In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Heart of Gratitude

Consider the spiritual riches that Jesus died to give you—and thank Him today for those blessings.

Psalm 100:1-5

The Bible instructs us, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It’s interesting that this instruction was written by Paul, whose loyalty to Christ earned him severe persecution. How was he able to be grateful to God? 

While the apostle’s circumstances were difficult, he knew that his riches in Jesus far outweighed any earthly discomfort. And those same blessings are available to all believers. First, we gain a personal relationship with the one true God—the sovereign, omniscient, and omnipresent Lord of all creation. Second, our Creator loves us with an everlasting and unconditional love. Third, He sent His Son to pay our sin-debt so that we could spend eternity with Him. What’s more, when we trust in Jesus, we are freed from the fear of death. 

And the list of blessings keeps going: God adopts believers as His children (Ephesians 1:5). He has a plan for every life—and bestows special gifts to make it happen. He also promises to meet every need through His limitless resources (Philippians 4:19) and provides His Word and indwelling Spirit to guide us. 

No wonder Paul was grateful! Count his blessings as your own, and let God know how appreciative you are. 

Bible in One Year: Romans 4-6

Our Daily Bread — Trusting Our Future to God

Bible in a Year:

No one knows what is coming.

Ecclesiastes 10:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ecclesiastes 10:12–14

In 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz made the first purchase with bitcoin (a digital currency then worth a fraction of a penny each), paying 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas ($25). In 2021, at its highest value during the year, those bitcoins would have been worth well more than $500 million. Back before the value skyrocketed, he kept paying for pizzas with coins, spending 100,000 bitcoins total. If he’d kept those bitcoins, their value would’ve made him a billionaire sixty-eight times over and placed him on the Forbes’ “richest people in the world” list. If only he’d known what was coming.

Of course, Hanyecz couldn’t possibly have known. None of us could have. Despite our attempts to comprehend and control the future, Ecclesiastes rings true: “No one knows what is coming” (10:14). Some of us delude ourselves into thinking we know more than we do, or worse, that we possess some special insight about another person’s life or future. But as Ecclesiastes pointedly asks: “who can tell someone else what will happen after them?” (v. 14). No one.

Scripture contrasts a wise and a foolish person, and one of the many distinctions between the two is humility about the future (Proverbs 27:1). A wise person recognizes that only God truly knows what’s over the horizon as they make decisions. But foolish people presume knowledge that isn’t theirs. May we have wisdom, trusting our future to the only One who actually knows it.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where do you see temptation to control the future? How can you better trust God with your coming days?

Dear God, help me to simply trust You today.

Grace to You; John MacArthur – From Jacob to Israel

“By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped” (Heb. 11:21).

Jacob’s life typifies the spiritual pilgrimage from selfishness to submission.

Jacob’s life can be outlined in three phases: A stolen blessing, a conditional commitment, and a sincere supplication.

From the very beginning it was God’s intention to bless Jacob in a special way. But Jacob, whose name means “trickster,” “supplanter,” or “usurper,” tricked his father into blessing him instead of his older brother, Esau (Gen. 27:1-29). As a result, Jacob had to flee from Esau and spend fourteen years herding flocks for his Uncle Laban.

As Jacob traveled toward Laban’s house, God appeared to him in a dream (Gen. 28:10-22) and made him the recipient of the covenant promises first made to his grandfather, Abraham, then to his father, Isaac.

Jacob’s response is revealing, for he “made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God'” (vv. 20-21, emphasis added). Jacob’s conditional vow said in effect, “God, if you’ll give me what I want, I’ll be your man.”

Despite Jacob’s selfish motives, God did bless him, but He humbled him too. By the time he left Laban’s house, Jacob was ready to yield to God’s will unreservedly. Note his change of heart in Genesis 32:10: “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to [me].”

Then the Lord appeared in the form of a man and wrestled with Jacob all night (v. 24). Jacob refused to let Him go until he received a blessing. That wasn’t a selfish request, but one that came from a heart devoted to being all God wanted him to be. That’s when the Lord changed Jacob’s name to “Israel,” which means “he fights or persists with God.”

Like Abraham and Isaac before him, Jacob never saw the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. Yet on his spiritual journey from Jacob to Israel, from selfishness to submission, he learned to trust God and await His perfect timing.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for grace to consistently pursue God’s will, and patience to wait on His perfect timing.

For Further Study

Read Jacob’s story in Genesis 27-35.

From Drawing Near 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 – The Question of Suffering

Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:17

No one is a stranger to suffering. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a painful diagnosis, a conflict at work, a broken relationship, or anything similar, trials are not exclusive to any one person. Throughout Scripture, we see numerous accounts of suffering. As we live life and as we read our Bibles, it becomes unarguably apparent that suffering is a part of human existence.

Once we accept this reality, one of the most critical questions we find ourselves asking is “Why?” Why do people suffer? All worldviews and religions offer their attempts at answers: “Pain is just an illusion.” “There is no God; pain is meaningless.” “Pain is out of God’s control.” “Pain is payback for past deeds in your present or previous life.” All those answers have something in common: they offer no hope. But God Himself offers us a better answer.

While He could have stopped Satan from deceiving, or stopped Adam and Eve from being deceived, or even stopped suffering altogether. God instead chose to use suffering to teach men and women the meaning of willing love and genuine obedience, and of their need for a Savior. It is our very freedom that makes learning this lesson a possibility. God did not make us to be automatons. He wanted us to serve Him freely and lovingly, not out of force or obligation. Tragically, though, in that freedom, humanity chose life apart from Him—with dreadful consequences. And whenever we sin, we show that we are no different than our first ancestors.

God knew that men and women needed to be confronted by the truth that rebellion against Him is folly. That is why He banished them from the tree of life in Eden (Genesis 3:22-24). That is why the world no longer works as it was created to—and neither do our bodies (v 16-19). Like a rebellious child realizing the folly of their choice, willingly returning home and appreciating their family all the more, we can freely return to God, longing for His love. God allowed sin to come into the world in all its horribleness so that we could feel the consequences of our choices and learn to love Him all the more as He displays the beauty of His own love in a world of evil.

C.S. Lewis famously put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[1]

God is not the author of evil, but He is sovereign over evil. Therefore, we can have this hope: there will be a day when God will bring all evil to an end. Meanwhile, He determines to leave things as they are in order that through our trials we might cling to the Suffering Servant as our Savior. Do not let your disappointments over life in a fallen world persuade you that God is not there or He does not care. Rather, let them drive you again and again to your Savior, who promises one day to make an end of all that is wrong and stretches before you an eternity in which all is right.


Luke 15:11-32

Topics: Affliction Sovereignty of God Suffering Trials


1 The Problem of Pain (Harper Collins, 2001), p 91.

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

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Worthy of Our Gratitude

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 107:1)

Thanksgiving might be your favorite holiday. Many American children love everything to do with Thanksgiving. Maybe when you think of Thanksgiving, you think of a banquet – turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar on top, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh-baked dinner rolls and various vegetables. Of course, there are the pies, ice cream, and other desserts. Maybe you love the tradition of getting together with family and friends. Perhaps your loved ones come from a long way away to spend the holiday with you. Many families think of Thanksgiving as a time to play games, remember the past, play out-side and just enjoy being together again. For you, Thanksgiving might bring back many memories – good memories.

More than anything else, the observation of the Thanksgiving holiday ought to remind us of the God the pilgrims came to America to worship. These people left everything they knew and moved their families thousands of miles so that they could worship God the way they believed the Bible teaches. They were treated badly in their homelands because they would not give in to the way everyone else had decided religion should be done. They wanted to teach their children according to the doctrines of the Bible. They wanted to trust and obey God and His Word over the opinions of men and women. So they risked their lives to cross the ocean and come to America. God was that important to them.

Not everything went well once they reached America, either. There were difficulties they could never have imagined. Some of the natives were hostile and fought against them. The winters were very harsh, and sickness took some of their lives. But God, in His great kindness, provided for them. He provided relationships with some kind natives who helped them. They helped the pilgrims understand how to farm and taught them how to get along in this world that was so new to them. Surely, in many other ways God provided for them. The pilgrims were thankful for all these things.

All of us have many things for which we can be thankful. But it is God Himself Who ought to cause us to feel most grateful. He is the Giver of so many of our gifts. But we ought to love and praise the Giver more than we love and praise the gifts He has given us. God chose to be good to us and provide good things for us. He did so because He Himself is good. Even when we are not as good as we should be, God is still good. And all that is good comes from God. That’s what we are told in God’s Word, the Bible that the pilgrims held in such high honor. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

This Thanksgiving – and every day! – remember all the good things God has given you and your family. And remember what the psalmist did: “give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good!”

God is worthy of our thanks because He Himself is perfectly good and gives such good gifts.

My Response:
» Do I have a thankful heart every day?
» What am I most grateful to God for in my life?
» How can I show every day that God’s goodness and greatness are worth my praise?

Denison Forum – Seven dead after attack in Virginia Walmart

At least seven people are dead after a mass shooting at a Walmart supermarket in Chesapeake, Virginia, last night. The shooter, believed to be the store manager, opened fire and then turned the gun on himself and is now dead.

In other news, Virginia’s football game against Virginia Tech that was scheduled for Friday has been canceled in the aftermath of the shooting that claimed the lives of three Cavaliers football players. Police in Idaho are asking for the public’s help after receiving a tip that one of the four students murdered on November 13 had a stalker. And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is condemning Russia’s strike today on a maternity ward that killed a newborn baby.

“There’s a need and I have resources”

Scripture calls us to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), a command that is especially difficult to obey in the midst of tragedy.

But it is in such hard times that serving others can spark gratitude in those who grieve and lift the spirits of those who are suffering.

Tom Gorzycki is an example. The eighty-seven-year-old learned to cut hair in the Navy, then worked for more than thirty-six years in a barbershop. Now he works from the basement of a Minnesota retirement home, where he offers free haircuts in exchange for donations.

The money doesn’t go to Gorzycki—it benefits a relief organization called “Arm in Arm in Africa.” In the five years he has set up shop, he has raised more than thirteen thousand dollars cutting hair. He has donated thousands more from his personal savings.

“There’s a need and I have resources. That’s what you do,” Gorzycki said. He added, “As long as my hands are steady, I’ll just keep doing it. One person can make a difference. You just roll up your sleeves and do what the heck you can.”

“Good stewards of God’s varied grace”

When I read Tom Gorzycki’s story, my spirits were lifted and my desire to serve was strengthened. I would guess you felt the same way.

Of all the people who live and love in ways that evoke such gratitude from others, followers of Jesus should be at the front of the line. Scripture is clear: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).

Furthermore, God calls us a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). St. Leo the Great (died AD 461) responded to this biblical assertion: “What is more king-like than to find yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one’s heart?”

When we serve and live in ways that honor our Lord, we direct gratitude to the Source of our lives: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

“Living and true temples of God”

The bishop, preacher, and theologian St. Caesarius of Arles was born around AD 470 and died in 542. In a sermon, he reminded us that “we are indeed living and true temples of God. God does not dwell only in things made by human hands, nor in homes of wood and stone, but rather he dwells principally in the soul made according to his own image and fashioned by his own hand.”

He continued: “When Christ came, he banished the devil from our hearts, in order to build in them a temple for himself. Let us therefore do what we can with his help, so that our evil deeds will not deface that temple. For whoever does evil, does injury to Christ.”

He then applied his exhortation: “Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified.

“Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised, ‘I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts’” (paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 6:16).

“Instead, I think of myself less”

As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, let’s resolve to be people for whom others give thanks. And let’s do so out of transforming gratitude for the One to whom we direct the thanksgiving of our tables and of our hearts.

Tim Keller observed: “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself or less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”

As you think of yourself less and your Lord more, I invite you to make this hymn by Charles Wesley your prayer today:

O Thou who camest from above,
the pure celestial fire to impart
kindle a flame of sacred love
upon the mean altar of my heart. 

There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return,
in humble prayer and fervent praise. 

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
to work and speak and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire,
and still stir up thy gift in me. 

Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat,
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make my sacrifice complete.


Denison Forum