In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Seeking the Lord

Our hunger for God is both satisfied and deepened as we spend time in His Word.

Colossians 3:1-4

Faith in Christ is about more than merely doing “Christian things” like attending church, giving, praying, and reading the Bible occasionally. Genuine conversion is evidenced by a yearning to know God more deeply and intimately. One of Christianity’s basic principles is that the more we know of the Lord, the more we want to learn of Him.

A mind set on the things of this world will miss the spiritually fulfilling path. However, pursuing the Lord doesn’t imply abandoning all our plans and dreams. It simply means we prayerfully subject our hopes to His will. As we strive to know God, our desires change to reflect His. 

How does a believer go about seeking God? It begins with studying His Word and trusting the Spirit to open our mind to understand. Then, as the Lord reveals more of Himself to us through Scripture, we will increasingly crave His presence. 

If your focus is set on the things of earth, your desires will bend in that direction. But if you turn your attention to the Word of God, your desire for Him will become stronger than all other longings. 

Bible in One Year: Mark 15-16

Our Daily Bread — Reasons to Rejoice

Bible in a Year:

The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!

Psalm 64:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 64

When Ms. Glenda walked into the church commons area, her infectious joy filled the room. She had just recovered from a difficult medical procedure. As she approached me for our usual after-church greeting, I thanked God for all the times over the years that she’s wept with me, gently corrected me, and offered encouragement. She’s even asked for forgiveness when she’s thought she’s hurt my feelings. Whatever the situation, she always invites me to share my struggles honestly and reminds me that we have many reasons to praise God. 

Mama Glenda, as she lets me call her, wrapped me in a gentle hug. “Hi, Baby,” she said. We enjoyed a short conversation and prayed together. Then she left—humming and singing as always, looking for someone else to bless.

In Psalm 64, David boldly approached God with his complaints and concerns (v. 1). He voiced his frustrations about the wickedness he saw around him (vv. 2–6). He didn’t lose confidence in God’s power or the reliability of His promises (vv. 7–9). He knew that one day, “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!” (v. 10).

As we wait for Jesus’ return, we’ll face tough times. But we’ll always have reasons to rejoice in every day God has made.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

What reasons has God given you to rejoice today? How can you encourage someone who may feel discouraged?

Almighty God, thank You for giving me so many reasons to rejoice as I celebrate who You are, what You’ve done, and all You’ve promised to do.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Gaining True Wisdom

“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7).

God’s Word imparts wisdom and knowledge beyond the realm of mere human understanding.

David’s characterization of God’s Word as “the testimony of the Lord” (Ps. 19:7) speaks of its role as God’s witness to who He is and what He requires of us. In addition, it’s a “sure” witness. That means it’s unwavering, immovable, unmistakable, reliable, and trustworthy.

Peter made the same point when, after recounting his incredible experience with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Pet. 1:16-18), he said, “but we have a testimony more sure than that—the prophetic word” (v. 19, literal translation). The testimony of God’s written Word is a surer and more convincing confirmation of God’s truth than even apostolic experiences with Christ Himself!

Perhaps that’s why our Lord prevented the two disciples on the Emmaus Road from recognizing Him as He gave them a biblical basis for the things they had seen and heard (Luke 24:27). Their faith and preaching were to be based on Scripture, not merely on their own personal experiences—no matter how profound or moving those experiences may have been.

The benefit of God’s sure Word is that it makes the simple wise (Ps. 19:7). It takes undiscerning, ignorant, and gullible people and teaches them profound truth from God that they can apply to their lives. As they do, they become skilled in the art of godly living.

That was the psalmist’s joy when he wrote, “Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Thy precepts” (Ps. 119:98-100).

Applying that principle to New Testament believers, Paul prayed that we would be “filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). As that occurs, we’re enabled to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and please Him in every respect (v. 10). That’s the outworking of godly wisdom, and the key to holy living.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God’s wisdom will increase and abound in your life today and every day.

For Further Study

Read Luke 24:13-35, noting how Jesus ministered the Word to the disciples on the Emmaus Road.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Love Is the Higher Law

Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.

— Romans 13:10 (AMPC)

Did you know that walking in love can mean simply doing what is right?

There are things that we shouldn’t do, simply because we love God, and because we don’t want to hurt somebody else’s conscience. We may have the freedom to do these things, but our freedom could offend others, or cause them to do something against their conscience, and thus sin against God.

If you walk in love today, there may be things that you have the right to do, but the Holy Spirit will prompt you not to exercise your right out of love for someone who is watching you. Love never demands its own way (see 1 Corinthians 13:5). Love is always the higher law.

Prayer of the Day: Lord Jesus, thank You for living in me. Help me grow in You and walk in Your divine guidance, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Silence and Suffering

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place … And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him … Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? Yet who can keep from speaking?”

Job 2:11, Job 13:4-2

Job’s friends show us how to respond when someone is going through the depths of pain and sorrow—and then they show us how not to.

Job’s friends had front-row seats in witnessing the depth of his suffering, and they struggled to bring him any measure of comfort by their words. Their eventual response was heavily theoretical and quite unhelpful.

There is great danger in commenting on affliction or speaking to someone who is suffering if we have either not experienced something similar or have not taken time to listen to them well and to pray to God humbly. Job 16 describes these same friends as miserable comforters—those who “could join words together” against Job and whose words had no end (16:4).

In search of an instant cure and a quick answer to Job’s suffering, his friends piled on the accusations. Zophar in particular reminded Job that he deserved worse than what he was currently experiencing (Job 11:4-6). In the same vein, Eliphaz suggested that maybe Job had been wandering from God and needed to listen more carefully to Him (22:21-23). These men adopted an overly simplistic approach to Job’s suffering—an approach which hurt rather than healed. They were quick to the draw and ready with an answer to any and all of Job’s laments. When Eliphaz asked, when he first opened his mouth, “Who can keep from speaking?” he should have answered, “Me”!

Job was scathing about their means of counseling him: “You whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all. Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!” (Job 13:4-5). And in fact, his friends had done exactly that—to begin with. They had sat with him for a week without speaking.

In the experience of suffering, silence in the sufferer’s presence is often a far greater aid than many words. It is quite possible that Job would have experienced greater comfort and companionship had his friends maintained their initial response: joining him on the ground, sitting, not speaking a single word.

Silence is often a missing ingredient in our response to suffering. While it is certainly not the only response that is needed, it is vastly undervalued. If we endeavor, without an agenda, to unplug from all the noise around us and listen to the voices of the suffering, we might make far more progress in that silent contemplation than any of us imagine. And we may then have far more useful things to say, both in what we say and in how we say it. Job certainly thought so. Is there someone whom you could bless with your quiet presence this week?


Psalm 42, Psalm 43

Topics: Affliction Suffering Trials

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – od Is Great

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised” (Psalm 48:1).

I have always enjoyed the changing of seasons. Perhaps the changing of the leaves in autumn makes fall my favorite time of year. Maybe I enjoy beautiful nature scenes because my father taught me to love them through his artwork. But I cannot help but praise the Lord as I look at a hill or mountain of changing trees. I cannot help but say, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name” or sing “How Great Thou Art.”

Just about every year from 1975 to 2002, my family made a trip to War Eagle, Arkansas, in the Ozark Mountains for an arts and craft show where my father showed his work. Artists and craftspeople came from all around to display their goods. But my family didn’t go for the fine art or the crafts; we went to be refreshed and to enjoy nature. One of the things I liked most was the breathtaking view the Lord always gave us on our trip.

Think of all the things the Lord has made that we can see in nature all around us. Massive snowcapped mountains jutting up into the sky. Millions and millions of stars that shine down at us like little pinpricks of brilliant light. The blazing sun to light our world by day, and the softer, gentler moon that floats across the sky at night. Autumn leaves with their red, yellow, and brown hues. Massive canyons and rushing waterfalls and forests filled with mighty redwoods. There are so many remarkable things the Lord has created, and when we see them we cannot help but think about His creativity, His power, and His greatness.

Praise the Lord, for He is great!

My response:

» Do I praise God when I look at things He has made?

» Do I take time to tell God how great He is?

Denison Forum – If China invades Taiwan, will the world sit idly by?

In yesterday’s article, we discussed the possible impact of protests in Europe on China’s willingness to invade Taiwan, with the takeaway that it seems increasingly unlikely that many of America’s traditional allies would be willing to take the same measures in defense of Taiwan that have proved so important to the defense of Ukraine. That reality is of imminent importance to the United States because recent events make it seem as though we are on a collision course with the Asian superpower.

What is even more troubling, though, is neither side really seems interested in avoiding that fate.

As Ben Werschkul notes, the US and China have been in something of a cold war for a number of years now, but there was a basic understanding that it was in neither side’s best interests for that conflict to escalate beyond bickering and trade disputes. However, recent events have started to portray a different picture.

The two nations have begun to “uncouple on fronts from trade to the movement of labor to technology.” The White House, for example, recently passed a number of new restrictions designed to limit China’s ability to access various American technologies needed for semiconductor development, artificial intelligence, and advanced computing.

As Klon Kitchen, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, warns, “these new actions show the United States is not trying to slow China’s technological advancement, but to arrest and to contain it” (emphasis his).

Likewise, Xi Jinping repeatedly emphasized the need for his nation to become more self-reliant during his opening address at this week’s Party Congress, right alongside warnings against Western “hegemonism and power politics.” At several points, he spoke of the need for stability, with greater independence from the West as a key component to attaining that end.

However, control over Taiwan could be just as important.

Why Taiwan is so important

China and Taiwan have had a testy relationship over the years, as one might expect given that the Chinese government considers the independent island part of its Republic. But despite those issues, the two have developed a great deal of economic interdependence. China and Hong Kong account for roughly 42 percent of Taiwan’s exports and 22 percent of the country’s imports. In comparison, the US comprises 15 percent of Taiwan’s exports and 10 percent of its imports.

Moreover, many of Taiwan’s largest companies maintain factories in mainland China, including the world’s largest producer of semiconductor chips: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). Those chips are needed for products like cell phones, cars, and—most notably—a wide range of “military-grade” devices from fighter planes to defense systems.

TSMC is currently in the process of building one of its most advanced factories in Arizona, and the company’s Chairman, Mark Liu, warned that they would shut down rather than fall under Chinese control in the event of an invasion.

However, the degree to which Beijing believes that threat remains to be seen. And, even if they do, it is possible that they would rather see the factories close than supply the West with the kinds of semiconductors we cannot yet produce on our own.

All that to say, while both the United States and China have a clear need to maintain economic ties to Taiwan, the latter has also indicated an increased willingness to monopolize that relationship. And, should they try, President Biden has already promised to come to the island’s aid to an even greater extent than the support America has given Ukraine by committing troops and military personnel to the effort.

Unfortunately, as we discussed yesterday, should that come to pass, America may do so alone.

And therein lies the greatest danger, as well as one of the most likely reasons for the recent increase in Chinese aggression toward Taiwan.

A fight we may not win

China has long desired to be the most dominant country in the world. But for some time, those aspirations have been held in check by the US-led alliances that have often set the ground rules for how nations interact with one another. However, the mutual recognition that it would be foolish for one nation to go to war against the world seems increasingly less likely to apply to any conflict over Taiwan.

While NATO’s Article 5 defense commitment, for example, binds nations to defend one another when attacked, Article 6 limits the scope of that commitment to attacks that take place in Europe, North America, or on islands “under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.”

If the US and China go to war in the South Pacific, none of America’s traditional allies would be required to join the fight. And many seem increasingly unlikely to do so.

China, however, is unlikely to have that problem. Given friendly relations with countries like Iran, Russia, and several others that are not exactly fans of the US, it is possible that America is steadily marching toward a fight we may not win.

“The proper estimate of oneself”

As we discussed yesterday, counting the cost as Jesus commands requires a calculation based on what we’re willing to pay rather than what we expect or hope to pay. Both nations and individuals get into trouble when they make decisions based on the latter of those prices.

One of the most indispensable helps in avoiding that mistake is the self-awareness to fully appreciate the fact that we often do not get to dictate what that price will be. And that self-awareness is especially difficult to maintain when one becomes accustomed to acting from a position of strength.

Throughout history, one of the primary reasons that nations fall from greatness is the inability to recognize when the reasons for their prior success no longer apply to their current situation. Allegiances can shift, strength can wane, opposition can grow stronger, and each can occur in ways that are easy to miss if we’re not paying attention.

What is true of nations can be equally true for each of us.

Whether it’s in our walk with the Lord, our relationships with other people, or any other facet of our lives, when we act as though past success guarantees success in the present, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.

Fortunately, God stands ready to help if we’re willing to ask.

So, as Paul advised, pray for the “sober judgment” needed to make an honest evaluation of your life today (Romans 12:3). Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any areas where you might be thinking more highly of yourself than you should, as well as any areas where that problem is reversed.

After all, God isn’t interested in false humility but rather, as Charles Spurgeon described it, “the proper estimate of oneself.”

Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you make such an estimate today?

Denison Forum