Our Daily Bread — The Rest of Our Story

Bible in a Year:

Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, . . . has triumphed.

Revelation 5:5

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Revelation 5:1–10

For more than six decades, news journalist Paul Harvey was a familiar voice on American radio. He would say with a colorful flair, “You know what the news is, in a minute you’re going to hear the rest of the story.” After a brief advertisement, he would tell a little-known story of a well-known person. But by withholding until the end either the person’s name or some other key element, he delighted listeners with his dramatic pause and tagline: “And now you know . . . the rest of the story.

The apostle John’s vision of things past and future unfolds with a similar promise. However, his story begins on a sad note. He couldn’t stop crying when he saw that no created being in heaven or on earth could explain where history is going (Revelation 4:15:1–4). Then he heard a voice offering hope in the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (v. 5). But when John looked, instead of seeing a conquering lion, he saw a lamb looking like it had been slaughtered (vv. 5–6). The unlikely sight erupted in waves of celebration around the throne of God. In three expanding choruses, twenty-four elders were joined by countless angels and then by all of heaven and earth (vv. 8–14).

Who could have imagined that a crucified Savior would be the hope of all creation, the glory of our God, and the rest of our story.

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

What fears and sorrows do you have that need the hope found in Jesus? How does thinking of Him as both the conquering Lion and the sacrificial Lamb help you worship Him?

Almighty God, You deserve all power, praise, and love.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Importance of Brotherly Love

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

Genuine love among Christians is a testimony to the world, to ourselves, and to God.

The importance of brotherly love extends well beyond the walls of your local church or fellowship hall. In John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In effect, God has made love for one another the measuring stick by which the world can determine if our Christian profession is genuine. That’s why it’s so important that we have a selfless attitude and sincerely place the interests of our brothers and sisters in Christ ahead of our own.

If you are a parent, you know what a delight it is when your children love and care for one another. Such harmonious relations make for a close-knit family and fulfill the words of the psalmist: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). God is both pleased and glorified when Christian brothers and sisters love each other and minister together in harmony.

Neither the author of Hebrews nor the apostle John is equating love with a sentimental, superficial affection. As already suggested, practical commitment marks true brotherly love. If you do not have such commitment, it is fair to question your relationship to God (1 John 3:17). Refusing to help a fellow believer when you can, John reasons, reveals that you don’t really love him. And if you don’t love him, God’s love can’t be in your heart, which proves that you don’t belong to Him. This logic is sobering and persuasive. It should motivate us all the more to see the importance of practicing brotherly love: “Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him” (1 John 3:18-19).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for times when you did not show brotherly love or when you were reluctant to help another Christian in need.

For Further Study

Read Luke 6:31-35 and notice how our duty to love extends even beyond the sphere of fellow believers. What kind of reward results?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – Follow God’s Lead

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.

— Psalm 23:1 (AMP)

If we want to reach our goals or find success in life, it is essential that we follow God’s lead.

There will always be people who offer us advice. Some of it may be good, but much of it may not. Or it may be good advice but simply at the wrong time, or it may be advice that will not work for us. It’s important that we always look to God first and listen for His guidance and instruction.

God has created us as unique individuals, and He does not lead all of us in the same way. God has a different, unique, individual plan for each of us. So, if you want to win your race, you will need to find your own running style.

Of course, we can learn from other people, but we dare not try to copy them at the cost of losing our own individuality. Appreciate the advice and example of others, but in your quiet time with God, ask Him for His guidance and follow the promptings He gives you.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, today I ask that You help me follow your lead. Help me find the best path for me while keeping my eyes steadfastly on You, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Embracing Our Limitations

When I applied my heart to know wisdom … then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

We all like to have answers. In life’s endless uncertainty, and especially when the world or our own personal circumstances feel chaotic, we long for surety. Just think of all the experts to whom we look for guidance: medical experts, social experts, political experts, and so on. Yet while the proliferation of experts may be unique to our day, the quest for certainty is not. In every age, humans have searched for some kind of rhyme or reason to make sense of the grand events of history and the experiences of their individual lives.

We find an ancient example of this quest in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Its writer shares with us his attempts to understand “all that is done under heaven,” applying his heart “to know wisdom and to know madness and folly” (Ecclesiastes 1:13, 17). Yet in the end, he concludes that “man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun.” Most people arrive at the same conclusion without so much effort—all we need is enough time to live our lives and to observe the world around us. The wise response to this truth is to humble ourselves and live by the light of God’s word. In other words, we acknowledge that while God does not permit us to know all we might want to know, He has given us all we need. Genuine humility admits, and even embraces, this limitation.

If we were to behold the fullness of all of God’s activity and purposes, it would be like looking up directly into a very bright sun. The light we are meant to live by is revealed in Scripture. It is the word of God that lights our path: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). It may not light all our surroundings, but it does light the way ahead—if we will walk in trust and obedience.

Rather than busying ourselves with what cannot be known, we need to come to the Scriptures humbly, expectantly, and consistently, so that we might discover the light it provides. We won’t understand life entirely, but we may understand it sufficiently, and so sing with William Cowper:

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.[1]

This view of life under the sun is what will enable us to increasingly trust that God will, in His own time and in His own way, bring perfect order out of seeming confusion. He will use all of our circumstances to complete all of His purposes for all of eternity.


Ecclesiastes 8

Topics: The Bible Christian Thinking Trusting God


1 William Cowper, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” (1774).

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Knows His Creation

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” (Psalm 147:4)

Molly loved to visit her grandma on her farm in Missouri. Because Grandma lived so far away from all the city lights, Molly could see many more stars there than she could at her house in the city. She would lie in the grass on a summer night, just staring into the sky. It seemed like the longer she looked, the more stars there were. Millions and billions and trillions of stars.

The Scripture says that God, the Creator, knows the number of the stars. And not only that, but He also knows all of their millions and billions and trillions of names! His knowledge of His creation is infinite.

The God who created each of the stars created you, too. He knows your name, too. And He knows you – from the inside out. He knows all of your thoughts, good and bad. He knows your fears and your desires. He knows what makes you cry. He knows what you love most. He knows things about you that you don’t even know yourself! He knows all this – and He loves you.

God’s knowledge of His creation is both infinite and personal.

My Response:
» Am I willing to ask God to show me things about myself that need to change?

Denison Forum – How many US teenagers have viewed online porn?

According to a new report (PDF) by the nonprofit child advocacy group Common Sense Media, 73 percent of US teenagers seventeen years of age or younger have viewed online pornography. Fifty-four percent of those age thirteen or younger have seen online porn. On average, they first consumed pornography when they were twelve years old. Nearly one-third of all teens reported that they had been exposed to porn during the school day.

A majority who have viewed pornography also indicated that they had been exposed to aggressive and/or violent forms of pornography; 52 percent saw depictions of rape, choking, or someone in pain.

I have warned frequently about the “plague of pornography (PDF)” sweeping our nation and the damage it is doing to those who view it. Singer Billie Eilish is one example: she says porn “destroyed my brain” after she began watching graphic online movies while she was still in elementary school. She added that she still suffers from night terrors and sleep paralysis as a result of some of the porn she watched.

Brad Salzman, founder of the New York Sexual Addiction Center, responded to her story: “Parents aren’t paying attention and [porn exposure] can affect [their children] for the rest of their lives. It totally colors their perception of what normal sexuality is supposed to look like and it changes the way they think that they’re supposed to interact.

“They can begin seeing other people as sex objects as opposed to human beings.”

Therein lies my point today.

A factor I had not considered

It is a tragic fact that our secularized postmodern culture has desacralized life from conception to death. It was once conventional wisdom that children in their mother’s womb were gifts from God to be cherished; now they are seen as inconvenient impositions to be disposed of as easily as possible. The elderly and infirm were once valued equally with the rest of humanity; now they are being euthanized more widely and efficiently than ever.

Sexuality was once seen as part of God’s design for his image-bearers (Genesis 1:27); now LGBTQ advocates are doing all they can to normalize their ideology among children. From the federal government down, teachers, administrators, and school nurses are being urged to adopt LGBTQ curriculum and endorse transgender identity.

Seen in this light, the ever-spreading plague of pornography is unsurprising. When a culture abandons biblical morality and objective ethics, tolerance becomes the de facto rule of the day. As D. A. Carson has perceptively shown in his masterful book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, “tolerance” used to mean that we allowed people the right to be wrong. Now it means that there is no such thing as wrong, pornography included.

But there’s another dimension to the story, one I had not considered until I began writing this Daily Article.

Of all our moral failings, pornography especially dehumanizes humans. It turns people into pictures, humans into bodies to be used. And the more pervasive and powerful this becomes, the more easily those affected by pornography transfer this desacralizing of humans to all other aspects of human experience, from birth to death.

In a culture where people are a means to our ends, we should not be surprised when lyingproperty theft, and violent crime are on the rise. Nor should we be surprised when an “epidemic of loneliness” spreads across our land. Pornography is teaching millions of Americans, beginning as children, that people are commodities, nothing more.

The courage of Michael Gerson

The good news is that the good news of the gospel gives meaning to life that can be found nowhere else.

Michael Gerson is an example.

I was privileged to know Mr. Gerson, former Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush and well-known Washington Post columnist who died last November at the age of fifty-eight. He was the featured speaker at a Dallas Baptist University event in which I participated five years ago; we spent much of the evening together.

I found him a person of great humor, winsome charm, and personal warmth. At no point did he tell me that his physical health had been torturous for many years. According to his good friend Peter Wehner, Gerson struggled with depression since his twenties and suffered a heart attack in 2004 at the age of forty. He developed kidney cancer in 2013 and suffered from debilitating leg pain that probably resulted from surgical nerve damage. The kidney cancer spread to his lungs; he developed Parkinson’s disease and metastatic adrenal cancer, then metastatic bone cancer in multiple locations.

You would never have known the pain he suffered. As Wehner explains, Gerson was grateful “for the life he was able to lead and for the people who loved him and were able to travel his journey with him. He was in pain, but he was in peace.”

What was the source of such courage? Wehner explains: “Mike’s views reflected what he called a ‘Christian anthropology’—a belief in the inherent rights and dignity of every human life. It led him to solidarity with the weak and the suffering, the dispossessed, those living in the shadows of life. His faith was capacious and generous; it created in him a deep commitment to justice and the common good.”

Michael Gerson knew that his life, no matter its sufferings and challenges, possessed eternal and inestimable value. The same is true of every person on our planet. Including you.

“The core truth of our existence”

Henri Nouwen was right: “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

Do you know that you are the Beloved of God?

Does this fact constitute the “core truth” of your existence today?

If not, why not?

Denison Forum