In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God Works Within Us

What are you asking God to do in your life?

Ephesians 3:20-21

Let these words from Ephesians 3:20 slowly sink in: “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” What an amazing description of God’s ability to work within His followers! So often we focus on what we want Him to do around us, but He invites us to think and ask bigger—He wants to change us! 

The Lord has a purpose for your life, and He is constantly working to achieve it. Although the Father has unique plans for each one of His children, He also has the goal of conforming every believer to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this, He may have to bring us through some struggles and heartaches. It might make no sense to us, but God knows exactly what He’s doing. Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and mature. That’s why we need patience and faith to believe He is working even when we don’t see the results right away. God is never in a hurry and won’t ever give up on us. 

What would you like to see the Lord do within you? As you read the Scriptures, look for qualities that God considers precious, and ask Him to work them out in your life. Then rely on His wonderful promise to do even more than you have asked or imagined. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 12-13

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Walk On

Bible in a Year:

My word . . . will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 55:9–11

Walk On is the fascinating memoir of Ben Malcolmson, a student with virtually no football experience who became a “walk on”—a non-recruited player—for the 2007 University of Southern California Rose Bowl champion team. A college journalist, Malcolmson decided to write a first-person account of the grueling tryout process. To his disbelief, he won a coveted spot on the team.

After joining the team, Malcolmson’s faith compelled him to find God’s purpose for him in this unexpected opportunity. But his teammates’ indifference to discussions of faith left him discouraged. As he prayed for direction, Malcolmson read the powerful reminder in Isaiah where God says: “My word . . . will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Inspired by Isaiah’s words, Malcolmson anonymously gave every player on the team a Bible. Again, he was met with rejection. But years later, Malcolmson learned one player had read the Bible he’d been given—and shortly before his tragic death had demonstrated a relationship with and hunger for God, who he discovered in the pages of that Bible.

It’s likely that many of us have shared Jesus with a friend or family member, only to be met with indifference or outright rejection. But even when we don’t see results right away, God’s truth is powerful and will accomplish His purposes in His timing.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How have you seen the power of Scripture at work? How has that brought blessing?

Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Word will achieve Your purposes.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Passing on a Godly Heritage

“From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Planting and nurturing the seed of God’s Word in a child’s mind can produce an abundant spiritual harvest.

Not long ago I met with a group of Christian leaders to consider several candidates for a significant ministry position. During our meeting it dawned on me that each candidate’s father was a prominent pastor. Each candidate had grown up in a family that daily taught and exemplified biblical truth.

That illustrates the enormous impact a Christian heritage can have on a person—whether he pursues the pastorate or not. And by no means is it fathers only who influence their children toward righteousness. Quite the contrary: A godly mother usually has far more opportunity to do so.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had four sons—all of whom followed his example by becoming ministers. It’s reported that at a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” “That’s easy,” the son replied, “Mother!”

Timothy knew the benefits of a spiritual heritage like that. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois (2 Tim. 1:5) taught him the sacred writings, which give the wisdom that leads to salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). Even as a child, Timothy was being equipped for the ministry God would later call him to. The spiritual training he received as a child—and the reservoir of biblical knowledge he accumulated in those early years—were crucial elements in his adult ministry.

If you are a parent, the most precious gift you can give your child is a godly upbringing that will serve as the foundation for his or her future ministries.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for those who have instructed you in the Word and encouraged you in righteousness.
  • If you are a parent, pray that your children will exceed you in the faith.
  • Be faithful to pray for the young people around you and set a godly example for them to follow.

For Further Study

Read 1 Samuel 1:1—2:10. What characteristics of a godly mother did Hannah display?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Loving God’s Word

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

— Proverbs 4:20-22 (ESV)

God’s Words are life to us, and they bring healing to every area of our life, including our inner life (soul). His Word is actually medicine for a wounded soul. Just as there are different types of medicines available for various disease and wounds of the physical body, God’s Word is medicine that heals our minds, emotions, wills, attitudes, consciences, and behaviors. It has a positive effect on our joy, peace, and confidence. It can cure fear, insecurity, and negativity.

Just as we get a prescription from the doctor and patiently take our medicine as often as we are supposed to, and get it refilled when we need to, we should look at God’s Word in the same way. For example, if we are fearful, there are countless Scriptures that will help us deal with fear, or if we are worried or anxious, we may turn to Scripture and find help. I am convinced that we do not have a problem for which God’s Word doesn’t have an answer.

Bible study may sound daunting to you, and if so, I recommend that you either join a Bible study group in which the Scripture is being explained or find a pastor or Bible teacher who is very practical in their teaching and makes God’s Word applicable to your everyday life. Don’t simply say, “I try to read the Bible and I don’t understand it.” Be determined to find a way to understand it and begin by asking the Holy Spirit to help you learn something each time you open the Scripture to read it. After more than 40 years I still do that each morning when I study. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher.

One of the things that helped me a lot was reading good Bible-based books in any area in which I needed help. I read books on rejection, shame, guilt, fear, worry, and emotional healing. Learn to study in the areas where you need help rather than just randomly opening the Bible and reading something in order to check your Bible reading off your list for the day.

Wounded, dysfunctional people have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to go into treatment centers, or for professional counseling. Let me quickly add that both may be very good. But sometimes those same people won’t pay 25 dollars for a Bible-based book from a Christian author or a small fee to attend a Christian conference that could be life-changing for them.

If you are serious about having a wounded soul healed, then you will need to develop a love for God’s Word. See it for what it is! It is not merely words in black ink on white pages. It is life, healing, strength, courage, and anything else you need.

Prayer of the Day: Father, Your Word is my life and my strength, and I love it. Thank You for Your love and Your Word, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Theology That Sustains

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” … So Joseph died, being 110 years old.

Genesis 50:24, Genesis 50:26

That the Bible is filled with accounts of individuals’ deaths should cause each of us to confront the reality of our own eventual death. All of our days are limited. God has not chosen to inform us of the date of our demise, but the psalmist tells us that every day of our lives was written in God’s book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). Joseph lived to be 110 years old—but nevertheless, like all of us, he had to come to terms with his mortality.

Joseph understood and accepted his death. Here was no raging against the dying of the light, to use the words of the poet Dylan Thomas,[1] but rather what our Puritan forefathers would have called a “good death.” What is it that allows us to die well? A strong theology—a strong understanding of who God was and is. In the end, Joseph strengthened his faith by calling to mind evidence of God’s lifelong providential care to Him and His promises to His people. Because of his belief in God’s goodness, he could face death straight on. He wasn’t scared or selfish; he didn’t grasp at shadows or clutch at vain hopes. Instead, his words were brief and focused on his family and God. Such a response can only come from a view of the world framed by divine character and purpose.

Do we believe, as Joseph did, that God will deliver His people? Can we see evidence of this belief in our own lives? Have we looked back at God’s faithfulness and discovered that no matter what the distress or brokenness we’ve been through, we can say with the psalmist, “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God” (Psalm 62:7)?

It is good theology, not feelings, that will sustain us in life and comfort us as we wrestle with death. When difficult days come, it is then that we cling to what we know to be true. From Joseph and his life we can learn this amazing truth: the God who knit us together has ordered all of our steps in all of our days, and He weaves our lives into the great story of His sovereign fulfillment of His promises to His people. With faith in this God, we can face death singing:

With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove;
And aye, the dews of sorrow
Were lustered by His love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.[2]

GOING DEEPER

Psalm 62

Topics: Death Sovereignty of God Theology

FOOTNOTES

1 “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night” in In Country Sleep, And Other Poems (Dent, 1952)

2 Anne R. Cousin, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking” (1857).

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The Lord Is the Only God Worth Trusting

“For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone” (Ps. 86:10).

God does not force people to believe Him and obey Him. People can choose to turn away from Him. But they will have problems when they do that.

The Israelites were God’s special people. But they were ignoring God and disobeying His commands. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” God had said. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,” He also said. But the people began worshiping false gods anyway. God wanted them to come back to Him. He called on His prophet Elijah to show the people they were doing wrong.

Elijah went to Ahab, the king of Israel. He challenged the king to have his wicked prophets meet Elijah in a contest.

“Tell your prophets to build an altar to their god,” Elijah said. “Have them put wood on it and a bull for their sacrifice. But don’t put any fire under the altar. I will do the same with an altar to the Lord.”

“You call on your god. I will call on my God. The one who answers by fire will be declared the true God.” The king and his prophets agreed to the contest.

The false prophets called on their god, Baal, for a whole day. But nothing happened. No fire came down to burn their sacrifice.

Then Elijah prepared the altar to the true God. He put wood on the altar. He put a bull on the wood. He covered everything with water. Then Elijah began to pray out loud. “God, let everybody here today know that You are God. Turn their hearts back to You.”

When Elijah finished praying, fire came roaring down from Heaven. This fire from the true God burned up Elijah’s sacrifice. It burned up even the stones of the altar, the dust on the ground, and every drop of water.

The people fell on their faces and declared, “The Lord, He is God!”

The Lord proved that day that He is the only God worth trusting.

My response:

» Do I believe in the Lord in worship Him alone?

» What can I do to share my faith in God with others?

Denison Forum – Santa Claus’s tomb has been discovered

The Christmas shopping season is already going strong. Christmas decorations are up in stores and on some houses as well. In that context, I have good news and bad news regarding Santa Claus.

The good news: we now have archaeological evidence that he is real. The bad news: this evidence comes in the form of a tomb that has just been discovered. In other words, he’s real but he’s dead.

The historic Santa Claus was Saint Nicholas of Myra, a bishop who lived from AD 270 to 343. The Santa Claus story was based on his reputed ministry of distributing gifts to the poor and the needy. Now archaeologists say they have discovered his tomb beneath St. Nicholas Church in Demre, a town in the Turkish province of Antalya.

The church is named for him, of course, but it had been thought that his bones were moved to Italy during the First Crusade in the eleventh century. However, during a routine survey this month, his tomb was found beneath the church’s floor mosaic. You can visit the church, though you will not see St. Nicholas’s actual sarcophagus since it has not yet been excavated.

Demre is 3,730 miles from the North Pole. Few of us can visit Santa up there, but every year pilgrims from around the world flock to his church in Turkey, where they pack the sanctuary for a December service. Father Amvrosios Chorozidis, who leads the liturgy, explains: “In the West, we seem to have everything, but in fact we have a lack of love in our hearts, so we need someone to visit us even once a year, to give us that love.”

“Starve to death or freeze to death”

Father Chorozidis could have been reading the morning news.

A health teacher killed in the south St. Louis school shooting “loved her students,” as her daughter told reporters. The number of school shootings in the US has already passed the record set in 2021, with more than two months left. In related news, after a series of school shootings, the state of Texas is sending public school students home with DNA kits designed to help parents identify their children “in case of an emergency.”

As Rishi Sunak takes over as prime minister, millions of elderly Brits are facing an escalating cost-of-living crisis with no apparent end in sight. “Starve to death or freeze to death” is the way one person described her dilemma. And a man who has been arrested three times for murder and was released on parole in 2020 is now accused of killing a fourth individual in California.

According to a recent poll, only 9 percent of Americans think our democracy is working “extremely” or “very well.” Americans’ trust in the media remains near a record low as well.

In such struggling times, you and I have a strangely paradoxical role to play in God’s providence.

Why God has blessed America

Years ago, a Cuban pastor friend shared with me his belief that God has blessed America so America’s Christians could bless the world. He cited our church’s ministry in his country as an example of Christian generosity to those in need. His logic makes sense: God would entrust resources to those who would use them as he intends.

However, there is another dimension to this calculus: I also believe that God has blessed America because America has blessed God’s people.

We enjoy constitutionally enshrined religious freedoms that are virtually unprecedented across history. Christians have been welcome and active in our governance on federal, state, and local levels since our nation’s founding. For most of America’s history, being a public Christian was a good thing in our culture.

Tragically, as I have written often in recent years, this is changing. Christians are increasingly being castigated as intolerant, oppressive, and even dangerous to society. Our religious freedoms are under unprecedented attack. Each day’s news brings another story of a Christian who loses their job or is otherwise “canceled” because of their faith.

Does this mean that our country may face God’s judgment if it persists in judging and oppressing his people?

“What you do makes a difference”

In Revelation 18 we read, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (v. 2). Most scholars consider this to be an allusion to Rome, “the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). Among the reasons for his judgment we read this indictment: “In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints” (Revelation 18:24).

Jesus grieved over Jerusalem as “the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it” (Matthew 23:37). As a result, he warned, “your house is left to you desolate” (v. 38). Luke similarly tells us that Jesus “wept” over the city, lamenting, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41–42).

Consequently, the courageous public faith we have been discussing this week is vital not only for the people we influence but for the larger trajectory of our nation.

God’s mandate to his exiled people in Babylon speaks to our exiled position in our secularized culture: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lᴏʀᴅ on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). As we help people know and love our Lord, our influence benefits them in this life and the next. Their transformed lives benefit us as well. And together, we reverse our cultural trajectory before it is too late.

Dr. Jane Goodall observed: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Choose wisely today.

Denison Forum