Our Daily Bread — In All Our Dealings

Bible in a Year:

Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves . . . with integrity and godly sincerity.

2 Corinthians 1:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Corinthians 1:12–16

In 1524, Martin Luther observed: “Among themselves the merchants have a common rule which is their chief maxim. . . . I care nothing about my neighbor; so long as I have my profit and satisfy my greed.” More than two hundred years later, John Woolman, from Mount Holly, New Jersey, let his commitment to Jesus influence his tailor shop dealings. Out of support for the freeing of slaves, he refused to purchase any cotton or dye supplies from companies that used forced labor. With a clear conscience, he loved his neighbor and lived according to integrity and sincerity in all his dealings.  

The apostle Paul strived to live out “integrity and godly sincerity” (2 Corinthians 1:12). When some in Corinth tried to undermine his authority as an apostle for Jesus, he defended his conduct among them. He wrote that his words and actions could withstand the closest scrutiny (v. 13). He also showed that he was dependent on God’s power and grace for effectiveness, not his own (v. 12). In short, Paul’s faith in Christ permeated all his dealings.

As we live as ambassadors for Jesus, may we be careful to let the good news ring out in all our dealings—family, business, and more. When by God’s power and grace we reveal His love to others, we honor Him and love our neighbors well.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

How are your words and actions a representation of your faith in Jesus? As a believer in Him, why are integrity and sincerity vital in your dealings with others?

Dear God, help me to serve others with such a clear conscience that my love for them is evident.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Author of Our Salvation

“It was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10).

Through His death, Christ became the perfect leader for His people.

As we look at what Christ has done, we must never forget that He was fulfilling the sovereign plan of God. The writer of Hebrews tells us it was fitting in God’s sight for Christ to bring many sons to glory. That means everything God did through Christ was consistent with His character.

The cross was a masterpiece of God’s wisdom. It displayed His holiness in His hatred of sin. It was consistent with His power: Christ endured in a few hours what it would take an eternity to expend on sinners. The cross displayed His love for mankind. And Christ’s death on the cross agreed with God’s grace because it was substitutionary.

To bring “many sons to glory,” God had “to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” The Greek word translated “author” (archēgos) means “pioneer” or “leader.” It was commonly used of a pioneer who blazed a trail for others to follow. The archēgos never stood at the rear giving orders; he was always out front blazing the trail. As the supreme Archēgos, Christ has gone before us—He is our trailblazer.

Life seems most anxious and dreadful when death is near. That’s a trail we cannot travel by ourselves. But the Author of our salvation says, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). Only the perfect Pioneer could lead us out of the domain of death into the presence of the Father. All you have to do is put your hand in His nail- scarred hand and He will lead you from one side of death to the other. Then you can say with the apostle Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55).

Suggestion for Prayer

Praise God for all His attributes, specifically for each one displayed in Christ’s death for you.

For Further Study

Read Hebrews 5:8-9 and 1 Peter 2:19-25. How do those verses expand on Hebrews 2:10?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – Good Things Are on the Way

The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, to those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word].

— Lamentations 3:25 (AMP)

Sometimes when you’ve had a long series of painful or disappointing things happen, you can get to a point where you are just expecting more of what you’ve already had. But if you are expecting something bad to happen, those expectations will steal your joy and make it almost impossible to live a victorious life.

Instead of expecting the worst, choose to expect the best. Decide in your quiet time with God that you are going to hope for and expect good things. When you do, this opens the door to God’s plan in your life (see Lamentations 3:25).

The next time you are having a bad day, examine your expectations, and if you find they are not what they should be, you can quickly make an adjustment that will bring God’s reassuring peace and uncontainable joy back into your life.

Prayer of the Day: Father, anytime I feel discouraged or weary, help me remember that there is always hope. Help me be filled with hope in You and positive expectation. You are good, and I believe You want to be good to me, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Antidote to Pride

Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.

Mark 8:15

It is sobering to consider how many people saw the Lord Jesus, heard His teaching, and witnessed His miracles—and yet refused to believe.

The same day that they saw Him feed 4,000 with a few loaves and fishes—revealing Himself to be the God who provides for His people in the wilderness (Mark 8:1-10; see Exodus 16)—the Pharisees asked Him for a “sign from heaven” (Mark 8:11). In response, Jesus cautioned His followers, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

The Pharisees were marked by hypocrisy: Herod by hostility. The Pharisees wished to hold on to their self-righteous assumptions that they merited blessing from God, and so they had no place for a Savior. Herod wished to hold on to the power he wielded over the people, so he had no place for the King. Therefore, they were committed to a blindness to truth. Their approach refused to believe or understand who Jesus was. They were essentially saying, I really don’t want to find out what Jesus means, and I certainly will not accept that He is my Savior or my King. Jesus warned against taking on that same attitude, because even a trace amount of leaven—of unbelief—can make a significant difference.

When pride rears its ugly head, it can lead us to judge the Scriptures rather than learning from them. When we stand in judgment over God’s word, though, what we might regard as trivial and insignificant tweaking of truth will actually be the leaven—the yeast—which spreads throughout the entire bread of our convictions.

Jesus’ challenge to us is to humbly accept Him as who He is—to allow Him to save us of our sins and to rule over our whole life. He patiently reminds us again and again of who He is. His challenge is prophetic and parental, direct and loving.

We need the work of Christ to overcome the effects of the leaven of pride. It takes divine intervention to understand Christ’s work in our lives. That’s why people can read the Bible and see nothing—can listen to the gospel story and hear nothing. Until the eyes of understanding are opened and our ears are unplugged, we will remain unaffected. But every day that God’s Spirit shows us the beauty of Jesus, and reminds us of our desperate need for Him, our hearts and minds can sing:

I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the word, creating faith in Him.
But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able.[1]

The antidote to the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod is the work of the Spirit. Do not be so proud as to assume you do not need Him. Pray that He would show you Jesus afresh in His word today, so that you might worship your Savior and King with every part of your life.


Luke 18:9-14

Topics: God’s Word Humility Hypocrisy Pride


1 Daniel Webster Whittle, “I Know Whom I Have Believed” (1883).

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Gives Perfect Gifts

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11)

Have you ever spent a long time trying to find just the right gift for someone? It may have been for Christmas, for a birthday, or for another special occasion. Sometimes you buy gifts, and sometimes you make them; but you still put time and thought into what you decide to give. Your dad has to get just the right tie, and your mom needs the best-written poem. Your sister can’t get just any game. It’s so exciting to watch your loved one’s face as he or she opens up that good gift after you have put so much into choosing or making it.

Have you ever asked for something for months – and then finally received just what you’d been wanting? What a great feeling! You definitely feel loved when you get that specific thing you’ve been wanting for so long. Imagine that for months – like starting in the summer – whenever your family members ask what you want for Christmas, you say you would really like a new electronic game system. Over and over they hear you say it: A new game system. Now imagine that Christmas morning finally arrives, and there under the tree is a new game system! Wow! For you, that would be a good gift!

You love to give and to get good gifts. But the Bible talks about a big difference between just good gifts and perfect gifts. The apostle Matthew wrote that if a son were to ask his father for some bread to eat, no good father would give him a stone to eat instead. Similarly, no good mother would give her daughter a snake to eat if her daughter were to ask for some fish. Parents often seem to know how to give pretty good gifts. They know you well and try to get things for you that you need or will like. They also know what you don’t need to get – sometimes they know that better than you do! You’ve probably experienced that kind of parental goodness before, too – some time when you didn’t get something you’d asked for because your parents knew that it was not the best thing for you to have.

As good as your earthly parents might be at giving good gifts, the heavenly Father is the only One Who can give perfect gifts. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” Now that’s exciting! Even better than your earthly loved ones, your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need and don’t need. He can make sure you receive the right things. You can trust His perfect goodness and His perfect gifts.

We may know how to give good gifts, but God knows how to give perfect gifts.

My Response:
» Am I looking to earthly good gifts to make me happy, or to God’s perfect gifts?
» How can I help others hope in God Himself?

Denison Forum – Amy Grant receives Kennedy Center Honors, will host same-sex wedding

In a televised special tonight, Amy Grant will become the first contemporary Christian music star to be recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors. This distinction is well deserved: her total career album sales have exceeded thirty million with over one billion global streams. She has received six Grammy Awards and twenty-six Dove Awards, including four Artist of the Year Awards.

I have followed her career since it began and have been grateful for the way she brought contemporary Christian music to the attention of the larger culture. However, she is also in the news today for a less positive reason: she told the Washington Post that she and her husband, Vince Gill, are planning to host her niece’s same-sex wedding at their farm, which will be her family’s “first bride and bride” nuptials.

She explained, “Honestly, from a faith perspective, I do always say, ‘Jesus, you just narrowed it down to two things: love God and love each other.’ I mean, hey—that’s pretty simple.”

In other news, thousands of flights have been canceled this week as a major storm has stranded travelers around the country. A doctor who has practiced for three decades in China says he has never seen anything like the crisis confronting the nation as the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming their hospitals.

And the United Nations is warning that nuclear war is “back within the realm of possibility.” Russian state television announced that the Pentagon, Camp David, Jim Creek Naval Radio Station in Washington, Fort Ritchie in Maryland, and McClellan Air Force Base in California would be their first targets.

“The interrelated structure of reality”

These disparate stories illustrate a common theme, one I will explain by illustration.

According to Amy Grant, we are to “love each other,” a biblical command that, in her view, includes same-sex marriage. Her position is more or less relevant to you depending on whether, like her, you care for someone engaged in same-sex sexual relationships.

The story about mass flight cancelations interests you more or less personally depending on whether one of these flights was yours. The escalating crisis in China matters more or less to you depending on whether you live in China and/or care personally for someone who does. The UN warning about nuclear war becomes even more threatening if you live near one of the Russians’ first targets.

But Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was right: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” He called this “the interrelated structure of reality.” John Donne famously observed, “No man is an island entire of itself . . . Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

I wonder, would Amy Grant extend her defense of her niece’s same-sex wedding to include polygamy? Popular support for this practice has increased fourfold in the last decade and a half. What about “genetic sexual attraction,” otherwise known as incest? A Virginia university professor was placed on administrative leave just last year for insisting that it isn’t necessarily immoral for adults to be sexually attracted to children.

If “love is love,” as we so often hear these days, where do we draw the line? How many innocent people will this unbiblical ethic continue to harm? And what will happen to the religious freedom of those who uphold biblical sexuality?

How many families’ holidays were disrupted when family members were unable to travel to be with them? China’s escalating pandemic crisis will result in economic damage for the world because China is a major producer of goods. It will also mean that there will be fewer medical supplies available because China is their major producer but now needs the supply.

And of course, a nuclear attack on any city in America is an unthinkable crisis for all Americans.

How to “easily judge the character of a man”

We noted yesterday the urgency and privilege of sacrificial compassion as our primary medium of witnessing to a post-Christian, skeptical culture. This opportunity is only enhanced by an existentialist society that measures all news through the prism of the personal. In a day when people care primarily about what affects them directly, you and I will stand out when we extend God’s grace to those who cannot repay us or otherwise affect us.

Malcolm S. Forbes observed, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” By this standard, Jesus Christ had the highest character of any person in all of human history.

We could “do nothing for him,” but he chose to do everything for us. C. S. Lewis explained his incarnation: “The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.”

Jesus’ compassion for tax collectors, Samaritans, and lepers earned him only the opprobrium of Jewish society. His crucifixion was the most horrific form of execution ever devised.

“What greater grace could God have made”

St. Augustine reminded us of the significance of such grace: “You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.”

He then asked, “What greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become son of God?”

Will you share such grace with “those who can do nothing” for you today? And will you respond to your Father’s love with the worship of your heart?

Our joyful praises sing
To Christ, that set us free;
Like tribute to the Father bring,
And, Holy Ghost, to thee.

Denison Forum