Our Daily Bread — What’s Truly Needed

Bible in a Year:

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.

Mark 7:8

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Mark 7:8–13

While preparing a meal, a young mother cut a pot roast in half before she put it in a large pot. Her husband asked her why she cut the meat in half. She replied, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.”

Her husband’s question, however, piqued the woman’s curiosity. So she asked her mother about the tradition. She was shocked to learn that her mother cut the meat so it would fit in the one small pot she used. And because her daughter had many large pots, the act of cutting the meat was unnecessary.

Many traditions begin out of a necessity but are carried on without question—becoming “the way we do it.” It’s natural to want to hold on to human traditions—something the Pharisees were doing in their day (Mark 7:1–2). They were distracted by what seemed like the breaking of one of their religious rules.

As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (v. 8). He revealed that traditions should never replace the wisdom of Scripture. A genuine desire to follow God (vv. 6–7) will focus on the attitude of our heart rather than outward actions.

It’s a good idea to consistently evaluate traditions—anything we hold close to our heart and follow religiously. The things that God has revealed to be truly needed should always supersede traditions.

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the traditions you hold fast to? How do they line up with what’s revealed in Scripture?

Heavenly Father, help me to follow Your commands and to forgo any tradition that conflicts with the Scriptures.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Pursuing Excellence

“So that you may approve the things that are excellent” (Phil. 1:10).

In a world of mediocrity and confusion, God calls you to excellence and discernment.

There’s the story of a pilot who came on the loudspeaker mid flight and said, “I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is we’ve lost all our instrumentation and don’t know where we are. The good news is we have a strong tail wind and are making great time.” That’s an accurate picture of how many people live: they have no direction in life but they’re getting there fast!

We as Christians are to be different because we have divine guidance and eternal goals. Our lives are to be marked by a confident trust in God and a pursuit of spiritual excellence.

“Excellent” in Philippians 1:10 speaks of things that are worthwhile and vital. Approving what is excellent refers to testing things as one would test a precious metal to determine its purity and value. It goes beyond knowing good from evil. It distinguishes between better and best. It involves thinking biblically and focusing your time and energy on what really counts. It involves cultivating spiritual discipline and not being controlled by your emotions, whims, moods, or circumstances.

Many organizations and businesses have adopted the motto, “Commitment to Excellence” to convey their desire to provide the finest product or service possible. If secular-minded people strive for that level of achievement, how much more should Christians pursue excellence for the glory of God!

Look at your life. Is it filled with godly love, discernment, and the pursuit of excellence—or has worldly trivia crowded out those virtues?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Read Isaiah 12:1-6 as a psalm of praise to the God of excellence.
  • Ask God to give you a heart constantly set on pursuing excellence for His glory.

For Further Study

Daniel was a man who pursued excellence. Read Daniel 1:1—2:21.

  • What was Daniel’s decision regarding the king’s food and wine, and how did he handle the situation?
  • How did Daniel and his three friends compare in wisdom and understanding to the magicians and conjurers?
  • What principles do you see in those two chapters that apply to your life?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Defeating Unbelief

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.

— 1 Peter 5:8-9 (AMPC)

Sometimes we unintentionally give the wrong impression about spiritual warfare. We know that our enemy is the devil and that we must fight daily to win, but that’s not everything. If the Christian life were nothing but battles, it would be discouraging to fight every hour of every day.

I would feel that I could never relax because as soon as I did, Satan would sneak back again. That’s not the picture I want to present. The Christian life is one of joy and peace. God gives us a great sense of fulfillment, and we’re at rest because we know we honor Him by the way we live.

Peter wrote to Christians about their enemy—warning them and urging them to be vigilant, which is where we often put the emphasis. Just before he wrote those words, however, he said, 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 (v. 7). As we read that verse, it tells us that we must remind ourselves of God’s love for us—God cares. Because God cares, we can trust Him to take care of us.

We need that as part of our foundation. It’s not that we don’t have faith; it’s that Satan tries to destroy our faith with lies like: “If God really cared about you, would He make you go through this trial?” “If God truly loved you, would He treat you this way?”

Those questions that the devil throws at you are full of lies. If he can make you think you’re not loved or that God doesn’t have your best interests at heart, he can plant tiny seeds of unbelief. God wants you to remain strong and true like Abraham and other believers in the Bible.

One of the things I’ve learned from ministering to thousands of people is that the terrible and negative problems striking our lives are not what cause us to turn away from God. No, it’s our reaction to those situations that makes the difference. Think of Abraham again. When God promised to give him a son, he was an old man. He could have said, “How could that possibly be? I’m old and long past being able to father a child.” Instead, he said, “That’s wonderful! I believe.”

When struggles, trials, and hardships come your way—and they always do—you have a choice. You can heed Peter’s words and give God your cares, worries, and concerns. No matter how dark the night or how evil the situation, you must remind yourself that God is not only present with you in those situations, but He also loves you and will provide for you.

Your job is to be vigilant during those difficult times. You can rejoice in God’s love and blessings when all is going well—and that’s what God wants you to do. But in the dark moments, you need to remind yourself that the devil stalks you and wants to defeat you.

One more thing. Sometimes you may wonder why you have so many trials and problems. Is it possible that the devil may have singled you out because of God’s great plan for your life? The more faithful you are, the more you have to resist him and his lies of unbelief.

Prayer of the Day: Dear heavenly Father, the enemy often tries to fill me with unbelief and make me deny Your powerful love for me. But like Abraham, I stand firm on Your promises. Thank You for the comfort I find in Your assurance that You’re always with me, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Choose Your Refuge

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain”?

Psalm 11:1

When it comes to crises in life, it is not a matter of whether they will come but when. And when they do, our response will be to flee to a refuge—somewhere or something or someone we trust will keep us safe and protect us from the storms. So the question then will not be whether we flee but where we flee.

Some of us will take the advice of David’s friends in Psalm 11. These advisors urged him to “flee like a bird to your mountain.” Difficulty had come for David, seemingly in the form of threats to his life, with wicked people preparing to aim their arrows at him (Psalm 11:2). The counsel he received was essentially to head for the hills, to get away, to go somewhere that removed him from adversity.

David did not heed this advice. But what about you? While you likely will not face armed foes threatening you with violence, crisis will come to you someday, in one form or another. It could be social pressure to compromise biblical convictions, an unwanted diagnosis, or intense relational strife. Where will you flee? Will you head for the hills, finding some form of escapism, be it numbing yourself with endless media consumption or abusing a substance, or throwing yourself into frenetic activity in another part of your life? Or will you be able to say with David, “In the LORD I take refuge”?

David had seen God deliver him from bears, lions, and a Philistine giant. The Lord had proven Himself to be a trustworthy refuge, and David took that to heart. David knew the Lord was a mighty refuge; that had been borne out again and again in his life. His trust in God was grounded in experience, making it sturdy enough to withstand life’s darkness and the Evil One’s darts.

Have your eyes been opened to God’s trustworthiness? Have you trusted Him in response? If you are a Christian, remember that your new life began by taking refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ. You were facing the wrath of an eternal God, with no hope to be found. The only hope you had was to cast yourself on God’s mercy and embrace the salvation offered in Christ. And so you fled to Him and found eternal refuge.

God desires for you to seek refuge in Him not only at the beginning of the journey but until Christ returns or calls you home, and not only for eternal salvation but in the storms of this life. Trouble will come—and when it does, you can either head for the hills or you can lift up your eyes beyond the hills and to the Lord “who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2), facing the crisis with confidence and, yes, even joy.


Psalm 11

Topics: Faithfulness of God Suffering Trusting God

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God expects us to think rightly toward others

“And let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart.” (Zech 7:10b)

It seems that brothers and sisters are naturally good at annoying their siblings. It is natural to love our family members, but sometimes it is hard to like them. Brothers and sisters seem to know just the right buttons to push in order to annoy one another. Our God is not like that. Think about it. What would we think of God if He were the kind of God Who would say “devise evil against your brother”? Our God does not say that. No way! He says, “let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart”! God is holy, and He has an opinion about the secret thoughts you have toward your brothers and sisters.

Right now, you may have no desire to be “pals” with your brother or sister. When they grow older, though, brothers and sisters often become the closest of friends. You might never dream that you could be good friends as grown-ups, even if your family ends up spread out all over the country. In fact, you might think, “No way! Impossible!” When you are in the middle of an argument, you can think only of ways to get back at that brother or sister. You might even feel tempted to think of him or her as your enemy!

In His sovereign wisdom, God has placed us in the families and neighborhoods and churches where we live. We may not have perfect families. We may not even like some of our family members! But to spend time dreaming up ways to make them miserable–that is the opposite of God’s command. When we do these things to the people God has put in our lives, it is like we are telling God that He made a mistake and that He should have given us better people to live with.

In our natural sinfulness, we react against people–especially if we believe they have hurt us or wronged us. If we think people deserve punishment, we want to deal it out to them. And we cannot change our minds about people on our own. Where does that kind of heart change come from? What helps brothers and sisters change from enemies into friends? It is not what, but Who: God changes our hearts. God shows us how much He loves us, and then He shows us how much we should love the people He has given us. God tells us in I John 4:20, ” If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”

When we refuse to think evil toward others, we honor God for His wisdom and goodness. And He can help us think rightly toward one another. When God changes your heart, you will not want to spend your time thinking of ways to hurt people. Ask God to forgive you of sinful thoughts toward Him and others. God will change your heart and help you obey His word!

We honor and obey God when we think rightly toward others.

My Response:
» Do I think of ways to get back at people?
» Do I ask for God’s help to change my mind about others?

Denison Forum – President Biden arrives in Kyiv for surprise trip

President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv today ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pictures emerged this morning of the president walking alongside Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky as they inspected a memorial wall dedicated to those killed fighting Russian troops since 2014.

Mr. Biden’s visit to Ukraine comes on Presidents’ Day and highlights the power of his office to make global headlines.

Today’s federal holiday was established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington (whose birthday is on February 22) and was later expanded to include Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is on February 12) and eventually all presidents. However, presidential historian Alexis Coe claims in the New York Times that our first president “would hate Presidents’ Day.” I will summarize her argument into three assertions.

The first is ironic: while we celebrate our presidents today, no president was actually born on February 20. The second is more practical: several states don’t recognize this day at all and many do so only sparingly, with Southern states typically omitting Lincoln from their observances. A third assertion is especially relevant, however: “The president, senators and representatives . . . serve at the American electorate’s pleasure, and not the other way around.”

In other words, the more we depend on a single person to lead and protect our nation, the more we slide from democracy into demagoguery. As we will see, this is a principle of special relevance to evangelical Christians today.

Jimmy Carter has entered hospice care

On one level, we all know that our presidents are mortal.

As a recent example, the Carter Center announced on Saturday that former President Jimmy Carter, at ninety-eight years old the longest-lived American president, has entered hospice care at home in Plains, Georgia. The news followed reports that a small lesion was removed from President Biden’s chest during his latest physical exam, though he otherwise was pronounced “healthy” and “vigorous.”

On another level, however, it is human nature to seek and then trust those who can do things for us we cannot do for ourselves. This starts as children who depend on our parents and older siblings. As we grow older, we come to appreciate soldiers who defend us abroad and police who defend us at home. We become grateful for doctors whose medical expertise exceeds our own and supports our health. We learn to trust counselors who can advise us in areas of finance and relationships and mentors whose wisdom can guide our path.

This tendency to trust our leaders is especially central to evangelical Christianity. Unlike those whose faith story began with the collective sacraments and catechisms of the church, many of us came to Christ through the influence of a pastor, youth minister, or Bible teacher. Unlike churches whose worship centers on the collective liturgies of church tradition, ours focuses on the “preaching of the word” and thus the preacher who delivers that word to us.

Many of our churches place the pulpit or lectern at the center of the platform and thus the preacher at the center of the service. In many evangelical churches, the pastor announces our faith to the congregation, baptizes us, marries us, and buries us.

This is all well and good unless we forget the example set by our first president.

“The greatest man in the world”

After leading America to victory in our Revolutionary War, George Washington voluntarily chose to resign his military commission. When King George III of England was told of Washington’s intent to step down from power, he said, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” Over the years, Washington refused numerous attempts to make him more a monarch who would rule the people than a president who would serve them.

His popularity could have made him president for life, but he feared that if he died in office, Americans would view the presidency as a lifetime appointment. Accordingly, he chose to step down following his second term.

His example is especially relevant for evangelicals at this cultural moment.

In Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church, Katelyn Beaty defines “celebrity” as “social power without proximity.” She means that in large churches and ministries, leaders wield enormous influence but without the restraints and accountability of smaller churches in which pastors are known much more personally by those they serve.

Beaty wisely warns: “To have immense social power and little proximity is a spiritually dangerous place for any of us to be.” Many of the clergy scandals she discusses in her book have their origin in this fact.

“Attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric”

Two conclusions follow.

One: We must daily surrender our lives and influence to the Holy Spirit so he can manifest his servant love for our Lord and our neighbor in and through us (Galatians 5:22Matthew 22:37–39).

Jesus set the example when he washed the feet of his followers and commanded us to do the same (John 13:14). I heard a preacher say: “When you stand before the Lord, he will not examine your title but your towel.”

Two: We must pray for our leaders to live and lead by biblical truth and morality (1 Timothy 2:1–2). The more they deviate from God’s word, the more they need the intercession of God’s people.

In his 1796 Farewell Address, George Washington made this clear and prophetic pronouncement: “Virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

Who, indeed?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Proverbs 3:1–2

My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.

We live in a world that is suffering with a tremendous lack of peace. Perhaps you’re concerned about the chaos you see happening all around you. You’re wondering about the indecision of leaders and what direction our future holds. Today, God’s Word promises if you remember His commandments and do what He asks you to do, you are going to have length of days, long life, and peace. You can be supremely convinced that if you do God’s will in your life, you can have perfect peace that God is a problem solver, and everything is going to be alright.

His Word also says you will have “long life,” which is God’s promise that you will get to enjoy your years of living, not just live long. But what does it mean to have “length of days?” A life is made up of decades and years, but days are made up of hours. When you have a “length of day,” God is saying that whatever you put your hands to in a day’s work, God will pour His anointing upon it, and He will give you progress. Rather than struggle in your own strength, when you submit yourself to God’s Word, whatever you put your hands to is going to prosper.

Today’s Blessing: 

And now 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 you are victorious in Jesus’ name; that the precious blood of the cross has forever forgiven you of your sins. For if we confess our sins, God is faithful and forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Walk in the confidence that you are a member of the church triumphant, and everything that’s in the future, God Almighty is in sovereign control. And we are soon to see the King in all of His glory. In Jesus’ name, receive this blessing.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Leviticus 9:7-10:20

New Testament 

Mark 4:26-5:20

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 37:29-40

Proverbs 10:6-7


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Stop the Spread

Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Hebrews 12:15

 Recommended Reading: Psalm 32:3-5

Many Southern home gardeners have made the mistake of planting mint to enjoy in their iced tea in the summer. After a few years they dig up the mint and then discover a year later that they didn’t dig up the mint. It’s still growing and spreading. Mint is one of many decorative yard species that are hard to eradicate once they gain a foothold—especially those that spread by extending their roots (rhizomes) underground. Leaving even a sliver of root in the ground will guarantee that your yard will be continually “defiled.”

Speaking of roots that defile—the writer to the Hebrews warned about a “root of bitterness” that can spring up and defile many. In other words, bitterness is an invasive spiritual species that can spread quickly throughout a group of people. Moses warned the Israelites about letting their hearts turn away from God in pursuit of idols, becoming a “root among you that produces such bitter poison” (Deuteronomy 29:18, NIV).

Don’t be bitter. Rip up bitterness by the root! Stay focused on God’s love, grace, and forgiveness—and extend the same to everyone you are around.

Difficulties make us either better or bitter.


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Why We Need Worship

 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them 

—Matthew 18:20


Matthew 18:20 

I came to Christ initially because I saw a bunch of Christians worshipping the Lord on my high school campus. I was just a kid who was into drugs, and I had no direction in life. But one day as I was walking across my high school campus, I noticed a group of Christians sitting on the front lawn and singing songs.

The very weirdness of it interested me. Why were they singing songs about God at lunchtime on the front lawn? I sat down far enough away to avoid looking like I was one of them. But I made sure that I was close enough to eavesdrop on what they were doing. And as I watched them sing their simple songs about God, I was moved by it.

Something extraordinary happens when God’s people get together and sing His praises. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 NKJV).

Jesus wasn’t saying that God only shows up when people worship. God is omnipresent; He is everywhere. But God manifests His presence in a special way when His people lift up His name in praise and worship.

The first-century church was a worshipping church. Acts 2 tells us “they worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people” (verses 46–47 NLT).

It is a powerful testimony to the world when a Christian can praise God despite hardship. Christians face the same hardships that nonbelievers face. But when they see us praising God despite adverse circumstances, when they see us honoring the Lord, that is a powerful testimony. Our worship can be a witness.