Our Daily Bread — Like Our Great Teacher

Bible in a Year:

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

Luke 6:40

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Luke 6:37–42

In a viral video, a three-year-old white belt karate student imitated her instructor. With passion and conviction the little girl said the student creed with her leader. Then, with poise and attentiveness, the little ball of cuteness and energy imitated everything her teacher said and did—at least she did a pretty good job!

Jesus once said, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher” (Luke 6:40). He told His disciples that to imitate Him included being generous, loving, nonjudgmental (vv. 37–38), and discerning about whom they followed: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (v. 39). His disciples needed to discern that this standard disqualified the Pharisees who were blind guides—leading people to disaster (Matthew 15:14). And they needed to grasp the importance of following their Teacher. Thus, the aim of Christ’s disciples was to become like Jesus Himself. So it was important for them to pay careful attention to Christ’s instruction about generosity and love and apply it.

As believers striving to imitate Jesus today, let’s give our lives over to our Master Teacher so we can become like Him in knowledge, wisdom, and behavior. He alone can help us reflect His generous, loving ways.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

What parts of Jesus’ life are you seeking to imitate these days? When is it most difficult for you to imitate Christ, the Master Teacher?

Jesus, my Great Teacher, help my discipline and attentiveness to be worthy of You!

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Joy Versus Happiness

“Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 3:1).

Happiness is related to circumstances; joy is a gift from God.

Not long ago it was common to see bumper stickers proclaiming every conceivable source for happiness. One said, “Happiness is being married.” Another countered, “Happiness is being single.” One cynical sticker read, “Happiness is impossible!”

For most people happiness is possible but it’s also fickle, shallow, and fleeting. As the word itself implies, happiness is associated with happenings, happenstance, luck, and fortune. If circumstances are favorable, you’re happy. If not, you’re unhappy.

Christian joy, however, is directly related to God and is the firm confidence that all is well, regardless of your circumstances.

In Philippians 3:1 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord” (emphasis added). The Lord is both the source and object of Christian joy. Knowing Him brings joy that transcends temporal circumstances. Obeying Him brings peace and assurance.

Joy is God’s gift to every believer. It is the fruit that His Spirit produces within you (Gal. 5:22) from the moment you receive the gospel (John 15:11). It increases as you study and obey God’s Word (1 John 1:4).

Even severe trials needn’t rob your joy. James 1:2 says you should be joyful when you encounter various trials because trials produce spiritual endurance and maturity. They also prove that your faith is genuine, and a proven faith is the source of great joy (1 Pet. 1:6-8).

You live in a world corrupted by sin. But your hope is in a living God, not a dying world. He is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude 24). That’s your assurance of future glory and eternal joy! Until that time, don’t neglect His Word, despise trials, or lose sight of your eternal reward. They are key ingredients of your present joy.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for any difficult circumstances you might be facing. Ask Him for continued grace to see them through His perspective and not lose heart (Gal. 6:9).
  • Be aware of any sinful attitudes or actions on your part that might diminish your joy. Confess them immediately.

For Further Study

Read Acts 16:11-40.

  • What difficulties did Paul and Silas face in founding the Philippian church?
  • How did God use their difficulties for His glory?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – How to Avoid Trouble

To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you.

— 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (AMPC)

We can save ourselves a great deal of mental anguish and trouble by learning to stay out of the affairs of other people. Most of us are too free with our advice and we often give it when the truth is that nobody really wants it.

God’s will for us is peace, and if we read the scripture quoted above, we find that peace and minding our own affairs are linked together. I am sure you are like me in that you have enough of your own affairs to tend to without getting involved in other people’s. Of course, if people ask for and truly want our advice or help, we should be ready to help them, but we should do so with an attitude of humility.

Most of us are quick to judge others who are not like us or who don’t make the decisions that we would, but it would help each of us to remember that God instructs us not to judge at a glance or superficially (see John 7:24). Only God truly knows people’s hearts and motives, and only He is qualified to judge righteously. When the Holy Spirit makes me aware that I am allowing judgmental thoughts to linger in my mind, I often say to myself, “Joyce, this is none of your business,” and I let it go. Ask God to help you mind your own business!

Prayer of the Day: Lord, I am sorry for all the times I have judged people and gotten into their affairs without being invited. Forgive me and help me mind my own business, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Living by Faith

Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Exodus 14:13-14

When we live by faith, we discover this great truth: God’s promises are enough.

On their way out of Egypt, Moses and the Israelites were confronted by an insurmountable hurdle: the Red Sea. After striding out of Egypt “defiantly” (Exodus 14:8), God’s people found themselves pursued and soon to be overtaken at the edge of the waters—and as “Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel … feared greatly.” In their terror, they “cried out to the LORD” and began to berate and criticize Moses (v 10-11).

What would faith do in this situation? Exodus 14:13 presents us with Moses’s response to the people: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”

What a dramatic expression of faith on the part of Moses! He has little going for him at this point: the Egyptian chariots are at his back, the sea stretches out ahead, and he is surrounded by complaints and criticisms—and all he has is his staff and the command and promise of God.

But that was enough for Moses. All of his trust and confidence rested in his belief in God’s promises. If God had said it, Moses believed it—and God had said that He would bring the people out of Egypt, to Mount Sinai on the opposite side of the sea, and on into the promised land (Exodus 3:7-12). It was not Moses’ job to be concerned over the particulars. It was his job to trust and obey.

And the waters parted.

When the Egyptians tried to pursue the Israelites along the path through the sea, they were engulfed, never to be seen again (Exodus 14:27-28). Why? Because faith and presumption are two different things. The Egyptians were not living by faith in or in obedience to God. They had simply assumed that they could experience what the people of God experienced. They were wrong.

If God had said it, Moses believed it. And so can we, and so must we. We don’t have to worry about whether or not God will part the sea, but we do have to take God at His word and act accordingly. Some of us have never known the joy of standing, as it were, on the edge of dangerous waters and seeing God’s deliverance, because we’re so worried about how God is going to handle every little detail. We retreat in anxiety and hold back in doubt rather than standing firm. God has promised to take you to the promised land of eternity with Him. What is insurmountable to you and me is nothing to Him. And so He says, Don’t worry about the route by which you get home. I’ll take care of it. Just do what I told you, and trust in Me. His promises are enough. It is your job today simply to trust and obey.

GOING DEEPER

Exodus 14:1-31

Topics: Faith Promises of God Trust

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Wants You To Love Him with All Your Mind

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy…mind.” (Mark 12:30)

Have you ever had someone ask, “What are you thinking about right now?” Sometimes when you’re asked, you may be thinking about something totally unimportant or something that would sound silly to share out loud. At those times, it may be embarrassing to answer the question.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit might speak to our hearts and ask, “What are you thinking about right now?” Not because He doesn’t know, but because He wants us to notice our own thoughts. And sometimes we are embarrassed to answer Him. Why? Because we’re thinking selfish thoughts, vain thoughts, worried thoughts, proud thoughts – thoughts that have nothing to do with Him.

God wants us to love Him with our minds. How do we do this? We love God with our minds by thinking about Him and His things. Have you ever really thought about the meaning of a Bible verse that you’re memorizing? Have you ever tried to think of all the ways that you could obey that verse? Have you ever thought about the character traits of God and what they mean to your life? Have you ever thought about the words to a Christian song or a hymn?

Ask God to show you when you are thinking about the wrong things. Ask Him to help you turn your thoughts to Him and love Him with all of your mind.

God wants His people to love Him with all their minds.

My Response:
» When God reads my mind, do my thoughts say to Him, “I love you”?

Denison Forum – Three reasons Tom Brady’s second retirement is so unusual

NFL quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the sport yesterday. (For an excellent analysis of his decision and its life lessons for us, see Dr. Ryan Denison’s article, “Tom Brady retires again: The cost of holding on to success for too long.”)

Brady’s decision is unusual on three levels.

First, it comes a year to the day after he retired last year only to change his mind and return for his twenty-third season. Not many people retire twice from the same job.

Second, most players retire because they can no longer play the game well enough to compete as they once did. Not so with Brady: Even though he was the oldest active player in the NFL this season, he threw for 4,694 yards, the third most in the league, while completing 66.8 percent of his passes.

Third, it would seem that Brady was no longer satisfied with the direction of his life and career. This makes him an outlier in our society.

According to Gallup, 85 percent of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives. This contrasts with only 17 percent who are satisfied with the direction of their country (the number has recently risen to 23 percent).

What explains this wide disparity between the way we view our country and the way we view our personal lives?

The “big thing” a society must get right

David Brooks responds to our question in The Atlantic: “My basic take is that life in America today is objectively better than it was before but subjectively worse. We have much higher standards of living and many conveniences, but when it comes to how we relate to one another—whether in the realm of politics, across social divides, or in the intimacies of family and community life—distrust is rife, bonds are fraying, and judgments are harsh.”

However, Brooks believes that, despite all the gloom about our nation at present, “a society can get a lot wrong as long as it gets the big thing right. And that big thing is this: If a society is good at unlocking creativity, at nurturing the abilities of its people, then its ills can be surmounted.”

Next he surveys the ways America has been “unlocking creativity” in her people, from raising productivity and living standards to investing in education, helping people live healthier, longer, and more energetic lives, and creating an excellent innovation infrastructure.

Brooks notes: “If there is one lesson from the events of the past year, it is that open societies such as ours have an ability to adapt in a way that closed societies simply do not. Russia has turned violent and malevolent. China has grown more authoritarian and inept. Meanwhile, free democratic societies have united around the Ukrainians as they battle to preserve the liberal world order.”

“Pushed from the public square”

Brooks’ claim that humans are satisfied with our lives if we have an opportunity to unlock our creativity is both reasoned and biblical. You and I were created in the image and likeness of our Creator (Genesis 1:27) and called to “work” and “keep” his creation (Genesis 2:15). While work became more difficult as a result of the fall (Genesis 3:17–19), partnering with our Creator by advancing his creation was always part of his plan for us.

The problem comes when we decouple this partnership. Satan tempts us every day to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5) by taking over God’s creation as if it were our own and doing with it what we wish, all the while refusing to acknowledge the One who owns all that exists.

As one example, the London School of Economics will remove Christian words from its calendar next year. Christmas break will be “winter break,” Lent term will be “winter term,” and Easter break will be “spring break.”

Simon Calvert, deputy director at The Christian Institute, responded: “We have been warning for years that Christians are being pushed from the public square, yet the problem is getting worse.” He added, “Christians and those with traditional views often find themselves silenced or bullied. It’s particularly ironic when this happens at institutions that were originally founded on Christian principles and with endowments from Christian benefactors.”

“When he appears we shall be like him”

How can you and I resist this Satanic and secular pressure to fulfill our creative desires apart from our Creator? One key is to recognize that we are still being created.

If you have trusted in Christ as your Lord, his Spirit dwells in you as God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) so that “Christ is in you” (Romans 8:10). Now your Father wants Christ to be “formed in you” (Galatians 4:19, my emphasis) so that you are “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29, my emphasis).

We are not complete until we are completely like Christ. This will not happen until Jesus comes for us: “When he appears we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). On that day, “just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49).

In the meantime, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). If you want to be more like Christ today than you were yesterday, spend time worshiping Christ today. Then ask the Holy Spirit to make you like Jesus. He will reveal sins to be confessed, steps to be taken, and service to be rendered. And he will empower you to do all he leads you to do.

A binary choice

Every day, you and I face a binary choice with eternal consequences: we can seek to be like God’s Son, or we can seek to be our own God. As fallen human beings, if we are not intentionally seeking the former, we are by default choosing the latter.

Max Lucado noted, “Our highest pursuit is the pursuit of our Maker.”

How passionately will you pursue your Maker today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Philippians 4:19

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Today’s Scripture doesn’t say, “My God shall give me what I want.” It says that He’ll supply all my needs. I need a Savior. I need someone to wash sin out of my life. I need a scapegoat who can bear the guilt of my transgressions and iniquity and die in substitution of what I deserve. I don’t get what I want. But thank God, He loves me so much that He gives me the supplies I need.

I don’t know what you want in your life today, but I know that if you need something, Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. Jesus Christ is El Shaddai. He is a way maker. He is a yoke and bondage breaker. He is the Prince of Peace who can soothe your tormented mind. He is the Provider who can open up the windows of heaven and shower you with blessings that you cannot contain. He is the Healer who can touch a sick body and make it strong again. He is the Banner in battle who will give you victory when defeat looks imminent. Stop begging God for what you want and start praising God that He has supplied your every need according to His riches in glory!

Today’s Blessing: 

Father, I thank You that You’re in this place, and that with our hands lifted and our hearts extended, we can, in faith, reach out and touch You. I thank You, Father, that in reaching for You, You have already reached toward us and given us blessings which are limitless and know no measure. Bless us, Father, with physical strength and divine healing. Bless us, Father, with goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of our lives. Let Your loving kindness and provision be upon us that we would have sufficiency for every good work, and the world would recognize that our Father in heaven is a loving King who provides for His own. We bless You, Lord Jesus; we thank You for Your Word. We stand upon it as the living promise of God that sickness is defeated, sin is destroyed, and we the children of God, live life without limit because You are our King. In Jesus’ name, we receive the blessing. In faith believing, we receive Your answer.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 15:20-17:7

New Testament 

Matthew 22:1-32

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 27:1-7

Proverbs 6:20-26

https://www.jhm.org

Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Race With Grace

I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.
Psalm 119:32

 Recommended Reading: Acts 20:22-24

Jaime Chien of New York City began running for exercise in 2013 after watching a friend in a marathon. Now she’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of running. “What keeps me going is being able to motivate other people,” she told Runner’s World. “There are times I don’t feel like running…. But I lead a Monday night running group, so people are relying on me.”[1]

The Bible compares our Christian life to a running course. We’re to “run in such a way” that we’ll obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24), to “run with endurance” (Hebrews 12:1), to run without stumbling (Proverbs 4:12), to “run and not be weary” (Isaiah 40:31), and to finish our course (2 Timothy 4:7).

One thing that keeps us going is the ability to motivate and encourage the other Christian runners around us; God uses the act of encouraging others to bring us encouragement too. Next time you are discouraged, reach out and encourage a fellow believer in Christ; you will both end up being encouraged!

Discouraged people don’t need critics. They hurt enough already…. They need encouragement.
Charles Swindoll

https://www.davidjeremiah.org

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Getting Back to God’s Original Design

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 

—Psalm 51:12

Scripture:

Psalm 51:12 

At my house we have electronic gadgets, like most people do, and each one has an alarm. The microwave signals when my food is ready. An alarm on the dryer lets me know that it’s time to take the clothes out. The printer signals when it’s out of paper.

And all these gadgets also have error codes. When an error code appears, I have to consult the user’s manual to find out what’s wrong. Then I’ll try to correct the problem.

I think there are multiple error codes flashing across the United States today. We’re standing at a crossroads. We have never been in worse shape morally. Crime continues to explode. Families continue to splinter. And the fabric of society continues to unravel.

Meanwhile, God has given us His user’s manual for life: the Word of God, the Bible. It tells us what to do when a society unravels. And what we need today in America—and around the globe—is a far-reaching, Heaven-sent revival.

The word revive means “to restore to original condition.” A lot of people today like to restore old cars, and they’re sticklers about original paint and original parts. They want the original equipment.

In the same way, to be spiritually revived means to get back to God’s original design. Charles Finney, who was part of a great revival, described it this way: “Revival is nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to God.”

A real revival isn’t something that we start or stop; it’s something that God supernaturally does. There are times in history when God has intervened. Each of these divine interventions has come during a very dark time when there was a moral breakdown. Then God, in His grace, stepped in and brought about a spiritual awakening.

We need a real revival today. We need to see God work because our nation needs it as never before.