All posts by broboinhawaii

Bible believing christian worshiping God in Hawaii

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Godly Response to Criticism

Proverbs 15:31-33

No one likes criticism, but since it’s inevitable, we should learn how to respond in a godly way. Our natural reaction to hurtful comments is anger or defensiveness, but there can be great benefits for those who calmly listen and carefully consider the critique. In fact, we might limit our spiritual growth if we aren’t open to reproof.

Some of life’s best lessons come through difficult words. If God allowed the situation, you can be sure He wants to use it to help transform you into His Son’s image. Whether the criticism is valid or not, whether it’s delivered with kindness or harshness, your goal should always be to respond in a way that glorifies the Lord. You are responsible only for how you handle yourself, not for how the other person acts.

Every rebuke is an opportunity from God. Ask Him if the accusation is valid. It may be time to humble yourself and accept the Lord’s correction. A moment of criticism could also be a chance to show love to your critic. If he or she is angrily attacking you, your respect and kindness become a powerful testimony. Whatever the circumstances, let the Lord search your heart and either affirm your innocence or convict you.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 19-21


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — The Right Words

Bible in a Year:

Pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan.

Ephesians 6:19 nlt

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Ephesians 6:10–20

In the past year or so, a number of authors have urged believers to take a fresh look at the “vocabulary” of our faith. One writer, for example, emphasized that even theologically rich words of faith can lose their impact when, through overfamiliarity and overuse, we lose touch with the depths of the gospel and our need for God. When that happens, he suggested, we may need to relearn the language of faith “from scratch,” letting go of our assumptions until we can see the good news for the first time.

The invitation to learn to “speak God from scratch” reminds me of Paul, who devoted his life to “[becoming] all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23). He never assumed he knew best how to communicate what Jesus had done. Instead, he relied on constant prayer and pleaded for fellow believers to pray for him as well—to help him find “the right words” (Ephesians 6:19 nlt) to share the good news.

The apostle also knew the need for each believer in Christ to remain humble and receptive each day to their need for deeper roots in His love (3:16–17). It’s only as we deepen our roots in God’s love, each day becoming more aware of our dependence on His grace, that we can begin to find the right words to share the incredible news of what He’s done for us.

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When have you had an experience of seeing the gospel in a new way for the first time? How can prayer keep your heart receptive to your constant need for God’s grace?

Loving God, forgive me for, far too often, taking Your grace and goodness for granted. Help me to daily grasp in new ways the depths of Your grace and love. And help me find the right words to share what You’ve done.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Building a Leader: The Right Raw Material (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

God can use your natural abilities as a basis for your spiritual service.

Peter is a good illustration of how God builds a spiritual leader. He begins with a person’s natural traits and works from there. Natural traits alone don’t make a spiritual leader—the person must also be gifted and called by the Holy Spirit to lead in the church and be a model of spiritual virtue. But often God endows future leaders with natural abilities that constitute the raw materials from which He builds spiritual ministries. That was certainly the case with Peter, who demonstrated the leadership qualities of inquisitiveness, initiative, and involvement.

Peter was always asking questions. In fact, the gospel records show he asked more questions than all the other disciples combined! People who aren’t inquisitive don’t make good leaders because they’re not concerned about problems and solutions.

Initiative was another indicator of Peter’s leadership potential. He not only asked questions, but also was often the first to respond when Jesus asked the questions (e.g., Matt. 16:15-16; Luke 8:45).

Also, Peter loved to be in the middle of the action, even when it got him into trouble. For example, we might criticize his lack of faith when he sank after walking on water, but remember, the rest of the disciples never even got out of the boat.

Peter was inquisitive, showed initiative, and sought to be involved. How about you? Are you inquisitive about God’s truth? Do you take the initiative to learn about Him? Do you want to be involved in what He is doing? If so, you have the raw material for spiritual leadership. Continue to cultivate those qualities, allowing the Spirit to use you for God’s glory.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Pray for your spiritual leaders.
  • Ask God for opportunities to lead others in the way of righteousness. Use every opportunity to its fullest.

For Further Study

Read the following verses, noting the kinds of questions Peter asked: Matthew 15:15; 18:21; 19:27; Mark 13:2-4; John 21:20-22.

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Love, Trust and Faith

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

— Galatians 5:6 (AMPC)

Instead of trying so hard to work up faith, we would be wise to spend that time and effort simply receiving God’s love and loving Him in return. We are only going to be able to walk in faith based on whatwe believe about the Father’s love.

Galatians 5:6 says that faith works by love. Faith will not work without love. This scripture is telling us that if we don’t know how much God loves us, we have nothing to base our faith on.

Trusting God and walking in faith is leaning on Him and trusting Him for everything. You can only do that with someone when you know you are loved unconditionally. God’s love is His free gift to us, and we simply need to receive it, be thankful for it, and let it bring us closer to Him.

The Bible says, We love Him, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19 AMPC). When you are assured of the fact that God loved you first, you are excited to love Him in return— you are excited to live your life completely for Him.

Nobody in all the world will ever love you as God loves you.


http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Then and Now

Many followed him, and he healed them all.

Matthew 12:15

What a variety of sickness must have been presented to the gaze of Jesus! Yet we do not read that He was disgusted but patiently waited on every case. What a combination of evils must have met at His feet! What sickening ulcers and putrefying sores! Yet He was ready for every new shape of the monster of evil and was victor over it in every form. Wherever the arrow landed, He quenched its fiery power. Fevers, lameness, sadness, or the cold of dropsy; the lethargy of madness, leprosy, and blindness—all knew the power of His word and fled at His command. In every aspect of the battle He was triumphant over evil and received the homage of delivered captives. He came, He saw, He conquered everywhere.

It is still the case today. Whatever my own condition may be, the beloved Physician can heal me; and whatever may be the state of others whom I may remember at this moment in prayer, I may have hope in Jesus that He will be able to heal them of their sins. My child, my friend, my dearest one—I can have hope for each, for all, when I remember the healing power of my Lord; and on my own account, however severe my struggle with sins and infirmities, I can still rejoice and be confident. He who on earth walked the hospitals still dispenses His grace and works wonders among the sons of men: Let me go to Him immediately and earnestly.

Let me praise Him this morning as I remember how He worked His spiritual cures, which brings Him the most renown. It was by taking upon Himself our sicknesses. “With his stripes we are healed.”1 The church on earth is full of souls healed by our beloved Physician; and the inhabitants of heaven confess that “he healed them all.”

Come, then, my soul, declare far and wide the virtue of His grace, and “it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”2

1) Isaiah 53:5
2) Isaiah 55:13

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Loves You Unconditionally

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Have you ever had a dog? Jake had a dog, and he loved that dog. Her name was Daisy. She was a cute little white dog with black ears and a brown spot in the middle of her back. She had a cute little tail that curled up over her back. Jake would feed her and give her water every day. He would give her a bath when she was dirty, brush her fur when she had been outside, and take her for walks after school. Jake loved Daisy very much, and he showed her that he loved her by taking care of her. Even when she was bad and misbehaved, he still loved her. Who do you think takes care of us and loves us, even when we do wrong? Your parents do, but Who else? God does, and He loves us, too! God loves us unconditionally.

Do you know what it means to love “unconditionally”? The word “unconditional” means “without limitations, perfect in quality or nature.” Basically, it means that God love has no strings attached and there is nothing we can do to earn it or lose it. God’s love never changes! No matter what you do, you cannot make God love you any more than He does right now. You cannot do anything to make God love you any less than He does right now, either!

God’s love is even stronger than that bond between Jake and his dog Daisy. Why? Because God is God! His unconditional love has no bounds, because it is just as infinite (never-ending) as God is! God always loves His people, no matter what. Because of His unconditional love, He sent His Son to die on the cross. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Do you love God in the same way? Would you do anything for God? Probably, if you were being honest, you would have to say no. That kind of love is not easy for human beings to have. We can try, though. God is the One Who has shown His love to us, and He wants us to love others and forgive others as He has forgiven and loved us: Unconditionally! Because God loves us unconditionally, we should love him and serve him with our lives.

God’s love for His people is unconditional.

My Response:
» Do I ever meditate on how wonderful God must be to love me unconditionally?
» Am I willing to love and serve God even when I do not always understand what He is doing in my life?
» How can I demonstrate (show) unconditional loving like God’s in my relationships with my friends and family members?


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Denison Forum – A mother’s “Traveling Diary” goes global: The empowering path to “spiritual beauty”

Kyra Peralte is a mother of two in Montclair, New Jersey. A year ago, she started keeping a journal about the challenges of juggling marriage, work, and motherhood during a global crisis. She found the experience cathartic and wondered how other women were dealing with the overwhelming stress of the pandemic.

So she decided to invite women from around the world to fill the remaining pages of her composition notebook with their own pandemic stories. She wrote an article about her idea, then created a website so participants could add their names to the queue. Each person was allowed to keep the diary for up to three days and fill in as many pages as they wished, then mail it to the next person, whose address Peralte provided.

Her journal became “The Traveling Diary,” traversing the globe via snail mail and collecting handwritten stories. A year later, seven notebooks have circulated in locations from the United States to Australia, Canada, and South Africa. So far, 115 women have signed up to participate.

Creating a way for people to deal with their challenges in community is just what a mother would do.

The help mothers need

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Anna Jarvis initiated the idea of a Mother’s Day in 1905 to honor the memory of her deceased mother. Nine years later, President Woodrow Wilson made the day a national observance. By Ms. Jarvis’ death, forty-three countries around the world had joined in the holiday.

The impulse behind such a day is obvious: except for Adam and Eve, every human being in human history had or has a mother. While some never knew their mothers and others had very difficult childhoods, most of us experienced the kind of compassion Kyra Peralte modeled. And we are grateful for a day to express our gratitude.

Godly mothers especially deserve our support in these challenging days.

According to a national poll, 46 percent of parents say their teenagers’ mental health has worsened during the pandemic. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the proportion of twelve- to seventeen-year-olds visiting emergency rooms for mental health reasons rose 31 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. This is in addition to the ongoing mental health crisis among young people and other challenges mothers have been facing during the pandemic.

Where can they find help? A research study of more than two thousand mothers reported that being well-adjusted as a mother depended largely on how much emotional support was available from other people in their lives. The study showed that mothers especially need to feel unconditionally loved for their “core” selves with a reliable source of emotional comfort and authentic relationships with family and friends.

Here’s the good news: No matter how family and friends encourage or discourage us, our heavenly Father will always love us for who we are. He is always there for us. He seeks nothing other than an authentic relationship with us.

A lesson from a gas cap

As we close our weeklong focus on personal spirituality as the basis for public courage in the face of an antagonistic culture, let’s apply our discussion to mothers and families.

During one of my pastorates, I borrowed our church van to drive to a distant university for a board meeting. Unfortunately, I failed to pick up the gas cap key from the church office before leaving. When the van needed gas, I had no ability to open the cap and had to find a locksmith. I learned practically what every driver knows intellectually: vehicles need the fuel they were designed to use.

It is the same with our souls.

Most mothers can identify with Mark 6:31: “‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Jesus’ purpose in calling us from the world is to call us to himself. He promises that those who “abide” in him will bear “much fruit,” but he also warns us that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Oswald Chambers was right: “Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God. Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest his power.”

Our Father’s invitation to mothers is his call to us all: identify our challenges, admit that we cannot face them without God’s help, bring them to him in faith, and trust him for the resources and encouragement we need.

Finding “the world of spiritual beauty”

Henri Nouwen observed: “Contemplative life is a human response to the fundamental fact that the central things in life, although spiritually perceptible, remain invisible in large measure and can very easily be overlooked by the inattentive, busy, distracted person that each of us can so readily become.

“The contemplative looks not so much around things but through them to their center. Through their center he discovers the world of spiritual beauty that is more real, has more density, more mass, more energy, and greater intensity than physical matter. In effect, the beauty of physical matter is a reflection of its inner content.”

Whatever our circumstances, Jesus will reveal the empowering “world of spiritual beauty” within them to all who make time to seek it with him.

Will you accept his invitation today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –Jesus Spread Happiness


JESUS SPREAD HAPPINESS – May 7, 2021

Jesus was accused of much, but he was never described as a grump or sourpuss or self-centered jerk. People didn’t groan when he appeared. He called them by name. He listened to their stories. He answered their questions. He visited their sick relatives, and he helped their sick friends. He fished with fishermen, he ate lunch with the little guy, and he spoke words of resounding affirmation.

He went to weddings. He went to so many parties that he was criticized for hanging out with questionable people. Thousands came to hear him. Hundreds chose to follow him. They walked away from careers to be with him. His purpose statement read “I came to give life with joy and abundance” (John 10:10 The Voice). Jesus was happy and wants us to be the same.

politicians = Doublespeak 

As a retired clinical psychologist, I’ve always been fascinated with how language is not just the result of thought but can actually shape thought and behavior.  But as an American, I am distressed over how language is being used to control thought and behavior among our population in ways that are toxic to our culture, counter to our God-given rights, and destructive to our nation.

In George Orwell’s prophetic novel 1984, the fictional totalitarian government maintained control of the thought processes of its population largely through use of “doublespeak.”  American politicians, especially Democrats and those on the political left, have mastered the art of doublespeak and have been pumping it out through all available media outlets for decades.

Consider the left’s use of the terms:

a) “Liberal” to describe an ideology which, if anything, opposes and goes to extremes to quash diversity of thought and behavior that threatens its authority and definition of “truth.”

b) “Progressive” for agendas and policies that have over time effectively killed creativity, rewarded mediocrity and dumbed down our society to maintain control through mandatory, unquestioning conformity.

c) “Inclusiveness” and “diversity” that have spawned an explosion of laws and a burgeoning industry based upon discrimination against and exclusion of major segments of the population according to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion and other personal attributes.

d) “Justice” not as noble pursuit of equity and fairness based upon law and order and God’s ultimate truth, but as an excuse for wanton, violent revenge and unbridled thirst for wealth and power.

e) “Socialist” to soft-soap the harsh, often lethal realities of communism by connoting opportunities to interact and bond with well-intentioned others for presumably positive, altruistic, common good purposes, and

f) Even “Democrat” as a false representation of a political party which, according to emerging evidence and growing public consensus, is being discovered to have been, in a most undemocratic manner, rigging elections in their favor for many years.

Doublespeak can also be seen in the way the Democratic left, the Biden administration, and the Democrat-controlled Congress spin their radical legislative and policy initiatives.  They know the majority of Americans would never support these initiatives on their own merit, so they try to snow the public with pretty titles.  Examples:

1) H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” designed to let Democrats take control of federal elections away from the states so they can continue to rig the outcomes.

2) H.R. 5, the “Equality Act,” designed to allow biological men who “identify” as women into women’s sports, locker rooms, restrooms, and other private settings and to undo decades of progress in women’s rights.

3) Biden’s proposed “American Rescue Plan Act,” designed to spend $1.9 trillion of our taxpayer dollars, allegedly to aid recovery from the so-called “pandemic,” but with only 10% actually directed toward COVID mitigation and the rest going to a new type of social “welfare” that pays people more to not go back to work and to Democrat-favored businesses looking to pad their assets.

4) Biden’s proposed  “American Jobs Plan” which would spend only 5% of its budget-busting $2.25 trillion price tag on infrastructure but mostly funds “Green New Deal” and other Democrat pet political causes, and

5) Biden’s proposed “American Families Act” which is a thinly veiled plot to push government-approved propaganda throughout the U.S. educational system starting at age three, while seducing us with unsustainable promises of free child care, free education through two-year college, free money for just having more children, and other “free stuff,” all for $1.8 trillion (recently upgraded to $2.5 trillion) of money that, like with the aforementioned spending packages, doesn’t even exist.

Look at the pattern here:  Pleasant-sounding words to hide evil intent to establish a godless totalitarian communist government like that in China right here in the United States of America.  Don’t let the language fool you.  The illegitimate, incompetent, amoral, anti-America Biden administration and the Democrat/Pelosi/Schumer-controlled Congress are out to destroy our constitutional republic by spending us into oblivion and outlawing the fundamental rights and freedoms of future generations of Americans.

Don’t let yourself be seduced and manipulated by the left’s doublespeak.  Question everything and think for yourself.  Speak up publicly without fear and contact your state and federal legislators to express your opinions.  Don’t let the lying left get away with this “1984-style” mass brainwashing and rape of our nation.

By Larry Cesare

Source: The Democrats and Doublespeak – American Thinker

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Faith Is Action

Hebrews 11:7-16

Faith is often thought of as a thing we have—a belief in something or someone. But in the Scriptures, faith is more than a passive possession—it’s a firm confidence that results in action. In today’s passage, an action follows every mention of faith. Noah prepared an ark, Abraham obeyed without knowing where he was going, and Sarah confidently anticipated the son God promised.

Instead of sitting back, believers should count on God’s promises and act accordingly, as did the men and women listed in Hebrews 11. The Lord accomplished amazing feats through their lives when they believed Him and moved out in obedience. Like a muscle, faith grows the more we put it into action. In this way, believers strengthen their trust in God and His promises, even when they don’t live long enough to see the fulfillment in their lifetime.

Are you acting on your faith in God and His Word? When you see a command or warning in Scripture, do you obey it? Are you letting biblical truths about God’s character and power shape your thinking and responses? If so, your faith is growing strong.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 10-12


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Fueled by Fire

Bible in a Year:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us . . . . But even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods.

Daniel 3:17–18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Daniel 3:13–18, 25–27

When two firefighters, weary and sooty, stopped at a restaurant for breakfast, the waitress recognized the men from the news and realized they’d spent the night battling a warehouse fire. To show her appreciation, she wrote a note on their bill, “Your breakfast is on me today. Thank you . . . for serving others and for running into the places everyone else runs away from. . . . Fueled by fire and driven by courage, what an example you are.” 

In the Old Testament, we see an example of courage in the actions of three young men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). Instead of obeying the mandate to bow down to a statue of the Babylonian king, these young men courageously showed their love for God through their refusal. Their penalty was to be thrown into a blazing furnace. Yet the men didn’t back down: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold” (vv. 17–18). 

God did rescue them and even walked with them in the fire (vv. 25–27). In our fiery trials and troubles today, we too have the assurance that God is with us. He is able.

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

When have you felt God’s presence during a difficult trial? What gives you confidence to press on when challenges come?

Almighty God, thank You for being with me in the fire and for comforting me with Your presence.

http://www.odb.org

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

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son” (Hebrews 11:17).

The main reason God allows trials in the lives of Christians is to test the strength of their faith.

The memorable example in Genesis 22 of Abraham’s testing is perhaps the severest trial any human being has ever faced. When God told Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of Moriah (Gen. 22:1-2), Abraham no doubt was stunned. In terms of God’s nature, His plan of redemption, His promise to Abraham, and His love for Isaac, the entire concept was utterly inconceivable and unprecedented.

But in the face of all that, Abraham showed remarkable faith in dealing with this trial (Gen. 22:3-8). He did not second-guess God, as many of us would, but rather obeyed immediately (v. 3) and displayed the confidence that he and Isaac would return (v. 5) and that God would supply a lamb for the offering (v. 8). Then Abraham showed he was ready to obey completely. Genesis 22 tells us he “bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (vv. 9-10). What unbelievable faith, and what a dramatic moment when God spared Abraham from the full cost of obedience (vv. 11-12)! The story clearly shows us the nature of true faith (Gen. 15:6) and why Abraham was later called the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:11-12; Gal. 3:6-7).

As heirs to Abraham and his extraordinary trust in God, we can also endure the most difficult trials and pass tests of faith that seem unimaginably severe at the time. God might want us to offer our own loved ones to Him and let them go His way rather than tightly holding on to them for our own purposes. However, if we look to God as Abraham did (Heb. 11:17-19), we can be confident in any trial and know with certainty that our faith has passed the test.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would strengthen your faith even in the smallest of daily trials.

For Further Study

Read 2 Kings 20:1-11 and 2 Chronicles 32:24-31.

  • What was at the heart of Hezekiah’s difficulties (2 Chron. 32:25)?
  • Why did God test him (v. 31)?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Assume; Ask God

When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long.

— Psalm 32:3 (AMPC)

We all have days when we feel more emotional than usual, and there may be many reasons for that. Perhaps you didn’t sleep well the night before, or you ate something that lowered your blood sugar or that you were allergic to. The occasional emotional day is something we don’t have to be too concerned about. If my husband has a day like that, he never tries to figure it out. He simply says, “This too shall pass.”

There are also times we have emotional issues that need to be resolved and dealt with. WE are often guilty of stuffing things down inside us rather than dealing with them. If you are a person who avoids confrontation, you can have a soul full of unresolved issues that need closure before emotional wholeness will come. I remember a night when I was unable to sleep, which is unusual for me. Immediately I recalled a situation from the day before. I had been rude to someone and instead of apologizing to them and asking God to forgive me, I rushed through the situation and went on to the next thing I needed to do. Obviously, my wrong conduct was irritating my spirit, even though my conscious mind had buried it. As soon as I asked God to forgive me and made the decision to apologize to the person, I was able to go to sleep.

If you feel unusually sad or as if you are carrying a heavy burden you don’t understand, ask God what is wrong before you start assuming things. It is amazing what we and learn by simply asking God for an answer and being willing to face any truth He might reveal about us or our behavior. Sometimes we feel emotional because of something someone has done to us or an unpleasant circumstance in our life. But at other times we feel that way because of something we did wrong and ignored.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to see and know what is causing me to feel emotional and help me to be willing to face any truth You reveal to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Tempted by Idols?

Can man make for himself gods?
Such are not gods!

Jeremiah 16:20

One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the church is vexed with a tendency to the same folly. The ancient gods of man’s invention have mostly disappeared, but the shrines of pride are not forsaken, and the golden calf still stands. Self makes an empty display, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favorite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when He sees us doting upon them beyond measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns with which to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their children.

It is accurate to say that “such are not gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace that they yield us now is dangerous, and the help that they can give us in the hour of trouble is small indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who worships a god of stone, and yet we worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case; the only difference is that our crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn to idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee
.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Loyal to His People

“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:26)

Do you know what it means to be loyal? Stella’s grandpa kept a white pony named Ginger on his farm. Whenever Stella visited Grandpa, she loved to ride Ginger around the pasture. Sometimes Stella would sit on the fence for an hour at a time talking to Ginger. When she would have to leave Ginger and go back home to the city, the pony stayed in her thoughts. Stella often drew pictures of Ginger or wrote about her in stories.

Now the truth is, Ginger was a very stubborn pony, and she was even a little bit mean at times. But if anyone ever said anything bad about her, Stella always stood up for her. She thought of Ginger as her horse. When Grandpa finally had to sell Ginger away to another farm, Stella went out to the empty pasture and found some long white hairs from her tail stuck in the fence. For years afterward, she kept that horsehair in a special little box. Her love for Ginger was loyal.

Did Ginger deserve to be loved like that? No, probably not. And neither do we. But God’s love for His people is just as loyal as that–in fact, it is even more loyal than any human love could be, because God is God. When you read the Old Testament, you can see God showing loyal love to His people, the Israelites, over and over again. He faithfully led them. He defended them against their enemies. He shared the deep thoughts and plans of His heart with them. He revealed Himself to them with wonderful miracles. He did not overlook their sin. When they broke their covenants with Him and went after idols, He always punished them. But even the punishments were signs of His loyalty. He never gave up on His people. He never “let them go.” He always drew them back. When they humbled themselves and sought Him, He mercifully restored them again to a right relationship with Him. And best of all, He sent them a Redeemer–His own dear Son, Jesus Christ.

The Hebrew word for God’s loyal love is hesed. You will often see this word in our English translations as lovingkindness or mercy. God acts the same toward His redeemed people today as He did toward His people Israel in the Old Testament days. He will never give up on His people, nor will He ever give up a good work that He has begun. He loves us with a loyal, steadfast love.

God’s love for His people is loyal and steadfast.

My Response:
» Am I loyal in my love for God?
» How can I demonstrate (show) loyalty like God’s in my relationships with my friends and family members?


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Denison Forum – Pastor’s wife advocates for vaccines and receives death threats: A call to courage that glorifies Jesus

Emily Smith is an epidemiologist at Baylor University, the wife of a Baptist pastor, and a mother. She has been working hard to help her fellow evangelicals understand the urgency of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Though she has received vociferous criticism and even death threats, she is committed to her calling: “I just feel such a sense of obligation, especially from a Christian perspective, to be the Good Samaritan, and hopefully get people to band together and still wear their mask and get a vaccine.”

Jamie Aten is executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College. In his work, he has helped his fellow evangelicals deal with hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other disasters. His ministry has been widely received with gratitude.

When he began urging his fellow evangelicals to get vaccinated against COVID-19, however, some of the responses he received were ugly. He even had to file a report with the sheriff’s office where he lives after getting an email claiming his work on vaccines was “punishable by death.”

Biblical citation labeled “hate speech”

C. S. Lewis observed that “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

new policy in China went into effect last Saturday. It requires all clergy and religious leaders in China to “support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, support the socialist system,” and “practice the core values of socialism” while adhering to the “autonomous management of religion.” As a result of this policy, Chinese Communist officials removed Bible apps and public Christian WeChat accounts. Bibles in hard copy are no longer available for sale online.

Communist authorities recently closed Catholic Church-run children’s homes and orphanages and have ordered Christians to fly the Chinese flag and sing patriotic songs in their services. A recent publication includes China among sixty-two countries, comprising two-thirds of the world’s population, that violate religious freedom.

Finland is not on the list, but a member of its parliament is facing six years imprisonment for allegedly committing three crimes, including “hate speech.” A medical doctor and the mother of five, she has publicly voiced her opinion defending biblical sexual morality. One of her “crimes” was quoting Romans 1:24–27, a tweet for which she was accused of hate speech and interrogated by the police.

“I will not back down from my views,” she said. “I will not be intimidated into hiding my faith. The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets.”

“God’s story, my story, and their story”

Jacob Bland is the new president and CEO of Youth for Christ, a ministry that began in 1944 when Billy Graham served as its first full-time staff member. Today, it operates in over one hundred nations and has more than 160 chapters across the US. Bland explained his organization’s strategy in a way I found compelling: “The way we look at it, there are three stories that are overlapping: God’s story, my story, and their story.”

To advance God’s kingdom, we learn the stories of those who need Jesus, then we share his story by showing how he has changed our story and can change their story.

In yesterday’s Daily Article, I described the urgency of defending biblical morality in an increasingly antagonistic culture. I also noted the importance of living the truth we proclaim, knowing that our lives must be the first sermon we preach.

How can we be the change we wish to see? Paul’s letter to a church in an antagonistic culture offers us clear and compelling guidance.

When Paul came to the Greek city of Thessalonica, a mob responded to the gospel by attacking followers of Jesus (Acts 17:1–10). Nonetheless, the apostle encouraged Thessalonian Christians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). He reminded them that their salvation came “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (v. 13), that divine-human partnership by which we accept God’s word as true and the Spirit uses that truth to transform our lives.

The basis for our salvation is “our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace” (v. 16). Paul could therefore pray for the Lord to “comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word” (v. 17).

Four empowering imperatives

This passage calls us to four simple commitments that are transforming for us and our influence:

One: Remember that God is love (1 John 4:8). Because he “loved us” in the past, he has given us “good hope through grace” for the present and “eternal comfort” for the future. No matter who you are or where you are, God loves you.

Two: Believe God’s word is truth (John 17:17). What the Bible says about sexuality or any other issue we face is the unchanging, life-giving truth of God.

Three: Submit to the sanctification of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:181 Peter 1:2). He alone can make us like Jesus (Romans 8:29), transforming us into the kind of people whose lives will draw the world to our Lord.

Four: Stand firm for your Lord (1 Corinthians 15:5816:13). The greater the opposition to Jesus, the greater the opportunity for courage that glorifies our Lord.

A song on the radio

As we choose to follow Jesus with courage, it is vital to remember that we need God’s grace just as much as anyone who rejects God’s grace. The other day, I was driving home from the office and heard a powerful song by Sidewalk Prophets on the radio. Titled “You Love Me Anyway,” it includes these lyrics:

I am the thorn in your crown
But you love me anyway
I am the sweat from your brow
But you love me anyway
I am the nail in your wrist
But you love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But you love me anyway

Will you celebrate and share this love today?

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Upwords; Max Lucado –Change Doors

CHANGE DOORS – May 4, 2021

As one Harvard professor said, “We think money will bring lots of happiness for a long time; actually it brings a little happiness for a short time.” We’ve all seen happy peasants and miserable millionaires, right? There is another option. It requires no credit card, monthly mortgage, or stroke of fortune. It demands no airline tickets or hotel reservations. Age and ethnicity and gender are not factors. You don’t have to change jobs, change cities, change looks, or change neighborhoods.

But you might need to change doors. The motto on the front door says “Happiness happens when you get.” The sign on the lesser-used back door counters “Happiness happens when you give.” Doing good does good for the doer. This is how happiness happens.

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Faith Is Assurance

Hebrews 11:1-6

I’ve had the privilege of flying in several single-engine airplanes, but never once have I asked the pilot about his qualifications or the trustworthiness of the plane. I simply expected him and his aircraft to carry me safely to my destination. We usually don’t have trouble relying on planes or automobiles without question, yet we sometimes fail to trust the Lord.

Our faith in God is like spiritual glasses through which we view the world around us. Our physical eyesight may not detect His almighty hand working in the events and situations of life, but faith looks beyond the externals to the truth and promises of Scripture.

Our foundation of assurance is built upon God’s Word and our experiences of His trustworthiness. We have no cause for worry or uncertainty because the Lord of the universe is sovereign over every event under heaven, and that includes the details of our lives. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not to be anxious; instead, we’re to bring our concerns and requests to God with thanksgiving, trusting Him to work it all out according to His will. Then His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 7-9

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Our Daily Bread — Jesus’ Unpopular Ideas

Bible in a Year:

Give to the one who asks you.

Matthew 5:42

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 5:38–48

For fifteen years, Mike Burden held hate-filled meetings in the memorabilia shop he ran in his small town. But in 2012 when his wife began to question his involvement, his heart softened. He realized how wrong his racist views were and didn’t want to be that person any longer. The militant group retaliated by kicking his family out of the apartment they’d been renting from one of the members.

Where did he turn for help? Surprisingly, he went to a local black pastor with whom he’d clashed. The pastor and his church provided housing and groceries for Mike’s family for some time. When asked why he agreed to help, Pastor Kennedy explained, “Jesus Christ did some very unpopular things. When it’s time to help, you do what God wants you to do.” Later Mike spoke at Kennedy’s church and apologized to the black community for his part in spreading hatred.

Jesus taught some unpopular ideas in the Sermon on the Mount: “Give to the one who asks you . . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:4244). That’s the upside-down way of thinking God calls us to follow. Though it looks like weakness, it’s actually acting out of God’s strength.

The One who teaches us is the One who gives the power to live out this upside-down life in whatever way He asks of us.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

How are you living out Jesus’ words of giving to those who ask and loving your enemies? What would you like to change?

God, help me to love others as You love me. Show me how to do that today.

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Grace to You; John MacArthur – Overcoming Spiritual Inadequacies

“Having summoned His twelve disciples” (Matt. 10:1).

Jesus can overcome any inadequacy you might have.

Most people think of the disciples as stained-glass saints who didn’t have to struggle with the faults and frailties of normal people. But they had inadequacies just like we all do. Seeing how Jesus dealt with them gives us hope that He can use us too.

One inadequacy common to all the disciples was their lack of understanding. For example, Luke 18 tells us Jesus gave them details about His future suffering, death, and resurrection, but they didn’t understand anything He said (vv. 31-34). Jesus overcame their lack of understanding by constantly teaching them until they got it right.

Another inadequacy was their lack of humility. More than once they argued among themselves about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (e.g., Mark 9:33-37). Jesus dealt with their lack of humility by His own example. He likened Himself to a servant, and even washed their dirty feet.

In addition to their lack of understanding and humility, they also lacked faith. Jesus often said to them, “O men of little faith.” In Mark 16:14 He rebuked them for not even believing the reports of His resurrection.

They also lacked commitment. Just prior to Christ’s death Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and the others deserted Him. Jesus dealt with their lack of commitment by praying for them (e.g., John 17:15; Luke 22:31-32).

Finally, they lacked spiritual power, which Christ overcame by giving them the Holy Spirit.

Those are significant inadequacies, but despite all that, the book of Acts records that the disciples turned the world upside down with their powerful preaching and miraculous deeds. They were so much like Christ that people started calling them Christians, which means “Little Christs.”

Jesus still transforms inadequacies into victories. He does it through the Spirit, the Word, and prayer. Don’t be victimized by your inadequacies. Make those spiritual resources the continual focus of your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for your inadequacies because they help you realize your dependence on Him.
  • Ask for grace always to rely on your spiritual resources rather than human abilities.

For Further Study

Read Matthew 20:20-28.

  • Who spoke to Jesus on behalf of James and John?
  • What was His response?
  • How did the other disciples respond?
  • What was Jesus’ concluding principle?

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