Our Daily Bread — When Hard Pressed

Bible in a Year:

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.

Psalm 118:6

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 118:5–14

Many years ago, a friend told me how intimidated she was while trying to cross a street where several roads intersected. “I’d never seen anything like this; the rules I’d been taught for crossing the street seemed ineffective. I was so frightened that I’d stand on the corner, wait for the bus, and ask the bus driver if he’d please allow me to ride to the other side of the street. It would take a long time before I successfully learned to navigate this intersection both as a pedestrian and later as a driver.”

As complicated as a dangerous traffic intersection can be, navigating life’s complexities can be even more menacing. Although the psalmist’s specific situation in Psalm 118 is uncertain, we know it was difficult and just right for prayer: “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord” (v. 5), the psalmist exclaimed. And his confidence in God was unmistakable: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. . . .  The Lord is with me; he is my helper” (vv. 6–7).

It’s not unusual to be fearful when we need to change jobs or schools or housing. Anxieties arise when health declines, relationships change, or dollars disappear. But these challenges needn’t be interpreted as abandonment by God. When hard pressed, may we find ourselves prayerfully pressing into His presence.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

What difficulty has brought you closer to God? With whom can you share your experience of His gracious help? 

Gracious Father, please help me to trust You when I’m hard pressed.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Evidences of God’s Power

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know . . . what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might” (Ephesians 1:18-19).

God’s power is seen in creation, preservation, redemption, and resurrection.

Think of all the energy we get from the sun, and multiply that by the innumerable stars in space. But God by His great power created all the stars with no effort whatsoever: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (Ps. 33:6). He just spoke, and they were made.

God’s power also preserves the universe. Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), and “in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Chaos would result unless His sustaining hands were directing the orderliness of creation (Ps. 104Jer. 31:35-36).

God’s power was beautifully demonstrated at the cross. Satan was subdued, death was conquered, and the penalty for our sins was paid. The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes” (Rom. 1:16). When we were saved, God made each of us “a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). Not only that, but “He who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God’s power saved us and gives us strength to live lives pleasing to Him.

The power of God is also made evident in resurrection. Did you know that someday God is going to resurrect every human being who ever lived? The righteous will be raised to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal damnation (John 5:28-29Rev. 20:11-15). Billions of people, long dead, will be resurrected. What tremendous power!

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for the power He has shown in His beautiful creation.
  • Thank God that by His power He made you into a new creation and will someday raise you to eternal life.

For Further Study

Psalm 33 is a song of praise to God for His power and sovereignty. Examine what it teaches about God’s power, and read it as your own prayer of praise.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – The Truth of God’s Word

I have discovered that being confident in who God created us to be is a key to living the joy-filled, overcoming life Jesus died to give us.

The devil is constantly trying to introduce thoughts into our heads to make us lose our confidence. The mind is the battlefield, and the devil lies to us through wrong thinking. He tries to tell us we aren’t good enough; we’ve made too many mistakes; God is angry with us—any thought that would make us doubt the love God has for us. If we meditate on those wrong thoughts, our confidence begins to fade.

The key to winning the battle of the mind is to fight against the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word. You don’t have to dwell on wrong thoughts; instead, you can believe the promises of God and boldly declare those promises over your life.

I encourage you to confidently declare what the Word of God says about you, such as: “I am more than a conqueror through Jesus (see Romans 8:37). I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (see Philippians 4:13). I am triumphant in every situation because God always causes me to triumph (see 2 Corinthians 2:14).”

Prayer of the Day: Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that I can boldly declare in Faith who I am in Christ, that I have authority over the enemy and can recognize his lies. I know Your Truth always triumphs, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – For the Sake of the Gospel

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

Philippians 1:12-13

Follow Paul through Acts and he leaves you breathless. He’s constantly on the move, going from place to place. One moment he’s stitching tents together, then he’s bringing Eutychus back to life, and then he survives a snakebite and heals the sick on Malta. It’s almost as if you can’t imagine ever being able to keep up with him.

Surely the worst thing that could ever happen to someone like Paul is to be stuck in one house for two years. But at the conclusion of Acts, that’s exactly how we find him (Acts 28:30-31).

You can just imagine the devil’s response to Paul’s imprisonment: Now I’ve shut him down! That’ll get rid of him. He won’t be able to go anywhere for a long while. He’ll just shrivel up and die a prisoner. Not a chance! It was during Paul’s imprisonment that he penned some of his most noteworthy letters under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—letters that God is still using to transform lives 2,000 years later. And, remarkably, the gospel advanced not only despite Paul’s chains but because of them.

Paul was likely very different from other prisoners. The soldiers who guarded him would have probably said to one another, He is the most remarkable person we’ve ever had. We’re used to people constantly cussing, screaming, agitating, and complaining. But this Paul has joy and purpose, and he just preaches!

As a result of Paul’s daily ministry among these soldiers, word began to spread throughout the entire palace guard: The reason this guy is a prisoner is because of Jesus. They got the point: He’s chained to us, he says, because he’s chained to this man Jesus Christ. And it appears that some of these guards not only heard the gospel but responded to it. As they were then redeployed throughout the Roman Empire, arriving at their new posts as new men, the gospel would advance to different places through them. And so Paul’s imprisonment, which at first appeared to be diametrically opposed to the spread of the gospel, actually proved to be essential to it.

You do not need to be a prisoner, a missionary, or an apostle to be used by God in spreading the gospel, nor do you need to wait for all the circumstances in your life to line up just as you want them to before you talk about Jesus. Whether you are in prison, a hospital, an office, a field, or wherever, and whether you realize it or not, you are never far from someone who needs to hear the amazing story of God’s grace. What are the situations you face that you naturally see as obstacles to sharing the gospel, and how might they in fact be opportunities? Who are the lost and longing people that God has placed in your life today? They need your God. And they might only meet Him through your loving boldness.


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Delights To Answer Prayer

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).

Regular readers, please see a special note for you at the foot of this devotional.*

When Michele was eleven, her best friend left their school to go to a different school. Michele’s class was small, and she didn’t feel close to any of the other three girls in the class. She wanted so much to have a best friend that she could talk to.

That summer before sixth grade, Michele’s mom said, “Why don’t you pray that God will send a new girl to your class next year to be your close friend?” She took her mom’s advice and started praying. But she didn’t have much faith. Where would a new girl come from? And even if a new girl did come, would she really want to be her friend? Michele dreaded the beginning of the new school year, because she didn’t believe God would answer her prayer.

Then in August, a new girl named Kelly and her family started coming to Michele’s church. God had moved her all the way to Kansas from the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean! That fall, Kelly was in Michele’s sixth grade class. She was so cheerful and friendly that it was easy for Michele to get to know her. They quickly became best friends and went through the rest of high school together. They even attended the same college for four years, and still keep in touch today.

Michele would tell you now that God delights to answer the prayers of His children. It brings Him glory when we ask and truly depend on Him for things we need. If we ask for things that are good for us, He is pleased to give them to us at just the right time. But sometimes He goes beyond giving us what we ask for. Often, His gifts are better than anything we could have asked for or even imagined. And His gifts are always the best thing for us.

God delights to answer the prayers of His children.

My Response:
» What am I praying for?
» Am I praying with faith that God will answer in the best way?

Denison Forum – Kansas City Chiefs overcome three “curses” to win Super Bowl LVII

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in yesterday’s Super Bowl, overcoming three “curses” to do so.

First, their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award again this season. Since 1999, nine MVPs made it to the Super Bowl; none won it. Second, Canadian rapper Drake bet $700,000 on the Chiefs, but nearly all his large sports bets in recent years have failed. Third, Chiefs fans have been placing team apparel on the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia. When fans did this in the 2015 and 2018 playoffs, their teams lost to the Eagles.

In more serious news, Chiefs fan John Gladwell donated a kidney to Eagles fan Billy Welsh more than two years ago. The pair met more than twenty years ago when they both served in the Marines. They sat together yesterday at the game, but Welsh was worried about a Chiefs victory since he has a “Chiefs kidney”: “I don’t know how my body will react if the Chiefs win.” There is no news so far on his medical response.

The rest of us might be concerned about the outcome for a different reason: over the previous fifty-six Super Bowls, stocks do better when the NFC team wins. Also, the Chiefs won by a last-minute field goal, but the best years for markets have come when the game is decided by a large margin.

Why is football so popular?

If you didn’t watch yesterday’s game (at least for the ads), you were a cultural outlier: the NFL estimates that 208 million-plus viewers saw last year’s Super Bowl, approximately two-thirds of our population. While the Super Bowl is unique, football games in general were eighty-two of the top one hundred highest-rated shows on television last year.

Why is football America’s most popular sport?

Consider a psychologist’s contrast between the sport and baseball, formerly our “national pastime.” Writing for Psychology Today, Thomas Hendricks notes that “baseball is largely an individual sport” in which batters face the pitcher alone and defensive players occupy isolated positions on the field. Football, by contrast, “is more thoroughly collective” since “every teammate is involved in the design and execution of every play.”

Hendricks then observes, “More thoroughly social, contemporary people accept that group cohesion is the foundation of individual success. Football heroes are covered up in helmets and pads. Individuals become soldiers, elements in a great collective striving.”

When our team wins, “we” win

As a cultural apologist, I would add that the parallels between watching American football and participating in American religion are noteworthy.

On a typical Sunday, 100 million Americans (30 percent) watch an NFL game, roughly the same percentage as attend worship (28 percent). Most who participate in either activity engage in a transactional experience.

I have noticed that when a football team wins, their fans will say “we” won; when a team loses, their fans often say “they” (not “we”) lost. Very few fans have the players first in mind or even know an NFL player personally. The players and coaches are a means to the end of our entertainment and vicarious victory (we hope). If they lose, we are angry with them; if they win, we are excited for ourselves.

Many American Christians engaged in worship in a similar way yesterday. We inherited the cultural religion of our Greco-Roman ancestors who placed sacrifices on altars so gods would bless their crops or otherwise give them what they wanted. Worship was a means to their end, as it often is to ours.

Reflect on the last time you needed God’s help. If he did not do what you wanted, were you angry with him? If he did, were you excited for yourself?

“God doesn’t want to be used”

Imagine a marriage where one partner seeks a relationship with the other primarily for what their spouse can do for them. Is this how the “Bride” of Christ (Revelation 19:7) is treating our Groom today?

By contrast, we are told to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). Does this describe your last worship experience?

Dr. Derwin Gray is a former NFL player, a pastor, and the author of God, Do You Hear Me? He observes, “When we deduce prayer to be a mantra or a spiritual ATM or superstition, we’re really not praying. We’re actually using God and God doesn’t want to be used. God wants to be worshiped. Because when we worship, we become who we were created to be.”

Who were we “created to be”?

In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes: “God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually.” Thus he “gives us our time on earth to build and strengthen our character for heaven.”

Warren adds: “Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: he wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven.”

“Our greatest privilege”

As the winners of Super Bowl LVII, the Kansas City Chiefs are being granted “football immortality” by our culture this morning, but this is a myth. Do you remember who won the title even ten years ago?

By contrast, the more you seek to know Christ for no reason except to know Christ, the more you will become like Christ and the more you will make him known. According to Rick Warren, being like Christ is “our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.”

Do you agree?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Matthew 21:42

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

The birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled every prophecy given in the Old Testament, and the life of Christ painted the exact portrait of the One who was promised. Every action that He took and every word He spoke shouted in agreement with John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” But regardless of all that He did to demonstrate who He was on the earth, the men in that day rejected Him. Why? Because Jesus was what they needed, but He wasn’t what they wanted. They needed a Savior; they wanted a king. They needed someone to forgive them of sin; they wanted someone to run Caesar out of town. When they saw His miracles and His majesty, they said to themselves, “Maybe this is the guy who’s going to bring back the good ol’ days.” But having seen the priceless gemstone of eternity, they walked away from the priceless treasure for counterfeit traditions.

What a joy to know that our Savior is not just another stone; He is the Stone that our faith is built upon. Never put your faith in something that can be substituted. You can take lots of stones out of a building and replace them, but if you take the cornerstone away, the building goes flat. Put your faith in the Chief Cornerstone. You can’t live without Him.

Today’s Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you. May the Lord be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you know that your destiny is in the hand of the Lord, measured only by your obedience to His Word. As you obey the Lord, so shall His substance and blessing be poured out to you. Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. May the Lord bless you and all that you put your hands to. In Jesus’ name, receive this blessing.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 35:10-36:38

New Testament 

Matthew 27:35-66

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 34:1-10

Proverbs 9:7-8


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – A Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

 Recommended Reading: James 1:13-15

Jesus Christ was tempted to sin. For example, He underwent three major temptations from Satan after fasting for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11). But He resisted not only those temptations but others as well (Hebrews 4:15).

How did Jesus resist temptation and not sin? By taking “the way of escape” that God provided—in His case, biblical refutations from Deuteronomy to all of Satan’s lies. And because He “suffered” during temptations, “He is able to aid those [us] who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Because temptations don’t come from God (James 1:13), He is more than willing to provide a “way of escape” so that, like Jesus, we can avoid falling into sin.

First Corinthians 10:13 promises that God will provide a way of escape. Our task is to find the way and take it. If you don’t immediately see the way God has provided, ask Him to reveal it (James 1:2-5).

[We must] pray constantly for His enabling grace to say no to temptation, of choosing to take all practical steps to avoid known areas of temptation and flee from those that surprise us.
Jerry Bridges


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Disturbing the Culture

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 

—Ephesians 5:15–16


Ephesians 5:15-16 

There never was a dull day for the first-century followers of Jesus. In fact, it seems that wherever Paul went, there was either a conversion or a riot.

The early church didn’t have modern technology at their disposal. Yet in a relatively short time, these believers changed their world. They permeated their culture.

Tertullian, a Christian leader and a contemporary of these early followers of Christ, said of the church, “We are but of yesterday, and we have filled every place among you—cities, islands, fortresses, towns, marketplaces, the very camp, tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum—we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.”

He was pointing to the fact that the church had infiltrated everything. There were even Christians in the palace of Caesar. This is what we need today. We need Christians to go out and make a difference. We need Christians involved in the arts, making great films and creating graphic design. We need Christians in places of authority, because the Bible says that when the righteous rule, the people rejoice (see Proverbs 29:2).

We need Christian doctors, lawyers, and businesspeople. We need believers to let their light shine in this culture today.

Religious leaders in Thessalonica had this to say about Paul and Silas: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17:6 NKJV).

G. Campbell Morgan said, “Organized Christianity which fails to make a disturbance is dead.”

Believers in the first century made a disturbance because they understood that God had called them to do their part. They took risks. They left their comfort zones. In the Book of Acts, we see their fearless preaching, their expectant prayer, and their willingness to obey God.

Twenty-first-century believers should be living like these first-century believers, impacting our culture. We should be making a difference. We should be turning our world upside down.