Our Daily Bread — A Small Start

Bible in a Year:

Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small . . . , out of you will come . . . [a] ruler over Israel.

Micah 5:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Micah 5:2–4

The Brooklyn Bridge was considered “the eighth wonder of the world” upon its completion in 1883. But a single, slender wire strung from one bridge tower to the other was essential for the structure to come to fruition. Additional wires were added to the first until a massive cable, along with three others, was woven together. When finished, each cable—composed of more than five thousand galvanized wires—helped support the longest suspension bridge in its day. What started as something small turned into a huge part of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Jesus’ life began in a small way—a baby born and placed in a feeding trough in a tiny town (Luke 2:7). The prophet Micah prophesied His humble birth, writing, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel” (Micah 5:2; see also Matthew 2:6). A small start, but this ruler and shepherd would see His fame and mission “reach to the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:4).

Jesus was born in a small place in humility, and His life on earth ended as “he humbled himself” and died a criminal’s death on a “cross” (Philippians 2:8 nlt). But by His immense sacrifice He bridged the gap between us and God—providing salvation for all who believe. This season, may you receive God’s great gift in Jesus by faith. And if you do believe, may you humbly praise Him anew for all He’s done for you.

By:  Tom Felten

Reflect & Pray

What small or big thing is God doing in your heart? How will you humbly respond to Him?

Jesus, thank You for humbly coming to save me by Your great sacrifice.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Experiencing God’s Peace

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2).

True peace is God’s gift to those who love and obey Him.

Throughout history mankind has sought peace through military alliances, balances of power, and leagues of nations. Yet lasting peace still remains an elusive dream. Even during times of relative peace, nations struggle with internal strife and crime.

The Bible says that man on his own cannot know peace because he is alienated from its source. But we need not despair. True peace is immediately available from God our Father (the God of peace—Rom. 15:33), and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Prince of Peace—Isa. 9:6). It’s a gift of God’s grace to those who love and obey Jesus Christ.

The New Testament so clearly teaches the inextricable link between God’s grace and peace that “Grace to you and peace” became a common greeting in the early church. Grace is God’s great kindness toward those who are undeserving of His favor but who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. It is the fountain and peace is the stream. As recipients of His grace, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)—we are reconciled to Him through faith in His Son and we will never experience His wrath. We also have the peace of God (Phil. 4:7)—the Spirit’s way of assuring us that God is in control even in the midst of difficult circumstances. That’s why Paul calls it the peace that surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4:7).

The world’s peace is relative and fleeting because it is grounded in circumstances. God’s peace is absolute and eternal because it is grounded in His grace. Does God’s peace reign in your heart, or have you allowed sin or difficult circumstances to diminish your devotion to Christ?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that you have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Ask the Spirit to reveal any sin that might be hindering God’s peace from ruling in your heart. Be prepared to respond in confession and repentance.
  • Ask for opportunities to demonstrate God’s peace to others today.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 4:6-7.

  • What is God’s antidote for anxiety?
  • How does God’s peace affect a believer’s heart and mind?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright


Joyce Meyer – God’s WordWord

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]….

— Hebrews 4:12 (AMPC)

I have been thinking about the power of God’s Word this morning and all the changes I have seen in my life and thousands of other lives because of it. Jesus is the Word made flesh, so when we read, study, and meditate on the Word of God, we are fellowshipping with Jesus. As His Word becomes part of us, we are transformed into His image (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). His Word has inherent power in it, and it changes us!

We are instructed in the Bible to meditate on the Word of God, and that simply means to think about it, roll it over and over in our minds, speak it, and know that as we do, it is renewing our minds and teaching us to think as God thinks. Our thoughts are extremely important because they go before our words and all of our actions. God has a good plan for each of us and we will see it come to pass as we renew our minds (see Romans 12:2).

We seem to find it very easy to meditate on our problems. We call it worry! It is a bad habit that can easily be eliminated from our lives by learning to meditate on God’s Word instead. Each time a worry or a fear comes to your mind, find a Scripture that teaches you that God will take care of the problem for you and meditate on it instead of worrying. For example, if you are having financial difficulty, you can worry all day and night about it, or you can think about what God’s Word says concerning Him taking care of you: Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC).

God’s Word has an answer for every need we have. I intend to spend a lot of time today just thinking about the power that is in God’s Word, and I pray that you will join me. God’s Word contains the power we need to be successful in all areas of our lives.

Prayer of the Day: Father, help me discipline myself to meditate on Your Word. Let it become a habit in my life. I ask You to continue teaching me Your Word and renewing my mind accordingly.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Prophetic Word

A great prophet has arisen among us!

Luke 7:16

By nature, we do not see any beauty in Jesus. Of our own accord we do not declare that Jesus is wonderful, that Jesus is beautiful, that Jesus is incomparable. Left to ourselves, we are in utter darkness, having rejected what God has made obvious to us.

Spiritual darkness, noted the 17th-century Puritan Thomas Watson, is worse than natural darkness, yet “natural darkness affrights,” whereas “spiritual darkness is not accompanied with horror” and “men tremble not at their condition; nay, they like their condition well enough.”[1] We love darkness rather than light because the inclination of our hearts, and of our deeds, is actually evil (John 3:19-20).

Is there any light for our darkness? Is there any freedom from our bondage to self? The answer, of course, is an emphatic yes—namely, in the person of Jesus Christ! And as we consider how it is that Christ brings light and life, by God’s grace we are moved all over again to praise Him as wonderful, as beautiful, and as incomparable.

Consider, for example, how Jesus is the greatest and final prophet (Hebrews 1:1-3). God’s sending of His prophets, and finally His Son, represents an implicit judgment on us, since it is our shortcomings that make prophets necessary. We are by nature ignorant of God. We need divine help in order to grasp life’s most important truths.

Old Testament prophets were anointed and sent by God to speak into the people’s ignorance and blindness. These prophets, however, only spoke the word of God. When God came to us in the person of Jesus, He came as the Word of God, to speak into our ignorance, to unstop our deaf ears, and to open our blind eyes. Here is the greatest of the prophets.

We find in the Gospels that as Jesus began His ministry, He was almost immediately viewed as a prophet. So it was that following the raising of the widow of Nain’s son, the people responded, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” Similarly, in John 6, when the 5,000 were fed, the response was “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (John 6:14). Indeed, Jesus Himself acknowledged this role when, in Luke 4, He pointed out in Nazareth that “no prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24).

Jesus came as the very Word of God. And so, in Him, the prophetic word has found its fulfillment, and in Him we discover the ultimate expression of truth—the truth contained not only in His teaching but also in His person. We need Jesus to teach our hearts, to dispel our darkness, to reach us in a way that no one else can. Until He teaches us, we will never learn about Him. Until we see Him as the Word of God, we will never be wise for salvation. But when this greatest of the prophets speaks truth to our hearts, we say, “This is truth”—and we praise the one who is all truth as our wonderful, beautiful, incomparable Teacher and Savior.


2 Peter 1:16-21

Topics: Christ as Prophet God’s Word


1 “Christ’s Prophetic Office” in A Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth, 2015), p 169.

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Forgiving

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

How far is the east from the west? Let’s suppose you decide you want to measure the distance between east and west. If you were to get into an airplane and start traveling east, you could circle the earth for the rest of your life and never find the end of east. You could fly west around our planet a zillion times and never find a point where west meets east. The fact is, neither east nor west has an end, and the space between east and west is infinite.

When you trust in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made on Calvary, He forgives your sins and removes them from you as far as the east is from west. In other words, God will not judge you for the sins you have committed. He erases the penalty of those sins completely.

Are there sins in your life that are burdening you? Have you ever trusted Christ and asked Him to forgive you of your sin? Have you committed sins since you became a Christian that you have not repented of? God will forgive you if you will pray and ask Him. What a comfort to know that your God will remove your sin as far as the east is from the west!

God forgives you when you repent of your sins, and He erases the penalty completely.

My Response:
» Are there sins in my life that I need to confess and turn from?

Denison Forum – The ironic reason we begin the new year with the iconic “ball drop”

Lebanon, Pennsylvania, dropped a giant package of bologna to mark the new year. Tallapoosa, Georgia, dropped a possum. Boise, Idaho, unsurprisingly dropped a giant potato. And, as everyone knows, New York City staged its iconic “ball drop” once again as around a million people packed the Times Square area and millions more watched on television.

When you think about it, watching a giant ball descend to bring in the new year is a rather strange custom. Who thought of this? Why do we still do it?

From “hangxiety” to “God’s merciful dealings”

Before the twentieth century, timekeeping was much less precise. Sailors and ship captains needed to know the exact time so they could chart their navigational courses.

So Robert Wauchope, a captain in the British Navy, created the time ball in 1829. Raised balls visible to ships along the British coastline were manually dropped at the same time each day, allowing ships to set their chronometers to the accurate time.

The devices fell out of fashion by the 1880s due to the availability of self-winding clocks. But the New York Times, looking for a way to celebrate the New Year in 1907 after fireworks had been banned, decided a lighted midnight ball drop was a good way to honor the occasion.

Now comes the ironic part. So many drunken revelers woke up yesterday with hangovers that a term has been coined for them: “hangxiety.” By contrast, Capt. Wauchope, the inventor of the event they were celebrating, titled his autobiography A Short Narrative of God’s Merciful Dealings.

“Hangxiety” or “God’s merciful dealings”—how can we make the latter our story this year? How can we find a larger purpose that will give the new year empowering and joyful significance?

“Permacrisis” chosen as “word of the year”

Collins Dictionary has chosen its word of the year: “permacrisis.” The dictionary defines the word as “an extended period of instability and insecurity” and says it chose the word as it “sums up quite succinctly how truly awful 2022 has been for so many people.”

Now we are beginning the new year with news of the deaths of Barbara Walters and Pope Benedict XVI. From the horrors of war to massive storms and floods to holiday loneliness and financial struggles, we are reminded daily that we are broken people living in a broken world.

However, your Creator has a paradoxically hopeful perspective for your life.

I was reading Hebrews 2 recently and came across a statement I had never considered. Speaking of Jesus’ crucifixion, the author noted that “through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (vv. 14–15, my emphasis).

Consider the thought for a moment: the “fear of death” subjects us to “lifelong slavery.” Why is this?

“The quest never ends till life itself does”

When we fear what will happen to us when we die, we try to make the most of life while we can. We therefore invest this world with more meaning than it possesses: “Behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (Isaiah 22:13).

However, as commentator Ray Stedman noted, this fear of death “creates the frantic restlessness found in so many. That unsatisfied restlessness, that yearning for what cannot seem to be found, is at least partly what the writer [of Hebrews] means by slavery.

“Like a slave bound to a cruel master, human beings find themselves forced to keep searching for what they never attain. They try everything, but nothing satisfies. There is pleasure and fun—but seldom peace and contentment. Soon everything palls and the search must begin again. It is a lifelong bondage, for the quest never ends till life itself does” (his emphases).

But when we remember that the worst that can happen to us leads to the best that can happen to us, we are set free from the fear of death and its enslavement to this fallen world. When we remember that our Lord owns “the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18), we are free to serve him fully and joyfully—whatever he asks, whatever it takes, wherever he leads.

“Right in those, he led me well”

Spurgeon’s observation is worthy of reflection: “Let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us.”

Pope Benedict XVI would have agreed. In his final spiritual testament, released by the Vatican on Saturday evening, he urged the faithful to “stay steady in the faith” and voiced his confidence that, even in our secularized world, “the rationality of faith has and will emerge again.”

And he wrote: “Retrospectively, I see and understand that even the dark and tiresome traits of this journey were for my salvation and, right in those, he led me well.”

As 2023 begins, if you will “stay steady in the faith,” unconditionally committed to your King and Lord, when the year ends (if the Lord tarries) you will be able to look back and say, “He led me well.” And “God’s merciful dealings” will be the theme of your life.

This is the promise, and the invitation, of God.

Denison Forum