In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Caution Regarding Spiritual Gifts

God wants us to appreciate the unique gifting of every member in His church.

1 Corinthians 12:14-30

Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians addressed several problems in the church, including the misuse of spiritual gifts. The people in that fellowship valued only certain gifts—believers with the “better” ones were elevated above others, while those without the preferred abilities were considered less important. 

In teaching about spiritual gifts, Paul warned church members not to think more highly of themselves than they ought (Romans 12:3). The gifts are not given to exalt certain individuals but to benefit the congregation, and no gift is more important than any other. God considers them all necessary for the health of a local church. Each believer receives at least one gift in accordance with the Spirit’s purposes and choosing. It’s God’s business to decide who has which ability. 

We must be careful not to assign undue value to certain gifts. Nor should we place unwarranted emphasis on giftedness as a way to assess one’s spiritual maturity or importance in the church. Let’s release any preconceived ideas about the value of spiritual abilities and instead celebrate how God builds each local body of believers. Our omniscient Father places His children where they can minister through their gifts and also be blessed by others doing likewise.

Bible in One Year: John 20-21

Our Daily Bread — Loving Our Neighbors

Bible in a Year:

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.

Leviticus 19:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Leviticus 19:15–18

In the days of self-isolation and lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, words by Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” rang true. Speaking about injustice, he remarked how he couldn’t sit idly in one city and not be concerned about what happens in another. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” he said, “tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.” 

Likewise, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted our connectedness as around the world cities and countries closed to stop the spread of the virus. What affected one city could soon affect another.

Many centuries ago, God instructed His people how to show concern for others. Through Moses, He gave the Israelites the law to guide them and help them live together. He told them to “not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life” (Leviticus 19:16); and to not seek revenge or bear a grudge against others, but to “love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 18). God knew that communities would start to unravel if people didn’t look out for others, valuing their lives as much as they did their own.

We too can embrace the wisdom of God’s instructions. As we go about our daily activities, we can remember how interconnected we are with others as we ask Him how to love and serve them well.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

Why do you think Jesus echoed God’s law when He told the religious leaders to love their neighbors as themselves? How could you put this instruction into action today?

Loving Creator, help me to share Your love and grace today.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The First Disciple

“Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel . . . 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” (Gen. 4:3-5).

True discipleship is characterized by obedience to God’s Word.

In John 8:31 Jesus issued an important statement to a group of people who were showing an interest in Him: “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” Sadly, they rejected His words, proving themselves to be less than true disciples. Jesus went on to explain why: “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (v. 47). They listened but didn’t really hear. They were interested but not truly committed. They were hearers of the Word but not doers (James 1:22).

In contrast, Abel did what God told him to do. He was, in effect, the first disciple. He was probably a better person than Cain—more friendly, moral, and dependable—but that’s not why God accepted his sacrifice and rejected Cain’s. Abel trusted God, and his faith was counted as righteousness. Like Abraham, whose faith was evidenced by his willingness to obey God and sacrifice his son Isaac (James 2:21-22), Abel’s faith was evidenced in his obedient offering. He didn’t rely on his own goodness but acknowledged his sin and made the prescribed sacrifice.

Perhaps God indicated His acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice by consuming it with fire, as He did on other occasions in Scripture (Judg. 6:211 Kings 18:38). But whatever means He used, God made his pleasure known to Abel.

Abel’s brief life conveys a simple three-point message: we must come to God by faith; we must receive and obey God’s Word; and sin brings serious consequences. If you hear and heed that message, you’ll walk the path of true discipleship and be assured of God’s pleasure.

Suggestions for Prayer

Make it your goal to please the Lord in everything you do today. Seek His wisdom and grace to do so faithfully.

For Further Study

Read these verses, noting what they say about pleasing God: 2 Corinthians 5:9Ephesians 5:6-10Philippians 2:12-13Hebrews 11:6; and Hebrews 13:15-1620-21.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Best Kind of Hunger

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

— Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Today more people are spiritually malnourished than ever before. Too many elements of society distract people from their eternal souls and encourage them to concentrate on material life instead.

Caught up in this lifestyle, many people mistake the void they feel inside for physical hunger. They were never taught to recognize spiritual hunger, or what to do about it if they do recognize it. Since they don’t know what to do about the pain and loneliness, they reach for the quickest fix they know: food, drugs, alcohol, or other material pleasures.

If you have a rich spiritual life, you’ll already be satisfied and fulfilled in the moment, and won’t feel the need to “supplement” your moment with “things.”

We all have these moments at times. You wander through a summer field of fireflies and suddenly feel still and awed at the beauty of it all. You hold your new son or grandson on your lap and feel a great spiritual bond of love all around you. You’re sitting in a pew Sunday morning and the light comes through the stained glass and fills your heart with joy. The moment is complete in itself. You don’t think, My heart is full of joy, and boy do I wish I had a slice of chocolate cake in my hand! You can know the complete fulfillment of spiritual nourishment, and know that if you will experience it regularly, you’ll have no problem craving earthly things.

In fact, we should all feel those transcendent moments more often than we do. I believe they are essential to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. And I think we spend too little time trying to achieve them and too much time meditating on our problems. Get your mind off the problems and spend more time meditating on the one true source of nourishment—God’s love.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I want to continually feel awed by You and filled to overflowing with joy! Wrap Your arms around me as I spend time with you on a regular basis, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The War Against Temptation

Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:14

In this life, we will never be exempt from temptation. In fact, the older we get, the more we discover that the same old temptations—often in new guises—are right there behind us, biting at our heels and seeking to bring us down. And if that were not bad enough, they’re often joined by a whole batch of new ones!

Yes, temptation is a reality, and it is unavoidable. But why is this the case?

The first reason is that the same grace which reconciles us to God also opposes us to the devil, who, Scripture tells us persuaded us that he was our friend before we came to trust in Christ. When God’s grace makes us His friend instead, it simultaneously makes us enemies of His great enemy. And although the Evil One cannot prevent God from saving His people, he can bring all of his endeavors—namely, temptation—to bear upon us once we have been saved.

Secondly, when we are born again, sin no longer masters us, but it does continue to wage a war against our souls—and temptation is among its greatest weapons. We are tempted by the world: all that is out there that says to us, “If you can obtain this, you will be happy and will enjoy life.” We are also tempted by our flesh. Our old sinful nature—which still lingers in us in this present life, even after we trust in Christ—wages a fierce rearguard battle against our new selves.

Yet as strong as the appeals of the Evil One may be—and they are strong—they do not in themselves have the power to compel us to yield to temptation. The devil has the power to bring the world to us, but he does not have the power to make us sin.

Do not be paralyzed by fear, then, or complacent about the temptations you face. In your war against temptation, you do not need to wonder if you’ll win or lose. God has already declared checkmate, for, as John writes, “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The war is over, and victory is assured. Battles may still go on, but they cannot affect the war’s ultimate conclusion.

What temptations are you currently struggling with or giving in to? Take a moment to name them. And then take comfort in this today: as powerful as those temptations may be, the devil is a defeated foe, and Jesus Christ reigns victorious! His power in you is sufficient to enable you to fight temptation, and His death for you is sufficient for God to forgive you!


Romans 6:1-14

Topics: Grace of God Satan Sin Temptation Victory

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is the Redeemer

“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” (Isaiah 43:1b)

Christopher wanted a toy sailboat. He went to his father and asked for some money. His dad told him that yes, he could buy a sailboat, but that he would have to earn the money and buy it himself. So Christopher worked hard and bought the boat.

Christopher loved his boat. He would take it to a small river nearby his house and spend hours playing with it.

One day Christopher was playing with his boat on the water. The wind was strong, and soon – the boat drifted away. He tried to go after it, but it was too late. He watched it go downstream.

Christopher was, of course, very sad about this. He had worked very hard, and now his boat was gone.

Weeks passed, and then one morning, Christopher went to town with his father. There in the window of the toy store was his boat! Someone had found it and put it up for sale. Christopher went right in to the store to get his boat back. The store owner told him he could have it, but for a price. He would first need to work and buy it back. So that’s exactly what Christopher did. He worked and bought the boat again. He redeemed (bought again) the boat!

And that’s exactly what God did for you. God made you, which means He “owns” you, fair and square. You are His because He created you. You don’t belong to anyone – not even to yourself! – like you belong to God. But if you are a believer, God owns you “times two.” After you sinned and lost fellowship with Him, He “bought you back again.” Jesus Christ is the One about Whom Paul is writing in Ephesians 1:7. Paul is talking about Jesus Christ when he says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood.” Redemption is what it is to be bought back, to be bought a second time.

God paid for you with the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Christians belong to God – two times over! So how should you live, if you are God’s “property”? You are loved and you belong to Him forever. If you are redeemed, you can be sure God has gone to great lengths to make sure He can keep you.

God is completely good and completely great, so His purposes and plans for your life have got to be good and great. They are better plans for your life than any of the things you might have in mind. There is nothing better than living a life that glorifies the God Who loved you enough to keep you for His own. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

If God has redeemed your soul from sin and hell, He owns you “times two.”

My Response:
» Am I tempted sometimes to think that I am the one in control of my life?
» How can I show that I believe my plans and desires for my life aren’t as good and great as God’s are?

Denison Forum – My prediction for the midterms

 “Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers.” —Colossians 4:5 NCV

If I could predict the future, I might have joined Jim McIngvale—better known as “Mattress Mack”—in his $10 million bet last May that his Houston Astros would win the World Series. His bet won him $75 million, which is believed to be the largest payout in legal sports betting history. When asked what he planned to do after winning, the seventy-one-year-old said he’d be back to work the next morning at 9 a.m.

Or I might have purchased the winning Powerball lottery ticket and won a record $1.9 billion. The drawing was delayed, so it’s likely the official results won’t be known until later today. I’d be happy to wait that long.

Of course, I cannot predict the future. But I am nonetheless willing to make a clear prediction regarding today’s midterm elections and their consequences for our country and our culture.

“The deepest habit of mind in the contemporary world”

In his debate with Jimmy Carter a week before the 1980 presidential election, Ronald Reagan asked the nation, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” It’s the kind of question politicians typically ask before elections. And it reveals far more than the answers voters give.

In his paper, “Is Theology Poetry?” Oxford scholar C. S. Lewis identified “universal evolutionism” as “perhaps the deepest habit of mind in the contemporary world.” He defined the term: “the belief that the very formula of universal progress is from imperfect to perfect, from small beginnings to great endings, from the rudimentary to the elaborate.”

He added that this belief “makes people find it natural to think that morality springs from savage taboos, adult sentiment from infantile sexual maladjustments, thought from instinct, mind from matter, organic from inorganic, cosmos from chaos.” However, he observed, “It seems to me immensely unplausible, because it makes the general course of nature so very unlike those parts of nature we can observe.”

This “habit of mind” nonetheless assumes that the world must evolve to get better and better. If it does not, voters in a democracy hold our leaders accountable.

Democrats are claiming that women’s rights are under attack by Republicans and hope this issue galvanizes their base. Republicans hope their focus on crime and the economy will help them win the midterms.

But this belief that political leaders can effect systemic change overlooks a basic fact about human nature.

“He will give you pardon and imparted holiness”

Scripture is clear: “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). This applies to us all: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). John added: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

A. W. Tozer was right: “Sin is a terrible thing, and either we deal with our sin or our sin will deal with us.” By contrast, when a person comes to Christ, “that second the supernatural life of God invades him instantly. The dominating power of the world, the flesh, and the devil is paralyzed, not by your act, but because your act has linked you on to God and his redemptive power” (Oswald Chambers).

I do not mean to suggest that politics are not important. To the contrary, there are absolutely positive consequences to biblical political leadership. For example, in the first two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions fell by more than ten thousand. That’s ten thousand precious lives that have been spared as a consequence of decades of hard work and political engagement by pro-life advocates.

There are absolutely negative consequences to political leadership as well, as the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 demonstrates. The proposed so-called Equality Act similarly constitutes the greatest threat to religious liberty in American history.

For these reasons, I am convinced that God is calling more Christians into public service than are answering his call. But here’s my prediction: no matter the results of today’s midterms, the gospel will still be the only answer to the greatest problems we face.

Billy Graham noted: “In exchange for perplexity, [Christ] gives the blessed assurance of his grace and adequacy. In exchange for your anxiety, he gives you a confidence and trust that knows no bounds. In exchange for boredom, he will give you a bold, courageous, purposeful faith. In exchange for your sin, he will give you pardon and imparted holiness.”

“Courteous conduct honors Christ”

Consequently, the way Christians engage in politics is crucial to our witness and the eternal destinies of those we influence. Max Lucado was right: “Those who don’t believe in Jesus note what we who believe in Jesus do. They make decisions about Christ by watching us. When we’re kind, they assume Christ is kind. When we’re gracious, they assume Christ is gracious. But when we’re dishonest, what assumption will an observer make about our Master?

“No wonder the Apostle Paul says, ‘Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should’ (Colossians 4:5–6 NCV).”

Lucado therefore noted: “Courteous conduct honors Christ. It also honors his children.”

Will your political engagement today honor both?

Denison Forum