In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – What Is the Spirit-Filled Life?

As we surrender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we are transformed.

Ephesians 5:18-21

God wants all of His children to be filled with the Spirit, but many of us aren’t sure what this means. While every believer is indwelt by God’s Spirit, the extent of His rule is determined by our obedience. 

Try thinking of it as a voluntary choice to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control—to be sensitive to His leadership and guidance, obedient to His promptings, and dependent upon His strength. Those who have surrendered to the Spirit’s leadership are continually being transformed into Christ’s likeness, but the degree of surrender determines the level of transformation. 

Even though good works and faithful service come from the Spirit, they’re not automatically signs that we are fully yielded to Him. Remember, the surrender we’re talking about involves character, not simply our actions. Serving in some manner can sometimes be easier than loving the unlovable or being patient with difficult people. But when the Spirit is in charge of our life, He is able to do through us what we can’t do ourselves. 

Each believer decides who rules his or her life. Even those who try to avoid the issue by making no choice at all unknowingly opt for self-rule. The fullness of the Spirit and godly character await those who choose God over self. 

Bible in One Year: Luke 17-19

Our Daily Bread — For the Sake of the Gospel

Bible in a Year:

In every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Titus 2:10

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Titus 2:1–10

The year was 1916 and Nelson had just graduated from medical school in his native Virginia. Later that year, he and his bride of six months arrived in China. At the age of twenty-two, he became a surgeon at Love and Mercy Hospital, the only hospital in an area of at least two million Chinese residents. Nelson, together with his family, lived in the area for twenty-four more years, running the hospital, performing surgeries, and sharing the gospel with thousands of people. From once being called “foreign devil” by those who distrusted foreigners, Nelson Bell later became known as “The Bell Who Is Lover of the Chinese People.” His daughter Ruth was to later marry the evangelist Billy Graham.

Although Nelson was a brilliant surgeon and Bible teacher, it wasn’t his skills that drew many to Jesus; it was his character and the way he lived out the gospel. In Paul’s letter to Titus, the young gentile leader who was taking care of the church in Crete, the apostle said that living like Christ is crucial because it can make the gospel “attractive” (Titus 2:10). Yet we don’t do this on our own strength. God’s grace helps us live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives” (v. 12), reflecting the truths of our faith (v. 1).

Many people around us still don’t know the good news of Christ, but they know us. May He help us reflect and reveal His message in attractive ways.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What can you learn from people whose life seems to draw others to the gospel? What things can you do (or stop doing) to make the gospel attractive to others?

Loving God, help me to be a good representative of the gospel. Help me to draw others to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Avoiding Spiritual Deception

“All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . reproof” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Scripture is the standard by which you must measure all teaching.

In November of 1978, United States Representative Leo Ryan of California visited the People’s Temple (a California- based cult) in Guyana. He went to investigate reports that some of the people were being held there against their will. The world was shocked to learn that the congressman and his party had been ambushed and killed.

Even more shocking was the grim discovery that followed a few days later. Authorities who entered the compound at Jonestown, Guyana were horrified to find the bodies of 780 cult members who had been shot or had committed suicide by drinking cyanide-laced punch. Their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones, was found lying near the altar—dead from a single bullet wound to the head.

For many, it was the first time they had witnessed the deadly effect of satanic teaching. Editorials and articles for months attempted to explain how such appalling deception and genocide could occur in this day and age. But as tragic as the Jonestown deaths were, most observers missed the greatest tragedy of all: the spiritual damnation that Jim Jones and all other false teachers lead their followers into.

Spiritual deception is a very serious issue to God. That’s why in Scripture He lays down the truth and reproves anything contrary to it. The Greek word translated “reproof” in 2 Timothy 3:16 means to rebuke or confront someone regarding misconduct or false teaching.

If you have a thorough grasp of Scripture, you have a standard by which to measure all teaching. Then you can easily recognize false doctrine and avoid spiritual deception. That’s what John had in mind when he said, “I have written to you, [spiritual] young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14).

False religions will always attempt to distort Scripture because they must eliminate God’s truth before they can justify their own lies. Beware of their subtleties, and be strong in God’s Word.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for protecting you from spiritual deception.
  • Pray for anyone you may know who has fallen victim to false teaching. Take every opportunity to impart God’s truth to them.

For Further Study

Read 2 Corinthians 11:1-413-15. How did Paul describe false teachers?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Seeking God Above Everything Else

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

— Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

If we seek to know things, we may never know God as we should, but if we seek to know Him, we can be assured that He will show us everything we need to know at exactly the right time.

Instead of trying to figure everything out, we can trust God to reveal His wisdom and understanding to us at the right times. We are encouraged in God’s Word to lean not on our own understanding but in all of our ways to trust God with our mind and heart. Go ahead and try it; you will start to enjoy life more than ever before.

Use the time you previously spent worrying, frustrated, and trying to figure everything out seeking to know God better. That is the best way you can spend your time; it comes with great rewards.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I trust you to help me stop having to understand everything that is taking place in my life, and simply wait on You to do what only You can do. Thank You, Lord Jesus, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Look Out!

Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision.

Philippians 3:2-3

In all of the apostle Paul’s writings, there is perhaps no place where he made a more graphic statement than in this verse. Referring to the false teachers of his day as “dogs” was even more audacious and confrontational then than it is today. But Paul was not using this language merely for effect; he was gravely concerned because there were dangerous people moving around the Philippian church.

Cults and false teachers are almost always joyless, and these evil men in Philippi were no different. They were the opposite of what they claimed to be, insisting that the Old Testament ceremonial law was a necessary qualification for true Christianity. They addressed the Philippian believers, who had discovered joy in the Lord, by asking, in essence, Are you really a true Christian if you don’t pay careful attention to the external rite of circumcision? This warning from Paul to “look out” was meant to remind the young church that an “augmented” Christianity actually distorts the true gospel. Adding to the gospel always subtracts joy and even salvation from the gospel.

Therefore, when we read the word “dogs” in this verse we shouldn’t think of a friendly family pet. Paul was not referring to a golden retriever. Think of a scavenger, a diseased mongrel that roams around garbage cans and could harm you greatly with a bite. Paul was emphatic that these men, in insisting that people meet legal requirements to be qualified for grace, were equally dangerous. They were drawing attention away from Christ, diluting the sufficiency of His death, resurrection, and ascension.

Paul constantly warned of the tragic consequences of false teaching—and, because he loved the people of the Philippian church, describing them as his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1), he was opposed to anyone and anything that would reroute them from the only way to glory. He wanted them to remain vigilant.

We, too, could easily forget that the good news is not a message of “Do your best, and be good enough!” but rather “Your best is never enough—but Jesus is.”

Here’s the good news, though: by faith in Christ alone, we are the true “circumcision”—that is, those who have been set apart as the true people of God, not because we have had some flesh cut off but because Christ was cut off for us. In each generation, there are always those who wish to insist on the outward features of the faith and—implicitly or explicitly—make those observances necessary for salvation. But no external ritual or religious performance can save. Do not place your confidence in your flesh—in your church attendance, your daily Bible reading, your performance as a spouse or parent or worker or evangelist or anything else. Put it all in Christ. He, and He alone, is enough.


Galatians 2:11-21

Topics: False Teachers

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants Us to Pray

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2).

Kayla and her mother and her little brother, John, were at a hotel. It was a tall hotel with an elevator. Their room was on the first floor so they did not ride in the elevator. Kayla was glad. She did not like how an elevator ride made her stomach feel.

Kayla and her family walked down the hall to the breakfast room. Kayla saw muffins and other food for the hotel guests.

“Yum! I want a muffin,” she said.

Mom gave Kayla a book. “Sit here with John on the red sofa so you can see me while I get our food. Don’t let your brother get away.”

Kayla and John sat on the red sofa, but John didn’t want to read the book. He stood up. Kayla stood up too. She held John’s hand, but John did not want her to hold his hand.

A tall man wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt came into the hotel.

“Daddy,” John said and he ran after the man.

Kayla ran after John. She knew the man wasn’t Daddy. They were going to the airport to meet Daddy.

The elevator door opened. John followed the man into the elevator. More people got into the elevator.

Kayla sighed. She got into the elevator too. The door shut. The elevator went up. Kayla tried not to think about her stomach.

“Excuse, me, please,” she said to the people. “I have to find my brother.”

She found John at the back of the elevator. He still did not want to hold her hand. So Kayla held on to the collar of his shirt. John giggled.

The elevator stopped. The man who looked like Daddy got off. The elevator went up and stopped again. More people got off. The elevator went up and stopped again.

Soon Kayla and John were the only people in the elevator. The elevator did not go up. The elevator did not go down. The door did not open. Nothing happened. John lay down on the floor.

Kayla wondered what she should do. She wanted to cry, but then she remembered Daniel in the Bible. Daniel trusted God. And he prayed when he was in trouble. We are in trouble, Kayla thought. I trust God too, so I will pray.

“Help me, God. Please show me what to do,” she prayed. But she didn’t close her eyes because she had to watch John.

Just then, John crawled to the front of the elevator. Kayla walked over to him. She saw buttons with numbers on the wall of the elevator. “Mom is on the first floor so I will push number one,” she decided.

Kayla pushed number one and the elevator went down, down, down.

Finally it stopped. The door opened.

Kayla grabbed John’s hand and pulled him out of the elevator.

Mom was so glad to see them. Kayla told her what happened.

“You were a brave girl to rescue John from the elevator,” Mom said. “I’m glad you followed Daniel’s example and prayed.”

Whenever we’re scared or we don’t know what to do, we can pray and ask God for help. He is always there for us.

My response:

» When I get into a difficult situation, do I pray and ask God for help? Or do I just try to solve things on my own?

» Is there anything going on in my life right now that I need to pray about and ask God for help with?

Denison Forum – Christian football coach Joe Kennedy to be reinstated: Three ways to fulfill our “one purpose”

 “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” —Acts 4:12

Coach Joseph Kennedy will be reinstated as a high school football coach after he was fired seven years ago for leading prayers on the field after games. This after the US Supreme Court sided with him last June. Critics alleged that he was forcing his faith on his students, which violates the cardinal virtues of our postmodern culture: tolerance and inclusion.

Such inclusion is on display now in the UK after Rishi Sunak became the first British prime minister of color and, as a Hindu, the first non-Christian. Britain now has a Christian king, a Hindu prime minister, a Muslim mayor of London, and a leader of the opposition who married into a Jewish family.

In other news, the Associated Press reports that a record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for office and notes that “some breakthrough victories are likely.” Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church USA will add a “nonbinary/genderqueer” category to official church statistics. If you disagree, many will say that you are homophobic and as dangerous to society as if you were a member of the KKK.

One more related story: Pew Research Center and the General Social Survey agree that the percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans is higher than ever before. Only 63 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, declining from 90 percent in 1972; 29 percent are religiously unaffiliated, up from 5 percent in 1972.

Does the growing number of people with no faith grieve you? If not, why not?

Imposing my polio vaccine on you

We have focused this week on the privilege and necessity of being bold and public with our faith. Let’s close by exploring the necessity of sharing our faith with our skeptical culture.

Almost half of Christian Millennials (47 percent) believe that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. This fact should not surprise us: postmodern relativism has indoctrinated generations of Americans with the claim that all truth claims are relative and subjective. If all truth is personal, what right (or responsibility) do I have to “impose” my personal beliefs on you?

Consider an analogy.

Polio is making a comeback in the US due to declining vaccination rates. After Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a vaccine against poliomyelitis in 1953, all children were inoculated against the disease, myself included. This is unfortunately no longer the case.

Now imagine that science found a cure for polio that does not require a vaccine. Why, then, would I impose on you the vaccine I received as a child? Alternately, imagine that there are scores of different vaccines available, each of them as effective as any other. Again, why would I impose my vaccine on you? If I tried to do so, how would you respond?

“No one comes to the Father except through me”

In a similar fashion, many Christians today discount or even dismiss the need for sharing their faith with unbelievers.

Some are universalists, believing that because God loves all of us, all of us will go to heaven. Others are “Christian universalists,” believing that Jesus died for everyone, so everyone will go to heaven whether they believe in him or not. You don’t need to know about Jonas Salk to benefit from his vaccine; you don’t need to have a personal faith in Jesus to benefit from his sacrifice, or so some say.

However, God’s word regarding the necessity of personal faith in Christ is clear. Jesus famously said of himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Peter said of his Lord, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The book of Revelation reports, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life [through faith in Christ], he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). And Jesus’ statement is definitive: “Whoever believes in [Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).

Three practical responses

Of course, postmodern skeptics will say that these biblical claims are “our” truth and that they are under no obligation to make them “their” truth. Let’s consider three practical responses.

One: Pray for God to do what you cannot.

You and I cannot convict a single sinner of a single sin or save a single soul. This is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Pray by name for the lost people you know, asking the Lord to draw them to himself.

Two: Look for ways to join God in answering your prayer.

God’s Spirit is at work today in lives he intends you to influence tomorrow. Ask his Spirit to prompt you when he wants you to meet a need in Jesus’ name (cf. 1 Peter 4:10). Ask him to give you the words you are to say when you are to say them (Luke 12:12). Then trust that he is using your ministry whether you can see immediate results or not.

Three: Begin today.

C. S. Lewis, in his 1939 sermon “Learning in War-Time,” encouraged Oxford University students during the Second World War: “Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

Fulfilling our “one purpose” in life

Oswald Chambers states: “The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus” (my emphasis). But he also reminds us that we must experience for ourselves what we would share with others: “The one great challenge is—Do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of his indwelling Spirit?”

Have you asked God’s Spirit to empower and use your life yet today?

Denison Forum