In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Faith or Feelings?

Since God is faithful to equip us, we don’t have to fear difficulties in our path.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Trusting God is easy when life’s good or we’re feeling competent. But is that genuine faith or a form of self-reliance? The apostle Paul said, “Our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). If the Lord calls us to do something that seems impossible or unreasonable, He will equip us for it. However, if we let feelings of fear, inadequacy, or unworthiness cause us to doubt Him, we could miss the opportunity. 

Sometimes we’re afraid to venture into a new endeavor, because we’re listening to the wrong voices. The devil is always trying to deceive us and plant doubts in our mind so we won’t trust the Lord (John 8:44). He hates to see a believer put aside fear, choose to believe God, and move forward in obedience. 

A challenging assignment from the Lord is often a fork in the road. When God presents an opportunity to serve Him, we must decide if we’ll take His path even though we might feel unqualified. We’re called to live by faith, not fear. If you are standing at a crossroads, remember that your adequacy is not in yourself but in God, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Trust Him and take a step. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 14-16

Our Daily Bread — Sister to Brother

Bible in a Year:

Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5:1–2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Timothy 5:1–2

When a leader asked if I’d speak with her privately, I found Karen in the retreat center counseling room red-eyed and wet-cheeked. Forty-two years old, Karen longed to be married, and a man was currently showing interest in her. But this man was her boss—and he already had a wife.

With a brother who cruelly teased her and a father devoid of affection, Karen discovered early that she was susceptible to men’s advances. A renewal of faith had given her new boundaries to live by, but her longing remained, and this glimpse of a love she couldn’t have was a torment.

After talking, Karen and I bowed our heads. And in a raw and powerful prayer, Karen confessed her temptation, declared her boss off-limits, handed her longing to God, and left the room feeling lighter.

That day, I realized the brilliance of Paul’s advice to treat each other as brothers and sisters in the faith (1 Timothy 5:1–2). How we see people determines how we interact with them, and in a world quick to objectify and sexualize, viewing the opposite sex as family helps us treat them with care and propriety. Healthy brothers and sisters don’t abuse or seduce each other.

Having only known men who demeaned, used, or ignored her, Karen needed one she could talk with sister-to-brother. The beauty of the gospel is it provides just that—giving us new siblings to help us face life’s problems.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How can seeing others as your brothers and sisters help you treat them with “absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:2)? How do you think Paul’s advice helps both sexes to flourish?

Dear Father, help me to treat others with respect and purity.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Scripture is a manual of divine truth.

This month we’ve considered many benefits of Scripture. Second Timothy 3:16 lists four more that will be the focus of our studies as we draw this month to a close: teaching truth, reproving sin and error, correcting behavior, and training in righteousness. We’ve touched on each of those to some extent in our past studies, but they warrant additional discussion from this verse, which is Scripture’s most concise statement on its own power and purpose.

First, the Bible is profitable for teaching. The Greek word translated “teaching” refers more to content than to the process of teaching. Scripture is God’s manual of divine truth for patterning your thoughts and actions.

As a believer, you have the capacity to understand and respond to Scripture. That’s because the Holy Spirit indwells you and imparts spiritual discernment, wisdom, and understanding (1 John 2:27). You have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

But having the ability to understand spiritual truth doesn’t guarantee you’ll exercise that ability. God said to the Israelites through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (4:6). His truth was available to them, but they ignored it and lived in disobedience.

I’ve heard many people lament that they could have avoided much grief if only they had known the Bible more thoroughly—if only they had taken the time to learn what God expected of them in a particular situation. Perhaps you’ve felt that way. The best way to avoid making that mistake in the future is to faithfully, prayerfully, patiently, and thoroughly saturate your mind with biblical truth, then discipline yourself to live according to its principles. Now that’s the challenge of a lifetime, but it’s the only way to profit from biblical teaching and avoid unnecessary heartaches.

I pray you will be encouraged today as you study God’s Word and diligently apply it to your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use the circumstances you face today to draw you closer to Him and motivate you to dig deeper into His Word.

For Further Study

Read Exodus 24:1-8. What was the Israelites’ response to God’s Word? What is yours?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Take Time to Listen

In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].
— Psalm 5:3 (AMPC)
In order to hear the voice of God, it is necessary to find times just to be still. This is an important part of living in close fellowship with God. It is how you recognize God’s leading in your life. A busy, hurried, frantic, stressful lifestyle makes it very challenging to hear the Lord.
If you are hungry to perceive God’s voice, find a place to get quiet before Him. Get alone with Him and tell Him that you need Him and want Him to teach you how to receive His guidance and direction. Ask Him to tell you what He has for your life and what He wants you to do that day.
And then I encourage you to do this: Take time to listen.
Even if you don’t feel an immediate prompting in your spirit, God promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13). You will get a word from God. He will lead you by an inner knowing, by common sense, by wisdom, or by peace. And each time, however He leads you, His leading will always line up with His Word.
I have found that God doesn’t always speak to us right away or necessarily during our prayer time. He may end up speaking to you two days later while you are in the middle of doing something completely unrelated. Though it may not be in our timing, God will speak to us and let us know the way we should go.
Prayer of the Day: Lord Jesus, I need You! Teach me how to hear Your voice, receive Your guidance and direction. Show me what You want me to do today and help me as I listen for your voice. I love You, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Received by Jesus

 “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them.

Mark 10:14-16

In the 21st century, when we think about children, we tend to focus on their subjective qualities; they are cute and cuddly, and at times we mistakenly think they are perfect and the center of the universe. Such contemporary views of children actually hinder our ability to grasp what Jesus meant when he said, “Let the children come to me.”

It is the objective characteristics of children that are truly at the heart of Jesus’ illustration. Children do not vote. They do not have driver’s licenses. Adults don’t often ask them to make decisions regarding significant events in their own lives or in the lives of their families. In their infancy, they are entirely dependent on someone else. Put bluntly, little children are small and helpless, without much apparent outward claim or merit.

Isn’t it a wonder, then, that children are so warmly received by Jesus? But while it’s certainly wondrous, it shouldn’t surprise us when we consider how often God uses the meek and lowly in mighty ways. We cannot hope to enter heaven because of our own merit or self-worth. Instead, the kingdom of God belongs to people who are needy, lonely, and helpless, who have no claim or merit on their own—people just like children.

As we come to terms with what it means to be like a child, we start to see that our entrance into the kingdom can only come after we’ve accepted our own helpless, dependent state. We come to Christ not with hands full of our own abilities or achievements but with empty hands, ready to receive. And remarkably, the gospel tells us that we must look to God Himself, who took on flesh as a helpless babe. It’s only fitting, then, that entry into His kingdom would be enjoyed by those who follow His humble example.

Jesus’ embrace of the children in these verses both flattens our pride and picks us up in our weakness. Perhaps you regard your work as commendable or your position as noteworthy, and you find yourself desiring to be a benefactor and not a beneficiary. Or maybe you know that others think very little of you (or you think little of yourself), and you are surprised that God would want to give you anything, let alone be looking forward to spending eternity with you. No matter what your character or your circumstances are, come to Jesus each day in childlike trust, aware of your weakness and helplessness. This, and only this, is the way into His kingdom and the way to enjoy the blessing of closeness to Him.


Luke 11:1-13

Topics: Children Dependence on God Kingdom of God

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Shows Us How to Resist Temptation

“[Jesus] did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22).

Jesus was all alone in the wilderness. He had not eaten for forty days. He was tired and hungry.

Satan saw that Jesus was alone and hungry. Satan wanted to make Jesus sin just once. That way Jesus would not be perfect. Then He could not become the Savior for sinners.

“If You are the Son of God, make this stone into bread,” said Satan. Jesus had power to do this. But He would not do what Satan said to do to prove that He is God.

Instead Jesus said, “It is written that man shall not live by bread only, but by every word of God.” Jesus used God’s Word to answer Satan’s temptation.

Satan did not give up. He took Jesus to the top of the temple. “Fall down from this high place. You’ll show how God’s angels will protect You,” said Satan. This was true. But Jesus was not tricked by Satan’s temptation. He answered with God’s Word again.

Then Satan took Jesus up on a high mountain so they could see all the cities of the world. “I will give You all this if You will worship me,” tempted Satan.

“It is written, you should worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him,” answered Jesus. Jesus would not give in to Satan’s temptations to sin because Jesus is perfect.

Jesus gave us a perfect example of how to resist temptation by remembering God’s Word.

My response:

» Am I memorizing Bible verses so that I’ll know God’s Word by heart?

» When I’m tempted to sin, do I follow Jesus’ example by remembering God’s Word and choosing to obey it?

Denison Forum – Strongest earthquake in years strikes San Francisco

 “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” —Psalm 119:24

An earthquake rattled the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday. The strongest quake the region has seen in eight years happened on the Calaveras Fault, one of eight major faults in the Bay Area and a branch of the San Andreas fault line. The event is thus a reminder that earthquakes do not create faults in the earth—they reveal them.

This fact applies to more than geology.

The nineteen-year-old gunman who killed two people and wounded several others at his former St. Louis high school left a handwritten note saying, “I don’t have any friends. I don’t have any family. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve never had a social life. I’ve been an isolated loner my entire life.” According to St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack, “This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter.”

In other news, 2022 has set a record for border crossings and migrant deaths. A man who drove an SUV into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin last November has been found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide. Authorities are investigating a woman’s claim in Iowa that her late father was a prolific serial killer who murdered dozens of people over several decades.

And the body of a little boy who was found stuffed inside a suitcase in Indiana has been identified. Local police have announced an arrest, with another suspect still at large.

“A republic, if you can keep it”

The moral challenges we face reveal the foundational fissures created by our postmodern, post-Christian rejection of biblical truth and morality. This crisis was predictable and was, in fact, predicted.

Adam Smith is considered to be the “father of capitalism.” In An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, he advocated for a society in which “every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man or order of men” (my emphasis).

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he added: “Upon the tolerable observance of these duties [such as justice, truth, chastity, and fidelity] depends the very existence of human society, which would crumble into nothing if mankind were not generally impressed with a reverence for those important rules of conduct.” George Mason University economist Erik W. Matson comments: “It is liberty, in Smith’s view, that is at the heart of capitalism, and at the heart of liberty lies commitment to the good of humankind.”

In his magisterial work, Democracy in America, French historian Alexis de Tocqueville explained that this focus on personal morality is “how the Americans combat individualism by the principle of self-interest rightly understood.” He noted that this principle “suggests daily small acts of self-denial” and disciplines us “in habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, [and] self-command,” drawing us toward “virtue by the will.”

I often state that America’s founders believed consensual morality to be essential to self-governance. Our constitutional checks and balances can only go so far in preserving and advancing our democracy. Government “of the people, by the people, for the people” requires a people capable of self-governance. As Benjamin Franklin famously stated when asked what the Constitutional Convention of 1787 created, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

And so, once again we see that advancing biblical morality is vital to our secular culture.

“Your servant will meditate on your statutes”

Therapists remind us that we cannot change the minds of others merely through the explanation of facts. If people do not want to change, they are unlikely to change.

However, we can demonstrate the transforming personal relevance of biblical truth so fully and powerfully that others may want what we have. As we have noted this week, living boldly and courageously for our Lord is vital to our souls and to our culture.

As an example and a model, consider Psalm 119:23–24: “Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” “Princes” in this context refers to rulers or commanders of the Jewish people. They “sit plotting” against the psalmist—the phrase means that they have gathered together, perhaps behind closed doors, to plan harm against the writer.

Nonetheless, he calls himself God’s “servant”—the word refers to a bondservant or slave, one who must do what his master requests whether he wants to or not. As God’s servant he will “meditate on your statutes”—the Hebrew means that he will focus his attention fully on God’s decrees.

Despite the opposition he faces from his nation’s leaders, the writer makes this commitment happily: “Your testimonies are my delight” (v. 24a), truth in which he finds great joy and pleasure. Furthermore, he will do what these “testimonies” teach: “They are my counselors” (v. 24b).

“Make an effort to be noble”

Such fidelity to biblical truth is no guarantee that we will not be persecuted by those who reject such truth. Nevertheless, the psalmist refused to be deterred from meditating on God’s statutes and enacting them in his life each day.

Dead fish float with the current; live fish swim upstream. God sees every act of unpopular obedience and will reward it forever. Just as he honored “the sons of Zadok, who kept my charge, who did not go astray when the people of Israel went astray, as the Levites did” (Ezekiel 48:11), so he will reward our faithfulness to his word and will.

Oswald Chambers noted, “It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.”

How noble will you be today?

Denison Forum