Our Daily Bread — Seeds of Faith

Bible in a Year:

Always be prepared to give an answer . . . for the hope that you have.

1 Peter 3:15

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 Peter 3:8–16

Last spring, the night before our lawn was to be aerated, a violent windstorm blew the seeds off our maple tree in one fell swoop. So when the aerating machine broke up the compacted soil by pulling small “cores” out of the ground, it planted hundreds of maple seeds in my yard. Just two short weeks later, I had the beginnings of a maple forest growing up through my lawn!

As I (frustratedly) surveyed the misplaced foliage, I was struck by the prolific abundance of new life a single tree had spawned. Each of the miniature trees became a picture for me of the new life in Christ that I—as merely one person—can share with others. We each will have countless opportunities to “give the reason for the hope that [we] have” (1 Peter 3:15) in the course of our lives.

When we “suffer for what is right” with the hope of Jesus (v. 14), it’s visible to those around us and might just become a point of curiosity to those who don’t yet know God personally. If we’re ready when they ask, then we may share the seed through which God brings forth new life. We don’t have to share it with everyone all at once—in some kind of spiritual windstorm. Rather, we gently and respectfully drop the seed of faith into a heart ready to receive it.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

Who in your life is sharing or asking about the reason for your hope? What will you share with them?

Jesus, thank You for growing the seed of faith in my life. Help me to share the reason for my hope—You—with those who ask and may they grow in their love for You.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Master’s Men

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2-4).

God uses unqualified people to accomplish His purposes.

We live in a qualification-conscious society. Almost everything you do requires you to meet someone else’s standards. You must qualify to purchase a home, buy a car, get a credit card, or attend college. In the job market, the most difficult jobs require people with the highest possible qualifications.

Ironically, God uses unqualified people to accomplish the world’s most important task: advancing the kingdom of God. It has always been that way: Adam and Eve plunged the human race into sin. Lot got drunk and committed incest with his own daughters. Abraham doubted God and committed adultery. Jacob deceived his father. Moses was a murderer. David was too, as well as an adulterer. Jonah got upset when God showed mercy to Nineveh. Elijah withstood 850 false priests and prophets, yet fled in terror from one woman—Jezebel. Paul murdered Christians. And the list goes on and on.

The fact is, no one is fully qualified to do God’s work. That’s why He uses unqualified people. Perhaps that truth is most clearly illustrated in the twelve disciples, who had numerous human frailties, different temperaments, different skills, and diverse backgrounds, yet Christ used them to change the world.

This month you will meet the disciples one by one. As you do, I want you to see that they were common men with a very uncommon calling. I also want you to observe the training process Jesus put them through, because it serves as a pattern for our discipleship as well.

I pray you will be challenged by their strengths and encouraged by the way God used them despite their weaknesses and failures. He will use you too as you continue yielding your life to Him.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Luke 6:40. Ask God to make you more like Christ.

For Further Study

Read 2 Timothy 1:3-5, noting the weaknesses Timothy may have struggled with, and how Paul encouraged him. How might Paul’s words apply to you?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – God Knows What You Need

Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.

— Zechariah 9:12 (AMPC)

One day I was emotionally hurt over something that had happened. Dave and I had been treated unfairly and unjustly in a situation, and I was feeling down about it. I was on an airplane, so I decided to read the Bible.

When I opened it to Zechariah 9:12, the verse for today, the words seemed to jump off the page at me. When I saw this verse, my faith went to a new level. I knew without a doubt that God was speaking to me about my situation. I knew that if I would not give up hope, if I would have the right attitude, that I would see the day when God would give me back double what had been taken from me in that situation.

Almost one year later, to the day, God did an outstanding work and proved Himself true to His promise by restoring double what had been unjustly taken from us, and He restored it through the same people who had mistreated us!

The Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need. I opened my Bible that day expecting Him to speak to me and help me in my situation, but He surpassed my greatest hope by not only comforting me but promising to restore my loss. This scripture—and all the others—are your promises, too, and God is speaking to them to you.

Anytime you need comfort or direction in life I encourage you to go to God’s Word. It truly contains all the answers we need for every situation in life.

Prayer of the Day: God, thank You for Your love and faithfulness. I ask that You grant me the courage to hold on to hope and have the right attitude, even when faced with difficult or unfair situations. Help me to turn to Your Word for direction and trust in Your promises and unfailing love, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Glorifying God With Every Gift

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Dramatic displays tend to draw our attention. Think about a hole in one on the golf course or the buzzer-beater on the basketball court. The steady putts and consistent lay-ups or free throws get overshadowed by the sensational moments.

The same thing that happens on the green or between the hoops can happen inside the church with spiritual gifts: we can end up focusing all our attention on the more visible, obvious gifts—perhaps like teaching or leadership—and neglect to see gifts that can be a little harder to glimpse, like helping or administrating. But what we must understand is that spiritual gifts are not valuable just because they are dramatic. The body of Christ needs every part, from head to toe, and every gift of each member (1 Corinthians 12:14-20). Every gift is important. Every gift matters.

Our external expressions of spirituality do not prove that we are pleasing God, nor do they guarantee our salvation. That’s a sobering thought! It is easy to focus on what we do as the evidence of what we are. As we teach, help, give, speak, sing, create, or heal, we can be tempted to look to those deeds as the only necessary evidence of our spiritual life. But according to Jesus, even great performances of seemingly good works do not necessarily indicate that we truly know Him or that He truly knows us (Matthew 7:21-23).

So is there anything we can look to as evidence for faith? The apostle Paul offers us a simple yet profound criterion in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” As you serve God and exercise your gifts, what is your aim? What is your intention? We can’t expect to have perfectly pure motives on this side of heaven, but as we recall the great purchase God has made, we can make it our goal to glorify Him in all that we do. And this is reliable evidence of real faith: for a Christian is someone who knows they have been bought from sin and death at the price of Christ’s blood and who now seeks to serve God with all that they are—to “do all to the glory of God.”

This applies as much to the outgoing, well-known leader as it does to the quiet, unnoticed laborer. Whatever your gifts, whatever your role, whatever your situation, make it your goal to glorify God in all that you do. When that is your aim, you’ll not only serve Him better, but you’ll find yourself experiencing the great, counterintuitive truth that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Make it your goal today to ask yourself at every moment: “What would it look like, here and now, to do all for the glory of the God who loves me and gave Himself for me?”

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

Micah 6:6-8

Topics: Glory of God The Local Church Spiritual Gifts

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Sees Us at all Times

“For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity (sin) hid from mine eyes.” (Jeremiah 16:17)

Rayna’s father never allowed her to “sass” her mother. One day, Rayna got very upset and told her mother to “shut up.” What Rayna did not realize was that her dad had been standing in the next room and heard every word she had said.

When Rayna heard her dad ask her mom, “Where is she?” she ran into the bedroom, shut the door, moved a dresser in front of the door, and hid under the bed! She was confident her dad would never be able to find her. Calming down, she thought to herself that he probably could not even get into her bedroom. She lay under the bed as quiet as a mouse.

Rayna’s “safety strategy” lasted for only a few seconds. She heard the door open and saw her dad’s feet standing by the bed. He bent down, looked under the bed, and sternly told her to come out from under it. She stood before him and did not know what to say. Her father did not get upset very often, but the look on his face made it clear that he was very disappointed with her and her behavior. He talked to her about how important it is to honor her mother at all times. Rayna had to apologize to her mom, and she was forgiven, but she will always remember how her hiding spot did not work.

When you do something wrong and know your actions are not pleasing to anyone around you, are you ever tempted to think you can “get away with it”? Do you think no one sees you? There is Someone who sees everything, everywhere, all the time. There is Someone who knows how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and what you are doing this very moment. There is Someone who knows what you will be doing for the rest of your life! There is Someone who cares how you act. There is Someone who loves you more than you will ever know. You have guessed by now Who this “Someone” is. It is God. He is all-seeing and all-knowing.

Just like Rayna’s father knew exactly where she was trying to hide, the Heavenly Father knows where you are at all times. You could never hide from Him.

Nobody can hide from God because He sees everything.

My Response:
» Am I ever tempted to behave as though no one can find out what I am thinking or doing?
» Have I ever tried to hide from God?
» Why would I really want to hide from God?

Denison Forum – Two-thirds of Americans say we don’t need faith in God to be moral

George Washington claimed (PDF) that “religion and morality” are each “indispensable supports” of democracy. John Adams was certain that our Constitution was “made only for a moral and religious people” and is “wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (my emphasis).

According to 65 percent of US adults, these Founding Fathers were wrong.

In a recent Pew Research Center report, two-thirds of American respondents claimed that “it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral.” They can make this claim because our secularized culture has convinced them that morality is personal and subjective. Like the archer who fires an arrow and then paints the target around the place it lands, we get to choose what is moral for us and need no help from God in achieving it.

However, the mass shooting in Texas, the deadliest Russian attack on Ukraine in months, the first US mass evacuation effort from Sudan, and widespread discouragement about the future are windows into how well our subjective morality is working for us. And what do we do when your definition of morality and mine directly contradict each other? When you think abortion on demand is a moral “reproductive right” and I think it is the immoral killing of an unborn child? When you think marriage has no gender and I think it should be reserved for one man and one woman?

This debate is not only foundational to the future of our democracy—it is especially urgent for the souls of evangelicals like me.

My Apple Watch is incompetent

I walked on my treadmill last Friday morning for my usual three miles, setting the pace at 4.2 mph, which equates to 14.17 minutes per mile. My Apple Watch disagreed, however, claiming that I finished my first mile in 13.58. It tracked my second mile at 13.57. I then increased my speed to a 4.3 mph pace, which equates to 13.57 minutes per mile. My Apple Watch, however, reported that I finished that mile in 15.27.

My point is not that my Apple Watch cannot track my walking pace competently, though that is consistently true. My point is that I want to believe that the fastest time is accurate and the slowest time is a technological aberration.

It was the same when I played golf and tennis: I believed that my best shots were “normal” and my other shots were anomalies or bad luck. This is an example of the “slothful induction fallacy,” which occurs when “sufficient logical evidence strongly indicates a particular conclusion is true, but someone fails to acknowledge it, instead attributing the outcome to coincidence or something unrelated entirely.”

My purpose is not to complain about my Apple Watch or to claim unwarranted athletic prowess. Rather, it is to note that what I did on the treadmill, I am constantly tempted to do with my soul. My sins are aberrations, “deviations from the mean” as it were, while my virtuous acts reveal my true character.

If only that were true.

How Satan uses our morality against us

According to Scripture, “secret” sins do not exist: “God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The psalmist said of God, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence” (Psalm 90:8).

Dwight Moody was right: Character is what you are in the dark.

This fact is especially relevant for evangelical Christians in the context of sexual morality. Many of us have incurred the wrath of our fallen culture by standing publicly for biblical marriage and sexuality. However, Paul warns us: “In passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2:1).

For example, when evangelicals condemn homosexual sexual sin but commit heterosexual sexual sin, we sin just like those whose sin we oppose. Our sin may not be as public—a same-sex married couple is obviously living unbiblically, while a heterosexual married couple may or may not be sinning sexually—but it is no less real.

Nonetheless, Satan uses our biblical stance against us by tempting us to believe we are justified in our sins since we condemn the sins of others. He also wants us to think that our sins are less damaging if they are less public. But, as always, Satan is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Private pornography, for example, is addictive and destroys mental health and dating and marriage relationships. Sex before marriage weakens the marriage; sex outside of marriage can obviously destroy marriage.

Satan also ensures that our “private” sins inevitably become public and then uses them to disparage our Father and our faith. Paul warned his Jewish Christian readers that because of their sins, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24). In a recent survey, “the hypocrisy of religious people” was the top reason people of no faith gave for doubting Christian beliefs.

“The utter joy of being forgiven”

Tomorrow we’ll identify three practical ways to respond biblically and redemptively. For today, let’s decide that we want to. Let’s decide that we want to be as holy as God can make us. Then, let’s admit to God our need for his transforming power.

Br. Geoffrey Tristam of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston writes: “Until we acknowledge our need for God, we will never experience the utter joy of being forgiven, healed, restored, and empowered. Once we have experienced that grace, there’s no going back to a life where we trust in our own power and strength. Once we have known God’s hands upholding us and strengthening us, nothing else will do.”

Will you experience the “utter joy” of God’s sanctifying grace today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Matthew 21:22

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Jesus is our Healer! Evidences of this fact are scattered throughout the New Testament. He reached to touch a leper, He smeared mud in blind eyes, He stuck His fingers in deaf ears…and they were healed. Jesus is exactly the same — yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He still heals!

So, why do many go without a healing? One simple answer zeroes in on unbelief. The writer of Hebrews cautioned the believers to beware of an “evil heart of unbelief” that might cause them to be “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13). The children of Israel, because of their unbelief, were led astray to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Their rebellion and disobedience kept them from entering into the Promised Land.

James, the brother of Jesus, in his no-nonsense manner, said that a person who doubts should not expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-8). Indecisiveness, an inability to make up our minds, causes us to be unstable and wavering. Jesus was unable to do many mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58). Their lack of faith tied His hands.

In the gospel of Mark, we read the story of a desolate father who came to Jesus. His son was possessed by a mute spirit that would seize him, throw him to the ground, and cause him to convulse and foam at the mouth. The father had taken the boy to the disciples, but they were unable to help him. If these men — who saw firsthand the miracles of Jesus, who looked into His face and asked the hard questions, who were sent out by Him – could not lay hold of healing for this boy, how can we do any better? But wait — there is hope!

The despairing father brought his child to Jesus and told Him that the spirit often threw the boy into the fire or the water to try to completely destroy him (Mark 9:14-29). Sadly, the father looked to Jesus, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus already knew He could do anything, but He wanted this sad father to know, too. “If you can believe,” He told him, “all things are possible to him who believes.”

The desperate father, wanting to wholeheartedly believe but knowing there were gaps in his faith, cried out tearfully, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” And it was enough for Jesus. He rewarded the man’s mustard seed faith and healed his son. He will do it for us, too.


Heavenly Father, I believe that You heal. I believe that You are a miracle worker! But help me in my unbelief. I confess that I struggle with doubt sometimes, with unbelief. Please forgive me. Steady me. Help me to pray with faith, believing for the answers every time. In Jesus’ name… Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Judges 13:1-14:20

New Testament 

John 1:29-51

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 102:1-28

Proverbs 14:15-16


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Persecuted, Yet Peaceful

If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luke 9:23

 Recommended Reading: John 16:31-33

One of Jesus’ strongest admonitions to those who would be His disciples came when He told them to take up their cross daily (Luke 9:23). In the Roman world, the cross was a symbol of death. Jesus’ words were a warning: following Him might result in death.

Not until the night of Jesus’ arrest, when He was alone with His disciples for the Passover meal, did Jesus expand on His earlier words and provide them with comfort (John 14–16). He told them that the world would hate them when He was gone because they hated Him first. If they persecuted Him, they would persecute them (John 15:18-21). But He also told them, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). His peace—that is, the peace that comes from knowing and trusting Him (Philippians 4:6-7)—would be their peace in a world that would reject them. 

We don’t know exactly what the future holds for Christians. But we know who does know. We can trust Him to keep us “until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). 

Peace rules the day when Christ rules the mind. 


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Called to Discipleship

 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit 

—Matthew 28:19


Matthew 28:19 

While it’s true that not every person who makes a profession of faith is a Christian, it is equally true that not every Christian is a disciple. To put it another way, every disciple is a Christian, but not every Christian is necessarily a disciple.

We shouldn’t say, “This doesn’t apply to me. I’m just happy that I’m going to Heaven.” A true follower of Jesus should want to be a disciple. And what is discipleship? It’s living the Christian life as it was meant to be lived. It’s living the Christian life as Jesus taught it and as the early church understood it. Discipleship is real Christianity.

However, I think that some Christians are reluctant to want to live that way because it seems, well, radical. They don’t want difficulty, so they take the path of least resistance. Discipleship is challenging, but it’s fulfilling. It’s hard, but it’s more than worth it.

Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19–20 NLT).

But we can’t help someone else be a disciple of Jesus if we are not first disciples ourselves.

Here’s what it comes down to: Every follower of Jesus Christ should be a disciple. And we should either disciple someone who is less mature in the faith than we are or seek out someone who is more mature in the faith to disciple us.

Discipleship is all about growing up. It’s about going to the next level. It’s about really living the Christian life to its fullest, as Jesus meant for us to live it. It’s being a disciple and, in turn, going out and making disciples of others.