Our Daily Bread — When You’re Afraid

Bible in a Year:

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Judges 6:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Judges 7:8−15

I had a medical checkup scheduled, and although I’d had no recent health concerns, I dreaded the visit. I was haunted by memories of an unexpected diagnosis long ago. While I knew God was with me and I should simply trust Him, I still felt afraid.

I was disappointed in my fear and lack of faith. If God was always with me, why was I feeling such anxiety? Then one morning I believe He led me to the story of Gideon.

Called “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12), Gideon was fearful over his assignment to attack the Midianites. Although God had promised him His presence and victory, Gideon still sought multiple reassurances (vv. 16−23, 36−40).

However, God didn’t condemn Gideon for his fear. He understood him. On the night of the attack, He assured Gideon again of victory, even giving him a way to assuage his fears (7:10−11).

God understood my fear too. His reassurance gave me the courage to trust Him. I experienced His peace, knowing that He was with me regardless of the outcome. In the end, my checkup was uneventful.

We have a God who understands our fears and who reassures us through the Scriptures and the Spirit (Psalm 23:4John 14:16−17). May we worship Him in thankfulness, just as Gideon did (Judges 7:15).  

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What fears or challenges are you facing? How does it help to know that God is with you and wants to help you?

Dear God, thank You for not condemning my fears, but always reassuring me of Your presence. Help me to turn to You when I’m afraid and trust in You.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Defending the Faith

“[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him” (Colossians 1:15-19).

A believer should defend the faith.

Despite the diligent labors of Epaphras, the Colossian church was in jeopardy. A serious heresy had arisen, and Epaphras was so concerned that he traveled to Rome to visit Paul in prison. The Colossian church had not yet been infected by that heresy, and Paul warns them against its dangers.

The heretics, denying the humanity of Christ, viewed Him as one of many lesser, descending spirit beings that emanated from God. They taught a form of philosophic dualism, postulating that spirit was good and matter was evil. Hence, a good emanation like Christ could never take on a body composed of evil matter. The idea that God Himself could become man was absurd to them. Thus, the false teachers also denied His deity.

Christ was also not adequate for salvation, according to the heretics. Salvation required a superior, mystical, secret knowledge, beyond that of the gospel of Christ. It also involved worshiping the good emanations (angels) and keeping Jewish ceremonial laws.

By far the most serious aspect of the Colossian heresy was its rejection of Christ’s deity. Before getting to the other issues, Paul makes an emphatic defense of that crucial doctrine. In Colossians 1:15-19 Paul reveals our Lord’s true identity by viewing Him in relation to God, the universe, and the church.

Perhaps you’ve met people who deny Christ’s deity, but you weren’t sure what to say to them. In the next few days, let Paul be your guide in showing you how to confront cultists in a biblical manner. By following his example, you’ll be able to defend our precious faith.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to teach you from His Word how to refute false teaching.

For Further Study

In verse 3 of Jude, what exhortation does Jude give to believers?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – You Can Enjoy Your Life

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

— Genesis 1:31 (ESV)

When God had completed His six days of creation, He took time to look over everything, and according to the Amplified Bible, He saw that …it was very good and He validated it completely… (Genesis 1:31 AMP). By this time in the creation story, God had already created man and woman (see Genesis 1:27). So, when He pronounced that everything was “very good,” it included Adam and Eve, who represent all of humanity. Everyone God made is good, including you and me.

Many people feel worthless, insecure, and unacceptable, which does not agree with God’s opinion of us. He validates us completely. God knows everything about each of us, and He loves us unconditionally. God approves of us; He may not approve of everything we do, but He does approve of who we are as His beloved children. He does not want us to go through life discouraged, disappointed, wounded, or feeling bad about ourselves. He wants us to think about ourselves like He thinks of us.

Throughout His Word, God lets us know what He thinks about us. It says we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 ESV). It says He rejoices over us with gladness and quiets us with His love (see Zephaniah 3:17). It promises that He has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He will complete the good work He has begun in us (see Philippians 1:6). It calls us the apple of His eye (see Psalm 17:8). And it says that He loves us with an everlasting love (see Jeremiah 31:3). Hopefully you can see that God approves of and enjoys you.

I encourage you to approve of and enjoy yourself as well. This may take some time for you, especially if you have been deeply wounded or if you have experienced things that have made you feel unlovable, unacceptable, or inferior to others. Never base what is true on your feelings because they don’t always agree with God’s Word.

I had to reach a point in my life where I had to decide to agree with what God’s Word says about me, even though I could have viewed myself as “damaged goods” because of sexual abuse by my father. Choosing to enjoy and accept myself is one of the best decisions I have ever made. God does not create anything worthless. He is good, and everything He does is good. We cannot believe that God created us and also believe we are worthless. Begin to accept and enjoy yourself where you are, and God will help you get to where you need to be.

Prayer of the Day: Father, show me Your will for me and help me be courageous enough to believe I am good, and to make choices that agree with Your Word. I want the life that You want for me, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Christmas According to Christ

When Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.”

Hebrews 10:5-6

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke introduce us to a whole cast of Christmas characters with whom we’ve grown quite familiar: Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the wise men, and so on. Sometimes we even consider those who are less known, such as Zechariah, Elizabeth, Anna, and Simeon. With each passing Christmas season, we have probably been treated to sermons and studies from the perspective of just about every cast member. Yet there is one notable exception: surprisingly few of us have pondered Christmas from Jesus’ vantage point.

In this verse, the author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that when Jesus stepped onto the stage of history, He took the words of Psalm 40 upon His lips. Just as Cinderella’s glass slipper fit only her foot, these words fit nobody but Jesus.

God was preparing for the first Christmas throughout the centuries of the Old Testament, for all the Old Testament sacrifices were mere shadows of the reality to which they pointed. Those sacrifices involved the death of animals that had to be prodded to the altar. They had no choice in the matter; they were simply pressed into service. But before He even experienced humanity, Jesus knew His role—His sacrifice—would be different. He willingly consented. In the humblest of forms and in an unexpected setting, God the Son took on a body that was prepared for Him—prepared “as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He looked at this broken world and its sinful people, and He said to His Father, Yes, I will go there. I will become one of them, and I will die for them.

Peter grasps the weight of Christ’s death when he writes, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus, being fully God and fully man, entered this world to do in His body what no animal sacrifice could do: He has borne our punishment, cleansed our consciences, and held out divine mercy. He perfectly accomplished all that is necessary for sinful men and women to enter into fellowship with God.

This is very different from the promise of mere religion, in which rules and effort become futile mechanisms for trying to climb into heaven. In contrast, the manger’s message is one of liberating mercy. God has wonderfully taken the initiative and come to rescue us through Jesus. We don’t need to make a long journey to find God, because Christ, the newborn King, knew His role. What is the right response? Simply to bow before Him humbly, praise Him wholeheartedly, and wait for Him expectantly all of our days.


Psalm 40

Topics: Christmas Death of Christ Substitutionary Atonement

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Worthy of Public Praise

“Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.” (Judges 5:3)

During this Christmas season, some people are going out to do “caroling.” “Caroling” is when a group of people gather together and visit the homes of their family and friends, where they sing Christmas carols – songs about Jesus’ birth. Sometimes they bring cookies or hot chocolate or presents to give to the people they visit. But most of all, they give their time – they come sing as a way of saying “Merry Christmas!” and cheering up people who might be feeling sad or lonely. Often, groups of carolers will visit nursing homes or hospitals, in hopes of bringing some Christmas cheer to the residents and patients. Elderly people or sick people are usually unable to get out around town, or else they may not have friends and family – which is especially hard during the holiday season.

Some carolers even go out into the streets or public shopping malls and stand together and sing as crowds of people walk by. Unlike other times of the year, Christmas is a time where it is considered acceptable to sing religious songs in public. Even people who do not really know Jesus as their personal Savior are happy to hear Christmas carols as they go about their errands and do their last-minute Christmas shopping.

Have you ever gone caroling? Some of the more popular carols are very familiar songs to us – like “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World” or “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Have you ever gotten so excited about singing Christmas carols that you discover you have forgotten to listen to the words you have been singing? In all the hustle and bustle of Christmastime, it can be easy to forget why we have so many popular songs about Jesus’ birth.

The whole celebration of Christmas is a very big reminder that God does exist, that we are a world full of natural sinners, and that we need a Savior. For some people, Christmastime is a very difficult season because it brings them face-to-face with the reality of God and their sins against Him. But it is also a time of great hope, because Jesus came to Earth to seek and save sinners like us.

During Israel’s early years as a nation, the people were ruled by judges whom God appointed. During the time of the judges, the Israelites often behaved very wickedly. They did not act like God’s people at all. The world was full of sinners, people who did whatever they thought was right for themselves – not even caring whether God thought their choices were right. But there were some people who knew God and loved Him. Deborah was a godly leader during the time of the judges. In the book of Judges, chapter 5, we can read a song that Deborah sang publicly in praise to God.

In Judges 5:3, Deborah sang, “Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.” She did not mind who heard her. Even the greatest rulers alive back then (kings and princes of other nations) could not compare to the Israelites’ God, Jehovah. From her heart, Deborah sang about God and all that He had done for His people, because she knew He was worthy of public praise.

This Christmas, you might have an opportunity to sing in public. Not just in front of the church and people who know and love your LORD, but maybe even in front of unbelievers who do not know Him. Isn’t it good news that God has come to Earth to seek and save sinners like you, and like those sick people or those shoppers at the mall? A God like that is worth singing about. We should not be bashful or scared when it comes to praising God. No one compares to Him, not even the greatest of human beings. We should listen to the words we sing, and we should mean them from our hearts, because God is worthy of genuine, heart-felt praise from His people.

God deserves to be praised publicly by His people.

My Response:
» Am I acting like a worldly person even though I say I am a Christian?
» How can I praise God publicly with my actions and words (and even songs)?
» Is there someone I can encourage today with the good news of the Savior?

Denison Forum – US military reports that Santa was undeterred by arctic blast

More than one million Americans and Canadians were without power over the weekend as a “bomb cyclone” wreaked havoc with snow, strong winds, and freezing temperatures that affected nearly 250 million people.

But I’m happy to report that Santa Claus was not one of them.

US military officials assured anxious children that the arctic blast that disrupted US airline traffic would not prevent Santa from making his annual Christmas Eve flight. A spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which tracks the yuletide flight, explained: “We have to deal with a polar vortex once in a while, but Santa lives year-round in one at the North Pole, so he’s used to this weather.”

My four grandchildren confirmed the military’s report by opening numerous presents from Santa yesterday morning.

Santa Claus has an official address

Of course, rationalistic skeptics might view both the military’s statement and my grandchildren’s testimony as somewhat fanciful. In their view, anything that defies human logic and experimental corroboration must be considered myth and tradition, nothing more.

This is especially the case if they can find rational explanations for the events in question.

For example, according to the United States Postal Service (USPS), Santa Claus’s official address is 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 8888. The USPS reports that letters sent to this address are received, personal information is redacted, the letters are published online, and generous people “adopt” them and ship gifts to the letter writers. This practice provides a naturalistic explanation for many gifts from “Santa.”

Another factor is the bedrock principle of scientific discovery that an experiment’s results must be capable of verification by others who perform the same experiment. Philosopher Antony Flew offered a similar approach called “falsification”: essentially, if a truth claim cannot be proven wrong, it cannot be proven right.

If I claim to have met with Santa Claus on his nocturnal visit Saturday evening, you will want evidence: Did anyone else see him with me? Did I take his photo or get other empirical evidence of our encounter? Can you speak with him? If the answer to these and any other investigatory questions is no but I still insist that my story is true, you will obviously dismiss my assertion.

And so it is that many view Santa’s “visit” on Christmas Eve with unbridled skepticism. Tragically, millions view the other event we celebrated this weekend in the same way.

Was Jesus a great teacher but nothing more?

According to a recent survey, 52 percent of American adults believe that Jesus was a great teacher but nothing more. In their view, it is as mythical and irrational to claim that the Christ of Christmas is the Son of God as it is to claim that Santa visited my home last Saturday evening.

I believe I understand their reasoning:

One: Since 53 percent of Americans believe that the Bible “is not literally true,” they do not allow clear biblical claims for the divinity of Christ (cf. John 1:1Colossians 2:9Hebrews 1:3John 8:8) to change their minds.

Two: Since we live in a postmodern, relativistic culture where many people consider all truth claims to be personal and subjective, they are not persuaded by the extraordinary extrabiblical evidence for the deity of Christ. (For a survey of such evidence, see my “Is Jesus really God?”)

Three: If Jesus is only a “great teacher,” they are no more bound to do what he said than they are to obey the teachings of Buddha, Confucius, or any other “great teacher.”

Four: Thus they can choose which teachings of the “great teacher” they will obey and reject the others in order to live however they wish to live.

“The site of God’s surprising presence”

The illogical nature of this reasoning deserves a larger response than I have room left to offer today, so we’ll pick up the story tomorrow. For now, let’s close by focusing on the billions of people who do accept the biblical claim that the Baby of Bethlehem was and is the divine Son of God.

In her Sunday New York Times article, Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren explains what this truth claim means for them: “Because God took on a human body, all human bodies are holy and worthy of respect. Because God worked, sweating under our sun with difficulty and toil, all human labor can be hallowed. Because God had a human family and friends, our relationships too are eternal and sacred. If God became a human who spent most of his life in quotidian ways, then all our lives, in all of their granularity, are transformed into the site of God’s surprising presence.”

What does the incarnational miracle of Christmas say to the hurting and lonely? Warren continues: “God knows the depths of human pain not in theory but because he has felt it himself. From his earliest moments, Jesus would have been considered a nobody, a loser, another overlooked child born into poverty, an ethnic minority in a vast, oppressive, and seemingly all-powerful empire. We have tamed the Christmas story with overfamiliarity and sentimentality—little lambs and shepherds, tinsel and stockings—so we fail to notice the depth of pain, chaos, and danger into which Jesus was born.

“God identifies himself most with the hungry and the vulnerable, with those in chronic pain, with victims of violence, with the outcasts and the despised.” When Jesus was born, “it was not into a posh home in a cozy Christmas movie but instead into a place of hardship and sorrow.”

A time for choosing

You and I can dismiss the incarnational miracle of Christmas, or we can believe that “to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:7). We can trust that Son with our greatest fears and failures, worries and burdens. And we can invite those we influence to do the same.

Warren concludes: “The hope of Christmas is that God did not—and therefore will not—leave us alone.” But we can leave him alone and miss the miracle of Christmas in our daily lives.

The day after Christmas is a time for choosing what Christmas will be to us the rest of the year.

Choose wisely.

Denison Forum