Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –God’s Hand in Your Life

Forget not all his benefits.

Psalm 103:2

It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to observe the hand of God in our own lives? Should we not look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of His goodness and of His truth, as much a proof of His faithfulness and veracity as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before?

We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He performed all His mighty acts and showed Himself strong for those in the early time but does not perform wonders or lay bare His arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favors? The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, has He never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, “who satisfies you with good,”1 has He never filled you up to overflowing? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters?

Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave His mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus. Let our souls produce music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David’s harp while we praise the Lord whose mercy endures forever.

1) Psalm 103:5

C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Word Is Your Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

How can you rejoice in the Lord always? Sometimes life might seem too difficult for you to be happy. However, you can always rejoice in God’s Word. David, the man after God’s own heart, found great delight in God’s Word. David calls God his “exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4). He says, “I will delight myself in [God’s] commandments, which I have loved” (Psalm 119:47), and “let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight” (Psalm 119:77). David found so much delight in God’s Word!

But what about you? How can you rejoice in God’s Word? The first step is obvious: Read it! Read it, looking for how great and amazing God is on every page. Read it prayerfully. Read it as God Word to you, and then talk back to Him in response – speaking right back to Him! Few people truly delight in God’s Word, and most of them do not even try to delight in it. Do you ever read because you have to? or because you think you ought to? You should read God’s Word as much as you can because you love it! You should not be able to get enough of it! You should want more and more time with God, just as a deer longs for the water brooks! (See Psalm 42:1.) Pray about it; ask God to help you love His Word more.

You can live joyfully because you have God’s eternal, unchanging Word, and because you have a great God. No matter what happens, you can, and should, always rejoice in the Lord. Rejoicing in God’s Word isn’t all! There are all kinds of things to rejoice in. Look in the Bible to see what else God has given you to rejoice in. Learn to delight in God’s Word as David did, and say with him “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). Rejoice in God’s Word!

Rejoice in God’s Word.

My Response:
» Have I spent time reading God’s Word today?
» What did I learn about God today in His Word?
» How can I rejoice in the Lord today?

The post God’s Word Is Your Joy appeared first on EquipU Online Library.


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Denison Forum – Teen raised $38,000 for cancer research by cutting off his 19-inch Afro: Why I disagree with Philip Yancey on culture and grace

Kieran Moïse has always been known for what the Washington Post describes as “a stunning Afro that stood high and wide above his head.” For the last six years, he has not cut or trimmed it because, as his mother explained, “he really hated haircuts.”

When Kieran was accepted to the Air Force Academy, he knew he would have to cut his now nineteen-inch Afro. He lost a close friend to cancer when Kieran was in the eighth grade. So, he decided to make his hair cutting into a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and donate his hair to Children With Hair Loss, a Michigan nonprofit that provides free human hair wigs to children and young adults facing medically related hair loss.

Both plans came to fruition. His hair was mailed to the children’s hair charity, and the fundraiser ultimately brought in more than $38,000 for St. Jude’s. Kieran is now at the Academy, where his mother says, “He’s going to do great things. I have no doubt.”

Pete Davidson is getting his tattoos removed

One of the ways God redeems all he allows is by using past suffering to make us more sensitive to present needs and future opportunities to help others. The loss of Kieran’s friend to cancer led him to do what he could for cancer patients. When we use our suffering to serve, we become what Henri Nouwen called “wounded healers.” And our story touches more lives than we may know.

Here’s another example in the news: comedian Pete Davidson is getting his tattoos removed. He says the process is incredibly painful and will take another two years to complete.

He teamed with smartwater to promote last Monday’s first-ever Rehydration Day, a day dedicated to getting Americans rehydrated after the July 4th holiday weekend. As a result, he made a video in which he had arm tattoos lasered off while confessing, “I’ve made a lot of questionable choices, and a couple of them need removing.” Then he added, “Now I’m trying to make smarter choices, hydrating with smartwater and stuff like that.”

When we recognize our “questionable choices” and use them to serve others, our humility earns us the right to share a positive message. If we follow Jesus, such compassion born from his grace enables and empowers us to share that grace with the world.

Presbyterian denomination takes stand on homosexuality

However, part of sharing God’s grace is standing against decisions and deceptions that harm those we are called to serve.

For example, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) recently adopted Overture 23, a statement that those who “profess an identity (such as, but not limited to, ‘Gay Christian,’ ‘same sex attracted Christian,’ ‘homosexual Christian,’ or like terms) . . . are not qualified for ordained office.” The overture, which was approved overwhelmingly 1,438–417 on July 1, explains that such an identity “undermines or contradicts their identity as new creations in Christ, either by denying the sinfulness of fallen desires . . . or by denying the reality and hope of progressive sanctification, or by failing to pursue Spirit-empowered victory over their sinful temptations.”

The chair of the committee recommending Overture 23 stated that it is not intended to exclude Christians who are gay but remain celibate. The overture must still be approved by two-thirds of the denomination’s regional presbyteries and then again by a majority at the General Assembly scheduled for next year in Birmingham, Alabama.

One pastor who spoke in favor of the overture called it “most consistent with the gospel—and because it’s consistent with the gospel, it is by definition compassionate.”

I agree with that pastor and commend PCA leaders for taking a biblical stand on such a pressing cultural issue. Not everyone would agree with me, however.

Why I disagree with Philip Yancey

Bestselling author Philip Yancey was asked in an interview with Religion News Service, “If you could talk to evangelical leaders right now or to people in the pew, what would you tell them?” Yancey, perhaps best known for his insightful book What’s So Amazing About Grace?, stated: “So often the church seems more interested in cleaning up society, you know, returning America to its pristine 1950s. That’s the myth we have—we are making America pure again, cleaning it up.”

He added: “Jesus lived under the Roman Empire, Paul lived under the Roman Empire, which was much worse morally than anything going on in the United States. They didn’t say a word about how to clean up the Roman Empire, not a word. They just kind of dismissed it.”

Yancey then called us to “remember why we are here. We love people, we serve, and we show them why God’s way is better. Let’s concentrate on that rather than tearing people down or rejecting them or denigrating them in some way. We’re here to bring pleasure to God. I believe we do that by living in the way God’s Son taught us to live when he was on earth.”

I appreciate Yancey’s reminder that we love people by serving them. But I disagree completely with his belief that Jesus and Paul “didn’t say a word about how to clean up the Roman Empire.”

Jesus’ earthly ministry did not extend beyond Palestine, but he addressed specifically the hypocrisy of the religious leaders (Matthew 23) and the urgency of serving those in need (Matthew 25:31–46). Paul’s ministry did extend throughout the Empire; he addressed directly the sexual immorality and other sins of his day (cf. Romans 1:26–321 Corinthians 6:9–101 Timothy 1:8–11). And don’t forget that John the Baptist was martyred for opposing the sexual immorality of Herod the tetrarch (Matthew 14:1–12).

As Yancey notes, part of loving people and serving them is showing them “why God’s way is better.” However, God’s way includes sexual purity (cf. Matthew 5:281 Corinthians 6:181 Thessalonians 4:3–5Colossians 3:5) and holy living (cf. Galatians 5:19–262 Corinthians 7:1Hebrews 12:14).

William Wilberforce’s “two great objects”

As we have seen today, we serve others best when we do so out of humility that recognizes our own weaknesses and compassion that empowers us to seek their best. Then we will pay any price to impact our culture with God’s transforming word and grace.

William Wilberforce testified, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.”

What “objects” has God Almighty set before you?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado – The Inside Track to Peace

THE INSIDE TRACK TO PEACE – July 9, 2021

The next time you fear the future, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. Rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot do.

Fill your mind with thoughts of God: “He is the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). “His years will never end” (Psalm 102:27).

He is king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, an overlord of all history. An arch of his eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute! Every throne is a footstool to his. Every crown is papier-mache next to his. He consults no advisers, he needs no congress, he reports to no one. He is in charge.

Sovereignty gives the saint the inside track to peace. Others see the problems of the world and wring their hands. We see the problems of the world and bend our knees.

http://www.MaxLucado.com

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Knowing God’s Love

Ephesians 3:8-21

One of the first things children learn in Sunday school is that Jesus loves them, and they are quick to believe it. But as we get older, the hardships and disappointments of life may cause us to doubt this truth. We wonder how a gracious God could allow the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a financial crisis, or a painful terminal illness.

But we cannot judge God’s love on the basis of circumstances. Hardship is a certainty in life (John 16:33), and it does not reflect the depth, breadth, and height of God’s love for us. This is why Paul urged the Ephesians not to let his tribulations discourage them (Eph. 3:13)—he knew those hardships were part of God’s plan. And the same is true for every believer. Through our trials, God works powerfully within us to do more than we can perceive or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

The Lord wants you to believe that His love for you is steadfast—and that it can ground you in the difficult seasons of life. Are you seeking to grow in your comprehension of His love? The more you dwell on divine grace, the more firmly you’ll stand during trials. Begin by asking God to give you a deeper understanding as you mediate on His love as described in His Word.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 1-4

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Blocked Prayers

Bible in a Year:

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Mark 11:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Mark 11:20–25

For fourteen years, the Mars rover Opportunity faithfully communicated with the people at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After it landed in 2004, it traversed twenty-eight miles of the Martian surface, took thousands of images, and analyzed many materials. But in 2018, communication between Opportunity and scientists ended when a major dust storm coated its solar panels, causing the rover to lose power.

Is it possible that we can allow “dust” to block our communication with Someone outside of our world? When it comes to prayer—communicating with God—there are certain things that can get in the way.

Scripture says that sin can block our relationship with God. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). Jesus instructs, “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25). Our communication with God can also be hindered by doubt and relationship problems (James 1:5–71 Peter 3:7).

Opportunity’s blockage of communication seems to be permanent. But our prayers don’t have to be blocked. By the work of the Holy Spirit, God lovingly draws us to restored communication with Him. As we confess our sins and turn to Him, by God’s grace we experience the greatest communication the universe has ever known: one-to-one prayer between us and our holy God.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

How can confessing your sins to God improve your communication with Him? What can you do to enrich your prayer life?

Father, guide me to discover what’s limiting my communication with You. Thank You for helping me connect with You!

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Joy in God

“We also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).

The final link in the chain that eternally binds believers to Christ is their joy or exultation in God.

Perhaps nowhere outside of Scripture has Christian joy been expressed more beautifully than in these stanzas from Charles Wesley’s hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”:

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come;
And leap, ye lame for joy!

Galatians 5:22 says that “joy” is one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit, and as such it is one of the great securities of salvation. The Greek for “joy” means “to exult,” “to rejoice jubilantly,” or “to be thrilled.” What is our motivation to be so thrilled? Paul says it’s because we received reconciliation from Christ. God gives us abundant joy both in our salvation and ultimately for who God is. Thus our present sense of internal joy is an additional guarantee of our future salvation.

One of the reasons David was a man after God’s own heart was his rejoicing in the Lord for the Lord’s own sake. He said, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34:3). Other psalmists echoed that same joy. One wrote, “For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name” (Ps. 33:21), while another said, “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise Thee, O God, my God” (Ps. 43:4). As you make God the focus of your joy, He will grant you an assurance only He can give.

Suggestions for Prayer

How often do you exult in what God has accomplished for you? Ask God to give you a greater joy in Him as you learn more about Him from His Word.

For Further Study

  • Look up “joy” in a concordance and determine the percentage of the references that refer to joy in one’s salvation.
  • What significant application can you make from those verses?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Exchanging “I Can’t” for “I Can”

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

— 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

Have you ever walked into a store before with something to exchange? Maybe it was an article of clothing that you decided you didn’t like, a pair of shoes that were uncomfortable, or a gadget that didn’t do what you’d expected. You entered the store with something that didn’t work for you, exchanged it, and left with something that did work for you. You had to trade what was not effective for something that was.

The same principle applies to your thinking. If you exchange your “I can’t” thoughts for “I can” thoughts, you will see remarkable changes begin to happen. If you build into your character the thought that, with God’s help, you can do whatever you need to do in life, you will have more zeal and enthusiasm about facing every day. I have found that I even have more physical energy when I think “I can” thoughts. It helps me to not dread anything, because dread is an energy drainer.

It’s never too late to begin saying, “I can.” Say things like: “My marriage has problems, but it can work”; “My house is a mess, but I can clean it so it will bring me joy and relaxation when I come home from work”; “I can get out of debt”; “I will own a home or have a new car”; or, “I have some problems right now, but I can still enjoy my life.”

Some of the challenges you face may be very difficult ones; however, God never allows more to come on us than we can bear. With every temptation, He always provides a way out. I challenge and encourage you right now to consistently believe you can do anything that comes your way, with God’s help.

Trust in Him Which “I can’t” belief in your life do you need to exchange for an “I can”? Trust God to not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability and to always provide a way out.

Prayer Starter: Lord God, I know that with Your help, I can exchange my negatives for positive, and I can do all things through You, In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –The Secret Strength of Faith

Tell me where your great strength lies.

Judges 16:6

Where does the secret strength of faith lie? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is-an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God. And faith says, “My God could not have given this promise except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain His Word will be fulfilled.” Then faith thinks, “Who gave this promise?” It considers not so much its greatness as, “Who is the author of it?” She remembers that it is God, who cannot lie-God omnipotent, God immutable-and therefore concludes that the promise must be fulfilled; and onward she proceeds in this firm conviction. She remembers why the promise was given—namely, for God’s glory—and she feels perfectly sure that God’s glory is safe, that He will never stain His own insignia, nor spoil the sparkle of His own crown; and therefore the promise must and will stand.

Then faith also considers the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the Father’s intention to fulfill His word. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”1 Moreover, faith looks back upon the past, for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her courage. She remembers that God has never failed her, that He never once failed any of His children. She recalls times of great peril when deliverance came, hours of awful need when as her day her strength was found, and she cries, “No, I never will be led to think that He can change and leave His servant now. Thus far the Lord has helped me, and He will help me still.”

Thus faith views each promise in its connection with the promise-giver and, because she does so, can with assurance say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!”2

1) Romans 8:32
2) Psalm 23:6

C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Not the Kind of God Who Leaves

 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Have you ever missed the school bus or a ride to an activity that was important to you? Being left is a terrible feeling! It is embarrassing and frustrating, and it can also be really sad – especially if you miss out on something you were really hoping to see or do. Sometimes it can even be dangerous to be left behind. What if you accidentally got left in a football stadium? What if you were on a hiking trail and got separated from your friends? It could be scary, and lonely, and maybe even harmful to be left like that.

Sometimes we rely on people too much. It is okay to count on your friends and family to keep an eye out for you and to remember your needs and hopes. But friends and family are human, and sometimes they forget or make mistakes. Some people might take off on you because they want to do something selfish for themselves, or some might turn their back on you when you have done something wrong. People are human. They might let you down. They might give up on you. They might leave you.

The writer of Hebrews 13:5 was reminding readers of what Jesus said to His disciples – that He would never leave them. He would never forsake them. Jesus is God; He is greater than our human friends and family. He is better than anything we might try to be or to get on our own. In this verse, the Bible shows us the kind of God Who promises to be faithful. That means He is not the kind of God Who lets His people down. He is not the kind of God Who leaves His people alone. He keeps His promises.

God is not a leaver. He has always been more trustworthy than anything or anyone else. He has always been more faithful than any of our friends and family could ever hope to be. He is God and always has been. In the Old Testament (Psalm 27:10), the psalmist writes, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Most fathers and mothers would die before giving up on their children or leaving their children! But if a parent ever did give you up or leave you behind, you could still count on God. Even if you yourself fail, even if your best-loved friends and family fail, and even if everything you know and trust were to drop suddenly off the face of the Earth, you can remember that God is not a leaver. He is not a forsaker.

Again, the writer of Hebrews 13:5 was reminding the Hebrew Christians what Jesus told His disciples about never leaving them. It is for this reason – that Jesus does not leave us – that this verse teaches we should not covet. If we remember the kind of God we have – that He will never leave or forsake His people – then we do not need to want things we do not have. We should not desire something so much that we think we need it in addition to God or instead of God.

Do you ever wish you could have a certain thing? Do you ever wish you could have a certain someone for a friend? Remember that things, and even humans who love you, will fail you. Look at those things and people you trust the most. If they were ever to leave you or let you down, would you have anything left? Do not covet things or people to keep you company. Count on God to stay with you.

God is not the kind of God Who leaves. We can count on Him more than anyone or anything else.

My Response:
» Am I trying to collect things or get friends so that I can protect myself from being lonely?
» What are some Bible reasons for trusting God to take care of me and be with me?

The post God Is Not the Kind of God Who Leaves appeared first on EquipU Online Library.


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Denison Forum – Children send handmade cards to Surfside first responders: The paradoxical path to God’s strength and peace

Let’s begin with some good news: First responders at the Surfside condominium tragedy are receiving hundreds of homemade cards from children. One note said, “Dear First Responders, thank you for everything you did and are doing even tho some people have not been recovered you guys are working day and night to find those that are missing that’s what makes you guys hero’s.”

So far, nearly five hundred similar notes, crafted by children of all ages from near and far, have been hand-delivered to first responders at the scene of the collapse. Hundreds more are expected to pour in as the search for victims continues.

The idea began with Florida state Sen. Lauren Book, who returned home from visiting the site and had to explain the tragedy to her four-year-old twin children. They wanted to help, so they spent the day at their dining room table with crayons and construction paper, creating about fifty cards. Their mother brought the notes to the site the next day, handing them to any first responder she met. Many of them cried instantly, she said.

She then posted the idea on Twitter, asking for children to mail in similar notes of encouragement. Cards have been delivered from around the country.

Death toll from COVID-19 passes four million

People obviously need such encouragement today.

Eighteen more bodies were recovered from the rubble Wednesday as the search of the collapsed building in Surfside, Florida, turned from a rescue effort to a recovery operation.

The global death toll from COVID-19 passed four million yesterday, a number equivalent to the population of Los Angeles. Japan’s prime minister announced a coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo this morning as organizers consider banning all spectators from the Olympics.

The Washington Post reports that “America’s workers are exhausted and burned out” after fifteen months of pandemic-related stress. Axios notes that many Americans are responding to such stress by drinking more alcohol—a lot more for some—even though the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns that alcohol-related death is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the US.

Reflecting the stress of recent months, an American Psychological Association survey found that 61 percent of US adults experienced undesired weight changes since the pandemic began. And experts are calling the ransomware attack that began over the Fourth of July weekend a “landmark event” that could lead to future “disruption on an absolutely massive scale.”

“He is our actual hope”

Where can we turn to find the best source of strength and peace in these hard days? The answer would surprise most people in our secularized culture.

MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, recently made headlines when she and her current husband made a $2.7 billion donation to several groups. She included several progressive Christian groups but excluded evangelical ministries.

Kelly Kullberg, editor and co-author of the bestseller Finding God at Harvard, responded: “The Left is attempting to redefine the gospel, using biblical words but not their accurate meanings. If we, as individuals, no longer admit our sin, we no longer turn to Jesus. And he is our actual hope. And biblical truth yields great love for people and great progress for cultures.”

Kullberg is exactly right. The paradoxical truth is that we will not turn to Jesus as our “actual hope” unless we recognize that we need what he alone can provide. As we noted yesterday, to fear and revere the Lord is to recognize that he is the true King and Judge of the universe and to admit that we need his forgiveness, grace, and peace.

“The mind of Zeus is hard to soften with prayer”

How can we experience God in such a transforming way? The key is to see him as he actually is.

In Isaiah 6, the prophet “saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (v. 1) and saw himself in the light of God’s holiness (vv. 3, 5). Isaiah’s confessional response led to his cleansing (vv. 6–7) and his commission as one of the greatest prophets in history (vv. 8–9).

We are not to fear God as did the Greek and Romans, whose deities were capricious, sinful, and vengeful. Zeus was unfaithful to his wife Hera, Poseidon was known to foist storms and shipwrecks on those who displeased him, and Ares was feared for his violent temper. In Prometheus Bound, the Greek playwright Aeschylus (525–455 BC) said of their gods, “Many a groan and many a lamentation you shall utter, but they shall not serve you. For the mind of Zeus is hard to soften with prayer.”

Nor should we see God as a “resident policeman,” “parental hangover,” “grand old man,” or “managing director,” as J. B. Phillips notes in his classic Your God Is Too Small.

Rather, we are to fear and revere God as “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3), the one true King of the universe. The more we worship him with humility, repentance, and submission, the more we experience his perfect will and empowering presence.

When last were you awed by God?

I invite you to take some time today to experience God as Isaiah did. Read Isaiah 6 and imagine yourself in the text. See God on his exalted throne. Hear the angelic worship. Feel the foundations shaking. Smell the smoke filling his temple.

Ask him to reveal anything in your life that displeases him, then confess all that comes to your thoughts and trust him for his cleansing grace. Now surrender your life to his purpose—whatever he asks, wherever he leads, whatever the cost. And know that as you fear and revere your King, he will use your life for his eternal glory and your greatest good.

When last were you awed by God?

Why not today?http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado –He Is Able to Do What You Cannot

HE IS ABLE TO DO WHAT YOU CANNOT – July 8, 2021

What will happen if your job disappears? Or your health diminishes? Or the economy takes a nosedive? Does God have a message for his people when calamity strikes? He certainly had a word for Isaiah. The prophet wrote:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up…above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

God calmed the fears of Isaiah, not by removing the problem, but by revealing his divine power and presence. Rejoice that God is able to do what you cannot do! Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your heavenly father increases.

http://www.MaxLucado.com

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – God’s Perfect Love

1 John 4:7-10

God’s love can be hard to understand because it’s not like ours. We tend to love those whose character, attributes, and interests are appealing to us. But in God’s eyes, there is nothing attractive in us that makes us worthy of His affection. We are all sinners who have rebelled against Him.

Out of divine mercy and grace, the heavenly Father chooses to love us. Through the sacrifice of His Son, He demonstrated His love to all those who would receive Jesus Christ. When we trust in the Savior, we permanently become God’s beloved children: Nothing can separate us from His love, which will never end or diminish (Rom. 8:38-39).

What’s more, no one is beyond the reach of God’s love. Jesus made this clear by saving people like a greedy, dishonest tax collector, a criminal on the cross next to Him, and Saul—a persecutor of His church. God’s love isn’t dispensed according to how good we’ve been. On that basis, no one could be saved.

Divine love can’t be fully comprehended by the human mind, but it can nonetheless be ours through faith in Jesus Christ. And from the moment a person receives that love, he or she will forever live under its protective canopy.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 145-150

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Certainty of Deliverance

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:9-10).

Jesus Christ delivers His brethren not only from sin and its judgment, but also from uncertainty and doubt about that deliverance.

God is a God of wrath. But the wrath due to be poured out on all mankind, Christ took on Himself. That’s what the apostle Paul meant when he said that those who put their faith in Him have been “justified by His blood” and are assured of being “saved from the wrath of God through [Christ]” (Rom. 5:9). As a result of Christ’s atoning work, all Christians are identified with Christ, are adopted as God’s children through Him, and are no longer “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).

But Paul doesn’t stop there because the ongoing intercessory work of Christ has great significance for every believer and the security of his salvation. In Romans 5:10 Paul argues from the greater to the lesser to show that it was a much greater work of God to bring sinners to grace than to bring them to glory. Since God brought us to Himself when we were enemies, we will be reconciled continually now that we are His friends. When God first reconciled us, we were wretched, vile, and godless sinners. Since that was not a barrier to His reconciling us then, there is nothing that can prevent the living Christ from keeping us reconciled.

This truth has great ramifications for our assurance. If God already secured our deliverance from sin, death, and future judgment, how could our present spiritual life possibly be in jeopardy? How can a Christian, whose past and future salvation are guaranteed by God, be insecure in the intervening time? If sin in the greatest degree could not prevent our becoming reconciled, how can sin in lesser degree prevent our staying reconciled? Our salvation can’t be any more secure than that.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to reveal to you how you might even now be insecure about your salvation. Then ask Him to make the intercessory work of Christ more real to you each day.

For Further Study

Read John 5:26; 10:28-29; 14:19; Romans 8:34-39; Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 7:25; and Revelation 1:18.

  • List all the securities you can find.
  • How does Christ save you by His life?

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Certainty of Deliverance

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:9-10).

Jesus Christ delivers His brethren not only from sin and its judgment, but also from uncertainty and doubt about that deliverance.

God is a God of wrath. But the wrath due to be poured out on all mankind, Christ took on Himself. That’s what the apostle Paul meant when he said that those who put their faith in Him have been “justified by His blood” and are assured of being “saved from the wrath of God through [Christ]” (Rom. 5:9). As a result of Christ’s atoning work, all Christians are identified with Christ, are adopted as God’s children through Him, and are no longer “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).

But Paul doesn’t stop there because the ongoing intercessory work of Christ has great significance for every believer and the security of his salvation. In Romans 5:10 Paul argues from the greater to the lesser to show that it was a much greater work of God to bring sinners to grace than to bring them to glory. Since God brought us to Himself when we were enemies, we will be reconciled continually now that we are His friends. When God first reconciled us, we were wretched, vile, and godless sinners. Since that was not a barrier to His reconciling us then, there is nothing that can prevent the living Christ from keeping us reconciled.

This truth has great ramifications for our assurance. If God already secured our deliverance from sin, death, and future judgment, how could our present spiritual life possibly be in jeopardy? How can a Christian, whose past and future salvation are guaranteed by God, be insecure in the intervening time? If sin in the greatest degree could not prevent our becoming reconciled, how can sin in lesser degree prevent our staying reconciled? Our salvation can’t be any more secure than that.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to reveal to you how you might even now be insecure about your salvation. Then ask Him to make the intercessory work of Christ more real to you each day.

For Further Study

Read John 5:26; 10:28-29; 14:19; Romans 8:34-39; Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 7:25; and Revelation 1:18.

  • List all the securities you can find.
  • How does Christ save you by His life?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Reach Your Full Potential

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.

— 2 Corinthians 4:8 (NIV)

I fully believe that reaching your potential is linked to the way you handle adversity. Adversity isn’t always bad. Adversity can be something to be thankful for because God can use it to strengthen you. Winston Churchill said: “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won,” and I wholeheartedly agree.

If you allow difficulties and challenges to frustrate, intimidate, or discourage you, you will never overcome them. But if you face them head-on and press through the adversities you encounter, refusing to give up during them and moving forward with a heart of gratitude, you will develop the skills and determination needed to be everything you were created to be and experience everything God intends for you.

Prayer Starter: I thank You, Father, that I don’t have to give up when I face adversity—I can meet it head-on, knowing that You are always with me. Thank You for the promise that greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Remember Your Pastor

Brothers, pray for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:25

This one morning in the year we reserved to remind each reader of the importance of praying for ministers, and we earnestly implore every Christian household to heed this request first uttered by Paul and now repeated by us.

Brothers, our work is solemnly momentous, involving good or ill to thousands; we deal with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ’s army, we are the special target of the hostility of men and devils; they watch for our faltering and work to trip us at the heels.

Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt; above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many difficult cases, and our wits are at a quandary; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to encourage you by our preaching; we desire to be a blessing to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners.

Therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God. We are miserable men if we miss the help of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the Gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you: “Brothers, pray for us.”

C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Owns Me

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

Virtually anyone who has any Christian upbringing at all has heard the very first verse of the Bible. And anyone who claims to be a Christian accepts the truth it teaches, that God created us! But how many of you have ever sat down to think just how that fact affects how you live and act every day?

Anytime a person creates something, he has a purpose for that creation. For example, your mom never just goes into the kitchen and starts throwing together some flour, sugar, and milk without having something very specific in mind that she plans to create with those ingredients. A potter never begins spinning her wheel until she knows what she wants to mold that clay into. And a carpenter never begins cutting up a new shipment of lumber into an odd assortment of shapes and sizes until he has some idea of the type of furniture he plans to build. God did not just create you on a whim with no design for you. Instead, when God created you, He had a very specific purpose in mind for you.

Since God created you for a purpose, He has a right to demand that you fulfill that purpose. Back to the illustration of the potter: If you were the one who purchased the clay, took the time and effort to spin the wheel, and used your skill to carefully shape the clay into a ceramic bowl, you would then be the owner of that bowl. You would have every right to decide whether it ought to be used for your morning cereal, or to hold a potted plant! Because God created you, He owns you and has every right to decide your purpose. But you do not have to wonder what that purpose is. Scripture identifies that purpose for you: God called you to salvation even before He created you. Why did He? “That we should be to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:12)

God owns me and has the right to demand that I act in a way that brings glory to Him.

My Response:
» Have I been acting today in a way that gives God the glory He deserves as my Creator and Owner?

The post God Owns Me appeared first on EquipU Online Library.


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Denison Forum – Latest from Tropical Storm Elsa and condominium collapse: Do Americans fear God? If not, why not?

More than four million people in Florida are under hurricane warnings as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches landfall this morning. The system became a Category 1 hurricane yesterday before weakening to a tropical storm early today. Millions of people are facing life-threatening storm surges, heavy winds, potential isolated tornadoes, and heavy rains that could cause flooding up and down the Florida coast.

Meanwhile, the search for victims of the Surfside, Florida, building collapse reached its fourteenth day today. Eight more deaths have been announced, bringing the death toll to three dozen with more than one hundred people still unaccounted for.

Sisters buried in the same casket

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have been married seventy-five years today, the longest marriage in presidential history. From living in publicly subsidized housing while running a peanut warehouse to becoming governor of Georgia and president of the United States—theirs is a made-in-America story.

Their anniversary is not the only auspicious event on this day. On July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first female Supreme Court justice in US history. On this day five years earlier, female cadets enrolled at West Point for the first time.

However, the storm in Florida and the condominium tragedy remind us of our finitude as Americans and as humans.

The bodies of two young sisters pulled from the rubble of the Florida condo building were buried in the same casket yesterday alongside their parents. Officials in Montana are searching today for a grizzly bear that killed a woman early Tuesday. Chicago has now recorded more than two thousand shootings so far this year, a 58 percent increase since 2019. And the “woke” culture continues to escalate as Disney removes “ladies and gentlemen” from its Magic Kingdom greeting to be more inclusive.

As we noted Monday, the freedom we celebrated on July 4 is rooted in the declaration that “all men are created equal.” However, as we discussed yesterday, our freedom as finite and fallen people is best exercised under the authority of our Creator. When we fear God, we need fear nothing else, as Oswald Chambers observed.

Why don’t we fear God?

When was the last time you feared the judgment of God so much that you did something you would not otherwise have done? When was the last time you did not do something you would have done for the same reason?

It’s hard to fear what we don’t believe exists. I doubt that you’re worried about an invasion by Martians this morning.

According to Pew Research Center, 10 percent of Americans do not believe in God; another 33 percent believe in some type of higher power but not the God of the Bible. Only 43 percent of those under thirty believe in the one true God.

But denying the existence of something or someone doesn’t change its reality. I’ve never met the Queen of England, but denying her existence makes her no less real. The man who told me “I don’t believe in hell” didn’t change the existence of hell. In fact, if he persists in his rejection of the gospel, one day he will discover for himself how wrong he was.

In addition, many Americans have attended churches where divine judgment and the existence of hell are seldom if ever mentioned. The “seeker sensitive” movement that began in the 1980s was a well-intentioned strategy to make worship services more accessible to nonbelievers. However, if we speak only on topics that lost people want to hear, we are like oncologists who never tell our patients when they have a life-threatening malignancy.

If we don’t help others fear God now, one day they will most assuredly wish we had.

Why should we fear God?

The first reason to fear God is that he is fearsome. He is the Judge of the universe (Revelation 20:11–15) before whom “each of us will give an account of himself” (Romans 14:12). We do well to remember every day that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

second reason to fear and revere God is that his word commands us to do so. The psalmist called us to “serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:1). Jesus was blunt: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

third reason to fear God is that doing so is best for us. The God who is love (1 John 4:8) wants only our best. His will for us is always “perfect” (Romans 12:2). The harder it is to obey his word, the more we need to obey his word.

The king of the universe cannot honor rebellion against his reign lest he deny his holiness and permit that which harms his subjects. He calls us to seek his glory because to do less would be idolatry on his part and ours. Conversely, when we enthrone him in our hearts and serve him with fear and reverence, we experience his best in and through our lives.

A frightening flashback

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss practical steps we can take to fear and revere God more fully. For today, let’s ask ourselves this question: If I feared God more than I do, what would change in my life?

I came across my doctoral dissertation in my library yesterday. Opening it, my mind flashed back to December of 1986 and the oral exams I had to pass before I could begin writing it. During the two-hour test, my professors could ask me anything we had discussed in three years of doctoral seminars. Only if I passed their scrutiny would I be permitted to write the dissertation that would complete my degree.

I spent six months preparing for those exams. I had the highest respect for my professors and actually feared their examination since they held my academic future in their hands. But the experience made me a better student and scholar, which was precisely what it was intended to do.

Paul testified: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). I don’t know that you and I will face his judgment tomorrow, but I don’t know that we won’t.

Are you ready?

If not, why not?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

Upwords; Max Lucado – Beneath the Shadow of God’s Wings

BENEATH THE SHADOW OF GOD’S WINGS – July 7, 2021

Control freaks are easily frustrated. We can’t take control, because control is not ours to take! The Bible has a better idea.  Rather than seeking control, relinquish it. Peace is within reach, not for lack of problems, but because of the presence of a sovereign Lord. Rather than rehearse the chaos of the world, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty, as  the apostle Paul did.

From prison he wrote: “The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ” (Philippians 1:12-13). In the innermost of his being, Paul was a man who believed in the steady hand of a good God; protected, preserved by God’s love. He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings. Do you?

http://www.MaxLucado.com

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