Our Daily Bread — Reaching Out

Bible in a Year:

He reached down from on high and took hold of me.

Psalm 18:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 18:16–19

In a recent post, blogger Bonnie Gray recounted the moment when overwhelming sadness began to creep into her heart. “Out of the blue,” she stated, “during the happiest chapter in my life, . . . I suddenly started experiencing panic attacks and depression.” Gray tried to find different ways to address her pain, but she soon realized that she wasn’t strong enough to handle it alone. “I hadn’t wanted anyone to question my faith, so I kept quiet and prayed that my depression would go away. But God wants to heal us, not shame us or make us hide from our pain.” Gray found healing in the solace of His presence; He was her anchor amid the waves that threatened to overwhelm her.

When we’re in a low place and filled with despair, God is there and will sustain us too. In Psalm 18, David praised God for delivering him from the low place he was in after nearly being defeated by his enemies. He proclaimed, “[God] reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters” (v. 16). Even in moments when despair seems to consume us like crashing waves in an ocean, God loves us so much that He’ll reach out to us and help us, bringing us into a “spacious place” of peace and security (v. 19). Let’s look to Him as our refuge when we feel overwhelmed by the challenges of life. 

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

When have you felt overwhelmed by trials? How did God sustain you?

Heavenly Father, there are times when my burdens become too much to carry. Thank You for continuously reaching out to me, sustaining me, and granting me Your peace, strength, and wisdom.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Praying for Believers

“For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Eph. 1:15-16).

Your love for other Christians is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God.

The Ephesian Christians demonstrated two important characteristics of genuine Christian faith: faith in the Lord Jesus and love for fellow believers.

“Faith in the Lord Jesus” implies both an affirmation of Christ’s deity and submission to His sovereignty. Because He is God, He is the Sovereign Lord, so we must obey what He commands (John 14:151 John 2:3-6).

Your “love for all the saints” is as much a mark of true faith as your love for God. John said, “The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now” (1 John 2:9). In that passage “light” is a metaphor for righteousness and truth, and “darkness” is a metaphor for sin and error. It is sinful and erroneous to claim you love God if you have no love for other believers. Those who love God will love fellow believers as well.

If you love others, you will pray for them and praise God for their spiritual progress—as Paul did for the Ephesians—and they will do the same for you. That’s a wonderful dynamic within the Body of Christ, and one that you must diligently pursue.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • If you haven’t done so already, start a prayer list of individuals for whom you will pray each day. List their names and some specific requests. Record answers to your prayers as you see God moving in their lives.
  • Remember to thank God for their spiritual progress as well as praying for their needs. Let them know you are praying for them. That could be a source of great encouragement for them.
  • If you are at odds with another believer, seek to reconcile immediately (Matt. 5:23-24) so your witness will be strong and the Lord’s name won’t suffer reproach.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-14.

  • What requests and concerns did Paul express in his prayers?
  • Do your prayers reflect Paul’s priorities? If not, what adjustments must you make to have a more biblical pattern of prayer?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Taking the Time for Gratitude

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

— Ephesians 5:20 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful – by Joyce Meyer1 MIN READ

Throughout the Bible, we see people celebrating progress and victory in a variety of ways. One of those ways was to specifically take the time to give an offering to God and to thank Him. Noah did it. Abraham did it. And we can do it too.

We would quickly add a lot of celebration time to our lives if we would take the time to give thanks when God does amazing things for us. An attitude of gratitude shows a lot about the character of a person. It keeps God first, knowing that He is the source of every blessing we receive. Gratitude is never about feeling entitled—it’s an attitude that says, “I know I don’t deserve God’s goodness, but I am sure grateful for it.”

Prayer of the Day: Father, I am thankful that You have blessed me with so many good things in my life. Today, I take time to meditate on Your goodness and thank You for Your blessings.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Power in Weakness

A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Difficulties, disappointments, failure, and weakness are all inevitable in life. But have you ever considered the possibility that these limitations may be the key to usefulness in the service of Christ? We often find ourselves saying or thinking something like “If I wasn’t like this, or if my circumstances were different, or if I was healthier or in better shape, then God could and would better use me.” It is easy to wish we could be someone we’re not, instead of believing what the Bible says: that God formed us purposefully, divinely, and intricately in our mother’s womb and has overseen each of our days since then (Psalm 139:13), making and molding each of us as a unique individual.

When we doubt our worth, Satan is quick to encourage us to question the integrity of God’s character and promises. Indeed, Paul calls his weakness, his thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan. Why? Because Satan had used it to bring about doubt in Paul: Why you, Paul? Why didn’t Peter have this thorn? Wouldn’t your ministry be more effective without it? God’s not coming through for you, is He? But our heavenly Father knows best, and He is painting on a far bigger canvas. His purpose is not to make our journey through life pleasurable or to make all our dreams come true. His purpose for us is far grander: to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

John Berridge, an 18th-century preacher, observed, “A Christian never falls asleep in the fire or in the water, but grows drowsy in the sunshine.”[1] We grow too comfortable, too self-reliant, when life is easy and our strengths are apparent. And so God graciously gives us thorns to wake us up.

When God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” He didn’t change Paul’s pain. He changed his perspective. Paul was able to quit focusing on his weakness and begin appreciating the gift that came through it: Christ’s own strength. The thorn suddenly became a rose: something redemptively given instead of something only unwanted. God makes even Satan’s insinuations work for our good, causing us to turn to Christ in childlike and prayerful dependence upon His promises.

The things about ourselves that we want to run from, hide from, or cover up are the very things that could suddenly open the door to phenomenal ministry. Have you considered this truth? Have you considered the possibility that your limitations, your disappointments, and your weaknesses are not detriments to effectiveness but true assets, as they bring you to lean on His strength? Do not see your weakness as an obstacle to serving God but as an opportunity for it.

GOING DEEPER

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Topics: Affliction Christian Living Dependence on God

FOOTNOTES

1 John Berridge to Samuel Wilks, Everton, August 16, 1774, in The Works of the Rev. John Berridge, ed. Richard Whittingham (Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1838), p 396.

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Way Is Perfect

“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler [shield] to all those that trust in him.” (Psalm 18:30)

“Sometimes I pray for things that the Lord doesn’t give me,” Shannon told her Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Collins.

“I understand,” Mrs. Collins said. “Sometimes when I pray, I feel sure that what I’m asking for is going to be good for me. God knows better, though, and we can be sure that God’s plan for us is the perfect plan for us.”

The Bible says that the word of the Lord – everything God says – is “tried.” That means that God’s words have stood the test of time. The place where God’s words for us are recorded is the Bible. The Bible has been in men’s hands for thousands of years, but not once has it ever been wrong. There’s not one place in God’s Word where God said something that wasn’t quite true.

We, on the other hand, are wrong about things all the time. We can’t see the big picture, and so sometimes we don’t understand how God’s ways fit into the grand scheme of our whole life or for eternity. Only God knows how everything fits together. His way is perfect.

Our perfect God acts as a shield for us. We’re safe and secure when we trust in Him and follow His leading. When we step out from under the protection of our Shield, we become vulnerable to the fiery darts of the wicked.

God’s ways are sometimes different from what we would choose. But God’s plans are best in ways we can’t see, and following them keeps us safe. As for me, my own ways are sometimes wrong. But as for God, His way is perfect.

God knows better than I do, and His way is perfect.

My Response:
» Do I have faith in God’s ways or am I going my own way, putting myself outside of God’s protection?

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

1 Samuel 30:6

Now David was greatly distressed … but David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Did you know that sometimes the most powerful motivational speech you’ll ever hear is the one you give yourself? That’s what David did. At the moment when he had suffered the greatest military defeat of his life and his own army was threatening to stone him, David found a way to strengthen himself in the Lord. There wasn’t anyone else to encourage him, so he made up his mind to encourage himself. He rose to his best when everyone thought he should be at his worst. He said to himself, “I might be knocked down, but I’m not staying down. I may be surrounded by bitterness, but I’m not letting bitterness get inside me. I’m not giving in to fear or worry. This did not come to stay; it came to pass.”

Today, decide that you’re not going to let anything get the best of you. Look yourself in the mirror and remember that people don’t see what God sees in you. When He looks at you, He sees a king or a queen. He calls you a joint heir with Jesus to His kingdom. He says, “You’re My child. You are the most priceless of all My possessions. I am the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and I’m on your side. Nothing is impossible with Me.

Today’s Blessing: 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you live in the anointing which God has made possible. May you know joy, peace, deliverance, healing, health and unity. May you know everything God wants you to know to accomplish your destiny. Let the joy of the Lord that maketh rich and addeth no sorrow be your portion today and every day of your life. Go with this blessing in Jesus’ name.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Genesis 44:1-45:28

New Testament 

Matthew 14:14-36

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 18:35-50

Proverbs 4:11-13

https://www.jhm.org

Turning Point; David Jeremiah – The Best From Psalm 23: Anointed With Oil

You anoint my head with oil.
Psalm 23:5

 Recommended Reading: John 10:7-16

Over a hundred years ago, William Evans wrote a little book about Psalm 23, in which he said: “A shepherd must be a physician also. In the belt of the shepherd, medicines are always carried. Sheep are very susceptible to sicknesses of many kinds…. Ofttimes at night as the sheep passed into the fold, the shepherd’s knowing eye would detect that one or another of them was sick and feverish…. He would take the feverish sheep and… anoint the bruise with mollifying ointment.”[1]

Olive oil was the shepherd’s great secret. He used it for making and dipping bread, for fuel for his lamp, as a lotion, and as an ointment for his own wounds and those of his sheep. A few drops of the lubricating fluid would relieve the hurt of a cut or bruise.

The Bible compares the Holy Spirit to oil. The Good Shepherd anoints us with this precious oil, and the Spirit’s invisible ministry to us gives us nourishment, brings a radiance to our face like a lotion, and heals our wounds.

Rely on the Spirit’s ministering work today.

The metaphor of oil—the visible and tangible liquid poured upon and absorbed by a human being—tells the invisible presence and action of the Holy Spirit.
John McKinley

[1] William Evans, The Shepherd Psalm: A Meditation (Glasgow: Good Press, 2021).

https://www.davidjeremiah.org

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Necessary Friction

And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 

—Luke 9:61

Scripture: Luke 9:61

Some restaurants present you with a dessert menu, while others tempt you with a dessert tray they bring to your table. On one such occasion I said to the people I was having dinner with, “Let’s get dessert, because I’m going on a diet tomorrow.”

Everyone at the table started laughing at the same time. When I asked why, they told me, “You say that every time you order dessert.” I didn’t realize it, but that was my go-to excuse for getting dessert.

In Luke’s Gospel we read about someone who said to Jesus, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house” (Luke 9:61 NKJV). At first glance, this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request. After all, what is wrong with saying goodbye to family and friends?

Jesus knew this person’s heart wasn’t right. Being God, He could see into a person. He knew his loyalty was divided. Jesus was saying, “It’s time for you to make a commitment.”

We find the root of the problem in this statement: “Lord, I will follow You, but . . .” This person really didn’t want to follow the Lord.

If Jesus really is the Lord of our lives, then we will follow Him. There is no ifand, or but about it.

What this person was saying is, “I don’t want trouble at home. I don’t want trouble with the family. I need to go and say goodbye for a while. I just don’t want friction.”

Here’s something to consider: you will either have friction in your relationship with God and harmony with people or have harmony with God and friction with people.

If you’re a completely committed follower of Jesus Christ, then you will have friction with some members of your family and certain friends, specifically those who do not want to follow Jesus Christ.