Our Daily Bread — Scripture Training

Bible in a Year:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Timothy 3:1–9, 14–17

In the late 1800s, people in different places developed similar ministry resources at the same time. The first was in Montreal, Canada, in 1877. In 1898, another concept was launched in New York City. By 1922, some five thousand of these programs were active in North America each summer.

Thus began the early history of Vacation Bible School. The passion that fueled those VBS pioneers was a desire for young people to know the Bible.

Paul had a similar passion for his young protégé Timothy, writing that “Scripture is God-breathed” and equips us “for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). But this wasn’t just the benign suggestion that “it’s good to read your Bible.” Paul’s admonition follows the dire warning that “there will be terrible times in the last days” (v. 1), with false teachers who are “never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (v. 7). It’s essential we protect ourselves with Scripture, for it immerses us in the knowledge of our Savior, making us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (v. 15).

Studying the Bible isn’t just for kids; it’s for adults too. And it isn’t just for summer; it’s for every day. Paul wrote to Timothy, “from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (v. 15), but it’s never too late to begin. Whatever stage of life we’re in, the wisdom of the Bible connects us to Jesus. This is God’s VBS lesson to us all.

By:  Kenneth Petersen

Reflect & Pray

What are your favorite Scripture passages? How do they point to Christ?

Loving God, thank You for the gift of Scripture and how it helps me learn about Jesus.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Threats to Humility: Doctrine and Hypocrisy

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

Avoid pride in your position, intelligence, or spirituality.

Years ago, when my children were young, my son Mark told my youngest child, Melinda, to take something out of the room. She said, “You’re not my boss.” Mark replied, “Dad is the boss of Mom, Mom is the boss of Matt, Matt is the boss of Marcy, Marcy is the boss of me, and I am the boss of you.” So Melinda obeyed. After that, Melinda decided she was the boss of the dog, and the dog was boss of nobody. No one wants to be on the bottom rung of the ladder!

Everyone holds a certain position in life, and everyone is tempted to take advantage of it. Look at Herod in Acts 12:21-22: “Herod, having put on his royal apparel . . . began delivering an address to them. And the people kept crying out, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’” He loved the attention. What happened? “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died” (v. 23).

Intellectual pride can also be a stumbling block. It’s easy for Christians to think their theology is perfect and they have all the answers. But the more I study the Bible, the more I realize how little I know. I feel like a child who fills a pail in the ocean. My learning is only a small bucket of water compared to the vast sea of knowledge. I know very little, and I’m still learning.

The worst type of pride is external spirituality without internal holiness. Jesus reserved His greatest condemnations for those who had such pride: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:27-28). You may look spiritual on the outside, going to church and acting “Christianly,” but your heart may be full of sin.

Suggestions for Prayer

Examine your heart, and confess any pride in your position, intelligence, or spirituality.

For Further Study

Read in Daniel 5 about what happened to a king who took pride in his position. Notice how God humbled him. Such sin wasn’t trivial to God; it shouldn’t be to us either.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – Give Yourself a Gift

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

— Ephesians 4:32 (AMPC)

Unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, or offense of any kind can render us unable to hear from God. The Word of God is very clear on this subject. If we want God to forgive our sins and offenses against Him, we must forgive others their sins and offenses against us.

Ephesians 4:30–32, the passage that contains our verse for today, teaches that we grieve the Holy Spirit when we harbor negative emotions such as anger, resentment, and animosity in our hearts. When we hold unforgiveness against anyone for any reason, it hardens our hearts and prevents us from being sensitive to God’s leading in our lives. I once heard someone say that holding unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.

Why spend your life being angry and bitter toward someone who is probably enjoying his or her life and does not even care that you are upset? Do yourself a favor—forgive those who hurt you! Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. It will bring peace to your heart and enable you to hear God’s voice and follow His leading in your life.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I want to live in peace and be sensitive to Your leading in my life. Help me to forgive others, as You have forgiven me, and move forward in life without anger, bitterness, or offense of any kind, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – I Have Chosen You

You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.

Isaiah 41:9-10

It is tempting to think that our significance is determined by what we’ve achieved, where we’ve been, or where we are going in this life. Yet each of these is irrelevant when considering our lasting significance, which is grounded only in our relationship with God. This relationship is not based upon our wishful thinking or elevated opinions of ourselves. No, it’s based on the surety of these words: “I have chosen you and not cast you off.”

Have we not given God grounds to reject us? If God’s covenant with us and acceptance of us were based upon our daily performance, then none of us would remain in relationship with Him for more than 24 hours. But the wonder of His covenant with us is that it is founded upon His choice. He has chosen us, He has called us from the farthest corners of the world, and He will not cast us off.

Before we can obey and experience God’s grace, we must understand it. Grace is the antidote to all fear and anxiety. We will never be able to overcome worry by simply repeating self-help mantras, nor will we gain victory over fear only by the exhortations of others to obey what Scripture calls for. Such an approach will result in discouragement and doubt, even in despair.

When dreadful thoughts arise—I am afraid and overwhelmed, and I don’t know what to do or I am weak and insignificant, and I don’t know how to go on—we must remind ourselves of God’s grace, which says to us, I called you. I chose you. I love you. I have not rejected you. Only the grace of God can help us to overcome our fears and give us this confidence. His promises put all else in perspective, teaching us to fix our minds on the hope of eternity and live in light of its reality.

Do you have any rivers that you think are uncrossable? Are there any mountains that you can’t tunnel through? Are you afraid of a new task that is awaiting you? Are you faced with continual difficulties? Remember that God’s truth doesn’t change. His purposes don’t change. His Son doesn’t change. This unchanging God is the one who is with you and for you. Listen to Him now: “I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

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

1 John 3:1-3

Topics: Eternal Security Faithfulness of God God’s Covenants

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Stories Teach Us What To Do

“But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

Tyrell and Tia couldn’t wait to get to Sunday School. Last week, the teacher, Mrs. Naginflagin, had told them that each person in the class could get up in front of the class and tell his or her favorite Bible story. So, all week long, Tyrell and Tia had been getting ready to tell their favorite Bible story.

Tyrell’s favorite Bible story was David and Goliath. Tyrell wasn’t very tall; in fact he was the shortest in his class–even the girls were taller than him! He liked the story of a small boy taking down a big giant.

Tia’s favorite story was about the birth of Moses. She loved the fact that Moses’ mother gave up her baby so that his life would be saved. She liked seeing how God made it possible for Moses’ mother to get Moses back, in a way. She got to raise her own son because Pharaoh’s daughter found him floating in the basket and wanted one of his own people to help her care for him.

Sunday morning finally came. As Tyrell and Tia took their seats, they looked around wondering what was everyone else’s favorite story would be. “Good morning, class,” said Mrs. Naginflagin. “Today, each of you will get to tell the rest of the class your favorite Bible story. Who wants to go first?”

Immediately Tyrell’s hand shot up into the air. Mrs. Naginflagin invited him to walk to the front of the room, and he began to tell the class the story of David and Goliath. And Tyrell got excited! He went into all the great details of the story, even bringing up other classmates to help act out the awesome fight scene (of course, Tyrell was “David” and the biggest boy on the class had to be “Goliath”). It made Tyrell feel good when his “stone” (it was really a crumpled up piece of paper) hit the “giant” in the forehead and knocked him to the ground.

One by one, each kid in the class told his or her favorite story. When it was all done, Mrs. Naginflagin began to teach the Sunday School lesson. She began with a question. “What do you think God wants you to do because of the story you just told?” Tyrell and Tia had never thought about that before; they just liked the stories.

Mrs. Naginflagin told them to turn to James 1:22–“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Mrs. Naginflagin began to teach the class a very important lesson. She said that God’s Word does not have these stories in it only because they are “cool stories.” God’s stories are wonderful stories, but they are more than that! These stories are actual events–they really did happen! And God included them in the Bible so that we would learn about Him from them, and so that we would know how we should act.

Tyrell and Tia had never really thought of God’s stories that way before. Now as they remembered their favorite stories, they paid attention. They thought about how God might want them to act based on the truths they learned about Him from the stories. Tyrell leaned that God can give strength to fight His battles, even when the chances of winning seem impossible, and no matter how hard it seems. And Tia learned from what happened with Moses’ mom that she should rely on God for protection and blessing, even when everything seems hopeless. Both of them saw good reasons in their favorite stories for trusting God and obeying God.

God gave us His stories to teach us about Himself, and we should act on what we learn from them.

My Response:
» What is my favorite Bible story?
» Have I ever thought about what my favorite Bible story teaches me about God?
» Have I changed my behavior based on what God has taught me about Himself from His Word?

Denison Forum – March Madness tips off today: How the NCAA tournament became a cultural phenomenon

March Madness begins in earnest today, and if you have not yet added your bracket to the more than 80 million that are filled out each year, there may still be time to join the fun. If you don’t like to gamble, no need to worry. Though it’s estimated that more than half the adult population will place a wager over the internet—to the tune of roughly $10 billion in total bets—many people just play for fun and for office bragging rights.

That said, don’t be surprised if the office seems a bit more sparsely populated today. More than a third of Americans “are willing to call in sick or skip work to watch March Madness.” I suppose that’s still better than watching from the office, though, which the average worker will spend six hours doing over the course of the Tournament.

But while it’s estimated that the lost production will cost businesses around $163 billion this year, there is some benefit to be derived as well.

Of employees, 78 percent “say celebrating March Madness at work boosts morale,” and 39 percent report that “they became closer with a coworker after participating in an office pool.”

And if you still need a bit of guidance before officially joining the fun, there are a dizzying number of resources out there for your perusal—this list of facts from ESPN and this one from The Athletic are good places to start. Just be prepared for your picks to go wrong no matter how much work you put into them.

The odds of a perfect bracket

The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion—that would be seventeen zeroes, lest you think I just invented a number. You’re twice as likely to win back-to-back lotteries as you are to fill out a perfect bracket.

Those long odds are why Warren Buffett felt comfortable offering $1 billion in 2014 for anyone at his company or its subsidiaries who could accomplish the feat.

He’s made the chance to win life-changing money a bit more attainable in the years since, though. While $1 billion is now off the table, a perfect first round will result in $1 million while any of his employees who can extend the streak through the second round will get $1 million each year for life.

However, considering that the longest anyone has stayed perfect is forty-nine games—it would take forty-eight to clear the second round—Buffett’s money is probably safe.

But if perfection is out of the question and many of those who participate in the Madness don’t even follow college basketball—as the vast number of (often winning) selections that are made based on school colors and mascots attest—how did the tournament become such a large cultural phenomenon?

Why do millions love March Madness?

One reason relates to the sense of chaos that infuses the games with an air of unpredictability.

Upsets are common and, unless they happen to your school, we get to embrace the seeming randomness of each game’s outcomes without being personally invested in the results. We can root for the underdogs without any sense of disappointment when they lose. There aren’t many other areas of our lives where we can emotionally invest in something without any real risk if it doesn’t go our way.

However, the second reason is, perhaps, more relevant to our larger calling as Christians.

March Madness—and, more specifically, the brackets, competitions, and good-natured fun that frequently accompany it—creates a sense of community for those who take part. It gives people a common interest to unite around and experience together. Even people who don’t care all that much about the sport can be included alongside those who live and breathe basketball.

There are not many parts of our culture where that’s the case, and the way people gravitate toward that sense of community shows just how much it’s needed.

If done right, the church should be able to help meet that need as well.

Shooting for community

In yesterday’s Daily Article, I made the point that asking if the church still matters is asking the wrong question. The basic idea was that it doesn’t matter if the church is relevant if it ceases to be the church in the process.

I still believe that is the case, but a point I could have made more clearly is that when our communities are built on the foundation of meeting spiritual needs, we become better at meeting other needs as well.

As the individuals in our communities of faith worship God and proclaim God’s truth, a funny thing happens along the way: we become more like Jesus. We start to love as he loved. We forgive as he forgave. And we serve as he served.

When that happens, we don’t have to bother with proving our worth or our relevance because it will be apparent to anyone who walks through our doors (even if those who remain outside continue to be perplexed).

As March Madness shows, people are starved for that kind of community. And if the church can be the church, we can help them find it in the body of Christ.

Creating that sense of community cannot be our focus and, paradoxically, the harder we try the more it will slip through our fingers. But when our eyes remain fixed on Christ and worshiping him, it will often happen naturally.

Throughout his ministry, the lost were drawn to Jesus because he exuded the presence of God in every facet of his life, and the same was true for his disciples (Acts 2:42–47).

Will it be true for us?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Ephesians 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Jesus longs for all of the members of His church, His body, to become one just like He and the Father are one. We have an enemy who is just as determined to wreak havoc on our unity with one another. In John 10:10, his goals are clearly stated. He has come to steal anything that pertains to life – our relationship with Jesus, our marriages, our prosperity, our health. He has come to kill – our dreams, our purpose, our children’s futures. He has come to destroy – our peace, our joy, our very lives. He exults in driving us away from God and away from one another.

He knows that if he can disrupt the unity in the body of Christ, he can staunch the flow of blessing in the church (Psalm 133:3). He knows that, if he can sow doubt and discouragement, he can set us against the one true Source of help. As long as he can divide us, he wins. However, if we ever unite, if we ever band together, if we ever decide that it will be God’s will and not our own, Satan can do nothing about it. He will stand helpless in the face of the church victorious. He is indeed a defeated foe.

You and I have the authority of God’s Word. We have the authority of His blood. We have the power to pull down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. These mighty weapons He has given empower us to wage supernatural war against the enemy who seeks to divide, isolate and overtake us. Jesus has come to lead us into abundant life.

We know better; let us do better. We know the Word of God; let us apply it. Until we are willing to seek unity, we will not accomplish it. Until we are willing to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters, we will not be joined as one. See what God can accomplish when we propose to stand together in unity. Let us join our hearts, our minds, and our hands. Here, His blessings will flow freely. Here, breakthrough comes. Here, peace, power and prosperity are poured out. It remains Jesus’ great desire – that we be one.

Today’s Blessing: 

Lord Jesus Christ, make us one today. Unite our families. Unite our churches. Unite Your kingdom. May we complement – and not compete with – one another. Command a blessing so that Your Spirit, Your power, and Your promises will be poured out on Your children. In Your mighty name…Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 24:1-25:18

New Testament 

Luke 2:1-35

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 59:1-17

Proverbs 11:14


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Why Be Humble?

Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.
Proverbs 3:34

 Recommended Reading: James 4:6-7

British science historian, James Burke, created one of the most popular documentary series in BBC history called Connections. In this series, he explained and demonstrated the interconnectedness between scientific discoveries—how to have the whole picture one must connect the parts.

The same could be said of the biblical trait of humility. Aside from it being a noble virtue, there is another reason God honors it and opposes pride, its opposite—because Satan was full of pride, lacking humility (1 Timothy 3:6). Satan wanted to be like God; he was not content with his assigned role from the Creator (Isaiah 14:12-15). When God says in James 4:6 that He “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” it is not just so we will have a more pleasing character. It is so we won’t be like the devil: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Unlike Satan, humble people submit to God. When Satan sees our submission to God, he flees from us.

Instead of being proud like Satan, be humble like Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:6-8). Better to be humble than to be humbled (Luke 14:7-11).

The surest mark of true conversion is humility.
J. C. Ryle


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – New Doesn’t Always Mean Improved

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. 

—1 John 4:1


1 John 4:1 

When I was a new Christian, I wanted to find a shortcut to spiritual maturity. I didn’t want to wait fifteen to twenty years to learn and grow. I wanted spiritual maturity overnight. I was always looking for an angle: What can I do? Where can I go? Is there a book that I can read? Is there one experience that I could have in my life that would bring me to instant spiritual maturity?

That is a trait of youth. You want something, and you want it now. New believers can be that way, and so can immature believers. They don’t want to wait for something. They want it now.

Another trait of youth is they like new things. Young Christians can be that way too. They like things that dazzle them.

When the apostle Paul visited Athens, he met the high council of the city. They said to him, “Come and tell us about this new teaching. . . . You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about” (Acts 17:19–20 NLT).

The next verse adds this detail: “(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas)” (verse 21 NLT).

That is typical of the mentality of youth. They like something that’s new.

However, we need to be careful. As we mature, we realize that just because something is new doesn’t mean it is better.

We can be looking for a new experience, truth, or revelation and get ourselves into a lot of trouble. Instead, we need to apply judgment and realize that we’re potentially vulnerable. If we can’t find it in the Bible, then we don’t need it from someone else. The Bible is the arbiter of truth.