Our Daily Bread — Stolen Gods

Bible in a Year:

You have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.

Genesis 32:28

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 31:19–21; 32:22–30

A carved wooden figure—a household god—had been stolen from a woman named Ekuwa, so she reported it to the authorities. Believing they had found the idol, law enforcement officials invited her to identify it. “Is this your god?” they asked. She said sadly, “No, my god is much larger and more beautiful than that.”

People have long tried to give shape to their concept of deity, hoping for a handmade god to protect them. Perhaps that’s why Jacob’s wife Rachel “stole her father’s household gods” as they fled from Laban (Genesis 31:19). But God had His hand on Jacob, despite the idols hidden in his camp (v. 34).

Later, on that same journey, Jacob wrestled all night with “a man” (32:24). He must have understood this opponent was no mere human, because at daybreak Jacob insisted, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (v. 26). The man renamed him Israel (“God fights”) and then blessed him (vv. 28–29). Jacob called the spot Peniel (“face of God”), “because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared” (v. 30).

This God—the one true God—is infinitely larger and more beautiful than anything Ekuwa could have ever imagined. He can’t be carved, stolen, or hidden. Yet, as Jacob learned that night, we can approach Him! Jesus taught His disciples to call this God “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe God? How might your ideas of Him be too limited?

Heavenly Father, forgive me for seeing You as smaller than You really are. Help me embrace the reality of who You truly are.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Trials’ Lessons: True Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

God entrusts comfort to us, often through trials, so that we may comfort others.

The nation of Ireland is nicknamed the “Emerald Isle” for good reason—it contains some of the greenest countryside of any location on earth. In visiting there I have noticed that abundant mist and fog, which often shroud the rolling landscape, help produce the rich green grass and trees. That phenomenon is much like the Christian life. Many times when our life is obscured by the sufferings and sorrows of trials, it has a refreshing beauty of soul that is not always readily seen. As the apostle Paul’s life demonstrates, sensitive and merciful hearts are the products of great trials.

Difficulties beset us so that God might bestow much comfort on us. But such comfort is not merely for our own benefit. The Lord entrusts His comfort to us that we might share it with others, as verse 4 of today’s passage indicates. And He comforts us in direct proportion to the number of trials we endure, which means the more we suffer, the more God comforts us; and the more He comforts us, the more we can comfort others who are hurting.

When we do experience real comfort in the wake of a trial, perhaps the most precious result is the sense of Christian partnership we feel. If God’s comfort helps us to comfort others, then it’s clear that other believers are positively affected by what we learn from our trials. The entire process lifts us beyond ourselves and shows us that as part of a local fellowship or the greater Body of Christ we are not alone and do not have to undergo various trials in a vacuum.

The comfort we receive and the sense of partnership that results is a great incentive for any of us to be encouraged through trials and sufferings, knowing that such experiences enable us to minister as integral parts of the Body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:262 Cor. 1:6-7).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His unlimited supply of comfort.

For Further Study

Read Isaiah 40:149:1351:361:2. What promise does each verse have in common?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – Do What the Crisis Demands

Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

— Ephesians 6:13 (AMPC)

When you are in a difficult situation, do what you know to do, but don’t feel pressured to take action if you have no direction from God. Ask God to open your mind to new ways of doing and seeing things. If He shows you something, then do it, and if He doesn’t, then remain peaceful and trust that He will work for you and do what you cannot do.

Think and speak, “It is not shameful to not know what to do, nor should I feel pressured that I must ‘do something.'” Nobody has all the answers, all the time, except God. Stay peaceful and stand firmly in Christ, trusting Him to guide you.

Prayer of the Day: Father, thank You for Your guidance and direction. Thank You for the reminder that it is not shameful to not know what to do. Please open my mind to new ways of doing and seeing things. May Your will be done in my life, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –A Mark of True Godliness

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5

True godliness grows in the soil of humility. We may have great giftings, wonderful abilities, great aspirations, tremendous passion, and the utmost diligence, and we may even apparently be successful and useful—but all of that amounts to nothing if we lack humility.

So, what is humility? Genuine humility reveals itself in keeping short accounts in regard to sin: coming continually to God with a repentant heart and recognizing ourselves to be in desperate need of God’s help every day and for every occasion. It lies in understanding that our need of Jesus and His transforming power in our lives is not partial; it’s total. As Jesus Himself told us, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Humility recognizes that the very breath we breathe, all that we possess, and all that we are result from God’s grace and goodness to us.

Humility means serving rather than being served. It means giving rather than taking. It means responding to the leadership of others rather than always insisting upon our own. It means fitting into others’ arrangements rather than demanding that everyone fit into ours.

Yet the humility of those who serve Christ is not merely an absence of pride or an awareness of our limitations. The opposite of self-love is not self-denigration but love for God. The answer to our being puffed up is not to hate ourselves or to deny the gifts God has given us; it is to steel our focus on the Lord Himself, recognizing, as the psalmist says, that God has exalted above all things His name and His word (Psalm 138:2).

The only people whom God will ultimately lift up are humble people—those who have recognized who they are, what they are, and how great their need of God is. Through the prophet Isaiah God declared, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit” (Isaiah 57:15, emphasis added). Later, He added, “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).

Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus, and He will look to you. You did not make yourself. You did not save yourself. You did not gift yourself. You are utterly dependent upon God’s grace. Look to Him, and He will lift you up. And when you know yourself to be lifted up in His loving sight, then you are ready to serve His people with all that He has given you.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

Luke 1:46-55

Topics: Dependence on God Humility Service

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Has Everlasting Arms

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

The highlight of each fall in Andrew’s hometown is attending the Riley Days Festival downtown. Every year, their town has a parade, live entertainment, craft booths, and yummy food filling the streets surrounding the courthouse. Andrew’s family always looked forward to Riley Days, and they would usually set aside the entire weekend for attending the festival.

During one of these Riley Days evenings, Andrew was having a hard time keeping up with the rest of the family. He had sprained his neck during a dodge ball game earlier that day, and it was really starting to bother him as their family walked around the festival.

Finally, Andrew asked his dad, “Will you carry me?” His dad was glad to carry him, and Andrew was so relieved. It was wonderful to let his body go limp in his dad’s arms. Andrew did not have put out all that energy to hold his head up. He could trust in his dad’s strength to carry him in a time when he was very weak.

In the same way that Andrew’s dad was glad to carry him around the festival that night, your heavenly Father will carry you through difficult times. When you are facing troubles and feel overwhelmed by the weight of them, let God carry you through them. He commands us to cast our care upon Him. Why? Because He cares for us. When you are weakest, He is always strong. Read His Word, and take comfort in His promises to you. God’s “arms” will never get tired (His strength and comfort and grace will never wear out) as He carries you through those difficult times. The Bible says that He has “everlasting arms.”

If you are facing difficult circumstances and have been trying to work hard in your own strength–stop it! Crawl into your heavenly Daddy’s arms; trust Him; and let Him carry you.

God is a refuge, and He has everlasting arms.

My Response:
» Have you been overwhelmed by troubles, rather than resting in God’s everlasting arms?
» Can you handle all your own problems?
» How can you help others learn to trust in the God of the Bible?

Denison Forum – “Abortion can be a powerful act of love”: The danger of performative truth

“We have become a nation that is more focused on the right to kill than the right to live.”

This is how California Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to the mass shooting in Allen, Texas, as he criticized Congress for not passing gun control reform. However, given his passionate support for elective abortion and efforts to bring women from other states to California’s abortion clinics, pro-life supporters like me find his statement tragically ironic.

On the same theme, I found this headline in a recent Time article jarring: “If someone you love has an abortion, give them a gift.” The writer thanks “friends and neighbors who dropped off big pots of soup [and] home-baked brownies and ice cream” when she had her abortion.

She writes: “Abortion can be a powerful act of love—for one’s self and one’s own future, for one’s existing children and family, for the pregnancy being released and thus spared from the circumstances informing the pregnant person’s decision, and often for a combination of all these things.”

This is the first time I’ve seen abortion called “a powerful act of love” for the unborn baby whose life it ends.

I promise to write tomorrow’s Daily Article

Merriam-Webster defines a “performative” speech act as “an expression that serves to effect a transaction or that constitutes the performance of the specified act by virtue of its utterance.” An example is my promise to write tomorrow’s Daily Article: this act brings something into being that did not exist until it was stated in words.

By contrast, a “constative” utterance “is capable of being judged true or false” on its merits. An example is my claim to have written yesterday’s Daily Article: you can check the article’s authorship on our website or in your inbox. If you are still skeptical, you can investigate further by consulting our editorial staff.

We now live in a culture dominated by “performative” truth claims. In this view, if I state that I am a female, even though I was born a biological male, my statement must be true even though I have no empirical way to verify it. If the Supreme Court discovers and proclaims a “right” to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, even though it overturns millennia of cultural consensus and practice in so doing, its declaration must nonetheless be true.

We have now progressed (or regressed) to the point that even performative statements that clearly contradict facts and evidence are to be taken as truth. For example, the Time article normalizing abortion claims, “Abortion has always existed on the same spectrum as birth, miscarriage, infertility, and so many other human experiences.” This is simply untrue: leaders across twenty centuries of Christian history consistently considered elective abortion to be intrinsically immoral. But the writer wants it to be true, so for her, it is.

Such “performative” reality pervades our politics as well, as Chris Stirewalt explains: do something to get covered by the media, then coverage drives polls, polls drive the media narrative, and that narrative drives reality.

“The heart wants what it wants”

Emily Dickinson described the foundational fact of fallen human nature: “The heart wants what it wants.” It is therefore unsurprising that our culture persists in confusing performative and constative truth claims, substituting our personal preferences for objective morality and calling them “our truth.”

When we can abort an unwanted pregnancy and locate our decision on “the same spectrum as birth, miscarriage, [and] infertility,” we get to do what we want while claiming moral status for our unbiblical decision. When we redefine gender, marriage, and the right to die under the guise of personal truth, we tolerate the unbiblical decisions others make, so they will tolerate the unbiblical decisions we make.

However, God knows the reality behind our performative truth claims: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lᴏʀᴅ looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In the end, his assessment of right and wrong is the only one that matters: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

“They have brought this evil on themselves”

I am reading the book of Isaiah as part of my personal Bible study these days and am consistently troubled about my nation as a result. Because neither divine nor human nature changes, what was true for ancient Israel is true for America today.

Consider this prophetic statement, substituting our nation for Israel: “[America] shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the Lᴏʀᴅ shall be consumed” (Isaiah 1:27–28).

Because God is holy, he must judge sin: “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lᴏʀᴅ alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). Consequently, “Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lᴏʀᴅ, defying his glorious presence” (Isaiah 3:8).

For this reason: “They proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves” (v. 9). By contrast, “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds” (v. 10).

“The fire of the Lᴏʀᴅ fell”

I am leading a study tour of Israel this week. Today our group will visit Mt. Carmel, where the prophet Elijah faced 450 prophets of Baal who cloaked horrific sexual immorality in the guise of their false religion (1 Kings 18:22).

You remember what happened: the one true God honored Elijah’s sacrifice when “the fire of the Lᴏʀᴅ fell and consumed the burnt offering” (v. 38). As a result, “When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lᴏʀᴅ, he is God; the Lᴏʀᴅ, he is God’” (v. 39).

In a broken world, God still uses courageous individuals to turn the tide. Does America need more Elijahs?

Will you be one today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.

In honor of Mother’s Day and in fulfillment of Proverbs 31:28, Pastor Matt Hagee shared this sweet story regarding his wife, Kendal. She was born at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio on May 10. Just a few months later in July, Pastor Matt was born at the same hospital. In anticipation of things to come, he assured us that she left her name and number at the nurse’s station.

In 2001, he was not married, was not dating, and his parents were getting worried. He took matters in hand, and on October 21, 2001, he wrote and taped this note into his study Bible:

“Dear Heavenly Father, these things I promise to pray every day without ceasing until You provide the desire of my heart, a wife.

That she would love You and Your kingdom with all of her heart, her soul, her mind, and her body.
That she would love me for me and nothing else.
That she would have a good understanding of family because I’ve got a big one.
That her parents would value and cherish marriage.
That she loves children.
That she loves people.
That she has a servant’s heart.
That I could trust her with my heart.
That I would be able to tell her anything.
That I could be me in front of her.
That she’d never be ashamed of me or what God has called me to be.
That she would be pure under the blood of the Lamb.
That she would have a deep hunger for God.
That she would love to be treated like a queen.
That she would have dark hair and blue eyes.

… when God heard me praying for a wife, He answered my prayers with you, [Kendal].”

If you are single and longing for a spouse with whom to share your life, if you are married and yearning for a child to hold in your arms, even if Mother’s Day has little to do with you and your dreams, follow this simple step. Take your longings, yearnings, and dreams and write them down, make them plain, and pray them out to our loving Heavenly Father. He knows how to answer those prayers.


Heavenly Father, I write down my desires as plainly as I know how. These things I promise to pray every day, without ceasing, until You send the answer. In Jesus’ name… Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

1 Samuel 8:1-9:27

New Testament 

John 6:22-46

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 106:32-48

Proverbs 14:34-35


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Spiritual and Material

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
Psalm 103:2

 Recommended Reading: Psalm 103:1-5

We live in a world that is both material and spiritual. On the material side, we access our world through our five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. It is no wonder the apostle John warned about “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”—“all that is in the world” (1 John 2:16). It is easy to be enticed by the things of this world, to think they will bless our life.

But the Bible says that God’s blessings are both material and spiritual. He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from destruction, loves us, shows compassion to us, satisfies our life with good things, and renews our youth (Psalm 103:3-5). The world cannot offer anything to compare with the dual dimensions of God’s blessings—spiritual and material. When we are tempted to seek blessing and contentment in the things of this world, we need to look to God’s promised blessings.

Look around you today and count your blessings. Thank God for His provision and commit all your needs to Him.

The vast majority of mankind never gives a thought of gratitude towards God for all His care and blessings.
Donald Grey Barnhouse


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Ready to Listen

 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 

—John 15:7


John 15:7 

Did you know that it’s possible to read the Bible out of pure duty—and not remember anything? We may read three chapters, but if the words don’t affect our lives, and if we don’t understand what we’ve read, then we would be better off reading three verses instead.

In Psalm 1 we find a description of those who walk with God: “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (verses 2–3 NLT).

To meditate means to ponder or chew on something. It means to think something over.

When it comes to God’s Word, how do you listen? Whether you are distracted or paying attention will make all the difference in your life.

Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7 NLT). The New King James version of this verse begins, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you . . .”

Think of a deeply rooted tree that is soaking up the nutrients from the soil and growing every day. In the same way, to “remain” or “abide” refers to staying in a given place. It’s staying in fellowship with Jesus.

As we do this, as we start sinking our roots deeply into Christ, we will start praying for what God wants us to pray for. That is the objective of prayer. It isn’t getting God to do what we want Him to do. Rather, it’s doing what God wants us to do.

When Jesus’ words remain in us, it means that, ultimately, they affect our thinking, our living, and everything that we do.