Our Daily Bread — Spiritual Renewal

Bible in a Year:

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Corinthians 4:16–18

Chinese medicine has practiced pearl powder exfoliation for thousands of years, using ground pearls to scrub away dead cells resting at the top of the skin. In Romania, rejuvenating therapeutic mud has become a widely sought-after exfoliant that’s purported to make skin youthful and glowing. All over the world, people use body care practices they believe will renew even the dullest of skin.

The tools we’ve developed to maintain our physical bodies, however, can only bring us temporary satisfaction. What matters more is that we remain spiritually healthy and strong. As believers in Jesus, we’re given the gift of spiritual renewal through Him. The apostle Paul wrote, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The challenges we face daily can weigh us down when we hold on to things like fear, hurt, and anxiety. Spiritual renewal comes when we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (v. 18). We do this by turning our daily worries over to God and praying for the fruit of the Holy Spirit—including love, joy, and peace—to emerge anew in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). When we release our troubles to God and allow His Spirit to radiate through us each day, He restores our souls.

By:  Kimya Loder

Reflect & Pray

How can you ask God to renew your spirit? How does the work of the Holy Spirit encourage you today?

Jesus, each day I face obstacles that try to break my spirit. Sometimes I feel defeated, but I know that through You my spirit can be renewed.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Humility of Jesus’ Self-Emptying

 “But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).

As part of His humble descent from Heaven to earth, Jesus set aside the exercise of His divine privileges.

The next step in Jesus’ pattern of humility as He came to earth and lived among mankind was His emptying of Himself. But Scripture is clear that while on earth our Lord claimed to be God: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). At no time did He stop being God.

The Greek word for “emptied” gives us the theological term kenosis, the doctrine of Christ’s self-emptying. The kenosis basically reminds us of what we saw in yesterday’s lesson: Jesus’ humble refusal to cling to His advantages and privileges in Heaven. The Son of God, who has a right to everything and is fully satisfied within Himself, voluntarily emptied Himself.

We have already noted that Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity, but He did lay aside certain prerogatives. For one thing, He gave up His heavenly glory. That’s why, in anticipation of His return to the Father, Christ prayed, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

Jesus also relinquished His independent authority and completely submitted Himself to the Father’s will: “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).

During His time on earth, Christ also voluntarily limited the use and display of His divine attributes. One good illustration of this concerned His omniscience, His knowledge of all things. In teaching about the end-times and His second coming, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36).

Jesus’ self-emptying demonstrates a wonderful aspect of the gospel. Unlike man-centered, works-oriented religions, the biblical gospel has God’s Son willingly yielding His privileges to sacrifice Himself for sinners like us.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that you would become more appreciative of the sacrificial humility Jesus Christ exercised on your behalf.

For Further Study

  • Scripture does not record a lot about Jesus’ boyhood. But the account we do have verifies His emptying. Read Luke 2:39-52. What does verse 47 imply about Jesus’ nature?
  • How do verses 51-52 exemplify His emptying?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – God Likes the Way He Made You

My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].

— Psalm 139:15 (AMPC)

Have you ever asked God, “Why did You make me this way?” Sometimes the things we think are our worst faults, God will use to His greatest glory: But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? (Romans 9:20 AMPC).

Jesus died so that we might enjoy our life in abundance and to the fullest until it overflows. You’re not going to enjoy your life if you don’t enjoy yourself. Be satisfied with yourself and celebrate the unique way God made you.

Prayer of the Day: Father, thank You for the life You have given me. Help me to enjoy my life and to celebrate the unique way You created me to be, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Freedom of His Rule

Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

John 18:37

By nature, we believe we have the right to rule our own lives. We think that nobody has the authority to tell us what to do or to rule over us. We will decide for ourselves, define who we are, and mold our own future. Yet this is a dreadful path, and it leads only to despair. For when we look within, however much we have been told to think positively and to believe in ourselves, we are still confronted by our need, our failure, our frailty, and our inadequacy. And when we look without, we see a divided culture and flawed institutions. To what, then, should we look?

The Old Testament records Israel’s repeated rebellion against God’s rule. In an attempt to look just like the nations around them, the Israelites demanded an earthly king (1 Samuel 8:5). Tragically, all of Israel’s kings eventually crumbled to dust: the mighty Saul, the great David, and the wise Solomon all failed politically, morally, and religiously. Surely, the people in the streets were making the same complaints that we hear today: “This is not what we were led to expect when this person became our leader! There must be someone better than this!”

Indeed, there is someone better. Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, is the Creator, Sustainer, and King of the universe: “For by him all things were created …. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). He is the King who will perfectly fulfill the demands of the role: “In his days … the righteous flourish, and peace abound[s]” (Psalm 72:7); He will deliver the needy, the poor, and the helpless (v 12-13); all nations will serve Him, and “the whole earth” will “be filled with his glory!” (v 19).

As question 26 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism explains, Jesus carries out His kingly office “in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.” He comes to reign over us in such a way that we find real freedom in giving up our autonomy and real rest in quitting from our efforts to make our own future. “Come to me,” He says. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Jesus is the resurrected and ascended King. His claim on us is total, and our response is all or it is nothing. We must decide whether Christ’s right to rule and reign over the universe will extend to every facet of our lives as well. Only then will we find Him to be “our shield and defender.”[1] It is as you bow the knee to Him in those areas of life where you find it hardest, trusting that His rule is better than yours, that you give Him the place that He deserves and find the freedom and the future that you long for.

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

Psalm 72

Topics: Christ as King Christ as Lord Jesus Christ


1 Robert Grant, “O Worship the King” (1833).

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Honest with Us about Our Need for Him

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

God tells us in His Word exactly what we need to know about our sin. He tells us what we ought to hear about the hardness of living the Christian life. And God tells us what we should know about our need for Him.

God is there to help us. We should try to please and obey Him, but we do not have to rely on our own strength and wisdom to do it. In fact, He wants us to depend on Him for grace and help, rather than trying to do things on our own!

Have you ever seen a toddler try to carry around a gallon of milk? A two-year-old can hardly even lift a gallon of milk, let alone walk around with it! What would probably happen if that toddler was allowed to keep staggering and slogging around with that gallon of milk? Well, the milk would probably get dropped sooner or later, all over the floor. If that little child would like some milk, then an adult will probably have to come and help carry it to the table and pour it into a cup, or else there will probably be a huge mess.

Have you ever tried to please God in your own strength? If so, you have probably learned that you cannot do it! Our strength is too weak! We need God in our everyday lives, and we need God to help us please Him. Here are just a few examples of the thousands of ways we need God.

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5b)

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8)

i>”Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5)
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

As you can tell, we need God! We can be glad that God tells us how it is. He does not smooth over the facts to make them easier or more pleasant for us to hear. He tells us the truth we need to know about our sin (and gives us the solution). He tells us the truth about what to expect in the Christian life (and what He expects from us). And He tells us the truth about how weak we are and how much we need Him (and promises to help). What a wonderful God we have!

God makes it very clear that we must depend upon Him for help, and that He is willing to help us when we do.

My Response:
» Am I trying to please God in my own way and in my own strength?
» What are some things I can rely on God to help me with?

Denison Forum – Will Donald Trump be indicted today? A week “unlike any other in American politics”

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that he expects to be indicted today by the Manhattan District Attorney for alleged hush money payments. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has not commented on Mr. Trump’s claim, and a spokesperson for the former president later stated that there “has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office” to news outlets.

However, as the New York Times notes, “If Trump is indicted, this week will be unlike any other in American politics.”

What happens next?

A possible indictment was reportedly on hold yesterday until a final witness testified before a Manhattan grand jury. Experts say the jury, which meets during afternoon sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, could deliberate again tomorrow and could vote to indict Mr. Trump at that time.

The investigation centers around cash paid to pornographic film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 prior to Mr. Trump’s election win. Daniels claims that she had an affair with Mr. Trump; the former president denies her claim. Mr. Bragg is expected to accuse Mr. Trump of concealing a $130,000 hush-money payment that Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer at the time, made to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors would need to prove that Mr. Trump reimbursed Mr. Cohen and falsified business records when he did so, possibly to hide an election law violation.

According to the New York Times, “It would not be a simple case. Prosecutors are expected to use a legal theory that has not been assessed in New York courts, raising the possibility that a judge could throw out or limit the charges. The episode has been examined by both the Federal Election Commission and federal prosecutors in New York; neither took action against Mr. Trump.”

If Mr. Trump is indicted, Reuters reports: “Any trial of the former US president would still be more than a year away . . . . and could coincide with the final months of the 2024 presidential campaign as Trump seeks a return to the White House.” As a result, he could have to stand trial during the campaign or even after Election Day, “though putting a president-elect or president on trial for state charges would enter uncharted legal waters.” Reuters adds: “If elected, he would not hold the power to pardon himself of state charges.”

All of this would be unprecedented: no US president, sitting or former, has ever been charged with a crime.

What does this mean for our nation?

What does Mr. Trump’s possible indictment say about our political culture?

The New York Times reports, “In the short term, an indictment seems likely to help Trump politically. It will draw attention to him, and he often performs best when he has a foil.” Columnist Maggie Haberman said, “I do think an indictment, if it happens, will galvanize his supporters. He will describe the case as trivial, a point some Democrats have argued, and he will insist it’s all part of a broader Democratic Party conspiracy against him to help President Biden in his re-election effort.”

Liam Donovan, a veteran Republican strategist, took the view that an indictment may help Mr. Trump in the primary but hurt him in a campaign against President Biden: “Legal escalation would be a significant blow in a general election where he needs to broaden his support, but any event that polarizes the primary in terms of pro- or anti-Trump sentiment only serves to harden his core support.”

Here’s what seems less likely: that an indictment will change many minds about Mr. Trump. His supporters will see such an action as a politically motivated witch hunt that further proves the need for his election to “make America great again.” His detractors will see an indictment as further proof that he is unfit for office. Those who are ambivalent about him are likely not surprised by this news, however they view it.

I say all of that to make this point: our political culture is divided to a depth that raises questions about our national future. A former president of the United States and current leader for his party’s presidential nomination is either the victim of a partisan witch hunt or the perpetrator of felony crimes; one would think either scenario would move the political needle. As it is, it would seem that both parties are believing and doing precisely what the other party condemns them for doing. As I noted yesterday, the depth of these divisions is unprecedented in living memory.

A friend from the past

Let’s apply today’s conversation to an issue even more urgent than the US presidency: the status of people’s eternal souls. Like partisans in today’s political environment, many non-Christians have clear opinions about Christians and reasons they believe warrant their rejection of our faith.

To be sure, their beliefs regarding Jesus and his church are often wrong, but they don’t know that. In their minds, they are justified in their unbelief. To persuade them to question their entrenched opinions is challenging, indeed.

This is why following the lead of God’s Spirit is indispensable in advancing God’s kingdom. Jesus knows the thoughts of those he wants us to influence (cf. Matthew 9:4) and is preparing them and us today for our ministry to them tomorrow. If we will begin today by surrendering it to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and then speak as he speaks to us, he will use us to change minds and souls for eternity. Today’s conversation points to a second fact: It is always too soon to give up on God. He is working in ways you cannot see to effect transformation you may never get to witness. As I often say, you cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.

I’ll close with a personal example: I received a text yesterday from a colleague who is at a pastoral conference and met someone who said he knew me from my college days. This person greatly understated his impact on my life: when my father died in December 1979, this man drove across Houston the next day to spend the day with me. I don’t remember that he said anything, but his presence was the presence of Christ to my grieving soul. Forty-four years later, I remember his compassion as if it were yesterday.

I’ll say it again: You cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.

With whom is God calling you to be faithful today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Psalm 5:11

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.

Jesus is a Savior worth having, One worth praising. He is not angry with you. His welcome mat is always out. His porch light is always on. His face is turned towards you. He does not tire of you or find you too needy. He knows your name. His thoughts toward you are too many to count (Psalm 139:17). His plans for you are good, and He is orchestrating every detail of your life to draw you closer and to make you shine like a star in the sky. He loves you.

When you sat in the ashes of a broken life, He loved you. When you were surrounded by the consequences of a thousand bad choices, He loved you. When you were stripped of dignity, He saw you clothed in majesty. When you were certain of your nothingness, He gave everything to call you His. While you were a sinner, He loved you. At the lowest point of your life, God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. Jesus took your place. He became the substitute, the sacrifice, for you. The IOU with your name scrawled across it? He drove a nail through it, signed it in blood, and paid the debt in full. He gave all to bring you near.

Does your heart thrill at the thought of Him? For those who profess faith in Christ, those who have asked Him to abide in their hearts, those who have received this Savior worth having, He merits our gratitude, our soul’s best song. If it had not been for the Lord on your side, where would you be? David instructed, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).

Take a moment to celebrate all that Jesus is to you, all that He has done for you, all that He has given to you. Take a deep breath – oh wait, that came from Him, too! That beating heart? It keeps time because He set it in motion. Pour out your gratitude to Him.

Today’s Blessing: 

Thank You, Jesus, for seeing me, for choosing me. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for making me a new creation, washing away all the old. Thank you for adopting me into Your family, for calling me Your own. Thank You for all of these brothers and sisters to love, to learn together, and to celebrate all the joy we have found in You. Thank You for life and health, for strength to do all You ask. Thank You for the roof over my head, the food on my table, the job that You gave to provide for my needs. I rejoice in You and Your glorious name! Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 32:1-33:39

New Testament 

Luke 4:31-5:11

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 64:1-10

Proverbs 11:22


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – A Place and a Voice

Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.”
Esther 7:3

 Recommended Reading: Nehemiah 2:1-6

In the battle for civil rights for African American citizens in America, three names stand out: Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. Each, in their own way, stood out against racial prejudice and helped change the course of American history.

A young Jewish girl named Esther changed the world when she was made queen of Persia. A courtier of the king hatched a plan to kill all the Jews in Persia, and Esther risked her life by exposing the plan to the king, saving her people from certain genocide. She realized God had given her a voice, and she spoke up (Esther 4:14). Another example was Nehemiah who approached the Persian king (after the events of Esther) for permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of the city—another risky request, which was granted.

One person can change the course of history in a day. God has given you a place and a voice to stand for Him (2 Timothy 1:7). 

The man who kneels to God can stand up to anything. 
Louis H. Evans


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Flee and Follow

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 

—2 Timothy 2:22


2 Timothy 2:22 

If you will commit yourself to grow in your love for Jesus Christ and be enamored with Him and dedicated to Him, then you will see this world for what it is.

As the hymn says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

The Bible warns us, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT).

In other words, flee and follow. Run from anything that stimulates lust and follow anything that makes you want to do right.

Psalm 1 tells us, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night” (verses 1–2 NLT).

The best way to avoid losing ground is to gain ground. The best way to keep from going backward is to go forward.

The problem is that a lot of believers are not following after righteousness. They are not pursuing God. Instead, they are coasting along in spiritual cruise control. Meanwhile, there are mountains to climb. There is rugged terrain to navigate. There are opportunities for growth.

Yet many Christians are kicking back, and they will end up becoming spiritually lazy instead of moving forward. And sadly, it’s only a matter of time until they fall.

I have often said that the Christian life is like a greased pole. You are either climbing or slipping. How about you? Are you climbing? Are you growing and maturing? Or are you sliding backward?