In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Understanding Guilt

Conviction leads us to repentance so that we can experience God’s forgiveness and joy.

Psalm 32:1-11

Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is good. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that we’ve done wrong and need to repent. In fact, without a sense of guilt, we’d never recognize that we’re sinners in need of a Savior. And after salvation, guilt is the way the Lord shows us we’re on the wrong path so we can turn back to Him in obedience. 

Many in our culture claim that all guilt is bad, but that’s not the case. When you feel its pangs, you probably know exactly what you did to set off your conscience. The proper response is to come to the Lord in repentance, as David did. Delay would likely mean feeling God’s heavy hand upon you. But with confession, your sins are forgiven, your guilt is gone, and the joy of your salvation returns. (See 1 John 1:9.) 

An amazing side effect of confronting guilt in this way is a willingness to be open about your struggles and failures. Through your experience, you can show others who are burdened with shame how they, too, can be set free and experience God’s peace and joy. 

Bible in One Year: Acts 18-20

Our Daily Bread — Onwards! Unswerving

Bible in a Year:

[We encouraged] . . . you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

1 Thessalonians 2:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Thessalonians 3:11–13; 4:9–12

In the poem “Rest,” the poet gently challenges our tendency to separate “leisure” time from “work,” asking, “Is not true leisure / One with true toil?” If you want to experience true leisure, instead of trying to avoid life’s duties, the author urges, “Still do thy best; Use it, not waste it,— / Else ’tis not rest. / Wouldst behold beauty / Near thee? all round? / Only hath duty / Such a sight found.”

The poet concludes that true rest and joy are both found through love and service—an idea that brings to mind Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians. After describing his calling to encourage believers “to live lives worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:12), the apostle gives more specifics.

And the picture he paints of such a life is one of quiet integrity, love, and service. Paul prays that God would “make [their] love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (3:12). And he urges believers in Jesus to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,” to “mind your own business and work with your hands” (4:11). It’s that kind of life, quietly loving and serving in whatever ways God has enabled us, that reveals to others the beauty of a life of faith (v. 12).

Or, as the writer puts it, true joy is “loving and serving / The highest and best; / ’Tis onwards! Unswerving— / And that is true rest.”

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

How does God’s presence help you experience true joy? How are rest and service united in God’s kingdom?

Loving God, thank You that I don’t need to avoid the duties and rhythms of daily life to experience Your beauty. Help me to know the joy of a quiet life lived with You.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Living in a World of Fools

“Wisdom is too high for a fool” (Proverbs 24:7).

A fool wants his own way.

There’s no question in my mind that we live in a world of fools. In fact, everyone born into this world comes in with congenital foolishness—otherwise known as the sin nature. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Since we live in a world of fools, let’s look at a few of their characteristics.

A fool denies God. Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.” I call this practical atheism. A fool lives as if there were no God—denying God with his actions.

A fool becomes his own god. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” No man can live without a god. It isn’t a question of, does he worship? It’s a question of, whom does he worship? If a person doesn’t worship the true God, he will worship a false god—which inevitably will be a reflection of himself. He becomes the one who determines truth and error, articulating his own standards for living.

A fool mocks sin. Proverbs 14:9 says, “Fools mock at sin.” Since a fool makes his own rules, he wants to justify his own behavior to make sure he’s going to be all right in the end. He attempts to eliminate sin along with its consequences.

A fool, then, begins by living as if there were no God, substituting himself as god and determining his own style of life. Then he denies the existence of sin because he cannot tolerate guilt.

When God saved you, you stopped your foolishness and became His wise child. Be encouraged, knowing God will continue to help you grow in wisdom through your understanding of and obedience to His Word.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for the salvation of a family member, friend, or neighbor who is living foolishly.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 7:24-27. What is the difference between a wise man and a foolish man?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Rewards of Serving God

My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

— Psalm 73:26 (NKJV)

Having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is our greatest reward in life. Serving Him is a privilege, not an obligation. Take a moment to ponder how great it is to have Jesus as the center of your life. He is with you all the time.

God promises us rewards, but we should never serve Him in order to get something. We should serve Him because we love and appreciate Him. God hears and answers our prayers and helps us in our difficulties. He forgives our sins and grants us strength when we are weak. He guides us and does many other wonderful things for us. And …He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).

We can expect rewards when we get to heaven. Although we don’t comprehend what they will be, we know that anything the Lord does for us will be wonderful. He says that when He returns for His people, He will bring His rewards with Him to …give to every one according to his work (Revelation 22:12 NKJV).

Be excited and look for these rewards, but always remember that God is our greatest reward. He is our portion in life and our inheritance. Live for Him and enjoy Him each day.

Prayer of the Day: Father, You are my greatest reward in life. Thank You for being my friend and Savior. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Blessings and Curses

All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God … But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

Deuteronomy 28:2, Deuteronomy 28:15

On the plains of Moab by the River Jordan, the Israelites were on the brink of finally entering the land God had promised them. Moses addressed the people for the last time, trying to ensure that they would not spoil their relationship with God by their disobedience, as the previous generation had done. He reminded them of what God had said and done in the past, and he exhorted them, on the basis of God’s great intervention and covenant-keeping faithfulness, to be a people set apart for God.

Through Moses’ instructions, God set before His people two striking alternatives—and the stakes were high. He gave them a promise of blessing and then a word of warning. He presented them with a simple question: How were they going to live? Would they keep the covenant and enjoy blessing in the land, or would they disobey and be expelled from the land?

The people who were gathered on the edge of the land must have heard God’s word and said, Oh, no, disobedience like that will never happen to us! Yet fast-forward a few hundred years and where do we find them? “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion … How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1, 4). Captives of a foreign people, the Israelites look back and wonder how they ever ended up where they are.

As creatures living in a fallen world, you and I are so vulnerable, so tempted, so tested. We are always only a single decision away from disobedience and from walking away from God. We are desperately in need of God’s sustaining grace. Tragically, many who once appeared to be devoted, committed, and headed towards the promised land have not simply tripped; they have tumbled down into disbelief. And the worst mistake we can make is to think, “Oh, no, that will never happen to me!”

The Evil One loves to come and tell us that the reason that God has given us His law and established His commands is because He wants to sour our lives, deprive us of fun, and fill our days with heartache and pain. That is the absolute lie of all lies. God gives His word for our good! All the warnings of Scripture are there to corral us and sting us when we are on the verge of ruin, and all the promises of Scripture are there to pick us up when we are timid and unsure, and all the commands of Scripture are there to lead us into the blessing of life lived God’s way, in His presence, in His world. His commitment to our good is seen most supremely in His Son coming to bear the curse of our disobedience so that we can enjoy the blessing that He, and He alone, deserves.

Do you love God? Do you know that God loves you? Then take heed of His warnings, obey His commands, and cherish the comforts of His promises.


Galatians 3:10-14

Topics: Effects of Sin God’s Word Obedience

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – How Can We See God?

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Wouldn’t you like to see God? Wouldn’t you like to see with your own eyes the God Who created your eyes? Wouldn’t you like to spend time with Him in person and to know firsthand what He is really like?

The Bible says that nobody human has ever seen God, but the Bible also says that “the pure in heart…shall see God.” How can that be? Jesus preached that, through Him, it is possible to see the Father. In Jesus’s “Sermon on the Mount,” He tells us how it is that we can see God. What does Matthew 5:8 say that we need to be in order to see God? We need to be “pure in heart”! But what does it mean to be “pure in heart”? What does it mean to be “pure”?

To be “pure” means you don’t have anything in you that isn’t supposed to be there. If you have a glass of pure water, that means there isn’t anything in the glass except water. No dirt, no bugs, no poison – or anything else – but water. If something else is in the water, then it is not pure water.

For a person to be pure means there is nothing in him that isn’t supposed to be there. He is just like God made him to be. In other words, there is no sin in him. The problem is, no human being is born the way God originally made him or her to be. Because Adam and Eve sinned, we are all born with sinful natures. So how can we become “pure in heart” and get back to the way God intended for us to be – pure-hearted? Through Jesus Christ! If you are believing on Jesus Christ and trusting in His righteousness to be your righteousness, then Jesus purifies your heart (makes your heart pure). His blood washes away the record of your sin and frees you from the power of sin. Not only can Jesus cleanse and purify your heart one time, but He can keep on helping you to keep on purifying your heart.

So what does a pure-hearted person look like? Well, he is someone who will not keep on sinning on purpose. Instead, he is trying to keep himself free from sin. That means keeping sin out of whatever he does, whatever he thinks, and whatever he wants. That is what it means to be pure in heart. Psalm 15 describes a pure-hearted person, if you would like to learn more about what a pure-hearted person is like. Psalm 15 clearly teaches that the only way to have fellowship with God is to be pure in heart.

What is the promise to those who are pure in heart? They shall see God! But what does it mean to “see” God?

First, to “see” God means to understand His ways. He is sinless. That is what He wants us to be, too. And when we are, we will understand Him more and love Him more, and we will be able to talk to Him in prayer with a clean conscience. This is the idea of having fellowship with God, knowing firsthand what He really is like. God is a spirit, so He is “knowable” through pure-hearted fellowship.

But there really is a way that pure-hearted believers will get to “see” God with their own eyes. “They shall see God” means just that. We who are saved by Jesus Christ will get to see God in eternity. In this earthly life, we can “see” God in the understanding sense, through Jesus Christ’s righteousness. And in the new heaven and the new earth, we will be able to be with God and to “see” Him with our own eyes, because of what Jesus Christ did for us.

God promises that the “pure in heart” will see Him!

My Response:
» Do I try not to sin?
» In my heart, am I really wanting to know and have fellowship with God?
» If I am not enjoying fellowship with God right now, what might be my problem?

Denison Forum – Candace Cameron Bure ridiculed for biblical morality

Candace Cameron Bure starred in thirty Hallmark Channel movies, ten of which were Christmas films. Many of her fans were surprised when she announced last April that she was leaving Hallmark Media to develop, produce, and star in projects for the new traditional-family-oriented network Great American Family.

Now she has explained her career move in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them. I knew that the people behind Great American Family were Christians that love the Lord and wanted to promote faith programming and good family entertainment.”

By contrast, Hallmark will release The Holiday Sitter next month, the network’s first original film to focus on a same-sex couple. Bure has no plans to follow suit: “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.”

Predictably, Bure is being criticized by some in the industry. Actress Hilarie Burton Morgan slammed her as “disgusting” and a “bigot,” adding, “I don’t remember Jesus liking hypocrites like Candy. But sure. Make your money, honey. You ride that prejudice wave all the way to the bank.” Dancer and actress JoJo Siwa called Bure’s stance “rude and hurtful to a whole community of people.”

Of course, those who support traditional marriage are a “whole community of people” as well.

Drag queen delivers the children’s sermon

In related news, the Senate voted yesterday to advance legislation that would cement same-sex marriage protections into law. The so-called Respect for Marriage Act is a major issue for religious freedom in America, a topic I plan to discuss in detail tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we are learning that at least four hundred LGBTQ candidates won their midterm races last week. And a Methodist church in St. Petersburg, Florida, recently invited a drag queen to deliver the children’s sermon during a Sunday service.

These are just a few examples of the ongoing quest to normalize LGBTQ behavior in our society. This strategy is succeeding. According to Gallup, the percentage of US adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or something other than heterosexual has now risen to 7.1 percent. This is double the percentage from 2012, when Gallup first measured it.

Among Generation Z (those born from 1997 to 2003), about 21 percent identified as LGBTQ. Among Millennials (those born from 1981 to 1996), 10.5 percent identified as LGBTQ. The numbers declined significantly in each older generation.

“My body, my choice”

It is clear that LGBTQ advocacy is here to stay.

It’s not enough for same-sex marriage to be legal—we must embrace same-sex couples or be considered “disgusting” and a “bigot,” as Candace Cameron Bure has learned. It’s not enough for LGBTQ activities to be more popular and accepted than ever—we must embrace and celebrate them or face the wrath of those who do.

The reason is simple: fallen people want to be the king of our personal kingdoms. We want to be our own gods (Genesis 3:5) with authority over our own lives. “My body, my choice” is the mantra of our post-Christian culture. It applies to everything from abortion to euthanasia, from gender issues to legalizing drugs.

Medical science has helped us gain such apparent sovereignty over our bodies. For example, medication abortions can be obtained and performed at home. Physician-assisted death is more available than ever before. Physicians can modify our bodies and “transition” our genders through hormones and surgeries in ways heretofore unthinkable.

As a result, evangelical Christians should be prepared to face unrelenting and escalating attacks on biblical morality. Our children will be ridiculed at school; we will be pressured to adopt Pride Month and other LGBTQ advocacy at work; our churches, schools, and ministries will be marginalized and worse.

“I have great love and affection for all people”

You and I must resist two temptations in response.

One is to privatize our faith, to back down in the face of opposition and withdraw from the “culture wars.” This we must not do: we are commanded to “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Every person you know deserves to know what you know about the Lord and his perfect will for our lives.

A second temptation is to condemn those who condemn us. This we must not do: we are commanded “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2). We are not to be “culture warriors” but “cultural missionaries,” committed to “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) no matter how others treat us.

Candace Cameron Bure modeled such a response when she replied yesterday to her critics: “All of you who know me, know beyond question that I have great love and affection for all people. It absolutely breaks my heart that anyone would ever think I intentionally would want to offend and hurt anyone.”

She added, “To those who hate what I value and who are attacking me online: I love you.”

“The best way to destroy an enemy”

The simple fact is that you and I are just as fallen and temptable as those who oppose biblical morality. Our sins are no less sinful than theirs. The difference is that “by grace [we] have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). We have received a transforming gift we are now called to pay forward to those who need the grace we have experienced.

So, when you hear about Christians being ridiculed for biblical morality, pray for your fellow believers and for those who disparage them. When you face such ridicule, pray for the grace to “bless those who curse you” and to “pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:28).

Theologian F. F. Bruce observed, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into a friend.”

What new friends will you make today?

Denison Forum