Our Daily Bread — Waters of Encouragement

Bible in a Year:

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Thessalonians 5:4–11

I call it the “lean to green” miracle. It’s happened every spring for more than fifteen years. Coming out of the winter months, the grass in our yard is dusty and brown, so much so, a casual passerby might believe it’s dead. Colorado has snow in the mountains, but the climate on the plains—“the Front Range”—is dry, with most warmer months full of drought warnings. But every year around the end of May, I turn on the sprinklers—not huge amounts of water but simply small, consistent waterings. And in about two weeks, what was dry and brown builds up into something lush and green.

That green grass reminds me how vital encouragement is. Without it, our lives and our faith can resemble something almost lifeless. But it’s amazing what consistent encouragement can do to our hearts, minds, and souls. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians emphasizes this truth. The people were struggling with anxiety and fear. Paul saw he needed to bolster their faith. He urged them to keep up the good work of encouraging one another and building each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). He knew that without such refreshment, their faith could wither. Paul experienced this firsthand, for those very same Thessalonian believers had been an encouragement to him, building him up. You and I have the same opportunity to encourage—to help one another bloom and grow.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

What’s the most recent encouragement you’ve received? Whose heart could you water today or this week?

Father, thank You for the encouragement I’ve received, and help me to encourage others.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Humility on Display

 “Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Christ showed us humility by becoming a man and living as a servant.

Humility is not a very popular concept in our society, is it? We are taught to pursue honor and recognition from a young age. When my children were young, they stacked up trophies to the point of absurdity. Award shows are commonplace on television. We seem to have prizes for everything.

Humility is an elusive quality. The moment you think you are humble is the moment you forfeit it. But humility is the heart of the worthy walk; that’s why Paul listed it here first. No matter how elusive it is, we must keep striving for it.

The Greek word for humility is a compound word. The first part means “low.” In a metaphorical sense it was used to mean “poor” or “unimportant.” The second part of the word means “to think” or “to judge.” The combined meaning is to think of yourself as lowly or unimportant.

Did you know this word never appears in classical Greek? It had to be coined by Christians. The Greeks and Romans had no word for humility because they despised that attitude. They mocked and looked down on anyone who thought of himself as lowly.

In contrast, Christ taught the importance of humility and was our greatest example of that virtue. The exalted Lord Jesus was born in a stable. During His ministry He never had a place to lay His head. He owned only the garments on His body. He washed His disciples’ feet, doing the job of a slave (John 13:3-11). When He died, He was buried in a borrowed tomb.

When the evangelical Moravian Brethren of Germany heard about slavery in the West Indies, they were told it was impossible to reach the slave population there because the slaves were separated from the ruling classes. In 1732 two Moravians offered to go and be slaves on the plantations and teach other slaves about Christ. They toiled at the sides of their fellow slaves, and the slaves listened because the two Moravians had humbled themselves. In a small way, that illustrates what Christ did for us: He humbled Himself by becoming a man so we could be saved.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you walk in Christlike humility.

For Further Study

Read about Christ’s example of humility in Philippians 2:5-11. What was His attitude toward Himself, and how can you emulate His humility?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Joy in Suffering

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

— James 1:2 (AMPC)

A spiritually mature person has a different view of trials and tribulations than an immature person. A spiritually mature person handles tribulations by keeping joy and trusting God in the midst of it. Even though the enemy may be bringing it, God is able to work good out of it, and very often we learn things about ourselves during trials that we would never see any other way.

We should thank God in the midst of our trials instead of murmuring and complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves. Look at your troubles in a new way. Don’t act any differently when you are going through a storm than you would if life were full of rainbows (you don’t get rainbows until you’ve been through a storm!). And remember, with every temptation, He also provides a way out (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer of the Day: Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus, and I ask You to help me keep my eyes on You and look at the bright side when facing trouble and trials. Help me learn the lessons I need to learn and go deeper in my walk with You, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Righteousness in Action

At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:8-10

Being made righteous should lead to us living righteously.

We trust Christ alone for our righteousness and never our good works. We must never lose sight of that. But we must also realize that the righteousness Christ gives us inevitably manifests itself in righteous deeds. Paul puts it this way: as believers, we are to “walk as children of light.” And why? Because “the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” In short, the Lord has made us righteous; therefore, we are to act righteously.

We cannot be the beneficiaries of the objective righteousness of Christ without the evidence presenting itself in our righteous living. Sinclair Ferguson puts it wonderfully when he says that “we are now the recipients of an irrevocable justification (or righteousness) in Christ, which in turn leads to a growth in righteousness in ourselves.”[1] Similarly, John Calvin wrote that “the Son of God though spotlessly pure took upon himself the ignominy and shame of our sin and in return clothed us with his purity.”[2] Christ bears our sin for us, grants us His unblemished record, and then empowers us, by His Spirit, to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (Colossians 1:10).

The Puritans used to speak in terms of a righteousness that was imputed and then a righteousness that was imparted. They were seeking to distinguish between the objective righteousness that Christ affords us and the subjective righteousness that we enact in our lives in the power of the Spirit. As believers, we are the grateful possessors of both.

Whatever your preferred terminology, this much is always true: the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ isn’t simply a free pass that excuses us to do as we please. No, the gospel calls us and empowers us to do what pleases the Lord. The key is that the gospel always turns us back to Jesus. As you look to Christ for your righteousness, He will enable you to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” and strengthen you to run the unique race God has set out for you (Hebrews 12:1-2). So today, be sure not to trust in your righteous living to earn you salvation or blessing from the Lord. But equally, be sure not to make the mistake of allowing your salvation to tempt you to be half-hearted in your pursuit of righteous living. You have been made righteous; now go and live righteously.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

Ephesians 5:8-15

Topics: Christian Living Imputed Righteousness Jesus Christ


1 Let’s Study Ephesians (Banner of Truth, 2015), p 181.

2 Institutes of the Christian Religion 2.16.6, quoted in Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, 3rd ed. (InterVarsity, 2009), p 212.

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Forgives Only the Broken and Contrite Heart

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18)

Sometimes Dylan told lies. If his parents caught him, they would punish him. They would also encourage him to pray and ask God to forgive him. At first, Dylan really meant what he was praying – sometimes he would pray for God’s forgiveness even when his parents didn’t know about the lie and weren’t making him pray.

Soon, Dylan found himself praying to God all the time, but not for forgiveness! He would pray that his parents wouldn’t find out about what he had done or said. Dylan was more afraid of being punished than he was of being unforgiven. Soon he started to wonder whether God would listen to his prayers at all.

Dylan did not understand very much about Who God is and what God expects of His children. God does not forgive us if we are not truly repentant. He does not forgive us if we are asking for the wrong reason and our hearts are set on sinning again.

Over time, Dylan had let himself start viewing God as someone who does whatever we ask Him to do. But repentance, forgiveness, and salvation all come from the Lord. We cannot just sin, pray about it, and expect that to fix everything. God tells us in His Word that if we regard (or know about and hold onto) sin in our hearts, He will not even listen to our prayers.

Instead, Dylan ought to look at the sin in his heart and think about it like God thinks about it – as something very evil, hurtful, and displeasing to God and others. Instead of planning to tell lies again, Dylan should pray for help to resist the temptation to tell lies again. He should also be willing to take whatever punishment is coming to him for lies he has already told. Asking forgiveness doesn’t get us out of being punished.

God will not even hear our prayers if we are looking at sin as something we don’t mind keeping around in our lives. But there’s good news for people like Dylan – and us. Psalm 51:17 says this: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” God does hear the prayers of a broken and contrite (or repentant, humble) heart. If we come to Him with repentance and humility, thinking about our sins the way He does, then He has promised to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God will hear you and forgive you only if you ask with a repentant spirit.

My Response: » When I ask forgiveness for a certain sin, am I determined to avoid that sin in the future, or do I still want to keep it around in my life? » When I come to God, is it proudly, with my own interests in mind? Or do I come to Him with a humble heart, thinking about my sin the way He thinks about it?

Denison Forum – Austin ISD to promote LGBTQ Pride Week among students and staff

You are undoubtedly familiar with Pride Month, described as “a month, typically in June, dedicated to celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride.” Now school officials in Austin, Texas, are preparing for “Pride Week” to be held later this month. “Pronoun buttons,” rainbow flags, LGBTQ stickers, and other items will be distributed to students and staff. The event is timed to coincide with National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week.

I was unaware of either “week,” so I wondered what other LGBTQ “Pride” events are held these days. It turns out the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) website lists more than one hundred and fifty different such events.

Why so many? IGLTA explains: “The LGBTQ+ rights movement has made tremendous strides over the past few decades and much of the progress in visibility is thanks in part to gay pride parades and marches that have taken place in cities around the world.”

Why can we expect more “Pride” events?

“Pride” events began with the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Since that time, there has been a concerted, focused effort for more than fifty years to normalize LGBTQ behavior.

But this strategy exposes its inherent weakness: Something that must continually be normalized is, by definition, not normal. Otherwise, it would not need to be continually normalized.

For example, no one seeks to normalize sexual relations within heterosexual marriage. This is because such relations are already normal and express God’s design for humans to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) as “a man shall . . . hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

By contrast, same-sex sexual relations are not God’s design: “Men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27).

Likewise, elective abortion is continually being normalized in our culture because it is not normal for a mother—or for society—to end the life of an unborn child. The illogic of abortion is clear: We instinctively know that killing an innocent person is wrong and that an unborn baby is innocent. It is therefore wrong to kill an unborn baby.

How much does religion benefit the US economy?

However, as we noted earlier this week, those who do not like a message are prone to attack the messenger. In this case, when Christians defend biblical marriage and the sanctity of life, our religion is attacked as homophobic and part of a “war on women.”

Consequently, it is important for us to show our secular critics the value of religion to secular society. Here are some examples:

  • Research shows that “religious attendance once or more per week leads to an extra seven years of life expectancy.” Religious involvement is also linked to a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, less depression, and less alcohol and drug use.
  • Religious participation by kids results in less juvenile delinquency, less drug use, less smoking, better school attendance, and a higher probability of graduating from high school.
  • Adults who regularly attend religious services commit fewer crimes and give more money to charity.
  • Studies indicate that “higher rates of religious beliefs stimulate [economic] growth because they help to sustain aspects of individual behavior that enhance productivity.”

According to sociology professor Rodney Stark, all of this benefits the American economy in the amount of $2.6 trillion per year, which is about one-sixth of our nation’s total economic output.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Of course, the greatest benefit the Christian religion offers society is not a religion about God but a relationship with him. I believe if more secular people understood this fact, they would view Christianity very differently.

They see our faith as just another religion with duties, rituals, and obligations. In a sense, they are like those who came to Jesus’ tomb to finish burying his corpse and met angels who asked them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5–6).

We “seek the living among the dead” whenever we treat Jesus as anyone or anything other than our living Lord. When he is an idea, a theology, a model, a movement, or a religion, he is as dead as if he were Muhammad or Buddha. When we seek and encounter Jesus as a living person, we personally experience the fact that he is alive because he is alive in us.

Have you met the risen Christ for yourself? You can today if you will ask Jesus to forgive your sins and become your Savior and Lord. (For more, see my website article, “Why Jesus?”)

If you have, have you met him again today? His word promises, “The Lᴏʀᴅ is near to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18). As a result, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus assures us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

Tony Evans was right: “God will meet you where you are in order to take you where he wants you to go.”

Will you accept his invitation today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

John 17:20-21

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You…”

As Jesus looked, in turn, at each beloved face gathered around the Passover table that last evening, He knew what lay ahead – for Him and for them. After the meal, the King of kings and Lord of lords laid aside His garments, picked up a towel, and knelt before each one to wash their feet…even the one who would betray him in just a few short hours. After He sent Judas into the night, He opened His heart to share those final, important truths that the disciples would need to carry them through the next terrifying hours. He concluded those precious moments by praying His heart over them, reaching out to the Father on their behalf, on our behalf.

He could have prayed many things. He alone knew the horror, the mind-numbing grief, the overwhelming disillusionment that would follow His benediction. He understood the transformation that needed to occur so that this ragamuffin band of rough men could turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Only He could foresee the faith explosion that would shake the very foundations of the formidable Roman empire. He could have asked for and imparted many things, but He asked for one thing over and over: that we all may be one.

Five times He prayed that we might be one. Just like He and the Father are one, He asked that we would be united, that we would stand together in the Word that He gave, that we would radiate the glory that He shared. And somehow, this unity between us, this unbreakable bond will testify to the fact that God sent Jesus to this world and that He has loved us with an unsurpassed love. God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son so we could believe in Him, so we could be united with Him in love and share in this great big, messy, wonderful family. We will never be on the outside, never be without a friend or advocate or helper again. We stand as one. This is our forever family.

Today, are you the answer to the petition that Jesus prayed on that night long ago? Are you unified with the body of Christ? Are you making every effort to live in harmony with your brothers and sisters? Are you humbly kneeling to wash their feet? Are you surrendering your will to stand united in heart, mind, purpose and action? A world is waiting to be turned upside down again.

Today’s Blessing: 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the tender way You care for us, how You know exactly what we need. In the places where I have been divided from my brothers and sisters, separated by anger or bitterness, please forgive me. Show me how to dwell in unity with others so that we may radiate Your glory. In the name of our Prince of Peace…Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 14:1-15:16

New Testament 

Mark 14:52-72

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 53:1-6

Proverbs 11:4


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Lingering in His Presence

He left nothing outside his control.
Hebrews 2:8, PHILLIPS

 Recommended Reading: Hebrews 2:8-12

June DePriest, a Bible teacher in Jackson, Mississippi, faced a protracted burden over her husband’s health. On one occasion there were frustrating delays as they awaited word on a heart procedure. “All I could do, and yet the best thing to do, was spend time in God’s Presence,” June wrote. “I lingered there longer and longer. No answer. Heaven was silent. It is easy to fall prey to the darkness of doubt. What do we do when heaven is silent? Stay in His Word and cling tightly to the Father. Saturate your heart with His promises. Go back to Scriptures that have spoken to you in the past. We are to be confident that God is working behind the scenes on our behalf.”

The Old Testament heroes of Joseph, Ruth, Moses, and Elijah found themselves in places they didn’t understand. So did the twelve disciples, Paul, Silas, and a host more. God puts us all in places we don’t understand, but we can trust His sovereignty.

Be encouraged! He has left nothing outside His control.

Lingering in God’s presence will through prayer increase your faith in Him, provide a place for you to unload your burdens, remind you that God is always near, and help you not to panic.
Elizabeth George


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Finding Joy in God’s Will

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart. 

—Psalm 40:8


Psalm 40:8 

Does God have a master plan for our lives? And if so, how do we discover it? How can we know the will of God?

Often, we have two views about the will of God that aren’t accurate. The first view is that finding God’s will is difficult, as though God were hiding it from us. We imagine God looking down from Heaven and saying, “You’re getting warmer. Warmer. Hot! Hot! No. Cold. Cold. Cold.”

The opposite view is that God’s will is something undesirable, like going on a diet. Every diet seems to be either boring or miserable. And we can think of God’s will that way.

But here is what we need to know: On one hand, there is joy in the will of God. For example, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, “By the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other” (Romans 15:32 NLT).

God’s will is joyful, and He wants to reveal His will to us.

On the other hand, when we’re not walking in God’s will, there is misery. In fact, the most miserable place to be is outside of God’s will.

The will of God is not an option for the true Christian. Therefore, not only should we want to know the will of God, but we also should be anxious to do the will of God. The psalmist David wrote, “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart” (Psalm 40:8 NLT).

God’s will is not something that we are forced to do, but it should be something that we want to do. And we’ll find joy in doing the will of God.