In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Defending the Faith

Believers should be careful to share the good news of Christ with gentleness and respect.

1 Peter 3:13-16

God doesn’t want his children merely to know God’s Word for themselves. Rather, He wants all believers to share His good news with others. 1 Peter 3:15 says to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” 

The term “defense” has to do with answering for oneself.  In other words, believers should be ready to give an explanation of their hope in Christ. Many Christians have never taken the time to really think through the reasons for their beliefs. Then, when someone challenges them, they feel a sense of panic. 

Giving an account for our faith must be accompanied by a gentle, respectful delivery. Dumping a load of truth on a questioning person rarely leads him or her to the Lord, but a gentle answer opens hearts as well as ears. What’s more, all that we profess must be backed up with a life of integrity. It’s important to remember that a hypocritical lifestyle can damage our testimony for Christ.

Peter’s verses were not written to scholars; they were intended for ordinary people with jobs and families. The Lord will help you think through your defense, but it requires your intentional participation. 

Bible in One Year: Romans 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Faith in Action

Bible in a Year:

Faith without deeds is dead.

James 2:26

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

James 2:14–26

A tornado blew through a community on a June evening in 2021, destroying a family’s barn. It was a sad loss because the barn had been on the family property since the late 1800s. As John and Barb drove by on their way to church the next morning, they saw the damage and wondered how they might help. So they stopped and learned that the family needed assistance with cleanup. Turning their car around quickly, they headed back home to change clothes and returned to stay for the day to clean up the mess the violent winds had created. They put their faith into action as they served the family.

James said that “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). He gives the example of Abraham, who in obedience followed God when he didn’t know where he was going (v. 23; see Genesis 12:1–415:6Hebrews 11:8). James also mentions Rahab, who showed her belief in the God of Israel when she hid the spies who came to check out the city of Jericho (James 2:25; see Joshua 26:17).

“If someone claims to have faith but has no deeds” (James 2:14), it does them no good. “Faith is the root, good works are the fruits,” comments Matthew Henry, “and we must see to it that we have both.” God doesn’t need our good deeds, but our faith is proven by our actions.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

Why do you think it’s important that we do good deeds? What can you do out of your love for God?

May I serve You out of my faith in You and love for You today, dear God.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Watch Your Step

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

Walking wisely is a step in the right direction.

Sometimes a soldier has the thankless task of clearing mine fields from enemy territory. If you’re aware of the procedure, you know the work is both dangerous and tedious. To proceed in an orderly fashion, a soldier marks areas that are considered dangerous and areas that have been cleared. Above all, he makes sure he is careful where he’s walking!
In the spiritual realm, Paul is telling believers in Ephesians 5:15 to walk carefully. The Greek term translated “careful” speaks of looking carefully from side to side and being alert to what is going on. We need to be extremely alert because the world we’re walking through is a mine field of sin and temptation. Therefore, we must walk carefully, exactly, and accurately. The wise Christian carefully charts his course according to life principles designed by God. He doesn’t trip over the obstacles that Satan puts in his path or fall into the entanglement of the world’s system. He is “careful.”
The Greek word translated “walk” means “daily conduct,” “daily pattern,” or “daily life.” The daily pattern of our lives must reflect wisdom. The Greeks saw wisdom primarily as head knowledge. They tended to spin off theories that had no practical implications. To them, the wise people were the intellectuals and the philosophers. The Hebrew mind, however, defined wisdom only in terms of behavior. When a person becomes a Christian, it’s more than a change in theory—it’s a change in how he lives.

Paul is saying in verse 15, “If you used to be a fool, but you’ve been made wise in Christ, then walk wisely.” In other words, we’re to practice our position, to live in accordance with who we are. When we became Christians, we came out of foolishness into wisdom. Therefore, we need to act like it!

Be careful not to act foolishly and step on Satan’s mines. Your spiritual transformation demands that you live your life with care.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord for helping you obey His Word and avoid Satan’s destructive mines.

For Further Study

Read Titus 3:1-8. What are you to be careful to do (v. 8)? Why?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

Joyce Meyer – The Importance of Being Thankful

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

— 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMPC)

Do you ever stop what you’re doing and just thank God for the good things in your life?

If you’ve ever wondered, What is God’s will for my life? the apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians that the first answer to that question is to be thankful.

One of the best ways to enjoy your life is to stop and thank God for the good things He has given you, no matter how big or small. Sometimes we are so anxious to get something new from God, we aren’t enjoying the things He has already blessed us with.

When you aren’t sure what step to take, I encourage you to take the “thanksgiving step”: Actively thank God for His kindness, His goodness, and His faithfulness in your life. You’ll be amazed at how this action will change your perspective and affect your day.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I am thankful for all You do for me daily. Without Your help, and without Your hand guiding my life, things would be a mess. But because of Your presence in my life, I can be ever so grateful and just thank You for all the little things I know I take for granted, amen.

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – A Picture of Heaven

I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10

Many of our ideas and songs about heaven have more to do with Victorian-era Christianity and views of the universe based on the teaching of the Greek philosopher Plato than they do with a rigorous, thoughtful consideration of what God has revealed in His word. We will not spend our eternity just sitting on clouds and playing harps, as heaven is often depicted in art. We will do something far better. Scripture shows us that we will sing God’s praises and worship the Lamb.

The book of Revelation calls us to notice the ever-expanding circles of praise that surround the Lamb. In the first circle, we see four living creatures and twenty-four elders offering incense and singing a new song of praise (Revelation 5:8-9). The second circle, in verses 11-13, then consists of tens of thousands of angels giving Him honor, joined by every creature in all creation. Next, Revelation highlights those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (7:4, 9). They are described both as 144,000 in number and as a company beyond counting. They are portrayed both as the twelve tribes of Israel and as people from every nation and language. These descriptions may seem mutually contradictory, but this makes perfect sense from God’s perspective. The exact number represents perfection and completion; but from a human perspective, the crowd is so vast that you can’t count it when you see it before you. In God’s eyes, the people that are redeemed are His chosen sons and daughters, representatives of every tribe. He knows every single individual. Yet His people are drawn from all peoples. Here is a picture of God’s absolute, total triumph—and of God’s people exalting Him and exulting over His triumph.

So, while this scene opens with the four creatures and the twenty-four elders, it progresses to these thousands upon thousands, reflecting Paul’s declaration that, eventually, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10, emphasis added). Our praise will join that of the countless multitudes, and we will all declare that Christ is the Lamb that was slain, that by His blood our sins have been cleansed, that with His righteousness we are clothed, and that in His company we will live for all of eternity.

One day we will get to join the ever-expanding circle of praise around Christ, who will step forward as the conquering Lion and the humble Lamb, our beloved Bridegroom. But we do not need to wait until then, for we can, even now, join the song of worship with our eyes fastened on Him. One day you will stand before Him and see Him! And day by day, you walk toward that day.


Revelation 7:1-17

Topics: Christ as King Heaven Worship

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Helps Us for His Name’s Sake

“Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:2-3)

Have you ever met someone who was “in charge”? Sure, you have! We all know someone who is in charge of something, or in charge of someone else. To be “in charge” means to be responsible to take care of something.

If your parents put you “in charge” of the new pet puppy dog in your home, that means you have to feed the puppy, give him water, wash him, teach him to obey commands, and take him outside for walks. If the puppy has a clean, shiny coat, and if he is friendly and well-behaved, then people will tell you that you are doing a great job training him and taking care of him. On the other hand, if the puppy damages something very valuable, makes a mess, or bites someone’s hand – you might find yourself in a little trouble! Anything bad that the puppy does could be blamed on you! Your hard work and special care is reflected by your puppy’s behavior and appearance. But if you neglect (forget or ignore) your responsibilities with your puppy, his behavior and appearance will show that, too!

God is in charge of us – did you realize that? If you are God’s child, He has adopted you and brought you into His household. You bear His name now. Your appearance and your behavior ought to reflect Him – they ought to show to other people the good character your Heavenly Father has and the great works that He has done. If you act like an unbeliever, someone who doesn’t know or love God, then your life cannot reflect God’s character and works very well to other people.

Did you know that God is the perfect refuge (place to hide, place to find safety and comfort), and that He will lead you along and point you in he right direction when you are not sure what to do or where to go? That’s what King David believed in the Old Testament, and he was worshipping the same Heavenly Father that we know and love. Read Psalm 31:1-5. What can you learn about God from that part of Scripture?

God takes His responsibility for us seriously. He never messes up. He never does anything accidentally, and He is never surprised. He has a reputation to uphold. Unlike us, God is right to be concerned about His own reputation (His name, or His glory). Being the only perfect God, He has every right to care about His glory. God’s character is always holy and perfect, and He will be faithful for eternity. Because He is all these things (and more!), God cares a great deal about His glory – His good name – and those who bear His name are in His charge.

If you are trusting Him, God is in charge of you. He will lead you and He will guide you. He does that not just for your sake, but for His own name’s sake. He loves to give us the wisdom and guidance we need. He loves to help us and protect us. His care for us is one way He shows publicly what a great and good God He is.

God takes care of His own people, for His glory and for their good.

My Response:
» Is it easy for me to forget Whose name I bear and Who is in charge of my life?
» What do I do or say that reflects upon the glory (the good name) of my Heavenly Father?
» What must I change so that my thinking and behavior line up with the Bible’s true teachings about God’s goodness and greatness?

Denison Forum – “I’ve turned my pain into a purpose to inspire others”: Lyft driver shares God’s word with her passengers

Give thanks to the Lᴏʀᴅ, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1).

“I wanted to give up, but because of my faith in God, I’m still here standing. And I just want to use my story to encourage others never to give up, no matter what you go through.” This is how a Lyft driver named Tomika Reid explains her mobile Christian ministry.

Losses have marked her life, including the death of her mother, sister, and the fathers of her two daughters. She began driving for Lyft in 2017 to support her daughters and to share her faith. “When I hear people say, ‘You made my day,’ I know I can make an impact on people’s lives,” she says. “It brings joy to me. It’s like I’ve turned my pain into a purpose to inspire others.”

This morning’s headlines are focused on the earthquake in Indonesia that has killed at least 252 people and injured hundreds, reports that Iran could attack the World Cup in Qatar, and remembrances of John F. Kennedy on the anniversary of his assassination.

However, I wanted to discuss something more uplifting and gratifying: the power of gratitude. Tomika Reid is grateful for the difference her Lyft ministry is making, and her gratitude then empowers her ministry.

Twenty-eight benefits of gratitude

What she is experiencing is consistent with what psychologists have long known: gratitude transforms those who embrace it.

For example, an article in Positive Psychology lists twenty-eight different benefits of gratitude.

Some are emotional: Journaling even five minutes about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness. A high level of gratitude has a strong positive impact on psychological well-being, self-esteem, and depression. Gratitude facilitates positive emotions and makes us more resilient, increases our life satisfaction and self-esteem, and serves as a protective factor with regard to suicidal ideation in stressed and depressed individuals.

Regarding social benefits, gratitude encourages people to like us, improves our romantic relationships, enhances our friendships, increases our social support, and strengthens family relationships in stressful times. It makes us more optimistic, increases our spirituality, makes us more giving, and indicates reduced materialism.

Gratitude even improves our workplace lives: it makes us more effective managers, reduces impatience, helps us find meaning in work, contributes to reduced turnover, and improves work-related mental health while reducing stress.

Finally, gratitude affects our physical health: it reduces depressive symptoms, lowers our blood pressure, improves our sleep, increases our frequency of exercise, improves our overall physical health, and enhances recovery from substance abuse, coronary health events, and depression.

Seven empowering commands

In light of today’s theme, the biblical exhortation to give thanks becomes even more compelling. In Psalm 100 we find seven such imperatives in the Hebrew, seven commands related to gratitude.

One: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” The Hebrew means to “shout,” to participate actively and publicly in vocalizing your praise to God. To “shout” involves your voice, your mind, your emotions, your spirit, and your body in personal, passionate worship. This is an act of public praise.

Two: “Serve the Lᴏʀᴅ with gladness.” “Serve” here means to focus your entire life and existence on your sovereign Master, giving him your whole heart and surrendering your entire life to his service. This is for every moment of every day, not just an hour at church. It means to yield your life all day, every day, to his Lordship. Do this with “gladness,” rejoicing for the privilege in a lifestyle of praise.

Three: “Come into his presence with singing.” God’s “presence” refers to his “face.” This command calls us to seek personal, transforming intimacy with our Lord.

Four: “Know that the Lᴏʀᴅ, he is God.” “Know” means to acknowledge or confess, to testify publicly that the Lord is God over all the world. This is a public confession made proudly and boldly.

Five: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.” Here we learn that gratitude positions us to experience God’s presence, power, and grace.

Six: “Give thanks to him.” Once you are in his presence, find specific reasons to express your gratitude to your Father.

Seven: “Bless his name.” The “name” of God denotes his presence, personality, and very essence. This means to thank and praise God himself.

The “critical thing” in life

Clearly, the Lord intends thanksgiving to be not just an annual holiday but a lifestyle of gratitude. Here’s the bottom line: giving thanks positions us as creatures before our Creator. It therefore helps us receive all our Father wants to give. And it enhances the blessings he is already providing.

Envision with me the difference a movement of Christian gratitude would make in our broken, negative, chaotic culture. Imagine the impact if God’s people lived with the optimism gratitude empowers.

G. K. Chesterton observed, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

Choose gratitude today.

Denison Forum