Our Daily Bread — Thankful Hearts

Bible in a Year:

Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?

Luke 17:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Luke 17:11–19

Hansle Parchment was in a predicament. He caught the bus to the wrong place for his semifinal in the Tokyo Olympics and was left stranded with little hope of getting to the stadium on time. But thankfully he met Trijana Stojkovic, a volunteer helping out at the games. She gave him some money to take a taxi. Parchment made it to the semifinal on time and eventually clinched the gold medal in the 110-meter hurdle. Later, he went back to find Stojkovic and thanked her for her kindness.

In Luke 17, we read of the Samaritan leper who came back to thank Jesus for healing him (vv. 15–16). Jesus had entered a village where He met ten lepers. All of them asked Jesus for healing, and all of them experienced His grace and power. Ten were happy that they’d been healed, but only one returned to express his gratitude. He “came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him” (vv. 15–16).

Every day, we experience God’s blessings in multiple ways. It could be as dramatic as an answered prayer to an extended time of suffering or receiving timely help from a stranger. Sometimes, His blessings can come in ordinary ways too, such as good weather to accomplish an outdoor task. Like the Samaritan leper, let’s remember to thank God for His kindness toward us.

By:  Poh Fang Chia

Reflect & Pray

What can you thank God for today? How can you cultivate a heart of gratitude?

Dear God, You’ve been so good to me. I give thanks to You today for


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Trials’ Lessons: Contentment

“Considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt . . .” (Hebrews 11:26).

Trials can show that material things are inadequate to meet our deepest needs.

We rely every day on material possessions—cars, computers, pagers, telephones, microwaves, radios, and TVs. These familiar conveniences make us feel as though it’s quite a hardship to cope without them. Therefore it’s difficult to avoid the pitfall Jesus warned about in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [riches].”

Materialism can exert such a powerful influence on us as believers that the Lord will sometimes subject us to trials just so He can remove us from the grip of the world’s devices and riches. Various trials and sufferings will almost invariably reveal how inadequate our possessions are to meet our deepest needs or provide genuine relief from the pains and stresses of life. And this realization ought to become more and more true of you as you grow in the Christian life. I have observed that mature believers, as time goes by, become less and less attached to the temporal items they’ve accumulated. Such stuff, along with life’s fleeting experiences, simply fades in importance as you draw closer to the Lord.

Moses is a wonderful example of someone who learned through trials these important lessons about materialism (Heb. 11:24-26). He spent forty years in Pharaoh’s household and was brought up to be an Egyptian prince. But he was willing to leave a position of prestige and power so he could experience something of the sufferings of his fellow Israelites, who were living as slaves in Egypt. God in effect made Moses a participant in Israel’s trials, content to rely on Him, not on the comforts and advantages of materialism: “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:27).

The Lord might need to get our attention in similar fashion, so that we learn one of the key lessons from life’s trials: to rely on His unlimited spiritual wealth, not on our finite and fading material possessions.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to make you more willing to rely on His strength and less willing to lean on material things.

For Further Study

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-11. According to Paul, what does contentment involve?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Serve Others Through Prayer

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

— Ephesians 6:18 (ESV)

One of the great temptations we often face when we have been wounded is to think too much about ourselves. We may focus excessively on our pain, on what happened to us, or on what will happen in the future. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to get our minds off ourselves and think about what we can do for others. We may not have extra resources to bless them in physical ways, but we can always pray for them, and that’s called interceding. It doesn’t take any money; it doesn’t require us to travel to get to them; it doesn’t demand anything of us except a willing heart and some time.

When we are hurting, we often see everything in life through a lens of pain. When that happens, we may find ourselves being hard on people instead of being gracious and showing kindness. But judging or criticizing others only holds us in bondage. If we pray for people instead of judging them, interceding for them as frequently and fervently as we pray for our own needs, we will not only be a blessing in their lives, we will also experience the joy of serving others.

In the days of the prophet Ezekiel, God was looking for people who would stand in the gap for others (Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV). I believe He is still looking for that kind of intercessor today. If there is a gap, or distance, in people’s relationship with God for some reason, we have the privilege of praying that their relationship with Him will be restored. If people have needs, we can intercede for them and expect to see them comforted and encouraged while they wait for God to provide for them.

A life focused only on self is a sad, lonely, narrow existence. When we reach out to others and include them in our lives, even in such a simple way as praying for them, we enrich ourselves and reach beyond our own little world. We begin to care about them in new ways; we begin to share their concerns and burdens—and somehow our concerns and burdens seem lighter. We rejoice when God answers our prayers for them. We grow in our faith as we trust God to move in their lives—and soon we realize we have more faith for Him to move in our lives, too.

There are many benefits to serving others through prayer, both for the ones we intercede for and for us. Praying for people strengthens our relationship with God and our relationships with them, which is good and healthy for everyone.

Prayer of the Day: Thank You, Father, for showing me that during painful times, I can shift my focus from myself and onto others. Help me to intercede, help and to find joy in serving and praying for others, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Abounding in the Lord’s Work

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24

What’s the most important part of your job? Whether you punch in at a factory, report to an office, labor in a field, or work at making a home, what’s most significant about your work? If you’re a Christian, then the answer is this: that you “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Work is an inevitable part of life. It is something we were created to do (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). But our view of our work is transformed, rescuing us both from idleness in it and idolatry of it, when we understand this truth: that we don’t ultimately work for our bosses or bank accounts; we work for Jesus. It is Him we aim to honor above all else. When we understand this, then our every occupation is instilled with dignity, and we can abound in the work of the Lord in whatever we do (1 Corinthians 15:58). Raising children is the Lord’s work. Selling paint is the Lord’s work. Managing staff is the Lord’s work. Realizing that we work for the Lord Jesus first and foremost can make a big difference every morning as we rise to our labors and every evening as we rest from them.

Of course, it’s easy to be discouraged in our work and frustrated by our work. The thorns, thistles, and cursed ground of Genesis 3 are all too apparent some days. But
1 Corinthians holds out the hope to us that when we labor for the Lord, our work is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). No work done for Him is ever wasted. God weaves all that we do in His sight, and for His glory, into the great story of what He is doing in His world.

Paul reminds us, though, that evidence of success in the Lord’s work may never be fully apparent in this life. In fact, the things that we think indicate success may just be hoodwinking us! We can see an annual bonus given, a promotion secured, or a sales target hit; we cannot see the eternal reward to be given when we reach our inheritance, nor all that God is doing through us. So we must live by faith, trusting that He is watching all our labors and is pleased when we serve Him, and that He is at work in all our labors and is using what we do to further His purposes.

In whatever vocation God has called you to at present, then, make it your highest aim to honor Jesus in how you do your job. Aim to please your boss and your clients, certainly—but when each new workday begins, don’t forget who is really to be honored by your effort. Labor “by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). For, whatever it is that you will be doing today, you can be serving the Lord Christ as you do it—and that is where real job satisfaction is to be found.

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

Ephesians 6:5-9

Topics: Effects of Sin Work Worship

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Most High

“Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” (Job 40:9)

In the Bible, God is sometimes called “the most high God.” What does this mean? Does it mean that God is high up in the sky, or that He lives above and beyond all of us down here on Earth? Well, we know from the Bible that God is everywhere. But the words “most high” refer to God’s preeminence, which means He is the greatest of all, the highest of all. God is everywhere, so He is “high” above us in that sense. But in a spiritual sense, He is higher and far above anyone or anything else. God is preeminent. He is the most high God.

But where is God in our thoughts? How do we think about Him? How important is He is our lives? Is He preeminent over all other loves and interests? Does the way we spend our time and money and energy show whether we believe God really is the most high God?

Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Nebuchadnezzar was the king ruling over these three young men. King Nebuchadnezzar thought so highly of himself (he had so much pride) that he had an image/idol of himself set up for his people to worship in his honor. Nebuchadnezzar considered himself a god, and he expected everyone to worship him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, however, served only the most high God. In fact, because they were true to God by not refusing to worship anyone or anything else, a whole kingdom learned about the most high God.

When their king grew angry with the three men, God saved them from dying in the fiery furnace that was their punishment. When God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar finally realized that God is the most high. Nebuchadnezzar figured it out that he himself was not most high. When he called the three men to come out of the furnace, the king even used a phrase that shows he understood finally. He called, “Ye servants of the most high God, come forth” (Daniel 5:18).

Maybe you do not have an idol you worship like Nebuchadnezzar did, but do you ever have a problem thinking too highly of yourself? How about the pride you take in a collection or hobby that you have? Do you start to treat something else or someone else as more important than God?

God is and always will be “the most high God.” No matter where we put God in our priorities or how often we think of Him, it does not change that He is the most high God. We can trust Him. We can serve Him and obey Him and never be ashamed. Psalms 57:2 says, “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”

Thank the most high God today that He is all you need to be completely satisfied. You need no other gods. Lift Him up high!

God is and always will be the most high God.

My Response:
» Do I acknowledge (think of, live before) God as “the most high”?
» How can my life be a testimony to the most high God in front of the leaders and people of my community?

Denison Forum – Texas Senate passes bill requiring the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms

“We think there can be a restoration of faith in America, and we think getting [the] Ten Commandments on these walls is a great way to do that. . . . We think we can really set a trend for the rest of the country.” Matt Krause, a former state representative and current employee of the First Liberty Institute, made that statement when he testified before the Texas Senate last month in defense of a bill that would require public schools to post a copy of the Ten Commandments in every classroom from kindergarten through high school. The bill passed earlier this week and is expected to go before the State House of Representatives soon.

The reasoning behind the legislation is that the Ten Commandments played a key role in the development of America’s founding documents and, as such, should be considered historical in nature rather than strictly religious. As one might expect, not everyone agrees with that assertion.

Rep. Candy Noble argued that “this legislation will bring back the historic tradition of recognizing America’s religious heritage.” Rep. James Talarico countered that “every time, on this committee, we try to teach basic sex education, but we can’t because we’re told that’s the parents’ role. Now you’re putting literal commandments—religious commandments—in our classrooms, and we’re told that’s the state’s role.”

Arguments over the value of the proposed law could prove irrelevant, however, if the Supreme Court decides that it is unconstitutional.

Will the Ten Commandments bill become law in Texas?

This time last year, the proposed law would almost assuredly have been tossed aside by the nation’s highest court. Now the matter is less certain.

Following the Court’s ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, in which a football coach was found to have been wrongfully fired for praying with his players on the field after the school told him to stop, the bill’s authors argue that the path has been cleared for legally requiring schools to display the Ten Commandments in Texas schools.

Others are less sure.

The religious component of each is similar, but that’s largely where the commonalities cease. While the Kennedy case was about protecting an individual’s right to religious expression, a public display of the Ten Commandments on school grounds could be seen as an imposition of religious beliefs on the students who are required to sit in those classrooms. As such, it is likely that the bill—if it becomes law—would face a difficult path on its way to implementation.

However, questions over whether the bill could become law have largely obscured the much more important issue of whether it should become law. And the answer to that latter question is more complicated than you might suspect.

Will displaying the Ten Commandments in Texas public schools make a difference?

On the surface, the idea that students and schools would benefit from paying greater attention to the moral precepts established in the Ten Commandments makes a lot of sense. And that Judeo-Christian morality did play a historically significant role in the development of the American Constitution and much of Western society. Even the deists among our nation’s founders—those who believed that God created the world but is no longer active in it—held no reservations about the importance of the virtues God established.

As such, the argument that the Ten Commandments have historical significance has merit. But is throwing a one-and-a-half-by-two-foot picture of them up on the wall really going to make much of a difference in guiding America’s youth back to that sense of morality? And is the fight over their inclusion in the classroom going to help the advancement of the gospel among the lost?

It’s possible that the answer to both of those questions is yes, but it’s far from certain.

Moreover, history tends to show that when Christians try to impose elements of our faith where they’re not wanted, it’s the church that suffers. And it was the recognition of that reality that led Baptists to push for the inclusion of the Establishment Clause in the Bill of Rights shortly after America’s founding. They understood that even when the government acts with the genuine intent of helping the church, they typically end up doing more harm than good.

Changing our focus

Would it be beneficial if today’s youth were more aware of and accepting toward God’s will as established in the Ten Commandments? Absolutely.

But, as Rep. Talarico insinuated, that’s not the school’s responsibility. It’s ours. And if we were collectively doing a better job of living out God’s laws in our own lives and teaching our kids to do the same, perhaps we wouldn’t feel the need to force the Commandments into classrooms in the hope that students will glance in their direction when they get bored.

So regardless of where you stand on the idea of putting the Ten Commandments in classrooms, remember that we should be far more concerned with instilling God’s word in the hearts and minds of those he brings into our lives. Whether that’s your children, coworkers, neighbors, or anyone else you encounter on a regular basis, a key part of Christ’s call for every Christian is taking the personal responsibility of teaching others to obey all that he has commanded (Matthew 28:20).

And we don’t need the government’s approval to do that.

With whom can you start today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Psalm 18:35

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.

Nineteenth century English dramatist, Henry Taylor, once said, “The world knows nothing of its greatest men.” Two hundred years later, this statement still rings with truth.

In our media-saturated culture, superficial notoriety is often substituted for true greatness. People have traded the valuable for the vain, dignity for disrespect, kindness for callousness, and restraint for rebellion. They think that money, power, and fame represent the marks of true greatness.

Many people are willing to do many things for their fifteen minutes of fame. Grasping for short-lived celebrity, they break boundaries and push limits. Fame may garner some notice, but it does not constitute greatness. Attention spans are short. Spotlights fade.

Some equate money with greatness. People invest their lives in the pursuit of wealth and gain. The principle of living simply within one’s means has been discarded for a more-is-better, pay-with-plastic mentality. Money may fill someone’s life with stuff, but it cannot buy greatness.

Some correspond power with greatness. Since the dawn of time, people have striven for power. Armies have marched, emperors have schemed, kings have killed, executives have plotted. People scrabble over others to climb to the top of the heap, to demand deference and force fear, but coercion does not constitute greatness.

To ever be considered great, we must submit to the Source of greatness Himself. Jesus had much to say about true greatness in the Kingdom economy. For those who wish to be genuinely great, learn to be the least (Mark 9:35). He pulled a small child onto His lap — the picture of unassuming innocence, no fortune, no fame, no power — as He said those words.

True greatness lies in the character that is forged through a relationship with the One Who emptied Himself, became as nothing, and humbled Himself to go to His death on the Cross (Philippians 2:7-8). He came seeking no fame, fortune, or power. He came only to do the will of His Father Who sent Him. And therein lies true greatness.


Heavenly Father, protect me from the deceptions of this world. It’s so easy to be convinced of my own importance — forgive me. Help me to always keep Jesus’ example in front of me. Give me power to do Your will humbly and obediently. In Jesus’ name… Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Ruth 2:1-4:22

New Testament 

John 4:43-54

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 105:16-38

Proverbs 14:26-27


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Fresh Air: Focusing on Moments of Fresh Faith – Flourishing

They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.
Psalm 92:14

 Recommended Reading: Psalm 92

Springtime makes us feel fresh! Fresh flowers, fresh leaves on the trees, the fragrance of fresh air. It’s a kind of rebirth.

The same thing happens for the believer every single day. God gives us a fresh start as we awaken! Psalm 92 tells us to sing His praises and declare His lovingkindness every morning (verses 1-2). As we begin each day with worship, keeping our eyes on Him, the Lord keeps us fresh with a renewed spirit, an excited faith, a hopeful heart, and a smile. It’s a lifelong experience.

The ruts and routines of life have a way of dragging us into the zone of mediocrity. But remember: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (verses 12-14).

Flourish in your faith today by keeping your eyes on Him.

Fresh faith is compelling. It’s clean and crisp like the beginning of a new day…. Freshness comes by staying whole with God…. Middle age and old age aren’t for complaining, but for proclaiming the goodness of God.
Boyd Bailey


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Sweet Spot of the Christian Life

If you love me, obey my commandments. 

—John 14:15


John 14:15 

If you play tennis, then you know that a tennis racket has a sweet spot. If you hit it, then you have maximum control and effect.

In the same way, the Christian life has a sweet spot. We find it in what we call the Great Commission. Here 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. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20 NLT).

But what does it mean to make disciples? It means taking a new believer under our wing to help them get established and grow spiritually. At the same time, it includes having someone in our lives who is helping us to grow as well.

God has called Christians to be disciples and disciple makers. And preferably we will do both at the same time.

Also, if you have accepted Christ, then you should be baptized. To be clear, baptism isn’t necessary for salvation. Neither is praying, studying the Bible, or attending church. But those are all good things to do. And Jesus specifically commanded it (see verse 19). So, we’re to begin with this simple act of obedience.

Next, we should obey God’s commands. Jesus said, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” Before we can teach others to obey His commands, we must first obey them ourselves.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t know if anyone can live up to those standards.” We can. And we must if we are going to be disciples. This is not an issue of whether we can do it. It’s an issue of whether we will do it.