Our Daily Bread — To Do or Not to Do

Bible in a Year:

I do not do the good I want to do, . . . I keep on doing [evil].

Romans 7:19

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Romans 7:15–20

When I was a kid, a decommissioned World War II tank was put on display in a park near my home. Multiple signs warned of the danger of climbing on the vehicle, but a couple of my friends immediately scrambled up. Some of us were a bit reluctant, but eventually we did the same. One boy refused, pointing to the posted signs. Another jumped down quickly as an adult approached. The temptation to have fun outweighed our desire to follow rules.

There’s a heart of childish rebellion lurking within all of us. We don’t like being told what to do or not to do. Yet we read in James that when we know what is right and don’t do it—it is sin (4:17). In Romans, the apostle Paul wrote: “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (7:19–20).

As believers in Jesus, we may puzzle over our struggle with sin. But too often we depend solely on our own strength to do what’s right. One day, when this life is over, we’ll be truly dead to sinful impulses. Until then, however, we can rely on the power of the One whose death and resurrection won the victory over sin.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

What sins are the biggest struggle for you? How can you rely more on God’s power to overcome their stronghold?

Loving God, please help me to choose to do what’s right. My heart’s desire is to reflect Your perfect character and holy ways.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Avoiding Temptations

“Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).

Don’t let your trials turn into temptations.

When we hear the English word temptation, we usually think of a solicitation to evil. But “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 translates a Greek word that can refer either to a trial that God permits to refine your spiritual character (James 1:2-4), or a temptation that Satan or your flesh brings to incite you to sin (Matt. 4:1James 1:13- 15). Both are valid translations.

I believe “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 refers to trials. Even though we know God uses trials for our good, it’s still good to pray that He won’t allow us to be caught in a trial that becomes an irresistible temptation. That can happen if we’re spiritually weak or ill-prepared to deal with a situation.

God will never test you beyond what you’re able to endure (1 Cor. 10:13), but resisting temptation requires spiritual discipline and divine resources. Praying for God to deliver you from trials that might overcome you is a safeguard against leaning on your own strength and neglecting His power.

God tested Joseph by allowing him to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by an adulterous woman, and unjustly imprisoned by a jealous husband. But Joseph knew that God’s hand was on his life. That’s why he could say to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to . . . preserve many people” (Gen. 50:20). Joseph was ready for the test and passed it beautifully!

Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). God wanted to test Him to prove His virtue, but Satan wanted to tempt Him to destroy His virtue. Jesus, too, was victorious.

When you experience trials, don’t let them turn into temptations. Recognize God’s purposes and seek His strength. Learn from the example of those who have successfully endured the same trials. Be assured that God is in control and is using each trial to mold your character and teach you greater dependence on Him.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the trials He brings your way.
  • Ask Him to help you see your trials as means by which He strengthens you and glorifies Himself.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 119:11Matthew 26:41Ephesians 6:10-18, and James 4:7. What do those verses teach you about dealing with temptation?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – How to Overcome Jealousy

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?

— Proverbs 27:4 (NIV)

Jealousy is often referred to as the “green-eyed monster.” It is a monster because it devours the life of those who permit it in their hearts. God has a special, individualized plan for each of us. Being jealous of another person is pointless because no matter how much we wish it, we cannot ever have anyone else’s life. Neither can we have the specific aspect of their life that makes us jealous of them.

A jealous and envious person is never content, and God wants us to be content always, trusting that He is doing—and will continue to do—great things in our lives. Being jealous of what others have or can do prevents us from seeing the blessings in our own lives. Jealousy is not new; it has been around since people began to inhabit the earth. Early in the story of Genesis, Cain was jealous of Abel, and he murdered him because of it. In 1 Samuel, King Saul was so jealous of David that he continually tried to kill him, and at times the jealousy drove him mad. In addition, some of Jesus’ twelve disciples were jealous of one another, asking Him which of them was the greatest.

The Bible tells us that jealousy can even make us sick: A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones (Proverbs 14:30 NIV). Being jealous or envious is foolish and a total waste of time. Wisdom recommends that we live at peace, be content with what we have, and be thankful in all things.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I’m sorry for being jealous and envious of other people. You have blessed me, and I want to be very thankful for what You have done and are doing in my life. Help me in the future to resist jealousy in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Kingdom and the Cross

My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.

John 18:36

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, He was a king on a donkey, a king without a palace, a king without a throne—a king with no apparent kingdom. It rapidly became abundantly and controversially clear that Christ had come as the suffering king whom the Scriptures had foretold, not as the triumphant king whom people wanted.

Many who admired Jesus on that day in Jerusalem eventually discarded Him. They said, I don’t want any suffering. I only want victory. I only want power. I only want rule. Not much is different today. We often ignore what we don’t like in Jesus’ ministry and content ourselves with Jesus the great example, Jesus the problem-fixer, Jesus the guru, or Jesus the political reformer.

But God’s kingdom centers on the cross: “I decided to know nothing among you,” says Paul, “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2, emphasis added). In other words, we will never understand Jesus—never truly know Him, never really love Him, never actually be in His kingdom—until we understand that the entrance to and the heart of Christ’s kingdom is His death and resurrection. It is the means by which we come into it and the pattern by which we live in it.

A renewed culture comes about not because we transform institutions and policies but because that cross-centered kingdom transforms human hearts. Never in history has a revival been sparked by political activity; it has always resulted from Christians praying, preaching, pleading, and living as Christ calls us to live. The world will only ever be changed when we ourselves are changed.

God’s kingdom is a cause great enough to live for and great enough to die for. Do you want to give up your small ambitions and give yourself to God? Then give up championing a political cause as a means of safeguarding the health of the church or your society or of making revival happen. Instead, go somewhere where nobody knows Jesus and tell them. Maybe it’s your office. Maybe it’s your neighborhood. Or maybe it’s Tehran, Jakarta, or Algiers. It could be anywhere, for God is everywhere and is needed by everyone. Give up living by the maxims of the systems of this world and follow the King who tasted death before He entered His glory (Luke 24:26).

Believers have the immense privilege and the incredible challenge of offering the good news of God’s kingdom to a society that fears death and knows little of true life. That is no easy commission, and heeding it may very well cost you dearly in this life. But no one who gives much for Jesus has cause to regret it, now or through all eternity.

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

Luke 9:18-26

Topics: The Cross Kingdom of God Love of God

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – We Cannot Hide From God

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

There is no place we can go to hide from God.

When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah disobeyed and “rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” He boarded a ship headed for Tarshish, but God saw him even there. You probably know the rest of the story. God sent a mighty storm. Knowing that the storm was meant for him, Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard. He was swallowed by a huge fish, and was carried in the fish’s stomach for three days. He repented of his sin, prayed to God, and God answered his prayers, causing the fish to spit Jonah out onto the land.

God sees our disobedience.

Sometimes when we do wrong, we try to hide it from our friends, our parents, and even God. But it doesn’t work. God sees us no matter where we go. He always knows what we are doing and what we are thinking. Jonah couldn’t leave God’s presence by going to Tarshish. God is everywhere.

God also sees our troubles.

Sometimes when we are hurting, we think no one else understands; but God always does. When you feel lonely, you aren’t really alone. You can pray to God and ask him for help no matter where you are. There is no place you can go that he won’t hear you. Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the fish, and God answered his prayers.

The next time you want to disobey, and you think no one is around, remember that God is. He can always see you. And the next time you feel lonely, or think there is trouble in your life that no one else understands, ask for God’s help.

The Bible teaches that there is nowhere we can go that the Lord is not there. That means we can never hide from Him, but it also means He is always there when we need Him. Call on Him. No matter where you are or what kind of trouble you are in, He can always hear you.

God is already everywhere we could go. We cannot escape from His presence, and we can count on Him to be close by at all times.

My Response:
» Have I been forgetting that God is omnipresent (everywhere at once)?
» How should remembering that God is everywhere keep me from doing wicked things?
» How should remembering that God is everywhere keep me from worry or fear?

Denison Forum – Elon Musk and 1,000 experts call for 6-month moratorium on AI development

Pope Francis is in the hospital today with a respiratory infection. He also made news recently when he wore what the Atlantic describes as “a stylish white puffy jacket.” Except he didn’t. The image was generated by artificial intelligence (AI), as were pictures of Donald Trump being arrested. Time has helpfully provided tips on spotting AI-generated images, an issue that will undoubtedly be part of our future media consumption.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Elon Musk and more than a thousand AI experts and industry executives have written an open letter calling for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched GPT-4. This AI moratorium has been requested because “powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable,” according to the letter.

Here’s one example of the need for an AI moratorium in today’s news: as many as three hundred million full-time jobs around the world could be automated in some way by the latest AI, according to Goldman Sachs economists. They estimate that approximately two-thirds of jobs in the US and Europe “are exposed to some degree of AI automation” and up to a quarter of all work could be done by AI completely.

“The global transformation of Christianity is here”

In my website paper, “ChatGPT and artificial intelligence: What you need to know,” I outline the history of artificial intelligence, explain how “chatbots” work, and discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by what is truly an epochal moment in human history. In yesterday’s Daily Article on the subject, I quoted Elon Musk’s apocalyptic warning, “Artificial intelligence is a fundamental risk to human civilization.”

Here’s what I didn’t have room to say: in the midst of such technological and cultural transformation, you and I are living in a day of unparalleled spiritual transformation as well.

For years, I have been focusing on the “fifth great awakening” sweeping much of the world. We are seeing unprecedented advances for the gospel in the Muslim world, the underground church in China, and much of the Global South.

In her New York Times column last Sunday, Tish Harrison Warren agreed. Titled “The Global Transformation of Christianity is Here,” her article notes that “the last century has seen a near-complete reversal of the global demographics of Christianity.” For example, Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa has grown from around 9 percent at the beginning of the twentieth century to almost 45 percent at the end of it. Warren quotes Sam George, the director of the Global Diaspora Institute at Wheaton College: “Christianity at the beginning of the twenty-first century is the most global and the most diverse and the most dispersed faith.”

The largest church congregation in the world is Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, with around 480,000 members. Latin America boasts fourteen megachurches with a total membership of over twenty thousand. By some estimates, China will have more Christians than any other nation by 2030. Warren cites what she calls “conservative” estimates that there were around 98 million evangelical Christians globally in 1970; now there are over 342 million.

“A decadent slum of unforeseen consequences”

Secularists have been predicting the death of Christianity in Western culture for a very long time, but God refuses to abandon us. In fact, as Os Guinness notes in his marvelous new book, Signals of Transcendence: Listening to the Promptings of Life, our Creator continues to draw us to himself in ways we might expect and ways we might not.

Guinness tells us how Malcolm Muggeridge, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, and several other cultural luminaries came to faith. In each instance, something in the temporal world sparked or “signaled” the transcendent longings in their hearts.

According to Guinness, our culture desperately needs to listen to these “signals” before it is too late. He writes: “Our present need for a massive spiritual awakening dwarfs the many other problems of our modern age and represents the only hope of redeeming modernity itself. Western civilization is in the civilizational moment it finds itself in because it opposes the Jewish and Christian faiths that made it, and it has no satisfactory replacement.

“Western civilization is in evident decline. The West will therefore stand or fall according to whether it experiences such an awakening and sees the renewal of the faiths that made it. Without such a spiritual awakening, the West is shown up as a cut-flower civilization whose once vibrant life and beauty can only wither and die. Brilliant as it may be, our highest ingenuity and mastery will fall short in guiding the world forward, and in its wake, they will produce a decadent slum of unforeseen consequences, unknown aftermaths, and insoluble social and moral problems that range from wars and revolutions to suicide.”

“Only God can save the world now”

The greatest “signal of transcendence” in human history was the ministry of Jesus Christ. More than any person who ever lived, he uniquely pointed us from the temporal to the eternal, then he uniquely made a way for us to experience the transcendent today.

Compare Jesus with AI: while the latter has access to current digital data, the former is so omniscient that he knows the past, the present, the future, and the thoughts of every human heart (cf. Matthew 12:25). AI-enabled apps can guide your journey, but Jesus alone can guide you to your best life in this world (John 10:10) and your eternal destination when this life is done (John 14:3).

AI can instruct you; Jesus can forgive you. AI can provide you with information; Jesus can provide you with his loving presence in every valley and storm of life (cf. Matthew 28:20).

This is why knowing Christ and making him known are the most urgent priorities in the world. As Guinness notes, “The truth is that our Western commitment to hedonism has proved empty and damaging, and our Western reliance on technocracy will always let us down. Only God can save the world now.”

He adds: “Man cannot live by shadows alone. For all who have seen the sun, the shadows will never again deceive and satisfy, but the challenge then is even bigger and more arduous: the task of building societies and a civilization that are genuinely sunlit too.”

How will you bring sunlight to the shadows today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

1 John 5:14

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Jesus created quite a ruckus in the Temple after being hailed with a hero’s welcome when He arrived in Jerusalem. He drove out the money changers. He turned over their tables. He reprimanded them sharply. Afterwards, Matthew 21:14 tells us that the blind and the lame came to Him there in that holy place, and He healed them.

That seems fitting to us, the perfect place for Jesus to perform miracles. However, in Jerusalem, tradition dictated that the blind and lame – anyone who had a physical impairment – were not allowed to enter the Temple. Their imperfection denied them the right to be admitted to the very place where they could receive healing.

Jesus broke through the barriers, tore through the tradition to welcome the hurting. Can you imagine the crush of the crowd? Can you see their eager faces? Here, where they had only found rejection and resistance, Jesus reached out to heal blind eyes and lame limbs. Those who had never seen before received their sight. Those who had never walked went running and leaping and praising God. The Temple walls must have resounded with exuberant shouts. Tears of joy and gratitude must have wet their cheeks.

Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus reaching out in welcome:  sharing a meal with tax collectors, pulling a child onto His lap, touching a leper, plucking Peter out of the sea, taking a dead girl’s hand, smearing mud on a blind man’s eyes.  He welcomed their questions and their complications, their illnesses and infirmities.

He is still reaching, still welcoming. His arms are open. His eyes are smiling. No fear of rejection here. We can boldly approach the throne of grace with full confidence to obtain mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16). We are surrounded by the spiritually blind, those who have overlooked the important and cannot see what is needful. We are surrounded by the spiritually lame, those who may see what they need but are too hindered to get to it. We can bring them to the throne, too – with full confidence of acceptance and love. 

Today’s Blessing: 

Precious Jesus, thank You for breaking down the walls that stood between us. I am so grateful that Your arms are open, that Your hands are reaching, that Your heart is welcoming, that I am accepted in the Beloved. May I always extend that same welcome to others. In the name of Jesus…Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 13:1-15:23

New Testament 

Luke 8:41-9:6

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 71:1-24

Proverbs 12:5-7


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Know Him More

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

 Recommended Reading: Psalm 27:1-5

It often happens over a holiday meal or at a birthday party. Family members begin reminiscing, and before you know it, children are hearing stories about their parents and grandparents that they’ve never heard before. Or adult children begin sharing some of the exploits from their childhood, and their parents learn what the kids “got away with” while they weren’t looking.

It seems as though no matter how well we know someone, even our own family members, there’s always more to learn about them. The same is true for our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Some of us have been learning about God since before we can remember. But there’s always more for us to learn about Him. Like David, we should desire to know our Father more, to become closer to Him. Begin studying a specific attribute of God or spend time slowly reading through the Gospels—seek to know Him better each day.

The longer you know Christ, and the nearer you come to him, still the more do you see of his glory.
John Flavel


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Cross Wasn’t a Mistake

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 

—Luke 9:51


Luke 9:51 

At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples a question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13 NLT).

Different individuals came up with different answers. But then Peter, under the inspiration of God Himself said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (verse 16 NLT).

Jesus commended Peter for his answer, and everything was going wonderfully.

But then Matthew tells us, “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” (verse 21 NLT).

Peter, probably thinking he was on a roll at that point, privately took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him for making such statements.

But Jesus replied, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (verse 23 NLT).

Why so harsh? Jesus was speaking to the spirit that motivated Peter to say what he did. It was the devil who was saying to Jesus, “Don’t go to the cross. Think about Yourself. What about You?”

Yet nothing would deter Jesus from His course. That is why Jesus responded to Peter so strongly. In fact, Luke’s Gospel tells us that “as the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (9:51 NLT).

Jesus Christ came to this earth to buy back that which was forfeited in the Garden of Eden.

The cross wasn’t a mistake. Jesus knew it was coming and spoke of it often. He had to go to the cross because there was no other way to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful humanity. The cross was Jesus’ goal and destination from the beginning.