Our Daily Bread — Catching Contentment

Bible in a Year:

I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.

Psalm 131:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 131

In a psychiatrist’s advice column, he responded to a reader named Brenda, who lamented that her ambitious pursuits had left her discontented. His words were blunt. Humans aren’t designed to be happy, he said, “only to survive and reproduce.” We’re cursed to chase the “teasing and elusive butterfly” of contentment, he added, “not always to capture it.”

I wonder how Brenda felt reading the psychiatrist’s nihilistic words and how different she may have felt had she read Psalm 131 instead. In its words, David gives us a guided reflection on how to find contentment. He begins in a posture of humility, putting his kingly ambitions aside, and while wrestling life’s big questions is important, he puts those aside too (v. 1). Then he quiets his heart before God (v. 2), entrusting the future into His hands (v. 3). The result is beautiful: “like a weaned child with its mother,” he says, “I am content” (v. 2).

In a broken world like ours, contentment will at times feel elusive. In Philippians 4:11–13, the apostle Paul said contentment is something to be learned. But if we believe we’re only designed to “survive and reproduce,” contentment will surely be an uncatchable butterfly. David shows us another way: catching contentment through quietly resting in God’s presence.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

When do you most feel content? How could you set aside unhurried time to be quietly present with God today?

Dear God, I rest in You, the deepest well of my truest contentment.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – No Pride of Position

 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:5-6).

Christ’s coming to earth is the supreme example to us of humility.

We can usually identify with what someone else has experienced when we have gone through the same thing. Even if we haven’t been through what the other person has, we can perhaps relate because we might someday have a similar experience.

However, it is much harder to comprehend what Christ experienced when He stooped from His lofty position at the right hand of God to come to earth as a man. We’ll never understand the magnitude of that descent because we never were and never will be God. Nevertheless, today’s passage presents, as a pattern for us, Jesus’ attitude in coming to this world.

As a Spirit-filled believer (Eph. 1:3-513), the Lord has lifted you out of your sin and given you the privilege of being His adopted child. He thereby allows you to recognize and appreciate a little more what humility is all about. Like Jesus, you will have to descend from an exalted level when you reach out in humility to those who don’t know Him.

Jesus further set the standard for us when He did not view His high position “a thing to be grasped.” Loftiness of calling should never be something we clench as a prized personal possession to exploit for our own benefit. That is the attitude we would expect to see in worldly people of influence. But it should not characterize those who claim to follow Jesus’ standard.

In contrast, if you are Christ’s disciple you will see more and more of His humility in your life. That will occur as you continually exercise a selfless attitude toward the privileges and possessions He has given you. By not clinging to these benefits, you will truly exemplify Jesus’ attitude and more effectively serve others: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10).

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that, starting today, God would grant you more and more of a Philippians 2:5-6 attitude.

For Further Study

As Ephesians 1 spells out, you have much to be thankful for as a child of God. Read the entire chapter, and list the many spiritual benefits Paul describes. Try memorizing several verses that are particularly striking to you.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Keep Your Eyes on God—Not on Others

Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what does not really belong to you)? You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you unchaste in action or in thought]?… You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking it]? For, as it is written, the name of God is maligned and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you!…

— Romans 2:21-24 (AMPC)

Paul’s words remind me of a saying I used to hear often: “Don’t do as I do—do as I say.” The people who give this admonition expect others to live according to rules that they themselves admittedly are not willing to follow.

This is where many young or insecure Christians find themselves. They see some church leaders or those in authority doing things they know aren’t right, and they think, well, if they’re such great Christians and they can do that…it must be all right. This attitude can either lead them to do the same things or to turn away from God altogether.

We need to remember that God has called us to be responsible for our actions. God holds us accountable for every thought and every action—but our responsibility doesn’t stop there. We are also responsible to help lift up others when they fall.

Perhaps nowhere in the Bible is this concept more clearly defined than in Galatians 6:1-3 (AMPC). Paul laid down three important principles that Satan doesn’t want us to grasp. First, when we become aware that a sister or brother has fallen into sin, we are to do whatever we can to help lift up that person. Paul wrote, If any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.

Even the best of us fail at times, but it is important to note that the word overtaken doesn’t mean a deliberate, intentional sin. It’s as if someone is walking down an icy sidewalk, slips, and falls. That’s how the Christian life works—nearly everyone slips sometimes.

What then should be our attitude when this happens? We should offer to help, of course. If someone slips on the ice, don’t you naturally rush over to help that person get up? That’s a Christian principle. But the enemy wants to make sure that you don’t do the right thing. He might even whisper in your ear, “Just don’t look in her direction. Ignore her. You are not obligated to help her get up. Why, you don’t even know her.” It’s easy to ignore people in need of help.

The Greek word translated restores was once a medical term used by a surgeon to describe medical procedures like removing a growth from a body or setting a broken arm. The goal is not to see that the person gets punished, but that the person gets healed.

The second point Paul made is that when we become aware someone has fallen, instead of pointing fingers and looking down on them, we should look at ourselves. The devil could have tempted us to do the same thing or something else just as bad . . . or even worse. We need to look with compassion on those who fall and remind ourselves, “Except for the grace of God, I could be there.”

The third thing is to push away pride in our own achievements. If we think we are more spiritual, we’re deceiving ourselves. Proverbs 16:18 (AMPC) gives this warning: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. We must not compare our achievements with others, but instead ask ourselves, Have I really done all that I could have done? Satan is thrilled when we compare ourselves with those who fail and see ourselves as being superior. But when we compare ourselves with the standards Jesus sets for us, we have no cause to be conceited or prideful. Instead, we can be humbly thankful that the Lord is at work in our lives.

Prayer of the Day: Lord Jesus, please remind me to help those who have fallen. Help me to remember that, except for Your grace, I could be the one who failed. But most of all, help me to remember that You are always with me and will help me overcome the evil one. I give You praise for all these things, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Spiritual Perception

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

1 Samuel 3:7, 1 Samuel 3:10

When we struggle to understand a new model or theory, we are not helped by a teacher who leaves us on our own if we don’t grasp the concept the first time. Instead, we need a teacher who patiently, encouragingly explains the idea again and again until we get it.

When He called Samuel to be His prophet, God dealt graciously with His servant who didn’t get it—in fact, with two of His servants who didn’t get it!

Samuel was involved at the temple, ministering and engaged. But there was a personal dimension of faith which he had not yet experienced. God’s word hadn’t been revealed to him—and so God took the initiative and was gracious enough to persist by calling to Samuel repeatedly. In this quadruple call of God, we have a reminder of His tenderness and His kindness.

Yet while Samuel is the focus of this passage, Eli also needed God’s patient interactions. Even as a priest, he did not think in the first or second instance that the Lord was speaking to Samuel. Then, suddenly “Eli perceived…” And when there is perception, it is an indication of the work of God.

This gradual perception was true of Jesus’ disciples as well. He told them He still had many things to say to them, but they weren’t ready to understand yet (John 16:12). He didn’t give up on them, though. Instead, He patiently explained again and again.

Some of us may be able to relate to Samuel: perhaps you have read books and listened to sermons many times without experiencing any true impact. Or you may be like the disciples: you’ve begun to understand, but you still find so many matters of faith confusing. No matter how many years we follow Christ and read God’s word, there will always be more to understand and enjoy. Sometimes we may even feel we have gone backwards! But we can be confident that in God we have a gracious teacher to guide us. So, join the psalmist in praying, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). And then work hard to understand God’s word and perceive its meaning for your life, prayerfully confident that as you find yourself grasping more and more of what it says, God is at work in you.

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

Romans 12:1-3

Topics: God’s Word Studying the Bible

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Honest with Us about the Christian Life

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

What if you were sitting at your desk one day and your teacher said: “Class, tomorrow you will have a test. Be sure to study hard and be prepared for it.” That would be a good enough reason for you to start some serious thinking. But what if the teacher stopped her announcement right there? What if she would not tell you what subject your test would be in? How would you know whether to study Math, English, Science, History, or Geography? How would you know what books to take home or what chapters to review?

If your teacher announced only that you needed to prepare for a test, but she did not tell you important things about that test, her announcement would not really be very helpful to you, would it? In fact, it might be scary and frustrating!

I’m so glad that God tells us exactly what is expected of us as His children. First, He honestly tells us that the Christian life isn’t easy. In James 1:2 it says to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” It doesn’t say IF, it says WHEN. That tells us that we should expect difficult times. But praise God that in verse 5 He says that if we lack wisdom, we can ask Him for it and He will give it to us! He doesn’t just tell us what to expect: He also helps us to be prepared for what comes!

The apostle Paul often used illustrations to help us picture what the Christian life is like. He gives at least two examples: the soldier (who must fight in battles) and the athlete (who must work and train very hard for competitions).

Here are a couple verses that show us that the Christian life is not for lazy or goofy people, but that it requires us to be consistent and focused, like an ATHLETE:

“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1c)

“If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Timothy 2:5)

In modern terms, 2 Timothy 2:5 basically means this: If someone wants to compete in athletic games, he cannot win unless he plays by the rules. An athlete who wants to win a race in the Olympics has to train every day for months and even years. He usually also has to give up some things. He might go without things like soda pop, pizza, and cake. He might give up his favorite TV shows and time with his friends. He follows the instructions of his coach or trainer very carefully, so that someday he might win that gold medal.

And here are verses that show us that the Christian life is not for weak or cowardly people, but that it is full of hardship and danger, like the life of a SOLDIER:

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

We can understand these examples. A soldier’s life is hard. An athlete’s life is hard. When God describes the Christian life in the Bible, He does not just say, “Oh, you’ll have to take a test, so be prepared.” No. He tells it to us straight. He explains that living for Christ is a fight and that to win, we have to be disciplined and faithful.

Once again, God tells us what we need to hear about the hardship we can expect in living for Christ. But He also helps us to be prepared. He equips us with what we need to fight sin and to endure hard things with patience and faith. At least if the Christian life is going to be hard, it is comforting to know that God is on our side and ready to help. If you keep reading in Ephesians 6, you will read all about the “armor” God provides to protect us and help us fight. If you keep reading in Hebrews 12, you will see very clear instructions from God about how to run a race–laying aside sins and weights, and looking to Jesus as our best example. If you keep reading in 2 Timothy, you will see that God calls us to keep from getting tangled up with distractions and to live before Him in trust and obedience. In fact, we find in all these verses that God expects us to read His Word, to trust Him, to pray, and to stay away from worldly things. Those are some very clear and encouraging guidelines to help us prepare for the hard tests in the Christian life!

God explains what He expects of us, and tells us what we ought to expect in our lives as Christians.

My Response:
» What does God expect of me?
» How can I show that I trust God and want to obey Him, in spite of hard things in my life?

Denison Forum – Should the United States get a “national divorce”?

Should America get a divorce from itself? Twenty percent of Americans think so, believing Republican- and Democratic-leaning states should split into separate countries.

Twenty percent sounds like a small number. However, as Axios notes, it represents sixty-six million people, roughly equivalent to everyone in Texas, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Dakota, Alabama, Georgia, and Nebraska—combined. It is also larger than the populations of most countries in the world.

This finding is unsurprising as partisan animosity continues to rise: 72 percent of Republicans now say Democrats are dishonest and immoral; 64 percent of Democrats say Republicans are dishonest, while 63 percent say they are immoral. In 1994, fewer than a quarter of people in both parties rated the other party very unfavorably; now 62 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats have a “very unfavorable” view of the other party.

Of course, splitting America into “red” and “blue” states presumes that the various states are themselves “red” and “blue,” but this is often not so simple. For example, everyone considers California to be “blue” and Texas to be “red,” but Donald Trump received 6,006,429 votes in California and 5,890,347 in Texas. Joe Biden received 5,259,126 votes in Texas, or 46.5 percent of the total.

If either state were to “secede” into a “red” or “blue” coalition, a significant part of the state would want to secede from the state.

The idea that Americans don’t need America, that we can “go it alone,” is central to the American frontier spirit. But such individualism has been called “our most toxic myth,” one that isolates us from each other and from the communal dependence we were created to need and to supply (cf. Genesis 2:181 Corinthians 12:27).

This myth is indeed toxic.

Filling a “void of purpose”

The United Nations has designated today as the International Day of Happiness and is encouraging us to be mindful, grateful, and kind to each other. But it’s hard to be any of the three when 74 percent of us believe the US is “off on the wrong track.”

Forty-four percent of teenagers report “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness,” while adult “deaths of despair” (from suicide, alcohol, and drugs) continue to escalate. Depression and anxiety are now the most prevalent psychological and emotional problems faced in the workplace. “Microstresses”—small, difficult moments through the day—are less obvious but still dangerous to our mental health. Unsurprisingly, psychologists report that our overall stress level is “rising rapidly.”

Venture capitalist Vivek Ramaswamy announced recently that he is running for president. As the leader of a nonpartisan ministry, I am not endorsing his candidacy in any way. However, I found his description of America’s greatest challenge interesting: “America today is so hungry for meaning and identity at a moment in our history when the things that used to fill that void of purpose—be it faith, patriotism, hard work, family, you name it—those things have disappeared.”

When we do turn to faith, it is not biblical faith we seek but faith in tolerance. Theologian H. Richard Niebuhr described the “gospel” of our culture: “A God without wrath brought human beings without sin into a kingdom without judgment through ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

How’s that working for us?

“You do not have, because you do not ask”

What we need is the gospel of God’s grace: a God who is love (1 John 4:8) forgives sinners who seek his pardon (Ephesians 2:8–9) and makes them part of his family (John 1:12) through the ministrations of Christ on the cross (Romans 5:8).

Here’s the problem: grace, like all other gifts, must be received to be experienced. And Satan has deceived our “go it alone” culture into believing that we need neither Christ nor his church. Our materialistic success has blinded our eyes to our impoverished souls. Our insistence on tolerance has deluded us into tolerating a cultural ethos that is destroying us from within.

Satan has done something similar to evangelical Christians: we know we have trusted Christ to save us from hell for heaven, but we are tempted to trust ourselves for everything else. What we need is to admit that we need God’s grace in every moment in every way. What we need is to be “poor in spirit,” recognizing how desperately we need God’s Spirit to empower, lead, and redeem our lives (Matthew 5:3Ephesians 5:18).

“You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2) applies to every dimension of our lives where we are not experiencing the “abundant” life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10).

“Let us make daily use of our riches”

The good news is that God’s transforming grace is available to you right now if you will admit that you need what he alone can do: “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).

Charles Spurgeon was right: “Grace, whether its work be to pardon, to cleanse, to preserve, to strengthen, to enlighten, to quicken, or to restore, is ever to be had from [Jesus] freely and without price; nor is there one form of the work of grace which he has not bestowed upon his people. As the blood of the body, though flowing from the heart, belongs equally to every member, so the influences of grace are the inheritance of every saint united to the Lamb; and herein there is a sweet communion between Christ and his Church, inasmuch as they both receive the same grace.”

As a result, Spurgeon encouraged us: “Let us make daily use of our riches, and ever repair to him as to our own Lord in covenant, taking from him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own purse.”

How boldly will you “draw near to the throne of grace” today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Zephaniah 3:5

The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails…

Jesus is a Savior worth having. Many people measure the value of something based on its reliability. Is it of good quality? Will it perform consistently? Can I trust it? If you have ever owned an old jalopy, you quickly come to appreciate the value of dependability!

We live in a shifting-sand world. A man’s word is no longer his bond. Contracts and legal clauses are required to seal the deal; mere handshakes no longer suffice. Promises seem made to be broken. Conflicting voices make guarantees they do not deliver. The ground beneath our feet can be unstable and insecure. Stories are slanted. Perspectives are perverted. Expectations are exhausted. Vows are violated.

If you are weary of the disappointment, consider the Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4). In Jesus, we find the stability, the solid ground beneath our feet. In Him, we live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). Across the centuries, no person who ever put their trust in Him found themselves disappointed or without hope (Isaiah 49:23). He will not walk away. He will not turn His back (Hebrews 13:5). He is not fickle. He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). He is the tried and true, utterly reliable, the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

We can take Him at His word. Heaven and earth will disappear, but His word will remain forever (Matthew 24:35). His promises to us are always “Yes” and “Amen” (II Corinthians 1:20). His amen is a “truly,” a “let it be so.” John the Revelator called Jesus the “Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3:14). He is proven. We can trust Him.

Unwavering, secure, dependable, trustworthy – Jesus is a Savior worth having. We find shelter under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8). He holds us lovingly, safely in His hand, and nothing nor no one can snatch us away (John 10:28). We can count on His welcome, His smile, His good heart towards us. He never falters. He never fails.

Today’s Blessing: 

Jesus, my Rock and my Redeemer! Thank You for Your faithfulness through the generations. Teach me to be like You. Establish me in all Your ways. Let my words be true. Help me keep my promises. Help me to be a faithful spouse, a present parent, a dependable employee, a trustworthy friend. I trust in You. In Your name…Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 30:1-31:54

New Testament 

Luke 4:1-30

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 63:1-11

Proverbs 11:20-21


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – God’s Justice

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Genesis 18:25

 Recommended Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10

The patient was only 53 years old. He died at 6:50 p.m. of a massive stroke after suffering a series of seizures. His cerebral arteries were so calcified that when tapped with tweezers they sounded like stone. What caused his stroke? The man had no history of high blood pressure.

His name was Vladimir Lenin. He died in 1924, but in 2012 a group of brilliant doctors gathered to determine his cause of death. Some determined he was slowly poisoned by Stalin. One doctor believed the culprit was high cholesterol. The case was unsolved. Had he lived another 25 years, imagine the damage Lenin could have wrought.[1]

We serve a just God. He will punish evil even if we don’t see His justice on display right away. While we love to sing of God’s love and mercy, we also need His holiness, justice, and wrath. Unrestrained evil must be dealt with, and unjust suffering must be answered.

When Jesus comes again, He will give rest to His people and in flaming fire take vengeance on those who oppose His good and righteous ways. Don’t be discouraged. Evil will not last forever—but the Lord and His redeemed will!

In a moral universe God must of necessity oppose evil. 
Robert Mounce

[1] Gina Kolata, “Lenin’s Stroke: Doctor Has a Theory (and a Suspect),” The New York Times, May 7, 2012.


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Confronting the Darkness

Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 

—Ephesians 5:11


Ephesians 5:11 

In our culture today, no one wants to speak up for what is true. The motto of modern society could be “I can tolerate anyone except someone who is intolerant.”

If someone dares to say, “I think that is wrong” or “I disagree with that” or, even worse, “The Bible says, . . .” they are labeled as intolerant, judgmental, narrow-minded, and bigoted.

As Christians, however, we cannot tolerate sin. We are to confront sin with intolerance and speak the truth—but we must speak the truth in love. We need to compassionately and lovingly explain what is true.

The apostle Paul warned the believers in Ephesus, “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them” (Ephesians 5:11 NLT).

I don’t envy the responsibility of doctors who have to deliver bad news to a patient. No doubt they would love to be able to say that everything is fine. But in good conscience, they can’t do that, because the test results say otherwise. It’s difficult. It’s uncomfortable. But they have to tell the truth.

We Christians must do the same. But we are dealing with something far more serious. We’re talking about eternal separation from God.

We love to tell people that God loves them and has compassion on them. And of course, that is true. Yet we are reluctant to say they are sinners who are separated from God. We need to tell the truth.

Our culture needs to hear the truth. Yes, it’s easier to blend into the background and avoid offending anyone. But do we want to offend God? If we don’t tell the whole truth, then we will.

Every believer is called to declare the whole counsel of God. He has called us to preach the gospel and to be His representatives. Therefore, we must do our part and be faithful to Him.