Our Daily Bread — The God Who Redeems

Bible in a Year:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.

Isaiah 43:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 43:1–7

As part of a sermon illustration, I walked toward the beautiful painting an artist had been creating on the platform and made a dark streak across the middle of it. The congregation gasped in horror. The artist simply stood by and watched as I defaced what she’d created. Then, selecting a new brush, she lovingly transformed the ruined painting into an exquisite work of art.

Her restorative work reminds me of the work God can perform in our lives when we’ve made a mess of them. The prophet Isaiah rebuked the people of Israel for their spiritual blindness and deafness (Isaiah 42:18–19), but then he proclaimed the hope of God’s deliverance and redemption: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you” (43:1). He can do the same for us. Even after we’ve sinned, if we confess our sins and turn to God, He forgives and restores us (vv. 5–7; see 1 John 1:9). We can’t bring beauty out of the mess, but Jesus can. The good news of the gospel is that He has redeemed us by His blood. The book of Revelation assures us that in the end, Christ will dry our tears, redeem our past, and make all things new (Revelation 21:4–5).

We have a limited vision of our story. But God who knows us “by name” (Isaiah 43:1) will make our lives more beautiful than we could ever imagine. If you’ve been redeemed by faith in Jesus, your story, like the painting, has a glorious ending.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

How have you messed up? What has God provided for your restoration and redemption?

Dear Jesus, thank You for never giving up on me. I surrender to You and ask that You please redeem what I’ve ruined.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Worthy Examples to the World

 “Let love of the brethren continue” (Hebrews 13:1).

To be a testimony to the world, Christians need to live what they profess.

The nineteenth-century preacher Alexander Maclaren once said, “The world takes its notion of God most of all from those who say they belong to God’s family. They read us a great deal more than they read the Bible. They see us; they only hear about Jesus Christ.” Sound biblical doctrine, as important a foundation as it is, is inadequate by itself to influence the world toward Christ’s gospel.

Christians today could learn much from the early Christians, whose lives were such a rebuke to the immoral, pagan societies around them. Unbelievers in those cultures found it extremely difficult to find fault with Christians, because the more they observed them, the more they saw believers living out the high moral standards the church professed.

Christians in those days were obedient to Peter’s instruction: “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). They also heeded Paul’s advice to Titus: “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).

Jesus commanded His original disciples and us, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Of course, Jesus had in mind good works that were genuine and that came from a foundation of good teaching. These verses ought to remind us, therefore, that doctrine and practice must go hand in hand. The author of Hebrews shifts naturally from doctrine and general exhortation to the specific admonitions of chapter 13. Love among believers is his starting point, and it should be ours as we seek to have a credible and worthy walk before the watching world.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you maintain a scriptural balance between doctrine and practice. Pray that He would correct specific areas in which you have been living out of balance.

For Further Study

Memorize James 1:25. Use a Bible with good cross references, and look up other verses that deal with “the law of liberty.”

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Energize Your Life

And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength.

— Ephesians 1:19 (AMPC)

Do you ever hear people say, “I’m so tired,” or “I wish I had more energy”? This is not God’s best for us. God wants us to feel good and have the passion and energy we need to enjoy our lives.

Some people do suffer with conditions requiring medication or therapy due to things they could not avoid. But many times, our symptoms are simply a result of not taking good care of ourselves. You are valuable, and I urge you to invest time, energy, and finances in doing things that will keep you healthy. Whether you need to change your eating habits, sleep more, exercise more, reduce stress, or worry less—no matter what it takes—find out why you do not feel well and do something about it. Even if you feel good, you can avoid future problems by taking good care of yourself now!

Prayer of the Day: Father, I am grateful that You give me rest. Thank You for giving me the energy to do what I need to do, the desire to improve my health, and for the motivation to reduce stress and worry.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Truth and Love

You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12

There is no doubt that Paul’s life and work changed the world. But what moved him, stirred him, and grounded him?

His first letter to the Thessalonian church gives us wonderful insights into what made Paul tick. He was clearly committed to truth and love—to the truth of God’s word and to a love for God’s people. These two coexisted in and drove forward his ministry. Paul knew that neither can outweigh the other without causing great harm. Truth without love is harsh and can result in a ministry that is motivated by personal gain. Love without truth is rootless and results in a ministry that departs from the gospel.

Paul was not interested in prestige, wealth, or popularity. He simply wanted to see fellow believers “walk in a manner worthy of God.” He longed to see spiritual maturity.

In Paul’s thinking and writing, walking worthy of God means living in the awareness that we have been adopted into God’s kingdom by grace. We can build no other kingdom. We must not strive to establish an empire of our own or of our church or of our ministry, nor focus on success or reputation. More than any attachment to an individual or institution, our greatest concern must be to see in our own lives, and in the lives of men and women around us, a devotion to Jesus Christ—a commitment to holding to His truth and living with His love.

John the Baptist exemplified this humility when he proclaimed of Christ, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). He knew he was simply a servant of the Lord, receiving only what was “given him from heaven” (v 27) and nothing else. The best man at a wedding does not bring attention upon himself or want the bride for himself but rather rejoices in the groom’s joy. In the same way, our great excitement must be in Christ pursuing and winning His bride, the church—whether He uses us in some significant way or not.

As you make decisions, as you respond to setbacks, as you care for others, as you serve in ministry, is your greatest desire simply to “walk in a manner worthy of God”? Is it to be a person of both truth and love? Let it be said of you, as it could be said of Paul, that you loved God’s truth and that you truly loved God’s people.


Ephesians 4:1-6

Topics: Christian Living Loving Others Truth

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is My Refuge

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

Do you ever need a refuge? A refuge is a place where you go to be safe, a place where you can be free from danger and fear. Everyone is afraid at times. You might feel fearful when you’re alone or when you’re in bed at night with darkness all around. Sometimes you might worry that something bad will happen to your mom or dad. Sometimes you’re afraid because you know you’ve done something wrong – even if you haven’t been caught yet.

God wants to be your refuge at those times. He tells you to pour out your heart to Him. Does that mean you need to use just the right words when you pray? Should you try to pretend you’re a brave, good person who doesn’t really need His help? Pouring out your heart means telling Him exactly how you feel – because He already knows. Tell Him you feel afraid, or tell Him you know you’ve sinned and need His forgiveness. He is greater than anything that you fear. And He cares for you.

God wants to be a refuge for me when I am afraid.

My Response:
» Am I keeping fear or sin in my heart instead of pouring it out to God?

Denison Forum – Georgia repeats as NCAA football champions

 “The eyes of the Lᴏʀᴅ range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV).

The Georgia Bulldogs repeated as national champions last night with their 65–7 win over the TCU Horned Frogs. Only eight schools have won repeat national championships since the start of the modern era in 1936. The current playoff format only dates to 2015, but college football has named national champions going back to 1869 (when Princeton and Rutgers were the only two teams and split their series, so they were named co-champions retroactively).

The championship game is currently played each year in the month of January, which is named for Janus, a Roman god who is typically depicted with two faces—one looking into the past, the other into the future. The other eleven months were also named by the Romans, giving a stability to the calendar that far outlasted their empire.

We name months for the same reasons we want our teams to win national championships: we name what we seek to control (time, in this case) and we feel like winners when our teams win. These sentiments reveal a truth that is foundational to our lives, our democracy, and our future.

“The worst form of government”

The House of Representatives reconvened last night to pass a set of House rules as Speaker Kevin McCarthy cleared his first major test. However, the contentious nature of the process portends much conflict ahead; lawmakers nearly came to blows during the final votes that eventually elected him to the office.

In other news, Gallup reports that majorities of Americans predict negative conditions in 2023 across twelve of thirteen economic, political, societal, and international arenas. (The one positive: a majority think Russian power will decline this year.)

But our democracy is not the only one making headlines for challenging reasons.

Israel’s new government has been in the news with regard to its relations with the Palestinians. However, I was in Israel when Itamar Ben Gvir visited the Temple Mount last week and can tell you that it was largely a nonevent in Jerusalem. The issue my Israeli friends are all focused on has to do with proposals to give the Knesset (their parliament) power over Israel’s judicial High Court (corresponding to our Supreme Court).

Post-election riots in Brazil over the weekend continue to make headlines; British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is warning that the UK’s problems will not “go away” this year. All that to say, Winston Churchill was prescient when he observed: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

The “twin pillars of our democracy”

Our problems with democracy go back to its very foundations.

Jennifer Szalai reviewed Costica Bradatan’s In Praise of Failure: Four Lessons in Humility for the New York Times. At one point she reports: “Bradatan recounts how ancient Athenians were so committed to democratic rules that public officials were chosen by random lots. Their reasoning was straightforward enough: Elections, which we consider a mainstay of democracy, would have allowed such variables as wealth and charisma to come into play.”

However, Bradatan noted, “a fetish for institutions didn’t protect Athenian democracy from mob rule.” For example, “There were supposedly 501 Athenians on the jury that condemned Socrates to death. According to the political logic of the day, it would have been impossible to corrupt them all; the majority decided he should die, and so their decision was institutionally flawless.”

In other words, democracy (“the power of the people”) requires that the people be worthy of the power entrusted to them. But the “will to power,” the perennial temptation to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5), is ever with us. And it undermines our democracy at every turn.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently identified the “twin pillars of our democracy” as “truth and trust.” He explained: “Without being able to agree on what is true, we don’t know which way to go. And without being able to trust one another, we can’t head there together. And everything big and hard needs to be done together.”

Here’s what Friedman’s analysis leaves out: we cannot trust one another if we have no objective basis for such trust. And such an objective basis by definition requires objective truth. As a result, we must have truth in order to have trust.

However, our “post-truth” culture, by rejecting the former, undermines the latter.

“Religion and morality are indispensable supports”

It is unsurprising, therefore, that our trust in government today is a third of what it was in 1958 (before postmodern relativism became conventional wisdom). Or that 90 percent of Americans expect 2023 to be a “year of political conflict.”

To chart our future in such chaotic times, it is helpful to look to our past.

Last Saturday marked the 233rd anniversary of America’s first-ever State of the Union address. In it, George Washington noted the need for the American people “to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last.”

His remarks were amplified eight years later in his Farewell Address when he stated, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” Our first president added: “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

In short, democracy requires “national morality,” which requires “religious principle.” This is not just a fact of history but a biblical truth: “The eyes of the Lᴏʀᴅ range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV).

Can God strengthen our democracy today?

Can he start with you?

Denison Forum