right to do that! And yet, here I am. It’s just not fair!”

When faced with suffering, our great temptation is to regard it as a strange misfortune—as totally out of step with whatever following Jesus is really about. Deep down, it is easy to think that everything should be easy when we’re following Jesus. For a while, in some areas of the world (including much of the West today), we can happily go along with that assumption. But then we face a “fiery trial,” and suddenly our life experience proves that being a Christian is not, in fact, easy.

Shepherding the church in his day, Peter encouraged them not to be surprised by difficult trials. Like a parent sitting down to talk with a child before she makes her way in the world, Peter urged believers to anticipate suffering. It wasn’t that at some point they would act wrongly and would therefore receive rightful justice. No, it was that they would suffer simply because of their commitment to Jesus Christ. This was, Peter told them, part of the life of the Christian. It should not be a surprise but an expectation.

After all, as Jesus Himself told His disciples on the night before the world’s hatred nailed Him to a cross, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Consider the way Jesus was treated in Pilate’s hall. During the interrogation, Pilate said of Jesus—for the first of three times!—“I find no guilt in him” (18:38; 19:4, 6). He was convinced that Jesus’ opponents were trying to manipulate circumstances, and he was confident that Jesus wasn’t guilty of the accusations. But instead of releasing Jesus, Pilate took Him and had Him flogged before handing Him over to be crucified. Every sorrow and every grief that Jesus experienced was unjust. And when we choose to follow after Christ, therefore, we’re called to be willing to suffer as He did.

Are you facing a fiery trial today or reeling from walking through one? Take heart! When the Christian walk is painful, we are suffering in the cause of the one who suffered far, far more for us. We are giving ourselves to the one who gave Himself to us. And we can look forward to the day when the trials are past, when justice is done, and we live in our Savior’s glory forever.


John 15:18-27, John 16:1-4

Topics: Affliction Suffering Trials Trusting God

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Hears Our Prayers

“Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1b).

“Time to get ready for bed, Taylor. When you are done, I will come pray with you.”

“Dad, does God hear me when I pray?” Taylor asked.

“Well of course, Taylor. Why do you ask?

“Oh, I don’t know. It just seems like a lot of things I pray for don’t ever happen. Maybe I’m just not asking God enough times.”

“That reminds me of a parable in the book of Luke. Jesus sometimes used parables, or stories, when He taught His followers. This one has to do with prayer. Jesus told a story about a judge and a widow. A widow is a woman whose husband has died. This widow needed help. The judge was the only one who could give her what she needed, but he refused. After a while, the judge saw that this widow was going to keep bugging him. He did not want her to bother him anymore, and he did not want others to think he was a bad judge, so he finally gave in,” Dad said to Taylor.

“Oh, so I just need to keep bugging God,” said Taylor.

“No, Taylor, there is more to the story. Jesus explained that if this unjust, uncaring judge would give the widow what she needed, then certainly God, Who is just and caring, will give His children what they need. And He will do it quickly.

“But, Dad, I don’t see all my prayers being answered quickly.”

“Well, at the beginning of the parable, we are told that Jesus used this story to teach people to be faithful in prayer. A person who prays faithfully does not become discouraged, but, rather, trusts that God will give people what they need when they need it. Now, finish getting ready for bed so we can pray.”

God hears our prayers and expects us to pray faithfully.

My response:

» Do I trust God to know and meet my needs?

» Am I more concerned with how God answers prayer or with how I pray?

» How can I be faithful in prayer?

Denison Forum – “I feel like I might be dreaming”: A stranger takes a 100-year-old veteran to Disneyland

 “This is one of the best days of my life. I feel like I might be dreaming or something. I thought my life was over. I will remember this day for a long time. You don’t know how much I appreciate this . . . you really don’t know.” This is how a one-hundred-year-old veteran thanked a stranger named Isaiah Garza for taking him to Disneyland.

A now-viral video posted to TikTok shows Garza approaching the elderly man (after coordinating with the man’s caregiver) to say, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I’ve had a really rough day. Do you want to go to Disneyland with me today?” The man was shocked but delighted. Garza told a reporter later, “First we went on the tea cups and it was his first ride in like fifty years and then It’s a Small World and sang it together like fifty times it was so cute.”

Garza captioned part of the video: “Became best friends for the day.”

“The nicest place on the internet”

Unsurprisingly, Harvard University reports that “loneliness appears to have increased substantially since the outbreak of the global pandemic.” More than half of all US adults are considered to be lonely; young adults are twice as likely to be lonely than seniors.

In response, a website calling itself “the nicest place on the internet” will give you a virtual hug. Social media offers unprecedented virtual community. But we need community that is more than virtual.

What God said of Adam is true of us all: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). You and I were made in the image and likeness of the God (Genesis 1:27) of triune community (2 Corinthians 13:14) who created us to love him and to love each other (Matthew 22:37–39).

As we close our weeklong focus on our status as the children of God, let’s focus on this fact: if you are a child of God, you are part of the family of God. The community he offers you and offers the world through you is a gift no one else in the world can give. It is a gift we were created to need. It is a gift that makes the church uniquely relevant to our fractured culture.

It is a gift you are invited to embrace and to share for an especially urgent reason today.

“The source of order in man and society”

Gnosticism (from the Greek word for knowledge) was a second-century heresy that believed humans can save themselves from this evil material world through a special type of knowledge of the divine mysteries. However, this knowledge was reserved only for an elite group who claimed to understand what others did not.

Eric Voegelin was a German-American political philosopher. In The New Science of Politics: An Introduction, he used this ancient concept to describe the rising secularism of Western culture: “The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world-immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit. And since the life of the spirit is the source of order in man and society, the very success of a Gnostic civilization is the cause of its decline.”

Let me recast his crucial insight in a current context: Like the ancient Gnostics, a group of cultural elites is convinced they can bring about the “salvation” of society through secular progressivism. However, “the life of the spirit” stands in the way of their secular utopia. As a result, they employ LGBTQ ideology, abortion activism, and other unbiblical causes to expose and condemn the “discrimination” inherent in Christian orthodoxy and thus free society for radical individual “authenticity.”

Here’s their problem: as Voegelin notes, the “life of the spirit is the source of order in man and society.” Consequently, the disintegration of our social unity, escalation of crime, and epidemic of sexual immorality we are witnessing today are inevitable results of their secularist agenda.

“The final word in reality”

Voegelin’s thesis explains why it can be difficult for evangelical Christians to reach cultural “Gnostics” and those they represent: they are foundationally convinced that they understand what we do not. They are certain either that the Bible is wrong on the cultural issues of our day or that we are wrongly interpreting it. Either way, they have no interest in rational dialogue or personal engagement with people they consider dangerous to society.

How, then, are we to reach them and those they influence with God’s word and grace?

Here is where today’s focus on community is so relevant. Every person who has ever lived was created for authentic, life-giving relationship with others. However, from Cain and Abel to yesterday’s shooting in Raleigh, North Carolina, that left five people dead, sin disrupts and corrupts these relationships. Secularism has no solution for sin; it can try to legislate against its symptoms, but it cannot reach their source.

As the Christian psychiatrist and author Curt Thompson notes: We have to change our lives if we want our lives to change.

You and I are called to “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). Then, we are to extend this community to our critics: “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called” (v. 9). When we experience such grace with each other and offer it to the world, the “God-shaped emptiness” in every soul is drawn to the Source of our love.

On this day in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech, he proclaimed: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

Let’s speak that word into reality today, to the glory of God.

Denison Forum