In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Ultimate Father-Son

Through Christ, we can have a close relationship with our heavenly Father.

John 5:18-20

God is called by a variety of names in the Bible, and each one sheds light on an aspect of His nature. When referring to Him, Jesus often chose to use the title “Father.” While this name for God is used in the Old Testament, we see its use increase exponentially in the New Testament. 

Many of God’s names speak of His majestic and lofty attributes that separate Him from His created beings, but what’s unique about Father is that it conveys intimacy. Jesus used this name not only because He was God’s Son but also to communicate that God is a Father to all who believe in Christ.  

Throughout His time on earth, Jesus revealed by example what this kind of loving relationship was like. He depended completely on His Father for daily direction, power, and provision and obediently carried out every instruction. He often found a secluded place to spend private time in prayer. 

Do you long for the intimacy with God that our Savior had? Have you entered into this kind of relationship through faith in Jesus? If so, God has given you the privilege of drawing near to Him. In fact, before the foundation of the world, He chose you to be in His family. 

Bible in One Year: Acts 3-4

Our Daily Bread — Legacy of Friends

Bible in a Year:

A friend loves at all times.

Proverbs 17:17

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Proverbs 27:6–10

I met him in the 1970s when I was a high school English teacher and basketball coach, and he was a tall, gangly freshman. Soon he was on my basketball team and in my classes—and a friendship was formed. This same friend, who had served with me as a fellow editor for many years, stood before me at my retirement party and shared about the legacy of our longstanding friendship.

What is it about friends connected by the love of God that encourages us and brings us closer to Jesus? The writer of Proverbs understood that friendship has two encouraging components: First, true friends give valuable advice, even if it’s not easy to give or take (27:6): “Wounds from a friend can be trusted,” the writer explains. Second, a friend who is nearby and accessible is important in times of crisis: “Better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away” (v. 10).

It’s not good for us to fly solo in life. As Solomon noted: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 nlt). In life, we need to have friends and we need to be friends. May God help us “love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10 esv) and “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)—becoming the kind of friend that can encourage others and draw them closer to the love of Jesus.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

In what sense could you be isolating yourself from others? How can you regularly connect with some strong believers in Jesus to encourage each other?

Dear God, search my heart regarding my friends. Please help me provide Christ-centered counsel to them and receive godly wisdom from them.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Walking with God

“Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:24).

Walking with God includes reconciliation, obedience from the heart, and ongoing faith.

When Scripture speaks of walking with God, it’s referring to one’s manner of life. For example, Paul prayed that the Colossian believers (and us) would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so they could walk (live) in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:9-10). To the Ephesians he said, “Walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind . . . [but] be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you” (Eph. 4:175:1-2).

The Old Testament describes Enoch as a man who walked with God. Though relatively little is said about this special man, we can derive implications from his life that will help us better understand what it means to walk with God.

First, Enoch’s walk with God implies reconciliation. Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (NIV). Two people can’t have intimate fellowship unless they agree. Obviously Enoch wasn’t rebellious toward God, but had been reconciled with Him through faith.

Second, walking with God implies loving service. Second John 6 says, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” We obey Christ, but our obedience is motivated by love, not legalism or fear of punishment.

Third, a godly walk implies continuing faith, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Colossians 2:6-7 adds, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith.” By grace Enoch believed God and pleased Him all his life.

Do those who know you best see you as one who walks with God? I trust so. After all, that’s the distinguishing mark of a true believer: “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for granting the reconciliation, faith, and love that enables you to walk with Him day by day.

For Further Study

What do the following verses teach about your Christian walk: Romans 8:4Galatians 5:16Ephesians 2:101 Thessalonians 2:12; and 1 John 1:7?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – Overcoming Indecision

…[He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

— 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMPC)

Many people struggle with indecision (the inability to make a decision) and double mindedness (constantly changing their minds) because of fear or a lack of confidence. However, you can make a decision and stick with it because you have discipline and a calm, well-balanced mind.

You can easily feel overwhelmed by all the decisions you need to make daily unless you have confidence in your ability to make right ones. Don’t ever say again, “I have a hard time making decisions,” because when you think and speak like that you are setting yourself up for confusion. Instead, you can believe the next time you need to make a decision that you will hear from God, be led by the Holy Spirit, and know what to do. Even if you have had difficulty doing so in the past, this is a new day for you, and you are in charge of your thinking—it is no longer in charge of you!

Prayer of the Day: Lord, please help me have a calm mind. Help me take control of my thinking, so that it becomes easier and easier to make right decisions, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Reality of Evil

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The Bible is very clear about the reality of evil—and it is equally clear about the personality of the one who is behind the evil in the world. Satan, the Evil One, is completely opposed to the spiritual well-being of his victims. He is a ferocious lion, and (though not outside of God’s sovereign control) he is the ruler of this world. He is behind all sin; and before anyone is born again of the Spirit of God, they actually belong to his domain, and their evil actions give proof of his ownership.

Of course, the idea of an actual Evil One is laughed at by most of our contemporaries. They say, “Oh, you can’t possibly believe in the existence of an evil spiritual force called the devil, can you?” But at the same time as they downplay the idea of a personal devil, such people are at a loss to explain why we’re able to make such great technological advances and yet are unable to control the sinful impulses of our own lives any better than previous generations. Why is this?

The Bible teaches that when Adam followed his wife in placing himself under the influence of the deceiver and sinning, he took the whole of humanity down with him. In other words, when Adam sinned, we all sinned. Each of us was born fallen. Therefore, our hearts—the core of our being, the source of our feelings, our longings, our decisions—are “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” Jeremiah anticipates what Jesus would say to the Pharisees: “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him … For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality,” and all other sorts of wickedness, both blatant and discreet (Mark 7:15, 21).

While these truths provide a compelling explanation of what we see in the world, they also confront us with a very challenging view of ourselves. The truth is that we are not good people who make mistakes; we are sinful people in need of mercy. Because it requires humility to accept what our hearts are truly like, those same hearts will tend to prefer to be deceived by preachers of self-esteem and self-confidence rather than listen to prophets such as Jeremiah.

The truth is that everyone is born in need of a heart transplant—not a physical one but a spiritual one. Only God can accomplish such a transformation. Just as God charged us with Adam’s guilt, by grace He credits believers with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. As believers in Jesus, we have been changed from the inside out. Today, as with every day, the only antidote for your deceitful heart is to come humbly and sincerely before the Lord, praying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).


Mark 7:1-23

Topics: Effects of Sin Original Sin Satan

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Jesus Is a Wonderful Counselor

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Have you ever been to camp? If you have, you know what it is to have a counselor. Your counselor is a person who answers your questions, helps you find your way around the camp, stays in the cabin with you at night, and basically looks out for you during your week at camp. If you have been to a Christian camp, your counselor might have prayed with you, talked with you about problems in your life, or answered your questions about the preacher’s messages. If you had a good counselor, you probably came away from camp thinking that your counselor was the next best thing to chocolate ice cream!

Isaiah 9:6 calls the Messiah, Jesus Christ, a Wonderful Counselor. Jesus is far better than the best of the best counselors you could have at camp. Those counselors might be good people who truly want to help you, but they are not the kind of counselor that Jesus is. Jesus is a perfectly holy and powerful Person. He is 100% God and 100% Man, and He knows exactly how to help you with any problem you have.

Just a few years ago, your camp counselors were probably campers just like you – campers who needed counselors themselves. Romans 11:34 tells us that Jesus has never needed to have a counselor. He has never needed any help or advice from anyone. He has always been perfect in wisdom and knowledge. He is a Counselor you do not have to leave behind at the end of an exciting week of camp. Once He becomes Your Savior, He will go with you through your entire life – guiding you, caring for you, listening to you, and giving you wisdom for each problem you face.

How do we get counsel (wise advice or help) from Jesus? In James 1:5, God promises to give us wisdom if we ask him for it. In Psalm 119:24, the psalmist says that we can find His counsel in His Word, the Bible. As you read God’s Word, look for things that apply to your life. Look for commands you can obey. Look for promises you can trust in. Look for guidance about specific problems you might have. You can never go wrong following the counsel of Jesus. He is a Wonderful Counselor.

Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor.

My Response:
» Am I looking for and following the counsel of Jesus in His Word?

Denison Forum – The latest on the midterms: How America can experience a “new birth of freedom”

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” —Hosea 4:6

Republicans are still on track this morning to regain control of the House, though numerous races are still undecided. Three seats are still undetermined in the Senate as well, where Republicans hold a 49–48 edge.

It has been said that “democracy is a slow process of stumbling to the right decision instead of going straight forward to the wrong one.” As our latest exercise in democracy continues to unfold, a relevant Wall Street Journal article caught my eye today. In “Lincoln’s Vision of Democracy,” famed Princeton historian Allen C. Guelzo shows how Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” summarized American democracy concisely but brilliantly in his now-famous triplet: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

As Dr. Guelzo explains, “This wasn’t merely a rhetorical flourish. In that triplet, Lincoln lays out the three fundamental elements of democracy.” The first is consent—government of the people. The second is the people’s voice in the work of governing—government by the people. The third is government that serves the interests of the people it represents—government for the people.

President Lincoln believed that a new commitment to these three ideals would lead to a “new birth of freedom” for our land. According to Dr. Guelzo, “That new birth is the task that lies before every succeeding generation of Americans. In it, we find our way not only back to Lincoln but to democracy itself.”

How can we experience this “new birth of freedom” in these divided and divisive days?

“America’s long heroic journey”

I consider The Abolition of Man to be C. S. Lewis’s most prophetic book. In it, he consistently warns against the rising moral subjectivism that he believed would lead to the downfall of democracy. Lewis’s insights relate directly to our “post-truth” culture today.

Here’s one example: “For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men [and] the solution is a technique.”

The fact that scientific techniques are more successful than magic tricks in subduing reality to our wishes makes his point more relevant. Amazing medical and technological advances have improved all of our lives immeasurably. As a result, we have been conditioned to believe that unaided human effort can “subdue reality to the wishes of men,” whatever those wishes are.

For example, in his first inaugural address, President Bill Clinton declared: “Our democracy must be . . . the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” He then called on Americans to embrace “the conviction that America’s long heroic journey must go forever upward.”

Such self-reliance lies at the heart of Western culture. Socrates claimed that to “know thyself” is the path to knowledge. Aristotle asserted, “Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.”

How is such self-reliance working for us?

“Religion is the root of culture”

In a democracy, we are tempted to invest politics with the same power and authority we have assigned to science, asking our leaders to “subdue reality” to the wishes of those who elect them. But politics in a democracy cannot solve our greatest problems because leaders are elected by voters to do what voters want, and voters are just as fallen as the leaders they elect.

What, then, is the answer to our deepest challenges and needs? Richard John Neuhaus observed: “Culture is the root of politics, and religion is the root of culture.” This is why renewing America requires renewing America’s religion.

I often quote from George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address because this observation is so critical for our nation: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports” (my emphasis). Here’s the problem: in our secularized, post-Christian, even anti-Christian culture, many would divorce religion from morality. As I noted recently, more Americans think morality should be based on “what you feel in your heart” than any other source, including the Bible.

But Washington had a prophetic word for this dangerous fallacy: “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Does Hosea’s warning apply to us?

So, renewing American democracy requires renewing American culture, which requires renewing American religion. Spiritual awakenings across our history have brought about such moral and even political transformation, but they always begin within the church.

God’s familiar promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to “heal their land” begins, “If my people who are called by my name . . . .” The Lord warned the religious leaders of Hosea’s day, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. . . . you have forgotten the law of your God” (Hosea 4:6).

In a day when religious leaders and entire denominations reject biblical sexual morality and endorse elective abortion, when just 37 percent of America’s pastors hold a biblical worldview, does Hosea’s warning apply to us?

However, I must admit that there is a personal downside to today’s article: it is tempting for me to criticize political and religious leaders for their failings and so avoid honesty about my own. I have no right to ask others to do what I am unwilling to do.

So I must ask, Is my heart “wholly true to the Lᴏʀᴅ” (1 Kings 8:61)?

Am I willing to serve my King whatever the risk?

Am I willing to do whatever he asks, go wherever he leads, and serve whatever the cost?

Are you?

Denison Forum