Our Daily Bread — A Baboon, a Donkey, and Me

Bible in a Year:

Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth.

Numbers 22:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Numbers 22:21–31

Jack knew how to put trains on the right track. In nine years of work, he never missed a track switch as locomotives drew near the Uitenhage, South Africa, station, indicating by their whistles the direction they were to go.

Jack was also a chacma baboon. He was cared for by railway signalman James Wide, and Jack in turn took care of James. Wide had lost both his legs in a fall between moving rail cars. He trained Jack to help him with tasks around the house and soon Jack assisted him at work also, learning how to respond to the incoming trains’ signals by pulling corresponding levers for their tracks.

The Bible tells of another animal that helped someone in a surprising way—Balaam’s donkey. Balaam was a pagan prophet serving a king who intended to harm Israel. As the prophet was riding his donkey en route to assist the king, “the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth” and it spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22:28). The donkey’s speech was part of the way God opened “Balaam’s eyes” (v. 31), warned him of imminent danger, and kept him from harming His people.

A railway baboon? A talking donkey? Why not? If God can use these amazing animals for good purposes, it’s not at all far-fetched to believe He can use you and me as well. Looking to Him and seeking His strength, we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Whom have you seen God use unexpectedly? What will you do to make yourself available to Him today?

I want to serve You, God! Use my hands, my feet, my mouth, whatever You like! Help me to live for You today.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Acknowledging the Ultimate Source of Everything

“Joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:11-12).

Joyous thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of every good gift.

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16- 18).

As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example in Romans 1:8 he says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn’t mean you can’t thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God’s grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Hebrews 13:15 adds, “Through [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

Suggestions for Prayer

Recite Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study

From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist’s thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – High Praises of God

Let the saints be joyful in the glory and beauty [which God confers upon them]; let them sing for joy upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and a two-edged sword in their hands.

— Psalm 149:5-6 (AMPC)

We should form a habit of thanking and praising God as soon as we wake up each morning. While we are still lying in bed, let’s give thanks and fill our minds with Scripture.

Praise defeats the devil quicker than any other battle plan. Praise is an invisible garment that we put on and it protects us from defeat and negativity in our minds. But it must be genuine, heartfelt praise, not just lip service or a method being tried to see if it works. We praise God for the promises in His Word and for His goodness.

Worship is a battle position! As we worship God for Who He is and for His attributes, for His ability and might, we draw closer to Him, and the enemy is defeated. We can never be too thankful! Thank God all day long and remember the many things He has done for you.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I thank You that I can come to You in praise, worship, and thanksgiving all through the day. Help me to keep my heart focused on You instead of the circumstances around me. Thank You that through praise and worship, I will win every battle I face against the devil, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Keep the Sabbath, Part One

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8

Throughout history there have been well-meaning, earnest Christians who have, perhaps without knowing it, functionally believed that the Ten Commandments are really only the Nine Commandments. Somewhere along the way, some have decided that the fourth commandment is not like the rest of the commandments but rather is a relic that belongs in the past. In truth, though, the command to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy has abiding significance for us all, even today.

Why has this simple command fallen on such hard times? Some have claimed that its regulations and penalties were tied to the old covenant, so it must no longer be relevant. Yet we don’t treat the other commandments this way. Others have said that the way Jesus spoke of being “lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8) diminished the commandment’s significance and force. But what Jesus sought to overturn was not the Sabbath itself but the external rules of the Pharisees.

I suspect that what keeps most Christians from thinking of the fourth commandment as we ought to is simply that we don’t like its implications. We don’t like the way it intrudes into our lives, our leisure, and whatever else takes precedence in our hearts. And so we act as though this command is in a different category from the other nine.

If we want to grasp the significance of the Sabbath and respond to it in a God-honoring way, we must embrace, as a conviction, the truth that God has set aside the Sabbath day as distinct from the rest. This was the case in the week of creation, with God resting on the seventh day and declaring it sanctified. The church, in the age of the new covenant, then changed the day from the seventh of the week to the first to mark the resurrection of Christ. In both cases, we see that the distinction of the day is woven into God’s work of creation and redemption.

With that conviction in place, we can see that the day is not simply a day set apart from other days, but it is a day set apart to the Lord. If we don’t see it this way, we will be tempted to view our spiritual exercises on the Lord’s Day as something to “get over with” in order to “get on with” our week. If this is our mentality, we stand condemned by the fourth commandment.

The Sabbath ought to be treasured for what it is: a gift of a day on which we enjoy, uninterrupted by leisure commitments or (if at all possible) by employment, the privilege of God’s presence, the study of God’s word, and the fellowship of God’s people. Seen like that, this command becomes an invitation: not only something we should do but something we will love to do. If this is not how you have been viewing God’s Sabbath, then ask yourself: What’s preventing you from honoring the Lord’s Day? Take stock of your habits and receive the gift of the Sabbath. From next Sunday, be sure that your priority is not to make the Lord’s Day convenient but to keep it holy.


Hebrews 4:1-11

Topics: Christian Living The Sabbath

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Thinks About His Own

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psalm 139:17-18)

When Heather was little, her family would go camping at the beach. They stayed in tents and cooked over an open fire. Every day, Heather and her twin brother Mitch would go swimming in the ocean! They had so much fun playing in the water, walking along the beach, and, of course, playing in the sand. Mitch and Heather built too many sand castles to count, and one time they even built a car made of sand! Sometimes, Heather wondered if it was possible to count all the grains of sand on that beach. She tried once to count just a bucket full of sand, but as you can imagine, she gave that up quickly! Why? Even in a single bucket, there was way too much sand to count!

The Bible says that God’s thoughts about His people are more in number than the sand. Imagine counting all the piles of sand on a beach. It would be hard to count all the piles of sand on just one single beach. Now imagine trying to count all the piles of sand on all the beaches of the world! Even more incredible is the thought of trying to count every single grain of sand in every pile of sand on every beach in the world! In our wildest imaginations, we could not pretend to understand a number that big!

Like Heather, we would probably give up counting before we got through just one small bucket of sand. The numbers are just too much. Those kinds of numbers are exactly how the Bible describes how many thoughts God has toward His people.

Not only are God’s thoughts toward His own countless, but they are also precious thoughts. That means He cherishes His people and that He plans only good things to do for them, and through them. Here on Earth, we may sometimes feel forgotten or left out, but we can always go back to God’s Word and remember that God is thinking precious thoughts about us!

Psalm 139 speaks of how closely God pays attention to those whom He created, and especially how He feels about people who trust Him and obey Him by His grace. There are many other Bible verses that describe how countless and wonderful God’s thoughts are toward His own. Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

What a great and good God He is!

God’s thoughts toward His people are countless and precious.

My Response:
» Is it easy to imagine how many grains of sand there are on a beach?
» Is it easy for me to believe that God thinks about those who trust and obey Him?
» How should it help me to remember that God thinks so often and so favorably toward His own?

Denison Forum – Energy Department says lab leak most likely origin of COVID-19 pandemic

The US Energy Department (USED) has concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic origin was most likely a laboratory leak.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this conclusion “is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of US national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research.” However, people who have read the classified report add that the USED made its judgment with “low confidence” (which means that it is based on highly incomplete evidence).

While the USED now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory, four other agencies and a national intelligence panel still believe it was likely the result of a natural transmission. Two other agencies are undecided, and White House national security spokesman John Kirby said yesterday that there has not been a definitive conclusion and consensus in the US government on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s my question: Why don’t we know for sure? In eleven days, the COVID-19 pandemic will officially reach its third anniversary. Why is this debate still raging?

If the COVID-19 pandemic origin was in fact at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, as many now suspect, surely Chinese officials know that this is so. Yet they continue to assert that the pandemic did not originate at the lab; in recent months they have even claimed that the pandemic did not begin in China at all.

If this is true, why do the USED and FBI not believe them?

These questions point to cultural realities that go beyond the pandemic and relate directly to the intersection of our faith with our world today.

“The American experiment is ultimately in jeopardy”

In his latest New York Times article, David French reflects on a speech delivered by President Jimmy Carter on July 15, 1979. The president’s purpose was to respond to the political assassinations, economic challenges, and campus unrest of the day along with America’s defeat in Vietnam and the continuing stigma of Watergate. Due to his description of our nation’s ills, his address has come to be known as the “malaise” speech, though that word nowhere appears in it.

According to French, it was “the most important and memorable address of his life.”

Mr. Carter called on Americans to look in the mirror: “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.”

French describes the president’s “central insight”: “Even if the country’s political branches could deliver peace and prosperity, they could not deliver community and belonging. Our nation depends on pre-political commitments to each other, and in the absence of those pre-political commitments, the American experiment is ultimately in jeopardy.”

“Lives which have no confidence or purpose”

The Chinese political system is built on Marxist ideology that makes the individual the servant of the state. In this view, if the state prospers, individuals will ultimately prosper as a result. But Chinese leaders self-servingly assert that for the state to prosper, its autocratic government must remain in power and must control every dimension of the state.

As a result, lying about a COVID-19 lab leak in Wuhan, especially to the Western world it regards as the greatest threat to its global dominance, would be expected and predictable.

By contrast, the US was founded on the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal” and that our leaders serve to represent those who freely elect them. In our system, if government officials lied about a lab leak that created a global pandemic, this would be an immoral and likely criminal act worthy of legal and political response.

But before we congratulate ourselves on the moral superiority of our system over that of Communist China, let’s return to President Carter’s diagnosis of our cultural health forty-four years ago. In his speech, Mr. Carter noted: “Consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.”

Our first president would have agreed. George Washington observed: “Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” Self-governance depends on our ability to govern ourselves. And the existential materialism that has replaced consensual morality at the heart of our capitalistic culture cannot sustain our democracy, much less our souls.

“My unmoved mansion of rest”

This is why an intimate, daily experience with the living Lord Jesus is so vital, not just for our personal lives but for our collective flourishing. No other source can offer us the transforming grace that empowers us to forgive ourselves and each other for our failings and to serve each other out of love for our Lord and our neighbor.

Jesus taught us: “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The psalmist similarly called us to “abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1) by making the Lord our “dwelling place” (v. 9).

Charles Spurgeon responded to the psalmist’s invitation: “If [God] loved me yesterday, he loves me today. My unmoved mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God.”

He added: “I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God.”

If you were to be more “at home” with your God today than yesterday, what would you need to change?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Psalm 63:1

O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.

Have you ever read something in God’s Word and wished it wasn’t there? If His Word on certain points, such as “early will I seek You,” doesn’t line up with our will, we may try to forget or disregard it because we don’t want to do what it says. God’s Word sometimes requires us to change our perspective in order for us to be willing to accept it. But we struggle to want to conform to certain truths even though they are the very ones that can transform our lives to become what God wants us to be.

Let me remind you today that God desperately wants you to get to know Him. He’s made a way for you to have a relationship with Him that’s far greater than anything you could ask or think. But in spite of all He has done and can do on your behalf, until you’re willing, He will not. So for everything He can do, He won’t until you do. You have to seek Him, and by hearing His Word, you’ll begin to develop the faith that overcomes the world.

Child of God, whenever you begin to have faith in God and take a step in God’s direction, He’ll move heaven and earth on your behalf!

Today’s Blessing: 

And now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May God help righteousness arise; may God expose the ungodly; may God expose every secret and corrupt thing; may righteousness return and we the people discover our voice because we are the bright city on a hill holding the righteous torch of God’s truth. In Jesus’ name, we pray that for the future, Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Leviticus 22:21-23:44

New Testament 

Mark 9:30-10:12

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 44:1-7

Proverbs 10:19


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Slow to Chide

For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:14

 Recommended Reading: Psalm 103:11-14

Most believers live with a sense of sanctified dissatisfaction. We want to emulate the emotions, attitudes, reactions, and habits of Christ. We long to perfectly please Him. But we’re not perfect, nor will we be until we get to heaven. This holy dissatisfaction should evermore prompt us toward greater personal holiness. But we must also realize God knows all about our imperfections, and He isn’t surprised when we fail.

The great hymn, “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” by Henry Lyte has a wonderful phrase to encourage us. The second stanza says: “Praise Him for His grace and favor to our fathers in distress! Praise Him still the same for ever, slow to chide, and swift to bless!”

Whenever you stumble or fall, confess your sin quickly and ask for God’s help in the future. We should keep growing. But don’t keep beating yourself up over forgiven sin. Remember—He knows our frame, that we are dust. But in His wondrous grace, He is slow to chide and swift to bless.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us; well our feeble frame He knows. In His hands He gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes.
Henry Lyte


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Go Back to the Beginning

Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. 

—Revelation 3:3


Revelation 3:3 

Was there a time in your life when you were stronger spiritually than you are now? If there was, then you can return to that place again.

Think for a moment about what you did when you were a younger Christian. You probably read your Bible every day and had a prayer life. It’s likely that you were a regular at church and that you shared your faith. Do you still do those things?

Sometimes we have a breakdown in the basics of the Christian life, and we wonder what’s going wrong. It isn’t a mystery. We need to get back to doing those things again.

In the Book of Revelation, we find Jesus’ words to the church in Sardis: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again” (3:1–3 NLT).

This is a picture of a church that needed to come back to life—to awaken and get back to its roots. And this is what we all want to do. But it starts individually.

If you want to see a revival, then you need to do revival-like things. It doesn’t matter whether you feel it; just do it. Emotions will catch up. Don’t wait for a big encounter with God or some emotional experience. That may happen, or it may not. To have a personal revival, you need to go back to the basics in your walk with Christ.

We can talk all day long about a spiritual awakening in America. We can talk all day long about revival. But it starts with each one of us.