In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Gifts of the Spirit

Are you using your gifts to serve others? To be effective, the church needs the participation of every believer.

1 Corinthians 12:1-13

God has prepared work for us to do, and He’s equipped us with spiritual gifts to do it. Spiritual gifts are special abilities the Lord gives us to serve others in the body of Christ. 

These gifts are given to us, but they’re for the benefit of others. Though they come in several varieties, can be used in various ministries, and have a wide range of effects in the church, they all originate from the Holy Spirit. He’s the One who chooses which gift each believer will receive. When all church members serve the body using their particular gifts, everyone benefits spiritually. 

The Lord has a specific purpose in mind for each of us, and He’s gifted us accordingly (Ephesians 2:10). Without our individual contribution, the local church will lack something. Part of living in the power of the Holy Spirit involves employing our divine endowments as God directs. By operating in our area of giftedness, we’ll have the motivation, ability, and confidence needed for effective service. If you don’t know what gift you have, start by volunteering at something of interest, and eventually you’ll discover it.  

Bible in One Year: John 17-19

Our Daily Bread — Thankful for Monday

Bible in a Year:

A person can do nothing better than to . . . find satisfaction in their own toil.

Ecclesiastes 2:24

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ecclesiastes 2:17–25

I used to dread Mondays. Sometimes, when I got off the train to head to a previous job, I’d sit at the station for a while, trying to delay reaching the building, if only for a few minutes. My heart would beat fast as I worried over meeting the deadlines and managing the moods of a temperamental boss.

For some of us, it can be especially difficult to start another dreary workweek. We may be feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated in our job. King Solomon described the toil of work when he wrote: “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain” (Ecclesiastes 2:22–23).

While the wise king didn’t give us a cure-all for making work less stressful or more rewarding, he did offer us a change in perspective. No matter how difficult our work is, he encourages us to “find satisfaction” in it with God’s help (v. 24). Perhaps it will come as the Holy Spirit enables us to display Christlike character. Or as we hear from someone who’s been blessed through our service. Or as we remember the wisdom God provided to deal with a difficult situation. Though our work may be difficult, our faithful God is there with us. His presence and power can light up even gloomy days. With His help, we can be thankful for Monday.

By:  Poh Fang Chia

Reflect & Pray

What gives you the Monday blues? How will you lean on God’s help to find satisfaction in your work today?

Faithful God, help me to see the good You’re enabling me to accomplish through my work today!

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Worshiping God His Way

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain” (Heb 11:4).

True worship requires coming to God on His terms.

At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses—by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, “There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God.

Centuries before Christ’s death, God provided a means of worship and sacrifice. Genesis 4:3-5 says, “It came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.”

Apparently God had designated a special time for sacrificing because “in the course of time” (v. 3) literally means, “at the end of days”—at the end of a certain period of time. Additionally, He initiated a particular pattern for worship and sacrifices. Otherwise Cain and Abel would have known nothing about how it was to be done.

God required a blood offering for sin. Abel came in faith, acknowledged his sin, and made the appropriate sacrifice. His offering was better than Cain’s because Cain neglected the prescribed sacrifice, thereby demonstrating his unwillingness to submit to God and deal with his sin.

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with Cain’s offering. Grain, fruit, or vegetable offerings were included in the Mosaic covenant. But the sin offering had to come first. Like so many today, Cain wrongly assumed he could approach God on his own terms. In doing so he became the father of all false religions, and his name became synonymous with rebellion and apostasy (cf. Jude 11).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for graciously providing salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Be careful never to approach Him irreverently or presumptuously.

For Further Study

Read Jude 11. How did Jude describe the false teachers of his day?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – God’s Word Affects Every Area of Our Lives

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

— Psalm 119:105 (AMPC)

While negative thoughts, words, emotions, and relationships can cause stress—and stress can cause sickness—positive thoughts, words, emotions, and relationships can bring health and healing. Consider the following scriptures:

• “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body . . .” (Proverbs 14:30 AMPC)

• “My son, attend to my words…for they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20,22 AMPC)

• “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb sweet to the mind and healing to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24 AMPC)

We can be thankful for the power of God’s Word in our lives. Meditating on Scripture and following God’s instruction will cause us to think, speak, and live in a way that brings healing to every part of our lives.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I thank You for Your Word and the healing it brings to my life. I am grateful that my thoughts, words, emotions, and relationships are all changed by the guidance You give me through Scripture.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Holy City

I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

Revelation 21:2

In Jesus, God has come from heaven and reached down to us—and at the end of all things, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will also come down out of heaven from God.

God is putting together a new Jerusalem that will comprise believers from all the ages and from all places—people like you and me. We will be city dwellers living in perfect harmony with one another; God’s face will be before us, and we will be marked as His own (Revelation 22:4). This company will be a multitude so vast and magnificent that no one can count it, with citizens coming from every nation, tribe, people, and language (7:9).

The description of this vast multitude was intended as a source of hope and encouragement for the church in the apostle John’s day, and it should also be so for us. The early church was very, very small in numbers—quite insignificant by human standards, just as it has been in many eras throughout history. But John tells us that the church is actually far greater, vaster, and more significant than we can ever imagine, for its members are citizens of the new Jerusalem, journeying as pilgrims ever onwards until they stand in its streets.

One day, in that city, innumerable believers will worship together, and we will witness the final fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham: “He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them … So shall your offspring be’” (Genesis 15:5).

For now, creation is marked by division and discord. We are separated by language, nationality, and culture—by ancient enmities and recent suspicions. One day, though, all of that is going to be reversed. God is putting together a new community—a multiracial, multicultural city under His reign and rule. When we are finally all brought together as heaven comes to earth and Christ’s people are raised to dwell in it, we will be united by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ because the gospel is for all nations.

Can you imagine such a day? No, not fully, of course—but yes, sufficiently to pull you onwards through the trials and pressures of this life and to cause you to fling off all that would hold you back (Hebrews 12:1-2). This world is not your home; but one day, the heavenly city will come down, and it will be. One day you will see for real what John saw in this vision, and you will be home.


Revelation 22

Topics: Heaven Kingdom of God Unity

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Love

 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“Love” is a hard word to describe. We use it too much. We say we “love” brownies, for instance. And we say we “love” our moms. We might say we “love” the color green or that we “love” rain. So when Romans 8:39 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God, what does that really mean? What does it mean that God loves us?

1 Corinthians 13 explains “love” better than any other chapter in the Bible. Using this chapter, we learn how true love really is defined (what it really means):

     God is patient – He is waiting for you to trust Him.
     God is kind – He is a Father to His people.
     God is not proud – He sent His only Son to die even though He was God.
     God is always the same – He never changes. You can trust Him.
     God wants the best for you – Read Romans 8:28.
     God is happy when you obey.
     God promises never to leave you.
     God hopes that you will grow and offers to help you change.
     God never fails – even though everything and everyone else in life fail.

1 John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.”

The definition (meaning) of true, everlasting love is God Himself! Love was created by God and given by God. No one loves you more than God does. God IS love.

The definition of “love” is God Himself!

My Response:
» Because of things that have happened in my life, do I sometimes struggle to understand the meaning of true love?
» How can I show that I trust in God as the One Who loves me most of all?

Denison Forum – What I learned in Israel about the recent Israeli elections

 “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” —2 Timothy 3:12

I returned home last weekend after spending two weeks in Israel, where I observed their latest elections firsthand. As you know, a coalition led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won enough seats in the Israeli parliament to form a new government.

What you may not know, however, is why this story matters to every evangelical Christian in America.

The issue above all other issues

The popular vote was evenly split with about 49 percent going to Mr. Netanyahu and 49 percent going to his opponents. However, as my Israeli friends explained to me, Mr. Netanyahu’s victory was fueled primarily by the rise of a political partnership led by two men who are unfamiliar to Americans but who are dominating the news in their country.

Bezalel Smotrich leads a political party called Religious Zionism which, as Israeli political commentator David Horovitz explains, “ultimately seeks an Israel run according to the laws of the Torah.” Itamar Ben Gvir leads Otzma Yehudit, which “advocates the annexation of the biblical Judea and Samaria for an enlarged sovereign Jewish state in which West Bank Palestinians would be denied equal rights.”

The two parties formed a coalition with Mr. Netanyahu’s secular Likud party to win a sixty-four-seat governing majority in the 120-seat parliament. This coalition, according to my Israeli friends, is fueled less by popular support for Smotrich and Ben Gvir’s actual agendas and more in response to the security threats Israel is facing. Violence in the West Bank is escalating dramatically; Iran continues to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon while pursuing nuclear capacities that pose an “existential threat” to Israel.

As last week’s election showed once again, a tiny nation surrounded by enemies will always put its defense ahead of other political issues.

Kyrie Irving’s suspension and the rise of anti-Semitism

Why is this fact relevant to you and me?

For the answer, we must explore briefly the global rise in anti-Semitism that is contributing to the political situation in Israel.

NBA star Kyrie Irving was suspended last week by the Brooklyn Nets after posting a documentary with antisemitic conspiracy theories and falsehoods on Twitter. Nike also suspended its relationship with him in the wake of the controversy. Irving later apologized to the Jewish community.

Meanwhile, the Jewish advocacy group Anti-Defamation League (ADL) warns that anti-Semitism is rising on US college campuses at a time when violence against Jews in America has reached record levels. Last year, the ADL reported 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism against the Jewish people, a 34 percent increase from the year before and the highest number on record since the group began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.

Anti-Semitism has been called “history’s oldest hatred.” Many factors explain this tragic narrative, but one is especially relevant for Christians in America: the Jewish commitment throughout history to maintaining their unique religious identity.

Jews refused to worship the gods of Persia (cf. Daniel 3 and 6), Greece (thus the Maccabean revolt), and Rome (thus the revolt that led to the destruction of the temple in AD 70). They have been committed throughout their history to truth and morality as expressed in their 613 commandments (mitzvot in Hebrew) extracted from the Old Testament that govern every dimension of their lives.

Should the Bible govern morality?

Why is this commitment relevant for you and me?

George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University have just released (PDF) a new report studying morality in the US. Here’s the good news: “Most Americans, regardless of their religious faith, champion traditional moral values.”

Here’s the bad news: 71 percent “now contend that human beings rather than God should be the judge of right and wrong.” Forty-two percent said “what you feel in your heart” is the best moral guide, followed by 29 percent who said we should base morality on majority rule. Only 29 percent said principles taught in the Bible should guide our morality.

By contrast, 66 percent of American adults who possess a biblical worldview said that the Bible should be the main source of determining right and wrong.

As the history of anti-Semitism shows, if you will not bow to the gods of your culture, you will face the wrath of your culture. Paul warned us: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, my emphasis).

We can therefore determine the degree to which we follow Jesus by the degree to which the world opposes us.

If worshiping God yesterday does not make us different from those who did not worship him, did we truly encounter God? If you and I are not living in ways that distinguish us from our secularized, post-Christian culture, how can we truly be following Jesus?

“A sense of overwhelming awe”

The more we experience Jesus, the more we will become like him (Romans 8:29) and the less we will be like those who oppose him (cf. 1 John 3:1).

Gordon Fee has been called “one of the most influential New Testament scholars who has ever lived.” A textbook he wrote with colleague Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, was the primary textbook I used in teaching biblical interpretation courses in seminary. It is now in its fourth edition and has sold around a million copies.

Fee died recently at the age of eighty-eight. In a 1988 paper reflecting on Bible study and spirituality, he concluded (PDF) that to study God’s word properly, “We must hear the words with our hearts, we must bask in God’s own glory, we must be moved to a sense of overwhelming awe at God’s riches in glory, we must think again on the incredible wonder that these riches are ours in Christ Jesus, and we must then worship the living God by singing praises to his glory.”

By this measure, did you “worship the living God” yesterday?

Will you today?

Denison Forum