In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God-Centered Prayer

When fear strikes, choose to focus on our almighty and faithful God instead of the situation.

2 Chronicles 20:1-18

Once, when someone once asked if I’d ever heard myself pray, I decided to record my voice as I prayed about a matter of deep concern. After listening to the recording, I realized it was filled with negative descriptions of how bad the situation was and how discouraged I felt. My focus was all wrong. 

On encountering a fearful situation, Jehoshaphat chose a different approach: God-centered prayer. Instead of coming to the Lord with a “woe is me” attitude, Jehoshaphat began by focusing on God’s power and sovereignty (2 Chron. 20:6), His past faithfulness to Judah (2 Chron. 20:7-8), and His promise to hear and deliver His people (2 Chron. 20:9). Only after strengthening his faith through these reminders of God’s adequacy did the king make his petitions (2 Chron. 20:10-12). 

In prayer, we can choose to magnify either the Lord or our difficulty. Are you concentrating on the faithfulness of almighty God or your overwhelming problem and negative feelings? Let’s keep our eyes on Him and wait with complete confidence until we see the great things He’ll do for His glory and our good. 

Bible in One Year: Mark 10-12

Our Daily Bread — God Spoke

Bible in a Year:

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:3

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 1:1–4

In 1876, inventor Alexander Graham Bell spoke the very first words on a telephone. He called his assistant, Thomas Watson, saying, “Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Crackly and indistinct, but intelligible, Watson heard what Bell had said. The first words spoken by Bell over a phone line proved that a new day for human communication had dawned.

Establishing the dawn of the first day into the “formless and empty” earth (Genesis 1:2), God spoke His first words recorded in Scripture: “Let there be light” (v. 3). These words were filled with creative power. He spoke, and what He declared came into existence (Psalm 33:69). God said, “let there be light” and so it was. His words produced immediate victory as darkness and chaos gave way to the brilliance of light and order. Light was God’s answer to the dominance of darkness. And when He had created the light, He saw that it “was good” (Genesis 1:4).  

God’s first words continue to be powerful in the lives of believers in Jesus. With the dawning of each new day, it’s as if God is restating His spoken words in our lives. When darkness—literally and metaphorically—gives way to the brilliance of His light, may we praise Him and acknowledge that He’s called out to us and truly sees us.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

When dawn breaks through the darkness, how will you celebrate God’s love and faithfulness? How has God’s light opened your eyes to see Him?

Creator of Light, I praise You for dispelling the darkness of this world—opening my eyes to You and Your presence in my life.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – A Psalm of Sufficiency

“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

“They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:7-14).

God’s Word addresses the soul’s every need.

King David was a man of stark contrasts. He knew the humility of shepherding a flock and the prestige of reigning over a nation. He experienced glorious triumphs and bitter defeats. He sought after God, yet also suffered immense guilt and pain from immorality and murder. That led to even his own son’s seeking to take his life. Some of his psalms reflect great hope and others, despair. But through it all he continued to look to God, being assured of God’s sovereignty and the sufficiency of His divine resources.

In Psalm 19 David penned the most monumental statement ever made on the sufficiency of Scripture. As we study it in the days ahead, keep in mind that every need of your soul or inmost being is ultimately spiritual, and God has supplied sufficient resources to meet those needs completely. That was David’s confidence. May it be yours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer

Throughout our study of Psalm 19, ask God to give you fresh insights that will enable you appreciate and rest more fully in His gracious provisions.

For Further Study

Reread Psalm 19:1-14.

  • What terms did David use for God’s Word?
  • What benefits does the Word bring to believers?
  • Are you enjoying those benefits?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Most Excellent Way

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

— 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

The Bible teaches us that walking in love is the most excellent way to live (see 1 Corinthians 12:31). God is love, and when we walk in love, we are walking and living in Him (see 1 John 4:16). Love is more than a word we use when speaking to other people. It is seen in our actions, especially in how we treat other people.

Jesus gave us one new command, which is for us to love one another just as He loves us. As we show that love, others will know that we are His disciples (see John 13:34–35). God’s love for us required Him to sacrifice His only Son, and if we truly want to love people, there will be times when we will also need to sacrifice for them.

According to 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, love is not self-seeking; it is patient, kind, humble, and not envious. It does not dishonor others, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, and doesn’t delight in evil. It rejoices with the truth. It always believes the best of everyone, and it never fails. If we focus on loving God and loving other people, we will live the life that He desires for us to live.

No matter what so-called good works we may do, if we don’t have love, we simply make a lot of noise and amount to nothing (see 1 Corinthians 13:1–3).

Prayer of the Day: Father, I want to walk in the kind of love You show to me, but I need Your help. Teach me what love is and how to show it to other people. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Our Patient Teacher

They did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Mark 9:32

Imagine a student sitting in a classroom, staring at a formula on the board. The formula’s symbols are complete gibberish to her, but she is afraid to raise her hand to ask a clarifying question. Many of us have likely experienced a similar situation, caught in a dilemma: on the one hand we’re in fear of being shown up or of where the answer will lead if we ask, but on the other hand we know we’ll be impossibly stuck if we don’t.

Although the disciples lived in the company of Jesus, regularly listened to His teaching, received His instructions, and saw His miraculous deeds, they still struggled to understand the bigger picture of His ministry. Many times, Jesus spoke plainly with them about all that lay before Him—His betrayal, death, and resurrection. Yet they faced the worst of predicaments: “They did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.”

Peter, James, and John had just witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration (Mark 9:2-8). They knew He was the Son of God. But the sincerity of the disciples’ belief in Jesus as Messiah wasn’t matched by their understanding of what it meant for Him to actually be the Messiah. Their perception of the Messiah was blurred and incomplete, causing confusion and fear. Perhaps they did not ask Jesus to explain further because they did not want to admit their ignorance; or perhaps because they were unwilling to confront the implications of what He was telling them, both for Himself (v 30-31) and for them (8:34-35).

Even after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus needed Him to take them back through the whole panorama of the Bible in order that they might understand His suffering and put everything together (Luke 24:26-27). Immediately before His ascension to heaven, the disciples were still unsure of the nature of Christ’s kingdom. This time, though, they asked Jesus for answers; and Jesus didn’t say, Are you back again with that same question? How many times are you going to ask? Instead, He graciously explained that His kingdom would not come by the re-establishment of the temple in Jerusalem but would advance through the work of the Holy Spirit in each of the disciples (Acts 1:8).

Maybe you find yourself identifying with the disciples here, finding it difficult to understand all that is taught in God’s word or unsure that you really want to confront the implications of what you have begun to understand. But your situation need not be filled with fear. How good that Jesus is such a kind and patient teacher—so kind and patient with His disciples, so kind and patient with you and me. And how good that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, enabling you to do all that your Lord calls you to do (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Galatians 5:16). Today, then, if you find yourself lacking wisdom and understanding, simply ask God, “who gives generously to all without reproach” (James 1:5).


1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Topics: Christian Thinking Fear Jesus Christ Patience

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Has a Will for You

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

William Law, who was born in 1686 and died in 1761, wrote this: “From morning to night keep Jesus in thy heart, long for nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing but to have all that is within thee changed into the spirit and temper of the holy Jesus.”

Is it your desire to learn God’s will for you? Christians should have a deep yearning to know what God wants them to do while on this earth. For us to accept Christ as Savior but to never think about Him, read the Bible, pray to Him, or tell others about Him must be a huge disappointment to Him. We are to be the light of the world so we can glorify God.

God has called many people to His service. He doesn’t call everyone to be pastors or missionaries, yet wherever we are, He wants us to represent Him.

God’s will for you is that you live to serve Jesus each and every day.

My response:

» How can I represent God?

» When do I fail to represent God, or when do I represent Him badly?

» Do I live my life to serve Jesus? Or to serve myself?

Denison Forum – Why the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is so relevant to your world

The twentieth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a weeklong event that opened yesterday in Beijing, China. Beijing is 6,980 miles from Dallas, Texas, where I live. Why should I care what happens there?

Why should you?

According to the US Department of State, the Chinese Communist Party seeks to set up “a new international order dominated by the CCP.” It therefore “threatens the world’s economy and public health by unsustainably exploiting natural resources and exporting its reckless disregard for the environment.”

Meanwhile, the CCP “silences dissent and restricts the rights and freedoms of Chinese citizens to include forced population control, arbitrary detention, censorship, forced labor, violations of religious freedom, and pervasive media and internet censorship,” all while it “manipulates international organizations, democratically elected governments, and companies to mask its human rights abuses at home and abroad.”

The FBI says confronting the economic espionage threats emanating from the CCP is its “top counterintelligence priority.” It warns that “the Chinese government is seeking to become the world’s greatest superpower through predatory lending and business practices, systematic theft of intellectual property, and brazen cyber intrusions.”

And our Christian brothers and sisters in China face some of the most oppressive and sophisticated surveillance and persecution in the world. It is illegal for those under eighteen years of age even to attend church. Christian leaders who are seen as threats to the government have been abducted.

Why we are the enemy

When I was growing up, the Soviet Union was the major threat to the West and to global stability. Now, despite Russia’s horrific crimes against Ukraine, China has risen to become our greatest threat. Why?

The foundational answer consists of two names: Karl Marx and Xi Jinping.

Xi is expected to be reelected this week to an unprecedented third term as China’s leader. He more than any other individual or factor has led China to threaten the West as it does.

The reason is simple: he is following the ideology of Karl Marx. Often called the Father of Communism, Marx emphasized the importance of class struggle in every historical society. He sought to foment working-class revolutions throughout the capitalist world that would lead, he claimed, to a classless society and a socialist utopia.

In Marx’s view, the individual is a means to the advancement of society, which in turn (he claimed) will benefit the individual. He wanted the state to govern every dimension of life as a means to this end and saw Western capitalism, with its emphasis on the value and rights of the individual, as the enemy of such “progress.”

So does Xi Jinping.

Chinese Marxism and American materialism

Kevin Rudd is president of the Asia Society in New York and a former prime minister and foreign minister of Australia. Writing for Foreign Affairs, he notes that Marxism has been China’s official ideology since 1949. However, he states, Xi Jinping “has developed a new form of Marxist nationalism that now shapes the presentation and substance of China’s politics, economy, and foreign policy.”

As a result, he has “reasserted the influence and control the CCP exerts over all domains of public policy and private life” and “stoked nationalism by pursuing an increasingly assertive foreign policy, turbocharged by a Marxist-inspired belief that history is irreversibly on China’s side and that a world anchored in Chinese power would produce a more just international order.”

In direct contrast to Xi Jinping’s ideology that makes the individual the servant of the state, the United States stands on the declaration that “all men are created equal” and a consequent belief in “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln stated so eloquently.

However, as Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren notes in yesterday’s New York Times, Americans are increasingly experiencing life as “machines” who exist as a means to materialistic ends.

Digital productivity monitoring has resulted in hyper-controlled work environments. Omnipresent technology means work is no longer confined to the office: nearly 40 percent of workers said they check email outside of regular hours every day. Remote work means we can work anywhere at any time. A majority of workers say it is more difficult to “unplug” from work than when the pandemic began.

A third ideology

As a result, whether we are discussing China’s oppressive Marxism or America’s oppressive materialism, we need to remember a third ideology: the biblical claim that each of us is created uniquely in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26–27). As “image bearers” of the divine, we are people of intrinsic value and worth.

However, sin marred this image and separated us from our holy Creator, so he sent his Son to die on our cross, pay our debt, and purchase our salvation. When we trust Christ as our Savior and Lord, he makes us the children of God and gives us “abundant” life on earth and in eternity (John 1:1210:10).

This is the gospel, literally the “good news.” It is the only ideology that restores fallen humans to the transforming intimacy with our Maker for which we are intended. It is the only worldview that empowers us to love our Father and each other unconditionally (Matthew 22:37–39).

But our world will not adopt our worldview unless we do. Secularists will not love our Father more than we do. Skeptics will not believe we love our neighbor unless we love them.

St. Augustine observed, “Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.”

How beautiful will your soul be today?

Denison Forum