In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Glorifying Christ at All Times

Sometimes we shine brightest for Christ in our darkest moments.

Psalm 34:1-3

Today’s psalm calls us to continually exalt and magnify the Lord, regardless of the situation. As we gaze at God through His Word, our understanding of Him becomes greater, as if we’re looking through a magnifying glass. We see the wonders of His nature and deeds more clearly and can’t help but respond in praise. 

To grasp this concept of magnifying the Lord, consider how Paul responded to being imprisoned in Rome (Philippians 1:12-14). Instead of complaining about the situation, he accepted it with grace, knowing that this was God’s path for him. Through it all, he kept praising and exalting Christ. Even though Paul couldn’t preach or start churches as he once did, the Lord opened up a new way to serve—prison ministry and written correspondence that eventually ended up in the New Testament. 

Whatever is happening in your life—good or bad, long-term or short—you have the opportunity to magnify the Lord through it. This not only benefits you with a greater appreciation of Him, but it also encourages others who see your witness. When a believer passes through trials peacefully and praises the Lord, even unbelievers notice. 

Bible in One Year: Acts 1-2

Our Daily Bread — Wise or Unwise?

Bible in a Year:

Understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ephesians 5:15–17

When I was ten, I brought home a cassette tape from a friend at youth group that contained the music of a contemporary Christian band. My dad, who had been raised in a Hindu home but had received salvation in Jesus, didn’t approve. He only wanted worship music played in our home. I explained it was a Christian band, but that didn’t change his mind. After a while, he suggested that I listen to the songs for a week and then decide if they brought me closer to God or pushed me further away from Him. There was some helpful wisdom in that advice.

There are things in life that are clearly right or wrong, but many times we wrestle with disputable matters (Romans 14:1–19). In deciding what to do, we can seek the wisdom found in Scripture. Paul encouraged the Ephesian believers to “be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15). Like a good parent, Paul knew that he couldn’t possibly be there or give instructions for every situation. If they were going to “[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil,” they were going to have to discern for themselves and “understand what the Lord’s will is” (vv. 16–17). A life of wisdom is an invitation to pursue discernment and good decisions as God guides us even when we wrestle with what might be disputable.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

How can you determine what will be wise or foolish as you make decisions? How can you seek God’s guidance?

Dear Jesus, cultivate a heart of wisdom in me. Enable me to live my life in a way that will always draw me closer to You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Walking by Faith

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Heb 11:5).

When you walk by faith, you enjoy intimacy with God.

Our second hero of faith is Enoch. Genesis 5:21-24 records that “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

What a wonderful epitaph: “Enoch walked with God.” His life exemplifies the walk of faith. Adam and Eve had walked with God in the Garden of Eden, but their sin separated them from such intimacy. Enoch experienced the fellowship with God they had forfeited.

Enoch’s faithful walk pleased God greatly. And after more than three hundred years on earth, Enoch was translated to heaven without ever experiencing death. It’s as if God simply said, “Enoch, I enjoy your company so much, I want you to join me up here right now.”

Like Enoch, there is coming a generation of Christians who will never see death. Someday—perhaps soon—Jesus will return for His church, “then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up . . . in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). Enoch is a beautiful picture of that great future event, which we call the rapture of the church.

As you walk with God, He delights in you. You’re His child and your praises and fellowship bring Him joy. Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” Even death itself simply ushers you into His presence for all eternity.

Let the joy of intimacy with God, and the anticipation of seeing Christ face to face—either by rapture or by death— motivate you to please Him more and more each day of your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the promise of Christ’s return.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

  • What events surround the rapture of the church?
  • How were the Thessalonians to respond to Paul’s teaching about the rapture?
  • How should you respond?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Fear Making Decisions

In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

— Proverbs 3:6 (AMPC)

God doesn’t always give us exact and specific directions, but He does guide us as we go through life trusting Him. He expects us to follow His Word, His Spirit, and His wisdom.

Keep your life simple by not doing anything you don’t have peace about or that is not wise. Trust God to guide you daily, and boldly follow Him.

Don’t be afraid to make decisions. Pray, and then follow what God puts in your heart. If you do make a mistake, you can trust Him to guide you back onto the right path.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, please help direct and guide me as I make decisions, knowing if I make a mistake, You will guide me back to the right path, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Faith to Move Mountains

Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:22-24

In reading our Bibles, we will come across verses that seem straightforward and easy to understand immediately. On the other hand, there are also verses like this one!

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,” says Jesus. We are tempted essentially to sidestep what these words say. We try to bury them under a hundred qualifications. The misapplication of such verses has scared some of us so much that we hardly give any attention to the encouragement and the challenge they contain.

In this bold command, Jesus reminded His followers to trust God, because it is actually faith’s foundation in God that gives that faith significance. We should not have faith in faith or faith in ourselves, but faith in God alone.

The metaphor that Jesus employed—that of someone commanding a mountain to be thrown into the sea—was perhaps familiar to the disciples; it was similar to a common rabbinic figure of speech for accomplishing something that was seemingly impossible.[1] The disciples would not have misunderstood Jesus as suggesting that they literally hurl the Mount of Olives into the Dead Sea over 4,000 feet below them. They would have understood his words as a proverbial statement indicating that God wants to do extraordinary things for His children.

We discover vivid proof of Jesus’ teaching on faith and prayer throughout the book of Acts. Early on, when a lame beggar asked Peter and John for money, Peter told him instead to stand up and walk (Acts 3:6). Perhaps as he spoke to this man, Peter was remembering Jesus’ words and thinking to himself, “Whatever you ask… believe…”

When God is the object of our faith, we can have an audacious faith—a faith that believes the impossible to be possible with Him. We can know that we are speaking to someone who is able to do far more than we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). Jesus essentially says to us, I want you to pray in a way that says you actually believe in a God who is too wise to make mistakes, who is too kind to be cruel, and who is too powerful to be subdued by the normal forces of the universe.

Do not set aside these verses with a hundred qualifications. Just let them sit there for a minute. Enjoy the truth that God is able to do things beyond anything you can imagine. Rest in the reality that He knows no impossibility. And then pray.


Ephesians 3:14-21

Topics: Character of God Faith Prayer


1 Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898), Vol. 2, p 376 (footnote).

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – In Jesus Are Treasures

“[Christ,] in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)

Grace was looking for a special place to keep her treasures. She had laid them all on the floor of her room in a little pile. There was a pure white clam shell she had found at the beach. There were three quarters from the state of Georgia, where she lived. There was a little ceramic dog she had begged Mom to buy for her at a yard sale. There was a ticket stub from the zoo with a picture of a tiger on it. And there was a glittery, gold silk ribbon that had come on a birthday present last year.

Grace spotted an old shoebox at the back of her closet. She found some pretty flowered wrapping paper, and she carefully covered the box and the lid separately as if she were wrapping a present. She put all her treasures inside and wrote with a gold glitter pen on the lid, My Treasure Box. Then she hid the box in a dresser drawer beneath a pile of sweatshirts. No one would ever find it there!

Many people have a special place where they keep their treasures. But God’s Word tells us in Colossians 2:3 that we can find treasure in a Person. That Person is Jesus Christ. Hidden in Jesus are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Have you ever wished that you knew exactly what to do in a certain situation? Maybe there has been some trouble with your friends at school and you’re not sure how to respond. Maybe you’re not sure how to tell your neighbor about Jesus. Or maybe you’re not sure what you ought to be when you grow up. There are many problems in our lives for which we need wisdom. When you really, really need wisdom, it is like a treasure to you. And Jesus Himself is the special place where all the treasures of wisdom are stored up. As you seek Him by reading His Word and praying, He will give you guidance for any decision or problem – great or small. To know Him is to find a treasure store of wisdom.

In Jesus we can find all the treasures of wisdom.

My Response:
» Do I try to figure out how to deal with problems on my own?
» Or do I go to Jesus for wisdom when I have a problem?

Denison Forum – Republicans predicted to take the House, Senate too close to call: Insights from “the father of democracy”

 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!” —Psalm 122:6

As of this morning, Republicans appear to be on track to regain control of the House of Representatives, though the size of their majority is yet to be known. Control of the Senate is still to be determined, with several pivotal races too close to call.

As the leader of a nonpartisan ministry, I am responding to the midterm elections with reflections that would be the same regardless of which party controls which branch of our government.

“The problems posed by living in collaborative groups”

As background, let’s consider a New Yorker article indicating that “reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups.” In other words, we tend to make our decisions based on how our group makes theirs. Consequently, while we’re critically aware of the fallacies held by others, we are blind about our own.

In addition, we must rely on the expertise of others for the essentials of life (such as the function of toilets, as the article illustrates), so we do the same with our opinions, depending on the “knowledge” of those with whom we already agree. Further research demonstrates that we experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when we process information that supports our beliefs.

These facts relate directly to voting in a democracy. Once we identify our “group,” we tend to vote in ways that advance our group’s agenda. We are much more able to see the shortcomings of the other group’s candidates than our own. We are rewarded psychologically when our side wins and the other side loses.

And democracy, which depends on the wisdom of the voters to elect leaders most capable of serving the people, is weakened as a result.

“The father of American democracy”

In 1638, Puritan pastor Rev. Thomas Hooker delivered a sermon before the Connecticut General Court advocating for popular sovereignty, the right of the people to rule themselves. This was the first time in the colonies that an American explicitly asserted such democratic ideas.

He based his sermon on Deuteronomy 1:13, where Moses instructed the people, “Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” Hooker’s sermon influenced the creation of the Connecticut state constitution, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, which was the first constitution in the American colonies.

As a result, he is often described as “the father of American democracy.”

Note his belief that our leaders must be “wise, understanding, and experienced.” This implies that the people who choose them must also be “wise, understanding, and experienced” so as to identify leaders who deserve their support. This is the fundamental challenge within our system of governance: as French philosopher Joseph de Maistre noted, “In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve.”

The fact that we are fallen people explains the fallenness of our society and of our politics. As grateful as I am for those who are willing to engage in public service, the fact remains that we can only elect sinners like ourselves.

History professor Daniel K. Williams notes, “Political parties work well as highly imperfect tools for accomplishing particular aims, but they become horrific idols when we treat them as sources of our moral identity.”

“We have received Christ himself”

David implored us, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!” (Psalm 122:6). Note that he did not encourage us to “work” for the peace of Jerusalem, but to “pray” for it. The Hebrew word translated “pray” could be rendered “beg for, plead.” The grammar could be rendered “plead and keep on pleading.”

“Peace” translates shalom, a very significant word in Jewish culture even today. It describes completeness, wholeness, health in every dimension of life. David knew that the source of true shalom for Israel and for the rest of the world lies in God, not in us. We must come to him with expectant, urgent, humble, repentant faith.

And when we do, God does what only he can do.

Charles Spurgeon observed, “By an act of faith Jesus becomes a real person in the consciousness of our heart. . . . It is true that he gave us life from the dead. He gave us pardon of sin; he gave us imputed righteousness. These are all precious things, but we are not content with them; we have received Christ himself” (his emphasis).

“Preach first by the way that you live”

This is why sharing the good news of God’s love is so urgent. As pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie notes, “God’s primary way of reaching nonbelievers is through the verbal articulation of the gospel.” We are inviting others into a personal, transforming relationship with a personal, transforming God. We can actually know Jesus and then make him known. And knowing him does in us and through us what no political party or leader could ever accomplish.

However, Charles Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584, offered an important qualification: “Be sure that you preach first by the way that you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing but live another, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.”

Live the gospel and share the gospel. Know Christ and make him known, and long after yesterday’s elections are forgotten, your faithfulness to your Lord will echo in eternity.

This is the promise, and the invitation, of God.

Denison Forum