Our Daily Bread — Blessing in the Tears

Bible in a Year:

Blessed are those who mourn.

Matthew 5:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Matthew 5:1–12

I received an email from a young man in England, a son who explained that his father (only sixty-three) was in the hospital in critical condition, hanging on to life. Though we’d never met, his dad’s work and mine shared many intersections. The son, trying to cheer his father, asked me to send a video message of encouragement and prayer. Deeply moved, I recorded a short message and a prayer for healing. I was told that his dad watched the video and gave a hearty thumbs-up. Sadly, a couple days later, I received another email telling me that he had died. He held his wife’s hand as he took his final breath.

My heart broke. Such love, such devastation. The family lost a husband and father far too soon. Yet it’s surprising to hear Jesus insist that it’s precisely these grieving ones who are blessed: “Blessed are those who mourn,” Jesus says (Matthew 5:4). Jesus isn’t saying suffering and sorrow are good, but rather that God’s mercy and kindness pour over those who need it most. Those overcome by grief due to death or even their own sinfulness are most in need of God’s attention and consolation—and Jesus promises us “they will be comforted” (v. 4).

God steps toward us, His loved children (v. 9). He blesses us in our tears.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What places do you encounter sorrow in your story and in others’ stories? How does Jesus’ promise of blessing alter how you view this grief?

Dear God, when I’m awash in grief and sorrow, please help me to experience Your blessing even in the tears.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Pursuing the Knowledge of God

 “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

God’s greatest desire for us is that we seek diligently to know Him.

To know God and all that He has revealed about Himself is the highest pursuit of life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Such a realization should really be the starting point for all of life’s other pursuits.

As David gave his throne to his son Solomon, his primary counsel was that Solomon know God: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9).

Knowing God not only determines the quality of one’s present life, but also the destiny of one’s life in eternity. Jesus says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is simply knowing God in an intimate way for the rest of eternity. It begins here on earth when we believe in Christ and partake of His very nature and life.

How can we know God? The Lord says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Solomon teaches us, “For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:3-5). This pursuit of God must be our top priority in life. Otherwise, it is so easy to be distracted by the pursuit of money, career success, personal power and prestige, or any earthly endeavor that demands our time and energy.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord that you know Him personally.

For Further Study

Read 2 Peter 1:1-11.

  • What are the benefits to those who know God?
  • What qualities should be evident in your life?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – All Access

Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.

— Romans 5:2 (AMPC)

Did you know that as a believer in Christ, you have 24-7 access to Him?

Everything in our spiritual lives depends on our personal faith in God and our personal relationship with Him, which certainly includes being able to hear His voice. We can enjoy that relationship because Jesus’ death on the cross gives us free, unhindered access to our heavenly Father and our faith makes it possible for us to have an intimate, dynamic relationship with Him.

I love Ephesians 3:12 (AMPC) and have recently been studying it. It says: In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). As I meditated on this scripture, I became quite excited to realize that as ordinary human beings we have free access to God at any time through prayer; we can hear His voice any time we want or need to. We can approach Him boldly without reservations, without fear, and with complete freedom. How awesome is that! Personal faith in God opens the door to unlimited help from Him and to unhindered communication with Him. Come to God with confidence that He loves you, desires your fellowship, and wants not only to hear from you, but He desires to talk to you.

Prayer of the Day: Father, thank You for being there for me all the time, whenever I need You. Thank You for allowing me open access, unhindered communication, and fellowship with You. I love You!


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – God Finishes What He Starts

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

When God begins a work, He always completes it.

In Acts 16, we meet Lydia, a successful woman with her own business and a nice house in Philippi. She had an interest in religion—and then she was changed (Acts
16:14-15). What happened? God began a work. Later in the same chapter, we see a Philippian jailer come off his night shift also radically changed (v 30-34). What happened? Again, God began a work. We can imagine, then, that when Lydia or the jailer were tempted to give up, the word of God through Paul’s letter to Philippi was there to remind them: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In other words, You didn’t start the work within you, and you aren’t going to finish it. If you feel that you can’t keep going, you’re right. You can’t. But God did, and He can, and He will.

God has a long-term plan for His people: that each of us will see and share in the glory of His Son. That is the end to which He is working (Romans 8:28-30). So we, like Lydia and the jailer, have both the need and ability to stay in the race of faith for the long haul.

While it always remains true that God gives all of us many gifts, our lives nonetheless can seem to be filled with disappointments. We continue to give in to sin. We struggle with doubts, and life’s circumstances make it hard to keep going in faith. But we can and will continue on the journey, because Scripture promises us that our God “began a good work” and that He will finish it. As we stumble along the way and face difficulties, we’re tempted to go back down to the bottom of the mountain, trade our hiking boots for slippers, and head back home. But there’s a view at the top that’s worth every ache and pain along the way! And so the word of God comes to us again and again, saying, Come on, just a little farther. Don’t be concerned about all of your tomorrows. God Himself is helping you. Keep walking the way today.

God finishes what He starts. And if you are trusting Christ, then He has started something eternal in you. When you feel overwhelmed at the journey ahead of you, or when the route today looks too steep, find encouragement in these words:

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heav’n.[1]


Psalm 121

Topics: Faithfulness of God Glorification Sanctification


1 Augustus Toplady, “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” (1771).

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Before There Was Anything Else, There Was God

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)

One of Martin’s favorite school activities was Show and Tell Day. One time, he took his most valued treasure: a very old Indian stone. His dad had told him that Indians who lived in Florida long before the colonists settled in America had used the stone as a hammer. Every time Martin held the stone, he thought about how old the stone was.

What is the oldest thing that you have ever held or seen? Maybe you have an old baseball card, an ancient coin, or an antique piece of furniture. Can you think of anything or anyone even older than these things? The Bible verse that you read today tells you that before the mountains were formed and the earth was created, God existed.

In fact, the verse says that God is everlasting: He has always existed, and He will last forever. That is hard to imagine, isn’t it? God has always been and always will be. When you try to imagine how long eternity will be in the future, it almost hurts your brain. God will not only live eternally in the future, but He has lived eternally in the past. None of us can do that!

This eternal God knows all about you, and He has given you His Word (the Bible) in order for you to learn more about Him. Today, thank your God for being the Eternal God and continue to get to know Him by reading His Word!

God has always existed, and He will never die.

My Response:
» Have I thanked God that even though He is the great Creator of everything, He loves me?

Denison Forum – Policeman resigns after suspension for post on gay marriage

A Georgia police officer named Jacob Kersey made this post to his personal Facebook account earlier this month: “God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church. That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.” The next day, his supervisor informed him that someone had complained about the post and instructed him to take it down.

When Kersey refused, the supervisor warned him that failure to delete the Facebook post could result in his termination. He was placed on paid administrative leave for a week, then told he could not share personal opinions on social media that someone might find offensive.

Next, Kersey received a letter explaining that “if any post on any of your social media platforms, or any other statement or action, renders you unable to perform, and to be seen as [unable] to perform, your job in a fair and equitable manner, you could be terminated.” By this logic, any statement made by any person on any subject that another person deems not to be “fair and equitable” is grounds for dismissal.

Realizing that he could continue his career with the department only if “I compromise my values, morals, and deeply held religious beliefs,” Kersey resigned his position.

“The core of who I am”

You and I cannot control what secular authorities do about our biblical beliefs. But we can control how we respond to what they do.

One option is to pay any price to serve Christ as our Lord. After he chose this approach, Jacob Kersey explained his response: “I am grateful for the opportunity that I was given to be a police officer. I do not take that honor and responsibility lightly. However, my integrity and Christian beliefs are at the core of who I am, and I will not abandon them.”

The other option is to succumb to cultural pressure to privatize our faith, treating Jesus less as our Lord and more as a means to our ends.

This temptation is more subtle and attractive than we may think.

“Honest but reluctant taxpayers”

C. S. Lewis likened Christians who engage in religious activities to “honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle. We make our returns truthfully. But we dread a rise in the tax. We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope—we very ardently hope—that after we have paid it there will still be enough left to live on.”

His analogy seems especially appropriate these days as tax preparation companies inundate the airwaves with ads seeking our business. However, I think an even better analogy for religious engagement in our culture is paying for insurance.

We buy a policy to obtain the benefits we wish to receive. We make our payments each month to keep these benefits available to us. We then draw on them as needed—medical bills, house expenses, etc.

But few people have a personal relationship with their insurance providers. I have no idea the names of those who insure our family, for example. We pay what is required (and hopefully no more) to receive the benefits we seek.

“Only pay for what you need”

I have written often over the years about this transactional religion so common to our culture. From the ancient Greeks and Romans to today, our society thinks we can give God (or the gods) what they want (going to church on Sunday, praying, reading the Bible, donating money, and so on) so that God (or the gods) will give us in turn what we want.

But I think there’s something even more foundational behind our impulse to treat God like an insurer whose benefits we procure by our religious “payments.”

You may have seen the insurance commercials on television these days with the pitch, “Only pay for what you need.” This is a tempting way to relate to God in that it limits his activity in our lives to what we want him to do in our lives. When we need forgiveness for our sins or direction for our decisions, he’s waiting on the other side of our prayers, or so we think. But if he wants to point out sins we don’t want to stop committing or lead us in directions we don’t want to go, that’s another matter.

Here’s the problem: God knows our needs far better than we do. Limiting his benevolence to our ignorance is unwise for us and grieves our Father.

“The deepest desires of your heart will be fulfilled”

To return to our insurance analogy, imagine that your insurers know the future better than you know the present. Consequently, they know about the storms that will damage your roof next spring, the leaking water heater that will flood your garage next fall, and the broken water pipes that will ruin your carpet the following winter. They therefore offer you insurance you don’t know you need.

Now, to extend the analogy further, suppose that they are willing to pay the premiums themselves. All you need to do is to ask for their best and trust their answers.

Would you make that decision?

If so, I invite you to make Henri Nouwen’s prayer your own:

I so much want to be in control.
I want to be the master of my own destiny.
Still I know that you are saying:
“Let me take you by the hand and lead you.
Accept my love
and trust that where I will bring you,
the deepest desires of your heart will be fulfilled.”
Lord, open my hands to receive your gift of love.


Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Psalm 100:4

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

An invitation to be with someone is a wonderful thing. When we receive an invitation, we suddenly recognize that someone has requested our presence; therefore, they must value us as important to them. Amazingly, our God has cordially invited us to enter into His presence to worship Him. Indeed, Jesus tells us that “the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23), meaning those who worship Him “in spirit and truth.” And because Jesus has conquered and is now our High Priest before the throne of God, we have the opportunity to enter into the King’s presence and worship anytime and anywhere!

But we must remember that this is our privilege. We have become such a self-serving society that we sometimes forget that it is our privilege to enter into the presence of the King. Whenever we come into His presence, our purpose should be to magnify Him, not gratify us. When it comes to worship, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a bad week, a bad month, or even a terrible decade—you’re not coming for you; you’re coming for Him. Remember, you have been cordially invited to enter His courts. Don’t ever take worship for granted.

Today’s Blessing: 

Father, bless us and keep us, and make Your face to shine upon us. Be gracious unto us and give us peace that passes all understanding. Let our homes be saturated with the presence of the living God and let us each seek to serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, as husbands and as wives, that our children may recognize that God’s plan is perfect and His truth endures forever. It’s in Your name that we pray and ask.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 13:17-15:19

New Testament 

Matthew 21:23-46

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 26:1-12

Proverbs 6:16-19


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Fighting Giant Despair

The Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 1:21

 Recommended Reading: 2 Peter 1:1-4

It’s natural to become discouraged, but it’s unhealthy to stay that way. Satan loves to utilize the giant of discouragement to cast down our faith and progress. John Bunyan called it Giant Despair in his timeless classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, and it imprisoned Christian until he found the Key of Promise in his clothing.

If Giant Despair has you in his dungeon today, remember you have the key to escape. It’s inside your Bible, found in one of the hundreds of promises God has given you. For example, you can claim Joshua 1:9, which says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (NIV).

Discouragement is the temptation to evaluate your momentary circumstances apart from the overarching plan of God for your life. God is a God of encouragement. As soon as you become discouraged, cry out to Him in prayer and ask for His help. God wants to hear your prayers, even when discouraged. He will answer and bring encouragement to your heart.

Discouragement can be defeated only when the full truth of everything that is for us confronts and conquers the half-truth of fear and despair.
Jason Meyer


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – God’s Recipe for Revival

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

—Psalm 139:23–24


In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. . . . But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

One person in the Oval Office, in Congress, or on the Supreme Court cannot get to the deepest part of America’s problems. That is because our deepest problems are spiritual. And the only hope for America is a spiritual awakening.

God gave us His recipe for revival when He said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV).

There’s an interesting nuance regarding the word “pray.” Of the twelve Hebrew words employed to address this verb, the one in this verse means “to judge self habitually.”

God didn’t say, “If My people who are called by My name will love themselves . . .” We already do that. Rather, God was saying that we need to judge ourselves.

That means we are to come into God’s presence and say, “Lord, if there is anything in my life that is displeasing to You, show it to me.” Like the psalmist, we should pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24 NKJV).

We are to set aside our own aims, goals, ambitions, and desires in life, giving up our own wills. That is what it is to follow Jesus.