Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –He Promises You

 

I will never leave you.

 Hebrews 13:5

No promise is for private application. Whatever God has said to one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When He opens a granary-door to give out food, there may be one starving man who is the reason for it being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses matters not, believer; He has given it to you as one of the covenanted seed.

There is not a high blessing too lofty for you, nor a wide mercy too extensive for you. Lift up your eyes now to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is yours. Climb to the mountaintop, and view the utmost limits of the divine promise, for the land is all your own. There is not a brook of living water of which you may not drink. If the land flows with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are yours. Be bold to believe, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In this promise, God gives His people everything. “I will never leave you.” Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on behalf of them that trust Him. Is He love? Then with loving-kindness will He have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on your side.

To summarize, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven that is not contained in this text—“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Heals Broken Hearts

 

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

What is a “broken heart”? Have you ever had one? We use the expression when we talk about the deepest kind of grief a heart can feel. Broken hearts are often caused by a hurtful change in a relationship with another person. If someone you love dies, or if you have to say good-bye to a friend, or if someone close to you does something to hurt you deeply, you might say that you have a broken heart. But those are just the surface causes for a broken heart. Do you know what really causes broken hearts? All of the grief, death, and sadness we experience came into our world as the result of human sin.

Jesus’ heart was broken once too. Psalm 69:20 looks ahead to the time when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness.” Jesus’ heart was not broken because of His own sin; He never sinned. It was broken because of ours. All the sins of the whole world were laid on Him when He suffered and died. During those hours on the cross, He endured the awful wrath of God the Father in our place. The precious relationship Jesus had with His Father, closer and more satisfying than anything we could know, was broken while He bore our sin.

Does your God understand what your broken heart feels like? He not only understands, but He also knows how to heal it. Through Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, He made a way for you to come directly to Him with your broken heart. Your grief may be the result of your own sin or someone else’s. Or it may be the result of sin’s effects on our fallen world. Whatever the cause, God promises to gently care for your hurting heart.

The God whose heart was broken for sin will heal your broken heart.

My Response:

» Have I brought my broken heart to God for healing?

 

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Denison Forum – Cocaine on corn flakes: Our moral crisis and our nation’s only hope

 

US Customs and Border Patrol recently seized a forty-four-pound shipment of corn flakes from South America. The reason: its flakes were covered in cocaine instead of sugar. Bico, a narcotic detector dog, flagged the shipment in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As long as there have been laws, humans have attempted to break them. The first humans broke the first law in human history (Genesis 2:173:6–7). The first child ever born murdered the second child ever born (Genesis 4:1–8).

From then until now, our story is one of laws and lawbreakers. Criminals are sometimes caught, as with the ninety-five-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard who was deported from Tennessee back to Germany last Saturday. Many are not: according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, fewer than half of crimes in the US are reported; according to the FBI, fewer than half of reported crimes are solved.

Every day’s news brings further proof that our secular culture desperately needs a great spiritual awakening. This is why, as I noted yesterday, you and I need to live in submission to the Holy Spirit out of a passion for Christlike character (Romans 8:29). And why we need to pray and work with urgency to help everyone we influence do the same.

The hour is later than we know. But the hope we offer is the hope our nation needs today.

The only nation founded on a creed 

Britannica defines “government” as “the political system by which a country or community is administered and regulated.” It lists monarchy (rule by a monarch), oligarchy (rule by a small group), and democracy (rule by the people) as the main approaches across history. For most of Western history, the first two forms were predominant.

In fact, the article states that the Constitution of the United States “opened the door to modern liberal democracy—democracy in which the liberty of the individual is paramount.” As British writer G. K. Chesterton noted on his first visit to our shores in 1921, “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.” That creed is contained in five words enshrined in our Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal.”

Because we are all “created equal,” none of us has the right or the capacity to rule another. The American solution is to enact laws by the consent of the people, then to elect leaders to enforce them, again by the consent of the people. If we see that our laws need to be changed, we amend our Constitution or otherwise enact legislative remedies. If we see that our leaders need to be changed, we elect new ones.

The entire enterprise rests upon the belief, radical and nearly unprecedented in history, that people can govern each other.

However, we cannot govern each other if we cannot govern ourselves.

 

Abraham Lincoln predicted our future 

Abraham Lincoln gave his first major speech on January 27, 1838, shortly before reaching his thirtieth birthday. In it he asked, “At what point shall [America] expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?”

He expanded his question: “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.”

Lincoln continued: “At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

He claimed that “general intelligence, sound morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and laws” would be essential to our survival. Then he closed: “Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’”

Mr. Lincoln was right: Character is essential to democracy. A free people can govern each other only if they can govern themselves.

 

Our nation’s “indispensable supports” 

Our Founding Fathers were clear on this fact. Of the scores of founders and quotes I could offer to prove this point, let’s focus today on our first president. George Washington stated in 1796, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

Lest we think that the latter can stand without the former, Mr. Washington continued: “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

I will say it again: a free people can govern each other only if they can govern themselves. And because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we cannot govern ourselves unless we submit to the governance of God by his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and his word (Hebrews 4:12).

The good news is that the Spirit of God can transform us into a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and empower us as “ambassadors for Christ” to be the change our culture needs (v. 20). We have great hope, so long as our hope is in Christ (Colossians 1:27).

A warning we must heed 

Today we are claiming the hope we find in Jesus. Tomorrow we will see why this is our only hope as a people.

For now, I will close with a biblical text that grieves me for the nation I love and motivated today’s Daily Article. What God said to the children of Israel he says to us today: “If you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish” (Deuteronomy 8:19).

Clearly, the greatest service you and I can render our nation is to be catalysts for spiritual and moral awakening before it is too late.

How will you answer this call today?

 

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Upwords; Max Lucado –God Will Guard You

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

 

“If you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you” (Psalm 91:9-10). Your serenity matters to heaven, and God guarantees he will guard you. Separating you from evil is God, your guardian. “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings” (Psalm 91:4).

From how many winds is God protecting you? His wing, at this moment, shields you. A burglar en route to your house has a flat tire, a drunk driver runs out of gas before your car passes his. If God is our guardian, you ask, why do bad things happen to us? Well you and God may have different definitions for the word bad. He’s not only read your story, he wrote it. His perspective is different, and his purpose is clear. God uses struggles to toughen our skin. What matters most is this: you will never face a challenge without receiving His help.

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In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Passion to Obey

 

Romans 6:16-23

A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.

Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.

Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.

All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 3-5

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Like Jesus

 

Bible in a Year:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Romans 8:29

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Romans 8:22–30

As a boy, theologian Bruce Ware was frustrated that 1 Peter 2:21–23 calls us to be like Jesus. Ware wrote of his youthful exasperation in his book The Man Christ Jesus. “Not fair, I determined. Especially when the passage says to follow in the steps of one ‘who did no sin.’ This was totally outlandish . . . . I just couldn’t see how God could really mean for us to take it seriously.”

I understand why Ware would find such a biblical challenge so daunting! An old chorus says, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus. My desire, to be like Him.” But as Ware rightly noted, we are incapable of doing that. Left to ourselves, we could never become like Jesus.

However, we’re not left to ourselves. The Holy Spirit has been given to the child of God, in part so that Christ can be formed in us (Galatians 4:19). So it should come as no surprise that in Paul’s great chapter on the Spirit we read, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God will see His work completed in us. And He does it through the Spirit of Jesus living in us.

As we yield to the Spirit’s work in us, we truly become more like Jesus. How comforting to know that’s God’s great desire for us!

By:  Bill Crowder

What attribute of the fruit of the Spirit would you like to live out to a greater degree? (see Galatians 5:22–23). What will help you do so?

Father, I long to be more like Your Son but so often fall short in word, thought, or deed. Forgive me, and help me to yield to the work of Your Spirit so that Jesus might be formed in me.

 

 

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Grace to You; John MacArthur – Cultivating the Fruit of Righteousness

 

“Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11).

Bearing spiritual fruit is the acid test of a true believer.

After facing life-threatening situations, people often say, “I saw my entire life flash before my eyes.” That’s the picture we get in Philippians 1:11.

“The fruit of righteousness” refers to what is produced in you as you operate in love, pursue excellence, and maintain your integrity. It includes every attitude and action consistent with God’s standard of what is right.

“Having been filled” speaks of something that happened in the past with continuing results. At your salvation the seed of righteousness was planted within you. It bears righteous fruit throughout your lifetime. On the day of Christ that fruit will confirm your salvation.

Fruitfulness has always been the acid test of true salvation. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). When John the Baptist admonished his followers to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8), he was speaking of good deeds (vv. 10-14). Paul said we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) John said that all who profess Christ should live as He lived (cf. 1 John 2:6).

Bearing spiritual fruit is not something you can achieve on your own. It “comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11). Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

You were redeemed to glorify God through righteous deeds. Make that your priority today.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Psalm 71 is a psalm of praise to God for His righteousness and faithful provisions. Read it and meditate on its truths. Then praise God for His righteousness toward you.
  • Ask for opportunities to demonstrate righteousness to others today.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 11:1-9, 15:8-9, and 21:2-3, noting the characteristics and benefits of righteousness.

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – The Purpose of Faith

 

. . . Be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset— rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined] . . .

— 1 Peter 5:8-9 (AMPC)

 

Adapted from the resource Closer to God Each Day – by Joyce Meyer

Oftentimes we make the mistake of expecting that our faith will get us to a place where there’s total freedom from trouble. But the purpose of faith is not always to keep us from having trouble—it’s often to carry us through trouble. If we never had any trouble, we wouldn’t need any faith.

Even when we’re tempted to run away from our problems, God says that we need to go through them. The good news is that He’s promised to stick with us all the way through them, so we’ll never have to go through anything alone. He will always be there to help us and empower us to make it through (see Philippians 2:13; 4:13). He has said to us, “Fear not, for I am with you” (see Isaiah 41:10).

As we learn to stand our ground and effectively resist the enemy, we’ll come closer to God than we ever could if we had no challenges. Whatever you’re facing right now, know that God is with you to help you, so don’t give up! If you’ll keep going, He’ll increase your faith and bring you to the other side.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me trust You when I’m going through things that are hard or frustrating. Increase my faith so I’ll be ready for the challenges I’m about to face. Thank You for carrying me through the things I thought I’d never make it through, and for bringing me closer to You in every moment. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Mighty One

His bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob.

 Genesis 49:24

The strength that God gives to His Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valor, a fiction, a thing of which men talk but which ends in smoke; it is true—divine strength.

Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God enables him. There is nothing that we can do without the power of God. All true strength comes from “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph—“His arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.” God is represented as putting His hands on Joseph’s hands, placing His arms on Joseph’s arms. Just as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear Him. He puts His arms upon them. Marvelous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from His throne and lays His hand upon the child’s hand, stretching His arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong!

This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God’s covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have flow to us from the fountainhead, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we should fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend except by the ladder that Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you and shot at you and wounded you, but still your bow remains unmoved. Be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob’s God.

 

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God is the King of Glory

“Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24: 8, 10)

Have you ever imagined that you were a prince or a princess? Have you ever imagined that someday you would rule a kingdom all your own? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be princes and princesses? Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. We can’t ALL be princes and princesses.

One of the songwriters in the Bible called God the “King of glory.” What do you suppose it means to be the “King of glory”? Doesn’t a king normally have a kingdom and people to rule? How do you rule over glory? The word “glory” means “great honor, praise, or distinction.” The word “king” means “one who is supreme or preeminent.” If you put the two words together, “king of glory” means “one who is supreme or preeminent in great honor, praise, or distinction.”

God is the one and only true King of glory. He is the only One Who deserves our worship and honor. We can praise people and things, but God deserves our highest praise much more than people or things do.

The world does praise movie stars and sports players, talking all the time about how great so-and-so is. Someone who has a unique skill might be called “king” of it as a way of showing that he has earned high honor for himself. A great basketball player might be called “King of Hoops,” or a great baseball player might be called “King of Diamonds.” Usually, when a human being is famous for being good at something, he is only good at that one thing. Some basketball players could never fix their car’s engine. Some movie stars could not swing a baseball bat.

Whose greatness should believers be constantly talking about? Who is the King Who deserves the highest glory? That is really the question that the songwriter is asking in Psalm 24: “Who is this King of glory?” And both of these verses answer the same way: “The LORD.” Each of the verses gives different characteristics of God. He is “strong and mighty,” “strong in battle,” and “the LORD of hosts.” But the King Who has all these characteristics is just one Person–the one true God.

How should we honor and praise the “King of glory”? We can start by admitting God is Who He says He is, and obey Him and behave toward others as though God really exists. We can sing songs to praise God, tell God we love Him, and tell other people about how God is the one and only “King of glory.” When we do right, we are giving praise to the Lord.

God is the King of glory, and we ought to honor Him.

My Response:

» Am I admitting and acting like God is the King of glory?

 

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Denison Forum – Dak Prescott and Matthew McConaughey joined storm relief efforts: Choosing character today for the crisis tomorrow

 

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and actor Matthew McConaughey were two of many athletes and celebrities making donations for those in need during last week’s winter crisis in Texas. The Mavericks’ Mark Cuban and Luka Doncic were among team members who contributed $1.25 million to help.

CNN reports that, like these celebrities, neighbors across the state stepped up to serve others.

One such neighbor is Jim McIngvale. The Houston furniture store owner who opened his stores in previous years to those fleeing Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey opened them again last week to those seeking warmth, shelter, and food. While driving to church on Valentine’s Day, he said, “I saw some cops putting a sheet over a homeless guy who had frozen to death. That really got me. I decided then that I’d open the stores to everyone if it got really bad, and it did.”

One lesson from the crises of the present is that we must prepare for the crises of the future.

The New York Times reports that “extreme cold killed Texans in their bedrooms, vehicles, and backyards.” What we saw last week is not an isolated case: scientists are warning that an overall rise in extreme weather is creating new risks to America’s aging infrastructure.

More Americans have died from COVID-19 than perished on the battlefields of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War—combined. And like the weather crisis in Texas, the current pandemic may portend the future: the Wall Street Journal warns that “the world must move urgently in 2021 to develop strategies and systems for fighting diseases that could be even deadlier than COVID-19.”

In other words, the time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens. When it strikes, it will be too late.

 

Women dressed as elderly adults to get vaccines 

A jet engine caught fire after takeoff Saturday, scattering debris in an area north of Denver, but the plane was able to return safely to the airport. The flight did not cause the flaw in the engine—it revealed it. Meanwhile, two women who dressed up to appear as older adults in order to get coronavirus vaccinations were caught by authorities. The pandemic did not create their character—it revealed it.

In better news, today is the anniversary of the US hockey team’s astonishing victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Years of preparation and sacrifice we did not see led to the victory that made history.

Pipes that were exposed before last week’s polar vortex burst when it arrived. To see what is in a tea bag, put it in hot water. To see what is inside a bottle, shake it up.

I’m sure that my wife, Janet, is looking forward to my return to the office this morning after a week of extreme “togetherness.” However, I am grateful to report that days spent huddling in front of our fireplace drew us closer together. Fault lines in our marriage would have been exposed and exacerbated.

The Bible is filled with examples of people who were transformed by God and whose character then rose to meet dire challenges. Moses the murderer met God at the burning bush and stood up to Pharaoh, rebellions, and crises. Peter the denier (Matthew 26:69–75) became the preacher of Pentecost (Acts 2:14–36). Paul the persecutor became God’s apostle to the Gentile world.

How can we join them?

How to “teach transgressors your ways” 

Crisis is inevitable in this broken world (John 16:33), but preparing for it is optional. Our problem is that change is hard. Paying a price today to face a crisis tomorrow requires discipline and sacrifice.

But the cost is worth paying. Not only will tomorrow be better if we seek character today—today will be better as well.

David looked to the day when “I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you” (Psalm 51:13). But first, David had to return to God. After his catastrophic sin with Bathsheba, he had to pray, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions” (v. 1). He had to ask the Lord to “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (v. 10).

Then he could “teach transgressors,” for he had been one. He could lead “sinners” back to God, for he had returned to God.

The most powerful witness is not the person who has never fallen but the person who is empowered to get back up. That is the person other fallen people see and seek to emulate. The student who makes an A on the test is the best student to help others prepare for the test. The cancer survivor is the best encourager of cancer patients.

 

How to make headlines in heaven 

Do you want character that triumphs in crisis? Do you want your life to make a transforming difference in the lives of others?

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the urgency of character for the future of our culture. For today, let’s focus on our next personal step. If you were to be more the person Jesus intends you to be, what would need to change? What is your next step into Christlike character?

Ask God if you, like David, have “transgressions” to confess, then confess what comes to your mind and claim your Father’s forgiving grace (1 John 1:9). Now ask him for strength where you are weak, courage where you are afraid (2 Corinthians 12:9). Live in submission to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) that you might manifest the character of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).

And when the next storm arrives, you will be the one making headlines of grace—if not in the news on earth, in the hallways of heaven. And in the eternal souls you will draw closer to Jesus.

Including your own.

 

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Upwords; Max Lucado –The Work of the Spirit

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Suppose a person never learns about the sealing and intercession of the Spirit. This individual thinks that salvation security resides in self, not in God. That prayer power depends on the person, not the Spirit. What kind of life will this person lead? A parched and prayer-less one.

 

But what about the person who believes in the work of the Spirit? Suppose you let the Spirit saturate you with this assurance. After all, “we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:5). Your shoulders will lift as you release the buckling weight of self-salvation. Your knees will bend as you discover the buoyant power of praying in the Spirit. New beginnings, higher walk, deeper prayers. And, most of all, a quiet confidence that comes from knowing it’s not up to you.

 

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Charles Stanley – Sunday Reflection: Trust in the Lord

 

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

In looking back at your Christian journey so far, when did you experience the most spiritual growth? For many of us, it was during seasons of great discomfort. Jesus tells us we will encounter difficulties in the world (John 16:33), but that doesn’t mean we should just go about our life with resignation, waiting for something awful to happen.

Instead, we should try to think of waiting as an act of endurance—something that makes us more like Christ. And yet endurance looks different for each of us. Some people may become more active in serving their community, while others need to shift their focus inward—increasing in prayer, seeking wise counsel, and more consciously creating practices of giving thanks. Whatever it is, let us be encouraged to “run … the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:1-2).

THINK ABOUT IT
• Think about your seasons of greatest spiritual growth— or even the experience of coming to faith in Jesus. Was there a specific change or important occurrence in your life? Reflecting like this might help you identify the way God works—and perhaps see your circumstances differently, too.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 1-2

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Unimaginable Promises

 

Bible in a Year:

He has given us his very great and precious promises.

2 Peter 1:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight: 2 Peter 1:2–8

In our moments of greatest failure, it can be easy to believe it’s too late for us, that we’ve lost our chance at a life of purpose and worth. That’s how Elias, a former inmate at a maximum-security prison in New York, described feeling as a prisoner. “I had broken . . . promises, the promise of my own future, the promise of what I could be.”

It was Bard College’s “Prison Initiative” college degree program that began to transform Elias’ life. While in the program, he participated on a debate team, which in 2015 debated a team from Harvard—and won. For Elias, being “part of the team . . . [was] a way of proving that these promises weren’t completely lost.”

A similar transformation happens in our hearts when we begin to understand that the good news of God’s love in Jesus is good news for us too. It’s not too late, we begin to realize with wonder. God still has a future for me.

And it’s a future that can neither be earned nor forfeited, dependent only on God’s extravagant grace and power (2 Peter 1:2–3). A future where we’re set free from the despair in the world and in our hearts into one filled with His “glory and goodness” (v. 3). A future secure in Christ’s unimaginable promises (v. 4); and a future transformed into the “freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

By:  Monica La Rose

 

Why can it be difficult for us to accept “unearned” grace and love? How does it touch your heart to consider that in God’s eyes you have a future filled with unimaginable beauty?

Jesus, some days all I can see is the ways I’ve disappointed myself and others, the ways I’ve broken the future I’ve dreamed of. Help me to see the unchanging beauty of the future I find in You. 

 

 

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Grace to You; John MacArthur – Maintaining Spiritual Integrity

 

“In order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10).

Seek to have a life that bears scrutiny.

In our society, those whose lives are marked by moral soundness, uprightness, honesty, and sincerity are usually thought of as people of integrity. However, society’s standards often fall far short of God’s. Spiritual integrity calls for the highest possible standard of behavior and requires supernatural resources available only to those who trust in Him.

Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-10 outlines the path to spiritual integrity. It begins with love that abounds with knowledge and discernment (v. 9) and progresses to the pursuit of excellence (v. 10). The result is sincerity and blamelessness—two characteristics of godly integrity.

The Greek word translated “sincere” in verse 10 speaks of genuineness and authenticity. It literally means “without wax” and is an allusion to the practice of inspecting pottery by holding it up to the sunlight. In ancient times pottery often cracked during the firing process. Rather than discarding cracked pieces, dishonest dealers often filled the cracks with wax and sold them to unsuspecting customers. Holding a pot up to the sunlight revealed any flaws and protected the customer from a bad purchase.

Following that analogy, biblical integrity requires that you be without wax, having no hypocrisy or secret sins that show up when you’re under pressure or facing temptation.

“Blameless” speaks of consistency in living a life that doesn’t lead others into error or sin. Your standard is the same away from church as it is at church.

Being blameless isn’t easy in a world that unashamedly flaunts its sinful practices. You must guard against losing your sensitivity to the heinousness of sin and unwittingly beginning to tolerate or even accept the sin that once shocked you. That’s when you lose integrity and begin to cause others to stumble.

Diligently pursue integrity with a view toward glorifying Christ in all things until He returns!

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that He is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in His presence blameless with great joy (Jude 24).
  • Prayerfully guard your heart and mind from the subtle evil influences that can erode your integrity and make you ineffective for the Lord.

For Further Study

Read Genesis 39.

  • How was Joseph’s integrity challenged?
  • How did God honor Joseph’s commitment to integrity?

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – Start Your Day Right

 

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

— Psalm 5:3 (NLT)

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devo – by Joyce Meyer

Many times the way your morning starts is the way it is going to go all day. That’s why the enemy tries so hard to get us in a bad frame of mind early in the day. Have you found the enemy trying to make you angry or worried about something—anything—to fill your mind with sour thoughts before the day has even started? Does he try to get you upset about traffic or the possibility of a long line at the bank or doctor’s office before you’ve even left your house?

Guess what—you can make your mind up early in the morning to enjoy each aspect of your day, whether everything goes the way you planned or not. Your mind is the battlefield. When you start to choose right thoughts early in the morning, you’ll begin to walk in more and more victory.

Prayer Starter: Father, please help me establish a pattern of thinking right in the morning, so my whole day can be better. Thank You for giving me the grace to expect good things, and for making a way for me to enjoy my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

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Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –He Has Said

. . . For he has said . . .

 Hebrews 13:5

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there that shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God’s covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death, will not the internal corruptions and the external snares, will not the trials from above and the temptations from beneath all seem but light afflictions when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of “he has said”?

Yes; whether for delight in peace or for strength in our conflict, “he has said” must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word that would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch that would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacy of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “he has said.”

Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets. So should you not also be proficient in your knowledge of the Word of God, so that you may be able to quote it readily in solving a difficulty or overthrowing a doubt?

Since “he has said” is the source of all wisdom and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”1 In this way you will grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life.

1) John 4:14

One-Year Bible Reading Plan

 

 

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Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Delights To Answer Prayer

 

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).

Regular readers, please see a special note for you at the foot of this devotional.*

When Michele was eleven, her best friend left their school to go to a different school. Michele’s class was small, and she didn’t feel close to any of the other three girls in the class. She wanted so much to have a best friend that she could talk to.

That summer before sixth grade, Michele’s mom said, “Why don’t you pray that God will send a new girl to your class next year to be your close friend?” She took her mom’s advice and started praying. But she didn’t have much faith. Where would a new girl come from? And even if a new girl did come, would she really want to be her friend? Michele dreaded the beginning of the new school year, because she didn’t believe God would answer her prayer.

Then in August, a new girl named Kelly and her family started coming to Michele’s church. God had moved her all the way to Kansas from the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean! That fall, Kelly was in Michele’s sixth grade class. She was so cheerful and friendly that it was easy for Michele to get to know her. They quickly became best friends and went through the rest of high school together. They even attended the same college for four years, and still keep in touch today.

Michele would tell you now that God delights to answer the prayers of His children. It brings Him glory when we ask and truly depend on Him for things we need. If we ask for things that are good for us, He is pleased to give them to us at just the right time. But sometimes He goes beyond giving us what we ask for. Often, His gifts are better than anything we could have asked for or even imagined. And His gifts are always the best thing for us.

God delights to answer the prayers of His children.

My Response:
» What am I praying for?
» Am I praying with faith that God will answer in the best way?

* Dear Reader,
On behalf of Kids 4 Truth, I apologize that this devotional is so similar to the one posted a week ago, which is an un-edited version of the same thing. We are very sorry that this happened, and it was difficult to fix because the mistake was caught after the audio was recorded. This February 21st version is the newer, edited devotional.
~ Joy McCarnan, K4T Executive Editor

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Charles Stanley – Bigger God, Smaller Problems

 

Jeremiah 32:17-22

No one enjoys illness, conflicts, or difficulties. Such stressors tend to demand attention and drain energy, narrowing our focus until our troubles become larger and all else is pushed to the side. What we need at such times is a glimpse of the greatness and majesty of the Lord. Looking at Him helps us see our problems from the proper perspective.

During the captivity, when Jeremiah was confined in the guard house and Jerusalem was about to fall into enemy hands, the Lord’s promised restoration of the land seemed far away, if not impossible. But Jeremiah turned his eyes to God. He remembered the Lord’s great power, unfailing love, assurances to Israel, and omniscience about everything taking place.

The good news is that the words of Jeremiah’s prayer to the Lord—“Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jer. 32:17)—are still true today. Although we may want our difficulties resolved immediately, what we really need is a bigger vision of God, not fewer problems. The larger and more accurate our understanding of the Lord is, the smaller our troubles will seem. Even better, our confidence in His ability to handle our trials will increase.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 33-36

 

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Our Daily Bread — Strengthened by Grace

 

Bible in a Year:

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:1

Today’s Scripture & Insight: 2 Timothy 2:1–4

During the American Civil War, the penalty for desertion was execution. But the Union armies rarely executed deserters because their commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, pardoned nearly all of them. This infuriated Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, who believed that Lincoln’s leniency only enticed would-be deserters. But Lincoln empathized with soldiers who had lost their nerve and who had given in to their fear in the heat of battle. And his empathy endeared him to his soldiers. They loved their “Father Abraham,” and their affection led the soldiers to want to serve Lincoln all the more.

When Paul calls Timothy to join him in “suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3), he calls him to a tough job description. A soldier is to be completely dedicated, hard-working, and selfless. He’s to serve his commanding officer, Jesus, wholeheartedly. But in reality, we sometimes fail to be His good soldiers. We don’t always serve Him faithfully. And so Paul’s opening phrase is important: “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). Our Savior is full of grace. He empathizes with our weaknesses and forgives our failures (Hebrews 4:15). And just as the Union soldiers were encouraged by Lincoln’s compassion, so believers are strengthened by the grace of Jesus. We want to serve Him all the more because we know He loves us.

By:  Con Campbell

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How can the grace of Christ become a source of strength for you to serve Him? What does it mean for you to suffer for Jesus?

Dear God, please strengthen me in the grace of Christ that I may serve Him faithfully.

 

 

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