Our Daily Bread — God’s Arms Are Open

Bible in a Year:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.

1 John 1:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 John 1:5–10

I frowned at my cellphone and sighed. Worry wrinkled my brow. A friend and I had had a serious disagreement over an issue with our children, and I knew I needed to call her and apologize. I didn’t want to do it because our viewpoints were still in conflict, yet I knew I hadn’t been kind or humble the last time we discussed the matter.

Anticipating the phone call, I wondered, What if she doesn’t forgive me? What if she doesn’t want to continue our friendship? Just then, lyrics to a song came to mind and took me back to the moment when I confessed my sin in the situation to God. I felt relief because I knew God had forgiven me and released me from guilt.

We can’t control how people will respond to us when we try to work out relational problems. As long as we own up to our part, humbly ask for forgiveness, and make any changes needed, we can let God handle the healing. Even if we have to endure the pain of unresolved “people problems,” peace with Him is always possible. God’s arms are open, and He is waiting to show us the grace and mercy we need. “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How does forgiveness create peace? What steps will you take in God’s power toward reconciliation with someone this week?

Dear God, remind me of Your unending grace. Help me to be more humble and to commit all my relationships to You.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Joy of Spiritual Unity

“To the saints . . . including the overseers and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).

Faithful spiritual leaders are worthy of your appreciation and esteem.

Paul’s salutation includes the “overseers and deacons” at Philippi. That probably is not a reference to elders and deacons as we know them, but a general reference to all the Philippian saints, which included spiritual leaders (overseers) and those who followed (servants).

That implies unity and submission within the church, which brings joy to leaders and followers alike. Hebrews 13:17 emphasizes that point: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

Spiritual leadership is a sacred responsibility. Leaders are to lead, feed, and guard the flock of God, which Christ purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). They are accountable to God Himself for the faithful discharge of their duties.

You have a sacred responsibility as well: to obey and submit to your leaders. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Paul adds in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and . . . esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”

Sadly, our society encourages criticism and mistrust of anyone in authority. Verbal assaults and character assassinations are common. Many within the church have adopted that attitude toward their spiritual leaders, whom they view as functionaries or paid professionals. Consequently many churches today are weak and ineffective from disunity and strife. Many pastors suffer untold grief from disobedient and ungrateful people.

You must never succumb to that mentality. Your leaders deserve your appreciation and esteem not because they are exceptionally talented or have winsome personalities, but because of the sacred work God called them to do.

Your godly attitude toward spiritual leaders will contribute immeasurably to unity and harmony within your church and will allow your leaders to minister with joy, not grief.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for your spiritual leaders. Pray for them and encourage them often.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 9:3-14.

  • What right was Paul discussing?
  • What illustrations did he use?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – You Have Nothing to Worry About

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

— 1 Peter 5:7 (AMPC)

Worrying is totally useless. I was a worrier, so I know what a stronghold it can become in our lives. I also know that it is a bad habit that is not easily broken, but since all things are possible with God, then it is possible for us to live free from worry, anxiety, and fear. If you are willing to give up worrying, then you will be able to enter into an attitude of celebration. You can trust God and enjoy life while He solves your problems.

Nothing is outside of God’s control, so in reality there is nothing to worry about. When we begin to look at worry in a realistic manner, we see how totally useless it is. Our minds revolve endlessly around and around a problem, searching for answers that only God has. We may ponder a thing and ask God for wisdom, but we do not have God’s permission to worry. Pondering a thing in God is peaceful but worrying can be torment. When we worry, we torment ourselves! We can pray and ask God to help us not to worry, but ultimately, we must choose to put our thoughts on something other than our problems. A refusal to worry is proof that we trust God and it releases Him to go to work on our behalf.

I wonder how much of our mental time is spent worrying, reasoning, and fearing—possibly more than is spent on anything else. Instead of meditating on our problems, let’s choose to meditate on the “alls” of God. He says you can cast …[all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you… . (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC). Let us realize how unlimited His power is and trust Him to do what we cannot do.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I choose to trust You instead of worrying about trouble- some situations. Help me release all my worries and concerns and give them to You. I believe You love me and want to take care of me, and I am grateful.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – True Affection

Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul.

1 Samuel 15:34-35

Despite Saul’s promising beginnings as Israel’s first king, before long he floundered and failed. His problem was not a lack of ability but a lack of obedience. So Samuel confronted Saul about his rebellion against God’s word and told him that God had rejected him as king (1 Samuel 15:23). Evidently, Samuel had some affection for Saul, which is why Saul’s failure shook the prophet, causing him to grieve.

Though Samuel enjoyed a privileged and distinctive position as the one who brought the word of God to the people, he was not removed or distanced in his response to all that unfolded. Because the prophet loved those under his care, it was only fitting that he grieved over their sin and suffering. And this sadness also led him to prayer. At one point, dismayed by the people’s actions, he declared, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). The prophet grieved for them and prayed for them because he cared for them.

Leadership brings with it particular privileges. But those privileges are partnered with perils. Effective leadership requires an emotional investment in those being led—and so the burdens of leadership are in large measure directly tied to those who are being led. Sometimes those people disappoint greatly and sometimes they suffer greatly, and both occurrences will weigh on a good leader. As we see with Samuel, it is not the shepherd’s role to condemn when those in his care stumble and fall. Rather, the role of the shepherd is marked by grief. If it means anything for us to be united in heart, mind, and purpose, then it must mean something to us when those for whom we have affection stumble and fall.

Though this is particularly true of leadership, Samuel’s example should cause all of us to stop and ask, “What makes me cry? What makes me smile? And what do I do when I cry and when I smile?” The answer to these questions is a real indication of where you are in your spiritual progress. Seek to make sure that your life is marked by true affection for those around you, and especially those the Lord has given you responsibility for in some way—a true affection that grieves over sin and suffering in the lives of those you care for. And then be sure to respond as Samuel did: with faithful prayer to the one who promises that, one day, as you stand in His presence, He will “wipe away every tear” (Revelation 21:4).


1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Topics: Grief Loving Others Suffering

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Hears

“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2)

Have you ever tried to talk to someone who isn’t paying attention to you? You probably feel frustrated or discouraged if you think you aren’t being heard. It is encouraging, though, for God’s children to remember that God always hears them when they pray to Him. He is never too busy to listen to His children. And He is never uninterested in what they have to say. No matter what time of day it is or where you are, God always hears you.

Sometimes, though, God is the last person Christians go to when they’re having troubles. Instead of going to God, they sulk. Or they go to their unsaved friends. Their friends may be good listeners, but they have no power to give true answers. Maybe God’s children do go to a godly friend or parent with their problems. But the whole time, they may be resisting God, using Him as a “last resort” only.

Who is the person you go to when you are feeling sad, or when you have a need, or when you don’t know how to handle a problem? Do you go to God first? Once you truly understand that the sovereign God is always available, always ready to hear your supplications (your strong requests), you will agree with the psalmist who wrote, “I will call upon Him as long as I live”!

God always hears His children when they call to Him.

My Response:
» Do I go to God first with my problems, or do I use Him as a “last resort”?

Denison Forum – Why do we watch the State of the Union address?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell asleep during President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of President Trump’s 2020 speech after he finished his address. And networks cut away from President Clinton’s 1997 address to air the OJ Simpson verdict.

I saw no such noteworthy events last night during (or after) President Biden’s speech, in which he highlighted progress during his years in office and sought to sell Americans on his economic plans for the future.

However, if the past is prologue, the president should not expect to see significant results from his speech. According to Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones, “Historical data suggests these speeches rarely affect a president’s public standing in a meaningful way, despite the amount of attention they receive.”

And yet the Washington Post reports that the president had “the largest audience any US politician will have all year, absent some catastrophe that would require him to give a very different kind of prime-time address.”

Why do so many of us watch? The answer is actually relevant far beyond last night’s speech.

“You gave your word to his boss”

In Clear and Present Danger, a 1994 movie adapted from a Tom Clancy novel, Harrison Ford plays CIA analyst Jack Ryan. In one scene, he relates troubling news he has discovered regarding governmental corruption to National Security Advisor Jim Greer, played by James Earl Jones. Ryan says, “I’m afraid if I dig any deeper no one’s going to like what I find.”

Greer responds, “You took an oath, if you recall, when you first came to work for me. And I don’t mean to the National Security Advisor of the United States. I mean to his boss, and I don’t mean the president. You gave your word to his boss: you gave your word to the people of the United States.”

Jim Greer was right. Unlike 70 percent of the world living under dictatorships, in the United States, our president and other elected leaders work for the people who elected them. That’s why the president tried last night to impress us with his work and why we watched his speech to decide whether or not we agree.

The annual State of the Union address illustrates the “golden rule” in our fallen world: “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” In the case of democracy (“the power of the people”), the people have the “gold” of cultural authority and thus make the cultural “rules.” And as Jesus said, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48 NRSV).

Self-governance requires the ability to govern the self. Therein lies our system of government’s greatest opportunity and its greatest challenge.

“Truth has stumbled in the public squares”

In a recent survey, 81 percent of Americans said humankind is inherently good. As a result, our postmodern culture believes we should tolerate another person’s moral choices so long as they do not harm others. However, as Scripture notes, “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). This is why Jesus said we must be “born again” (John 3:3).

In Isaiah 59 the prophet states, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God” (v. 2). He then identifies specific consequences of this “separation.” Do any of these describe our culture?

  • “Your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity” (v. 3a). Does this bring abortion to mind?
  • “Your lips have spoken lies” (v. 3b). Does this relate to our “post-truth” culture and our redefinitions of marriage and gender identity?
  • “No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly” (v. 4). Does this describe our escalating governmental and corporate corruption?
  • “Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood” (v. 7). Does this relate to racial injustice today?

Consequently, “We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight” (v. 10).  This is because “truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter” (v. 14).

The prophet then states our only hope: “A Redeemer will come to Zion” (v. 20).

“Leave the rest to God”

Numerous retrospectives on President Ronald Reagan were published Monday on the 112th anniversary of his birthday. One article, written by a columnist who worked for the former president, identified “the secret of who he was” in his life motto: “Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”

Of course, to do the first four well, we need the help of the One to whom we “leave the rest.” As we noted yesterday, we must know Christ before we can truly make him known. This is why a daily encounter with the living Lord Jesus is so vital for our souls and for our society.

John Eldredge writes: “Henri Nouwen once asked Mother Teresa for spiritual direction. Spend one hour each day in adoration of your Lord, she said, and never do anything you know is wrong.” To do the second, we need the power of the first.

If “one hour each day” seems unrealistic, how much time will you spend in “adoration of your Lord” today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Trust in another person is developed with two fundamental elements—consistency and capability. When you find someone who’s consistent, you can trust them to a point. When you find someone who is capable, you can begin to trust them. When you find someone who is consistently capable, you can trust them more, but you know they will falter eventually and disappoint you.

While all that is true, we have to remember that the God whom we serve does not change and is always capable of meeting our every need. He is the God who is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the One who said His consistent goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life; that His angels would walk before you, clearing a path in front of you; that He would open every door that was closed. He is the God who can move every mountain and calm every storm. He is the One who said that every weapon that is formed against you will not prosper. He promised you that every power and principality would be bound and muzzled in His mighty name!

Believe God to move mountains in your tomorrows that are greater than any mountain He’s helped you overcome in the past because He is faithful.

Today’s Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you. And may the Lord be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you walk in the confidence that God has given you total freedom; that the Cross has removed your past and guaranteed your future; that you are His and He is yours and your life is destined to be blessed and victorious because of the Blood of the Cross.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 28:1-43

New Testament 

Matthew 25:31-26:13

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 31:9-18

Proverbs 8:12-13


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Twelve Laughs

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Luke 6:21

 Recommended Reading: Luke 6:20-23

When William K. Vanderbilt visited Constantinople, he invited the actor Coquelin the Elder to perform on his yacht. Several days later, Coquelin received a check. Vanderbilt paid him $2,400 “for laughter, twelve times.”

Orison Marden, who told that story in an old book, said, “Laughter begins in the lungs and diaphragm, setting the liver, stomach, and other internal organs into a quick, jelly-like vibration, which gives a pleasant sensation and exercise, almost equal to that of horseback riding.”[1] 

Most of us worry more than we laugh. But remember, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). In Luke 6:21, Jesus promised laughter to the weeping. We’ll enjoy many good laughs in the cheerfulness of heaven, but don’t wait until then. Cultivate a merry heart now. Instead of focusing on what might be, focus on what will be.

Keep your mind regulated by the reality of God’s eternity. When we focus on life eternal, we diminish the worry of temporal things. Cheerfulness is knowing God has us today, and He also has tomorrow under His perfect control.

Mirth is God’s medicine. Everybody out to bathe in it. Grim care…anxiety, all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth.
Henry Ward Beecher

[1] Orison Marden, Wisdom and Empowerment (Chicago, IL: Musaicum Books, 2017).


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Most Unlikely Spiritual Awakening

 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me. 

—Jonah 1:2


Jonah 1:2 

One of the largest spiritual awakenings in human history swept one of the most wicked cities ever, the city of Nineveh.

The people of Nineveh were so bad that they effectively stunk to high heaven. The first chapter of Jonah tells us, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me’” (verses 1–2 NKJV).

We could translate the phrase “their wickedness has come up before Me” to say, “Their wickedness has reached the highest pitch.”

The Ninevites’ cruelty was legendary. Historical records include graphic accounts of how they treated their captives. When the Ninevites plundered a city, they burned children alive, tortured adults, and even skinned people and hung their skin on the walls. They built monuments out of the skulls of those they beheaded.

We can see why the city stunk to high heaven.

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, a superpower of the day. With the strongest military power, Assyria had essentially ruled the world for two hundred years. But things were about to change. A more powerful military was about to overtake Nineveh and Assyria. Effectively the days of this nation were numbered.

Every nation’s days are numbered. We know this historically. Every nation has a moment when it is born and a moment when it dies—or is diminished dramatically. And that is true for the United States of America.

We know that judgment is coming. It is only a matter of time. So, let’s pray that God will send at least one more spiritual awakening to our nation before judgment comes. If God could bring a mighty revival in Nineveh, then certainly He could do the same for the United States.